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Robert Morrison | Remnant Columnist

Faithful Catholics have penned mountains of books and articles describing the infiltration of the Catholic Church leading up to Vatican II and the seemingly unlimited anti-Catholic fruits that have followed. As the picture of treachery and incompetence becomes clearer, more Catholics have (properly) started to evaluate Vatican II in light of tradition instead of evaluating the Church’s pre-Vatican II history entirely in light of the Council. Unfortunately, the picture is still as complex as it is unpleasant. For better or worse, though, we can get a surprisingly accurate glimpse of the crisis with a simple examination of the evolving use of the phrase “men of good will.”

Two councils, over four hundred years apart, set forth profoundly different interpretations of the role of Jesus Christ’s earthly mission. Can you identify the two councils based on the passages below?

Council A

“Whereby it came to pass that the heavenly Father, ‘the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort,’ when that ‘blessed fullness of time’ was come sent to men Christ Jesus, His Son, who had been announced and promised, both before the Law and at the time of the Law to many holy Fathers, that He might both redeem the Jews, who were under the Law, and the ‘Gentiles, who did not follow after justice, might attain to justice,’ and that all men ‘might receive the adoption of sons.’ ‘Him God has proposed as a propitiator through faith in His blood, for our sins,’ and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world. But although Christ died for all, yet not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only to whom the merit of His passion is communicated. For, as indeed men would not be born unjust, if they were not born through propagation of the seed of Adam, since by that propagation they contract through him, in conception, injustice as their own, so unless they were born again in Christ, they never would be justified, since in that new birth through the merit of His passion, the grace, whereby they are made just, is bestowed upon them.”

Pope Boniface VIII’s 1302 Bull, Unam Sanctum, sets forth one of the greatest sources of consternation for faithful Catholics today:

“Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

In ordinary times — when the pope promotes and defends Catholicism, or at least refrains from attacking it — this truth presents no problem for Catholics. For better or worse, we have a different situation today, as summarized by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò:

Think back to the summer of 2019, when we had never heard of Francis’s Pachamama. If at that time someone had predicted all that we have experienced since the false idol’s October 2019 appearance in the Vatican — Covid-19 medical tyranny, BLM/Antifa riots, mass censorship of Christians and conservatives, Biden/Harris, The Great Reset, Traditionis Custodes, etc. — what would we have thought? If we had first considered the post-Pachamama world as a hypothetical future dystopia instead of discovering it piecemeal through disorienting experience, would we have realized that God must be permitting it all to call us back to Him? And if an angel of God had announced that we could avert these trials if we immediately began to live saintly lives, would we have resolved to do so?

As several astute Catholics have observed, Francis’s Traditionis Custodes has abruptly ended the “hermeneutic of continuity” campaign of confusion aimed at convincing the world that, despite all appearances, the reforms of Vatican II were in continuity with the timeless Catholic religion. As the letter accompanying Traditions Custodes made clear, one must choose between the beliefs and practices that Catholics held for nearly two thousand years or those that flow from Vatican II. If they are the same, why must one choose between them? 

To one who knows nothing about Catholicism, Church history, or Pope Francis, Traditionis Custodes might seem like a sober attempt to restore order in the face of attempts by some renegades to foment divisions. In the letter accompanying the Motu Proprio, the pope tells his bishops that he has not acted rashly in enacting the new restrictions because he previously circulated a questionnaire to them regarding the implementation of Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum. He speaks of his sadness in reading the responses to this questionnaire:

“The responses reveal a situation that preoccupies and saddens me, and persuades me of the need to intervene. Regrettably, the pastoral objective of my Predecessors, who had intended ‘to do everything possible to ensure that all those who truly possessed the desire for unity would find it possible to remain in this unity or to rediscover it anew,’ has often been seriously disregarded. An opportunity offered by St. John Paul II and, with even greater magnanimity, by Benedict XVI, intended to recover the unity of an ecclesial body with diverse liturgical sensibilities, was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division.”

Through the questionnaire responses, the pope discerned a “situation” involving the exploitation of Pope Benedict XVI’s magnanimity to encourage disagreements that block the Church’s path. Which path is that?

This battle over the Mass and the Church’s path was already being waged over forty years ago.

