Edited Under Fr. Leonard Feeney M.I.C.M. — Saint Benedict Center
Among the monthly outlets available to American theological innovators is a magazine called Integrity. This magazine says of itself that it is “published by lay Catholics and dedicated to the task of discovering the new synthesis of Religion and Life for our times.” Each month the several articles are so many attempts toward completing “the task.”
After much preoccupation with the soul of the Church, the invisible Church, and other such phantom arrangements, Integrity now proposes that, “The entire Church may suffer persecution and become the Church of desire, where would-be Christians will hunt for the revealed and the unrevealed (to them).”
In this Integrity “synthesis” there would be no more popes, no more bishops, no more priests, no more sacraments, no remnant of the Church which Our Lord promised would never be prevailed against by the gates of Hell! In fact, there could be nothing left of things as we know them — nothing, that is, but Integrity, through whose pages would-be Christians could still hunt, in vain, for the Catholic faith.
In 1947, our present Holy Father canonized the French priest who promoted the devotion of Slavery to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The priest was Saint-Louis Marie de Montfort and, during his lifetime, his outspoken zeal for Our Blessed Lady had gotten him kicked out of nearly every diocese in France.
On the twenty-eighth of this month, the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Louis-Marie. To indicate to our readers why his orthodox message isn’t finding any honor in twentieth-century America than it did in eighteenth-century France, we print the following extract from Saint Louis-Marie’s Letter to the Friends of the Cross.
Speaking of the fewness of the saved, he says, “The number of the elect is so small — so small — that were we to know how small it is, we should faint away with grief. The number of the elect is so small that were God to assemble them together, He would cry to them, as He did of old, by the mouth of His prophet, ‘Gather yourselves together, one by one’ — one from this province, one from that kingdom.”
Since the time of the Protestant Revolt, we have had only two saints in the papacy, and both were named Pius. Two issues ago, we quoted the independent attitude of Blessed Pius X toward the representatives of foreign powers assigned to the Vatican. In the same spirit of papal dignity and authority is the bull, Regnans in Excelsis, of Saint Pius V, which excommunicated England’s heretic-queen, Elizabeth.
Saint Pius V: “He that reigns in the highest, to Whom has been given all power in Heaven and Earth, entrusted the government of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, outside of which there is no salvation, to one man alone on the Earth, namely to Peter, the chief of the Apostles, and to Peter’s successor, the Roman pontiff, in fullness of power. This one man He set up as chief over all nations and kingdoms, to pluck up, destroy, scatter, dispose, plant and build …
“Resting, then, upon the authority of Him Who has willed to place us, albeit unequal to such a burden, in this supreme throne of justice, we declare the aforesaid Elizabeth a heretic and an abettor of heretics, and those that cleave to her in the aforesaid matters to have incurred the sentence of anathema, and to be cut off from the unity of Christ’s body. Moreover, we declare her to be deprived of her pretended right to the aforesaid realm, and from all dominion, dignity and privilege whatsoever. …
“And we enjoin and forbid all the nobles of said realm that they presume not to obey her and her admonitions, commands and laws. All who disobey our commands we involve in the same sentence of anathema.”
FRAUDS: PIOUS AND OTHERWISE
“I think I can do more for my non-Catholic friends by my prayers and good example than by making them feel that their religion isn’t as good as mine.”
“You can’t tell me that a native on a desert island who never even heard about the Faith isn’t going to save his soul.”
“We can best show our Christian charity by working to improve general living conditions without asking that others believe as we do.”
“The time has come for us to put aside our petty doctrinal differences and all work together as good Americans.”
The above statements have one thing in common: they all come out of the mouths of friends. The fact that such statements are commonplace American Catholic utterances merely indicates, what everyone with the Faith has known all along, that the Church in this country is infested with frauds.
A fraud (specifically, a religious fraud; but since he is the prime fraud, he deserves the title without qualification) is a person who poses as a model Catholic, an exemplar of holiness and learning, but who does not have the Faith. He is a person who tries to make you believe that the Catholic Faith, as it exists here and now in the United States of America, is somehow essentially different from the Faith as it existed elsewhere in ages past, that it is not quite the same as the Faith that the saints of the Middle Ages held and the martyrs of Rome died for, that it has changed and adjusted itself to keep up with the times.
A fraud is a person who, because of his own fears, ignorance, and ambitions tries to deceive non-Catholic Americans on the subject of their eternal salvation, telling them or letting them think that he has told them, that the Church does not teach, at least not any more, that it is necessary for them to become Catholics to save their souls, but that they need only to follow faithfully the precepts of their own religions. The frauds want to destroy the impression of the Church as the single, clear, unequivocal way to salvation and to substitute for it the impression of a good-natured, democratic, successful organization, a beneficent influence on community morals, a strong bulwark against Communism, something staid, harmless, and acceptable, something that would never be so presumptuous as to set itself above other religions or to claim for itself exclusive custodianship of the gate of Heaven.
Although all frauds have the same general intention, there are as many different varieties of them as there are different excuses for being ashamed of the Faith in the presence of non-Catholics. For example, there is the pious fraud, the archetype of them all, who boasts of his daily attendance at Mass, but who is equally anxious to tell you that those who do not have, or do not want, this Mass, can please God just as much in other ways; there is the intellectual fraud, who has a difficulty about the ignorant native that just has to be solved before he can see his way clear to evangelize the Protestant next door; there is the sociological fraud, who perceives that his first duty to non-Catholics is to give them a higher standard of living, and not the Body and Blood of Our Lord; and there is the patriotic fraud, to whom the Bill of Rights and the Apostles’ Creed are all one thing and who tries to make it appear that God, like America, regards neither race, color, nor creed.
It does not require a lot of study recognize a fraud or a reasoned argument to prove that that is what he is. The Faith is wonderfully simple and uninvolved, being for children and the childlike and providing not merely reasons but insights. It equips you to make judgments that are swift, sure, and just; and there is nothing so easy to spot, for the pure of heart who truly have the Faith, as a fraud.
Take Bishop Sheen, for instance, dressing up in his episcopal robes to present to the five million Faith-hungry Americans who listen to him on television a “non-sectarian” message that he himself has devised. Every Catholic knows that he is not speaking as a true bishop should.
To detect a fraud, there is no surer way than this: If a man says he believes that the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are really and truly present in the Blessed Eucharist and, yet, does not tell non-Catholics about this Eucharist, he is a fraud. If a man pretends that he loves non-Catholics and — as evidence of this love — offers them some other gift, like social improvements or assurances of his own goodwill toward them, rather than the great Gift of the Bread of Life, he is a fraud. If a man pretends to love the Eucharist and at the same time defends those who scoff at it and blaspheme it and says they are good and sincere people who are on the way to saving their souls, he is a fraud. It does not matter who he is, or what prestige and dignity he might have either in the world or in the Church, or what reasons and excuses he might be able to offer for his behavior, if he acts in this way, you can know, without any doubt, that he is a fraud. It is that simple.
After many years of loyal service to American theologians anxious to include Protestants and Jews in the fold of the One True Faith, death has finally come to that favorite loophole phrase, “the Soul of the Church.” The demise was noted in a dry-eyed announcement last month by Monsignor Matthew Smith in his Denver newspaper. From now on, Msgr. Smith declared, “the real Soul of the Church is the Holy Ghost.”
To the American theologians, who will now have to look elsewhere for a device for getting non-Catholics into Heaven, The Point extends its heartfelt, etc.
BY FATHER FEENEY
If a man will, he can look around the world to see where God has signatured the guardianship and protection of the road to Heaven. As the head of it, he will find the Pope, visible and singular, clear and unconfused.
It is child’s play to see the Pope, if one wants visibility. It is child’s play to find Rome! Rome is the most conspicuous city in the world, in geography and everything else. Land and sea are all woven around it with such beautiful conformation of design. If you are not there, you are always going there in one way or another, in interest or reference. All paths almost naturally lead there. Sweet winds blow there, and foods grow there — wine, and oil, and wheat.
The Church does not change its Eternal City from year to year, or shift it around to make it more popular to international outlooks! There is Rome! There it stands! The Eternal City, never to be changed!
