Rorate Caeli


In Part IV of ‘The Council and the Eclipse of God’, Don Pietro explains how the Council attacks the very notion of Truth, how this is the basis of all its false teachings and how Decartes’s Philosophy of Doubt permeates the Council’s documents.         F.R.                                                                                    

The Council and the Eclipse of God 


Beatissimae Vergini Mariae humillime dedicatum,

Quae cunctas haereses sola interemisti in universo mundo

PART IV             


TRUTH – part 2

Rene Descartes (1596-1650): Father of Modern Philosophy - his philosophy begins with Doubt

a)      The Fullness of Truth


The Council asserts that the Church is in the process of attaining the fullness of Truth.


As the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth (ad plenitudinem divinae veritatis iugiter tendit), until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her’ (Dei Verbum 8). 


The text suggests that the Church is moving forward to the fullness of truth while on her earthly journey, and will attain it only when She attains Her heavenly goal (when ‘the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her’). In reply:


      1.The Church is already in possession of the fullness of Truth in this world; therefore

      2.She is not now in the process of moving towards that fullness in this world;

      3.The Church was in such a process only in the past.



      1.   The Church is already in Possession of the Fullness of Truth in this World


The Church is already in possession of Divine Truth [1], or supernatural Truth, in this world, which is nothing other than the Faith, the Depositum Fidei, Divine Revelation. The Church teaches that this Truth which is the Faith is Truth in its fullness [2]. This is because Faith constitutes a unity: that is to say it is not possible to possess such Truth in a partial sense; to possess the Faith is to possess it, then, in its entirety, in its fullness; one either possesses the Faith in its entirety, in its fullness, or one does not possess it at all.


The ultimate ground for the fact that Faith constitutes Truth in its fullness, in that this Truth is nothing other than God Himself in His intimate nature: the Most Holy Trinity, together with all the doctrines  which are centered upon Him [3]. That the Truth-which-is-the-Faith is Truth in its fullness is, as we shall show in chapter 1, expressed by the very Note, or characteristic, of the Church which is Her Catholicity.


But not only does the Church as a whole possess the entire Truth, but also each of Her members individually, for each of Her members in possessing the Faith, possesses Divine, supernatural Truth itself in all its fullness, namely God. Does the Church not teach that the object of the three theological virtues is God Himself: that with Faith the Catholic knows God, that with Hope he hopes in Him, and with Charity he loves Him?



    2.   The Church is Not Now Moving towards the Fullness of the Truth in this World


Since this Truth is now complete, it can no longer be completed; since it has now attained its fullness, it can no longer be said to move towards its fullness; since it is the Truth, it cannot change - except in the clarity and depth of its expression. In Heaven She will possess that same Truth also in its fullness, and moreover in a manner that is no longer dark, but clear (even if imperfect [4]).



   3.   The Church was in Such a Process only in the Past


We can speak of a movement towards the fullness of Faith in this world only in the past, in the period when the Divine Revelation was still being given, that is to say in the period of the early Church which extended up to the death of the last Apostle, St. John the Evangelist. At his death, Revelation was closed and the Deposit of Faith completed. 



a)        The Mutability of Truth


We shall here consider:


  1.  1.The Motivation for Holding that Faith is Mutable;
  2.  2.The Falsehood of the Principle of Flux.



     1.   The Motivation for Holding that Faith is Mutable


Against the Catholic teaching that Faith is immutable, we have seen the Council express a principle of ‘flux’, asserting that the Church ‘constantly moves forward towards the fullness of divine truth’ [5]; that She needs ‘constant reformation’ [6] in expressing it; that ‘Christians are joined to others in the search for truth’ [7]; that this occurs inter alia ‘by dialogue’ [8], conceived itself as a never-ending process.


