The Darkness of Faith, and the Light of Return
Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed. (John 20:29)
Since Pope Francis’ recent interviews and his letter to the editor of La Civilta Cattolica, I have received emails from traditional Catholics which speak of a new level of despair. It is as though they are desperately seeking some explanation of what is happening with the Papacy and the Church which will allow them to escape from coming to some dreadful conclusion.
The situation reminds me of a passage from Robert Bolt’s A Man For All Seasons. In the face of all the forces of evil moving in to ensnare and destroy him, Sir Thomas More offers the following impassioned words to his beloved daughter:
“Listen, Meg, God made the angels to show Him splendor, as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind. If He suffers us to come to such a case that there is no escaping, then we may stand to our tackle as best we can, and, yes, Meg, then we can clamor like champions, if we have the spittle for it. But it’s God’s part, not our own, to bring ourselves to such a pass. Our natural business lies in escaping. If I can take the oath, I will.”
It seems evident that the “tangle of the mind” from which traditional Catholics are now desperately trying to escape is the apparent overwhelming evidence that their Church is being destroyed from within. They dread that they are being irresistibly backed into a corner where they will be forced to conclude that the Church, in what they always considered to be her inviolable nature (if she is to be considered real at all) has contradicted this nature, and has therefore been proved to be a human invention, and not the work of God. In other words, they fear the loss of their faith.
It is first of all important to understand that this “dread” is not founded upon possessing certain knowledge, or even believing, that the Church in her infallible Magisterium has contradicted itself. It is instead rooted in a large accumulation of non-infallible teachings, acts of governance, ecumenical policies, liturgical changes and practices, etc. which appear to violate on a massive scale Christ’s promise to be with His Church until the end of the world. They fear that, even without formal self-contradiction, the Church has somehow undergone an internal transformation which has placed it in the hands of antichrist.
In other words, the heart of the traditional Catholic is scandalized almost beyond endurance, and this situation now threatens his very faith.
To be able to affirm that our faith remains intact in the midst of this crisis, we must therefore begin with an understanding of what faith is. To understand the nature of the act of faith itself necessarily also includes an understanding of the degree to which it can be tested, the reason that this “testing” is possible, and the absolute foundation upon which the continuance of faith rests in such times of crisis.
The following constitutes the Church’s definitive teaching concerning the nature of the act of faith (from Vatican Council I’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith):
“Man being wholly dependent upon God, as upon his Creator and Lord, and created reason being absolutely subject to uncreated truth, we are bound to yield to God, by faith in His revelation, the full obedience of our intelligence and will. And the Catholic Church teaches that this faith, which is the beginning of man’s salvation, is a supernatural virtue, whereby, inspired and assisted by the grace of God, we believe that the things which He has revealed are true; not because the intrinsic truth of the things is plainly perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself, Who reveals them, and Who can neither be deceived nor deceive. For faith, as the Apostle testifies, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not (Heb 11: 1).”
I believe that when we start talking about such things as “losing” our faith, the “destruction of our faith”, etc., we have entered upon a very seductive way of self-destruction that has often been facilitated by not understanding what faith itself is. Thus, we need to carefully examine the above dogmatic teaching.
First, faith is a gift of God – a purely gratuitous grace – which infuses in us a supernatural virtue whereby we submit the obedience of our intelligence and will to God’s Revelation – involving many things the truths of which are not perceived by the natural light of our intellects: “For faith, as the Apostle testifies, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.”
We naturally are led to ask, Why do we do so? – why do we submit our minds to things that “appear not”? We tend to think of faith as exclusively an intellectual phenomenon. If that were so, we would have to consider faith truly “blind’. There could be no “evidence”, no “substance” whatsoever to the act of faith.
The answer to this question begins with the Council’s definition: faith is not just an act of the intellect, but involves a relationship between the intellect and will. In order to understand this relationship, and thereby the act of faith itself, we need St. Thomas – his definition of faith, and what this entails.
St. Thomas defines the act of faith as “an act of the intellect assenting to the Divine truth at the command of the will moved by the grace of God….” (ST, II-II, Q.2, A.9). This definition might at first seem dense, but it is easily unraveled.
