November 19-25, 2001
volume 12, no. 157

The Symbol of the Sword in Today's Defense of the Church

    The end of October I wrote about The Symbol of the Crown in the Reign of Mary. Today I return to symbols, this time the symbol of the sword. The timing is especially relevant in this month of November when we are reminded of the Communion of Saints in praying to the Church Triumphant - those souls sharing in the Beatific Vision in Heaven - for both the Church Suffering - the Poor Souls in Purgatory and for the Mystical Body of Christ still here on earth, appropriately called the Church Militant. To speak of militancy is to speak of battle. To speak of battle is to have the sword as a symbol. Thus are the links from one to another.

    When one considers the principle characteristics of the Conciliar Church, one can see that among them tolerance stands out. The basis of ecumenism is the concept that one should have tolerance for the errors of the false religions. The basis of aggiornamento - that is, the adaptation of the Church to the modern world - is also the notion of tolerance in relation to the revolutionary principles represented by the modern world. One can safely say that tolerance is the foundation of the two principal initiatives of Vatican Council II and the reforms that were applied in the post-Conciliar period.

    Another important action of the progressivist Church in the political-social ambit is its effort in favor of peace. Any war - by the fact of it being a war - is considered evil. This is expressed in the Encyclical Pacem in terris by John XXIII, as also in important excerpts of the conciliar document Gaudium et spes. I recall that on the visit he made to the Holy Land, Paul VI planned a trip to the Valley of Armageddon. Many certainly will remember that, according to good interpreters, the last battle of History will take place at The Valley of Armageddon. It would be the battle between Our Lord and the Anti-Christ, the battle of the final victory of Jesus Christ. Well, Paul VI wanted to walk through the Valley of Armageddon crying out in Hebrew: "Shalom, shalom!" Or, that is to say, the Vicar of Christ wanted to go to the site of the last battle and express symbolically that there should not be another war, even if this war would be the final battle between Our Lord and the Anti-Christ.

    Thus, tolerance is a keynote of the new religion that is being instilled by the followers of progressivism. Now, the Holy Catholic Church was always considered the opposite of this "Church Tolerant," and for this reason she is called on this earth the Church Militant. It is the Church that considers life on this earth as a combat between good and evil, between the angels and demons. Her history was always a battle, following the words of Our Lord who said in Matthew 10: 34: "I came not to send peace, but the sword." In this way, we have the sword as a symbol of the Church Militant. Father George Leo Haydock, in his Comprehensive Catholic Commentary on the Douay-Rheims version of the New Testament, makes this commentary on the passage: (page 1268)

    "That is, dissension and war, in order that the false peace of sinners may be destroyed, and that 'those who follow Me,' may differ in morals and affections from the followers of this world. The sword, therefore, is the gospel, which separates those parents who remain in infidelity. It must be observed, that the gospel does not necessarily of itself produce dissensions amongst men, but that Christ foresaw, from the depravity of man's heart, that dissensions would follow the propagation of the gospel. "
    In the Haydock Commentary, the Father of the Church Origen is quoted applying that symbolism to the spiritual life:
    "Indeed, before Christ became man, there was no sword upon the earth; that is, the spirit had not to fight with so much violence against the flesh; but when He became man, He shpewed us what things were of the flesh, and what of the spirit, and taught us to set these two at variance by renouncing always those of the flesh, which constantly endeavor to get muster over us, and follow the dictates of the spirit."
    According to what is known of the Church in this post-conciliar phase, the sword is the most rejected symbol of our days. Those who resist certain teachings of the Conciliar Church can and should take up the sword as their symbol, because in final analysis, what is being discussed is whether or not the Church should abolish her militancy once and for all. The Conciliar Church has failed the Catholic Church's mission by not standing strong against the enemies of the true Faith and the seething temptations that abound today.

    With this "Church Tolerant," not only a new concept of the Church appears, but also a new concept of Religion, and if we want to go to the depths of the question, we see that it begins to delineate a new conception of God, a new translation and interpretation of the gospels that are now seemingly extant with what Christ intended. This is what seems to be the very base of the two positions that have been laid out in the confrontation regarding Vatican II. The sword then stands as the symbol for the Truths Christ taught and He brought the sword so that we would not sit idly by and tolerate the enemies of the Faith and sin but, by taking the Apostle Paul's advice, we might "put on the Armor of God" and "take unto you the helmet of salvation; and the sword of the spirit (which is the militant word of God)" (Ephesians 6: 11, 17) and thus become more active members of the Church Militant.

Atila Sinke Guimar„es

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For past columns by Atila, see Archives of On the BattleLine

November 19-25, 2001
volume 12, no. 157
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