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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Global Catastrophe Rising: So now what do we do?

By:   Hilary White
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Traditional Catholics of the Vendee: 'So now what do we do?' Traditional Catholics of the Vendee: 'So now what do we do?'

I don’t have any answers for the questions I will pose below, but I think, with less than eight months to go before the next installment of the Synod to End the Family, now might be a good time to at least open the discussion: what do we do when the Cardinal Kasper’s New Paradigm is officially in place?

Simply put, can a Catholic in good conscience continue to attend a parish where the priest has agreed to go along with the New Paradigm? And if not, what then?

Ultimately, I believe we are in a situation in the Church so dire that only the long view of history is going to be able to determine what is really happening. But this is not to say that we who are living in it are unable to discern what our duty is here and now. I propose, therefore, only to start the discussion by asking some obvious but painful questions, and to perhaps illumine it with a few easily verifiable facts.


More people are asking, what are we going to do when Pope Francis or the national bishops’ conference or the local bishop, orders all the priests to formally and publicly declare that they are willing to desecrate the Holy Eucharist? We can dismiss the objection that “this is already being done all over world, so what difference will it make?” Of course it is, and everyone knows that it was by the Church’s leadership making a habit of turning a blind eye to this horrifying abuse that we now find ourselves in this dreadful situation.

But the proposal at hand is qualitatively different. If Kasper and his followers (and his leaders) have their way, the abuse will become a universal norm. A decree, will be issued from the highest authorities that will require all priests everywhere to agree to betray Christ in this manner in a systematic, programmatic way, to formally assent to it as a precondition of their continuing to act as priests. Priests, all priests everywhere, will be required to at least be willing to desecrate the Holy Eucharist, to commit the grave sin of sacrilege.

The gravity of the possibility is only now starting to sink in with a great many people. (Though notably, the Church’s enemies grasped the implications in the first five minutes and have been crowing about it since). The other day, our worthy editor Michael Matt posted an email from a priest he called, “Father Anonymous,” who said that in such a case, he and other priests of his acquaintance were considering leaving the ministry of the priesthood.

That post has garnered a huge response, both at the Remnant’s website and elsewhere. A great many people, including me, were rather hard on this priest, who, Mr. Matt told us, was not a Traditionalist, but merely a decent Novus Ordo Catholic priest who clearly had never imagined that things would come to this pass.

I’m afraid that I still have to wonder which sand dune he’s been hiding his head in for the last few decades. But I suppose a lot of people out there have refused to really think unflinchingly, to reason logically, where the Vatican II revolution was going to go, and are now shocked that it has gone where we Traditionalists had always said it would go: to disaster. Global catastrophe. But we seem to be very close to that ultimate conclusion.

“Schism” used to be a word one heard only either in history books or on the websites of the wackier sedevacantists. But now, and in an astonishingly short time, we are seeing some very prominent people using the “S-word” right out loud. So I don’t feel too bad voicing the same fear now that we appear to have moved into Phase II of a clearly deliberately planned and expertly executed revolution.

A scant month after the notorious February 2014 consistory at which Cardinal Kasper dropped his bombshell, apparently with the pope’s full approval, Fr. Brian Harrison, the notable and non-crazy theologian, wrote to Vatican journalist Robert Moynihan, taking the poor man to task for his admittedly rather bland coverage of the event:

Fr. Harrison warned of “the immensity of a massive, looming threat that bids fair to pierce, penetrate and rend in twain Peter’s barque – already tossing perilously amid stormy and icy seas. 

“The shocking magnitude of the doctrinal and pastoral crisis lurking beneath this politely-worded dispute between scholarly German prelates can scarcely be overstated. For what is at stake here is fidelity to a teaching of Jesus Christ that directly and profoundly affects the lives of hundreds of millions of Catholics: the indissolubility of marriage.”

Fr. Harrison does not even require that Pope Francis make any attempt to change Catholic teaching, saying his silent assent is sufficient to cause a disaster: “If the present Successor of Peter now keeps silent about divorce and remarriage, thereby tacitly telling the Church and the world that the teaching of Jesus Christ will be up for open debate at a forthcoming Synod of Bishops, one fears a terrible price will soon have to be paid.”

