Destroyer of Heresies

"Meanwhile, Venerable Brethren, fully confident in your zeal and work, we beseech for you with our whole heart and soul the abundance of heavenly light, so that in the midst of this great perturbation of men's minds from the insidious invasions of error from every side, you may see clearly what you ought to do and may perform the task with all your strength and courage. May Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, be with you by His power; and may the Immaculate Virgin, the destroyer of all heresies, be with you by her prayers and aid."
Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Conspiracy of Silence Against Pope Saint Pius X

When an adversary rises up against them [the Modernists] with an erudition and force that render him redoubtable, they try to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attack, while in flagrant contrast with this policy towards Catholics, they load with constant praise the writers who range themselves on their side... (Encyclical Letter Pascendi Gregis, St. Pius X, 1907)

One of the most effective ways to achieve strategic victories in theological debate is to simply ignore an argument.

This omission has succeeded beyond the expectations of most during the last century when the clash between the traditional Catholic philosophy and theology of St. Thomas and the partisans of the nouvelle theologie of Ressourcement struggled for primacy in the Catholic Church's doctrinal presentation.

The most telling evidence of this conspiracy of silence is the complete and total omission of any mention of St. Pius X, the contagion of philosophical and theological Modernism, or any efforts taken to condemn it in the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by the Confraternity of the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II. If Pius X had been an inconsequential pontiff, or had little to say about contemporary doctrinal concerns, one might accept the silence as simply the editor's choice. But something else is going on here.

The landmark encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis promulgated by Pope Pius X on 8 September 1907 left no doubts for the church militant: "the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church's open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart" and that they "lay the axe not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fires." 

  Pope John Paul II's Catechism omits any 
references to the teaching of Pope Pius X

Subtitled, "On the Doctrines of the Modernists" it concluded that this convergence of multiple lines of heresy constituted the "rendezvous of all heresies" that "means the destruction not of the Catholic religion alone but of all religion." So dangerous, so threatening, so subversive was this collection of heresies that the Supreme Pontiff required all clergy to swear an oath against it, without which a man could not receive the sacrament of orders (Pope Paul VI abrogated the oath in 1967). 

The Modernists and their sympathizers were driven underground during the pontificate of Pius X following the excommunication of Fr. George Tyrell, S.J. and Fr. Alfred Loisy and the firm administrative actions taken per sections 45-57 of Pascendi. To succeed in advancing their theological agenda, they had to overcome the antidote prescribed by the holy office of Pius X: scholastic philosophy and theology.

A renewed emphasis on St. Thomas spread throughout the Church's institutions following the condemnation of Modernism which its detractors dubbed 'neo-scholasticism.' This epithet carried with it the implied criticism of what was then called 'manualism' or the learning from textbooks that consolidated sources of original biblical, patristic, and doctrinal material as opposed to treating the 'original' sources which the traditionalists dubbed 'ressourcement'. 

The war against St. Thomas was waged in two distinct but mutually supporting strategies: (1) the complete dismissal of scholastic philosophy as unworkable for so-called 'modern man'; and (2) the co-opting of scholastic philosophy by synthesizing it with modern philosophies. The former tack was taken by Teilhard de Chardin, Hans Kung, and Josef Ratzinger; the latter by Yves Congar, Henri de Lubac, and Karol Wojtyla. 

It may be helpful at this point to link these historical events to the Council of the Vatican 1869-1870 known now as "Vatican I". The material and physical sciences had become such a juggernaut in the post-1789 world that it threatened to consume and destroy all metaphysics. The claims of the men of science appeared to render much of the supernatural, preternatural, and biblical world-view as untenable to minds 'enlightened' by 'science.' About this, the fathers of Vatican I declared,

6. If anyone says that
the condition of the faithful and those who have not yet attained to the only true faith is alike, so that
Catholics may have a just cause for calling in doubt, by suspending their assent, the faith which they have already received from the teaching of the church, until they have completed a scientific demonstration of the credibility and truth of their faith:
let him be anathema.
Chapter III, Canons of Vatican I (1869-1870)

Scholastic  philosophy begins with cosmology - the science of the created order. The cosmology of St. Thomas, derived principally from the natural philosophy of Aristotle, deals with the universe as it is revealed in the biblical accounts and the consensus of the Fathers. The men of science ridiculed belief in a six-day creation, a literal first man of the slime and first woman from his rib, a universal deluge, the crossing of the Red Sea on dry land, the virgin birth, and the resurrection of Christ. The Modernists siding with science against faith - a practice gaining in momentum since the Church's dogmatic condemnation of Galileo's heliocentric cosmos - felt trapped now by the claims of evolution and the [alleged] untenable foundation of scholastic philosophy. 

