Mealy-Mouthed Secularist Prelates and the Attack on Grace

I’ve been biting my tongue through a lot of the synod and the biggest reason has been that I really did not want to pile onto the mountains of doom being dumped into Catholic discussion. Now that the relatio is out, and now that we see what it says, we wait for Pope Francis to put his touches on it. Just recently that Italian press reported that Pope Francis told a reporter off the record in casual conversation that gay couples need something. I’m not convinced that the same Pope that called the mayor of Rome a “pretend Catholic” for supporting gay marriage is looking to do what many of my doom preaching friends say. Whatever else is attempted to be mechanized by the cryptogamous faction of modernists still lurking in the Church, some of the plots are so over the top that I think the object of those plots is not the stated goal thereof. Rather, I think the real effect being sought is precisely the predictions of doom and the despair being commoditized and commerced.

LEO XIII:  So soon as the road to divorce began to be made smooth by law, at once quarrels, jealousies, and judicial separations largely increased; and such shamelessness of life followed that men who had been in favor of these divorces repented of what they had done, and feared that, if they did not carefully seek a remedy by repealing the law, the State itself might come to ruin.

A Crisis of Grace

Earlier this year, Cardinal Kasper was reported to say “[…]it’s a heroic act, and heroism is not for the average Christian.” Really.

That flies in the face of the Gospel, and Our Lord’s very clear words:  “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.”  (Matt. v. 48). Jesus was obviously not as pastoral as Cardinal Kasper. But Jesus said also that His grace is sufficient. I prefer what Jesus promises and asks of me, because He can give me eternal life. I’m not sure what Cardinal Kasper promises me.

Secularists see this world as the only world. They do not acknowledge grace, because supernatural power comes from the next world, from Heaven. Secularists think all rewards are to be obtained in this life. They see, inherently, no value in suffering through a mistake or suffering a bad situation for a moral purpose. They can’t.

In an earlier day, before the Church used vagaries like “Accompaniment”, the teaching on the means of grace, that is the gift God gives to help us be perfect, was clear:

The Holy Ghost influences our lives by enlightening the mind and strengthening the will. Such passing influence of the Holy Spirit is called “actual grace.”

Before Pentecost the apostles were still ignorant; “slow of heart,” as Our Lord expressed it (Luke xxiv. 25); the Holy Ghost in descending upon them enlightened their understanding and strengthened their will; the fear which had caused them to keep in concealment was now changed into undaunted courage. The fiery tongues symbolized the enlightenment of their minds, the whirlwind the strength which they received. The Holy Ghost is like the sun, giving light and warmth. […] The light of the Holy Ghost shows us the true value of earthly things, our own sins, and the true goal of life. When the sun comes the ice begins to melt and the plants to blossom. So, too, the Holy Ghost warms our hearts, stirring them with the love of God and of our neighbor, and helps us to do actions deserving of heaven. The Holy Ghost is therefore a light, descending from the Father of light ( Jas. i. 17); as St. Augustine says: “Actual grace is a light which enlightens and moves the sinner.”

Read the rest on this page. Cardinal Kasper does not apparently understand that Jesus said all must be perfect, and He gives us the means through grace. Perfection is exactly what ordinary average Christian is called to. If one is to take up their Cross and follow Jesus, that’s what Jesus wants to make us be:  perfect. St. Cyprian said is clearly and succinctly: “When the Holy Ghost came into my heart, He changed me into another man.” I like the saints — they use such clear language.

Where is Cardinal Kasper getting his lights, though? The rest of the article reporting on Cardinal Kasper’s goes through some sort of mealy mouthed tap dance about how people get themselves into messes. Frankly, I don’t understand what he was saying.

A Crisis of Language

The so-called theme of the Synod was “accompaniment.”  I’ve never heard that term outside of music. In music, it is a part played to support some other instrument of vocal. In AmCurch Masses, it is what the tambourine does for the hippy guitar guy when he plays extra chords between verses of On Eagle’s Wings.  But, in the finest fashion of the Dutch Catechism, let’s just make something up. I have heard these interviews with various cardinals and they spin a bunch of words.  It goes something like this:

“blah blah blah gospel blah blah blah mercy blah blah blah blah.  blah blah blah obligated to reach out blah blah blah blah accompaniment like Jesus blah blah blah.”

