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The Destruction of the Christian
Tradition (Part 2)

The Post-Conciliar Popes[1]


Rama P. Coomaraswamy

Source: Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 12, No. 3 & 4. (Summer-Autumn, 1978). © World Wisdom, Inc.

To read Part 1 of this series of articles, Tradition by Rama P. Coomaraswamy as it appeared in the Winter-Spring 1978 edition of Studies in Comparative Religion">click here.

PIUS XII was certainly aware of the threat that modernism posed to the Church, and more than once was known to have stated that, even though he was the last pontiff to hold the line on innovation, he would hold it firmly. How prophetic such a stance was is only now obvious. In 1958 when Roncalli was elected to the throne of Peter, and this despite the fact that he had once been dropped from a teaching post at the Lateran University for being theologically “unsafe,” and despite the fact that, as he himself admitted, there was a large dossier on his modernist views at the Holy Office,[2] no one expected any great cataclysm. He was however, the individual responsible for initiating the Revolution. An initial clue was his selection of the name John XXIII, the name of an “anti-pope” of somewhat unsavory character who died in 1419.[3]

He was characterized by the liberal press as a “simple peasant,” a “man of the people.” Those who knew him better described him as a “quiet and cunning revolutionary.”[4] It is this latter assessment that the facts bear out.

His personal views were influenced by Teilhard de Chardin and the current belief of the modern world in evolution and progress. “Divine Providence,” he said, “is leading us to a new order of human relations, which by man’s own efforts, even beyond their very expectation, are directed towards the fulfillment of God’s superior and inscrutable designs... Everything, even human differences, leads to the greater good of the Church... All the discoveries of science will assist progress and help to make life on this earth, which is already marked by so many other inevitable sufferings, ever more delightful.” He desired to work for peace and the eventual “unity of all mankind... in brotherly love, under the same Father;” according to Kaiser he saw Christian unity as but the first step in this direction. He was a “humanist,” and when speaking of peace, saw it as directed “to the increasing of respect for the human person and to the procuring of a just freedom of religion and worship, a peace that nourishes harmony between nations.” He again speaks of religious liberty in the Encyclical Pacem in Terris, where he taught that every human being had a right “to worship God in accordance with the right dictates of his own con-science and to profess his religion both in private and in public.” Now, if this proposition is accepted and taught by Christ’s representative on earth, then it follows that the Church should not be critical of ‘false’ forms of religion and worship. Indeed, one is even led to question if such exist. Thus it followed that one of John XXIII’s close aides described his attitude in these words: “The Church is not a dam against Communism. The Church cannot and should not be against anything. It should be positively for something.” The communist weekly in Rome described his “open” attitude under the title “No More Crusades.” Il Borghese, another Roman paper put it into better perspective: “This policy means the end of la chiesa cattolica romana.

Roncalli also initiated the post-conciliar policy of breaking with papal tradition whenever possible—a policy that has gone so far under the guidance of those who followed in his footsteps, that by the time John-Paul III comes along, there will be no papal traditions left for him to break. He put aside his papal tiara on state occasions, had Peter’s throne lowered, and instructed those around him not to use his (really Peter’s) honorific titles. All these actions will of course appeal to modern man, but the problem is that John XXIII was not an ordinary man he was Christ’s representative on earth. To put such actions into clearer perspective, one might try to imagine Queen Elizabeth of England divesting herself of her royal robes to disco-dance with her subjects on state occasions. Hardly a dignified scene. Finally, if any doubt remains about Roncalli’s attitude towards the Church he was commissioned to preserve, and towards his predecessors to whose stance he was indefectibly tied, let me give you the response he is reported to have given a friend who asked him how he managed to follow in the footsteps of so great a man as Pius XII. “I try to imagine what, my predecessor would have done, and then I do just the opposite.”

John had a problem however. These private “liberal” views could never come to fruition unless they were introduced into the fabric of the Church. The solution was a council—“John’s ‘toy’” as Cardinal Tardini called it from the start. When he first informed a gathering of cardinals of his intention, they were speechless. “To convoke a council,” as Cardinal Pallavicini had stated many years ago, “except when absolutely by necessity, is to tempt God.” John described their reaction to his “divine inspiration” as a “devout and impressive silence.” Needless to say, the curia dragged its feet. John’s reaction was to insist, and in order to overcome their resistance, helped them to think that they would have control over the entire affair. Thus it was that some eight-hundred orthodox theologians spent three years in drawing up the various schemes for discussion. Meanwhile, John established, under Cardinal Bea, the “Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity,” an organization that functioned outside the curia’s control. “You will be more free,” as he said to Bea, “and less bound by tradition if we keep you out of the normal curial channels.” He then proceeded to use this “front” with consummate skill to subvert the council and undermine the forces of tradition which the curia represented. Bea, in turn, organized the “liberal” forces, and attached to his secretariat (always pointing out that it was established for “union,        and not for the “re-union” of Christians) such individuals as Jan Willebrands, Gregory Baum, and others of similar outlook. These individuals lectured widely, were responsible for sending representatives to the World Council of Churches, for inviting the non-Catholic observers to the council, and for a variety of similar activities.[5] Whenever the curia objected to their machinations, John XXIII came to their defense. He had in effect, established his own private curia. In addition, he called to Rome, in a variety of other positions, ecclesiastics of similar persuasion. Thus Montini, once “banished” to Milan by Pius XII—the first individual in hundreds of years to hold this ancient See without a Cardinal’s hat —returned to be, in effect, his personal assistant. Having set the stage, John patiently waited for the council to open.

With the opening of Vatican II, he published the “rules of procedure” and invited all shades of opinion to be expressed. He established another ten-member “Council Presidency” that balanced liberal and conservative forces, to direct activities. He created a new Secretariat “For Extraordinary Affairs” under his trusted lieutenant Cardinal Cicognani consisting of nine progressives and one conservative, and then announced to the world his “progressive” program of aggiornamento. (Meanwhile, Bea’s legions were in Moscow inviting the communists to come with promises that their ideology would not be condemned at the council). What happened at the council will be discussed in detail later, but suffice it to say, the liberals acted to a great extent under John XXIII’s direction, and with his approval. For example, before the first great victory of the “Northern Alliance,” and prior to the liberal challenge that led to the rejection of the curial nominations for the individuals that were to sit on the various commissions, the entire plan was cleared by phone with Roncalli. John sat back and watched the affair by television, only intervening when he felt it necessary to maintain the modernist orientations he saw as necessary. As E. E. Y. Hales said, he gave the bishops of the council “the clearest and most positive guidance as to the way they should approach their task.” He clearly saw aggiornamento as a means “of its presentation of the truth, which will have to be brought into harmony with the modes of life and thought of a new age.” And finally, as a parting gesture, he introduced the first change into the canon of the traditional mass in over fifteen hundred years, a most effective way of telling the fathers that the mass could be changed. His life was terminated after he gave his approval to the “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,” and Montini was elected to the chair of Peter.

With Montini, who incidentally is said to have written most of his predecessors speeches and encyclicals, we have a much clearer picture of what Roncalli intended. The rupture with tradition becomes much more obvious and much more emphatic. It was easy to be fooled by John’s seeming simplicity, but with Paul VI, an active process of self-delusion becomes necessary.

At the start (1963), Montini was involved primarily with bringing the Council to its full potential. A careful reading of Father Wiltgens book, The Rhine Flows into the Tiber, as well as Archbishop Lefebvre’s J’accuse le Concile shows that he continued John XXIII’s policy of appearing neutral while strongly abetting the “progressive forces” of the innovators. He spoke much of “ecumenical dialogue,” “openness to the world,” “reforms,” and “changes,” while at the same time speaking of “faith,” “tradition,” and “the striving for spiritual perfection.” Nevertheless, even in his early days, and prior to his election, a careful study of his statements makes it clear that change and novelty rather than tradition was given pride of place in his thoughts, and that both his acts and his words reflect a spirit that was incompatible with the true Catholic faith. With time this became more obvious. An excellent exposition of all this is given by the Abbe Georges de Nantes in his well documented Liber Accusationis in Paulum Sextum (“Book of Accusation against Paul VI”), a book to which the New Church has made absolutely no response.[6]

Space does not allow us to do more than give a few of Paul VI’s statements, and to review but a few of his acts. No matter how much he attempted to disguise his true nature and intentions, they are sufficient to make the issues clear. And in passing, let it be noted that those who claim to be “in obedience” must be in obedience, not only to his seemingly “orthodox” statements, but also to those which are clearly heterodox. In point of fact, it is totally impossible to be “in obedience” to this self contradictory individual, for to do so is to embrace truth and error simultaneously. Nevertheless, obedience was a favorite theme of his.

