This is the fourth and final part of the analysis I wrote on a recent letter from Archbishop Viganò to a layman. Archbishop Viganò’s words are in italics below. My words are in orange bold font.
Dear Mr. Kokx, 1 Sept 2020
…continued from part 3…
But in order to deserve the immortal glory of Heaven we are called to rediscover – in an emasculated age devoid of values such as honor, faithfulness to one’s word, and heroism – a fundamental aspect of the faith of every baptized person: the Christian life is a militia, and with the Sacrament of Confirmation we are called to be soldiers of Christ, under whose insignia we must fight. Of course, in most cases it is essentially a spiritual battle, but over the course of history we have seen how often, faced with the violation of the sovereign rights of God and the liberty of the Church, it was also necessary to take up arms: we are taught this by the strenuous resistance to repel the Islamic invasions in Lepanto and on the outskirts of Vienna, the persecution of the Cristeros in Mexico, of the Catholics in Spain, and even today by the cruel war against Christians throughout the world. Never as today can we understand the theological hatred coming from the enemies of God, inspired by Satan. The attack on everything that recalls the Cross of Christ – on Virtue, on the Good and the Beautiful, on purity – must spur us to get up, in a leap of pride, in order to claim our right not only not to be persecuted by our external enemies but also and above all to have strong and courageous pastors, holy and God-fearing, who will do exactly what their predecessors have done for centuries: preach the Gospel of Christ, convert individuals and nations, and expand the Kingdom of the living and true God throughout the world.
Although demons are without gender, without sex, there is something of a masculine demon that afflicts the world of the Middle-East: A brutal chauvinism marks the men of Islam who follow a book (the Qur’an) that gives full approbation to taking children as sex-slaves. As everyone knows, women have very little rights in Muslim society. In fact, wives of husbands have almost no rights in most Middle-Eastern countries. The death penalty can be applied rather capriciously under sharia law and men can murder heathens under the highest law of Islam. Again, although demons can not be masculine or feminine, the world of Islam is clearly a world where demons generally play off of the concupiscence of males. However, in the West, demons generally play off of a feminized concupiscence in the lives of both women and men. Feminism via the Jezebel spirit of raging at the patriarchy leads power-hungry women to trample down de-clawed wimpy men. One effect of this is that neither party now questions the “law” that allows a woman to kill their own child with no input from the father. Here in the West, men cower in fear and pornography as women’s emotions generally constitute the compass of the direction of the entire family life. Thus, it is of no wonder that a modern-day prophet would call the East to reduce its hyper-masculinity but call the West to blunt its hyper-femininity. Or better put, men need to be strong gentlemen in both the East and the West. For this reason, AB. Viganò asserts that Catholics of the West again form spiritual “militias.” In fact, he seems to assert that the Roman Church must form not only spiritual militias but even physical militias as he recounts her history in the above letter: “[I]t was also necessary to take up arms: we are taught this by the strenuous resistance to repel the Islamic invasions in Lepanto and on the outskirts of Vienna, the persecution of the Cristeros in Mexico, of the Catholics in Spain, and even today by the cruel war against Christians throughout the world.”
We are all called to make an act of Fortitude – a forgotten cardinal virtue, which not by chance in Greek recalls virile strength, ἀνδρεία – in knowing how to resist the Modernists: a resistance that is rooted in Charity and Truth, which are attributes of God.
Again, AB. Viganò pushes against an effeminate (not a feminine, but an effeminate—namely—without virtue) Christianity found all over Europe and the Americas. Indeed, he calls for us to take up an “insignia” under which “we must fight.” Indeed, there is a time for meekness in the Christian life, but now is a time when AB. Viganò even says men must get up “in a leap of pride, in order to claim our right not only not to be persecuted by our external enemies, but also and above all to have strong and courageous pastors.”
If you only celebrate the Tridentine Mass and preach sound doctrine without ever mentioning the Council, what can they ever do to you? Throw you out of your churches, perhaps, and then what? No one can ever prevent you from renewing the Holy Sacrifice, even if it is on a makeshift altar in a cellar or an attic, as the refractory priests did during the French Revolution, or as happens still today in China. And if they try to distance you, resist: canon law serves to guarantee the government of the Church in the pursuit of its primary purposes, not to demolish it. Let’s stop fearing that the fault of the schism lies with those who denounce it, and not, instead, with those who carry it out: the ones who are schismatics and heretics are those who wound and crucify the Mystical Body of Christ, not those who defend it by denouncing the executioners!
I could write 10 blogs posts on the above paragraph. Suffice it to say that that the above paragraph was balm to my soul, encapsulating my entire priesthood in one single paragraph. I’d ask you to read it again to understand where I come from and what I fight for as a normal diocesan priest who had to become a diocesan hermit (still in good standing, but without a parish.). But I’m not looking for pity in writing this because the above paragraph feels like the Archbishop wrote it directly to me. And that is all I need to keep trucking on, for now.
The laity can expect their ministers to behave as such, preferring those who prove that they are not contaminated by present errors. If a Mass becomes an occasion of torture for the faithful, if they are forced to assist at sacrileges or to support heresies and ramblings unworthy of the House of the Lord, it is a thousand times preferable to go to a church where the priest celebrates the Holy Sacrifice worthily, in the rite given to us by Tradition, with preaching in conformity with sound doctrine. When parish priests and bishops realize that the Christian people demand the Bread of Faith, and not the stones and scorpions of the neo-church, they will lay aside their fears and comply with the legitimate requests of the faithful. The others, true mercenaries, will show themselves for what they are and will be able to gather around them only those who share their errors and perversions. They will be extinguished by themselves: the Lord dries up the swamp and makes the land on which brambles grow arid; he extinguishes vocations in corrupt seminaries and in convents rebellious to the Rule.
It is very interesting that AB. Viganò recognizes that the sufferings of orthodox Catholics in the Western hemisphere is not unlike the sufferings of the orthodox Catholics of China: Both are persecuted for their orthodox beliefs. The difference is that in the West, the persecution since the Council has come upon faithful laity and priests frequently at the hands of bishops. In the far East, the persecution of the past 100 years has obviously come upon faithful bishops, priests and laity at the hands of the Communist government. However, the new Sino-Vatican deals that have handed over Church jurisdiction to the Communist government now place the good bishops of the far east and the good priests of the far west under an eerily similar cross: A crucifixion from within the Church.
The lay faithful today have a sacred task: to comfort good priests and good bishops, gathering like sheep around their shepherds. Give them hospitality, help them, console them in their trials. Create community in which murmuring and division do not predominate, but rather fraternal charity in the bond of Faith. And since in the order established by God – κόσμος – subjects owe obedience to authority and cannot do otherwise than resist it when it abuses its power, no fault will be attributed to them for the infidelity of their leaders, on whom rests the very serious responsibility for the way in which they exercise the vicarious power which has been given to them. We must not rebel, but oppose; we must not be pleased with the errors of our pastors, but pray for them and admonish them respectfully; we must not question their authority but the way in which they use it.
Here, AB. Viganò calls faithful and orthodox Catholics neither to departure from the Catholic Church, nor to disobedience to her lawful ministers. In his own words: “We must not rebel, but oppose.” In other words, resist heresy and liturgical innovation, but do not leave the Catholic Church in a fit of disobedience like Martin Luther did.
I am certain, with a certainty that comes to me from Faith, that the Lord will not fail to reward our fidelity, after having punished us for the faults of the men of the Church, granting us holy priests, holy bishops, holy cardinals, and above all a holy Pope. But these saints will arise from our families, from our communities, from our churches: families, communities, and churches in which the grace of God must be cultivated with constant prayer, with the frequenting of Holy Mass and the Sacraments, with the offering of sacrifices and penances that the Communion of Saints permits us to offer to the Divine Majesty in order to expiate our sins and those of our brethren, including those who exercise authority. The laity have a fundamental role in this, guarding the Faith within their families, in such a way that our young people who are educated in love and in the fear of God may one day be responsible fathers and mothers, but also worthy ministers of the Lord, His heralds in the male and female religious orders, and His apostles in civil society.
We all know that evil afflicting the Church from within will not have the final word in the world to come. But here, Viganò assures his readers that the renewal of the Church will probably come even before heaven. He asserts that the restoration of the Church will come from God’s faithful to His saints in hidden corners of the world in 2020. I personally believe we are at the end of the world, but I like Viganò’s prediction much more: If we stay faithful, God will grant “us holy priests, holy bishops, holy cardinals, and above all a holy Pope.”
The cure for rebellion is obedience. The cure for heresy is faithfulness to the teaching of Tradition. The cure for schism is filial devotion for the Sacred Pastors. The cure for apostasy is love for God and His Most Holy Mother. The cure for vice is the humble practice of virtue. The cure for the corruption of morals is to live constantly in the presence of God. But obedience cannot be perverted into stolid servility; respect for authority cannot be perverted into the obeisance of the court. And let’s not forget that if it is the duty of the laity to obey their Pastors, it is even a more grave duty of the Pastors to obey God, usque ad effusionem sanguinis.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop
September 1s, 2020
AB. Viganó (a prelate frequently accused of mental illness, schism and disobedience) here flips the tables again to remind both friend and enemy alike: Obedience to God can never constitute heresy or schism. Indeed, it is very beautiful that he wrote above, “The cure for heresy is faithfulness to the teaching of Tradition.” In other words, faithfulness is marked by obedience to Christ, not papal positivism or episcopal synodality or whatever complex words try to replace the simple faith of all those saints hidden around the globe in 2020.