Dom Basilio Magno
The Hemorrhaging of the Catholic Church
A. How is the Catholic Church
is the Catholic Church, Guardian?
Guardian: As Christ, Himself, had prophesied, even if
you looked for her with a lamp, you won’t find her.
wait a minute, there are millions of Catholics and it is hard to find the
Guardian: True Catholics are very few and hard to
what do you call the others?
Guardian: I guess heresiarchs and schismatics.
and schismatics? Why I thought
they existed only in the middle ages?
Guardian: Sadly, there are more today, and they exist
in a more vicious form.
B. Heresy and Schism
Guardian: The rejection or exclusion of a truth
revealed by God and proposed by the Church...usually one-half of the whole
you illustrate this?
Guardian: You see, the Catholic Religion has many
apparent contradictions. You
have to have a deep understanding of her for the contradictions to
disappear. Unable to reconcile
the contradictions, Catholics embrace what suits them and reject what does
not suit them. For instance,
Christ is God and also man.
Heretics, like the Arians, believe one-half -- that Christ is
God...in this they are Catholic; but they deny the other half -- that He is
man...in this they are heretics.
does one become a heretic?
Guardian: Heresy begins in morals, not in dogma. The error is first in the person’s
way of life, not in the truths.
Then it is translated to dogma.
you say, therefore, that the rejection of a truth is just a symptom...?
Guardian: ...of an immoral life. So Henry VIII was first immoral in
having committed adultery before his break with Rome.
am sure you are familiar with St. Gregory’s “Heretica.”
Guardian: A little. There, if I remember right, he described a heretic as one
who imposed upon Holy Mother the Church his own opinions, presenting them
as solutions to comfort the Church.
They are enemies who present themselves as friends.
do you explain the Church’s almost hostile attitude towards heretics?
Guardian: Heretics mix good with evil that they may
easily deceive others. They
tone down their evil with good, and with good, they conceal their evil,
like a cup of poison whose brim is honeyed sweet. And heretics don’t just sit down; they go out of their way to corrupt
others, they propagate their errors.
And they always speak in the name of God.
is a cardinal rule that no one should proselytize where the Christian
foundation has been established, precisely because the foundation has been
established. And Catholics
usually observe this.
why do other Christian sects proselytize among Catholics? Surely, not to establish the
foundation of Christ since it is already established; it is in order to
deceive, to steal the sheep from the, unfortunately, sleeping shepherd or
a situation where Protestants and Catholics live together side-by-side, the
Catholics tend more to become Protestants than vice versa. So, in Ecumenism, Catholics become
which is the most insidious of all heresies?
Guardian: Still Modernism, which suggests that Truth
can be adjusted to fit the temper of the times.
few priests I know speak this way.
Guardian: They are usually priests who want to try something
new but have never tried the old...the Gospel.
forget that their role is to go deep into the deposits of Faith and not
“create” new faiths.
C. Root Cause of All Evils in the Church
is the source of all evils?
Guardian: From the beginning of time the cause of
evil is in the free will and not in the intellect. It is a problem wherein dialogue or
discussions or explanations are impotent. This is what caused original sin. There was no original sin when the
angels and our first parents sinned.
this the cause of the fall of the angels and of our parents?
Guardian: Exactly. They were very intelligent; their problem was in their
free will. It is the eternal
problem of choosing between God’s will and man’s will, and the eternal
tragedy of God’s creatures always choosing their will.
when man begins choosing his will over God’s will...
Guardian: ...then he is easily led to errors. An immoral bishop will reject the infallibility
of the Pope; an immoral priest will reject the need for celibacy; an
immoral layman will reject the sanctity of life. Aggravated by the effects of original sin, man is
condemned to choose always his will over God’s will.
are the likely candidates for heresy?
Guardian: All men...specially sensual-living men of
the world who feel that the Church’s requirements for the proper amendment
of their lives are too burdensome; they quickly follow after heresies and
fiercely support them. These
men think that those heresies will lead them to a smoother path than what
Holy Mother the Church proposes.
do we do to protect ourselves?
How do we free ourselves from this tendency?
Guardian: Live a holy life and have nothing to do
with heretics. Don’t even try
to recall them back to the faith for “whoever touches pitch will be defiled
by it. For while you labor to
rescue them from the errors, they might drag you into the abyss of error,”
says St. Isidore.
you say, therefore, that ignorance of the way to holiness or the refusal to
take the narrow way is the reason for all the problems in the Church?