“All must obey him (the Pope) in whatever he orders if they wish to be associated with him in the new economy of the Gospel” (Allocution, June 29, 1970). And just what is the “new economy of the Gospel”? Just what are some of the teachings that Paul would foist on us in the name of the post-conciliar magisterium? Here is a fair sampling! “The order to which Christianity tends is not static, but an order in continual evolution towards a higher form...” (Dialogues, Reflections on God and Man): he has further stated that “we moderns, men of our own day, wish everything to be new. Our old people, the traditionalists, the conservatives, measured the value of things according to their enduring quality. We instead, are actualists, we want everything to be new all the time, to be expressed in a continually improvised and dynamically unusual form” (Osservatore Romano, April 22, 1971). And hence it follows, as he says, “it is necessary to know how to welcome with humility and an interior freedom what is innovative; one must break with the habitual attachment to what we used to designate as the unchangeable tradition of the Church...” (La Croix, September 4, 1970). He is critical of those who refuse to go along with the changes—they have what he calls a “sentimental attachment to habitual forms of worship,” and are guilty of “inconsistency and often of falsity of doctrinal positions” (quoted in O’Leary’s The Tridentine Mass Today).[7] As for those who find such statements heterodox, he had stated while still in Milan that “the exigencies of charity frequently force us outside the bounds of orthodoxy” (quoted by Monteilhet in Pope Paul VI—L’Amen-Dada).[8]

Paul VI’s break with tradition, and his teaching of doctrines that are diametrically opposed to that of the Church of All Times, comes to a head in his so-called “humanism.” While Archbishop of Milan, he stated that “we must never forget that the fundamental attitude of Catholics who wish to convert the world must be, first of all, to love the world, to love our times, to love our (non-Christian) civilization, our technical achievements, and above all, to love the world” (Bodart’s La Biologie et l’avenir de l’homme). This theme of “loving the world” was repeated again and again. With regard to the council he stated: “And. what was the Church doing at that particular moment? The historians will be asking; and the reply will be: the Church was filled with love... The council puts before the Church, before us in particular, a panoramic vision of the world; how can the Church, how can we ourselves, do other than behold this world and love it... The council is a solemn act of love for mankind... love for the man of today, whoever and wherever they may be, love for all...” (Abbé of Nantes, op. cit.).Now, if the world is to be indiscriminately “loved,” it can hardly be criticized. Religious liberty and “freedom of conscience” must therefore be proclaimed, but not only religious liberty—one must also proclaim the “rights” of man to ignore God entirely. Now it is one thing for an atheist to demand such “rights,” but it is quite another for a Catholic pope to proclaim them. Yet this is precisely what Paul VI did at the United Nations on October 4 1965—that is, before the council itself had so proclaimed them. Speaking to this assembly which he referred to as “the hope of the world.” (For a Catholic, Christ is the “hope of the world.”)[9]  he stated: “It is your task here to proclaim the basic rights and duties of man, his dignity and liberty, and above all, his religious liberty. We are conscious that you are the interpreters of all that is paramount in human wisdom. (Incredible! coming from the “pope” to the United Nations!). We would almost say: of its sacred character. For your concern is first and foremost with the life of man, and man’s life is sacred: no one may dare to interfere with it.” Now anyone who has read the proclamations of this assembly knows that it asserts in its “wisdom” that man is free, and that this freedom is sacred; that nothing on earth is greater, that no God on high can impose His Rule on man’s liberty, nor any man exercise authority over another, to teach or govern, to judge or even to punish him in the name of God. This is why Paul VI rescinded various excommunications and refused to pronounce further ones. This is why heresy under the guise of “pluralism” and “openness” has become rampant in his Church. This is why he eliminated the need for priests to say the Anti-Modernist Oath ordered by St. Pius X in 1910, as well as the Profession of Faith of the Council of Trent introduced by Pius IV and in force ever since.

The “confidence in man” of the post-conciliar Church was another favorite theme of Montini. “We have faith in man. We believe in the good which lies deep within each heart, we know that underlying man’s wonderful efforts are the motives of justice, truth, renewal, progress and brotherhood—even where they are accompanied by dissension or sometimes even, unfortunately, by violence...” (Address to the journalists in Sydney, Australia, December, 1970).[10]  Indeed, as the Osservatore Romano quotes him as saying, “There are no true riches but MAN” (August 5, 1969). “Honor to MAN, honor to thought, honor to science, honor to technique, honor to work, honor to boldness of man, honor to the synthesis of scientific and organizing ability of man who unlike other animals, knows how to give his spirit and his manual dexterity these instruments of conquest. Honor to man, king of the earth, and today Prince of heaven...” (Doc. Cath., No. 1580, January 21, 1971).[11] Now, lest there should be any doubts left about Montini’s “humanism” and his Cult of Man, let us listen to his words addressed, not in a moment of gushing enthusiasm to some secular gathering, but to the entire assembled body of the fathers at the Council on December 7, 1965:

The conciliar Church has also, it is true, been much concerned with man, with man as he really is today, with living man, with man totally taken up with himself, with man who not only makes himself the center of his own interests, but who dares to claim that he is the end and aim of all existence… Secular, profane, humanism has finally revealed itself in its terrible shape and has, in a certain sense, challenged the council. The religion of God made man has come up against the religion (for there is such a one) of man who makes himself God. And what happened? An impact, a battle, an anathema? That might have taken place, but it did not. It was the old story of the Samaritan that formed the model for the council’s spirituality. It was filled only with an endless sympathy. Its attention was taken up with the discovery of human needs—which became greater as the son of the earth (sic)makes himself greater... Do you at least recognize this its merit, you modern humanists who have no place for the transcendence of the things supreme, and come to know our new humanism: We also, we more than anyone else, have the cult of man.

We are, it would seem, to play the Good Samaritan, even to the devil! As Paul said elsewhere, “Man is both giant and divine, in his origin and his destiny. Honor therefore to man, honor to his dignity, to his spirit and to his life.” How often Montini breaks forth in the form of a Litany to praise his idol. And how easy to forget that Christ once said to Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan, thou art a scandal to me: for thou dost not mind the things of God, but those of men.” (Matthew, 16:23).[12]

And what are some of the actions of this Pope wherein he puts into practice what he preaches? He is personally responsible for the promulgations of the Documents of Vatican II, in which the teachings of the “New Economy of the Gospel” are detailed. As he said, “from the start, the council has propagated a wave of serenity and optimism, a Christianity that is exciting and positive, loving life, mankind and earthly values… an intention of making Christianity acceptable and lovable, indulgent and open, free of mediaeval rigorism and of the pessimistic understanding of man and his customs...” (Doc. Cath. No. 1538). He is also responsible for the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae and the various other post-conciliar sacraments of dubious validity. But even beyond this, he has taken an extraordinary lead in breaking with papal traditions. One of his first acts was to give up the papal tiara, symbolic of giving up the rights of Christ’s representative to have precedence over the kings and princes of this world. He was crowned with a tiara of his own design (looking like a space rocket), not in Saint Peter’s but outside the sacred precincts. While spending a fortune on some of the most trivial and ugly modern art known to mankind, he made a great show of selling this tiara and giving the money to the poor. He then proceeded to give his shepherd’s crook and fisherman’s ring to U. Thant (Is there perhaps something symbolic in this?—U. Thant was head of the United Nations), again to be sold for the poor, and began to carry what must be one of the world’s ugliest crucifixes in its place. (Normally, a crucifix is carried in front of a pope to remind him constantly of who he really is.) He then proceeded to ask the various bishops of the world to give up their traditional rings, and gave each of them a new gold ring symbolic of the post-conciliar Church. And what about the expense of these new rings? Could not that money have been given to the poor? (It was his “new” ring that he placed on the finger of Archbishop Ramsey, head of the Anglican Church—a Church Paul VI calls a “sister Church”—when he asked this heretic to bless the Catholic faithful in St. Peter’s Square.)[13] ” At times he has worn, either over, or in place of, the pectoral cross, the Ephod of the High Priest of Jerusalem (and, incidentally, a signal of his office among the Freemasons).[14]

However, Montini reaches the apogee of scandalous example with his visit to Fatima. Here we see a pope who spent time “meditating” in the “meditation room” at the United Nations, a room replete with Freemasonic significance and containing an altar dedicated “to the faceless God”; here we see a man who received with respect the members of the B’nai B’rith at the Vatican; here we see a man who has promised to pray for the success of Mrs. Hollister and her “Temple of Understanding” which according to Cardinal Bagnozzi’s comments to Paul VI is, “an occult enterprise of the Illuminati whose aim is the founding of ‘the World Religion’ of ‘Human Brotherhood’); here we see a man who has taken part in “the Ecumenical Celebration of the Town Hall in Sydney” (Doc. Cath., January 17, 1971); here we see a man who has joined with Cardinal Willebrands in “the common prayer at the World Council of Churches” (ibid, June 10, 1969); here we see the head of the Catholic Church, Christ’s representative on earth, finally visiting one of the most sacred shrines in Christendom. And what does he do? With the whole world watching on television, he says mass in Portuguese (an act offensive to many of the traditional Catholics of this country, and in a language that but a small percentage of those watching could understand), and then proceeds to give a series of audiences including one to the “representatives of the non-Catholic communities.” Not one Hail Mary did he say! He made no visit to the shrine at the Cova de Iria where the apparitions took place. He even refused to talk with Sister Lucia, fifty years a nun and one of the Children of Fatima, who claimed to have a private message from the Virgin for his ears.

Much more could be said about this enigmatic individual, about his communist leanings, about his allowing and fostering the spread of heresy within the Church, about his refusal to condemn the Dutch Catechism, but space does not allow. I leave you then with Paul VI, the individual most responsible for what he himself terms, the “auto-destruction of the Church.” Far more a “Iago” than a “Hamlet.”

We shall pass over the subsequent popes quickly. John Paul I (referred to as “J-P I”) was known to be a liberal, and a favorite of Cardinal “innovator” Benelli. He had obtained his Doctorate in Theology by defending Serbati Rosmini (1797-1855), a man who had forty propositions from his writing condemned by the Holy Office in 1887. He was an ardent feminist as is shown by his letter to playwright Carlo Goldini in his now famous book entitled Humbly Yours. He was prone to making surprising theological statements, such as one that would appeal to theologian Rosemary Reuther (teacher at a Jesuit University and an ardent proponent of the theory that God is a woman!): “God is our father—even more, God is our mother.” He refused to be crowned Pope (and hence, presumably never took any papal oath of office) and was “invested” as “Bishop of Rome” (a title that was given to the pope by the Anglicans who wished to deny his other sacred functions).[15] He planned to melt the tiara down and sell it for the poor. Of course, as a historical monument and a work of art, this “crown” would have fetched much more on the art market—but then, a subsequent pope might have bought it back. He left us rather suddenly under circumstances that are hardly clear.

As to J-P II, it is clearly too early to say very much. He also is a Benelli man—though, had Paul VI not passed a law (again against tradition) which forbade the elderly and senior cardinals to have a vote at the Conclave, it is more than likely that Cardinal Sid (a conservative) would have been elected. He also was “invested” and not crowned. (All this refusal to be crowned at a time when the communist government of Hungary is so anxious to have the “crown” returned to its country to give its illegal government some vestige of legitimacy!). He is an expert in “phenomonology,” described by the New York Times as “a technique for discovering what is hidden in appearances by looking at the world through the eyes of an infant… the search for essence that cannot be revealed by ordinary observation.” Tymieniecka, who is translating the Pope’s book into English, summarizes his “complex thought” in the following terms. “He stresses the irreducible value of the human person. He finds a spiritual dimension in human interaction, and that leads him to a profoundly humanistic conception of society” (Time, October 30, 1978). Apart from these philosophical abstractions however, what is far more worrying is his avowed commitment “to promote the reforms of the Second Vatican Council,” his support of the concept of “collegiality” and his desire to arrive at “full communion” with other Christians. (Billy Graham has preached at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church in Cracow at Wojtyla’s invitation). It would certainly appear that in assuming the name of John-Paul II, he has given us an indication that he intends, apart from his anti-communism, to follow in the footsteps of his post-conciliar predecessors.

It should be quite clear to the reader that in “attacking” the strange antics of the post-conciliar popes, one is in no way intending to attack the papacy itself. There is a doctrine of “indefectibility” in the Church which states that the teachings of our Holy Mother do not change. Anyone who desires to be “in obedience” to some two hundred and sixty popes that legitimately held the chair of Peter since it was established, and to the many encyclicals that they promulgated, must of necessity declare themselves “in disobedience” to these later-day modernists wherever they depart from their predecessors’ teachings. Finally, a comment is in order as to what would satisfy the traditional Catholic on the part of any new pope. The answer is really quite simple. It is a return to sound doctrine and true belief—the reaffirmation of the “depositum” of the Faith; and the reintroduction of the true and proper liturgy of the Church. Apart from this, all else is dissimilation and talk. Pray God that we may see such a day before we die.

Vatican II

BEFORE considering Vatican II in detail, it is necessary to understand just what an Ecumenical Council is. It is, as Hubert Jedin defined it in 1960:

An assembly of bishops and other specified persons invested with jurisdiction, convoked by the pope and presided over by him, for the purpose of formulating decisions on questions of Christian faith, or ecclesiastical discipline. These decisions however, require papal confirmation… It has always been the highest duty of a council to assure the proclamation of the faith by delimiting the Catholic doctrine from contemporary errors. There have been councils which issued no disciplinary canons, but none at which some error was not rejected.[16]

Vatican II as an ecumenical council was unusual in several ways. It was the first “ecumenical” council that addressed itself, not to the Catholic faithful, but to the entire world.[17] It was the first such council to be declared “pastoral” and not “dogmatic.”[18] It was the first such council that neither delimited Catholic doctrine from contemporary errors, nor issued disciplinary canons.[19] It was the first such council that clearly departed from the teaching of previous ecumenical councils—so much so that Cardinal Suenens has stated that it was like the French Revolution in the Church, and theologian Y. Congar likened it to the October (1917) revolution in Russia.[20] It was the only council in which a period of time was not allowed to pass—usually twenty years—before the document became de jure—indeed, some became “official” within minutes of the votes being taken. Finally, in closing the Council Paul VI stated: “the teaching authority of the Church, even though not wishing to issue extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements, has made thoroughly known its authoritative teaching… All that has been established synodally (by Vatican II) is to be religiously observed by all the faithful.” In so putting it, he removes the contents of the documents from the realm of de fide doctrine, and yet at the same time “binds” the Catholic by obedience to acceptance.

As to the documents themselves, there are sixteen of these, and all sixteen are considered to be “established synodally”—that is to say, agreed upon by the fathers present at the Council. Now, these sixteen documents are entitled as “Constitutions,” “Decrees” and “Declarations.” Despite the fact that some of the “Constitutions” are qualified as being “dogmatic,” Vatican II as a whole is by decree “Pastoral.” Being pastoral, it is “non-dogmatic” and is at most a kind of instruction, a sort of sermon, which of itself does not involve infallibility. Hence it is that Cardinal Felici, former secretary for the curia and secretary-general of the council stated that the documents of the council are de jure, and not de fide.[21] Despite this, Paul VI has on several occasions referred to this council as “the greatest of all councils,” even greater than the Council of Trent (which is of course de fide). He is however by no means satisfied with what the council achieved, for he states “the conciliar decrees are not so much a destination as a point of departure towards new goals… The seeds of life planted by the council in the soil of the Church must grow and achieve full maturity.” As Cardinal Suenens has said, “Vatican II is a stage, and not a terminus.” Yet, even as a “stage,” it represented “a French Revolution within the Church.”

Few will deny but that the “new directions” that the post-conciliar Church has taken finds roots in this council. As Avery Dulles says,

Vatican II adopted a number of positions which had been enunciated by the Reformation Churches, e.g. the primacy of scripture, the super-natural efficacy of the preached word, the priesthood of the laity, and the vernacular liturgy.

Nor is this an isolated opinion. Cardinal Willebrands, Paul VIs legate to the World Lutheran Assembly at Evian stated in July 1970:

Has not the Second Vatican Council itself welcomed certain demands which, among others, were expressed by Luther, and through which many aspects of the Christian faith are better expressed today than formerly? Luther gave his age a quite extraordinary lead in theology and the Christian life.

To quote Cardinal Suenens again:

It is possible to draw up an impressive list of theses which Rome has taught in the past and up until yesterday as being the only valid ones, and which the Council Fathers have thrown out.

