Monday, October 31, 2022

The Rise And Fall Of A Prideful Man: The Story Of Robert Lamennais


To My Readers: I'm happy to announce that a guest poster of this blog, Joanna From Poland, returns with an incredible two-part guest post after a long absence. After reading her work, you will see that the wait was well worth it! Part 2 will be published on Monday, November 14th, as the first Monday of each month is dedicated to my Contending For The Faith series. Please feel free to comment as always, and if you have a specific query or comment for me, I'll be answering as usual, but it may take a bit longer for me to get back this week. Thank you Joanna From Poland!

Also, I have my second podcast coming out this week with Mr. Kevin Davis of Catholic Family Podcast. It is a series we are doing on the "occult explosion" in our post-V2 society. I'll put the link here when it comes out. I delve into the occult in the music industry, drawing on my Singing For Satan series of August 2017-August 2019. Please comment there if you would like me to go further into music (I have enough material for two additional music podcasts), or expose a different area of the occult.  

God Bless you all, my dear readers---Introibo

Update 11/4/22: Here is the link to the second podcast on the occult:

The Rise and Fall of a Prideful Man: The Story of Robert Lamennais

By Joanna From Poland 

This is the story of a man who could have gone down in history as a splendid Catholic author had he only cooperated with the grace of God and made effort to root out the vice which seemed to have animated all of his activities ever since he was a young man and in the end brought about his fall: pride. Indeed, in the ultimately sad story of the life of Fr. Robert Lamennais the old maxim pride comes before the fall has been realized in a most tragic manner.

My inspiration and one of the references for this post was an article entitled Lamennais – prorok nowoczesnych wolności (Lamennais – the prophet of modern liberties) by a writer bearing the initials T. W. N., published in the bi-monthly periodical of the SSPX* in Poland Zawsze Wierni (January-February 2001),available in the original Polish at this link: I would also like to give credit to the work by Fr. W. M. Dębicki Anioł upadły: Ksiądz Lamennais (A Fallen Angel: Father Lamennais) published in 1901, as well as other sources as cited in the body of the text. All translation from Polish, bracketed notes, and highlights in bold font are mine.

*The choice of this article is by no means an endorsement on my part of the faulty theological position of the SSPX. While I was doing further research for this post, I realized there are available many pre-Vatican II Catholic sources on Lamennais’ life. Since, however, some portion of this post had already been written by that time with reference to that SSPX article, I decided to keep it as it is.

I did not intend to present in this article an exhaustive portrayal of Lamennais – this has already been done eloquently by Catholic writers such as Fr. Dębicki. For this reason, the details of his philosophical and political doctrines have been largely left out. What I tried to convey in this post was the road that led Lamennais at first to the heights of fame and ultimately into the lowest pits of apostasy, culminating in his final impenitence – there is, I believe, many a lesson to be drawn from this fall, sharp in some regards but really quite gradual in view of his entire life. 

Family background and childhood

Born Félicité Robert de La Mennais (much later in his life he would ostentatiously change his name to Lamennais as a sign of his complete breakaway with his past self) on June 19, 1782 into a well-to-do and respected family of French merchants in the town of Saint-Malo, Bretagne, France. His family had been granted nobility by King Louis XVI not long before the bloodthirsty God-hating French Revolution broke out in 1789. Young Féli, as he was affectionately called by his family, experienced the horrors of the ten-year reign of terror, which, at least for a time, instilled in his highly impressionable mind a deep abhorrence of the impious ideals of the French Revolution. His family provided a safe haven in their own house for one of the priests who refused to submit to the rule of the revolutionaries – such clergy were either obliged to flee France or face death at the hands of the new Masonic regime Féli would at times hear clandestine Masses said by the faithful priest at nighttime.

St. Therese of Lisieux candidly admits in her autobiography that had her parents failed to root out the first movements of their little daughter’s pride (which would become manifest in her childish stubbornness and the fondness of praise and flattery), she would have inevitably lose her soul for all eternity. This is hardly an exaggeration on the part of the Saint. Indeed, the very same vices that were successfully eradicated in the Little Flower by the grace of God and the wisdom of her parents, would be left to grow like weed in the soul of Féli.

Having lost his mother at the early age of five, Féli’s education suffered serious neglect – his father occupied himself solely with his business. An intelligent child that he was, young Robert had had no interest in learning until he was entrusted to his uncle’s care. One day the child found himself locked in a richly-stocked library, filled with works of piety, classics of antiquity, among which dangerous books of impious philosophers were placed. One of the shelves was labeled hell – it was full of the works of the 18th cent. philosophers of the so-called Enlightenment. Féli was mesmerized with both the good books and the bad ones. This was the beginning of his passionate interest in philosophy and literature, both modern and classical. Due to this uncle’s influence, at the age of twelve he knew Greek and Latin well enough to read the works of Homer, Horace, and Tacit in their original languages. However, one author for whom he had the greatest admiration was one Jean Jacques Rousseau. The influence of Rousseau’s proto-Revolutionary philosophy upon Lamennais’ adolescent mind cannot be stressed enough. Rousseau’s most popular book, The Social Contract published in 1762, brought to public attention dangerous ideas that had been up to that point in history the object of interest of academics only. The Catholic Encyclopedia writes that “the influence of this book was immense” though the ideas contained therein were not really that original:

“Rousseau owes much indeed to Hobbes and Locke, and to Montesquieu’s Esprit de lois, published fourteen years before; but, by extreme prominence given to the ideas of popular sovereignty, of liberty and equality, and especially by his highly colored style, his short and concise formula, he put within the common reach principles and concepts which had hitherto been confined to scientific exposition. The book gave expression to ideas and feelings which, at that time of political and social unrest, were growing in the popular mind” and Rousseau himself certainly “furnished the French Revolution with its philosophy, and his principles direct the actual political life of France” [see:]. Naturally, five of  Rousseau’s works, including The Social Contract, were duly placed on the Index of Prohibited Books (according to the 1948 edition of the Index).

Lamennais’ biographer, Father Dębicki did not hesitate to assert that Rousseau “exerted a most destructive influence upon Lamennais’ entire life.

“The passionate reading of Cartesian thinkers, coupled with the lack of appropriate discipline in the upbringing of the young Lamennais resulted in his religious skepticism. When the time of his first Holy Communion came, he did not want to receive our Eucharistic Lord, engaging in pseudo-theological disputes with the priest. Years after, full of religious zeal, he would write to one of his priest-friends, describing his past life as full of iniquities which even the most severe and the longest penance could not wash away. Ah, what a misfortune it is to start one’s life so badly! I’m still carrying the effects of my first errors, and how all of this is going to end? God only knows!”

Early Adulthood and Priesthood

Young Lamennais had no precise plans concerning his future life. His older brother, Jean, “a decisive man, bursting with energy, who had just received his priestly ordination and never doubted his own vocation” was instrumental in his younger brother’ gradual return to the Church. Jean’s fervent wish was that his brother should become a priest. Finally, after a long internal battle, Robert Félicité kneeled at the altar rails to receive his first Holy Communion in 1804 at the age of twenty-two. His biographer notes that Lamennais’ decision seemed inspired by the principle of Rousseau – to reach adulthood in order to choose one’s religion freely.

Although Lamennais’ decision to return to the practice of religion was truly his own, his ordination to the priesthood was largely the effect of his older brother’s insistence.

“He still wasn’t thoroughly convinced as to his own vocation and seen the Church as a reactionary institution in many aspects; nevertheless, he would honestly lament the de-Christianization of his country, was outraged by the despotism of Napoleon Bonaparte and his scorn for the Church.”

“In 1809 Lamennais received tonsure, vowed to renounce his pride, and never to write again, but he wavered in his resolutions and believed he was about to choose the wrong path for him.”

He wrote still, attacking the policy of Napoleon who would infringe upon the temporary powers of the Church and, animated with apologetic zeal, sought to demonstrate the fact that only the Pope enjoys supreme jurisdiction over the entire Church, specifically in the appointment of bishops, thus attacking the Gallican tendencies of some of the French clergy. With the overthrow of Bonaparte in April of 1814, Lamennais earnestly hoped for the restoration of monarchy and the Bourbon dynasty, becoming a most ardent royalist. He was compelled to seek exile in England, following Napoleon’s landing in France in March 1815 and his brief re-seizure of power. There Lamennais would dwell in poverty, working as a tutor to children of French emigrants. Finally, when political turmoil in his country was settled, in December of that same year he entered the Seminary of St. Sulpice in France, still amid serious doubts concerning his vocation.

His seminary stay was a short and disappointing one as “he was taken for dull and stupid; at the end of a fortnight he came back to the Feuillantines and the Abbé Carron [his priest-friend from London], and in 1816 he was ordained at Rennes [!]. Lamennais was then thirty-four” [see: translator’s preface to the English edition of Lamennais’ Essay on Indifference in Matters of Religion London: 1895; first edition was published in the original French in 1817, soon after Lamennais’ ordination and brought him fame and appraisal as the leading Catholic apologist in France].

