While a few church bells are still tolling the Angelus, several saints have gathered, along with Saint Joseph, in order to discuss the current state of Holy Mother Church in this new millennium. They are about to begin. Let us listen.
Saint Joseph: Joining me today for our special discussion on the state of Holy Mother Church are our guests:
Thank you for coming, dear saints. As our topic for today's readers let us discuss how Vatican Council II differed, if at all, from all previous councils, and how Vatican Council's norms have been handled since the first documents began to appear from Rome.
- Saint Peter, the great Apostle and the man Christ handpicked to lead His Church,
- Blessed Juliana of Mount Cornillon, a holy French nun who lived from 1192 to 1258 and whose relentless efforts helped greatly in getting the Feast of Corpus Christi established by Pope Urban IV.
- Pope Saint Innocent V, the holy Sovereign Pontiff who followed his close friend Pope Saint Gregory X. Innocent, also a good friend of the Angelic Doctor Saint Thomas Aquinas, was the first Dominican Pope though his pontificate lasted exactly only five months.
Saint Peter: As First Pope, I attended the First Assembly in Jerusalem before going to Rome. At this First Assembly all of us were assisted by the Holy Spirit, but I more than the others, for unto me had Christ given charge of The One True Faith. At this Assembly the other Apostles and I decided upon the proper means of instruction for the Faith. This was absolutely essential for our missionary work. We were the first of the Church Militant.
Saint Juliana of Mount Cornillon: With what hope did we hold in Heaven for this Ecumenical Council. Many people have applauded it; others have denounced it. What is sad is that it did not do what the Holy Spirit willed. Thus, I think it was very much different than other Councils or Assemblies in the past.
Saint Innocent V: Dear Joseph, all that was accomplished through Councils, Congresses and Assemblies straight through my time as Vicar of Christ, defined the Church, ordered all things in harmony with the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and bore great fruit for the traditions and teachings handed down, great saints were raised up to give witness to the fullness of Truth in the Roman Catholic Church.
St. Joseph: It would seem from your opening remarks that we are in agreement that Vatican Council II was different from all past Councils, Congresses, and Assemblies. Is this difference, from your point of view, a good thing for Holy Mother Church, or not?
St. Peter: As the Rock upon whom Christ built His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, always have I looked after the Pontiff throughout the ages. The Papacy is Christ's Own Will made manifest in me. Thus, for every Pope since my time I have stood guard over the Chair named after me. I have seen it diminished in decorum and respect over the last half of the 20th century. I sense the utter desolation that has been wrought by Vatican Council II, and the auto-deconstruction of Holy Mother Church now in this new millennium. I would say, therefore, that what was carried out by way of Vatican Council II has definitely not borne good fruit.
St. Juliana of Mount Cornillon: I agree with Saint Peter, dear Saint Joseph. In my time there were some problems, but the vast number of Bishops, Cardinals, priests and religious gave full witness to the Truth of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith. In my time God raised up great saints, in particular Saint Thomas Aquinas. It was a time of deep devotion, deep reverence. All of that seems lacking in today's modern church.
St. Innocent V: I myself was called by Pope Gregory V to the Council of Lyons. Here again the traditions of the Church, as well as its doctrines were upheld and handed down to the faithful without wavering. In fact, by my time numerous attempts had been made to reconcile the Roman Catholic Church with the Byzantine Church. This was not done to dilute the Truth, but to invite those in schism to believe again in the Truth handed down by Christ Himself. I had much to fight for in my short pontificate, but never would it have seen the light of day to alter doctrine or dogma, teaching or tradition. Never would we compromise for the sake of unity.
St. Joseph: Then, my dear colleagues of the Church Triumphant what went wrong? How are the faithful to respond after four decades plus of "bad fruit"?
St. Peter: Our Lord Himself said that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, or a bad tree good fruit. It is true even today. What is bad will fall off and rot on the ground. It takes much pruning to be done with the bad fruit, but it can be done with sufficient prayer, penance, sacrifice, and a true conversion of heart. That is what Blessed Mary Queen of Heaven and earth has been doing for all these last few centuries. There is no human in Heaven more loving, more humble more in complete harmony with the Will of God then that dear woman as Joseph will always attest to.
St. Joseph: No words can express the truths of your sentiment, Peter.
St. Juliana of Mount Cornillon: Beloved Peter, how much harder it must be today for the faithful to separate the Truth from the intricacies of lies. In our time information came to us from trained priests and monks - true and trusted scholars - and in particular St. Thomas Aquinas. Even much of what Aquinas labored on in his lifetime has been discarded, cast aside as outdated and outmoded.
St. Joseph: Dear Innocent, do you agree that it is more difficult today for the faithful to discern between Truth and half-truths?
St. Innocent V: Without a doubt! There has been too much written in the last century, and now in this one, that has clouded over the real Gospel, and the nature of Holy Mother Church in the bosom of the Mystical Body of Christ. I readily see the confusion. If only the faithful were to spend their time in reading the Doctors and Fathers of the Church in truly scholastic theology, then I believe much of the bad fruit would be done away with swiftly.
St. Peter: The very nature of man is to have change, often for no other reason that to simply change. So it was in Our Lord's time, so it is today. So it was at the calling of Vatican Council II.
St. Joseph: Would you say, then, that Vatican Council II came about at the wrong time in salvation history?
St. Innocent V: Excuse me, Peter, if I jump in here for a few seconds. My answer to you, Joseph, is that the timing was all wrong. Very wrong. The impetus for the Council came because of the emerging acceptance of Communism in Europe. John XXIII, so fearful of Communism, sought the path of compromise by agreeing to ignore it, by striking an alliance with the enemy to protect the Church physically. Yet spiritually she was greatly damaged because, in essence, through the Pact of Metz the Pope and council embraced this great evil by not condemning it, falsely believing the Marxists would leave the Church alone.
St. Juliana of Mount Cornillon: One can never enter into a bargain like that! When the True Faith must be compromised by a mere ideology on the social, economic, and political aspects of human life, then it is the former that will lose, not the latter.
St. Peter: The One True Faith can never be compromised in order to please another false belief. The Apostles and I faced this in our own time. Persecution came because we did not, nor could we, compromise all that Our Lord had said, and commanded us to do. That, after two millennia of work to strengthen Holy Mother Church, only to undo all that work in a short span of years that comprised the actual Vatican Council II itself!
St. Joseph: For the sake of our readers, would each of you pinpoint further how the reforms of Vatican Council II compromised the One True Faith?
St. Juliana of Mount Cornillon: In my time, Our Lord appeared to me and asked me to seek to have a special Feast for the Blessed Sacrament. There was already great reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, but Our Lord wanted a separate Feast, one of joy and awe for His people. Thus, guided by the Holy Spirit, with the help of Pope Urban IV, the feast of Corpus Christi was established. St. Thomas Aquinas even wrote the Office for this Feast. Now, today, there is no awe and wonder at the mystery of the Blessed Sacrament. No processions. No incense. The feast has been brushed aside as being too big a hurdle for the Protestants to clear. How sad.
St. Innocent V: In a few words: Instead of standing firm on the foundation Christ established for His One True Church, Vatican Council II annihilated all that had come before it, in an attempt by rebellious Bishops and Cardinals, and even more liberal theologians, to strip the Church of everything that made her Catholic so as to create, in time, a one-world religion.
St. Peter: I agree with both of you. Yet, I must remind you and our readers that what has been lost is not gone forever. This is a time of persecution from within the Church, and the faithful are caught up in it with fever pitch. Only a few retain the True Faith in its entirety - the Latin Rite. I brought the Church to Rome to build from there. All roads must lead to Rome. Latin has always been the link with the Roman Church. What is happening in Rome today is not the Roman Catholic Church, but the church created by Vatican Council II. It is no longer the Latin Church of 2000 years.
It is important to remember what our Master said to me. Matthew related it so well and good Saint Jerome translated it correctly, "Tu es Petrus...Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build My Church." The Church is not an organization, not a social institution, but a spiritual foundation - a rock 'Petra' with absolutes and disciplines that provide the clear path to salvation. This was the Son of God speaking. He was not referring just to our time, but all time. All time!
St. Joseph: What advice then...
St. Peter: Please, Joseph, I'm just getting started. Allow me to continue.
St. Joseph: Of course.
St. Peter: Over the centuries the absolutes were developed further, all built on Divine Revelation and passed on to the next generation with specific disciplines for carrying out all that God wills. Tradition it is called. Did the Church veer from the path a few times? Most definitely. Were all the men who followed me as Vicar of Christ worthy and holy? No, for they were men like me. I should appreciate all the plaudits I receive from the faithful, but I know who I was. I was no better than poor Judas. It was only through the grace of the Holy Spirit that I repented and was able to do what the Master had asked. I know the pressure these men who followed me were and are under. Imagine the responsibility. Only God knows what is in their hearts. While I would ask the Church Militant not to judge their heart, it is necessary to judge their action and behavior as consistent with what Christ's Church teaches. That is why Paul was right to challenge my judgement. He judged not me, but what I was doing. In retrospect he was right. It takes humility for all men to admit they make mistakes.
St. Joseph: If I may, Peter, ask you for the sake of our readers' time constraint,
what would be the strongest advice you could give to the faithful to help them through this time of great persecution?
St. Peter: Return to the fundamentals. Learn the faith anew.
St. Juliana of Mount Cornillon: I agree. Restore all reverence to the Most Blessed Sacrament and make the feast of Corpus Christi as solemn and festive as Christmas.
St. Innocent V: Do not tarry in your prayers. Arm yourself with God's armor, which is Truth, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Know the Faith handed down. Remember Paul's warning, "If anyone preach a gospel to you other than that which you have received, let him be anathema!"
St. Peter: So true, Peter. Innocent's name was Peter - Peter of Tarentaise before he became a member of the Order of Preachers. Listen well to his wisdom. Also, remember Paul's words to the Corinthians, "And no wonder, for satan himself disguises himself as an angel of light. It is no great thing, then, if his ministers disguise themselves as ministers of justice. But their end will be according to their works." Remember, not everyone who holds high rank in the Church belongs in that position. Therefore, the ends or fruits of the Second Vatican Council would have to be gaged on the results of their works and in that, as all can see, it is sadly lacking in every aspect. I think, Joseph, that would be the best response to the questions you have asked. "By their fruits you will know them."
St. Joseph: Thank you so much for sharing your time with us, dear readers. We will return to this topic at another time. To our Saints I say, "thank you" for assisting the Church Militant. Together in the great Communion of Saints we will intercede with prayer for the sake of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.