THE DIRECTION THAT FAITH MUST HOLD. The Dogmatic Constitution Pastor æternus, v. Denz 3074, establishes:
« When the Roman Pontiff speaks ex cathedra, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable ».
In Vera e falsa teologia. Come distinguere l’autentica “scienza della fede” da un’equivoca “filosofia religiosa” [True and False Theology. How to Distinguish the Authentic “Science of Faith” from an Equivocal “Religious Philosophy”], Monsignor Antonio Livi, former Professor of Logics and Gnoseology and twice Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University, to which he invited me to supplement during three years his courses with my lessons of Formal Gnoseology, points out two decisive notions, which are basic for faith. Here they are.
The first one: « The highest degree of pretension of truth is essential for Christian faith » (p.231).
The second one: « The dogmatic character is neither an accidental aspect nor an ‘ideological superstructure’ of Christianity » (ibidem).
THE COUNTER-LINE IN FORCE. In Il Concilio Vaticano II. Una storia mai scritta [Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story], Professor Roberto de Mattei points out that « the Primate of Belgium — L. J. Suenens, Archbishop of Malines-Bruxelles, Cardinal and Moderator of the Council — launched … the keyword “pastoral Council”: “The Council should be, par excellence, a pastoral Council” (Léon-Joseph Suenens, Aux Origines du Concile Vatican II [The Roots of the Second Vatican Council], p. 8). John XXIII followed the direction drawn by Suenens in the speech he pronounced on 11 September 1962, a month before the opening of the Council » (p. 193): « The pastoral form … turned itself into the form of Magisterium par excellence » (idem, p. 201).
CONCLUSION. For the first time in history, an ecumenical Council — the Second Vatican Council — doesn’t use the « highest degree » of Magisterium with which the preceding twenty councils presided by a Pope had been opened. In this way, for the first time in history, the « pretension of truth » required by the « dogmatic character » of Christian faith is eluded.
Now, whether or not there is a link between: 1) the essentiality, for faith, of the highest degree of pretension of truth; 2) the fact that the ability to fulfill such a pretension is given exclusively by the dogmatic degree; and 3) « Satan’s smoke » that Paul VI, in 1970, discovered and denounced with extreme grief to have made its way, in great quantity, « in the temple » of God which is the Church, I let to the readers to guess.
Post Scriptum. Oh, I almost forgot:
(Go back up.)
Of course, Father Schillebeeckx’s words tend to perplex us: « Nous l’exprimons d’une façon diplomatique — thus the famous Dutch Dominican reassures us —, mais après le Concile nous tirerons les conclusions implicites » [TN — « We tell it diplomatically, but after the Council we will draw the implicit conclusions »] (Edward Schillebeeckx, su De Bazuin n. 16, 1965), said in other words: “We express ourselves in a duplicitous, ‘diplomatic’ way, that is, so that our concepts may seem to be Catholic to the Catholics and at the same time allow us — who fixed a certain goal for ourselves — to use the necessary degree of vagueness; however, when the Council will be over, we will draw the implicit conclusions that please ourselves and that indeed we had planned”.
Such a machiavellian thought has been intercepted and published by Romano Amerio in 1984, see Iota unum, Ricciardi, p. 93. Thousands of copies of this book have been sold throughout all the world; however, it hasn’t surely been the only instrument that signalled the ignominious thought of the Dominican, which was in fact well spread since 1965 in all the ganglions of the Church, at all levels.
DOGMATIC MAGISTERIUM. Thus, firstly: The truths of dogmatic Magisterium don’t need to be interpreted. On the contrary, by their very essence — since the dogma is indefectible, that is, it doesn’t contain errors, whereas lack of clarity, ambiguity or equivocity are errors — the truths of dogmatic Magisterium must not and cannot be interpreted: they are expressed by their very nature in a clear, univocal way, which is valid in every time, place, condition: they are eternal truths.
PASTORAL MAGISTERIUM. By contrast, the truths of pastoral Magisterium do need an interpretation; let us clarify, however, that we’re not talking about the pastoral Magisterium used since the Second Vatican Council, but rather about the pastoral Magisterium per se, which has nothing to do with the former, because it is not corroded by the modernist acid, how we will shall soon see.
Pastoral Magisterium is per se as necessary to the Church as dogmatic Magisterium, on which it depends: the Church cannot do without it. A precise relationship with their precise hierarchy strongly vinculates the two spheres between them.
