Until the papacy of Pope Francis, those opposing the “self-demolition” remained relatively small in number and were often regarded as “schismatic” if they raised their voices in protest. As it has become more and more obvious that Pope Francis and his hierarchy are actively attacking Catholicism, more people have awakened to the reality that the greatest enemies of the Catholic Church today occupy some of the most influential positions within the Church. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò in particular has been instrumental in alerting Catholics to these harsh realities, which Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and others saw while the Council was still in progress.
For the love of God, His Church, and our neighbors, we cannot allow our vile enemies to continue to turn the Church against itself. We must do all we can to prudently and effectively expose the actual crisis within the Church.
Although it is natural and reasonable for us to focus our attention on the leaders of the anti-Catholic movement within the Church, we should also consider the role of those who are the true victims of that movement. Specifically, are Novus Ordo Catholics being exploited to attack the Church and the Catholic religion?
Lest we dismiss the notion as too outlandish for serious consideration, it is worth noting that Pope Pius IX already saw the weaponization of liberal Catholics in 1873:
Even though the children of this world are more clever than the children of light, their traps (the enemies of the Church) would have so much less success if it were not for so many who hold out a helping hand, and still call themselves Catholic. Yes, unfortunately, there are those who seem to wish to march with our enemies and go out of their way to establish an alliance between the light and darkness, between justice and iniquity. They do so by means of these doctrines which we call ‘Catholic Liberalism’. . . . These are more dangerous and deadly than declared enemies, because they support their efforts without being noticed, perhaps not even realizing it themselves.
What would Pope Pius IX, or any previous genuinely Catholic pope for that matter, say about the current situation in the Church?
In evaluating this question of whether Novus Ordo Catholics are being exploited to attack the Church, one risks the accusation of being unfair or cruel to the well-meaning faithful who are still attached to their Novus Ordo parishes. Though the imputation is generally preposterous, especially when it is leveled by those who are so obviously wolves in sheep’s clothing, it is worth addressing. Fr. Felix Sarda Y Salvany’s Liberalism is a Sin, written in 1886, provides an important consideration about our duty of charity:
We can love our neighbor when displeasing him, when opposing him, when causing him some material injury, and even, on certain occasions, when depriving him of life; in short all is reduced to this: whether in the instance where we displease, oppose, or humiliate him, it is or is not for his own good, for the good of someone whose rights are superior to his, or simply for the greater service of God. . . . It is often necessary to displease or offend one person, not for his own good, but to deliver another from the evil he is inflicting. It is then an obligation of charity to repel the unjust violence of the aggressor.
With this obligation of charity in mind, it is worth considering the following questions: Have the enemies identified their aims? How do the enemies of the Church use Novus Ordo Catholics? What can we do about this?
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Have the enemies identified their aims? As is frequently the case, the devil shows his tail; and the devil’s collaborators have revealed his designs to destroy the Church. Atila Sinke Guimaraes’s Eli, Eli, Lamma Sabacthani? collection compiles a staggering array of admissions of guilt by many of the architects and implementers of Vatican II. Volume IV of the collection, Animus Delendi - I, includes the following prominent players describing why Catholic truth must be abandoned in order to appeal to modern man:
Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx: “A crass repetition of the past, be it of the Bible or the Council of Trent, necessarily appears absurd to modern man . . . . Every dogma is open to the future; it provides a close-up of a movement that continues and in which it plays a role. Consequently, a definitive (atemporal!) interpretation of the proper meaning of a dogma will never be possible so long as the movement of History continues.”
Cardinal Walter Kasper: “For many of our contemporaries . . . . dogma is synonymous with the denial of freedom and incompatible with human dignity. Its history is permeated with negative historical memories such as the Inquisition, condemnation, exile, persecution, burning at the stake, moral oppression, etc. The repulsion it inspires refers less to specific points of dogma than to the general existence of dogma — a definitive statement imposed on one’s conscience, which presents itself as an insurmountable barrier that impedes access to the Gospel.”
Pope Paul VI: “With her very demanding and qualifying dogmatism, the Church hinders free conversation and concord among men; she is, in the world, rather a principle of division than one of union. Now, then, how can division, discord and dispute be compatible with her catholicity and sanctity?”
Ultimately, the enemies of the Church seek to eliminate, or at least minimize, the dogmatic approach to matters of faith and morals that non-Catholics have generally found objectionable.
The latter quote is perhaps most the telling both because it is from the pope and it so directly counters what Jesus made clear:
Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set man at variance against his father, and daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (Matthew 10:34-35)
Pope Francis continues in the tradition of Schillebeeckx, Kasper, and Paul VI, and would apparently view many of Our Savior’s teachings as mean, rigid, and especially unhelpful in his current struggle to save the environment and embrace all men (except Traditional Catholics) as they are.
Ultimately, the enemies of the Church seek to eliminate, or at least minimize, the dogmatic approach to matters of faith and morals that non-Catholics have generally found objectionable. Initially, these enemies couched their arguments in terms of ecumenism and the desire to win souls to the Church. Today, it is abundantly clear that they had no actual intention to bring souls to the Church. Rather, it appears that the goal has always been to render the Church useful in establishing the new world order, the Novus Ordo Seclorum that now seems within reach.
The enemies of the Church are better served by obscuring the marks of the Church and using what is effectively a counterfeit church to promote anti-Catholic measures. For this, the enemies of the Church absolutely need a body of believers who will identify as Catholic while lending at least tacit approval to the anti-Catholic agenda.
How do the enemies of the Church use Novus Ordo Catholics? One might think that the enemies of Catholicism would want to completely eradicate the Church, but at least two considerations render that objective untenable: the ultimate enemy of the Church, the Prince of Darkness, knows that the Church will remain until the end of time; and a hasty and imprudent effort to completely destroy the Church would simply lead faithful Catholics to distance themselves from the destroyers.
