The Point – August 1957

Edited Under Fr. Leonard Feeney M.I.C.M. — Saint Benedict Center

August, 1957


What Our Catholic Bishops Can Do For US

The other day we received, in the mail, a bundle from Brazil. It contained copies of the English translation of a Pastoral Letter written by the Bishop of Campos, Dom Antonio de Castro Mayer. Its arrival could not have been more timely.

Just last month, we concluded our article on Judaizing by urging readers of The Point to pray that a bishop would soon be heard fearlessly and fully proclaiming the undiluted Catholic Faith, this being the one sure message that can stem the flood of Jewish influence presently engulfing us.

And now, for our encouragement, we have the Pastoral Letter of Bishop de Castro Mayer of Brazil.

We do not know how many Jews there are in the diocese of Campos, nor what Judaic inroads have been made into Catholic life there, but the things Bishop de Castro Mayer says in his Pastoral Letter (“On Problems of the Modern Apostolate”) are, pre-eminently, the sort of thing that needs to be said in the U. S. The Letter is priestly, it is paternal, it is precise. The errors it condemns are the very ones which the Jews and their abettors are now most busily propagating. It sets forth the Catholic position clearly and emphatically, with none of the usual obeisances to contemporary notions. Its conclusions on all matters, from liturgy and the spiritual life to politics and modesty in dress, are grounded, not in the slogans of Jewish Brotherhood, but in firm Catholic doctrine.

The following are sample extracts from Bishop de Castro Mayer’s Letter — after which we offer further items concerning Catholic bishops and their certain ability to preserve the Christian world if they but rise to the full measure of their vocation.

“What matters above all is the maintenance of the integrity of Faith, without which no one can please God. (Saint Paul to the Hebrews, ii, 6). If we admit something more fundamental than Faith, we necessarily come to the conclusion that the difference of religions is secondary, a whole intercreedal behavior being therefore justifiable.

“Faith without intransigence is either already dead or lives only externally, for it has lost its spirit. Faith being the foundation of supernatural life, tolerance in matters of Faith is the starting point for all evil, especially for heresies.

“Collaboration of the faithful with non-Catholics so as to attain common objectives is only occasionally allowed by the Church … The Church looks at these associations with apprehension, and bans them. When, under some exceptional circumstances, she feels as if she were forced to tolerate such collaborations, so as to prevent greater evils, she does it fearfully and full of sorrow.

“The interpretation of pontifical acts belongs to the Holy See only. No other interpretation, however respectable and learned it may be, can impose itself as official and as the only one.

“Every Catholic who faces a doctrine already condemned has the right, and often the duty, to combat it. If he is confronted with a doctrine not yet expressly condemned, but incompatible with the precepts of the Church, he may, and often must, under his personal responsibility, point out such incompatibility, opposing himself as far as possible to the propagation of that doctrine.

“The Morality of the Church is unchangedable, and what yesterday was vanity, an occasion of scandal or sin, is still the same today and will be still the same tomorrow.

“The legislation of the Church obliges priests to refuse the Sacraments to people who present themselves (dressed) in an immodest way.

“In this atmosphere of increasing corruption, we must adhere to our principles and traditions with redoubled fervor … Purity supposes a whole environment of dignity, gravity, and modesty so that it can be fully and stably practiced.

“In the last centuries, the spirit of revolution has produced constant transformations aiming at the overthrow of legitimate powers, degrading the political, social, or economic authority, and leveling all legitimate inequalities. The Church has opposed this historical process, and will continue to do so.

“The French Revolution, as far as it tended to complete political, social, and economic equality, in the ideal society dreamed of by its creators, was a satanic movement, inspired by pride.

“The Church … has the right to see her laws and doctrines respected by temporal public powers. The State must declare itself officially Catholic; it must offer all its resources for the preservation and expansion of the Faith.

“And when in a country the disgrace of circumstances is so deep that separation constitutes a lesser evil than union, which would perforce be deformed, then we should fear for such a country. For everything we separate from God and His Church has no possibility of surviving for a long time.