Lamennais underwent no formal seminary training. He never lived the disciplined and orderly life of a seminarian nor was he taught the standard courses in philosophy and theology. His entire seminary education amounted to a few months of moral theology carried out by his priest-friend and four weeks of a solitary reading of theology manuals. His biographer writes:

“The same man who deemed himself called to pose as a restorer of the education of the priest in France, did not undergo any systematic course in philosophy or theology (…) he never seriously studied dogmatics either.”

“A few years later Fr. Lamennais’ friend, while listening to his talk on the Creation and the Holy Trinity, could not hide his astonishment at the author’s ignorance in this matter: the simplest issues, like, for instance, the difference, between nature and grace, were totally alien to him.

An incident concerning Victor Hugo, Lamennais’ contemporary and his friend, is also quite telling as to the quality of the latter’s priestly vocation. We read in A Victor Hugo Encyclopedia by John Andrew Frey that:

“Lammenais’ spectacular transformation from conservative believer to radical socialist in spirit, if not in name, parallels that of Victor Hugo with whom Lamennais was on close personal terms while he was assigned to the church of Saint Sulpice in Paris. In the end, Lamennais left Catholicism, as did Victor Hugo whose faith was initially more akin to his youthful conservative and royalist leanings. (…) Lamennais was in close contact with Hugo in those early years, as can be seen in Lamennais’ correspondence. (…) On a very personal note, it was Lamennais who helped arrange the religious marriage of Hugo to Adèle Foucher, which took place at Saint Sulpice on October 12, 1822. This marriage in the church would have been almost impossible for the simple reason that there was no record of Victor Hugo’s ever having been baptized. This obstacle was overcome by Hugo’s father who declared that Victor had been baptized in Italy (which is most unlikely given the Voltairian opinions of Hugo’s mother). Assured of this so-called baptism, Lamennais supplied the necessary certificate of baptism [!], and the religious ceremony was thus assured.”

Note that Fr. Lamennais was satisfied with an unreliable statement in a matter concerning sacramental validity and, rather than baptize the man conditionally, chose to issue a baptismal certificate with no credible evidence of the sacrament ever being administered.

Fr. E. J. Quigley notes that neglect of the most basic priestly duties must have contributed a great deal to the gradual falling away of Lamennais. He observes that “the proposition claiming exemption from the [Divine] Office for those engaged in great studies was condemned by Pope Alexander VII. The biographers of Lamennais trace the beginning of his downfall to his exemption from his daily Office.” [see: The Divine Office: A Study of the Roman Breviary by Rev. E. J. Quigley 1920]

Lamennais fell dangerously ill in July of the year 1827. At that time he was still known by his family name de la Mennais and celebrated as a splendid apologist and Catholic publicist. Lamennais – the demagogue and apostate had not yet been born. Father Dębicki writes:

“Having been prepared for his road to eternity by the reception of the Last Rites, he was holding a rosary in his hands, given to him by Pope Leo XII at a farewell audience, waiting for the hour of his death with resignation and Christian peace, the sick man whispered these words of consolation to his brother Jean: I leave you that which is the most beautiful on earth – the apology of the truth.

“Contrary to all predictions, his condition took a turn for the better and he regained his health. In the conclave that elected Gregory XVI as Supreme Pastor, on December 22, 1830 in his journal L’Avenir Lamennais issued the following wishes and homage to the Head of the Church designated by Divine Providence: To You, who has been by the mysterious rulings of God consecrated since the beginning of time as the Father of all Christians, to You, whom we are yet to know by name, yet our Faith greets You in advance; at Your feet we already make our vows of boundless obedience and unshaken love; it shall be to You – we hope – the solace in your toil and cares which are soon to fall as a heavy burden upon Your dignified head.

Little did he know that a in a span of merely two years his effusive pledge of allegiance to the Vicar of Christ would be tried only to fail miserably.


--- END OF PART I ---

Monday, October 24, 2022

Filioque: The Error Of Eastern Schismatics Explained


To My Readers: I am once more indebted to Lee for providing another outstanding post to be published while I catch up on my work and personal life. Please feel free to comment as usual. Any comments or questions specifically directed to me will always be answered as usual, but it might take me a bit longer to respond this week.

God Bless you all, my dear readers---Introibo

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I was asked by Mr. Kevin Davis of Catholic Family Podcast to do a series of podcasts on the occult, as I have researched the topic for years, and have written many posts warning of the "Occult Revival" since Vatican II. I told him it would be my honor to get the word out in another excellent form of media. Look for the first podcast to come out later this week.---Introibo

Update 10/25/22: Here is the podcast link 

Qui ex patre FILIOQUE procedit

By Lee

With many people beginning to visualize the problems in the Conciliar religion, it oftentimes will happen that some inadvertently escape a false religion to join another false religion. Some of these people are searching for the truth as they church hop, while others get deceived into thinking that a particular religion is really the true one, when it is in fact not. One religion in particular is the Eastern Orthodox religion. Unfortunately, there is nothing Orthodox (right in its teaching) about it, nor can it claim to have been faithful to the early Church for 900 years prior to its founding by Photius (more on that later).

The Orthodox are most notably known for their schism with Rome because of their refusal to submit to the Roman Pontiff (the pope) as the final authority over the entire Church but what they are not rebuked enough for is the dogmas they deny. One in particular is known as the filioque which was added to the Nicene Creed by the Church.

Who was Photius?

To better understand why Photius held to certain beliefs during the Photian Schism, it's best to read about his background. Fr. John Laux's book Church History gives a very detailed description. He says the following:

In the middle of the ninth century a patriarch of Constantinople made the first deliberate attempt to sever the Greek Church from the West by appealing to the national pride of his countrymen. This man was Photius.

We saw above the St. Theodora re-established the Catholic faith in the East in 842. All went well until her son Michael, known in history as "the Drunkard," came of age and began to reign. This sensual prince fell entirely under the influence of his uncle Bardas, a profligate of the most despicable character, who lived in sin with one of his near relatives. On the feast day of the Epiphany, 857, St. Ignatius, who had succeeded St. Methodius as patriarch of Constantinople in 846, refused to give Bardas Holy Communion. Ignatius was arrested and imprisoned, and upon refusing to resign his office was illegally deposed, while Photius, a layman, was installed as patriarch in his place.

Photius was easily the most learned man of his time, as his monumental work, the Bibliotheca, which consists of abridgments of and extracts from 280 volumes of classical authors amply testifies. But even his greatest admirers admit that he was worldly, crafty, ambitious, and unscrupulous. When he saw that his usurpation caused discontent among the clergy and the people, he persuaded the Emperor to send ambassadors with costly presents to Pope St. Nicholas I in order to secure his approbation. In spite of false statements made by the ambassadors-they said that Ignatius has resigned his see because of his advanced age, and voluntarily retired into a monastery-the Pope refused to decide until he had investigated the matter. The legates whom he sent to Constantinople for this purpose, yielding to threats of bribery, acknowledged Photius as lawful patriarch. But Nicholas saw through their deceit, and in a letter to the Eastern bishops condemned and deposed Photius. 

The rage of the proud intruder knew no bounds. In a letter addressed to all the patriarchs and bishops of the East he railed against all claim to spiritual authority on the part of the Holy See, declaring it intolerable, above all, since the imperial crown of the West had been set by Leo III on the head of Charlemagne, a barbarian Frank. He accused the Latin Church of heresy for adding the word "Filioque" (and from the Son) to the Nicene Creed, and attacked the discipline and the usage of the Latins, particularly their practice of fasting on Saturday, their use of milk and cheese on fast days, and the enforced celibacy of the clergy. His hatred of Rome at last led him to do what none of his predecessors had dared to do: he excommunicated the whole Latin world and pronounced sentence of deposition against Pope Nicholas (867).

The triumph of the arrogant patriarch was short-lived. The drunken and vicious Emperor over whom he had held sway so long was murdered in 867. Basil, his murderer and successor, cast Photius into prison and reinstated Ignatius. A Council-the Eight Ecumenical-which assembled at Constantinople in 869 condemned Photius and his sacrilegious acts, and restored union under the authority of the Apostolic See. After the death of Ignatius in 877, Photius again ascended the patriarchal throne and in order to be approved by Pope John VIII professed in express terms to acknowledge the Roman Primacy. He soon broke his word and was excommunicated once more. He ended ingloriously. In 886 the Emperor Leo the Philosopher deprived him of his office and banished him to a monastery in Armenia. After this, we hear no more of him.

So what is the big deal about Filioque?
Filioque means "and from the son." The Orthodox believe that the Holy Ghost proceeds ONLY from the Father and NOT the Son, whereas Catholics believe the Holy Ghost proceeds from BOTH the Father and the Son.

The Orthodox consider the filioque as heretical because they believe that by adding "and from the son" changes the uniqueness of the hypostasis (of being) in Jesus Christ and conclude that Christ would be giving to the Holy Ghost an origin or being that was both God the Father (Uncreated) and Man (createdness).

