Since the Reformation, back in the dawn of modern times, the heresies which it ushered into the world have always been fought by the Church. In spite of that, some Catholics have been intoxicated by the political consequences that naturally derive from the theological and philosophical errors maintained by the heresiarchs. The intoxication has gone so far as to make them completely forget the heretical nature of Protestant thought. This lack of discrimination between truth and error is the cause of the association of Catholic doctrine with heretical outlooks, which unfortunately can be found today in many sermons, papers, magazines and books supposedly Catholic.
Since Catholic thought and doctrine are the fruit of Divine Revelation, it is impossible to reject even a comma of it without endangering the whole. As a matter of fact, daily experience shows that all compromise between Catholic dogmas and heretical slogans is followed by diminution and even loss of the Catholic Faith, unless the individual does penance and changes his mind.
This kind of compromise faith is found today all over the world, mainly in most of the leading lay-Catholic organizations. It has been called “Liberal Catholicism,” and its dangers have been already examined in these pages. Those who, by the Grace of God, still preserve without contamination their “pearl of great price,” their Catholic Faith, can immediately point out the liberal Catholic. His language has a series of systematic omissions and another series of systematic inclusions that produce instant alarm in the true Children of Light. According to the words of St. Alphonsus Liguori, “heresy infects the whole soul, the mind, the heart, the intellect, and the will,” so the errors of liberal Catholicism are found in every territory and are reflected in every appreciation and judgment. As a whole they can be traced back to the original and principal error, i.e., compromise with heresy, surrendering to the Power of Darkness, which operates in the world through our own sins and weaknesses.
Liberal Catholics have their own conception of the world, which is completely strange to the traditional teachings of the Church. They do recognize that the present state of the world is far from perfect, showing in that way at least their Catholic filiation. Nevertheless, they never dare to point out the Protestant Reformation, the Protestant Renaissance, Protestant Politics, and the regrettable collaboration of Protestantized Catholics as being responsible for the collapse of Western Civilization. Cowardly, they place part of the guilt on every country, every time, and every group, thus throwing a discrete shadow over the real authors of the present situation, making difficult its proper correction by hiding the real sources of the evil. The device, however, has been carefully prepared by those really responsible for the chaos. The following liberal Catholic utterance, indeed, is of evident heretical source: “The remedy to such a collapsing situation is to be found in the undeniable brotherhood which unites all men.” This brotherhood, which, incidentally, is not to be found in the sermons of Christ, who sent his disciples “like sheep in the midst of wolves,” arises, according to them, in “the common origin of all men, back in the days of Creation, out of the hands of God.” This explanation, which is often used to justify all kinds of contacts with all kinds of people, is a deliberate attempt to throw away from Catholic minds the very notions of the state of supernatural grace, original sin, the fallen state, as well as the mystery of iniquity, which have been taught by the Church from the earliest times. These events, clearly explained in Genesis, opposed man to man, and destroyed the possibility of a mere natural brotherhood, which might otherwise have arisen.
The liberals often speak of men in general as “called to the same destiny, dwelling in the same world, sharing the same life, and being sons of the same God.” If they mean by this that all men are called by God to the Beatific Vision, we agree. If they mean by this that all men are predestined for the Beatific Vision no matter what they do, then they are wrong. We know that after this life we have to face Death and Judgment and Hell or Glory — items which, of course, sound very disgusting to liberal ears. As for our dwelling in the same world, we know that Christians, though living in this world, are not of it, and thus renounce any kind of brotherhood with its sons. Brotherhood based on a supposed sharing in the same life is hardly tenable if we realize the infinitely higher quality of supernatural life, which is strange to those who stay outside the Church and are not in a state of sanctifying grace.
Finally it is also wrong to pretend that all men are sons of the same God because of the restriction of Divine sonship to those who believe in the name of Christ and who carry this belief out to its last consequences, without dropping even a comma of His teachings; that is to say, to those who are gathered under the only true Church of the Living God, the Catholic Church. Now, those Catholics who sinfully abandon their divinely instituted brotherhood for the sake of a merely human community play along dangerously with masonic interests, and it does not take very long before they proclaim errors like this:
“All religious discriminations are dangerous for the welfare of mankind.” Or, “Men are first obliged by their belonging to mankind, and afterwards come all other religious, national and political groups.” Sometimes they pretend to follow the example of charity given to the world by the first Christian communities, and in so doing they show either their perverse intentions or their ignorance of the History of the Church. Otherwise they would imitate the militant zeal that all the Apostles and Fathers of the Church had when fighting against the heresies of their day.
All utterances of liberal Catholicism are deeply concerned with the necessity of looking for a “community of all men of good will” in order that, according to them, “the desirable Christian harmony may follow a higher spiritual harmony” founded, strange to say, on generally unnamed bases. It is necessary to repeat how much opposed to the truth preserved and taught by the Church are these kinds of speeches.
Allegiance to this cosmic kind of human brotherhood implies a naturally sacrilegious and blasphemous appreciation of the mystery of Redemption, either willful or through complete ignorance. The Catholic Church adores this mystery as the central fact of its holy Faith by means of which all supernatural graces and wisdom are available to all men, and by which they are given the seven sacraments which enable them to be raised to the divine character of sons of God by adoption. But, on the contrary, it is not difficult to find liberal Catholics holding that “the Redemption comes to seal once more the human brotherhood, already existing prior to it.”
The horrible outlooks quoted above induce liberal Catholics to say that the conquest of man for the Church through Catholic Action “should be done without drawing him away from his cosmic community,” which amazingly reveals the reason for the little success of the big Catholic Action organizations, the low rate of conversions, and the still lower rate of religious vocations which worries so many of our good Catholics. To preach with stronger loyalties to the world than to the Faith can have no other result than to give to the possible convert the wrong scale of loyalties, thus preventing him from overcoming all personal, family and social hindrances which may make difficult his coming into the Faith.
The liberal’s cosmic outlook on the relationship among men is also reflected in the way that he talks of science and technical advances. It is not strange to hear or to read that technical progress, rather than being indifferent or even harmful, is “completely necessary in order that man may be made free from the slavery of the natural powers so that, reaching a higher position in this world, he may be able to accomplish his destiny and enter into the way of the spiritual advancement of mankind.” This can only be of diabolic inspiration. First it tries to substitute an absolute, fanatical faith in the possibilities of scientific and technical research, in place of the sacred Faith in Our Lord and Our Lady. Secondly, technical progress will never be able to rescue man from the tyranny of the natural powers for we know that our being subject to them is one of the results of original sin and one of the features of the fallen state.
Moreover, people who think in the above way are very closely related to the Pharisees and their followers, whom the idea of a purely material redemption kept from being able to receive the words of Our Lord about the supernatural redemption that was about to come. In the third place, our destiny is in no way connected to freedom from natural powers. Our destiny is the Beatific Vision, which we reach through Mary, walking the narrow way and following with faith and generosity the inspirations of divine grace, given to us by the intercession of Our Blessed Mother. Finally, to speak of objective advancement and progress in spiritual matters is not only wrong but blasphemous, for it implies that the Deposit of Faith given to us by Divine Revelation can be increased, and that the power of living close to God given by the sacraments, which Our Saviour, instituted can be augmented. It also implies a devaluation of the great spiritual perfection reached at all times and in all countries by the holy saints of the Church. Spiritual progress has its proper meaning when applied privately to personal sanctification as a private affair to which every person is committed by Our Saviour, who wants us to be “perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The Catholic liberal’s servile loyalty to technology and science is as strong as — if not stronger than — the loyalty to our Holy Faith and to our Holy Father, the Pope. As if technical achievements were something bestowed upon us by God! Though technical progress, of course, is permitted by God in the unknown ways of His Providence, we must realize that it is mostly of questionable inspiration from the beginning, for we know that most of the great inventors and discoverers have been, and are, not only heretics, but people without any supernatural belief at all, worshipers of sheer matter, as if this were the supreme ruling power in the universe.
Furthermore, at the root of the very idea of progress as we know it, there is a great sin of pride, namely, the desire of being the absolute and supreme ruler of this world. The resemblance between this temptation and the desire of being like God, which originated the angelic sin, is far too great to ignore its diabolic origin. Nevertheless, when people go this way and begin to lose the vision of the God-man and of what proceeds from Him, by paying excessive attention to what follows from the Prince of Darkness, they begin also to be affected by the kind of blindness that Satan wants them to have. The evidence of God’s punishment of the “age of progress” — not only in the form of spiritual darkness, nightmares, mental sicknesses, nervous breakdowns, and suicides, but also in the form of material destruction and intellectual aberrations, in the asphyxiating and endless series of unsolved scientific problems growing in geometric progressions — is mighty enough to be noticed were it not for this absolute blindness which Satan, our enemy, produces in us.
The kind of science to which the world is enslaved today is not that science spoken of by St. Thomas and cultivated by the philosophers of the Church — the science to which we must go back, overcoming the fear of being blamed by all “progressive” people, if we would again make Western Civilization synonymous with Christian Culture, that science through which we may attain the supreme wisdom of the contemplation of God and by means of which all creation, through us, praises God and His Blessed Mother.
The wrong outlook on mankind and its achievement, which most liberal Catholics have, has its most destructive consequences in the consideration of the Catholic family, into which they carry the corrupt and anti-natural ideas of heresy, thus preparing the complete and definite taking over of the family by the dangerous evils born out of heresy, which are the horror of our good Catholic people. The Catholic family, as it is according to the liberal utterance, has no resemblance at all with the true Catholic family founded on a sacramental basis on which grace works upon each member of it and among them, its work being in turn helped by the common prayers and by the spiritual perfection of the individuals. Trust in Divine Providence is non-existent in the kind of family that they recommend. All familiar achievements have to be reached through merely spartan virtues, like strength, courage, self-confidence, sacrifice, in order that at the end “the father may present proudly to the world the result of his struggle through life as a united well-educated family, able to occupy its proper place in the midst of human society.”
