Robert Morrison | Remnant Columnist
“And when He was come to the place, He said to them: pray, lest ye enter into temptation. And He was withdrawn away from them a stone’s cast, and kneeling down He prayed. Saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from Me, but yet not My will, but Thine be done. And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony He prayed the longer. And His sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.” (Luke 22:40-44)
Along with Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Frank Sheed was one of the most prominent Catholic writers whose work spanned the years before and after Vatican II. We still find his works in the catalogs of several publishers of traditional Catholic books. What, though, did he think of the changes flowing from Vatican II? Would we consider him a traditional Catholic, or rather a hidden enemy of the Catholic Church?
In his 1969 book Is It the Same Church?, Sheed provided a striking description of the changes that had taken place in the wake of Vatican II:
“Consider how things would strike a Catholic wrecked in 1957 on a desert island and only just now brought home. His Catholic friends have him in their houses. In all of them he finds the conversation beyond him. It circles, sometimes heatedly, around two words which mean nothing to him — Ecumenism and the Pill. . . . The weeks that follow are full of shocks. The priest facing the congregation takes some getting used to. And the Mass in English even more.”
When the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the children of Fatima over one hundred years ago, there were many problems in the world, but rampant heresy within the Church was not one of them. Whereas today almost the entire Church hierarchy has at least tacitly accepted the proliferation of the most baneful lies to ever be preached from Catholic pulpits — that all Protestant religions please God; that hell might be empty; and that all souls may go to heaven — Our Lady of Fatima appeared at a time when Catholics knew that they must be good Catholics to save their souls.
At that time, Catholics who loved God and their neighbors tried to encourage each other to always consider the “four last things”: death, judgment, hell, and heaven. A brief excerpt from Fr. Martin von Cochen’s 1899 book The Four Last Things emphasizes why we must live our lives with our last end in mind:
“How many are now in Hell, who for a time were remarkable for their piety and virtue, but who gradually grew careless in the service of God, and finally fell into mortal sin and died without having become reconciled with God. Even the great St. Teresa was in danger of damnation, for God showed her the place destined for her in Hell, if she did not give up certain faults.”
Who benefits from the wolves’ “merciful” attempts to broaden the path to heaven?
If even pious Catholics can fall into sin and go to hell where they will suffer eternal torments, we can see why the Church always sought to encourage souls to stay close to the sacraments and far from occasions of sin.
“This is a great day, not only to man, but even to God Himself; for it is the anniversary of the most solemn event that time has ever witnessed. On this day, the divine Word, by whom the Father created the world, was made flesh and dwelt among us. We must spend it in joy.” (Dom Gueranger, The Liturgical Year, March 25)
The Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary to announce that God had chosen her to become the mother of the Savior. As Fr. Cyril Papali described in his Mother of God: Mary in Scripture and Tradition, at that moment the “destinies of heaven and earth were placed in the delicate hands of a young maiden”:
“He comes to Mary and delivers a message to her. He does not depart immediately; he does not instruct, command or reproach as we see him do on other occasions; he does not at all behave like a superior being, but waits in reverent anxiety for her reply. Surely there must be something of cosmic significance in the message, and what is more, her reply must be of supreme importance. That is why the Angel waited and perhaps all heaven held their breath. All creation must have trembled if it knew the true significance of the moment. For at that sublime moment the destinies of heaven and earth were placed in the delicate hands of a young maiden. It all hung on her word.”
On March 15th (Tuesday of the Second Week in Lent), Francis announced his intention to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation. Faithful Catholics around the world will thus be praying their Novena for the Annunciation with the special intention that Francis will faithfully obey the requests of Our Lady of Fatima, unlike his predecessors.
In the Tridentine Mass, the Epistle for the Tuesday of the Second Week in Lent fittingly shows the extent to which God expects and rewards obedience to His commands:
“In those days the word of the Lord came to Elias the Thesbite, saying: Arise, and go to Sarephta of the Sidonians, and dwell there; for I have commanded a widow woman there to feed thee. He arose and went to Sareptha. And when he was come to the gate of the city, he saw the widow woman gathering sticks, and he called to her, and said to her: Give me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And when she was going to fetch it, he called after her, saying: Bring me also, I beseech thee, a morsel of bread in thy hand. And she answered: As the Lord thy God liveth, I have no bread, but only a handful of meal in a pot, and a little oil in a cruse: behold I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elias said to her: Fear not, but go and do as thou hast said: but first make for me of the same meal a little hearthcake, and bring it to me: and after make for thyself and thy son. For thus saith the Lord the God of Israel: The pot of meal shall not waste, nor the cruse of oil be diminished, until the day wherein the Lord will give rain upon the face of the earth.”
For many people, the first weeks of Lent 2022 have coincided with a relaxation of the Covid mandates that began in the first weeks of Lent two years ago. Despite this temporary reprieve from some government imposed penances related to Covid, the state of the world, and our precarious security in it, hardly gives us reason to rejoice. The sudden change in Covid “science” reinforces suspicions that our leaders maliciously imposed remedies that were far worse than the disease, all to promote their globalist Great Reset agenda. Now, the tragic situation in Ukraine appears to share many of the same characteristics of the Covid disaster: the architects of the Global Reset have seemingly coordinated to permit (if not directly provoke) the Russian invasion and, through a process of gaslighting us with their misinformation machines, seek to convince us to support remedies far worse than the disease they caused.
In his Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre, Michael Davies devoted a chapter to Archbishop Lefebvre’s August 1979 visit to the United States. So much within the Church and world has changed in the years that have passed since 1979, but some of the things that are truly good — especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the immutable Catholic Faith — have remained the same. As Archbishop Lefebvre explained during his sermon from the Pontifical High Mass on the Feast of the Assumption, the Blessed Virgin Mary has played an all-important role in helping the archbishop and others preserve everything good that we still have today:
“In a few words I would like to show you how much the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, in this painful crisis that the Church is going through, should be our guide and our model. With her we are certain not to go astray. We shall look to her, we shall ask her what she did during the course of her life, what she has to teach us, and we shall see that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary teaches us just what the Church has taught us ever since, in the course of twenty centuries.”
“Under Licinius, forty soldiers of the garrison of Sebaste (Armenia) were exposed on a frozen pond for refusing to sacrifice to idols. All persevered but one, whose courage failed him, and he perished in a bath of tepid water prepared for him. But their guard, inspired by grace, took his place and died with them, so there were forty martyrs still. They suffered A.D. 320.” (Roman Missal)
As the world descends further into chaos and tragedy, most of us face a difficult task of trying to piece together a rational explanation for vital developments in the Church and world based on information fed to us by known liars. We realize that our politicians and media have lied to us for two years about Covid (among other things) to radically reshape the United States and many other nations; and we know that they have even more radical changes planned for us, which will require even more spectacular lies and coercion. Where, then, do we turn for truth?
In his 1984 lectures in Belfast and Dublin, the great Michael Davies began with an image to help his audience understand the manner in which the innovators had spread the novelties of Vatican II within the Church:
“I understand that there is a most effective method of killing goldfish which can be employed by tender-hearted people who do not wish to inflict pain upon these colorful little creatures and yet, for some compelling reason, wish to dispose of them. I had better point out, in order to avoid the wrath of any goldfish lovers, that I have never experimented to discover whether the method actually works. I can look any goldfish in the eye without the least tremor of conscience! The method is as follows: heat up the water in which the goldfish is disporting himself very, very slowly, degree by degree — over a period of days — if possible. The goldfish will continue on his merry way, evincing not the least sign of discomfort and then, almost imperceptibly, he will be floating upside down — dead, stone dead.” (The Goldfish Bowl: The Church Since Vatican II)