One must ask how it was that in an “unchanging Church,” such drastic changes could come about. There are of course many who claim that such statements are exaggerated; that there have been no significant changes, and that is not Vatican II, but the modern theologians with their “abuses,” that are to blame. It is said by these that the statements of the council are misinterpreted and many fine and orthodox statements from the documents are brought to bear in defense of this contention. The answer to both these issues is however not difficult. Father Wiltgen who was “international publicity director in Rome” for the council and who “founded during Vatican II an independent and multilingual Council News Service,” has written a history of the proceedings entitled The Rhine flows into the Tiber.[22] In as much as he approves of what the council achieved, his text has become a valuable source of information. His information moreover is confirmed by numerous other sources.[23] We have as a result, a “play to play” description of how the “liberal” theologians captured the council. What was proclaimed by the world press as a “spontaneous outbreak of liberal sentiment,” was in fact, as several authors have pointed out, part of a pre-determined plan to subvert the council.

We have already called attention to the role that John XXIII played in setting the stage. Most of the fathers were not well read theologians, and came “psychologically unprepared” (Cardinal Heenan) and “feeling their way” (Bishop Lucey). Other “hierarchies came to the Council knowing what they wanted and having prepared a way to get it” (Bishop Lucey). The takeover was surprisingly easy. As Cardinal Heenan stated, “the First General Congregation had scarcely begun when the northern bishops went into action.” As Brian Kaiser states, “Cardinals Suenens, Alfrink, Frings, Doepfner, Koenig, Lienart and Bea conferred by phone” the night before, and received assurances from the Pope that their plans had his approval. Within fifteen minutes of the opening of the first session, the years of preparatory work and the suggested list of individuals for the various commissions was thrown out. This has been called by several “The First Victory” of the “European Alliance,” and was characterized in newspapers as “Bishops in Revolt.” What followed has been described as a blitzkrieg (Michael Davies) and a “demolition exercise” (Henri Fesquet). It was only a matter of time and maneuver before the liberal element took over the ten commissions that controlled the various schemes presented for voting. The “Council Presidency” established by Roncalli was helpless—and this was as he intended. Instead of intervening on the side of “tradition,” he allowed things to proceed exactly as he wished, only intervening when it was necessary to support the “democratic forces.”

Initially, any individual father could rise to voice objection to the statements of the various schemes. Soon this was limited to ten minutes. As opposition gathered to the modernist clique, those in control required that five fathers had to agree and speak in conjunction. Before long the number was raised to seventy. Soon all objections had to be submitted in writing to the various commissions which in turn allowed for considerable behind the scenes machinations and the suppression or “re-wording” of those objections that could not be ignored. A petition signed by over four hundred fathers asking for the condemnation of communism was simply and conveniently lost. Complaints made directly to the Pope were ignored,[24] and on occasion the Pope directly intervened to force through a given vote. Both the press and the various liberal organizations within and without the Church carried on heavy propaganda in favor of the “liberalizing” of the Church. Cardinals Frings and Liniert and the members of the “Northern Alliance” were the “heroes,” while Ottaviani and the conservative members of the Curia were the “villains” standing “in the way of progress.” The majority of the fathers present were church dignitaries rather than theologians, and hence were heavily dependent upon the periti or experts who almost invariably were in the “neo-modernist” camp. A list of these periti would include almost all the well known heretical theologians of the post-conciliar Church. Adequate time was frequently not given for proper discussion of the issues, and many of the fathers admitted to having voted along with the majority without having read the schemes or amendments in question at all. As Dr. Moorman, leader of the Anglican delegation has stated, “there was a very real division among the fathers, a deep feeling that two big forces were coming to grips and that this was not just a clash of opinions, but of policies and even of moralities.” But, as we have pointed out, the traditional forces were “psychologically unprepared,” and the liberal forces “came to the council knowing what they wanted and having prepared a way to get it.” Things were pushed along very rapidly, and it was only towards the end of the council that the orthodox fathers were able to get organized, but by the time the Coetus Internationalis Patrum became a cohesive force, it was far too late.

Only one major problem remained. The liberals in the council had to express their views in a manner that was not clearly and overtly heretical. (This would have created much stronger opposition and resistance). The solution was the ambiguous statement.

Whenever protests were raised against such tactics, the objector was informed that the council was “pastoral,” and not “dogmatic.” What resulted has been described in Archbishop Lefebvre’s words as “a conglomeration of ambiguities, inexactitudes, vaguely expressed feelings, terms susceptive of any interpretation and an opening wide of all doors.” There are of course many statements in the documents that appear good, for it is characteristic of heresy that it comes cloaked in the garb of orthodoxy. The documents them-selves are prolix, full of vague phraseology and psychologisms. Terms are frequently used (such as “salvation history”)[25] that are capable of being defined in a variety of ways. Statements made in one paragraph are qualified several paragraphs later so that multiple interpretations become possible. In fairness to the liberals, some of the periti such as Yves Congar and Schillebeeck disapproved of such methods and wished to state the liberal viewpoint openly and clearly. They were of course, overruled. Lest the reader feel this opinion is unjust, I shall quote Professor O. Cullman, one of the most distinguished Protestant observers at the council:

The definitive texts are for the most part compromise texts. On far too many occasions they juxtapose opposing viewpoints without establishing any genuine internal link between them. Thus every affirmation of the power of bishops is accompanied in a manner which is almost tedious by the insistence upon the authority of the Pope… This is the reason why, even while accepting that these are compromise-texts, I do not share the pessimism of those who subscribe to the slogan that: ‘Nothing will come out of the council!’ All the texts are formulated in such a manner that no door is closed and that they will not present any future obstacle to discussions among Catholics or dialogue with non-Catholics, as was the case with the dogmatic decisions of previous councils.

It is then the ambiguity of most of the statements that allows for any interpretation one wishes. Those who would subscribe to the most liberal and extreme theses of modernism can do so on the basis of Vatican II, while those who are inclined towards orthodoxy can quote passage after passage to show that the council “changed nothing.” As Michael Davies says of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, it “contains a great deal of traditional and orthodox Catholic terminology well calculated to inspire confidence. Such confidence is likely to be weakened, however, when it is realized how pleasing the document is both to Catholic “ecumeniacs” as well as to Protestants. If the document is as sound as it appears, then why do those who reject Catholic teaching praise it?” And how could it be otherwise when, as Cardinal Heenan says, the various commissions were in a position to “wear down opposition and produce a formula patent of both an orthodox and modernistic interpretation.” What resulted, to use the words of Bishop McVinney in discussing the Pastoral Constitution on the Church, was “a doubtful compromise with everything which lies at the basis of the evils now affecting humanity.”[26]

And even apart from the actual statements, there is an “animus” to the documents which is “offensive to pious ears.” There is, as Cardinal Suenens has said, “an internal logic in Vatican II which in several cases has been grasped and acted on, showing in every-day practice the priority of life over law. The spirit behind the texts was stronger than the words themselves.”[27] It is this under-current that has flowed forth as “the spirit of Vatican II,” a “spirit” that accepts almost all the modernist concepts—“progress,” “dynamic evolution,” and “universalism.” As Avery Dulles, S.J., one of the periti, has said, “without using the term ‘continuing revelation,’ Vatican II allowed for something of the kind.” Donald Campion, S.J., another periti, and translator of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church Today has said: “Here, as elsewhere, it is easy to recognize the compatibility of insights developed by thinkers such as Teilhard de Chardin in his ‘Divine Milieu’ with the fundamental outlook of the Council...”[28] Finally, let it be noted that as the Protestant observer Dr. McAfee Brown states, these sixteen documents are prolix in the extreme, and as Michael Davies says, much of them “consists of little more than long series of the most banal truisms imaginable.”[29] They run to some 739 pages of small print in translation (as opposed to 179 of large print for the Council of Trent and 42 for Vatican I). It is virtually impossible for the average Catholic to read them through with care, even if he is supplied, as Father Houghton has remarked, “with a sufficient supply of anti-soporifics.”

In order to understand the real nature of Vatican II the reader must recognize that what occurred was not a “debate” between the conservative and liberal factions of the Church—as if there is a spectrum of opinion from which the faithful can choose—but rather a fight between those who felt it was their obligation to preserve intact the entire “deposit of the Faith,” and those who were bent on adapting Christianity to the contemporary world; a battle waged between those who see the Roman Catholic Church as the “visible” Church founded by Christ, and therefore a Church that was entitled to certain privileges (whether the world accorded them to her or not), and those who felt that “all those baptized in Christ… had access to the community of salvation,” that certain differences were irrelevant, and who dreamt of an ecumenical “union” of “all men of good will” in a “rejuvenated Christianity.” The Church of All Times lost this battle at the Council, but the fight still continues, sometimes in minor skirmishes, and sometimes in open warfare. Scripture informs us of the final outcome to be anticipated.

It is with these facts in mind that we shall examine some of the conciliar documents in greater detail. Consider the following quotations, taken mostly from the Pastoral Constitution on the Church, the document that Paul VI considers one of the most important, and one in which he personally played an important role:

The human race has passed from a rather static concept of reality to a more dynamic, evolutionary one. (Para. 5).

She (the Church) likewise holds that in her most benign Lord and Master can be found the key, the focal point, the goal of all human history. (Para. 10).[30]

It is a fact bearing on the very person of man that he can come to an authentic and full humanity only through culture, that is, through the cultivation of natural goods and values. Wherever human life is involved, therefore, nature and culture are quite intimately connected. (Para. 53).

In every group or nation, there is an ever-increasing number of men and women who are conscious that they themselves are the artisans and the authors of the culture of their community. Thus we are witnesses to the birth of a new humanism, one in which man is defined first of all by his responsibility towards his brothers and towards history. (Para. 55).

The culture of today possesses particular characteristics. For example, the so-called exact sciences sharpen critical judgment to a very fine edge. Recent psychological research explains human activity more profoundly. Historical studies make a signal contribution to bringing men to see things in their changeable and evolutionary aspects… Thus little by little, a more universal form of human culture is developing, one which will promote and express the unity of the human race to the degree that it preserves the particular features of different cultures. (Para. 54).

Man’s social nature makes it evident that the progress of the human person and the advance of society itself hinge on each other. From the beginning, the subject and goal of all social institutions is and must be the human person, which for its part and by its very nature stands completely in need of social life. This social life is not something added on to man. Hence through his dealings with others, through reciprocal duties, and through fraternal dialogue, he develops all his gifts and is able to rise to his destiny. (Para. 25).

Thus, through her individual members and her whole community, the Church believes she can contribute greatly towards making the family of man and its history more human. In addition, the Catholic Church gladly holds in high esteem the things which other Christian Churches or ecclesiastical communities have done or are doing co-operatively by way of achieving the same goal. (Para. 40).

It has pleased God to make men holy and save them not merely as individuals without any mutual bonds, but by making them into a single people, a people which acknowledges Him in truth and serves Him in holiness. So from the beginning of salvation history He has chosen men not just as individuals, but as members of a certain community. God called these chosen ones “His People”… This communitarian character is developed and consummated in the work of Jesus Christ. (Para. 32).

The Church further recognizes that worthy elements are found in today’s social movements, especially in an evolution towards unity, a process of wholesome socialization and of association in civic and economic realms. For the promotion of unity belongs to the innermost nature of the Church, since she is, by her relationship with Christ, both a sacramental sign and an instrument of intimate union with God and of the unity of all mankind. (Para. 42).

Because the human race today is joining more and more in civic, economic and social unity, it is much more necessary that priests, united in concern and effort under the leadership of the Bishops and the Supreme Pontiff, wipe out every ground of division, so that the whole human race may be brought into the unity of the family of God. (Para. 43).

Such then is a selection of statements—and each of sufficient length to make the accusation of having taken them out of context implausible—which post-Conciliar Catholics must “religiously observe” if they wish to consider themselves in “obedience.” What evidence is there for the claim that “the human race has passed from a rather static concept of reality to a more dynamic evolutionary one”? And how Christian is the “new humanism” which we are witnesses to the birth of, when it is defined “first of all by man’s responsibility towards his brothers and towards history”? Surely man’s first responsibility is towards God, his Creator. And since when does man “rise to his destiny” through reciprocal duties and “fraternal dialogue” alone? Where in scripture does it instruct us that we are saved “as members of a community,” rather than as individuals? And since when has the Church’s function been to make “the family of man and its history more human”? And what is all this talk of “unity,” the “process of wholesome socialization” that “belongs to the innermost nature of the Church” and permits the “wiping out of every ground of division” that should impede it? No wonder that the Protestant observer Dr. McAfee Brown said that “there are even occasional hints that the council fathers have listened to the gospel of Marx as well as the Gospel of Mark.” Truly, as Father Campion, the translator of this document states, “theological aggiornamento means more than a rephrasing of conventional theological teaching in contemporary terminology.”

Now there are many areas in which Vatican II departs from the traditional teaching of the Church. Consider the following statements which are in direct contradiction to the Syllabus of Errors:

Religious freedom has its foundation in the dignity of the human person. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed.” (Decree on Religious Freedom).

The brethren divided from us also carry out many of the sacred actions of the Christian religion. Undoubtedly, in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or community, these actions can truly engender a life of grace and can be rightly described as capable of providing access to the community of salvation (Decree on Ecumenism). Witness to the unity of the Church very generally forbids common worship to Christians, but the grace to be had from it sometimes commends this practice… most valuable to this purpose are meetings of the two sides especially for discussion of theological problems—where each can treat with the other on an equal footing. (Decree on Ecumenism).

Following the “internal logic” of the document, Father Avery Dulles, S.J., Professor of Theology at the Catholic University of America, a periti of some distinction, and a translator of the documents in question, has stated:

Does God reveal himself in other ways than through the world’s religions, thus making it possible for “non-believers” to make an act of faith? The documents of Vatican II, while not directly answering this question, open up the possibility of an affirmative answer. The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, after discussing the opportunities for salvation in the various religions, adds that this possibility holds even for the sincere atheist or the conscientious agnostic: “Nor does divine Providence deny the help necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, but who strive to live a good life, thanks to His grace.” The Constitution on the Church in the modem world confirms this doctrine by asserting that grace works in an unseen way in the hearts of all men of good will. In these and similar texts, Catholic theologians find an official recognition by the Church that an act of saving faith is possible without any explicit belief in the existence of God or any religious affiliation.[31]

Now even if we do not carry things so far as to state that “an act of saving faith is possible without any explicit belief in the existence of God,” the various teachings of the Documents on Religious Liberty have far reaching consequences. The “animus” of the documents is that other Christians (and communities) are good people. If they are baptized in Christ—”all those justified by faith through baptism are incorporated into Christ. They therefore have a right to be honored by the title of Christian,” and must be treated .on an “equal footing” whose only defect is that they have not joined in the “visible unity” of the Church, often because of historical or political reasons.[32] The Church must therefore make every effort to bring them into that unity so that we can all happily progress towards that time when “the whole human race may be brought into the unity of the family of God.” This means that doctrinal divergences are to be suppressed—”wiping out every ground of division,” and all that is required is “sincerity” and “good will.” Clearly, since even atheists “have access to the community of salvation,” it follows, as the documents teach, that “man is to be guided by his own judgment and he is to enjoy freedom” in his religious decisions. No “coercion” is to be used in dealing with man (implying “physical,” but saying nothing about other forms of coercion that the modern world is quite familiar with); and every religious sect is free to propagate its own views. Even those nations that are totally Catholic are to invite in Protestants and communists and give them the right—both civil and legal—to propagate their anti-Catholic teachings freely.[33] Yes indeed, as the Document states, “He Himself (Christ) noting that cockle had been sown amid the wheat, gave orders that both should be allowed to grow until the harvest time which will come at the end of the world.” The “cockle” then, or heresy which it symbolizes is to be allowed to grow—not opposed, not uprooted from the Christian faithful. Finally, not content with conceding all this, the faithful are instructed that they should engage in active communicatio in sacris—that is to say, should join in common worship with heretics. Now how can a Church that believes it was founded by Christ and that believes its rites are of divine origin, allow its members to join in forms of worship that are of purely human origin. Active communicatio in sacris has always been forbidden to Catholics. Canon law forbids it as a mortal sin (Canon 1258). It is further forbidden by St. Paul:

Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? (IICor. 6:14).

Above all, active communicatio in sacris on the part of a Catholic involves him in False Worship and as such is theologically considered to be against the First Commandment. And if we allow the principle that the rights of truth are to be sacrificed for some lesser good—that “the exigencies of charity force us outside the bounds of orthodoxy” (as Paul VI has said), then we concede all to the “private judgment” of the individual. Divorce, abortion, murder for social expediency, genocide and all the horrors of the modern world will follow rapidly.

As for the Church treating those who disagree with it theologically on an “equal footing,”—how can those who speak with the words of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and Cassian deal on an equal footing with economic determinists, communists and village atheists? Nor can the Church be true to itself if it allows for the spreading of heresy in places where it is in a position to prevent it. “Not to oppose error is to approve it and not to defend the truth is to suppress it.” The idea that “liberty of conscience and worship is the proper right of every man, and should be pro-claimed and asserted by law in every correctly established society...” was specifically condemned by Pope Pius in his Quanta Cura and was referred to by Pope Gregory XVI as “insanity.” The Church is bound by her very nature to support and foster that state which openly embraces the Catholic faith. She may herself, or in the rulers she approves of, tolerate or allow error to co-exist, but never on an equal basis. She must clearly stand forth as holding and teaching the “fullness of the faith” that Christ endowed her with, and use all reasonable efforts not only to convince others of the correctness of her position, but also take appropriate measures to prevent others from corrupting her doctrines and confusing the faithful. When she fails to do this, she fails to show charity both to those within her fold and to those outside. And if this is true for the Church, it is equally true for the family. Finally, what of conversion and mission activity? Why in charity are we obliged to share with our neighbor the truth that the Church proclaims. No matter what he believes, providing he is “sincere” and a “man of goodwill,” we shall meet on the “other side” (if there is another side!). And who of us knows a neighbor that is not “sincere” and “a man of good will”?

Tied in with these false ideas on ecumenism are several “catch-words” that recur with considerable frequency throughout the documents of the council, and are subsequently found in the mouthings of the post-conciliar clergy. Such phrases as “freedom of conscience,” “liberty,” and “the dignity of the human person” have an almost “superstitious” aura for the modernist and the liberal. It should however be quite clear to a Catholic that the dignity of a person in no way consists in his liberty, for liberty is an abstraction pure and simple. Liberty is only good in so far as it is regulated by what is good and true. This is why Our Lord said “the truth shall make you free,” and not “freedom shall lead you to the truth.” In so far as a person uses his intellect badly, or misdirects his will, he loses his dignity (and acts in an undignified manner).

Our dignity derives from the fact that we are made “in His image,” but to be dignified, we must conform to this image. Our failure to do so, even if we are not culpable, as in the insane), can never be dignified. Finally, it must not be forgotten that most people who use the phrase “freedom of conscience” in practice really mean “freedom not to have a conscience.” (Was it “freedom of conscience” that lead to the martyrdom of the English Catholics, or to Luther’s breaking his vow of celibacy—a vow he gave to God, not the Church?). If we are truly to be “free,” “dignified,” and to have our conscience function properly, it is absolutely necessary that these concepts and realities be guided by what is “good” and “true.” And this is why the Church must be intransigent and absolute in instructing and guiding us. It is also why the Church cannot itself depart from the traditional teachings handed down from the apostles, for it in turn must be guided by what is “good” and “true” which is Christ Himself. If man was in fact meant to “use his own judgment” in religious matters, then it must be asked “Why did Christ come down from heaven and die on the cross?” Why did Christ found a ‘visible’ Church and instruct it to preserve His teaching? Why was an apostolic succession established? What greater departure from the traditional teaching of the Church can there be than this open proclamation of “private judgment” as a source of truth? Yet despite this we hear the soothing words from Rome: “Nothing de fide has been changed.” Nothing de fide has been left! For the new church to proclaim that man is to “use his own judgment” in religious matters is for it to state that man has no obligation to listen to her. As soon as the post-conciliar Church accedes to the “rights” of “private judgment” in religious matters, she must accept and even bow to those who challenge her authority on such grounds, or else she must become an “open” Church that allows for a plurality of mutually exclusive theological opinions within her ranks. Neither alternative is acceptable to the Church founded by Christ.

It is of course impossible for us to consider all the implications that follow from the ambiguities, if not outright errors, that are to be found in Vatican II. We cannot however pass over one of its fundamental theses without comment—namely the idea that man has evolved and greatly progressed since the primitive era of the apostles. “The human intellect is also broadening its dominion over time; over the past by means of historical knowledge; over the future by the art of projecting and planning. Advances in biology, psychology, and the social sciences… bring man hope of improved self-knowledge... Thanks to the experience of past ages, the progress of the sciences, and the treasures hidden in the various forms of human culture, the nature of man himself is more clearly revealed and new roads to truth are opened.” And all this being so, the faithful are instructed to

blend modern science and its theories and the understanding of the most recent discoveries with Christian morality and doctrine. Thus their religious practice and morality can keep pace with their scientific knowledge and with an ever advancing technology... (The Church in the Modern World, Para. 62).

Surely, even the most rabid liberal would find it difficult to believe that such a statement emanated from that “ecclesiastical community” claiming to be the Roman Catholic Church. My God, how can the Church ever hope to guide the world, if it is to blend its morality and doctrine with the latest scientific theories—yes “theories”?

It is this idea of progress that underlies the modernist’s compulsion to “adapt” the faith to the modern world—or as Paul VI put it with regard to the liturgy, “accommodate contemporary mentality.” It is as Pius XII said only twenty-five years ago, “these false evolutionary notions with their denial of all that is fixed or abiding in human experience, that have paved the way for a new philosophy of error.” The argument runs along these lines: contemporary man is the result of a long and progressive development and is far more intelligent than his predecessors. His insights into truth are therefore more profound and of greater value than those of men who lived two thousand years ago. The Church must accept these new insights and adapt her earlier conceptions to them. Evolution and progress are fundamental forces of nature and existence. Therefore truth and the church must evolve along with man and the world. As Avery Dulles, S.J., puts it, “the traditional doctrinal formulations were forged in the light of a general world-view that has by now become obsolete, an unconditional allegiance to any single view of the universe, such as the Christian faith seems to demand, impresses the modern mind as fanatical and unscientific... the claim that some privileged source... contains the totality of saving truth is likewise distasteful...the assertion that divine revelation was complete in the first century of our era seems completely antithetical to the modern concept of progress.”[34] If modern man has changed, then the Church must also change or die.

What after all is a “modernist,” but one who would “modernize” the Church, bring her “into the twentieth century” and make her acknowledge “the normative patterns of contemporary thought.” He is not interested in her using telephones and the other paraphernalia of the current world, but in modernizing her thinking and her teaching. He would delete from her character all “absolutism” and “mediaeval rigorism,” and make her “acceptable and lovable” to modern man. Now what is “modern man,” and what are his “normative patterns of thought”? If he can be characterized at all, he is an individual who believes in no absolute truths and who holds that he himself is the source and the criteria of all value judgments. He holds that all truths are relative and that one man’s opinion is as good as another’s. He believes that it is in this world that man finds his meaning and purpose; that morality is necessitated by what he calls “social contract”; and that virtue is “enlightened self-interest.” Man qua man is the center of his universe and the most altruistic activity he can engage in is “serving mankind.” The Catholic modernist (if such a phrase has any meaning at all) is a man who has lost the faith, a man who does not believe in a divine revelation, a “deposit of the faith,” and in a Church whose function it is to preserve this deposit. As George Santayana put it, “ the love of all Christianity in those who perceive that it is all a fable. It is the historic attachment to his Church of a Catholic who has discovered that he is a pagan... It is the last of those concessions to the spirit of the world which half-believers and double-minded prophets have always been found making; but it is a mortal concession. It concedes everything; for it concedes that everything in Christianity, as Christians hold it, is an illusion.”

Now in point of fact, these concepts of “progress” and “evolution” are the most pernicious pseudo-dogmas and pseudo-myths that the world has ever produced. This is not to state that they do not exist, but their existence is partial and of quite limited applicability, and never without their antithesis in degradation and degeneration. The Truth, being timeless and immutable, is clearly immune from such “forces” of change. What is however radically false is to suppose that our ancestors were intellectually, spiritually, or morally our inferiors. To propose this is the most childish of delusions, for human weakness may alter its style, in the course of history, but not its nature. Based on these false concepts, man dreams of building a world so perfect that no one will need to be good and believes that all the problems that he faces will be effaced at some time in the future. (“We must build a better world for our children”). These concepts are in fact “the opiate of the people,” for they hold out a false hope to modern man—to a desperate collectivity deprived of the meaning of life. They are the antithesis of all that is traditional. No wonder that the Church has consistently opposed them.

The doctrine of the faith which God has revealed has not been proposed to human intelligences to be perfected by them as if it were a philosophical system, but as a divine deposit entrusted to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted.

Yet it is on the basis of these false ideas of “progress” and “evolution,” of the need to “shore up” Christianity by adapting it to contemporary ways of thinking, that the so-called “Northern Alliance” introduced a whole host of questionable teachings into the seemingly “official” teachings of the Church.[35] They are among those that Pius XI speaks of in his Encyclical Mortalium Animos (“On the Death of Souls”):

These unfortunate souls who are infected with these errors believe that dogmatic truth is not absolute, but relative, and that it is able to adapt itself to the variable exigencies of time, of place and of the various needs of different souls, that it does not depend upon an unchangeable revelation, but ought to by its nature accommodate itself to the life of man.

They were nevertheless condemned before, and remain condemned today by the traditional Church:

One must condemn... anything that seems to be animated by the unhealthy spirit of novelty; anything that holds up to derision the piety of the faithful or suggests new orientations for the Christian life; anything that suggests new directions for the Church to follow or new hopes and aspirations that are more suitable to the souls of modern day Catholics; anything that implies a new social vocation for the priesthood or for Christian civilization; in fact any ideas that remotely resemble these concepts (Pius XII, Pleni lAnimo).

If anyone shall say that, because of scientific progress it may be possible at some time to interpret the Church’s dogmas in a different sense from that which the Church understood and understands, let him be anathema! (Vatican I)

It is not the Church that has become “irrelevant,” and therefore in need of “adapting” itself to modern man, but rather “modern man,” a collectivity that seeks above all to avoid “the one thing necessary,” who is in need of adapting himself to religion.[36] As Pius X said in his Encyclical E. Supremi Apostolatus, “Who can fail to see that at the present society is suffering more than in any past age from a terrible and radical malady which, while developing every day and gnawing into its very being, is dragging it to destruction? You understand, Venerable Brethren, this disease is apostasy from God... We must use every means and bend every effort to bring about the total disappearance of that enormous and detestable wickedness so characteristic of our time—the substitution of man for God.” The modernist argument is the exact opposite of this, for it holds that the father of the “prodigal son” should go and eat swill with the rebellious offspring. What has resulted from Vatican II is not a “rejuvenation of the faith,” but a “theological pigsty.” A new Church has been created—to use the words of Cardinal Benelli, “a new ecclesiology”[37] —the self-styled “post-conciliar Church,” a Church that as Paul VI says:

seeks to adapt itself to the languages, to the customs and to the inclinations of the men of our times, men completely engrossed in the rapidity of material evolution and similar necessities of their individual circumstances. This ‘openness’ is the very essence of the (new) Church... THE RESTRICTIONS OF ORTHODOXY DO NOT COINCIDE WITH PASTORAL CHARITY.

A new Church, a Church with “a different ecclesiology,” a Church that fulfills the dreams of the Freemason Eliphas Levi. Let us consider the form of this Levi-athan dream as Levi expounded it in the year 1862:

A day will come when the Pope, inspired by the Holy Spirit will declare that all the excommunications are lifted, and all the anathemas are retracted, when all Christians will be united within the Church, when the Jews and Moslems will be blessed and called back to her. While keeping the unity and inviolability of her dogmas, she will permit to all sects to approach her by degrees, and will embrace all mankind in the communion of her love and her prayers. Then Protestants will no longer exist. Against what will they be able to protest? The Sovereign Pontiff will then be truly king of the religious world, and he will do whatever he wishes with all the nations of the earth. It is necessary to spread this spirit of universal charity...

Nor, should it be thought that this is the first time such a generalized apostasy has occurred. Consider the following taken from Maccabees:

In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded many, saying, let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us: for since we departed from them, we have had much sorrow. Then certain people were so forward therein, that they went to the King who gave them license to do after the ordinances of the heathen...(and they) made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen...

Truly, as Cardinal John Fisher said before his martyrdom, “The fort is betrayed even of those who have defended it.”[38]

To read Part 3 of this series of articles, Tradition' by Rama P. Coomaraswamy as it appeared in the Winter-Spring 1979 edition of 'Studies in Comparative Religion'">click here.

Editor's note regarding this series of essays:  Rama P. Coomaraswamy first published The Destruction of the Christian Tradition in 1972. The series of essays that appeared in Studies was accomplished by choosing extended and representative portions of the book and then presenting them in five parts. A later edition of the same book, in its totality, was published by World Wisdom in 2006 under the guidance of Dr. Coomaraswamy, including some revisions. Readers are encouraged to refer to this volume should they need a fuller context for some of the facts and observations in the extracts which were published as articles in Studies.



[1] This second extract from The Destruction of the Christian Tradition is Part III of the book (earlier edition). —Editor.

[2] Robert Blair Kaiser, “Pope, Council and World,” MacMillan: N.Y., 1963. Kaiser was the Time correspondent accredited to Vatican II. Itineraires, Paris, France, November 1978.

[3] The Catholic Encyclopedia (1908) described anti-Pope (a Pope that allows himself to be elected while another legitimate Pope is on the throne) John XXII as “utterly worldly minded, ambitious, crafty, unscrupulous, and immoral.” He did die, however, well reconciled to Holy Mother Church.

[4] Brian Kaiser, op. cit.; M. Trevor’s Pope John (Doubleday: N.Y., 1967), expresses a similar opinion in more guarded ways, and even uses the term “Machiavellian”, stating that he might appear to some this way, but that such was not really the case.

[5] As one theologian stated, “when those thirty or forty or fifty observers show up at the council, they’ll have a role that will be psychologically more important than the rest of the fathers put together.” While Paul Etoga, the native bishop of M’Balmayo in. the Cameroon, had to hitch-hike from Le Havre, the Protestant and communist “observers” were royally entertained and housed at John XXIII’s expense.

[6] Available from “The Catholic Counter-Reformation,” 31 Wimbotsham Road, Downham Market, Norfolk, PE38 9PE, England. This represents a most important document. Unfortunately subsequently to this, the abbe has acted in a strange and inconsistant manner.

[7] The attachment of traditional Catholics to their “rites,” does not reflect a “sentimental attachment to habitual forms of worship,” but a legitimate sentimental attachment to the “sacred.” The so-called “falsity of doctrinal positions” has never been specified.

[8] The idea that Charity can exist outside the bounds of “true doctrine and right belief (as “orthodoxy” is defined) is highly absurd. Was Christ lacking in Charity? Did St. Thomas Moore lack sufficient charity towards his family when he refused to compromise his faith? Are we to tell lies and dissimulate rather than to offend our neighbor, or the truth? Hardly.

[9] “The peoples turn to the United Nations as their last hope for peace and concord... Your characteristic (i.e. the UN) is to reflect in the temporal order what our Catholic Church is in the spiritual order. Nothing higher on the natural plane can be imagined in the ideological edifice of humanity. (The goats of the UN) are the ideal that mankind has dreamed of in its journey through history. We would venture to call it the world’s greatest hope—for it is the reflection of God’s design—a design transcendent and full of love—for the progress of human society on earth, a reflection in which We can see the gospel message, something from heaven come down to earth.”

[10] The Church would teach with Genesis 8:2 that “the imagination and thought of man’s heart are prone to evil.” Anyone familiar with the modern business world where “the law of the sharks” prevails, must surely see this as the heights of naivety. It is of interest to quote Montini’s speech in Bombay: “Mankind is undergoing profound changes and searching for guiding principles and new forces which will show it the way in the world of the future… We must come closer to one another, not merely through the press and radio, by boat or jet aircraft, but with our hearts, by mutual understanding, esteem and love.” At no time during this talk was truth and obedience to God’s laws offered as a basis of human relations.

[11] This litany was occasioned by the landing of the astronauts on the moon.

[12] Admittedly these are selected quotes. One can quote Paul VI on both sides of almost any issue—and further, he is a master of equivocation and ambiguity. We have already cited the example of where he congratulated the French hierarchy for its rejecting the teaching of his Encyclical Humanae Vitae. Another case in point is his appointing Cardinal Samore to be “Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Discipline in Sacramental Matters” two months after this Cardinal had distributed communion to a mixed bag of Protestants, a fact that received so much publicity in the French press that Paul VI was led to deplore “the acts of intercommunion that went against the proper ecumenical guidelines” (Doc. Cath. 68-141). Truly, “pale faith speaks with forked tongue!”

[13] Such an act is a violation of Canon law, and goes contra to the Canons of the Ecumenical Council. But then, Paul VI has invited to say their “mass” on Vatican altars.

[14] No offence to the many pious Jews, or to traditional Judaism is meant by this reportage. Listen to the words of High Rabbi Kaplan of Paris: “If I had been a Catholic, I would have been an ‘integriste’ (traditional). If Judaism is alive and authentic in this day, it is because her ministers have never raised doubts about her real nature. We have but one disagreement with the (post-conciliar) bishops but it is a most important one. While they are trying to adapt their religion to man, we put forth all our efforts to adapt man to religion.” The Iman of the Mosque in Paris has gone so far as to invite Catholics who are seeking an unchanging religion, to join Islam!

