Apostasy Don Pietro Leone # 3

Tynemouth_PrioryPART 2.

    II  The Refusal to Honour God

In verse 21 St Paul writes: ‘…when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God or given thanks’. Here he mentions the two religious duties that man owes to God in virtue of His infinite glory and goodness, respectively. In turning away from God, man has in effect refused to fulfill these duties.

This is particularly obvious in the domain of the Holy Mass where the Church’s new liturgy reflects Her new doctrine. The offering of the Holy Mass of course is in itself the highest and most perfect means to glorify God and to give Him thanks – indeed the most common synonym for the Holy Mass is ‘The Eucharist’, which means thanksgiving.

The Old Rite enables man to offer glory to God and give Him thanks in the most adequate and sublime manner possible. The Novus Ordo Missae, by contrast, is signally defective in this regard. Apart from the suppression of the mention of the Most Holy Trinity (as stated above) – the very object of the glory offered by the Mass, the prayer ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo’ as we noted in the same essay, has been removed from the majority of the Masses offered in the course of the liturgical year. In the same spirit the vast majority of acts of Adoration which the rubrics of the Old Rite had safeguarded, have been eliminated from the modern Mass, such as the bows, the signs of the Cross, the genuflections, the silence, together with all the reverent demeanour on the part of the celebrant and the assisting faithful.

We invite any-one who claims that the two rites are of equal value to reflect upon these changes. How can a rite, for example, which prescribes Communion on the tongue to the kneeling faithful be of equal value to one that permits and indeed fosters Communion in the hand to the standing faithful?

In fact each Mass in itself always gives equal value to God, but the manner in which any given Mass is offered is not of equal value to the manner in which any other Mass is offered. If one takes two identical precious stones and mounts one in a precious setting and on a precious ring which entirely suit the stone, and the other in a cheap and vulgar setting and ring, then clearly the former object will have a greater value than the latter.

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In turning away from God, man rejects the True and the Good in their ultimate sense, that is to say as they exist in God Himself. In the next section we consider the former phenomenon; in the following section the latter. In later sections we shall be concerned to expose the irrationality and evil of contemporary society.

     III Foolishness

St. Paul continues (vv.21-3) that men, not glorifying God or giving Him thanks, ‘became vain in their thinking. And their foolish heart was darkened. For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…

In commentary on the phrase ‘their foolish heart was darkened’ it may be said that this foolishness consists in the rejection of God, and that this rejection darkens the intellect and will, represented, in Jewish imagery, by the heart.

God is the True: Objective Truth, Being, Objective Reality in the ultimate sense of the term. Atheism, in rejecting God, has rejected truth: it has substituted truth for falsehood (as St. Paul states in v. 25); and since knowledge is knowledge of the Truth and philosophy is the knowledge of Truth in the ultimate sense of the term, atheism has effectively excluded a priori both the possibility of knowledge and philosophy.

The atheist modern philosophers are fantasy-spinners. It would have been better for them to have become science-fiction writers. At least they would then have revealed themselves for what they were and earned their keep honestly. What is reality? What is the basis of morality? What am I? One of them excogitates a theory and another refutes it. The questions become unanswerable, and, at the end of the day, entirely otiose.

Within the Church, the Modernists, by now of a certain age, are spinning similar fantasies. We would not wish to pass over in silence the recent denial on the part of  Bishops of the Real Presence of Our Blessed Lord, or of the sublime privileges of the Most Blessed and Glorious Virgin Mary, nor of the long-standing promotion of abortion by the German Bishops’ Conference: Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland.

These various fantasies, when set alongside true Church doctrines, create the syncretistic amalgam of Truth and Falsehood that we have delineated above.

One of the most effective ways in which Modernism has entered the hearts of the clergy and of the faithful is, however, by means of the Novus Ordo Missae, for according to the principle of lex orandi, lex credendi they have by their celebration of, and assistance at, this rite, imbibed the falsehood of the new and false theology, and their heart has been darkened and closed to the Truth. Who in the Novus Ordo clergy and hierarchy, or even among those who are biritual, has retained a clear and unsullied vision of Absolute, Supernatural Truth?

Herumstolzierend, the modern philosophers and thinkers make ungainly incursions into the field of practical ethics such as sexuality and unborn life. Acclaimed and even knighted in their latter years for their intellectual achievements, they profess, like the Modernists, ‘to be wise’: ‘… with that vainglory that allows them to regard themselves as the sole possessors of knowledge, and makes them say, elated and inflated with presumption: We are not like other men’ (Pascendi § 40).

We reply to the Modernist and the modern philosopher in the words of Shakespeare (Henry IV Pt. I, Act 5 Scene 5): ‘I know thee not old man. Fall to thy prayers. How ill white hairs become a fool…’

     IV  Idolatry

And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of a corruptible man and of birds, and of four-footed beasts and of creeping things…

Rejecting God from the heart, that is from the intellect and the will, they reject the proper object of these faculties, which is God under the aspect of Infinite Truth and Infinite Good respectively: for the intellect has been created to know God under the aspect of the True, and to love Him under the aspect of the Good.

Once God has been rejected from the heart, once the heart has lost its orientation to its proper object, it is darkened and falls onto surrogate objects: onto finite, created things, onto idols: devils, men, animals, or graven images. In short the men who reject God, in falling away from Him, ‘worship(ped) and serve(d) the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.’ (v.25).

The Book of Wisdom (ch. 12 ff.) which serves as a background for St. Paul’s account of Apostasy, specifies graven images as the object of men’s worship; St. Paul, by contrast, specifies animals and man. The modern apostate society, by contrast, has clearly elected man as the object of his worship.

Modern philosophy, in denying or doubting of God’s existence, has placed man in the centre of the Universe. It has developed two distinct systems of ethics for his conduct: hedonism and humanism. It will not now be necessary to expound the shallowness of hedonism, of which we shall offer an egregious example below, instead we shall here confine ourselves to a brief comment on humanism.

He who believes in God, recognizes that the dignity and perfection of man reside in his love of God, and that his moral conduct must be determined by God’s will, particularly as expressed in the natural law. The atheist humanist, by contrast, is incapable of appreciating the dignity of man or the natural law that should govern his every action; in rejecting God, he has in effect rejected any adequate foundation for man’s dignity and morality. Indeed he has rejected objective reality itself and has thus rendered himself incapable of understanding man or his morality except by reference to the subjective order, by reference to man’s happiness and fulfillment.

Undeniably this same humanism has entered into contemporary Catholic moral teaching, even if Catholic doctrine is by its very nature divine. As St. Paul explicitly states (Gal.1. 11): ‘For I give you to understand, brethren, that the gospel that was preached by me, is not according to man’.

The new doctrinal and moral stance of the Church, by contrast, from the Second Vatican Council onwards, with its advocation of the principle of Mercy over the condemnation of error, its love for the entire world qua world, its promotion of the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the abolition of the Index, the purported expansion of the Church beyond the bounds of the Catholic Church, the promotion of a heady and euphoric Ecumenism are so many instances of a new, all-pervasive spirit of love which is no longer that of Charity.

Charity is the supernatural love of God and the neighbour in God in the state of Grace, which ‘rejoices in the Truth’, which consists in fulfilling the commandments, and which is perfected in sanctity. The new spirit of love, by contrast, is the love of the senses: feelings, sentimentality, conformity to the feelings of others. It is a subjective form of love. In the shift from the former to the latter we have witnessed a shift from the objective to the subjective, from the supernatural virtue of love to the passion of love; we have witnessed a pale and effeminate simulacrum disguising itself as true love and deceiving the masses. The deception continues to the present day and, as we have attempted to show in the book on the family, is particularly evident in Magisterial Personalism and Theology of the Body.

Man is placed at the centre of the world in contemporary Church doctrine, then, as well as in Her liturgy, where as we argued in detail in the book on the New Mass, Our Lord Jesus Christ has been ousted from His due position of honour and substituted by man.

V  Depravity

Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness: to dishonour their own bodies among themselves… ’ (v.24).

We first observe that the phrase ‘God gave them up’ (which thrice appears in the section under consideration) refers to God’s withholding Grace from sinners in response to the gravity of their sin.