February 7, 2004
vol 15, no. 38

A Tale of Two Truths

Ratzinger Hallucinates: a case study in oath-breaking.

By Father Lawrence Smith

Part of this essay excerpted from Father Lawrence Smith's paper, "After the Third Crowing: How Modern Man Denies Christ in His Vicar, in His Church, and in His Truth"

    "It is not the Church who discovered that she had a problem with the State, but the State who decided and proclaimed that it would have NOTHING to do with the Church. While the State could be seen within the Church as part of Christendom, conflict was minimal. The modern State seeking to marginalize the Church within its confines has resulted in all-out war. This war was not started by the ancient, immemorial, changeless Church."

   Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was a Vatican II peritus. He is a widely published and read theologian. He is also considered a staunch defender of Catholic truth. Some of his remarks serve well to illustrate the extent of divergence from Tradition present in the postconciliar Church.

       "...there are decisions of the Magisterium that cannot be a last word on the matter as such, but are, in a substantial fixation of the problem, above all an expression of pastoral prudence, a kind of provisional disposition. Its nucleus remains valid, but the particulars, which the circumstances of the times have influenced, may need further ramifications.

       "In this regard, one may think of the declarations of Popes in the last century about religious liberty, as well as the anti-Modernist decisions at the beginning of this century, above all, the decisions of the Biblical Commission of the time. As a cry of alarm in the face of hasty and superficial adaptations, they will remain fully justified. A personage such as Johann Baptist Metz said, for example, that the Church's anti-Modernist decisions render the great service of preserving her from immersion in the liberal-bourgeois world. But in the details of the determinations they contain, they become obsolete after having fulfilled their pastoral mission at the proper moment." (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, quoted from L'Osservatore Romano, 27 June 1990)

Compare the above to this from Praestantia Scripturae of Pope St. Pius X, 18 November 1907:

       "...After long discussions and most conscientious deliberations, certain excellent decisions have been published by the Pontifical Biblical Commission, very useful for the true advancement of Biblical studies and for directing the same by a definitive norm. Yet we notice that there are not lacking those who have not received and do not receive such decisions with the obedience which is proper, even though they are approved by the Pontiff.

       "Therefore, we see that it must be declared and ordered as We do now declare and expressly order, that all are bound by the duty of conscience to submit to the decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, both those which have thus far been published and those which will hereafter be proclaimed, just as to the decrees of the Sacred Congregations which pertain to doctrine and have been approved by the Pontiff; and that all who impugn such decisions as these by word or in writing cannot avoid the charge of disobedience, or on this account be free of grave sin; and this besides the scandal by which they offend, and the other matters for which they can be responsible before God, especially because of other pronouncements in these matters made rashly and erroneously.

       "In addition to this, intending to repress the daily increasing boldness of spirit of many Modernists, who by sophisms and artifices of every kind endeavor to destroy the force and the efficacy not only of the Decree, "Lamentabili Sane Exitu", which was published on the third of July of the current year, but also of Our Encyclical Letter, "Pascendi Domenici Gregis", given on the eighth of September of this same year by Our Apostolic Authority, We repeat and confirm not only that Decree of the Sacred Supreme Congregation, but also that Encyclical Letter of Ours, adding the penalty of excommunication against all who contradict them; and We declare and decree this: if anyone, which may God forbid, proceeds to such a point of boldness that he defends any of the propositions, opinions, and doctrines disproved by either document mentioned above, he is ipso facto afflicted by the censure imposed in the chapter "Docentes" of the Constitution of the Apostolic See, first among those excommunications latae senteniae which are reserved simply to the Roman Pontiff. This excommunication, however, is to be understood with no change in the punishments, which those who have committed anything against the above mentioned documents may incur, if at any time their propositions, opinions, or doctrines are heretical; which indeed has happened more than once in the case of the adversaries of both these documents, but especially when they defend the errors of modernism, that is the refuge of all heresies." (Quoted in Denzinger, paragraphs 2113-2114)

   Now note the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2106:

    "Nobody may be forced to act against his convictions, nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others, within due limits. This right is based on the very nature of the human person, whose dignity enables him freely to assent to the divine truth which transcends the temporal order. For this reason it continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it."

Two questions:


  • How does one reconcile Cardinal Ratzinger's words with the words of Pope St. Pius which they contradict?
  • How can someone have the RIGHT to abandon an OBLIGATION???

    Cardinal Ratzinger also has published:

       -- that Dignitatis Humanae and Gaudium et Spes serve as a 'counter-syllabus' to the Syllabus of Modern Errors of Pope Pius IX:

      "If one is looking for a global diagnosis of the text [of Gaudium et Spes], one could say that it (in connection with the texts on religious liberty and the world's religions) is a revision of the "Syllabus" of Pius IX, a kind of counter-Syllabus. As is known, Harnack interpreted the "Syllabus" of Pius IX as a challenge to its century; what is true is that it drew a line of separation before the determining forces of the nineteenth century: the scientific and political conceptions of liberalism. In the modernist controversy, this double border was once again reinforced and fortified.

