Modern Catholics: Confusion Reigns.editor
A friend of mine tells me that it was only when she read Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Catholics that a light switched on in her head and she began to comprehend the gravity of what is going on in the Church. Below, Chapter One of the Open Letter, entitled Why are Catholics Confused?
Who can deny that Catholics in the latter part of the twentieth century are confused? A glance at what has happened in the Church over the past twenty years is enough to convince anyone that this is a relatively recent phenomenon. Only a short time ago the path was clearly marked: either one followed it or one did not. One had the Faith–or perhaps had lost it–or had never had it. But he who had it–who had entered the Church through baptism, who had renewed his baptismal promises around the age of twelve and had received the Holy Ghost on the day of his confirmation–such a person knew what he had to believe and what he had to do.
Many today no longer know. They hear all sorts of astonishing statements in the churches, they read things contrary to what was always taught, and doubt has crept into their minds.
On June 30, 1968, at the close of the Year of Faith, His Holiness Pope Paul VI made a profession of the Catholic Faith, in the presence of all the bishops in Rome and hundreds of thousands of the faithful. In his introductory remarks, he put us on guard against attacks on Catholic doctrine which, he said, “give rise, as we regretfully see today, to trouble and confusion in many faithful souls.”
The same words crop up in an allocution of His Holiness Pope John Paul II on February 6, 1981: “Christians today, in large part, feel lost, perplexed, confused, and even deceived.” The Holy Father summarized the underlying causes of the trouble as follows:
“We see spread abroad ideas contrary to the truth which God has revealed and which the Church has always taught. Real heresies have appeared in dogma and moral theology, stirring doubt, confusion, rebellion. Even the liturgy has been harmed. Christians have been plunged into an intellectual and moral illuminism, a sociological Christianity, without clear dogma or objective morality.”
This confusion is seen everywhere–in conversations, in books, in newspapers, in radio and television broadcasts, in the behavior of Catholics, which shows up as a sharp decline in the practice of the faith as statistics reveal, a dissatisfaction with the Mass and the sacraments, a general relaxation of morals.
We naturally ask, therefore, what brought on this state of things? For every effect there is a cause. Has faith been weakened by a disappearance of generosity of soul, by a taste for enjoyment, an attraction to the pleasures of life and the manifold distractions which the modern world offers? These cannot be the real reasons, because they have always been with us in one way or another. The rapid decline in religious practice comes rather from the new spirit which has been introduced into the Church and which has cast suspicion over all past teachings and life of the Church. All this was based on the unchangeable faith of the Church, handed down by catechisms which were recognized by all bishops.
The faith was based on certitudes. The certitudes have been overturned and confusion has resulted. Let us take one example: the Church taught–and the faithful believed–that the Catholic religion was the one true religion. It was, in fact, established by God Himself, while other religions are the work of men. Consequently, the Christian must avoid all contact with false religions and, furthermore, do all he can to bring adherents of false religions to the religion of Christ.
Is this still true? Indeed it is! Truth cannot change–else it never was the truth. No new fact, no theological or scientific discovery–if there can be such a thing as a theological discovery–can ever make the Catholic religion any less the only means of salvation.
But now we have the Pope himself attending religious ceremonies in false religions, praying and preaching in the churches of heretical sects. Television conveys to the whole world pictures of these astonishing events. The faithful no longer understand.
Martin Luther–and I shall return to him later in these pages–cut entire nations off from the Church, pitched Europe into a spiritual and political turmoil which destroyed the Catholic hierarchy over wide areas, invented a false doctrine of salvation and a false doctrine of the sacraments. His revolt against the Church became the model for all revolutionaries after him who would throw Europe and the whole world into disorder. It is impossible to make Luther, as they want to do now after five hundred years, into a prophet or doctor of the Church, since he is not a saint.
If I read La Documentation Catholique1 or the diocesan papers, I find there, from the Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commission, officially recognized by the Vatican, statements like this:
“Among the ideas of the Second Vatican Council, we can see gathered together much of what Luther asked for, such as the following: description of the Church as ‘the people of God’ (a main idea of the new Canon Law–democratic, no longer hierarchic, idea); accent on the priesthood of all baptized; the right of the individual to freedom of religion. Other demands of Luther in his time can be considered as being met in the theology and practice of the Church today: use of the common language in the liturgy, possibility of Communion under two species, a renewal of the theology and celebration of the Eucharist.”
Quite a statement! Meeting the demands of Luther, who declared himself the resolute and mortal enemy of the Mass and of the pope! To gather together things requested by a blasphemer who said: “I declare that all brothels, murders, thefts, adulteries, are less evil than this abominable Mass!” From such an extravagant summary, we can draw only one conclusion: either we must condemn the Second Vatican Council which authorized it, or we must condemn the Council of Trent and all the popes who, since the sixteenth century, have declared Protestantism heretical and schismatic.
It is understandable that Catholics are confused by such a turn of events. But there are so many others! In a few years they have seen a transformation in the heart and substance of religious practices which adults have known from early childhood. In the churches, the altars have been demolished or replaced by tables, which are often portable and disappear when not in use. The tabernacle no longer occupies the place of honor: most of the time it is hidden, perhaps perched on a post, to one side. When it remains in the center, the priest turns his back to it during the Mass. Celebrant and faithful face each other and dialogue. Anyone may touch the sacred vessels, which are often replaced by breadbaskets, platters, ceramic bowls. Laity, including women, distribute Communion, which is received in the hand. The Body of Christ is treated with a lack of reverence which casts doubt on the truth of transubstantiation.
