For the sake of argument, let us assume that the Catholic Church truly is the Mystical Body of Christ. In his 1943 encyclical on the Mystical Body of Christ, Mystici Corporis Christi, Pope Pius XII described the relationship between the graces won by Christ on His Cross and the role of the Church in distributing them:
Dying on the Cross He left to His Church the immense treasury of the Redemption, towards which she contributed nothing. But when those graces come to be distributed, not only does He share this work of sanctification with His Church, but He wills that in some way it be due to her action. This is a deep mystery, and an inexhaustible subject of meditation, that the salvation of many depends on the prayers and voluntary penances which the members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ offer for this intention and on the cooperation of pastors of souls and of the faithful, especially of fathers and mothers of families, a cooperation which they must offer to our Divine Savior as though they were His associates.”
In this light, the Church is the primary dispenser of grace, the greatest source and sustainer of morality, and the greatest promotor of sound intellectual development. Moreover, “the salvation of many depends on the prayers and voluntary penances which the members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ offer.” Thus, the greatest protection against evil in this world is a strong Catholic Church. It follows, then, that if any wicked institution wishes to advance its aims in the world, it must overcome the Catholic Church as much as possible.
Although there is a definite sense in which the Mystical Body of Christ is spotless in its Head (Jesus Christ), doctrine and sacraments, we should have no doubt that there has been a tremendous practical weakening of the Church since Vatican II. We have seen a diminution in grace, both because the sacraments have come under attack and because most of the faithful are generally less disposed to accept God’s grace. Even more evident has been the undermining of the moral, spiritual and intellectual life of most Catholics. All of this makes the world more susceptible to the evils we now face, particularly the coordinated assault on humanity described as the Great Reset.
If we seek specific reasons why the Spirit of Vatican II has undermined the Mystical Body of Christ, we can identify several contributors: changes to the liturgy and sacraments, particularly the Mass; false ecumenism; a mistaken view of religious liberty; and the generally deleterious effects of Modernism, especially the accompanying attitude that Truth can change in response to “historical realities.” Indeed, once one accepts that Catholic Truth can change, what can possibly remain sacrosanct?
Of course we can and must do all we can to counteract these developments, but we generally have little opportunity to reverse these trends outside of our own limited spheres of influence. However, if we seek to have an almost unlimited means of opposing the harms of the Spirit of Vatican II, we can look to the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ. In this regard, Pope Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis Christi provides a useful point of reference, both for what has changed and what we must restore. In this 1943 encyclical, the pope develops several principles of utmost importance to Catholics today:
Our present sorrows and calamities are a gift that can draw us to God. “For We know that if all the sorrows and calamities of these stormy times, by which countless multitudes are being sorely tried, are accepted from God's hands with calm submission, they naturally lift souls above the passing things of earth, to those of heaven that abide forever, and arouse a certain secret thirst and intense desire for spiritual things. Thus, urged by the Holy Spirit, men are moved, and as it were, impelled to seek the kingdom of God with greater diligence; for the more they are detached from the vanities of this world and from inordinate love of temporal things, the more apt they will be to perceive the light of heavenly mysteries.”
We all have an obligation to build up the Mystical Body. “And so We desire that all who claim the Church as their mother, should seriously consider that not only the clergy and those who have consecrated themselves to God in the religious life, but the other members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ as well have, each in his degree, the obligation of working hard and constantly for the building up and increase of this Body.”
We can call down greater heavenly gifts by our good works. “For although our Savior's cruel passion and death merited for His Church an infinite treasure of graces, God's inscrutable providence has decreed that these graces should not be granted to us all at once; but their greater or lesser abundance will depend in no small part on our own good works, which draw down on the souls of men a rain of heavenly gifts freely bestowed by God. These heavenly gifts will surely flow more abundantly if we not only pray fervently to God, especially by participating every day if possible in the Eucharistic Sacrifice; if we not only try to relieve the distress of the needy and of the sick by works of Christian charity, but if we also set our hearts on the good things of eternity rather than on the passing things of this world; if we restrain this mortal body by voluntary mortification, denying it what is forbidden, and by forcing it to do what is hard and distasteful; and finally, if we humbly accept as from God's hands the burdens and sorrows of this present life. Thus, according to the Apostle, "we shall fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ in our flesh for His Body, which is the Church."