         "Undoubtedly, many things have changed since then. The new ecclesiastical policy of Pius IX established a certain openness toward the liberal conception of State. In a silent but persevering combat, exegesis and Church history increasingly adopted the postulates of liberal science; on the other hand, liberalism was obliged, facing the great political upheavals of the twentieth century, to accept notable corrections. This happened because, first in central Europe, conditioned by the situation, the unilateral dependence in relation to the positions taken by the Church on the initiative of Pius IX and Pius X against the new period of history opened by the French Revolution was to a large extent corrected via facti; but a new, fundamental determination of relations with the world as it had been since 1789 was still lacking.

         "Actually, in the countries with strong Catholic minorities, the mentality that preceded the revolution still reigned; today no one denies that for a long time this no longer corresponded to reality. Likewise, almost no one can deny that this dependence on an obsolete conception of relations between Church and State was matched by similar anachronisms in the domain of education and the attitude to be taken vis-à-vis the modern historic-critical method. Only a detailed research about the several ways in which the parts of the Church welcomed the modern world could undo the complicated entanglement of causes that contributed to give shape to the pastoral constitution, and only in this way could the drama of the history of its influence be clarified. Let us content ourselves here with finding that the text plays the role of a counter-Syllabus to the degree that it represents an official attempt by the Church at reconciliation with the world as it became after 1789. On the one hand, this visualization alone clarifies the ghetto complex of which we spoke in the beginning; on the other hand, it alone permits us to understand the meaning of the strange relationship of the Church with the world: by "world" one understands, at depth, the spirit of modern times. The group consciousness in the Church felt separated from this spirit and looked for dialogue and cooperation with it after the hot war and the cold war [were over]." (Principles of Catholic Theology, 1982)

       Imagine that! Not wanting to be connected with a spirit that gives us communism, homosexuality, abortion, apostasy, and blasphemy! What were those two neaderthals, Pius IX and Pius X, thinking?!?

       By the way, after an initial attempt at embracing liberalism, Pius IX emphatically rejected it. The "openness" that his eminence mentions was quickly followed by a fit of coughing to expel the foul fumes that had been inhaled. Pius IX was no friend of liberalism -- as any reading of the Syllabus of Modern Errors easily shows.

       Anachronisms only occur in a modernist world. Only the modernist mind sees anything that might be called an anachronism. Reality allows for that which is alive to remain so -- no matter what the clock or calendar says. It is the modernist tendency to kill the healthy in favor of preserving the disease.

       A case in point is the "determination of relations with the world as it became after 1789". The Church had a definitive -- and new -- relationship with the world, and specifically the modern notion of the State, after 1789: one of enmity. Through the high Middle Ages, the Church could call the world, and especially the State, within Christendom an ally. The French Revolution was a declaration of war by the State against the Church.

       It is not the Church who discovered that she had a problem with the State, but the State who decided and proclaimed that it would have NOTHING to do with the Church. While the State could be seen within the Church as part of Christendom, conflict was minimal. The modern State seeking to marginalize the Church within its confines has resulted in all-out war. This war was not started by the ancient, immemorial, changeless Church.

       It is a war of naked aggression begun by the ephemeral, changeable, modern nation-state.

       This betrayal was a horrible and sad blow to the Church, who, nonetheless, took up the gauntlet. Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius X made it quite clear where the Church stood in her relationship with the modern world. It wasn't until Vatican II that this relationship became muddled. Oddly enough, Vatican II adopting the world's view on Church-State relations has not resulted in the world accepting or embracing the Church any more than when the Church held her own views. Now, alas! not only is the world still at war with the Church, but there are those within the Church who carry the battle into the sanctuary, the chancery, and the Vatican.

       Often liberals and modernists bristle at the accusation that one of their main tactics and pastimes is to rewrite history. Cardinal Ratzinger's remarks are a bald and unapologetic admission that such is very much the modernist way. Creating a "counter-Syllabus" and ignoring the massive documentation of the Church's clear response to liberalism and modernism is an ignoble attempt to make history lie.

       The truth is that the Church has always accepted the State as a partner in the project of establishing the Kingdom of Heaven. At no time has the Church ever declared that the State is not legitimate and has no right to exist or to wield its authority. It is only in modern times that the State has made the extraordinary claim that it can exclude the Church altogether from her role as guardian of virtue and expositor of truth.

