Blessed Marco d’Aviano
Islam, Nostra Aetate and the Church Apathetic
"He who is not for me, is against me"
On 27th April 2003, the Holy Father beatified the seventeenth century Capuchin Friar Marco D’Aviano. In order to honour his valiant defence of the Faith, the countless conversions and miracles he inspired in his own life time, and the incredible graces that he gave to Austria and Vienna, we are firstly going to focus on the current war on truth in the Church and the world, all of which has acquired a special significance since the events of 11th September 2001.
We note with interest that the attack on the World Trade Centre by militant Islam was in part a protest at the capitalism, consumerism, permissiveness and sexual immorality of the apostate Christian West. It was a triumph for militant Islam, since the West is now in a state of permanent alert about the hidden enemy within working to terrorise us into submission. The choice of date for this attack on the Twin Towers - for the terrorists an iconic symbol of Western imperialism - was not coincidental. It took place on the Vigil of the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Our Blessed Lady: a reversal, if you will, of the events of that day in 1683 when Catholics in Vienna were preparing to go into battle to protect Christendom from an imminent Moslem invasion. In Part II we will consider how Blessed Marco d’Aviano led that crusade against the Moslems, on which occasion the Christian West won and the infidel was repelled from the borders of Western Europe.
For now, let us consider that today we are not just threatened by militant extremism and terrorism. Record numbers of Moslem refugees are being received warmly by Western countries. We are being settled, not least because the apostate West has lost an interest in children. Moslems are still reproducing, which means that their strength and energy is likely to see them fill the gaps in our socio-economic infra-structure before it implodes altogether.
For or Against Christ
But before we proceed any further, let us first recall the statement above, made by Our Blessed Lord.
What does it mean?
It means exactly what it says: I cannot be for Christ and against Christ at the same time.
The Church in Austria has become discreetly quiet about the real nature of Blessed Marco d’Aviano’s cause, in spite of his very recent beatification. This has much to do with the way Catholic-Moslem relations have been rewritten by the Second Vatican Council.
What is at stake is doctrine. And the doctrine in question is that of the Trinity and the Incarnation. Moslems deny that Our Lord, Jesus Christ is equal to the Father and the Son of the Father. They also deny that the Messiah has already become incarnate.
In order, therefore, to defend Blessed Marco d’Aviano’s crusade against the Moslems and against those lax Christians in 1683 who seemed so indifferent to their own security, we shall demonstrate the Scriptural basis to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, before demonstrating how the Second Vatican Council has failed to defend its constituent parts, preferring to champion the doctrines of Masonic Humanism instead. These Humanist doctrines favour appeasement towards all religions on the assumption that polytheism (belief in or worship of more than one god) is true, which the Church always taught was a false first premise in the pre-1958 period.
This essay will help those involved in apologetics, by defusing the widely held popular opinion that Christians, Jews and Moslems are all monotheistic religions believing in the same God.
They are not all similar religions with one similar structuring ‘principle’. They are so only to anthropologists and sociologists, who believe in different kinds of subjective reality rather than in revealed truth. To claim that there are real common denominators in the objective forum is misleading, and potentially heretical.
Hatred of Christ and the Trinity
We will begin by remembering that on Passion Sunday, in the Gospel according to St. John, we hear Our Lord say to the Jews that He pre-dates Abraham: "Amen, Amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made I am". Our Lord is not, as the Jews and Moslems say, merely a prophet in a historical sequence. Our Lord is eternal. He is, was and always will be at one with God the Father, who conceived of His Divine Son’s role in salvation history from the beginning of all time, because truth is eternal, as time is eternal. Our Lord is the Logos, as the opening words of the Gospel according to St. John state: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God"; He is the Word which was "made flesh, and dwelt among us": He is the Truth incarnate.
These statements are unconditional proof that the Jews and the Moslems are, in the objective forum, at war with Christ. Our Lord has said unambiguously that He did not just fulfil the prophecies and follow the Old Testament prophets in historical time. His part in salvation history, as the Messiah, had been pre-determined by God before historical time even began, because spiritual time is eternal and transcends historical time. Therefore it should not be possible to elevate Abraham above Christ, or to deny that Christ is superior to Abraham, as the Moslems and Jews do.
But the people do not want to believe that Christ is eternal, which is why the clarification Our Lord makes is followed by the inevitable denial. "They took up stones therefore to cast at Him". To state the truth is to be punished. The Jews attacked Christ in the body because they hated the truth He enunciated in the word and the flesh. Is there historical evidence to support the view that the Jews and the Moslems punish Christians for being followers of Christ? Are punishment killings, decapitations, desecration of the Blessed Sacrament, the declaration of the Holy War against all non-Moslems, the insidious conditioning to live a life of the flesh, not the spirit, the imposition of Islamic Sharia law, the punishments meted out to Moslems and Jews who do become Christians, the incitement to worship Mammon and Moloch - are all these historically proven facts no longer relevant?
On Wednesday in Passion week, Our Lord clarifies again that Christ, as part of the Trinity, transcends time: "I and the Father are one", and "The Father is in Me, and I in the Father". It should not therefore be possible to deny one person of the Trinity, as the Jews and Moslems do, in the objective forum, and maintain that we all have a common belief in a common God. We do not have a common belief in a common God, because both the Jews and the Moslems do not accept that God is the Father of the Son.
Christ is punished once again for speaking the Truth, this revealed Truth of the irreformable doctrine of the Trinity ("I and the Father are one"): "The Jews then took up stones to stone Him". In the Gospel according to St. John we also read that the Jews hated Our Lord because He broke the sabbath "but also said God was his Father, making himself equal to God". When Our Lord reiterated that He was equal to His Father they "sought the more to kill him". They hated Christ for His part in the Trinity, and for His equality with God.
Emissaries of Anti-Christ
Elsewhere in the same Gospel, which provides us with so much unambiguous proof of the doctrine of the Trinity, Our Lord says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. no man cometh to the Father, but by me". That being so, and despite Cardinal Ratzinger and others turning radical somersaults to fudge the fact, the Catholic Church cannot pretend that in Islam or Judaism, or, indeed, in any other man-made religion, there are revealed truths, or that all religions save souls and lead to eternal life [cf. "Some Thoughts on the Reception of Dominus Iesus," CO, Jan 2001, pp.27-30]. To do so is to imply that Christ is a liar, and that the eternal doctrine "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" has somehow become outdated.
For Our Lord, Jesus Christ has said of Himself that He is Truth; he founded the only true Church, which is the only infallible way to eternal life. From which it follows that all who knowingly reject Him have chosen to believe lies, the Father of whom is, according to Holy Scripture, Satan. Indeed, Our Lord has adjudicated the matter for His Church: "Who is a liar, but he who denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is Antichrist, who denieth the Father, and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father. He that confesseth the Son, hath the Father also". "Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. By this is the spirit of God known. Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God: And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus, is not of God: and this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he cometh, and he is now already in the world".
Where Moslems and Jews openly deny that Jesus is the Christ, they are, according to Christ himself, emissiaries of Antichrist.
Therefore, the war to liquidate the opposition to ecumenism is also part of Antichrist’s strategy: to eliminate the presence of Christ in the world. Members of the hierarchy who talk pejoratively about "anti-ecumenical Traditionalists" give themselves away.
In stating categorically that "no-one cometh to the Father, but by me", Our Lord also makes clear that belief in some kind of God-figure, or eternal being, is of no use whatsoever, if that God is not God the Father, the Father of the Messiah. It may be of purely human and subjective interest that there are people who believe in a God-figure or Allah; it is clearly of instrumental and purely subjective use to such people, whose lives are structured around the false truths in which they believe for as long as they are alive. But for as long as they remain attached to such objectively false beliefs their eternal salvation is at risk, because Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Way to the Father, in Heaven:
"Do you not believe, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak to you, I speak not of myself. But the Father who abideth in me, he doth the works. Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?"
Again, Our Lord states categorically that it is impossible to separate the Father from the Son.
Likewise the Holy Ghost cannot be denied without denying the doctrine of the Trinity:
"And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you".
Of the Paraclete, Our Lord promises us:
"And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. Of sin: because they believed not in me. And of justice: because I go to the Father; and you shall see me no longer. And of judgment: because the prince of this world is already judged...And when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak: and the things that are to come, he shall shew you. He shall glorify me.."
This recapitulates the reality that there is no truth except revealed truth, which is irreformable because it is God-given, not man-made. It is present in the world by dint of the Holy Ghost, who teaches us precisely those eternal truths we need to know, understand and live by, if we wish to save our immortal souls. That being so, all other religions which claim to be teaching truth are, in the objective forum, teaching lies. They are false religions. Until the pastoral speculations and confusion of Vatican II, this used to be the defined teaching of the Catholic Church.
This equality of the three persons in the Trinity makes it logical that God the Father should give to His Son the right to judge mankind at the Judgment:
"He who honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father, who hath sent him." "He that believeth not the Son, maketh him a liar: because he believeth not in the testimony which God hath testified of his Son. And this is the testimony, that God hath given to us eternal life. And this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life. He that hath not the Son, hath not life".
Judaism and Islam are, therefore, unconditionally condemned by Our Lord, Jesus Christ and Holy Scripture at the level of their doctrinal errors in respect of the Trinity. They are, properly speaking, Trinitarian heresies. It was on that basis that the Church, until the Second Vatican Council, sent out missionaries to convert deceived souls to the truths they need to know, understand, believe in and live by, if they wish to sanctify and save their immortal souls, and be "worthy of the promises of Christ" in an eternity in Paradise, with God, our Father.
St. Paul clarifies to perfection the pivotal doctrine of the Resurrection. In the first epistle to the Corinthians he points out that everything is in vain if we do not believe that Christ rose again from the dead. Again, neither the Jews nor the Moslems preach Christ crucified, or Christ risen. Why? Because their religions are religions of the world with Messianic potential as the poor substitute for the true Messiah they reject, with all that that entails in time and eternity.
Ecumenical New World Order
The political aspects of militant Islam and militant Judaism are very worrying at the present time, which is why Christians have to be particularly careful about the way they negotiate the political goal in the West of creating an ecumenical New World Order. Both Islam and Judaism - with their formal claim that Jesus Christ was and is only one in a series of prophets - are self-serving, providing any amount of structure and discipline, but all in the service of regulating human life on earth, not glorifying God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost and eternal life in Paradise.
Again, Our Lord makes it simple for us. We know and understand that Moslems and Jews have very elaborate dietary rules and regulations all in the service of creating properly purified food to eat. Our Lord says in the Gospel of St. Matthew:
"Do you not understand, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy? But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man. For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands doth not defile a man".
St. Paul’s defence of the Resurrection from the standpoint of eternity also needs to be remembered:
"Now if Christ be preached, that he arose again from the dead, how do some among you say, that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen again. And if Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God: because we have given testimony against God, that he hath raised up Christ; whom he hath not raised up, if the dead rise not again. For if the dead rise not again, neither is Christ risen again. And if Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain, for you are yet in your sins. Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ, are perished."
St. Paul’s defence of Christ carries with it a serious warning. If we do not preach the Resurrection as if it were true, we are guilty of breaking the First Commandment, which requires us to defend God and Christ, and not to worship false Gods. That means we are obliged by our confirmational promises to attack political ecumenism for its falsity.
Finally, St. Paul emphatically declares at the end of the first epistle to the Corinthians: "If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema, marantha". According to St. Paul we should be treating those who do not love Our Lord as if they were excommunicated.
Rewriting Catholic-Moslem Relations
The Vatican document Nostra Aetate of October 28th, 1965, caused much controversy. Why? Because it begins with a formal recognition that relations with non-Catholics must change.
The change is legitimate, the document implies, only in terms of the goal of common humanity, fellowship and the brotherhood of nations. Recognising that human beings are searching for answers to ultimate questions, the document states that many do believe in a Supreme Divinity or a Supreme Father. En passant, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam are not just acknowledged but treated as genuine manifestations of the Revelation and sources of truth:
The Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true and holy in these religions. She looks with sincere respect upon those ways of conduct and of life, those rules and teachings which, though differing in many particulars from what she holds and sets forth, nevertheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men…The Church therefore has this exhortation for her sons: prudently and lovingly, through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, and in witness of Christian faith and life, acknowledge, preserve, and promote the spiritual and moral goods found among these men, as well as the values in their society and culture.
This is difficult. In what sense can non-Catholic groups "reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men"? Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam deny that Christ is the Messiah. Christians believe that Christ is Truth incarnate. From which it follows that the above sentences are more than mere tacit acknowledgements of the existence of other non-Catholic religions at the human level. In what sense can false religions produce the "true and holy"?
A very serious claim is being made that Christ’s Truth is nonetheless reflected in non-Catholic religions, and enlightens not just the elect but "all men". The above statements also effectively claim there are spiritual and moral goods outside the Catholic Church.
Is that claim true? Where is the evidence? The Catholic Church has always distinguished between spiritual and moral goods which spring from natural, human motives, and those done in the name of Our Lord and Saviour. The former have limited value, because self is the motive, making them false spiritual and moral goods in fact. True spiritual and moral goods are inspired by Christ. They bear fruit in works which give greater glory to God. "Faith without works is dead". We also need to execute works in God’s name if we wish to save our immortal souls. The important distinction between true and false spiritual and moral goods is not being made, leaving the way open to confusion.
In the section on Islam the Vatican Council states the following:
Upon the Moslems, too, the Church looks with esteem. They adore one God, living and enduring, merciful and all-powerful, Maker of heaven and earth and Speaker to men. They strive to submit wholeheartedly even to His inscrutable decrees, just as did Abraham, with whom the Islamic faith is pleased to associate itself. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honour Mary, His virgin mother; at times they call on her, too, with devotion. In addition they await the day of judgment when God will give each man his due after raising him up. Consequently, they prize the moral life, and give worship to God especially through prayer, almsgiving, and fasting.
Although in the course of the centuries many quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this most sacred Synod urges all to forget the past and to strive sincerely for mutual understanding. On behalf of all mankind, let them make common cause of safeguarding and fostering social justice, moral values, peace and freedom".
Footnote 13 of Nostra Aetate weakly states: "Students of the history of the relations between Christians and Moslems will find this section a remarkable change in the Church’s approach".
The document states that it is the new, revised policy of the Vatican to stress what people have in common. Footnote 11 acknowledges just how radical the programme is, for it is nothing other than the reversal of history: "Through the centuries, however, missionaries often adopted the attitude that non-Christian religions were simply the work of Satan and the missionaries task was to convert from error to knowledge of the truth."
Two important and interrelated concessions are therefore being made, and the one follows on logically from the other.
The orthodox doctrine of the Catholic Church is that Revelation was complete at the death of the last Apostle; and that Revelation was intended for the Catholic Church, founded by the Son of God, so that through the Catholic Church the truth could be taught to all souls; that only the elect is saved, and saved by truth. Yet Nostra Aetate assumes this is an error, even a heresy. Apparently there are genuine rays of truth outside the Catholic Church in religions, some of which are pre-Christ (Judaism) and others post-Christ (Islam). This raises the additional error bordering on a heresy that God did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah forecast by Holy Scripture; and the further error bordering on heresy that God did not believe that Jesus Christ and his Apostles were unique evangelizers of His Word. Rather, the tendency of such words is that Jesus Christ is not the Messiah, but a mere prophet, and thus on a par with Mohammed. In addition we have the implied heresy that God continued to reveal himself to mankind after the death of the last Apostle, using other vessels to evangelize other truths, and truths which happen - in the objective forum - to be in conflict with those promulgated by Jesus Christ.
It is well known, for instance, that the Koran codifies the lie that Jesus Christ was only a prophet, as a result of which this crucial ‘book’ is bound to deny the doctrine of the Incarnation and the Holy Trinity. Equally, the Jews to this day visit the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem because they are still bemoaning the absence of the Messiah.
Ecumenical Compromise and the Masonic God
The inference in Nostra Aetate is that middle-ground is to be sought and found beyond and outside true Catholic doctrine: it will be sought and found in this-worldly goals like social justice, moral values, mutual understanding, peace and freedom, as if Our Lord Jesus Christ had ceased to be the formal and only guarantor of just those goods. Apparently there are no longer any objective differences between the ‘world religions’. Common denominators are to be sought and stressed, instead.
This raises the question as to what ‘common’ denominators there can be, objectively speaking, given that the ‘world religions’ have such widely differing histories and traditions. The only way in which that exhortation makes sense is if we all come to some non-doctrinal agreement about a series of self-serving truths, which might make living together in human terms better regulated. If that is the case, Catholicism is effectively denying herself, and adopting the pragmatic approach to human existence, by substituting something resembling a civil contract for revealed truth. In this project neither Islam nor Judaism make any concessions. Yet Catholicism makes compromises with Her Tradition, Her doctrine, Her history and Her mission.
There is every reason to believe that, from every point of view, this project is the ultimate delusion, because these novel doctrines presuppose a God who believes all religions are means of salvation, a polytheistic God, therefore, and not the Triune God of revealed Christian doctrine. Until the Second Vatican Council the Church had always taught the reverse, that the Catholic Church was the unique means of salvation - "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" - and that God is the Triune God, a Divine Person within the Trinity, who cannot be separated from his oneness with His Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. As even school-children know, in Judaism and Islam Jesus Christ is not the Son of God, and there is no Holy Ghost.
The God the three "great" religions believe in, is, then, quite obviously the Masonic God identified in the eighteenth century, who is not God the Father, but God, architect of the universe. This substitution, together with the set of novel opinions outlined above, is heresy writ large, a most foul blasphemy and scandal, which has brought down the wrath of God on the Christian world, the fruits of which are - if one thinks of history as the work of God, not man - 11th September 2001 and the vast and escalating refugee crisis in the West, or the increasing number of Moslems entering and settling in territory formerly Christian. At a practical level that is already causing friction.
Even the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons conceded last May that there was a risk of social unrest if the chaotic, uncontrolled immigration to Britain continues to spiral. Indeed, 80% of the population want much tighter immigration control, including 52% of Britain’s ethnic minority communities themselves, who clearly perceive the inevitable backlash. Our utopian idealists, on the other hand, exploit the demographic dislocation by preaching the Masonic doctrine of the brotherhood of all men, and the related doctrine of ‘multi-culturalism’.
Theological and Historical Illiteracy
The reason why this set of ideas has acquired common currency in the Church and the world since the 1960s is simple. They have succeeded because the people and the hierarchy have allowed themselves to regress to theological and historical illiteracy. This is proven from the fact that in most modern seminaries it is only optional to have Latin, Greek and Hebrew, which means standards of intellectual scholarship and perseverance are low. And so the preamble to Nostra Aetate, which is amateur and introductory in the incredible gloss it puts on nearly two thousand years of history, is taken at face value and not questioned.
There is in this document, for instance, no serious discussion of the historical past. No evidence is adduced to prove the case that:
a. the Church’s offensive stand against Islam in the past was doctrinally wrong and/or ineffective and without fruit in conversions, or that
b. the Koran contains nothing contrary to the Catholic faith.
Even lawyers know that if you want to win an argument you have to prove your case! The perfunctory sentences are couched in such moving terms of human community that it is obvious that the programme of permanent dialogue and reconciliation proposed is part of a skilful deception, to canvas support for something new by casting a veil over the past. Indeed the document says as much. The quotation above actually asks us to "forget the past".
Masonic Humanism: Neutralizing Catholic Doctrine
So what is the core vision of the future contained in the new, ‘positive’, doctrinally illiterate and heretical view of Islam? A new world is being anticipated, in which the doctrinally specific aspects of Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and so on will be treated as a matter of personal choice; private judgment or cultural identity.
The rhetoric is Messianic and that is usually the case amongst those who do not believe that the Messiah has already entered historical time, as if He either did not exist at all, or were defective; and as if ‘new’ ideas might be able to redeem us where He has failed to redeem us.
Put in other words, the post-1958 rhetoric of the Church anticipates that Catholic doctrine can be neutralized to make way for ‘new’ doctrine: the doctrine that religion is a purely natural and human matter.
This has always been the view of Masonic humanism since the eighteenth century. Humanists do not believe that there is an objectively verifiable faith that has been revealed by God to Man; they do not believe that the existence of faith in the world is a manifestation of supernatural grace and Divine Providence in history and salvation history because they do not believe in the idea of a God of Love: a Heavenly Father who loves each of his own creations with an infinite, personal Love. Masons simply believe in an Architect of the Universe, who withdrew from the universe once it had been created, and who has ceased to have any influence on or concern for human beings. Any clues as to his real identity?
This shift from a view of a personal, loving Father who is God, to an impersonal, anonymous ‘Architect’ accommodates the new doctrine that religion serves a purely humanist purpose, that of self-fulfilment in the here and now. This is the new, heretical definition of salvation and redemption being promoted. Religion is purely self-serving. The Catholic faith and Church no longer exists to glorify its Author, God, and in terms of our immortal souls, Heaven and Hell. Rather, a purely personal faith exists to glorify Man on earth. This is the heresy of ecumenism. It is certainly the "synthesis of all heresies" - the term used in the 1907 encyclical Pascendi by Pope St. Pius X, in which the great Pope also claims that the Anti-Christ is already in our midst - and proof that churchmen have chosen to ignore the warnings of the Magisterium.
Now, the great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, reminds us that throughout time there is an epic war between the City of God, founded on Love, and the City of Man, founded on self-love. This epic battle for the salvation of souls for all eternity is negated by the ‘new’ vision on which we have elaborated. As it happens, the new vision was actually first devised in the eighteenth century by those Masons who were beginning to have an extraordinary influence in politics and culture, and thus able to condition the world to accept ‘new’ anti-clerical doctrines. The Second Vatican Council gives its authors no credit.
The new vision has always been the goal of Masonic humanism since the Enlightenment, when this set of ideas was first circulated in ‘high culture’ by Voltaire, Montesquieu, Lessing, Goethe and Mozart, and by philosophers like Diderot, Kant and Rousseau. Many of them specifically began to present the East as exotic, erotic and alluring, suppressing the doctrinal differences between Islam and Christianity in an obviously anti-clerical way. Others produced aggressively anti-Catholic polemic, implying that the purpose of life on earth is self-fulfilment, and self-realisation, not perfection involving self-sacrifice, following the example of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
In order to deceive a largely Christian audience such writers implied that human nature was not fallen, and that the doctrine of original sin was false. They succeeded only because they flattered their audiences that human potential was boundless, and that man was the architect of his own destiny. Their rhetoric appeals to our pride. Most of them had been received into the Masonic lodges:
None of these architects of Masonic humanism in the cultural sphere is given the credit he deserves in Nostra Aetate, despite the kinds of ‘principled concessions’ to the legitimacy of all world religions in the document. The current state of Catholic evangelisation, however, is another indicator of its Enlightenment pedigree.
Notwithstanding protestations that orthodox doctrine is not thereby prejudiced, weakened, subverted or undermined by Nostra Aetate’s , and in spite of protestations that Our Lord is Jesus Christ, the Church inevitably sheds Her missionary and apostolic commitment to saving souls through preaching and promoting absolute truth.
This latter point is openly acknowledged. In Footnote 19 we hear that "A reference to ‘conversion’ of the Jews was removed from an earlier version of this Declaration, because many Council Fathers felt it was not appropriate in a document striving to establish common goals and interests first". Conversions are neither hoped for, wished for, prayed for, or worked towards.
Conversion is unnecessary, it goes without saying, if all that remains is a multiplicity of equally valid "truths". This is the overall position of this apparently heretical document, and it is a clear revival of the liberalism of the nineteenth century, denounced authoritatively by a beatified Pope, Blessed Pio Nono in the Syllabus of Errors. Indeed, drawing on Karl Rahner S.J.’s claim that the world was full of "anonymous Christians", the Church closed down the Vatican institution for the Missions after Vatican II. Where missionary work in the Catholic Church continues in the Far East and in Africa, there is ample evidence from in-house publications that many of the missionary orders have been co-opted to preach equality of "all" world religions, rather than to instruct the ignorant in Catholic doctrine.
Finally, we must not lose sight of the fact that Nostra Aetate implies that the Church has erred in the past. Her traditional assessment of the non-Catholic religions as errant or heretical is deemed to have been false; Her missionary and apostolic commitment to converting souls from error to truth is deemed to have been erroneous. This brings Nostra Aetate in line with the view of the Protestants, whose belief that the ‘Church of Rome’ has erred is still enshrined in the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. It puts Catholicism on a par with all the other "world religions" as a corporate body of individuals with a purely personal, private belief system, providing a purely worldly framework of values by which to live in the here and now.
As readers know, orthodox Catholic doctrine is, by contrast, that the Church cannot err because She is divine in origin, and the Virgin Bride of Christ. Which means we need to search for an adequate explanation for the fact that a Council of the Church has apparently produced a public paper which promotes a new doctrine at variance with Her Tradition.
Gaudium et Spes: Blueprint for Indulgence
The doctrinal errors of Nostra Aetate can be traced back to one fatal, far-reaching innovation in another significant document of the Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, published on 7th December 1965 and seen as increasingly problematic by Catholics across the conservative/traditionalist divide [cf. "The End of Gaudium et Spes?" Catholic World Report, May 2003]. This document rewrites the ancient Catholic teaching that error has no rights, by implying two things:
a. that truth does not have to be defended, and
b. that human persons are no longer always and fully the author of their errors, going so far as to imply they are never personally responsible for their errors.
This is a perverse capitulation to a secular humanist principle, that truth is personal and private, and true and legitimate even when it is heterodox. This concession to plurality of interpretation, of personal opinion, of variety, effectively obliges us all to defer to the God of human respect. In pre-Vatican II catechisms human respect is described as a sin, which is not supposed to motivate us: typically we should never go to Holy Communion just to keep up appearances. Venerable Cardinal Merry del Val’s famous litany of humility was written in the spirit of his own crusade against those who would put popularity above truth. We are supposed to respect God’s rights and the Divine rights of Christ the King, and the teachings of the Church He founded, which is the Catholic Church, and to defend them abroad, to the extent of rebuking in charity those who are in error. The first work of spiritual mercy is to rebuke the sinner. Another is to instruct the ignorant.
The Vatican II statements provide a blueprint for indulgence and tolerance, not only of error, but of all persons, and the perverse reason for this reversal is given as the obligation to be in a state of permanent ‘dialogue’ with those in error. In the section "Reverence and Love for enemies", this new code is expressed in the following way:
Respect and love ought to be extended also to those who think or act differently than we do in social, political, and religious matters, too. In fact, the more deeply we come to understand their ways of thinking through such courtesy and love, the more easily will we be able to enter into dialogue with them.
… to be sure, [this] must in no way render us indifferent to truth and goodness. Indeed love itself impels the disciples of Christ to speak the saving truth to all men. But it is necessary to distinguish between error, which always merits repudiation, and the person in error, who never loses the dignity of being a person, even when he is flawed by false or inadequate religious notions. God alone is the judge and searcher of hearts; for that reason He forbids us to make judgments about the internal guilt of anyone.
It goes without saying that if respect and love for a person are more important than respect and love for truth, there will never be a good reason to "repudiate" error. This blueprint neatly deprives all Christians of their duties as confirmed soldiers of Christ to defend the truth in the world. Nobody denies that God is the ultimate judge, and nobody denies that only God can see the internal forum: but that never meant, before Vatican II, that a Christian did not have a duty to defend the truth in charity in the external forum.
The above statement liquidates the Church Militant in a few strokes. It paves the way for the current world-wide problem - Militant Islam - which is being fought by ‘democratic leaders’, who promote Masonic doctrines; who do not fight their wars in the name of Christ, but in the name of self-interest and self-protection.
God is just: the logical punishment deserved by those that deny the Church Militant is that they will be overwhelmed by those who actually do still believe in militancy, such as the Moslems, even if that militancy is in the service of Anti-Christ. The punishment may, after all, lead to their and our repentance, which is what God wants.
The threat of militant Islamification in the West is real, after successive wars which have largely been launched by a Masonic West determined to impose the humanist principles of ‘fraternity, liberty and equality’ on the universe, the fruits of which have been a huge refugee crisis throughout the world. Most refugees are Moslems. Most refugees want to come to the West. Islam is now the fastest growing religion in the world, and Moslems are reproducing much faster than Christians to the extent that their numbers exceed ours. In the 1970s there were three mosques in Germany, which since 1945 has had a steady influx of Turkish Gastarbeiter. In 1998 there were 2,400 mosques. Who set the trend, and who gave it his blessing? Pope Paul VI, who permitted the building of a mosque for the first time ever in the Eternal City itself; a blasphemous act in many eyes.
Cardinal Biffi of Bologna is the only Catholic clergyman to have both spoken out against the generosity of the West in accepting refugees indiscriminately. He has pointed out the severity of the social, economic and pastoral problems posed by large numbers of refugees, especially when this leads to an increase in mixed marriages, where the Catholic party is always prejudiced because of the severity of Moslem customs and laws concerning women.
"By their fruits you will know them", said Our Lord. There is little to no sign that the overtures that the Catholic Church has been making to Islam have resulted in reciprocity. On the contrary. The Moslems are going to take advantage of our capitulation, our ‘inter-religious dialogue’, because it is a Moslem doctrine that all non-Moslems are to be ‘converted’ by force. At a conference in Istanbul conducted by all parties in the name of dialogue and brotherhood, one of the charming representatives of the Moslem world was permitted to state the virtue of militant Moslem aggression in public. He was not even rebuked [see "Addressing Reality", CO, May 2000, p.294].
Limits of Papal Power and Authority
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which was revised and promulgated by John Paul II in 1993 in English, promotes the apparent doctrinal errors and heresies of Nostra Aetate as it does the problematic documents of Vatican II in toto.
On the first page, for instance, it makes the astonishing statement that the truth merely "subsists" in the Catholic Church, a new idea as opposed to a revealed truth, that owes its origins to the Dominican Fr. Yves Congar, according to Turmoil and Truth by Philip Trower (2003). Previously the Church had taught and believed that the Catholic Church was the truth. The Catechism appears to codify such breaks with Tradition and Truth since there are more quotations from and allusions to the documents of Vatican II than any other Council in the history of the Church. Yet the Church is supposed to be one, at all times in history: the Church is the entirety of her ecumenical councils through time; She cannot be reduced to the resolutions of one Council.
The only orthodox conclusion to draw from the above is that the Pope and the Council which attempted to circulate such ideas in the name of the head of the Catholic Church, Our Lord Jesus Christ, favour heresy. They have not taught heresy, because the First Vatican Council made clear that the Church cannot teach heresy. What did that mean? It meant then and it means now that only the extraordinary Magisterium is always protected by the Holy Ghost and only teaches infallible truth; and that the ordinary Magisterium is protected only inasmuch as it is engaged to continue to reassert teachings already promulgated, to remind the faithful of the body of the Church’s teachings.
The deposit of the faith cannot be added to or subtracted from. The Pope is likewise not permitted to promote novelties; the oath he signs at his coronation specifically states that it is his duty to serve the Church’s tradition. At Vatican II, in a historic first, the extraordinary Magisterium was not engaged, as no definitions were proclaimed, as they had been in the past when the Church typically summoned a Council to denounce errors. The ordinary Magisterium engaged in the Second Vatican Council is not, therefore, by that very fact, necessarily protected from error: it is protected from error only if the Pontiff intends to repeat what is already known. The ideas discussed in this paper do not fall into the category of well-known and well-established and well-understood teachings.
In considering the limits of papal power and authority, and thus the limits of the obedience of the faithful, the First Vatican Council found in 1870 that there had been Popes in history who had favoured heresy, like Pope Liberius, Pope Honorius and Pope John XXII, by which was meant that they abused of their office and did not denounce error, but rather circulated error.
Now the Church distinguishes between formal heresy and pertinacious heresy. As only Peter can judge Peter we are not in a position to make an authoritative judgment on the heresy-favouring documents examined by this article, although we have indicated that the new doctrines are innovations not in keeping with the Church’s Tradition. The matter of the new trends inaugurated by the popes since 1958 will have to be dealt with definitively by a future Pope as only a Pope judges a Pope.
In the interim, however, the faithful should remember that obedience is in the service of the faith, not vice versa. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us we are obliged to dissent if we are being asked to consent to something which is contrary to what the Church has always taught and always believed. The Church before 1958 taught and believed that the Jews and the Moslems would please God if they were to correspond to His graces and convert. In the liturgy for Good Friday this was prayed for from the heart. The document Nostra Aetate negates Tradition emphatically.
The Church and Islam before Vatican II
Let us now briefly refresh our memories about how the true Church has historically thought about Islam and taught Islam.
Our scholars of Islam are many. St. Peter Venerable (1092-1156) financed and then responded to the first translation of the Koran into Latin by the Englishman Robert of Ketton, disseminating the findings to St. Bernard of Clairvaux. St. Peter insisted on the importance of combating the heresies of Islam, and not casting a pleasant veil over them. This was obviously the background to the Crusades, which would otherwise have not been possible.
St. Francis of Assisi tried himself to convert the Moslems and also wrote that there was no point in establishing permanent dialogue or negotiations, even though this was requested by the Moslems, because the Faith is a gift, and because there was no point in talking in purely rational terms about the differences between Islam and Catholicism if the motive is simply speculative interest. Despite being formally invited to the court, St. Francis of Assisi was also molested by his Moslem guests on the occasion of his historic dialogue, which proves that hatred of Christ is real. His followers who took his advice and prayed for conversions are some of the many martyrs of the Church. The Franciscans missionaries were murdered by the Moslems in their thousands.
It was St. Bernard of Clairvaux who preached the crusade against the Infidel, and the period of the crusades saw the birth of the ‘Sovereign Military and Hospital Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta’, the oldest order of knights in the world. The island of Malta occupied a strategic position between the Christian and Moslem world, and therefore the Order had to face many assaults from the Turks, especially in the years 1557, 1565 and 1644. The most famous victory against the Turks was in 1565, during which Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Vallette became famous, resulting in a city in Malta being called after him. The order was compelled to quit the island by Napoleon, leaving all possessions behind, and beginning a period of exile.
Originally intended to serve Christ by serving the poor and to defend Christianity in a military way from the assaults of the Infidel, the Order over time has largely abandoned its military function and served the poor and sick only, also operating as a very elite social club.
The crusades are now routinely depicted as barbaric outbursts of blood-thirsty hatred, and the pretext, defence of Christendom and the Holy Land, assumed to be a dubious justification for a defensive war. Yet we have a duty to defend Christ and His Church. It goes without saying that wars are not always exercises in chivalry, but that is a separate and less important, purely human truth. When the Pope went to Constantinople recently he asked for pardon once again, as if the Catholic Church were in some sense corporately responsible for the sack of 1204, which was, by all accounts a barbaric affair. But Pope John Paul II left out of his account the most important facts. Pope Innocent III had exhorted Christians not to go to Constantinople, but to go to Palestine to defend the Holy Land. Most of them disobeyed, with the exception of the Englishman Simon de Montfort. They went to Constantinople on their own account; their actions did not have the principled approval of the Pope because he had exhorted them to go as crusaders to Palestine; they were not emissaries or representatives of the Church but entered Constantinople as disobedient Catholics. Their actions were their own.
The conclusion to be drawn here is that no Pope, indeed no Catholic, can talk about the Catholic Church as if She were a corporate body capable of sin, because She is the indefectible Virgin Bride of Church; neither is there such a thing as collective guilt because we believe in the sacrament of confession and personal guilt. The mea culpa is doctrinally out of order and politically dangerous. It has played straight into the hands of the enemy by promoting a view of the Church as a purely human body, as if She had neither divine origin nor protection.
Other Saints the Church venerates also had a particular mission amongst the Moslems. St. John of Matha and St. Felix of Valois founded the Trinitarians for the ransom of Christian captives who had fallen into the hands of Moslems and were being held there against their will, and they were prepared to suffer any hardship for this cause. While St. Peter Nolasco founded the Order of Our Lady of Ransom after Our Lady appeared to him in 1218. He gave up all his wealth to free Christian slaves from captivity amongst the Moslems. His followers made a special vow to surrender their own lives in order to free Christians. He worked in concert with Catholic monarchs for this missionary purpose, buying freedom for 26,000 captives.
The Marian Feast Day particular to England is Our Lady of Ransom, September 24th, which means the English should have a particular sympathy and devotion for saving souls who have fallen into the hands of those who do not permit them to practice their faith. Indeed the non-respect for the legitimate rights of Catholics meant that Popes down through the centuries had done everything in their power to call the various Sultans to account, and to demand that they not put obstacles in the path of Catholic practice.
Overwriting Catholic Supremacy
It may interest readers to know that Pope John Paul II’s verdict on the military campaign in 1683 to save Europe from militant Islamification reads as follows, on the occasion of his visit to Vienna in 1983 to mark three hundred years:
"It is disheartening to see that the Christian faithful were also among those who oppressed and persecuted their neighbour...We must confess and ask pardon for the many blemishes with which we Christians have stained ourselves by thoughts, words and deeds and by our inert indifference in the face of injustice".
It is thought this refers to the collective guilt of Christians in respect of Moslems.
When the Holy Father beatified Marco d’Aviano recently he did not reiterate his mea culpa. But he used the occasion to overwrite much of Blessed Marco d’Aviano’s work, by inviting us to return to our common, European roots, and to preserve the Christian character of Europe. Against a background of militant Islamification John Paul II continues elsewhere to call for the importance of "inter-religious" dialogue, not for conversions to the Catholic Church and submission to revealed truth.
From Church Militant to Church Apathetic
And yet the Holy Father has recently indicated that more Christians are being persecuted now than ever before. Christian de Chergé and seven of his brother Trappist monks had their throats slit in Algeria in 1993, proof positive that enmity continues in spite of ecumenical dialogue. The tradition of martyrdom is ancient in the Catholic faith, and we know, understand and believe that these sacrifices bring about the grace of conversion because "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the faith". Self-sacrifice in the cause of absolute truth is pleasing to God, and He rewards all acts of self-abnegation in charity, like the sacrifice of life in martyrdom.
In that supernatural light, the stress in Nostra Aetate on communal friendship, brotherhood and unity in the context of a flippant attitude towards the superiority and supremacy of Catholic doctrinal truth, is a historic reversal of 1900 years of Catholic tradition. It has effectively demilitarised the Church Militant and refashioned her as the Church Apathetic.
We shall see in Part II how vividly Marco d’Aviano’s combative faith illustrates this suicidal turn of events. Which is precisely why his relatively quiet and surprising beatification will have done nothing to undermine the larger commitment of the Modernist cabal in the Vatican to global ecumenism and to the unification of all religions. At least not in human terms.
(To conclude next month