The Catholic understanding of the filioque is that the Father, as the "principle without principle," is the first origin of the Spirit, but also that he, as Father of the only Son, is with the Son the single principle from which the Spirit proceeds. It rejects the notion that the Holy Ghost proceeds jointly and equally from two principles (Father and Son) and teaches dogmatically that the Holy Ghost proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two principles but as from one single principle. Therefore, it would heresy to deny this dogma as the Church teaches it.

Below is the list of quotes from the Councils/Creeds as well as Eastern Fathers which an Eastern Orthodox priest deleted on his video on the filioque in the comment section on YouTube when I posted them. Presumably he did so because it shows where the early church fathers from the East believed the dogma prior to when it was added to the Nicene Creed many centuries later.

The Athanasius Creed

“[W]e venerate one God in the Trinity, and the Trinity in oneness. . . . The Father was not made nor created nor begotten by anyone. The Son is from the Father alone, not made nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son, not made nor created nor begotten, but proceeding” (Athanasian Creed [A.D. 400])

The Second Council of Nicaea

“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, proceeding from the Father through the Son” (Profession of Faith [A.D. 787]).

St. Basil the Great

“Through the Son, who is one, he [the Holy Spirit] is joined to the Father, one who is one, and by himself completes the Blessed Trinity” (The Holy Spirit 18:45 [A.D. 375]).
“[T]he goodness of [the divine] nature, the holiness of [that] nature, and the royal dignity reach from the Father through the only-begotten [Son] to the Holy Spirit. Since we confess the persons in this manner, there is no infringing upon the holy dogma of the monarchy” (Ibid., 18:47).

Epiphanius of Salamis

“The Father always existed and the Son always existed, and the Spirit breathes from the Father and the Son” (The Man Well-Anchored 75 [A.D. 374]).

St.Gregory of Nyssa

“[The] Father conveys the notion of unoriginate, unbegotten, and Father always; the only-begotten Son is understood along with the Father, coming from him but inseparably joined to him. Through the Son and with the Father, immediately and before any vague and unfounded concept interposes between them, the Holy Spirit is also perceived conjointly” (Against Eunomius 1 [A.D. 382]).

St. Cyril of Alexandria

“Since the Holy Spirit when he is in us effects our being conformed to God, and he actually proceeds from the Father and Son, it is abundantly clear that he is of the divine essence, in it in essence and proceeding from it” (Treasury of the Holy Trinity, thesis 34 [A.D. 424]).

“[T]he Holy Spirit flows from the Father in the Son” (Ibid.).

"Recognize and Resist" (R&R)
There are many parallels between the Orthodox religion and those who call themselves traditional Catholic but who in turn reject their own pope (R&R / Recognize and Resist). It's one thing to believe that bishops who profess the faith can carry on the mission of the Church without a head until a pope is elected, even if for a very long period, but it's quite another to believe that bishops have the power to depose a pope, as if to say the body of bishops (how many is anyone's guess) have equal authority in the church as the pope. This along with calling the man one believes to be pope a heretic is all out blasphemy and heretical itself which many these days fall for. Hence they become the pope's pope. We could say that the SSPX/Resistance PROCEEDS from BOTH the Orthodox and the Gallicans.
The repercussion of not acknowledging the head of the Church as the final authority only creates more damage. Pope Pius XII made it clear:

Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. "For in one spirit" says the Apostle, "were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free." As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith. And therefore, if a man refuse to hear the Church, let him be considered - so the Lord commands - as a heathen and a publican. It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit... For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy. Mystici Corporis Christi, para.  #22 and 23

It is the Magisterium which makes the final say on matters of faith, morality, discipline, and liturgy. As St. Robert Bellarmine put it:

The Pope is the Teacher and Shepherd of the whole Church, thus, the whole Church is so bound to hear and follow him that if he would err, the whole Church would err.

Now our adversaries respond that the Church ought to hear him so long as he teaches correctly, for God must be heard more than men.

On the other hand, who will judge whether the Pope has taught rightly or not? For it is not for the sheep to judge whether the shepherd wanders off, not even and especially in those matters which are truly doubtful. Nor do Christian sheep have any greater judge or teacher to whom they might have recourse. As we showed above, from the whole Church one can appeal to the Pope yet, from him no one is able to appeal; therefore necessarily the whole Church will err if the Pontiff would err. (De Romano Pontifice, Book IV, Chapter 3)

In Volume 1, Fathers Rumbles and Carty gave some of the best answers from Radio Replies. They demonstrated why it is necessary to believe in dogmas of the Church, this is what they had to say:

599. Dogma will not save a single soul.
Alone it will not. But since the Catholic Church is the true Church which Christ commands us to hear, the conscious and deliberate rejection of her dogmas can forfeit salvation.

604. Do you think that your old-fashioned dogmas have any appeal?
The dogmas of the Catholic Church clearly express the exact teaching of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. If they seem old-fashioned to some men, these men have simply out-grown the truth to their own detriment.

608. But by the mere fact of accepting the teachings of the Church, Catholics are accepting other men's reasonings.

They are not. Where other men's reasonings are concerned, Catholics should test them for themselves, and if they prove faulty, should reject them. But the Catholic Church says that when God has revealed a truth it is no longer a question of men's reasonings, and that we are not morally free to assert the opposite. We are obliged to accept doctrines revealed by God, because we know that God cannot be mistaken. But of course we make sure that God did say the things we accept on His authority.

307. How does the Greek Church differ from the Catholic Church?
The Greek Churches are both schismatical and heretical. They are separated from the obedience due to the authority of Christ in His true Church. They acknowledge no infallible head. They may retain valid orders and the Mass—things which Protestantism lost—but they have fallen into errors concerning the Holy Trinity, the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, and various other points of Christian doctrine.

In these times of apostasy, one must be very mindful of whom they receive sacraments from when exiting from the new Conciliar religion. Only in danger of death are Catholics permitted to receive the sacrament of Penance from an Orthodox priest provided there is no scandal. However, to receive Holy Communion or even attempt to attend their liturgy is to profess externally that it doesn't matter which religion one belongs to. This is forbidden. St. Hermenegild whose feast is celebrated on April 13th reminds us of why he was such a great saint and martyr. As it says in the Roman Missal he refused to receive Holy Communion from an Arian bishop. Pope St. Agatho said "He who prays with heretics, is a heretic."

To believe in the filioque, one must first believe in the Magisterium. This is where Photius failed and why all Protestantism is futile. In present circumstances Catholics are forced to take the sedevacantist position when the impostors of Catholicism join Protestantism through joint declarations and other official documents approving of heresy, schism, and apostasy. It's impossible because Jesus said "And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren." (St. Luke 22: 31-32). 

Monday, October 17, 2022

A Waste Of Space: Are Humans Alone In The Universe?


The modern fascination with UFOs has grown exponentially after World War II, when the first official reports of "flying saucers" was made in 1947. Opinion surveys continue to show that at least 41% of Americans believe either in UFOs or extraterrestrials:

Four in 10 Americans now think some UFOs that people have spotted have been alien spacecraft visiting Earth from other planets or galaxies. This is up from a third saying so two years ago. Half, however, believe all such sightings can be explained by human activity or natural phenomena, while an additional 9% are unsure. These findings are based on a Gallup poll conducted in July 2021.

While Americans are still inclined to think UFOs are not alien spacecraft, close to half believe alien life forms exist beyond Earth. A June 2019 poll found 49% of Americans believing there are "people somewhat like ourselves" living on other planets. A much larger percentage, 75%, said that "life of some form" exists elsewhere in the universe. 

A few years back, I had a conversation with a colleague which turned to the subject of UFOs. He believed aliens were visiting us. I told him I was not convinced of that thesis. Most UFO sightings are the result of a hoax, mental instability, people using drugs/alcohol, and those which had plausible explanations in nature. He pressed on, "And what about those sightings that don't fit in those neat categories?" I told him they were most likely demonic. My colleague (an agnostic) replied, "I see why you think that---extraterrestrial life would disprove Christianity."

Is that true? Would the existence of extraterrestrials be incompatible with the Catholic Faith? In this post, I will set forth the connection of UFOs with the occult, and explore the theological ramifications if there were rational life forms on other planets.

Unidentified Aerial Objects
From antiquity, individuals have reported seeing unusual and inexplicable things in the skies. Often people observed real objects—natural phenomena that only later could be understood and appreciated in light of advancements in science, particularly in physics and astronomy. To those unfamiliar with astronomical or atmospheric phenomena, the ordinary can appear extraordinary. Nonetheless, some people insist that extraordinary flying anomalies have persisted throughout the ages. Even today, some reports of strange sightings are difficult to dismiss as being misidentified natural phenomena, though natural explanations may yet be found for at least some of them.

