Friday, February 9, 2018

Nouvelle Theologians: Hans Urs von Balthasar

"Urs von Balthasar" (si si no no, February 1994, No. 6), "They Think They've Won!" Part 4:

Let us now focus our attention upon still another representative of the "New Theology" exalted today as being the "cornerstone of the Church" (J. Meinville), that ex-Jesuit from Switzerland: Urs von BaIthasar. If Maurice Blondel can be said to personify the typical modernist philosopher and apologist, and Henri de Lubac represents modernist theologians, Urs von Balthasar is the very incarnation of the pseudo‑mystical and ecumenical aspect of modernism.

We have presently in hand the book Urs von Balthasar‑Figura a Opera (Figure and Works) written by Karl Lehmann and Walter Kasper, those eminent representatives of the "New Theology." This book was written, as we read on the dust cover, "by his friends and disciples" (Henrici, Haas, Lustiger, Roten, Greiner, Treitler, Loaser, Antonio Sicari, Ildefonso Murillo, Dumont, O'Donnel, Guido Sommavilla, Rino Fisichella, Max Shonborn... and Ratzinger) with the intention of rediscovering all of the worth and importance of his [von Balthasar's] works as well of his person." Let us also discover them, for they are indeed very important.


Even as a very young man, he had a great passion for music and, like Montini, for literature much more than for philosophical and theological studies (ibid. pp.29 ff.). Only Plotinus' "mystical" philosophy could hold any "fascination" for him. On the contrary, both Scholastic Philosophy and Theology used to rouse his "raging" horror and disgust: "All my studies in the course of my formative years in the Jesuit Order constituted a fierce and bitter struggle with the desolation of Theology, with what men had done to the glory of Revelation; I could simply not bear this expression of God's Word. I would have wished to strike out left and right with the fury of a Samson, and with his awesome power I would have sent the temple crashing down on us all. But, since my mission was only beginning, there was no possibility of imposing my plans; I just had to live with my infinite indignation as long as things remained the way they were. I mentioned practically nothing of it to anyone. Przywara, however, understood everything even without openly revealing it in words; as for the rest of them, no one could have understood me. I wrote the Apocalypse with that fury which proposed to destroy a world by sheer violence, with the intention of rebuilding it at all costs from the ground up" (ibid. p.35, quoted from the introduction to Erde und Himmel (Earth and Heaven).

The "mission" of this future demolisher of the Faith was taking shape. For the moment, the result of all this was that his studies with the Company of Jesus ended up with only "an ecclesiastical Bachelor's degree in Theology and Philosophy: von Balthasar never won a doctorate in these disciplines" (ibid. pp.33‑34). On the other hand, however, the young von Balthasar had also learned to jump on the bandwagon of all those restless systems and tendencies of modern "thought." In this, he received no small encouragement from "the great modernist theologians of his student years" (ibid. p.35). Erich Przywara at the University of Pullach‑Munich, who compelled him to "oppose Augustine and Thomas to Hegel, to Scheler, to Heidegger" (Urs von Balthasar, Prufet Alles, p.9) as well as encouragement from Henri de Lubac in the study center in Lyon Fourvieres.

"By chance and to my consolation - writes von Balthasar ‑ Henri de Lubac lived in the same house with us. He was the one who, besides our scholastic study material, referred us to the Fathers of the Church and used to generously lend us all (Balthasar, Danielou, and Bouillard) his very own studies and notes" (ibid.).

Thus it was that von Balthasar, "his ears stopped up with cotton wool, read all of (Saint) Augustine" and learned, through those generously loaned notes of de Lubac, to oppose with great affection, Patristics (i.e. the study of the writings of the Fathers of the Church as well as the science of their contents) to Scholasticism as personified in Saint Thomas Aquinas whose religious terminology would never allow such interpretative games as those which the "new theologians" were playing with the texts of the Church Fathers" (cf. Figure et Oeuvre p.36).

It was at this same period that von Balthasar became acquainted with French poetry: Peguy, Bernanos, and Claudel which he would translate over a period of twenty years. Having completed his "studies," he who, according to de Lubac, was "the most gifted, the most talented man of our century" (a ploy used by the modernists in bestowing upon one another a halo of non‑existent greatness: see Saint Pius X in Pascendi) set out on his career with but a sprinkling of knowledge, as vast as it was superficial, in fields wherein he later proved to be but a trifler, a dabbler. Father Labourdette, O.P., in a pointed remark, described one of von Balthasar's first articles as "a brilliant but empty page" (ibid. pp.47, 48).

Armed with this "original fault," von Balthasar was now ready to swell, to increase the numbers of modernist ecclesiastics, "who, by a false zeal for the Church, lacking the solid safeguards of philosophy and theology, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines of the enemies of the Church and lost to all sense of modesty, put themselves forward as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not even sparing the Person of the Divine Redeemer, Whom, with sacrilegious audacity, they degrade to the condition of a simple and ordinary man" (Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi).

Lacking a solid formation in both philosophy and theology, an avid fan of poetry and music, von Balthasar set out, with unbelievable superficiality, to combine theology with literature, thinking to create a "theology all his own" using the same type of imagination as is used by an artist on his masterpiece.

"Only very much later on," he writes, "after the determination of my vocation was behind me and I had completed my philosophical studies at Pullach (under the influence of Erich Przywara) and my four years of theology at Lyon (inspired to do so by Henri de Lubac) with my fellow students Danielou, Varillon, Bouillard, and many others, did I come to realize just how great an aid, to the conception of my theology, was to become my knowledge of Goethe, Holderlin, Nietzche, Hofmannsthal, and especially the Fathers of the Church, to whom I was directed by de Lubac."

"The fundamental assumption of my work Gloria, was the ability to see a "Gestalt" (a complex form) in its coherent totality. Goethe's viewpoint was to be applied to the Jesus phenomena (sic!) and to the convergence of New Testament theologies" (Il nostro compito ‑ Our Task - Jaca Book, p.29).


On the 26th of July 1936, von Balthasar was ordained a priest in the church of Saint Michael in Munich. In 1939, he followed once again the 30 days spiritual exercises, but with Father Steger, who, "in German circles, was one of the first to understand Ignatian spirituality, not ascetically, but mystically instead" (ibid. p.37).

This tendency of his, for mysticism, had already showed itself in his encounters with the philosophy of Plotinus (205‑270, Roman philosopher of Egyptian birth), which would later prove to be so much the more damaging for von Balthasar, since he was "lacking the solid safeguards of both philosophy and theology" (Pascendi)

Soon after this, he was appointed chaplain to the students at Basel (Switzerland) where he once again busied himself with music and poetry (German, this time). He now set himself about organizing courses for the students: inviting, among others, such speakers as Congar, de Lubac, and Karl Rahner (1904‑1984, modernist theologian whose ideas carried the day at Vatican II); to bring these evening meetings to a close "he would take his place at the piano, rendering Mozart's Don Juan by heart..." (ibid. pp.39).

It was in Basel where he met the Swiss Calvinist theologian, Karl Barth (1886‑1968) who insisted on the necessity of returning to Scriptures, as well as the need of adapting them to our modern times. This Protestant theologian "becomes (after Przywara and de Lubac) the third great source of inspiration of Balthasar's theology."

Barth's theory of predestina­tion ‑ he writes ‑ "attracted and drew me powerfully and without cease" (Unser Auftrag, p.85), but that aspect which influenced him most of all was "Barth's radical Christo­centrism" (Figure et 0euvres, cit.p.43), from which came an ecumenism intended to gather everyone around a Christ separated from His insepa­rable Church, a Christ Who ends up being Luther's solus Christus, al­though filtered, as we shall see, through Hegel.

Vatican II, however, was still relatively far off in the future and, therefore, "in those years, meeting with Protestants in Switzerland was almost always and inevitably with prospective converts" (Henrici, S.J. ibid.p.44). Thus do we find, in 1940, von Balthasar baptizing (in spite of himself?) Beguin, a leftist, who, in 1950, was to succeed Mournier, a philo‑communist, at the head of a journal by the name of Esprit (N.B. The Osservatore Romano of March 3rd, 1979, reported that Beguin and Es­prit prepared Vatican II).

Even more important and worthy of note is the fact that von Balthasar baptized the "convert" Adrienne von Speyr, doctor, twice married (her second marriage was to Professor Kaegi), a "woman noted for her wit and sense of humor as well as for her tongue, highly regarded in society" (ibid.p.45).

It was not long before von Bal­thasar acquired his reputation of "conqueror of the converted" (op. cit.p.44). We would rather think it would be more precise to add: poorly or inadequately converted.

We have already mentioned Beguin. Concerning Adrienne von Speyr, we do well to mention even more explicitly that, in the same way that de Lubac was in an "intel­lectual symbiosis" with Blondel, so was von Balthasar in a "theological and psychological symbiosis" with Adrienne von Speyr (op. cit. p.147).

Adrienne von Speyr


Immediately following her con­version (Adrienne's), rumors and tales of miracles began to spread about miracles, which obviously occurred during conversations, dis­cussions and visits at her home. People whispered about (celestial) visions with which she seemed to be favored. As popular reports had it, "she had long and regular meetings with her spiritual director (von Bal­thasar)" (ibid.).

In order to publish Adrienne's mystical written works, von Bal­thasar founded a journal known as Johannes, then, together with Adri­enne, he set up "Johannes," a secu­lar institute. Following this, and still for Adrienne's sake, since his supe­riors evidently did not see clearly through Adrienne von Speyr's "mys­ticism," von Balthasar, on the very eve of his solemn profession, quit the Company of Jesus, choosing instead "direct obedience" to God.

From that moment on, von Balthasar worked in Adrienne's shadow, living in her husband's house, as he busied himself with literature, esthetic theology as well as with her (Adrienne's) "mystical" dictations, until 1960 Neo‑modern­ist general mobilization in "feverish" preparations for Vatican II: "Radio, TV: there was just no end to the hustle and bustle as well as to the urgent requests for my writings!" (ibid.p.59)


"This is not the place"‑ we read on p.51-"to submit Adrienne's cha­rismata to a critical and detailed theological examination."

Indeed, on the contrary, it would rather have been both the ideal time and place to do so, since von Bal­thasar himself declares: "Her work and mine are not at all separable: neither psychologically nor philo­logically. For they constitute both halves of a whole which has as its center a unique foundation" (p.60, quoted by Rechenschaft). And he begins Il nostro compito (Our Task) by writing, "The main goal of this book is simply to prevent any attempt of separating my work from that of Adrienne von Speyr, after my death" (p.130).

