THERE HAS BEEN MUCH CONFUSION about the Virgin Mary, Fatima, and Her requested consecration of Russia and its subsequent conversion. Confusion is not a gift or fruit of the Holy Spirit; the Spirit is manifest in love and peace (1 Corinthians 14:33, Galatians 5:22). Interestingly, the confusion has not come from outside the church, but from within, from extremists on both ends of the theological spectrum: ultra-liberals and ultra-conservatives. This is to be expected; false ideas are advanced by creating polar opposites that vie with each other giving the appearance that truth must be on one side or the other, when in fact, it is on neither. Because both perceive and focus on the error in the other, they remain incapable seeing their own.
“Why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye? Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7: 3-5).
For example, a false idea such as materialism is advanced by opposing (apparently) antithetical ideas such as atheistic communism and hedonistic capitalism. What many people fail to realize is that each of these is a form of materialism, materialism that is advanced by placing them in opposition to each other and by making them somewhat attractive by filling each with certain elements of the truth that are appealing to different types of people. Communism was forwarded by advocating justice for the working class, social cooperation, brotherhood, and economic equality. It was juxtaposed to capitalism that promoted private property, individual competition, frugality, and economic merit.
The positive elements of one appear excellent when placed in juxtaposition to the negative elements of the other, negative elements that ideologues of each fail to see or endeavor to conceal. The virtues of private property standout when compared to economic sterility of communal property. The virtues of economic justice and universal employment stand out when juxtaposed to unemployment and worker exploitation etc. Both contain enough elements of truth to be attractive, but also contain disguised elements of error that make them detrimental. The negative elements in one position are avoided by focusing attention on the negative elements in the other.
Communists miss the negatives about communal property because they are so focused on the negatives of unregulated private property. Conversely, proponents of unregulated private property miss its short comings by over-focusing on the negative aspects of communal ownership. To further exacerbate the matter, other solutions or alternative world views are kept out of the discussion such that a person is forced to choose between two believing that they are the only viable solutions. Thus, no matter which way a person chooses, he or she will end up in error because both alternatives are flawed.
If this article does not seem to be about Fatima, Russia, and the Era of Peace, bear with the author, it is.
Lech Walesa, the past president and leader of Solidarity in Poland recognized this sociological verity in his autobiography, “A Way of Hope” in which he stated that prior to his meeting with the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, Walesa thought there were only two solutions to the social problem, i.e., communism versus capitalism. However, after speaking with the primate, he became aware of a new third way, a way he had never heard of before, “Solidarity” or Catholic Social Teaching.
As indicated above, communism and capitalism are both different forms of materialism – the one being atheistic materialism and the other, hedonistic materialism. Because both are forms of materialism, neither is true. But proponents of each believe their own version to be true while representing the other as false, when in fact, both are false.
Saint Padre Pio, like Lech Walesa after his meeting with the primate, knew of a third way. Thus, when asked about communism and capitalism, Pio gave an unexpected response in which he stated that they are both “indescribably evil”:
In the East they deny God from the head to the belly button (atheistic materialism or scientific socialism) while in the Wast they deny God form the belly button to the feet (hedonistic materialism or sexual, organs-pleasure).
To advance a false idea, such as materialism, the idea must be masked behind partial truths set in contra-distinction to a competing ideology. The advance of Capitalism was aided by continually alluding to the evils of Communism. Conversely, Communism advanced by continually pointing out the abuses of Capitalism. No matter which one is the victor, materialism, a false idea, advances. The two are juxtaposed, when in fact both are gravely erroneous and detrimental to human well being.
The situation is similar in the church. Two appealing but false ideas, schismatic ultra-liberalism and schismatic ultra-conservatism vie for loyalties. Each presents itself as sacrosanct and the other as unholy WHEN IN FACT BOTH ARE UNHOLY AND MEANT TO DISTURB AUTHENTIC GROWTH IN THE BODY OF CHRIST. People line up to take either one of apparently two sides; an irreverent Novos Ordo Mass assisted by clowns and belly dancers or a reverent Tridentine Mass celebrated by schismatic clerics; head-veils or no veils, altar girls or altar boys, communion in the hands or on the tongue, priest facing the congregation or ad orientem, holding hands during the Pater Noster or standing singly etc. Interestingly, both can appear to be true and holy depending upon which lens a person is looking through. A dissenting liberal who disdains the coldness of an ultra-conservative misses his or her own schism. A dissenting ultra-conservative aghast at the irreverence of altar clowns and the schism of liberal nuns misses his or her own schism.
What they both miss is the authentic nature of the reform initiated by Vatican II. The conservative looks at altar clowns and, thinking that they are integral to the reform, falsely rejects the reform. The liberal, on the the hand, looks at the individualistic components of the Tridentine Mass and embraces the exaggerated communal dimensions of a false reform. Both miss the authentic reform intended by the Council Fathers. Neither side has correctly evaluated the reform; both sides miss their error by focusing on, and constantly complaining about, whatever displeases them on the other side. The truth is, the authentic reform (the third way) intended by the Council has not yer been realized. This led Saint John Paul II to bequeath the future implementation of the Council to the next generation in his “Last Will and Testament“:
“Being on the threshold of the Third Millennium “in medio Ecclesiae,” I wish once again to express gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of Vatican Council II, to which together with the whole Church — and above all with the entire episcopate — I feel indebted. I am convinced that once again and for a long time it will be given to the new generations to draw from the riches that this Council of the 20th century has lavished.”
