Thursday-Saturday
July 22-24, 2004
vol 15, no. 161

NewChurch of the New World Order


    Part Three of Four Installments

By Father Lawrence Smith

      "What we learn in the aftermath of Vatican II is not only the damage done to the Faith, the Church, and the world, but the extent of the labor necessary to mend that damage. Not only the Mass, not only the Faith, not only the role of the Magisterium must be restored, but philosophy, education, economics, politics, the family, and countless souls must be healed. Nothing was left untouched by the revolution, nothing can be left out of the effort to restore all things in Christ."

IV. From One to One is Too Many

    Fallacious assertions that the world should be free of Church interference, that states should be separated from sectarian and narrow points of view, that religion itself gains protection from this principle, are part of the liberal program to neutralize and marginalize the Church. It is easy to see and often commented on how states without a moral compass plunge into moral license. Another effect of this great divorce is the insistence by each state to utilize its own language in worship. Moral discordance is manifested in linguistic unintelligibility - all in the name of unity. Sin separates all the more among people of divided (forked!) tongues.

    Worship has not increased in quantity, quality, or frequency from vernacular usage, but it is demanded all the same. In addition to providing no appreciable improvement of understanding in the liturgy, or participation therein, the inclusion of vernacular has done violence to the Body of Christ by the erection of what are fast becoming "national" churches. It might seem counter to the impetus toward world government seen in the secular arena, but the two phenomena are of a piece. "Balkanization" of nations gives rise to cries for a "transcendent" authority to bring peace; dismembering the Body of Christ is a step toward a syncretistic world church in the name of unity.

    Unity is not a thing of the past. It is not a hope for the future. It is an essential mark of the Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. We have not lost unity. We do not pray for unity. Our very being is unity: in the Spirit, to Christ, for the glory of God the Father.

    Latin is the audible sign of that unity. Vernacular languages are a Babel signifying disunity ("a sound and fury signifying naught"). Latin is a gracious gift from God mending the sin of Babel. It is not meant to be a lingua franca for human commerce, but a common tongue by which man speaks to God. Though many in the pews might not understand the words, all can grasp the meaning: God is glorious! And God understands the words on the lips, the meanings in the minds, and the significance to the hearts of everyone involved.

    But if sacrifice to God and the Real Presence are not the point of the Mass, then talking to God will mean nothing also. Then what will be sought is a language (the vernacular) in a medium (the profane) accessible to the object of "liturgy" (the masses). "Full, active, conscious participation" will insist on not only doing the talking (alongside and instead of the priest), but on scripting the talking (during weekly liturgy planning), and being addressed by the talking (making the Gospel "relevant" to modernity). Of the people, by the people, to the people, all power, planning, and priesthood.

    Vernacular is now the lingua franca (sorry about the oxymoron - modernity made me do it) in Mass and on the street. Where one can hear street talk in the pulpit, Top 40 from the choir, and bestsellers as inspiration for eulogies, one would be hard-pressed to discover Eucharistic Prayers, choral hymnody, or works of the Church Fathers as fodder for popular entertainment - unless parody, insult, and blasphemy are wanted. (Significant rule-making exceptions include chart-topping recordings of Gregorian chant [not Taize], thousands of tourists visiting medieval cathedrals [not the latest strip-mall sanctuary], and the perennial popularity of the Holy Rosary, a 13th-century devotion [not updated and altered stations of the cross or "mysteries of light"]. In the parlance of modern marketing, traditional Catholicism's got legs!) Once again, the sacred is refused access to elevate the world, but the world and the worldly demand and gain access to the sanctuary to make what was high low, beautiful mediocre, and spiritual materialistic.

    Having received this mundane gospel, the modern church then turns around to bring the old news back to the street. Rather than Christ crucified, salvific suffering, and transcendent hope, the "relevant" modern(ist) churchman preaches "inclusive" language and feminist "theology", devotion-free spirituality, commandment-less morality, and the salvation of the body from hunger, homophobia, and human rights abuses. This tongue has no cognates for hell, Purgatory, and Heaven.

    Modern man not only has lost the power to speak Latin, but the power to speak of the things conveyed by Latin. The precision of meaning, the transcendence of God, and the poetic beauty of worship in which Latin excels have no parallel in modern languages. What is more, the concepts of thought in Latin are distorted or lost in translations. Moderns do not practice the old Faith because they do not speak the old Faith. In not speaking the old Faith, they no longer think with the mind of the immemorial Church. Without that mind there is no assent to the Faith, and without that assent, there is no salvation.