The Sacraments are administered in a manner which varies from place to place; I will cite as examples the age for baptism and confirmation, variations in the nuptial blessing, introduction of chants and readings which have nothing to do with the liturgy–but are borrowed from other religions or a purely secular literature, sometimes simply to express political ideas.
Latin, the universal language of the Church, and Gregorian Chant have generally disappeared. All the hymns have been replaced by modern songs in which it is not uncommon to find the same rhythms as in places of entertainment.
Catholics have been surprised also by the sudden disappearance of religious garb, as if priests and religious were ashamed of looking like what they are.
Parents who send their children to catechism discover that the truths of the Faith are no longer taught, even the most basic: the Holy Trinity, the mystery of the Incarnation, Original Sin, the Immaculate Conception. Hence the feeling of profound disorientation: is all of this no longer true, out-of-date, passé? Christian virtues are no longer even mentioned. Where can you find a catechism speaking of humility, chastity, mortification? The Faith has become a fluid concept, charity a kind of universal solidarity, and hope is, above all, hope for a better world.
Novelties like these are not the kind which, in the human situation, appear at a certain moment in time, so that we get accustomed to them and assimilate them after an initial period of surprise and uncertainty. In the course of a human life, ways of doing things change. If I were still a missionary in Africa, I would go there by plane and no longer by boat–if, indeed, you could find a steamship company still in operation. In this sense, we can say that one should live in one’s own time; one is really forced to do so.
But those Catholics on whom they tried to impose novelties in the spiritual and supernatural order, on the same principle, realized it was not possible. You do not change the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacraments founded by Jesus Christ; you do not change the truth revealed once and for all; you do not replace one dogma with another. The pages which follow try to answer the questions you are asking yourselves, you who have known another face of the Church. I shall try also to enlighten the young people born after the Council and to whom the Catholic community does not offer what they have a right to expect from it. I would like to address myself, finally, to the unconcerned and the agnostics, whom the grace of God will touch some day or another, but who by then may find the churches without priests, and a teaching which does not correspond to the needs of their souls.
Then there is a question which, by all evidence, interests everyone, if I can judge by the attention it gets in the general press, especially in France. (The journalists are also showing some confusion.) A few headlines: “Is Christianity Dying?” “Will Time Work Against the Religion of Jesus Christ?” “Will There Still Be Priests in the Year 2000?” These questions I hope also to answer, not with any new theory of my own, but relying on unbroken Catholic Tradition–unbroken, yet so neglected in recent years that to many readers it will seem no doubt like something entirely new.
It’s easy to see how Catholics became confused in the immediate aftermath of the Council, but now? Fifty odd years on, surely there must be a sufficient number of Catholics with intelligence enough to have worked out that something is very wrong – and why. The question is, where are they and what are they doing to end the confusion in their neck of the woods… And, in a spirit of true Christian charity, is there any way in which we can help them? If you are a modern Catholic, tell us about your confusion – we’re looking forward to hearing from you!
I think it is the ‘boiling frog’ syndrome, which describes a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. There has been a gradual worsening in all areas of Church life since Vatican II, as opposed to the rapid onslaught we are witnessing now under this current Pope. And, fallen human nature being as it is, people will often taken the ‘easy option’. Being authentically Catholic is not easy, and often means making real sacrifices and hard choices in life. Not too many are prepared to do these things today. They’ve been softened up over a period of time and find it too hard to go back the ‘old ways’ – or never even knew the ‘old ways’. Many want the comfort of religion but don’t want the demands it imposes on them.
I often think of the boiling frog syndrome – recently I’ve been present at a number of Fatima events in parishes across the central belt of Scotland and I am stunned at the way Catholics have been protestantised – to an extreme. I cannot tell you how astonished I’ve been and some of these people are actually newsletter readers. Chatting with them, it becomes clear that they think of us as a nice group of people hanging on to the “ideals” of the Faith, not really living on the Planet Earth.
I could see the “diabolical disorientation” writ large all the time at these events. Lovely people, beautifully confused. The sheer madness of modernism – yet they cannot see it.
I’m not confused or lost; but I am so ever dissapointed in the changes of the church in the last 50 years. Where are we? We are out there trying to find some good ol traditional Catholic Church and Priest to follow. The very thing, the very glue that keeps the church together, that proves we are the original and true faith: tradition passed down from Peter and our Blessed Mother are being watered down to attract the laisse faire Catholic. What the church is doing to attract new generations is what is sending the older generations into the woods of this world. Oh how I pray for those days to return! Shall we do it ourselves? No, that would be heritical. So we endure, sadly, we endure.
I Can Fly,
Where do you live – I mean, which country, continent, general area within the aforementioned, not your home address!
There are bound to be some traditional or “traditional leaning” priests somewhere in your area, so if you let us know that, we may be able to point you in the direction of that “good ol traditional Catholic church and priest…”
I’m wondering what you mean by “shall we do it ourselves… No, that would be heretical”…
Would you elaborate on that? Obviously, we cannot create our own Church, ordain our own priests, so if that’s what you mean – well, you are correct. If you mean something else, though, please share your thoughts.
I Can Fly,
Here you can find the SSPX chapels by state. There are a few in Texas. See if you live near a Society chapel and make avail of the Sacraments and the entirety of the Catholic Faith. I promise you you will never regret it. May God bless you, brother.
No, that’s what I mean. But what are we to do. We are caught between a rock and a hard spot. How will history in 100 years judge the direction of our church should she continue in the current direction of watering down traditions for the sole purpose of making the faith more attractive. Why that is doing the same as Luther or Calvin. We don”t like ourselves so we are going to change? What will Christ think of our direction. How will He judge ME for failure to do something? But what are we to do. Rome does as what it thinks is best, and our duty is to follow Rome. Or, my duty is to follow Christ and His teachings. I think the Lord was pretty clear on what is right and what is wrong.
I found a nice little Parish out in the country, but too, they must follow the direction of the heirarchy. I pray the Church does not change so much that we do not recognize ourselves.
I Can Fly,
If by “Rome” you mean the current pope – nope! The current and recent crop of “churchmen” in Rome, are enemies of the Faith. And manifestly so.
No pope is authorised to change anything of Church teaching. Not one jot or tittle of the Law, to quote Our Lord’s own words.
Our Lady came to Fatima in 1917 to warn us of the diabolical disorientation to come, making clear in the third, as yet undisclosed part of her message, that the Church would take that diabolical turn away from the Faith in the 1960’s – undoubtedly the reason why she insisted that that third part of her message be disclosed in 1960, latest.
Before that, way back in the 17th century, Our Lady appeared to a Religious Sister in Quito, Ecuador, asking her to be a victim soul for the Church in the 20th century. In that apparition she said: “Pray that my Son will send a prelate to restore the priestly spirit.”
That prelate can only have been Archbishop Lefebvre, author of the chapter/book under discussion here Founder of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX)
The Holy Ghost, as Our Lord promised, has not failed the Church, but through this archbishop, he has kept the “old Faith” alive until the Fatima requests have been fulfilled, peace is given to the world and order restored in the Church. Just as the same Holy Ghost sent us St Athanasius in the 4th century – a bishop who resisted the heresy of Arianism at that time, and who was, for his trouble, TWICE excommunicated – to keep the Faith intact until proper order was restored in the Church. It is a mistake to think that Christ’s guarantee to be with His Church always means that we will never have bad or even heretical popes. It just means that the Holy Spirit will see to it that no heretical teachings are ever made binding on the faithful. “The Church” will not fail, the popes will be unable to impose false teaching in any binding manner, although their own private conversations and writings may contain errors.
Now, there’s no question but that one of the Archbishop’s chapels will be found in Texas, probably more than one. Indeed, one of our intermittent bloggers is, I’m almost certain, from Texas, so I have just emailed to let her know about our newcomer today, and, hopefully, she will come on here to further assist you. Her blog is called Damsel of the Faith and you can read it here
PS there is nothing “heretical” or “schismatic” about Archbishop Lefebvre’s Society of Saint Pius X, as certain mischevious modernists love to claim. They are desperate to keep people like you away from their chapels.
Feel free to ask any questions – we’ll all do our best to help.
Editor and to the gentlemen seeking the truth,
You are welcome to e-mail me at email@example.com.
I attend Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel in Louisiana but would be happy to help out with any questions or requests. May God bless y’all.
Thank you very much indeed. Much appreciated.
oh, I live in Texas, amongst a world of Baptists. I was raised in Boston amongst the Catholic Faith the way it always was.
I Can Fly,
Well, the whole world knows about the Baptists in Texas now, following that terrible shooting at the weekend. God help them in this time of suffering.
If you look into what I’ve said in my previous post, you’ll see that God has provided “the Faith the way it always was” all over the world, not just in Boston (!) thanks to the work of the SSPX. Not perfect, of course, nothing is, and there are gaps. I miss the old hymns and strong sermons about being a Soldier of Christ, which I seldom, if ever hear these days, but we do have the sacraments and the absence of heresy. Thank God for small mercies!
I Can Fly
Don’t forget that you have the wonderful Universal Living Rosary Apostolate in Dickinson, Texas – sadly damaged quite badly in the recent hurricane, but still soldiering on – so please join them / support them if you don’t already. Members pray one decade of the rosary each day for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They do fantastic work throughout the world supporting the traditional Catholic Faith and traditional Catholic devotions http://www.philomena.org
Thank You very much
Thank You for your time. I will read her blog and return here. But now i sit in front of my little church waiting on Father to unlock the doors for Mass. Another thing that is upsetting. The world we live in requiring the Lord ti live behind locked doors. I shall return. Thank You again
I recently re-read the memoirs of Sister Lucia, and something jumped out at me, when she wrote that Our Lady had said:-
“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times to Jesus, especially whenever you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” (p87/88)
“Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.” (p93)
There was another passage which I can’t find at the moment, where Sister Lucia said words to the effect that although Portugal had been spared the war due to the prayers of the people and the Consecration of Portugal, its conversion wasn’t complete as she maintained that there wasn’t sufficient true contrition for sin and firm purpose of amendment.
We might pray, but do we offer sacrifices for the conversion of our modernist brethren? Do we have true contrition and a firm purpose of amendment? All food for thought.
If you’d been present at our public rosary outside a Glasgow church* on Saturday last, and had seen the considerable number of people who were there from all corners of the city, having travelled by public transport (two buses in just about every case), many of them unwell (even the fifteen year old leading the rosary, was suffering from a heavy cold!) including two women who are recovering from surgery, you would have been heartened at the evidence of self-sacrifice, as well as prayer.
As for the importance of true contrition and a firm purpose of amendment, I can only speak for myself – to assure you that I AM on the case!
* St Bride’s is technically in the Diocese of Motherwell, but is a Glasgow postcode.
I wonder what Abp Lefebvre would think of our present predicament? I can’t remember when he wrote “Open Letter”, but things were bad enough then. Now the apostasy appears to be in full flow.
Everything he wrote was both true for the time and prophetic of ours. I hope he is already with Our Father in heavenly glory and can pray for us.
My hard copy of the Open Letter lists the first English translation in 1986, first printing in November, 1987.
