These words are from an article by Roberto de Mattei, reproduced at Rorate Caeli today. It is an important article, and one for which he has been banished from his (volunteer!) position at Radio Maria in Italy. The circumstances of that decision are at Rorate, with links to source material.
I wish to focus solely on the article itself, a reflection of the year that has passed since the "lightning in a serene sky", the announcement of the abdication of His Holiness Benedict XVI.
I reproduce it in full below. But one call to Catholic action strikes me immediately:
An acies ordinata is necessary, an army ready for battle which taking up the weapons of the Gospel, will announce words of life to the modern world that dies, instead of embracing its dead body.
That pretty much sums up real pastoral action. And without giving myself any airs, this is what I hope to do with this blog, when it is at its best.
Motus in fine velocior
by Roberto de Mattei [Feb. 12. 2014]
February 11, 2013, is a date which has entered history. It was on that day that Benedict XVI communicated to an assembly of astonished cardinals his decision to renounce the pontificate. The announcement was received “like lightning in a serene sky,” according to the words addressed to the Pope by the cardinal deacon Angelo Sodano, and the image of lightning which, that very day, had struck the Basilica of St. Peter, spread throughout the world.
The abdication occurred on February 28, but before this Benedict XVI announced that he wanted to remain in the Vatican as Pope emeritus, something that had never happened before and which was more surprising than the renouncement of the pontificate. In the intervening month, between the announcement of the abdication and the opening of the conclave on March 12, the election of the new Pontiff was prepared for, even if it appeared to the world to be something unexpected. More surprising than the identity of the one elected, Jorge Mario Bergolio from Argentina, was the new name chosen by him, Francis, almost as if to represent an unicum, and what struck the people most of all was his first speech in which, after a colloquial “good evening,” he introduced himself as “bishop of Rome,” a title which is due to the Pope, but only after that of Vicar of Christ and successor of Peter, which constitute its presupposition.
The photographs of the two Popes who prayed together on March 23 at Castelgandolfo, offering the image of a new papal “diarchy,” increased the confusion of those days. But that was only the beginning. There was the interview on the return flight from Rio de Janeiro, July 28, 2013, with the words “who am I to judge!” destined to be used to justify every transgression. There followed the interviews of Pope Francis by the director of “Civiltà Cattolica” in September and the one by the founder of daily “La Repubblica” in October, which had a greater mass media impact than his first encyclical Lumen fidei. It is said that they were not magisterial acts, but all that has happened in the Church from that time derives, above all, from those interviews which had a magisterial character, in actuality if not in principle.
The encounter between Cardinal [-elect Gerhard] Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Faith, and the Cardinal Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the counsellors for the reforms of Pope Francis, has brought the confusion to its head. The traditional doctrine, according to Maradiaga, is not sufficient to offer “replies for the world of today.” It will be maintained, but there are “pastoral challenges” adapted to certain times which one cannot respond to “by authoritarianism and moralism” because this “is not the new evangelization.”
The declarations of Cardinal Maradiaga were followed by the results of the survey on the pastoral challenges of the family promoted by the Pope for the Synod of Bishops of 5 – 19th October. The SIR (Service of religious information [the news agency of the Italian Episcopal Conference]) has released a summary of the first replies which have arrived from Central Europe. For the Belgian, Swiss, Luxembourger and German bishops, the Catholic faith is too rigid and does not correspond to the needs of the faithful. The Church should accept pre-marital cohabitation, recognise homosexual marriage, accept birth control and contraception, bless the second marriages of divorcees and permit them to receive the sacraments. If this is the road which one wishes to take, it is the moment to say that we are speaking of a road that leads to schism and heresy, because it would deny the divine and natural faith, which in its commandments not only affirms the indissolubility of matrimony, but also prohibits sexual acts outside of it, and even more so if they are against nature. The Church welcomes all those who repent of their sins and who propose to break with the moral disorder in which they find themselves, but can in no way justify the status of the sinner. It would be useless to affirm that the change would regard only the pastoral praxis and not the doctrine. If correspondence is lacking between the doctrine and the praxis, this means to say that it is the praxis which makes the doctrine as has already been happening, unfortunately, since the II Vatican Council until now.
Must the Church give replies which are new and “in step with the times”? Very differently did the great reformers in the history of the Church behave, such as St. Peter Damian and St. Gregory the Great who, in the XI century, would have had to justify the simony and nicolaism of the priests, in order not to render the Church alien to the reality of their time, and instead they denounced these wounds with words of fire, starting the reform of customs and the restoration of sound doctrine.
It is the spirit, intransigent and without compromise, of the Saints which today is dramatically absent. An acies ordinata is necessary, an army ready for battle which taking up the weapons of the Gospel, will announce words of life to the modern world that dies, instead of embracing its dead body. Between the Council of Trent and the French Revolution, the Jesuits offered this nucleus of combatants for the Church. Today all the religious orders suffer decadence, and if, amongst these, one appears rich in promise, it is inexplicably suppressed. The case of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, which exploded in July, has brought to light an evident contradiction between the continuous reminders of Pope Francis for mercy, and the stick assigned to the commissioner, Fidenzio Volpi, to annihilate one of the few religious institutes still blossoming today.
The paradox does not end there. Never before as in the first year of the pontificate of Pope Francis, has the Church so renounced one of its divine attributes, that of justice, to present itself to the world as being merciful and benedictory, but never before as in this year has the Church been the object of such violent attacks from the world towards which it extends its hand.
Homosexual marriage, being claimed by all the great international organisations and by almost all of the western governments, contradicts head-on, not only the faith of the Church, but the very natural and divine law which is written in the heart of every man. What are the great mass mobilizations which occurred above all in France with the Manif pur tous, but the reaction of the conscience of a people to a legislation which is both unjust and against nature? But the immoralist lobbies are not satisfied with this. What matters to them is not the affirmation of the presumed homosexual rights, as much as the negation of the rights of humans and of Christians. Christianos esse non licet: the blasphemous cry which was made by Nero and Voltaire, re-echoes in the world today, whilst Jorge Mario Bergoglio is chosen by the worldly magazines as man of the year.
The events succeed one another more quickly. The latin motus in fine velocior is commonly used to indicate the faster passing of the time at the end of an historical period. The multiplication of events, in fact, shortens the course of time, which in itself does not exist outside of the things that flow. Time, says Aristotle, is the measure of movement (Physics, IV, 219 b). More precisely we define it as the duration of changeable things. God is eternal precisely because He is immutable: every moment has its cause in Him, but nothing in Him changes. The more one distances himself from God the more chaos, produced by the change, increases.
February 11 marked the start of an acceleration of time, which is the consequence of a movement which is becoming vertiginous. We are living through an historical hour which is not necessarily the end of times, but certainly the end of a civilization and the termination of an epoch in the life of the Church. If at the end of this epoch, the clergy and lay Catholics do not take their responsibility very seriously, there will inevitably be realised that fate which the visionary of Fatima saw unveiled before her own eyes:
“And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father.’ Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious were going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.”
The dramatic vision of May 13 should be more than sufficient to urge us to meditate, pray and act. The city is already in ruins and the enemy soldiers are at the gates. He who loves the Church let him defend Her, to hasten the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.