giovedì 8 giugno 2017

Progressive Chic: The Faith Bows to Fashion

Perhaps nothing appears as shabby as yesterday’s style. The Good Will store is in some measure a repository of outworn elegance: clothes are often discarded, not because they are old, but because they are old-fashioned. “Nobody wears that anymore,” is an observation that can consign a perfectly serviceable suit or dress to the thrift store. The poor and the homeless are sadly attired in yesterday’s finery.
Ideas can also be creatures of time, subject to “updating”. Popular political ideologies undergo constant revision. The Democrat Party, now home to the Left, was once the party of the Ku Klux Klan, while the Republican Party arose in opposition to slavery. Catholic immigration once gave rise to the Know-Nothing Party, whose adherents believed “papists” [Catholics] could not be reconciled with American values of tolerance and freedom. Now, Muslim immigration is defended by the political class as consistent with those values, even as Islam openly rejects Western democracy and favors Sharia Law. Fashion, not facts, influence public opinion, and the media are now the arbiters of fashion.
To be unfashionable is to invite ridicule; to be a trend-setter is to invite envy and imitation. But all that is a creature of time will be devoured by its creator. It has always been the strength of the Catholic Faith that it has stood apart from time. A visible emblem of its indifference to fashion was once seen in its maintenance of the religious habit, which dated to the time the particular order was founded. The updating, or outright abandonment, of religious habits may have seemed a superficial change consonant with common sense, but it portended something far more significant: a surrender to current fashion.
The difficulty inherent in following the fashion — in clothes or ideas — is that one can never stop, for fashion is ever changing. Each year, something new is demanded, and a slight difference in the length of a hemline or a politically correct formulation can mean the difference in whether one meets with approval or mockery. We are conditioned to want the “latest” in everything. That which is old loses its value. Products are always marketed as “new and improved.”
Sadly, the Church is now suffering from a “new and improved” version of what purports to be the Catholic Faith. When Pope John XXIII promoted “aggiornamento” — updating — as needed in the presentation of doctrine, he may have had in mind an alteration of language, not substance. (See:  “’Ressourcement,’ ‘Aggiornamento,’ and Vatican II in Ecumenical Perspective”.) But language and substance are intimately connected. Words matter greatly. The shift from talking about “mortal” sin to “grave” sin, for instance, effected not just a stylistic change, but confusion about moral doctrine: are the two terms the same? If so, why was a new term introduced? Are there still “mortal” sins and “venial” sins, or just a sliding scale of “gravity” on which sin is no longer divided into two categories? How does this affect the way one confesses, or the need to confess? (See:  “Grave sin versus Mortal sin”.)
This loss of clear definition has characterized Church teaching since Vatican II. Some have welcomed this blurring of the lines of doctrine. Confusion allows room for personal interpretation. And confusion has been the aim of the Holy See for more than a half-century now. Is this claim too extreme?

With Amoris Laetitia, Updating Nears Completion

If clarity of doctrine were Vatican policy, then we would not have witnessed the avalanche of documents that have issued from Rome since Vatican II — documents which have effectively buried the age-old magisterium. The “updating” that has been ongoing was never intended to present traditional doctrine in more appealing, modern language: it was meant to obscure, question, re-interpret and ultimately reject and replace that doctrine.
The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard pointed out long ago that revolutions can occur in one of two ways. He said a revolution that is passionate will tear down all the old structures, in the manner of the French Revolution; but a revolution that lacks passion will leave the old structures standing, but “cunningly” empty them of their significance. Vatican II was a revolution without passion.
The old doctrines were not thrown out in a bold break with the past. They were instead emptied of their significance. The clarity and precision of Catholic teaching had to be replaced if the Church were to stop opposing the modern world and join it in its presumed march of progress. But progress must always be a movement from one point to another. Just where is the modern world — and its new friends in the Church — going? (See:  Aggiornamento: An Historical Analysis”.)
The Church’s one mission is the salvation of souls. Does the G-7 or the Bilderberg Group or the European Union or the United Nations share in this mission? Does Pope Francis, as the media-endorsed leader of the world’s Global Left, proclaim that salvation can be had only by one who dies in a state of grace achieved through the indispensable instruments of the Catholic Faith and sacraments? If so, the media appear to have missed his message, which they believe to be consistent with the agenda of the Left: social justice as a rationale for socialism, with the ideal of one-world government by an “enlightened” elite. The Church has aligned itself with this ideal since Vatican II.
Since Paul VI’s obeisance to the United Nations, it is usual for every new Pope to make an appearance before this assembly, much in the manner of an ambassador presenting his credentials to a head of state. Papal addresses to the United Nations are carefully worded statements that make it appear as though the Church and the U.N. have common goals, but this appearance comes at the expense of a clear expression of the essential Catholic truths. Those truths include the doctrine that there is no salvation outside the Church (see:  “There Is No Salvation Outside The Catholic Church (Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus)”). Nothing could be more inimical to the substance and sentiment of U.N. policies and the leaders of the Left, so this doctrine must be eliminated if the Church is to take its place at the tables of power in the modern world.
The driving force in the Vatican for the past half-century can be put into one word: ecumenism. (See:  “The Acid of Ecumenism”) Since Vatican II, the Church has made ecumenism its priority. (See:  “Anglican ‘Vespers’ in Saint Peter’s: Another false exhibition of ‘unity’ that does not exist.”) Ecumenism has never been defined, which allows it to change its shape. Whatever remnants of orthodoxy John Paul II and Benedict XVI defended were undermined by what they said and did to promote ecumenism, which may be regarded as a desire to dissolve all doctrinal differences in a flood of good will. The Protestant saying, “Deed, not creed,” sums it up very well. (See:  “Francis proclaims new sin: the ‘sin against ecumenism’”.)  And when creed is obscured or ignored or discreetly forgotten, the Church is then able to link arms with the world in its march toward “progress.”
It is ironic that some “conservatives” look with nostalgia to the papacy of John Paul II or Benedict XVI, whom they now regard as pillars of orthodoxy. Both these popes were fervent in their promotion of ecumenism. They helped in every way to foster the very confusion that has found its culmination in the reign of Pope Francis and his signature document Amoris Laetitia.
What did it matter that John Paul II defended traditional Church teaching in some documents when he accepted all manner of heresy as somehow acceptable, granting the premise that the ‘Holy Spirit” is active in our “sister churches”, that is, in sects that reject Catholic dogma on marriage, contraception, divorce, the sacraments, the priesthood, the papacy, etc. (See:  “The Spirit of Fatima – Not Assisi”.) If salvation can be had in these “sister churches”, then what precisely is the point of the magisterium? It becomes an “optional extra”, applicable only to those to whom it is attractive.
The notion of “accompaniment” for the divorced and remarried that Pope Bergoglio is promoting is nothing new. (See:  “Archbishop Paglia: Bergoglian Prelate Par Excellence”.) Is it not the same as saying that the Holy Spirit is active in those who reject and live deliberately outside the communion of the Catholic Church? If those who choose to live in adultery can say they are doing their best, offering their most generous response to God “in the concrete circumstances” of their life, and can therefore receive Holy Communion, then the principle of private judgment, the bedrock of Protestantism, is now accepted by the Pope as a moral principle that supersedes the magisterium. Doctrine becomes an ideal, not a mandate — a counsel of perfection, if you will. And since not many strive to be perfect, nor are capable of it, any shortcoming is more or less acceptable. After all, it’s up to you.
Is this not the principle that ecumenism is built upon? And has not the Church, in the magisterium of every Pope during the last half-century, promoted ecumenism as its priority? Let’s not pretend that Pope Francis’ heterodoxy is an aberration or departure. It is the logical, inevitable outcome of a policy pursued by his predecessors. The Pope Emeritus has never voiced anything but whole-hearted support for his successor (or co-pontiff in the “active” ministry?). Why would he?
And can we imagine that John Paul II, whose papacy was epitomized by the Assisi meetings at which all religions were given equal status, would demur from the application of ecumenical logic that finds expression in Amoris Laetitia? (See:  “Pope’s inter-faith summit in Assisi belongs to an ongoing revolution”.) If those outside the Church can find salvation in their chosen sect, why should those within the Church who refuse aspects of its moral or dogmatic teaching be denied the same accommodation?
When the Church made “aggiornamento” its guiding policy, it surrendered to fashion, for what else can “updating” mean other than keeping pace with the times? But the times are inimical to the Catholic Faith, and any “updating” can only result in compromising with those that reject the authority of the Church, especially in matters of sexual morality, with which the modern world is obsessed.
Now, “aggiornamento” has made its masterpiece of confusion in Amoris Laetitia. But is it really confusion? Is it not plain what the Pope means and what he intends? Confusion only occurs among those who wish to remain blind.
We are told by those who know the contents of the full Third Secret of Fatima that the apostasy in the Church will start from the top. It is here, plainly seen by all who have the courage to look squarely at what is taking place. And there is only one answer, one solution open to us now: obey Our Lady of Fatima. Only She can help us.

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