    *GULP*

    Of course, if God doesn't really care how He's worshipped, if He's not really there when He's worshipped, if He really wouldn't send anyone to a non-existent hell, well, then, there's nothing for anyone to worry about. Man can get back to minding his own business…But, then, what is the Church for?

    For the same things everything else in the world is for. What governments are for. What businesses are for. What individuals are for. Whatever man wants.

    More specifically, the world has assigned religion the task of aiding in the procurement of what man is wanting for that dollars find too slippery to grasp. Be it peace, or human rights, or donations of food, or birth control, or woman's choice to slaughter babes in wombs, the church is to champion human wants. Human wants, however, are completely restricted to the world, this life, and the body. Souls no longer exist, and "spirit" is a nice metaphor for the high concepts of humanism. Modern religious "ideals" are immanent, not transcendent; subjective, not objective; abstractions, not realities; for a time, not for ever; in this world and of this world.

    Lost in all of this, besides a meaning to her work, is the Church's care for each soul. As the idea of the soul is lost, souls are lost. But then again, that is a lost idea, a lost cause in modernity.

    Trying to make a world where everyone is happy is resulting in a morass where no one is satisfied. The subjective mania by which all success is measured has brought man to the horns of a dilemma: what happens when everyone cares for no one?

    Not in the sense of not helping each other, that wouldn't be nice and modern man is nothing if not nice. Cogito ergo sum is perhaps the most self-centered statement since Non serviam! but Descartes' "I think, therefore, I am," is the anthem of modernity. It is thinking by the self, of the self, and for the self. Such a fixation on the self can not but lead to not thinking much of others. Or thinking of them very often, either.

    Losing Latin leads not only to a disintegration of the Church into separated language groups, but it plays into the dynamic by which a Balkanized nation becomes an atomized society. Countries having lost the ability to understand each other, their various populations will sink into mutual unintelligibility. Patriotism gives way to global pan-sovereignty. Civic pride gives way to economic self-interests. Marriage and family give way to self-fulfillment. And faith gives way to secularism, a.k.a. global pan-sovereignty. Propagation of the Faith, lacking its impetus of divine command and its means of a common tongue, will mean no more than telling people, nicely, not to hurt each other.

    A good "christian" will be identical to being a good "citizen". A good citizen will be not what the church teaches, but what the state preaches. What the state preaches will be the substance of what the church teaches. Thus will be accomplished the final separation of the state from the Church: the secular society will have severed all philosophical, historical, and legal ties to a received Faith ordered to and by the divine will. The separation of the state from the Church does not mean that each will have its own independent sphere; it means that the state will consume the role, the authority, and the practical identity of the Church, including assuming the power of the God whom the Church formerly served.

    If the Church has no principle by which she can offer man communion with God, by what principle will men seek out one another? What is left besides avoiding conflict, filling stomachs, and being nice? What more could man conceivably want, or even conceive of? (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9)

V. What Hath Man Wrought?

    Modernity has mixed a potion consisting of subjective measures, physical comfort, materialistic philosophy, humanistic morality, and relativistic religion. The cauldron wherein the concoction bubbles and boils is the modern nation-state on the way to joining a global pan-sovereignty. Fueling the fire that keeps the broth simmering is an all-pervasive, ever faster, inescapable encroachment of technology. Man is not only making a world, he is creating a worldview, one not seen by nor looking for God.

    Easiest to identify as precipitates from this ongoing reaction are mankind's ubiquitous acceptance and even encouragement of divorce, sodomy, and abortion. The fundamental human unit, the family, its primary agent, marriage, and its purpose, life, are under international, multi-cultural, and ecumenical attack. Legal systems, popular opinion, and clergy throughout the world have found a trinity they can agree on: destruction of natural bonds, commission of unnatural acts, and rejection of supernatural gifts.

    Beyond these heinous assaults on divine and natural law, there is the materialism found throughout the world. Whether capitalist, socialist, communist, or, as is actually the case in most countries, their admixture, nations claim absolute sovereignty, yielding never to God, but increasingly to the notion of world government. Human life, where it is not prevented, aborted, or abused, is now the measure of man's activity. The gauge is not an ideal revealed by God, but a consensus among men reached by science, negotiation, and compromise. Unlike an unchanging ideal, this consensus is subject to ceaseless adjustment given politics, economics, and fashion.

