|Pope Benedict XVI at Christmas Midnight Mass, 2012. As pews continue to empty and the western world spirals into a demographic and financial abyss, the pope still embraces liberalism in his Christmas homily.|
In Pope Benedict’s Midnight Mass sermon we find this rather curious paragraph:
Linked to God’s glory on high is peace on earth among men. Where God is not glorified, where he is forgotten or even denied, there is no peace either. Nowadays, though, widespread currents of thought assert the exact opposite: they say that religions, especially monotheism, are the cause of the violence and the wars in the world. If there is to be peace, humanity must first be liberated from them. Monotheism, belief in one God, is said to be arrogance, a cause of intolerance, because by its nature, with its claim to possess the sole truth, it seeks to impose itself on everyone. Now it is true that in the course of history, monotheism has served as a pretext for intolerance and violence. It is true that religion can become corrupted and hence opposed to its deepest essence, when people think they have to take God’s cause into their own hands, making God into their private property. We must be on the lookout for these distortions of the sacred. While there is no denying a certain misuse of religion in history, yet it is not true that denial of God would lead to peace. If God’s light is extinguished, man’s divine dignity is also extinguished. Then the human creature would cease to be God’s image, to which we must pay honour in every person, in the weak, in the stranger, in the poor. Then we would no longer all be brothers and sisters, children of the one Father, who belong to one another on account of that one Father. The kind of arrogant violence that then arises, the way man then despises and tramples upon man: we saw this in all its cruelty in the last century.
The defense of religion in the face of secularism’s lies about religion as the cause of violence and inhumanity throughout history is a common theme of the Ratzinger papacy. However, it has been ineffectual. After eight years of Pope Benedict’s project to re-establish the Christian identity of Europe and the western world, secularism has grown and its arguments have become louder and ever more heeded, even though they certainly haven’t become more logical or historically factual. In the great open social debate, in the "free market of ideas", which Pope John Paul II assured us could not be lost by the Catholic Church because truth always prevails when given a fair hearing, the arguments coming from the leaders of Catholic Church are losing.
Cultural disaster threatens the Church outside the Vatican’s walls. The western world is every day approaching closer and closer to a financial disaster that could topple western civilization once and for all. Islam continues to grow and spread unabated, while population growth in the former Christian west is well below the necessary replacement rate. Western man is contracepting himself into oblivion, and despite the modern Church’s stand against contraception, this trend remains steady. The legalization of abortion is making inroads in what just a year ago seemed like nations that were “Pro-Life” bastions, such as Ireland and the Philippians. France is now squarely in the hands of the Socialists, who’s first priority has been social change in the form of gay “marriage”, and not the financial change they were elected to enact. Germany’s banks every day continue to tighten the grip on the Euro-zone’s struggling Socialist countries, which will topple without usury. The United States failed to rid itself of the most pro-abortion and Socialist president it has ever had, and instead a majority of Americans accepted a campaign based on free-contraception and hedonism, and embraced his pro-abortion, pro-gay “marriage” and Welfare State policies. The western world has in this past year resolutely decided for Socialism, hedonism, materialism, secularism, etc., all of which can be summed up by the expression, godlessness.
A disaster of faith threatens the Church from inside. Parish and school closings in every diocese and archdiocese worldwide is such a common occurrence that it is hardly news even for critical, traditional news sources. As the pews continue to empty, the “vocation crisis” is worse than ever despite multi-million dollar marketing campaigns and hundreds of other failed strategies. Many dioceses must face a near future wherein the majority of their parishes will not have a priest. The Jesuit order is poised for extinction as the majority of its priests and brothers will be at retirement age within the next few years. Religious houses close or are converted for other purposes. Unused retreat houses are sold and converted into nursing homes to warehouse an ever growing elderly clerical class that no longer have young members in their religious orders to care for them. A majority of church-going laity have a woefully inadequate understanding of their faith, most no longer believing in the Real Presence, the Perpetual Virginity of Our Lady, or what is required for the salvation of their souls. Liturgical abuses render many, if not most, novus ordo Masses illicit and/or invalid. Dissent and discord are common place at Catholic colleges and universities that have long ago thrown away any obligation they had to propagate the faith. Most Catholic colleges and universities are Catholic in name only, and most of their faculties are made up of publicly avowed Socialists, materialists, liberals and hedonists who pass on the filth of secularism to their students with license. In nearly every corner of the Church are the marks of Satan, evidenced by a lack of faith, liturgical abuse, the open preaching of heresy and error, and sex scandals.
The Catholic Church is losing the debate in the free market of ideas, despite the fact that it possesses the truth. Pope John Paul II and modern thinkers like George Weigel were wrong. In the great open debate of our modern world merely possessing the truth isn't enough. Why? The reason is to be found in a form of grand naivety on the part of the post-Conciliar, Neo-Catholic conservatives. While not outright rejecting the notion of original sin, they at least are guilty of ignoring its reality in our fallen world.
The great debate in the free market of ideas isn't being won because it’s fixed. The world’s great open debate, the world’s free market of ideas has been fixed in favor of Satan because, quite simply, Satan is the lord of this world (Apocalypse 12:9), and by extension the lord of the “free” market of ideas. The evil one actually acts to blind the unbelievers from the truth, as St. Paul teaches us: “And if our gospel be also hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them” (2 Cor 4:4). St. Paul would be confused by this modern rhetoric from Church leaders and Catholic thinkers like Weigel who speak of a “fair hearing” when it comes to the truth. There is no fair hearing of the truth in this world marred as it is by the effects of original sin.
Divine Revelation, let it not be forgotten, is necessary because of original sin. One of the primary consequences of original sin is that man can never come to a correct knowledge of God and His Will on man’s own volition. To claim otherwise would be to adopt a semi-Pelagian position. One would have to completely ignore the reality of original sin and the state of this present world to posit, as do many Catholic thinkers and church leaders these days, that the truth can gain any kind of fair hearing in this present world, no matter how “free” any kind of market is considered.
Yet, the Holy Father returns time after time to this same naivety, and it is present in this paragraph from his Christmas homily that sticks out as another example of Benedict’s liberalism.
The Holy Father defends a nebulous reality he labels “religion” and “monotheism”, avoiding carefully any specific mention of Christianity or the Catholic Church. Once again, Catholicism is lumped into the category of “monotheism” and all monotheistic religions are given equal treatment and equal defense. In doing so, the Holy Father takes the feet out from under his own argument, because, indeed, a tremendous amount of violence and inhumanity has been caused by “monotheism”, specifically Islam. Islam is a monotheistic religion that was born in violence and bloodshed, and it doesn't take much common sense to realize which parts of the world are still bathed in violence and bloodshed. Once again Catholicism is lumped with Talmudic Judaism, which was responsible for the first persecutions of the Catholic Church. Once again Catholicism is lumped with Protestantism, a sectarian concoction of heresy and error that originated from anti-Catholicism. The Holy Father admits that “it is true that religion can become corrupted and hence opposed to its deepest essence”. Fair enough, but he is woefully unspecific, and ultimately disingenuous, when he says that religion departs from its deepest essence “when people think they have to take God’s cause into their own hands, making God into their private property.” People who take religion into their own hands, and ignore the revealed Will of God that is safeguarded without error by the Holy Catholic Church, used to be called certain things, like "heretic" and "apostate" and "infidel". Not anymore, especially not by the liberals now in control of the Church Militant. What the Holy Father isn't telling us in his Christmas homily, what he apparently is too frightened to say, or too ideologically conditioned not to say, is that true religion is corrupted when Catholicism is rejected or abandoned, and this is because Catholicism is the true religion!
The Holy Father speaks of the dangers of extinguishing God’s light in the world (and thereby extinguishing man’s “divine dignity” as well). However, it is the Holy Father, himself, who refuses to let the light of Jesus Christ shine because he refuses, in his liberalism, to separate the true religion of our Jesus from the false and dangerous religions that stand opposed to Him, be they monotheistic or not.
As reasonable and historically factual as it is to point out that religion was not responsible, not even Islam, for the worst acts of inhumanity in the history of mankind, those acts that occurred in the 20th Century due to humanistic philosophy and Socialism manifested in Nazism and Soviet Communism, that argument is never going to get a “fair hearing” in a world sinking ever more into the abyss of godlessness and sin. Man no longer wants to hear logical arguments pointing him away from the distractions he loves. The light of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can burst through the hardened and deadened hearts of modern people. Woe to those who know this light and refuse to let it be known!
The only remedy at this point will be a courageous return to Tradition by a bold proclamation of the Truth, and that starts with pointing a wayward and suffering world to the true religion that is the only earthly source that possesses the Truth as a great and precious gift from the most merciful and generous Triune God: the Holy Catholic Church.
However, for that to happen our prelates have to abandon the liberalism they embraced in the post-Conciliar age, the liberalism born out of the errors of neo-Modernism that have wrecked such disaster in the Church Militant. If they are to turn around the disaster that has occurred outside and inside the Church, if the year of faith is to be more than a year of blind adherence to the failures of the post-conciliar era, the pope and his bishops will have to finally embrace what they apparently are too frightened to say, and to say what not a few of them hate the most about Jesus and His Church: Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.