As I show in a much more extensive way in Che cosa può cambiare e che cosa non può cambiare nella dottrina della Chiesa [What Can and What Cannot Be Changed in the Doctrine of the Church] in Various Authors, Dogma e Pastorale. L’ermeneutica del Magistero dal Vaticano II al Sinodo sulla famiglia [Dogma and Pastoral. The Hermeneutics of the Magisterium from the Second Vatican Council to the Synod for the Family], Leonardo da Vinci, Rome 2015, the Magisterium that we call “pastoral” has the task to define, show, teach and implement those truths that — although they are connected to the dogma — don’t own the characteristics of infallibility and indefectibility that must be believed de fide.
They can be found in four different categories: 1) the theological results of the dogmatic truths, e.g. the Catechism of the Catholic Church; 2) the canonizations established according to canonical norms; 3) the liturgical and disciplinary legislation which oblige the universal Church, e.g. the Institutio Generalis Missale Romanum and the Codex Iuris Canonici; 4) the approval of religious Orders and Congregations.
As we can see, by their intrinsic qualities these four categories develop and evolve in history and are then, by their own nature, subjected to modifications, improvements, clarifications, although always in one precise and rigorous direction, a direction rigorously held in all the two thousand years of history of the Magisterium of the Church, with a strict, meticulous and extremely faithful, logical and theological connection to the specific eternal truths from which they emanate, in such a way that every possible doubt, misunderstanding, misleading interpretation can be rapidly and solicitously solved, clarified, judged, if need be eliminated.
The unparalleled Bernard Bartmann clarifies the problem of the irreformability of the ‘connected truths’ of ecclesiastical faith:
« The Church — he explains — infallibly teaches Christian morals, and easily acknowledges whether the rules of a religious order are in accordance with it or not. However, she isn’t infallible when she judges the exterior appropriateness of those rules, so that she may formulate a new judgement. Thus, the Church cannot be mistaken when she judges on worship, on liturgical books, on the particular duties of certains states (celibacy, breviary) or on the general disciplinary prescriptions (fasting, holiday rest, institution and suppression of holidays).
In those matters it is not possible for her to order and approve anything contrary to moral law. But her judgement on these formulae (sensus) is neither infallible nor an immutable truth. On the contrary, it is possible for her to create, at another time, better, more comprehensive and incisive formulae, in order to express the same defined truths. […] Compare for example the formulae of the Council of Chalcedon to those of the Council of Ephesus, the symbol of the Apostles with that of Athanasius » ((Bernard Bartmann, Manuale di teologia dogmatica [Textbook of Dogmatic Theology], Edizioni Paoline, Alba 1952, pp. 63-64).
A classic example of the reformability and of the simultaneous deep and rigorous care used in order to guarantee that the reform is performed with the highest degree of purity — so that the Church, in her widest universality, and the salvation of each soul may receive the most fertile graces — is the reform of the Breviary allowed in 1536 by Pope Paul III, rejected with a rescript in 1558 by Paul IV and finally proscribed only ten years later by Saint Pius V: with this example we want to demonstrate how such things « are the most important witness, in liturgical history, of the priority attributed to the organic development of liturgy over the approval of the competent authority. The prudential judgement with which Paul III promulgated this reform in 1536 was an error eventually corrected thirty-two years later by the fifth pope after him, because of the evident insatisfaction of the faithful and at the request of the scholars » (Alcuin Reid, Lo sviluppo organico della Liturgia. I principi della riforma liturgica e il loro rapporto con il Movimento liturgico del XX secolo prima del Concilio Vaticano II, Prefazione di Joseph Ratzinger, [The Organic Development of Liturgy. The Principles of Liturgical Reform and their Relationship with the Liturgical Movement of the XX Century before the Second Vatican Council. Preface by Joseph Ratzinger], Cantagalli, Siena 2013, p. 31).
The direction to be held in the “pastoral” teaching and acts on the truths connected to the dogma had been abandoned with unwilling imprudence, but has been eventually recovered by virtue of the suggestion of a holy Pope.
The direction to be held is indicated by the monk Saint Vincent of Lerins in such a precise way that it has been adopted by the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius at the end of Chapter 4, De fide et ratione: « [Nos credimus solum] quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus creditum est [“(We only believe in) what has been believed always, everywhere and by everyone”] » (Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorium primum, 23, n. 3, see also Denz 3020).
The four categories of truths are tightly connected to the dogma by the divine side and to history by the human side. It is precisely because of this connection to the world that they cannot be per se directly infallible and indefectible but rather all the Popes of the Church under whose rule they have found the proper way to develop strived to make them obey — in the most rigorous, logical, rational and theological relationship — a univoque link that possesses the highest moral commitment, supported in that by a theology which is deeply and willingly immersed in a sound metaphysical atmosphere, an atmosphere that — as it is taught by the last great exponents of the Roman School, Monsignor Gherardini and Monsignor Livi — has always represented the most insuperable barrier even against the least historicist — that is to say, modernist, that is, heretical — infiltration.
Such infiltration represents today the hardest and most challenging archenemy of Catholic doctrine, as it is demonstrated by the recent conceited lecturings pronounced by extemporary theologians such as Francesco Arzillo and the likes or as the obstinately innovator (thus heretical) Cardinals hidden under fake “conservative” clothes such as Walter Brandmüller and the likes.
After having thus exposed the DIRECTION always held and followed by the Church, let’s now start illustrating the COUNTER-DIRECTION elaborated and followed by the modernists since the Second Vatican Council.
PASTORAL MAGISTERIUM AFTER THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL. Since the Second Vatican II we witness by contrast a completely different attitude: As we said, what would be an objective limitation of the truths formulated and taught with pastoral Magisterium turns itself into a breach, an opportunity, a potentiality which — even though those truth are connected to the dogma and so are tightly bound by the moral link identificated by Saint Vincent of Lerins so well that it has been even included in a Dogmatic Constitution such as the Dei Filius—, in the hands of the modernists, turns those truths into a Trojan Horse, into a stratagem, into the picklock used to penetrate into the Gate Tower of the Church — let’s call it like that —, into the Sancta Sanctorum of the evangelical doctrine, in order to seize it and, after having conquered it in such a surreptitious way, rebuild it piece by piece at one’s own convenience, that is, according one’s own deceitful modernistic intentions, but without letting anybody notice such extremely shrewd ruse.
Indeed, who is ever going to notice those armies of solicitous workers who — disguised not only as Bishops, Cardinals Prefects and Popes, but also as Monsignors, scholars, parish priests, theologians who claim to be very simple but very committed to the faithful — will erect — with the most placid, friendly, lovely, inclusivist and engaging methods — stones made of paper, rocks made of plastic, pillars made of cottonwood instead of the rightful, solid and well squared stones chiseled around the rock of the cornerstone mentioned by Eph 2:20?
After having been unleashed by the conciliar “aggiornamento”, every kind of dilettantism will be deemed acceptable, provided that it doesn’t propose arguments or reasonings or logical deductions and inductions, but rather only seductions based on suggestive, authoritative arguments à la Nouvelle Théologie, on reassuring goals of universal pacification, as Amerio, De Mattei, Gherardini, Guarini, Livi, Mazza, Pasqualucci, Spadafora, Vassallo and myself point out in dozens of books, articles, courses, round tables, conferences.
In the hands of Cardinal Suenens, Pope Roncalli and all the neoterics who still follow them, the fallibility and the possible defectiveness — allowed by the impossibility for those degrees of truths to be enunciated at the highest degree of entelechy of Magisterium, which is given exclusively by a papal locutio ex cathedra — are no longer instruments that require from those who use them the highest moral and intellectual commitment in order to make every teaching and every act with which, each time, the peregrine Church keeps up with peoples and nations, centuries and languages, science and knowledge, adhere to the truth in every single point, but rather a fulgurant, splendid, dazzling split to accomplish that “culture of meeting”, that “culture of dialogue” which will allow them to finally fulfill the dream of all the fake placid, the fake peaceful and the utterly hypocrite meek ones of the world, who are actually only willing to be let in peace.
In other words, after the denial of the basic, distinctive and abysmal aut aut which has always divided the Revelation of Our Lord Jesus Christ as it has been taught by the Church from every other religious notion and phantasy — including both the monotheism of Talmudic Judaism and the monotheism of Islam and including the many protestant hereticalities —, the goal to make friends with everyone and to especially try to become no one’s enemy — in a general, soft, smooth et et scheme, belonging to a continuum of approximation toward God of which the Church would just be the final edge — is pursued.
MAGISTERIUM, FORM, LANGUAGE AND HERESIES. Romano Amerio was the first one to notice the existence of a device that counterfeited doctrine in the deceitful way described by Father Schillebeeckx. First, at § 14 of Iota unum, he writes: « the law of historical conservation of the Church », through which « the Church isn’t lost in the event that she doesn’t match the truth, but rather in the event that she loses the truth (the emphasis is of the Author’s), then in §§ 330-1 he illustrates the first rudiments of the method utilized by modernist neoterics precisely using that law: let us mismatch the relationship between Church and truth so that we reach our goals and the Church isn’t lost, she doesn’t die completely.
What remains of the Lord’s commandment, when He says to us: « Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one » (Mt 5:37)? Do great hermeneuts such as Arzillo, Brandmüller, Ratzinger, O’Malley, Schillebeeckx et alii still acknowledge this commandment, that they persistently misinterpret? Do they acknowledge at least the reason why it is so imperative, the reason why there is the (divine) need to be blunt, clear and neat: « Anything more is from the evil one »?
Thus, as it can be understood, the issue is language, and the discipline on which Professor Livi made me teach my courses, Formal Gnoseology, allows like no other to approach the heart of that shady device, as after all even the Jesuit Father O’Malley did by affirming categorically: « The Second Vatican Council is a linguistic event » (John W. O’Malley, Che cosa è successo nel Vaticano II [in the anglophone world What Happened at Vatican II], Vita e pensiero, Milan 2010, p. 313).
The difference lays in the fact that the Jesuit exalts the language of the Council as a theological apotheosis, while the writer, by contrast, in his Il domani – terribile o radioso? – del Dogma [The Future — Terrible or Radiant? — of Dogma] (Aurea Domus, Milan 2013), points out in two hundred and fifty pages the infinite snares and tricks used by the novator to reach the goal of saying without saying, that is, as it is pointed out by Amerio, to hide under the clothes of a general truth a partial counter-truth not clearly expressed. This scheme is abundantly illustrated in my aforementioned essay.
Did any of those who frown at my severe words with regard to the Popes of the Council ever read it? Did they ever ponder it and then find arguments which could demonstrate with neat clarity the fallacy of mines, which are contained in that pages since seven years ago, and have been then retaken and signaled again in my successive works, in every single one of them, works that I don’t enumerate in order not to provide to anybody further pretexts to laugh at the auto-quotes to which the desert that surrounds me forces me?
However, if nobody beside me takes into account — either for or against it — the philosophical, metaphysical and theological horizon through which I achieve the point to denounce the mega-snare elaborated by the aforementioned Popes — and when I say “nobody” I mean not even those who I considered very close to me in faith; I don’t mention anybody only in charity towards all — what should the most miserable Catholic faithful ever do if he has not the opportunity to quote anybody but doesn’t wish to remain alone in faith, at the same time trying to alert his fellow believers, those who are far from faith, the Pastors, the very same heretics, and, if possible, the whole Church?
The equivocal language well illustrated by Father Schillebeeckx allowed — thanks to its amnesia and to all its ambiguities — at least seven serious and deep heretical elements to penetrate into the Church: I define them as such in order not to mistake them with the authentic heresies, manifest and formal, that the very same shrewd device Suenens-Roncalli — then adopted and used by their successors Montini, Wojtyla and Ratzinger — has been able to formulate in a refined and surreptitious way.
The seven heretical elements have to do with seven crucial spheres of faith, each one more cardinal and decisive than the other:
the first one has to do with Christ’s regality over the world and the public right that emanates from it, which has to be acknowledged to the Catholic Church, Mater et Magistra of the world;
the second has to do with the public rights of the Catholic Church — the only depositary of the Triune God’s Revelation — which are equated to those of the thousands of falsities;
the third has to do with the spurious ecumenism which derives from it;
the fourth has to do with religious freedom;
the fifth has to do with ecclesiology;
the sixth has to do with matrimonial morals and in general with sexual morals and what derives from it;
the seventh has to do with the notion of the Mass and the liturgical acts that derive from it.
In particular, the second heretical element won’t be solved until a Pope doesn’t establish firmly with a locutio ex cathedra the principle according to which « if God is not Triune, He even isn’t », as I argued in my Il Mistero della Sinagoga bendata [The Mystery of the Blindfolded Synagogue], Ist ed. Effedieffe, Milan 2002; IInd ed. completely revised, pro manuscripto, Aurea Domus, Milan 2011.
We must then add to these seven serious fields of heresy of the Church — begotten and well fed by the Council — those whose eloquent expansion has been allowed and caused by the very same Council just because of the fatal embrace between the conciliar Church and the wicked and atheistic historicism. At the first row of the latter we find the hereticalities that emerge from the books of Monsignor Joseph Ratzinger, especially Introduzione al Cristianesimo [Introduction to Christianity] and then from his encyclicals written in his capacity as a Roman Pontiff, as I point out in Al cuore di Ratzinger. Al cuore del mondo [At the Heart of Ratzinger. At the Heart of the World] whose completely revised version, bearing the new title Al cuore di Ratzinger. È lui il Papa, non l’altro [At the Heart of Ratzinger. He is the Pope, not the Other], will be published in September. (So we will also understand the reasons why the Argentine is called like that: let’s be patient.)
