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Anatomy of a Delusion

by Christopher A. Ferrara
April 15, 2015

As Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life (CICL), Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz of Brazil is responsible for overseeing the brutal destruction of one of the few flourishing institutes of consecrated life in the Church today, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, on the direct orders of Pope Francis.

Because the order founded by the saintly Father Stefano Manelli, lauded by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI, had dared to take advantage of Benedict’s liberation of the Latin Mass from its unjust imprisonment, it had to go.

To recall Pope Francis’ words during the bizarre celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Paul VI’s disastrous introduction of the New Mass: “This is important for us, to follow the Mass in this way. And we cannot go back; we must always go forward, always forward and whoever goes back is mistaken. We go forward on this way.”

Forward! But toward what? Mass attendance in Europe already hovers at less than 10% as the “liturgical renewal” continues to empty the pews, shutter churches, dry up vocations and increase the spread of what John Paul II admitted is “silent apostasy.”  What would it take for the Pope and his collaborators to admit a debacle when they see one?

Like a stubborn driver who has taken a wrong turn and refuses to consult a map despite the nagging of his wife, the resolutely progressive hierarchs who govern a Church in the midst of an ever-deepening crisis refuse to admit they are lost despite the pleas of the few remaining faithful to consult the roadmap of Tradition and go back to where they first went wrong.

At a seminar of what are now called “religious formators,” sponsored by the CICL on April 8-11, Braz de Aviz — in typically nonsensical post-conciliar fashion — called for a restoration of consecrated life that would not address the abandonment of traditional formation and rules that has left the religious orders in a state of devastation and collapse.

Religious orders and congregations, he declared, should “keep alive the history of their orders and congregations” but without “doing archeology or cultivating useless nostalgia…” In other words, keep alive history by forgetting history. Instead, he blathered, the orders must recover the “spark” that “led founders to create new projects and ideals.”

True, Braz de Aviz noted, there has been “a decline in vocations, aging, economic problems, relativism, [and] marginalization” among the religious orders, but in the upside-down world of the post-conciliar “Church of the renewal” this is actually good news! “[I]t is precisely in these uncertainties that our hope is realized, (which is) a fruit of faith in the Lord of history who continues to repeat: Be not afraid…because I am with you.” 

I rather doubt that when Our Lord said “Be not afraid” He was referring to the deliberate autodemolition of traditions the Church has handed down for nearly 2,000 years — first and foremost in her liturgy and infallible dogmatic definitions.  Rather, He was referring to the world’s hostility toward the Church, not to the depredations of internal enemies who are hollowing her out from within.

Continuing with his delusional assessment of failure as success, Braz de Aviz declared that “hope does not lay in numbers or works, but rather in the Lord for whom ‘nothing is impossible.’” Indeed, with God nothing is impossible, not even our deliverance from the clutches of deluded prelates like Braz de Aviz.

But that is not what Braz de Aviz has in mind.  In his deluded state he thinks our hope lies in relentlessly pursuing to the bitter end the ecclesial auto-demolition that began after Vatican II, to which he has contributed mightily by dismantling the Franciscan Friars — who, irony of ironies, were actually renewing consecrated life.  This disaster was predicted in 1931 by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pius XII, when he was Secretary of State under Pope Pius XI.  Referring to Our Lady of Fatima’s revelations to Lucia and her fellow visionaries, the future Pope described the Message of Fatima as involving a “divine warning” to the Church “against the suicide of altering the Faith, in her liturgy, her theology and her soul.”

It seems that at this point in the ecclesial crisis only direct divine intervention will deter fanatics like Braz de Aviz from the course they have set amidst the rocky shoals on which the Barque of Peter now shudders and threatens to founder and sink. No doubt the final outcome is predicted in that part of the Third Secret wherein the Virgin tells us how our divine rescue will be effected.