Rorate Caeli

Radicati EDITORIAL: Grace not Revolution

Editorial: Radicati nella fede, December 2015
Newsletter of the Catholic community of
Vocogno, Diocese of Novara, Italy

Christmas poses the principle of Grace. God comes down to earth, He becomes man, to take on the sins of men by paying the price of our redemption on the Cross.

The redemption is the work of Jesus Christ, God made man; it is the work of His sacrifice, of His Cross, which continues in time with the propitiatory sacrifice of the Catholic Mass. 

We cannot save ourselves on our own strength; nobody can redeem himself; nobody is able to give himself eternal life through his own efforts.  All our desire for good, even if sincere and pure, will not save us without the grace of Christ, without the grace of God. The principle of grace must not only be the source of our every consideration, but must be the criteria of judgment and the operative principle of every Christian action that is true and efficacious.

News of continuous scandals in the Vatican and the Church have followed one after the other lately, scandals that involve the Pastors of God’s flock; scandals that hurt, that create perturbation and difficulties and render [us] weak in the face of the dramatic violence of terrorism. Subject to the verification of what is propagandized, we sense it our duty to say something about all of this, something that we think is Christian, and we do this by applying precisely the principle of grace.

It is necessary, above all, not to fall into a false analysis born of the world and not of God: it is not, principally, the sick Roman Curia that infects the Church, but it is the sick Church ( and gravely so for too many years) that has infected the Curia.

A Church devastated by lack of clear doctrine, which has fostered many nests of heresy, formal or otherwise -  it doesn’t matter - has produced confused and weak Pastors. A Church that has played with morality, with talk of cheap mercy that neglects the devastating consequences of sin, has made the “hierarchy” into its own image and likeness. 

Certainly, there has always been sin in the Church, mingled like the darnel with the good grain;  Jesus reminds us of this in His parables (Matthew 13, 24-30), but how can we deny that the extent of it is now very great indeed? A Church infected with desires of keeping abreast with modernity has produced a worldly Curia. A Church concerned about easy consensus has produced, too often, Pastors dedicated to image and not to the essence of sanctity.  A Church “Americanized” by activism (which is precisely called Americanism, see the Encyclical by Leo XII) has produced Pastors who have made “public relations” a substitute for prayer and penitence, the only things that  have intercessory value. 

In short, a modern Church, so modern that it has produced a secular Curia – far, far too human. And “the human” left to its own devices produces every type sin. 

However, we must be very careful, very careful indeed: in our reaction, we cannot assume a Protestant criteria in the reforming of the Church.  The Protestants claimed to reform the Church through “purifying” battles, by attacking the top, the Roman Curia and the Pastors, thinking they were inaugurating a “new Church” .  In doing so, the Protestants de facto destroyed the Church and  were no longer able to find Christ again. 

This is the principle of Naturalism, which claims to purify the House of God using human means to fight against the structures. This is the method inaugurated by the Protestant heresy, which then passed on to every single Revolution: the snuffing out of the “impure” to improve society. This is the principle that is at the base of all dictatorships, of every type, and every single one of them initiated to improve the world in reaction to corruption.

It is enough though, to look through any history book and discover with certainty, that the “better world”, inaugurated by every purifying Revolution, has always been worse than the one before. Absent from the Revolution is the principle of the method of grace: man in his wounded pride wants to improve the world through his own strength, but ends up destroying the work of God.

The principle of grace, inaugurated by the Nativity of Christ, by contrast, places personal sanctification first. The Church is in a bad state because you have sinned. It is your sin that contributes to the evil in the world; and it will be your conversion, your sanctification that will make the Church breathe and  purify Her. 

Also here we have to be careful not to fall again by desiring sanctity in Naturalism: there will be no conversions and sanctity possible if we depend on our own efforts; we need to start with the instruments of grace i.e. the Sacraments, along with the doctrine of truth communicated through Revelation. We continue to repeat, there will be no sanctity possible, if not at the foot of Calvary where Christ sanctifies us. There will be no purification possible for the Church, for you and for everyone else, if not at the foot of today’s Calvary, the altar where the Divine Sacrifice is offered.

The battle for the Traditional Mass, which we continue, is included in this principle of grace, which alone, will save souls. The desire to purify the Church without the Catholic Mass is a tragic illusion.
To [try and] purify the Church without returning to the Traditional Mass, the Mass that made the saints, the Mass that doesn’t anxiously run after modernity, is equivalent to the error of a new Pelagianism, which will produce corpses where converted, redeemed souls should have risen. 

May the Nativity of Christ make a humble people rise up, who, knowing they are sinners, will quench their thirst  at the fountain of Christ’s grace.

May this people rise up for the peace of all: may Pastors and flocks be reborn at the cave of Bethlehem, which is already Calvary and the place of  redeeming grace. May Pastors and flocks be reborn  by the Traditional Mass, which speaks with purity of redeeming grace and creates the conditions for this grace to produce its fruits of sanctity.