What makes such conciliar texts convincing is the thought that objective Truth in its fullness and God Himself in His fullness (which in the final analysis are one and the same thing) are indeed entirely inaccessible and inexpressible to man, inasmuch as man will never be able fully to attain, to know, or to express Objective Truth or God Himself. The thought, in other words, is that in order to know Truth, to possess it, or to express it in its fullness, one must know it fully [9]. This is, however, untrue. To know something and to express it adequately, it is not necessary to know it in its fullness. Indeed Aristotle states that it is not possible fully to know even a gnat.


The Church teaches, by contrast, that we can indeed know Divine Truth and God, even if not fully: it is this, after all, that is the object of Revelation, of God’s Revelation to us; the Church moreover expresses this Truth infallibly in Her dogmas. The Churches teaches equally that Faith is the knowledge of God, as we have already stated above, just as the Beatific Vision is the knowledge of God. The former is for this earth, the latter is for Heaven; the former is dark, the latter is clear, but both are equally forms of knowledge: ‘We see now through a glass darkly: but then face to face. Now I know in part: but then I shall now even as I am known’ (I Cor 13.12). We can see a tree by night; we can see the same tree by day: both are equally forms of sight.


It will never be possible, by contrast, for the created intellect fully to know God: only God can fully know Himself, since only the Infinite can comprehend the Infinite. Even in Heaven we will never attain the infinite fullness of the knowledge of God: there we will truly be tending towards its fullness, but without ever attaining it.



  2.   The Falsehood of the Principle of Flux


The principle of flux originates in the philosophy of Heraclitus (6th century B.C.) and, around the same time in the East, in the pre-philosophical thought of ‘The Buddha’. In Modernist thought, the process of flux is typically considered as positive inasmuch as it is regarded as leading to what is greater and better: as such it is known as ‘Evolution’ [10]. Pascendi identifies as a principal characteristic of Modernism this very principle of evolution [11]. The instances of flux that we have seen above all have a positive, evolutionary character, and we shall later see further instances in conciliar teachings such as that about the Church’s putative progression towards holiness. The Church has condemned the doctrine of progression towards perfect knowledge and perfection, such as we see it here expressed, in the following terms: ‘If any-one shall have said that man cannot be drawn by divine power to a knowledge and perfection which is above the natural, but that he of himself can and ought to reach the possession of all truth and good by a continual progress, Anathema sit[12].


In the particular area of the Faith, the notion of flux, or change, is tantamount to the Modernist doctrine of ‘Vital Immanence’, according to which religious sentiment (which is purported to constitute both Faith and Revelation) is in permanent flux, so that its expression in formulae (which is purported to constitute dogma) ‘must also… be liable to change’ [13]. The notion of flux in the area of Faith, or the notion of Vital Immanence, is of course false because Faith, as we have said, is the knowledge of (Supernatural) Truth, and Truth is immutable: ‘The Truth of God remains forever’ [14]; ‘Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away’ [15]. The ultimate ground for the immutability of the Faith resides in the fact that essentially it is God Himself. Only created, finite things are in constant flux, not least on account of their temporality. God, by contrast, is immutable, and so is Faith, because Faith has God for its object.


The metaphysical error of this theory, and that of Vital Immanence in particular, is to substitute Being for Becoming, and act for potency; its theological error is to deny Being, that is to say, in the ultimate instance, God Himself.



      II   Skepticism


We may identify two forms of skepticism in regard to the object of skepticism [16]: skepticism about Truth as such, and skepticism about God. We proceed to consider:


a)                   Skepticism about Truth as such;

b)                   Skepticism about God;

c)                  The Particular Character of the Council’s Skepticism.



a)      Skepticism about Truth as such


We have seen how the Council opposes the Catholic doctrine that the Church possesses the Truth, by asserting that She is in the process of searching for the Truth, of expressing the Truth, of moving towards the fullness of Truth. Such an attitude towards the Truth, as we shall explain below, entails the abandonment of evangelization.