I’ve never heard any of them discuss the firm purpose of amendment. St. Paul talks about the old man. The old man is the sinful man, the one that existed before one repented and followed Our Lord. A concept of the past, that is lost in all the rhetoric, is worthiness to receive sacraments. Timeless teaching of Mother Church is clear:

We must make a firm resolution, that is, we must steadfastly determine with the help of God to desist from all sin, and to avoid the occasions of sin for the future.

The purpose of amendment is an essential part of true contrition (Council of Trent, 14, 4). The resolution to sin no more arises out of contrition, as water issues from a spring. So long as the will retains its attachment to sin, neither mortal nor venial sin can be remitted. All men are not thus resolute, for many do not adhere to their resolutions. They act like a woman, who, when her husband dies, makes a terrible outcry, extolling loudly the excellent qualities of the deceased, and protesting vehemently that she will never marry again; but in a very short time, oblivious of her asseverations, she gives her hand to another man. Those who in time of illness or of adversity form good resolutions, but do not carry them out, are like the wolf who retreats to the wood when he hears the dogs bark and the shepherds cry out, but remains a wolf nonetheless.

Read the rest of the requirements in the entire section on Worthy Reception of the Sacrament of Penance — I promise it is not confusing and is very clearly stated.

So, what were all these discussions at the Synod going on and on about? It was the problem, plain as day, of how does a person who has divorced their spouse, and married another, make a firm purpose of amendment? For some of the prelates at the synod, they seem to think it is impossible. In fact, that Cardinal Kasper interview above reveals that Kasper mocks the only notion:  such a person either obtains a decree of nullity, or they vow to be chaste. Kasper said, “To live together as brother and sister? Of course I have high respect for those who are doing this, […] But it’s a heroic act, and heroism is not for the average Christian.”

So, the real object of Kasper and others appears to be striking the firm purpose of amendment away from the worthy reception of the sacraments. Or is it?

Inverting the Obligations of Christian Life

Jesus gave us the obligation to be perfect. St. John the Baptist explained that this is done through repentance (i.e., firm purpose of amendment). Today, we are told that our obligation is the “challenge of accompaniment.”  Now, I need to make a clear distinction here:  there has always been an Act of Mercy involved in patiently suffering the sinner through rehabilitation. Such was even part of the Bellarmine Catechism. But no catechism ever said we ought to diminish the standard of perfection.

To what end is a bunch of this? I think this is following a warning published by the late Bishop Graber, editor of Fatima magazine, and the Bishop of Regensberg. He published a small book on the errors afoot, in which he cited a bold proclamation of the Grand Orient Lodge of France. A freemason plot published in the open.

I am putting it here to see if any of this makes sense to you, dear reader. Think about how all the hand wringing and desperation about the future of our Church plays into this plot. Then, think about the actual grace – the supernatural power at our disposal. We have the means of victory, if we use them. Do we really believe Jesus would forsake His Church?

Here’s the quote from Bishop Graber’s Athanasius and the Church of Our Time:

On studying these methods one becomes convinced that the devil does not attach particular importance nowadays to remaining unrecognized and pursuing his work of destruction “cryptogamously” but that he wants to show himself openly and publicly. In this vein the Paris journal of the Grand Orient de France, “L’Humanisme” wrote quite openly in 1968:

“Among the pillars which collapse most easily we note the Magisterium; the infallibility, which was held to be firmly established by the First Vatican Council and which has just had to face being stormed by married people on the occasion of the publication of the encyclical Humanae vitae;the Real Eucharistic Presence, which the Church was able to impose on the medieval masses and which will disappear with the increasing inter-communion and inter-celebration of Catholic priests and Protestant pastors; the hallowed character of the priest, which comes from the institution of the Sacrament of Ordination and which will be replaced by a decision for the priesthood for a trial period; the differentiation between the direction-giving Church and the black-clad (lower) clergy, whereas from now on the directions will proceed from the base of the pyramid upwards as in any democracy; the gradual disappearance of the ontological and metaphysical character of the sacraments and then the subsequent death of confession now that sin in our days has become a completely anachronistic concept handed down to us by the rigorous medieval philosophy which was in turn the heritage of Biblical pessimism”.

With “gratifying” frankness the whole strategy is unfolded here and one simply wonders why nothing or so little is being done to make these pillars safe and prevent them from collapse. If in the face of these unambiguous admissions anyone still holds to the opinion that the events in the Church are marginal phenomena or transitional difficulties which will die down of their own accord in time, he is simply beyond hope. But all the greater is the responsibility of the leading men in the Church if they do not occupy themselves with these questions and imagine—cf. what was said above —that everything can be repaired by patching it up here and there. No, it is a question of the whole thing, it is the Church that is at stake, it is, as the periodical “L’Humanisme” put it in its May/October volume in 1968 , “a kind of Copernican revolution” that has befallen the Church; what we are faced with is a “gigantic revolution in the Church” which already contains in it “the prelude to victory, “prelude de la victoire“?

And now we have come to the climax and can only hope that the full significance of the following quotation from “L’Humanisme” may be recognised: “When the traditional structures collapse, all that remains will follow. The Church did not foresee that it would be contested in this way and it is no longer anything like prepared to absorb and assimilate this revolutionary spirit . . . It is not the scaffold that is awaiting the Pope, it is the rise of the local Churches organizing themselves democratically, rejecting the dividing-line between clergy and laymen, creating their own dogma and living in complete autonomy of Rome”. Let us return to our starting-point. In his pastoral letter Athanasius lists the events which took place in Alexandria at that time: “Plundering of churches, arson, blasphemy, the violation of virgins, flogging and murder”.

All this is nothing compared to what is going on today in the entire Church without anyone’s being properly aware of it. Are the local Churches not coming into being or already fully active when at synods they submit to the majority in democratic voting and thus to what is often an arbitrary number rather than to the truth? “Soon it will no longer be possible for the Vatican”, writes the above-mentioned periodical, “to keep control over the internal motions of a great body which used to be considered homogeneous . . . Might it not be time to return to more ‘national’ Churches?”—So, the Pope does not have the scaffold awaiting him. How humane our age has become! It is merely the local Churches that are awaiting him, he just has to resign himself to them. Examples can be drawn from the past, the Gallican Church is mentioned. Here history is once more permissible even though all mention of it or of tradition in general is deliberately avoided elsewhere. But at the end of the development the Pope is superfluous since the local Churches “live in complete autonomy of Rome”. So there is a scaffold after all—in the form of annihilation.

Read that a couple times. I think we are seeing it all over again. Particularly this part:  “the gradual disappearance of the ontological and metaphysical character of the sacraments”.

Fulton Sheen used to say that great schisms of the Church occurred in 500 year cycles, and all resulted in the acceptance of divorce. About 500 years after Our Lord, Mohammedism came and said divorce was OK. 500 years later, the Orthodox ruptured and they had some way of accepting divorce. 500 years later, and Henry VIII. We all know that the protestants all accept divorce.

Here we are standing 500 years later. I keep saying in discussions that warned of schism that the schism has been here, it’s done. We saw its proponents at the Synod of Bishops. Mother Church has always echoed what Our Lord said, “what God has put together let no man put asunder.”  Pretty clear. Certainly, there is no crisis of language there. The sacrament of marriage provides the graces necessary to make it perfect. Pope Leo XIII, who warned us of the freemasons as well, echoed the teaching pretty clearly as well in his Arcanum Divinae Sapientiae (Feb 10, 1880):

29. Truly, it is hardly possible to describe how great are the evils that flow from divorce. Matrimonial contracts are by it made variable; mutual kindness is weakened; deplorable inducements to unfaithfulness are supplied; harm is done to the education and training of children; occasion is afforded for the breaking up of homes; the seeds of dissension are sown among families; the dignity of womanhood is lessened and brought low, and women run the risk of being deserted after having ministered to the pleasures of men. Since, then, nothing has such power to lay waste families and destroy the mainstay of kingdoms as the corruption of morals, it is easily seen that divorces are in the highest degree hostile to the prosperity of families and States, springing as they do from the depraved morals of the people, and, as experience shows us, opening out a way to every kind of evil-doing in public and in private life.

30. Further still, if the matter be duly pondered, we shall clearly see these evils to be the more especially dangerous, because, divorce once being tolerated, there will be no restraint powerful enough to keep it within the bounds marked out or presurmised. Great indeed is the force of example, and even greater still the might of passion. With such incitements it must needs follow that the eagerness for divorce, daily spreading by devious ways, will seize upon the minds of many like a virulent contagious disease, or like a flood of water bursting through every barrier. These are truths that doubtlessly are all clear in themselves, but they will become clearer yet if we call to mind the teachings of experience. So soon as the road to divorce began to be made smooth by law, at once quarrels, jealousies, and judicial separations largely increased; and such shamelessness of life followed that men who had been in favor of these divorces repented of what they had done, and feared that, if they did not carefully seek a remedy by repealing the law, the State itself might come to ruin. The Romans of old are said to have shrunk with horror from the first example of divorce, but ere long all sense of decency was blunted in their soul; the meager restraint of passion died out, and the marriage vow was so often broken that what some writers have affirmed would seem to be true-namely, women used to reckon years not by the change of consuls, but of their husbands. In like manner, at the beginning, Protestants allowed legalized divorces in certain although but few cases, and yet from the affinity of circumstances of like kind, the number of divorces increased to such extent in Germany, America, and elsewhere that all wise thinkers deplored the boundless corruption of morals, and judged the recklessness of the laws to be simply intolerable.

31. Even in Catholic States the evil existed. For whenever at any time divorce was introduced, the abundance of misery that followed far exceeded all that the framers of the law could have foreseen. In fact, many lent their minds to contrive all kinds of fraud and device, and by accusations of cruelty, violence, and adultery to feign grounds for the dissolution of the matrimonial bond of which they had grown weary; and all this with so great havoc to morals that an amendment of the laws was deemed to be urgently needed.

32. Can anyone, therefore, doubt that laws in favor of divorce would have a result equally baneful and calamitous were they to be passed in these our days?

How far away from the clear language of the past we’ve come. Granted, Leo XIII’s warning has come true and we all live in states that made the road to divorce smooth. The problem we face is not how to help those around, how to accompany them. The problem we face is that we have some prelates that ignore the grace and supernatural power God gives to the Church to deal with it. Seems that’s by design.

Helping those ravaged by any evil (not just divorce) is not done by telling them there is no evil. It’s not done by telling them they don’t need to seek perfection. It’s not done by watering down the clear teaching of Our Lord and the Church. Everyone, especially us sinners, need to know perfection is possible for any of us — that grace and sanctifying grace is readily available, if we take up our cross and repent.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

This article, Mealy-Mouthed Secularist Prelates and the Attack on Grace is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

John B. Manos

John B. Manos, Esq. is an attorney and chemical engineer. He has a dog, Fyo, and likes photography, astronomy, and dusty old books published by Benziger Brothers. He is the President of the Bellarmine Forum.
  • susanna says:

    Wonderful article. I dislike the actor-clerics who use media-created phrases like “reach out”, “accompaniment.” Actor-clerics never preach heroism, only happiness. They aren’t Catholic. They’re actors, toothy grins and all. The Church in the valley of tears is in a fog. Lord, save your people.

  • Ruth Lasseter says:

    As you stated so well, the real issue is not divorced and holy communion, but living in sin and holy communion. The “accompaniment” of the likes of Card. Kasper gives no courage to the abandoned wife, who is faced with raising the kids alone and who is not dating; she may receive an unjust social stigma, but she needs Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and not “warm and fuzzy” nonsense from the mealy-mouthed prelates; that adds insult to injury! There are plenty of contracepters, adulterers and fornicators who are lining right up with their 2nd or 3rd spouses and significant others to receive the Body and Blood of Christ! As a Church, we’ve barely begun to understand Marriage as a sacrament, as apart from conventional union. This is going to be the task of the Church in the next 500 years. If it is the Children of God who are marrying, then we have to treat our spouses with due honor, awe and respect — and trust in Jesus Christ to renew the holiness of the spouses and to guide the family and children. Thank you for your clear and charitable thinking in these matters.

  • […] I posted a longish post that got into the problem I see with some of the voices of the recent Synod of […]

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