The Great Amnesia
Revolutionaries throughout human history have always sought to bury the past. For a people which forgets its past is a people with no conception of its present or its future. The victims of revolution, like the victims of amnesia, are compelled to accept a new present and a new future which are not of their choosing. What else can they do, having lost the memory of where they came from?
Is it possible that the Church, a society both human and divine, could suffer the amnesia borne of revolution? That the Church can never teach error is a certainty secured by Our Lord's promise of His divine assistance until the consummation of the world. But Our Lord never promised us that the human members of His Church would not forget, if only for a brief time in history, what they were charged to remember and pass on. From such forgetfulness arose Peter's doubt and betrayal of Christ, the spread of the Arian heresy throughout the Church in the reign of Pope Liberius, and the other crises great and small in Church history.
St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest of the doctors of the Catholic Church, taught in his Summa Theologica that throughout salvation history God has sent prophets to His people in times of forgetfulness, “not to give a new doctrine, but to remind the faithful of what they must do to save their souls.”1 For this reason did St. Paul counsel us: “Despise not prophecy; hold fast to that which is good.”2 And so, in 1917, God sent His Blessed Mother to Fatima to remind forgetful “modern man” what he must do to save his soul:
For a time the faithful listened, even if the Consecration of Russia was not performed by the hierarchy. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary grew as never before in Church history, and the harvest of converts grew also—until the critical year of 1960.
In 1960 the whole Catholic world awaited disclosure of the Third Secret of Fatima. Yet in February of that year Pope John XXIII consigned the text of the Secret to a locked desk drawer in his papal apartments, privately dismissing it as irrelevant to his pontificate. Turning away from Fatima (of which he said almost nothing publicly), Pope John looked out upon the vast audience of assembled bishops who had gathered in the great aula of St. Peter's Basilica for the first day of the Council that no one had expected him to call. And then the Great Amnesia began.
Four years after the Council's conclusion, Pope Paul VI made a stunning announcement: The ancient Latin liturgy of the Roman Rite, descended from the Apostles themselves and regarded as sacrosanct by every Pope for more than 1,900 years, was to be junked in a matter of weeks to make way for a new rite of Mass in the vernacular, concocted by a committee which had solicited the advice of six Protestant ministers.4 In his unprecedented audience address of November 26, 1969, Pope Paul, speaking as no pope had ever spoken before, insisted that the Church literally forget her own liturgical past:
It cannot be said that Pope Paul was a conscious revolutionary. No man on earth may judge the interior disposition of the Roman Pontiff. Yet the Pope's own words objectively declared a revolutionary aim, whatever his subjective intention might have been. Within a few years of Pope Paul's inexplicable demand that the faithful abandon the very form of their divine worship down through the centuries, a plague of forgetfulness would sweep across the entire Church. In June of 1972 Pope Paul surveyed the devastation and uttered his famous lament: “(F)rom somewhere or other the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God ...”6 From somewhere or other.
By the time Pope Paul had passed from this world in 1978, much of what comprised the Church's greatness as a visible institution had already vanished into that incredible memory-hole known as “the renewal of Vatican II.” Sent forth by the Pope himself, amazingly rash men had entered the house of God while we were sleeping and carried off nearly all the furnishings, replacing the divine patrimony of the ages with their own crude tinkerings. And when we awoke to find out what had happened, we were told that we must rejoice in the loss of every precious possession, and celebrate the “renewal” of our home.
The Catholics who attended the apostolate's Third Fatima Conference in that November of 1996 had come to draw a line (at least for themselves) at the edge of the still-swirling vortex of post-conciliar “reform”, which had most recently disgorged the appalling spectacle of girls in pigtails assisting at the altar of God. Among the faithful who had gathered at Piazza Euclide one could almost sense the constant whisper of a common thought: “Not Fatima. No, not Fatima.” They had come to Rome to cling to the memory of Our Lady of Fatima with all their might, to keep Her, too, from disappearing down into the memory-hole.
After all, it was only eighty years ago that Our Lady appeared at Cova da Iria to deliver a divine message for our time, authenticated by a prodigious public miracle the likes of which had never been seen in the history of the world. The Miracle of the Sun was not some pious legend of Catholic antiquity, but a brilliant historical fact of the 20 th Century which even Hollywood had been compelled to acknowledge in a popular motion picture. The events at Fatima had occurred, moreover, within the lifetime of nearly every bishop who attended the Second Vatican Council.
The Message of Fatima was delivered and authenticated by a miracle to remind the world, in a time of unprecedented peril for souls, that Christ had founded His Church to save souls from the fires of Hell through the intercession of His Immaculate Mother. But today it seems the Vatican no longer remembers how to speak as Our Lady spoke at Fatima, only 45 years before Vatican II got underway. Not only the traditional externals of the Faith, but many of the words by which the Faith is expressed have been forgotten. The simple Catholic words Our Lady spoke at Fatima—“hell”, “the souls of poor sinners”, “Immaculate Heart”, “to save them”, “souls will be saved”—have disappeared from the texts of post-conciliar Vatican pronouncements. In their place strange new words have been substituted: “ecumenism”, “dialogue”, “collegiality”. In less than a generation these new words, completely unknown in the Church before 1960, became the governing notions of post-conciliar thought, despite the alarming fact that no one really knows exactly what they mean.
Father Gruner is only one of millions of Catholics who have noticed something terribly amiss in the language of the post-conciliar Church: it no longer speaks to the world of death, judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory. The Last Things, which had comprised the very core of the Church's evangelism and catechesis for nearly 2,000 years before the Council, are no longer mentioned by the generality of post-conciliar Churchmen. Today, preaching on the Last Things is found almost entirely on the pages of spiritual books published before Vatican II and distributed by a few private Catholic apostolates, like the one headed by Father Gruner.
