Monday, May 29, 2006
HAVE I BECOME A MODERNIST ?
It's a question I think about more often than I want to, especially when I read pre-Vatican II catechisms. It's easy to see some of the heresy in the Church, but can I see all of it, or have I drunk in some of it, liking the taste? I'm afraid that I must reluctantly admit that the latter is probably closer to the truth.
How does one define the point of perfect Catholicism, assuming there is one? Of course the first thought that comes to mind is that perfect Catholicism is the faith as expressed by Jesus Christ, Himself, as He walked the earth. It quickly becomes obvious, though, that doing so would reject legitimate developments. After all, Christ said the Holy Spirit would be given to the Apostles to guide the developing Church. To make the perfect point of Catholicism the days between the resurrection and the ascension would be to deny Pentecost and the Church as the Body of Christ. It won't work.
The next thought is to place perfect Catholicism in the person of Peter and of the successive Popes. History demonstrates that we have had bad popes. If all popes were perfect examples, then why do they disagree? Obviously this won't work either.
Yet we have mass confusion in the Church today, and obviously we are floundering. We need to find some path back to Christ, and our leaders seem to lack direction.
The March 2006 editorial in Christian Order defines what I'm talking about:
Never mind liberal bias in the media, it is now so embedded within the Roman curia and national episcopates that even the conservative minority who readily see heretical splinters in Modernist eyes do not perceive the liberal logs in their own.
If we can't even recognize it, how can we fix it?
The article goes on to identify where the editor believes the problem lies, and I'm inclined to agree:
The problem starts at the very top, of course, with our Holy Father’s renowned predilection for the chief liberal architects of the catastrophic Council. In March 2004, as Cardinal Ratzinger, he effectively rehabilitated the heretical ‘Father of Vatican II’, Karl Rahner, whose influence on aspects of his own thought is manifest. Yet his speech to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2005 was even more telling. In adopting the usual evolutionary agenda aimed at rescuing Vatican II from itself, the Pope articulated la nouvelle théologie i.e. constant flux involving endless redefinitions of "relationships", such as those between faith and science and between the Church and the modern state and world religions. He restated, in other words, the essential principles underlying that anti-Thomistic ‘programme’ of ‘renewal’ set forth by Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac and diffused via the Council.
One could imply that the editor is proposing St. Thomas as the point of perfect Catholicism. Well, maybe. But then what do we make of the Christian East? The Church does not propose that Orthodoxy is heretical, only schismatic, and lately even the "schismatic" has been greatly tempered; but the East is allergic to Thomism, and I can see that the East has preserved much of what we lack.
There is another telling comment in the article that got my attention:
The postconciliar Church of smoke and mirrors will surely persist with its illusory ‘New Pentecost’ rhetoric until influential neo-conservatives admit their own addiction to the nostrums of this dubious duo.
"New Pentecost rhetoric". Yes, surely that is a great part of our difficulty. I presume that under that heading we would get the Charismatic Movement and the New Ecclesial Communities...major sources of our difficulties which becomes obvious when I read occult literature. The resort to mysticism is fraught with opportunities for the father of deception, especially when it divorces itself from doctrine. If we are going to resort to mysticism, we had better take up St. Thomas with determination, because it is our only hope of avoiding the pitfalls. Doctrine is the mystics life preserver, and I'm not suggesting the doctrine of von Balthasar's mystic Adrienne von Speyer! If we are going to embrace mysticism, we had better bind ourselves to the pillars of the faith, not to those who embrace modern novelties. We need to cling to long-held beliefs given to us by those who had both feet firmly planted on the ground and solid doctrine in conformity with the Tradition.
Assuming, of course, that we can yet determine what that is.
There is one thing I still know for sure. Jesus Christ is God's Son and the world's Savior. He has no equal. He can't be placed on a level playing field with all of the other gods floating around since shortly after the world was created.
I hope that Rome still remembers that.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!