Our readers will recall the sen­sational eyewitness accounts of Adrienne von Speyr's two Italian "housekeepers," which testimony appeared in the Italian magazine Avvenire and Il popolo de Pordenone (see Courrier de Rome #141 (331), December 1992). We will not hark back to that. It is enough to say, as it should have been apparent to von Balthasar that all that needed to be done was to apply the Church's criteria to such cases to reject out of hand and declare Adrienne's "mys­ticism" to be utterly false.

Also, leaving aside the strange side of her "charismata," such as (a) the "stigmata" which she is sup­posed to have received while still Protestant, (b) the "possibility afforded to her confessor (von Bal­thasar) in being able to "transfer Adrienne back" to each one of her different life periods in order to record her biography," (c) her vir­ginity recovered, according to her, after two marriages, etc...

It is quite sufficient for us, as it should have been for von Balthasar, to apply the fundamental criteria in order to judge any so‑called "rev­elation" in the Church: "Any revelations opposed to dogma or mor­als must be held to be absolutely false. With God, contradiction is impossible" Antonio Rojo Marin, O.P., Teologia della perfezione cristiana (Theology of Christian Perfection, p.1077).

In the light of this fundamental rule, let us now examine, amongst many others, two particular out­standing points at the heart of two very grave conciliar and post‑con­ciliar deviations:

1) Adrienne von Speyr's "theology of sexuality."

2) her conception of the Church, the "Catholic."


According to von Speyr or to von Balthasar (we agree with von Balthasar that it is impossible to separate them), Adrienne is sup­posed to have received the heav­enly mission of "re‑thinking" the "positive value of the so‑called corporeity (or sexuality) within the religion of incarnation" (Urs von Balthasar, Il nostro compito, p.25).

Except for the fact that this "posi­tive value" is so "positive" that she ends up by nullifying the conse­quences of original sin as well as the Holy Ghost's solemn warning that "he who loves danger will perish in it." "The recommendations or ex­hortations of keeping away from one another, not to see one an­other, are, as far as the corporal domain is concerned, nowadays worn out," she writes in her journal (p.1703; see Il nostro compito, p.91). All of this clearly flies in the face of the Church's traditional teachings in the field of morality.

True to her "sexual revolution," Adrienne conceived and ex­pressed her "spiritual" relationship with von Balthasar through the crudest of sexual terms. Thus does she describe the genesis or origin of “Johannes,” their secular institute, “as a period of pregnancy, where the institute is the child, Adrienne the mother and von Balthasar the father” (Communio, May-June 1989,p.91)

According to Adrienne, this is how “Ignatius” (i.e. Saint Ignatius) explained the above relationship to her: “even though (Adrienne and von Balthasar) were virgins, this was a means by which a man could mark a woman” (Communio, May-June 1989, p.91 et seq. quoting par. 1645 of Erde und Immel, Adrienne's posthumous work).

And, in order to put to rest any doubt as to the language attributed by the "mystic" Adrienne to "Ignatius," she wrote the following "Man's spiritual fecundity is to be deposited in the woman's body that she may bear fruit. In this sense Hans Urs von Balthasar's fertility was deposited in the stigmata, which Adrienne had received for him” (ibid., from Erde und Immel, II, par. 680).

All of this is quite sufficient for us to reasonably ask ourselves if we are not here in the presence of a case of pseudo‑mystical sensualism. At this point, however, it is especially important to underline and call to the reader's attention the fact that in "the intelligence (or understanding) of the positive value of one's corporeity" on Adrienne’s part, is to be found one of the causes, if not the determining one, of the present‑day exaltation of sexuality unfortunately so much in fashion even with the religious, and hiding behind the popular slogan of "affective integration."

And von Balthasar? What about him? He also could not bear the thought "that the significance of the masculine and feminine body could be in any way diminished” (A. Siccari O.C.D. Communio, Nov-Dec. 1991,p.89).

And, in his aesthetically pleasing conception of theology, he lamented: "And whatever became of the ‘eros’ in theology as well as the commentary on the Canticle of Canticles (understood as an erotic poem, of course) which constitutes a part of the center of theology?" (Figura e Opera, p.58 sq.).

There is, however, something even worse. Von Balthasar is very much aware of the fact that the "mystical theology" of his visionary friend can in no way at all conform to Catholic doctrine. "In Adrienne's global theological works," he writes, "are to be found certain passages which, out of context, could some­times seem to be quite strange"­ - and which remain thus even in their context (Il nostro compito, p.14).

Then, in the preface, he clearly admits that Adrienne's works are "at the outset, astounding and maybe even disconcerting or bewildering for some readers" (ibid.p.9). Yet, all of this was not sufficient to raise doubts in von Balthasar's mind re­garding Adrienne's charismata, on the contrary... his doubts were now directed towards Catholic doctrine! "Things," he wrote, "are often such that today's theology is not (or is not yet) able to grasp or to comprehend what is indicated in Adrienne's vi­sions or in her dictations" (ibid.p.16).

All of which he could say only by admitting that Catholic doctrine is liable to evolve into self‑contra­diction, seeing that Adrienne's "mys­tical theology" is not obscure, or rather, not only obscure, but in utter opposition with Catholic theology. Unfortunately, von Balthasar failed to apply (maybe because he did not know them) the necessary theologi­cal criteria to see his way clearly through Adrienne von Speyr's "mys­ticism," but he did share, together with Blondel and de Lubac, that new vitalist and evolutionist notion of truth which claims that in God and therefore in the development of Catholic doctrine "contradiction is possible."

This will appear even more clearly in the second point which we intend to examine and which will help us to understand the storm of ecumenical madness which has, in its unabated fury, swept along many highly‑placed dignitaries of the Catholic Church.


Adrienne maintained that Heaven had entrusted an ecclesias­tical mission to von Balthasar and to herself. Urs von Balthasar mentions this in Il nostro compito (p.61). In a "Marian" vision, Adrienne says to God: "We both (Adrienne and von Balthasar) wish to love You, to serve You, and to thank You for the Church You have entrusted to us."

These last words, Adrienne con­tinues, were uttered in an impro­vised manner and were dictated by the Mother of God, that is to say, by us (the Mother of God and Adri­enne); "we spoke those words both of us together, and for a fraction of a second, she placed the child in my arms, but it was not only the child, it was the Una Sancta (the Church) in miniature, and seemed to me, to represent a unity of everything that has been entrusted to us and which constitutes a work in God for the Catholic."

And just what are we to under­stand by this other "child" of Adri­enne and von Balthasar, this "Church" called "Catholic" that God is supposed to have entrusted to them? In the introduction of Bar­bara Albrecht's book, La Mystique Objective d’Adrienne von Speyr (Jaca Book, p.72), we come across this astounding affirmation concerning Adrienne the "mystic": "Even though [Adrienne] clearly and deci­sively broke away from a Protestant form of Christianity by some inte­rior necessity, her own concept of ‘Catholic’ is lacking in any sort of confessional limits whatsoever." Therefore, although Adrienne's break from Protestantism was clear and decisive, her conversion was, on the contrary, anything but clear and decisive, unless we are forced to give to the word "Catholic" a new meaning altogether different from that which it had in the past.

Incidentally, it is worth noting that what Barbara Albrecht has writ­ten, tallies perfectly with the pub­lished testimony of Adrienne von Speyer's truly Catholic house­keeper, who clearly affirmed: "I, also, have read ...this story about a `Mystic.' And I do not like any of this at all. Why do they write such stupid nonsense? Madam (Adrienne) was not (truly) of the Church do you know that she used to go to Mass only twice a year, at Christmas and Easter? (Il Popolo di Pordenone, August 16,1992). See also Courrier de Rome, no. 141 (331), December 1992: "Summer Misfortunes," Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyer.

This same concept of the word "catholic," stripped of “any confessional determination whatsoever” is also to be found in von Balthasar's writings, wherein he declares his indebtedness to Adrienne for it. In his book Katholisch (Catholic) a work also published in 1975, he writes, "this little volume is meant as an homage to my masters (and men­tors) E. Pryzwara and H. de Lubac, as well as to Adrienne von Speyer, all of whom, in the face of a scholas­tic theology, revealed to me that dimension of catholic reality vast as the world itself."

In this "catholicity, which leaves nothing out" (ibid. p.32), everything finds its place together with its justi­fication: the true as well as the false religions, the Catholic Church and the heretical and/or schismatic sects, the sacred and the profane, religion and atheism. In a word: truth and error, goodness and evil. Exactly as in Hegelian dialectics.


Going more deeply into the matter, the review Communio ad­mits that today Urs von Balthasar stands exalted in his role of "theolo­gian of beauty" and "is simulta­neously criticized for his impen­etrable and complicated style" (May-June, 1989, p.83). Moreover, according to Communio, what we do know and what is said about him "constitute only the tip of the iceberg ‑ and honni soit qui mal y pense (evil be to him who evil thinks)."

Let us turn therefore our attention to that submerged part of the iceberg, that is to say, to that which is concealed beneath that obscure and complicated style in order to find out if there is actually any rea­son to think evil of it.

At first sight, von Balthasar's writings seem to be obscure and impenetrable while his behavior defies all understanding. For example, while working at demolish­ing Catholic theology and Catholic Rome, he bitterly and fiercely criti­cizes Karl Rahner and the so‑called "anti‑Roman complex"; he preaches an ecumenism as wide ranging as possible which embraces even pagan and idolatrous religions while criticizing the post‑conciliar Catholic's "tendency to liquidate" the Church.

However, all one needs is to have the right interpretative or ex­planatory key to his particular the­ology and everything becomes crystal clear. This key is to be found in idealism in general, as well as Hegelian logic in particular, which is diametrically opposed to Aristotelianism as well as to Thomistic logic and simple com­mon sense.

Whereas, in fact, Aristotelian logic is founded upon the principle of identity and non‑contradiction, according to which opposites ex­clude one another, Hegelian logic is based exactly on this contrary prin­ciple: opposites not only do not exclude one another, but they con­stitute the very soul of reality, being necessary although abstract mo­ments of reality. It is a synthesis of opposites wherein the said opposites (affirmation and negation; "thesis" and "antithesis") will break through their limi­tations and find their true reality.