I think he would be on this blog telling us exactly what he thinks of our present predicament, were he still alive today – because I’m certain he would be in full agreement with our resistance to the errors sweeping the Church… and he’d probably be finding it difficult to resist some “I DID tell you so!”
You are spot on in you assessment of his writings – prophetic with a capital “P”…
This amazed me, coming from the mouth of Pope John Paul II:
“We see spread abroad ideas contrary to the truth which God has revealed and which the Church has always taught. Real heresies have appeared in dogma and moral theology, stirring doubt, confusion, rebellion. Even the liturgy has been harmed. Christians have been plunged into an intellectual and moral illuminism, a sociological Christianity, without clear dogma or objective morality.”
Yet he did sweet nothing about it! How bad does a pope’s conscience have to be to allow all the above to go unchecked – when he was in charge for, what, almost 30 years, something like that? No wonder God sent Archbishop Lefebvre to pick up the pieces.
Yes, it’s difficult to understand how the same pontiff who made that statement could, at the same time, do nothing about it – when ONLY he had the authority so to do.
It is of great significance that in his final book, before his death, he admitted that he had been a weak disciplinarian. Like, with bells on!
I shake my head in disbelief every time I see another quote from Paul VI lamenting the auto-demolition of the Church, warning against attacks on Catholic doctrine, admitting that the “smoke of Satan” had entered the Church, etc. – when he himself was the cause of all this. He was the one who turned the crack opened by John XXIII into the gaping fissure. Where was his self-awareness? Was he mentally disturbed?
Same question applies to JPII, himself the continuing source of the “intellectual and moral illuminism” of which he complained (as a further example of papal schizophrenia, this Pope who complained about illuminism was the same Pope who instituted the “luminous” mysteries…)
If the hierarchy failed – and continues to fail – to see that it was their very agenda that brought about the state of anarchy in the modern Church, then how can we expect most of the laity to see it?
As for why so many are confused now, that question assumes two things:
1. That these Catholics take their faith seriously.
2. That they know they are confused.
We have no way of knowing how many modern Catholics fit into either category. I think it’s fair to say that Catholics who think Pope Francis is the best thing since Santa Claus know very little about the Faith, and are only too happy to make the Faith acceptable to the world. I think it’s also fair to say that Catholics who embrace or accept the revolution – whether out of false obedience or for some other reason – thoroughly resent being labeled “confused.”
Perhaps the best way to help is through friendship. I’m thinking of my own case: my initial return to the Faith was through a Novus Ordo parish. In RCIA I learned nothing about the revolution, the “other” Mass, the Vatican II skullduggery, etc. However, a friend of mine from another N.O. parish invited me to attend the local indult Mass, and after that I was hooked. Ironically, he could not bring himself to leave his own parish, which is a typically superficial pastiche of pseudo-Catholic and outright Protestant behavior, and come over to Tradition.
In other words, it was through this friendship that I became aware of Tradition, began to study it, and embraced it. Unlike my friend I had no attachment to a parish (which is certainly another obstacle for long-term Catholics), so I did not hesitate to leave mine. So my naïve suggestion is to make friends in the N.O. world and allow them and invite them to see how you practice your Faith. I say “naïve” because I know there are many, many families who are bitterly split along these lines, and that the modern Catholic family members typically want nothing to do with the Traditional family members.
Logic obviously doesn’t help, and neither does quoting the Magisterium. But emotions based on friendship may help…because the modern Church is in fact founded on emotions.
Insightful, imaginative comment from you – at last 😀
Seriously, you have given us plenty of food for thought – to say the least. Worth waiting all these years for it… Kidding!
I think there are Catholics who take their faith seriously but they don’t know they are confused. They just go along with whatever their priest says and presume he wouldn’t be saying this or doing that if it was wrong.
There’s been no proper teaching of the faith for so long now, that really it’s all about being a good person, helping others etc. Doctrine and morality don’t actually come into it any more. That’s how it looks to me, anyhow. When I meet other Catholics at parish events, they are on a totally different wavelength to me, completely. I’m at the stage where I avoid talking about Church things because they all look knowingly at one another as if to say “she’s batty” – LOL!
I am sure you are right and as has been said many times on here, it all comes down to a complete lack of teaching. And I don’t think that Catholics are encouraged to really think about their faith and what it means. As you say it is all about being kind to one another and of course loving one another is the most important commandment of all. Ecumenism is encouraged from the top down and it is not a big step to believing that one religion is as good as another. Certainly that is what Pope Francis seems to be saying.
It is just such a huge shame that with all this confusion, true belief in Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament has been all but lost. Otherwise how to explain the chatter in Church and the use of so called Eucharistic ministers in situations that are certainly not extraordinary at all? It is very very sad.
Sadly, what you say about the Blessed Sacrament is a fact. Indeed, certainly in the USA surveys a few years ago have shown that over 70% of Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence, so it is bound to be much worse now.
I agree with you completely that it is a huge same that belief in the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament has been largely lost. It’s impossible to imagine how this will all be put right again – it’s just so far removed from what the Church was like before this crisis.
Yes, the sermons (“homilies”) I heard at my first parish were quite predictable, and all boiled down to this vague “love.” This from a PP who said, from the pulpit, that he hoped women would be ordained some day. He was also a discreet homosexual, though I’m not sure how many parishioners were aware of it.
In other words, there is a definite teaching taking place in modern churches, in a subtle, humanistic, sentimental way, so as to obscure the real teaching of the Church. It feels good and sounds good, so most people, apparently, don’t realize that is (a) a teaching, and (b) the teaching of a replacement religion, not that of the Church.
