A Telling Admission in a "Papal Address"
by Christopher A. Ferrara
February 8, 2016
During the recent ad limina visit of the German bishops, Pope Francis was scheduled to give a formal address, found here. As Sandro Magister reports, however, Francis merely had copies of the text distributed to the bishops in attendance, and he later told Cardinal Reinhard Marx, one of the most destructive Modernist termites in the German hierarchy, that he knew nothing of its contents and had not even read it.
The text Francis never bothered to read contains a damning admission about an utter failure to preserve the Faith on the part of the same hierarchs with whom Francis has been closely allied throughout his pontificate, first and foremost Cardinal Walter (“the Pope’s theologian”) Kasper. As the text observes:
Moreover, [in Germany] one notes a very strong decrease in attendance at Sunday Mass, as well as in the sacramental life, particularly in the regions with a Catholic tradition. In the 1960s almost every member of the faithful attended Mass every Sunday, whereas now the faithful often represent less than 10 percent. Ever fewer people are receiving the sacraments. The sacrament of Penance has almost disappeared. Fewer and fewer Catholics receive Confirmation or contract a Catholic marriage. The number of vocations to the priestly ministry and to the consecrated life has dwindled noticeably. Given these facts one can truly speak of an erosion of the Catholic faith in Germany.
The same observation is valid throughout the entirety of what was once called Christendom, leading John Paul II to lament the state of “silent apostasy” into which vast numbers of the faithful have fallen since the Sixties — that is, since the Second Vatican Council provoked a seemingly endless tempest of unprecedented “reforms” which have altered virtually every aspect of life in the Church, except among those now called “traditionalists.”
Having admitted the self-evident truth about the disaster of the past fifty years, however, the text, with dreary predictability, intones the usual post-conciliar bromide: “Of course it is not possible to rebuild what existed in the past from the remains of the ‘beautiful times gone by’.”
First of all, this in itself is a devastating admission: the traditional practice of the Faith for centuries before the Council is now dismissed as the “remains” of “beautiful times gone by” — that is, an absolutely unprecedented process of destruction has left only the ruins of what was once so beautiful and spiritually attractive about the Church, above all her traditional Latin liturgy.
But amidst the ruins there remain all the elements of that same beauty and attraction to souls. In “traditionalist” communities, where the traditional Mass and Sacraments have been retained, one sees no decline in the sacramental life, no decline in Mass attendance, no decline in recourse to Confession, no decline in Confirmations or Catholic marriages, and a rise in priestly vocations such that the traditionalist seminaries cannot accommodate them all.
Now a rational observer of the ecclesial scene would conclude that if the Faith has eroded in precisely those places where the traditional Mass and Sacraments were suddenly abandoned — which is practically everywhere — whereas the Faith has avoided erosion only in the few places where the traditional Mass and Sacraments have been retained, then perhaps — just perhaps — a restoration of the traditional Mass and Sacraments might restore adherence to the Faith where it has been lost.
This would be in keeping with the maxim lex orandi, lex credendi: the way one worships will determine what one believes. Thus, where novel modes of Catholic worship, never before seen in the Church, actually tend to undermine the truths of the Catholic faith then — surprise — that faith will erode and ultimately disappear. For example: Communion in the hand and its distribution by laymen and laywomen diminish the truth of the Real Presence, causing that belief to wane. Or, the reduction of Confession to something available for only 45 minutes a week sends the message that Confession is no longer necessary to receive Holy Communion, which is no longer viewed as the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in any event. Or, the use of altar girls discouraging boys from serving at the altar diminishes priestly vocations, as service at the altar was a primary source of spiritual inspiration toward the priestly life. And so on, with each novelty of the past fifty years helping to pave the road to silent apostasy.
A rational observer would understand these simple points. But then we are not dealing with rational observers when it comes to the deluded hierarchs who have presided over this catastrophe, not even among the few who admit that a catastrophe has taken place. So, in the text in question, we find only more bromides, such as this bit of empty blather:
The current imperative is pastoral conversion, in other words “The renewal of [the Church’s] structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with himself (Evangelii Gaudium, n. 27).”
Meaning exactly nothing on close inspection. But exactly nothing is what the current hierarchy, by and large, is prepared to do to repair the massive damage their own reformist mania has inflicted, and continues daily to inflict, upon the Church and the souls who have wandered far from her, having been offered stones instead of bread, empty rhetoric instead of substance.
Such is the crisis foretold in the Third Secret. Martin Mosebach has called it “the heresy of formlessness.” And it is the loss of form, the voiding of substance, the spread of sheer nothingness — evil being the absence of good — that is a sure sign of the Adversary at work. We are indeed witnessing The Devil’s Final Battle.