Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 14

“Vatican II is the French Revolution in the Church”

The parallel I have drawn between the crisis in the Church and the French Revolution is not simply a metaphorical one. The influence of the philosophies of the eighteenth century, and of the upheaval that they produced in the world, has continued down to our times. Those who have injected that poison into the Church admit it themselves. It was Cardinal Suenens who exclaimed, “Vatican II is the French Revolution in the Church,” and among other unguarded declarations he added, “One cannot understand the French or the Russian revolutions unless one knows something of the old regimes which they brought to an end….It is the same in Church affairs: a reaction can only be judged in relation to the state of things that preceded it.” What preceded, and what he considered due for abolition, was that wonderful hierarchical construction culminating in the Pope, the Vicar of Christ on earth. He continued: “The Second Vatican Council marked the end of an epoch; and if we stand back from it a little more we see it marked the end of a series of epochs, the end of an age.”
Father Congar, one of the artisans of the reforms, spoke like-wise: “The Church has had, peacefully, its October Revolution.” Fully aware of what he was saying, he remarked: “The Declaration on Religious Liberty states the opposite of the Syllabus.” I could quote numbers of admissions of this sort. In 1976 Fr. Gelineau, one of the party leaders at the National Pastoral and Liturgical Center removed all illusions from those who would like to see in the Novus Ordo something merely a little different from the rite which hitherto had been universally celebrated, but in no way fundamentally different:

Read the full book:

Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 13

“Religious Liberty, Collegiality Equality, Ecumenical Fraternity”

How does it happen that the gates of hell are now causing us so much trouble? The Church has always been disturbed by persecution and heresies, by conflicts with temporal powers, sometimes by immoral conduct of the clergy, sometimes even of Popes. But this time the crisis seems to go much deeper, since it affects the Faith itself. The Modernism we face is not a heresy like the others: it is the main drain of all heresies. Persecution now comes not only from outside but from within the Church. The scandal of dissolute living, or just giving up, has become endemic among the clergy, while the mercenaries who abandon the sheep to the wolves are encouraged and honored. I am sometimes accused of painting too black a picture of the situation, of viewing it too disapprovingly, of taking pleasure at being disgruntled over changes which are perfectly logical and necessary. Yet the same Pope who was the heart and soul of Vatican II commented several times on the decomposition on which I have commented so sadly. On December 7, 1969, Paul VI said, “The Church finds herself in a period of anxiety, of self-criticism, one could say of self-destruction. It is like an internal upheaval, serious and complex—as if the Church were flagellating herself.”
The following year he added, “In many areas the Council has not so far given us peace but rather stirred up troubles and problems that in no way serve to strengthen the Kingdom of God within the Church or within souls.” Then, going on to raise a cry of alarm, on June 29, 1972 (Feast of SS. Peter and Paul), “The smoke of Satan has entered by some crack into the temple of God; doubt, uncertainty, problems, restlessness, dissatisfaction and confrontation have come to the surface…doubt has entered our consciences.”

Read the full book:

Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 12

“Comrades and Fellow Travelers”

Among all the documents of the Council, it was the schema on religious liberty which led to the most acrimonious Let us take up where we left off. Christian common sense is offended in every way by this new religion. Catholics are exposed to desacralization on all sides; everything has been changed. They are told that all religions bring salvation; the Church welcomes without distinction separated Christians and in fact all believers, whether they bow to Buddha or to Krishna. They are told that clergy and laity are equal members of the “People of God,” so that lay people designated for particular functions take over the clergy’s tasks. We see them conducting funerals and taking Viaticum to the sick, while the clergy take up the functions of the laity—dress like them, work in factories, join trade unions and engage in politics. The new Canon Law supports all this. It confers unheard-of prerogatives on the laity, blurring the distinction between them and priests and creating so-called “rights.” Lay theologians hold chairs of theology in Catholic universities, the faithful take over roles in divine worship which were once reserved to those in clerical orders: they administer some of the sacraments, they distribute Holy Communion and serve as witnesses at weddings.
We also read that the Church of God “subsists” in the Catholic Church—a suspicious formula, because immemorial doctrine has always said that the Church of God is the Catholic Church. If we accept this recent formula, it would seem that Protestant and Orthodox communions form equal parts of the Church—which cannot be, since they have separated themselves from the one Church founded by Jesus Christ: Credo in UNAM sanctam Ecclesiam.