I’m not so sure Catholics are confused any more. I think they like the new Mass and everything else new. If there’s any confusion, it’s because they don’t understand people who are refusing to go along with the post-Vatican II “reforms”. They think those people are extremists!
There can be no doubt that very many, if not most, diocesan Catholics today are quite happy with the way things are. Tragic, but true.
Maybe the “confused” should read this article, and buy the book: https://liturgyguy.com/2017/11/07/western-civilization-exists-for-the-mass/
Interesting link. I hope he drops the “Extraordinary form” sooner rather than later, though, but, overall, an interesting site at first skim…
I came to Tradition by way of the Rosary which must have lead me to the SSPX. From there I began learning the traditional catechisms I had never read as well as the doctrines of the Church. At the same time, through the SSPX I learned about Modernism and many errors I have never heard of before. They definitely don’t teach you these things in Catholic school. At least I was never taught anything other than the usual stuff of Vatican II. And that’s what I had become by the time they were finished with me.
We do believe as we pray, and this is part of the current diabolical disorientation, as Lucia put it.
You asked, what can we do? We can begin praying the Holy Rosary with earnest and asking the Blessed Virgin Mary to help the Pope to live and teach according to the true office of the Vicar of Christ. We can spread the truth of the Catholic faith to our friends. We must do all that we can to spread traditional devotions and the Traditional Latin Mass. We must try to convince our Catholic friends to abandon the Novus Ordo if they even still attend Mass.
We must defend our faith by learning as much as we can about the doctrine of the Church. Lastly, we must support Tradition financially by whatever means we have at our disposal. From our local church to apostolates and missions overseas which need our support, especially those in Africa and Asia, if not financially, then with our prayers.
I cannot fault anything you say. I would only say that those of us who try to speak to our novus ordo friends are given a very hard time. It’s not quite as easy as people might think. They switch off and in my experience, nothing changes. Offering them stuff to read makes no difference. They see it as propaganda, LOL!
Still, I suppose we need to soldier on, and as you say, the Rosary is key.
I’ve more or less said the same thing above – it’s really difficult to talk about the faith to most Catholics, these days. They all just go along with the changes and see no problem. “Crisis, what crisis?” seems to be the attitude!
If they don’t want to listen I move on. Without divine faith it is impossible to be saved, said Father Michael Müller. Catholics can lose this faith, not because God takes it away, but because they put obstacles in the way. Protestants and others outside of the Church cannot have anything beyond human faith which cannot bring them to salvation. Many Catholics have lost this understanding because Rome is no longer teaching this truth.
The Rosary is our greatest weapon which is why Our Lady gave it to us to defend against the evil one. The Protestants threw the Rosary in the trash bin, and likewise, the liberal “progressives” in the Church would rather we forget the Rosary entirely. We see what has happened in society and the Church.
If the Protestant Revolution in the sixteenth century was a punishment upon Christendom for embracing humanist thinking and thereby rejecting the Kingship of Christ, how many millions of souls were lost? The modernists have upped the ante to lead even more souls to hell by deliberately undermining the Church from within.
I feel that even if I look silly speaking something that they may not have heard before, there’s at least a chance that they might hear something that stirs their soul to look deeper into what is the truth of the Catholic Church. If they find the truth, they will never attend the Novus Ordo again.
I’ve had a very quick look at the “case of Fr Michael Muller” and he is a follower of Fr Feeney, the priest who does not accept the authentic dogma “outside the Catholic Church no salvation”.
The idea that everyone who is not within the visible body of the Church is damned, is not authentic Catholic teaching – so please do not promote the thinking of either Frs Feeney or Muller. There’s sufficient confusion within the Church right now without adding to it here. Please and thank you.
Before you jump all over me without even asking who I am referring to, maybe kindly inquire first? Father Müller was a 19th century Redemptorist theologian, one of the most widely read in the 19th century. How he could be a Feeneyite would be some miracle.
Since it’s obvious that you’ve never heard of him, I highly recommend reading him. He is quoted by many pre-Vatican II theologians. You can find a short article on Salvation on the late John Vennari’s web site, Catholic Family News.
By the way, I am neither a Feeneyite nor a Sedevacantist. I am a Latin Rite Roman Catholic, completely orthodox and I follow and believe with supernatural divine faith only what has been believed, always and everywhere, the infallible Magisterium of the Church.
Rather an ungracious response to my apology for my mistake, but let that go (almost) unremarked.
What I always have great difficulty in letting go unremarked is the very common error among Catholics, incredibly, for their use of the Protestant name for the Catholic Church.
I’m a Scots Catholic – what about you… American????
PS – there is one exception to the assertion in the article that the term “RC” is not found in any church documents – unfortunately Pius XII used it once in Humani Generis but he is a very recent pope and the error had by then, apparently, gone into the language, to a greater extent. It’s now widespread, of course.
No, I’m not American (unless you wish to group everyone on the continent as American). 🙂 I’m Canadian.
I don’t see anything wrong with referring to the Catholic Church as the “Roman Catholic Church” or to refer to oneself as Roman Catholic or by rite such as Roman rite. Yes, we are all Catholics but we are also Roman as the good Archbishop Lefebvre would say.
The See of St. Peter is in Rome, so as Catholics we are bound to Rome. We give obedience to the Bishop of Rome. All Catholics are Roman in this sense though we may belong to different rites.
I did read an article by Dr. Rao who agreed with you that the correct term is “Catholic” and not Roman Catholic. Yet, my school board was once called the Roman Catholic School Board. Even the SSPX bishops and priests often use the term. The terms are interchangeable now. At least I’m not called a papist.
The Protestant name for the Church is everywhere – you are correct about that. Yes, the SSPX use it, including Bishop Fellay. But that does not change the history of the term. If you read the article I linked, you will know that it was coined by the Anglicans seeking to convince the faithful that they were not leaving the Church at the Reformation, merely moving to a different branch. To this day, we hear Anglicans saying that they are Anglo-Catholics and our former Archbishop of Glasgow was blatantly insulted by the then Moderator of the Church of Scotland who said at a public ecumenical event celebrating a landmark year of the Reformation, that he did not see himself in a church of only 400 years, but he was part of the original Catholic Church, just not the Roman Catholic Church. That put the Archbishop of Glasgow nicely in his place, ecumenical smile intact.
Anyway, I note that, like many another, you see nothing wrong with using that name and I am more and more understanding the Glasgow priest who once told me that he’d long given up trying to get Catholics to stop describing themselves as RC. But here’s the interesting thing that he told me which I have now experienced myself more than once. The Protestants refuse to stop using it. They see the significance.
Father was part of a chaplaincy team in one of the hospitals here and asked the Church of Scotland minister if he would mind not describing him as the RC chaplain in the bulletin notices, just identify him as the Catholic chaplain. The minister said nothing, smiled at him…. and continued to put RC chaplain in the bulletin.
Similarly, in a meeting with a couple of Church of Scotland gentleman and a member of the Catholic Truth team, I interrupted one of the C of S men to politely ask him not to keep referring to us a RC and the Church as RC – we are merely Catholics and since the earliest times, that has been the name of the Church. They both looked at me without expression – and continued to use the term RC throughout the meeting.
So the Protestants know the significance of the term; even if the SSPX, just about every bishop in the world, and the laity (for all the blether about keeping Tradition choose to ignore that key tradition, evident in documents from the very first days of Christianity) don’t see it. Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction.
For the record, Dr Rao is not agreeing with me. He is recognising the fact that from the beginning, the Church’s name has been Catholic, not RC. From the first centuries, that is how the Church was named, and RC only came into use at the Reformation, If the Fathers of the Council of Trent went out of their way not to use it, who am I to decide otherwise. The ignorance of others, including Bishop Fellay, is no excuse. I’m sticking with the real thing – actually, well before reading the article, even as a school girl, I knew I couldn’t possibly be a Roman Catholic – taught that the word Catholic meant universal, I saw, even as a teenager, that Roman Universal didn’t make a jot of sense. So, I’ve not had to get myself out of that bad habit – I knew almost by instinct that that name did not make sense, and I’ve never once described myself thus.
I will say, however, that given the state of the Church today, this is a back-burner issue, so not a big deal in the great scheme of things, at this time.
Thanks for your detailed reply. I like Archbishop Lefebvre’s explanation and emphasis on our being Catholic and Roman. He emphasized Romanitas and said “one cannot be Catholic without being Roman.”
This resonates with me and this is why I don’t object to the term Roman Catholic, because being Roman is essential to being Catholic.
Many Protestants say they are “catholic” but not Roman Catholic. They are confused as I ask them how they can be universal. But I explain to them that we are universal and Roman.
The Melkites and Maronite Catholics I think emphasize more their eastern community over their Romanitas, whereas it feels very natural for me to be called Roman Catholic since I am of the Roman rite. I find it difficult to explain to Protestants the different rites within the Catholic Church and not have them come away thinking that the rites represent denominations.
We are, of course, “Catholic and Roman” – but that is entirely different from saying the NAME of the Church is “Roman Catholic” – and remember, Archbishop Lefebvre was making the distinction between the name of the Church and the authorities in Rome, due to the situation of crisis at that time. The fact of the matter is that “RC” is NOT the name of the Church.
As the earliest documents reveal, the name of the Church has always been Catholic, until the Protestant Reformers changed it. Now, any Catholic or archbishop who doesn’t mind that, well, that’s their business. Me? I make plenty of mistakes but I hate doing so and when I discover that I’m wrong about something, I put it right asap. Those who prefer to stick with the wrong/Protestant inspired name for the Church, must feel free to do so. Just don’t ask me to follow suit.
You note yourself the difference between “the Church” and her “rites”. The name of the Church cannot possibly tie her to one rite – another reason why it makes no sense for a Catholic of another rite to say they are “RC”. You, on the other hand, think that it is natural for you because “your” rite is the Roman rite. With respect, the Church’s name is independent of the various rites which is why the name of the Church is The Catholic Church (universal, with many rites).
Let’s leave it there because, as I’ve already said, in the great scheme of things right now, it’s a relatively unimportant matter.
I had never heard of Fr Muller so I Googled and found a site about him, where he is likened to Fr Feeney. This article explains why Fr Feeney (and so Fr Muller) is wrong:
Which site mentioned that Fr Muller is like Fr Feeney? That is nonsense – how can Muller be a “follower of Feeney” when he taught and published in the nineteenth century and Feeney taught and published in the middle of the twentieth century?
The only similarity is that Muller defended the dogma EENS as it has always been understood in Scripture and Tradition, whereas Feeney defended the dogma, but also rejected Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire. It was the latter two points where Feeney strayed over the line, but the same cannot be said for Muller.
Why Muller generated controversy was that he insisted on the truth that divine faith is necessary for salvation as taught in Scripture, the Summa and by the Council of Trent. He only got into trouble because liberal “non-converts” to the Catholic Faith (notably members of the Paulist Order who were Americanist idiots not too dissimilar to the modern-day Mark Shea) objected to his teaching that Protestants do not have divine faith because of their heresies and, therefore, do not believe in the same Christ as the true Lord who is worshipped by the Catholic Church. This should not be controversial as it is clearly taught in the Summa that a heretic does not have divine faith, and neither does he believe in the true God.
The St Benedict Centre which was founded by and are followers of Fr Feeney devote their apostolate to defending the dogma EENS. Just because they highlight other teachers of EENS such as St John Chrysostom, St Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas, Fr Muller etc. etc. etc., that does not mean that those other teachers of the faith are “Feeneyites by association”.
One of the main problems that I have with the SSPX is that too often they act like modernism was born at Vatican II and have themselves become far too liberal in accepting the possibility of salvation outside the Church for fear of becoming too like their bogeyman Fr Leonard Feeney SJ. It should be noted that Feeney was never excommunicated for his beliefs – he was excommunicated for disobedience (those were the days), and he was reconciled with the Church before he died without having to recant any of his teaching.
I’d never heard of Fr Muller so took a quick look at one website brought up by his name (Catholicism.org, article entitled The Case of Fr Michael Muller)
By “follower” of Fr Feeney, I meant that he shared the same belief (in “only” baptism by water) so excuse that careless slip. Fr Muller lived in the 19th century and, indeed, the article which I skimmed was making that very point – that he was a century ahead of Fr Feeney!
Since I haven’t had time to read the article carefully, I take your word, that – unlike Fr Feeney – Fr Muller did not adhere to any false doctrine about salvation for those outside the visible Church. Indeed, on a second quick visit just now I copied this extract:
“Elsewhere, the author (Fr Muller) explains that we are not to judge who have or have not died in their sins, for no one knows what passes between God and the souls of men at the moment of death. Mueller also insists that if a man is sincerely seeking the truth, God, in His infinite mercy, will provide the means necessary for that person to save his soul, “sending an angel if necessary.” Father Mueller was simply reiterating the Church’s teaching on the matter as solemnly defined by the popes, which faithful Catholics never questioned — until the Nineteenth Century.”
I’m pleased, therefore, to be corrected on this. As I said above, I’d never heard of Fr Muller, so I’m sorry for my inefficiency in jumping to the wrong conclusion – yet again: I’ll soon be an expert at this 😀
You are only partially correct in stating that Fr. Feeney was excommunicated for disobedience rather than for his views on EENS. He had, in fact, been ordered by both his Jesuit superior and Rome to stop teaching his erroneous interpretation of the dogma, yet resolutely refused to do so. This led eventually to his being ordered to Rome to give account of his teaching, an order he similarly disobeyed, this time unto excommunication.
Had he gone to Rome and stubornly maintained his false ideas about EENS, as it seems he was disposed to do, the liklihood is he would have been excommunicated for heresy anyway. So disobedience was not the only factor in his excommunication, merely the act that proved his pertinacious rebellion.
That he is said to have been reconciled with the Church before his death without having to retract his error is highly debateable. Those who assert this are generally self-styled “Feeneyites” who hold the same error. The truth will never be fully known but it seems to me that Fr. Feeney would have been asked to recant before being absolved and reconciled. The only caveat is that since he did not present himself before the authorities in Rome to have his ideas fully explored and judged, it could be argued that there was no formal censure for heresy to recant. In that case, Rome may have been satisfied with his repentence for disobedience and the subsequent divisions it gave rise to on the part of his followers. He was, after all, on his deathbed when he was reconciled.
I’m not quite sure where you get the idea that the SSPX is too liberal in accepting the possibility of salvation outside the Church. The SSPX does not accept that a single soul can be saved outside the Church. I have not known the SSPX to be in the least liberal in respect to this dogma, only Traditional in expressing the church’s complimentary doctrine of invincible ignorance against the extremes of Feeneyites and sedevacantists.
Souls that are saved by blood or desire, such as the early catechumen martyrs or people of upright intention who have no access to knowledge about the true religion but who nevertheless keep the Commandments of God “written in every heart” and would most willingly enter the Church should the truth be made known to them, were/are fully members of the Church in a supernatural way. Through no fault of their own they may not be (or have been) physical members by formal baptism and reception into the Church, but they are/were full members spiritually. They couldn’t be saved otherwise.
God alone knows the number of such hidden Catholic souls, He knows their hearts and their circumstances. Suffice it to say the number will not include the greater majority of non-Catholics and non-Christians who have sufficient capacity, intellect and access to learn the truth yet fail to pursue it to its logical end.
Father Müller was a 19th century Redemptorist theologian who’s books were given approval by his Redemptorist Superiors and local bishop. Müller was never censored by Rome nor are any of his books on 1948 Forbidden Books Index. Müller was an orthodox theologian who has been quoted numerous times by many eminent theologians.
Father Feeney, on the other hand, was corrected and warned by Rome to cease publishing and preaching his personal doctrine on Salvation. He disregarded these warnings with pertinacity and for this was excommunicated.
Try reading Father Joseph Fenton’s book on Salvation, “The Catholic Church and Salvation” and compare it with this article on Salvation by Müller on the Catholic Family News website:
It was reading Fr Malachy Martin’s books and listening to his interviews who first opened my eyes to what was going on in the Church. Interestingly enough, he also says that there is a force in Rome which is immovable by human means and only Our Lady can solve as willed by God.
I imagine this is why we are having such a hard time trying to promote the truth faith. Fr Malachy Martin says “majority of Catholics are being led by the nose out of the true faith and they don’t even know it”, this is what we are up against!
Another interesting fact is that Pope Francis was a protégé of Pedro Arrupe Superior General of the Jesuits who saw him as a rising liberal star and used him as a liberal enforcer in a modernist direction.
“Ordinary Catholics will not survive this age, only heroic Catholics will survive!”
