A guest-post by Dr. John C. Rao
Destruction (The Course of Empire), 1836
The New-York Historical Society
Fallen men regularly present error as though it were something mysteriously deep and life giving. This is particularly true of their manner of promoting and accepting the broad set of errors that has coalesced since the late Middle Ages to form the dominant spirit of the world around us; the spirit of what we call “modernity”.
The actual teaching embodied by this long developing spirit concerns nothing less than a root-and-branch refusal to embrace the full meaning of the Incarnation: the need to redeem men and enlist the whole of the natural world in the labor of that human Redemption by means of a thoroughgoing supernatural correction and transformation in Christ.Simply put, modernity wants man and the rest of nature “as is”, on their own “business as usual” terms, untroubled by even the most humble suggestion that they may require divine help to cure their ills and fulfill their God-given mission. But the particular genius of the teachers and fellow-travelers of the errors forming this modern spirit has always been their cooption of Christian words and themes on every step in their seemingly victorious march: love for the individual and respect for his freedom and dignity being central to their work of seduction. The result has been palpable for centuries. Insistence that slumbering, sinful nature be entrusted with the task of defining and assuring what Christianity alone can understand and provide has given birth to a tragically demonic civilization that offers men stones for nourishment and yet mercilessly continues to insist that they are “bread”.I say that this is palpable, because the blatant fraud of all the constituent elements of the Grand Coalition of Modernity is open for every rational man and woman to read on every page of its unfortunate history. Luther somehow freed the individual from authority and law, opening a pathway to Progress, by proclaiming the total enslavement of man’s will to depraved behavior and a jungle existence of war of all against all; the enlightened “Age of Reason” somehow exalted the intelligence by ultimately coming to deny the ability of the mind to know anything definitive, even in the scientific realm, much less in that more difficult sphere where men labor to explain what the very words “nature”, “Reason”, “freedom”, “love”, and “lawful authority” could possibly mean in the first place; the Age of Revolution somehow ensured democracy by abolishing all influences over political social life except that of money and the military. And from the Reformation to our own sad day the task of “liberating” men has somehow been solely the province of willful individuals and elitist factions who have silenced the true cries of the population at large and foisted their own errors and sinful desires upon it through illegitimate State power, emasculating constitutionalism, and, if need be, outright butchery.Just as palpably, our beloved Holy Roman Church has left us a magnificent history of resistance to this fraudulent and elitist modern spirit. Pope after pope since the reign of Gregory XVI (1831-1846) has warned us to refuse the stones offered by modernity under the guise of bread. The foundation documents of our glorious Social Teaching, from the time of the Syllabus of Errors of Blessed Pius IX (1846-1878) and the encyclicals of Leo XIII (1878-1903) onwards, have insisted on the fact that the true bread of life comes from the Incarnation alone. They have repeatedly called upon the world to recognize that it is only the Catholic Faith and the Grace of Christ that has historically given men the courage to examine and treat Nature and Reason with the honor that is their due---and not to turn them over to the manipulation of willful individuals who use them as a parlor sport. And with the earnestness of true shepherds of souls, these popes entreated believers over and over again not to enter into a dialogue with the purveyors of stones---precisely because the children of this world are stronger through its twisted learning than we are, and all of us, as weak sons of Adam, are all too sadly susceptible to the confusion, seduction, and emasculation that a voluntary respect for their misuse of Christian terminology would entail. We have a tragic record of abandoning bread for stones.Once the men of the Church, in all their human weakness, decided that they could ride the back of this powerful and dangerous force, they amply demonstrated the wisdom of our formerly anti-modernist, and fully Incarnation-minded leaders. From the time that a manipulative, willful elite that was friendly to the vision of modernity seized control of Second Vatican Council the course of events was entirely predictable. Let anyone who thinks that this was not the case read the great writers of the nineteenth century---men such as Louis Veuillot (1813-1883) and Fr. Luigi Taparelli d’Azeglio (1793-1862)---for enlightenment in that regard. He will see that these men of the 1860’s were fully capable of telling the 1960’s exactly what they could inevitably expect from their mistake.Examination of their writings would show that under Christian terminology---which might, in and of itself, indeed not be heretical--- the Catholic world was destined to be turned upside down. The message of the Incarnation would no longer be free to guide “naturally religious man”; the “business as usual” desires of uncorrected nature “as is” would take charge of the Church Militant; Faith would be retired, intelligence annihilated, souls thrown into a demonic bewilderment, and everything---everything---left to the Triumph of the strongest elitist wills. Uncorrected natural whims were to become the Church’s sole dogmatic fount. In short, the logic of modernity itself would already demand in 1962 that the Secret Synod of men like Cardinal Kasper---who speak of respect for individual dignity and freedom but who have no trace of Reason or Faith left to guide them in defining what they might possibly mean---be summoned. How else could that final course of stones be offered to the central building blocks of society---confused Catholic families---to end their misplaced trust in true Christian bread?But how could anyone remain confused and deluded if the effects of modernity are as palpable as I say that they are, clearly to be encountered on every page of the historical development and unfolding of its constituent errors? Because in order to have the truth made palpable, men have to “have eyes to see and ears to hear” it. And the particular genius of the methodology of the men who allowed the spirit of modernity to exploit the human side of the Church to serve their purposes has been to exploit every tool at their disposal to disparage as useless and downright counterproductive all the many means available to to awaken men from their dogmatic and rational slumbers: the entire corpus of the teaching Magisterium and practice of the Mystical Body of Christ through the ages; Platonic and Aristotelian philosophical investigations of natural law; non-ideological psychological and sociological studies of marriage, the family, and the consequences of homosexual behavior chief among them. Nothing found therein—nothing---would be favorable to what the modernists behind this Synod long to achieve. All therein would identify what is happening today as the work of satanic and willful deception, so much so, that anyone reading about the current gathering in some happier Catholic future will be tempted to believe that it was all a legend invented by the likes of those who gave us Pope Joan.I beg all readers of Rorate Caeli to pray for the many participants in the Synod who are indeed of Catholic Faith and mind to maintain their admirable courage in fighting our common enemies. I ask you also to beg all those good men and women of “conservative” mentality who may have been convinced, up till now, that the use by internal supporters of modernity of Catholic words such as “individual dignity”, “freedom”, and, most tragically of all, “obedience to legitimate authority” somehow gave their erroneous message substance to open their eyes and ears; to open their eyes and ears to the full supernatural and natural message coming from the whole of the history of the Catholic Faith and the whole of the use of natural human Reason. Beg them to join with their Traditionalist brethren in the fight against the elitist agenda of the Secret Synod.The agents of this project have unceasingly offered us stones and taken away our true Catholic bread. They have created a desert and called it Catholic pastoral action. They have ravaged Nature and Reason along with the Faith. Allow me to end by baptizing the words of the anti-Catholic Cromwell and using them as a justifiable rallying cry for expulsion of these lovers of modernity from their positions of power in the inner sanctum of the Church: "You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!” Give us back leaders who preach nothing but Christ and Him crucified. Give us back the full meaning of the Incarnation. Give us back the only Way, Truth, and Life for sinful men and women who suffer from their sinfulness and long for an effective way back to union with the living God.