“In the selection of immigrants, we must consider their creed first, and not merely conveniences of the economic, ethnic, and political orders.

“We must not appear as soldiers of any cause but our own, nor give the impression of a unilaterality which would be incompatible with the sanctity of our mission.

“In or out of the presbytery, the priest must be entirely and exclusively a priest …

“As to the necessary role of Mary in our sanctification, Blessed Pius X wrote: ‘All of us, therefore, who are united with Christ, who are, as the Apostle says, the limbs of his body, made out of His flesh and bones (Ephesians 5:30), have come forth out of the Blessed Virgin’s bosom, like a body united to its head … if, then, the Blessed Virgin is at the same time the Mother of God and of men, who can possibly doubt that she directs all her efforts to Jesus Christ, Who is the Head of the Church’s Body.’ ”

Every day, at every Mass said within his diocese, the bishop is prayed for, by name. And the Church conceives of this as no mere liturgical courtesy. These are urgent prayers. For successors of the Apostles, with tragic frequency throughout history, have been known to identify themselves not with the lineage of Our Lord’s faithful eleven, but with the line of the twelfth, the Bishop Judas who left the Supper Room seeking the convenient hour to betray his Master.

The illustrious Bishop of Constantinople, Saint John Chrysostom, whose episcopal achievements are celebrated in the ancient liturgy which bears his name, had a sober warning in this matter of bishops and their need for our prayers. He said: “I do not speak rashly, but as I feel and think. I do not think that many bishops are saved, but that those who perish are far more numerous. The reason is that the office requires a great soul. For there are many things to make a priest swerve from rectitude, and he requires great vigilance on every side.”

The Saint continues, “Do you not perceive how many qualities a bishop must have that he may be strong in his teaching, patient, and hold fast to the faithful word which is according to doctrine? What care and pains does this require! Moreover, he is answerable for the sins of others. To pass over everything else: If but one soul dies without Baptism, does it not entirely endanger his own salvation? For the loss of one soul is so great an evil that it is impossible to express it in words. For if the salvation of that soul was of such value that the Son of God became man and suffered so much, think of how great a punishment must the losing of it bring.”

To meet Saint John Chrysostom’s requirements for a bishop “strong in his teaching,” we might find a contemporary example in Jose Maria Cardinal Caro y Rodriguez. Like Bishop de Castro Mayer of Campos, Cardinal Caro is a South American. His archiepiscopal see is Santiago, Chile, and his venerable age is ninety-one years. Trained at the Gregorian in Rome, Cardinal Caro was elevated to his present dignity by Pope Pius XII in 1946. And the elevation was looked upon as most significant by those who had followed the Cardinal’s career. For Jose Maria Caro y Rodriguez had won the enmity of world-wide Freemasonry by his repeated attacks and exposures of Masonic activities — most notably in his detailed study, The Mystery of Freemasonry Unveiled.

Cardinal Caro y Rodriguez has, in recent years, authorized an English edition, revised version, of this valuable book. Though the entire treatise is worth reprinting, we propose to our readers the following sample from Chapter III of the text. This chapter bears the title, “Is Masonry the Instrument of Judaism — The Most Important Question of the Day.”

The Cardinal writes, “Since my youth, there have resounded together in my ears the names of Masonry and Judaism, of Masons and Hebrews in the attacks upon the Catholic Church. Was it simple coincidence or is it in reality an effective union, and perhaps dependence, between these two entities … There is no doubt that Masonic activity against the Catholic Church is no more than the continuation of the war against Christ practiced by Judaism for the last 1900 years … Read the Gospel and you will see, in Jewish espionage, in their captious questions, in their hypocritical attacks, clothed with the veil of pretended piety of the Pharisees; in their efforts to make Him hated before the people, Christ, Who was their greatest Glory and their wonderful Benefactor; in the use of gold to corrupt an Apostle; in the formation of public opinion against Christ; in the preference for Barabbas; in the fury and false accusations with which they tried to bury the memory of Christ in shame; in the constant opposition, many times bloody, against the preaching of the Apostles, etc.; — in all this you will see the same things that Masonry practices today, at times in very subtle form and at other times in more violent form. Judaism was anti-Christianism; and Masonry, in the service of the same Judaism, is still anti-Christianism.”

If Cardinal Caro y Rodriguez of Chile exemplifies a bishop teaching strongly, Saint Cyril of Alexandria, fifth century Patriarch of that Egyptian city, shows us a bishop strong in action.

In the year 432, when Saint Cyril was raised to the patriarchate, Alexandria was the home of a Jewish community that was large, prosperous, and deeply embedded in the city’s life — having enjoyed special privileges there since the days of Alexander the Great. But almost immediately (in the words of the haughty-heretical Encyclopedia Britannica) Cyril “made himself known by the violence of his zeal against Jews, pagans, and heretics … ”

This zeal reached a peak when the Jews, outraged at Saint Cyril’s lack of deference, began to riot in the streets and massacre Christians. Thereupon, the holy Patriarch rallied a taskforce of his subjects and, proceeding systematically from synagogue to synagogue, from Jewish house to house, drove the Jews out of Alexandria.

Besides his opposition to Jewry, Saint Cyril is famous also for his bitter struggle against his fellow-bishop, Nestorius, the heretical Patriarch of Constantinople, who denied that Mary is the Mother of God. This struggle culminated in the year 431, when the Pope summoned a General Council of bishops from the whole Catholic world, to meet at Ephesus. There, Saint Cyril championed Our Lady’s Divine Maternity so surely and magnificently that his name has become inseparably linked not only with every Catholic’s belief, but with his devotion. For it was at Ephesus, in witness and in celebration of Saint Cyril’s victory over Nestorius, that there first thundered that invocation which has resounded through all the Catholic centuries: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”

When the Basilian Fathers opened their new college for men at Rochester, New York, in 1951, they focused attention on one of the most courageous bishops in the Church’s history. They named their school in honor of King Henry VIII’s arch-opponent, the martyred Bishop of Rochester, England, Saint John Fisher.

By all worldly standards, John Fisher had been a successful man. At an early age, he became chaplain to Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of King Henry VII. He was a tutor to the young Prince Henry, who succeeded as Henry VIII. He was named to attend the General Council (the Fifth Lateran Council) at Rome in 1512. After his advancement to the see of Rochester, he was appointed for life as Chancellor of Cambridge University. The Pope made him a Cardinal a month before his death.

Yet it was for none of these reasons that the Bishop of Rochester, England, survives in the memory of grateful Catholics. There have been any number of glittering ecclesiastics, court chaplains, and university chancellors among the English hierarchy. But, in his day, there was only one John Fisher. He was the only bishop in all of Catholic England who chose to die for Truth over heresy, and the Pope over the King. Thus, when Pope Pius XI added his name to the roster of the saints in 1935, it was in reward of this singular spectacle: For the supremacy of the One True Faith, Bishop John Fisher literally lost his head.

Many New England Catholics have taken courage from the recent and successful conclusion of a battle, in one of our states, to secure bus rides for parochial-school children. The Point ’s regrets in the matter are the same which we have felt so often before: Why not spend some of this zeal on fundamental issues? Why not a state-wide lobby for conversions? Why not a little pressure on the state’s legislators to have them learn the Hail Mary, say the Rosary, receive their first Holy Communion? The results might well be surprising.

And if our bishops would like a bit of episcopal precedent, we suggest that they read over a famous sermon by the first Archbishop of New York, John Hughes. It was a hundred years ago that Archbishop Hughes stood up in his cathedral and gave forth with this inevitable Catholic manifesto: “Everybody should know that we have as our mission to convert the world — including the inhabitants of the United States — the people of the cities and the people of the country, the officers of the Navy and the Marines, the commanders of the Army, the Legislators, the Senate, the Cabinet, the President, and all.”

Only when this apostolic spirit prevails will we be able to offer to Our Blessed Lady in Heaven an America which is in deed, quite as much as in dedication, the Land of the Immaculate Conception.


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