So, what are we Catholics to make of the Vatican's recent election of Joseph Ratzinger to succeed John Paul II in leading their organization? This seems to be something Catholics are asking themselves and each other quite a bit. One person has even asked my opinion. For a tiny march of days, from April 2 to April 19 of 2005, practically all Catholics were Sede Vacante. It seemed that all held their breath, hoping, fearing, speculating, and finally praying for some sort of miracle. We all know that the future of the Vatican institution, and indirectly, the Roman Catholic Church as well, can be significantly influenced by who is chosen to lead the Vatican institution.
And now, I have had two surprises, one I should have seen coming, and the other I believe I can be excused for not anticipating. The surprise I should have expected is that the long observed nature of Catholic conclaves is that "He who enters a conclave as a papabile emerges as a cardinal." Well I'm sure that's always and eternally true of the real Catholic Church, and for a season (until at least the late 1970's), the ex-Catholic Vatican institution seemed to have inherited such a characteristic. But that was mere chance. Human organizations follow the laws of human predictability. Just as numerous polls correctly predicted the election of George W. Bush in the 2004 Presidential election, Vatican polls would just have accurately predicted that Cardinal Ratzinger would get it. He was, after all, by far the favorite, and the evident heir apparent. In the Catholic Church, such a leading papabile position would at once rule him out as a candidate. But now that the modernist Vatican is only a human organization, founded in 1964 by a bunch of Church prelates, many of who were in the process of formally apostatizing from the Church, one really should have expected human politics to prevail. I really should have known better than to expect the "papabile" rule to apply to those who compete for an office, not of that of the Successor of Peter, but of the leader of a merely human and secular power.
The second surprise however, truly is unexpected, and I have no shame in having been incorrect as to my anticipations as to what would happen. Ratzinger takes the name, not of "John Paul III" as I would have expected him to do in the unlikely event he were elected, but (of all things) the name of Benedict XVI. As I write this, speculations continue to flicker back and forth as to what to expect from such a choice. For the world at large, I think it is quite clear that John Paul II's particular conservativisms in certain areas (priestly celibacy and masculinity, sex mores, and overall general opposition to playing God with human life through everything from abortion and "euthanasia" clear through cloning and other genetic experiments) will cause many to see him as a staunch traditionalist (conservative at least), practically one with us actual Catholics.
And to be sure, he just might go indeed a tad further towards that goal than John Paul II ever went. For one thing, we do now have a Vatican leader who has, from time to time, actually gone to bat for the SSPX, despite the harsh and unjust language employed against them in his beloved mentor John Paul II's Ecclesia Dei, and who sent the "bishop" who attacked the famous "Hawaii 6" fleeing with his tail between his legs, who at various other times reined in others who also attacked traditional Catholics and Catholicism. For another, we have one who has, at least on some few occasions, anyway, actually availed himself of the Indult and preformed a Mass or two as God directs. John Paul II, though permitting the Indult, is not actually known for sure to have ever actually availed himself of it at any time. But Cd. Ratzinger has.
I think Thomas Droleskey (in his article "Pray Very Hard") has quite well summed up what to expect from the man when he said "Benedict XVI will make some gesture towards traditional Catholics," "Benedict XVI will more carefully supervise the appointment of bishops," "Benedict XVI will probably undertake a 'reform of the reform'," and that "what remains unclear" though, is his willingness to admit that those steeped in perversity and/or attracted thereto can never be ordained to the holy priesthood." Yes, I think those things are all quite reasonable to expect from the man himself. What I want to factor in however is, what can we expect from the Holy Spirit with regards to the future and most particularly a future with a Vatican ruled by this man who has taken the name of Benedict XVI?
Many I think, even sedevacantists, held their breaths, hoping that the Holy Ghost would act at the Vatican conclave to finally give us a real pope, as though the only thing needed was a replacement of the obvious arch-heretic John Paul II with a real Catholic. Many expected to be disappointed, given the flagrantly heretical direction so many of these "Cardinals" have taken, perhaps figuring that they could even choose the likes of "Cardinals" Law or Mahony or the like. But of course, there also lingered the hope that God would intervene and somehow make it possible for these false men to nevertheless select a true Catholic, one who will revoke Vatican II and all of its nonsense and enforce a full return to the true Faith. One who will have the strength of character to say to all the pedophile-protecting cardinals "Turn in your red hats; you're out of here!" One who will say "OK everyone, here's how it's going to be. We are returning fully to that truly Catholic spirituality, doctrine, worship, theology, and so forth as we all once had before Vatican II. And as for anyone of you not willing to get fully behind this program of mine, my only message to you is 'there is the door'."
Many prayed hard for such a Vatican leader. Many more hoped it really could go such a way. But why should it? It is true that when Roman Catholic Cardinals come together in a conclave to elect a successor to Peter, the Holy Spirit does indeed play a role, seeing to it that (at least) the one chosen is not a heretic and will not seriously injure the Church, no matter how much scandal his personal, private life, may indeed occasion. But what has all that got to do with what happened in Vatican City these past weeks? The whole problem is a lot larger than merely the man John Paul II. Does anybody remember a fellow who called himself Paul VI? He was the one who introduced all the ridiculous novelties that have devastated the faith of billions, spread confusion and despair, suspicion and hatred, licentiousness and decadence all around the world. That is what that man's regime was all about. But did it all stop when he died?
Had the problem been merely the man, it indeed would have to have. But as we know, history has shown that the nonsense has only continued, totally unabated. And I really don't blame the man who was John Paul II (or even he that was John Paul I for that matter, however brief and minor his influence was), since the problem was far larger than any mere man. It wasn't merely a question of "whose in charge here" but far more importantly "of what is he in charge of here." For ever since Vatican II, and most particularly the voting on and acceptance and promulgation of Lumen Gentium,
the Vatican institution has no longer been ontologically the same entity as the authentic historic Roman Catholic Church,
but instead some sort of human-engineered doppelganger organization.
Oh, he's in charge all right. But what he is in charge of is not the Mystical Body of Christ, the actual historic and authentic Roman Catholic Church. Oh no! What he is in charge of is merely a man-made doppelganger organization, within a few small portions of which portions of the Mystical Body of Christ subsist (the Indult, and perhaps still a small handful of as-yet uncorrupted Eastern Rite clerics). His jurisdiction does not extend to those other portions of the Church that subsist elsewhere, in the SSPX, the SSPV, the CMRI, and so many other similar truly authentic Catholic orders all around the world. Those orders, though indisputably portions of the Mystical body of Christ, are just as indisputably outside Benedict XVI's "diocese," "archdiocese," or "patriarchate," or whatever equivalent one would call it. By all rights, he has no canonical authority over them.
And he has no one but himself to blame for this. Back at Vatican II, an early draft of Lumen Gentium had stated that the Mystical Body of Christ IS the Roman Catholic Church, in total union with what has been taught by that Church since the day our Savior stated, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me," (John 14:6) and clear up through the time our Savior's Vicar on earth, His Holiness Pope Pius XII stated
"Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago [Mystici Corporis Christi], and based on the Sources of Revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing. Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation. Others finally belittle the reasonable character of the credibility of Christian faith. These and like errors, it is clear, have crept in among certain of Our sons who are deceived by imprudent zeal for souls or by false science. To them We are compelled with grief to repeat once again truths already well known, and to point out with solicitude clear errors and dangers of error." (Humani Generis, Paragraphs 27-28)
But well before Lumen Gentium was finalized, the infamous "subsists in" phrase was introduced to replace the doctrinally exact "is" and everything else followed from that one act. And where did the Council Fathers get such an idea in their heads so as to insert it into their new document? A certain "Pastor Schmidt," a German Protestant who had unaccountably been invited to participate in Vatican II, had concocted (or brought in with him from who-knows-where) a bizarre notion of adding such a phrase to such a document. He gave this idea to (then) Fr. Ratzinger, a periti of the Council and one of its principal architects, who in turn passed it on to his bishop (Cardinal Frings of Cologne) who passed it on to the Council Fathers.
At last, the modernist conspirators among them had a way to "justify" their intended ecumenism, syncretism, and irenicalism with all other religions. Bishop Carli of Segni and Father Aniceto Fernandez, Master General of the Dominicans, and many others intervened against the change, but the modernists outnumbered them and the rest evidently lacked the theological qualifications to understand what was happening to them so as to stop it. And Paul VI, with his long and documented history of committing all manner of intrigues against the Church from within, supported the change.
So it was made, the document was promulgated (after some wrangling over a footnote pertaining to collegiality that all of this also affected), and all of its all-too-predictable effects were then seen. And ever since, Ratzinger has been "subsists in"-'s secret guardian angel, protecting it from change, seeing to it that it gets copied to other documents, from Unitatis Redintegratio through the new Code of Canon Law and the new Catechism clear to Dominus Jesus. While I seem to be the first person to explore many of its less-well-known ramifications, I am by no means the first person to recognize how out of place such a phrase was in any supposedly official Roman Catholic document, or of this phrase's many heretical implications.