Faith is in itself, of course, a gift of God, and therefore of God’s grace. There can be no supernatural faith without this gift. But faith is at the same time a truly human act, involving both the intellect and will, cooperating with God’s grace.
St. Thomas analysis of this human act centers upon St. Paul’s definition of faith in Heb 11:1:
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.”
Faith is an act of intellectual assent to things that “appear not.” St. Thomas notes that the intellect assents to things in two ways. In the case of things that are actually “seen” (understood by the intellect), the movement of assent is caused by the object itself. But in the case of things that are not seen, or not sufficiently seen (and therefore the objects of faith), the intellect is moved to assent by the will. The will is therefore the causative agent in the act of faith.
Obviously, this act of the will moving the intellect to the assent of faith is not arbitrary. The will does not choose in a vacuum, but is itself dependent on some degree of knowledge. Most important, there are certain truths implicit in human nature, and therefore constituting the very structure of the intellectual light of the human mind, which form the foundation of knowledge from which the will chooses to assent to the Christian Faith.
St. Thomas teaches that the proper object of the human intellect is truth, and that therefore its ultimate and final object is the First Truth which is God. At the same time, the proper object of the human will is the good, which entails that it is ordered towards the possession of the Final Good which is God. Intellect and will are therefore united in their natural inclination which can only find fulfillment in God
Along the path towards this goal, however, each of these faculties, intellect and will, is distinct; and each has a unique role to play in the act of faith.
It is a primary principle of Thomistic epistemology that there is nothing in the mind that is not first in the senses. We are born with no innate knowledge. But this does not at all mean that the mind is devoid of a specific nature, or that the intellectual light which specifies this nature is not implicitly and instinctively drawn towards truth. In regard to the “truth” about created things, for instance, Thomas writes:
“And thus we must need say that the human soul knows all things in the eternal types, since by participation of these types we know all things. For the intellectual light itself which is in us, is nothing else than a participated likeness of the uncreated light, in which are contained the eternal types.” (ST I, 84, 5).
In other words, God so created us in His image as to possess a created intellectual light which indeed does see created substances as He sees them.
Similarly, the created light within us is also implicitly ordered towards God. According to Thomas: “man possesses a natural aptitude for understanding and loving God; and this aptitude consists in the very nature of the mind, which is common to all men.” (ST I, Q. 93, a.4). From the standpoint of the intellect, this entails that “all knowers know God implicitly in all they know.” (De Veritate, Q. 22, a.2). This does not mean that man has any innate knowledge of God, but rather that the human mind, being constituted as a created participation in the uncreated Light of God, the intellectual light that is within us is also ordered towards the structure of causation in God’s creation. Every known thing therefore implicitly draws our intelligence towards both the First and Final Cause Who is God. This is why St. Paul proclaimed that unbelief in God is “inexcusable,” because “the invisible things of him [God], from the beginning of the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made….” (Romans 1:20).
When we turn to the question of the will, we see that it also has a natural aptitude which directs it towards God as its end. This natural aptitude is rooted in the fact that the human will is created with a nature constituted in such a way as to have “the good” as its proper object, and this in turn reveals a proportion to the Infinite Goodness of God.
This “initial participation” lies precisely in the fact that the good to which the will naturally aspires is happiness, and that this desire for happiness can achieve its final rest only in that ultimate reward which is everlasting life in God, and which is constituted by the eternal vision of God. St. Thomas writes: “Final and perfect happiness can consist in nothing else than the vision of the Divine Essence.” (ST, I-II, Q. 3, a.8). Therefore, the will moves the intellect to the act of faith because such faith is the necessary condition for this reward: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb 11:6).
All of this reveals what might indeed seem to be a peculiar relationship between the human mind and its own act of faith. While faith is certain because of the act of will which determines it to be so, it is not at all certain in relation to actual intellectual knowledge or “sight.” In a penetrating passage from De Veritate (XIV, a. 1), St. Thomas unravels this relationship:
“In faith there is some perfection and some imperfection. The firmness which pertains to the assent is a perfection, but the lack of sight, because of which the movement of discursive thought still remains in the mind of one who believes, is an imperfection. The perfection, namely, the assent, is caused by the simple light which is faith. But, since the participation in this light is not perfect, the imperfection of the understanding is not completely removed. For this reason the movement of discursive thought in it stays restless.”
