Letter to Friends and Benefactors
June 4, 2003
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Since this letter is set fair to be one of the last monthly letters from the Seminary that I am like to pen, then let me attempt to give one more overview of the false religion that has been devastating the Catholic Church for the last 40 years in the wake of Vatican II.
For when the Conciliar hurricane struck the Church in the early 1960's, the immediate and pressing need for true Catholics was to protect the true Mass, and the true priesthood that goes with it, from the grave threat of their extinction by the ensuing Novus Ordo Mass (1969). Only when the survival of the Catholic Mass and priesthood was guaranteed some years later were Traditionally-minded Catholics able to look farther, so to speak, and ask themselves where the hurricane came from. They had had to begin by parrying this or that horror of the Novus Ordo. Only now they are starting to fit all the horrors together.
For indeed the diverse horrors of the Conciliar Revolution do fit together. They could never have attained their hurricane-force to almost destroy the Church, had not each horror re-inforced the others, providing a united system of errors to replace Catholicism even while resembling it! The new religion of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo is a masterpiece of the Devil!
Two recent analyses of the Conciliar religion as a whole are to be found in Professor Johannes Dörmann's four-volume series on the theological way of Pope John Paul II to the Assisi meeting of religions in 1986, and in the small but dense book on the problem of the liturgical reform, put out by Society of St. Pius X priests in 2001. These two analyses were made quite independently of one another, but they are remarkably similar in their presentation of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo as the same system of error (both books are available from the Angelus Press in Kansas City, USA).
Now has come another such analysis, this time by an American, "A Critical Examination of the Theology of Karl Rahner, S.J.", by Robert McCarthy. The German Fr. Rahner was one of the very most important "periti" or expert theologians at the Council, on which he had an enormous influence. Mr. McCarthy is a layman from Texas in his late 70's who, according to a biographical note in his book, has been puzzling for years over what made Vatican II tick. His little book on Rahner is remarkably readable, makes perfect sense, and presents an analysis wholly corresponding to the two analyses mentioned above. We have three hunters on the trail of the same beast! The beast should be driven from cover before long!
McCarthy's "Critical Examination" is remarkably readable insofar as the writings of Rahner himself are notoriously obscure. Scholars may then dismiss McCarthy's book on the grounds that McCarthy reads no German, so he has had to base his analysis largely on English translations of summaries of Rahner's thinking by two of his German disciples. However Catholics who love their Church know that Vatican II left it in ruins, so if Rahner was one of those responsible, then either English is a surprisingly poor language, or what Rahner said and did must be discernible and describable in English. The question is not just a matter for scholars or a problem of language - it is a question of all-important Truth! So McCarthy's "Examination" may only be a summary of summaries, but if it fits the facts and responds to the ruins, then it is what we need.
Rahner, says McCarthy, started out from a hatred for that old Church and for that old Faith which descended by Revelation from God down to man. He held them to be wholly unfit for modern man, so he set about rediscovering Church and Faith in such a way as would fit modern man. Instead then of working, as Catholics always do, from God down to man to lift up man to God, Rahner set about working from modern man up to God so as to bring God down in a version of God acceptable to modern man. As a disciple of Rahner says, "Rahner himself has said that theology often gives the impression nowadays of providing mythological or at least unscientific answers... The theologian can only overcome this... by beginning with man and his experiences."
Notice that this principle of turning to man, as it lies at the heart of Rahner's whole system, so too it is the basis of the novelties of Vatican II which put man in the place of God. Modern man feels that he does not get enough credit from God, so with his feelings he will do an end-run around his Catholic faith.
Thus modern man feels himself to be not a bad guy, in fact he feels he is quite a good guy, so he can no longer believe in the old Catholic dogma of original sin, nor can he any longer believe that God's supernature, or supernatural grace, is so far above his own nature. Based on this feeling, or these "experiences", of modern man, Rahner comes up with his doctrine of the "supernatural existential", meaning that instead of original sin existing in man's nature, it is the supernatural, or grace, which exists in, or is built into, man's nature!
Thus Rahner, by starting from modern man's wonderful feeling about himself, has arrived immediately at those two major heresies of which Donoso Cortes said that they lie at the root of nearly all modern heresies: the denial of the supernatural and the denial of original sin. Now as a Catholic priest and theologian, Rahner could not come clean with such an overthrow of basic Catholic truth. Here, says McCarthy, is the explanation of Rahner's almost impenetrable obscurity, and his invention of phrases like "supernatural existential". However, what is obscure in the master is made clear by the disciples. Similarly Vatican II could not come clean with its overthrow of the old religion, because it had to pretend to be still Catholic, but that overthrow which is ambiguous in the Council's 16 documents is clear for all to see in the Council's fruits.
From Rahner's doctrine of the "supernatural existential" whereby grace and not the inclination to sin is built into man's nature, it necessarily follows that every human being, whether he knows it or not, or wants it or not, is in the grace of God! Logically, Rahner concludes that all non-Christians are "anonymous Christians", i.e. Christians without the name!
From which again it follows that if Jesus Christ's Church is the society of all Christians, then Christ's Church includes every human being! Therefore what Catholics always used to call the Catholic Church is for Rahner only a part of Christ's full Church, which is co-terminous with mankind. That is why in "Lumen Gentium" Vatican II decreed that Christ's Church is not identical with the Catholic Church, but merely "subsists in" the Catholic Church, in such a way that Christ's full Church can go way outside the Catholic Church and include, or subsist in, all kinds of other churches - or non-churches - as well! Here is the so-called "ecumenism" which is still ruining true Catholicism. Thus Vatican II followed Rahner in his total revolutionizing of the concept of the Catholic Church.
But if man is so wonderful as to have grace built into his nature, what need does he have of redemption or Redeemer? For Rahner as for modern man, evolution is true, so the wonderfulness of man means that he is always evolving higher, i.e. he is always from within himself rising above and beyond himself. Jesus Christ is simply that person in whom man evolved to the full above himself, i.e. into what men call divinity! And if man had not achieved this total self-transcendence in the person of the carpenter from Galilee, he would have achieved it or would achieve it in some other person at some other point in history! By this doctrine of God no longer coming down into human nature but of man instead evolving up into divine nature, Rahner fits together evolution and his turn to man, but he stands the Incarnation on its head!
Rahner similarly empties out the redemption, or the Cross. If modern man feels he is so wonderful, how can he feel that he sins, or does anything that really offends God? Besides - pardon the blasphemy! - God is a good guy like himself, so would not get upset anyway! Then how can man need to have been rescued from God's wrath by Our Lord dying for him on the Cross? Then what was the Cross for Rahner? McCarthy does not say, but maybe it was what Dörmann says it is for John Paul II (Redemptor Hominis) - a merely back-up demonstration of God's super-luv for man! (See the enclosed flyer for an overview of Dörmann, to be studied at the Doctrinal Session for men in Winona, this July 22 to 26).
Then for Rahner what are the Mass and the Catholic Priesthood? Since man has the "supernatural existential" or the grace of God built into him, then he needs neither atoning sacrifice nor sacrificing priesthood. So priests come, again, not from above but from below; they come not from a divinely instituted anointing or Sacrament of Orders lifting them above their fellow men, but from their fellow-believers around them freely consenting to their position. So for Rahner priests should be ready to hold a worldly job to demonstrate that they are on the level with their fellow-men. Hence the Vatican II priests we know, in lay jobs and in lay clothing. Conciliarism is Protestantism.
As for the Mass, McCarthy presents no specifically Rahnerian doctrine, but it stands to Rahnerian reason that sinners supposedly needing, for forgiveness, to partake in offering, through an anointed priest, a sacrifice to placate the anger of an infinite and offended God, no longer makes any sense to modern man. Rather we shall have good guys gathering in fellowship to share in a meal presided over by one of their own number (man or woman!) to express their caring and sharing - the Novus Ordo eucharistic picnic!
Lord, have mercy upon us! McCarthy's book is available for US$ 9 (postage paid) from Tradition in Action, P.O. Box 23135, Los Angeles CA 90023. Warmly recommended for anyone who wishes to puzzle out today's devastation of the Catholic Church.
This is one of the last Seminary letters your servant will write, because this August he is being appointed to head up the Society's Seminary in the Argentine, South America. Last April he had been for 20 years Rector of the SSPX Seminary in the USA, which is long enough for any priest to stay in one position. From September his successor in Winona, Fr. Yves Le Roux, may or may not continue this series of monthly letters, but you are begged not to interrupt the flow of your generosity which has made possible the Seminary's work for these 20 years: two new priests this June 21, Saturday, and some each year thereafter.
Thank you all, and God bless you.
+ Richard Williamson