And criticism has not been the only negative attention "subsists in" has attracted. Leonard Boff, of "Liberation Theology" infamy (a code word for naked Communism), and making the same exact grammatical observation that I and many others have made as to what Lumen Gentium the document actually, literally states, employed it in support of his pro-Communism. For him, Communism is what he equates with a "Mystical Body of Christ," and so therefore he concludes that with this subsist in phrase, his communistic agenda now has a rightful place in the Vatican institution. And so indeed we find.
For between authentic Catholicism and Communism there can be no overlap; the two are mutually exclusive, as explicitly clarified by H. H. Pope Pius XI, thus:
"We make this pronouncement: Whether considered as a doctrine, or an historical fact, or a movement, Socialism, if it remains truly Socialism [and Socialism is merely a slightly watered-down mellowed-out form of Communism], even after it has yielded to truth and justice on the points we have mentioned, cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth." (Quadragesimo Anno, Paragraph 117).
But as is widely known in Latin America, Communism definitely subsists, or at least "exists," in the Vatican institution. It's just that Communism is found in different portions of the Vatican institution than Catholicism.
Well, Ratzinger didn't like that. In one's corruption and sinfulness, one sets up a false principle, expecting that principle to give one permission to sin the particular sin that owns one. But then when others come along and apply that false principle in different ways not expected, that becomes a problem. Those who set up the false principle that it is OK to dispense with (politically correct phrase for "kill off") useless people will deny that principle once it becomes them who have been found "useless." Yet even in denying it they will continue to sustain it, but only where they get to make the decisions as to who it is that is "useless."
In setting up a nonexclusive relationship between the Vatican institution and the Catholic Church (Mystical Body) one also opens the door to many other nonexclusive relationships not expected, including the one set up by Leonard Boff and his "Liberation Theologists." In writing against Mr. Boff, Ratzinger wrote (in 1985)
". . . In order to justify [his position], L[eonard] Boff appeals to the constitution Lumen Gentium n. 8 of the Second Vatican Council. From the council's famous statement, 'Haec ecclesia (sc. unica Christi ecclesia) Catholica subsistit in ecclesia Catholica' (This Church - namely the sole Church of Christ - subsists in the Catholic Church), he derives a thesis which is exactly contrary to the authentic meaning of the council text, for he affirms: 'In fact it (sc. the sole Church of Christ) may also be present in other Christian churches' (p. 75). But the council had chosen the word subsistit - subsists - exactly in order to make it clear that the one sole 'subsistence' of the true Church exists, whereas outside her visible structure only 'elementae ecclesia' - elements of the Church exist: these being elements of the same Church tend and conduct toward the Catholic Church (Lumen Gentium, n. 8)."
At first he sounds like he is claiming that "subsists in" is merely some fancy-dancy way of saying "is" ("nothing important here, folks; pay no attention to that man behind the curtain") to try and refute the Communist, and yet in bringing in the Council document, its grammar then immediately forces him to speak out of the other side of his mouth, again acknowledging that portions do in fact subsist outside his organization, and Mr. Boff's error, far from being refuted by the document, is again affirmed by it.
Then again later, in his famous text Dominus Jesus, Ratzinger, again speaking out of both sides of his mouth, at once seems to uphold the unique position of Jesus Christ and His Church, and yet out of the other insists on retaining and reiterating the shocking "subsists in" text, thus just as explicitly denying Christ's (and the Church's) unique and irreplaceable role in salvation. At one point he even goes so far as to deny (in a footnote) that any portions of the Church ("thanks" to Vatican II) "subsist in" other ecclesial communities. True, Lumen Gentium itself did not happen to use the phrase "subsist in" with reference to the Mystical Body "subsisting in" other ecclesiastical bodies not answerable to [modernist] Rome, but this is absolute sheer happenstance. Other later documents, reiterating the statement, merely quoted Lumen Gentium in its own words, thus sustaining the happenstance.
This is so because subsistence carries with it a special meaning which by its nature can and does necessarily apply to the full extent and width and breadth of the Mystical Body of Christ. The Mystical Body of Christ, like each person of the Trinity, possesses a special “existence” of a nature which is not dependent upon anything or anyone else. Look carefully at the Lumen Gentium text and see that it is the Church, so ably described in the beginning eight paragraphs of Lumen Gentium, which is doing the “subsisting,” not the Vatican institution (confusingly called a “Catholic Church,” but neither truly or fully Catholic nor a Church just as the “East Orthodox” are not truly and fully orthodox, and some don't live in the East either). The latter is merely passively “subsisted in.” And this is appropriate since the latter does not “subsist” in that self-existing sense but merely exists as a creation of the men of Vatican II who created it and who (themselves personally, or their successors) also have the power to dismantle it.