In 1994 the Italian journalist Vittorio Messori submitted a series of written questions to Pope John Paul II, who provided written answers. The resulting “interview” was published under the Pope's name as a best-seller entitled Crossing the Threshold of Hope. One of Messori's questions to the Pope related to this mysterious and unparalleled silence of the post-conciliar Church about the Last Things:
In response to this grave accusation in the form of a question, the Pope rather wistfully recalled the pre-conciliar teaching of the Church on the Last Things. His Holiness wrote in the past tense, as if this most basic element of Church teaching were some sort of heirloom that had been lost and could not be recovered, not even by the Pope:
Having noted what is self-evident, that the traditional teaching on the Last Things converted many souls, the Pope conceded to Messori that “one no longer speaks of these things in evangelization, in catechesis, and in homilies ...” That is to say, the Church no longer speaks of them at all. Yet the Pope did not seem to recognize in this amazing development any sort of emergency for the Church, but only a change of her “pastoral style.”
But if the Church's “pastoral style” is no longer “profoundly personal”, if after 2,000 years she has suddenly ceased speaking to each person about the realities of death, judgment, heaven, hell and purgatory, then what does she teach men today that they might save their souls? The Pope's remark to Messori is as enigmatic as it is disturbing:
What are the faithful to make of this? If the teaching on the Last Things is “profoundly rooted in Divine Revelation”, then why was it suddenly replaced with a “vision proposed by the Council”? Or was it replaced? Does the Council's “eschatology of the Church and of the world”10 exclude the traditional teaching on the Last Things? If it does not, then why would the Pope cite the Council's “vision” to explain to Messori why the teaching on the Last Things has vanished from the post-conciliar Church?
And what does this “eschatology of the Church and of the world” really mean to the individual man, who must still turn away from mortal sin and live a life of supernatural faith in order to be saved? Is the Council's eschatological vision anything more than a beguiling abstraction which causes pastors to ignore the jeopardy of souls? As the Pope conceded to Messori, that is exactly what it is:
Despite these explosively disturbing admissions, the Pope clearly views the Council's “vision” as a good thing. But is it a good thing? Or is it possible that this unprecedented loss of focus on the eternal destiny of the individual soul is the very calamity foretold in the Third Secret of Fatima? Sister Lucy spoke of a “diabolical disorientation” in the post-conciliar Church.12 Could there be a more diabolical disorientation than for the sacred pastors to lose sight of death, judgment, heaven, hell and purgatory?
Messori's question to the Pope had only touched upon a great and terrible truth which can be seen in shadow behind the painted facade of “the great renewal of Vatican II.” There are still many Catholics who have not forgotten the state of the Church before the Council. Like Father Gruner, they remember full seminaries and convents; a majestic liturgy; parish churches packed to capacity every Sunday. No, they do not remember an ecclesial paradise in which every member of the Church had the fervor of a saint. But they do remember that the Church as a whole had vigor; that her preachers had “the courage to preach the threat of hell”; and that her members believed in hell and kept the moral law, if only with the imperfect contrition borne of a fear of hell. And they remember that this once vigorous Church made many converts. Until 1960. Until the Third Secret of Fatima was locked away in Pope John's desk drawer, instead of being revealed to the faithful as Sister Lucy's superiors had promised her it would be.
The Catholics who remember what the Church was only thirty-eight years ago are not prepared to consign the entire pre-conciliar past to the memory-hole, with a nod to the Council's vague new vision and a fond recollection of the Church's former “pastoral style.” What the Church was before the Council, she must be again. The Catholics who still remember have passed that memory on to their children; and their children have grown to have children of their own. Three generations of Catholics now on the face of this earth still carry the memory with them, even if they comprise a tiny minority of those who call themselves Catholics today.
Those who still remember, including Father Nicholas Gruner, ask the same question Messori asked the Pope—the question certain Vatican bureaucrats find intolerably embarrassing. They want to know how it has come to pass that a Church divinely commissioned to save souls from hell no longer mentions hell. They want to know, quite simply, why the Church has forgotten how to speak as Our Lady spoke at Fatima.
From the eternal perspective of the Holy Catholic Church there is no “modernity” to speak of; no age in which the Church has been obliged to recognize that man has finally “progressed” to the point where there is something truly new about him which the Church must learn and assimilate into her teaching. Man can never progress one iota beyond what the Church has always known about his nature. For human nature does not change, and what the Church knows of man has been revealed to her by God. Can the creature that God fashioned from a lump of clay tell God something new about its constitution?
The age-old attitude of the Church toward man's pretentious claims of “modernity” is only a reflection of God's eternal attitude. Throughout salvation history men have presented their Towers of Babel to their Creator, impudently demanded recognition of their great achievements, and watched them crumble under the hammer-blows of divine wrath. So what else is new?
In 1864, only seventy-five years after the French Revolution, the current version of the Tower of Babel was already beginning to rise in the world. “Modern man” was announcing everywhere, even in Catholic countries, his final emancipation from God and His Church. In response, Blessed Pope Pius IX promulgated his Syllabus of Errors, declaring his intention to “unveil and condemn all those heresies and errors ... averse to the eternal salvation of man (which) the most bitter enemies of our religion, deceiving the people and maliciously lying, disseminate ... by means of pestilential books, pamphlets and newspapers dispersed over the whole world.” His Holiness condemned an entire list of the false propositions which are the very foundation stones of “modern civilization”—everything from unrestrained “liberty of worship” for false sects, to “liberty of conscience”, to “freedom of the press”, to the abolition of the Church's indirect power over temporal affairs.13
In #80 of the Syllabus, Pope Pius specifically condemned as error the proposition that “The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.” In this he merely echoed every one of his predecessors. For why should the Vicar of Christ pay tribute to the latest version of the Tower of Babel, when God will sooner or later reduce it to a pile of rubble?