“Fr. John Hardon, S.J.
That “immovable force” quote is extremely interesting. I started to wonder if Fr. Malachi was referring to the satanic enthronement ceremony which he relates in Windswept House, but upon reading further down I see that he does, extensively!
Note the “tight Luciferian schedule” – confirmation of the rush Bugnini was in to promulgate the Novus Ordo, and confirmation of the rush Francis is in to re-make the Church in secular humanist terms, acceptable to everybody.
Fr. Michael Muller, CSSR, indeed lived in the 19th century, and was the author of a wonderful book on the Mass, “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.” This book recounts, among many other historical anecdotes, Luther’s conversation with the devil, and an exorcism via the Holy Eucharist during which the devil admits that he invented Protestantism!
I looked up that book and it definitely looks good – it can be read on Kindle so I took a look inside on Amazon.
I’m intrigued by “Luther’s conversation with the devil” and the rest of that sentence, so I’m tempted to buy the book.
Oops! I expected the link to appear not the book itself, LOL!
Thank you for that – the Fr Muller book looks to be very interesting indeed. I’ll study it in more detail later.
RCA Victor, though, won’t be around for the next week or so – he says due to work commitments but I think he’s been summoned to Rome to see Papa Francis, with a view to making him the first ever LCCB – Layman in Charge of Catholic Blogs 😀
So, don’t think he’s ignoring your response to his comment – he WILL ignore it but only because he’s AWL – Absent WITH Leave!
No, you are not dreaming!
16th-century Milan church transforms into a tennis court:
Dreaming? That is a NIGHTMARE.
Utterly scandalous Such sacrilege, if not blasphemy. Such a beautiful church, truly beautiful. What kind of mentality would set up a tennis court in that way? What kind of priest or bishop would permit such a scandalous insult to Our Lord?
Just when we think things can’t get any worse, there can’t be any more serious scandal than X scandal, then scandal Y turns up. Shocking beyond words.
I tried to sign up to comment on that site, but not being on Facebook or the rest, I don’t think it allows comments. Maybe just as well. I’d have lost the plot, as the saying goes… I’m finding my temper fraying at the edges more easily, these days, when dealing with idiots of one sort or another.
I never imagined that one comes to that!
You can protest separately in your own words with the Nuncio (firstname.lastname@example.org) or someone else… We cannot let that happen!
And again! C’est vraiment scandaleux!
How horrendous. How can anyone think that this is “art”?
Why are they so fixed on insulting Our Lord, while respecting, so very much respecting, Muhammed?
I remember a large church in Paris when I visited the city in 1989 that was split into two parts, one for Catholic worship, the other for Muslim worship. Can’t remember the name or location of that church, but was horrified. It’s just too awful to contemplate.
Lionel kindly emailed me the email address for the papal nuncio, so I have just emailed him as follows – listen for the deafening silence which will, no doubt, result:
FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE NUNCIO…
I am writing to you following the news that a beautiful Milan church is being used as a tennis court – my friend in Paris sent me this link to this scandalous news.
I write to ask you, what kind of churchman would permit such a sacrilege? Such a blasphemy?
We are discussing this scandal on our blog. Please let me have the answer to the above question, so that I can include it in our debate.
Before you answer, though, remember Our Lord’s stark warning: those who deny Christ in the presence of men (including tennis players) will be denied by Christ, before His Father in Heaven. SIGNED, EDITOR, CATHOLIC TRUTH.
I would encourage other bloggers to take a few minutes to write a few sentences using the email email@example.com
It is indeed very sad to see such a beautiful church turned over to house a so called art installation, but at least it has been deconsecrated, according to the article so I am not sure that there is actually sacrilege here. It is not unusual to see former churches turned into restaurants and pubs in fact. And of course private houses. When such buildings are no longer used for worship is it not better to keep them in some form rather than demolish them? Better than see them used as joint Christian/Islamic venues as in Athanasius example. Now that is surely sacrilege!
I didn’t know that it has been deconsecrated but, sorry, to my way of thinking, the use of such a beautiful church for such a mundane purpose, is still sacrilegious, whether by accurate linguistic definition or not. I have no doubt that the SSPX (or one of the other traditional societies) would have put that church to good use, so there is no definitive proof that it could no longer be used.
The same goes for those used as restaurants. There are some horrendous examples of these, and one in Glasgow, which every time I pass it (not often thankfully) I shudder. And it wasn’t even a Catholic church! There’s something really dark about this fashion of turning churches into homes, restaurants and now art venues.
Yes I agree with you really. It is indeed sad to see the profane using what was sacred, it just feels all wrong. However would you rather see no longer used churches demolished instead? Perhaps I might say yes to that on reflection. Unless of course SSPX had the option and means to buy!
I restrained myself from saying preferable to demolish, in all honesty – I don’t think I could bear to see such a beautiful church demolished.
It’s all such a mess! The Church, I mean, not that particular church, if you get my drift!
Welcome to the church of Francis I hope more priests follow this courageous priest’s example
God loves each and everyone of us. if you see someone who needs help help them and tell them about our amazing God.
But I’m sure you will agree in conformity with Catholic teaching that the first duty of charity is to help save our neighbours’ soul by encouraging them to abandon their false beliefs and embrace the true religion. Relief of temporal sufferings, while hugely important, is by far inferior to this primary reason for the existence of the Catholic Church and her members.
Even pagans can participate in human charity, what we call philanthropy, so nothing especially Catholic or godly about that. The real charity is first supernatural, the desire to see our neighbour’ soul saved in eternity. helping materially where we can is also a duty, but secondary to this and absolutely barren without it.
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