Urs von Balthasar applied to ecclesiology this obscure and impen­etrable logic because he was not at all acquainted with the "fear of contra­diction," a fear which is inborn in anyone pos­sessing good common sense, but which is to­tally lacking in the preoccupations of…present ­day ecumenism. All those "Churches," all those diverse "reli­gions," those "atheisms" with their contradictions cause von Balthasar no fear at all. They should not, ac­cording to his way of thinking, frighten anyone since they simply constitute the moments (thesis and antithesis, affirmation and negation) of that process which will inevitably lead, through intrinsic or inherent necessity, to that synthesis which will be the "Catholic" one ("the catholicity which leaves nothing out," that universality which ex­cludes absolutely nothing of any kind) and in which the true Church of Christ will (finally, after two thou­sand years) be achieved.

Once we have this "key" in hand, von Balthasar's "impenetrable" theology becomes unmistakably clear and everyone can fathom and realize at last the tremendous enormity of that iceberg as it sails against God's Holy Church.


Only out of Hegel's "philosophi­cal delirium," could the present‑day ecumenical delirium be born. The truth is that with the above‑men­tioned key in hand, it is now pos­sible to discern and comprehend all of von Balthasar's enigmas as well as today's brand of ecumenism of which he is the "master" and "au­thor." We also now see, in fact, why in the ecumenical dialogue "only one thing remains: we must rely on the various Church and theological structures and rivalries between them" (Figure et Oeuvre, p.417). It is the necessary interplay of opposites which alone leads to synthesis: "If this formula is to be taken to heart... we must rely... on rivalries," writes von Balthasar, "it will require much from those who struggle in a Chris­tian way for catholicity: they should make it a point of attaching them­selves [Catholics as well as non­ Catholics] to no particular system which a priori we would consider to be all encompassing, offering the widest perspective and leaving be­hind any opposing points of view" (ibid. quoted by Aunspruch auf Katholizitat, p.66).

This encompassing of all will only be attributed to the "Catholic" position, which will constitute the synthesis, and will not be attributed to any of the presently existing sys­tems (including today's Catholic "system"), which are simply theses and antitheses destined to be over­reached by utterly vanishing into a synthesis.

Of the "systems" presently in place, only two things are asked: on the one hand, in order to favor or facilitate the synthesis, "the slacken­ing and thawing" of their own fixed stand regarding a point of view ex­cluding opposite points of view; on the other, "competition," that is, the promotion of "rivalry" between sys­tems, including those "anonymous forms of Christianity" (ibid. pp.69‑70).

In fact, what is known as the synthesis springs forth as a result of the interplay of opposites. All of this remains incomprehensible to Aris­totelian‑Thomistic logic, which, unlike Hegelian logic, is the logic of common sense.

Now we are in a position to understand why the present day ecumenism (take Assisi for example) puts the various "religions" on an equal footing, while at the same time separating them ("we do not want anything to do with syncre­tism" ‑ and this is true.) This ecumenism exhorts Buddhists to be good Buddhists, Catholics to be good Catholics (according to the New Theology, of course!), Protes­tants to be good Protestants, etc.

Thus are "competition," the in­terplay of "rivalries," of contradictions and of oppositions deemed essential in that process leading to the Ecumenical Super‑Church, the "catholic" synthesis of all the world's religions wherein only the contra­dictions and oppositions will become obsolete and disappear.

Now we are also able to under­stand why von Balthasar, just like de Lubac, went through his own personal post‑conciliar "crisis" which, however, led neither of them to conversion (see Figure et Oeuvre, cit. pp.434 ff.). For it simply could not fit into his own brand of logic (which he had borrowed from Hegel) that Catholics would simply sell off their identity ‑ Catholic be­ing also or rather above all, "com­munion between (opposites) which seem to exclude one another" (Communio, July‑August, 1992, Urs von Balthasar; Communion: a programme).

Thus, (according to him) contrasts are essential in bringing about the said "communion," exactly in the same way as in Hegelian logic, wherein thesis and antithesis are essential in the attainment of the synthesis. If the thesis were to with­draw from the "competition," it would then also become (an) antith­esis, and there would never be a synthesis realized (see Figure et Oeuvre, cit. pp. 417‑18).

This is why the Catholic Church (according to von Balthasar) must not "put between parentheses" but rather "integrate" (this is the key word for von Balthasar) into the "catholic whole" (that is, von Balthasar's Super‑Church) all that which is considered today as being a "Catholic surplus" (ibid. p. 446). In his highly publicized, obtrusive and quite misunderstood book The Anti‑Roman Complex, carrying the incredible yet highly revealing sub­title (which is in most cases omitted) How is the Papacy to be integrated into the Universal Church?," von Bal­thasar suggests precisely the man­ner in which to integrate "this ele­ment, which seems a burden and a nuisance, into the Catholic whole," which is most clearly and un-mis­takenly not the Holy Catholic Church.

This is the method that he sug­gests: the Church must no longer be only of Peter, but also of Paul, of Mary and of John (ibid. p.447). And thus does the primacy of jurisdic­tion, (dogmatically) defined by Vati­can I, disappear behind some vague primacy of charity invented by von Balthasar (and by his "separated brethren"), and in favor of which John‑Paul II has, for many years now, been traveling all over the world and explaining to journalists that he has not only received Peter's charisma, but also that of Paul!


Yet, it is quite sufficient to know the catechism of the Catholic Church (this does not refer to the new one) to realize and understand that von Balthasar's ecumenism is nothing but a veritable proposition leading directly to apostasy.

Christopher Schonborn, edito­rial secretary (Let the reader be warned!) for the New Catechism, on the occasion of the first anniver­sary of von Balthasar's death, explained and illustrated this so‑called ecumenism in Saint Mary's Church in Basle, Switzerland (see Figure et Oeuvre, cit. pp. 431 ff).

And just what is meant by von Balthasar's ecumenism? It consists in "the integration in the whole of the Catholic" (ibid. p.448), a Catho­lic, which does not yet exist and remains for the moment "but a promise, an eschatological hope." Here, in fact, is how Schonborn explains the "ecumenical signifi­cance" of the "figure" of Mary in Balthasar's ecumenism: "In Mary, the Church appears as the holy and immaculate Church, in which the full figure of the Church, its ‘Catho­licity,’ is not only a promise, an eschatological hope, but rather its fullness already achieved."

Thus, in flagrant contradiction with the constant and infallible Faith of the Church repeated by Pope Pius XI in Mortalium animos, and contrary to the dogma that each Catholic is duty‑bound to profess, (Credo Ecclesiam Unam, Sanctam, Catholicam), the catholicity is not (according to von Balthasar) a real­ity which has already been existing for two thousand years, but rather a reality which is yet to be realized. It is simply "a promise, and eschatological hope," in which we are not told why we should have any trust, for if things were really so, all the promises of immediate real­ization made by Our Lord Jesus Christ would have come to nothing.

In what, then does the actual Catholic Church consist, according to von Balthasar? It consists simply in one "system" amongst so many others; in one of the many "ecclesial configurations," theses or antitheses, and which will, one day, become obsolete and utterly vanish in the "catholic" just as will all the various sects, idolatrous and pagan religions together with all of the different "marxisms."

In fact, according to von Bal­thasar, in Catholicism no less than in Protestantism, "the negation of the other, the refusal of commun­ion" has supposedly produced "a unity which in substance merely consisted in their gathering about a rigid point of view" (see Figura et Oeuvre, p.407).

He considers the Catholic Church as being "the Roman real­ization of Catholicity" (ibid. p.405). The Catholic Church, exactly in the same way as the heretical and/or schismatic sects, Judaism itself and the other "anonymous forms of Christianity," constitutes "the whole in the fragment," wherein the whole is the "Catholic" and the Catholic Church is but one of the many frag­ments, which inevitably recalls the whole.

"Each fragment," writes von Balthasar, "immediately recalls to mind that sacred vessel from whence it came. Each piece is read by the mind, starting from the entire vessel still intact" (Figure et Oeuvre, p.409), and the Catholic Church is simply considered to be but a "fragment," a "piece" amongst others.

And so, it is now clearly seen why we are no longer taught that Christ's Church is the Catholic Church, but rather, we are continu­ally taught with Vatican II (see the New Catechism) that the Church of Christ "subsistit in," that is, subsists in the Catholic Church, exactly in the same way as "the whole in the fragment."

This is why in "ecumenical dia­logue," Catholics, in matters of Faith, must, just as in all the other reli­gions, learn: "For Catholics, it is supremely imperative that they si­lence the voices of those who sug­gest and refer us to some missing piece ("fragment") or some almost worthless piece attached to the in­tegrity of the Faith" (Urs von Bal­thasar in Klein Fibel, p.92, quoted in Figura e Opere, p.444)

That is why today ‑ as Romano Amerio has written ‑ "they openly declare that unity must not come through individual conversions but through agreements reached by large bodies [the various theses and antitheses] such as are the Churches, and this unity must not be achieved by a return of the separated breth­ren to the Catholic Church, but rather ‘by a movement of all confes­sions towards a center to be found outside of each one of them [the evolving synthesis]" (R. Amerio, Iota Unum, Nouvelles Editions Latines, p.461).

At this point, his propositions favoring apostasy, that is, the aban­donment of the entire Doctrine of the Faith, have become simply fla­grant. Indeed, where are we to find Divine Revelation in all its purity and integrity, if not in the Catholic Church? Such an underhanded pro­posal calling for the exodus of Catho­lics from the Catholic Church is tantamount to apostasy: "Faith in Jesus Christ will not remain pure and uncontaminated unless it be sustained and defended by faith in the Church, pillar and ground of the truth (I Tim. 3:15)" (Pius XI, Mit Brennender Sorge).


In conclusion, it must be noted that von Balthasar, following the example of Blondel and de Lubac, cultivated "his" theology in open contempt for the Magisterium of the Church, particularly for Pope Saint Pius X, who in his encyclical Pascendi (1907), condemned that brand of ecumenism, which leads inevitably to the naturalism of the modernists. He was also filled with scorn for Pope Pius XII, who in Humani generis condemned any at­tempt at conciliating idealism, and therefore Hegelianism, with Catho­lic theology while also condemning that ecumenism in which they would have been "unified, yes, but in a common ruin."

“Just where is the new theology, inspired by its new masters, leading to? Where, indeed, if not directly to the path of scepticism, fantasy and heresy?" wrote Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange in 1946. And the new "masters" were Hegel and Blondel, whom Fassard, (a member in de Lubac's "gang") used to call "our Hegel" (see A. Russo, [Henri de Lubac: teologia e dogma nella storia. L'influsso di Blondel Rome, 1990] H. de Lubac: Theology and Dogma in History: The Influence of Blondel).

But nowadays in the field of ecumenism, we have passed the stage of fantasy and have reached the point of sheer delirium.

In one of the most scandalous "ecumenical" documents, "Useful sug­gestions for the proper presentation of Judaism" by the Commission for Relations with Judaism presided over by Cardinal Willebrands, (see Courrier de Rome, no.64 [254] Octo­ber 1985), we read that Catholics and Jews "even if they start off by holding different points of view [i.e. opposite] tend toward analogous [sic!] or similar goals: the coming or the return of the Messiah." This represents exactly the thought (if it can be so called) of von Balthasar, who like Hegel, seeks a way of bring­ing into accord opposites by doing violence to the reality of facts: "Peter, the renegade, leaving it up to the Lord to judge, seeks solidarity [sic!] with the Jews [who crucified Jesus Christ]... together with you Jews, we Christians are also awaiting the coming ‑ second coming of the Messiah" (Urs von Balthasar, Communio: A Program, reprinted in Communio, July‑August 1992, p.57).

Nevertheless, von Balthasar, to­gether with his new theology com­rades, could never have imposed their foggy misconceptions and delusions, lacking as they are in the strength or virtue of reason as well as in the power of divinely revealed truth, if Giovanni Battista Montini (Pope Paul VI) had not acceded to the throne of Peter, but... this inept philomodernist theologian put his very high authority at the service of the "new theology" while his suc­cessor has been its euphoric propa­gator throughout the world. But we will be coming back to this later.

Hirpinus, translated from Courrier de Rome, June, 1993

  • SYNCRETISM: The attempted reconciliation of conflicting or opposing beliefs.

  • DIALECTICS: Any play of ideas bringing together opposites and attempting to resolve them.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Nouvelle Theologians: Henri de Lubac

"Henri de Lubac: A Master Who had Never Been a Disciple" (si si no no, December 1993, No. 5), "They Think They've Won!" Part 3:

Let us now turn our attention to the father of the "new theology," Henri de Lubac, SJ. We shall begin with his philosophical formation, for this will clearly underscore his scornful attitude and contempt for authority, as well as for all the directives coming from Roman officials who were truly Catholic. All this took place even in those early years when the present day crisis in the Church was only being prepared. In order to combat the modernists' attacks against the Church, Saint Pius X had ordered the "immediate removal of any and all modernist (or suspected modernist) members of teaching staffs, in seminaries or houses for the formation of members of religious orders. He also commanded to be excluded from ordination "anyone who could even be in any way suspected of having the least attachment to doctrines (already) condemned by the church, as well as anyone favoring harmful novelties. (Motu Proprio, November 18, 1907)"

Henri de Lubac

If these orders had been duly complied with, the young de Lubac would never have been ordained. He, himself, in his book, Memoire autour de mes oeuvres, (Jaca Books, Milan), acknowledges his sympathy or liking for "Catholic liberalism," which had already been repeatedly condemned by several Roman Pontiffs. This fondness for liberalism prompted him to "run after those turbulent systems and tendencies of modern thought" (P. Parente, La theologie, ed. Studium).

Writing, for example, about Cardinal Couille, de Lubac states: "I glorified him since my adolescence on account of the memory of Monsignor Dupanloup, whose colleague he was" [1802-1878; he was one of the leaders of Catholic liberalism. - Translators note]. Msgr. Dupanloup, that "hero," or rather, the man who de Lubac had considered a "saint" in his youth, had in reality been a leading figure of liberal thought throughout Vatican Council I (Dec.8, 1869 -July 18, 1870). He left that Council before the end in order not to be present at the solemn proclamation of the dogma of Papal Infallibility, to which he was vehemently opposed.

On the other hand, referring to Msgr. Lavallee, Rector of the Catholic Faculties of Lyon, de Lubac writes, "what has always bothered me to no end with him was. ... His reputation as an (extreme) traditionalist" (p.5). This loathing, this horror for "Integrism" and "integrists" (i.e. those Catholics holding to Tradition in its entirety) will never leave de Lubac until the end of his life, as we shall presently see. Against the mounting modernist attacks, Saint Pius X, as well as all of his successors, had confirmed time after time the obligation of "religiously following the doctrine, method, and principles of Saint Thomas Aquinas" (Saint Pius X, Motu Proprio, cited. Also Pius XII, Humani generis, 1917 Code of Canon Law, 1366,2). But in the Jesuit centers of religious formation attended by de Lubac, little importance was attached to these orders coming from Rome. Indeed, they were held to be of no account, of no importance at all. Thus, it was in the course of his philosophical studies in Jersey (1920-1923), the young de Lubac would "passionately read ‘L’Action’, ‘La Lettre' [concerning apologetics], as well as other works written by [the modernist] Maurice Blondel (1864-1949). Though a praiseworthy exception, some of our professors whose prohibitions were usually severe, nevertheless permitted, without encouraging us however, to follow Maurice Blondel's philosophy" (Memoire, p.10).

Furthermore, on page 192 of the same book, he writes, “Amongst the lesser-known [modernist] authors of the day, we were especially 'crazy' about Lachelier [a follower, like Blondel, of Kantian philosophy], who was recommended to us by Fr. Auguste Valensin more for his style than for his ideas [but that style was permeated with those ideas]. Let us bear in mind that in those days, as far as the students were concerned, such [modernistic] readings constituted, in the main a forbidden fruit. But thanks to indulgent professors and counsellors, they were never considered to be a clandestine or underground activity.”

Thus, it was that the young de Lubac, instead of receiving a serious and sound philosophical formation which constitutes that essential foundation for a serious and sound formation in Theology, suffered a serious deformation "thanks to overly-lenient professors and counsellors," through the avid reading of 'philosophers' contaminated with immanentism and subjectivism.


The damage caused by such a warped and corrupt 'formation' could only be as enormous as it was irreparable; "Since the traditional doctrine taught by Saint Thomas (Aquinas) is the strongest, as well as being the most enlightened and sure in its principles, let us follow the Church on this important point. Our duty is clearly to arm ourselves with this strength and light in order to rule out any and all risky or false theories. Do we not often sadly see just the opposite? Some people 'study' in a haphazard or careless manner, a drab and lifeless philosophy or theology, completely lacking in cohesion or consistency, and then dabble in the writings of Saint Thomas and in Tradition. This contact can in no way be called a true and valid formation; moreover, it utterly distorts and nullifies from the very outset any effort in acquiring scholastic and traditional ideas."

"The Church insists on a solid formation based on Thomism and Tradition" (The Study of Tradition, Aubry). Since Saint Thomas Aquinas has proven to be such a sure, richly productive and incomparable guide, he is the one person, first and foremost, to whom we must turn. It is his pure doctrine that most constitutes the solid foundation of theological formation. To be truly formative, studies in Thomism must not come nor be considered as a secondary and optional matter" (Lauvaud: La Vie Spirituelle, p.174, quoted by J .B. Aubry in L'etude de La Tradition, p.100). This fatal deficiency or lack of a solid philosophical and theological formation constitutes the basic or "original fault" clearly manifested by all "new theologians."

Henre Bouillard, a veteran of de Lubac's group of followers, offered the following "testimony" on the occasion of the inauguration of the Centre d'Archives Maurice Blondel (Archive Center of Maurice Blondel), given at Louvain, March 30-31, 1973:

"I was one of the young students of theology who, in the early 1930's, used to secretly obtain carbon copies of ‘L’Action' [Blondel's main work], a book which could simply not be found in book shops in those days. This book was suspect and it’s reading was difficult without a competent guide. But deeply disappointed with the scholastic philosophy as well as with the apologetics taught in the seminaries at that time [badly taught or taught without conviction by professors who were also themselves fascinated by the 'modern philosophy'], we looked there [into Blondel's 'new' philosophy] as well as elsewhere for an initiation into modern thought and we were especially looking for the means, which we could not find elsewhere, to understand and to justify our [new] faith." Even as a professor, Bouillard continued, "I must admit that, in the main, my lessons were largely based on Blondel's philosophical thought. Other theologians [his friend, de Lubac amongst others] had long ago set themselves on this [modernist] course, and others were now doing the same. I must, therefore, witness not only to all that Blondel taught me, but also to the great influence he has had on numerous theologians, and through these, on theology in general" (Centre d' Archives Maurice Blondel, Inauguration days, March 30-31, 1973. Texts of speeches, p. 41.).

Thus, it was with good reason that Father Garrigou-Lagrange, referring to de Lubac, de Brouillard and their like-minded friends said, "We do not think that they have abandoned the doctrine of Saint Thomas Aquinas; they never adhered to it because they simply never understood it. This is all just as worrying as it is distressing" ("La Nouvelle Theologie ou va-t-elle?" in Angelicum 23, 1946 [English translation here]).

As always, the "innovators" (modernists), as Saint Alphonsus so aptly put it, "expect to be taken for masters, although they were never even disciples" (A.M. Tannoia. Vita; Book 2; chapter 55).


Inevitably, together with these modernist "novelties," the young de Lubac became filled with scorn for those "Roman" directives. "Amongst those [modernist] philosophers," he writes, "whom I followed at the time of my formation, I am particularly indebted to Blondel, Marechal, and Rousselot" (Memoire). None of those three, however, was known for his orthodox views by members of the Holy Office nor, for that matter, by the Jesuit's headquarters in Rome (Ibid, p.13). And referring to Pierre Charles S.J., de Lubac writes, "in our view, his prestige had increased [indeed!] on account of the disrepute into which he had fallen [in the eyes of the Roman authorities]. The same may be said for Father Huby, following the case of 'Les yeux de la Foi' (the eyes of Faith), one of Rousselot's works which the Jesuits, Charles and Huby, tried over and over again to have published in the face of solid opposition from ‘Rome.’” (Ibid p.14).

Later on, de Lubac learned how to be really disobedient under the appearance of the most formal obedience. De Lubac explains, “Father Podechard, the most obedient of the sons of the Church, had just completed a course on Jahweh's servant at the theological faculty in Lyons. I mentioned that he should have written a book on it and have it published. ‘That is impossible’, he answered. ‘For what reason is it impossible?’ ‘Because there are, in my writings, crucial positions that are not at all admitted or tolerated these days. You see, Father, on the Biblical questions, the Church and I are not at all in agreement and, therefore, one of us must remain silent. It is only normal that it should be myself.’” (p.17).

All of this did not prevent "the most obedient sons of the Church" from speaking without such restraints or precautions in his lectures, for he set forth before those young ecclesiastics the very same modernist theses that he knew full well had often been condemned by the Church.

De Lubac learned this lesson very well and, in time, also learned to camouflage or conceal his real disobedience under the mask of a formal submission to the Church's teachings. Thus, it was not without good reason that Pope Pius XII, in Humani generis, warned that the "new theologians" were teaching modernistic errors "in a prudent and secretive manner...although they express themselves with prudence in their printed works, they nevertheless speak much more openly in their notes which they hand out in private, in their courses and conferences" (Ibid). All of this also holds true in the case of Von Balthasar; all of which serves to explain how the Catholic world, with Vatican II, finally "woke up" modernist without even so much as a groan (cf. Saint Jerome: "The world woke up Arian and groaned").


Abandonment of Scholastic philosophy was the "new theology's" first step in its rejection of the Church's dogmatic Tradition. This step, as we have previously seen in our last issue, was made by Maurice Blondel. The second step, i.e., the repudiation of Traditional Catholic theology, was undertaken by Henri de Lubac. "Modernist theologians," wrote Saint Pius X, "criticize the Church because She most obstinately and most definitively refuses, both to submit or adapt or alter her dogmas to the opinions of [modern] philosophy." On the other hand, "having discarded the ancient and traditional theology, they (the modernist theologians) busy themselves in projecting a spotlight on a new theology faithful in all points to the frenzied delusions of the modernist philosophers" (Pascendi). In fact, all theology presupposes or involves a philosophy, and de Lubac's "new theology" presupposes or rests upon Blondel's "new philosophy."

On April 8, 1932, Henri de Lubac, S.J. wrote to Blondel informing him that henceforth it was possible to "develop a [new] theology of the supernatural, because your philosophical work has prepared or opened the way for it" (op. cit. p.26). Quite recently, the L'Osservatore Romano devoted an entire page in its presentation (naturally full of praise and approval) of a new book, Henri de Lubac: Theology and Dogma in History-The influence of Blondel, ed. Studium, Rome.

The author, A. Russo, an Italian student of the German Walter Kasper (who is also counted amongst "Those who think they have won"), writes that the exchange of letters between de Lubac and Blondel "offers us an example of an intellectual symbiosis rarely seen in the history of thought" (p.307). However, in reality, it is a repetition of an old story, "birds of a feather flock together."

Many things served to unite Blondel and de Lubac: the same lack of confidence in the cognitive value of human reason (anti-intellectualism or even agnosticism and scepticism); the same lack of intellectual rigor (already noted by Father de Tonquedoc, S.J. in Blondel's works and is easily noted in de Lubac's writings); the same inferiority complex in the face of "modern man" (who, identified with the modern philosopher) is infected with the cancer of scepticism and subjectivism; that same fear of intellectuals, hidden under the apologetical anxiety of a "pacifying apostolate" (Blondel), of "remaining or of being thrown out" by a culture which refuses to hear Christ and His Church. They also shared the impossible view of reconciling or adapting modern pseudo-philosophy with the Catholic Faith as Saint Thomas had conciliated the philosophy of his time with our Holy Faith. However, Blondel and de Lubac had never realized that Saint Thomas had purified a philosophy, able to be refined, since it was fundamentally sound; but not even a genius like Saint Thomas (compared to whom Blondel is but a mouse at the foot of a mountain) could ever hope to weed out and purify those sophisms of the modern philosophers.

There is no conflict between the Faith and right reason (Denzinger 1799), but there does exist a conflict between the Faith and modern "philosophy," since this modern "philosophy" has strayed so far from sound reason. Wishing to "re-read" or revise the Faith along the lines of modern "philosophy," simply means to dissolve or ruin the Faith in a pool of modernist errors, without, however, liberating "Christian thinking," nor liberating Christians themselves from the ostracism of modern culture. All of this concerns error, which is not susceptible of conversion. As far as the victims of error are concerned, it must be said that it is very difficult to lead those back to the Faith who, like the modern philosophers, are deceived in their principles. (Summa Theologica IIa IIae; Question 156, Article 3, ad 2). In any case, those who are mistaken in principle need to be corrected at the level of those principles. Establishing the erroneous principles of agnosticism, subjectivism, etc., as the foundation for a "new Christian philosophy," and, thus, a "new theology," will inevitably lead to equally erroneous conclusions, since it is impossible to draw true conclusions from false principles. Thus do we see that the "intellectual symbiosis" found between de Lubac and Blondel, could only lead to very unhappy results and not only for the two persons directly involved.


Above all else, de Lubac and Blondel shared the same contempt for the infallible Magisterium. This scorn becomes quite evident when we consider that they were upholding (or more precisely, insinuating and diffusing in a more or less clandestine manner) their "novelties;" not against a different theological school on genuinely debatable questions, but rather against the Church's infallible Magisterium, in matters already possessing a constant and infallible teaching, as well as repeated condemnations, by several Roman Pontiffs, of contrary views.

Blondel and de Lubac, considered the supernatural as being a fundamental and essential thing for man, a necessary perfecting of nature without which nature would find itself frustrated in its essential aspirations, and, therefore, in an abnormal state. As a consequence of this error, they denied the possibility of admitting, even by simple hypothesis, a state of "pure nature." In doing so, they found themselves in opposition to the universal and constant doctrine of the Church regarding the gratuity of the supernatural (in other words, the supernatural as a free gift from God). If the supernatural were an absolute necessity of nature, it would no longer be free or gratuitous; it would then be owed to nature. If it is thus due to nature, it would no longer be supernatural, but…natural. As a matter of fact, naturalism is the very foundation of modernism, just as it also is the basis of the "new theology."

The gratuity of the supernatural has been constantly taught by the Church and upheld or defended by her against the errors of Luther and Baius, who also erroneously appealed to Saint Augustine just as Blondel and de Lubac have now done. [N.B.- Michel de Bay (Baius), 1513-1589, was a Flemish theologian and Chancellor of Louvain University and a forerunner of Jansenism. Influenced by protestant views on original sin, predestination, and grace, his interpretation of Saint Augustine in the form of 76 propositions was condemned as heretical by Papal Bull in 1567.]

In his struggle against modernism, Pope St. Pius X again confirmed the constant teaching of the Church, "We cannot help but deplore and most deeply regret once more that there are Catholics to be found today (here, Fr. de Tonquedoc could not help but think of Blondel) who although repudiating immanence as a doctrine, do, in fact, make use of it nevertheless as a method in their apologetics; and who do so, we declare, with so little self-restraint, that they seem to admit in human nature, as regards the supernatural order, not only to a capacity and a suitability [things which Catholic apologists have always taken care to emphasize], but rather to a true and strictly rigorous necessity."

Catholic philosophers, apologists, and theologians can admit in human nature no more than "a capacity or a suitability" (obediential potency) to receive the supernatural. Exceeding these limits will only serve to dislodge the very keystone of Catholic theology, which will then inevitably bring about the ruin of everything else - as we see nowadays when the "supernatural" is no longer that of Blondel and of de Lubac, but has changed into the "anthropological aspect" and "anonymous Christians" of Karl Rahner (1904-1984); or into religious indifferentism or "ecumenism"; and into the secondary importance of the Church as the means of Salvation (Courrier de Rome; no.131 [321], pp.2-7. "Eulogy of Father Henri de Lubac, one of the fathers of Vatican II."). The encyclical Pascendi came out in 1907. In 1932, Blondel, in evident contempt for the Church's infallible Magisterium, was still brewing-up, or as he put it, "ripening" his heterodox concept of the supernatural. At the time of his death, de Lubac, once praised and exalted as a model of "obedience" and "fidelity" to the Church, now in open contempt for the Magisterium, prompted Blondel to set up his naturalized supernatural as the formation of his "new theology."

In the same way, when these two modernists present and broadcast a "new" notion of "truth" (vitalist and evolutionary), they are well aware that this same notion has long-since been condemned by Pope St. Pius X, in Pascendi (Denzinger, 2058 and 2080) and later by the Holy Office on December 1, 1924. Yet, they continued imperturbably and rashly on their path of self-delusion.


What is really striking in the attitude of Blondel and de Lubac lies precisely in their way of passing themselves off as the indisputable criteria or models of truth against the age-old Magisterium of the Church: their cause is that of "authentic Christianity" (Blondel to de Lubac, 4-15-1945, and 3-16-1946, in A. Russo op.cit., p.373). They consider themselves to be prime movers of the return to the "most authentic tradition" (de Lubac in A. Russo op.cit., p.373), those who have brought new life back to the "ancient doctrine" (Ibid.). According to them, the "Christian thought" and the Church's Magisterium had necessarily deviated from that "ancient doctrine" in the course of the centuries, Pope Gregory XVI condemns this attitude, calling it "an absurd and most offensive allegation against the Church itself” (Pope Gregory XVI in Mirari vos). In his encyclical Pascendi, Pope St. Pius X gave a precise description to the modernists' warped conscience, which robs them of all hope of a possible repentance:

"What is imputed to them as a fault they regard as a sacred duty...Let authority rebuke them if it please - they have their own conscience on their side...and, thus, they go their way, reprimands and condemnations not withstanding, masking an incredible audacity under a mock semblance of humility. While they make a pretense of bowing their heads, their minds and hearts are more boldly intent than ever on carrying out their purposes - and this policy they follow willingly and wittingly, both because it is part of their system that authority is to be stimulated but not dethroned, and because it is necessary for them to remain within the ranks of the Church in order that they may gradually transform the collective conscience" (Pascendi 27).

And again: "Although they express their astonishment that we should number them amongst the enemies of the Church, no one will be reasonably surprised that we should do so, if, leaving out of account the internal disposition of soul, of which God alone is the judge, he considers their doctrines [which are the objective criteria upon which one judges], their manner of speech, and their action. Nor, indeed, would he be wrong in regarding them as the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church" (Pascendi, 3).


De Lubac, like Blondel (Courrier de Rome, April, 1993) makes use of the modernist tactics in order not to reveal himself and his doctrines too much so as to "remain within the ranks of the Church so that they may gradually transform the collective conscience" (Pascendi).

Despite all these tactics, the great Thomistic theologians of the day instantly understood exactly where his novelties would inevitably lead to. Immediately, the future Cardinal Journet noted that "de Lubac is no longer able to distinguish philosophy from theology" (Memoire, p.7), or even the natural from the supernatural, and later on takes him for a "fideist." (Ibid. p.20)

De Lubac had little difficulty in answering the "excellent" Charles Journet (ibid. pp.7 and 20), but such was not the case with the other Thomistic theologians. To their arguments, de Lubac will respond with the weapons of contempt and defamation of character.

In 1946, Father Garrigou-Lagrange sounded a solemn warning, "Where is the new theology taking us? It is taking us straight back to modernism...that which is true is no longer what it is, but what it is becoming, and is always changing and this is leading to complete relativism" (La Nouvelle Theologie... op.cit.). Moreover, in a personal letter, this great Dominican reminds Blondel, now quite advanced in age, of his grave responsibility before God. But in vain. De Lubac makes use of that same letter "to defame and discredit" its author, (A. Russo. op.cit.) and promptly intervenes in order to reassure the fretting, worried Blondel:

"That letter which he [Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange] has just sent you can be explained, at least in part, by the frustration he has suffered in seeing one of his articles refused by the (Thomistic) Review itself! He is no longer simply the narrow-minded person that we used to know. He has become an absolute maniac; for several months now, he has been busy fabricating a spector of heresy, in order to give himself the satisfaction of rescuing orthodoxy. He appeals to common sense, but he is the one who now lacks common sense. We can answer him that the simple fact of belonging to an order [Dominican] having 'Veritas' as its motto, does not confer upon him any privilege of infallibility." "You are not responsible for any of those theological deviations that he has simply imagined. At this moment, a strong integrist backlash is making itself felt, as denunciations, accusations, and gossip of all kinds converge in the room of Father Garrigou-Lagrange" (Quoted by A. Russo, op. cit. p.354).

Finally, on July 28,1948, he reaches the point of speaking of Father Garrigou-Lagrange's "simplistic views on the absoluteness of truth" (Ibid. p.356). Whereas Pope Pius XII, on the 17th of September, 1946, personally intervening on this very same question, set forth those same "simplistic views" identical to those expressed by Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange: views which have always been held by the Church regarding the absoluteness of truth. In a short but earth shattering, speech to the Fathers of the Society of Jesus, Pope Pius XII had expressed his unmistakably clear views on "the New theology, which must evolve just as everything evolves, as it progresses without ever being fixed once and for all." The Holy Father warned that "if we were to embrace or share such opinions, what would become of the immutable or unchangeable Dogmas of the Catholic Church? What would become of the unity and stability of the Faith?" (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 38,S., 2,13,1946. p, 385).

Sad to say, this Pontifical warning fell on deaf ears. Equally unheeded by de Lubac (meanwhile, Blondel had died) was the encyclical Humani generis (1950), reaffirming the immutability of truth while condemning outright de Lubac's "new theology of the supernatural." Commenting on this great encyclical, de Lubac wrote, "This (encyclical) seems to me, like many other Church documents, to be very unilateral, which didn't surprise me. That's to be expected from that form of document. But I didn't see anything in it that struck me" (Memoire, op.cit. p.240). To the lucid, even brilliant, criticisms and warnings coming from his great adversaries (Garrigou-Lagrange, Lalsbourdette, Cordovan, de Tonquedec, Boyer, etc.) he could only answer by contempt, defamation and attacks on their good reputations.

Writing to his provincial on July 1, 1950, he pleads, "It is true that I have been attacked by several theologians, who in general, are but little esteemed due to their notorious ignorance of Catholic Tradition or for whatever other motive" (Memoire, p.210). Further on, he speaks of "obstinate criticisms" of a group "bent on his destruction." (These are the same tactics used by "those who think they have won.") This reminds us of the unfair and insulting caricature of Father Garrigou-Lagrange published by Father Martini, S.J., who treated Pope Pius IX in the same manner in his book Vatican II - Bilan et Perspectives (Vatican II - An Appraisal and Prospects). De Lubac makes use of a "transverse" and identical system in the case of his companions of whom he sets himself up as defender. One example: whenever Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., who makes up his new theology through "science" (just as de Lubac makes up his new theology through "history"), is criticized for his theological errors, de Lubac steps forth crying that the real fault lies in "the ignorance of his critics on the actual state of science as well as in the problems derived thereof!" (pro-memoria note to his superiors, March 6,1947 in Memoire, p.1780).


Neither the warnings and official condemnations from the Roman Pontiffs nor the learned arguments of his eminent theological adversaries could serve to even scratch his self-assurance of being a "reformer." It would take all the dreadful disasters of the post-conciliar era to shake his unjustified self-confidence. Pope Paul VI, in his famous speech of June 30, 1972, on "the smoke of Satan in the Temple of God," gave us a good idea of the state of soul of de Lubac (and of Von Balthasar, for that matter), a speech also constituting the belated confession long in preparation and just as obstinately pursued: "We thought that after the Council (Vatican II), there would finally come a day of sunshine in the history of the Church. On the contrary, alas, there came a day of clouds, of storms, and of darkness instead."

The obvious impossibility of bridling or controlling the anti-authority protesters, together with the world-wide disasters heaping up around them, finally gave the lie to all the rosy illusions of the modern "reformers" and compelled de Lubac to make an "examination of conscience," as he has recorded in his book Memoire Autour De Mes Oeuvres, already quoted above. He remains, however, light years away from what could be called his conversion. At the very most, he admits that "this new age (of modernism) is no less [indeed!] subject to all sorts of aberrations, blunders, illusions, as well as the assaults of the spirit of evil" and he continues: "What I am able to perceive nowadays from all this turmoil, from all these assaults, does not cause me to curse my years of activity, but they do make me wonder and pose this question: Would I have not done better by taking into consideration more seriously, since the very beginning, my condition of believer, my role as priest and member of an Apostolic Order, in short, my vocation, to concentrate, mainly and most decidedly my intellectual efforts on that which constitutes the center of Faith and of the Christian life, instead of dispersing them in more or less peripheral domains as I did according to my tastes or the events of the day? ...Had I done so, would I not have prepared myself to intervene with a little more competence and especially with moral authority in the great spiritual debate of our generation? Would I not then, at this moment, find myself a little less unfit to light the way for some and to encourage others? For seven or eight years now, I have been literally paralyzed by the constant fear of facing, in a practical and concrete manner, those many essential and burning (moral) questions of today. Has it been a case of wisdom or one of weakness? Have I been right or wrong? Have I not finally ended up, despite myself, in the integrists' camp which horrifies me?" (p.389).

Amidst so many doubts coming to haunt him, there seems to be at least one that did not bother de Lubac's conscience; that is, that "integrism," the horror of which paralyzed him, was simply nothing other than Catholic orthodoxy, faithfully and infallibly kept and preserved by the Church, and that he scorned in order to disperse his efforts in "more or less peripheral fields" according to his "tastes or according to the events of the day" pretending all the while - which is even worse - to be a "master" in the Church without ever having been a disciple: "Blind they are and leaders of the blind, puffed up with the proud name of science, they have reached that pitch of folly at which they pervert the eternal concept of truth and the true meaning of religion; in introducing a new system in which they are seen to be under the sway of a blind and unchecked passion for novelty, thinking not at all of finding some solid foundation of truth, but despising the Holy and Apostolic Traditions, they embrace other and vain, futile, uncertain doctrines, unapproved by the Church, on which, in the height of their vanity, they think they can base and maintain truth itself' (St. Pius X, Pascendi quotation from the encyclical Singulari nos of Pope Gregory XVI, June 25, 1834).

Hirpinus (to be continued)

Translated from Courrier de Rome May 1993


An excerpt of three paragraphs from Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Humani generis rebuking Henri de Lubac and the new theologians.

Paragraph 26. Some also question whether angels are personal beings, and whether matter and spirit differ essentially. Others (e.g. Henri de Lubac, etc - Editor’s note.) destroy the gratuity of the supernatural order, since God, they say, cannot create intellectual beings without ordering and calling them to the beatific vision. Nor is this all. Disregarding the Council of Trent, some pervert the very concept of original sin, along with the concept of sin in general as an offense against God, as well as the idea of satisfaction performed for us by Christ. Some even say that the doctrine of transubstantiation, based on an antiquated philosophic notion of substance, should be so modified that the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist be reduced to a kind of symbolism, whereby the consecrated species would be merely efficacious signs of the spiritual presence of Christ and of His intimate union with the faithful members of His Mystical Body.

Paragraph 27. Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the sources of revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing. (Encyclical, Mystici corporis christi, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, Vol XXXV, p.193 ff.) Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation. Others finally belittle the reasonable character of the credibility of Christian faith.

Paragraph 28. These and like errors,…have crept in among certain of Our sons who are deceived by imprudent zeal for souls or by false science. To them We are compelled with grief to repeat once again truths already well known, and to point out with solicitude clear errors and dangers of error.

In these excerpts from Humani generis, Pius XII condemns the new theologians and demands the study of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Paragraph 31. If one considers all this well, he will easily see why the Church demands that future priests be instructed in philosophy “accordingly to the method doctrine, and principles of the Angelic Doctor,” (1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 1366,2.) since, as we well know from the experience of centuries, the method of Aquinas is singularly preeminent both for teaching students and for bringing truth to light; his doctrine is in harmony with divine revelation, and is most effective both for safeguarding the foundation of the faith, and for reaping, safely and usefully, the fruits of sound progress. (Acta Apotolicae Sedis, Vol. XXXVIII, 1946, p.307)

Paragraph 32. How deplorable it is then that this philosophy, received and honored by the Church, is scorned by some, who shamelessly call it outmoded in form and rationalistic, as they say, in its method of thought. They say that this philosophy upholds the erroneous notion that there can be a metaphysic that is absolutely true; whereas in fact, they say, reality, especially transcendent reality, cannot better be expressed than by disparate teachings, which mutually complete each other, although they are in a way mutually opposed. Our traditional philosophy, then, with its clear exposition and solution of questions, its accurate definition of terms, its clear-cut distinctions, can be, they concede, useful as a preparation for scholastic theology, a preparation quite in accord with medieval mentality; but this philosophy hardly offers a method of philosophizing suited to the needs of our modern culture. They allege, finally, that our perennial philosophy is only a philosophy of immutable essences, while the contemporary mind must look to the existence of things and to life, which is ever in flux. While scorning our philosophy, they extol other philosophies of all kinds, ancient and modern, oriental and occidental, by which they seem to imply that any kind of philosophy or theory, with a few additions and corrections if need be, can be reconciled with Catholic dogma. No Catholic can doubt how false this is especially where there is question of those fictitious theories they call immanentism, or idealism, or materialism, whether historic or dialectic, or even existentialism, whether atheistic or simply the type that denies the validity of the reason in the field of metaphysics.