People have expressed shock and disbelief that these men would dare to repudiate the very words of Christ. But this, I believe, is part of the strategy. The other day, I had a conversation with another Vatican journalist who said that it was absolutely necessary for the revolutionaries to go straight for the actual, unequivocal teaching of Christ on marriage, His very words. With contraception they were working with much less firmly founded teaching, but had huge success with the “change pastoral practice” method. And this, even though Our Lord nowhere said in so many words that we may not take the Pill.

But with marriage indissolubility, they have a much bigger hurdle, and a much more far-reaching payoff for success. Once they have overturned the actual words of Christ Himself as recorded plainly in the Gospel, all bets are off, and absolutely anything becomes a target. All the teachings of the Church will automatically, logically and inescapably, be rendered merely deterministic “rules” to be discarded at will. As many others are saying, the entire edifice of the Catholic religion is at stake, starting with the twin pillars of the Eucharist and the priesthood.

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As more people start to work out the ghastly implications, they are starting to ask some very hard questions. If, one day soon, the Catholic world wakes and groans to find itself Kasperian, what are we actually to do, in concrete terms? I am not here talking of what priests should do since I have, simply, no idea. And it does not pertain to the majority of us.

I am a layman. You reading this are probably also a layman. What I want to know is what should laymen do, with the duties and obligations and resources available to us right here and now? A popular “prepper” website, one of those that talks about stockpiling batteries, camping equipment and freeze dried food in anticipation of “The Big One”, asks a provocative question: “If the big one hits tomorrow, what do you have in the house right now that will keep you alive?” I cannot celebrate the Mass or hear my own confession. So what should I do?

Here are the questions I have seen asked. Can we attend Masses in parishes where the priest has agreed to acquiesce to the demand that public adulterers and other people in a state of unrepented manifest grave sin be systematically offered Holy Communion? Is that Mass illicit? Is that action, as it has been suggested, sacrilegious? What if it is sanctioned by the bishop? What if it is sanctioned by the Pope? What if it has, in fact, been ordered by the Pope?

In the event that a priest has refused to participate in the New Paradigm for fear of offending God, and has been suspended for his disobedience, but offers the Mass anyway, can we attend those Masses? Or would that be an act of sinful disobedience? Is it possible to be lawfully disobedient in order to avoid committing a grave offence against God, a sacrilege? Is obedience even meaningful when to obey would mean participating in a sacrilegious act of desecration? If I live in an area where all the priests have signed on to the New Paradigm, am I dispensed from my duty to attend Sunday Mass?

Is it a legitimate option to continue attending Mass in parishes where the priest has acquiesced to the New Paradigm while simply interiorly maintaining the Faith? Can we continue to attend and simply abstain from receiving Communion as long as we have made our own objection public? Or does just showing up at all constitute a public act of tacit cooperation with evil?

The situation is not entirely without precedent. A similar set of questions, I suppose, could have been asked by French lay believers during the period in which priests were co-opted by the French Revolutionaries and forced to sign an oath of fidelity to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Or in England when only one bishop and one prominent layman refused to agree that Henry VIII could make himself the head of the “English Church”. History has told us what happened to laymen who supported their non-juring priests in those times. Many were martyred, let’s just say.

Now, it may be important here to note that we are no longer talking about a divide between the Traditional Mass and the new rite. With potentially all Catholic priests facing being placed under this edict, whether they celebrate the old or the new rites, we are looking, at last, at an absolute unity of the entire Catholic world, one created by an absolute unity of catastrophe. (A result, one might add, of the grand success of Summorum Pontificum in bringing so many more “mainstream” priests and Catholics to the glories of the Traditional Mass. Now we really are all in the soup together!)

We may speculate what particular form the break, should it come (we have no certainty even now) will take. In general terms, given what we have seen and heard so far, it is possible to make some prudent predictions. There are regular, almost weekly indications now from the pope, either directly or through his chosen underlings whom he allows to claim to be his spokesmen, that the discipline of refusing Holy Communion to manifest grave sinners will shortly be abolished.

