There is a crisis rocking the Church in our day, and it is unprecedented in both its nature and scope. About this, Catholics of pretty much every stripe – from the wildest-eyed liberals to the staunchest of traditionalists – agree.
With this in mind, many may immediately think of the McCarrick scandal; the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report; the Viganò testimony; the report out of Germany detailing the sexual abuse of thousands of minors, etc.
On some level, this makes sense, but these things are but symptoms of a crisis that, first and foremost, is doctrinal in character; the moral rot best being understood as a consequence thereof.
As has been mentioned in this space many times, the real crisis concerns the fact that the institution that Archbishop Lefebvre called as the “conciliar church” – and many others recognize as a religion all its own – has not the faith of the Holy Catholic Church, even though it presents itself to the world by that name.
And while its leaders are pleased to invoke the name of Our Lord when such is convenient, theirs is not the Church of Christ, but rather is it the church-of-man; the ultimate object of its worship being not the Divine Majesty, but rather “inalienable human dignity.”
I would argue that the current homo-clerical moral crisis never would have reached such depths had the doctrinal crisis inaugurated at Vatican Council II not happened first. The mere suggestion is beyond consideration in the minds of most neo-conservatives, who, among other things, have been anesthetized into complacency by a combination of the “hermeneutic of continuity” deception and a form of ultramontanism that effectively places the pope beyond any meaningful doctrinal reproach – most notably as it concerns John Paul II.
As such, when they look at the sad state of present-day ecclesial affairs (e.g., as described in the Viganò testimony and elsewhere), they can only manage to see what amounts to an especially nasty moral crisis; one that has claimed perhaps tens of thousands of victims of sexual abuse.
And yet, those willing able to look directly to the heart of the matter cannot but see the bigger picture – the doctrinal crisis that preceded it – the same that has claimed literally billions of victims of spiritual abuse; generations of human beings whose very salvation has been placed in jeopardy thanks to the Council’s departure from immutable Truth.
At this, one may be compelled to ask: Were clerical homo-deviants and their protectors present and active in the Catholic Church before Vatican II gave birth to the conciliar church?
Yes, to an extent they were, but they were a sub-culture at best. Today, by contrast, they are – for all practical purposes – the prevailing culture; occupying positions of power and influence at all levels of the institution. Their ability to promote and protect their own, whilst keeping all concerned in check via blackmail, is entirely unprecedented.
In the words of Archbishop Viganò:
These homosexual networks, which are now widespread in many dioceses, seminaries, religious orders, etc., act under the concealment of secrecy and lies with the power of octopus tentacles, and strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations, and are strangling the entire Church.
Recently, the Italian news outlet, Il Fatto Quotidiano, revealed that it has gained access to the infamous 300-page dossier, which, according to writer Francesca Fagnani, confirms Archbishop Viganò’s description of a gay stranglehold:
The report contains a detailed and disturbing picture of the moral and material corruption of the clergy, with names, surnames and circumstances … It is a list of prelates and laymen who belong to the so-called gay lobby, which through blackmail and secrets could affect, or have conditioned, positions and careers (theirs, like those of others).
Today, thanks to the homo-clerical scandal, it seems that many of our conservative friends and family members, who have long been aware that a catechetical (doctrinal) crisis does in fact exist in the Church, may very well be in the early stages of waking up to reality.
Our challenge is figuring out how we might help them connect the dots between the moral and the doctrinal; demonstrating that of these two calamities, the latter came first, and this without directly attacking the Almighty Council that they have been conditioned to embrace with the ascent of faith.
Perhaps the best place to start would be Sacred Scripture.
The law is not made for the just man but for the unjust and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the wicked and defiled, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for them who defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and whatever other thing is contrary to sound doctrine… (cf 1 Tim 1:9-10)
Based on these words of St. Paul, it is clear that sound doctrine is to morally just behavior as unsound doctrine is to moral degradation. Of course, this sword can cut both ways, but one need only look at the Protestant sects for evidence that as religious communities slide ever more deeply into doctrinal deviation, it inevitably gives rise to increased tolerance for, if not official approval of, blatant immorality.
Even the Orthodox Churches that embrace unsound doctrine on a limited number of points have, over time, likewise come to embrace grave offenses against the moral law; e.g., performing “Orders of Second Marriage” for the civilly divorced, and condoning abortion in limited cases.
We might also turn to the Roman Catechism, or Catechism of the Council of Trent, which was written specifically for the purpose of aiding priests in pastoring their flock:
The more detached the faithful are from the allurements of the world and the pleasures of sense, the more disposed they are to accept heavenly doctrines.
Once again, the converse is equally as true; namely, right doctrine serves as an aid toward fostering detachment from the pleasures of sense and thus acts that are morally corrupt.
Yes, but can we go even further so as to say that the teaching and acceptance of heavenly doctrines is in some sense is a necessary first step toward promoting the moral life within a given society, and what’s more, that the converse is true; namely, that doctrinal error necessarily leads to the opposite – the propagation of immoral behavior?
The words of Our Lord on the matter of marriage indicate that doctrine fully revealed and faithfully taught plays a necessary part in informing the will as to what it means to live according to immutable moral precepts:
They say to him: Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce, and to put away? He saith to them: Because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery. (Mt. 19:7-9)
NB: When objective error is either taught or tolerated (as in the case of Moses and the People Israel regarding the permanence of marriage), objectively immoral behavior (divorce, which “from the beginning” is objectively evil) follows.
Lastly, let us consider the wisdom of the Angelic Doctor:
For every movement of the will must be preceded by apprehension, whereas every apprehension is not preceded by an act of the will; but the principle of counselling and understanding is an intellectual principle higher than our intellect —namely, God… (cf Summa Theologiae I, Q. 82, Art. 4)
Just as Our Lord revealed to His listeners the law concerning marriage and divorce, that they may apprehend the mind of God and so act accordingly, so too must the voice of the Church that was commissioned by Christ to teach in His name proclaim without fail the heavenly doctrines that move the will to act in accordance with Divine Law.
While those who embrace the Novus Ordo Missae, the Second Vatican Council, and all of the papal teaching that followed as if it were manna from Heaven may not be prepared to abandon their sacred cows just yet, at the very least, maybe we can convince them to at least ask the question:
Two ecclesial calamities – one moral the other doctrinal – which came first?