Bishop Williamson: New World Order and Catholicism
Bishop Williamson: New World Order and Catholicism
If I will not live up to what I think,
My thoughts to the level of my life will sink.
Here follows an abbreviated testimonial from the United States, which hits many a nail on the head:—
The Society of St Pius X has been “rebranded,” and it is not the same as it was. As the original SSPX belonged to the Catholic Church, so the Newsociety belongs to the Newchurch. To those old enough to remember, it seems like Vatican II all over again, only worse, because this time there is no direct doctrinal attack, nor a major Council, instead the revolution is being spread by slow, almost imperceptible social transformation.
For while the appearances of Tradition are being maintained, the Traditionalist Movement is being slowly changed from within. Outwardly and materially things appear to be more successful than ever, with increasing amounts of money and buildings, but inwardly and spiritually there is decay, because the disease of modernism is imperceptibly infecting the ranks. A variety of symptoms indicate that the modernism is the same, for instance the new, young happy-faced Society priests who are just like the “peace priests” of the 60s and 70s, as the great Cardinal Mindszenty called them. But unlike the previous generation of priests they lack masculinity, and so do some of the Newsociety’s leading lay teachers.
Thus the Mass may still be Traditional, but the whole culture around it is Novus Ordo. Traditionalists want to preserve the Old Mass and the Sacraments, and some of the morals from the Catechism, but at the same time they want to have everything else the modern world has to offer. This makes many so-called Traditional Catholics, outside of the Mass and the Sacraments, largely indistinguishable from their counterparts in the rest of the modern world. The statistics are the same when it comes to divorce, annulment, “single mothers,” etc. If Traditionalists want to go with the modern world, they cannot stay with the true religion. It is one or the other.
As it is, the Traditionalist Movement is now opening up to the world, to become socially acceptable and normal. and the process of modernization is underway, slowly but surely. There is a new, young generation in charge and they are changing things. The old, quirky, embarrassing hardliners have been replaced, and Tradition has a new image, a young, happy, friendly face. The mainstream Church had its aggiornamento fifty years ago, the Society is being updated today. The old generation which fought so many battles to preserve things is now being replaced by a new generation which never knew the Novus Ordo, or how it came to be, and has never had to fight for anything. Today’s youngsters are liable to have grown up in a Traditional bubble, and have too little knowledge of yesterday’s war, background of today’s. Before the Council Bella Dodd testified to the Communist infiltration of the Church. Are we so sure that the same thing is not being done now to the Traditionalist Movement?
It was all too predictable. Being neither infallible nor indefectible, the Society is now going through what the Church went through fifty years ago – infiltration, compromise, disintegration and the same process of autodemolition. Archbishop Lefebvre would have noticed the radical change immediately, but a large number of the frogs in the Society pot have not even noticed how the water temperature is rising. The Archbishop”handed down what he received,” but how can the new generation hand down what it is no longer receiving? Therefore we now hear that the “inevitable reconciliation” is at hand. The SSPX will be accepted as part of the Newchurch, and conversely, it will have to accept the Newchurch. It will now be just one of many side-chapels in the Pantheon of the New World Order. And as for “reconciliation,” which side has given in to the other? Has the Conciliar Church become Catholic? Far from it!
See next week further examples from the same witness.
The Church which sedevax attempt to save
In fact to human limits they enslave.
For any Catholic soul realizing today the gravity of the crisis in the Church and agonizing over it, the simplicity of sedevacantism dismissing as invalid the Church and Popes of Vatican II can become a serious temptation. Worse, the seeming logic of the ecclesiavacantists’ and sedevacantists’ arguments can turn that temptation into a mental trap which can at worst lead a Catholic to lose his faith altogether. That is why these “Comments” will return in more detail to the main argument of the scattershot of arguments laid out in the article by BpS from 1991 mentioned here last week. Here again is that argument:—
Major: the Catholic Church is absolutely indefectible (it has God’s own guarantee that it will last to the end of the world – cf. Mt XXVIII, 20). Minor: But the Conciliar or Novus Ordo Church, overwhelmed by neo-modernism and liberalism, represents an absolute defection. Conclusion: the Novus Ordo Church is absolutely not Catholic and its Popes are absolutely not Popes. In other words the Church is absolutely white while the Newchurch is absolutely black, so Church and Newchurch are absolutely different. To minds which like to think in black and white with nothing in between, this argument has much appeal. But to minds which recognize that in real life things are often grey, or a mixture of black and white (without black ceasing to be black or white ceasing to be white), the argument is too absolute to be true. Thus in the Major there is an exaggeration of the Church’s indefectibility, and in the Minor there is an exaggeration of the Newchurch’s defection. Theory can be absolute, but reality rarely is absolute. Let us look at indefectibility and the Conciliar defection as they are in reality.