       Modern history is not a corrective where an overweening Church is being put in her place. Modern history is a usurpation of power by a despotic State seeking to deny simple men, the Church, and God their places within the world as heirs to the Kingdom, the mistress of that Kingdom, and the Sovereign of that Kingdom. Modern history, modernism, and modernity are doomed to fail and pass away. Long after the timely has ceased, the eternal King will yet be reigning over His loyal subjects in the unchanging Church.

    More from Cardinal Ratzinger's pen:

       -- that the difference between Catholic and Jewish messianic expectations at the culmination of time "consists in the fact that for us, He who will come will have the same traits of that Jesus who has already come." (remarks quoted in "The Remnant", 30 April 2002, made in explanation of the Pontifical Biblical Commission document, first published by Atila Sinke Guimarães in The Daily Catholic on April 8, 2002 - "The Biblical Commission on the Jews: Changes in Doctrine and New Anathemas" as a critique of "The Jewish People and the Holy Scriptures in the Christian Bible" [2002], for which the Cardinal wrote an introduction.)

       These positions are fabricated, improvised, and alien to the tenor and the letter of what the Church has taught from her beginning. It is just this kind of free-wheeling intellectualism in theology and philosophy that has allowed the liturgists to run wild through the Sacred Mysteries. Cardinal Ratzinger seems disingenuous at best when he decries the wanton abuses in the liturgy, but then makes corollary assaults on truth in matters of doctrine. "Disingenuous" is the best that one might call it. Edmund Burke feared that another sentiment might be at work: "malignity of disposition".

    Cardinal Ratzinger on the ambiguities inherent in the Vatican II documents:

       "The Preliminary Note [to Part III of Lumen Gentium], as it is known, has helped to give a somewhat bitter flavor to the final journeys, filled with bold hopes, of the Council's third session. We would go too far if we wanted to analyze here in a precise fashion this very complicated text. Its result - to which we will limit ourselves - would be the recognition that this does not create a substantially new situation, but in principle continues the same dialectics.

       "The resulting ambiguity, as far as the actual competence of the episcopal college is concerned, is already inserted in the conciliar text itself. Undoubtedly, this dialectics was later aggravated in favor of the pole for the primacy. But the text, under the impulse of this tendency in each enunciation, reintroduces on the side another enunciation and reestablishes the equilibrium, making it possible to interpret the whole both in the sense of the 'primacy' and in relation to the principle of collegiality. Therefore, one can easily speak of a certain intrinsic disharmony in the Note's text, which reflects the disharmony among those who wrote it and attempted to reconcile conflicting tendencies. If the resulting text gives an impression of disharmony, this is a sign that a complete harmonization was not attained, nor was it possible." ( from Problemi e risultati del Vaticano II (1967), quoted in In the Murky Waters of Vatican II, by Atila Sinke Guimarães, Tradition In Action).

    Lest anyone think the Cardinal's views have changed:

       "If someone were to cast into doubt Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's affiliation with the progressivist current, he could find the prelate's own acquiescence to this designation in the book-interview in which journalist Vittorio Messori calls him a 'balanced progressivist' and points to him as one of the founders of the magazine Concilium, a meeting place for the so-called 'progressivist wing' of theology." (Ratzinger Report, 1985)

       "Ratzinger's statements to the same journalist, published by the magazine Jesus, are even clearer. He thus presents the Cardinal: 'Perhaps what is most annoying is the fact that the supposed "guardian of the faith" in reality has not only the stature of a great theologian…but also of an open, modern theologian, open to the signs of the times. A perito of the German episcopate at Vatican II, he is later found among the founders of Concilium, an international magazine that brings together the so-called "progressivist wing" of Catholic theology.

       '"Was it a sin of youth, your Eminence, this engagement with Concilium," I ask him, joshing. "Absolutely not," he answered. "I did not change; they changed.'" (1984)

       "During a visit to Brazil in 1990, the Cardinal spoke to the press about the same subject: Question: 'What are the most marked differences between the Ratzinger of Council Vatican II and the Ratzinger of today? Who has changed more, you or the Church?' Answer: 'I do not see a real, profound difference between my work in Vatican Council II and my present work. On preparing this course for bishops, I reviewed a course of ecclesiology that I gave for the first time in 1956. Naturally, I found elements that need to be analyzed. But with respect to the fundamental vision, I found a profound identity, and what I proposed to the bishops in Rio de Janeiro was the same fundamental vision that I put together then.'"

       "Answering a journalist's question, the Cardinal confirms: 'In my history as theologian I see no fracture, but a development.'" (1994)

       "A renowned protestant theologian bears testimony about the position of the Cardinal-Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He says: Question: 'How do you explain this dialogue with a personality who many Catholics see as reactionary and an enemy of ecumenical dialogue?' Answer: 'I do not understand. It is an erroneous opinion. I met Ratzinger thirty years ago, at Vatican Council II. He was the best of the co-called expert theologians, or peritii, with a reputation for being a radical progressivist.'" (Oscar Cullmann, 1993). [The above six quotes all come from Guimarães].