    An important aside regarding materialism: communism sets the tone for capitalism and socialism. Although capitalists and socialists cling to certain mechanisms, they have adopted wholesale the programme of communism: atheistic states, universal child care, coercive public education, women working outside of the home, labor dependent on impersonal industry, the income tax, social security welfare, and state-owned monopolies. Each of these was seen by American citizens of the nineteenth century, when The Communist Manifesto proposed them as the basis of the workers' paradise, as blasphemous, unconstitutional, and/or un-American. They now are political entitlements, unnoticed quotidian affairs, or a human right. Speaking of human rights, a woman's "right to choose" was formally legalized in the United States before it was in Soviet Russia.

    This is the bulk of the world which in "joy and hope" the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican sought to embrace - and join. It is a world in denial of papal authority. It is a world ignorant and contemptuous of the natural law. It is a world in open rebellion against God. This world exalts man to the exclusion of man's divine source and salvation. This world makes man its center, while making men increasingly subservient to machines, to economics, and to a faceless government. This is a world of man wherein men are more apt to die, to go mad, or to despair, than to reach the age of seventy, attain sanctity, or believe that God has shared humanity with man as his Creator and as a Brother.

VI. Conclusion

    Modernity is to be rejected. It must be condemned. Modernism as a mode of thought and as a way of life must be abandoned.

    Elements within Vatican II - religious liberty, ecumenism, dialogue, salvation outside of the Church - and the documents supporting them - Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes, Unitatis Redintegratio, Dignitatis Humanae, and Nostra Aetate - must be revised or abrogated to make clear the Church's permanent condemnation of syncretism, relativism, indifferentism, subjectivism, materialism, ecumenism-without-return, and secular humanism. There is a desperate need for the Magisterium to assert its authority to teach the truth in the world, and its power to oblige the members, particularly the clergy, of the Church to conform their consciences to revealed and defined Truth.

    What has crept into the Church is far more than a compromised Mass. A worldview, a disposition of mind, a moral context not only received Vatican II innovations, they caused the Vatican II innovations. Subjectivism from the 16th century, secularism from the 18th century, liberalism from the 19th century, and modernism combining them all (and others) in the 20th century percolated throughout societies around the world, until in 1962 they began to have a formal affect on the Church.

    Up to that point, heresies and sinfulness had been impacting the Church constantly. Condemnations from Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII illustrate that error was deadly and ill. They also demonstrate the Church's staunch opposition, willingness to sacrifice, and reliance on God, not men.

    What we learn in the aftermath of Vatican II is not only the damage done to the Faith, the Church, and the world, but the extent of the labor necessary to mend that damage. Not only the Mass, not only the Faith, not only the role of the Magisterium must be restored, but philosophy, education, economics, politics, the family, and countless souls must be healed. Nothing was left untouched by the revolution, nothing can be left out of the effort to restore all things in Christ.

    Examining the Novus Ordo Missae to explain what went wrong in the world is putting the cart before the horse. Knowing the nature of the novus ordo seclorum sheds great light on the problems of the new Mass. Men once left the world to enter the Church to find peace, faith, and God. Now men go to Mass looking for noisy crowds, modern thought (i.e., doubt), and self-fulfillment.

    In past days, men who sought God in the Mass frequently went back into the world and, with the vision of God burning brightly within them, introduced multitudes of men to the bounty of God learned in the bosom of Mother Church. In these last days, men go to Mass wanting familiar architecture, music, words, activities, and truisms from their daily lives. They go back into the world unchanged, thanks to a profoundly changed and changing church wrought in the image and likeness of the world. How ironic! The unchanging Church, who took changeable sinners and transformed them into recipients of grace, is being abandoned in favor of a heterogeneous collection of feelings, musings, and opinions that leave nothing changed for the better. This church keeps changing so that men need not change at all.

    To remedy this dire situation is indeed a matter of restoring the exclusive use of the immemorial rite of the Mass and the other Sacraments. But even as the revolution touched so much more than just the Mass, the restoration of all things in Christ must affect all aspects of man's life. Doctrine, philosophy, morals, economics, politics, the family, and the individual soul must receive the benefits of the perennial philosophy, the unchanging Faith of our Fathers, and the Gospel of salvation in Christ proclaimed by His Church. Nothing short of each man's whole heart, whole mind, whole soul, and whole strength given back to the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Ghost will suffice. The Mass is the first and best way to make this offering; we will not be finished with our labors until Christ is all in all.

Father Lawrence Smith


Next Issue: Part Four Epilogue: Modernism vs. Tradition


    July 22-24, 2004
    vol 15, no. 161
    MASS CONFUSION