Thursday, September 2, 2010
"A Good Tree Can Not Bear Bad Fruit"-- Beware of Heretics in Shepherd's Clothing
As we prepare to celebrate the feast of Pope St. Pius X, foe of Modernism (September 3), let us see the Modernist fruits of Vatican II. These fruits are the result of the deadly heresy of Modernism, which Pope St. Pius X drove underground, but came back after Roncalli (John XXIII) and Montini (Paul VI) lost their authority and worked to destroy the Church through Vatican II. The True Church is now underground, until Our Lord restores His Bride.
"Let's look at the numbers in the US first. In 1965, at the end of the Council there were 58,000 priests. Now there are 41,000. By 2020, if present trends continue (and there is no sign of a dramatic upsurge in vocations), there will be only 31,000, and half will be over 70. To give an example, I was ordained in 1981 at the age of 27. Today at the age of 52, I can still attend priests' meetings and be one of the younger priests there. In 1965, 1575 new priests were ordained, In 2005, the number was 454, less than a third, and remember that the Catholic population in the US increased from 45.6 million in 1965 to the 64.8 million of 2005, almost a 50% increase. The Venerable John Henry Newman said, "Growth is the only evidence of life." By his definition, the Church in the United States has been and continues to be in sharp decline. Now, quite clearly, there has been a sharp decline in the number of seminarians over this time period. Between 1965 and 2005, the number of seminarians fell from 50,000 (some 42,000 high school and college seminarians, and 8,000 or so graduate seminarians) to today's approximate 5,000, a drop of ninety percent.
The religious men and women (those taking vows) have even more precipitously declined in the US over this time period. In 1965, there were 22,707 priests; today there are 14,137 with a much higher percentage of them well over the age of 65. Religious brothers have gone from 12,271 to 5,451, and women religious from the astounding number of 179,954 in 1965 to 68,634 in 2005. I should mention here that the attrition in these numbers, as well as that of diocesan priests is not only due to deaths and a dearth of priestly or religious vocations, but also a massive defection, whether sanctioned or not by the Church. Again we do not have time to analyze the multiple causes that caused this precipitous decline in belief and practice; the doubting in questions of faith and morals that was widely spread in the post-conciliar Church after the Council also led many priests and religious to abandon ship into lay married life. Naturally this also has a depressing effect on the recruitment of response to a vocation by young men and women who had seen this exodus in full play. Quite clearly the abandonment or radical changes on the part of many religious congregations of their historical rules, community life, and clothing also had a deleterious effect both on perseverance and recruitment in vocations. There are many more women religious over the age of ninety than under the age of 30 in the US. The number of Catholic nuns, 180,000 in 1965, has fallen by 60%. Their average age is now 68. The number of teaching nuns has fallen 94% from the close of the Council. The number of young men studying to become members of the two principal teaching orders: the Jesuits and Christian Brothers, have fallen by 90 percent and 99%, respectively. There is little sign of growth in this part of the Church in the US. However there are some signs of hope with the arrival of some new religious congregations and revival of others.
"We can now examine the state of what was, in many ways, the pride and joy of the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church in America: the educational system that extended from grammar school through hundreds (yes, hundreds) of Catholic colleges and universities. It is accurate to say that there had never been such an extensive, and at least in appearance, such a fundamentally sound, education system, in any place or at any time in the history of the Church. Elementary education was basically taken care of by the parish following the pioneering work of St. John Neumann. The parish also directed many high schools but there were also many directed by the armies of men and women religious. Virtually all of the high schools were single-sex while some were co-institutional i.e., boys and girls in the same building but educated separately. Naturally the combination of stable marriages, relatively large families, and strong catechesis produced not only vocations but also well formed men and women who lived their faith in a coherent way in their professional work, including politics and marital life. That is all virtually gone now.
"Almost half the Catholic schools open in 1965 have closed. There were 4.5 million students in Catholic schools in the mid-1960's. Today there is about half that number. What is even more troubling is that those children still attending Catholic schools (grammar and high) are taught by lay poorly formed Generation X Catholics who often themselves have serious difficulties with aspects of Catholic doctrinal and moral life. Only 10 percent of lay religious teachers accept Church teaching on contraception, 53 percent believed a Catholic woman could get an abortion and remain a good Catholic, 65 percent said Catholics have a right to divorce and remarry, and in a New York Times poll, 70 percent of Catholics ages 18-54 said they believed the Holy Eucharist was but a "symbolic reminder" of Jesus." (See
Fr. C J. McCloskey, in an article entitled "The Church in the US,"at
As Bishop Sanborn has said: "Such are the fruits of Vatican II. Consequently, we Catholics turn our eyes with disgust upon Vatican II, and curse the day that it was conceived in the Modernist brain of John XXIII. Our lives have been miserable ever since. What Ratzinger and his henchmen have done is to throw a wrench into a well-oiled and humming engine of truth, to smash a crystal-clear and precious vase of decency and righteousness, to defile a golden chalice of supernatural beauty by the turpitude of their heresies. They have destroyed our Catholic world and our Catholic lives. And after forty years, as the Catholic world falls down around them, they have nothing better to say or do than to tell us that it is all wonderful. It makes us sick to hear it.
Our Lord said: 'By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.' (Matth. VII: 16-20)"