Monday, June 26, 2023

Faithful Amid The Raging Tempest: Fr. Wiktor Mroz O.F.M.


To My Readers: This week, my guest poster, Joanna From Poland, writes about a little known priest who had battled the Modernists with the tenacity of my spiritual father, Fr. Gommar A. DePauw, JCD.  I hope you will enjoy reading about his virtuous life as much as I did. Feel free to comment as always. If you have a specific comment or question for me, I will respond as usual, but it might take me a bit longer to do so this week. 

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

Faithful amid the raging tempest: Fr. Wiktor Mroz O.F.M.

By Joanna from Poland

This is a story of a simple Franciscan priest whose heroic life could be made into a Hollywood movie if the entertainment industry would not have fallen completely under Satan’s dominion (if you think I’m exaggerating, consider the latest Padre Pio biopic and I beg you not to see this diabolical garbage of a movie if you value your immortal soul and instead listen to the discussion concerning it on Catholic Family Podcast:

To the best of my knowledge, Fr. Mroz is virtually unknown in the English-speaking world although he spent some 27 years serving the faithful in North America – it’s high time this zealous and faithful priest got the recognition he deserves. 

I take no credit other than for writing this brief introduction and conclusion, as well as compiling various sources in Polish, and translating their content into English. My own comments will be given in square brackets.

A Most Interesting Life

Fr. Wiktor Mroz was born on January 29, 1915. He would study for the priesthood in several Franciscan seminaries. His superior, confessor, and spiritual director was one and the same person – Maximilian Kolbe. [His baptismal name was Franciszek – Francis, and his real last name was Blaz – he changed it into “Mroz” in 1944 for safety reasons in the time of World War II; Wiktor – Victor was his religious name.]

One day young Victor prayed for discerning the will of God in his life. He was pondering what he should become – a lay brother or a priest. Father Maximilian [Kolbe] told him: “If you wish to save your soul, you have to become a priest." [Fr.] Kolbe added: “Your life shall be hard but your last years shall be happy." One day he [Fr. Kolbe] prophesized the number of years Fr. Mroz would spent as a priest – over 50 years of priesthood. 

Fr. Mroz was ordained a priest on June 20, 1941 – the same year Fr. Kolbe gave his own life in exchange for his neighbor [in a German concentration camp at Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland]. After his ordination, he served as an assistant pastor at Calvary [a town in Poland]. Then he was a professor at the Higher Franciscan Seminary in the city of Lviv [then part of Poland]. During World War II Fr. Mroz was a military chaplain for the Polish underground army [I will elaborate on Father’s heroic war years later in this post].

In 1944 he manages to get to Bavaria where he serves Polish Catholics in Munich and acts as a temporary military chaplain in General Patton’s Third Army. He served in the Polish Guards Companies in Erlangen from July 1945 to 1947 [established by the U.S. Armed Forces in 1945 in Germany as auxiliary units for dealing with security and other technical and organizational tasks in the region controlled by the USA]. 

In July 1947 Fr. Mroz goes to the United States where he works as an editor of a Polish daily newspaper for two and a half years. He gives a retreat in Wisconsin and works as a missionary. In December 1949 he volunteers for missionary work in Japan [where he would stay for nearly two decades] where he is in charge of teaching and administering medical care to the victims of the radioactive contamination. After 18 years in Japan, Fr. Mroz gets to Canada where he works as an assistant pastor in Francisca-run churches, and becomes a chaplain for St. Adalbert’s mission in Montreal. In 1969, Fr. Mroz moves to Buffalo, New York [the final destination on his adventurous route around Europe, Asia, and North America] and spends his first eight years in that city as hospital chaplain. 

November 25, 1977 at 11 a.m. Fr. Mroz leaves his Franciscan parish in Buffalo and joins the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement which was probably the first* organized movement [of traditional Catholics] in the USA.

* The first organization of Traditional Catholics was established by Fr. Gommar A. DePauw under the supervision of His Excellency Bp. Blaise Kurz on March 15, 1965. 

The ORCM was founded on an incentive from the Mexican cristero Father Joaquin Saenz y Arriaga S.J., who co-operated with [then] Fathers Carmona and Zamorra. Initially, the ORCM was comprised of Fr. Fenton, [then] Fr. Robert McKenna O.P., and [then] Fr. Kelly of the SSPX. In 1975, the ORCM is joined by Fathers Paul Marceau, Charles P. Donohue, Leo M. Carley, Daniel E. Jones, Joseph Gorecki, and Placid White O.S.B.

[Fr. Mroz recalls:] “When I entered the chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary in Monroe, Connecticut, I felt that I finally returned home, where I belong. In the ORCM I am once again at the right place – the place where there is the Faith for which I was ordained 19 years ago."

[Fr. Mroz had considered himself a traditionalist priest even before the joined the ranks of the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement since he continued to say the Traditional Latin Mass for many years despite the imposition of the invalid and sacrilegious Novus Ordo, as related in Buffalo News two days after Fr. Mroz died. Source:]

In November 1977, there were two lectures in the state of New York, one in Buffallo, and one in Rochester which gathered around 770 people. That’s seven hundred and seventy attendants. Thanks to Fr. Mroz, Catholic Mass was said on a regular basis in the area of Buffalo. In 1979, eleven priests of the ORCM offered Holy Mass in sixteen venues, such as in California, Colorado, Florida, and New York. 

Fr. Mroz established a new Franciscan headquarters. Brothers gather around Our Lady’s chapel in Paulsboro, New Jersey. They consider Fr. Maximiliam Kolbe to be their spiritual father. 

On July 20, 1991 Fr. Mroz celebrated his 50th anniversary as a priest, as foretold by Fr. Kolbe. 

His priestly anniversary remembrance picture reads:

Poland 1941-1944

Germany 1944-1947

United States 1947-1949

Japan 1949-1967

Canada 1967-1969

Buffalo, New York since 1969

In the Traditional Movement since November 1977

“Hold Fast to the Tradition” (2 Tes. 2:15)

Father Victor Mroz O.F.M. Conv.

A Franciscan master of novices who had known Fr. Mroz very well, said that the Polish Franciscan had suffered greatly from angina [a painful heart disease] for decades. He would never complain and saw it as his cross; the will of God, and an effective way of avoiding much greater suffering in Purgatory. Fr. Maximilian Kolbe was said to have exerted tremendous influence upon Fr. Mroz's life. 

Fr. Mroz died on April 28, 1992, in the odor of sanctity, on the feast day of St. Louis Marie de Montfort. He was buried at St. Adalbert’s cemetery in Lancaster. 


The Enemies He Had to Fight

Compiled and translated from:

Fr. Mroz was a fighting priest – his enemies being Ukrainian nationalism, German National Socialism, and post-conciliar neo-Modernism. The first of these forces of evil he had to combat in his own little fatherland, where he was sent to work as a young priest and catechist in October 1943 – in the village of Hanaczow near Lviv in war-torn Poland. The village was well-populated, having around 3,000 residents, including Polish refugees from Wolyn [people who managed to survive the cruel genocide perpetrated by their Ukrainian neighbors there – little did they know that they were not safe in Hanaczow either…] and Jews in hiding; soon a group of Soviet guerilla soldiers would arrive there too. 

Fr. Wiktor arrived at Hanaczow a few months after the Wolyn massacre had begun with the bloody Sunday of July 11, 1943, and its inhabitants feared they would share the tragedy of their fellow compatriots in Wolyn. It was decided that the village should have its defense organized after the example of other towns to fight against the genocidal Ukrainian Rebel Army – trenches shaped in the form of a triangle at the centre of the village as well as shelters. However, this proposition did not meet with the acceptance of the people of Hanaczow who did not believe that the Ukrainian attack would come, not wanting to abandon their homes and possessions. As a result of this refusal, it was decided that the defense posts will be placed on the outskirts of the village instead, which hindered the possible defense. 

Soon, the danger became real – in October 1943 a group of Ukrainians ambushed in the woods a lieutenant of the Polish army (a pre-war teacher who was married to a Ukrainian woman), read aloud his “death sentence," and murdered him with a shot at the back of his head; his body was robbed. The lieutenant was killed despite the Polish army’s intelligence having warned of an ambush planned by the Ukrainians. In the early November of 1943 three armed Ukrainians were captured by the Polish army near Hanaczow,  and were handed over to Germans who put them before the firing squad. The people of Hanaczow still refused to accept the defensive triangle proposed by the Polish army. In December there came news of yet more massacres perpetrated in nearby villages – among the brutally murdered were women and children. Hanaczow was attacked as late as February 2, 1944, on the feast day of Our Lady’s Purification [known in Poland as Our Lady of the Thunder Candle as She is invoked against thunderous tempests].

A few hours before the Ukrainian attack, the village’s defense forces were warned by the Polish army’s patrols that Ukrainian troops had been gathering in the woods south of the village. Around 9 p.m. nearly one thousand members of the Ukrainian Rebel Army surrounded Hanaczow and attacked it from multiple sides. The defenders suffered many casualties, and some of the houses were taken by the Ukrainians who murdered anyone they could get hold of. The defenseless were either killed with bayonets or slayed with axes. Fr. Wiktor was at the rectory which was one of the main points of defense, under heavy fire from both sides. After midnight, the Ukrainians retreated, having burnt down seventy buildings, and seeing Polish partisan troops hastening to the relief. Eighty-five (85) Poles were murdered. The school building was turned into a field hospital where about 100 wounded men were treated. The dead were buried together in one grave; Fr. Wiktor preached the funeral sermon.

After this first massacre, the people of Hanaczow  finally agreed to the initial defense plan, concealed shelters were built, and the defense of key buildings strengthened, including the church building. It was believed that the next attack would come at Easter, even the Ukrainians themselves would spread the news of the coming destruction of the village. In the face of this danger, the curate, Fr. Gacek, evacuated some of the inhabitants, including the women, the children, and the sick. 

Fr. Wiktor stayed at Hanaczow to be the people’s pastor, and, in the words of the local poet, “consoled the people so they do not lose heart”. He organized for his little flock the Holy Week ceremonies and gave practical advice in terms of self-defense. 

The Hanaczow massacre survivors relate the following:

“Over a dozen days before the coming attack, Father Wiktor – the chaplain, summoned all the inhabitants for a meeting in the old rectory, with the curate in attendance. Father gave practical tips on how to defend oneself, and absolutely forbade any family gatherings in the Ukrainian villages nearby. He threatened the gossip mongers, snitches, and traitors with severe punishments, as they do on the war front. Finally, he ordered all parishioners to move every night to the center of the village [where the defense was laid], for the sake of their own safety and that of their children, and to the houses near the rectory and the church. This last order was not welcomed by all, but its rightness was soon to be validated in all extent by the second attack.”

On April 8, Holy Saturday, the Polish army’s advance party reported a few hundred Ukrainians gathering near the village. Watch was kept all day and all night but the attack did not come. On April 9, Easter Sunday, at 6:30 Fr. Wiktor celebrated Solemn High Mass. About one thousand Ukrainians attacked the village at midnight with flare missiles. Some of them managed to reach the church and tried to put it on fire with incendiary weapons. Women and children who took shelter in the barricaded church were comforted by Fr. Wiktor who led prayers, telling the people to hide behind the brick wall base in the attic. He would also give absolution and Holy Communion alongside the Curate and another Franciscan Father. 

At last, on Easter Monday, at around 9 a.m. the enemy retreated for good. Those who witnessed the attack described having seen burnt cattle and the murdered , which included a pregnant lady with her belly ripped apart and a young girl with her breasts cut off. A wounded man managed to survive for he pretended to be already dead, but the Ukrainians stabbed to death his wife and five little children. 

Most of the village was burnt down, except for the defense area, and so in the next days the remaining inhabitants were gradually evacuated, and they would be shot at on their way by the Ukrainians. A few dozen Polish soldiers stayed in Hanaczow, (as well as about 100 locals) along with Fr. Wiktor, and a group of Jews. Some of the people suffered from typhus fever. 

Soon there came the final days of Hanaczow. The Ukrainians took advantage of a badly-organized series of acts of sabotage against the German army by the Polish army, and informed the Germans that Soviet and Jewish guerilla bands are stationed near Hanaczow. On May 2, 1944, at 4 a.m. the village was surrounded by SS troops, MPs, and Gestapo, armed with tanks and grenade launchers. Fr. Wiktor took care to put some of the inhabitants in the shelters, especially the wounded and the sick. The Germans started firing and setting the building ablaze.

Fr. Wiktor left the destroyed village, which once belonged to the Franciscan Order, as one among the last surviving residents. He rescued the Blessed Sacrament from the church. He managed to get to the Franciscan monastery in Lviv where he related the recent events. For his courage and sacrifice in the defense of Hanaczow he was decorated with the Cross of Valor and promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. He became chaplain for the Polish army and adopted his nom de guerre “Mroz” – his last name till the end of his courageous life as a true and faithful priest of Christ.


It is impossible to exhaust the life story of a priest like Fr. Wiktor Mroz in a 2,500-word post. He was a priest who showed truly heroic bravery and zeal for souls under some of the most horrible circumstances of life in a world ravaged by a war. It was a war of unheard of cruelty, and after all that he saw the One True Church being stripped of Her former glory and reduced to a tiny flock of Catholics scattered around the world. 

As was the case with Fr. De Pauw, Fr. Mroz was one of those faithful European priests who, after having experienced the horrors of World War II, found a safe haven in the USA but chose to fight the good fight against the worst kind of enemies; the Modernists and their false religion from Hell. He heeded the words of Our Lord: “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in Hell” (St. Matthew 10:28). May their souls rest in everlasting peace.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Diabolical Influence Around Authentic Apparitions


 I have frequently wrote against those I label "Apparitionists:" They are people who exalt private revelations and apparitions whether approved by the Church (such as Our Lady of Fatima) or not (such as Our Lady of the Roses) over the teaching of the Church. They obsess over the alleged "true meanings" of messages (as if salvation depended on them), or even accept them to the exclusion of authentic Church doctrines in some area(s). 

Personally, I don't think Traditionalists should concern themselves over private revelations. To make the terminology clear, "private revelation" has nothing to do with the number of persons that claim to have seen and/or experienced something. "Public Revelation" refers to the Divine Deposit of Revelation given to the Church for all human beings to believe, so that they may be saved. Public Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle, St. John, in 100 AD. Private revelation refers to all communication by God (directly or indirectly) with humans after Public Revelation ended. I can't stress strongly enough that no private revelation, including those deemed "worthy of belief" by the Church, need to be accepted by Catholics. You can reject any or all Church-approved apparitions and you would not be a heretic, nor would you commit a sin.

This does not mean that private revelations are "useless." Obviously, if the Church approves something as worthy of belief, we can believe it without fear of sinning against faith or morals. God communicates to us for a reason. However, I refuse to get drawn into arguments over what a particular apparition or a particular revelation "really means." Moreover, it is by studying the approved theologians that we can learn the One True Faith and make our Catholic way the best we can through these most difficult times.

To be certain, I believe in approved apparitions without making them the focus point of faith. I have devotion to Our Lady of Hope and Our Lady of Fatima. I wear the Five-fold Scapular, pray the Rosary daily, insert the "Fatima Prayer" at the end of each Rosary decade, and try to attend Mass every First Saturday of the month. These are great Catholic devotions all Traditionalists should try to maintain. I do not view "Consecrating Russia" as some panacea to the Great Apostasy. Nor will I quibble over specific declarations Our Lady is supposed to have said.

There are other dangers involved with even approved apparitions. Satan will do all he can to stymie the genuine good that comes from authentic apparitions. This post will focus on the false apparitions which followed two of the true apparitions. Let this serve as a warning to all against trying to find "true meanings" of apparitions with no Magisterial guide in this time of Great Apostasy.

Causes of False Apparitions
(The following information is condensed from theologians Farges, Mystical Phenomena, [1926], and theologian Poulain, The Grace of Interior Prayer, [1901], which had the approbation of no one less than Pope St. Pius X---Introibo). 

There are five principle causes for individuals having false apparitions and visions. It should be noted that among adults visions and apparitions are always very rare, and therefore must always seem suspect and attributable to illusion or Satan, unless there is strong proof to the contrary. Mostly Mary and/or her Divine Son appear to innocent children.  Adults must be of extraordinary holiness as was the case with Our Lord appearing with His Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. 

Thus we must conclude that genuine apparitions or visions are extremely rare. This is further proven by the fact that of the countless millions of reported apparitions of Mary, there are only only seventeen (17) apparitions of Mary that have explicit or implicit Church approval. Below are the five principle causes for false apparitions (something real and external to the one who sees it) and visions (wherein God produces a concept or image without there necessarily being anything external to the viewer). 

1. Hallucinations.
With the more “exterior” Marian apparitions it seems that the main dangers are illusion and hallucination. It would be a case of illusion if the visionary thought that a physical object was acting in an apparition-like manner, as in the case of those who think they have seen statues of Mary moving.

Hallucinations can thus be reckoned as pathological occurrences in which an inward image is falsely projected by the mind but regarded as real. Normally the senses receive outward stimulations and pass these to the brain where they are processed. But in certain abnormal and morbid states this process is reversed and images arising in the brain, for whatever reason, are projected outwardly and perceived by the individual as real objects.

Thus people suffering from hallucinations can believe they are seeing things which are not real, or hearing imaginary voices, and so on. It is something like the difference between a camera and a slide projector. The camera captures an image on the film, through its lens, of an external object, whereas the slide projector outwardly projects an image from the photographic slide onto a screen.

Thus hallucinations and normal vision are complete opposites. This explains how hypnotists are able to deceive their subjects into believing that they are really seeing imaginary objects. They are able to influence the imagination such that it produces images, sounds, smells, etc., which are felt to be real by the subject. This also indicates that hallucinations can be governed by the will, either that of the individual, or someone else, such as a hypnotist.

And if the wills of individuals can be influenced by other people to produce hallucinatory states then that principle also extends to the devil. However, it always needs to be borne in mind that hallucinations can also be produced artificially by drugs, excessive emotional excitement, and mental illness. These are more likely causes than direct diabolical influence, and the Church cautions us against assuming the demonic until all natural causes are ruled out. 

2.  Illusory memories.
This is a psychological phenomenon whereby an individual recalls an event that never happened, or an actual occurrence substantially differently from the way it transpired. People with a history of trauma, or depression, are at risk for producing false memories when they are exposed to information that is related to their knowledge base.

3. Charlatans. 
False claims of apparitions and visions have been inspired by motives of political or pecuniary interest, or by the desire to mystify the public by evil persons. (Such can be seen in the phony visions of the Palmar de Troya cult---Introibo). 

4. Overactive Imaginations--even in true seers. 
This occurs in otherwise psychologically sound people who sometimes mingle their own action with the divine revelation. However, when the temperament is badly balanced or overexcited, they may do still more: they construct an altogether false revelation. Thanks to their feverish imaginations, such persons, during the most ordinary prayer, can pronounce interior words with such distinctness that they seem to be said by someone else. This can occur with those who had a bona fide vision/apparition, or those who never had such. 

5. Diabolic origin.
Satan has the power to cause false apparitions and visions. That is why recourse to the Magisterium must always be had.

False Seers at Lourdes
(The information below comes from Fr. Rene Laurentin and his voluminous works on Lourdes. Although he defected to the Vatican II sect, this work was in the 1950s---Introibo).

Our Lady of Lourdes is an approved apparition. However, a slew of other "visionaries" popped up along with St. Bernadette. All of this led to a great deal of confusion, causing some to believe in all these new “apparitions,” as well as St. Bernadette’s, while others rejected all talk of apparitions as nonsensical. It served Satan well. 

One "seer," Marie Bernard, claimed to have seen three persons in the grotto at Lourdes, an old man with a white beard, a young woman and a child. She said that the man held a bunch of keys in one hand and twirled his moustache with the other! This vision was repeated, but this time, according to Marie Bernard, the figures indulged in indecent gestures.

Obviously, all this was very unhealthy, and the way events were developing is apparent from a description of another visionary, the Mayor’s servant, Marie Courrech. She struck a contemporary as completely inferior to St. Bernadette in terms of deportment and manner, and in addition, was subject to sudden twitchings and convulsive movements. Often, when she saw her visions on the other side of the Gave, she would rush forward, explaining afterwards that the vision had been calling her to the grotto. If we had not restrained her with great difficulty, she would have thrown herself into the river.

Clearly, it would have suited the devil’s purposes very well if someone had been drowned at Lourdes while trying to reach an imagined or diabolical vision. The number of visionaries, both male and female, continued to grow, and their antics persisted until the beginning of 1859.  Many school children had claimed to see visions at the grotto, and witnesses described how they saw a girl of ten or eleven, shouting and screaming and claiming to have seen a vision. One young girl cried out that the “Lord” was going to recite a rosary, apparently oblivious to the fact that it was not possible that God would pray to Mary. On other occasions, visionaries claimed the power to bless rosaries.

False Seer at Beauraing
 Our Lady of  Beauraing was an authentic series of 33 apparitions to five children in Belgium between November 29, 1932 and January 3, 1933. The Blessed Virgin asked for sacrifice, prayer, and penance to convert sinners. The Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office approved the apparitions in 1949. 

In June of 1933, a 58 year old man, one Tilman Come, claimed to have been cured of illness after seeing the Blessed Virgin at the hawthorn in the convent garden at Beauraing. He alleged that Mary had said she had come to protect Belgium from the invader, which people naturally applied to Hitler, and he announced another “apparition” for June 25th, when a crowd of 50,000 turned up.

Unfortunately, his apparition of "Mary" apparently can't spell, since Come stated that on asking her name, he saw this title in golden letters on her sash: Notre-Dame de Boring, or “Our Lady of Boring.” He would go into a sort of "trance" and on this occasion he claimed that the vision had told him to organize a great pilgrimage for the Feast of the Assumption. Although 200,000 people turned up, by now the focus had shifted to people wondering about Tilman Come instead of what "Mary said," and within a year, he faded from view as it was established that he was mentally ill and not really responsible for his actions.

So although his “visions” were false, he played a part in drawing large crowds to Beauraing for nothing, and they should be a salutary reminder to those who support modern adult “visionaries” who have claimed to see Mary, Jesus, angels or saints. When adults claim such things, unless they display evident signs of sanctity, it is highly likely that they are either deceived in some sense, unbalanced, or lying. (Source: Sharkey & Debergh, Our Lady of Beauraing, [1959]).     

The number of true apparitions and visions is few, but the number of "seers" and "visionaries" is numerous. There were false visions and seers, even around true apparitions. Read the approved theologians to learn the Faith. Don't try to find out what's "really going on in our times" according to the "true meaning" of some apparition or vision--even those approved by the Church.

Special Addendum: Movie Recommendation
Until now, the only movie to which I gave an unconditional recommendation to watch was Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. A couple of my friends told me to watch a movie, now streaming, entitled Nefarious. It is a horror movie, and most horror movies are full of the occult and/or graphic violence. I was informed this movie had Traditional Catholic theology throughout. Intrigued, when I finished my work late at night, I rented the movie through a movie channel. 

I started watching and couldn't turn my eyes away. Without giving too much away, the movie is 97 minutes in length, and it flies by. It stars Sean Patrick Flanery as a man convicted of multiple murders sitting on death row. He needs to be declared mentally competent by a psychiatrist for his scheduled execution to proceed that night. Dr. James Martin (played by Jordan Belfi) is the psychiatrist enlisted to decide his fate. The convict claims he is a demon called "Nefarious" and he made Eddie (the condemned man) commit those acts. Dr. Martin informs Nefarious that he is an atheist and will not fall for his acting crazy. 

At one point Dr. Martin calls in a Vatican II sect "priest" apparently wearing a scarf or stole that is sodomite rainbow colors. Nefarious becomes upset until the "priest" informs him that demonic possession isn't real, he's just a sick man. Nefarious is no longer afraid, calling the alleged priest a "poser" (i.e., someone who pretends to be something he is not). The film is unabashedly pro-life and theologically accurate. As Nefarious says, "I know more about theology than any human being that ever existed."  

Mimicking The Screwtape Letters, Nefarious refers to God as "The Enemy" and Satan as his "master below." When asked why the demons have not won against humanity, Nefarious says, "The Carpenter. We made the biggest mistake getting Him killed." Dr. Martin asks how Nefarious possessed Eddie. Nefarious then talks about Eddie's mother getting him a Ouija Board as one of the reasons he was possessed (indeed, the occult Ouija Board is an open door to demonic obsession and possession). 

The film openly attacks the atheist worldview and takes shots at "woke" ideology. There was a Vatican II sect exorcist on the set when the movie was filmed, and he claimed it accurately portrays diabolical possession. Near the end of the movie, there is an appearance by Glenn Beck, an apostate who is Mormon, but the film's theology remains Traditional Catholic (Beck was validly baptized a Catholic in 1964, and joined the Mormon sect in 1999). 

There were also eerie happenings during the filming. According to the Internet Movie Database (

Some of the challenges of shooting [the movie] was when the federal government in Oklahoma almost shut down the project due to a strike though no grievances were expressed, electricity came down, the sound mixer died, nine car crashes occurred with the crew despite being under 100 drivers, [executive producer] Steve Deace became infected with a cyst under his arm, an on-set priest/exorcist suffered a life-threatening ruptured appendix, and the roof of one of the office buildings was ripped off in a storm. 

Seems like Hell wasn't happy with this production!

The movie has been derided as "Christian propaganda." All the more reason to go watch it--you won't be disappointed! WARNING! This movie has scenes of intense violence and the nature of demonic possession makes it extremely frightening. Viewer discretion advised. Not for those under age 21.                                                                            


Monday, June 12, 2023

Vatican II And The Denigration Of Sacred Tradition


The One True Church of Christ has two sources of the Deposit of Revelation, the Holy Bible and Sacred Tradition. The Modernists, ever seeking to undermine the Church, began to attack Sacred Tradition under the guise of "giving the reverence due to the Bible." It was from the Modernists' desire for ecumenism and a one-world church that this endeavor began. In the 1930s, a movement of Modernist theologians, began what is called the nouvelle theologie (French for "new theology") which claimed a need to "return to the sources" (called ressourcement) and "rejuvenate" Catholicism. They believed that the Church had moved away from the way things were, and should have remained. This idea blasphemously asserts that the Holy Ghost was not moving the Church into a clearer understanding of truth, but rather moving away from truth.

All theologians who ascribed to the "new theology" had one thing in common: a bitter hatred for Neo-Scholastic philosophy and the method of St. Thomas Aquinas. As enemies of the Church, it makes sense. As the great Pope Leo XIII wrote:

A last triumph was reserved for this incomparable man [Aquinas]-namely, to compel the homage, praise, and admiration of even the very enemies of the Catholic name. For it has come to light that there were not lacking among the leaders of heretical sects some who openly declared that, if the teaching of Thomas Aquinas were only taken away, they could easily battle with all Catholic teachers, gain the victory, and abolish the Church. (See Aeterni Patris para. #23; Emphasis mine).

At Vatican II, these heretical theologians, being rehabilitated and even exalted under Roncalli ("Pope" John XXIII), would go on to give a false status of Sacred Tradition, and make the Vatican II sect more palatable to Protestant heretics. This post will expose the successful plot at Vatican II, and how they perverted the authentic notion of Sacred Tradition.

The Original Schema on The Two Sources of Divine Revelation
The original draft on Divine Revelation was drafted primarily by the theologians of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office under the direction of the Anti-Modernist Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani. A draft is known by the name schema. Thanks to the work of Joseph A. Komonchack (a V2 sect "priest"), the schema has been translated by him into English. Although this schema carries no Magisterial authority at all (as it was never passed), it nevertheless shows what the most erudite, orthodox, approved theologians taught on the subject, and furthermore believed that it was ripe for being defined by the Church. Called the DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE SOURCES OF REVELATION (Constitutionis Dogmaticae de Fontibus Revelationis), the pertinent parts are reproduced below:

4. The Twofold Source of Revelation.
Instructed by the commands and examples of Christ and of the Apostles, therefore, Holy Mother Church has always believed and believes still that the complete revelation is not contained in Scripture alone but in Scripture and in Tradition as in a twofold source, although in different ways. Besides containing what was revealed, the books of the Old and New Testaments were also written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, so that they have God as their author. But truly, divine Tradition, preserved in the Church by a continuous succession, contains all the matters of faith and morals which the Apostles received either from the mouth of Christ or from the suggestions of the Holy Ghost and which they transmitted, outside Holy Scripture as it were, by hand to the Church so that in it they might be handed on further by the Church's preaching.

Therefore, the things which divine Tradition contains by itself [ratione sui] are drawn not from books, but from the Church's living preaching, from the faith of believers, and from the Church's practice. As for things belonging to the past, many are known from various written, although not inspired, documents.

5. The Relationship between the Two Sources.
Let no one, therefore, dare to consider Tradition to be of inferior worth or refuse it his faith. For although Holy Scripture, since it is inspired, provides a divine instrument for expressing and illustrating the truths of faith, still its meaning can be clearly and fully understood or even presented only by means of the apostolic Tradition. Indeed, Tradition and it alone is the way in which some revealed truths, particularly those concerned with the inspiration, canonicity and integrity of each and every sacred book, are clarified and become known to the Church.

6. The Relationship of Each Source to the Magisterium.
In order that the two sources of revelation might harmoniously and more effectively work together for the salvation of man, the provident Lord handed them over, as a single deposit of faith to be kept safe and defended and authoritatively interpreted, not to individual believers, however learned, but to the Church's living Magisterium alone.

It is the responsibility of the Church's Magisterium, as the proximate and universal norm for believing, not only to pass judgement, having made use of the means which divine providence offers, in matters directly or indirectly concerning faith and morals, on the meaning and interpretation both of the Holy Scriptures and also of the documents and monuments in which the Tradition has in the course of time been recorded and manifested, but also to illustrate and to explain those things which are obscurely and implicitly contained in each source. (Emphasis mine; Emphasis on the words "clearly" and "fully" in original). 

It was presented at the Robber Council. The Modernist cardinals and theologians from northern Europe argued that the Bible is the source of all revelation, and Tradition is the theological explanation and interpretation of what Scripture explicitly states or directly implies. Tradition is the authentic teaching of the Church, but that teaching does not include revelation not already in the Bible. Scripture is the norm to which all doctrine and teaching submits. This one-source position of the  Bible, which is officially interpreted by the Church, is very close to the Protestant sola scriptura heresy. 

The usual list of Modernists spoke out against the schema and wanted it scrapped:
  •  Cardinal Achille Lienart of France (Abp. Lefebvre's ordaining/consecrating bishop) said that the schema misconstrued what the Council of Trent said about the relationship of Scripture and Tradition; and faith was "based not on academic arguments" but on the Word of God
  • The ringleader of the Modernists at the Council, Cardinal Joseph Frings of Germany, said that in this document one hears "not the voice of the good shepherd but the voice of a professor in the textbooks of the 19th century"
  • Cardinal Joseph Ritter of St. Louis, USA, argued that the document was "filled with pessimism and negativity" and threw suspicion on the work of Catholic exegetes
  • Frings had his peritus (theological expert) Fr. Joseph Ratzinger (later to become false "Pope" Benedict XVI) address the Council: Father Ratzinger’s concerns started with the title, which suggested that revelation included multiple sources (Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium), rather than one source with multiple expressions. Father Ratzinger traced the proper single-source understanding back to Trent, observing that the concept had become clouded in the Neo-Scholasticism that dominated seminary training following Vatican I. 
(See,the%20teachings%20of%20the%20Church; on Ratzinger; Emphasis mine). 

The Council voted to reject the schema, but the rules of the Council only permitted a schema to be wholesale rejected if there was a negative vote of two-thirds, which the Modernists did not have. At the behest of the heretics, Roncalli intervened and changed the rule so that only a simple majority vote in the negative would reject a schema. A Modernist victory was had. A new schema would be drawn up, and three heretical theologians were to be the primary authors.

An Unholy Theological Trinity
Anti-Modernist theologians (which included Fr. DePauw) were blacklisted from having any say in the new schema. Frings and Roncalli made sure truly Catholic theologians and prelates would be marginalized. As Fr. DePauw had told me (and confirmed by an article in the 1963 American Ecclesiastical Review, "Are All Revealed Truths In Sacred Scripture?" by theologian Francis Connell, May, pgs. 303-314), three periti had say over most of the new schema that would become the heretical Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum. A brief overview of each will show the type of heretic writing the new teaching of the Vatican II sect. 

Fr. Jean Danielou (1905-1974). 
  • his father hated the Church
  • ordained a Jesuit priest in 1938
  • received his doctorate in Sacred Theology in 1943
  • became Professor of the History of Christian Antiquity
  • was suspect of Modernism for suggesting Universalism (all are saved)
  • strong proponent of nouvelle theologie
  • made "Cardinal" by Montini in 1969
  • died at the home of a prostitute in 1974, and his defenders say he was giving her money "to help her since she was poor"
Fr. Henri de Lubac (1896-1991).
  • ordained in 1927 as a Jesuit
  • received his doctorate in Sacred Theology in 1929, without ever attending classes or submitting a dissertation, due to his connection with the General Superior of the Jesuits who liked and advanced his ideas
  • became Professor of Fundamental Theology and taught Jean Danielou
  • removed by Rome from his teaching position, and in 1950 three of his books were censured by the Holy Office for teaching "pernicious errors on essential points of dogma"
  • the great encyclical of Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis, was drafted by Anti-Modernist Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, and condemned de Lubac's errors and those of the nouvelle theologie
  • strong proponent of nouvelle theologie
  • even while under censorship, he wrote (but did not publish) three books praising pagan Buddhism
  • was rehabilitated in 1959 under Roncalli
  • began writing in defense of notorious apostate, Darwinist, and racist Teilhard de Chardin
  • made "cardinal" by Wojtyla
Fr. Yves Congar (1904-1995).
  • ordained a Dominican priest in 1930
  • in 1931 completed his Doctorate in Sacred Theology
  • became Professor of Fundamental Theology
  • in 1938 summoned to appear before the Dominican General Superior on suspicion of teaching salvation can be obtained outside the Church in any religion, and on suspicion of Modernism
  • in 1954, Pope Pius XII condemned him for an article he wrote in defense of the "Worker-Priest" movement
  • subsequently forbidden to "teach, preach, or publish"
  • strong proponent of nouvelle theologie
  • promoted the heresy that all validly baptized adults are Catholic
  • promoted the heresy of the "priesthood of all believers"
  • rehabilitated in 1959 under Roncalli
  • made a "cardinal" by Wojtyla
Sacred Tradition in Dei Verbum
In his 1963 article (referenced supra), theologian Connell was dismayed at how the rehabilitated heretics hold that all revealed truth is contained in the Bible explicitly and totally. Some doctrines are in the Scriptures only by implication and allusion, and Divine Tradition is merely there in order that the Church can discern the full meaning of what is in the Bible. In this view, Tradition is not really a source of revelation, but rather a tool to fully understanding Scripture. 

That view came out in Dei Verbum, promulgated by Montini (Paul VI) on November 18, 1965.  Paragraph #9 reads as follows:

9. Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence. (Emphasis mine). 

The view of Tradition as "that which makes Scripture fully explained" and not containing truth in and of itself apart from the Bible. There cannot said to be two sources of revelation, but only one--just as Protestants believe. 

More disturbing is paragraph #8:
This tradition which comes from the Apostles develop in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through Episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. For as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her. (Emphasis mine). 

This teaches the heresy that Tradition, which guards the Deposit of Faith from the time of the Apostles' preaching, does not already possess "the fullness of divine truth." In the reading of paragraph #9, one is led to believe there might be something else to be added or that what is already there can be modified. In turn, this error is connected to "subjectivism"-the signature of modern thinking-typified by the "New Theology," of which the idea is that everything is always moving in a continual upward progression, and that absolute truth does not exist, rather, only the endless tending of a subject toward a truth whose endpoint is himself.

The import of this view was not lost on Protestants. Rev. Jaroslav Pelican, a Lutheran theologian, is quoted by Fr. Connell as declaring that if this view should prevail (which it did), "... if Tradition is exegetical, Roman Catholic theology must admit that sola scriptura, properly understood, is correct."

Sacred Tradition is a True and Separate Source of Revelation
The Anti-Modernist theologians, like Fr. Connell, did a masterful job of pointing out the error of the Modernists on Sacred Tradition. Despite the valiant attempts of  theologians like DePauw, Fenton, and prelates like Ottaviani and Kurz, the Modernists had Roncalli as their ally and could not be stopped. Nevertheless, their arguments show forth the truth. Fr. Connell cites the teachings of some of the greatest approved theologians regarding Sacred Tradition:

St. Robert Bellarmine: "It is necessary to know that there are some books that are truly divine, and this certainly cannot be had from Scriptures...Hence, this is so necessary a dogma, that there is divine Scripture, cannot be sufficiently had from Scripture alone. Accordingly, since faith is based on the Word of God, we shall have no faith unless we have the unwritten Word of God."

St. Alphonsus Liguori: "Traditions are those truths which were first communicated by Jesus Christ or by the Holy Ghost to the Apostles, then by the Apostles were given to the disciples, and thus under the guidance of the Holy Ghost without interruption were, so to say, transmitted by hand and communicated up to the present time. These Traditions, which are the unwritten Word of God...Traditions are necessary that belief may be given to many articles of Faith...about which nothing at all exists in Scriptures, so that these truths have come to us only in the font of Tradition."

[Theologian] Bergier: "The great question between Protestants and Catholics is to know if there are some divine or apostolic Traditions touching dogmas which are in no wise contained in Sacred Scripture, and which are nevertheless a rule of faith. Protestants deny it, we sustain the opposite."

 [Theologian] Liebermann: "Sacred Scripture is not perfect in the sense that it embraces the whole religion of Christ. If Scripture were perfect and the only source of Christian doctrine, it should, before all, tell us which books belong to Sacred Scripture. But it is entirely silent about this dogma of supreme importance."

[Theologian] Franzelin: "After the Apostles and after the completion of the inspired writings the Church propagated by the Apostles always professed, theoretically and practically, that some truths are divinely revealed which She had received, not from Scripture, but only from Tradition.

[Theologian] Tanquerey : "There exists divine Tradition, as a font of revelation distinct from Scripture." This he says, is de fide. 

[Theologian] Van Noort: "Tradition is a source of revelation distinct from Scripture, and goes beyond the data of Scripture. This is a dogma of faith from the Council of Trent and the Vatican Council [of 1870]." 
 (Internal citations omitted; all emphasis mine). 

The Modernists would point out that that the truths of revelation are contained in written books and unwritten Tradition, a statement that does not include in itself the notion of a separation into two distinct and somewhat unrelated sources. Chapter three of the 1870 Vatican Council's Constitution on the Catholic Faith (Dei Filius) gives the lie to that contention:

Further, all those things are to be believed with divine and catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment, or by her ordinary and universal Magisterium, proposes for belief as having been Divinely-revealed.

Here it is clear by the conjunction "or" that there are some articles of divine-Catholic faith, not in Scripture, but are in Sacred Tradition. Moreover, in Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII writes on the sources of revelation and of both sources of revealed doctrine. 

Finally, what of Ratzinger's charge that implied seeing the Bible and Sacred Tradition as two sources of revelation only came about since the Council of Trent, and most especially after the Vatican Council of 1870? Did the theologians unanimously teach what Vatican II teaches prior to Trent? In a word: NO!

First, if that were true, that would mean the Church taught error (indeed heresy if held unanimously) going against the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium beginning with Trent and going forward for four centuries unstopped and unrecognized. That is an implicit denial of the dogma of the Indefectibility of the Church. 

Second, there is no proof that the Modernist "single source" theory was ever taught unanimously. The statements of some Fathers and approved theologians have been interpreted as upholding the two sources of revelation (see especially theologians Franzelin, Tanquerey, Salaverri, and Van Noort).

Vatican II has given the sect it produced a definition of Sacred Tradition which robs it of its true meaning and scope. Everything is reduced to the Bible, and Tradition is merely an exegetical tool. It is not far from sola scriptura, the way the Modernists wanted it. That's why the original schema had to go. The only "tradition" held by Modernism is the love of ecumenism and novelty. 

Monday, June 5, 2023

Contending For The Faith---Part 16


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 has 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.

TO MY READERS: This week, my guest poster, Lee, writes about one of the "Villains of Vatican II"--Fr. Thomas Merton. Although not present at Vatican II, this priest led many souls astray with his Modernism. Please feel free to comment, as always. If you have a specific comment or question for me, I will answer as usual, however it may take me longer to respond this week.

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

Fr. Thomas Merton: The Monk, The Modernist, The Lost Soul

By Lee

On his "Apostolic Journey" to Cuba, the United States, and during his visit with the United Nations in 2015, "Pope" Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) had an address where he mentioned four notable Americans whose memory he wanted to honor as people because they brought about a better future. These Americans were: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. He described each person's achievements, and had plenty of good things to say in honor of their memory. Of the four, I want to zero in on the last person on the list; Thomas Merton.

Francis said these words about him: "A century ago, at the beginning of the Great War, which Pope Benedict XV termed a “pointless slaughter”, another notable American was born: the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. In his autobiography he wrote: “I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers”. Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions." (Emphasis mine). 

What Francis is saying here is not untrue. However, when he praises a specific person, one needs to beware. Unfortunately, a good Catholic friend of mine, was reading Merton's books  and expressing his excitement over what he thought was excellent spiritual theology. I've also seen him quoted in the poetry corner of a traditional Catholic bulletin as if he deserves recognition for his contribution to the spiritual life and the Catholic Church. While I'm not trying to cause dissension among Traditionalists, I think it's appropriate to review why his writings should be avoided altogether, even if some of his books and writings were approved by some bishops of his time. (Much of the information below comes from the book The Encyclopedia of Thomas Merton, for which I take no credit,---Lee). 

Merton: His Background 
Thomas Merton was born in Prades Pyrenees-Orientales, France on January 31, 1915, to Owen Merton, a New Zealand painter and Ruth Jenkins Merton, who was an artist. Neither of his parents were Catholic with his father being Anglican and his mother being a Quaker. They met at a painting school in Paris. He was baptized in the Anglican Church at the request of his father. Merton's father was often absent during his son's childhood due to much traveling.

During World War I, the Merton family left France for the United States. They lived first with Ruth's parents in Queens, New York, then settled near them in Douglaston. In 1917, the family moved into an old house in Flushing, Queens, where Merton's brother John Paul was born on November 2, 1918. The family was considering returning to France when Ruth was diagnosed with stomach cancer. She died from it on October 21, 1921, in the Bellevue hospital when Thomas was only six years of age and his brother John Paul was three.

In October 1933, when Thomas was eighteen, he entered the University of Cambridge as an undergraduate to study Modern Languages (French and Italian).

In January 1935, he enrolled as a sophomore at Columbia University in Manhattan. There he had close and long-lasting friendships with Ad Reinhardt, who became known as a minimalist painter, and poet Robert Lax, John Slate (founder of the international law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom), and Robert Giroux, who later became Merton's publisher.

In January 1938, Merton graduated from Columbia with a B.A. in English. In June of that same year, his friend Seymour Freedgood arranged a meeting with Mahanambrata Brahmarchi, a Hindu monk who was visiting New York from the University of Chicago. Merton was impressed by him, believing the monk was profoundly centered in God. While Merton expected Brahmachari to recommend Hinduism, instead he advised Merton to reconnect with the spiritual roots of his own culture. He suggested Merton read The Confessions of St. Augustine and the Imitation of Christ.

Merton decided to explore Catholicism further. In August 1938, he decided to attend Mass and went to Corpus Christi Catholic Church on West 121st Street in Morningside Heights near his campus. On November 16, 1938, Merton was baptized a Catholic at Corpus Christi Church and received his first Holy Communion at the age of twenty-three.

Frustrated with the noise of the world and its commotion, Merton went on a retreat at the Trappist Monastery (known as the Abbey of Gethsemani, located just outside New Haven, Kentucky) on December 10, 1941. He was so impressed by a sermon and his experience that he wished to join the monastery. The novice master would come to interview Merton, checking his qualifications and decide if he was worthy enough for such a way of life. During his interim, Merton worked on polishing floors and scrubbing dishes. He was accepted into the monastery as a postulant by Frederic Dunne, who was the abbot. He struggled with his adjustments to their strict way of life.

In March 1942, Merton was accepted as a novice at the monastery. In June, he received a letter from his brother John Paul stating he was soon to leave for the war and would be coming to Gethsemani to visit before leaving. On July 17 John Paul arrived in Gethsemani and the two brothers did some catching up. John Paul expressed his desire to become Catholic, and on July 26 was baptized at a church in nearby New Haven, Kentucky leaving the following day for the war. This would be the last time the two saw each other. John Paul died on April 17, 1943, when his plane crashed over the English Channel. A poem by Merton to John Paul is in his most famous work and autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain.

Merton kept journals throughout his stay at Gethsemani. Initially, he felt writing to be at odds with his vocation, worried that it would be a conflict of interest with the monastic rules, but his superior, Dunne, saw that Merton had both a gifted intellect and talent for writing. In 1943, Merton was tasked to translate religious texts and write biographies on the saints for the monastery. He approached his new writing assignment with the same fervor and zeal he displayed in the farmyard where he worked.

By 1947, Merton was more comfortable in his role as a writer. On March 19, he took his solemn vows, a commitment to live out his life at the monastery. In 1948, Merton published several works for the monastery that year, which were: Guide to Cistercian Life, Cistercian Contemplatives, Figures for an Apocalypse, and The Spirit of Simplicity. That same year, St. Mary's College in Indiana published a booklet by Merton, What Is Contemplation? Additionally, he published a biography, Exile Ends in Glory: The Life of a Trappistine, Mother M. Berchmans, O.C.S.O.

A year later, Merton's abbot, Dunne, died on August 3, 1948, while riding on a train in Georgia. Dunne's passing was heart-breaking for Merton, who had come to look on the abbot as a father figure and spiritual mentor. On August 15, the monastic community elected Dom James Fox, as their new abbot. In October, Merton discussed with him his ongoing attraction to the Carthusian and Camaldolese orders and their way of life. Fox responded by assuring Merton that he belonged at Gethsemani. Fox permitted Merton to continue his writing. At this point, Merton gained popularity outside the monastery. On December 21 he was ordained as subdeacon.

In 1949, he published Seeds of Contemplation, The Tears of Blind Lions, The Waters of Siloe, and the British edition of The Seven Storey Mountain under the title Elected Silence. On May 26, he was ordained a priest, saying his first Mass the following day. In November, Merton started teaching mystical theology to novices at Gethsemani, a duty he greatly enjoyed. By this time, Merton was a huge success outside the monastery, The Seven Storey Mountain had sold over 150,000 copies. In subsequent years, he would author many other books, which would gain him a wide readership. He would revise Seeds of Contemplation several times, viewing his early edition as "lacking warmth and human affection." A person's place in society, views on social activism, and various approaches toward contemplative prayer and living, became constant themes in his writings.

As the years progressed at Gethsemani, Fr. Merton changed from the passionately inward-looking young monk to being well known for his progressive interfaith dialogues with other religions and his non-violent stand during the race riots and the Vietnam War of the 1960's.

In the 50's and 60's era, Merton became entrenched with the ideas of the human experience and one who was deeply concerned about the world. In essence, he became not concerned with the rules laid down by the Trappists, but the rules laid down by the world. He was the "social justice warrior" of his time. He regarded his viewpoint based on "simplicity" and expressed it as a Christian sensibility. 

His New Seeds of Contemplation was published in 1961. In a letter to a Nicaraguan "Catholic" priest, liberation theologian and politician, Ernesto Cardenal, Merton wrote: "The world is full of great criminals with enormous power, and they are in a death struggle with each other. It is a huge gang battle, using well-meaning lawyers and policemen and clergymen as their front, controlling papers, means of communication, and enrolling everybody in their armies."

Merton was over joyed by all the Sessions of of the Second Vatican (Robber) Council (1962-1965) and took great interest in it. He said, "That Council! Such hopes and such fears! But the Holy Spirit really is in command there, though He may not be at the Pentagon" (Witness to Freedom, pg. 283) At the same time, he admitted to certain fears about what the Council might do, especially the fear that new obligations would authoritatively be imposed. He states: "The Council would be a disaster if it simply reaffirmed disciplinary rules that had been in place for centuries. What was needed was reform and renewal. This is not the world of Gregory VII or Innocent III or Pius V, or even Pius X. To be a perfect Christian, even a saint, according to their pattern, is no longer enough. On the contrary, it is apt to be terribly dangerous, even fatal. (Witness of Freedom, pg. 45) In preparation for the Council he read Hans Kung's book, The Council, Reform and Reunion where it was written, "...the vigor and honesty of the message was tremendous."

Two points to which Merton was pleased most with the Council was the changes made to the liturgy in Sacrosanctum Concilium and how the Church changed its relationship with the Jews.  In "Liturgy and Christian Personalism" and "Liturgical Renewal: The Open Approach" he reflects on the words from the document (SC) that sees the liturgy as the chief means, "...whereby the faithful may express in their lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the Church." (art 2).

He sees the liturgical renewal as the greatest development in the liturgy since the patristic age. In the second article, he discusses some aspects of the renewal that he sees as especially significant: the departure of rubricism (where all that was needed was to make sure that the priest did everything correctly); the active involvement of the people in the liturgy; communion under both kinds; and a new "spirit of openness" between priest and people. On April 25, 1964, he wrote to Canon A.M. Allchin, an Anglican friend at Oxford, that he thought it would be helpful for Roman Catholics, as they move into the vernacular, to learn from the Anglican tradition. (Hidden Ground of Love, pg. 26). 

On the second point, Merton's Jewish friend Rabbi Abraham Heschel visited Merton at Gethsemani on July 13, 1964, where expressed his anguish over the third session of the Council. Merton was moved, and on the next day, wrote a letter to Cardinal Augustin Bea where he stated that he hoped the Council would not to miss "this opportunity for repentance and truth which is being offered her and which so many are ready to reject and refuse" (Hidden Ground of Love # 433). Merton points out that it is especially the Church that would gain from this statement on the Jews. "I am personally convinced that the grace to truly see the Church as she is in her humility and in her splendor may perhaps not be granted to the Council Fathers, if they fail to take account of her relations to the anguished Synagogue." 

He suggests that one way of dealing theologically and diplomatically with the fears of the bishops in Arab countries would be the so-called realization that Jews, Muslims, and Christians are Abrahamic faiths as well as "people of the book." "Perhaps this common theological root in the promises made Abraham might bear fruit in a Chapter on anti-Semitism, oriented to peace with all Semites and then with special emphasis on the relation of the Church and the Synagogue and at least an implicit recognition of the long-standing sin of anti-Jewish hatred among Catholic" (HGL, 434) In September of the that same year, Heschel quite upset, wrote a letter to Merton telling him that the original Council statement, which had been in almost all respects a monumental declaration, had been - he had been told - replaced by a watered down text that was offensive to Jews, even expressing the desire that the Jewish people would seek union with the Catholic Church. 

Heschel wrote that he told "Pope" Paul VI, "I am ready to go to Auschwitz any time if faced with the alternative of conversion or death" (HGL,434). Merton responded immediately, saying that he was stunned by what the Rabbi had told him. "My latent ambitions to be a true Jew under my Catholic skin" (HGL, 434) surely will be realized, he said, if he had to continue to go through the experiences of this kind. Shortly thereafter, the fourth Session of the Council gave a statement in Nostrae Aetate eliminating the offensive parts of the document Heschel feared.

By 1965, Merton finally achieved the solitude he had long desired while living in a hermitage on the monastery grounds. Over the years, he had occasional battles with some of his abbots about not being allowed out of the monastery despite his international reputation and voluminous correspondence with many well-known figures of the day. In 1966, he fell sick and while he was in a Louisville, Ky hospital, fell in love with a student nurse. Even though this relationship was short lived, he reflected on the past when he was in college and the intimacy he had with the women. His friend James Wygal, who was a psychologist in Louisville, had a meeting with him in his office about his relationship with the nurse. Put in a uncomfortable situation, he tried to dismiss the thoughts in his head but at the same time corrected him by stating, "You are on a collision course" (Learning to Love 85)

At the end of 1968, the new abbot, Flavian Burns, allowed him the freedom to undertake a tour of Asia, during which he met the Dalai Lama in India on three occasions, and the Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen master Chatral Rinoche, followed by a solitary retreat near Darjeerling, India. In Darjeeling, he befriended Tsewang Yishey Pemba, a prominent member of the Tibetan community. Then, in what was to be his final letter, he noted, "In my contacts with these new friends, I also feel a consolation in my own faith in Christ and in his dwelling presence. I hope and believe He may be present in the hearts of all of us."

On December 10 (the same day he entered the Abbey of Gethsemani 27 years earlier), 1968, Merton was at a Red Cross retreat facility named Sawang Kaniwat in Samut Prakan, a province of Bangkok, Thailand, attending a monastic conference. After giving a talk at the morning session, he was later found dead in the afternoon in the room of his cottage, wearing only shorts, lying on his back with a short-circuited Hitachi floor fan lying across his body. His associate, Jean Leclercq, states: "In all probability the death of Thomas Merton was due in part to heart failure, in part to an electric shock." His body was flown back to the United States onboard a US military aircraft returning from Vietnam. He is buried at the Gethsemani Abbey.

The Reading of Bad Books
One only wonders if Thomas Merton ever truly converted to Catholicism. What inspired him to be a monk was not the Rule of St. Benedict or St. Bernard etc. but a book recommended to him by a friend while he was still at the University of Columbia. It was  Aldous Huxley's Ends and Means. This book covered topics of asceticism and spirituality, but not from a Catholic point of view. In fact, Huxley was agnostic and was heavily influenced by Eastern philosophies through the principle of ahimsa where he learned it from his friend Jiddu Krishnamurti of the Theosophical (Occultist) Society.

Merton was touched by Huxley's version of the human experience and his process of prayer, detachment, and love, which he derived from the book. Huxley was a novelist who moved to Hollywood and is famous for his dystopian novel A Brave New World which compared to 1984 is based on a futuristic time period where a World State has citizens who are environmentally engineered into an intelligence-based social hierarchy.

He is also known for his work The Doors of Perception which is based on perennial philosophy borrowed from Eastern mysticism. The rock band The Doors, under lead singer and occultist Jim Morrison, named their group after Huxley's work.

If authors like Huxley were the works that Merton was reading before his so-called conversion, one can only conclude that he was misled throughout his life with not being raised Catholic and the education he received in his youth. He was never fit to become a real monk under any Catholic Order, and what's worse, was how he was permitted to enter the monastery. One book is enough to kill the soul like a drop of poison is enough to kill the body. Our Lord did say, "And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell." (St. Matthew 10:28).

St. Alphonsus Ligouri says it best regarding the reading of bad books and the benefit of reading good books when he says:

The reading of spiritual works is as profitable as the reading of bad books is noxious. As the former has led to the conversion of many sinners, so the latter is every day the ruin of many young persons. The first author of pious books is the Spirit of God; but the author of pernicious writings is the devil, who often artfully conceals from certain persons the poison that such works contain, and makes these persons believe that the reading of such books is necessary in order to speak well, and to acquire a knowledge of the world for their own direction, or at least in order to pass the time agreeably.

But I say that, especially for nuns, nothing is more pernicious than the reading of bad books. And by bad books I mean not only those that are condemned by the Holy See, either because they contain heresy, or treat of subjects opposed to chastity, but also all books that treat of worldly love. What fervor can a religious have if she reads romances, comedies, or profane poetry? What recollection can she have in meditation or at Communion? Can she be called the spouse of Jesus Christ? Should she not rather be called the spouse of a sinful world? Even young women in the world that are in the habit of reading such books are generally not virtuous seculars.

But some one may say, What harm is there in reading romances and profane poetry when they contain nothing immodest? Do you ask what harm? Behold the harm: the reading of such works kindles the concupiscence of the senses, and awakens the passions; these easily gain the consent of the will, or at least render it so weak that when the occasion of any dangerous affection occurs the devil finds the soul already prepared to allow itself to be conquered. A wise author has said that by the reading of such pernicious books heresy has made, and makes every day, great progress; because such reading has given and gives increased strength to libertinism. The poison of these books enters gradually into the soul; it first makes itself master of the understanding, then infects the will, and in the end kills the soul. The devil finds no means more efficacious and secure of sending a young person to perdition than the reading of such poisoned works.

Remember also that for you certain useless books, though not bad, will be pernicious; because they will make you lose the time that you can employ in occupations profitable to the soul. In a letter to his disciple Eustochium, St. Jerome stated for her instruction that in his solitude at Bethlehem he was attached to the works of Cicero, and frequently read them, and that he felt a certain disgust for pious books because their style was not polished. He was seized with a serious malady, in which he saw himself at the tribunal of Jesus Christ. The Lord said to him: "Tell me; what are you?" "I am," replied the saint, "a Christian." "No," rejoined the Judge, "you are a Ciceronian, not a Christian." He then commanded him to be instantly scourged. 

The saint promised to correct his fault, and having returned from the vision he found his shoulders livid and covered with wounds in consequence of the chastisement that he had received. Thenceforward he gave up the works of Cicero, and devoted himself to the reading of books of piety. It is true that in the works like those of Cicero we sometimes find useful sentiments; but the same St. Jerome wisely said in a letter to another disciple: "What need have you of seeking for a little gold in the midst of so much mire," when you can read pious books in which you may find all gold without any mire?

As the reading of bad books fills the mind with worldly and poisonous sentiments; so, on the other hand, the reading of pious works fills the soul with holy thoughts and good desires.

In the second place, the soul that is imbued with holy thoughts in reading is always prepared to banish internal temptations. The advice that St. Jerome gave to his disciple Salvina was: "Endeavor to have always in your hand a pious book, that with this shield you may defend yourself against bad thoughts.

In the third place, spiritual reading serves to make us see the stains that infect the soul, and helps us to remove them. The same St. Jerome recommended Demetriade to avail herself of spiritual reading as of a mirror. He meant to say that as a mirror exhibits the stains of the countenance, so holy books show us the defects of the soul. St. Gregory, speaking of spiritual reading, says: "There we perceive the losses we have sustained and the advantages we have acquired; there we observe our falling back or our progress in the way of God."

In the fourth place, in reading holy books we receive many lights and divine calls. St. Jerome says that when we pray we speak to God; but when we read, God speaks to us. St. Ambrose says the same: "We address him when we pray; we hear him when we read." In prayer, God hears our petitions, but in reading we listen to his voice. We cannot, as I have already said, always have at hand a spiritual Father, nor can we hear the sermons of sacred orators, to direct and give us light to walk well in the way of God. Good books supply the place of sermons. St. Augustine writes that good books are, as it were, so many letters of love the Lord sends us; in them he warns us of our dangers, teaches us the way of salvation, animates us to suffer adversity, enlightens us, and inflames us with divine love. Whoever, then, desires to be saved and to acquire divine love, should often read these letters of paradise.

How many saints have, by reading a spiritual book, been induced to forsake the world and to give themselves to God! It is known to all that St. Augustine, when miserably chained by his passions and vices, was, by reading one of the epistles of St. Paul, enlightened with divine light, went forth from his darkness, and began to lead a life of holiness. Thus also St. Ignatius, while a soldier, by reading a volume of the lives of the saints which he accidentally took up, in order to get rid of the tediousness of the bed to which he was confined by sickness, was led to begin a life of sanctity, and became the Father and Founder of the Society of Jesus—an Order which has done so much for the Church. Thus also by reading a pious book accidentally and almost against his will, St. John Colombino left the world, became a saint, and the founder of another religious Order. 

St. Augustine relates that two courtiers of the Emperor Theodosius entered one day into a monastery of solitaries; one of them began to read the life of St. Anthony, which he found in one of the cells; so strong was the impression made upon him, that he resolved to take leave of the world. He then addressed his companion with so much fervor that both of them remained in the monastery to serve God. We read in the Chronicles of the Discalced Carmelites that a lady in Vienna was prepared to go to a festivity, but because it was given up she fell into a violent passion. To divert her attention she began to read a spiritual book that was at hand, and conceived such a contempt for the world, that she abandoned it and became a Teresian nun. The same happened to the Duchess of Montalto, in Sicily. She began also by accident to read the works of St. Teresa, and afterwards continued to read them with so much fervor, that she sought and obtained her husband’s consent to become a religious, and entered among the Discalced Carmelites.

But the reading of spiritual books has not only contributed to the conversion of saints, but has also given them during their whole life great aid to persevere and to advance continually in perfection. The glorious St. Dominic used to embrace his spiritual books, and to press them to his bosom, saying, "These books give me milk." And how, except by meditation and the use of pious books, were the anchorets enabled to spend to many years in the desert, at a distance from all human society? That great servant of God, Thomas a Kempis, could not enjoy greater consolation than in remaining in a corner of his cell with a spiritual book in his hand. It has been already mentioned in this work that the Venerable Vincent Carafa used to say that he could not desire a greater happiness in this world than to live in a little grotto provided with a morsel of bread and a spiritual book. St. Philip Neri devoted all the vacant hours that he could procure to the reading of spiritual books, and particularly the lives of the saints.

Oh! How profitable is the reading of the lives of the saints! In books of instruction we read what we are bound to do, but in the lives of the saints we read what so many holy men and women, who were flesh as we are, have done. Hence, their example, if it produce no other fruit, will at least humble us and make us sink under the earth. In reading the great things that the saints have done, we shall certainly be ashamed of the little that we have done and still do for God. St. Augustine said of himself: "My God, the examples of Thy servants, when I meditated on them, consumed my tepidity and inflamed me with Thy holy love." Of St. Francis, St. Bonaventure writes: "By the remembrance of the saints and of their virtues, as if they were so many stones of fire, he has inflamed with new love for God."

St. Gregory also relates that in Rome there was a beggar called Servolus; he was afflicted with infirmities, and lived on the alms that he collected: he gave a part to the poor, and employed the remainder in purchasing books of devotion. Servolus could not read, but he engaged those whom he lodged in his little house to read for him. St. Gregory says that by listening to these spiritual readings Servolus acquired great patience and a wonderful knowledge of the things of God. Finally, the saint states that at death the poor man besought his friends to read for him; but before breathing his last he interrupted the reading, and said: "Be silent, be silent, do you not hear how all paradise resounds with canticles and harmonious music?" After these words he sweetly expired. Immediately after his death a most agreeable odor was diffused over the room, in testimony of the sanctity of the beggar, who left the world poor in earthly goods, but rich in virtue and merits.

But to draw great fruit from spiritual reading:

It is, in the first place, necessary to recommend yourself beforehand to God, that he may enlighten the mind while you read. It has been already said, that in spiritual reading the Lord condescends to speak to us; and, therefore, in taking up the book, we must pray to God in the words of Samuel: Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth. Speak, O my Lord, for I wish to obey Thee in all that Thou wilt make known to me to be Thy will.

In the second place, you must read not in order to acquire learning, nor to indulge curiosity, but for the sole purpose of advancing in divine love. To read for the sake of knowledge is not spiritual reading, but is, at the time of spiritual reading, a study unprofitable to the soul. It is still worse to read through curiosity. What profit can be expected form such reading? All the time devoted to such reading is lost time. St. Gregory says that many read and read a great deal, but, because they have read only through curiosity, they finish reading as hungry as if they had not been reading. Hence the saint corrected a physician called Theodore for reading spiritual books quickly and without profit.

To derive advantage from pious books it is necessary to read them slowly and with attention. "Nourish your soul," says St. Augustine, "with divine lectures." Now to receive nutriment from food, it must not be devoured, but well masticated. Remember, then, in the third place, that to reap abundant fruit from pious reading, you must masticate and ponder well what you ready; applying to yourself what is there inculcated. And when what you have read has made a lively impression on you, St. Ephrem counsels you to read it a second time. (See St. Alphonsus Ligouri, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ). 

Merton's "Christ"

In the spring of 1933, while visiting in Rome, the young Merton discovered the Roman churches and their Byzantine mosaics, and for the first time, he tells us, he began to find out something about the person whom people called Christ. "It was in Rome that my conception of Christ was formed" (Seven Storey Mountain, 109). "These mosaics, told me more than I had ever known of the doctrine of a God of infinite power, wisdom, and love who had yet become Man and revealed in His manhood the infinity of power, wisdom and love that was His Godhead."

In the final chapter of his book New Seeds of Contemplation he denies original sin and blasphemes why Christ became man when he states: The Lord made the world and made man in order that He Himself might become Man... The Lord would not only love His creatures as a Father, but He would enter into His creation, emptying Himself, hiding Himself, as if He were not God but a creature. Why should He do this? Because He loved His creatures, and because He could not bear that His creatures should merely adore Him as distant, remote, transcendent and all powerful." He continues "In becoming man, God became not only Jesus Christ but also potentially every man and woman that ever existed." In Christ, God became not only this man, but also in a broader and more mystical sense, yet no less truly, 'every man.' (pgs. 294-295).

Like a true Modernist, he dilutes Christ's divinity by focusing on His humanity, even going as far as blasphemously stating that Christ became "every man." It almost sounds like something coming out of Gaudium et Spes #22 "For by His incarnation the Son of God united Himself in some way with every human being. He labored with human hands, thought with a human mind, acted with a human will, and loved with a human heart" or worse yet #12 "According to the almost unanimous opinion of believers and unbelievers alike, all things on earth should be related to man as their center and crown."

In another book, The New Man he has this to say about baptism: "This opening up of ourselves to God is what happens in baptism, the sacrament of illumination. In baptism we discover (recover) our true identity. The fire that is divine grace makes us members of the risen Christ, uniting us with him and with one another in God. This grace, reestablishing humankind in existential communion with God, is God's gift. We have not stolen it like Prometheus. It had been given to us because the Father wanted us to have it, in order that we might find ourselves and become his children." (pg. 223)

In baptism, original sin is removed and we become children of God with sanctifying grace. This is why God wishes us to have it, not because of opening ourselves to God so that we can discover our true identity.

On July 11th 1967, Merton wrote to a man who found it difficult to square his understanding of Christ with the seeming abandonment that Christ went through when suffering on the cross. Instead of explaining how He was following the Father's will and not His own, and that it was a mystery of faith, Merton states: I have no explanation of how He was able to feel such dereliction, but the fact that He did so does not trouble me because it reminds me that He shared a lot of my own kind of feelings and was therefore closer to me (Witness to Freedom, pg. 334). 

Like a true Modernist, Merton's "Christ" is what Pope St. Pius X warned about when he said "In the person of Christ, they say, science and history encounter nothing that is not human. Therefore, in virtue of the first canon deduced from agnosticism, whatever there is in His history suggestive of the divine, must be rejected. Then, according to the second canon, the historical Person of Christ was transfigured by faith; therefore everything that raises it above historical conditions must be removed. Lately, the third canon, which lays down that the person of Christ has been disfigured by faith, requires that everything should be excluded, deeds and words and all else that is not in keeping with His character, circumstances and education, and with the place and time in which He lived. A strange style of reasoning, truly; but it is Modernist criticism." (Pascendi Dominis Gregis #9)

Like a true Modernist, Merton's "sacraments" are a form of evolution of dogma which Pope St. Pius X condemned when he said, Agnosticism tells us that history, like ever other science, deals entirely with phenomena, and the consequence is that God, and every intervention of God in human affairs, is to be relegated to the domain of faith as belonging to it alone. In things where a double element, the divine and the human, mingles, in Christ, for example, or the Church, or the sacraments, or the many other objects of the same kind, a division must be made and the human element assigned to history while the divine will go to faith. Hence we have that distinction, so current among the Modernists, between the Christ of history and the Christ of faith, between the sacraments of history and the sacraments of faith, and so on. Next we find that the human element itself, which the historian has to work on, as it appears in the documents, has been by faith transfigured, that is to say raised above its historical conditions. It becomes necessary, therefore, to eliminate also the accretions which faith has added, to assign them to faith itself and to the history of faith: thus, when treating of Christ, the historian must set aside all that surpasses man in his natural condition, either according to the psychological conception of him, or according to the place and period of his existence. 

Finally, by virtue of the third principle, even those things which are not outside the sphere of history they pass through the crucible, excluding from history and relegating to faith everything which, in their judgment, is not in harmony with what they call the logic of facts and in character with the persons of whom they are predicated. Thus, they will not allow that Christ ever uttered those things which do not seem to be within the capacity of the multitudes that listened to Him. Hence they delete from His real history and transfer to faith all the allegories found in His discourses. Do you inquire as to the criterion they adopt to enable them to make these divisions? The reply is that they argue from the character of the man, from his condition of life, from his education, from the circumstances under which the facts took place - in short, from criteria which, when one considers them well, are purely subjective. Their method is to put themselves into the position and person of Christ, and then to attribute to Him what they would have done under like circumstances. In this way, absolutely a priori and acting on philosophical principles which they admit they hold but which they affect to ignore, they proclaim that Christ, according to what they call His real history, was not God and never did anything divine, and that as man He did and said only what they, judging from the time in which he lived, can admit Him to have said or done. (Pascendi Dominis Gregis # 30). 

Inter-Religious Dialogue
Merton emphasized repeatedly "that it is absolutely essential" for contemporary society to recover "a dimension of wisdom oriented to contemplation as well as to wise action" and that to develop such an awareness "it is no longer sufficient merely to go back over the Christian and European cultural traditions. The horizons of the world are no longer confined to Europe and America. We have to gain new perspectives, and on this our spiritual and even our physical survival depend. (Mystics and Zen Masters, pg 80). Inter-religious dialogue has a crucial role in this process, Merton believes because, "the value hidden in Oriental thought actually reveal themselves only on the plane of spiritual experiences, or perhaps, if you like, of the aesthetic experience." (Thomas Merton Reader, pg.302).
Merton believed those committed to spiritual values and discipline have a responsibility to form this universal consciousness through dialogue. While he had no expectations of "visible results of earth shaking importance," Merton stated that he was, "convinced that communication in depth... is now not only possible and desirable, but most important for the destinies of the Twentieth Century." (Asian Journal pg 313).

Some of his most blasphemous and apostate statements are quoted as follows:
"If I affirm myself as a Catholic merely by denying all that is Muslim, Jewish, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. in the end I will find that there is not much left for me to affirm as a Catholic: and certainly no breath of the Spirit with which to affirm it." (Guilty Bystander, pg. 129)

"The capacity for contemplative experience and the fact of its realization... are therefore implicit in all the great religious traditions, whether Asian or European, whether Hindu, Buddhist, Moslem, Christian."  (Mystics and Zen Master, pg. 209).

During his Asian pilgrimage he summarizes his three meetings with the Dalai Lama by by saying, "I felt we had become very good friends and were somehow quite close to one another. I believe, too, that there is a real spiritual bond between us." (Other side of the Mountain, pg. 206).

It's a shame Merton never believed in the words of Pope Pius IX who said:
Also perverse is the shocking theory that it makes no difference to which religion one belongs, a theory which is greatly at variance even with reason. By means of this theory, those crafty men remove all distinction between virtue and vice, truth and error, honorable and vile action. They pretend that men can gain eternal salvation by the practice of any religion, as if there could ever be any sharing between justice and iniquity, any collaboration between light and darkness, or any agreement between Christ and Belial...So, in accordance with your pastoral care, work assiduously to protect and preserve this faith. Never cease to instruct all men in it, to encourage the wavering, to convince dissenters, to strengthen the weak in faith by never tolerating and letting pass anything which could in the slightest degree defile the purity of this faith. With the same great strength of mind, foster in all men their unity with the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation; also foster their obedience towards this See of Peter on which rests the entire structure of our most holy religion. See to it with similar firmness that the most holy laws of the Church are observed, for it is by these laws that virtue, religion and piety particularly thrive and flourish... Consequently, by presenting the word of truth properly and by preaching not themselves but Christ crucified, they should clearly proclaim in their preaching the tenets and precepts of our most holy religion in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church and the Fathers. They should explain precisely the particular duties of individuals, frighten them from vice, and inspire them with a love of piety. In this way the faithful will avoid all vices and pursue virtues, and so, will be able to escape eternal punishment and gain heavenly glory.(Qui Pluribus #15,20,26).

I have on a couple occasions visited the Abbey of Gethsemani. The outside structure is traditional since it was built in the 1800's, but the inside has been gutted like a fish of its former beauty before Vatican II. It reflects the spirit of Thomas Merton's legacy: Lost, void, and apostate.