As for the Major, sedevacantists frequently exaggerate the Church’s indefectibility, just as they frequently exaggerate the Popes’ infallibility, because that is what they need to support their emotional horror at what has become of the Catholic Church since the Council. But in reality just as that infallibility does not exclude great errors of some Popes in Church history and only applies when the Pope is either, Ordinarily, saying what the Church has always said, or, Extraordinarily, is engaging all four conditions of the 1870 definition, so the Church’s indefectibility does not absolutely exclude some huge defections at given moments of Church history, such as the triumphs of Islam or Protestantism or of the Antichrist (Lk. XVIII, 8), it only excludes absolutely a total defection, or total failure (Mt. XXVIII, 20). Thus indefectibility is not as absolute as BpS pretends.
As for the Minor, it is true that the defection of Conciliarism is considerably more grave than that of either Islam or Protestantism because it strikes at the head and heart of the Church in Rome, which they did not do. Nevertheless even half a century of Conciliarism (1965 to 2016) has not made the Church totally defect, or fail. For instance Archbishop Lefebvre – and he was not alone – held high the Faith from 1970 to 1991, his successors did the same, more or less, from 1991 to 2012, and the embattled “Resistance” upholds his line still, and before the Church humanly collapses in a not too distant future, unquestionably its indefectibility will be divinely saved, just as before world’s end – Mt. XXIV, 21–22. Thus Conciliarism as a defection of the Church is not as absolute as BpS pretends, either.
So his syllogism needs to be recast – Major: the Church’s indefectibility does not exclude huge defections but only a total defection. Minor: Vatican II was a huge but not total defection of the Church (even if Catholics aware of its danger must totally avoid it, for fear of contamination). Conclusion: the Church’s indefectibility does not exclude Vatican II. In brief, God’s own Church is bigger than all the wickedness of Devil or man, even Vatican II. The Conciliar defection may well be of an unprecedented gravity in all Church history, but the Church’s indefectibility and the Popes’ infallibility come from God and not from men. Like liberals, the sedevacantists are thinking humanly, all too humanly.
The Catholic Church can never wholly fail,
But, partially, it can severely ail.
It may irk a number of readers of these “Comments” if they return once more to the theme of the Conciliar Popes not being Popes at all, but the recent translation into French of an article from 1991 in English shows how the arguments for sedevacantism need repeatedly to be demonstrated as being not so conclusive as they may appear. Liberals need no such demonstration, because for them sedevacantism is no temptation. However there are select Catholic souls drawn by the grace of God out of liberalism towards Catholic Tradition for whom sedevacantism becomes positively dangerous. The Devil does not care whether we lose our balance to the right or to the left, so long as we lose our balance.
For indeed the error of sedevacantism may in theory be an error neither as deep nor as grave as the universal mind-rot of liberalism, but in practice how often one observes that minds snap shut with sedevacantism, and that what started out as an acceptable opinion (what Catholic can say that the words and deeds of Pope Francis are Catholic?), tends to become an unacceptable dogmatic certainty (what Catholic can judge with certainty of such a question?), and from there to impose itself as the dogma of dogmas, as though a person’s Catholicity is to be judged by whether or not he believes in our having had no real Pope since, say, Pius XII.
One reason offered by previous “Comments” for this often observed internal dynamic of sedevacantism may be the Gordian-knot simplicity with which it slices through an agonizing and faith-threatening problem: “How can these destroyers of the Church be true Catholic Popes?” Answer, they are not Popes at all. “Oh, what a relief! I need no longer agonize.” The mind snaps shut, sedevacantism is to be shared as though it were the Gospel with whoever will listen (or not listen), and at worst it can be extended from the Popes to all cardinals, bishops and priests, so that a once believing Catholic turns into a “home-aloner” who gives up attending Mass altogether. Will he succeed in keeping the Faith? And his children? Here is the danger.
Therefore to keep our Catholic Faith in balance and to avoid the traps laid today to its right as to its left, let us look at the arguments of BpS in the 15-page article mentioned above. (“BpS” is an abbreviation which many readers will identify at once, but it need not be spelled out here because we are more concerned with his arguments than with his person.) In his article at least he does think, and he does have a Catholic’s faith in the Papacy, otherwise the Conciliar Popes would be no problem for him. This logic and faith are what is best in sedevacantists, but neither BpS nor they are working from the whole picture: God cannot let go of his Church, but he can let go of his churchmen.
For here is his argument in a nutshell – Major: the Church is indefectible. Minor: at Vatican II the Church went liberal, which was a major defection. Conclusion: the Conciliar Church is not the real Church, which means that the Conciliar Popes who led or followed Vatican II cannot have been real Popes.
The argument looks good. However, from the very same Major and Minor can come a liberal Conclusion: the Church is indefectible, the Church went liberal, so I too, as a Catholic, must go liberal. That sedevacantism thus shares its roots with liberalism should make any sedevacantist think twice. BpS notices the common roots, and calls them “ironic,” but they are much more than that. They point to liberals and sedevacantists making the same error, which must be in the Major. Indeed both alike misunderstand the Church’s indefectibility, as they mistake the Popes’ infallibility. See these “Comments” next week for a more detailed analysis of BpS’s argument.
by Cardinal Mercier
1 — You ought to show the greatest exactitude in observing all the points of your rule of life, obeying them without delay, remembering Saint John Berchmans, who said: “Penance for me is to lead the common life”; “To have the highest regard for the smallest things, such is my motto”; “Rather die than break a single rule.”
2 —In the exercise of your duties of state, try to be well-pleased with whatever happens to be most unpleasant or boring for you, recalling again here the words of Saint Francis: “I am never better than when I am not well.”
3 — Never give one moment over to sloth: from morning until night keep busy without respite.
4 — If your life is, at least partly, spent in study, apply to yourself this advice from Saint Thomas Aquinas to his pupils: “Do not be content to take in superficially what you read and hear, but endeavour to go into it deeply and to fathom the whole sense of it. Never remain in doubt about what you could know with certainty. Work with a holy eagerness to enrich your mind; arrange and classify in your memory all the knowledge you are able to acquire. On the other hand, do not seek to penetrate mysteries which are beyond your intelligence.”
5 — Devote yourself solely to your present occupation, without looking back on what went before or anticipating in thought what will follow. Say with Saint Francis: “While I am doing this I am not obliged to do anything else”; “let us make haste very calmly; all in good time.”
6 — Be modest in your bearing. Nothing was so perfect as Saint Francis’s deportment; he always kept his head straight, avoiding alike the inconstancy which turns it in all directions, the negligence which lets it droop forward and the proud and haughty disposition which throws it back. His countenance was always peaceful, free from all annoyance, always cheerful, serene and open; without however any merriment or indiscreet humour, without loud, immoderate or too frequent laughter.
He was as composed when alone as in a large gathering. He did not cross his legs, never supported his head on his elbow. When he prayed he was motionless as a statue. When nature suggested to him he should relax, he did not listen.
7 — Regard cleanliness and order as a virtue, uncleanness and untidyness as a vice; do not have dirty, stained or torn clothes. On the other hand, regard luxury and worldliness as a greater vice still. Make sure that, on seeing your way of dressing, nobody calls it “slovenly” or “elegant”, but that everybody is bound to think it “decent”.
1 — Bear with your neighbour’s defects; defects of education, of mind, of character. Bear with everything about him which irritates you: his gait, his posture, tone of voice, accent, or whatever.
2 — Bear with everything in everybody and endure it to the end and in a Christian spirit. Never with that proud patience which makes one say: “What have I to do with so and so? How does what he says affect me? What need have I for the affection, the kindness or even the politeness of any creature at all and of that person in particular?” Nothing accords less with the will of God than this haughty unconcern, this scornful indifference; it is worse, indeed, than impatience.
3 — Are you tempted to be angry? For the love of Jesus, be meek.
To avenge yourself? Return good for evil; it is said the great secret of touching Saint Teresa’s heart was to do her a bad turn.
To look sourly at someone? Smile at him with good nature.
To avoid meeting him? Seek him out willingly.
To talk badly of him? Talk well of him.
4 — Love to give praise to your companions, especially those you are naturally most inclined to envy.
5 — Do not be witty at the expense of charity.
6 — If somebody in your presence should take the liberty of making remarks which are rather improper, or if someone should hold conversations likely to injure his neighbour’s reputation, you may sometimes rebuke the speaker gently, but more often it will be better to divert the conversation skillfully, or indicate by a gesture of sorrow or of deliberate inattention that what is said displeases you.
7 — It costs you an effort to render a small service: offer to do it. You will have twice the merit.
8 — Avoid with horror posing as a victim in your own eyes or those of others. Far be it from you to exaggerate your burdens; strive to find them light; they are so, in reality, much more often than it seems; they would be so always if you were more virtuous.
In general, know how to refuse to nature what she asks of you unnecessarily.
Know how to make her give what she refuses you for no reason. Your progress in virtue, says the author of The Imitation of Christ, will be in proportion to the violence that you succeed in doing to yourself.
“It is necessary to die,” said the saintly Bishop of Geneva, “it is necessary to die in order that God may live in us, for it is impossible to achieve the union of the soul with God by any means other than by mortification. These words ‘it is necessary to die’ are hard, but they will be followed by a great sweetness, because one dies to oneself for no other reason than to be united to God by that death.”
Would to God we had the right to apply to ourselves these beautiful words of Saint Paul to the Corinthians: “In all things we suffer tribulation… Always bearing about in our body the death of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies.” (II Cor 4:8-10)
by Cardinal Mercier
N.B.: All the practices of mortification which we have collected here are derived from the examples of the saints, especially Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Teresa, Saint Francis de Sales, Saint John Berchmans; or they are recommended by acknowledged masters of the spiritual life, such as the Venerable Louis de Blois, Rodriguez, Scaramelli, Msgr Gay, Abbé Allemand, Abbé Hamon, Abbé Dubois, etc…
1 — In the matter of food, restrict yourself as far as possible to simple necessity. Consider these words which Saint Augustine addressed to God: “O my God, Thou hast taught me to take food only as a remedy. Ah! Lord, who is there among us who does not sometimes exceed the limit here? If there is such a one, I say that man is great, and must give great glory to Thy name.” (Confessions, book X, ch. 31)
2— Pray to God often, pray to God daily to help you by His grace so that you do not overstep the limits of necessity and do not permit yourself to give way to pleasure.
3— Take nothing between meals, unless out of necessity or for the sake of convenience.
4— Practise fasting and abstinence, but practise them only under obedience and with discretion.
5— It is not forbidden for you to enjoy some bodily satisfaction, but do so with a pure intention, giving thanks to God.
6— Regulate your sleep, avoiding in this all faint-heartedness, all softness, especially in the morning. Set an hour, if you can, for going to bed and getting up, and keep strictly to it.
7— In general, take your rest only in so far as it is necessary; give yourself generously to work, not sparing your labour. Take care not to exhaust your body, but guard against indulging it; as soon as you feel it even a little disposed to play the master, treat it at once as a slave.
8— If you suffer some slight indisposition, avoid being a nuisance to others through your bad mood; leave to your companions the task of complaining for you; for yourself, be patient and silent as the Divine Lamb who has truly borne all our weaknesses.
9— Guard against making the slightest illness a reason for dispensation or exemption from your daily schedule. “One must detest like the plague every exception when it comes to rules,” wrote Saint John Berchmans.
10 —Accept with docility, endure humbly, patiently and with perseverance, the tiresome mortification called illness.
