The New Catechism
We remember that the problem raised by the publication of Pierres Vivantes and of Parcours (modem catechisms put out by the French Bishops) was the subject of grave tensions between the French Episcopate and Rome. Cardinal Ratzinger had, both in Paris and in Lyon, publicly criticized both of these works as he underscored the problem of a true catechesis.
In answer to this call to order, the French Episcopate brought nothing but a minor touching-up to Pierres Vivantes before publishing, in 1991, a Catechism for adults, which then received Roman approval.
More than 400 years after the Council of Trent, the publication of this Catechism of the Catholic Church does indeed constitute an event of far-reaching consequences. The mass media was on hand to give great publicity and comment on the first day it was put on sale to the public. Termed "reactionary" by the "progressives" or left-leaning journalists, it numbers some 670 pages. It has four sections: "The profession of faith" (dogmas); "The celebration of the Christian mystery" (liturgy and sacraments); "Life in Christ" (morals); and "The Christian prayer."
It is not difficult to know what Archbishop Lefebvre would have said concerning the new Catechism of the Catholic Church (Ed. Mame Plon) had he lived to this day. Indeed, this Catechism will bring according to the wish of Pope John-Paul II, "a very important contribution to the work of completely renewing every aspect of Church life, a renewal called for and implemented by the Second Vatican Council. (Apostolic Constitution Fidei depositum)"
And in actual fact, this work is the faithful image of Vatican II from which it quotes in abundance. Now, we know that Archbishop Lefebvre has spoken plainly on this subject. And he still speaks, adhuc loquitur .... As a concrete example, we present the doctrine of the conciliar catechism on ecumenism and on religious liberty followed by the judgement of the Founder of the Society of Saint Pius X.
ECUMENISM AND THE VALUE OF OTHER RELIGIONS
New Conciliar Catechism:
"Many elements of sanctification and of truth exist outside the visible limits of the Catholic Church: the written word of God, the life of grace, faith, hope and charity as well as other interior gifts of the Holy Ghost, together with other visible elements. The spirit of Christ makes use of these Churches and ecclesiastical communities as means of salvation whose strength lies in the plenitude or fullness of grace and truth, which Christ entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these divine treasures come from Christ and lead back to Him, thus begetting by themselves "Catholic unity. (Catechism #819)"
The Council took pleasure in exalting the salvific values, or the values - period - of the other religions. Speaking of the non?Catholic Christian religions, Vatican II teaches that "Although we believe them to be victims of deficiencies, they are not in any way devoid of meaning and of value in the mystery of salvation. "(Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis redintegratio, #3). This is a heresy! The only means of salvation is the Catholic Church. Insofar as they are separated from the unity of the true faith, the protestant communions cannot be used by the Holy Ghost. We can act only directly on the souls or make use of the means (for example, Baptism), which, in themselves, do not bear any indication of separation.
One can be saved in Protestantism, but not by Protestantism! In heaven there are no Protestants, there are only Catholics! (They Have Uncrowned Him, p. 176).
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND HUMAN DIGNITY
New Conciliar Catechism:
"In religious matters, no one may be forced to act against his conscience, nor must be prevented in acting within just limits, according to his conscience both in private as well as in public, either alone or with others." This right is based on the very nature of the human person whose dignity permits it to freely embrace the divine truth, which transcends the temporal order.
That is why it "even persists in those people who do not fulfill their obligation to seek the truth and embrace it. (#2106)"
"Liberty is practiced in the exchanges between human beings. Each human person, created in the image of God, has the natural right to be recognized as a free and responsible being. Everyone owes to one and all this duty or obligation of respect. The right to the exercise of liberty is a requirement, which cannot be separated from the dignity of the human person especially in moral and religious matters. This right must be recognized by civil law and protected within the limits of the common good and public order. (#173)"
"The Council of the Vatican declares ... that the right to religious liberty has its basis in the very dignity of the human person. (Dignitatis Humanae, #2)" This dignity consists in the fact that man, gifted with intelligence and free will, is ordained by his nature itself to know God, which he cannot do if he is not left free, (Dignitatis Humanae, #2). The argument is this: man is free; therefore he must he left free. Or again: man is endowed with free will; therefore he has the right to freedom of action. You recognize the absurd principle of all liberalism, as Cardinal Billot calls it. It is a sophism: free will is located in the domain of BEING; moral liberty and the liberty of action stem from the realm of ACTING. It is one thing what a man is by his nature, and it is something else what he becomes (good or bad in the truth or in error) by his acts! The radical human dignity is indeed that of an intelligent nature capable therefore of personal choice; but his final dignity consists in adhering "in act" to the true and to the good. It is this final dignity, which merits for each one the moral liberty (faculty of acting) and the liberty of action (faculty of not being impeded from acting). But to the extent in which man adheres to error or attaches himself to evil, he loses his final dignity or does not attain it; and nothing more can be founded on it! (They Have Uncrowned Him, p. 192-193)*
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, A NATURAL RIGHT TO IMMUNITY?
New Conciliar Catechism:
"The right to religious liberty does not consist in the moral permission to embrace error, nor is it a supposed right to error, but a natural right of the human person to civil liberty, that is, to immunity from exterior constraint, within just limits, in religious matters on the part of the political power. This natural right must be recognized in the juridical order of society in such a way that it constitutes a civil right. (#2108)"
"Therefore, the Council thus defined a simple natural right to immunity: the right not to be disturbed in the practice of one's worship, whatever it may be.
The craftiness, or at least the artful step, was obvious: not being able to define a right to the exercise of every form of worship, since such a right does not exist for the erroneous cults, they strained their ingenuity to formulate a natural right to immunity alone, which would hold for the adherents of all the cults. Thus all the "religious groups" (a modest term concealing the Babel of religions) would naturally revel in the immunity from, all restraint in their "Public worship of the Supreme Divinity. (what divinity is this. for heaven's sake?)" And they would profit also from the "right not to be prevented from teaching and from manifesting their faith (what faith?) publicly, by word of mouth and in writing" (Dignitatis Humanae, 4), (They Have Uncrowned Him, p. 196).
New Conciliar Catechism:
"If, by reason of particular circumstances in which people find themselves, a special civil recognition is given in the juridical order of the city to a given religious society, it is necessary, at the same time, that the right to liberty in religious matters be recognized and respected for all citizens as well as for all religious communities (#2107)"
"Can a greater confusion be imagined? All the followers of all the religions, the true one as well as the false ones, boiled down to absolutely the same base of equality, would enjoy one same natural right, under the pretext that this is only a 'right to immunity.' Is this conceivable? (They Have Uncrowned Him, p. 196).
LIMITS OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
New Conciliar Catechism:
"The right to religious freedom cannot in itself be unlimited, nor only limited by some 'public order' as conceived in a positivist or naturalist manner. The 'just limits' inherent to it (religious freedom) must be determined by political prudence for each social situation, according to the requirements of the common good, and ratified by the civil authority, according to those juridical rules which conform to the moral objective order. (#2109)"
Vatican II stipulates first of all that religious liberty must be confined within "just limits," (Dignitatis Humanae, 1) according to the juridical rules . . . consistent with the objective moral order, which are required in order effectively to safeguard the rights of all ... authentic public peace... as well as the protection due to public morality. (Dignitatis Humanae, 7)" That is all very reasonable, but leaves aside the essential question, which is this: Does not the State have the duty, and therefore the right, to safeguard the religious unity of the citizens in the true religion and to protect the Catholic souls against scandal and the propagation of religious error and, for these reasons only, to limit the practice of the false cults, even to prohibit them if need be?
This is why it must be said that the "limits" fixed by the Council onto religious liberty are only dust in the eyes, concealing the radical defect from which they suffer and which is not to take into consideration the difference between truth and error! Against all justice they pretend to attribute the same right to the true religion and to the false ones, and they then strive artificially to limit the damages by barriers, which are far from satisfying the requirements of Catholic doctrine. I would readily compare "the limits" of religious liberty to the security guard?rails on the highways, which serve to contain the swervings of the vehicles whose drivers have lost control. In the very first place, it would still be a question of reminding the drivers of their duty to follow the traffic laws! (They Have Uncrowned Him, pp.204-205)"
In the whole course of his life, faithful to the Catholic Faith as well as to the Tradition of the Church, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, never one to put forth any kind of personal doctrine, has always relied upon the Acts of the Magisterium in his unflagging opposition to modernist errors so frequently condemned by all of the popes until they were introduced into the texts of Vatican II and the post?conciliar errors and aberrations.
* The book They Have Uncrowned Him is available here