Unfortunately for Catholics and the entire world, the enemies of the Church are better served by obscuring the marks of the Church — One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic — and using what is effectively a counterfeit church to promote anti-Catholic measures. For this, the enemies of the Church absolutely need a body of believers who will identify as Catholic while lending at least tacit approval to the anti-Catholic agenda.
As we know, the enemies of the Church implemented one of their first and most devastating anti-Catholic measures by replacing the Tridentine Mass with the Novus Ordo Missae. The 1969 letter of Cardinals Alfredo Ottaviani and Cardinal Antonio Bacci to Pope Paul VI (commonly known at the Ottaviani Intervention) accurately forecasted how the changes to the Mass would change the manner in which Catholics approached the Faith:
The innovations in the Novus Ordo and the fact that all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place — if it subsists at all — could well turn into a certainty the suspicion, already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by the Christian people can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound forever. The recent changes have amply demonstrated that new changes in the liturgy could not be made without leading to complete bewilderment on the part of the faithful, who already show signs of restiveness and an indubitable lessening of their faith.
Can we doubt their wisdom today, over fifty years since they sent their letter to Pope Paul VI? The implementation of the Novus Ordo forced some Catholics to their blessed traditional catacombs, made others abandon the Faith altogether, and left the remaining Catholics to suffer through decades of additional senseless changes. Some of these long suffering souls are undoubtedly very holy and destined for high places in heaven. But, many others are simply like Biden, Pelosi, AOC, Fauci, Cuomo, etc. They are what we might politely call “bad Catholics.”
The enemies of the Church want people to think that even Catholics do not believe what the Church teaches about faith and morals, so the Church must not have legitimate claim to telling anyone how to live their lives.
To appreciate the value of a bad Catholic to the enemies of the Church, we need only consider how much more persuasive anti-Catholic communications are when delivered by someone professing to have the Faith. For example, it is one thing for a Southern Baptist to call into question the teachings on the Blessed Sacrament, but when an otherwise credible Catholic does so the negative results are amplified greatly. As the “Parking Lot Priest” recently observed in a Sunday sermon featured on Remnant TV, approximately 70% of U.S. Catholics deny the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (according to a 2019 Pew Research survey). This is a tremendous victory for the enemies of the Church.
We can say the same thing about any number of Church teachings, including almost any dealing with sexual morality. The enemies of the Church want people to think that even Catholics do not believe what the Church teaches about faith and morals, so the Church must not have legitimate claim to telling anyone how to live their lives. For all of this, the enemies of the Church need nominal Catholics to spread their gospel of apostasy.
What can we do about this? For the love of God, His Church, and our neighbors, we cannot allow our vile enemies to continue to turn the Church against itself. We must do all we can to prudently and effectively expose the actual crisis within the Church. The enemies of the Church play the long game and have been willing to trade access to the Tridentine Mass for some degree of silence about the crisis in the Church. The period of time since the beginning of the pandemic of fear and hysteria has exposed the danger of this approach to faithful Catholics: if you let the enemy gain too much power, at some point the enemy will have no need to buy your cooperation.
To a large extent, we already know the theological and philosophical countermeasures to these attacks. Many of the pre-Vatican II popes thoroughly refuted the errors we now face. The most important of these popes, St. Pius X, included in his Oath Against Modernism a provision that directly combats the modern apostasy:
I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely.
Not surprisingly, Pope Paul VI abandoned the requirement for clerics to take the Oath Against Modernism. We of course can only speculate on the practical effect of abrogating the requirement to take the oath, and it seems probable that the most dedicated enemies of the Church would hardly be deterred by the fear of violating an oath. Nonetheless, every rational Catholic who sincerely believes the truth of these words from St. Pius X’s Oath has the fundamental disposition necessary to reject most of the anti-Catholic assaults we now face.
St. Pius X also directed us to the means by which God will ultimately overcome the enemies of the Church, likely at the moment at which all appears lost. In his encyclical issued on the Feast of Candlemas, 1904, Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum (on the Jubilee of the Immaculate Conception), St. Pius X wrote:
What truly is the point of departure of the enemies of religion for the sowing of the great and serious errors by which the faith of so many is shaken? They begin by denying that man has fallen by sin and been cast down from his former position. Hence they regard as mere fables original sin and the evils that were its consequence. . . . But let people believe and confess that the Virgin Mary has been from the first moment of her conception preserved from all stain; and it is straightway necessary that they should admit both original sin and the rehabilitation of the human race by Jesus Christ, the Gospel, and the Church and the law of suffering. By virtue of this, Rationalism and Materialism is torn up by the roots and destroyed, and there remains to Christian wisdom the glory of having to guard and protect the truth. . . . And thus once again is justified what the Church attributes to this august Virgin that she has exterminated all heresies in the world.
The Blessed Virgin Mary will exterminate these vicious attacks on the Church and crush the head of the serpent.
Thirteen years after St. Pius X’s encyclical, the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima made it even more clear that we must have recourse to the Blessed Virgin Mary. As Sister Lucia later told Fr. Agustin Fuentes in 1957, God wants us to have devotion to Our Lady in these dark days:
She said to my cousins as well as to myself that God is giving two last remedies to the world. These are the Holy Rosary and Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These are the last two remedies which signify there will be no others.
Ultimately God alone can restore what has been lost, but we must cooperate with God’s grace to be worthy instruments of His victory. If we neglect to have recourse to the Blessed Virgin Mary, we are rejecting God’s grace, and most likely cooperating with the enemies of the Church. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!