One who holds the doctrine that says that all knowledge rests upon supernatural faith, thus denying the role of natural reason in gaining knowledge.


A biological term meaning the intimate association of two dissimilar organisms from which each organism benefits.


A piece of plausible but false reasoning intended either to deceive or to display intellectual virtuosity.

Nouvelle Theologians: Maurice Blondel

"The New Philosophy of Maurice Blondel" (si si no no, October 1993, No. 4), "They Think They've Won!" Part 2:

Let us now take a look at the "holy fathers" of this new theology. The first step they take in their liberation from traditional Catholic theology and dogma is by abandoning scholastic philosophy. It is thus hardly surprising to hear Urs von Balthasar stating, "Hell exists, but is empty!" Balthasar bases himself upon the philosopher Maurice Blondel - who occupies a small place in the history of philosophy, but a very important place in the history of this modernist new theology of the Church.

Maurice Blondel


Throughout his life (1861-1949), the Frenchman, Maurice Blondel, was a center of controversy, especially as one couldn't pin him down to his errors - since, like all modernists, he would wriggle and slither out of such attempt. This attitude was stigmatized by an adversary of Blondel's, Fr. Tonquedec O.P., in the Dictionnaire Apologetique de la Foi Catholique:

"Despite efforts to base my arguments with Blondel on documentary evidence, I soon realized that the public did not have access to his works. The texts I quoted were from books that were no longer available on the library shelves; nor the brochures that contained his most important articles. Furthermore, his doctrines, in being the continual object of controversy, were continually re-explained, modified, etc. The result being that his doctrine cannot be nailed down or grasped, since it changes with time and differing circumstances. Very few persons, even amongst those who study religious philosophy, are capable of grasping the meaning of the statements and writings of Blondel and his friends."

Who were Blondel's friends? The answer is Fr. Lubac and his gang: Bouillard, Fessard, von Balthasar, Auguste Valensin, etc. In other words, the founding fathers of the new theology, condemned by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis. This new theology was, in the words of Fr. Henrici SJ., elevated to the position of the "official theology of Vatican II."


Blondel's followers, Lubac and his gang had their reasons for wanting to leave Blondel's philosophy enveloped in a vague fog. This would give birth to a new, vague, "Christian" philosophy. Blondel presented his philosophy as an apologetical method of winning over modern man. He says that classical proofs fail to penetrate the minds of modern men, which are penetrated by Kantian positivism. If you want to save souls, then you must go to where they are and if they have fallen into subjectivism, then it if through subjectivism that they must be sought.

This subjectivist philosophy typical of Protestantism and Modernism, so ruinous to Catholic dogma, was already condemned by Pope Pius X in his encyclical Pascendi. For Blondel, Catholic Truth rests more on the level of subjectivity than objectivity. Truth is more related to the will and experience, rather than intelligence. Hence truth is what we want and feel it to be. Faith does not pass from the mind to the heart, but from the heart to the mind! This leads us into the field of scepticism and agnosticism, which is the foundation of modernism. With this elevation of the will and feelings, man believes what he wants to believe, relying on his feelings and impressions, devoid of all objectivity. This explains the current exaltation and preoccupation with personal religious experiences such as the charismatics, pietists, pseudo-mystics, etc. The majority of the Church is tainted with this subjectivism.

Blondel does not bother with rational arguments to prove the existence of God and credibility of the Christian religion. He prefers to give the unbeliever an "effective experience" of Catholicism, to make the unbeliever who has no faith "to act as though he had the faith." In other words, to "experience" God - which is exactly what Pope St. Pius X condemned as modernism, in Pascendi.

Blondel also falls into Immanentism (the essence of modernism) when he insists that "there is nothing that goes into man that does not come from man and that does not correspond in some way with his need for personal growth and expansion." This is the very basis for modernism, wherein the human mind is the central reality around which everything else revolves. For in modernism, the religious soul's beliefs and reasons for belief come from its own experiences and feelings - it will not accept objective arguments that are beyond its own realm of experience. If this attitude is followed to its logical conclusions, then such a soul will inevitably deny all external Divine Revelation and the divinity of Jesus Christ Himself.


In effect, what Blondel has done, is to go and seek-out "modern-man" in his place of habitat - the sickbed of subjectivity and skepticism. Yet, rather than helping him leave this sickbed of grave errors, he lets him wallow in those self-same errors. Blondel's new "Christian philosophy” and its offspring, the "new theology of the Church" of his followers, will replace the perennial philosophy of the Church - an objective philosophy, based on reality, carefully formed and perfected throughout the course of many centuries, by the greatest philosophical minds the world has ever seen, a philosophy that reached its summit in what we now call Thomistic Philosophy.

Pope Pius XII warned us of these new theologians in his encyclical Humani Generis, and stressed the importance of Thomistic philosophy as an aid against deviation in Catholic dogma. In his book The Intelligence In Danger of Death, Marcel de Corte, one of the most lucid thinkers of his time, echoes this same view on the importance of Thomistic philosophy:

"It is linked to Greek philosophy, which is, itself, a philosophy based upon common sense, reality and a human intelligence faithful to its purpose (i.e. to know objective truth). Whenever philosophy wanders from this, it suffers the consequences! Vatican II threw out this realist philosophy which the Church had always guarded...this 2,000 year-old solidarity between supernatural reality of the Faith and the natural reality of man's mind...a philosophy which was the axis and pivot of the Church, who is the custodian of Faith, Intelligence and Morals. All this has been swept away by the tempest of all tempests - the subjectivity of man."


Blondel had his critics and supporters. Amongst the former were the Catholic theologians Garrigou-Lagrange, Labourdette and De Tonquedec. One of Blondel's public defenders was Fr. Auguste Valensin SJ., who would present "doctored" quotes of Blondel when speaking in his defense. Thus opportunely eliminating anything that might serve to incriminate Blondel, before a public that was largely unaware of the true content of his doctrine. His writings were not freely available, and so people had to accept these "misquoted quotes" as being true.

For example, Valensin takes Blondel's quote of "there is nothing that goes into man that does not come from him and that does not correspond in some way for personal growth and expansion" and twists it into "there is nothing that goes into man that does not correspond to his personal growth and expansion." The opportune removal of "…that does not come from him…" is a move clearly designed to protect Blondel from the accusation of lmmanentism and Modernism.

However, good and sound theologians, such as Garrigou-Lagrange, Labourdette and De Tonquedec, spotted Blondel's errors and raised the alarm. They refuted this "new Christian philosophy" and pointed out its ruinous consequences for Catholic dogma and its incurable opposition to the Magisterium of the Church. Today, "those who think they've won" try to reduce all this to a mere personal feud between several theologians and deny it as being of any importance for the Church. Yet this is far from being the case. The enlightening refutations of Blondel's philosophy, by the above-mentioned theologians, prove the contrary and the present crisis in the Church shows how right those "clairvoyant" theologians were!


In 1946, the celebrated Dominican theologian, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange publicly refuted Blondel's errors and privately wrote to him asking him to "retract his (false) definition of truth before dying - if he didn't want to spend too long in Purgatory." Publicly, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange had said: "It is not without a serious responsibility that he (Blondel) has called the Church's traditional definition of truth, which has been accepted for centuries, a figment of the imagination. Furthermore, by substituting this true notion of truth with an erroneous notion of truth, will inevitably bring error to anything that is built upon that false notion."

One of these erroneous fruits that grew out the capital error of Blondel is what the present-day Church calls "the Living Tradition." This erroneous notion of Tradition ignores the Church's logical and indispensable link that must exist between what the Church teaches now and what the Church has always believed and taught. This is because, based on Blondel's false notion of truth, progress in dogma and understanding of truth is in a continual state of evolution or development.

Consequently, due to this continual development, there can be no fixed, definite, unchangeable truths.

Already in 1924, Fr. De Tonquedec had pointed out a remarkable resemblance between Blondel's ideas and the ideas condemned by Pope St. Pius X in the encyclical Pascendi. Tonquedec says that Blondel managed to wriggle out of a personal anathema by his characteristic vague expressions, hesitations and contradictions. A seemingly heretical statement would be contradicted a page or so further on.

Was Blondel in good faith? Fr. Tonquedec thought not, with good reason. For Blondel would often deform the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas and twist it round to mean the opposite. Added to this we have his categorical denials of ever having been opposed to orthodox Catholic thought. The typical modernist plea of "You don't understand me!" with repeated attempts at explaining himself to his critics or those who refuted his erroneous doctrine. In fact, his whole life was one long attempt at giving his ideas an orthodox sense or meaning. This continual wriggling and self-justification under the microscope has produced a host of differing opinions of Blondel. Some believed that he was sincere in his explanations, yet the wiser and better-informed critics were not fooled at all!

The ecclesiastical journal L'ami du Clerge (March 4,1937,p.137) wrote that the later works of Blondel were nothing else but a reflection of his earlier erroneous ideas - going on to say that "he has not changed an iota of his doctrine."

Fr. Tonquedec was of the same opinion, who also said of Blondel's later works: "Unfortunately, I find it impossible to accept Blondel's present interpretation of his works…which defends the orthodoxy of his writings.... Nobody who has read his entire works can accept that.... This philosophy is very new, very bold, very exclusive and on the whole erroneous." (Dictionnaire Apologetique)

Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange comes to the same conclusion in his article "Where is the New Theology going to?" With regard to Blondel's new notion of truth, Fr. Lagrange asks: "Have Blondel's latest works corrected this false notion of truth? We have to say that they have not!"


These tenacious critics of Blondel were not wrong! Today, the "new theologians" confirm their fears. We quote from the Central Archives of Maurice Blondel: “After his two works entitled ‘Action' (1893) and Letter' (1896), Blondel was often accused of being a 'modernist' by persons who misunderstood everything. In the face of these detractors, Blondel too often gave a too weak and minimal interpretation of his works."

On December 20, 1931, in a letter to De Lubac, Blondel asked him if he thought that some of his (Blondel's) theses "went over the top." In his letter of April 3, 1932, De Lubac replies to the contrary. He chides Blondel for being too timid in the face of the criticism and restraint that came from other theologians. De Lubac asserts that all this impedes the free development of a spontaneous Catholic mind. He goes on to say: "I admire the painstaking care by which you criticize yourself and I am saddened by the thought that this might delay future important works, that we await with such impatience." (Henri De Lubac, Memoire autour de mesoeuvres, p.21).