Fascination with unidentified flying objects is nothing new. First called "Foo Fighters" during WWII, and then called UFOs, the term was coined in 1953 by the U.S. Airforce to describe any "perceived aerial phenomenon that cannot immediately be identified or explained." Recently, on June 25, 2021, the Pentagon released a report, nine pages in length, on UFOs to Congress. The military has renamed UFOs as unidentified aerial phenomenaUAPs. This was done purposely, at least in part, to avoid the claim associated with the term UFO, namely, that aliens from another planet/dimension have visited Earth. (See 

From 1947 to 1969, the U.S. Air Force investigated UFOs in a top secret operation known as Project Blue Book ("PBB"). PBB investigated 12,618 reported UFO sightings. Each sighting was placed in one of several categories; psychological meant the origin was the result of an hallucination by one or more persons not of sound mind; substance induced meant the person was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and hallucinated it; hoax meant the person lied, made up photos, etc.; scientifically explained meant the sighting had a rational explanation (e.g., the person(s) saw a weather balloon that flew off course, etc.); and unidentified meant they did not fall into any of the other categories, they were real, yet the scientists working for PBB could not explain what they were. Of those 12,618 investigations, 701 or approximately 5.5% were in the unidentified category. 

PBB ended with three conclusions: (a) UFOs are not a threat to national security, (b) there is no evidence that the unidentified category sightings are examples of superior technology, and (c) there is no evidence that the unidentified category sightings are extraterrestrial space vehicles. The finding were eventually challenged by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, PhD (d. 1986)--an astrophysicist who was a complete skeptic, believing UFOs to be either the result of natural phenomena, hoaxes, or hallucinations from unstable witnesses.  He was hired by the Air Force to debunk any/all case sightings. Hynek is quoted as saying UFOs were nonsense and "the whole subject seems utterly ridiculous." 

By the end of PBB, Hynek had changed his mind. The hardened skeptic and agnostic believed there was sufficient evidence that UFOs were extraterrestrial or extradimensional crafts. In 1985, Hynek explained why he changed his mind:

 Two things, really. One was the completely negative and unyielding attitude of the Air Force. They wouldn't give UFOs the chance of existing, even if they were flying up and down the street in broad daylight. Everything had to have an explanation. I began to resent that, even though I basically felt the same way, because I still thought they weren't going about it in the right way. You can't assume that everything is black no matter what. Secondly, the caliber of the witnesses began to trouble me. Quite a few instances were reported by military pilots, for example, and I knew them to be fairly well-trained, so this is when I first began to think that, well, maybe there was something to all this. (See Hynek, J. Allen, The Hynek UFO Report [1977], pg.132).

Hynek developed the famous "Close Encounters Scale" which he published in his 1972 book The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry. The scale has "Close Encounters" of the First, Second, and Third Kind. A Close Encounter of the First Kind is alleged visual sightings of a UFO at a range of about 500 feet away. A Close Encounter of the Second Kind is a UFO event in which a physical effect is alleged, such as pets acting wildly and machines failing to function properly. A Close Encounter of the Third Kind is contact with UFO in which a non-human entity is present. There was a blockbuster 1977 movie entitled Close Encounters of the Third Kind based on Hynek's scale and in which Hynek himself is given a cameo appearance at the end of the film. 

What are the 5.5% of "Unidentified"?
The Church does not assume that just because something is unexplained, it must be of supernatural origin. There is, however, a strong link to the occult that would make the positing of demonic origin plausible. As of May 2019, the US Navy has drafted new guidelines for pilots and other military personnel to report encounters with “unidentified aerial phenomena,” formally called UFOs.
(See Bryan Bender, “U.S. Navy Drafting New Guidelines for Reporting UFOs,” Politico, April 23, 2019, 

The guidelines are designed to destigmatize self-reporting of such observations and allow for assessments of them. According to the reports, there has been an uptick since 2015 in the number and frequency of unknown but “highly advanced” aircraft encroaching on US Navy aircraft and strike groups and overflying governmental facilities. Descriptions of these aircraft vary. Sometimes they are described as flying “tic tacs” and sometimes as oblong spheres. Most importantly, however, these objects act in ways that defy the laws of physics. These "unidentifieds" that don't fall into the other categories (hoax, mental illness, etc.) are called residual UFO, or RUFO phenomenon. RUFO activity fails to conform to the laws of physics, just as these pilots have reported.

The Occult Connection
In 1977, Stanford astronomy professor Peter Sturrock reported results of a survey taken among members of the American Astronomical Society, the principal professional organization of astronomers. Of the 1,356 respondents (professional astronomers), 62 of them (5 percent) reported witnessing unidentifiable flying objects (RUFOs), and a couple of these respondents had seen more than one. However, there was no correlation with relative observing time on the part of these professional astronomers.

These RUFO witnesses were not astronomers with the greatest amount of observing time. In fact, the sample indicated a reverse correlation. Astronomers with only a few observation hours per year witnessed RUFOs, whereas astronomers logging more than a thousand hours per year saw nothing. The reverse correlation noted here demonstrates that something besides observing time determines who sees RUFOs and who does not. The most significant factor appears to be the activities that people pursue. Observations reveal that professional astronomers deeply involved in occult pursuits often see RUFOs, whereas professional astronomers who stay away from such pursuits never encounter RUFOs. (See Sturrock, “Report on a Survey: Part 1,” 1–45; Sturrock, “Report on a Survey: Part 3,” 309–46).

Fred and Bobby Dimond (the Feeneyite "monks" obsessed with UFOs) have a book entitled UFOs: Demonic Activity and Elaborate Hoaxes Meant to Deceive Mankind. Like everything else, the Dimonds have it backwards; the RUFOs are not demons sent to deceive, rather they are demonic manifestations of those already involved with them. Many documented cases provide support for this correlation where two or more people are together at a residual UFO event but not all experience the event. For example, four people may be standing side by side looking at the same place in the night sky: two see the residual UFO and experience physical and psychological effects; the other two see nothing and experience nothing. The ones who have the sighting were involved in occult activity such as trance states, seances, clairvoyance, spiritism, automatic handwriting, peering into crystals, levitation, and out-of-body experiences. (See John Spencer, ed., The UFO Encyclopedia,  [1991], pgs. 253–54). Invite evil into your life (unwittingly or on purpose) and it will take you up on the offer.

Demons can make people see things and even experience things via Diabolic Obsession, in which strong disturbances are imposed on the mind, e.g., thoughts of suicide, committing serious sins, or gender dysphoria. It can also take the form of an "infestation" in the house (e.g., hearing mysterious footsteps, bad odors with no cause, seeing strange animals--and all can be experienced by more than just the one primarily afflicted). According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "But the influence of the demon, as we know from Scripture and the history of the Church, goes further still. He may attack man's body from without [obsession], or assume control of it from within [possession]." 
(See; See also theologian Delaporte, The Devil, Does He Exist and What Does He Do?, [reprint from 1871], pgs. 129-130). 

Why would demons pretend to be other-worldly creatures? I'll respond with another question; why would demons pretend to be the souls of deceased people during seances or while speaking through mediums? All of the mediums will tell the grieving person who has lost someone that the deceased are "fine and happy." Of course, this is what we would all like to hear, but how is it possible that all people died within the True Church in the state of sanctifying grace? Hell and damnation are never even considered as possibilities. In the case of impersonating the souls of the dead, demons prey on the fear of death and the unknown. People want to hear "you will be happy when you die" no matter how they live. They want to hear that their father, grandmother, aunt, etc., are in Heaven no matter what they believed or did. In the case of aliens, demons would prey on humanity's hopes, rather than fears. Humans have always been fascinated by space (astrology has always been popular) and space exploration (astronomy has also held a high popularity). Millions of people want an end to disease, hunger, war, poverty, etc., and what better way to appeal to them than to pervert these hopes and tell them you can have paradise in this life and apart from God?

Extraterrestrial Life and Theology
(The opinions expressed in this section are just that--mere opinions of a layman. To the best of my knowledge and belief, no approved theologians ever wrote on this topic. I submit everything to the judgement of Holy Mother Church, if and when a true pope is restored. I will immediately, and without reservation, submit to the Magisterium's decision.---Introibo).

Suppose, ad arguendo, intelligent alien life does exist. Sadly, most speculation about intelligent aliens leaves out God entirely. In science fiction, Catholicism is never mentioned except in the novel The Sparrow, (2008) by Mary Doria Russell in which a team of scientists and Jesuit priests (V2 sect) travel to another planet to meet an intelligent species. Even more rare are stories in which the True God is also God of the alien species. If religion appears at all, it is often a mystical religion in a primitive alien culture, not something relevant for the human characters. Another exception is Protestant C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy, in which a human meets creatures on Mars and Venus who also know the True God.

Some people say that since the Bible doesn’t mention life on other planets, such cannot exist. However, the Bible also doesn’t mention Saturn’s rings, galaxies, or DNA, yet it obviously doesn't mean they don't exist. Traditionalists see them as God’s creation. Many parts of the Bible are provincial, and intentionally so. The Bible does not attempt to be comprehensive about the entire Earth or people living on other continents. Nevertheless, the Bible’s claims are also cosmic in scope. Passages like Genesis 1, St. John 1, and Colossians 1 clearly speak of God as the Creator of all things, with no exception. St. Paul writes in Colossians 1:16 “For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.” It certainly seems that these passages speak not only of the Earth but of the entire cosmos, including any intelligent life beyond Earth, if such exists. God is the Creator of all the worlds and whatever life is in them.

I've read certain arguments, which make a case from theology, that humans must be the only intelligent species in the universe. Humans have a unique, special relationship with God that is not shared by other species on Earth. This can be extended to say that humans are unique in the universe as well. Humanity has an exclusive relationship with God.

A case from theology can be made that humans could be one of many intelligent species. Scripture shows that God is generous, even extravagant, in creating an Earth that is fruitful in producing many life forms. This can be extended to say that God has created a fruitful universe with many intelligent beings. Yet that wouldn’t diminish God’s love for us—just as God loves each individual, God has the capacity to love each species in a special way. God will not "waste all that [outer] space." Whether or not God created other intelligent beings, His love for them would not make humans less significant to Him. What relationship would an extraterrestrial species have with God? 

Three Possibilities for Extraterrestrials or "Aliens" and Their Relation to God

1. Aliens never fell from God's grace. Perhaps other worlds have the situation we would have had on Earth if Adam and Eve had chosen to obey God. They passed their test and are not under the dominion of Original Sin. As the world (universe) was affected by Original Sin, this might explain their extraordinary abilities, such as visiting earth contrary to the laws of physics (if indeed they do visit). 

2. Aliens were tested and fell from God's grace in a way different from humanity. This could be similar to the situation of angels in Scripture. There is no Redemption for fallen angels. Some aliens are in God's grace and others went straight to Hell.

3. Aliens are fallen but Redeemed by Christ. It would be heretical to state, or even imply, that Christ had multiple Incarnations. According to theologian Pohle, "The Logos will never dissociate Himself from His Manhood.  This proposition embodies an Article of Faith." (See Dogmatic Theology, [1930], 4:174). Is it possible that Christ, after His Resurrection, visited another planet and set up a "planetary diocese" where they would be informed of the papal decisions on Earth? Why would Christ become Incarnate here and not there? I don't know, but perhaps it's possible, even as it elicits more questions than answers, and really doesn't seem tenable . The idea of Bergoglio that he would "baptize aliens" seems just as  implausible that God would leave a race without a means of salvation until they stumble upon us and ask for baptism. 

People who have an unhealthy fascination regarding UFOs will many times get involved in the occult. Then the "alien encounters" begin. Mostly, it goes the opposite way; people involved in the occult will see UFOs. Given this occult connection, it makes sense that the "occult explosion" in the wake of Vatican II is behind the increasing UFO sightings and "abductions." If there really are extraterrestrials, it is in no way a defeater for Christianity. Stay away from the occult. Give evil an invitation to visit, and you'll have an Encounter of the Worst Kind

Monday, October 10, 2022

The Index Of Forbidden Books


Many times Traditionalists will hear about The Index of Forbidden Books (hereinafter "The Index"), without really understanding what it was and how it operated. Holy Mother Church, always solicitous for the eternal welfare of Her members, would ban evil books under pain of sin to prevent the corruption of faith and morals. Montini ("Pope" Paul VI) would abolish The Index on June 14, 1966. The purpose of this post is to set forth the purpose and history of The Index, as well as explaining how books and authors were placed on it. The Modernist reaction against it will also be explained.

(The information for this post was taken from theologian Betten, The Roman Index of Forbidden Books [1909], and librarian/historian Burke, What is The Index? [1952], as well as some minor authorities regarding the history, purpose and workings behind The Index. I condensed the information, and I take no credit for any of it.---Introibo). 

 The History of The Index
That the Church has the right to legislate on the publication and use of all books that touch on questions of faith and morals, must be evident to every Traditionalist Catholic. It is a truth clearly contained in the words of Christ to St. Peter: "Feed my lambs, feed my sheep," (St. John 21) and in the duty imposed on the Apostles of "teaching the faithful to observe all, whatsoever I have commanded you." (St. Matthew 28:20). The fact that general councils as well as many popes have issued laws and decrees regarding books, is sufficient evidence of their power and of their commission to do this. This very fact must also convince us that the observation of these laws must be salutary and conducive to the welfare of the Church at large and of the individual Catholic. The inventions, discoveries and progress of our times can introduce no change in this respect. The human mind is still as prone to err and as much subject to the persuasive influence of books as it ever was. Good books are as useful today as they were in olden times, and objectionable writings have the same deplorable effects they had a thousand years ago.

Nor can the Church, possessing the power to watch over our reading, neglect to make use of this power when the salvation of souls calls for its exercise. Bad literature is one of the worst enemies of mankind. The Church can never allow it to corrupt the hearts of her children or to undermine the foundation of their faith, without at least raising a warning voice.

It is against this acknowledgement of the Church's power and duty to censor reading that The Index must be considered. The first list of forbidden books was issued in the beginning of the fifth century. In 405, Pope Innocent I sent to the Bishop of Toulouse the authentic books of the Bible and listed a number of apocryphal documents that were condemned. The nascent Church was already most concerned with protecting the integrity of Her teachings against heresies. A decree issued by Pope Gelasius in 496, and published at a council in Rome, has been described by many clerics as the first "Roman Index of Forbidden Books."

In 1467, Pope Innocent VIII decreed that all books must be submitted to the local Church authorities for examination and permission before being issued for general reading. The purpose of this decree was to prevent publication of any works presenting an erroneous interpretation of Catholic doctrine. This was the beginning of the Nihil Obstat ("nothing stands in the way"), and Imprimatur ("it may be printed") followed by the name of the local Ordinary granting permission. It is not necessary that the theologian checking the work, or the Bishop, need to agree with the opinions expressed, only that there is contained therein no errors against faith and/or morals. 

A similar decree to Pope Innocent was issued by Pope Leo X at the Fifth Lateran Council on May 4, 1515, and addressed to the entire world. It was the first general decree of supervisory censorship binding the whole Church. The Council of Trent (1545-1563) appointed a committee to study Church control of literature. A list of ten general rules was submitted to the final session of the Council, which was approved for judging all publications. It formed a complete and developed legislation concerning permitting books to be published, and also for condemning books already in circulation. Trent's decree remained in effect for the next 300 years. 

The first catalogue of forbidden books to carry the term Index in its title, was issued by Pope Pius IV. This was followed by a new Index in 1564, the work of Trent. Besides proscribed works, that Index contained the Tridentine rules for judging books, and thereby served as a guide to the average reader when assessing a publication not condemned. In 1571, Pope St. Pius V established the Congregation of the Index which had the duty to publish new editions of The Index, and to rule upon those works referred to it for a final decision. 

In 1897, Pope Leo XIII revised the Tridentine rules and incorporated them into a revised Index of Forbidden Books, published in 1900. Pope St. Pius X called for a complete codification and reformation of canon law in 1904, but it would be his successor, Pope Benedict XV who would oversee the completion of the project and he promulgated the new Code of Canon Law on May 27, 1917, with an effective date of May 19, 1918. That same year of promulgation, Pope Benedict merged the Congregation of the Index as a subdivision of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, which has the pope as Prefect. The 1917 Code has Canons 1384 through 1405 dealing with the condemnation of books. This Index remained until the Vatican II sect's  Montini "abolished" it  in 1964.

Books Prohibited to Catholics under The Index
The following classes of publications are forbidden to be read by Catholics.

  • of the Bible that do not have Church approval, or are published by non-Catholics
  • dealing with new apparitions, visions, prophesies, or introducing new forms of devotion
  • altering liturgical works approved by the Holy See
  • spreading a knowledge of spurious indulgences, or which have been condemned or or revoked by the Holy See
  • containing any pictures, no matter how printed, of Our Lord, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, angels, saints, or other servants of God, which are not in harmony with the spirit and decrees of the Church
  • of any writers defending or championing heresy or schism
  • which avowedly attack religion and good morals
  • of any non-Catholic writers which professedly treat of religion, unless it is certain they contain nothing contrary to the Catholic faith
  • attacking or pouring ridicule on any Catholic dogma
  • defending errors condemned by the Holy See
  • tending to diminish the fervor of worship
  • seeking to undermine ecclesiastical discipline
  • having the aim of insulting the hierarchy or denigrating the clerical or religious state of life
  • teaching or fostering any kind of superstition, fortunetelling, divination, magick, communication with spirits of the dead, and all other similar practices
  • representing Freemasonry and secret societies as useful and not detrimental to both Church and State
  • discussing, describing, or teaching impure or obscene matters, or which defend the lawfulness of dueling, suicide, or divorce 
The term "books" includes magazines, newspapers, and pamphlets. 

The Method of Examining Books
This method was outlined by Pope Benedict XIV in 1753 in his bull, Sollicita ac Provida for the Holy Office and the then existing Congregation of the Index. Since 1917, the Holy Office proceeds in the following way:

There is regularly a session on Monday comprising only those members of the Congregation who are not Cardinals, in order to deliberate about the matters to be proposed to the latter. The Cardinals hold their meeting on Wednesday, and in this session the final step is decided upon. The decree of the Cardinals must still be reported to the Pope, without whose consent no verdict of any Congregation may be published. A book may be denounced to the Holy Office by anyone, but usually it takes the denunciation of a Bishop to merit consideration. 

Now, when there is the question of the condemnation of a book, it is first handed to one of the consultors (always an approved theologian), who must study and examine it carefully. He must draw up a detailed report, noting exactly the passages which he finds objectionable, and pointing out redeeming features. The book with his report next goes to the other consultors, so that each one can satisfy himself whether the first examiner's view is well founded, and has an opportunity to formulate his own judgment. The matter is then proposed in one of the Monday sessions and publicly discussed. A vote is taken as to the step to be recommended to the Cardinals. Then the book together with the first report, the notes of other consultors, and the vote arrived at in the preliminary Monday session, goes to the Cardinals, who in the Wednesday session will give their final verdict. Lastly, the matter is laid before the Pope for his sanction.

This is an excellent method. A book is examined at least three times, before a verdict is reached, and a large number of picked scholars participate in the proceedings, each of whom has taken an oath never to allow himself to be swayed by sympathy or antipathy, and to have nothing in view but the welfare of souls.

It has been customary to give the verdict in one of these four technical phrases: Damnetur, "condemned"; dimittatur, "dismissed"; donec corrigatur, "forbidden until amended"; res dilata, "the case is postponed." The verdict donec corrigatur can of course be given only when a book admits of correction. If it is thoroughly bad (if written, for example, to praise Freemasonry or for maligning Catholic bishops), a donec corrigatur would have no meaning.

If the author is a Catholic, he must be informed before the decree is published. If but a few copies of the book have been sold, and the author promises either to suppress it, or to issue an amended edition, if possible, the decree is not published. However, even when this cannot be prevented, e. g., when a whole edition is already in circulation, credit is given to the author in the decree itself for declaring his submission, by adding the words: auctor laudabiliter se subjecit, "the author has praiseworthily submitted."

Great care is taken to have all books examined by men who are not only well versed in the subject matter, but who also understand thoroughly the language in which they happen to be written. Nor does the Congregation in important cases confine itself to its regular consultors; whenever it seems advisable, the services of other competent critics are enlisted.

All the members of the Congregation are bound by oath to keep absolute secrecy with regard to every detail of the official transactions, no matter whether a book under discussion is finally condemned or not. By this means each feels more free in giving his opinion, and the reputation of the author is spared as long and as much as possible. The pope has full and final say as to the pronouncement of the Holy Office. 

Penalties and Permission
According to the theologians, the reading of a forbidden book, or part of it, is a mortal sin. The selection of the books on which our souls feed is a matter of no small importance. True, the Church is the kindest of Mothers; but she is also the wisest. To direct the consciences of Her children and "to restrain them from the reading of bad books that are poison to the soul," is the great object of Her legislation. 

Objection: "I am a Catholic. I live up to my religion and go regularly to the sacraments. I have had a good Catholic education and hear a sermon every Sunday. I do not see why I should be afraid to read any book, even if it belonged to those forbidden by the Index."

Reply: You may do so; but you may fare in consequence as David fared—David who was a saint and yet committed adultery and murder. If you read a forbidden book without permission, you are as good a Catholic as one who eats meat on Friday. The object of the law of abstinence is to make sure that every Christian performs at least a certain minimum of penance. Now there are saintly persons who, in imitation of our crucified Savior, do more penance on ordinary days than the average Catholic does by abstaining from meat on twenty or more Fridays; and yet they are not exempted from the law of abstinence and would be the last to claim such an exemption.

Similarly the object of the Index is to make sure that every Christian avoids at least the worst books. By obeying its laws we declare that our standpoint is that of the Church of God. This result cannot be obtained unless the prohibition is made universal, exempting no one, no matter how pious or learned he may be. Therefore, all Christians, good and bad, priests, religious and lay people, students and professors, unless they have a dispensation, are bound by the ecclesiastical laws regarding books. By asking for a dispensation we implicitly acknowledge and approve of the official position of the Church on the subject of wicked books, and, so far as in us lies, ratify and sanction the reasons which lead to their condemnation.

Permission to read forbidden books. Permission to read a forbidden book, for an ample reason (study, to refute error, for a course in college, etc.) may be obtained from the local Ordinary, the Holy Office, or the pope. 

Presumptive permission. If someone should find himself in a position where reading a forbidden book is necessary, but recourse cannot be had to the ecclesiastical authorities (e.g., a judge called upon to evaluate such a book in secular court), such individuals may presume permission to read it. There is never justification for any reading that may be an impulse to serious sin. What may be an impulse for one person may not be so for another. If a reader knows from experience that reading a certain kind of book will cause him to doubt the faith, he must not read it, even with permission granted. (In our time of sedevacante, with no recourse to proper authority, this presumptive permission, and our good judgement, is what obtains.---Introibo).

The Vatican II sect and The Index
The Conciliar document on The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, or Gaudium et Spes, makes reference to the old confrontational model of the Church in regards to culture when it admits that there have been «difficulties» in the way of harmonizing culture with Christian thought...The other Conciliar document, which precipitated the changing of the Church’s practice of censorship, was Dignitatis Humanae or the Declaration on Religious Liberty. This document articulated he role of the individual conscience of each person. By giving more responsibility to the individual Catholic to think for oneself, this document exalted the role of the well-informed conscience. 

The human conscience is seen as a sanctuary of the human person that cannot be violated by coercion or compulsion. Human rights and religious freedom are also described in a renewed way by this declaration. A community of believers with well-formed Christian consciences, acute moral sensibilities, and intense commitment to the Gospel eliminates the need for the Church’s role in censorship. The Declaration proclaims that truth can impose itself on the human mind only in virtue of its own truth, which wins over the mind with both gentleness and power. Therefore, in the
spirit of the Council, the Church ceased its activities in censorship of literature and the arts, most dramatically by abolishing the Index of Forbidden Books in 1966. (See Aurelie Hagstrom, The Catholic Church and Censorship in Literature, Books, Drama, and Film, ANALYTIC TEACHING Vol. 23, No 2; Emphasis mine).

This is pure Vatican II claptrap. The idea of conscience is tainted by the Pelagian error. Gaudium et Spes section l6 reads:

In a wonderful manner conscience reveals that law which is fulfilled by love of God and neighbor. In fidelity to conscience, Christians are joined with the rest of men in the search for truth, and for the genuine solution to the numerous problems which arise in the life of individuals from social relationships. Hence the more that a correct conscience holds sway, the more persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and strive to be guided by the objective norms of morality.

The conciliar text specifies that, when "right conscience" leads him, Man moves away from "blind choice." However, in order to resist the "blind choice" of the passions and temptations, mustn't people be aided by Grace? That's what was always the Catholic truth, founded on Tradition and Scripture: without grace, without the help of the Holy Ghost, people do not come to observe either natural or revealed morality. The Index was there to induce people, under pain of mortal sin, to know what was a danger and to stay away. The Church also gave Grace from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the Sacraments, to live up to the prohibitions of The Index. 

That all sects must be given equal status in society, and no speech prohibited, are Modernist and Masonic principles. The Index was a reminder that Error has no rights--no right to exist, let alone be published. That's why the Vatican II sect needed it abolished. They care not for the salvation of souls or the truth.

The Index was a reminder of the power of reading. St. Ignatius Loyola was converted to a devout life after reading The Bible and the lives of the saints. St. Francis de Sales, the great and learned Bishop of Geneva, had obtained permission to read the books of heretics in order to refute them, and he is careful to let his readers know the fact, at the same time thanking God, that his soul had suffered no harm in so great a danger. In this time of Great Apostasy, we must be more vigilant than ever as to what we read, so as to save our soul. There's a time-honored aphorism which states, "What goes into a mind comes out in a life." 

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Rudolph Steiner, Waldorf Schools, And The Occult


To My Readers: I was honored to be a guest on Catholic Family Podcast once more. Please see:

The "Occult Invasion" is indeed scary! Steiner and his occultism links to Vatican II itself!

God Bless you all, my dear readers---Introibo

Monday, October 3, 2022

Contending For The Faith---Part 8

In St. Jude 1:3, we read, "Dearly beloved, taking all care to write unto you concerning your common salvation, I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints." [Emphasis mine]. Contending For The Faith is a series of posts dedicated to apologetics (i.e.,  the intellectual defense of the truth of the Traditional Catholic Faith) to be published the first Monday of each month.  This is the next installment.

Sadly, in this time of Great Apostasy, the faith is under attack like never before, and many Traditionalists don't know their faith well enough to defend it. Remember the words of our first pope, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." (1Peter 3:16). There are five (5) categories of attacks that will be dealt with in these posts. Attacks against:
  • The existence and attributes of God
  • The truth of the One True Church established by Christ for the salvation of all 
  • The truth of a particular dogma or doctrine of the Church
  • The truth of Catholic moral teaching
  • The truth of the sedevacantist position as the only Catholic solution to what has happened since Vatican II 
In addition, controversial topics touching on the Faith will sometimes be featured, so that the problem and possible solutions may be better understood. If anyone had suggestions for topics that would fall into any of these categories, you may post them in the comments. I cannot guarantee a post on each one, but each will be carefully considered.

A Matter of Time
In last month's "Contending For The Faith" post, I heard from more than one commenter about the so-called Kolbe Center, and how they assert the literal interpretation of "day" in the Biblical Hexameron (i.e., the six days of Creation as described in the first chapter of Genesis) as being of 24 hours in duration is the only correct one. (See 

Please feel free to acquaint yourself with their writings and videos. There is also some material from them posted in the comments section of last month's post. The Kolbe Center's basic contention is that the literal interpretation of Genesis was consistently taught by the Church. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Traditionalist Catholic holding the literal view, it is not the exclusive view allowed by the Church, as the Kolbe Center erroneously teaches. (They claim the view that the "days" in Genesis could be a "certain period of time" longer than 24 hours is "scarcely tenable"). 

In this post, I will set forth the teaching of the Church and, by implication, the errors of the Kolbe Center. I can't help but wonder why any Traditionalist would get information from a Vatican II sect organization of laymen. You know their theology is going to be way off, and interestingly, they almost never cite to anything post-Vatican II, while they acknowledge the Robber Council and its "popes." Nevertheless, even a broken clock is right twice every 24 hours, and I won't commit the Genetic fallacy, i.e., something is wrong simply because of its source. The Center bases its argument almost exclusively on theology, so my reply will be theological not scientific. The writings of the Center, both theological and scientific, are so poor as to make me shake my head in disbelief. The theology is almost entirely the private musings of laymen on cherry-picked quotes of papal documents, decrees of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and the Fathers of the Church. In this way, they remind me of Feeneyites. 

The science espoused by the Center is equally bad. It made the former science teacher in me wince. Luckily, I need not go there. Ironically, while we have more technology than ever, scientific illiteracy is at an all-time high. I wish I had a dime for every time someone told me a  "scientific theory" is a hunch and not to be believed until it becomes a "scientific law." In science, a theory is the current best explanation of something, while a law is what always happens in our experience and we can make predictions based upon it (e.g., the law of gravity). While not arguing with them on a scientific level, I will have something to say about science at the end. 

What follows below is an exposition of the Church's teaching on the Hexameron.

The Decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission
The problematic of Biblical hermeneutics and scientific advances came to the forefront when certain Catholic clerics began to question how to interpret the "days" of Genesis given the findings that indicate a universe billions of years old. Must the Hebrew word yom be interpreted as a literal 24 hour day, or can it be a certain "period of time" (as the word itself indicates) which can be much longer than 24 hours? The Pontifical Biblical Commission ("PBC"), the decisions of which are binding in conscience, investigated that question (and others relating to Genesis) during the pontificate of Pope St. Pius X. 

On June 30, 1909, the PBC issued responses to eight questions posed. All were solemnly approved by Pope St. Pius X and ordered to be published. The responses to questions 1, 4, 6, 7, and 8 are on point:

Question I: Whether the various exegetical systems which have been proposed to exclude the literal historical sense of the three first chapters of the Book of Genesis, and have been defended by the pretense of science, are sustained by a solid foundation? -- Reply: IN THE NEGATIVE.

Question IV: Whether in interpreting those passages of these chapters, which the Fathers and Doctors have understood differently, but concerning which they have not taught anything certain and definite, it is permitted, while preserving the judgment of the Church and keeping the analogy of faith, to follow and defend that opinion which everyone has wisely approved? -- Reply: IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

Question VI: Whether, presupposing the literal and historical sense, the allegorical and prophetical interpretation of some passages of the same chapters, with the example of the Holy Fathers and the Church herself showing the way, can be wisely and profitably applied? -- Reply: IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

Question VII: Whether, since in writing the first chapter of Genesis it was not the mind of the sacred author to teach in a scientific manner the detailed constitution of visible things and the complete order of creation, but rather to give his people a popular notion, according as the common speech of the times went, accommodated to the understanding and capacity of men, the propriety of scientific language is to be investigated exactly and always in the interpretation of these? -- Reply: IN THE NEGATIVE.

Question VIII: Whether in that designation and distinction of six days, with which the account of the first chapter of Genesis deals, the word (dies) can be assumed either in its proper sense as a natural day, or in the improper sense of a certain space of time; and whether with regard to such a question there can be free disagreement among exegetes? -- Reply: IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.  
(Emphasis mine). 

Now, there are all kinds of assertions by modern laymen as to how these decisions are to be understood, with no amount of mental gymnastics. However, what any layman (including myself) has to say on this matter is irrelevant. Let's see what the approved theologians taught. According to theologian Tanquerey:

Thesis: In the first chapter of Genesis the intimate constitution of things and the complete order of creation are not described in a scientific manner; instead there is a popular-historical representation which was adapted and accommodated to the understanding of man at that time. This thesis is certain according to the reply of the Pontifical Biblical Commission...

The Pontifical Biblical Commission, June 30, 1909, taught that "in the first chapter of Genesis it was not the mind of the sacred teach the complete order of creation in a scientific way, but rather to give to his people a popular knowledge...which was suited to the understanding and discernment of man." (See Manual of Dogmatic Theology, [1959], pgs. 364-366; Emphasis in original). 

Therefore, the depiction of the six days of Creation is not scientific, but a popular-historical representation accommodated to the understanding of humanity at that time. This was not some Modernist novelty (as if Pope St. Pius X, Foe of Modernism, would allow such to be propagated!), but was taught by the eminent theologians of the 19th century also. 

Theologian Wilhelm teaches: Again, the writer's intention of making the Creation week the model of the human week may have led him to give to the periods of the former the same number and name as those borne by the periods of the latter...[Theologians] Pianciani, Hettinger, Holzammer, and Reusch, place the catastrophes within the six days of Creation, but take the "days" to be long periods.
(See A Manual of Catholic Theology, [1890], pg. 310; Emphasis mine).

Theologian Hunter writes: The Church has given us no declaration on the meaning of the Mosaic account of the Six Days of Creation; we are therefore left to make out the meaning for ourselves, if we care to investigate the matter. This inquiry is the work of criticism, and at the outset we cannot but express our surprise at the rashness of those who think that they can see at a glance and with certainty the full meaning of a record of this kind written thousands of years ago for the use of a people, concerning whose habits of thought and familiar turns of language so little is known. (See Outlines of Dogmatic Theology, [1896], pg. 377; Emphasis mine). 

Therefore, the Church teaches that the first chapter of Genesis is not teaching science or making a scientific account of what transpired. Numerous approved theologians taught that the "days" of Genesis to be long periods of time. On January 16, 1948, the Secretary of the PBC sent a reaffirmation regrding the 1909 decrees to Cardinal Suhard. In pertinent part it reads:

 The question of the literary forms of the first eleven chapters of Genesis is far more obscure and complex. These literary forms do not correspond to any of our classical categories and cannot be judged in the light of the Greco-Latin or modern literary types. It is therefore impossible to deny or to affirm their historicity as a whole without unduly applying to them norms of a literary type under which they cannot be classed. If it is agreed not to see in these chapters history in the classical and modern sense, it must be admitted also that known scientific facts do not allow a positive solution of all the problems which they present. The first duty in this matter incumbent on scientific exegesis consists in the careful study of all the problems literary, scientific, historical, cultural, and religious connected with these chapters; in the next place is required a close examination of the literary methods of the ancient oriental peoples, their psychology, their manner of expressing themselves and even their notion of historical truth the requisite, in a word, is to assemble without preformed judgements all the material of the paleontological and historical, epigraphical and literary sciences. It is only in this way that there is hope of attaining a clearer view of the true nature of certain narratives in the first chapters of Genesis. To declare a priori that these narratives do not contain history in the modern sense of the word might easily be understood to mean that they do not contain history in any sense, whereas they relate in simple and figurative language, adapted to the understanding of mankind at a lower stage of development, the fundamental truths underlying the divine scheme of salvation, as well as a popular description of the origins of the human race and of the chosen people. In the meantime it is necessary to practice patience which is part of prudence and the wisdom of life. This also is inculcated by the Holy Father in the Encyclical already quoted: "No one", he says, "should be surprised that all the difficulties have not yet been clarified or solved. But that is no reason for losing courage or forgetting that in the branches of human study it cannot be otherwise than in nature, where beginnings grow little by little, where the produce of the soil is not gathered except after prolonged labor. There is ground, therefore, for hoping that (these difficulties) which today appear most complicated and arduous, will eventually, thanks to constant effort, admit of complete clarification." (See (AAS [1943] 318; Emphasis mine). 