Our duty to pursue virtue increases as chaos and sin increases. “There never was a time, Venerable Brethren, when the salvation of souls did not impose on all the duty of associating their sufferings with the torments of our Divine Redeemer. But today that duty is more clear than ever, when a gigantic conflict has set almost the whole world on fire and leaves in its wake so much death, so much misery, so much hardship; in the same way today, in a special manner, it is the duty of all to fly from vice, the attraction of the world, the unrestrained pleasures of the body, and also from worldly frivolity and vanity which contribute nothing to the Christian training of the soul nor to the gaining of Heaven."
Great dangers require us to turn to God. “If we have really at heart the salvation of the whole human family, purchased by the precious Blood, we must offer every day to the Eternal Father our prayers, works and sufferings, for her safety and for her continued and ever more fruitful increase. And while the skies are heavy with storm clouds, and exceeding great dangers threaten the whole of human Society and the Church herself, let us commit ourselves and all that we have to the Father of Mercies, crying out: ‘Look down, we beseech Thee, Lord, on this Thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ did not hesitate to be betrayed into the hands of evil men and to undergo the torment of the Cross.’”
Pope Pius XII knew the world faced a dire situation in 1943. Our current situation is arguably more perilous, as we are on the verge of being subdued by a malicious worldwide movement that has already infiltrated every aspect of our lives, including the Church. If Pope Pius XII emphasized the great need for the faithful to turn to God with fervor in 1943, we ought to heed that call today as well. Pope Pius XII was simply reiterating the wisdom of the Church when he made it clear that our Catholic identity compels us to rise to the occasion and do all in our power to implore God’s assistance.
While it is true that none of these ideas have been entirely lost, it seems evident that most Catholics no longer fully appreciate their significance. Sure (we might think), it is nice for spiritually-minded Catholics to try to be saints, but the rest of us want to “do something” for the Church and the world. For the past several decades, we have lacked a Pope Pius XII to remind us that the things actually within our control — fervent prayer, daily Mass when possible, works of charity, setting our hearts on the “good things of eternity,” voluntary mortification, and humble acceptance of trials — happen to be the most effective things we can possibly do. If we find ourselves spiritually cold and fatigued in the face of great dangers to our Church and world, perhaps it results less from any single defect of the Spirit of Vatican II than from the cumulative effect of decades of struggles against those who are charged with leading the Mystical Body of Christ.
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For the most part, 2020 has seen most of the world, even many Catholics, putting into practice the opposite of a message similar to that of Pope Pius XII’s: “Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth, where the rust and moth consume, and where the thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also” (Matthew 6:19-21). Consider, for instance, the ways in which the trials of 2020 have spurred society to store up various “treasures”: hand sanitizer, food and water, toilet paper, and ammunition. Recognizing that we face a more dire situation than Pope Pius XII faced in 1943, have we seen a corresponding effort to store up spiritual treasures to strengthen the Mystical Body of Christ?
Rather than a strengthening of the Mystical Body of Christ consistent with the truths expounded by Pope Pius XII, 2020 has brought a further weakening of the Church as a result of lockdowns. Many of us are wearied by the battles. All of this is by design. The Church is the “strong man” that would oppose all of the wickedness we see. As Our Lord said, “Or how can anyone enter into the house of the strong, and rifle his goods, unless he first bind the strong? And then will he rifle his house” (Matthew 12:29). Faithful Catholics have been the target precisely because they alone can put up effective opposition to the globalist thieves. Conversely, weak Catholics are frequently the greatest assets and allies of those who wish to destroy society.
Stepping back, we see the bigger picture: the Great Reset would not be possible were it not for the effective reset of Catholicism fostered by the Spirit of Vatican II. We can be certain that there is no stopping the Great Reset if we do not do all in our power to strengthen the Mystical Body of Christ. Indeed, why would we expect God to spare us if we do not do the things actually in our power to help our cause? Thanks be to God, we can begin (again) at any moment to do all in our power to cooperate with God’s grace to strengthen the Mystical Body of Christ. In this regard, we should turn, as always, to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ!