This is really nothing new, as we already know that Vatican II sees non-Catholic religions as having value in the order of salvation, indeed as means of salvation, which is an explicit heresy.
What is interesting about Bergoglio’s statement, however, is that he openly approves of freedom of conscience, that is, the right to choose whatever religion you want and to practice it.
In order to respect diversity, dialogue must seek to promote every person’s right to life, to physical integrity, and to fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of conscience, of thought, of expression and of religion. This includes the freedom to live according to one’s beliefs in both the private and public spheres. In this way, Christians and Muslims – as brothers and sisters – can work together for the common good.
What Bergoglio states here was solemnly condemned by Pope Pius IX in Quanta Cura. What is significant, however, is that he repeats not only Vatican II’s call for the freedom to practice one’s religion, but also freedom of conscience.
Conscience is none other than man’s intellect in the act of determining the morality of an act to be done here and now. Conscience is not a faculty which discovers the truth, but instead is merely the application of the law to a determined act. Consequently the conscience is not free to choose what it pleases, but is necessarily bound to the law which it must apply to the acts we perform.
Freedom of conscience is therefore an impious doctrine, since it releases the intellect from its duty to know the law of God and to apply it. Man has no right to freedom of conscience. Why? Because
God has revealed a religion and a law, and all consciences must accept and obey this religion and this law.
The Catholic Church does not exclude, provided there be serious reasons which justify it, a toleration of false religions, but it can in no way condone the tenet that one has a right to a false religion. For all right is based in God and emanates from God. Right is a moral faculty — ability — to posit an act which is morally correct, that is, which is in conformity with God’s law. The very thought that God would posit a right in someone to defy Him by embracing a false religion is blasphemy.
In a recent letter commenting on clerical sex abuse, Ratzinger said that the cause of it was the sexual revolution of the 1960’s.
This is a stunning statement. Why? Because it is the mission and purpose of the Church to resist moral corruption, and especially to protect the clergy from it. The clergy should practice mortification of their sexual passions, devoted as they are — and canonically obliged — to celibacy and perfect chastity. One could just as easily say: “The monks are all fat because of the eating revolution.” Are they not supposed to practice mortification? It would be the equivalent of saying that the Titanic sank because there was an iceberg in front of it. The reality is that the Titanic sank because the crew was recklessly speeding at 22 knots (at that time very fast for an ocean liner) through “Iceberg Alley” in the springtime when icebergs are most commonly seen. The crew had also committed gross negligence in ignoring the warnings of ice by other ships.
On the Fatima Centerwebsite, Mr. Ferrara attacked the sedevacantists for what he calls self-contradiction, a “fatal ﬂaw” in their thinking. He first accurately sums up the sedevacantist position:
So, according to sedevacantist thinking, one cannot legitimately recognize yet resist a true Pope because while not every papal magisterial act is infallible, every papal magisterial act is (1) authoritative, (2) binding on consciences, (3) safe to follow, and (4) free from pernicious error. [emphasis added]
He then proceeds to attack this position as containing a contradiction.
What the sedevacantists are really saying, then, is that a Pope who errs in his teaching on a matter of faith and morals, even once, ceases to be Pope (or never was Pope) because every exercise of the papal magisterium must be free from error.
Notice that the word pernicious has disappeared. In leaving this word out, Mr. Ferrara has manifested that he does not understand the whole point of the sedevacantist argument.
Recently the camp of the Novus Ordo conservatives, or neocons, as they are commonly called, seems to have descended into a panic.
Up to now they have bent over backwards to maintain the principle that Vatican II did not change anything substantial in the Catholic Faith. While they may prefer pre-Vatican II rites and ceremonies, they refuse to call what has come out of Vatican II a new and false religion, as we call it.
Consequently we have seen over the years mostly an ostrich approach to anything that seems to contradict this thesis of theirs.
On February 4th, Bergoglio signed a document, together with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, entitled A Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together. Most of it is what we heard over fifty years ago from Paul VI: what we call bom-fog. This is short for “brotherhood of man; fatherhood of God.” Put simply, it means that the naturalistic (and masonic) brotherhood of man cannot succeed without the help of religion. It is an implicit denial of the royalty of Christ, and of the necessity to be submitted to His rule in order to be saved and in order to achieve peace in this world. It is to affirm that the brotherhood of man can be achieved on purely naturalistic principles, but that it needs a spiritual dimension which only religion — any religion — can give. The Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes is loaded with this idea. It places the Church at the service of the naturalistic world which is trying to save itself without Christ, a fallen race placing its hope in its own ability to pull itself up from the depths of sin and its effects. It is atheistic inasmuch as it sees as the goal to be achieved only the purely natural goal of man: international peace, prosperity for all, human rights, and so forth. This is why Paul VI in 1965 told the United Nations that it was “the last hope of the world.”
Bergoglio, however, used the occasion to create a new heresy and blasphemy, namely that God wills the pluralism of religions. Here is the quotation:
Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race, and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. Therefore, the fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected, as too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept.
There has been a good deal of outrage recently about the very liberalized abortion laws which were passed in New York and Virginia, permitting the child to be murdered even as it is in the process of being born. In Virginia the governor said that, even if the child survived the abortion, the parents and the abortionist “would have a discussion,” implying very clearly that if the parents did not want the child, the abortionist would kill it.
I do not understand the outrage, since all of the logic for performing the heinous crime has been with us since Roe vs. Wade in 1973. In fact, it has been with us since the legalization of artificial contraception.
The Catholic doctrine is that sexual intercourse has a single purpose, which is the procreation of a human being. Notice that the word is procreation and not creation, since the prefix pro means that the parents are accomplishing the creation of a child for God. This means that the parents are given a role in the production of a human being, in which they provide the flesh, whereas God provides the immortal soul. The result is a human being, who has, on the one hand, a body, like that of the animals, but on the other hand, an immaterial and immortal soul, like the angels. This soul is what makes human beings different from animals, possessing as it does an intellect and will. These faculties enable the soul to know immaterial things, and to freely choose to do good things. Animals choose their good things by being programmed by God through instinct, and their choices are not free.
Hence the Catholic doctrine sees the child as primarily and essentially the work of God the Creator, and as something which is rightfully God’s. The parents have a merely vicarious role in the order of creation, permitted as they are to provide the material part of the child. Consequently, the entire reproductive process is under God’s direct control, and must be ordered according to God’s law, which is the natural law.
God the Creator has attached pleasure to the reproductive act in order that human beings be motivated to propagate the human race. The pleasure is therefore something entirely subject to the use of sexual activity according to the rules of nature.
Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical Casti Connubii, said that the parents act “as ministers, as it were, of the Divine Omnipotence.”
Listen to the same pope in the same encyclical:
Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.
To sum up: (1) Sexual intercourse is is essentially ordered to reproduction; (2) the pleasure associated with it is essentially ordered to reproduction, and exists only to promote reproduction; (3) the entire reproductive act, from conception to birth, is completely under the control of God, and must be carried out in accordance with the natural law; (4) the child, from conception to birth, is God’s child primarily, and continues to be God’s child forever; (5) The parents have a merely vicarious role in the creation of a child inasmuch as God permits them to partake in His creative process; (6) it is therefore the role of the parents to conceive according to nature, and to protect the unborn child until birth, and thereafter to rear the child both in regard to his or her spiritual needs and temporal needs.
The atheistic/materialistic/secularistic/evolutionistic view is the complete opposite. Human beings are essentially animals, having evolved from gorillas or gorilla-like animals. They have no immaterial or immortal souls. Their intellects and free wills are functions of their material brains. There is no judgment after death, no reward for virtue, and no punishment for moral depravity. Like animals, human beings exist to have pleasure, and the most pleasurable thing is sex. Reproduction is a side effect of the pleasurable sex act. The conception and bearing of children is completely under the control of the woman, who bears a child as a part of her own body. It is entirely her possession and she makes all the decisions concerning its conception, and its survival after conception.
So it is evident that contraception is at bottom the cause of abortion. If reproduction is entirely under the control of the woman, and if we are merely animals, then what is the harm in terminating the life of the child, either through contraception or by abortion? Why should there be any limit on the time of abortion? Indeed, what stops a mother, in this macabre logic, from ordering the death of her child even when it has exited the womb, and has become physically independent from her? How would it differ from putting a litter of unwanted puppies to death?
The only reason why some are horrified by these new abortion laws in New York and Virginia is that a late term abortion seems more grotesque and monstrous. The steely liberal logic, however, puts its blessing upon it.
Recently a Novus Ordo priest in Maryland tweeted the following:
Simply put: every diocese is full of parishes that have much smaller, now mostly older, congregations, in aging buildings with less money, and in a few short years we will hit the bell curve with both people and money. And we’re barely talking about it.
Our schools are closing, and those that remain are becoming “private” schools for those who can afford them, as we struggle to understand what “Catholic Identity” means for a student body, most of whom do not attend Sunday Mass.
The average knowledge of the faith in most Catholic communities is at a low point, though it will probably get worse. Meanwhile, the practice of the Sacrament of Reconciliation has virtually disappeared, as have other traditions that had culturally marked Catholics in the past.
The priest’s name is Fr. Matthew Fish, and is the pastoral administrator at Holy Family Catholic Church in Hillcrest Heights, Maryland. He assigns the cause of all of this to the “collapse of Catholic culture.”
As horrifying as Fr. Fish’s analysis is, and accurate, I am forever aghast at the failure to assign this decomposition to Vatican II. All of the Catholic culture, of which he laments the passing, was very much present before Vatican II, e.g., Catholic schools accessible to all (because of the plenitude of brothers and nuns to teach in them), Catholic hospitals, Catholic orphanages, Catholic Youth Organization, Catholic lawyers’ and doctors’ associations, Holy Name Societies, Confraternities, Rosary Societies, and many other similar organizations. There were long lines for confession every Saturday with many priests hearing. Seminaries and novitiates were loaded with vocations. There were public processions with the Blessed Sacrament. There was the Legion of Decency. In other words, there was a whole world of Catholicism which preserved Catholic morals and culture in every aspect of life. I am witness to this, since I lived it as a child. Then Vatican II blew it all up. Why do not any of the Novus Ordo clergy say this When will they say that the Council was the work of the enemies of the Church, the Modernists, called by Saint Pius X the worst enemies of the Catholic Church? Never in her history has the Church seen such devastating destruction of the faith in her people and her institutions.
Before the Council, the Catholic Church was very careful to protect the faithful from the influences of the non-Catholic world in which they lived. The reason for all of the institutions and organizations which I mentioned above was, precisely, to make a Catholic world for Catholics living in a non Catholic, even anti-Catholic, culture. The very notion of protecting Catholics from bad influence was destroyed by Vatican II, embracing as it did the Modernist idea of adaptation to the modern world.
I even remember sitting in a religion class in 1966, in which the the teacher, a religious Brother, was talking about the change in thinking about protecting Catholics from the modern world. He spoke about all the organizations which I mentioned, and said that the trend now is to dismantle these, and to let Catholics mix in with non-Catholics. The fact that I can remember it, now 53 years later, shows that I was very bothered by the whole idea.
Vatican II is, of course, the cause of the decomposition and collapse of which the Novus Ordo priest speaks. For one thing, the gradual decline over the past sixty years of Catholic faith, morals, and culture, accelerating as it goes, is absolutely coincidental with Vatican II and its subsequent reforms. But someone may say: “You cannot accuse Vatican II just because these problems are coincidental with it.” True, but nevertheless the phenomenon does draw our attention. So let us look at the intrinsic causes. Modernism’s basic principle is that the Catholic Church must be adapted to the modern world. This idea is what has dominated Vatican II and its reforms. But the modern world embraces perverse, atheistic, relativistic, agnostic, and immoral ideas and practices, to which Vatican II has conformed the Church. But to conform the Catholic Church to these things is to kill it. This is precisely what is happening before our eyes.
The Novus Ordo religion is still operating on the immense strength of pre-Vatican II Catholicism. Just like a hurricane over land continues to turn even after it has lost its source of power, so the Novus Ordo is still functioning as an institution because it is still drawing from pre-Vatican II power. But just as the hurricane eventually dissipates, so too will this new and false religion of Vatican II dissipate. The young people, for the most part, just have no interest in it.
In the most recent number of Sodalitium, the publication of the Institute of Our Mother of Good Counsel, located in Verrua Savoia, Italy, there is an editorial which I found very interesting, and have translated it for you. The piece bears no authorship, but it has Father Ricossa’s fingerprints all over it. It concerns a recently published comment of Ratzinger to an Italian Senator about a book he [Ratzinger] had written a few years ago. This comment is very revealing, as it is a clear admission from Ratzinger that there is a hiatus, that is, gap or separation, between the pre-Vatican II magisterium and that of the Council.
Ratzinger thinks nothing of this separation — the real word is contradiction— between the two teachings. For Ratzinger believes in historicism, which holds that truths are true for their time, but expire and evolve into other “truths” in different historical environments, so that the new truths may contradict the previous ones. It was in this way that the Modernists, in one blow, dispensed with the massive amount of magisterium in the Church’s past which condemns everything they think, do, and say.
Ratzinger is the High Priest of the Nothing-Has-Changed- Religion of the Novus Ordo conservatives, which holds as its unique dogma that there is doctrinal, liturgical, and disciplinary continuity between Vatican II and pre-Vatican II. They see him as the “missing link” between these two systems. Ratzinger’s single poignant comment, however, quoted in the editorial below, explodes their whole theory, and vindicates the sedevacantists.
Much has been said recently about women who have suffered from the sexual assaults of men.
It is true that the conduct of some men is deplorable in this regard, but it is also true that the conduct of some women is deplorable as well.
The 1960s produced a sexual revolution unheard of in the history of the world, which in turn caused a revolution in family life from which we are still reeling, and the end of which is nowhere in sight.
The trend began over one hundred years ago, and gained momentum in World War I. Before the war, for example, women covered their entire bodies with clothing. After the war, the hemlines came up and the necklines came down.
Never in the history of women’s dress, up to about 1918, did women wear skirts above their ankles. It was considered immodest. Even in the eighteenth century, where the necklines were low, women covered their arms to at least three-quarter length, and wore skirts to their ankles. To show one’s bare arms or to wear a skirt higher than the ankles was a sign of a prostitute.
By the 1920s women’s clothing had undergone a radical transformation. So did their behavior. With the advent of the cinema, and especially that of Hollywood, the “glamor girl” look became fashionable, as well as the flirtatious activity which accompanied it. Nevertheless the average respectable woman wore a dress that came to mid-leg length, and was otherwise modest in clothing. The skirts gradually made their way higher during the 1940’s and 1950’s, but in general a woman’s dress was within the norms of modesty.
I say “in general,” because even the 1930s saw the dawn of tight-fitting dresses on women, which were immodest inasmuch as they were too revealing. Later this gave way to a full skirt in the 1950’s, much more modest. But the 1960’s saw the return of the tight dress, and with it the miniskirt, something that the human race had never seen on decent women since the dawn of mankind.
Hollywood became extremely immodest in both dress and behavior in the 1950s. It was the prelude of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Marilyn Monroe was a typical example of this degenerate tendency.
Up to about 1965, most women were married, not divorced, had five or six children, at times more, and were devoted to their homes. With the appearance of the birth control pill in the 1960s, the role and attitudes of women would change radically, and with these changes, family life would suffer immeasurably.
“Freed” from the burden of having and raising children, and urged on by the radical feminists such as Betty Friedan, women left their homes and went out into the workplace. This change was concurrent with the general attitude of sexual freedom in the 1960s, by which people abandoned the inhibitions of previous times, and felt no restraints in pursuing the inclinations of their lower nature. Movies and television took ever greater liberties in this regard. This decline in morals could easily be seen if one were to trace, little by little, the modesty of television in the 1950s to the immodesty of television in our own time. The doses came in small spoonfuls, just as Vatican II did. Little by little decent people were asked to tolerate more and more immodesty.
The effect of all of this revolution in sexual mores, as well as the role of women, is that men and women have been thrown together into situations which are very dangerous. Women are daily interacting with men in the workplace. In many cases they are dressed in such a way as to be immodestly attractive to men. The inevitable result is that, unless the men in the office are very vigilant about the virtue of chastity and fidelity to their wives, some very bad things take place.
The reason why there was, in past times, so much modesty in women’s dress, and the reason why women stayed mostly in the home, is precisely that men have a very hard time controlling their sexual desires.
Although men are principally guilty, the women are partially if not equally guilty. In many if not most cases their dress is sexually enticing, and their conduct with men often invites sexual advances.
Most of these assaults upon women are seen in show business, an environment which is notably loose and never known for its observance of chastity and fidelity. Most of the “victim” ladies in these cases look like lascivious women, and probably did much to cause the assault.
Other cases of assault occur in situations in which men enjoy much power and influence. Sports figures are often guilty of this as well as politicians. There seems to be an aggression that occurs in men as they advance in power and/or fame. Women should not be close to any environments such as these.
While women should not look odd by returning the mode of dress in 1912, they should nonetheless take all the steps necessary, even difficult, expensive, and inconvenient, in order to avoid being an occasion of sin to men, and thereby inviting upon themselves outrages by unscrupulous males.
Saint John Chrysostom, who died in 404, summed it up:
You carry your snare everywhere and spread your nets in all places. You allege that you never invited others to sin. You did not, indeed, by your words, but you have done so by your dress and your deportment. When you have made another sin in his heart, how can you be innocent Tell me, whom does this world condemn? Whom do judges punish? Those who drink poison or those who prepare it and administer the fatal potion? You have prepared the abominable cup, you have given the death dealing drink, and you are more criminal than are those who poison the body; you murder not the body but the soul. And it is not to enemies you do this, nor are you urged on by any imaginary necessity, nor provoked by injury, but out of foolish vanity and pride.