Praise for Fr. Georges Lemaitre 
Fr. Lemaitre (1894-1966) was the scientist who proposed the hypothesis--now theory--of the Big Bang. It speaks of a universe billions of years old. Father had an earned PhD in mathematics and a second doctorate in physics. In 1927, his proposal of the Big Bang rocked the world. The scientific brilliance of the good Father brought praise from Albert Einstein himself in 1933. The great Fr. Hubert Vecchierello, had this to say about Fr. Lemaitre:

It is a point of great interest nowadays, when there is so much loose thinking and still looser writing and talking about the non-existence of God, of the immortal soul, and of a host of eternal verities, to see a man who is both a priest and a scientist fraternizing on the most intimate terms with the world's most illustrious scientific geniuses. He not only associates with them, but he is their peer; and in that is the lie given to the old and empty charge that the study of science means the loss of belief in religion. Lemaitre, of course, is usually an object of great curiosity — not so much to his coreligionists as to many not of the faith who marvel at the "phenomenon" of a Catholic priest being a scientist, yes, not only a scientist of the regular run, but a genius whose theories are most daring. (See Fr. Hubert Vecchierello, Einstein and Relativity; Lemaitre and the Expanding Universe, [1934], pg. 23).

At the time, the "Steady State Theory" prevailed, claiming that the universe always existed from eternity. When Fr. Lemaitre's Big Bang hypothesis replaced the Steady State Theory, Communists refused to allow the state-run schools to teach it, due to its theistic implications. Under the Steady State, when someone claimed God created the universe, the atheistic Communists could say, "No, the universe was always there." Now, the Big Bang Theory showed a universe that began from a singularity 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, energy, and even space-time itself began at the Big Bang singularity. ("In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1). 

On October 28, 1936, Pope Pius XI appointed Fr. Lemaitre to the newly reorganized Pontifical Academy of Sciences. By his motu proprio In Multis Solaciis, the pope announced that the Church intended to be well informed on the current scientific revolution. Clearly, this was an implementation of the 1870 Vatican Council's decree that faith and reason are complementary. On November 22, 1951, Pope Pius XII publicly praised such advances in science as the Big Bang Theory: “…you who examine and reveal the secrets of nature and, at the same time, teach with the language of figures, formulas and discoveries, ineffaceable harmonies of  the God of infinite wisdom. True science, the more it progresses, the more it discovers God." 

Many times, Father's work, both as a scientist and a priest, was praised by Pope Pius XII. Obviously, two popes had no problem with the days of Genesis being long periods of time. When critics of Father complained his theory was somehow flawed because he wanted to prove creation, the quick witted priest claimed that science need not be supported by the Bible:

Should a priest reject relativity because it contains no authoritative exposition on the doctrine of the Trinity? Once you realize that the Bible does not purport to be a textbook of science, the old controversy between religion and science vanishes . . . The doctrine of the Trinity is much more abstruse than anything in relativity or quantum mechanics; but, being necessary for salvation, the doctrine is stated in the Bible. If the theory of relativity had also been necessary for salvation, it would have been revealed to Saint Paul or to Moses . . . As a matter of fact neither Saint Paul nor Moses had the slightest idea of relativity. (See Ibid, pg. 24).

The Hexameron and Its Relation to Science and Exegesis

Theologian Pohle teaches:
All true scientists are after a fashion exegetes, and therefore friends, not enemies, of the theologians. Those among them who antagonize revealed religion, have deserted the solid ground of science for moors and fens in which they gleefully chase deceptive will-o-the-wisps. Of course, science has a perfect right to follow her own methods, and the fact that her representatives conduct their researches without constantly trying to square themselves with the Bible does not argue that they mistrust religion or despise Christianity...

Since the true interpretation of the Hexameron with regard to the origin of the universe is uncertain, theologians and scientists are free to adopt whatever theory they prefer, provided only it be reasonable and moderate, and not evidently opposed to Scripture...

We have already averted to the fact that the eminent Bishop of Hippo [St. Augustine] regarded the whole week of the Hexameron as one single moment, and that St. Thomas approved of this interpretation. As the Church has never disowned the teaching of St. Augustine, it cannot fairly be claimed that ecclesiastical Tradition compels us to take the Hebrew yom in the sense of an ordinary day of twenty-four hours. Origen and St. Athanasius anticipated the teaching of St. Augustine. While the Fathers and Scholastics generally preferred to adhere to a literal sense, they never condemned the Augustinian interpretation...Under these circumstances the all but universal consensus of the Fathers and Scholastics in favor of the literal interpretation of the Mosaic narrative has no binding force.  
(See Dogmatic Theology, [1912], pgs. 98-119; Emphasis mine). 

Therefore, those who argue that the Fathers were morally unanimous in this matter, and have binding force of interpretation, are wrong. St. Augustine considered the "days" of Creation to be a single moment, not 24 hours, and the great Aquinas approved of that teaching. Hence, the amount of time covered by "yom" is not decided by the consensus of the Fathers which binds the faithful. The fact that approved theologians also taught a non-literal "day" is proof that the Fathers had not decided the issue. 

Finally, the basic gist of Church teaching in this area is set forth by the eminent theologian Van Noort:

Furthermore, even in those truths which the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium unmistakably inculcates, there is sometimes room for questioning whether all the elements of that teaching are meant to be inculcated with equal force. For example, the following doctrines have always been unmistakably proposed by the Ordinary Magisterium: that God created our first parents by forming their bodies from the slime of the Earth and from the rib of the man; that Adam sinned in tasting the forbidden fruit at the urging of the serpent; that God in punishment for mankind's sins caused a deluge over the entire Earth; that Christ will come one day as the Judge upon the clouds of Heaven, etc.

Do you think that the definitive intention of the Magisterium bears with equal force upon the mode of the bodily formation and on the very fact of creation? With equal force upon upon the external description of the sin of our first parents and upon the sin itself? With equal force upon the universality of the flood and upon the manifestation of Divine Justice? With equal force upon the circumstances of the heavenly spectacle and upon the actual return of the Judge? Even upon a priori grounds an affirmative answer would have little probability to it, seeing that the circumstances described contribute either nothing at all or very little to religion. Actually, if one checks history, he will find at least a number of the circumstances enumerated have been called into doubt by one or another of the Fathers of the Church, or by excellent theologians, without their teaching ever being considered in the slightest heretical. (See Dogmatic Theology, 3:223-224; Emphasis in original).

Genesis is concerned with the fact of God as Creator, not the scientific amount of time it took to create.

Is There Scientific Evidence for a Billions of Years Old Universe?
Those who hold to a literal interpretation of the Hexameron argue the Earth/universe is about six thousand (6,000) years old. There is ample evidence of an old Earth/universe. My basic data comes from multiple sources including M. J. Reid, et al. The trigonometric parallax of Cygnus X-1. The Astrophysical Journal, 742:83, 2011. As I always tried to make things as easy to understand as possible for my middle school science students when I taught, I will condense one line of argumentation into terse bullet points:
  • The distance to some astronomical objects has been found to be greater than six thousand light years by a very simple method of measurement. (One light year is the distance that light covers in one year at the velocity it goes now.) 
  • If light has always been traveling at the same speed, it means it had to leave these objects more than six thousand years ago in order to reach us now. The universe is therefore older than this. Could it be that light went faster in the past? 
  • The speed of light is part of the known laws of nature. The laws we know don’t change with time. Still, we could have missed something. Would a given experiment confirming these laws now give the same result if performed six thousand years ago? Indeed, it is possible to check.
  •  Every atom or molecule emits a very special kind of light, a kind of signature called “spectral lines.” Theory predicts spectral lines observed now with extreme precision. 
  • The spectral lines we observe from remote objects in the universe are exactly the same as those we observe now in the laboratory, which means that atoms and molecules behaved in the same way in space, when they sent light to us. Hydrogen, oxygen, water, and so on had exactly the same properties when they sent their spectral lines to us as they do now. 
  • Observations confirm that the laws of nature were the same six thousand years ago (and more) as they are now. The speed of light was therefore the same then, when light left these objects. This is not an assumption; it is an observation. 
  • Unless light was miraculously created in transit, it had to be up there more than six thousand years ago in order to reach us now.
Therefore, the world/universe is much older than 6,000 years.

The manifest weight of the credible evidence makes a very strong case for an old universe created by God 13.8 billion years ago. The Church has never made a definitive decision in the matter, so if anyone wants to believe the "days" of creation are 24 hours each and the Earth/universe is 6,000 years old, they may do so. I only object when those, like the Kolbe Center, use disingenuous theological arguments (based on private interpretation) to make the literal interpretation seem binding, when such is not the case.