To view the reference documents as well as this article united together in one document, go to: http://josephdwight.blogspot.com.
Continued from “Rebuttal to Schismatic Traditionalists (5)”
VCII and Religious Liberty
The schismatic traditionalists have a difficult time with VCII’s teaching on religious liberty because they feel that non-Catholics do not have the right to promote their religion or creed publicly as was often the case in the past centuries under numerous Catholic monarchs. The schismatic traditionalists, as well as many past Popes, believe that only the truth (Catholic) has the right to be promoted publicly. It is interesting to note that an important American theologian, Father John Courtney Murry, was silenced by the Vatican (Cardinal Ottaviani) to write or speak publicly on this issue during the 50’s because there was the strong tendency in the Church to believe that only the truth, that is the Catholic Church, has the right to be promoted publicly; the other Churches or groups must remain in the closet. Father Murry, with his American experience of a multi cultured and multi religious country, later was invited to VCII as an “expert” where he contributed in an important way to the document Dignitatis Humanae (Dec. 7, 1965). An important theologian once wrote: "The truth without charity is an idol."
VCII instead said that every person or group has the right to promote his or her or their belief publicly due to the human dignity of each person as long as one does not interfere with the rights of others, i.e., public peace, public order and public morality (DH 7); this is the principle of promoting religion or the faith on the basis of the dignity of each person. This was a change in DISCIPLINE of how religion is promoted; it was NOT A CHANGE IN FAITH OR MORALS.
Who wants to be forced, or coerced or badgered into joining a religion against his or her will? Instead of proselytism as understood in the older sense, should we not love non-Catholics as Christ loves each of us so as to eventually attract them freely to the source of our supernatural love? Is this not how the early Christians attracted so many new converts? (see: http://trueevangelization.blogspot.com). If some non-Catholics love as Christ loves better than some Catholics, who will attract more people into their fold without any type of coercion whatsoever?
According to this principle, with VCII (Dignitatis Humanae, the "Declaration of Religious Liberty (VCII)”), the Church could declare to the modern totalitarian and various repressive regimes to allow the Catholic Church and all religions to promote their creeds publicly and freely in their country citing human dignity (and basic charity!) as a basis and justification. The main thrust of the decree (DH) is the affirmation of a divine right, that the Church claims freedom for herself in human society and before every public authority (DH 13).
It is very clear in “Dignitatis Humanae” that the Church teaches against indifferentism and against subjectivism: “All men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and his Church, and to embrace it and hold on to it as they come to know it. The sacred Council likewise proclaims that these obligations bind man’s conscience. … So while the religious freedom which men demand in fulfilling their obligation to worship God has to do with freedom from coercion in civil society, it leaves intact the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies towards the true religion and the one Church of Christ” (DH 1). See also the article “The Declaration of Religious Liberty (VCII)”.
The Holy Spirit Is Not Dead!
God will never abandon His Church as Christ promised. When Satan and his cohorts are working extra hard, the Holy Spirit helps the Church and those of good will even more. There are many graces and charisms in the Church today which come from the Holy Spirit. Instead of hiding from the world, one should encourage ones children to experience these graces and charisms of the Holy Spirit today such as the new Ecclesial Movements. We must not abandon the Church now when she needs warriors to defend and fight for her.
There are many saints in the world today that can offer tremendous insights and experiences to help one draw closer to God. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta or Pope John Paul II or Chiara Lubich or Jean Vanier or Saint Padre Pio or Saint Faustina are only a few of our modern saints. Many schismatic traditionalists say that these modern day saints are mistaken in following the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent Popes, citing that other saints of the past made mistakes too!?! I truly believe, and have experienced, that when the times are more difficult the Holy Spirit offers to the humble of good will special graces to withstand the onslaughts of the devil. If we throw out the Church in the last 50 years we also are throwing out these special grace precisely for our times that are most needed today.
It is sad that there are many scandalous priests and bishops today who have lost their faith in the Eucharist and devotion to their mother, Mary or have avoided standing up for the truth or have sought their own glory and comfort rather than the glory of God. But when we die will we be able to say to Jesus that we abandoned His Church, His Mystical Body, because of these scandals???
St. James wrote: "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one converts him, let him know, that he who converts the sinner from the error of his ways shall save his soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." I think this is why I have written this article. But I fear that those already in the schismatic traditionalist groups will have a very difficult time seeing the light which is also the experience of those in the cults in general. Dialogue with sectarian groups is almost non-existent. Without the grace of finally being able to see the whole situation from the proper point of view, it is virtually impossible to interpret the events in the Church properly. I hope this article reaches those tempted to enter such groups before it is too late. I hope and pray also that concerned Catholic pastors might more diligently offer and attempt to fulfill the needs and desires of those in their flock that might be tempted to seek these longings in a group outside the Church.
Most schismatic traditionalists maintain that there were many previously silenced or suspect theologians who contributed in an adverse or heretical way to VCII either directly (as “experts”) or indirectly. But as a believing Catholic, I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit will always protect the Church from error especially in the Church’s highest form of theological certitude, an ecumenical council approved by the living Pope. Did we not learn years ago in our catechisms that the Catholic Church has three attributes: Indefectibility, Infallibility and Authority? Even if some theologians went too far in some areas, does this mean that the Holy Spirit cannot take the good parts of what many say and help the Church arrive at a more mature ecclesiology or principle of religious liberty as we have seen in VCII?
It is true that Satan is working hard in these times, as always, to destroy the Church. The schismatic traditionalists feel that the supposed change in orientation of the Church since VCII “would (if it were possible) convert the Catholic Church from a divine institution that directs its earthly activity toward the eternal salvation of souls, to a mere co-participant with human organizations in the building up of a utopian world “brotherhood” between men of all religions or no religion at all.” Certainly this is what the freemasons and many other anti-Catholic groups want. Certainly the freemasons and other groups have plotted patiently for a long time, in an organized way, to weaken or to destroy or even to subvert or neutralize or instrumentalize the Church for their own ends. The followers of the devil, willingly or unwillingly, have always attacked this divine ship, the Church, for 2000 years from within and from without. But to believe now, with VCII, that the Holy Spirit is no longer able to keep good on His promise of Indefectibility or that the “gates of hell will not prevail” is playing right into the hands of the devil himself! Even if 10,000 communists enter the church and seminaries, is the Holy Spirit not capable of sustaining the Church until the end of time?
Certainly we will one day arrive to the period of the Great Tribulation that Jesus talked about in Matthew 24; but I firmly believe that it will be clear, to those of faith and of good will, when the Antichrist and his False Prophet, the Second Beast, arrive on the scene. God often (always?) takes the back seat allowing even Satan more freedom and power as was indicated in a private vision to Pope Leo XIII. In 1917 Our Lady said that Satan would have 100 years to wreak his havoc in the Church; the liberal attach on the Church as well as the 1988 schism of Archbishop Lefebvre was just a part of this prediction.
God will never abandon His Church just as He never abandoned Israel in the Old Testament. The schismatic traditionalists believe that Satan won the bet with Jesus (as seen by Leo XIII)! Who is more powerful, Satan or Jesus? Who will always win in the end? The Pope, as Saint Don Bosco predicted, will always remain at the helm of our divine and human Ship, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, even in the midst of fierce attacks. In the end Christ will win with His humble, charitable, patient, long-suffering and loyal followers scattered throughout the world. “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” The most important virtue of a child is trust! I trust my Holy Mother Church!
Often the schismatic traditionalists quote private revelation to convince themselves and others that the Church will be infiltrated and (almost) destroyed from within and from without, concluding that VCII was taken over by the liberals and thus was totally corrupted. The schismatic traditionalists have a very strong tendency to put private revelation above the official teachings of the Catholic Church and Sacred Scripture (see: http://priv-rev.blogspot.com). They try to conjecture that many bishops and cardinals (and even Popes) in the Church have consciously tried to down play or set aside the message of Fatima. They cite Cardinal Oddi who supposedly said that the words of the Blessed Virgin in the “Third Secret of Fatima” had nothing to do with Gorbachev; she was alerting us against the apostasy in the Church. Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi, Pope John Paul II’s personal papal theologian allegedly revealed, in a personal communication to a Professor Baumgartner in Salzburg, that: “In the Third Secret it is foretold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.” The schismatic traditionalists use these purported writings to enhance their belief that the see of Peter is vacant (“Sedevacantism”) since 1958. I too feel there will be many bishops and cardinals that will not follow or promote the true teachings of the Church. But I believe in the words of Jesus Christ who said: “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail.” Thus, contrary to what the schismatic traditionalists would have us believe, the gates of hell will never prevail against the true, “Rock”, the living Pope, unto the end of the world as Jesus Christ promised.
If a great apostasy in the Church begins at the top, I personally believe that this will be caused by a bad bishop or cardinal as various saints and learned men have indicated. Many schismatic traditionalists who put private revelation (as well as themselves) above the Church believe that this private revelation indicated above refers to a validly elected Pope.
It is interesting that St. Hildegard (d. 1179) wrote that when the new Pope is elected immediately before the Antichrist, a cardinal will kill the Pope before he is crowned through jealousy, he wishing to be Pope himself; then when the other cardinals elect the next Pope this cardinal will proclaim himself (anti) Pope, and two-thirds of the Christians will go with him. She notes that this Antipope as well as the Antichrist are descended from the tribe of Dan. If this private revelation of St. Hildegard turns out to be true, is it possible that this Antipope might be the False Prophet predicted in the book of the Apocalypse (Apoc 16:13; 19:20; 20:10; ch. 13 etc.)?
The Archbishop Fulton Sheen, TV personality in the 50’s and 60 said: “The false prophets will have a religion without a cross. A religion to destroy other religions. The false prophet will create his own religion. Satan will crown the false prophet among our own Bishops.” Many Fathers of the Church wrote that the False Prophet would be a Catholic bishop who will become an INVALID anti-pope while the real Pope dies a cruel death in exile.
It was the learned opinion of the eminent, 20th Century scripture scholar, Father E. Sylvester Berry that the 12th and 13th chapters of the Apocalypse of St. John foretell an usurpation of the papal see by the false prophet of Antichrist resulting in great tribulations befalling the Catholic Church. Fr. Berry points out that it is the papacy, which is the principal target of those who seek to establish the reign of Antichrist. Heresy, schism and the introduction of false worship upon the altars of Catholic churches are, thus, to be the direct results of the removal of the TRUE Pope from the See of Rome, and subsequent occupation of the Chair of Peter by the forces of Antichrist. Thus all of these authors indicated that sometime in the future there will be an INVALID, false antipope occupying the Chair of Peter. Christ promised that “the gates of hell would not prevail” against the “Rock”, the true, valid, living Pope.
But even if a great apostasy does begin in the Church at the top by way of a bad bishop or cardinal, what is the most prudent thing to do? Abandon Holy Mother Church? Would it not be more prudent to stay on board our divine and human Ship and weather out the great storm together, trusting in the Holy Spirit to guide her through to her destiny? What do we gain if we abandon the Church during the storm? An illicit, reverent Latin Mass or a feeling of being holier than “the others” not in our special group? If we separate ourselves from the Church who will guide us infallibly and who will tell us when the storm is over so that we can attempt to board the Ship again, if ever?
I am convinced that if a schismatic traditionalist might receive the grace from God to see things from the perspective of an infinite loving and merciful God, instead of from the perspective of a critical and judgmental spirit toward others, he or she would be able to see everything from a different viewpoint and be able to rejoice in the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit precisely in the Second Vatican Council and in the many saints and charisms approved and proclaimed by the Church in the last 50 years! They would also be able to recognize and appreciate the good and the holiness in individuals and Churches that are not part of their little group. Is not God the Father of all human beings? Does not God love every human being immensely?
I do not deny that there is a crisis. My difference with the "traditionalist" position lies in the cause and precise nature of the crisis. I don’t locate its primary cause in Vatican II and post-1958 popes (supposedly "modernist" or "ambiguous," etc., etc.). I place it where it belongs: on the shoulders of heterodox modernists who have worked to undermine traditional orthodoxy and piety – whether in sincerity, or according to a diabolical plan to destroy the Church, which is, of course, impossible to do. History offers ample illustration that the heretics always eventually disappear, or at least greatly diminish in influence. The Church will survive. In fact, the beginning signs of coming revival are plain already, if one would simply maintain a little hope and optimistic faith that God is in control.
(Click on the photo of Joseph Dwight to go to his other websites.)
 Jms 5:19-20; Ez 33:7-9; Mt 18:15-17.
 Cf. Father Paul Kramer, "The Devil’s Final Battle," The Missionary Association; Terryville, Conn. U.S.A. (2002), pp. 1, 77.
 Apoc 16:13; 19:20; 20:10.
 Apoc 13, etc.
 “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1Cor 1:27-29).
 Mt 18:3; Mc 10:15; Lk 18:17.
 Cf. Father Paul Kramer, "The Devil’s Final Battle," The Missionary Association; Terryville, Conn. U.S.A. (2002).
 Ibid., p. 163
 See Father Gerard Mura, “The Third Secret of Fatima: Has It Been Completely Revealed?”, the periodical ‘Catholic’, (published by the Transalpine Redemptorists, Orkney Isles, Scotland, Great Britain) March 2002.
 Mt 16:18.
 Mt 16:18.
 Mt 16:18