In these challenging times, this exercise of studying the wisdom of the pre-Vatican II popes can provide great consolation. They defended our Faith and our Church, for ours is the Faith and Church of every faithful Catholic who went before us. In both the clarity and orthodoxy of their words, we can see true Catholic shepherds, who can guide us today while we await another pope who will fight for the Catholic Church.
If the pre-Vatican II popes were correct, then the entire Vatican II experiment has been the sinister work of enemies of the Church.
As we read the words below taken from the encyclicals of several popes from Leo XII to Pius XII, we cannot mistake the profound differences between what they believed and what the post-Vatican II popes believe. If they were right, what does that mean about what we have heard from the popes who followed Pius XII?
The Popes Were Vigilant. The popes were vigilant to protect their Catholic flock from the wolves:
“Blessed Peter, Prince of Apostles, and his Successors have been given the Power and Care of Feeding and Ruling the flock of Christ, Our God and Savior. Hence, the more grave the evils threatening the flock, the greater the solicitude the Roman Pontiffs ought to employ in preventing them.” (Pope Leo XII, Quo Graviora, 1826)
“So, in accordance with your pastoral care, work assiduously to protect and preserve this faith. Never cease to instruct all men in it, to encourage the wavering, to convince dissenters, to strengthen the weak in faith by never tolerating and letting pass anything which could in the slightest degree defile the purity of this faith.” (Blessed Pius IX, Qui Pluribus, 1846)
They Saw the Eternal War. The popes understood that there was an ongoing war against the Church and all men:
“The race of man, after its miserable fall from God, the Creator and the Giver of heavenly gifts, ‘through the envy of the devil,’ separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other of those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ; and those who desire from their heart to be united with it, so as to gain salvation, must of necessity serve God and His only-begotten Son with their whole mind and with an entire will. The other is the kingdom of Satan, in whose possession and control are all whosoever follow the fatal example of their leader and of our first parents, those who refuse to obey the divine and eternal law, and who have many aims of their own in contempt of God, and many aims also against God.” (Leo XIII, Humanum Genus, 1884)
These popes knew what would happen if Catholics — or a large portion of the Church — accepted the errors that were directed against the Faith.
They Warned About Freemasons. The popes identified Freemasonry as a specific enemy of the Church:
“[Quoting Pius VII] The Carbonari particularly incline in such a way that they give to each one great license for devising by his own genius and from his own ideas for himself a religion which he may practice, once indifference to religion has been introduced, than which hardly anything more destructive can be contrived, such that they profane and defile the passion of Jesus Christ by certain of their impious ceremonies, that they despise the Sacraments of the Church (for which they seem to substitute other new things invented by themselves through their supreme wickedness) and despise the very mysteries of the Catholic Religion and that they overthrow this Apostolic See against which, because on it the Sovereignty of the Apostolic Chair has always flourished, they are roused by a certain unparalleled hate and they devise every dangerous destructive plot.” (Leo XII, Quo Graviora, 1826)
“At every period of time each has been in conflict with the other, with a variety and multiplicity of weapons and of warfare, although not always with equal ardour and assault. At this period, however, the partisans of evil seems to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God Himself. They are planning the destruction of holy Church publicly and openly, and this with the set purpose of utterly despoiling the nations of Christendom, if it were possible, of the blessings obtained for us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” (Leo XIII, Humanum Genus, 1884)
We are seeing precisely what they predicted would happen if we ignored their warnings.
They Saw the Infiltration. The popes saw the ways in which the enemies of Catholicism had infiltrated the Church to spread their Liberal and Modernist errors:
“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. . . . These are more dangerous and deadly than declared enemies, because they support their efforts without being noticed, perhaps not even realizing it themselves. Because they remain within the extreme limit of formally condemned opinions, they show a certain sign of apparent integrity and unreproachable doctrine, convincing thereby imprudent amateurs who support conciliation, and mislead honest souls who would have revolted against declared error.” (Blessed Pius IX, Brief to Catholic Circle of Milan, 1873)
“That We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church's open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear.” (St. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, 1907)
If they were correct, then we must absolutely reject every single novelty that entered the Church in the aftermath of Vatican II.
