In his book “The Heresy of the 20th Century” Jean Madiran (1920–2013) has presented the heresy’s gravity (Foreword); its underlying philosophy (Part I) and the bishops responsible for it (II); in Parts III, IV and V he comes to the heresy itself, which he analyses according to its seven Propositions. In Part III he presents the first two on their own because of their importance; in Part IV the first six in a little detail; in Part V the seventh Proposition, also on its own because of its overwhelming importance for Madiran. Part III, subject of this week’s “Comments,” sub-divides into six Chapters.
In Chapter One, Madiran declares that on the eve of Vatican II (1962–1965) the religious atmosphere was already pestilential in general, but the then Bishop of the city of Metz in Eastern France, Msgr. Schmitt, brought the whole vague pestilence into clear focus. Seven Propositions sum up what was in fact the new religion which he backed by all his episcopal authority. The first Proposition declares that today’s changing world imposes a change in the very concept of salvation brought by Jesus Christ. And the second declares that the Church’s idea of the plan of God was up till then not evangelical enough. In brief, (P1) the Church must promote “socialisation,” says the Bishop of Metz, because (P2) the old Church was not collective enough, but too merely personal in its practice of the Gospel. But what the Bishop is in fact promoting is Communism, says Madiran.
For indeed “socialisation,” argues Madiran in Chapter Two, rests upon a Marxist view of history, materialistic and determinist, which shows that the Bishop of Metz has lost the Christian faith, because how can the spiritual goals of Christianity coincide with the materialistic goals of Communism? Communism is a social system to be rejected for religious reasons, because as a social system it pretends to replace the Church’s social system and therewith Christianity.
In Chapter Three Madiran rejects Bishop Schmitt’s claim that men today best of all understand Gospel brotherhood (cf. Proposition II above). Such a down-grading of all the social works and achievements of the pre-Conciliar Church is ridiculous and for Catholics, says Madiran, it is an unseemly narcissism.
Thus by 1967, says Madiran in Chapter Four, it had become clear to the world that Bishop Schmitt was promoting no less than a new religion, or a heresy, vandalising centuries upon centuries of Catholic tradition. The French bishops are vandals without intelligence or character. Henceforth it is up to the laity to defend the Penny Catechism, in other words the very basics of the Faith!
In Chapter 5, against keeping up with the times (Prop. I), Madiran upholds the First Commandment, because it is the unchanging God and not the changing world that must hold first place in our hearts and minds. Nor will the times ever be with the Church, because the Church is with Jesus Christ. It is only worldly Catholics that the world admires. And against the Church not practising the Gospel enough (Prop. II), Madiran says that the Saints never invented anything in order to be “evangelical enough,” on the contrary they always strove to be as faithful as possible to tradition in order to put the Gospel into practice.
In conclusion, Chapter Six, Madiran denies that there is any truth to be salvaged from Propositions I and II, and he declares that Bishop Schmitt’s new religion wants the Church to gain the whole world by losing its own soul. The new religion has neither true authority nor true obedience, and Madiran has a prophetic vision of Catholic Tradition surviving Vatican II, because it makes free men kneel nobly before their God in accordance with a real authority and a real obedience. Such Catholics will never follow the false religion of poor bishops like the Bishop of Metz, just let him wait and see!