Guardian: For us today, yes. God became man to give us the
prescription for holiness; without the proper prescription, that is,
Christian living, the vices and the passions will dominate the free will.
any language, this is a formula for disaster, whether for the family, for
society or for the Church -- man insisting on his own prescription rather
than God’s. He hasn’t learned
from Eden that his own choices are wrong.
crisis in the Church is tantamount to saying that Christian living is not
reasonable and, therefore, impossible to practice today. This thinking is what emptied the
seminaries and convents.
long will it take me to learn Christian living?
Guardian: There is no end to learning virtuous
am afraid to ask this question, but... to whom must the finger be pointed
as the one responsible for this state of the Church?
Guardian: The priests, the bishops, the religious
superiors and the parents, because they are the shepherds.
D. Contributing Causes
Seminaries, Convents and Catholic
free will, before the fall, was already self-centered rather than
God-centered. This became more
so after the fall, i.e., with original sin. Would there be more contributing causes to this state of
Guardian: Seminaries, convents and Catholic schools
are worsening the state of men by teaching a Catholicism which appears only
as a catalogue of uncertainties designed to keep as many Catholics within
the fold; and these uncertainties are mostly an adulteration or a rejection
of Catholic teaching. We are
producing priests who are not sure of the things they say and laymen who
are so sure of what they are doing.
The priest and the family have sacral roles, that’s why Holy Orders
and Matrimony are Sacraments;
today they have been reduced to social roles.
curricula on catechesis present a shattered catechesis: you cannot find the whole teaching
of Christ in even a three-inch book on catechism. Yet Christ’s teaching can be presented in five pages.
this happens in seminaries and convents?
Guardian: The theological curriculum in the
seminaries that I know have no semblance, whatsoever, of the Catholicism
there is the entrance in convents and monasteries of unexamined, untested, and
untried psychological and social tendencies, purely human conjectures which
are totally incapable of satisfying man’s longing for God or solving the
problems of man’s fallen nature.
Then there are the convents of nuns who greet the morning sun with
some Asiatic tradition of pagan origin.
stricter orders suffered minor damages due to their austere life. The spirituality of the less strict
convents simply hemorrhaged to death.
about in Catholic schools?
Guardian: Catholic schools are a complete disaster
when teaching Christian Living.
In fact, they don’t teach it at all. They have a subject called religion but teach loudly
that sex, good food, trendy clothes, a nice house, a fine car, and a
weekend home in the mountains are the primary goals of life. They teach sex education but do not
am really appalled at the products of the Catholic schools.
Guardian: Catholic schools no longer teach the
commands of Christ nor the glories of the Faith. Before, priests and nuns taught religion, even if not so
well. At least that was the
only contact children had with religion. Now, the teachers of religion are ex-priests, ex-nuns,
feminists, lay theologians steeped in heresies, divorced or adulterous lay
teachers, and, in one college, an avowed atheist.
are the priests and nuns?
Guardian: In Business Management and other unheavenly
within the Christian family, what would aggravate this crisis?
Guardian: Parents have absolutely no hand in the
training of their children and, as such, have no control over their
children. Their so-called
quality time is just a nice label for no time. Besides, parents are not trained to train even
themselves in the Catholic religion.
The mother working outside the home is the greatest single factor
that has caused the downfall of the Catholic family.
abandoned her role . . .?
Guardian: The most important role in the formation of
the Christian family...the formation of the conscience and character of her
children. Father and mother
have God-given spiritual roles;
today their roles have been reduced to functionality in a social context
with no spiritual advantage for either family or Church.
and Sex Education
mentioned sex education . . .
Guardian: Teaching sex education in Catholic schools
violates all rules of catechesis and all the rules in teaching Christian
Living. It is an ascetic rule
of teaching that you teach the virtues, like chastity, and never the vices
like lust; because if you
teach the vices, considering that man has a fallen nature, he will choose
the vice. Also, the moment
they learn the vice first, like lust, they will reject all teachings about
the opposite virtue, like chastity, because it is contrary to what fallen
is no longer a comprehensive, all-embracing formation in the Faith. Christ commanded, “teach MY
commands,” . . . Christ’s commands.