Then we’ll have true Reform.

Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana

What do you possess that you haven’t previously received?  Love the Church!

Editorial: Radicati nella fede, November 2015
Newsletter of the Catholic community of
Vocogno, Diocese of Novara, Italy

The more the crisis in the Church gets deeper and more terrible, the more we have to love Her. The more the scandals in the House of God increase, the  more we have to  love the Church. And this love must be very concrete and effective.

The right [we have] to react  should never be separated from a profound love of Holy Mother Church - the Bride of Christ; we cannot play around with  this.

On the other hand, you have to react and ask the Church to turn back to Tradition, by referring to what you have received from the Church Herself:  Tradition to be exact. Being a traditional Catholic means doing just that. 

Tradition belongs to the Church, it is not yours. You  couldn’t appeal to Tradition if you hadn’t first received it. Yet, who did you receive it from if not from the Church Herself? Since you cannot follow Christ without the Church, as the Protestant crisis teaches us, in the same way you cannot be a Traditional Catholic without the Church.

The Protestants imagined union with Christ by breaking away from the Catholic Church and history itself, as a consequence they lost Him in the haze of a mythological past. If Traditional Catholics don’t persist in loving the Church fervently( even to the shedding of blood) they will be left with a Tradition that is empty, made of bitterness and recriminations: besides, Tradition without the Church doesn’t have Christ in it.

The words of St. Paul to the Corinthians might  apply to the “sour Traditional Catholics” the non-lovers of the Church: “Or what hast thou that thou hast not received, and if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? (1 Cor. 4, 7).

If it’s true that those who ask for obedience to the Church err, by submitting things that go against faith, morals, the Gospel and dogma (or neglecting them); those who are attached to dogma and the Gospel equally err, when they use them against the one and only Church of Christ.

All those who start off defending traditional Catholicism, risk this second error. They begin to dissert whether the Pope really is the Pope, or where the Church of God truly subsists. They extend their defense of Tradition into a field which is not of their competence, risking the grave danger of placing themselves outside the Church. 

Father Calmel says: “The Church is not an institution of this world: She descends from Heaven, directly from God (…) The Church is invincible, even when Her children are subject to defeat and frequently vanquished; nonetheless, as long as they remain within Her, they will never be irreparably vanquished. When they are, it is because they have separated themselves from Her (…). She remains the infallible dispenser of salvation, the Holy Temple of God. Those who abandon Her are lost, but She is never lost.” (R.T. Calmel, A Brief Apology of the Everlasting Church, pages 17-18).   

In short, the Church is one and only one. There is no traditional Church and no modernist Church, there is only one Catholic Church, whose children will risk perdition if they abandon Her, even with the excuse of defending Her.

To understand this it would be sufficient to repeat: we received the Tradition we are fighting for - from the Church -  nay - it is the Church. 

Furthermore, you didn’t receive Tradition, the Gospel, dogma, the sacraments and discipline once, but continue receiving them from the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. So, it’s clear that in every decision and approach, you need to keep this unity in the Church and with the Church, without questioning Her visibility.  Whoever the Pope or Bishop is, is directly God’s business, not yours.  Those of you who understand the crisis in the Church, have a fundamental duty to hold firm to Her Tradition i.e. what the Church has said and done outside these terrible times of apostasy. 
God has revealed Himself, He has given you reason to recognize His revelation and to preserve it; He doesn’t require you to be involved in ecclesiastical politics.

 We need to avoid two extremes which are lethal to the faith: “authoritarianism” or “submissivism” on the one hand and “sedevacantism” on the other: both, in the long term, bring about atheism and loss of faith. 

The first makes you stay in the Church under a false obedience which doesn’t safeguard the Gospel or the Sacraments; the second makes you seek a false, alternative Church: both of these errors come from an overly human vision of the Church. Both lack supernatural vision.

We need to be authentically traditional: the traditional Catholic stands before God, lovingly preserving the treasure of the Church. The sedevacantist, who invents another church or doesn’t know where the true Church is anymore, stands before himself, using the things he received from God.

Again, Father Calmel speaks, in a touching way, of  true Christians - Christians according to Tradition, who preserve the faith with an immense love for the Church:

“These Christians, who preserve Tradition with no concessions to the revolution, in order to be fully children of the Church, desire ardently that their fidelity be penetrated with humility and fervor; they do not love sectarianism or ostentation. Where they are in the Church, which is modest and barely tolerated, they try to preserve what the Church has transmitted to them, well assured that She has never revoked anything, and they strive, in preserving it, to defend the spirit of what they are preserving.” (R.T: Calmel, op. cit. p. 101).      

 Let us pray dear people, that our love for the one visible Church increases as the winds of apostasy become increasingly violent.

Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana