It was brought to my attention that something I said in last Sunday’s sermon may have been misunderstood. I refer to the term “modernist Catholics.” You may remember I said there is no such thing as a modernist Catholic—you’re either a Catholic or you’re not. You can’t be a modernist and a Catholic at the same time. Modernism is a heresy and anyone who accepts the perverse principles of modernism has most certainly lost the Catholic faith. This is perfectly true, but there be some confusion as to who I’m referring to as modernist Catholics. Those I was singling out as modernists are those people who deliberately, willfully, reject the teachings of the Catholic Church, speaking and acting in the self-contradictory way common to this modernist heresy. I certainly am not including among them the general population of those who attend the Novus Ordo Mass on Sundays and who believe that they have a Catholic pope in the form of Jorge Bergoglio.
We should remember the words of our Lord as he climbed the road to Calvary: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” The good folks who have spent their lives blindly obeying their clergy because “surely, they know better than I do,” these folks would quite happily continue to follow their heretical popes and bishops if they renounced their modernist principles and re-embraced tradition. Some of them might be racking their brains trying to make sense out of the contradictions between the Church’s teachings and the heresies of the new clergy. Others may be ignorant or apathetic. But none of that makes them actual modernists.
We are in a very complex situation, as we’re all aware. When we say “The Catholic Church,” ninety-nine percent of the world think we’re speaking of Rome, Pope Francis, and that whole institution of John Pauls, and Vatican II, and the new Mass. We refer to this Church as “the Conciliar Church” or “Vatican II Church”, and we agree with Archbishop Vigano when he openly defies Rome and says that “it is undeniable that from Vatican II onwards a parallel church was built, superimposed over and diametrically opposed to the true Church of Christ.” But if today we cannot recognize the legitimacy or authority of this parallel church, we nevertheless cannot condemn all its members as heretics. Ours is a situation without precedent in the history of the Church, a situation that could not have been anticipated by canon lawyers or ecclesiastical theologians. We live in the intolerable position where it is we who, in spite of being the only ones to remain loyal to the truths revealed by God and taught infallibly for two thousand years, are regarded as the fanatics, the weirdoes, the ones the FBI had better keep an eye on.
We may be upset to realize that the world recognizes the wrong Church as the right Church and vice versa. It may disturb us to know that we’re looked on as the bad guys, with Bergoglio as the hero of the day. However, as early as the Old Testament Isaiah prophesied of a time when standards and behavioral attitudes would be reversed, “Woe unto them.” he said, “that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Our Lord himself confirmed this, saying that in the end-times many people would be deceived. More recently, Our Lady of La Salette specified that “Rome shall become the seat of the Antichrist.” So let’s not be surprised at the turn of events, when a majority of people believe that it’s okay for a man to marry another man, or that babies may be killed even after birth if they pose too much of an inconvenience to the mother. Or of course, if a pope worships the demon Pachamama instead of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
If you want a parallel in history, look no further than today’s Gospel. There were two types of Jew in our Lord’s day, a majority who dutifully followed the local rabbi who answered in turn to the Pharisees under the High Priests Annas and Caiaphas. They went to the temple every sabbath day and took part in the animal sacrifices, feeding on the lawful but inadequate practices of the Mosaic law, and eventually calling for Christ’s crucifixion. The other type of Jew numbered just a few thousand, but they rejected the Temple and the Pharisees who would eventually lead the Jews to perdition. Instead, they followed the Messiah, out into the wilderness, there to be fed miraculously with five barley loaves and two fishes.
We should follow the example of these Jews who followed our Lord along the Way to Truth and Life. Like them, we should not be afraid of fainting by the wayside, but should take comfort in being fed with the unchanging truths of the faith, and the immortal Body of Christ in Holy Communion. Our high priests may not hostile to us and treat us as apostates, but in following the example of these Jews who followed Christ, we too will be following Christ. And we will follow Christ’s example by not condemning the ignorant majority of Jews who remained in the Temple. We will not condemn those who for whatever reason remain in the Novus Ordo Church but still believe in the truths that Church has always taught. For some reason they choose to believe that the best way they can serve Christ and resist the evils of Vatican II is by remaining within the Conciliar Church. There are still Catholics in that Church, and who are we to state dogmatically that their way is the wrong way and ours is correct.
Personally, I think that if there is any salvation for the Conciliar Church, any chance of them turning back to Truth and Tradition, then it may be more likely to come from the resistance of those who have remained within it. Men like Archbishop Vigano are perhaps in a better position to effect a rebellion than we are to attack from the outside. After all, the Church was decimated from within at Vatican II. Maybe it will be rebuilt from within? Not that we’re wrong in distancing ourselves from the Church—by doing so, we’re enabled to practice the faith without hindrance, so that we and our children are not contaminated by the poison they serve up in lieu of the truth and valid sacraments. There is a downside to this approach though, in that we are overlooked and ignored, effectively diluting our ability to effect change or even to make our voices heard.
Modernists there most certainly are within the Church. Bergoglio himself is their leader. But we do not look upon all the members of that Church as heretics or modernists. On the contrary, we should pray very hard that their position within the enemy camp allows them to bring about the changes that we, watching from the outside, apparently cannot.