September 2021: 1950s Catholicism Led to 1960s Apostasy
If you look up articles on Pope Michael, they usually focus on Vatican II as the beginning of the apostasy from the Catholic Faith. However, lukewarmness and laxity had gotten into Catholics long before Vatican II. Saint Augustine said: "Heresies are only embraced by those who had they persevered in the faith, would be lost by the irregularity of their lives." The lives of Catholics, clergy and lay was for the most part irregular in the 1950's and before. In the main, most were only Catholics in name only. They were not men and women of prayer, as we are all called to be. They were living with one foot in the world and another in the Church. They had become what We call the Church comfortable. We study in the Catechism about the Church Militant on Earth, the Church Suffering in Purgatory, and the Church Triumphant in Heaven. However, many who claim the name of Catholic prefer to be the Church Comfortable, living just as little for God as they can in order to sneak in the back door of Purgatory. It is this attitude, which permeates many to this day, which led to Vatican II. One priest put it that the Catholic way of life in the 1950's had been reduced to Mass on Sunday, fish on Friday and five dollars in the collection plate. (The minimum wage in 1950 was seventy-five cents.)
Let us consider this quote from the 20th century: "How many there are, alas, not only among the young, but among adults and those advanced in years, who know nothing of the chief mysteries of faith; who on hearing the name of Christ can only ask? “Who is he. . . that I may believe in him?”[John 9:36] In consequence of this ignorance, they do not consider it a crime to excite and nourish hatred against their neighbor, to enter into most unjust contracts, to do business in dishonest fashion, to hold the funds of others at an exorbitant interest rate, and to commit other iniquities no less reprehensible. They are, moreover, ignorant of the law of Christ which not only condemns immoral actions but also forbids deliberate immoral thoughts and desires. Even when for some reason or other they avoid sensual pleasures, they nevertheless entertain evil thoughts without the least scruple, thereby multiplying their sins above the number of the hairs of the head. These persons are found, we deem it necessary to repeat, not merely among the poorer classes of the people or in sparsely settled districts, but also among those in the higher walks of life, even, indeed, among those puffed up with learning, who, relying upon a vain erudition, feel free to ridicule religion and to “deride whatever they do not know.”[Jude 10]" This was written over a century ago by Saint Pius X in his Encyclical on Catechism, an Encyclical that was ignored as were the instructions of Pope Pius XI on this matter later. Saint John Vianney said: "We shall find out at the day of judgment that the greater number of Christians who are lost were damned because they did not know their own religion."
Joseph Ratzinger, later Benedict XVI wrote: "For believers, it was a remarkable phenomenon that their bishops seemed to show a different face in Rome from the one they wore at home. Shepherds who had been considered strict conservatives suddenly appeared to be spokesmen for progressivism." 1 However, the seeds of this apostasy go far into the past. In the work Passion of the Mystical Body of Christ, We trace the seeds back to the Protestant Revolt.
More recently a shift can be seen in the middle of the nineteenth century around 1859. Some blame the infiltration of the Catholic Church by the Secret Societies. In 1859 The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita was found and Pope Pius IX ordered it published. (It is reprinted in Key Documents to Understanding the Great Apostasy.) Pope Saint Pius X warned in the Encyclical, Pascendi: "That We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church's open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear." More recently a book was translated into English and circulated, The Story of Seminary Student 1025. (This is in print as The Real Story of AA1025)
Infiltration of the Church is indeed a great evil, but these infiltrators would have been unable to plant the seeds that grew into Vatican II and its perfidious spirit, if it were not for lax Catholics. Several saints have remarked that their only fear were lax Catholics. Lax Catholics are fertile soil for the seeds of error.
The Devil told Saint John Vianney, if there had been three priests like him, the devil would be out of business. The laxity began with the clergy. By the Twentieth Century, especially in the United States, the priesthood had become a career rather than a way of life.
The seeds of apostasy were planted in the 19th Century and began to grow. Pope Leo XIII wrote against liberalism and Saint Pius X wrote against Modernism. Unfortunately these forms of apostasy grew until they took hold of the Bishops who came to Vatican II.
The seeds of Religious Liberty, which Pope Pius IX condemned, took root and flourished. Father Nicholas Walsh wrote a book, The Comparative Number of the Saved and Lost, at the end of the 19th century. In this book he argued that not only are the majority of Catholics saved, but the majority of people are saved. The Saints are not of this opinion.
It is Our opinion that Vatican II was actually the end, which had been sought for centuries by the enemies of Jesus Christ. Two sects grew from Vatican II. The first is the Conciliar Church, which also could be referred to as the Roman Catholic Church. Recall that the only real Vatican Council (1869-1870) decided not to call the Church Roman Catholic, as this implicitly implies there are other kinds of Catholics, when there are not. It does not matter what the sign says out front. What matters is what Faith is taught inside and visible unity with the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Pope.
The second sects, which is divided into many parts, was formed as a reaction to Vatican II, the Traditionalists. There are many who claim the title of Traditionalist, but in actual fact are not truly holding to the Traditions of the Catholic Church. Some of the teachings they hold are contrary to the Faith. First of all, the hold that priests and bishops are mere ministers of the Sacraments, when the Office of the Priesthood is far more than a ministry of the Sacraments. Of course, none of the Traditionalists with one or two exceptions claim the Office of the Priesthood or the Office of Bishop. In the latter case, claiming the Office of Bishop would bring them under the excommunication instituted by Pope Pius XII.
Saint Paul warned: "For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way." (2 Thessalonians 2:7) If the mystery iniquity was already at work just after the time of Jesus Christ, then it was working towards Vatican II. What happened with the death of Pope Pius XII was the removal of the withholding force, which was replaced by Antipope John XXIII-II, who reigned unopposed by a true Pope. He called Vatican II, which promulgated the new doctrines of the Conciliar Church under Antipope Paul VI. These doctrines were already held by many, who claimed the name of Catholic illegitimately. (Apocalypse 3:9)
Many want to return to 1950’s Catholicism, when we need to move forward to a true 21st century Catholicism. We need to move forward to stronger Faith and practice of that Faith. We need to live by the Gospels, not just read them.
1 Milestones, page 132