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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Monday, July 3, 2017

Sanctity is the Answer

Sanctity is the Answer

In the face of such heresy and moral depravity, the average Catholic is adrift. How is he or she to know the truth if those who are by office the teachers of the faithful bend the truth to please a world which is ever-more weary of the Faith and the truth?  It is a grave situation indeed. But while its gravity cannot be doubted, all is not hopeless. The words of Our Lord cannot be ignored "... the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it [the Church]."

Traditional Catholics, if we may so name them, see that the truth cannot change; that the Church before the Council cannot be discarded in favour of an updated one, friends now with all species of unbelievers from heretics to atheists. This grace of remaining true to the unchanging doctrine of the Church certainly is to be acknowledged for what it is: a gift from God. But this grace of seeing the truth is given in a time of war and possible discouragement. How is a Catholic to respond to the present crisis? We must be on our guard; for although light has been given to us, the devil has not forgotten us. He desires the destruction of the Church and the means of salvation. He goes about, says Scripture, like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

One of the traps laid down by the demons is one of hyper-intellectualism. By this it is not to be thought that one must avoid the use of the intellect. Every Catholic must know his Faith if he is to avoid the manifold errors of our time. The Catechism must be learned and understood; good books on the subject of the crisis, such as those written by Archbishop Lefebvre, must be taken up and studied. But knowledge alone will not suffice. Often Catholics become deceived as to the extent of their knowledge in matters beyond their actual understanding. Armchair theologians have sprung up like mushrooms after the rain, theologizing on every subject whether they actually understand it or not. Seminaries have been replaced by one forum or another. "In this crisis no one may be trusted," except of course oneself. Catholicism is thus reduced to knowing about the Faith, rather than practicing it. One might even say that it is kind of Gnosticism whereby a false intellectualism replaces the actual teaching of the Church on the spiritual life. It is knowledge that saves according to this mode of temptation. But this is not the answer, for it betrays Tradition in the name of a false Traditionalism.

Another trap is that of Ecclesiastical politics, which is at root a form of Naturalism. God cannot restore the Church by grace; only by seeking approval by the authorities in the Church can Tradition be restored. But this brings with it grave dangers, if not fatal ones. How can there be a union based not upon the Faith, but upon some other agent of union? It is not a question of denying that the Pope or the diocesan bishops have their authority from the Apostles, but rather of the simple fact that they are not in the discharge of their offices faithful to their charge. Many have fallen into heresies of one kind or another, while many more at least hold ideas that savour of heresy. A growing number of Traditional Catholics have begun to thing that "traditional Catholicism" is not simply Catholicism. Yet the entire point of the resistance to these new teachings and practices rests on the fact that these new things are not Catholic. It is as simple as that. And there is no doubt that Pope Francis and those authorities constituted by him hold these false notions. The "novus ordo," to give it a name that is perhaps not theologically exact, manifests a recognizable spirit, false and leading to heresy; a spirit that binds the new thing together. There can be no regularization until this New Rome converts and professes the same Faith as has always been professed.

What must be the answer to our current distress? The answer lies in becoming that which we know God desires us to be- saints: "this is the will of God, your sanctification"(I Thess 4:3). In other words, the only answer possible to a spiritual crisis is a spiritual one, a supernatural one. It is not a question of rejecting the intellect, of laying aside those works that help us know the immemorial teaching of the Church. Truth must inform our mind, for God is Truth. But knowledge alone does not make us good. We may know all about the causes of the crisis, but this will not really solve anything if we do not do God's will. Knowledge must be joined to the love of God, to devotion, to the actual practice of the Faith. It must involve going to Holy Mass where the only sacrifice really important is offered up for the glory of God and the salvation of our souls. We must pray our Rosary with devotion and attention, approach the fountains of grace which are the sacraments, and fulfill the great law of Charity both towards God and towards ones neighbour. The words at the beginning of this reflection are from the great apostle of the Sacred Heart, Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, and they confront us with the truth. It is sanctity that is the solution to the problem of sin, and thus to the problem of the modern crisis.  It is the saint that alone can turn the tide, for the saint alone fulfills in himself the petitions, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven."