Perish the thought of an unorthodox papacy in the Roman Catholic Church. Yet in the last fifty years there has been an unbroken line of unorthodox modernist popes since the death of His Holiness Pope Pius XII. Modernism has infected all realms of the Church including prelates, priests, ordinary Catholics in the pews, and even the lay pop-evangelists who have taken over the EWTN airwaves.
This Modernism has scattered the sheep who were once of one true fold so that the Mystical Body the Church has become virtually non-existent. Christ, the Divine Word, ought to be acknowledged vigorously today, in Scripture, in doctrine and moral matters, in liturgy, and particularly in Tradition; all of which are known together in this expression as the Deposit of Faith, as revealed in its totality with death of the last of the apostles. Only those know, believe, acknowledge and practice all these truths are the members in the fullest standing of the Roman Catholic Church and undeniably one with it.
When priests, bishops, and even popes do not support these absolute teachings and expressions of the Divine Word in Scripture, doctrine, moral matters, liturgy and Tradition they are dissenting, in whole or in part, and are not feeding the sheep of Christ’s flock. They are wolves, and not good shepherds. These wolves have overrun the sheep which is abundantly evident in the unruliness and worldliness of today's Catholics who are quick to partake of soul-destroying sins like contraception, divorce and remarriage, and according to numerous polls go so far as to lend their support to sodomite marriage. To top it off, the most critical damage that these wolves have done is to the liturgy. “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” ( Matt: 7,15 ).
But our Lord's words “by their fruits that you will know them,” are the words that Our Lord uses to evaluate these false shepherds in sheep’s clothing which has become so very relevant in these last days.
The fruit is rotten in the mainstream Church. The rot is indiscernible from the wordly rot produced by paganism. When the men of the Church outlaw the Mass of All Ages which has produced saints and sustained burdened sinners in the faith since the founding of the Church and replace it with an unrecognizable, unpenitential, unsacrificial, man-made inorganic rupture and call it to it "Mass"-- one is faced with a supreme and devastating crisis.
When a pope, as supreme head of the Catholic Church, should state unequivocally that ‘to go backwards in time to the past and yesterday’s Church as the wrong way’ , we have the epitome of “unorthodox” teaching from the Vicar of Christ himself, or the Church’s supposed good shepherd. Consider Pope Francis’ words: So, while he is apparently strong in his call for Catholics not to be afraid of the approaching future, he seems to be somewhat very hesitant and afraid of the past. In his own reflections for his daily mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae recently, the Pope said, “It’s like when the road is covered in ice and the car slips and go off track…... This is the other temptation at the moment! We, at this moment in the history of the Church, we cannot go backwards or go off the track!"
Another paradigm of the same kind of rhetoric from Pope Francis I is his return from World Youth Day 13, at which time he clarified his position on homosexuality to the world press, saying that he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation. This lapsus linguae flies in the face of Pope Benedict XVI’s teaching, in the papacy of his predecessor that no candidate for the priesthood should ever enter a seminary who has a strong sexual orientation towards pederasty, which was always the teaching of Tradition and orthodoxy for centuries! His predecessor judged such behavior as severely disordered, so ought to Francis I ! Further as the Supreme Pontiff it is his duty and obligation before Almighty God to judge such a priest.
This seems to be the sorry fate of Pope Francis I with such casual and elusive rhetoric, has declared herewith , publicly and outwardly, as pope, his apparent antipathy for the traditional teachings of the Church and its Traditions.
((((Additionally ecu-maniacal thrust of his recent predecessors, the Conciliar popes, he has already prayed in public with non-believers of the Catholic faith as though this is the normal routine of popes. This helps to set his papacy in the same mire that plagued all the Conciliar Popes of the Catholic Church in the last 50 years, these ecumenical obsessions and travesties. ))))) didn't do this!!
Even with the likes of Pope Paul VI’s seemingly good defense of Catholic sexual morality with “Humanae Vitae”; he, nevertheless, abused orthodox Catholicism abysmally with his continuation of the Second Vatican Council with its false ecumenism and teachings, the liturgical chaos and unsound liturgy of the new Mass, and his failure to quash the dissent—nearly universal, with “Humanae Vitae” by Catholic bishops, priests, and laity worldwide. The result of their insolent neglect of contradicting this encyclical, everywhere , by either ignoring it or dissenting with it, thus produced unhinged contraception in the 1960’s throughout the Church and the world thereafter.
Pope John XXIII’s modernist reign began with a call for the Second Vatican Council while he ignored the wise counsel of Pope Pius XII who fought consistently throughout his papacy against all attempts to “update the Church” and modernize it. This attempt to modernize the Church was an effort that began with and was encouraged boldly by some of the liberal prelates –amongst which was Angelo Roncalli-- and their cohorts. These wolves advocated strongly for “modernistic” changes with Pope Pius XII--however they were everywhere foiled, reprimanded or condemned during his papacy. Pius XII fought on every front against these infamous liberals and “modernists”. His heroic efforts are evident with his 41 encyclicals, all in defense of orthodoxy and Tradition. Pius XII wrote more encyclicals than all the Conciliar popes together in the last 50 years!
This liberal affront was non-stop throughout the papacy of John Paul II who dabbled in all kinds of ecu-maniacal “firsts”. From visits to synagogues—never done by popes preceding him— to kissing the Koran in public—a scandalous outrage. From his travels around the world to befriend other religions, rather than admonish and correct them for their unorthodoxy and non-belief, to the Assisi fiascos of syncretistic melting pots of false religions that prayed together while the Church sat quietly mute regarding the necessity of the one, true, orthodox faith for eternal salvation. He single-handedly excommunicated Tradition from the Church when persecuted and eventually excommunicated Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre --one of the only true warriors that remained in the Church against modernism. He hammered the last nail in the coffin for belief and reverence for the Holy Eucharist by his allowance of Communion-in-the hand and altar girls.
While Benedict XVI did some thoroughly orthodox things such as restoring the Tridentine Mass to its former state and lifting the unjust excommunication of the SSPX, and making some necessary but not complete translation improvements on the New Mass, still he failed and failed miserably to say this glorious Mass of the ages, the Tridentine Mass, even once, publicly, during his entire Papacy or enforce its application even minimally worldwide. Nor did Pope Benedict XVI move vigorously enough to regularize, totally, one of the only thoroughly orthodox bastions in the Church left, the Society of St. Pius X, that were still totally traditional, orthodox and faithful to the Magisteria past and present.
Only Pope Pius XII thoroughly, consistently, and authoritatively defended the Catholic tradition of orthodoxy in its totality throughout his Papacy. An example of this alone is his declaration on the doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary as an “ex cathedra” belief of the church, and it was taught universally throughout the church and believed and enforced as he commanded.
Here we sit now and mourn the unpunctual demise of Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy and the modernists “deus ex machina” solution by elevating Francis I to the papacy by a defiant, corrupt, and dissident hierarchy who consistently throughout Christendom of late have failed scandalously to preach, teach, and admonish sinners, either within the Church or without, on the traditional teachings of the Catholic Faith or the Church’s past magisterial teachings on such vital matters as the sacrificial nature of the Mass and the most Holy Eucharist; the Sacrament of Penance and a sense of sin and repentance; proper decorum for the Holy Eucharist in Churches by preserving reverence always for the Holy Eucharist with tabernacles, genuflecting, proper dress, and adoration; the avoiding of the abomination of Communion-in-the-hand and altar girls; and, lastly, instruction on sexual morality, such as the mortally sinful nature of divorce, contraception, pornography, abortion, sterilization, fornication, masturbation, sodomy, and pedophilia.
Instead of feeding the sheep of the Good Shepherd’s Flock in the last 50 years with orthodox Catholicism, these errant shepherds have helped the wolf attack the flock, scatter it, and decimate its once very corpulent numbers. With a new sense of religious and ecumenical freedom, the uninformed Catholics in the Church’s pews have failed to live their faith because of their own largely culpable ignorance (St Thomas Aquinas has mused: “I cannot imagine a situation of inculpable ignorance), have not properly practiced it, nor have they lived its traditional moral teachings from the past, and so they have thus become the victims of the hierarchy’s malfeasance from the papacy on down.
This brings us to Pope Francis I who is not from the past tradition of orthodoxy among popes from Pius XII back, but a new breed of pope who runs roughshod over tradition and orthodoxy, not acting with caution and prudence in word and deed, apparently, so that everything that he thinks, says, or does is in complete accord with the Church’s Tradition and orthodoxy for the past 2000 years. For all practical purposes, Pope Frances I appears to be of this modernist mentality of popes who dangerously conform to the world in their teachings and praxis. One of the most ominous predictions from the lips of the Great Bishop Sheen before his death was the “clear danger of the Church conforming to the world in the next 100 years!” Sadly, we see this as prophetically coming true on the part of the Conciliar, modernist popes and bishops and priests of our own day, as prophesied by the late Bishop Sheen.
This cannot go on, the unmitigated obsession with Vatican II and its erratic teachings and its love of Modernism in Pope, clergy, and people alike and its unorthodox and untraditional teachings of the Catholic faith and morality for the past 50 years, for it has already “devastated the flock” as to its robust numbers beyond recognition. By failing to feed the sheep with orthodoxy and Tradition for these past 50 years, but feeding them goat’s food instead, we are fast approaching the times, if not already there, “of only a remnant surviving in grace”, as the great apostle of all orthodoxy and Tradition, St. Paul taught so vehemently and explicitly, many centuries before our times.
A Catholic Church that is neither orthodox nor founded consistently and infallibly upon its past Traditions is not a holy church, neither are its members nor its clergy. Exactly what does such a modern Catholic Church appear to be? Let us look: first, the new Mass, not the efficaciously holy Mass of the ages but a modernist prayer contrivance to assuage Protestantism and all other non-believers with its meal versus ‘sacrifice orientation’; the new catechism that tramples upon the doctrines and morality of the Church, particularly all sexual morality by not teaching it in the same clear and explicit language of the past; the new code of canon law which has devastated religious orders of men and women with so many thousands of laicizations, and likewise the priesthood, and has exponentially increased the numbers of marriage annulments and divorce worldwide; also the limp-wristed efforts of combating from the papacy and the clergy the new sexual immorality which is rampant in both the Church and the world; and, finally, the obsession with modern socialist societies that ignore St. Paul’s perfect work ethic: “If you don’t work, you don’t eat” so that the modern social gospel has become a tool of marxist class envy viz. “ if you are poor or deprived, you assuredly deserve an entitlement”. No one sees it any longer as a severe violation of the Seventh Commandment and the virtue of Justice, nor “defrauding a laborer of his wages”—one of four sins that cries to heaven for vengeance! Such is the Church of today in the Age of Apostasy!
In fact, so important is Tradition as well as orthodoxy in Our Divine Lord’s teachings to us that He strategically put both of them together in this famous excerpt from Matthew (5 : 17-20). “Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” What a glorious confirmation of orthodoxy and Tradition by Our Divine Lord Himself!
Clearly, one cannot have one without the other; for if there is no orthodoxy, there is likewise no Tradition. And Tradition cannot be Tradition without orthodoxy. Consider only Our Lord’s admonition of the Pharisees who chastised Our Lord for teaching differently on marriage than Moses who allowed a writ of divorce to the ancient Jews. But Our Divine Lord taught authoritatively to these false teachers: “But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
For this the Pharisees and Jews condemned Our Divine Lord to death and also for Christ’s other orthodox and traditional teachings. When the teachings of the Jews had a tradition on their side such as the Jews allowing divorce, Our Lord taught vigorously the whole truth to them in absolute terms because these teachings of the Jews were not orthodox because they were sinful -- even though they were traditional. The same holds true for the use of anger and killing one’s brother in this identical passage from Matthew. Indeed, both orthodoxy and tradition had to reflect each other for Our Divine Lord.
And so should Holy Mother Church on the part of the Magisterium with the Pope and the bishops and the priests, in total unity, believe and teach. But what have we seen in the last 50 years since the Second Vatican Council but unorthodox and untraditional teachings from pope after pope and from bishop after bishop and priests ‘en masse’ in the Catholic Church. Not the air-tight orthodoxy and Tradition of past magisterial teachings of Pope Pius IX, Pius X, Pius XI, or Pius XII. nor from Vatican Council I. Instead the faithful have been inundated with unorthodox and untraditional pronouncements, actions, and writings from the Conciliar popes ever since and before Vatican Council II. Witness the false and iniquitous abrogation of the Tridentine Mass till Pope Benedict XVI’s “Motu Proprio”. Another egregious example is the false ecumenism since the Council and Pope Pius XII”s wholesale attack on any participation in it during his papacy with all of his absolute authority. Witness also the liberal and modernist inception of Communion-in-the-hand and altar girls in bold defiance of all past Magisteria of popes and councils for thousands of years!
In sum, every pope from John XXIII to and through Pope Francis I have either said, done, taught or wrote some of these unorthodox abominations, along with multitudes of bishops and priests, which have over time devastated the vineyard with millions upon millions “falling away” in what appears to be the “Great Apostasy” of whole Catholic nations ceasing to exist in what has clearly become the insufferable attack of Modernism, the worst heresy in the history of the Roman Catholic Church since Athanasius.
Certainly, Our Lord’s rule to judge them by their “fruits” applies here: “By their fruits you will know them.” And what are the fruits of Vatican Council II and the Conciliar popes? Let us examine now some of these modernist affronts in detail, especially Ecumenism, and observe its victorious assault on Tradition and orthodoxy in clergy and faithful alike and why Pius XII was so strict in condemning this cancer in the Church before Vatican Council II--everywhere during his reign, especially, by supporting his predecessor Pope Pius XI’s encyclical “Mortalium Animos” that taught basically reunification with other religions could only be possible if they would return to the total faith and doctrines that they had rejected or ought to believe within the Catholic Church. This Pope Pius XII adamantly defended to his death.
Now let us observe these modernist affronts on the Church! First of all, it is the failure to continue to teach, consistently, not only the Tradition of 2000 years of Roman Catholicism but even when doing so to fail to be orthodox. Especially, noteworthy, at the outset is the failure on the part of all the Conciliar Popes to condemn “ecumenism” by upholding vigorously and authoritatively and adamantly in union with the retinue of orthodox popes before Vatican II who adamantly defended this all important doctrine of the faith that “outside the Church there is no salvation.” It is not only the unorthodox teachings of Vatican II but its egregious failures to teach, vigorously and authoritatively, the whole undiluted truth, for example, that the Catholic faith is the one true faith in which Salvation can only be found. Or that forgiveness of sin alone resides within the priesthood of the Catholic Church. The Church’s exclusivity has been matter-of-factly been ignored since Vatican Council II, diluted and debased.
Now consider that religious liberty somehow includes the possibility that one can be saved in other false religions in a kind of invisible church, connected extra-scramentally to the Catholic Church. This is the first and greatest salvo and egregious error by the modernist Second Vatican Council and all of its popes who allowed this doctrine of “outside the Church there is no Salvation” and its application throughout the Church to languish into obscurity. Also, the limp-wristed efforts by these same Conciliar popes to defend authoritatively and vigorously the traditional teachings on marriage and sexual morality to the whole Church and the world during the sexual revolution have brought us to “same-sex marriage and sodomy in all of its horrors” with children even being victims of it by the clergy themselves. What an abomination is the failure to address this diabolical new “homoheresy” as it spreads pandemically everywhere to obliterate the virtue of purity, the family and civilization. Moreover, the onus of guilt here is not purely papal, but Episcopal and sacerdotal as well.
To redefine catechetics away from absolute moral principles of right and wrong and its defense, to a modernized version of conscience that anything goes because of the circumstances of your situation in an “I’m ok and you’re ok” kind of morality has created “erroneous consciences” everywhere in the Church, be it clergy or faithful. With the demise of absolutist morality on right and wrong (“It’s a mortal sin to….) in the Conciliar Church and its concomitant “fear of the Lord” mentality, there is no longer any evidence within the Church-- but the most pusillanimous of efforts-- of teaching on the four last things of “death, judgment, heaven and hell” which create always a healthy fear of God’s justice and His admonition that only “few” will be saved, especially, if one considers Christ’s teachings on the “narrow gate”: “Enter at the narrow gate for wide is the path that leads to destruction and many are there who travel that way. Enter at the narrow gate, for narrow is the gate and rough is the road that leads to life, and few there are who even find it.” ( Matt: 7: 13)
Therefore, it is above all evident that orthodoxy and Tradition are always inseparable, for there is simply no truth without them both, as we saw earlier how Our Divine Lord so taught in the passage of Matthew Chapter Five, on how nothing is overlooked, even one jot or tittle, in the judgment. Thus the importance of St. Athanasius’ words which are published so proudly on the mast of this blog: “Whoever wishes to be saved must above all keep the Catholic Faith, for unless you keep this faith whole and entire, you will undoubtedly be lost.” These words of St. Athanasius the Great are based upon the words and teachings of Our Divine Lord and the importance of upholding the Truth in both orthodoxy and Tradition in its totality. In past and present Magisteria alike! One pope cannot ignore, contradict or overturn the doctrinal teachings of previous popes or Councils or he is not orthodox nor traditional.
These saintly words by Athanasius ought to be treasured by every heart and soul that desires to be “saved” and reach heaven. In particular, are these holy words addressed to the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church who have been given the duty and privilege to teach and preach the whole Truth of Christ, unsparingly, to the entire world, even a hostile and belligerent world such as it is today. Let us recall again the power of Christ’s Own words, once more: “He, therefore, that shall break one of these least commandments (the Ten Commandments and all the rest of Christ’s teachings by application) and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Thus orthodoxy, or correctness and the completeness of Christ’s teaching and words is no option; not for members of the Catholic Church, which, clearly, forbids heresy, nor is it an option for other religions of the world, be they in total error or in part as all Protestantism. It may cost one his immortal soul! Moreover, this absolutely includes, also, by application of Our Divine Lord’s words, everything ever taught by the Church throughout its entire history, including all perennial doctrines of the faith by either popes or councils of the Church in the past. And this likewise translates down to the Sunday sermons of your local parish priest and the Christian doctrine you learn in your local parish in the present. Nonetheless, this admonition of Our Lord’s holds true only for the faithful with those teachers and preachers who are “orthodox” and traditional. No others! Nor can one assume that liberal teachings or doctrines that are in error, such as from unorthodox popes or councils or parish priests and catechism teachers are to be accepted. Above all, these false teachings are to be avoided by any informed Catholic conscience as heresy and heterodoxy are to be avoided, especially, when they are clearly inconsistent with the Church’s teachings of the last 2000 years. And such false teachers or wolves will be severely chastised by God’s justice: “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5: 20)
Consider, above all, now the absolute importance of orthodoxy and tradition in the very worship of the Catholic Church in the Tridentine Mass, and the importance, therefore, of this obligation on the part of all Catholics, clergy and faithful alike. In the canon of the Mass, the most holy part of the Mass when Our Divine Lord sacrifices Himself to His Heavenly Father for our sins, we see the following language and the use of the pivotal word “orthodox”: You can observe this in the Latin or English below: “We , therefore, humbly pray and beseech, Thee, most merciful Father, through Jesus Christ; Thy Son, Our Lord that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to accept and bless these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unblemished sacrifices. Which in the first place, we offer up to Thee for Thy holy Catholic Church, that it may please Thee to grant her peace, to protect, unite and govern her throughout the world, together with Thy servant Franciscus, our Pope, our Bishop, and all orthodox believers and professors of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.” (Add: “Te igitur, clementissime Pater, per Jesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum, supplices rogamus, ac petimus, uti accepta habeas, et benedicas, haec dona, haec munerea, haec sancta sacrificial illibata. In primis, quae tibi offerimus pro Ecclesia tua sancta catholica; quam pacificare, custodire, adunare, et regere digneris toto orbe terrarium; una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro Francisco, et Antistite nostro , et omnibus orthodoxis atque catholicae, et apostolicae fidei cultoribus.)
In other words no Mass is legitimate if it is not offered by orthodox believers and teachers of the Catholic and Apostolic faith from top to bottom, from the pope in Rome to the orthodox believers in the pews. No sacrifice of the Mass will be blessed or approved by almighty God if it is not orthodox in its teachings or preachings and prayers and offered by similar members of the Catholic Church from pope to priest to people. In short, orthodoxy is not a choice or an option in acceptable worship of God, just as it is essential in a devout Catholic’s faith life. So also, Tradition in worship is likewise imperative, which so clearly is the case with the Tridentine Mass of the ages that goes back in its relevance to the Upper Room and Christ’s Own Last Supper!
Lastly, let us consider the importance of Tradition unmistakably to Our Divine Lord Who said: “Do not think that I am come to destroy the law of the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For Amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled.” Unmistakably, “by their fruits”, Our Lord said, “you will know them.” Undeniably, the liberal Vatican Council II, its popes, its prelates, and its priests; notwithstanding, religious orders of sisters and priests, have watched the Church move from an organized flock of sheep and good shepherd to a sorry lot of goats, who are unruly, uncontrollable, and unconcerned about their salvation, or even hearing of it today. Instead of feeding the flock of sheep with true orthodoxy and Tradition such as the holy Society of Pius X is being fed , independently , or miniscule groups of traditional Catholics around the world, Rome has ignored the sheep and concentrated upon feeding them the food of goats which has devastated the flock everywhere, universally. In fact, the worn out metaphor certainly applies here, “Rome fiddles, while the world burns.”
And so it is today and for the last 50 years of Vatican II renewal and the new catechism and the Conciliar Church! The application of this metaphor reaches the height of its absurdity when we have a pontiff in Rome, named Francis I, who is obsessed with elevating to heavenly glory and sainthood, two of the Catholic Church’s most unorthodox and untraditional of popes in Church history : Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, the former who banished Tradition by invoking the Council and the latter who excommicated it by so doing to the Society of Pius X, all of this while Catholics in Iraq, Syria, and Egypt are decimated by the Islamic sword, their churches burned to the ground, and their lives taken everyday. When will this modernist debacle come to an end?
That is only possible when an orthodox pope of holy Tradition such as Pope Pius XII again takes the throne of Peter to rule the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ that was built soundly upon Peter. This could be the current pope’s fate if and when he has a ‘conversion of heart’. When, that is, he becomes a good shepherd like unto our Divine Lord who would lay down his Life for all His Sheep, or for the whole Church, in particular the righteous sheep, that is, including all the traditional and faithfully orthodox Catholics since Vatican II! Even the Society of St. Pius X ! This means the pope becomes a victim of the “Victim of Love” and His eternal sacrifice by laying down his life for his sheep. And this means no shepherd is a good shepherd who is not orthodox and traditional, as is clear from Christ’s teachings and His actions. Nor is he holy! For if he is not such a pope, then he is not a good shepherd but a “hireling” or one who allows the wolf to attack the sheep, scatter them, and decimate them. The history of the last 50 years up to the present! Lord save us!
In conclusion, it is good to recall here Fr. John Hardon’s words about today’s priests and bishops. Fr. John Hardon was truly one of the greatest teaching priests of all time who wrote over 55 books, helped pen the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and taught theology and philosophy in Latin in several seminaries; he often begged his students to pray for priests and bishops. These are his oft repeated words: “Pray for priests, pray for priests; so many have lost their faith! Pray for bishops, pray for bishops; so many have lost their faith!” Let this be our closing thoughts and words for all priests and bishops. (Fr. John Hardon, S. J. was, indeed, a very holy priest who passed in 2000 and his cause is already under scrutiny by Rome for sainthood.)
Pax in Christo Per Mariam,
J. Hughes Dunphy
(to be continued)