It is precisely the latter “imperfection” and “restlessness” in the act of faith which has been the source of so much error propagated in the name of Christ and Christianity.
Such restlessness is of course also the source of temptations to doubt the validity of our faith. This temptation has existed throughout the history of God’s dealing with man. We tend to think that ours is an absolutely unique conundrum, but that is not so. This is why the study of history is so useful. It tends to place things in perspective. I will offer two examples.
Think of Daniel, and his faith. The Jewish people had been promised an eternal covenant, including the possession of the Promised Land. They were now in total bondage in Babylon, and innumerable numbers of their people murdered, raped, slaved, and dispersed. The Jews were the recipients of the true worship of God, and yet the Holy of Holies had been desecrated, the Temple destroyed, and all apparently lost. Despite all of this, Daniel still believed. He is repeatedly called The Man of Desires – an act of the will that retains the faith despite all appearances.
Something may also be said of those faithful Christians during The Great Western Schism (see my article The Religion of Abandonment: Sedevacantism and the Conciliarist Heresy). There were 3 claimants, none of whom was sterling, including the true Pope. Rome was in virtual total ruins. Christendom was being racked by heresies (including Hussites and the Fraticelli). Saints were divided as to who was the true Pope. Both the Councils of Pisa and Constance declared a new heresy (Conciliarism). Alleged Popes (including the rightful one) were being excommunicated. And yet the faith of many endured in the midst of great confusion and crisis.
There is of course a third example, which I have so far omitted – that of the Apostles after the mutilation, Crucifixion, and Death of Our Lord. All sight was absent. And in their case, according to the prediction of Our Lord Himself, all were “scandalized” in Him. The passage of scripture which deserves our deepest meditation in regard to this truth is Isaiah 53, what is often referred to as the prophecy of The Suffering Servant:
“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? [In other words, who can see God’s purpose or will in such an apparent massive failure as we are witnessing]
And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground: there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him:
Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not.”
We have absorbed a belief that after the Resurrection and Triumph of Our Lord over sin and death that the Church He founded should of necessity also be glorious and triumphant. Indeed, at times in its history it has given such an appearance, but there is no guarantee of that being so. Our Lord rightly predicted a very un-sightly and inglorious consummation for Peter, and he told all of his disciples, “The servant is not greater than the master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20). The Church often appears to be the loser in its battle with the world.
We have tended to believe that this persecution must always come from without the Church. This, of course makes no sense if we understand that the Church, while being divinely established and certainly containing profoundly divine elements (The Four Marks) is yet at the same time profoundly human, manifesting all the sin and error of fallen human nature, and having the “world” dwelling within its own bosom. Before ascending to the altar of God, the priest prays Psalm 42: “Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.” The “nation that is not holy”, the “unjust and deceitful man” is not just “outside the Church”, but is within each of us and therefore within the Church. In times of crisis, this “nation that is not holy” can appear (to all our organs of “sight) to have triumphed. Our Lord speaks of a time: “But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?” This would certainly seem to indicate that there will come a time before Our Lord’s Second Coming when the internal “unsightliness” and worldliness of the Church makes all previous crises pale in comparison.
Faith, in other words, is a gift of God’s grace which, especially in times of Church crisis, can appear to be contradicted by “sight” in almost every conceivable manner. In other words, there are times in the Church’s journey through history when virtually all that is visible or knowable through natural human powers can produce a very human fear that all we have believed is a chimera.
Returning to what St. Thomas said about the act of faith, this entails that in times of great scandal and crisis the act of faith can be almost totally reduced to an act of the will. It is at such times that we must plunge into the depths of our own souls and ask, “Do I believe.” Even more significant, we must ask whether I believe. [again, somewhat plagiarizing a line from A Man for All Seasons). The emphasized “I” denotes the fact that if I am wrong, then I cease to exist as anything of significance whatsoever.
If we give in to the darkness and say “No, I no longer believe,” then we should understand what we are betraying: most importantly, the original grace of faith itself; secondly, the ultimate happiness in the Beatific Vision which is at the core of what the human will is all about; thirdly, all the intellectual glories of faith which constitute Catholicism itself – the Sacred Deposit of Faith, the interconnectedness of its truths which possess an incomparable Beauty of meaning, the Church’s memories of Christ and His life, death, and resurrection, the Saints, Martyrs, and Miracles. And last, but certainly not least, we abandon any reality of a Charity which is supernatural, and which is the very lifeblood of sacramental life. All these are integral to the “I” that we now are, and to the content of the intellectual light that is within us, which is the reflected radiance of the Truth of Christ. I think that there is even validity in saying to myself something to the effect that even if it were all false, I would still believe. I am almost convinced that there is a pride in us which is genuine because it goes to the depths of what it means that <strongWe are now to be identified with the Life of Christ which is the light of our souls. It is, in other words,our identification with Christ and His Mystical Body in good times and bad.
The joy within us should always therefore be present – something like the joy of legions of angels singing at the birth of Jesus in the midst of a cold and barren cave, and now metaphorically in the midst of a scourged and betrayed Church.
Standing firm in this faith, and calmed by this certain and unshakeable but suffering joy, we may then look out upon the apparent contradictions and try to make some sense of them. Our success may vary all the way from completeness, to partial success, to total failure. We will probably never be totally successful on all points. We necessarily see through a glass darkly, and sometimes the glass is very dark indeed.
The greatest dangers in such times of crisis are the passions which are aroused because of the betrayal we are experiencing. The primary, immediate fruit of such passions is exaggeration, and it is such exaggeration which leads us into much greater darkness and, of course, the loss of interior peace and joy. Such exaggerations have been very common among traditional Catholics. Archbishop Lefebvre is a case in point.
We will look at two very public and “official” statements of Archbishop Lefebvre regarding Pope John Paul II and his direction of the Church. In his 29 August, 1987 “Letter to the Future Bishops”(published in the July, 1988 Angelus), Archbishop Lefebvre begins with the following statement:
“The See of Peter and the posts of authority in Rome being occupied by anti-Christs . . .”
The January, 1987 Angelus printed a “Declaration (Subsequent to the Events of the Visit of Pope John Paul II to the Synagogue and the Congress of Religion at Assisi)” signed by both Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer. The following three paragraphs are part of this Declaration:
“Adopting the liberal religion of Protestantism and of the Revolution, the naturalistic principles of J.J.Rousseau, the atheistic liberties of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the principle of human dignity no longer having any relation with truth and moral dignity, the Roman authorities turn their backs on their predecessors and break with the Catholic Church, and they put themselves at the service of the de¬stroyers of Christianity and of the universal Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“The high point of this rupture with the previous Magisterium of the Church took place at Assisi, after the visit to the synagogue. The public sin against the one, true God, against the Incarnate Word, and His Church, makes us shudder with horror. John Paul II encourages the false religions to pray to their false gods — an immeasurable, unprecedented scandal.”
“The denial of the whole past of the Church by these two Popes (Paul VI and John Paul II) and the bishops who imitate them is an inconceivable impiety for those who remain Catholic in fidelity to twenty centuries of the same Faith.”
Reading the above quotes, one should immediately be struck with a question. Convinced as he was that the Pope was an antichrist and that he had broken with the Catholic Church, ruptured with the previous Magisterium, and denied the whole past of the Church, how could Archbishop Lefebvre believe that John Paul II was Pope? His position in other words had degenerated from a legitimate and understandable state of “restlessness” and suffering of mind and heart to that of a kind of profound intellectual self-contradiction – a form of Catholic schizophrenia.
Archbishop Lefebvre’s judgment that the Pope was an antichrist, that he had “ruptured with the previous magisterium”, and “denied the whole past of the Church” was based on what the latter had done at Assisi. In order to be in such a position (as asserted by Lefebvre), of course, John Paul would have had to deny that salvation comes only through Jesus Christ. The interesting part is that if the Archbishop had read and taken into serious consideration what John Paul II said at his General Audience the previous Wednesday, which was totally dedicated to what his intentions were concerning Assisi, he would have seen the extraordinary error of saying that John Paul was denying the whole past of the Church. Here are some of his statements:
“At Assisi all the representatives of the Christian churches and communities and of the world religions will be engaged solely in invoking from God the great gift of peace.”
“I would like this fact, so important for the process of reconciliation of men among themselves and with God, to be seen and interpreted by all members of the Church in the light of the Second Vatican Council and of its teachings.”
“In the Council, in fact, the Church, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, reflected at length on her position in a world ever more marked by the encounter of cultures and religions.”
“According to the Council, the Church is ever more aware of her mission and duty, indeed of her essential vocation to announce to the world the true salvation which is found only in Jesus Christ, God and man. (cf. Ad Gentes, 11-13).”
“Yes, it is only in Christ that all mankind can be saved. There is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). From the very beginning of history all who are truly faithful to God’s call, as far as it is known to them, have been directed toward Christ. (Cf. Lumen Gentium, 16).”
“Precisely because Christ is the center of the whole created world and of history, and because no one can come to the Father except through Him (cf. Jn 14:6), we approach the other religions in an attitude of sincere respect and of fervent witness to Christ in Whom we believe. In them there are, in fact, the ‘seeds of the Word’, the ‘rays of the one truth’, to quote the words of the early Fathers of the Church who lived and worked in the midst of paganism . . .”
. . .
“What will take place at Assisi will certainly not be religious syncretism.”
“Certainly we cannot ‘pray together’ namely, to make a common prayer, but we can be present while others pray. In this way we manifest our respect for the prayer of others and for the attitude of others before the Divinity; at the same time we offer them the humble and sincere witness of our faith in Christ, Lord of the Universe.”
None of this analysis, of course, is meant to approve of John Paul II’s actions at Assisi. It is, however, intended to prevent us from that state of real self-contradiction from which there is no escape possible, and where joy truly ends. If the Pope truly is an antichrist, and if he truly has denied “the whole past” of the Church, we would then truly have the right to be without any faith, and its accompanying joy, whatsoever. The Church would be destroyed, and with it, the reality of Christ. But it has not been destroyed, but rather only profoundly corrupted in its human element, and thus Christ is very much real and suffering in His Mystical Body.
One other point needs to be added. I have mentioned exaggeration as being the cause of most of the despair and excesses of traditional Catholics. At various points over the past 50 years one or more actions or teachings of the Council or of recent Popes have flashed hot as loci for such exaggerations: the teaching on Religious Liberty, the teaching on Judaism, Islam, Protestantism, the controversy over the use of “subsist” rather than “is”, the New Mass, ecumenism, the recent outrageous statements of Pope Francis, etc. In other words, the temptations leading to despair have piled up to such an extent as to seem almost an insufferable weight. We will now almost surely be faced with a new surge of such activity with the forthcoming canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. And we must be prepared in the depth of our faith to face even greater suffering.
Often at the root of our exaggerated reactions are passions of anger, bitterness, etc. rooted in the belief that something has been taken away from us which we believe we deserve, or to which we assume we have a right. But the fact is that we have no absolute right to any of these things. I will in fact go to the heart of the matter, and risk the malice of virtually all traditionalists, by stating that we have no absolute right to the Traditional Latin Mass, or for that matter, any Mass at all. Nor do we have an absolute claim to any of our individual Catholic apostolates, whether they be magazines, newspapers, internet blogs or websites, educational institutions, organization promoting some Catholic cause, etc. If, in the face of vast numbers of Catholics living in prostitution to a world fallen madly in love with scientific reductionism, usury, money speculation, materialism, abortion, and every form of sexual license and perversity, God should will to take all these things away, we still have no right to complain or rebel. Nor do we have the right to defy the Pope in his legitimate government and discipline of the Church, consecrate bishops against his specific mandate not to do so, or form conventicles of our own. The present state of bitter division and disintegration within the SSPX gives ample testimony to the fruits of such action. What appeared to be healthy only a few months ago now offers glaring testimony to the inherent contradiction and incipient disintegration present in the movement of Archbishop Lefebvre from the very day he chose to defy the Primacy of Jurisdiction of the Pope.
There is only one thing that God cannot (because He will not) take away, and that is the friendship with Him that comes through baptism and the possession of our faith. Only we can take that away. With Jeremiah at the bottom of his well, Daniel in the lions’ den, and Maximillian Kolbe in an underground bunker with men who were reduced to drinking their own urine, we must declare that our faith has not been destroyed and that Christian joy remains the nourishment of our souls Then we will be able to crawl out of our bunkers and work towards a Return to God without committing the excesses which continually reduce our efforts to ineffectiveness or even self-destruction. We have no reason to despair, or not to possess joy, simply because Christmas seems far away.
The Light of Return
There is no question but that the crisis we now experience in the Church is rooted in false philosophy. Many Popes from the latter part of the 18th to the first half of the twentieth century have emphasized this fact, and I have written many articles exploring these errors. There is also no question in my mind that Pope Francis continues this destructive tradition of false philosophy. I explored this somewhat in my most recent article (especially in regard to his horrendous epistemology in regard to the abortion issue), and intend to offer further analysis in a future article.
It is equally true, however, that there is an even deeper betrayal of the Gospel within the heart of historical Christianity which produced the soil from which the evil fruits of philosophical, theological, and moral perversities took their sustenance, and which has now produced the nightmare which is now our daily bread: Catholics long ago abandoned the Beatitudes which are the very life of Christ. In doing so they became concubines of the gods of this world – especially the gods of money and scientific reductionism. This is something that appears to be just as true of traditional Catholics as it is of Modernists.
What this entails is that there is a double betrayal of Christ at the source of the present massive decay in the Church. In the final paragraph of my article St. Francis of Assisi: They Pretended to Love You So That They Might Leave you, I wrote the following:
“I write these final words three days after the election of Pope Francis. Obviously, we yet know little of what the future holds in regard to his Papacy. I am struck most of all by the words addressed to the media: “How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor!” If this truly be the poverty of Francis, then it will also return the Church to that intellectual clarity which embraces St. Thomas. The whole Christ only shines through to a soul, or Church, empty of both intellectual hubris and the riches of the world. Thus will the embrace of Dominic and Francis come to fruition in the wedding of Truth and Love. So, only, shall we Return”
It has not happened. Pope Francis is not the Pope of both St. Francis and St. Thomas. And, as discussed in my article on St. Francis, if he is not the Pope of Thomas he cannot truly be the Pope of St. Francis. Our chastisement, in other words, continues, as also must our militancy in combating error.
This does not mean, however, that Christ has abandoned the direction of His Church through the reign of the present Pope. The chastisements of God are not just punishments, but also often carry gifts and graces from which we are to learn. God, in fact, might wish that we learn something from our present Holy Father – something that might contribute to making us to be truly “whole”, and not just “traditional”, Catholics. The following passages are from Pope Francis’ address given in the hall where St. Francis stripped himself of his riches in order to embrace Lady Poverty:
“This is a good occasion to invite the Church to despoil herself. But all of us are the Church! All! From the first one baptized, we are all the Church, and we must all go on the path of Jesus, who, Himself, followed the way of despoliation. He became a slave, a servant; he willed to be humiliated unto the Cross. And if we want to be Christians, there is no other way. But can we not make a Christianity that is a bit more human – they say – without the cross, without Jesus, without despoliation? In this way we will become pastry Christians, like beautiful cakes, like beautiful sweet things” Very lovely, but not Christians really! Someone might say: “But of what must the Church despoil herself? “ She must despoil herself today of a very grave danger, which threatens every person in the Church, which threatens all: the danger of worldliness. A Christian cannot coexist with the spirit of the world; worldliness that leads us to vanity, to arrogance, to pride. And this is an idol, it’s not God. It’s an idol! And idolatry is the strongest sin!”
“But the Church is all of us, as I said. And all of us must despoil ourselves of this worldliness: the contrary spirit to the spirit of the Beatitudes, the spirit contrary to the spirit of Jesus. Worldliness does evil to us. It’s so sad to meet a worldly Christian, certain – according to him – of that security that gives him faith and certain of the security that the world gives him. One cannot work on both sides. The Church – all of us – must despoil herself of worldliness, which leads her to vanity, pride, which is idolatry.”
“Jesus himself said to us: “You cannot serve two masters: either you serve God or you serve mammon” (cf. Matthew 6:24). In money there is all this worldly spirit; money, vanity, pride, that way … we cannot take … it is sad to cancel with one hand what we write with the other. The Gospel is the Gospel! God is one!”
It seems quite possible that in God’s direction of the Church through the Papacy of Francis’ there is a grace intended specifically for traditional Catholics – that they should “see” the Light of Life which is the Beatitudes, and learn how to write with one hand what they have written with the other. It is necessary that Dominic and Francis embrace within each one of us.