Since subsistence in this sense by definition implies a self-existence, that means that it is not dependent upon anyone or anything for its continued existence, and furthermore no one has the power to destroy it. Such a quality or nature also necessarily pertains to the full extent of the subsisting entity. One cannot have half of it subsisting and the other half not. In the same sense one also cannot draw a magic circle on the ground and claim that its self-existent subsistence ceases to apply to whatever portion, be it an arm, a leg, or a head, that happens to protrude outside that magic circle. No, the Mystical Body of Christ possess that miraculous power to exist wherever it exists, wherever it is, and wherever it is to be found.
As it is however, Lumen Gentium does indeed explicitly imply that portions of the Church indeed can and would come to "subsist in" other ecclesiastical churches in no uncertain terms. Go back again and see the crucial passage in Lumen Gentium:
"Many elements of sanctification and of truth ARE FOUND outside its visible confines."
Where something is found, it exists, and if it subsists, then wherever it exists it also subsists. To attempt to claim that for any subsisting entity being "found" in something would in any way fail to imply that it is subsisting in it is totally ludicrous and nothing but post-operative spin. Ask any of the Council Fathers at the time (and most likely even Ratzinger himself) whether the "are found" was meant to imply subsistence, and the universal answer would have been "of course."
"So then, Fr., Your Excellency, Your Eminence, Your Holiness [asked of anyone freshly emerging from the November 21, 1964 Vatican II session], are we to understand that the Mystical Body of Christ subsists in both your church and elsewhere?" and the response would easily have been a universal "Absolutely! That is what we have affirmed; that is our teaching now." Oh, and by the way, notice how another of the leading Council periti translates "subsisting in" as meaning "is found in": "…the Church of Christ and of the Apostles SUBSISTIT IN, IS FOUND IN the Catholic Church." That is Fr. Yves Congar who writes in Le Concile de Vatican II, page 160:
The problem remains if Lumen Gentium strictly and exclusively identifies the Mystical Body of Christ with the Catholic Church, as did Pius XII in Mystici Corporis. Can we not call it into doubt when we observe that not only is the attribute "Roman" missing, but also that one avoids saying that only Catholics are members of the Mystical Body. Thus they are telling us (in Gaudium et Spes) that the Church of Christ and of the Apostles subsistit in, is found in the Catholic Church. There is consequently no strict identification, that is exclusive, between the Church of Christ and the "Roman" Church. Vatican II admits, fundamentally, that non-Catholic christians are members of the Mystical Body and not merely ordered to it. '[emphasis added]
Here is Fr. Congar, another of the architects of the Council, explaining why, for the sake of Vatican II's false brand of ecumenism, it was essential to forward and insert the phrase so conveniently furnished to the Council Fathers through the agency of "Pastor Schmidt," Fr. Ratzinger, and Cd. Frings. It was to set up a nonexclusive relationship between the Mystical Body of Christ (which is always and necessarily a visible and ordered Perfect Society as Divinely Ordained) and their Vatican apparatus, thus allowing the latter to comprise something quite less than the Church, and with that, also to include factors (such as Leonard Boff's brand of communism) that have nothing in common with the Church.
There can be no explaining it away; the Council Fathers really did and do understand the Mystical Body of Christ which is the real Roman Catholic Church being "found" in their organization or anywhere else to mean that it therefore also "subsists" therein, and so therefore Lumen Gentium most certainly does claim that the Mystical Body of Christ also subsists outside the Vatican institution's "visible confines," exactly the same as it does within those same "visible confines." No difference!
If Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI truly wishes to fight that "interpretation" of the Vatican II text, his fight is not with Fr. Congar nor with Leonard Boff nor with me. His fight is with the Vatican II document itself, and most of all with that text he himself has promoted, sustained, and protected all these years. If he is serious about bringing about a Benedictine-styled rejuvenation to the Church, let him stop concealing what Lumen Gentium actually states and implies; let him instead work towards the final and formal revocation of Vatican II. Or at the very, very, very, very, very least, let him revise Lumen Gentium to restore the original draft's "is" and suck out all of that language implying that anything but God's Church could ever possibly be in any way a means of salvation. Such a move would obviously leave all the rest of Vatican II's false ecumenism suspended in mid-air, with "no visible means of support," but so indeed it ought to be, for that false ecumenism was never, ever, in any way shape or form, the least bit sustained or supported by our Lord Jesus Christ's Church.
The big question is, "Will he do it?" For I cannot imagine a more appropriate person to be the instrument to end the current disarray than one of the key persons whose irresponsible actions so many years ago enabled this situation to come about in the first place. Let Benedict XVI repent of ever having passed such an idea along, of ever repeating, sustaining, or even of hiding the obvious and a priori deductively anticipatable effects of this truly disastrous "subsists in" phrase. Nothing could be of more profound value, and now, as Benedict XVI, he is, of all persons, by far most of all in a position to do it. But doing so goes against everything he has been working towards all these years. So much of what he has built up will have to be dismantled. Will he have the humility to do all that? Here would be a good, good place for a miracle of God's Grace. Short of such a miracle, I think he has far too much of himself invested in his nonsensical attempt to reconcile Catholicism with modernism, Christ with Satan, light with darkness, truth with error. May he be turned (I and the whole Church unite in prayer) all the way around with a spectacular act of God so as to do what alone can save his own soul, to say do that which is still by far most appropriately his to do, while aught of life remains.
Otherwise, his efforts he makes to try to rein in the continuing and deepening dissolution will all be in vain. Whatever marginal improvements as may emerge from extending and advancing and strengthening the Indult and holding a firm moral line, or even by holding his clerics accountable as regards their pedophile acts, will continue to be gravely hindered by those two little words "subsists in" so long as they remain on the books. And then all the rest of us will have to pick up the pieces some time after he is dead, gone, buried, and forgotten, the few, small, and scattered remnants of the Church being quite literally all that's left at such a point.
Far worse, if he does not clean up this mess while he can do so himself, the Church will have to do it for him after he is gone, and needless to say that would be far, far messier. All of what he and the others did at Vatican II WILL be undone. Either he can undo it all himself, which would at least give him some say in the method and manner of its undoing, or it will be undone FOR him by the Church, and he himself would then be perpetually remembered in dishonor, along with all of what he and they did back then, and most of all how he sustained it even now, when given an extraordinary providential opportunity to fix the horrendous situation he created.
It is like the story of the person who sinned by spreading lies about someone to ruin their reputation. Feeling repentant, he begged for forgiveness and was given this penance: You must go home and find a pillow and then go to the center of town, cut it open and spread its contents in all directions and all over town and then return to me for the second portion of your penance. So the person does this and returns saying “I have done as you asked; what must I now do to obtain you forgiveness?” to which the other replies, “You must go pick up every feather that was in your pillow and return it to the pillow which you then must sew back together. How likely would one expect Providence to provide the exactly correct winds needed to gather all the feathers into such a small area that they actually can be so gathered one and all and returned to the pillow? Yet such an opportunity quite literally this unlikely actually has fallen into the hands of that irresponsible priest back then, by placing him in a position that he can fully undo his damage and “pick up every feather” if he only so chooses. But woe to him if he fails to pick up the feathers while he can but instead leaves that task to others!
Until such time, if any, that he does repent of Vatican II, whatever efforts he may make towards restoring the authentic worship of the Church, while they certainly should be applauded and supported, can in no wise be viewed as a total or even a sufficient solution. They could even prove counterproductive in that many may be lulled into a false sense of security thinking that "The problem has been solved; we have a Tridentine Mass in every parish again, and it is very reverently done; the crisis is over." No it's not! So long as the poison remains it will begin again and again the same damage it began so many decades ago, to say nothing of the chronic and widespread invalidity of orders their clerics have, falsely "canonized" saints, and bogus "theology" and "theologians." What good is it to finally get "Fr." Bozo to say a beautiful and reverent Latin Mass when in fact "Fr." was never even validly ordained and he still teaches that other churches can also carry out the Divine mandate of saving souls and he speaks of "Saint" Martin Luther or Martin Luther King?
Short of a miraculous repentance as described above, I think the best we can hope for might be a kind of preparation for a return, that is, by showing large numbers of Novus Ordo believers the Catholic Mass (or at least a convincing simulation thereof) and offering them free and easy access to it, to become familiar with it, enchanted by it, and won over to it, then at least a full return to Catholic unity on the part of the Vatican institution might at least be easier. And even that seems to me an awful lot to hope for.
The patient is open; the doctor is working to remove the tumor. Let us be careful not to be content to let him close the patient back up again until ALL of the tumor has been removed.