If liberalism in its broadest sense be defined as the liberation of man from God (see last week’s “Eleison Comments”), then the liberal Catholicism of the 19th century arising out of the French Revolution (1789) was, broadly, the successful liberating of politics from God, while the liberal Modernism of the early 20th century was the unsuccessful attempt to liberate the Catholic Church from God, attempt scotched by St. Pius X. However, that attempt succeeded half a century later way beyond even most liberals’ dreams, at the Second Vatican Council. Here below is another recent testimony I received, from Italy, observing how liberal Traditionalism is now at work to liberate Catholic Tradition from God (if only we had half the Devil’s perseverance!):—
“After the unchaining of the Tridentine Mass by Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio of 2007, a great quantity of Catholics came closer to Tradition, but their quality varied widely. As was inevitable, the increase in numbers brought towards Tradition many Catholics who had never been convinced of its importance, and whose idea of Tradition was still basically subjective, meaning it is optional for Catholics and not obligatory. In this respect even if Benedict did say some useful things in his charter speech of December 22, 2005, its effect was disastrous.
“Confidence in the Pope then made any critical thinking about the modern liturgy, catechesis or doctrine take second place. To draw distinctions or to clear up confusion made one widely unpopular. However, the announcement of Assisi III dealt a sharp blow to this broad and very fluffy spectrum of Tradition, and Catholics had to make up their minds. Contrasts came out into the open, and the first divisions emerged.
“Benedict XVI has succeeded in infecting the promising potential of young Catholics connected or close to Tradition, and he has succeeded in creating divisions. Much of that potential is now ruined, even if one may put one’s hope in God that many other youngsters will come to talk and behave in a properly Catholic way. So just how many Catholics will embrace whole-heartedly the Church’s just cause? We shall have to wait for the dust to settle, and for men of good will and fresh vigour to make their appearance.
“Witnessing to Tradition calls more than ever for clear and firm statements. Hesitating or vacillating only does damage. Meanwhile let us fight on, sharpening the tone wherever called for, and openly pointing out the evils of Benedict XVI’s Conciliar Newchurch. Public opinion in Italy is far from concerning itself with the Church’s true problems. Catholics here have learned for centuries to believe that what the Pope says is Gospel. They are children of our age.”
Surely this testimony suggests that the marginalization of Econe by the mainstream Church in 1975, and its outright condemnation with the “excommunications” of 1988, each helped to save Catholic Tradition from contamination. Will the Lord God for the same purpose need to permit another such division and marginalization? We devoutly hope not!