But if one is the process of approaching the truth and in the process of formulating it, then one does not yet possess it, and one has not yet formulated it; but if one does not yet possess it and has not yet formulated it, then one does not possess it and one has not formulated it. But since the Truth in the question is nothing other than the Faith and the formulation of it is nothing other than dogma, these conciliar texts entail that the Church does not possess either Faith or dogma.



b)     Skepticism about God


Furthermore, since Truth in the final analysis is God Himself, as Our Blessed Lord Himself also explicitly states [17], the texts also entail that the Church does not possess, does not know, and cannot comprehend God either, that is to say as the object of Faith.


But this is atheism. There are two forms of atheism, positive and negative. The former denies the existence of God; the latter (otherwise known as ‘agnosticism’) claims that we cannot know, or demonstrate the existence of, God. Negative atheism, or agnosticism, which is identified and condemned as a Modernist doctrine in the encyclical Pascendi [18], is, then, contained in the texts of the Council itself, which entail that we cannot know God, at least not in this world. This amounts to a form of this-worldly atheism.


Moreover, to suppose that the Church and Catholics do not possess or know the Truth or God, entails that they are not capable of loving God, since the knowledge of an object is necessary in order to love that object. But this is manifestly false, since it is possible to love God, indeed with perfect love, for perfect love is sanctity which many people have in fact attained.



c)The Particular Character of the Council’s Skepticism                                                             


What is the type of Truth to which the Council’s skepticism is directed? Not supernatural Truth, as we have already said, but a putative type of natural Truth impossible to know or to express in this world. Such a concept is doubtless colored by Modern Philosophy. Descartes, the ‘Father of Modern Philosophy’, proceeding from the principle of ‘Universal Doubt’, claimed that one can be certain only of his own ideas and existence, and that the external world might not indeed exist at all; Kant later postulated the existence of a ‘Thing in Itself’ outside the world of experience, which he claimed to be unknowable. Such theories which entail agnosticism [19], were to characterize Modern Philosophy for three centuries and more, lending it the name of ‘immanentism’ and informing the world vision of the periti.


To show how radical is the Council’s skepticism, we may formulate is as follows:


      1.the Church does not possess the Truth;

      2.if She did possess it, She could not express it;

      3.if She could express it, She could not communicate it [20].


We recall the teaching of Gorgias of Leontini (487-375 BC):


      1.Nothing exists;

      2.if anything existed, it could not be known;

      3.if it could be known, it could not be communicated.


Astounding as such triads may be in the mouth of a Sophist and Rhetorician, they are even more so in the mouths of all the Bishops of the world, as they purport to exercise their divinely mandated ministry to teach man the ultimate Truth about God.



III    Comparison of Catholic and Council Doctrines


This section contains:


1.      Ten Points of Opposition between Catholic and Council Doctrine;

2.      A Schematic Presentation of the Main Points of Opposition;

3.      Six False Principles of Council Teaching.



1.      Ten Points of Opposition between Catholic and Council Doctrine


The Council opposes the following principles of the Catholic doctrine [21] that we have presented above:


a)    Truth/God can be known in this life;

b)    Truth/God can be known in this life by means of the Reason;

c)    Truth/God can be known in this life by means of the Faith;

d)    Faith is supernatural and has as its object supernatural truth;

e)    The True has logical priority over the Good;

                  f)    Truth/God can be expressed in an adequate sense in this life;

g)   Truth/God can be expressed in an adequate sense in this life by dogma;

h)   Truth is the correspondence between objective reality and the intellect;

i)    Faith is Truth in its fullness;

j)    Faith is immutable.


We have seen the Council deny (a) [22], which entails the denial of (b) and (c); we have seen the Council advocate naturalism [23], which constitutes the denial of (d); we have seen it equally advocate subjectivism [24], which entails the denial of (e). It denies (f) [25], which entails the denial of (g) as well as of (h) [26]; it similarly denies (i) [27] and (j) [28].



