Vatican II and the Gospel of Man|
Part Five: The Razzmatazz of the Post-Conciliar Church
[Preliminary Note: Please make sure you're seated when reading this series. I don't want to be responsible for people fainting and falling to the floor. --M.D.]
Last week we looked at how the post-conciliar church's actions - particularly with regards to the liturgy - have misled the faithful into believing heresy. Today I wish to delve into what I would think is accurately described as post-conciliar "razzmatazz." The word "razzmatazz" is defined as:
"1. A flashy action or display intended to bewilder, confuse, or deceive. 2. Ambiguous or evasive language; double talk. 3. Ebullient energy; vim" (Bartleby's American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition, 2000; from www.bartleby.com). I am going to use it in the sense of definition 2 and, to some extent, definition 1.
The post-conciliar razzmatazz lends itself quite well to the spreading of modernism and masonry's "gospel of man." Not only has the post-conciliar church produced more official documents than in any comparable period before in Church history, but it has also continuously used language which is so bizarre and extravagant as to be able to mean a lot of different things-or nothing at all. Whether intentional or not, this has become especially obvious in the encyclicals of Pope John Paul II, in my opinion.
Before giving examples of what I mean, let me raise an obvious question: what could possibly be the motivation behind this post-conciliar phenomenon? Here are the options:
With all due respect, I find option (1) to be totally ridiculous. Option (2) seems to me to be "too coincidental" to be true, and that would only leave option (3) as the correct answer, since I cannot really find any other even remotely reasonable alternatives.
- (1) the grace of God is working so profoundly in the post-conciliar church and in such a unique and never-before-seen way that the Divine Enlightenment has made the theologians, cardinals, and Popes since 1958 so brilliant that no one has a clue as to what they're saying;
- (2) it's a coincidence that has no significance;
- (3) there is, at least on the part of some very influential people in the Vatican, a deliberate attempt to cloak the teachings of the Church in mystery and hide them under a cloud of nearly impenetrable gobbledygook.
More than once have I been told by the average, ordinary (albeit Novus Ordo) Catholic that he cannot understand the new Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992). We're talking about the kind of Catholic who wishes to learn more about the faith. He turns to what in the post-conciliar church is thought to be a "sure norm" for teaching the Catholic faith, and he disappointedly finds it to be too difficult for him to comprehend.
What happened to the simple Q-and-A format of the Baltimore Catechism or the Catechism of Pope St. Pius X? These catechisms summarize eloquently and concisely all the ordinary Catholic needs to know. Granted, they're not very deep, but the more advanced Catholic can still turn to the Roman Catechism (aka Catechism of the Council of Trent), which, though quite in-depth, is still very readable and fairly easy to comprehend. Why were these replaced by a catechism that is ambiguous, unclear, mostly reliant on Vatican II documents, and now has been replaced by a revised second edition?? Besides the other many problematic things about the new catechism, just how credible is a book that is supposed to teach the truth and needs a second edition? Truth, 2nd edition??? This is not the place to discuss the many rather significant changes made to the 1992 catechism, but perhaps I'll do that in a future series or article.
So, the point was that the new catechism is not understandable to today's Catholic. In a way, one can say this is good, because there are a lot of things the post-conciliar church is now disseminating that are better kept away from the Catholic faithful. But then again, these same errors are spread otherwise, as I pointed out in Part 4, most particularly through the new rite of Mass, but also through the Holy Father's open scandals, such as Assisi, or whatever else one can read about in the news, such as his joy (!) about the opening of a mosque in Rome. The people get it. You don't have to teach them using words.
Thus, even if the post-conciliar razzmatazz prevents, in a way, Catholics from being taught error or half-truths, it seems these creep in anyway using other means. What is not fostered thereby, however, is pure Catholic doctrine. It would die off with the passing away of pre-Vatican II Catholics, were it not for the Society of St. Pius X, traditional Catholic publishers, and other such fine establishments.
Now let me go into some examples of conciliar and post-conciliar razzmatazz. The first example comes from Pope John Paul II's first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis. Now, right at the outset, let me assure you that I am not trying to be disrespectful to the Pope or to presume to be a master in theology. But I will simply ask you to judge for yourself on which side the evidence is: razzmatazz or genius? As before, I am going to use the English translation which the Vatican has on its web site to make sure no one can accuse me of using an unauthorized translation. Here is John Paul II, then:
"When we penetrate by means of the continually and rapidly increasing experience of the human family into the mystery of Jesus Christ, we understand with greater clarity that there is at the basis of all these ways that the Church of our time must follow, in accordance with the wisdom of Pope Paul VI…, one single way: it is the way that has stood the test of centuries and it is also the way of the future. Christ the Lord indicated this way especially, when, as the Council teaches, 'by his Incarnation, he, the Son of God, in a certain way united himself with each man'…. The Church therefore sees its fundamental task in enabling that union to be brought about and renewed continually. The Church wishes to serve this single end: that each person may be able to find Christ, in order that Christ may walk with each person the path of life, with the power of the truth about man and the world that is contained in the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption and with the power of the love that is radiated by that truth. Against a background of the ever increasing historical processes, which seem at the present time to have results especially within the spheres of various systems, ideological concepts of the world and regimes, Jesus Christ becomes, in a way, newly present, in spite of all his apparent absences, in spite of all the limitations of the presence and of the institutional activity of the Church. Jesus Christ becomes present with the power of the truth and the love that are expressed in him with unique unrepeatable fullness in spite of the shortness of his life on earth and the even greater shortness of his public activity."
(Redemptor Hominis, paragraph 37)
Please let me be blunt for a moment here: just what the HECK is this supposed to be all about? Let's take this slowly: First, John Paul II says "we penetrate by means of the continually and rapidly increasing experience of the human family into the mystery of Jesus Christ." Hello? Can anyone tell me what this means? Though I am not a genius, I am not intellectually challenged, either. (I have a B.A. in philosophy and am currently working towards an M.A. and would like to get a Ph.D. in the same field.) So, again I ask: just how do we "penetrate" into the mystery of the Savior by being human? What does it even mean to "penetrate" into the mystery of Christ?
Secondly, John Paul quotes Lumen Gentium as saying: "by his Incarnation, he, the Son of God, in a certain way united himself with each man." This statement is quite controversial by itself already, but I wish to gloss over that for this essay. What is interesting is what the Pope says right after: "The Church therefore sees its fundamental task in enabling that union to be brought about and renewed continually." What in the world is it with John Paul II and "renewal"? I don't think the Church has ever heard the word "renewal" as much in its entire history than it has just during the pontificate of John Paul II. But back to the text. If it is true that Christ has united Himself with every man just by virtue of His Incarnation, then why or how is it necessary - or even possible - to bring this about, or to renew it? How much sense does this make? Why do I have to renew something that is already firmly rooted in me, or why or how do I bring something about that is already actualized? Note that it would make perfect sense if John Paul said that we are specially united to Christ in virtue of our baptism. Then it would be clear that the Church ought to bring this about (in the Sacrament) and that we ought to renew it (Confession, Confirmation, repeating of baptismal promises). But John Paul isn't saying that. No, he is saying that all people are united to Christ in virtue of His Incarnation, and that unity - if true - is certainly not something we can bring about or renew.
Again, I am not a hick, but to me this sounds like claptrap more than anything else. Oh, and Fr. Greg Hesse from Austria agrees with me here (concerning the encyclicals of John Paul II), and he's a canon lawyer and papally-approved Catholic theologian.
Here's another bamboozling sentence:
"Against a background of the ever increasing historical processes, which seem at the present time to have results especially within the spheres of various systems, ideological concepts of the world and regimes, Jesus Christ becomes, in a way, newly present."
Did you follow? Does the ordinary Catholic follow? In previous days, the Popes wrote rather plainly and simply, and many people could understand what they were saying. Now, on the contrary, we have a Pope talking about "ever increasing historical processes." What? I know what history is, what a process is, and even what a historical process is. But I have no idea how a historical process can "increase." Do you? Does anyone? Then he talks about "various systems" and "ideological concepts," which are the results of historical processes against which, supposedly, Christ becomes "in a way, newly present." Again, the reader is totally left in the dark. What in the world is being said? How is Christ becoming "newly present" against all secularization, and what does this mean? John Paul says the Lord "becomes present with the power of the truth and the love that are expressed in him." So what does this mean? Is Christ now present any more than in, say, 1870, or 354, or 1281? We have the Church and we have the Sacraments (particularly the Mass, in which Christ is physically present), and we have Christ's promise that where two or three are gathered in His name, there He will be. What more is there? What "new presence" is John Paul II talking about? Or does he mean "newly present" simply as in "present once again"? If the latter, how does Christ become present once again by virtue of His Incarnation or specifically against the background of secular regimes?
I think this quoted passage raises more questions than it answers. What is furthermore quite troubling is John Paul's use of the phrase "Church of our time." I do not mean to be overly suspicious, but has any Pope ever used this phrase before 1958? In context, John Paul II says that the way the Church of our time must choose is Christ. Certainly, nothing wrong with that in and of itself. But why such theory-laden terminology? Why such an ambiguous phrase? The Church is intrinsically and irrevocably connected with her Lord Jesus Christ, and any other way is not even a remote possibility. What I simply don't understand is the term "Church of our time" in all this, as if the Church changed from time to time or had other options available as to whom to follow. I find this really puzzling, yet another ambiguous and unnecessary innovation that tends to confuse more than to confirm the old Faith. John Paul could very well have written that the Church, perennially true to her Founder, proclaims Christ in all ages, disregarding whether the age is medieval, modern, or "post-modern," for the truth of Christ is immutable and unchanging, may the world change however much it wants.
For those readers who consider me to be engaging in a "hermeneutic of suspicion," all I can say in response is that, yes, we ought to be careful not to see corruption, infiltration, modernism and masonry just everywhere, but honestly folks, the last 40 years in the Church have given us darn good reasons to be suspicious. And I'd rather be a bit overly suspicious than not being suspicious enough. It is better to be safe than sorry, after all.
As you can probably imagine, one single installment about post-conciliar razzmatazz can't even begin to scratch the surface of what's out there. Hence, I am going to devote several more installments to this topic, coming up in the next several weeks.
Editor's Note: So many of the post-conciliar bishops today refer to those clinging to the true Roman Catholic traditions that were in vogue for 2000 years prior to the reforms of Vatican II as 'fossils,' 'dinosaurs,' 'old folks who will die off soon.' We beg to differ and offer as proof the youthful wisdom and enthusiasm of the younger generation in the Traditional Insights of Mario Derksen who exemplifies the thinking of many more young men and women today who realize the new thinking of the post-conciliar church does not add up to true Catholic teaching. Thus they long for those traditions so tried and true. His insight shows great promise, optimism and hope for the future of Holy Mother Church.
For past columns in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Mario Derksen, see Archives
March 15-17, 2002
volume 13, no. 50
Mario Derksen's young and refreshing TRADITIONAL INSIGHTS