Given what we have seen, I would venture to predict that this Synod will issue a document that broadly and in ambiguous terms endorses some version of the Kasper Proposal. All that we saw last year, with the brazen manipulation of the “Synodal process,” by the Kasperite faction, it seems undeniable that the Synod – with or without the agreement of all the bishops who will actually attend it – will say something like, “Those who are divorced and remarried should not be systematically denied Communion. A determination should be made on an individual basis, and the national conferences should draw up guidelines for priest-confessors.”

The pope, if he remains true to form, will issue a document which, using expressions like “collegiality” and “synodality,” and “decentralisation,” will leave “open” the actual doctrinal question itself – whether granting Communion to manifest grave sinners can be allowed – and advise that the actual change be implemented by the national conferences of bishops, which, let’s face it, is where the real engines behind this revolution lie.

This will be followed by an edict addressed to priests to make a declaration, either in public or privately to their bishops, whether they will comply. Whether or how non-juring priests will be punished, of course, will remain a matter for individual bishops. But it seems reasonable that those bishops who are willing to go along with the New Paradigm will at the very least threaten to suspend faculties.

The success of the plan, in fact, depends entirely upon the willingness of individual bishops to co-operate with the New Paradigm. Indeed, I have had some suggest that those bishops would have the power, and the duty, to oppose the pope forcefully, to simply refuse. But all that is above my pay grade, as the American president likes to say.

However this will affect his office, whether it would put him out of Communion with the Church and therefore make him an antipope is not mine to decide. Indeed, I don’t know if it is the call of anyone but posterity. Chaotic times often require a narrowing of the view. I cannot make any call on the larger ecclesiological questions, not only because I am not qualified to do so, but because I am too close simply by living in this time. I can only decide what I will do now.

Some, one might even hope many, will refuse, and tell their national conference presidents where to go. In some cases, one might even hope (Africa, perhaps? Poland? Slovakia? Lithuania?) that entire national conferences will have the moral fortitude to tell the pope and the Germans where to go. But, as we know, the numbers of lay followers are often perfectly inversely proportional to power of a national conference. German bishops, for the moment, have almost no one left in the pews, but appear to be able to act with total impunity.

All this, of course, would be the public face. Given what we are learning about how the Kasper faction operates, at least the barest public appearance of legitimacy will be maintained while the hammer will come down hard behind the scenes in private meetings, on anyone who might resist. Ultimately, and whoever refuses or goes along, the result, with a pope ordering what no priest may lawfully obey, will be schism. Global chaos.

As I said above, I am actually asking what to do. I don’t have the answer. Indeed, just the other day I was in a conference with a local priest asking what, should it come to the worst, we must do. The prudential approach would seem to indicate that, with desecration of the Eucharist being one of the worst sins we can commit, erring on the side of caution is the best option.

We can make a decision at the start: I will not sin. I, personally, will not commit the sin of sacrilege. I will not do anything that would give a weaker person the idea that sacrilege is not a grave and horrible sin. Further, I will not commit an act of schism. I will not deliberately go running off to some group or sect that looks at first glance to be unaffected by this. Whatever happens, the schism that may or may not ensue will be no part of my own spiritual life.

What, concretely can we do now? Talk to faithful priests... most of us know some, and can communicate with them about our fears. If you don’t know any, seek them out actively. A lot of good priests are running blogs and have email addresses. You can read their writing to see if they are keeping the faith or panicking.

The second priority is that we must continue to practice the Faith in its fullness, which includes going to Mass if possible. Regular Confession, regular prayer, and perhaps adding a small programme of self-instruction, starting with the catechism.

I know that my duty is to pray, and make sacrifices, for the pope, and pray very hard indeed that the catastrophe, the Asteroid that we all fear will somehow, through some miracle of mass conversion perhaps, pass us by. But I also know that it is my duty to prepare. To remain calm, to attend to my current duties, to keep doing my work, to maintain all my normal friendships and relationships, to care appropriately for myself and my neighbour. But to prepare, nonetheless, if only to be as fully and responsibly informed as possible.

The whole diabolical purpose of this is to make us lose our cool, to panic and make wild declarations of “leaving the Church” or “giving up the priestly ministry.” If we do that, then the revolutionaries’ wicked purpose is already accomplished. The Devil, the Evil One, desperately wants the faithful “to make shipwreck of their Faith.” We must not fall into his snares.

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Last modified on Thursday, March 19, 2015