This tension is explained by Pius X in Pascendi with clarity and specificity:

...when Natural theology has been destroyed, the road to revelation closed through the rejection of the arguments of credibility, and all external revelation absolutely denied, it is clear that this explanation will be sought in vain outside man himself. It must, therefore, be looked for in man; and since religion is a form of life, the explanation must certainly be found in the life of man. (Pascendi #7)

Thus the requirement for modern philosophy - philosophy not based on the biblical cosmology but man's experience of himself in the world. The subjective philosophies of Des Cartes and Kant refined by the materialist demands of the physical sciences culminated in phenomenology and existentialism, completely obliterating the sure foundation and footing of St. Thomas for religious philosophy.

Which brings us back to St. Pius X, Pascendi gregis, and Modernism. The Pope was less concerned about appealing to modern man captive to the claims of materialist, subjectivist philosophy than about fidelity to the deposit of faith. As Vatican I deliberated:

"For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Apostles."

This commitment to vouchsafing the deposit included the sure norms of biblical interpretation which were under extreme duress from the partisans of science:

Now since the decree on the interpretation of holy scripture, profitably made by the council of Trent, with the intention of constraining rash speculation, has been wrongly interpreted by some, we renew that decree and declare its meaning to be as follows: that in matters of faith and morals, belonging as they do to the establishing of Christian doctrine, that meaning of holy scripture must be held to be the true one, which Holy Mother Church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true meaning and interpretation of holy scripture. In consequence, it is not permissible for anyone to interpret holy scripture in a sense contrary to this, or indeed against the unanimous consent of the fathers."
When we see Pascendi in the light of the Council of the Vatican and trace its teaching, condemnations, definitions, canons, and action plan to that dogmatic ecumenical council, it takes on a weight much heavier than a mere Papal encyclical emphasizing certain points of doctrine, discipline, and liturgy. We may also realize then how irrevocably the condemnation of the super-heresy of Modernism is linked to that council and its infallible decrees. No wonder then the grave need for the partisans of Modernism to ignore both St. Pius X and his contributions to the magisterium of the Church!

The only way to finally and fully circumvent Vatican I was to convene another ecumenical council that would utterly ignore the condemnations of Modernism linked to it. Indeed, many of the periti or theological advisors to the council's various commissions were in fact men suppressed under the holy office of Pope Pius XII under it's prefect Alfred Cardinal Ottaviani.  Pope John XXIII knew this very well when approving their appointment. In an astonishing disciplinary sleight-of-hand, Pope John set aside all duties for condemning error at Vatican II. Since the council condemned nothing, defined nothing, and proscribed nothing, it stands as an anomaly among the Church's 21 ecumenical councils and is debated to this very day concerning its actual authority, requirements, and dogmatic value.

The council itself demonstrates this strategy of ignoring the previous magisteria. The document on ecumenism Unitatis redintegratio should logically take as it's point of departure the 1928 encyclical Mortalium animos promulgated by Pope Pius XI which condemned ecumenism.  But UR reads as though Pius XI had never existed.  The authors of the council's the sixteen documents simply took up where they wished, linked to what they thought advanced their agenda, and ignored the rest.  The abruptly discordant tension between Mortalium animos and John Paul II's Ut unum sint reads like two completely separate and different religions, treating some of the same subject matter but with diametrically opposed conclusions. The same can be said for the document on religious liberty Dignitatis humanae which utterly ignores the condemnations of it in Pope Gregory XVI's encyclical Morari vos.  

None of these efforts at ignoring the condemnation of Modernism can possibly succeed. Not only is Pascendi dogmatically rooted in Vatican I's infallible teaching, Pope Pius X's remains were exhumed in 1944 and found incorrupt. Pius XII had little choice but to formally recognize the cult of devotion to Giuseppe Sarto and canonized him in 1954. 

Rare Footage of Pope St. Pius X's Incorrupt Body
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre entrusted his priestly fraternity to the patronage of St. Pius X which he founded in Switzerland in 1970 to preserve the traditional priesthood, liturgy, and faith. Beginning with 12 ordinands in 1976, the Society of Saint Pius X has blossomed to more than 700 priests today carrying on the charism of their missionary founder and dedicated to the perseverance of the traditional liturgy, Scholastic theology, and militant opposition to the compendium of all heresies, Modernism.  

In conclusion, the most evil and dangerous threat ever to menace the Catholic Church has been ignored by the efforts of men in fact captive to its errors, whether in part or in full, whether by design or neglect. The 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church - the cornerstone of pedagogical enterprise since the close of the Second Vatican Council - refers to that council over 600 times, quotes Pope John Paul II over 130 times, but never mentions Pope St. Pius X, the crisis caused by theological Modernism, nor the requirement to root Church teaching in Scholastic philosophy and theology. 

At least two generations of Catholics have been encultured, educated, and liturgically immersed in a religious milieu devoid of any understanding of the compendium of all heresies that "means the destruction not of the Catholic religion alone but of all religion." But the truth has a way of getting noticed. The conspiracy of silence has the upper hand now, but the silence is being broken by the power of divine inspiration. 



1 comment:

  1. And then the SAINT FACTORY WAS OPENED for push button service.