    And just this week:

      Cardinal Ratzinger: Vatican II Recovered Public Dimension of Christianity Aimed to Bring the Faith Out of the Realm of the Subjective

      ROME, FEB. 4, 2004 ( The Second Vatican Council served to recover the public dimension of the Christian commitment which had been obscured, says Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

      The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has assessed how the relation between the Church and the world has changed since the council of 1962-1965, in his preface for the book "Introduction to Christianity" ("Introducing al Cristianesimo," Queriniana).

      The cardinal, who followed the conciliar sessions as a theological expert, begins by stating that above all, Vatican II intended "to renew the role of Christianity as the motor of history."

      "In the 19th century, in fact, the opinion had spread that religion belonged to the subjective and private sphere, and that it should limit its influence to these realms," he writes. "Precisely because religion was relegated to the subjective sphere, it could not be presented as the determinant force for the great course of history."

      "Once the working sessions of the Council ended, it had to be made clear again that the Christian faith encompasses the whole of existence, it is the central pivot of history and time, and is not destined to limit its realm of influence" to the subjective, the cardinal adds.

      He continues: "Christianity tried -- at least from the point of view of the Catholic Church -- to come out of the ghetto in which it was enclosed since the 19th century, and to be fully involved again in the world.

      "In the determination of the role of Christianity in history, the idea of a new relation between the Church and the world was the main influence. If in the '30s Romano Guardini had coined (justly) the expression 'distinction of what is Christian' ('Unterscheidung des Christlichen'), now this distinction seems to have lost its importance in favor, rather, of the overcoming of distinctions, of coming close to the world, of participation in the world."

      "The speed with which these ideas could come out of the circle of ecclesiastical academic speeches and acquire a more practical character began to be evident as early as 1968, at the time of the Paris barricades," the cardinal writes. "The participation in the front line of Catholic and evangelical student communities in the revolutionary movements in the Universities of Europe and outside of Europe confirmed this tendency."

      He adds: "At that time, it seemed that the only path that could be followed was Marxism. It seemed that Marx had assumed the role that Aristotelian thought played in the 13th century, a pre-Christian philosophy (that is, 'pagan') which had to be baptized to bring faith and reason closer and to engage in a correct relation."

      Cardinal Ratzinger concludes that "whoever expected that Christianity would be transformed into a mass movement, has realized that he was mistaken."

      "Mass movements do not contain on their own promises for the future," he states. "The future is born when people meet around profound convictions, capable of giving form to existence. And the future grows positively if these convictions stem from truth and lead to truth." [Code: ZE04020406 Date: 2004-02-04]

       Massachusetts politicians President John Kennedy and Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry insist(ed) that no religious bond, vow, or obligation may limit a legislator's actions in a democracy observing "separation of church and state."

       Dignitatis Humanae of Vatican II states unequivocally that freedom of religious expression in public and private is to be recognized by the state in reflection of divine, natural, and Church law. This "freedom" is exercised by millions of non-Catholics who are told by Catholic prelates that their beliefs are as good as Catholicism, do not preclude their salvation, and have the protection of God and His Church in their practice.

       A Zogby poll from January 2004 relates that Catholics in America emphasize their citizenship in the United States to a far greater extent than they embrace their identities as members of the Body of Christ.

       Not one country on earth observes Catholic teaching as binding in the constitutional, cultural, or moral conduct of national life.

       Families attending Mass, receptions of sacramental absolution, couples persevering in Holy Matrimony, ordinations to the priesthood, and funeral Masses have plummeted in number since 1968.

       Abortion, sodomy, divorce, usury, self-abuse, cohabitation outside of matrimony, fornication, and unwed maternity are either enshrined in the laws or tolerated by the cultures of every country on earth, with the exception of a small number of Islamic theocracies.

       Catholic clergy and laymen do not adhere to Church teachings on contraception, the obligation to attend Mass on Holy Days and Sundays, modesty and purity, divorce and remarriage, abortion, or sodomy.

       The Church has closed schools, parishes, convents and monasteries, hospitals, orphanages, seminaries, and publications by the tens of thousands during the last forty years.

       Popes Paul VI and John Paul II have made statements in writing and in speeches citing the Untied Nations, not the Catholic Church, as the great unifying force of modern man.

       Apologies on behalf of the Church have been made to Jews, protestants, muslims, aboriginal peoples, and women for wrongs supposedly committed in the past; Russia remains unconsecrated to Our Lady's Immaculate and Triumphant Heart.

       How does this state of affairs translate into a more influential Church that has managed to "recover the public dimension of the Christian commitment"?

    Father Lawrence Smith

    Sacerdos vagus, 5 February 2004: St. Agatha

    • February 7, 2004
      vol 15, no. 38