They Identified the Fatal Error of Doctrinal Progress. Various popes condemned the notion of doctrinal progress that has been the consistent theme of the progressivist leaders of the Church since Vatican II. Their insistence on the immutability of Catholic Truth was the firm bulwark that was ultimately overcome at Vatican II:
“To use the words of the fathers of Trent, it is certain that the Church ‘was instructed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and that all truth was daily taught it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.’ Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain ‘restoration and regeneration’ for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune.” (Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, 1832)
“It is with no less deceit, venerable brothers, that other enemies of divine revelation, with reckless and sacrilegious effrontery, want to import the doctrine of human progress into the Catholic religion. They extol it with the highest praise, as if religion itself were not of God but the work of men, or a philosophical discovery which can be perfected by human means.” (Blessed Pius IX, Qui Pluribus, 1846)
“Thus then, Venerable Brethren, for the Modernists, both as authors and propagandists, there is to be nothing stable, nothing immutable in the Church.” (St. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, 1907)
And, obviously, if the pre-Vatican II popes were correct, then Francis and his collaborators are frauds.
“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.” (St. Pius X, Oath Against Modernism, 1910)
“Another danger is perceived which is all the more serious because it is more concealed beneath the mask of virtue. There are many who, deploring disagreement among men and intellectual confusion, through an imprudent zeal for souls, are urged by a great and ardent desire to do away with the barrier that divides good and honest men; these advocate an ‘eirenism’ according to which, by setting aside the questions which divide men, they aim not only at joining forces to repel the attacks of atheism, but also at reconciling things opposed to one another in the field of dogma.” (Pius XII, Humani Generis, 1950)
But if the pre-Vatican II popes were wrong, then everything that came before them — including Our Lord Jesus Christ — was wrong...
They Taught that Truth and Error are Incompatible. The popes knew that Catholic Truth is completely incompatible with error and that it is absurd to accept some Catholic teachings and reject others:
“For such is the nature of faith that nothing can be more absurd than to accept some things and reject others. Faith, as the Church teaches, is ‘that supernatural virtue by which, through the help of God and through the assistance of His grace, we believe what He has revealed to be true, not on account of the intrinsic truth perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself, the Revealer, who can neither deceive nor be deceived’ (Conc. Vat., Sess. iii., cap. 3). If then it be certain that anything is revealed by God, and this is not believed, then nothing whatever is believed by divine Faith” (Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, 1896)
“True, Jesus has loved us with an immense, infinite love, and He came on earth to suffer and die so that, gathered around Him in justice and love, motivated by the same sentiments of mutual charity, all men might live in peace and happiness. But for the realization of this temporal and eternal happiness, He has laid down with supreme authority the condition that we must belong to His Flock, that we must accept His doctrine, that we must practice virtue, and that we must accept the teaching and guidance of Peter and his successors. Further, whilst Jesus was kind to sinners and to those who went astray, He did not respect their false ideas, however sincere they might have appeared.” (St. Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, 1910)
If the pre-Vatican II popes were wrong, the entire religion would be a manmade fiction that has now lost its usefulness.
They Condemned Specific Errors. The popes also fought specific errors, and Blessed Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors condemned the following propositions, which we have seen promoted consistently since Vatican II:
“15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. — Allocution “Maxima quidem,” June 9, 1862; Damnatio “Multiplices inter,” June 10, 1851.
16. Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation. — Encyclical “Qui pluribus,” Nov. 9, 1846.
17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. — Encyclical “Quanto conficiamur,” Aug. 10, 1863, etc.
18. Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true Christian religion, in which form it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church. — Encyclical “Noscitis,” Dec. 8, 1849.
80. The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization. — Allocution “Jamdudum cernimus,” March 18, 1861.” (Blessed Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors, 1864)
If they were wrong, then the Church is as preposterous as Francis wants to make it with his Pachamama, Traditiones Custodes, and Synod on Synodality.
They Saw the End Result. In his letter to bishops regarding the Sillon, St. Pius X pointed to a world that appears to be emerging now:
“We fear that worse is to come: the end result of this developing promiscuousness, the beneficiary of this cosmopolitan social action, can only be a Democracy which will be neither Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Jewish. It will be a religion (for Sillonism, so the leaders have said, is a religion) more universal than the Catholic Church, uniting all men to become brothers and comrades at last in the ‘Kingdom of God.’ – ‘We do not work for the Church, we work for mankind.’” (St. Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, 1910)
They Knew We Must Turn to God. These popes realized that we need to turn to God to overcome these errors:
”We well know, however, that our united labors will by no means suffice to pluck up these pernicious seeds from the Lord's field, unless the Heavenly Master of the vineyard shall mercifully help us in our endeavours. We must, therefore, with great and anxious care, implore of Him the help which the greatness of the danger and of the need requires.” (Leo XIII, Humanum Genus, 1884)
“For there is but one party of order capable of restoring peace in the midst of all this turmoil, and that is the party of God. It is this party, therefore, that we must advance, and to it attract as many as possible, if we are really urged by the love of peace.” (St. Pius X, E Supremi Apostolatus, 1903)
If the pre-Vatican II popes were incorrect, then Francis and his collaborators are frauds for perpetuating a false religion.
They Sought the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Intercession. Finally, the popes consistently emphasized the need to seek the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession:
“That all of this may come to pass prosperously and happily, let Us raise Our eyes and hands to the most holy Virgin Mary, who alone crushes all heresies, and is Our greatest reliance and the whole reason for Our hope.” (Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, 1832)
“Let us take our helper and intercessor the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, so that she, who from the moment of her conception overcame Satan may show her power over these evil sects, in which is revived the contumacious spirit of the demon, together with his unsubdued perfidy and deceit.” (Leo XIII, Humanum Genus, 1884)
So, in either case, we know that Francis and his collaborators are frauds, who should have the intellectual honesty and moral decency to either convert or renounce the Faith.
If the pre-Vatican II popes were correct, then the entire Vatican II experiment has been the sinister work of enemies of the Church. These popes knew what would happen if Catholics — or a large portion of the Church — accepted the errors that were directed against the Faith. We are seeing precisely what they predicted would happen if we ignored their warnings. If they were correct, then we must absolutely reject every single novelty that entered the Church in the aftermath of Vatican II. Those who think we simply need to adjust the mixture of truth and error (to anything other than 100% truth, and 0% error) are perpetuating the destructive lie that we can solve this crisis while maintaining what St. Pius X described as the “heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously.” And, obviously, if the pre-Vatican II popes were correct, then Francis and his collaborators are frauds.
But if the pre-Vatican II popes were wrong, then everything that came before them — including Our Lord Jesus Christ — was wrong, for the popes were defending the immutability of truths that the Church has received from God. As such, the entire religion would be a manmade fiction that has now lost its usefulness. If they were wrong, then the Church is as preposterous as Francis wants to make it with his Pachamama, Traditiones Custodes, and Synod on Synodality. And thus it is also the case that if the pre-Vatican II popes were incorrect, then Francis and his collaborators are frauds for perpetuating a false religion.
So, in either case, we know that Francis and his collaborators are frauds, who should have the intellectual honesty and moral decency to either convert or renounce the Faith. And in either case, we should have the sense and courage to oppose them as vigorously as possible.
God has not abandoned us, for the truths we need to know are more clear than ever if we simply turn to the popes who warned us of the enemies that have now overrun the Church. May the Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for us, and crush all heresies that afflict the Mystical Body of Christ. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
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