Read the full book:

Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 11

“Religious Liberty”

Among all the documents of the Council, it was the schema on religious liberty which led to the most acrimonious discussions. This is easily explained by the influence of the liberals and the interest taken in this matter by the hereditary enemies of the Church. Now, twenty years later, we see that our fears were not exaggerated when the text was promulgated as a declaration comprising all the concepts opposed to tradition and to the teaching of recent Popes. How true it is that all false or ambiguously expressed principles will inevitably reveal their implicit errors. Later in this chapter I shall show how the attacks on Catholic education by the Socialist government in France are the logical consequence of the new definition given to religious liberty by Vatican II.
A little theology will help us toward a proper understanding of the spirit in which this declaration was drawn up. The initial—and, in fact, new—argument was based on the freedom of every man to practice inwardly and outwardly the religion of his choice, on the basis of “the dignity of the human person.” In this view, liberty is based on dignity, which gives it its raison d’être. Man can hold any error whatever in the name of his dignity.
This is putting the cart before the horse. For whoever clings to error loses his dignity and can no longer build upon it. Rather, the foundation of liberty is truth, not dignity. “The truth will make you free,” said Our Lord.

Read the full book:

Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 10


In this confusion of ideas (in which some Catholics now seem to be quite at ease), there is a tendency especially dangerous to the Faith, the more so because it masquerades as charity. The word which appeared in 1927 during a congress held at Lausanne, Switzerland, would have put Catholics on their guard if they had consulted their dictionaries. “Ecumenism: a movement toward reunion of all Christian churches in a single church.” Now it is clear that we cannot combine contradictory principles. We cannot unite truth and error so as to form one thing, except by adopting the error and rejecting all or part of the truth. Ecumenism is self-condemnatory.
The expression has become so fashionable since the last Council that it has slipped into everyday speech. We speak of universal ecumenism, of exploratory ecumenism and whatever else, to express a taste or a preference for diversity and eclecticism.
In religious language ecumenism has recently been extended to non-Christian religions and translated straightway into action. A newspaper in western France gives us a perfect example of the way this evolutionary process works. In a small parish near Cherbourg, the Catholic population showed concern for the welfare of the Muslim workers who had arrived to work on a building site. For this charitable action they can only be praised. In the next stage, however, the Muslims asked for a place to celebrate the fast of Ramadan, and the Christians offered them the basement of their church. Then a Koranic school opened. After a couple of years the Christians invited the Muslims to celebrate Christmas with them “around a common prayer made up of extracts from the Koran and verses from the Gospels.” Misplaced charity had led these Christians to come to terms with error.

Read the full book:

Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 9

“The New Theology”

Among The ravages caused by the new catechism are already visible in the generation which has been exposed to it. As required by the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Universities since 1970, I had included in the plan of studies for my seminaries one year’s spirituality at the beginning of the course. Spirituality includes the study of asceticism, mysticism, training in meditation and prayer, deepening the notions of virtue, supernatural grace, the presence of the Holy Ghost. Very soon we had to think again. We realized that these young men, who had come with a strong desire to become true priests, and having an interior life deeper than many of their contemporaries, and accustomed to prayer, were lacking the fundamental ideas of our Faith. They had never learned them. During the year of spirituality, we had to teach them the catechism!
I have many times told the story of the birth of Ecône. In this house situated in the Valais in Switzerland, between Sion and Martigny, it was originally intended that the future priests would complete only their first year (of spirituality). Then they would follow the university course at Fribourg. A complete seminary (at Ecône) took shape as soon as it did because the University at Fribourg could not provide a truly Catholic education. The Church has always considered the university chairs of theology, canon law, liturgy and Church law as organs of her magisterium or at least of her preaching. Now it is quite certain that at present in all, or nearly all of the Catholic universities, the orthodox Catholic faith is no longer being taught. I have not found one doing so, either in free Europe, or in the United States, or in South America. There are always some professors who, under the pretext of theological research, express opinions which are contradictory to our faith, and not only on points of secondary importance.