There is no mere human haughtiness at work in the Church's perennial disdain for the claims of “modern civilization.” The ephemera of modernity have always been transparent to the Church; in every age she looks through them to see the very same thing: a world full of fallen men in danger of hellfire. Our Lady said as much at Fatima, at the dawn of the 20th Century: “You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart.”
But in 1960 the Third Secret of Fatima was locked in a papal desk drawer. And then came Vatican II.
The Conciliar document Gaudium et spes bears the disturbing subtitle “Pastoral Constitution On The Church in the Modern World.” For the first time in Church history a Council had deigned to regard a particular era as modern in distinction to all the previous eras of human history. The very phrase “Church in the modern world” was an implicit concession to the 20th Century Zeitgest, which insisted that “modern man” had finally come of age, and that the Church was obliged to view him, his “rights” and his “modern world” with a new respect. No less than Cardinal Ratzinger would confirm that this was the very tenor of Gaudium et spes:
The Council, then, “breaking with attitudes that had been deeply rooted for centuries”, yearning to satisfy “modern man's” desire for something “totally different”, decided to celebrate man and his great accomplishments, to admire his technology and his recently discovered “rights.” The Council would declare that “Man is on the road to a more thorough development of his personality, and to a growing vindication of his own rights.”15 This “new age” of man was not to be condemned for its abominable offenses against God's law, including Communism and abortion, but rather was to be admired: “(W)e can speak of a new age in human history ... (W)e are witnesses of the birth of a new humanism, one in which man is defined first of all by his responsibility toward his brothers and toward history.”16 The Council would even declare, in an almost giddy embrace of imprecision, that “the human race has passed from a rather static concept of reality to a more dynamic and evolutionary one.”17
These were stunningly naive opinions in view of the horrors of this century raging outside the aula of St. Peter's. The Message of Fatima is that the “modern world” must listen to the Church, beg forgiveness and do penance for its incomparable sins, so that a worldwide chastisement might be avoided. But the message of Gaudium et spes is that the Church must listen to the “modern world”, and make up for having been so insensitive to its needs for so long. To that end, the document declares that priests and bishops “should fit themselves to do their part in establishing dialogue with the world and with men of all shades of opinion.”18 And what precisely was meant by “establishing dialogue with the world”? Had the Bride of Christ been mute for the previous 2,000 years? Was the Church just now, at Vatican II, learning how to speak to man?
This much is clear: After the promulgation of Gaudium et spes the Church which had always been known as mater et magister— mother and teacher—would suddenly and mysteriously cease speaking to the world with the authority of a divinely founded institution to which the world must listen. Now she would listen, most attentively, to all of the very important things “modern man” had to tell her.
Perhaps the most striking example of the Council's willingness to sit at the feet of the world and listen, is the opinion in Gaudium et spes that “In pastoral care, sufficient use must be made not only of theological principles, but also of the findings of the secular sciences, especially of psychology and sociology, so that the faithful may be brought to a more adequate and mature life of faith.”19 More adequate and mature? Was it really the Council's teaching that the faith of Catholics for twenty centuries—a faith nourished by the seven sacraments, the prayers of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs—was less adequate and mature than it could have been with the help of psychology and sociology? Were the faithful really expected to believe that the Church established by God Himself now needed to consult the practitioners of recently invented pseudo-sciences which view man as a subject with no immortal soul or eternal destiny? What did the likes of Sigmund Freud and Margaret Mead have to say to the Bride of Christ about the life of Faith? And which of the many conflicting schools of psychology and sociology would the Council have the sacred pastors consult in their care of souls? The Council offered no definite advice. Nor did it have the slightest competence to do so, for Our Lord did not commission the Church as a referral network for psychologists and sociologists. The divine commission is to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments, which God has given men as the only truly effective balm for their wounded souls.
The Council would acknowledge the “problems” of the “modern world” in the course of extolling its supposed progress. Yet Gaudium et spes would say nothing about the gravest of those problems: world communism, whose adepts were killing, torturing and imprisoning Catholics at the very moment the document was being promulgated. The Vatican-Moscow Agreement had insured that the Council which purported to address the state of “the modern world” would, absurdly, neglect to condemn or even mention the greatest threat to the world's survival.
All in all, as Cardinal Ratzinger has noted, in Gaudium et spes “the attitude of critical reserve toward the forces that have left their imprint on the modern world is to be replaced by a resolute coming to terms with their movement.”20 But what of #80 of Pius IX's Syllabus, which had condemned the very notion that the Church ought to “come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization”? Like the Roman liturgy and the teaching on the Last Things, the Syllabus would be forgotten in the Great Amnesia. As Ratzinger explains:
So what Pius IX had solemnly condemned as error was officially accepted by the “countersyllabus” (!) of Gaudium et spes. Pope was pitted against Council, and the teaching of the Pope was “revised” to reconcile the Church to “the new era inaugurated in 1789”—an era which began when Robespierre and Marat filled barges with priests and nuns, mothers and children and sank them in the Loire, on their way to butchering a million Catholics in the French Revolution.
How could the Church attempt an “official reconciliation” with an era which had begun with the genocide of Catholics in France and was continuing with the genocide of Catholics in the Soviet Union? How could the Church have “a resolute coming to terms” with a civilization in which every vital link between Church and State had been severed, and even Catholic states had embraced the very error Pius IX condemned in the Syllabus: “In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.”22
These questions lead to an ultimate question about the Council itself: If Gaudium et spes “revised” the solemn condemnations in the Syllabus, was it not the case that the Church had contradicted her own prior teaching? Has the Church herself, then, failed? The answer, of course, is no. For the Council itself had declared that “In view of the pastoral purpose of the present Council, this sacred Synod defines matters of faith and morals as binding on the Church only when the Synod openly declares so.”23 Vatican II was the first Council in Church history to issue a disclaimer on the weight of its own documents. This was no small relief to many of the Council Fathers, who were troubled by the strange ambiguities and novel attitudes which permeated Gaudium et spes and other conciliar texts. The Irish bishop Thomas Morris, for one, would confide to a reporter shortly before his death that “I was relieved when we were told that this Council was not aiming at defining or giving final statements on doctrine, because a statement of doctrine has to be very carefully formulated and I would have regarded the Council documents as tentative and liable to be reformed.”24
Nowhere in Gaudium et spes did the Council “openly declare” that it was defining any doctrine to bind the faithful, or that it was actually overruling the Syllabus. What the Council had ventured (as Ratzinger noted) was a mere “attempt” to reconcile the Church with “the new era inaugurated in 1789.” An attempt is not a doctrine, and Gaudium et spes was manifestly not a doctrinal pronouncement, but an exercise in sociological commentary by bishops who were not commissioned to teach sociology. There is really no contradiction, then, between what the authentic Magisterium has always taught and what the Council “attempted” in Gaudium et spes because an “attempt” is not a teaching. And the constant teaching of the authentic magisterium has never contradicted itself. No Catholic is bound to follow an “attempt” or an “attempted” teaching.
And yet this non-doctrinal excursis on modernity, like the other documents of this pastoral Council, has somehow attained the appearance of dogma in the post-conciliar amnesia, obliterating the memory of all the truly doctrinal teaching that had come before. Just as the conciliar “vision” of Lumen gentium has eclipsed the traditional teaching on the Last Things, so has Gaudium et spes eclipsed the traditional opposition of the Church to the “modern world” with its modern “liberties.” Even Cardinal Ratzinger, the Pope's own defender of doctrine, felt obliged to make a public protest against this fraudulent exaggeration of the Council's importance in the history of the Church:
So it is not a defect of doctrine which has led to the current crisis, but a loss of memory which has caused the Council to be regarded as “an end of Tradition, a new start from zero.” Perhaps it is this development which brought to Fatima no less a prophet than the Mother of God. Our Lady came to Fatima knowing what was to happen in the Church during the lifetimes of the children who would become the bishops of Vatican II. She came to remind them of the simple things they must teach the world in order that men might save their souls. For what did the Second Vatican Council really need to say to the “modern world” that Our Lady had not already said at Fatima? Repent. Do penance. Make the communions of Reparation. Make sacrifices. Consecrate Russia and establish devotion in the world to My Immaculate Heart. Do these things to prevent the annihilation of nations.
Yet the Council Fathers had made no mention of these things. They issued instead a document which exhorts us to “scrutinize the signs of the times”,26 while ignoring the great sign of Fatima and the great evil Our Lady predicted would spread throughout the “modern world” if Her requests at Fatima were not heeded.
And so it seems that the dazzling “modern world” of science and technology tempts even Churchmen to behave as if the Faith of the 20th Century cannot really be so simple as those three primitive shepherd children from Portugal made it out to be. Surely, in this enlightened age of psychology and sociology, ecumenism and “interreligious dialogue”, salvation is a much more complicated affair than simply praying for the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to save “poor souls” from the “fires of hell”. Surely, once we have finished pondering all the recently developed nuances on the question of salvation, taking into consideration the elaborate psychological excuses men have lately discovered to justify their sins, we can safely place the Message of Fatima into the category of a pious exaggeration.
The “modern world” ridicules such “exaggerated” notions as souls burning forever in the fires of hell. The modern world says: “Hell is a violation of the rights of man. Who is this God who coerces us to believe with threats of hellfire? We will not hear of Him.” Modern Churchmen, who have “established dialogue” with the world and no longer teach with authority, find they cannot bring themselves to say any longer that God will damn to hell everyone who dies in a state of mortal sin. They have “lost the courage to preach the threat of hell,” as the Pope himself concedes. And what will the Vatican do about this loss of courage in the Church? The answer is not clear, for there has yet to be any talk of hell from the post-conciliar Vatican itself.
The annals of this century are filled with babble about “human rights”—the right to this and the right to that, declared in numberless treaties, charters, declarations and speeches by the movers and shakers of the incomparably pretentious “modern world.” Since Our Lady appeared at Fatima in 1917, the men who ignore Her heavenly message have been regaling themselves with an earthly symphony of “human rights.” The symphony has built to a deafening crescendo, while the noise from the orchestra pit has drowned out the cries and muffled screams of hundreds of millions of victims being led to slaughter in the gulags and abortuaries which are the monuments to this age of unrivaled human depravity.
Even the fathers of the Second Vatican Council were impressed by all this modern noise about “human rights,” having declared in Gaudium et spes that “man is on the road to a more thorough development of his personality, and to a growing vindication of his own rights ...”27 The mad orchestra plays on, the musicians delight in their loud but lifeless music, and even the members of the Church applaud.
Not so long ago men commonly understood that “human rights” have no meaning unless they originate with an omnipotent and avenging God, whom men must obey under pain of eternal damnation. For once the notion of “human rights” becomes detached from God as the author of life and the ultimate judge of all wrongs, on what ground can one stand to say that there is a “right” to anything—even a right to life? Can one stand on “the dignity of the human person”? What does “human dignity” mean without God? Nothing more than what men agree that it means. Without God there are no true rights, but only agreements. And whenever the agreements become inconvenient, the doors to the gulags and the abortuaries swing open.
Who is this God who gives us our rights and secures them with His divine authority? He is the God Who hung on the Cross and died for our sins. He is Christ the King:
Here one encounters yet another sector of the Great Amnesia: the Church's constant teaching before the Council on the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ. Father Gruner is one of the dwindling number of the faithful who still remember that on December 11, 1925, His Holiness Pope Pius XI proclaimed the Feast of Christ the King in the encyclical Quas Primas. The date was only eight years after Our Lady's final apparition at Fatima, and literally one day after Our Lord came to Pontevedra to ask for the Five First Saturdays of Reparation for the sacrileges against His Mother's Immaculate Heart. It was also a mere thirty-seven years before the first session of Vatican II. Yet this great 20th Century encyclical would seem centuries removed in the amazing time-warp of the post-conciliar period.
In Quas Primas Pius XI warned the world that “human society was tottering to its fall” because it had rejected the Social Kingship of Christ over all men and all nations. His Holiness declared to the world's rulers that if they “wish to preserve their authority, to promote and increase the prosperity of their people, they will not neglect the public duty of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ.”28 His Holiness was affirming the teaching of all his predecessors,29 who in turn were affirming what Our Lord Himself had declared just before His Ascension into Heaven:
What the Church has always taught about the Social Kingship of Christ is, like all the rest of her teaching, completely consonant with common sense. For if Christ be God, then reason itself demonstrates that not only individuals, but the societies they form, owe duties to Christ the King. To hold that individual men ought to be Catholic, but not their societies, is nothing less than an insult to God, who is the Author of both man and society. This is why Pope Leo XIII did not hesitate to declare to “the modern world” what the Church has always believed about her rightful place in the social order:
It was to remind all nations of their public duty to obey and reverence Christ that Pius XI composed an act of Consecration of the whole human race to the Sacred Heart, ordering that it be included in the Roman Missal and performed in every parish church annually on the new feast day. The words of that Consecration evince all of the fearless Catholicity of the pre-Conciliar Vatican:
But the “modern world” has become ever so much more modern since the bronze doors closed on Vatican II. Seventy-three years after the promulgation of Quas Primas, men all over the world are putting the finishing touches on that great global ant-heap known as the New World Order. When it is finished, it will be modern man's greatest achievement: a global economy controlled by a global government which knows no national boundaries. Of course, the new order will not be Catholic, or even nominally Christian. It will be utterly godless in its laws and institutions .
One of the reasons Father Gruner has been in the cross hairs of certain Vatican bureaucrats for so long is that the apostolate (unlike the neutralized Blue Army) has been willing to publish the truth about the Vatican's response to the emergence of the New World Order. And the terrible truth is this: The Vatican supports it in principle, and has supported it since the Council. To be sure, there are Vatican statements from time to time condemning the new order's universal regime of abortion and contraception, and cautioning against the creation of “inequalities” in the new global economy. But the idea of a New World Order—a one-world government, economy, and system of justice—meets with no objection from the post-conciliar Vatican. On the contrary, Vatican bureaucrats are assisting in its formation.
This comes as no surprise to anyone who has studied Gaudium et spes and the pertinent pronouncements of the post-conciliar popes. Gaudium et spes is, in fact, a virtual charter for Church support of the emerging world government. In one of its many opinions outside the realm of faith and morals, the document declares that the “outlawing” of war:
It did not seem to concern the Council that any such “universal public authority” would not be Catholic in its principles, but would be controlled at all its key points by atheists or non-Christians who reject Christ and His Church. The Council did not address the obvious problem. But Paul VI did.
On October 4, 1965, during the Council's final session, Pope Paul went to New York City to pay tribute to the emerging “universal public authority” at its very center: the United Nations. To the delight of the U.N. delegates, the Vicar of Christ praised their 20th Century Tower of Babel as “this lofty institution” and the “last great hope for concord and peace.”33 The last great hope? What, then, of the Holy Catholic Church, founded by none other than the Prince of Peace Himself to bring peace on earth to men of good will? And what of the Message of Fatima, Heaven's own plan for peace in this epoch, delivered personally to the world by the Mother of God within the lifetime of Paul VI? Paul VI did not speak of Fatima that day at the United Nations. Instead, to the thunderous applause of the General Assembly, he placed the Vatican's seal of approval on a godless world government to be administered from the glass and steel temple of the New World Order:
And so it has. Ever since the Council the Vatican has been a permanent observer to the United Nations. The same Vatican bureaucrats who administer Ostpolitik have negotiated the Vatican's signature to a number of U.N. treaties, including the deplorable Beijing Conference agreements and the “U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child,” which makes no mention of the right of the child to be born. The Vatican signs these humanistic manifestoes with certain “reservations”; but sign them it does, thereby legitimating the awful notion that the U.N. is a valid moral body which ought to exert authority over the whole of mankind.
The further Our Lady's warnings at Fatima recede from the memory of the Vatican, the firmer its embrace of the structure (if not the moral excesses) of the New World Order. Thirty years after Paul VI paid homage to the U.N., Pope John Paul II took his turn. Addressing the General Assembly on October 5, 1995, he proclaimed the “esteem of the Apostolic See and of the Catholic Church for this institution” and pronounced the U.N.—worldwide promoter of abortion, contraception and godless humanism —“a great instrument for harmonizing and coordinating (!) international life.”35 To which an average member of the faithful might instinctively reply: “God forbid!”
As Father Gruner's apostolate has noted, the United Nations rather than promoting a “qualitative leap in international life”, is subsidizing a worldwide regime of abortion and contraception, foisting population control programs upon even the Catholic peoples of Bolivia and the Philippines. Father Paul Marx, the founder of Human Life International, has also been fearless in his condemnation of the U.N.: “By far—with the sole exception of Satan himself—the single biggest threat to the sanctity of human life and the family today is the emerging agenda of the United Nations/World government ... the United Nations is already laying the groundwork for worldwide population control through any means possible.”36 Even Cardinal Ratzinger, in the twilight of his career, would break ranks with his Vatican confrères and publicly admit the simple truth that Father Gruner and the apostolate had been publishing all along: The United Nations is an evil organization with an evil agenda. In his prologue to a book entitled The Gospel in the Face of World Disorder, Ratzinger warned that the U.N. is promoting “a new world order”, “a new man”, “a new world” and “a new anthropology”. And what is so dangerous about the U.N., observed Ratzinger, is that its agenda is not some utopian dream but a nightmare which could easily become reality: “(T)he Marxist dream was utopian. This philosophy (of the U.N.), on the contrary, is very realistic.”37
Why two Popes would express such high esteem for an institution which is promoting worldwide genocide in the womb remains a matter of considerable mystery—a mystery the apostolate has not been unwilling to explore. Perhaps the conciliar popes have supported the U.N. because their advisors in the Vatican Secretariat of State have convinced them that papal influence could somehow turn an evil institution to the good. In like manner, Cardinal Casaroli convinced Paul VI that he should abandon the Church's fierce opposition to communism in favor of Ostpolitik, even though Paul was reportedly torn by that decision.38 Yet the notion that the members of the Church should participate in evil organizations to make them “better” was the very notion condemned by Pius XI in his encyclical Divini Redemptoris. Recognizing that a bad tree will never produce good fruit but will only poison those who partake of it, His Holiness forbade any Catholic participation in the seemingly benign social movements spawned by communists:
“Under various names that do not suggest Communism ... (t)hey invite Catholics to collaborate with them in the realm of so-called humanitarianism and charity; and at times make proposals that are in perfect harmony with the Christian spirit and the doctrine of the Church ... See to it, Venerable Brethren, that the Faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived! Communism is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christain civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever.”39
Like Communism, the U.N. is an incomparably bad tree, irremovably rooted in the secular humanist soil of 20th Century civilization. Yet the Vatican's pursuit of a “civilization of love” under its branches seems to have become relentless. Vatican representatives chase the illusion not only at the U.N., but at innumerable Vatican-sponsored conferences and prayer meetings with what it now calls “the respected leaders of the world's religions.”40
Father Gruner is hardly the only one who has noticed that the post-conciliar Vatican no longer speaks to the world of the Social Kingship of Christ over the whole human race, including Muslims and Jews. Whereas Pius XI decried Islam as darkness from which souls needed to be rescued by the light of Christ, some 72 years later the “Pontifical Council on Interreligious Dialogue” would declare in 1997 that Catholics and Muslims must “share their faith” and that the “Call to Islam” and “Christian Mission” should be conducted “in a spirit of collaboration (!), and as a service to mankind.” The faithful could be forgiven for asking how a religion of darkness, whose errors the Church had been battling for thirteen centuries, had suddenly become a “service to mankind” with which Catholics must now collaborate.
Father Gruner and the apostolate have not hesitated to point out the alarming development that the Consecration of humanity to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has disappeared from the Vatican's agenda, along with the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are not among the talking points of the Vatican emissaries who travel the gleaming byways of the New World Order and walk the halls of the U.N. Today the main items for discussion are “human rights”, “dialogue”, and something called “the civilization of love.”
The Vatican's new approach to the world is strikingly evident in a keyword search of the Vatican Internet archive: one will find no fewer than 52,000 entries on “dialogue”, 2,000 on “human rights” and 1,000 on “the civilization of love”—but not a single entry on the Kingship of Christ, or, for that matter, the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart.41 There is no longer any mention in Vatican pronouncements of the divine imperative “that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend (and) every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.” That teaching has vanished without a trace. The new vocabulary has completely obliterated the old.
The “civilization of love” is a phrase reputedly coined by Paul VI. In practice this notion appears to involve a U.N.-administered utopia in which people of all religions, and no religion at all, somehow reach agreement through “dialogue” to respect “human rights” and “the dignity of the human person.” This universal flowering of selfless humanitarianism is evidently supposed to occur without the supernatural grace of conversion to the Catholic Faith or any recognition by societies of the reign of Christ the King. Pope John Paul II summed up the new notion in his 1995 address to the United Nations:
At the “World Day of Prayer for Peace” at Assisi in 1986 Catholics witnessed perhaps the most ambitious of the Vatican's post-conciliar attempts to manifest a non-existent “unity” between the members of the Mystical Body and the adherents of false religions—the same religions deplored by Pius XI in his consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Hewing perfectly to the Vatican's new agenda, Cardinal Arinze, head of the Vatican Secretariat for Non-Christian Religions, declared that “for building world peace we need the United Nations.” Cardinal Arinze praised the Pope's “unprecedented step” in calling “leaders of all world religions, Christian and otherwise, to Assisi to pray for peace in the world.”43 The Cardinal did not explain what sort of “peace” he hoped to obtain through the prayers of “religions” which condone the very sins that bring down God's wrath upon the world. War is a punishment for sin, Our Lady told the three children at Fatima. But the New World Order promotes sin while claiming it is for peace. Today it is no longer even suggested by the Vatican that these “leaders” of the “world religions” are false shepherds who preach abortion, contraception, divorce, polygamy, the ordination of women as “priests”, the reincarnation of humans as animals, the worship of idols, and innumerable other lies, superstitions and abominations in the sight of God. Instead of warning men to flee false shepherds, the Vatican invited as many of them as it could find to “pray for peace” at Assisi.
Toward the conclusion of the scandalous events at the “World Day of Prayer for Peace”, the Pope, holding a potted plant, stood in a kind of chorus line with Protestants, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Animists, Amerindians, Confucians, Shintoists, and Zoroastrians, all arrayed in a great semicircle outside the Basilica of St. Francis. The Vicar of Christ was depicted for the cameras as just one of many “respected representatives of the world's religions” on equal footing before God in the “search for peace”. Eleven years later the Basilica was rocked by three earthquakes, which collapsed the dome of the Basilica and crushed its altar. For those who do not suffer from the Great Amnesia, the crushed altar was a sign easily understood.
When the empty gestures of Assisi were done with, the “respected representatives of the world's religions” returned to their own nations and promptly resumed their age-old opposition to the Reign of Christ the King. In India, Hindu fanatics have been killing priests and nuns almost every year since the “World Day of Prayer for Peace”, while Muslim militants of Pakistan shoot Christians on sight. When the Hindu nationalist government of India exploded three atomic bombs underground, people in New Delhi danced in the streets, shouting praise to their Hindu gods.44 (Perhaps at Assisi the “respected representatives” of the Hindu religion were praying to Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction.) A few days later Pakistan exploded its own atomic bombs, announcing an arms race with India. Meanwhile, in Israel, Jews are still routinely stripped of their citizenship for the “crime” of becoming Christians.
And so goes “the civilization of love.” Yet anyone who remembers the teaching of Pope St. Pius X on such notions could have predicted the failure of this dismal modern substitute for the Kingship of Christ. It was St. Pius X who condemned in a fiery apostolic letter the very idea of a brotherhood of the different religions, calling it “a miserable effluent of the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church ...” And it was he, the only canonized pope in the past 450 years, whose body lies incorrupt in St. Peter's Basilica, who forcefully reminded the world of an essential fact of history which the Vatican of today seems to have forgotten: that the only “civilization of love” the world will ever know “is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City.”45
How could it be otherwise? For it was Our Lord Himself who told us that He had come to bring not peace, but the sword. The sword of Christendom would mark out an ineradicable dividing line across the world and down the ages between those who would follow Him and those who would not. Being deprived of the grace of Holy Baptism (or having rejected it once received), the men who will not follow Him inevitably destroy the peace of the world through their malice or indifference to Christ the King: “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who is against Me scattereth.” This is why Pius XI declared in his encyclical Ubi Arcano Dei that “Because men have forsaken God and Jesus Christ, they have sunk to the depths of evil ... The only remedy for such a state of affairs is the peace of Christ since the peace of Christ is the peace of God, which could not exist if it did not enjoin respect for law, order and the rights of authority.”
In light of Fatima and the constant teaching of the Church before the Council, a few obvious questions will present themselves to any Catholic who ponders the current Vatican program: How could there be a “civilization of love” without the Social Kingship of Christ and obedience to the teaching authority of His Church? As the Council of Trent defined infallibly: “If anyone says that Jesus Christ was given by God to men, as a Redeemer in Whom to trust, and not also as a legislator Whom to obey; let him be anathema.”46 And how could this civilization possibly arise without the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the conversion of Russia? Without the grace of baptism, and the supernatural virtues of faith, hope and charity which are the gifts of Christ through His Holy Church, how could men be good for any length of time, much less good enough for long enough to build a “civilization of love”? After all, if men could build a “civilization of love” without the grace of Christ and membership in His Church, then what need was there for Him to hang upon that wretched cross?
But men cannot live in true justice and peace except through the grace of God won for us on Calvary by Jesus Christ's death on the cross. Against the semi-Pelagian heresy of goodness without Christ's grace, Trent infallibly decreed: “If anyone saith that the grace of God through Jesus Christ is given only for this, that man may be able more easily to live justly and to merit eternal life, as if by free will without grace he were able to do both though hardly indeed and with difficulty; let him be anathema.”
What should have been obvious all along to the proponents of the new agenda is that without Christ and His Church, the “civilization of love” can only devolve into the very “culture of death” decried by the Pope. The “civilization of love” and the “culture of death” are, in fact, one and the same thing, no matter how mightily Pope John Paul II has tried to separate them. A civilization which refuses to submit to Christ and the Church is a civilization which has insured its own death.
Catholics who raise these points in private communications to the Vatican receive no answer. Their inquiries are shunted aside with a polite acknowledgment of receipt, forwarded to a different Vatican office or simply ignored. In the face of the Vatican's monolithic silence, Father Gruner and the apostolate have raised the same questions publicly. They too receive no direct answers. But the implicit reply of the Vatican bureaucrats who oppose Father Gruner and his work is this: You and your apostolate will be silenced.
Thirty-eight years after the Kingship of Christ was replaced by the “civilization of love”, certain conclusions suggest themselves: Is the post-conciliar Vatican apparatus embarrassed to tell the world any longer that poor souls are saved from hell through the intercession of Mary's Immaculate Heart, and that without Her intercession souls will be lost forever? Has the Vatican become ashamed of the childlike piety of the Message of Fatima in all its sheer Catholicity? Is the story of Fatima to be put away on a shelf like a child's bedtime book, no longer to be read aloud to the adults of “the modern world” exactly as it was written, lest our modern Churchmen appear ridiculous?
To the “modern world” and the Churchmen who pay it human respect, Fatima may indeed seem a thing for children. And so it is. For every man is a child before God, and all of salvation history tells us that God's children suffer dire consequences whenever they begin to fancy themselves adults—most especially in “the modern world”. For this reason did Our Lord teach us that Heaven is a place reserved to those who understand precisely that they are children, who must accept with a child's humility the simple, unalterable language of heaven: “Amen I say to you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter into it.” (Mark 10:15) For this reason, too, was the Message of Fatima confided to children for the edification of adults.
The three little children who knelt by the holm-oak tree at Cova da Iria that summer, not so long before Vatican II, received from Mary Immaculate nothing less than immaculate simplicity—the simplicity of the Faith Our Lady knew would soon be obscured in an age whose hallmark is a false and deadly sophistication. The great irony of our age will be that its legions of sophisticates, believing themselves to have achieved the adulthood of mankind, were not even children but only squalling babies who pushed away the spiritual nourishment of Holy Mother Church.
This much Father Nicholas Gruner has always understood about Fatima. In its heavenly economy of words, the Fatima message is a summation of everything that has been forgotten in The Great Amnesia: the Roman liturgy, which enshrined the reparatory Sacrifice of the Mass offered on the First Saturdays; the Last Things, which reminded men of their eternal destiny; the divine right of the Church to teach the world with the peremptory authority of God Himself; the Social Kingship of Christ; the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a Catholic civilization.
Father Gruner is not alone in understanding what has been lost with the loss of Fatima. Around the world there remain bishops, priests and laity who have not subscribed to the reigning sophistication, who have not succumbed to The Great Amnesia. Yet their number is alarmingly small, for the post-conciliar revolution has claimed many millions of victims. In 1998 the number of priests in the world is 50,000 smaller than it was 38 years ago, despite a huge growth in world population. The seminaries and convents have nearly emptied.47 For the great majority of those who still call themselves Catholic, the teachings of the Magisterium on marriage and procreation are now regarded as nothing more than “the Pope's opinion”, and the rate of abortion and divorce among nominal Catholics is the same as that for Protestants and Jews. The people no longer seem to fear the hellfire which many in the Church no longer mention. But Lucy, Jacinta and Francisco saw the fires of hell for a few moments at Fatima—moments of holy terror which made them into saints. And now the world which ignores hell, which is no longer reminded of hell even by the Vatican itself, is clearly entering into the final arrangements for its own destruction.
As Sister Lucy of Fatima said: “Father ... my mission is to indicate to everyone the imminent danger we are in of losing our souls for all eternity if we remain obstinate in sin. Father, we should not wait for an appeal to the world to come from Rome on the part of the Holy Father, to do penance. Nor should we wait for the call to penance to come from our bishops in our diocese, nor from the religious congregations. No! Our Lord has already very often used these means and the world has not paid attention. That is why now, it is necessary for each one of us to begin to reform himself spiritually. Each person must not only save his own soul but also all the souls that God has placed on our path.”48
These are the facts which impel Father Gruner to continue shouldering an apostolate that has brought down unending persecution on him and those who have the hardihood to support his work. He remembers. And because he remembers, he is an enemy of the Revolution whose aim is the obliteration of memory and the making of a new future—a future uninformed by the substance of the past. A future without Fatima.
1. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II, II, Q 174 art. 6.
2. 1 Thess. 5: 20,21.
3. Fatima in Lucia's Own Words (Sister Lucia's Memoirs) Fatima, 1976 pg. 162.
4. Davies, Michael. Pope Paul's New Mass. Angelus Press: Kansas City, pg. 585
5. Audience address of Pope Paul VI, November 26, 1969.
6. Speech of June 30, 1972, quoted by Romano Amerio. Iota Unum. Sarto House: Kansas City (1996), pg. 6.
7. Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Alfred A. Knopf. New York, 1994, pg.178.
8. Ibid . pgs. 179-180.
9. Ibid. pg. 180.
10. Ibid. pg. 181.
11. Ibid. pg. 183.
12. The Whole Truth About Fatima, Vol. III The Third Secret, Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité pg. 755, Buffalo, 1990.
13. Quanta Cura, nn.1, 6; Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX.
14. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Principles of Catholic Theology. Ignatius Press: 1987, pg. 380.
15. Gaudium et spes, n. 41.
16. Ibid. n. 54.
17. Ibid. n. 5.
18 Ibid. n. 18.
19. Ibid. n. 12.
20. Ratzinger, op. cit. pg. 380.
21. Ibid. pg. 382.
22. Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX, n. 77.
23. Theological Note to Lumen Gentium, November 16, 1964.
24. Interview of Bishop Morris by Kieron Wood, Catholic World News, September 27, 1997, at http:\\www.cwnews.com\news\viewrec.cfm? RefNum= 4091.
25. Speech in July 1988 in Santiago, Chile, quoted in Latin Mass magazine, Spring 1998, pg. 23.
26. Gaudium et spes, n. 4.
27. Ibid. n. 41.
28. Quas Primas, n. 18.
29. Leo XIII, Annum Sacrum, Libertas Humana, Immortale Dei; St. Pius X, Vehementer Nos; Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos; Pius XI, Adeo Nota, and many others.
30. Libertas Humana.
31. Quas Primas, appended act of Consecration.
32. Gaudium et spes, n. 82.
33. Address of Paul VI to the United Nations, October 4, 1965.
35. Address of John Paul II to United Nations, October 5, 1995.
36. L 'Osservatore Romano, May 28, 1997, pg. 11.
37. See Vatican Web site at http://www.vatican.va
38. Catholic World News Report, November 24, 1997, http:\\www.cwnews.com\news\viewrec.cfm? RefNum= 6363.
39. Divini Redemptoris.
40. The Wanderer, June 18, 1998, pg. 3.
41. See Vatican Web site at http://www.vatican.va
42. Address of John Paul II to United Nations, October 5, 1995.
43. Assisi: World Day of Prayer for Peace. Pontifical Commission, Justitia et Pax. Vatican City: 1987, pg. 137.
44. Ibid, pg. 39.
45. Our Apostolic Mandate Against the Sillon, Section II, Pope St. Pius X, 1910.
46. Council of Trent, Canons on justification, Session 6, Canon 21.
47. N Y Times, May 17, 1998, Sec. 4, pg. 1.
48. For text of this interview of Sister Lucy with Father Fuentes at Coimbra, see La Verdad Sobre el Secreto de Fàtima, page 107. Most Reverend Sanchez, Archbishop of Vera Cruz, gave the imprimatur for the above interview of Dec. 26, 1957. Also, see Frère François de Marie des Anges, Fatima: Tragedy and Triumph, pg. 26-32; also, Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima, Vol. III, The Third Secret, pg. 504-509.