WHAT TO DO IN ORDER TO LET THE DOGMA COME BACK, THAT IS, TO LEAD THE CHURCH AGAIN TO CHRIST. It is necessary that everyone who is now participating to the ongoing debate become well aware of the fact that up to now, since sixty years ago, there hasn’t been a single Prelate who has been willing to question the Second Vatican Council in the due terms, that is both in its formal wholeness and in each one of the heretical elements that infest it, which is to say at least in the seven points indicated here, excepted — as is known —, in their times, the Bishops Lefebvre and De Castro Mayer, although they had not been able to gather the needed support to reject first of all precisely the form with which the Council had been opened, since at that time the formal issue had not even come up.
Up to now all, I insist: all the Bishops, Cardinals and Prefects of the Holy Roman Church, prone to the directives of the aforementioned Popes, have neither considered the extremely clear linguistic aspects that are here once more identified in their most blatant evidence, nor, especially, the severe admonition shot with a flamethrower, in his times and forever, by Saint Paul: « But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed! » (Gal 1:8-9).
Now, at last, a courageous man has taken the field; however, it is necessary for everyone to be perfectly aware of the true issues at stake: who are the real fighters, why are they fighting, with which weapons and, finally, with which goals they are doing it. It is the “War of the Forms”, or, in other words, it is the war of the flesh against the Spirit, of the world against Christ.
Enough with the political jargon, enough with duplicity, enough with the underwater navigation. The right start has been given by Archbishop Monsignor Carlo Maria Viganò, former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, on 4 July, to John H. Westen, Director of LifeSite News:
« Anyone with common sense can see that it is an absurdity to want to interpret a Council, since it is and ought to be a clear and unequivocal norm of Faith and Morals.
Secondarily, if a magisterial act raises serious and reasoned arguments that it may be lacking in doctrinal coherence with magisterial acts that have preceded it, it is evident that the condemnation of a single heterodox point in any case discredits the entire document.
If we add to this the fact that the errors formulated or left obliquely to be understood between the lines are not limited to one or two cases, and that the errors affirmed correspond conversely to an enormous mass of truths that are not confirmed, we can ask ourselves whether it may be right to expunge the last assembly from the catalog of canonical Councils.
The sentence will be issued by history and by the ‘sensus fidei’ of the Christian people even before it is given by an official document ».
This would require a providential sensibilization of all the Cardinals and Bishops of the Church, starting from refined and committed Cardinals such as Brandmüller, who — amending the various flaws in the Monsignor Schneider’s words about the doctrinal corrections made by the Magistery throughout history — has started showing again what was expected by him, since his solidity as an historian is beyond dispute.
Good: It would now be proper that all the great Prelates of the Church become aware of the fact that it is about time to correct form, language and doctrines generated by the Second Vatican Council and that if the Lord permitted us to arrive to this point without anyone making these due corrections, it is only because it was necessary for them to open their eyes after all of them fell into the trap they refused to see — because they loved it with their own hearts, prepared it with their own hands, fell into it with their own feet —, and realize that what they then defended tooth and nail wasn’t anything but an enormous, seducing, enchanted spell which hid a great hole from which, had it not been for the infinite mercifulness of God, nobody would have been able to come out.
Call it as you wish. I believe I know its name…
A SIMPLE PROPOSAL. Finally, to keep on talking about the Great Venerable Old Man, I would suggest not to sadden the debates with darts such as « Radaelli detests Ratzinger », which not only degrade the arguments by shifting them to an emotive and childish plan but also forget that « de internis neque Ecclesia iudicat » [« not even the Church judges about the inner thoughts of men »], and “neque Ecclesia” means that it is absolutely not fair to judge the feelings present in the heart of a man: Neither a spiritual Director — were he the very same Pope — could do it, and that’s really saying something.
It would be rather proper if the participants to the debates, rather than judge so rashly, showed to have a little bit of knowledge on the matter, in this case on my works about the august Subject whom we are talking about, in order to be able to demonstrate to have read at least the final paragraphs of Al cuore di Ratzinger, or at least its titles, or at least the titles of its supplementary booklets, the second of which goes straight to the point: Amare Ratzinger. Io lo salvo, voi lo uccidete. Non fatelo. Ma anzi: salviamolo tutti insieme [Loving Ratzinger: I Save Him, You Kill Him. Don’t Do It. But rather: Let’s Save Him Together].
Maybe not everybody understood it, but this is the only goal that I resolved to reach three years ago. Would you like to take a try?
E. M. R.
English translation by Antonio Marcantonio.