Spiritual fortitude, apostolic zeal, trust in God, mortification, penance and humility, and fear of God, on which the Catholic family is meant to build its success, are scarcely mentioned in the ranks of liberalism. The Catholic custom of offering every child to God in order that he may live his life under the protection of his Heavenly Mother is not recommended any longer. The beautiful custom of gathering the family together to say the daily Rosary, asking for the constant protection of the Holy Family is often repudiated as “behind the times,” or it’s just ignored.
The Catholic family is losing its role of sanctuary and is being considered as a purely human society established for merely practical reasons and aiming only at worldly objectives. Thus it is not amazing to hear that “Catholicism can enter again into the family only after its material welfare has been achieved,” for, according to liberal leaders of Catholic Action, “the family can only take care of the fulfillment of its spiritual duties when its material necessities have been solved.” This is an insult to the thousands of Catholic families in all ages and countries which have succeeded in giving to their children a perfect Catholic education in the midst of all kinds of trials and difficulties granted them by Divine Providence, and which they have undergone with resignation, fortitude, gratitude, and joy. This kind of error is based on sophisms, as for instance: “The apprehension of spiritual truth requires a superior disposition of the spirit, with no preoccupation about material affairs.”
The saints and martyrs who joyfully flourished amidst all sorts of sufferings and hardships proclaim the falsehood of this most unfortunate belief. Supernatural wisdom can never be attained by putting our entire trust in material good, but only by the love of God, the source of all spiritual refreshment. Our Lord tells us that “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven,” and still we seek worldly riches. The commandment “See (seek) first the kingdom of God and His Justice and all these things shall be added to you” is too often forgotten. And yet this is the very basis of all Catholic family life. The study of the historical development of the so-called bourgeoisie, or middle class, clearly enough proves what depths of spiritual desolation and moral mediocrity can be reached when every activity is directed towards the possession of the riches of this world.
After having reduced the family to such a materialistic status liberalism claims that “the family has to put in the individuals the seed of the spirit of human brotherhood so that learning how to share both joys and sorrows with each other they may afterwards be able to understand the ideal of the human community.” But what they do not say is that sheer Catholic doctrines alone can do more in this respect than all the devices of sociologists, psychologists and educators. Notice also the emphasis that once more they put on the idea of human brotherhood, as if it were the fulfillment of all human destiny.
The foregoing quotations, which unfortunately can be found in many Catholic papers that enjoy popularity today, show how deeply heretical influence has been rooted in the heart of the Church of Christ. For as Saint Alphonsus Liguori says, “Great as the persecutions were which the Church suffered from idolatry, still greater were those she had to endure from the heresies which sprang from her own bosom,” and he further insists, “This good Mother has suffered more from her own children than from her enemies.”
These words, written in the 18th century, can be properly applied in our own days. Liberal Catholics, mixing up the true doctrine of the Church with the wrong principles taught by heresy and modern paganism are perhaps more dangerous for plain Catholic people than even the heretical teachers themselves, for Catholics still have the supernatural sense derived from grace which helps to keep them from paying too much attention to heretics. Therefore, the very best device of the devil for destroying their souls seems to be the horrible mixture that liberal Catholicism offers them.
Let us, then, be aware of this evil. Let us examine carefully the content of Catholic papers, magazines, and books. Let us watch the systematic avoidance of any reference to the central facts of our Faith, the lack of sheer teaching, and the lack of quotations from the holy Doctors of the Church and other saints. Let us observe their failure to discuss Death, Sin, Suffering, Judgment, Hell. And let us pray for them that they may see the wrong of their preaching, while we struggle to preserve our children, family, relatives and friends from their influence.
Let us work positively, too, in order that the evil done may be repaired, and further evil avoided. Let us fight against their chief slogan, “It is better to live heavenly than to speak heavenly,” by shouting doctrine from the housetops in every occasion of our lives, from every pulpit, every paper, magazine and book. Let us speak heavenly in order that we may live heavenly. And let us love and think heavenly things because “out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Let us go back again to the love, study, and knowledge of Holy Scripture, to the comprehension and application of the writings of the holy Doctors of the Church, and to the loving imitation of the lives of the saints. All other studies are to be done after the study of our Faith. The Faith is kept by knowing it, and all good works shall proceed from this knowledge.
The whole world is dying of confusion. Let us therefore as Catholics, holders of the Truth, not be guilty of having any part in it. Our duty is to repeat again and again the clear, simple, uncompromising Truth. This is our duty of charity in the present situation of the world, as in any time. Our clear Catholic thought should be proclaimed against the diabolical confusion, which the Reformation and its sons have spread all over the world. As Catholics, let us be aware of the present conspiracy. The Church is now mainly concerned with Communism, but let us not forget our other enemies, the real parents of Communism, which are taking advantage of it and are slyly sowing in our own field the weeds of corruption and eternal punishment.
Auxilium Christianorum, Ora pro Nobis.
(This article was originally published in From the Housetops, Volume III, No.1, September, 1948.)