2.    Schematic Presentation of the Main Points of Opposition


Concentrating on what we take to be the six principal matters at issue, we proceed to compare the Catholic teaching on Truth (in first position) alongside Council teaching on Truth (in second):


a)      The Knowledge of Truth/God in this life:


          i)        Man possesses such knowledge;

                      ii)       Man is in search of such knowledge.


b)      The Expression of Truth/God in this life:


                       i)        Man is capable of such expression;

                       ii)       Man is moving towards such expression.


      c)   The Objective Order [29]:


i)                    The True has logical priority over the Good;

ii)                  The Good has priority over the True.


c)       The Ontological Order of Faith:


    i)           Faith is supernatural;

    ii)          Faith is natural.


      e)    The Object of Faith:


    i)            the fullness of Truth;

    ii)           partial Truth.


     f)       The Stability of Truth:


i)                Truth is immutable;

                      ii)          Truth is mutable.




3.     Six False Principles of Council Teaching


The Council doctrines here expressed constitute six false principles concerning Truth, which principles, as we shall see in the course of this book, are the source of the Council’s deepest errors. The principles expressed in (a) and (b), which profess doubt concerning the knowledge and expression of Truth, we have defined as ‘skepticism’: in the former case about the Truth [30] and in the latter case about the expression of the Truth [31]; the principle expressed in (c) we have defined as the principle of ‘subjectivism’[32]; the doctrine expressed in (d) concerning the ontological order of Faith as ‘naturalism’ [33]; the doctrine expressed in (e) as the ‘principle of degree’; that in (f) as the ‘principle of flux’.


In the conclusion to this book in chapter 9 we shall offer a metaphysical critique of Council doctrine. We are, however, already in a position to provide some of the fundamental elements of this critique. Now the Council’s skepticism about Truth and about the expression of Truth may in fact explain the whole of Council heterodoxy. This skepticism is nothing other than doubt about the Catholic Faith itself, the former about the Deposit of Faith, or Revelation; the latter about Dogma.


The principle of skepticism about Truth engenders the four other false principles that we have set forth above: naturalism, subjectivism, the principle of degree, and the principle of flux. It does so because to doubt Truth is to doubt the properties of Truth: here its supernatural nature; its objectivity; its unity; its immutability.


We shall proceed to give some of the examples that we have already met, or that we shall meet below, of these six false principles:


                  1.   Skepticism about Truth;

                  2.   Skepticism about the Expression of Truth;

                  3.   Naturalism;

4.      Subjectivism;

5.      The Principle of Degree;

6.      The Principle of Flux.



1.      Skepticism about Truth


We see examples of this skepticism in the Council’s obscurantism and lack of clarity and courage in proposing Catholic doctrine, particularly where that obscurantism favors heresy;



2.      Skepticism about the Expression of Truth


We shall see an example of this skepticism in the Council’s avoidance of definitions;



3.      Naturalism


Naturalism (and the rationalism which accompanies it) is seen in almost all the novel Council doctrines, for example in the erosion of all the supernatural properties of the Church, including Her superiority to the State; in the silencing of these same properties in order to establish common ground with other religions, in its doctrine on the priesthood, the consecrated life, marriage, and on the Holy Mass;



4.      Subjectivism


Subjectivism is seen in the Council’s pastorality, in other words in the pre-eminence it accords to praxis over Truth [34], in Ecumenism [35] where the primacy of Truth yields to the primacy of some sort of putative ‘Good’ to be obtained by collaboration with non-Catholic Christians and with members of other Religions; it is seen in Council teaching on the reformation of the religious life, where the consecration to God, which constitutes the objective Truth of such a life, is not seen as the governing principle for reformation, but rather putative, merely worldly ‘Goods’. It is equally seen in marriage where ‘love’ is given priority over the objective finality of marriage inscribed in the natural law and in human nature by God Himself.  