Any conception of the Church’s path necessarily relates to the mission Christ entrusted to it:

“Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Therefore, the Church’s path must involve teaching and defending the truths entrusted to it by Jesus. St. Paul clearly took this mission seriously and wrote that there would come a time when false teachers would put serious obstacles along the path:

“Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

So we must not only seek to learn and practice the Faith, but we must also constantly safeguard it. And, indeed, St. Paul tells Timothy that he has kept his Faith:

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

All good Christians seek to be able to say the same at the end of their lives. This requires us to take great care to follow “sound doctrine” and avoid those who will try to turn us away from the truth.

As it turns out, the “disagreements” Pope Francis mentions in his letter relate directly to the question of whether Pope Francis and his hierarchy are teaching sound doctrine or fables.

The relationship between the preservation of Catholic doctrine and the changes to the Mass has been clear to some people from the introduction of Pope Paul VI’s Mass, but even John Paul II initially underestimated the connection. In his biography of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais described the 1978 meeting between Archbishop Lefebvre and the newly elected pope:

“On November 18, through an initiative of Cardinal Siri, the new Pope received the Archbishop, who said he was ready ‘to accept the Council in the light of Tradition,’ an expression used by Pope John Paul himself on November 6: ‘The Council must be understood in the light of all holy Tradition and on the basis of the constant Magisterium of the hoy Church.’ The Pope said he was happy and saw the problem of celebrating the old Mass only as a disciplinary question. Then Cardinal Franjo Seper, whom the Pope had summoned, exclaimed: ‘Be careful, Holy Father, they make a banner out of this Mass!’”

Whereas the pope was inclined to permit the Tridentine Mass on the basis that it was simply a disciplinary question, Cardinal Seper warned that the SSPX’s preservation of the Tridentine Mass would be a banner that would lead others to go along with the movement to preserve all of Catholic tradition.

With Traditionis Custodes Pope Francis is seeking something more than a simple pinch of incense from the groups that already accept the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo.

Thus we can see that this battle over the Mass and the Church’s path was already being waged over forty years ago. Before looking at how the path of “tradition” and the path of “the Spirit of Vatican II” have diverged during the past four decades, we must also consider another event that holds a key to understanding this current attack.

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais related the effort of Pope Paul VI’s delegates to resolve the disagreement with Archbishop Lefebvre over the question of ordaining priests in 1976. An envoy from Rome, Fr. Edouard Dhanis, delivered a letter from Archbishop Giovanni Benelli forbidding him to conduct the ordination, adding that “if his seminarians were ‘seriously prepared for a priestly ministry in true loyalty to the conciliar Church,’ Rome would undertake to find a better solution for them.” Bishop Tissier de Mallerais described the scene:

“It was about 9 p.m. on June 27, two days before the ordinations. The Archbishop was struck by how nervous his visitor was, but even more by Archbishop Benelli’s expression ‘conciliar Church.’ Holding a missal of Paul VI, Fr. Dhanis pleaded with the Archbishop: ‘Your Grace,’ he said, ‘if today you agree to say this Mass with me, everything will be fine with Rome!’ ‘I have already said Mass,’ replied the Archbishop laconically.”

Why would saying a single Novus Ordo Mass with that priest have made everything “fine with Rome”? What would have changed about the Archbishop or his apostolate?

In his The Horn of the Unicorn, Dr. David Allen White follows his description of the same event by placing it with some of its historical counterparts:

“Just take one small bite and ‘your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.’

Just once write a letter saying, ‘Set ye Urias in the front of the battle, where the fight is strongest,’ and Bethsbee is yours.

Just once ‘command that these stones be made bread.’

Just once fall down and adore me.

Just once celebrate the Novus Ordo Missae.”

Simply being a passenger aboard the “Spirit of Vatican II” train no longer suffices; now one must actively propel it to the destination of apostasy.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre refused to celebrate the Novus Ordo because he refused to take any steps, regarding the liturgy or otherwise, that he knew would be a serious compromise with the Faith that he had been taught. What scared the innovators was his obstinate defense of the Faith in the face of the novelties that fundamentally differed from what the Church had always taught. He refused to offer a pinch of incense to their destructive efforts.

But of course Traditionis Custodes does not merely seek to have Catholics accept the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo. Indeed, the 2011 instruction Universae Ecclesiae already included the substance of the Traditionis Custodes requirement that bishops “determine that these groups do not deny the validity and the legitimacy of the liturgical reform, dictated by Vatican Council II and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs;”:

“The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church.”

The SSPX commentary on this 2011 instruction on Summorum Pontificum, Is the New Mass Legit sets forth the reasons to question the legitimacy of the reforms, even if one accepts the validity of the Novus Ordo.

So, with Traditionis Custodes Pope Francis is seeking something more than a simple pinch of incense from the groups that already accept the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo. He and his collaborators want to make it more clear that the Novus Ordo is the “banner” for everything that Archbishop Lefebvre, and the saints before him, opposed. Having made this clear, he demands that we make a choice between banners. And those who follow Francis must now remove the coals from their thuribles and use them to fuel the Pope’s steam train trying to pull the Church along the path of serving the New World Order. Simply being a passenger aboard the “Spirit of Vatican II” train no longer suffices; now one must actively propel it to the destination of apostasy.

Another archbishop, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, has made it clear that he will stand with the Church against the destroyers from within.

If we wonder why Pope Francis has taken this step now, we ought consider how the diverging paths have weathered the storms since Archbishop Lefebvre’s 1978 meeting with Pope John Paul II.

By any objective measure, the Novus Ordo Path has been disastrous for Catholics. Not only have Catholics abandoned the religion entirely, but those remaining often do not actually have the Faith — they no longer believe what one must believe to be Catholic. Some devout (and long-suffering!) Catholics may remain, but they are growing increasingly rare. And almost every message from Pope Francis attempts to position the Catholic Church as the church for all men except those who believe what the Church has always taught. It will be the church of the New World Order if it continues on that path.

By any objective measure, the Tridentine Mass Path has been tremendously fruitful and blessed for Catholics. Even as society has become more hostile to religion, every reliable indicator of vitality has improved. More importantly, it seems that souls are more zealous and seeking to become saints. They are also defending the Faith just as the saints had done for two thousand years. As part of that defense, they are resisting the attempts of Pope Francis to hand the Church over to the globalists; and, crucially, they are having too much success defending the Church. They are, as Pope Francis indicates, blocking the pope’s path to destroy the Church by insisting that the only path is the one of tradition.

We have arrived at a critical moment, and “the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The Catholic bishops, priests, and laity who wish to remain faithful will have to decide which path to take, for the pope has now made it clear that there are ultimately only two as of the publication of Traditionis Custodes. As such, we owe Pope Francis our gratitude and prayers for clarifying and revealing the situation Archbishop Lefebvre saw so clearly over forty years ago. We also owe him and the Church a duty of loyalty to Truth, which requires us to dissent from every single one of his attempts to take the Church away from the path of serving God.Morrison ad

If we lack the courage to follow the right path, we can look to the example of the countless holy saints who took the path before us. As St. Paul indicated, the right path is seldom easy. But it is the only path we want to be on as we near the moment in which we will face Our Lord in judgment.

Archbishop Lefebvre knew this. And, Deo Gratias, he left us not only the Mass but a heroic life of fighting to keep as many Catholics as possible on the right path. As he wrote in his Open Letter to Confused Catholics, though, even if he was the only one on that path he would not have turned around:

“Besides, the Truth does not depend on numbers and numbers do not make the Truth. Even if I were alone and all my seminarians left me, even if the whole of public opinion were to abandon me, that would be a matter of indifference as far as I am concerned. I am bound to my Creed, to my catechism, to the Tradition which has sanctified the elect in heaven and I want to save my soul. We know public opinion all too well. It condemned Our Lord a few days after having acclaimed Him. It is Palm Sunday followed by Good Friday.”

Of course Archbishop Lefebvre could never have been truly alone, for he stood with the entire Church Triumphant.

Another archbishop, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, has made it clear that he will stand with the Church against the destroyers from within. As he recently wrote, “We are with Saint John and the Sorrowful Virgin at the foot of a Cross on which the new High Priests spit, against which a new Sanhedrin curses and swears.” May we always call upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Mother, to give us the strength to stand with her. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot. But because thou are lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” (Apocalypse 3:15-16)

In his Prometheus: The Religion of Man, Fr. Alvaro Calderon makes an intriguing and important observation about the Second Vatican Council and the current state of the Church:

“Modernism is nothing more than the theological justification of a liberalism that wants to remain Catholic. That is why we say that although the Second Vatican Council is the immediate cause why modernism . . . has imposed itself with irresistible force throughout the Church, the primary cause is the Christian lukewarmness that allowed liberalism to spread through the veins of the Church. Sooner or later the Council was bound to come.”

Lukewarmness assists the spread of liberalism in at least a few ways: it disposes Catholics to favor the soft living proposed by liberalism; it weakens our spiritual defenses to attacks from the Church’s enemies; and it leads to a lack, or rejection, of the graces necessary to recognize and combat error. Of course there were many pious souls prior to Vatican II, but the sickness had become so prevalent in the Mystical Body of Christ that the Council, and the resulting Spirit of Vatican II, were inevitable.

Due to Christian lukewarmness, sooner or later a pope like Pope Francis was bound to come; sooner or later, evils such as his Pachamama and his Traditionis Custodes were bound to come.

We can say the same thing about the current situation: due to Christian lukewarmness, sooner or later a pope like Pope Francis was bound to come; sooner or later, evils such as his Pachamama and his Traditionis Custodes were bound to come. And unless we overcome our lukewarmness, sooner or later something worse is bound to come.

To understand and respond to this, we must consider: the condition of “lukewarmness,” how and why our enemies promote lukewarmness, and what we must do.

The Condition of Lukewarmness. Thanks to the diligence of our enemies and the neglect of many of our shepherds, Catholics often do not have a real sense of what constitutes lukewarmness. Are we lukewarm? Perhaps we consider that although we are not yet as good as the likes of St. Edmund Campion, St. Therese, or certain pious ancestors, we are nonetheless doing quite a lot compared with so many other Catholics. We might even believe we are relatively good compared to a few recently canonized saints.

But, given the importance of the question, it is worth considering what the saints have said about lukewarmness. In a sermon from the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, described the differences between three classes of Catholics: the good, the bad, and the lukewarm. He began by describing those who are not even worthy of being called lukewarm:

“If, my dear friends, I speak to you today of the terrible condition of a lukewarm soul, I do not mean those who never go to Confession and Communion. Such people are not lukewarm. They are cold, and their souls are lost, even if they still come to Church and perform some good works. Let us leave them to their perdition, because they wish for no better.”

Already this description might alert us to the possibility that we no longer see the spiritual life as the Church once taught: after all, those bad Catholics who are worse than lukewarm still go to Church and perform some good works. He continued with his description of bad Catholics:

“Again my dear friends, I do not classify as lukewarm those who are striving to belong to the world without ceasing to belong to God. One moment you will see them throw themselves down upon their knees before God, and the next you will see them perform the same act before the idols of the world. The poor blind man! He stretches forth one hand to the Almighty and the other to the world, calling to both for help, and promising his heart to both. He loves God — at least he would like to love Him — but at the same time he wants to please the world.”

Again, the description of the bad Catholic includes certain traits that seem almost devout today: they strive to belong to God; they are sometimes on their knees before God; and they sometimes promise their hearts to God. If only more members of Pope Francis’s hierarchy were as good as these bad Catholics!

Cure of ArsSt. John Vianney

St. John Vianney then provided the description of a lukewarm Catholic:

“He still believes all the truths which the Church believes and teaches, but his faith is so weak that his heart has no part in it at all. He does not doubt that the good Lord sees him, and that he is ever in His Holy presence. But while believing this, he does not amend, nor sin the less. He falls into sin as easily as if he did not believe in anything.”

For the Cure of Ars, believing the truths of the Faith is a minimum criterion for being lukewarm — the vast majority of today’s nominal Catholics are thus immediately disqualified from attaining this level of spirituality in their current state. The saint continued with his description of the lukewarm soul:

“A Christian who leads a lukewarm life still fulfills his duties, at least as far as appearances are concerned. He may say his prayers every morning upon his knees . . . . His Confessions and Communions may not be sacrileges, but they are Confessions and Communions without result. Instead of making him more perfect and more acceptable to God, they render him still more culpable.”

So the lukewarm soul may still say his morning prayers (on his knees no less) and make what many of us would consider “good” Confessions and Communions.

Alphonsus LiguoriSt. Alphonsus Liguori

For another aspect of lukewarmness, we can consider St. Alphonsus Liguori’s discussion of its relation to venial sin in Attaining Salvation:

“There is true and deplorable lukewarmness when the soul falls into venial sins which are quite voluntary and grieves but little for them and takes even less care to avoid them, saying that they are trifles of no consequence. What! Is it nothing to displease God?”