1 — Close your eyes always and above all to every dangerous sight, and even – have the courage to do it – to every frivolous and useless sight. See without looking; do not gaze at anybody to judge of their beauty or ugliness.
2—Keep your ears closed to flattering remarks, to praise, to persuasion, to bad advice, to slander, to uncharitable mocking, to indiscretions, to ill-disposed criticism, to suspicions voiced, to every word capable of causing the very smallest coolness between two souls.
3 — If the sense of smell has something to suffer due to your neighbour’s infirmity or illness, far be it from you ever to complain of it; draw from it a holy joy.
4 — In what concerns the quality of food, have great respect for Our Lord’s counsel: “Eat such things as are set before you.” “Eat what is good without delighting in it, what is bad without expressing aversion to it, and show yourself equally indifferent to the one as to the other. There,”says Saint Francis de Sales, “is real mortification.”
5 — Offer your meals to God; at table impose on yourself a tiny penance: for example, refuse a sprinkling of salt, a glass of wine, a sweet, etc.; your companions will not notice it, but God will keep account of it.
6— If what you are given appeals to you very much, think of the gall and the vinegar given to Our Lord on the cross: that cannot keep you from tasting, but will serve as a counterbalance to the pleasure.
7— You must avoid all sensual contact, every caress in which you set some passion, by which you look for passion, from which you take a joy which is principally of the senses.
8— Refrain from going to warm yourself, unless this is necessary to save you from being unwell.
9— Bear with everything which naturally grieves the flesh, especially the cold of winter, the heat of summer, a hard bed and every inconvenience of that kind. Whatever the weather, put on a good face; smile at all temperatures. Say with the prophet: “Cold, heat, rain, bless ye the Lord.” It will be a happy day for us when we are able to say with a good heart these words which were familiar to Saint Francis de Sales: “I am never better than when I am not well.”
10— Mortify your imagination when it beguiles you with the lure of a brilliant position, when it saddens you with the prospect of a dreary future, when it irritates you with the memory of a word or deed which offended you.
11— If you feel within you the need to day-dream, mortify it without mercy.
12— Mortify yourself with the greatest care in the matter of impatience, of irritation, or of anger.
13— Examine your desires thoroughly; submit them to the control of reason and of faith: Do you never desire a long life rather than a holy life, wish for pleasure and well-being without trouble or sadness, victory without battle, success without setbacks, praise without criticism, a comfortable, peaceful life without a cross of any sort – a that is to say, a life quite opposite to that of Our Divine Lord?
14—Take care not to acquire certain habits which, without being positively bad, can become injurious, such as habits of frivolous reading, of playing at games of chance, etc..
15— Seek to discover your predominant failing and, as soon as you have recognised it, pursue it all the way to its last retreat. To that purpose, submit with good will to whatever could be monotonous or boring in the practice of the examination of conscience.
16— You are not forbidden to have a heart and to show it, but be on your guard against the danger of exceeding due measure. Resist attachments which are too natural, particular friendships and all softness of the heart.
1— Mortify your mind by denying it all fruitless imaginings, all ineffectual or wandering thoughts which waste time, dissipate the soul, and render work and serious things distasteful.
2— Every gloomy and anxious thought should be banished from your mind. Concern about all that could happen to you later on should not worry you at all. As for the bad thoughts which bother you in spite of yourself, you should, in dismissing them, make of them a subject for patience. Being involuntary, they will simply be for you an occasion of merit.
3—Avoid obstinacy in your ideas, stubbornness in your sentiments. You should willingly let the judgments of others prevail, unless there is a question of matters on which you have a duty to give your opinion and speak out.
4— Mortify the natural organ of your mind, which is to say the tongue. Practise silence gladly, whether your rule prescribes it for you or whether you impose it on yourself of your own accord.
5— Prefer to listen to others rather than to speak yourself; and yet speak appropriately, avoiding as extremes both speaking too much, which prevents others from telling their thoughts, and speaking too little, which suggests a hurtful lack of interest in what they say.
6— Never interrupt somebody who is speaking and do not forestall, by answering too swiftly, a question he would put to you.
7— Always have a moderate tone of voice, never abrupt or sharp. Avoid exaggeration, as being horrible.