The same Jesus who declared that He was the Son of the Eternal Father, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity — the one Mediator between God and man and the Judge of the living and the dead — also declared to Saint Peter, the Prince of the Apostles: “And I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt. 16:19) Imagine, in the face of that, our indicating to people that there are other ways into heaven than through the gate, and other ways of opening the door than by going to the keeper of the keys!
A man can become a martyr in the Catholic Church by dying for one dogma of it. The dogma for which we, in Saint Benedict Center, most hope to die — because it is the dogma most under attack in our day — is that no one can possibly enter the Kingdom of Heaven without personal submission to our Holy Father the Pope. I dare any Liberal theologian to turn this challenge aside by one of his skeptical terms! I dare him to tell me how to “belong to the soul” of Pope Pius XII, a flesh and blood pontiff, living and breathing in the Vatican, at Rome!
(from Bread of Life, published by Saint Benedict Center)
THE PRIEST, THE MINISTER, AND THE RABBI
A Catholic priest’s vocation is one of slavery to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. In the morning, he must approach the altar where he alone, as priest, can offer the one Sacrifice that is fitting worship of God. With the words of consecration, the priest places God as a prisoner in the chalice, binds Him in the likeness of a wafer of bread. And for the rest of the day, the priest must be all things to this helpless Divinity. He must be the voice of the Gospel, preaching in the place of the mute Jesus in the tabernacle. He must be the healer, the consoler, the forgiver of sins in the place of the imprisoned Jesus. He must be the very feet of Jesus when the static, motionless God of the Eucharist wants to rush to the side of a dying loved one and become his Viaticum.
The Point is concerned this month with the Eucharistic dignity of our priests, because there is now under way in our country a great conspiracy against Jesus in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. And the attack is being shrewdly aimed at Jesus’ priests. When Boston’s reigning Protestant minister published his latest insults to the Holy Eucharist, calling the Mass an “idolatry,” we asked God to punish such blasphemy — realizing, though, that this was not the main attack. When the Rabbinical Council of America came out against the observance of Christmas, we protested — but looked elsewhere for the real Jewish threat.
These overt demonstrations of hatred for Jesus are of the traditional, the predictable, Protestant and Jewish patterns. They are quite apart from the conspiracy which is the present danger to the Holy Eucharist and which, briefly, is this: a movement known as Interfaith, whose one objective is to reduce the priest of the Eucharist to the level of the minister and the rabbi. Interfaith hopes to accomplish this by creating the impression that the priest, the minister, and the rabbi who share the same lecture platform and dais at the annual banquet table are, also, believers in the same God.
Interfaith is establishing itself in America as a kind of state religion. That is why it has become a mortal sin against Democracy to suggest that Catholics belong to the only true Church. Interfaith does not want to make America a free place for religion. It wants to free America of the dogmatic religion of Catholics by imposing such dogmas of its own as:
1. It does not matter what a man believes.
2. One religion is as good as another.
3. Religious differences can be tolerated only if people will admit that such differences do not make any difference.
Lately, for reasons of politics, power, and prestige, certain priests have been willing to forget the Eucharistic nature of their priesthood and join in this new religion of Interfaith. With only their Roman collars and black suits to distinguish them from the ministers and rabbis, numbers of priests now make a daily practice of leaving Jesus behind them after their Mass is over and never mentioning Him once for the rest of the day — never once telling the Protestants and Jews with whom they are having lunch that GOD was their first food that morning.
Who are these priests who have grown ashamed of the Jesus on their altars? They are political prelates in high places, more anxious to be patriotically American than doctrinally Catholic. They are ambitious prelates, financial men who will dine at Anglican monasteries, and speak Christ-less prayers at conventions of Jewish rabbis, in order to guarantee non-Catholic donations to “charity” drives. They are petty, vain men to whom the Catholic Church has been merely a springboard to secular successes. They are gentlemen in Holy Orders who have made their way into the glamorous world of the television star. They are foreign-mission priests who have left the missions far afield, to become founders of new inter-creedal sects, inviting Protestants and Jews to join them.
In the face of these scandals, we are praying that American priests will be loyal to their God. For to any priest who accepts the overture of Interfaith, who abandons his slavery to the Eucharist by allying himself with a minister who says that Jesus is not God, and a rabbi who says that God is not Jesus, there awaits the warning of St. Paul: “Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”