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March 2005

With merciful candour, and a lifetime of forming young Australian souls in our holy Faith behind him, a Marist Brother lays it on the line to his fellow Aussies. Essential, provocative reading.

An Open Letter to Catholics

To our Archbishops, Bishops, Clergy
Concerned Laity


14 December 2004

Your several Reverences and fellow Catholics,

I recently received an appeal for contributions to the Marian Eucharistic Alliance, aka St. Gabriel Communications. (I am putting a curse on the source of the rumour that I have won the lottery a few times.) The appeal reported Archbishop Hickey [Perth] as referring to A Catholic school where not one boy or girl in Year 12 went to Mass. He said, "This floored me, I had no idea how bad the situation had become."

It was hardly news. Twenty years’ research by the late Brother Marcellin Flynn had recorded what was happening, and it is now many years since ‘Bob’ Santamaria was one of those spelling it out: "Let us not conclude our assessment with the monumental absurdity that, as Catholics vote with their feet and empty once-filled churches, the Holy Spirit is renewing what is visibly ceasing to exist."

But who was listening then? Father John Parsons: "An extraordinary number of Catholics pay so little intellectual attention to doctrinal matters that they are still unaware that anything much has been happening."

True, but it was more than doctrinal matters that suffered the inattention.

For the ‘extraordinary number’ there was no problem, of course.

For others, well, our Education Officers and our teachers were professionals, there had been crises and glitches before, the Church was to last to the end of time, so where’s the problem? Of course there was the odd skeleton or two in the cupboard, such as the R.E. teacher telling a confrere, "I don’t believe half of this crap", and the non-Catholic mother able to say of her non-Catholic son’s Catholic school, "It’s no big deal, there’s not much dogma."

The Gabriel Communications brochure correctly reports Mass attendance as at best 15 percent, but further shock awaits the Archbishop. Many even of that 15 percent are counterfeits. In The Banished Heart author Dr. Geoffrey Hull explains:"Most Catholics today - ordinary believers as well as the theologically literate - have adopted a ‘self-service’ approach to the beliefs and practices of their Church, accepting some and rejecting others on the basis of private judgment. It is an approach that is quintessentially Protestant. Among those Catholics who unhesitatingly rise to join the Communion queue at a modern Mass are many who rarely fulftl their Sunday obligation, who have not been to confession in years, who deny the existence of Satan and hell, who believe that women no less than men are called to the priesthood, and who scorn official Church teaching on sexual morality."

The truth is that the revolution that has taken place in the thinking and practice of the Catholic ‘faithful’, has followed the revolution that has occurred in Catholic teaching over the last three or four decades.

A brochure I received this week is a breath of fresh air in that it at least acknowledges the deplorable and critical state of the Church.

It proposes a remedial project in the form of New Apologetics By Mail. The effort is commendable as far as it goes, but it falls short of a solution in that it counters only one of the causes of the debacle, namely ignorance of the Catholic faith. Commendable as that endeavour is, its promoters should be aware that if they are going to present the full Catholic faith they will be facing opposition from within the Church. More precisely and sadly, from within the Vatican.

That last statement will not surprise those who have kept in touch with what has been happening. The ‘inattentives’ will, of course, find it ‘outrageous’. Patience! They should hold their fire until some of the facts they have been missing are aired herein.

A concerned Mr. Dixon recently claimed that to increase Mass attendance the Church ‘must invent and adopt completely new approaches’ (Sydney Catholic Weekly). In the above brochure Archbishop Hickey speaks of ‘new initiatives that we have not even thought of yet’.

I humbly, respectfully, but confidently submit that both are mistaken.

What the Church needs is not inventions and new initiatives, but the resumption of old strategies that ‘worked’ in the past. I refer to those simple but highly successful strategies used by the Apostles:

  1. Teaching the whole packet of Catholicism, not the travesty of it that youth have had served up to them for the past 3 or 4 decades.
  2. The policy of pleasing God rather than men.

Each of the above could be the subject of a book, but the briefer treatment here has a better prospect of being read.

Strategy 1.

A Victorian parish priest has written, "Our young people are religious illiterates, pleasant, engaging, and thoroughly pagan in outlook. I’m sure God will be gentle with them". Translation: The fault isn’t all theirs. The priest said nothing about God being gentle with the shepherds responsible for the illiteracy.

‘Whole packet’ means what it says. Aren’t we supposed to be passing on to the young the faith that comes to us from the Apostles? What we have been passing on is a heavily edited version of it. If the Church wants to climb above that 15 percent, it has to resume throwing the whole book at us - without apology to either the faithful or to the so-called separated brethren - as it used to do when Mass attendance was 65 percent.

Included would be the doctrines that have been virtually mothballed: the one true Church, the keys of the kingdom of heaven, hell, purgatory, the ‘four last things’.

Is it true or isn’t it that the bishops have stood silently by while ‘requiem’ Masses have celebrated the ‘life’ of the deceased, whereas such Masses used to be, and should be, for the repose of the soul of the deceased? Is it true or isn’t it that bishops themselves have said such Masses, which are a covert denial of the doctrine of Purgatory?

Classroom and pulpit have been silent about hell. When novelist David Lodge wrote, "Around 1970 Catholics ceased to believe in hell", writer Piers Paul Read added, "Not only did the laity cease to behave as if there were a credible danger of damnation, but the clergy ceased to preach it."

When a child asked a teacher about hell she was told, "Hell is not as important as it was. Don’t worry about it." The ebb and flow of Catholic doctrine!

What that child - and every Catholic - should know is that the doctrine of hell is as important as that of the Resurrection. Seeing that without it the serving of God becomes optional, where is the mystery in that Year 12 student not going to Mass? They are just exercising their option, and the Church is simply reaping what it has been sowing for all too long.

Is there somewhere a bishop so dishonest as to stand up and tell me the Church has been teaching for the past three decades, exactly what it taught when I stumbled into the Church 72 years ago?

Strategy 2.

Few, even of the 15 percent Mass goers, realise that both the new liturgy and the new ecumenism are products of the desire to please the separated brethren.

This second policy requires honesty and courage. The Church’s record in the first - honesty - is hardly brilliant: • An archbishop lied in emphatically denying he sought to suppress a sub-committee’s report, while doing exactly that, and succeeding in the suppression.

  • Another archbishop wanted a school principal to write a reference for a student who had been expelled for bad conduct.
  • An archbishop dishonestly denied his intervention in the editorial policy of his diocesan journal.
  • A diocesan journal indignantly denied that there was any diocesan policy as regards support for the Labor Party or Democratic Labor Party, but fell silent, when threatened with publication of damning evidence to the contrary.
  • A pope lied in claiming the new liturgy was in accord with the directions of Vatican Council II. The Liturgical Commission had ignored the Council document. Cardinal Oddi, liturgist Fr. Louis Bouyer and philosopher Jean Guitton told the truth.
  • Even now the Church lacks the honesty to tell the faithful the truth that the new liturgy was formulated not out of pastoral care for the faithful, but to make it acceptable to Protestants. That truth came from its architect Fr. Annibale Bugnini, and was confirmed by Jean Guitton in 1993. The Church is consistently silent about the fact that Pope Paul’s liturgical Commission was assisted by six Protestant ministers in the formulation of the new liturgy. This kind of performance recalls the words of the late Fr. Bryan Houghton: "Close inspection of many of our reforms reveals the underlying assumption that the laity are halfwits."
  • The Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship lied when it claimed there had been nothing wrong with the original version of the notorious Article 7 of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal. That version had defined the Mass as an assembly, with no mention of sacrifice, transubstantiation or Real Presence. It was glaringly un-Catholic. (According to Cardinal Journot Pope Paul admitted he had signed the original document without reading it.)
  • In 1994, when 80 percent or more of Catholics were no longer attending Mass, the Vatican Secretariat of State lied that "the new liturgy had been received and applied with fruit by the great majority of the faithful."

  • The smother-up surrounding Pope John Paul’s error in giving Communion to non-Catholic Prime Minister Tony Blair, is all too typical. If Communion was not given, a top-level denial could have been issued from the Vatican. Such would have been a lie, so a low-level authority "could not comment on the Prime Minister’s private life." Fr. Bryan Houghton’s ‘underlying assumption’ again.

Wanted now is an authority in the Church with the honesty to admit the dismal failure of the liturgical reform, and to admit that Pius XII was right in warning such reform would be suicidal.

Is a still lower Mass attendance required to convince the Church its persistence with the new Mass amounts to flogging a dead horse?


For those who want innovations there is one ready made. Without interfering with the Novus Ordo Mass, the Traditional Latin Mass could be restored, not just tolerated as it has been – barely - but given the same recognition as the current Mass. Of the many things that deserve to be said in favour of restoring the Latin Mass, time and space permit only a few:

  • Cardinal Ratzinger: "I am of the opinion to be sure, that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It’s impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden, and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent.... Currently, anyone who defends the validity of that liturgy or who practices it is treated like a leper: all tolerance ceases. The like has never been seen before in the Church’s entire history. By adopting this attitude towards them they despise the Church’s entire past."
  • It was extraordinary to have Cardinal Pell [Sydney] recently claiming it easier to hear God in the sound of silence. He could not have been more right, but the extraordinary aspect is that Cardinal Pell must know that silent prayer is characteristic of the Latin Mass the Church walked away from on its way to 15 percent attendance at its very vocal Novus Ordo Mass. The truth is the Latin Mass was God-centred, the Novus Ordo Mass is man-centred, a fact appropriately symbolised by the priest facing his congregation.
  • A 24-year-old U.S. student, disgusted with the innovations that passed for Mass in her local Church, was advised to travel some distance to a Traditional Mass. She did so and later wrote: "The most profound and moving experience for me was receiving Holy Communion while kneeling." She had not previously even heard of an altar rail, nor did she know that kneeling for Communion was previously universal. She added: "I can’t believe I have been Catholic my entire life and have never experienced anything like this before. I plan to continue going to the Traditional Mass (three hours out of my Sunday or not.) How can I not after this experience?"
  • Cardinal Ratzinger: "It may well be that kneeling is alien to modern culture - insofar as it has a culture - for this culture has turned away from the faith and no longer knows the One before whom kneeling is the right, indeed the intrinsically necessary gesture. The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel; and a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core. Where it has been lost kneeling must be restored."
  • How can it be denied that Communion-in-the-hand was a major factor in the decline in reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament, for which, in 1980, Pope John Paul II apologised on behalf of the hierarchy? Fr. Joseph Vandeberg, (West Union, MN) reports: "The new Mass seems to lack a sense of the sacred. I am surprised by the lack of reverence towards the Host. I have found consecrated Hosts left-behind in the pews, on the floor and pasted in hymnals."


Following the televising of Pontifical High Mass from St. Anne’s Cathedral, Leeds, on January 10th 1954, Cardinal Heenan wrote:

"Although I realised that the Mass had made television history, I was astonished by the volume of correspondence which resulted. Telegrams began to arrive an hour or two after Mass. Letters poured in the next morning and throughout the week. I was accustomed to the so-called ‘fan-mail’ from the many BBC programs in which I had taken part during the previous decade, but I had never received correspondence so large and varied as this. The most surprising feature was the absence of criticism, and the number of appreciative letters from non-Catholics .... A letter from Cheshire aptly illustrates the general attitude of correspondents: ‘I am not a Catholic, but may I express my gratitude to you for the most beautiful and moving service of High Mass from your Cathedral Church. For we who have found it hard to believe, your service came as an inspiration shattering in its impact. It seemed to reveal a great truth so long hidden from us. God bless you Father for the light you have shown us.’

"... A friend working in the BBC was on duty that day, and was so full of enthusiasm that he could not wait until he reached home, and wrote from Broadcasting House: "I can’t stop myself from writing this note. This morning’s televised Mass and sermon must mark a turning point. The whole thing was moving and magnificent in the extreme... Father Agnellus’ commentary, being a strict account, must have made the ceremony meaningful as well as beautiful.... a lot of superlatives in one paragraph, but then it was high time you vindicated your logical view that Catholic ritual needs no watering down on the BBC. What a thundering vindication this was!" - From A Crown of Thorns


Courage is needed to stand by unpopular truth. Was not that how the martyrs died? Cardinal Ratzinger knew he was stating the plain truth when he admitted the radical new liturgy had done extremely serious damage to the Church; but he also knew the statement would take off like a lead balloon with the many clinging to the idea that the Church had got things right with the novelties that followed Vatican Council II.


The revolutionary new liturgy was not the only change that has seriously damaged the Church. The radical new ecumenism had the same purpose as the new liturgy, to please men - the separated brethren - rather than God.

Whether or not it has moved the faithful closer to the separated brethren, it has certainly moved them further from God. It has inflicted on the Church even more damage than has the liturgical revolution. In essence it has been the virtual suppression of a doctrine as old as the Church, that of the one true Church. That suppression has contributed even more than the new liturgy to reducing Mass attendance to its current 15 percent.

The Church’s ecumenism prior to Vatican Council II was an open book, proclaimed in Mortalium Animos by Pius XI in 1928, and in the Instruction on the Ecumenical Movement from the Holy Office in 1949. Its principles were:

  • The Catholic Church possesses the fullness of Christ.
  • Christian unity is not to be pursued by means of assimilation between different confessions of faith, nor by adjusting Catholic doctrine to the teachings of other denominations.
  • True union between the churches can come about only by the return of the separated brethren to the true Church of God.
  • Separated brethren who rejoin the Catholic Church lose nothing of the truth to be found in their former denominations, but retain it in its completed and perfected context.

The new ecumenism violates all four principles, without showing one of them to be wrong.

On the other hand Professor Romano Amerio, a peritus at Vatican Council II and lifelong student of the Church, warns where the new ecumenism is taking us:

"The specific character of Christianity is being lost, and Catholicism is being dissolved into a combined universal religion, of which all particular religions are regarded as valid expressions, because, on this view, religions are simply the expressions of the different cultures in which they exist."

In other words, the new ecumenism is moving towards the One-World church anticipated and condemned by St. Pius X.

The following are samples of the new ecumenism in operation:

  • Catholics must give up their confessional arrogance. (i.e. their idea of the one true Church.)
  • God works through other religions. (i.e., God doesn’t mind heresies.) God wills other religions. (i.e., God wills error.)
  • Every religion has the right to regard itself as the true religion.
  • "It would be erroneous to consider the faithful believer of another religion as someone to be converted"- Bishop Tauran.
  • The Secretariat for non-believers was certainly not created with the intention of proselytising among non-believers.
  • The function of religion is not to make conversions, but to make Catholics better Catholics, Jews better Jews, Muslims better Muslims, etc. (Objective or revealed truth is no longer a goal.)
  • Jews do not need conversion or baptism; the Old Law is still valid for them.
  • Protestants are no worse off than Catholics in reaching salvation.
The above list is not exhaustive, but can anyone read it and fail to see:
  • The truth of Romano Amerio’s assessment?
  • The contrast between the former and current ecumenisms?
  • The rejection of Christ’s commission to his Church?
  • If the above were proceeding from some misguided sect, it could be regretted and dismissed, but it is promulgated from the Catholic Church, and Pope John Paul insists that it is not an optional extra, but integral with being a Christian.
Can anyone read the above list and not wonder why bishops are not standing up to declare the truth that the current ecumenism is not the religion they were baptised into, nor the priesthood they were ordained into?

Sadly, in this current ‘second Reformation’ the bishops have been silent witnesses, as were the bishops in the Arian heresy and in the English Reformation. In each of those upheavals there was one bishop who stood up and stood out.

In the current ecumenical heresy Cardinal Ratzinger has a claim to being the solitary figure that stood up. He lodged his protest in his document Dominus Iesus, which re-asserted the doctrine of the one true Church, and stated the truth that other man-made churches were just that - man-made churches - and not really churches at all: His fellow bishops offered only a deafening silence or an ecumenical groan.

Unfortunately the Cardinal was not only closing the stable door after the 85 percent had bolted, he was also competing against Pope John Paul telling his audience of 30,000 in St. Peter’s Square that there is a great deal to be said for other religions, God works through them, etc.

Again, when the ARCIC final report had been favourably received by almost every Catholic hierarchy in the world, it was Cardinal Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who found the agreed statements incompatible with Catholic teaching by reason of wrong concepts, omissions and ambiguities. Again it was one bishop standing up.

Progress? An Australian Archbishop wrote recently of the progress made in ecumenism in the last 40 years. Without going into all the statistics, where is the ‘progress’ in a Mass attendance of 15 percent, or (in the U.S.) a fall from 70,000 to 20,000 in the annual conversions? It is indisputable that what was supposed to take the faithful closer to their ‘separated brethren’, has certainly taken them several leagues further from God.


Despite the hints in the previous page the answer may shock, even offend, Archbishop Hickey and many more. In the current ecumenical apostasy the lion’s share of the guilt is born by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, and the bishops who say ‘amen’ to his ecumenism.

If that is offensive so be it. What matters is that it is the truth.

The Church is riddled with ecumenists like a structure riddled with termites, and Pope John Paul leads the infestation. A directory issued from the Vatican in 1970 showered us with terms previously unknown – ‘ecumenical education’, the ‘ecumenical dimension’, the ‘ecumenical aspect’, ‘conditions of a genuine ecumenical mind’, ‘due regard for the ecumenical point of view’, and so on, ad infinitum.

Not only has Pope John Paul identified ecumenism with being a Christian, (a poor compliment to the saints who never imagined, and would have rejected his ecumenism) he has called for seminars and workshops, and for the ecumenical formation of every man, woman and child in the Catholic Church.

Not to be overlooked: When Pope John Paul has not been himself actually damaging the Church with this ecumenism, he has been silent while his subordinates have been doing it for him, as in the list on the previous page, and sometimes in his presence in St. Peter’s Basilica.


Step 1

As always, the first step in solving a problem is recognising and admitting the problem. It cannot be denied that the current ecumenism rejects Christ’s commission to the Church he founded, nor that Pope John Paul leads the field in promoting the ecumenism.

The astonishing aspect of the new ecumenism is how such a radical reversal of Catholic teaching ever got so much as a foot in the door. There is somewhat more than a clue in Our Lady’s predictions at Fatima about Satan entering ‘even the highest positions in the Church.’

Those needing evidence that Our Lady’s Fatima prediction has been fulfilled, have it in the following:

  • For nearly 2,000 years the Gospels have stated that the Jewish leaders demanded, and were responsible for the death of Christ, declaring their willingness to have the guilt (his blood) upon them and their children.
  • For the same period some 264 Popes have accepted and taught the Gospel account.
  • Pope John Paul II is the first Pope to deny the Gospel account and to declare the Jewish leaders not guilty of Christ’s death.

Pope John Paul’s denial is the essence of ecumenism - giving a higher priority to pleasing men than to serving God with the truth. No less astonishing than Pope John Paul’s denial is the silence with which some 3,000 bishops accepted that denial.

The silence is not inexplicable.

Some 130 years ago the Church was infected with a ‘virus’ that plagues it to the present day, namely an exaggerated sense of loyalty to the Pope, and unquestioning belief in his every utterance and action, and approval of his policies.

Author Fr. John W. O’Malley explains the relatively short history of this inflated loyalty to the Pope. It developed out of sympathy with Pope Pius IX in his distress as ‘prisoner of the Vatican’ in the standoff between the Vatican and the Italian Government of the time. It was not a matter of doctrine like papal primacy or infallibility, but allegiance to an individual and his policies.

Spelling out that irrational concept of loyalty to the Pope:

  • Professor Marcel de Corte of the University of Liege depicts it: "For most members of the Latin faithful it is as if the Pope were, as such, infallible, and as if all his words, all of his directives, all his judgments in all matters, even those foreign to religion, could never be subject to error, though the whole history of the Church protests against that conviction, which is close to idolatry."
  • A parish priest (mildly) exemplifies it: "It is absolutely vital for me that I hold on to the directions and decisions of the Holy Father. For me, I will stand by what the Pope says to the end of my life. Without my conviction that the Saviour guides him, I would have given up long ago."

    (The good priest has some sorry decisions to stand by: The exile and condemnation of Athanasius; the capitulations of Popes Liberius and Honorius; the contradictory decisions of popes in the ‘Cadaver Synod’; the condemnation of Galileo; the statement that the Church has never upheld the absolute right of private property; the statement that war has never solved any problem yet, etc.)

  • Patriarch Albino Luciani (later, Pope John Paul I) rejects the erroneous conception: "It is true that the Pope, bishops and priests do not cease to be poor men subject to errors, and often we make errors. I am convinced that when Pope Paul VI destined me to the See of Venice he committed an error."

(One error of Pope John Paul II: At one of his monthly meetings with heads of the Vatican Bureaus Pope John Paul complained about some unfinished business. Cardinal Oddi responded with, "The finished document, your Holiness, has been on your desk for six months." The report had it that the Pope was stung, but at the conclusion of the meeting he thanked the members present for the openness with which they had spoken.)

  • Novelist Evelyn Waugh illustrates the concept:

Suppose the Pope looked up, saw a cloud and said, "It’s going to rain", would that be bound to happen?
"Oh yes, Father."
"But suppose it didn’t?"
"I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it."

  • Melchior Cano, theologian of the Council of Trent condemns the error: "Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See - they damage instead of strengthening its foundations."

  • St. Paul is emphatic that our loyalty is to the faith that comes to us from the Apostles:

"But though we, or an angel from heaven preach a Gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: if anyone preach to you a Gospel besides that which you have received, let him be anathema."

NOTE that the present ecumenism is preaching a gospel ‘besides’ that which St. Paul or St. Peter preached; e.g., that Jews don’t need conversion or baptism, that the Old Law is still valid for them. After Pentecost the Apostles directed their mission immediately to their fellow Jews.

  • Fr. John Parsons correctly claims that our first loyalty is to the truth: "I believe the duty to tell the truth is ultimately more important than loyalty to any organisation, sacred or secular, more important than loyalty to the current occupants of Episcopal thrones, of the Roman Curia, and of the Papacy itself."

  • St. Thomas Aquinas (Doctor of the Church) teaches it can be our duty not to say ‘amen’ to everything that comes from a Pope: "Sometimes the things commanded by a superior are against God. Therefore superiors are not to be obeyed in all things."

  • St. Robert Bellarmine (Doctor of the Church) enlarges on St. Thomas: "Just as it is licit to resist the pontiff who attacks the body, so also it is licit to resist him who attacks souls, or destroys the civil order, or above all, tries to destroy the Church. I say it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders, and by impeding the execution of his will."

  • The Pope has a function in the Church as had St. John the Baptist in the ministry of Christ, and just as the Baptist pointed not to himself, but to Christ as the object of his contemporaries homage, so the Pope must point not to himself, but to the faith that comes to us from the Apostles as the object of our loyalty.

  • When Pope John XXIII was eulogising the Church in his preliminary address to the Council Fathers, he spoke of a multitude of bishops priests and laymen sealing their adherence to the faith, not of their loyalty to himself.

  • What a Catholic is obliged to be loyal to, and if need be die for, is the same as the Pope himself is obliged to be loyal to, namely the faith that comes to us from the Apostles. Loyalty to the faith revealed by Christ is loyalty to Christ, the only ideal worth dying for, as the martyrs did. Dying for the Pope is no part of Catholic teaching. It was the faith, not the Pope that St. Thomas More died for.

    It is interesting to recall that the Thomas More who died for the faith was the Thomas more who had cautioned his sovereign not to make too much of the Pope’s authority.

The irrational and inflated loyalty to the Pope has been the Achilles Heel of the Catholic Church. It has meant that Satan had only to mislead the Pope to have the whole flock. This he has done. One result is the faithful uncritically accepting, even applauding, a revolutionary ecumenism that cancels the commission Christ gave to his Church.

Criticising or Disagreeing with a Pope

There are Catholics who don’t mind criticism of a Pope of the distant past, but hesitate if the subject is closer to home, a recent Pope of their own lifetime. If the subject is the reigning Pope they are likely to need the smelling salts.

It is ironical that the same Catholics do not mind in the least the solemn statements of previous Popes, even recent Popes, being ignored. [Some victims: The Council of Trent, Pius V, Pius X, Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII, Vatican Council II (Sacrosanctum Concilium)].