5.      The Principle of Degree


The principle of degree is seen in the concept of putative ‘elements of truth and sanctification’ shared with non-Catholic Christians and with members of other religions, and presented as the basis for partial communion, or communion by degree, with the Church;



6.      The Principle of Flux


The principle of flux is manifest in the changes proposed to the consecrated life and to the liturgy; in the purported advancing Holiness of the Church; and, as we have shown earlier in this section, in its very notion of Truth, both ontological and logical. In this way the principle of flux becomes the justification for the Council’s entire program of renovation, and indeed its very raison d’être.    




As the book proceeds, we shall indicate instances of these false principles, as and when they come to light. For the moment we simply remark that unstable indeed is the house built on the sand and not on the solid rock of the Truth. How long can it last? What purpose can it serve? ‘We can do nothing against the truth: but for the truth’ [36]. If we do things against the Truth, we strike out on the wrong road, we enslave ourselves: only the Truth is the right road, only the Truth shall make us free [37].



[1] ‘You shall know the truth...’ (Jn. 8.32) ‘… the doctrine of faith that God has revealed… has been committed to the Spouse of Christ as a divine trust to be faithfully kept… (Vatican I, Dei Filius, c.4)

[2] ‘But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind whatsoever I shall have said to you.’ (Jn 14.26)

[3] She also may be said to possess Truth in its fullness in the sense that by possessing the Faith She also possesses God Himself Who is that very Truth.

[4] as we shall explain at the end of this section

[5]  section 3 supra

[6] s.2 supra

[7] s.1 supra

[8] s.1 supra where, as Romano Amerio remarks, the principle of jam satis est is entirely lacking

[9] technically speaking, the thought is that the ontological fullness must correspond to the epistemological fullness

[10] Teilhard de Chardin combined an interest for dogmatic and anthropological evolution. The latter continues to enjoy popularity in the school syllabus. One might ask what he or to-day’s Education authorities think that we are becoming? God? There is more evidence that we are becoming apes.

[11] ‘First of all they [the Modernists] lay down the general principle that in a living religion everything is subject to change, and must change, and in this way they pass to what may be said to be among the chief of their doctrines, that of Evolution. To the laws of evolution everything is subject – dogma, Church, worship, the books we revere as sacred, even faith itself...’ Pascendi 26. We refer again to Lamentabili 58 on the mutability of Truth together with the similar condemned principles 59, 62, and 64 in the same encyclical.

[12]  Vatican I , sess. 3 ch. 2 can. 3 against the ‘progressionists’

[13] Pascendi 12

[14] Veritas Domini manet in aeternum, Ps. 116

[15] Mk. 13, 31

[16] ratione objecti

[17]I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ (Jn. 14. 6)

[18] s. 5-6

[19] as St. Pius X explains in Pascendi, s. 5-6

[20] At least on the practical level, as long as the policy of Ecumenism remains in place.

[21] from the list of principles pp. 10-11 of the present book

[22] p.12

[23]  p.12

[24] p.13

[25] p.14

[26] p.14

[27] p.15

[28] p.16

[29] see our critique of Ecumenism below (p.50)

[30] ontological skepticism

[31] logical skepticism

[32] we term it ‘subjectivism’ in regard to the subject: for the priority it accords to it; we may term it ‘antirealism’ in regard to the object: for the antagonism it displays towards it

[33] naturalism is an ontological theory. It is the ground for rationalism, an epistemological theory. Rationalism is the theory that reason alone suffices for attaining all truth. This entails a denial of the supernatural order, since reason is only a natural faculty of the mind, so that the truth that it attains can similarly only be natural.  The rationalist, then, necessarily denies that there is such a thing as supernatural Truth or the supernatural knowledge of it which is Faith. Naturalism and rationalism are not strictly speaking metaphysical concepts since they belong to theology, but we use them in our metaphysical analysis as pertaining to Being in itself.

[34] cf. the Historical Sketch above

[35] and Indifferentism

[36] II Cor 13. 8

[37]  ‘the truth shall make you free’ Jn 8.32