THE CRISIS IN THE CHURCH
Have you ever
asked: How could this have happened?
(Above: In many places Vatican II's so-called "new springtime for the
the wanton destruction of altars and other church furnishings in the
name of renewal.)
Editor's Note: This article
appeared almost twenty years ago in a traditional Catholic journal. It
is written in light of the history of events as known at that time. More
could be written today.
Ever since the Second Vatican Council, many have been
puzzled to know what caused the sudden outbreak of mass confusion and
heartache that have affected Catholics the world over — to the extent of
serious rebellion against Church authority and many defections. Similar
concern was voiced in the sixties by notable Church officials, among
them Cardinals Ottaviani, Bacci and Santos, Bishops Buddy, Adrian,
McIntyre, and Monsignor Antonio Piolanti.
In all our lives we’ve witnessed nothing, nothing even
remotely approaching the turmoil that is so deeply affecting all
Catholics— bishops, priests, religious and laity. The United Press
International calls this the most startling ferment in centuries of the
Church’s history. Even the non-Catholic has been taken by surprise. Dr.
Martin Marty, a Lutheran theologian, recently wrote:
“The Vatican II renewal has been beset by fickle
theology, simplistic thinking, thoughtlessness, and a frequent
compulsion to abandoning the rocking ship. Catholic theologians have
been offering experiment as solution, and tentative steps as ‘the
last word.' They listen not to all the thousands of years of
religious wisdom before them; they talk but have nothing to say. Not
all experimenters have learned the difference between being a fool
for Christ and being a damn fool.”
The Story begins a hundred years ago
The dramatic story begins over one hundred years ago with
the summoning of the First Vatican Council by Pope Pius IX.
Practically the same subversive forces were threatening
the Church then as now — the name “rationalism” substituting for the
present-day secularism — causing the Church to suffer a deplorable
eclipse. By defining the Doctrine of Infallibility, Pope Pius IX exalted
the authority of the Holy See and magnified its prestige, giving to the
act of Faith a depth of meaning it had not known since the early
centuries and calling a halt to questioning the Authority of the Church.
But it also served as a means for the liberal
infiltrators to revive rivalries among bishops, especially of Northern
Europe; the evil genius of nationalism began to stir as it had many
times previously. The Italian Popes and their Curia were dominating the
Church, and (as the liberals saw it) this was to the prejudice of the
Catholics of other Catholic nations. Then, when Pope Pius XII ruled the
papacy with such a domineering hand (as they thought), they formed an
alliance to stop this “autocratic” power in Italy. The active agents for
carrying out this plot were not necessarily the bishops themselves, at
least in the beginning, but trusted servants of the Papacy, who were
nevertheless alien in thought and revolutionary in intent.
And there were others who called more openly for changes:
Hans Küng, Charles Davis, Rahner, Schillebeeckx, Conger, Baum, to name a
few. All claimed to be expert “theologians.” Before the Council they
were considered extremists, and their ideas were viewed, in most cases,
as un-Catholic, to say the least. Most of these theologians became
either Vatican II periti, that is, behind-the-scenes advisors to
so-called “liberal” bishops, mostly from Northern Europe.
They all share a common distaste for the Church, and have
written books and articles since Vatican Council II that have shocked
Catholic and non-Catholic alike by their free-wheeling repudiation of
many traditional Catholic beliefs and their apparent disrespect for all
who disagree with them. These “revolutionaries” in the Church were, and
are, the real movers behind Vatican II and the new religion it spawned.
Thus Charles Davis, the peritus from Britain,
wrote before he formally left the Church:
“Without hesitation I admit as an evident fact that
there are forces within the Roman Catholic Church contrary to its
present structure, which are tending to overthrow the existing
Pope Pius XII was alarmed
Pope Pius XII was one of the most powerful Pontiffs of
modern times. In his last years, he grew wary of the liberal social,
political, and liturgical experiments urged upon him by his advisors,
Msgr. Montini, his Foreign Minister, and others.
When the Pope saw the alarming number of worker priests
who were becoming Communists, he banned the movement, over the protests
of Cardinal Roncalli and the French Hierarchy, and urged that it be
discontinued in all countries. Msgr. Montini was banished to Milan, and
the Pope became his own Foreign Minister, being able to trust no one.
When the Pope died, the rebellious bishops and cardinals
formed an alliance to prevent the election of another “autocratic”
Italian Pope. Since the so-called conservatives of the conclave lacked
enough votes to put their candidate on the papal throne, a compromise
was reached, and the aging Roncalli — John XXIII — was elected as an
With the advent of Montini to the Chair, the liberals
were jubilant; one of their own now reigned over the Church.
A key issue at Vatican II was how to make the Church more
democratic. This was euphemistically introduced under the name of
collegiality — how the bishops, as a body, could somehow rule over the
Church. The liberal bishops knew that, in order to destroy the
“autocratic power” of the Papacy and the Curia (as they called it), they
had to stress the idea of rule by the bishops collectively; such a move
would overcome the “embarrassing” doctrine of Papal Infallibility, so
inimical to non-Catholics. This, if admitted, would make all previous
teaching a sham and negate the decisions of Vatican Council I.
The European periti, who easily imposed their
theories upon their bishops, were deeply imbued with the errors of
Teilhardism and “situation ethics.” These errors, which ultimately
destroy all divine faith and morality and all respect for constituted
authority, make the individual the center and judge of all truth and
morality, irrespective of what the Church teaches. Disrespect for all
authority, divine and human, is the fruit of this evil root. As the
Council developed, some of the original, somnolent American bishops
caught this fire from their alert and more liberal European
counterparts. Most of the “conservative’ American laity, following their
second-rate periti, were quick to join the revolutionary bandwagon, to
bring about whatever their mentors thought best.
These liberal theologians seized on the Council as the
means of de-Catholicizing the Catholic Church while pretending only to
renew it. By twisting words and using Protestant terminology and ideas,
they succeeded in creating a mess whereby many Catholic priests,
religious and laymen have become so confused that they are now alienated
from any true Catholic doctrine.
The Vatican II church is now speaking in so many strange
tongues that the faithful are confused and disheartened. The liberals’
efforts to win over the young (a Communist tactic) have left the elderly
in anguish and despair as they witness the dissolution of their Faith.
The American bishops proved to be apt students and were quick to learn
these lessons from their European cousins. Even so, they could hardly
have been completely won over to the “new-found religion” without
influence from some other considerable elements, which made them listen
readily to the “theological reformers.” One such element was the
nationalistic jealousies of various hierarchies toward the Italian
domination of the Roman Church — especially during the tight reign of
Pius XII, already referred to above. It is not so strange that the
American bishops should have fallen for this propaganda tactic. This
sort of Gallicanism had often plagued the Church before. And, though the
Church has always boasted of being above national rivalries, most of the
American bishops lined up with the North European bishops in their
attempt to dispossess the Papacy of its power. Why?
One cannot but feel that the selfish desire for power was
blinding them; they wanted more power for themselves, notwithstanding
that the schema proposed by the liberal bishops was contrary to the
Church’s Magisterium. They seemed to argue that the end justifies the
The main issue — ecumenism
Originally, the liberal bishops only subtly and with
adept semantics suggested changes in practices and attitudes which to
them posed barriers to “Christian unity.” Then, as they realized they
were in the majority, they boldly put forth their schema of ecumenism.
Following the “experts,” the bishops compromised in matters of doctrine:
using Protestant and Jewish ideas and terminology and practices;
intermingling with Jews and Protestants in celebrating the liturgy;
stripping the churches of all Catholic emblems, denigrating the Holy
Eucharist; making a mockery of the Sacrifice of the Mass; and flinging
aside the traditions and laws of the Church — all giving the impression
that one church, or synagogue, is as good as another.
One of the liberal periti, as quoted by Xavier
“Our purpose was to bring about fundamental changes.
We realized at the beginning that we had a majority, but we didn’t
realize until the fourth session how large the majority was. If we
would have realized earlier, we would have made even greater
Hans Küng and the Dutch theologians were the leaders of
the movement which spread like wildfire, especially among the young. The
European revolutionists, during the sessions of the Council and more so
after, flooded America with their heretical propaganda. Many of them
like Hans Küng, Rahner, Charles Davis, Schillebeeckx, Baum, Congar,
appeared in person here at the invitation of some bishop or educator.
They wrote and distributed books and articles, they invaded our
colleges, seminaries and “Catholic” schools. Especially did the
religious imbibe their poison. Their propaganda was further abetted by
the establishment-controlled liberal “Catholic” press in sensationally
Finally a factor largely contributing to this
revolutionary movement has been the silence and timidity of those whose
grave duty it was to call a halt on these anti-Catholic movements
subverting the Church, chiefly the bishops. But these bishops were the
very ones who participated in Vatican II and precipitated the mess in
the first place.
Now years have passed since the death of Pope Pius XII
and history is still being written. Where will it all end?
It shall not end happily for those who continue to bury their heads in
the sand or who follow like blind sheep their mitered hirelings. The
beginning of the solution is the recognition of the cause of all these
problems. Let those who have eyes to see, see...
Reprinted from the September 2000 issue of
The Catholic Voice
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