According to the saint, we all commit involuntary venial sins; but we become lukewarm when we regularly commit voluntary venial sins without making efforts to overcome them.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre made the same point, as detailed in The Spiritual Life: Credidimus Caritati:

“We have to have a detestation for deliberate venial sins because in us they are already a willful stand against the law of God. Certainly, these are not yet sinful actions that cut us off from Him entirely, but when they start to be frequent, they cause us to be lukewarm. As all spiritual writers tell us, a man who is not moving forward is moving backward. . . . If there is no more striving after perfection, our soul becomes tepid. And tepidity is the great sickness of our souls.”

lefe preachingArchbishop Marcel Lefebvre

We often see Archbishop Lefebvre primarily as a fighter for tradition, but he was also a holy man who wanted to lead souls to sanctity. He saw the fight for tradition as intertwined with the fight for souls — both required Catholics to accept God’s grace to reject error, defend truth, and grow in holiness.

How and Why Our Enemies Promote Lukewarmness. Given that lukewarmness is such a great sickness of our souls, we can understand why our enemies would seek to promote this unfortunate condition if they could. The Freemasons in particular (at least those occupying the highest levels) have dedicated themselves to undermining Catholic morality. An 1838 letter between members of the Masonic Alta Vendita illustrates a mentality that several pre-Vatican II popes condemned:

“Catholicism does not fear a very sharp sword any more than the monarchies feared it. But, these two foundations of Social Order can collapse under corruption; let us never tire to corrupt them. Tertullian was right in saying that from the blood of martyrs Christians are born; let us not make martyrs; but, let us popularize vice among the multitudes; may they breathe it through their five senses; may they drink it and be saturated. Make vicious hearts and there will be no more Catholics. It is corruption on a big scale that we have undertaken...a corruption that should one day enable us to lead the Church to its grave. Lately, I heard one of our friends laughing philosophically at our projects saying: ‘To destroy Catholicism, we should do away with women’. The idea is good in a certain way, but since we cannot get rid of women, let us corrupt them with the Church.”

It may have been easy for skeptics to scoff at the traditional Catholic insistence on the dangers of the Freemasonic agenda prior to the election of Pope Francis, but their great designs appear almost complete today.

Leo XIIPope Leo XII

The popes saw the danger and, like good shepherds, warned their flocks. Pope Leo XII’s 1826 encyclical, Quo Graviora (on Secret Societies), emphasized that preserving the “Integrity of Orthodox Religion” relied upon shutting off “access to errors and vices.”

“Stationed on the prominent Watch Tower, although with inferior merits, in the disposition of Divine Mercy, in accord with the Duty of Pastoral Providence entrusted to Us We direct with a continual zeal for solicitude, (insofar as it is granted from on High) Our attention to those things through which, once the access to errors and vices has been shut off, the Integrity of Orthodox Religion may be principally preserved, and the dangers of disturbances may be driven off from the whole Catholic world in these most difficult times.”

The corruption is now so complete that we have a pope who attempts to banish everything that is not infected with error and vices.

Pope Pius IXPope Pius IX

In his 1846 encyclical, Qui Pluribus, Blessed Pope Pius IX denounced the deceitful tactics of the Freemasons:

“They are experienced and skillful in deceit, which they use to set in motion their plans to quench peoples’ zeal for piety, justice and virtue, to corrupt morals, to cast all divine and human laws into confusion, and to weaken and even possibly overthrow the Catholic religion and civil society.”

To inflict optimal damage on the Church, the enemies must of course take on the appearance of shepherds so that they can guide the flocks. Could Pope Pius IX or even the most ambitious members of the Alta Vendita have imagined Pachamama and Traditionis Custodes? It seems unlikely, but Pope Francis is simply producing the genuine fruits of a Conciliar Church made possible through the lukewarmness of Catholics.

pope leo xiiiPope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIII was even more direct on this point in his 1884 encyclical, Humanum Genus:

“Since generally no one is accustomed to obey crafty and clever men so submissively as those whose soul is weakened and broken down by the domination of the passions, there have been in the sect of the Freemasons some who have plainly determined and proposed that, artfully and of set purpose, the multitude should be satiated with a boundless license of vice, as, when this had been done, it would easily come under their power and authority for any acts of daring.”

A weak spiritual life impedes our ability to gain and accept God’s graces, which in turn impedes out ability to resist the wiles of our enemies. How often do we think about this? Almost certainly, we think about it less than our crafty enemies do, regardless of whether they are Freemasons, globalists, or simply madmen.

What We Must Do. We have been intentionally deceived, and the deceivers have tried, with varying degrees of success, to corrupt us. As the popes warned, we are easily manipulated once we became lukewarm.

We have been deceived, but it feels much more like we have been poisoned. In so many ways, the Conciliar Church has tried to teach us that we are perfectly healthy so long as we avoid mortal sin. Pope Francis no longer even bothers with that, assuring everyone they are healthy as long as they do not believe what the Church has always taught and do not practice what the saints always practiced.

If we want to recover from this crisis we need to listen to the saints rather than Pope Francis. Here is St. John Vianney’s description of a “good Christian”:

“The hope of a good Christian is firm; his trust in God is unshaken. He never loses sight of the next life. The remembrance of the sufferings of Jesus Christ is ever present to his mind, is always in his heart. At times he directs his thoughts to hell, so as to picture to himself how great is the punishment for sin, and how boundless the misery of those who commit it. At times he raises his thoughts to heaven, to arouse his love of God, and that he may be sensible of the happiness of those who prefer God above all things. He represents to himself how great the reward is of those who forsake all things to do the holy will of God. Then he longs for God alone, and desires Him only. The goods of this world are as nothing to him. The pleasures of this world fill him with aversion. He does not fear death in the least, because he well knows that it will merely deliver him from the miseries of this life, and unite him with God forever.”

As the globalists transform the goods of this world into rubbish, and Pope Francis shows us the horror of sin, this path of sanctity becomes more and more appealing. It is even more so when we realize our vile enemies are doing all they can to maintain us in a state of perpetual lukewarmness.

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Closer to our times, here is what Sister Lucia told Fr. Fuentes in 1957, when Catholic morality was, in important respects, far healthier than it is now:

“Father, we should not wait for an appeal to the world to come from Rome on the part of the Holy Father, to do penance. Nor should we wait for the call to penance to come from our bishops in our diocese, nor from the religious congregations. No! Our Lord has already very often used these means and the world has not paid attention. That is why now, it is necessary for each one of us to begin to reform himself spiritually. Each person must not only save his own soul but also the souls that God has placed in our path. . . . The devil does all in his power to distract us and to take away from us the love for prayer; we shall be saved together or we shall be damned together”

We need to see ourselves as part of the Mystical Body of Christ, which today faces unparalleled attacks from within the Church. Our only weapons are those provided by God’s grace, so we each have the utmost responsibility to do all we can to win and accept God’s graces for ourselves and the entire Church. We need to win as many battles as possible at this point. If we are comfortable with lukewarmness, we are allowing our enemies to poison us without even putting up a fight. Pope Francis thinks he has taken custody of Catholic Tradition — but he can only take it if we let him.

We can take heart in Blessed Pope Pius IX’s exhortation ending Qui Pluribus, for he and all the saints in heaven are on our side against the madness of Tradtionis Custodes:

“Let us together entreat God in urgent and unceasing prayers, to make up for Our weakness by an abundance of every heavenly grace, to overwhelm with His all-powerful strength those who attack us, and to increase everywhere faith, piety, devotion and peace. Then when all enemies and errors have been overcome, His holy Church may enjoy the tranquillity it so greatly desires. . . . That the Lord may more readily respond to Us, let us call as intercessor Her who is always with Him, the most holy Virgin Mary, Immaculate Mother of God. She is the most sweet mother of us all; she is our mediatrix, advocate, firmest hope, and greatest source of confidence. Furthermore, her patronage with God is strongest and most efficacious.”

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

“Enter ye in at the narrow gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!” (Matthew 7:13-14)

Through this lesson and many others like it, Jesus taught His disciples and us that we must strive to do His will if we wish to save our souls. We must deny ourselves and take up the crosses that God has given us:

“Then Jesus said to His disciples: If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For he that will save his life, shall lose it; and he that shall lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)

In his September 1965 intervention read during the Second Vatican Council, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre began his criticism of the Declaration on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis Humanae, with a brief summary of the document’s principles:

“Founded on the dignity of the human person, religious liberty demands equal rights in civil society for all forms of worship. Society must then be neutral and guarantee the protection of every religion, within the limits of public order.”

In the years following Vatican II, it became evident to a relatively small number of Catholics that the architects and implementers of the Council were attempting to destroy the Church. Even Pope Paul VI identified the destruction, though he failed to identify the real cause:

The Church finds herself in an hour of anxiety, a disturbed period of self-criticism, or what would even better be called self-demolition. It is an interior upheaval, acute and complicated, which nobody expected after the Council. It is almost as if the Church were attacking itself.