[15] Both “J-P I” and “J-P II” were shown on television as being invested with the “pallium.” Now, according to Rev. L. O’Connell (The Book of Ceremonies, Bruce: Milwaukee, 1956) the pallium is “a wide circular band of white wool with a pendant attached to the front and back, and with six black crosses stitched on it… Symbolic of the plenitude of the Episcopal power, the pallium is worn by the pope at all times. It is worn by archbishops also as a mark of their participation in the pope’s supreme pastoral office ... It is a mere honorary dignity.” It is even occasionally conferred upon bishops. As such, it denotes no function beyond that of being “Bishop of Rome.”

[16] Hubert Jedin, Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church, Herder: NY., 1969

[17] The presence of “observers” from the various protestant sects, even if not preventing the fathers from speaking out forcefully on issues that might offend, certainly must have been inhibiting. This may have been very significant with regard to the presence of Russian Orthodox observers (from Moscow) who only came with the understanding that communism would not be criticized—a fact reported by various authors.

[18] Every time orthodox fathers wished to define more clearly what was being ambiguously stated, they were informed that the Council was “pastoral” and not “dogmatic.” (c.f. Arch. Lefebvre’s “J’accuse le Concile.”

[19] Requests by hundreds of the Council Fathers for the condemnation of communism were sidetracked by those in control as Father Wiltgen points out.

[20] In a similar manner, Santiago Carrillo (the head of the Spanish Communist Party) has called “Euro-communism” “our aggiornamento; our Vatican II.” (Itineraires, May 1977).

[21] Quoted by D. Von Hilderbrand, “Belief and Obedience: the Critical Difference,” Triumph, March 1970.

[22] Rev. Ralph M. Wiltgen, The Rhine flows into the Tiber, Hawthorn: N.Y., 1967, recently republished in PB by Augustine Publ. Co., England, 1978. Quoted by D. Von Hilderbrand, “Belief and Obedience: the Critical Difference,” Triumph, March 1970.

[23] As E. E. Y. Hales says: “On the face of it Pope John was allowing the Council to take shape in a way that seemed certain not to produce the aggiornamento of the Church which he wanted. One explanation of this paradox is that he was subtly allowing the Curia to think that it was going to be their Council, so as to ensure that they would not try to thwart it, while he himself knew very well that once it met, it would cease to be theirs, that he (and it) would take over from the Curia.” (Pope John and His Revolution, Doubleday: N.Y., 1965).

[24] Archbishop Lefebyre’s J’accuse le Concile documents a letter sent to Paul VI signed by several cardinals, and Superior Generals of religious organizations, and the manner in which he dismissed their contentions.

[25] “Salvation history,” one of the favorite phrases of the innovators, and one clearly implying that salvation is a historical process, is particularly offensive. Salvation is an “individual” process, for the whole world may be saved, and the present writer damned: Further, in accord with the Gospel story of the eleventh-hour laborer, salvation today is no different than it was in the days of Abraham.

[26] Ambiguity is always the refuge of the scoundrel who wishes to lie, not only to his neighbor, but also to himself. How does a naughty child respond to an accusing mother from whom he wishes to hide the truth while not clearly telling a lie? He equivocates. He departs from the Pauline precept “say yea for yea and nay for nay.” The modernist has basically lost his faith in revelation, and if he wishes to remain within the visible church, he must either change the meaning of certain words, or else change the words so that they can mean one thing to him, and another to the faithful. Thus, as one modernist put it, “one learns the use of the double meaning, the tortuously complex sentences and paragraphs which conceal meaning rather than reveal it.” The existential theologian has a positive dislike for clarity. As Father Daley said of Tyrell: “He believed that clearness was a snare for the unwary, and that snare is avoided as long as one distrusts clearness and recognizes it as a note of inadequacy.” As Pope Pius X said in his Encyclical Pascendi, the writings of the modernist clique appear “tentative and vague,” while those of the Church are always “firm and constant.” He said further, “It is one of the cleverest devices of the modernists (as they are commonly and rightly called) to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement, in a scattered and disjointed manner, so as to make it appear as if their minds were in doubt or hesitation, whereas in reality they are quite fixed and steadfast.”

[27] Doctrines do Grow, Ed. John T. McGinn, CSP, Paulist Press: N.Y., 1967.

[28] The Documents of Vatican II, Ed. Walter M. Abbott, S.J., Guild: N.Y., 1967.

[29] Consider the following Conciliar statement: “The widespread reduction in working hours, for instance, brings increasing advantages to numerous people. May these leisure hours be properly used for relaxation of spirit and the strengthening of mental and bodily health. Such benefits are available through spontaneous study and activity and through travel, which refines human qualities and enriches man with mutual understanding. These benefits are obtainable too from physical exercise and sports events, which can help to preserve emotional balance, even at the community level, and to establish fraternal relations among men of all conditions, nations and races.” This from a document of the Ecumenical Council!

[30] The phraseology here is strikingly Teilhardian. Those who see the world as progressing towards some “point Omega,” ignore the fact that Our Lord is both the Alpha and the Omega. The premise that the human race has in some way changed is totally erroneous. It is radically false to suppose that our ancestors were intellectually or spiritually our inferiors. Human weakness may alter its style in the course of history but not its nature.

[31] Avery Dulles, S.J. “Doctrines Do Grow,” Op. cit.

[32] Passages in quotation marks are taken from the documents.

[33] “The Christian faithful, like other men, should enjoy on the level of the state, the right of in no way being hindered from leading their lives according to their conscience. It is entirely in accord between the liberty of the Church and the freedom of religion that all men and all communities should have this right accorded to them as a civil and legal right.” (Vatican II).

[34] Doctrines Do Grow, op. cit.

[35] Archbishop Lefebvre lists some of these: “Since the council was initiated it has in a more or less general manner, shaken the certitude of many truths taught by the authentic Magisterium of the Church, and which belong most definitely to the treasure of her tradition...(the) question of the jurisdiction of bishops, of the two sources of revelation, of the inspiration of the scriptures, of the necessity of grace for justification, of the necessity of Catholic baptism, of the life of grace among heretics, schismatics and pagans, of the ends of marriage, of religious liberty, of the last ends, etc...” (J’accuse le Concile).

[36] It should be obvious that the traditional Church is not against “progress,” if by this term we are referring to the advances of modern science. The designing of “better mouse traps” is clearly of advantage to society, providing of course that justice is not violated, and the true and proper ends of man are not subverted. As Pope Saint Pius X said in his encyclical E. Supremi Apostalatus, “it is not progress, but ignorance in knowledge” that “extinguishes the faith.” What she is diametrically opposed to is the “mystique of progress” that sees in this concept a “dynamic” force applicable in the natural and supernatural realm to all of reality. It is this mystique that is reflected in the vague pantheism pervading modern religiosity, and underlies the dream of the post-conciliar Church—”that all may be one.” The idea that the world in which we live today is in any way “Christian” is absurd, and any attempt to adapt our religion to this world is inevitably a betrayal of Christ. (Even the historians and sociologists refer to it as the “post-Christian” world). The Civitas Dei and worldly progression as envisioned by modern man cannot converge and those who strive to accommodate the religious message to profane illusions and agitations are among those whom Christ labeled as “scatterers.” Those who look forward to a millenium in which all men of good will are united in a “new humanity” would do well to remember the scriptural prophecies of Anti-Christ. The faithful will, at the end of time, be a “remnant.” Pray God, we may be among that small “remnant.”

[37] Consider the following taken from an article in Christian Order, October 1978: “At the end, Dr. Saventham asked the prelate (now Cardinal Benelli) whether the traditional liturgy could not be permitted at the side of the new one. The answer was startling: “Sir, all these reforms go in the same direction, whereas the old Mass represents another ecclesiology”! Dr Saventham: “Monseigneur, what you said is an enormity!” Benelli: “I shall say it again: those who want to have the old Mass have another ecclesiology!”

[38] To say a “New Church” has been created is not to say that the true Catholic Church, the “Church of All Times,” does not continue to exist—that Church against which the Gates of Hell shall not prevail. With regard to this promise consider the words of Leo XIII: “All the world knows that this Divine promise ought to be understood to apply to the Universal Church (that is to say, the Church of All Times, that Church which is as Universal in “time” as it is in “space”—Ed.) and not to any part of the Church taken in isolation, for individual segments may, and in fact, indeed have, been overcome by the forces of evil” (Satis Cognitum).

Original editorial inclusions that followed the essay in Studies:
He who believes in the blessings of the world to come abstains of his own accord from tire pleasures of this present world. But he who lacks such faith becomes pleasure-loving and insensitive.
St. Mark the Ascetic.

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