Read the full book:

Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 8

“The New Catechisms”

Among Catholics, I have often heard and continue to hear the remark, “They want to impose a new religion on us.” Is this an exaggeration? The modernists, who have infiltrated themselves everywhere in the Church and lead the dance, sought at first to reassure us: “Oh no, you have got the impression because old, obsolete ways have been changed for compelling reasons: we cannot pray now exactly as people used to pray, we have had to sweep away the dust, adopt a language that can be understood by our contemporaries and open ourselves up to our separated brethren… but nothing is changed, of course.”
Then they began to take fewer precautions, and the bolder ones among them began to make admissions in little groups of like-minded people and even publicly. One Father Cardonnel went round preaching a new Christianity in which “that precious transcendence that makes God into a Universal Monarch” would be challenged. He openly adopted Loisy’s modernism: “If you were born into a Christian family, the catechisms you learnt are mere skeletons of the faith.” And, “Our Christianity would seem to be neo-Capitalist at best.” And Cardinal Suenens, after reconstructing the Church to his own liking, called for “an opening up to the widest theological pluralism” and for the setting up of a hierarchy of truths, with some that must be strongly believed, others that must be believed a little, and others of no importance.

Read the full book:

Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 7

“The New Priests”

To the man in the street, even the most indifferent to religious questions, it is obvious that there are fewer and fewer priests, and the newspapers regularly remind him of the fact. It is over fifteen years ago since the book appeared with the title Tomorrow a Church without Priests?
Yet the situation is even more serious than it appears. The question has also to be asked, how many priests still have the faith? And even a further question, regarding some of the priests ordained in recent years: are they true priests at all? Put it another way, are their ordinations valid? The same doubt overhangs other sacraments. It applies to certain ordinations of bishops such as that which took place in Brussels in the summer of 1982 when the consecrating bishop said to the ordinand “Be an apostle like Gandhi, Helder Camara, and Mohammed!” Can we reconcile these references, at least as regards Gandhi and Mohammed, with the evident intention of doing what the Church intends?
Here is the order of service for a priestly ordination which took place at Toulouse a few years ago….

Read the full book:

Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 6

“The New Forms of Baptism, Marriage, Penance, and Extreme Unction”

The Catholic, whether he be regularly practicing or one who goes to church for the great moments of life, finds himself asking such basic questions as, “What is baptism?”
It is a new phenomenon, for not so long ago anyone could answer that, and anyway, nobody asked the question. The first effect of baptism is the redemption from original sin; that was known from father to son and mother to daughter.
But now nobody any longer talks about it anywhere. The simplified ceremony which takes place in the church speaks of sin in a context which seems to refer to that which the person being baptized will commit during his or her life, and not the original fault that we are all born with.
Baptism from then on simply appears as a sacrament which unites us to God, or rather makes us members of the community. This is the explanation of the “rite of welcome” that is imposed in some places as an initial step, in a first ceremony. It is not due to any private initiative since we discover plenty of variations upon baptism by stages in the leaflets of the National Center of Pastoral Liturgy. It is called “deferred baptism.”

Read the full book:

Open Letter to Confused Catholics: Chapter 5

“You’re A Dinosaur!”

In preparation for the 1981 Eucharistic Congress, a questionnaire was distributed, the first question of which was: “Of these two definitions: ‘The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass’ and ‘Eucharistic Meal,’ which one do you adopt spontaneously?” There is a great deal that could be said about this way of questioning Catholics, giving them to some extent the choice and appealing to their private judgment on a subject where spontaneity has no place. The definition of the Mass is not chosen iCatholics who feel that radical transformations are taking place have difficulty in standing up against the relentless propa-ganda they encounter (and which is common to all revolutions). They are told, “You can’t accept change. Yet change is a part of life. You’re static. What was good fifty years ago isn’t suitable to today’s mentality or way of life. You’re hung up on the past. You can’t change your ways!” Many have given in to the reform to avoid this criticism, unable to find an argument against the sneering charge, “You’re a reactionary, a dinosaur. You can’t move with the times!”
Cardinal Ottaviani said of the bishops, “They are afraid of looking old.”
But we have never refused certain changes, adaptations that bear witness to the vitality of the Church. In the liturgy, people my age have seen some of these. Shortly after I was born, St. Pius X made some improvements, especially in giving more importance to the temporal cycle in the missal, in lowering the age for First Communion for children and in restoring liturgical chant, which had fallen into disuse. Pius XII came along and reduced the length of the eucharistic fast because of difficulties inherent in modern life. For the same reason he authorized afternoon and evening Masses, put the Office of the Paschal Vigil on the evening of Holy Saturday and rearranged the services of Holy Week in general. John XXIII, before the Council, added his own touches to the so-called rite of St. Pius V.
But none of this came anywhere near to what happened in 1969, when a new concept of the Mass was introduced.

Read the full book: