On December 7, 1965, in his first closing speech of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI of infelicitous memory said:
"The religion of the God who became man [Catholicism] has met the religion (for such it is) of man who makes himself God [secular humanism]. And what happened? Was there a clash, a battle, a condemnation? There could have been, but there was none. The old story of the Samaritan has been the model of the spirituality of the council. A feeling of boundless sympathy has permeated the whole of it. The attention of our council has been absorbed by the discovery of human needs (and these needs grow in proportion to the greatness which the son of the earth claims for himself). But we call upon those who term themselves modern humanists, and who have renounced the transcendent value of the highest realities, to give the council credit at least for one quality and to recognize our own new type of humanism: we, too, in fact, we more than any others, honor mankind."
So there we have it from the very Pope who promulgated Vatican II: the forces of secular humanism clashed with those of orthodox Catholicism, and there was no fight, not even a condemnation.
While it would have been the duty of the Pope and the council to reject the emerging cult of man and show mankind the only path to salvation and out of the mess of the 20th century and all that has gone before, instead the Pope and the council chose to "understand" man and have "sympathy" for him.
The very fact that this had never been done in the 2,000 year reign of the Church should have been reason enough for Pope Paul VI to follow the same path, as well-intentioned as his course of "sympathy" might have been. The opportunity would have been perfect. While the rest of the world was on that slipperly slope toward perdition with their "flower power" and hippie cult that was just starting up during the 1960's, the Church could have reinforced its true image of the shining and immovable beacon of hope and salvation that She is: teacher of truth and morality, never compromising, always strong, and faithful to her Founder.
Instead, the Church herself started to dig into the cult of man, starting her "own new type of humanism" (Paul VI's words, cf. quote above), tasting a little bit of the forbidden fruit offered by the secular world. That the cult of man, with its intention of "honoring mankind" and finding man to be the explanation of the mystery of life has permeated the council and infected the conciliar Popes is evidenced by many strange and puzzling statements from Vatican II, Pope Paul VI, and also John Paul II.
As I am writing this first installment, I do not yet know just how many parts this series will embody. The amount of evidence that can be broached in the de facto enthronement of man since Vatican II seems overwhelming, so I will have to see how much I can reasonably analyze, put in perspective, and share with you. It is extremely important not to misrepresent the council and what it said. Vatican II's actual texts are bad enough, and I also truly understand how morally wrong it would be to distort its true meaning. I wish to emphasize this because I feel that the Abbe de Nantes in France has misunderstood certain things Pope Paul VI said in his closing speech on December 7, 1965, and which I feel bound in conscience to clear up. Even though Pope Paul VI's pontificate was disastrous, the Catholic conscience obliges one to represent what he said correctly. I will come back to this later when going through more of Paul VI's and Vatican II's statements about man.
Clearly, since Vatican II the Novus Ordo establishment (a mere parasite of the true Church) and the Popes have been enamored and obsessed with the "dignity of man." Should we be surprised at the tremendous decline in belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist when the modern liturgies are centered on man? In the new Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), for instance, there is an entire chapter entitled "The Dignity of the Human Person" that fills pages 424-458! Compare this to a single paragraph of 10-11 lines in The Catechism Explained (1899) by Fr. Francis Spirago. The heading of the paragraph states: "By the Incarnation of the Son of God all the members of the human race have acquired a special dignity" (p. 196; reprint edition of TAN Books & Publishers, 1993). But what follows in the paragraph is not a glorification of man but the humble recognition that we have been accorded a special kingly dignity of which the angels would envy us (if they were capable of envy) because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. We are merely branches of Christ Who is the Vine, without Whom we would be nothing! (cf. John 15: 5)
After this brief paragraph properly pointing out the immense dignity man has aquired because God has deigned to become man, The Catechism Explained continutes right on with the mystery of the Redemption, not with man. Likewise, the traditional Roman Catechism, aka the Catechism of the Council of Trent, also only has a single paragraph of 10 lines about the dignity of man, which points out quite appropriately that man has an "exalted dignity conferred . . . by the divine bounty" (p. 48, reprint edition of TAN Books, 1982).
There is no question that man has a special and unique dignity because of Christ's Incarnation. "We may now glory that the Son of God is bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh," says the Catechism of Trent (p. 48). But the point is that we must glory in Christ, not in ourselves, for having been elevated to such a special status (see 1 Corinthians 1:31). The problem I will be addressing in this series is not that man has a special dignity or that Vatican II and the conciliar Popes were wrong in pointing this out. Rather, the real problem is the exaggerated view of the dignity of man since Vatican II and how this misrepresentation has led to all sorts of erroneous ideas.
Let me go back to the New Catechism for a moment. I already mentioned that an entire chapter spanning over 36 pages is entitled "The Dignity of the Human Person." What is very interesting here is what is mentioned in the chapter. The chapter is subdivided into eight articles, which talk about (1) man as the image of God, (2) our vocation to beatitude, (3) man's freedom, (4) morality of human acts, (5) morality of the passions, (6) moral conscience, (7) the virtues, and (8) sin. So what's the problem?, you might ask. Well, the problem is: why in the world is all of this listed under the title "The Dignity of the Human Person"? This is entirely new. Traditional catechisms dealt with those aspects of Christian doctrine and life under different headings, such as "Vice and Virtue" or "Sin" or under the more general headings of "The Apostles' Creed" or the "Our Father," which the New Catechism retains as well but chose to put these eight articles instead under the heading "The Dignity of the Human Person." Again, traditionally, the special dignity of man was dealt with in a single paragraph, or some other brief treatment comparable to that. Why the change?
The New Catechism itself gives us a clue: "Living a moral life bears witness to the dignity of the person" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 1706). Ah! There we have it. All of a sudden, vice and virtue, sin, passion, conscience, etc., is intrinsically related to the dignity of man! Now that's interesting, since this has not been the case before Vatican II, at least not to my knowledge.
But there is more in the New Catechism that smells of humanism. Consider the following: "The Church receives from the Gospel the full revelation of the truth about man. When she fulfills her mission of proclaiming the Gospel, she bears witness to man, in the name of Christ, to his dignity and his vocation to the communion of persons" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 2419). HELLO? Anybody home? This is totally misleading! Needless to say, footnotes with further references are not supplied to these statements in the New Catechism. Since when does the Church bear witness to man and his dignity by proclaiming the Gospel? Could anyone show me anything to this effect before Vatican II? The Church bears witness to Christ, the Light of the World, by proclaiming His saving Truth! This is about God, not about us! Did we find St. John the Baptist preaching about the dignity of man when he announced our Lord? Do we have records of any of the Apostles preaching the Good News about man and his dignity? While there is a secondary sense in which it is true to say that since the Church preaches Christ, we now know more about ourselves (e.g. our destiny, our calling, our dignity in virtue of the Lord's Incarnation, etc.), it would be erroneous or at least highly imprudent and ambiguous to suggest that the Church bears witness to man and his dignity! "The world has heard enough of the so-called 'rights of man.' Let it hear something of the rights of God," said the great Leo XIII (Encyclical Tametsi #13, 11/1/1900).
And with that I wish to kick off this new series and end my first part, hoping to have peaked your curiosity a bit about what the heck is going on with this "dignity of man" business. Since Vatican II, the place of man in the Church has been drastically altered. The Trojan Horse of the New Religion has penetrated the City of God, dethroned our Lord, and is slowly but surely paving the way for the kingdom of man. God and truth have been put on the backburner, while man under the pretext of his "dignity" is pushed to the forefront. That this is so is corroborated time and again in documents put out by the Vatican and in such scandalous and notorious events as the Assisi Day of Prayer for "Peace" on January 24, 2002, and before that on October 27, 1986.
In following installments, you will read about strange statements made by Vatican II, Pope Paul VI, and Pope John Paul II, showing the de facto enthronement of man in the Church. We will also look into the dirty scandal of Assisi and how our Most High God was mocked for the sake of a peace which cannot be had without Christ. I shall also look into Pope John Paul II's pacifism and the novel movement against the death penalty, all fruits of the "new humanism" of which Pope Paul VI spoke, and which he glaringly endorsed.
Until next time, may our holy Lord bless you, and may you have a fruitful Lenten season, and please, KEEP THE FAITH!