Christ’s commands are nowhere in any catechism, not even in the New
Catechism...leaving all Catholics without a comprehensive view of their
apart from motherhood and procreation, is as meaningless as puffing a
cigarette; it becomes a mere gratification of one’s desire which is
insatiable -- this is the universal right to do what I want even if it
hurts everyone... the wife, the children, etc.
Guardian: Society’s concept of human rights has long
crossed the boundaries of pure stupidity. Now there are rights to sin, rights to become perverts,
rights to do what you want, and even rights to spread Aids. In short, society’s list of rights
is portraying that the Catholic religion is unbelievable and that there is
no God: “what I like is what
is right”. And Christian
living is a threat to these rights.
and power, the goals of a westernized society, is the worst ambiance for growth
in the spiritual life; opulence makes people spiritually dumb.
about the statement that the youth is the future of the Church?
Guardian: With the factors we mention above, we have
the formula for mass destruction.
Our youth are lost.
Only by God’s direct intervention can a few youths be raised for the
service of the Church. The
rest will be fighting against the destruction of the corals, of the
forests, of the tigers, but none against the destruction of the soul. A few will clap their hands and sing
their alleluias, a gasping gesture to save souls but their efforts are
ineffective because their doctrines are incomplete: “Woe to you who add or subtract
from what I have taught . . .”
authority of the Catholic Church and the truth she defends and teaches are
threatened both from within and from without, and, unlike the early times,
there are hardly any champions today standing up for her cause. What else contributes to this
Guardian: We have no champions that would speak
clearly. The way people speak
is full of deceit. The
murdering of babies is called family planning; the killing of patients is
called the movement against suffering.
how about the much-used phrase:
follow your conscience?
Guardian: With the consciences of some people, they
don't need the devil. Pope
Pius XII reminded us that conscience is not a teacher but a pupil.
don't follow your conscience; you first teach it...
Guardian: Yes -- with the commands of Christ; then
you follow it. What is right
and wrong, what is good and evil, is God’s decision, not ours. But man desires only one thing: to be his own master and own
creator, deciding what is right and wrong.
McNamara, in a speech describing the future of civilization, groaned, “Our
children...” What do you think
he was trying to say?
Guardian: The Church has lost the youth by
default. She has lost the youth
because her hierarchy did nothing to win them. We have not attracted them to any ideals they can die
for, like the ideals of the Catholic Church. Youth programs are mainly
worldly programs; thus the youth was lost to the world, not won to the
Faith that offers only a life of crucifixion.
this the reason why, in Catholic countries like Italy, Poland, and Ireland,
abortion and divorce have become government policies?
Guardian: Yes, it is the supreme proof of a Catholic
Church that is completely leaderless and inutile.
E. Christ’s Remedy for all the Evils
guess there is a remedy for all these evils because there are good angels
and many holy saints.
Guardian: Pinpointing the problem in the Church is easy,
and pinpointing the solution is also easy. Christ established the Church for all, not merely for
theologians. So His teachings
-- the remedy -- ought to be simple, not complex.
remedy is simple?
Christ came to teach us a way of life, not a set of dogmas...though
dogmas were part of His teachings.
And this way of life is embodied in a set of commands. To subtract from or disobey one of
these commands is moral heresy.
what is the remedy for all the evils?
Guardian: Obedience to Christ’s
commands...Christ’s. It is by
obedience to His commands that man is saved, and not his visible membership
in the Catholic Church.
what is the cause of all these evils?
Guardian: Disobedience to Christ’s commands. In the case of the angels and our
first parents, it was pure disobedience because they were imbued with
wisdom. For most of us, it is
ignorance of His commands, which also leads to disobedience. Since ambiguity is the mark of the demon,
all of Christ’s teachings must be learned with absolute clarity, and this
is attained only through humility.
this why Christ, in His apostolic commission, commanded His apostles, first,
to teach ALL His commands to remove ignorance and foster obedience?
Guardian: Ignorance of the Christian way of life is
the devil’s most primitive but most effective weapon for the destruction of
souls. If you are ignorant,
the devil doesn’t bother destroying your soul because, anyway, you are on
the way to self-destruction.
If you are lucky to overcome this ignorance and learn the commands
of Christ, there is still the more difficult task of obeying them, like the
angels and our first parents who were both given wisdom; they fell, not
because of ignorance but, because of disobedience.
seems to be an intellectual problem.
Guardian: Yes -- and the easier problem to
solve. Disobedience is a
problem of the free will, and herein is the big problem -- the freedom of
the free will, which, because of fallen nature, tends to make man choose
himself over God.
that you mention it, there seem to be no dogmas involved in the fall of the
angels and of our first parents.
Guardian: Indeed. It was a matter of creatures saying: I know better than God . . .which,
of course, is a heresy.
pervasive is this sad state of affairs in the Church?
Guardian: It is so pervasive it makes her seem like
the largest among the Protestant sects.
come so few know the commands of Christ?
Guardian: Because knowledge of these commands is
given to a few; this knowledge is not taught “by the flesh and blood but by
the Father in heaven,” and He gives it only to the humble.
wonder Christ insisted that we learn humility from Him, and, am I right --
and nothing else? Not Canon
Law, not Church history, not...
Guardian: This is unnerving, but you are right; the
only things Christ wanted us to learn are humility and meekness...and from
HIM, not from anybody else.
be humble is an effort beyond human nature?
Guardian: In fact, contrary to human nature, humility
is knowing our inability to remedy our situation. We are born opposed to the love of God; that’s why we
are born guilty.
this crisis threatening the stability of the Church?
Guardian: No, no crisis can threaten the Church
because it is built on rock.
It is the individual souls of both the lay and the cleric that are
being lost -- that is the problem.
Any crisis in the Church begins with “the men in the Church” -- the
bishops, the priests and the religious orders.
traditional religious orders, which were pillars of the Church, have
completely crumbled under the onslaught of modernism; they have forgotten
who they are and why they were founded. And the more erudite orders have fallen into the trap of
Eve, putting more trust in knowledge than in the commands of God.
the entrance of democracy, the rule by consensus or, as Pascal described
it, the rule of the dumb majority, a practice so alien to the monarchical
Church, transformed religious houses into new religions.
so the priest, the symbol of strength, resisting the tendencies of the
world, has become a sign of weakness succumbing to the “reasonable”
realities of today; the crucifixion of Christ, meant to be a privilege, has
become a burden.
the Catholic Church has the power within herself to convert others and
renew herself. Because of this
inherent power, she does not need arguments to convince, unlike other
religions that need powerful arguments or even physical force; since they
have no strength of their own...their beliefs are imposed.
is humility central in our religion?
Guardian: Because Divine knowledge, required for the
attainment of virtues, is given only to the humble. Without this knowledge, man tends
to go into excesses. On one
hand, he thinks his nature is perfect; he believes in his excellence and
sinks into devilish pride. On
the other hand, he may feel himself hopeless and sink into despair and
cowardice. Catholicism helps
us avoid both extremes.
F. Vatican II
problem seems to disturb you.
Guardian: Yes, it is sad to see that Christ’s actions
within the Church does not guarantee the salvation of man because of man’s
lack of cooperation.
you referring to the saying that God will not save man against his will?
Guardian: Sort of.
you say Vatican II did not lead the way forward?
Guardian: What do you mean...forward? When it comes to teachings or
doctrines, there is no such thing as forward, backward, or sideward. There is only a deeper
understanding of the same, old teachings.
what did Vatican II accomplish?
Guardian: It merely reminded us of the age-old
doctrine -- that man is called to participate in Divinity itself, but
reminds him that he bears within himself a corrupt nature that leads to
error, misery, sin, and death.
So the Church tempers fear and hope, grace and sin. She can cause more dejection than
mere reason, but without despair.
She can give us more exaltation than the highest pride but without
puffing us up. So in the
Catholic Church we see the most excellent men and the most deplorable.
man’s free will, aggravated by his fallen nature with its tendency to
disobey, is the source of sin.
The Catholic Church was entrusted by Christ to cure this ailment
but, it seems, most Catholics don’t know this cure.
Guardian: This is the crisis. All that is being taught is
politeness, ethics, and good manners -- mere panaceas -- but not the cure
for man’s rottenness.
is such a paradox: that man is
both great and nothing.
Guardian: And he must know the reason for both. And only the Catholic religion
such convincing wisdom, why is the Catholic Church not as popular as other
Guardian: The more popular sects are those that
consist in externals; externals are for the not-so-clever. On the other hand, a purely
intellectual religion attracts the clever. The Catholic religion, however, consists of externals
and the intellectual, thus attracting both. But most men, lazy to exert intellectual effort, will
tend to go to sects that consist in externals.
achievement of Vatican II does not seem significant.
Guardian: On the contrary -- it is a great
achievement. Nobody seems to
remember these teachings. The
Church is experiencing general
general perception is that Vatican II occasioned the mass exodus of priests
Guardian: Well, they used Vatican II as an
excuse. The council separated
the grain from the chaff. The
chaff made the exodus.
remember a Pope saying that Vatican II was meant to let the Holy Spirit
come into the Church but the stench of Satan, instead, came in.
Guardian: You don’t have to open anything to let the
Spirit come in; He is always in the Church. And you don’t need a Vatican Council to let the Spirit
come in because He is always there to guide, renew, and protect the Church.
don’t seem to be worried about the Church.
Guardian: We shouldn’t be; God takes care of the
Church. We should be worried
about ourselves, our personal sanctification. Everything is all right with the Church -- but not
the members who are members only in name.
II had some problems with the theologians who claimed that their search for
the truth was being curtailed.
Guardian: What truths are they looking for? Everything has been revealed to
us. All these years, have
theologians discovered any new truths? Man makes ideas, opinions and fantasies, maybe, but not
truths. And because of man’s
insistence to make up fantasies, our seminarians are learning a theology
ridden with errors, conjectures, dissents, fantasies and false
liberations. In their desire
to be creative, theologians have created new truths and new ways of
transmitting Christianity that have aggravated rather than resolved the
is not an object of speculation; it is not a construction of the mind; it
is not man’s work. It is a
revelation to be discovered.
Catholic’s first step towards destruction is to be natural...well, that is
definitely a step towards the opposite direction of being supernatural, which
is Christian living. And man’s
first natural act is always unnatural. Or the first step could be towards liberation; and his
first free act is usually an act of personal enslavement.
was the general reaction to Vatican II?
Guardian: Most did not like it. The conservatives thought it was
too much; the progressives thought it was too little. It is like, as Pascal once noted, a
short and a tall man looking at an average man. The short man thinks the average man is too tall; and
the tall man thinks he is too short.
But the defect is in them, not in the average man.
Vatican II merely reiterated old truths, it was pointless holding it?
The purpose of Councils is not to introduce new truths, but merely
reiterate old truths which were forgotten or disobeyed in the era they were
would you say was the greatest good of Vatican II?
Guardian: It gave us a good view of the state of the
Church. Pope Paul VI described
it succinctly saying: we aimed
at self-criticism and ended up in self-destruction; we began with
enthusiasm and ended up in boredom and discouragement.
Guardian: Because we thought there was a new, wider
road to heaven, but discovered it is still the same narrow one. We thought Vatican II would be a
break from the past; it was a return to the past, to the roots.
you say this is like Christ telling us to build His Church and giving us
His plan but most of us are insisting on our own plans?
Guardian: And we thought Vatican II would approve our
plans. But it did not.
this day and age where information is fast and much, how could ignorance of
Christ’s commands be so prevalent?
Guardian: We always forget St. Paul’s warning: “We are living in an age when the
Rebel will deceive those who are bound for damnation because they would not
grasp the love of the truth which could save them. The reason why God is sending a
power to delude them and make them believe what is untrue is to condemn all
who refuse to believe in the truth and choose wickedness instead.”
are you driving at?
Guardian: People, today, don’t love the truth. St. Paul says they only love
themselves and money. The
truths of the Church are supernatural. They cannot be learned in a natural
way; you need faith to understand and remember them. So it is said, if you have faith no
explanation is necessary, if you don’t have faith no explanation is
else has Vatican II done?
Guardian: It condemned the heresy that everything new
is necessarily better. It also
separated the cockle from the wheat and is now separating the grains from
the chaff, like a winnowing fan.
you say that, like Trent, Vatican II will renew the Church?
Guardian: History attests that whenever a council is
held there are saints involved.
It is the saint at the time of the council that God uses to directly
renew His Church. Not the
council; it merely produces documents; documents cannot renew the Church.
mean I’ll be seeing saints walking our streets.
Guardian: Yes, and these are people who will attain
great holiness without the help or guidance of the hierarchical Church;
which shows they were raised by God directly for this purpose. Like St. Francis of Assisi -- who
do you think taught him how to be holy? The wave of holiness that follows does not come from the
council but directly from God.
And God usually chooses the most unlikely candidates.
G. New Communities
should we look for them?
Guardian: Look at the new movements within the
Church, which nobody planned nor called into being, which have sprung
spontaneously from the inner vitality of the Faith itself. Look at young people in whom there
is wholehearted adhesion to the whole Faith of the Church, young people who
want to live the gospel fully; their prayer life is intense and their
do they fit in the hierarchical Church?
Guardian: The hierarchical structure of the Church,
though divinely instituted, is too human in its operation. The above movement is Divine and so
they don’t fit in this human structure. And they grow better outside these structures, just like
the monastic movement in the early Church.
won’t there be any conflict with the hierarchical Church?
Guardian: These movements are from the Holy Spirit and
the Church is enlivened by the same Spirit, so how can there be a
conflict? If there is any
conflict, it would be something human...some vested interest or personal
have noticed many communities deeply involved in the Bible, studying,
discussing, and even memorizing it.
Are these the communities you are referring to?
Guardian: Well, the Bible-carrying Christian is not
the true picture of a Christian.
You see, the Catholic religion has never been a book religion. It has always been a “tradition”
religion. After all, we had
Tradition even before we had copies of the Bible. In fact, the Bible is merely part of Tradition. St. John states that the bigger
part of Christ’s teachings, the amount of which could not be contained in
all the libraries of the world, had not been written down. The bible is the “table of
contents” of Tradition.
are you driving at?
Guardian: We Catholics do things not because the
Bible said so, but because the early Christians did so.
you mean that the Bible is not sufficient in teaching us the truths of
Guardian: Yes, it is enough; in fact, just one gospel
or one apostolic letter or even one mere paragraph in the Bible can teach us
the way of salvation. But the
correct interpretation of those teachings and commands can only be attained
from Tradition. The Bible,
without Tradition, is merely a book of history or archaeology.
how can I avail of this unprinted Tradition?
Guardian: Fortunately for you and me, the early great
saints of the Church, finding some spare time, wrote it down. So the saying goes -- if you know
Tradition, you know the Bible and its correct interpretation. But, if you know the Bible, you
know the Bible but not its correct interpretation.
this the reason Catholic laymen were not encouraged to study the Bible by
If they do this they will tend to give their own interpretation
rather than God’s. The Bible,
without Tradition, is just like any other book.
a Catholic says, “The Bible said...”, they tend to become like
Protestants. In fact, many
Protestant sects were started by Catholics who exclaimed, “The Bible
said...”, then gave their own interpretation. When Protestants ask about
what the first Christians did, they become Catholics, like the Oxford
most translations of the Bible were made to suit the private interpretation
of the authors rather than an attempt to find out God’s meaning.
H. The Devil and New Communities
you consider all the new communities as inspired by the Holy Spirit?
Guardian: Heavens, no! For every one community raised by God, the evil one
surrounds it with his own countless fake communities to confuse the people
how would you distinguish the true one from the fakes?
Guardian: From their fruits . . . and if they are too
young to bear fruits, from their teachings.
are their teachings compared to those of the hierarchical Church?
Guardian: While many clerics are sincerely trying to
renew the Church, although according to their whims, these new authentic
movements tend to return to the roots of the Catholic Church.
have to admit there is a discrepancy between the message of Christ and the
lives and teachings of some men in the Church.
Guardian: This discrepancy is what we have to remove
because this is what hinders the spread of the Catholic Church.
I. Loss of a Sense of Sin and Other Symptoms
are other symptoms of one’s ignorance and disobedience?
Guardian: Loss of a sense of personal sin, as shown
in our present mass. In the old
mass, we prayed, “Look not upon my sins...”; now we say, “Look not upon OUR
sins...” Who told us to mind
other people’s sins? Or is
this a way of absorbing our sins into everyone else’s sins to remove
personal guilt, which is of the essence of sin? Collective sin, with the exception of original sin, does
not exist in Catholic theology.
devil has a favorite refuge -- anonymity; he wants man to forget that the
devil exists. With this, man
loses his sense of sin.
our sin is everybody’s fault...the defect of a child is blamed on the
parents or on one’s genes.
Guardian: Like saying...it is not really all our
fault. And this is terrible
because as long as we don’t admit our personal guilt, we will not repent,
which is the first step in the following of Christ. And as long as we don’t repent, we
do not belong, strictly speaking, to the Church, the virgin Bride of
even the direct interventions of the devil are merely attributed to culture
and “the times”.
any reform in the Church should start here?
that each of us realize our personal guilt or sins, thoroughly
repent, thus reforming ourselves first. Then, and only then, can God use us to reform others...by
making us teach others what we have already learned.
do you say about all those seminars and conferences and meetings on renewal
Guardian: Only God can renew the Church; and He uses
only holy persons to do that.
All these seminars and conferences only produce documents which we
already have in abundance.
are the other symptoms of this serious illness?
Guardian: When the clergy does not take the Vicar of
Christ seriously. In the early
Church, when this happened, the Pope usually traveled and went directly to
the ordinary people.
mean the Pope traveling around extensively is not new?
Guardian: No, it is not. When the people lose respect for their priests and
bishops, the Pope has to go to them personally to show that the Catholic
Church is still the true Church.
it seems to work because the ordinary people look with awe at the Holy
Father; and this happens everywhere.
J. Fallout of Priests
what do you attribute the great fallout of priests?
Guardian: As young men, they all entered with the
noble intention of finding God.
They did not find Him in convents, monasteries and seminaries,
because nobody around knew how.
And the few who knew were considered either old-fashioned or weird.
some of these are learned priests from religious orders known for
Guardian: Yes, and since knowledge puffs up, St. Paul
says, instead of following Christ’s commands or the spirituality of their
founders, they made up their own spirituality which leads
wonder most priests today speak more authoritatively on politics, ecology,
economics and ozone layers than on spirituality.
Guardian: St. Peter Canisius calls this “default”; he
who is ignorant of things of the spirit will always talk of things not of
the spirit; he mentions
politics in particular.
seem to be more enmeshed in the world...
Guardian: They are trying to save souls in a purely
natural way--through psychology, sociology. Or they socialize too much in their effort to attract
people to the Faith. It is
painful to be confronted with the illusion, so essentially anti-Christian,
which is present among priests and theologians, that a new man and a new
role can be created, not by calling each individual to repentance but only
by changing the social and economic structures. That’s like curing the sore by pouring perfume on
it. Without repentance, you
cannot even change the social structure.
inculturation also be naturalizing something supernatural?
Guardian: Yes. The souls of the Germans, the
Africans and the Syrians are the same. Inculturation is unnecessary. Religion talks to the soul, not to the German ear. When Christ said to preach to all
nations, there was no provision for inculturation. And the holy preachers will attest
Guardian: ...has compromised the teachings of Christ
for the sake of cultures. When
you say “the African Church”, you have just destroyed the universality of
don’t they all convene and get their act together?
Guardian: It is precisely this democratic process
which entered the Church that has done great damage, St. Robert Bellarmine
says. There are few holy and
intelligent people; majority are unholy and foolish. Pascal says that democracy is the
rule of this unholy and foolish majority.
would imagine democracy would benefit the religious congregations in that
they can bring their bright ideas together and elect the best priests as
Guardian: As St. Benedict warned us, since there are more
sinners than saints in convents and monasteries, the majority end up
electing the ones who would cater to their whims rather than those who
would impose the full observance of their vows. Democracy introduced the ideas of the corrupt majority
into the monasteries.
you say the same in the election of the Popes?
Guardian: Much more so. The Popes always selected their successor, precisely
because the Church is monarchical.
The election by a conclave is a recent invention alien to the
practice of the Church. Why,
if we believe that the Pope is infallible, wouldn’t he be the best man to
choose his successor?
L. Source of Ignorance and Disobedience
have mentioned the free will aggravated by ignorance and disobedience --
the fruits of original sin -- as the main cause of the crisis in the
Church. I guess these two,
anywhere, whether in an office or in the kitchen, can cause chaos.
Guardian: While ignorance is the consequence of original
sin, disobedience existed before original sin. But both are symptoms of a deeper malady. You see, if a soul truly desires to
be holy or to seek God, ignorance and disobedience will be replaced with
wisdom and holiness.
no effort on our part?
Guardian: With no effort on our part, we will know
the way to holiness and will tend to obey.
is our effort?
Guardian: In the free will’s desiring, says St.
Augustine. The desire, alone,
he continues, is the most pleasing prayer to God wherewith we can obtain
everything we need and ask for.
ignorance and disobedience are symptoms of what?
Guardian: That you do not desire to be holy or to
follow Christ or love God.
This was basically what was wrong with some angels and our first
do such persons desire?
Guardian: To please themselves; and for modern men,
the love of money, Scriptures say.
There is something diabolical in the cold-blooded perversity with
which man is corrupted in his desire for money and profit. It makes him vulnerable to all
temptations. A culture is
hellish which persuades men that the sole aim of life is pleasure and
it a paradox that the saints, who were often uneducated on the origins,
exegesis, the historical-archaeological basis of the Bible, and on the
Bible itself, are the ones who understood the Bible best?
M. Episcopal Conference
the cause of the crisis in the Church is so simple and the solution is
similarly very simple, why doesn’t the Episcopal Conference do something
Guardian: The Episcopal Conference as an institution
has no theological basis for its existence; it is man-made. And God seldom blesses man-made
endeavors. They usually
accomplish nothing decisive for the Church. The structure of the Church is this: the bishop is fully responsible for
his diocese answerable to the Pope alone. A situation where their
responsibilities crisscross over diocesan boundaries, in fact, violates the
you say it is more a social gathering?
Guardian: I think that is the appropriate
description; and as happens in such gatherings, everyone tries to be nice by
agreeing with everybody else and approving everything just to get it over
with -- sort of patting each other on the back. The group spirit, the wish to live quiet, peaceful lives
of conformity, shying away from the odium of their compatriots make them give
up being the salt and leaven so needed today.
conferences have no teaching missions and their documents are not binding;
though a bishop can choose to impose them on his diocese, another can
totally reject them.
this an example of the people getting the leader they deserve or the leader
getting the people they deserve?
Guardian: Scriptures have it: “The time is sure to come when far
from being content with sound teaching, people will be avid for the latest
novelty and collect for themselves a whole series of teachers, according to
their taste; and then, instead of listening to the truth, they will turn to
myths.” People today want
novelty and myths; and the clergy, in their desire to be popular, give them
what they want...novelty and myths.
Today, to preach the truth, you have to be brave because you will be
tried...of all people, by the Church.
is so easily found, and yet so elusive.
Guardian. On the contrary, it is truth that looks for
a dwelling place...a humble soul.
It is elusive only to the proud...those who think that truth and
falsehood can be decided by balloting, like the issue of abortion. Truth can only be found; it cannot
know so much on the state of the Catholic Church. I mean, have you done a research or sat down to make an
analysis of her state?
Guardian: No, I just read, “The State of the Church”
by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for
the Doctrine of the Faith. The
dissertation is also entitled, “The Ratzinger Report”.
you mean these are not your ideas?
Guardian: These are my ideas, but I used the words of
Cardinal Ratzinger so I don’t get into trouble. With his legal (or hierarchical) and obviously spiritual
stature, they bear more authority than if they merely came from me. The good Cardinal, in a way,
confirms my thinking.
you summarize your thoughts?
Guardian: We cannot conform to the spirit of the
times where most Catholics think that Christian Living, as Christ preached
it, is difficult, impossible and unreasonable; where Christian morality is
neither obvious nor normal; we must conform to Christ. A Christian cannot live just like
in religious congregations is mere disguised relaxation from traditional
austerities. And renewal
programs consist in introducing comforts. In monasteries, time for Divine
Office has been reduced and time to watch TV has been increased.
their Liturgy has become a cheap stage show, and “participation” in the
Liturgy, instead of being participation in the life of the Church, has
become speaking, singing, shaking and clapping of hands. Liturgy is a learning
process...from God; so, everyone should be silent and listen. Gregorian Chant is the official
song of the Church -- not those worldly, catchy songs of the world. A worldly liturgy, if such exists,
reflects a worldly congregation.
And they are worldly, precisely, because they worship the world.
mass is a mystery; don’t try to explain it. Understanding of the mass is dependent proportionately
to one’s holiness. Without
holiness, it is impossible to understand the mass.
true Christian is a minority within the Catholic Church; he must oppose
everything that appears good, obvious or logical to the eyes of the
worldly. To do this, he must
rediscover the spirituality of “flight from the world”.
men in the Church are in crisis, borne, firstly, by the crisis in priests
and religious. I feel the
crisis has not reached its height.
It will grow worse, and, as Christ predicted, it will never get
better. But the true Church,
the virgin Bride of Christ, those who have obeyed all of Christ’s commands,
those who have given up all things for Christ’s sake, the chosen few --
they will always be all right.