No criticism is justified if indulged in for the pleasure or satisfaction of the critic, whether the subject is a Pope or a peasant; but if the criticism is responsible, just and aimed at rectification of wrong, it is irrelevant whether the subject is Pope or peasant. Those who would exempt the Pope from criticism, even of the right kind, are unlikely to know that even holy nuns have remonstrated with Popes in endeavouring to have them do the right thing. St. Catherine of Sienna was influential in the return of the popes from Avignon to Rome.

The folk who would shield the Pope from just criticism are victims of the virus we have been discussing, and as Prof. Marcel de Corte says, they are close to superstition.

In an interview, retired Archbishop Jean Jadot recalled one of his audiences with Pope John Paul II. When the Archbishop asked, "Holy Father, may one disagree with you?", the Pope replied, "That is why you are here." Thus on the personal level the Pope’s feet would appear to be on the ground, and one might see him as having something in common with his predecessor, Pope John Paul I. But in the matter of ecumenism, when he tirelessly promotes other religions, he resembles rather the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

His ecumenism is changing the Church:

  • From a unique Church possessing the truth, and with a commission to impart it to all nations, to just one of many churches allegedly seeking the truth.
  • From a Church possessing the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and the power of binding and loosing, to one no better off than other Churches as regards salvation.
  • From a Church teaching all nations and seeking to convert all men to it, to one rejecting conversion from one religion to another.
  • From a Church that for 20 centuries taught that there is "no other name (than Jesus) under heaven by which men may be saved", to one claiming that the Jewish covenant is still valid, and that Jews therefore do not need baptism or conversion.
  • From a Church preaching the Gospel to one denying it, as in the above, and in the denial that Jews were responsible for the death of Christ.

Nothing remotely approaching these reversals has occurred in the past history of the Church, yet there are those infected with the ‘virus’ mentioned earlier, who are calling Pope John Paul a saint. But even that is not enough for a Father Ange, who sees the Pope being declared a doctor of the Church, and nominates him as the greatest Pope in the history of the Church. That is lavish praise for a Pope who has presided for 25 years over a Church sliding not only into oblivion, but into apostasy.

But Fr. Ange does render us one service. He illustrates how short one can be on the facts of the case, and how complete has been the victory of Satan in seducing the Pope-worshippers of the flock.

As regards salvaging the faith, it was claimed earlier that the first step is recognising and admitting the problem. That has been done, and we are at the second step.

Step 2

This must be obvious. But as regards degree of difficulty it would be the equivalent of ascending Everest, or cleaning out the Augean stables. It is the excision of the virus discussed above, the exaggerated and inflated sense of loyalty to the Pope that is the Achilles Heel of the Church.

Loyalty to the Pope when he stands by the Faith remains a duty as it always has been; but loyalty to him when he is at odds with Catholic teaching is apostasy. In the errors of ecumenism Pope John Paul has had unstinted support, if sometimes only the support of silence.

The starting point on the road back is not the novelties, innovations, inventions, welcoming parties and cups of tea that have been mindlessly suggested. Only the bishops have the power to turn the Church around. Have they the will to do it? It is for them to end their silence, stand up and accept their responsibilities as the teachers of the Catholic faith and refuse to be rubber stamps for whatever is the going heresy. Not least, they need to remind themselves they are to give an account of their stewardship.

In short, it is for the bishops to stand by the faith that comes to us from the Apostles (I borrow now from Fr. Parsons) "the Catholicism as known to history, that religion for which the ancient martyrs died, the religion of Irenaeus and Cyprian, of Ambrose, Anselm and Thomas, of Dante,. Cajetan and Bellarmine ... the religion with which the papacy, the hierarchy and the generality of Catholics were happy to identify themselves when I was a boy".

For some four decades the Church has been plagued with dissent from its teachings. Needed now is dissent from the flourishing heresies coming from the Vatican or wherever. If your lordships and your graces need a lead you have it in advance. Cardinal Ratzinger has stood up at least three times. On those occasions did you support him, or were you silent, or did you groan?

If the late Pope John Paul I were with us he would be regarding Cardinal Ratzinger as one more prelate (like himself) subject to error. But even prelates subject to error are not always in error, and can sometimes stand up.


Brother Cassian, FMS.

The author may be contacted at:
Marist College,
PO Box 82, Ashgrove ,
QLD 4060, Australia.