“As a Bishop who has participated in the conciliar event from the first to the last day, I wish to entrust this great treasure to all those who are or will be in the future called to realize it. For my part, I thank the eternal Pastor who allowed me to serve this great cause in the course of all the years of my pontificate.”
Liberal Catholics tend to view things through the lens of progressive pastoral theology. Although necessary, as Pope Francis keeps pointing out, pastoral theology rooted in extreme affect of the heart and divorced from the dogmatic truths of the faith is a dangerous thing. Conservative Catholics, such as Cardinal Burke, tend to view things through the lens of traditional dogmatic theology leading to a disdain for affective modernism and an over-emphasis on intellectual virtue culminating in wisdom – a zeal for wisdom divorced from the theological requirements of charity.
The truth is that neither is correct (each is only partly correct); man is an integral being. Head and Heart, love and wisdom, must function together as an integral unity if there is to be an authentic expression of Catholicism. Wisdom, no matter how great a good (Aristotle even referred to it as the Summum Bonum – the greatest of all goods) is deficient without Love. In fact, wisdom is not only incomplete without love, it is inferior to love – it is meant to be consummate in love:
“IF I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
“Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away…. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13: 1-13).
Like Communists and Capitalists, Ultra-Conservative Catholics and Ultra-Liberal Catholics each prosper by attacking the other, to the detriment of the Church. One emphasizes wisdom, the other love. The problem is that their cannot be authentic love without wisdom (garnered either by reason or faith or preferably both) and there cannot be authentic wisdom without love. Just as there cannot be true moral virtue without the integral presence of all four cardinal virtues; there cannot be true theological virtue without the presence of faith, hope, and love. There are many counterfeit loves and counterfeit wisdoms corrupted by self-love and pride of life that manifest themselves in disobedience.
Since schismatic ultra-liberalism and ultra-conservatism are both inauthentic expressions of true integral Catholicism, their error (that is-the error in both) is detected by disobedience to ecclesial authority – Ultras show their true color when it comes to obedience to authentic church teachings, which both sides twist and contort while hiding behind an assumed veil of feigned holiness or a veil of feigned love, a veil of reverence and piety or of evangelization by being a cool dude. Liberals, like Judas, hide behind the veil of helping and loving the poor. Ultra-conservatives hide, like Jansenists, behind the veil of piety. We know what happened to Judas and the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith exposes the veil of piety assumed by schismatic ultra-traditionalists:
According to the Holy Office: “We must resist error even when it masquerade as piety.”
Scripture tells us the same; it also reveals how to spot error – error cannot hide forever behind a masquerade of piety nor can it hide behind ersatz love like Judas hid behind the purse whose contents he spent on himself. Both, supposedly antithetical errors, are revealed in the lack of peace, the tranquility of spirit that comes forth from wisdom and love nurtured by humility and obedience:
“Now I beseech you, brethren, to mark them who make dissensions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them. For they that are such, serve not Christ our Lord, but their own belly; and by pleasing speeches (ultra-conservatives) and good words (ultra-liberals), seduce the hearts of the innocent. For your obedience is published in every place. I rejoice therefore in you (not in them who are disobedient). But I would have you to be wise in good, and simple in evil. And the God of peace crush Satan under your feet speedily. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (Romans 16: 17-20).
It is really quite simple: Those causing dissension by masquerading in piety while questioning the teaching authority of the Church and those causing dissension by masquerading in love but who in reality are serving their “own bellies” in fun and parties, these, both these, seduce the innocent albeit in diverse ways. As communism and capitalism are both manifestations of materialism, schismatic ultra-liberalism and ultra-conservatism are both manifestations of dissension manifest in disobedience. Sons and daughters of the Church are not to be misled by the good deeds of others if they are done for selfish purposes, to be noticed and praised; nor are they to be fooled by outstanding intellectual speeches full of learning and apparent wisdom. How is anyone to know when a teaching is false or a deed is a counterfeit? Simple — if those who perform apparent good deeds and teach apparent wisdom cause dissension and are disobedient to the true shepherds of the flock.
The test on both sides – ultra-conservative and ultra-liberal – is peace manifest in a bond of unity and obedience.
Because there are so many problems in the modern world, gender confusion, homo-sexuality, disrespect, abortion, pornography etc. etc. it is easy to be down on the modern world. This is the strong card of the traditionalists: discontent with modernism and the ability to quote popes and encyclicals such as Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Pope Pius IX, Qui Pluribus and the Syllabus of Errors and many other papal and church documents that condemn modernism and apparently confirm their position. Since Vatican II does not join them in their enthusiasm for condemnation of the modern world and instead follows the counsel of Saint Paul to “become all things to all men with the view of winning them to Christ, they reject Vatican II:
“And I became to the Jews, a Jew, that I might gain the Jews: To them that are under the law, as if I were under the law, (whereas myself was not under the law,) that I might gain them that were under the law. To them that were without the law, as if I were without the law, (whereas I was not without the law of God, but was in the law of Christ,) that I might gain them that were without the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I became all things to all men, that I might save all. And I do all things for the gospel’s sake: that I may be made partaker thereof” (1 Corinthians 9: 20-23).
Instead of stooping and becoming all things to all, schismatic traditionalist elitists tend to critique and criticize. When they are not joined in this endeavor by the bishops and Supreme Pontiff they then tend to dissent and then to name call even at times refusing to attend a Novos Ordo Mass. More and more they become self-righteous and then blame all the error they observe on the failure of the shepherds to correct the flock with a rod of iron. failing to realize that it is mercy that God wants not sacrifice they become very judgmental:
“Go then and learn what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For I am not come to call the just, but sinners” (Matt 9:13).
If they understood this, the sacrifices that they make would be sacrifices out of love for the sins of those whom they abhor. This is reparation sacrifice, the type of sacrifice most pleasing to God that Our Lady requested at Fatima and that Our Lord offered on the Cross. If a person fasts and sacrifices exclusively for themselves, they have the wrong idea; fasting is a discipline and a form of charity. Properly understood, it is conducted as a discipline of the passions so that one might better serve God and neighbor. Fasting is a means not an end – a means to better service and higher expressions of love. Once the passions have been mastered, fasting becomes a form of love for others as do all other types of reparation acts and prayers. A person genuinely advancing in the spiritual life will not be characterized by criticism of others but by love of others and a willingness to embrace the cross for them when they are to weak or ignorant to do it for themselves. Anyone getting pumped on the idea that they fast and pray, or are smarter than others, is being infected with counterfeit ideas leading to pride and eventually to disobedience and then schism.
If not careful, the justice that many ultra-conservatives clamor after and decree for others will be the justice they will receive for themselves. Slowly, such people tend to move away from unity with their bishops and become infallible authorities themselves thinking it a little matter to correct and teach the bishops and even the pope himself whom they deem a “heretic”.
Pope Francis, whom they abhor, refers to them as “legalists”; they are like pharisees whom the pope says just do not get it.
“The experience of forgiveness that embraces the whole human family is the grace that the apostolic ministry announces. The Church exists only as a tool to communicate to people the merciful plan of God. At the Council the Church felt the responsibility of being in the world as a living sign of the love of the Father…. This moves the axis of the Christian conception of a certain legalism, which can be ideological….Some (think of certain replies to Amoris laetitia) still do not understand, or (want to see everything as) white or black.”
Newera agrees with the pope. The greatest reason being that we are living in the Hour of Mercy. The whole universe is impregnated with the echo of the Divine Logos: “Mercy-Mercy-Mercy” and of His Mother who is asking for reparation from her children for the sins of others, asking penance from those who love God for those who are steeped in sin: “Penance-Penance-Penance”. Our Lord and Our Lady are asking for love, mercy, compassion and sacrifice for sinners and the ultra-conservatives are calling for their heads, calling for punishment, divine retribution, and chastisement while the ultra-liberals are condoning their sin and often participating in it. The pope is correct, they don’t get it; both are disobedient and dissenters.
When this whole ultra right-left paradigm is telescoped onto the question of the Virgin Mary, two attractive but egregious versions of the Mother of God appear. Both ultra liberals and ultra conservatives have a version of the Virgin Mary for the rest of the Church. On the liberal side we find the credulous Medjugorje crowd and on the Conservative side we find the Fatima “nuts”. Overly convinced of the rightness of their position, both proceed to manifest their error in pride, dissension and disobedience as will be discussed over the next few articles.
Because both ideas about our Lady are in error, the best way to advance the error is to juxtapose one to the other: liberal to conservative and conservative to liberal. The faithful are left to choose between Ultra-Conservative Fatima know it-alls and Liberal Medjugorje do-gooders, while the authentic Message of Fatima gets lost amid a river of confusion, a river hemmed in by error on either bank – the East Bank of Ultra-Conservatism or the West Bank of Ultra-Liberalism.
“And the serpent cast out of his mouth after the woman, water as it were a river; that he might cause her to be carried away by the river. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the river, which the dragon cast out of his mouth” (Revelation 12:15-16).
The purpose of this Intelligence Report is to break down the river walls thereby diffusing the tumultuous flow of confusion spewing from the deceptive mouth of Satan who is a cunning liar and the Father of liars (John 8:44), liars who assist him in his furtive plan to carry the Virgin Mary away in the river of cunning deception.
End Part One
THE FULL INTELLIGENCE REPORT ON THIS TOPIC WILL BE RELEASED ON THE FIRST SATURDAY OF FEBRUARY 2017