Bewitched by the magic flute of his "friend," Blondel takes courage and by return of post (April 5, 1932) he confesses that: "It's now over 40 years since I started tackling these problems, at which time I was not sufficiently armed. At that time, Thomistic philosophy was reigning intransigently. Had I said then what you want me to say now, then I would certainly have been too reckless and would have jeopardized the cause we defend - for I would have incurred many inevitable censures. It was necessary to take my time, in order to let my thought mature and in order to tame the minds that rebelled against it. The delays that sadden you are, in view of this double aspect, excusable... It is necessary to embrace traditional ways and views, so that they may be used as a point of departure or a springboard for a 'renewal'... Therefore, I am not totally to blame for the prevarication and timidity that you so deplore in this child of a 'new generation' and master of a theology that I have not yet managed to possess!"

Thus we see Blondel, using the usual modernist ploy, of deliberately hiding his true thoughts so as to officially remain with the bosom of the Church and to attempt a "renewal" from within. In this correspondence between Blondel and De Lubac, we see exposed all the secret maneuvers of modernism - which seek to avoid exposure and censure. It was to his own misfortune that Blondel ran into De Lubac and his gang. For the latter saw in Blondel's new "Christian Philosophy" the foundations for their "New Catholic Theology." And in Rome, they could count on the sympathy of the Vice-Secretary of State, a certain Msgr. Montini - the future Pope Paul VI. We'll speak of that later!

Translated from Courrier de Rome April 1993



A fascinating series of articles is appearing in the periodical si si no no. Fascinating, because they take us down into the engine-room of the apostasy devastating the Church.

Engine-room of apostasy? Just as in the great ocean-going liners, at the beginning of this century, there could be thousands of people on board and action going all over the ship, but the real action, driving the ship over the ocean, went on in the engine-rooms deep below the decks of the ship, populated by relatively few man. So in the ship of the Catholic Church, millions of Catholics, in all parts of the ship are now being shaken to pieces by something which started with a handful of men a long way below the decks, out of public view.

The si si no no articles present six architects of the slippery heresy neo-modernism…The first of the six is a French philosopher, living from 1861 to 1949, whose name will be known to very few readers - yet without whom, there would have been no Vatican II - Maurice Blondel.

How can philosophy be so important, when everybody with any good sense knows it is all nonsense? Answer, philosophy is the mechanics of the human mind, grasping natural reality…Now over the last several hundred years, modern man has been more and more turning his back on reality - because it is governed by God, because it comes from God. Modern man prefers the fantasy of which he himself is creator and master. That is why modern philosophy expresses, not a grasp of reality, but a hundred different ways of refusing reality. This is why philosophy has justly got itself a bad name.

The Catholic Church acknowledges God, loves His reality and expresses its submission to that one reality by one philosophy - today best known as Thomism, named after St. Thomas Aquinas…The modern world, being marinated in liberalism and steeped in revolt, refuses Thomism as it refuse reality…Thinkers, too much in love with the modern world, want a way out of the Church’s classical thomistic theology and philosophy - they want a philosophical justification of fantasy. That is what Maurice Blondel gave to Fr. Henri de Lubac, S.J., father of the “New Theology,” which was the charter of Vatican II.

Blondel starts from the desire “to win over modern man” who is unimpressed by a philosophy of submission to reality. Blondel’s next step is to argue that Faith comes from “experience” inside, which is modernism - the Faith is what I feel. St. Paul says the Faith comes from outside [of ourselves], “from hearing.” Hence the third step, the supernatural is a need or demand of human nature, because “nothing can enter a man, which does not come out of him and correspond in some way to a need he has of expansion.” His naturalism subverts everything supernatural and the whole order of grace transcending nature is pulled down within nature!

Finally, si si no no quotes Blondel changing the very notion of truth…Instead of the classical definition of “the matching of mind and reality,” Blondel’s definition is “the real matching of mind and life.”…Truth evolves…with nothing ever determined or fixed.

Blondel knew exactly what he was doing. He was deliberately deceiving the Church authorities as to his real thinking, in order to be able to continue working from within the Church to reform it. Some “reformer”! Some “reform”! Surely Blondel himself sincerely believed in his work of rediscovering “authentic Christianity”? Yes, and the whole modern world lines up to congratulate him on his planting of the mines to blow sky-high the antiquated Church. But did his conscience congratulate him, or did it rebuke him? Fr De Lubac the priest, assured Blondel the layman, that his thinking was spontaneously Catholic enough to need no timid cover-up. Ah, the responsibility of a priest!

Bishop Richard Williamson




A movement within the ranks of Protestantism originating in the reaction against the fruitless Protestant orthodoxy of the seventeenth century. It aimed at the revival of devotion and practical Christianity, including private assemblies in people’s houses for pious reading and mutual edification, with an emphasis on the universal priesthood of the people. A basic idea of pietism is the importance of interior religious experience in the form of feelings and emotions.


The quality of any action, which begins and ends within itself. It denies anything transcendent in the supernatural which according to this theory, is only a conception springing from an irresistible need of the soul, or “the ceaseless palpitation of the soul panting for the infinite, product of our interior evolution”; it is of immanent origin for “it is in the heart of mankind that the Divine resides. (Bouisson)”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Authentic Dialogue Is Possible


By Melinda Selmys

Last year I was invited to give a talk at the University of Notre Dame on the subject of homosexuality and identity. I arrived at the lecture hall to find a group of demonstrators from the campus’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) contingent reading “queer poetry” as a form of protest against my appearance. They distributed a small note, explaining the reasons why they objected to an “ex-gay” speaker talking at Notre Dame. The main objection: They thought I was going to say that “homosexuality [is] curable, thus pathologizing it.”

It was not an easy climate in which to speak. Several recent scandals had justly ignited the ire of the LGBTQ crowd at Notre Dame. The protest itself only served to deepen the divide: Most of the people attending the event were conservative Catholics who were stunned by the poetry, which came off as obscene. Campus security surrounded the building, and there was talk of calling the police. I put aside my prepared speech and decided that, instead of talking about dialogue with the gay community, I would try to do it.

I’m sure the results were frustrating for some of the Catholics in attendance. Prof. Randall B. Smith, in his article “Call the Police, It’s an Academic Lecture!” in the January-February issue of the NOR, noted that the question-and-answer period was dominated by the LGBTQ crowd, and wondered whether true dialogue was even possible. Yet, in spite of the obstacles and difficulties, I think that some small headway was made: If nothing else, at the end of my talk several of the protest organizers came up and thanked me for having come to speak.

A Long History
In order to understand the frustrations of the LGBTQ people and their fear of having an “ex-gay” speak in a public venue, it helps to understand the history of homosexual politics in the Western world. It is an uncomfortable fact that for a long time a campaign of hatred and persecution has been waged against those who experience same-sex attractions. The reasons for this are many, one of which is that the early Christian response to homosexuality was based on the way it was practiced in the Greco-Roman world.

When the Seleucid Greeks conquered the Jews, they brought with them a culture that was both alien and, in many cases, inimical to Jewish culture. One of the atrocities that earns particular opprobrium in the book of Maccabees is the establishment of a gymnasium in Jerusalem (2 Macc. 4:9-15). Part of the problem was that, according to Greek custom, exercise was done in the nude. This had two important implications for the Jews. The first, and the most often talked about in biblical criticism, is that this practice allowed the Greek rulers to easily identify practicing Jews, whose circumcision would be conspicuous. The second was that Greek culture at the time openly encouraged the practice of pederasty. Jewish parents, anxious that their children should keep the Law of Moses, were understandably aghast at the thought of old Greek men ogling their naked sons from the sidelines.

The horror that this inspired in the Jewish mind did not diminish when the Greeks were replaced by the Romans. Homosexuality in ancient Rome was not much better than it was in Greece: The open adulation of the “love of boys” was certainly less common, but the practice was still widespread. Edward Gibbon, in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, notes that “of the first fifteen emperors, Claudius was the only one whose taste in love was entirely correct.” The Romans replaced the Greek notion of an older “lover” and a younger “beloved” (ideally a beardless youth) with a model of homosexuality that was based on Patrician notions of virility. Homosexuality was socially acceptable — provided you were the active partner. This created an atmosphere in which homosexual relationships were, more often than not, expressions of dominance. Usually, the passive partner was either a social inferior or a slave. The contempt with which St. Paul, Epictetus, and other writers of the period refer to “catamites” reflects the fact that when such relationships were consensual at all, the passive partner usually got involved only to further his career, for the sake of monetary gain, or because he lacked the moral courage to refuse.

To a large extent, these patterns continued through­out most of European and Middle Eastern history. Louis Crompton’s impressive Homosexuality and Civilization chronicles the documentary evidence of homo-erotic practice from ancient times to the Enlightenment. In spite of his valiant attempt to provide a historical basis for the modern gay community, the fact is that the historical evidence indicates that the great majority of homosexual relationships were based on exploitation. The history of homosexuality in the West prior to the French Revolution is largely a history of what we now call child abuse.

This needs to be taken into account when reading the vitriol that is poured out against “sodomites” in the writings of early Christians. The modern notion of homosexuality as a consenting, ideally long-lasting union between adults was practically unheard of. Sodomy was implicitly connected with sexual predation in the minds of the late Roman, Byzantine, and medieval Christians. This led to widespread, often savage, persecution of those who practiced it. Castration, pillorying, and burning at the stake were common punishments for those charged with the “sin that dare not speak its name.”

The Reformation altered the situation somewhat. Generally, prior to the rise of Lutheranism, very little was said about homosexuality in the northern parts of Europe. Trial records, indecent poems, and ringing denunciations of the “sin of Sodom” are easily found in the Mediterranean countries, but north of Germany there is virtual silence. With the rise of the Reformation, homosexuality suddenly became a “Catholic” sin, a product of priestly celibacy and monastic enclosure, evidence of a decadent Church on the road to ruin. The persecution of “sodomites” and the persecution of Catholics often went hand-in-hand.

The quiet, previously subterranean homosexuality of northern Europe was now brought to light. Here, for the first time in European history, we find widespread evidence of homosexual relationships between people of roughly the same age and social status. It is here, in the midst of some of the most savage anti-homosexual persecutions of the past two thousand years, that the modern model of homosexuality was being born.

This type of homosexuality, and the repulsion against it, were both brought to America by the early Protestant settlers. Yet, as the theories of the Enlightenment gained currency in American culture, the understanding of homosexuality began to shift. Slowly, over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, homosexuality ceased to be seen as a particularly odious sin, and was instead perceived as a psychological or biological defect. This led, in the early twentieth century, to a bevy of experiments being performed on American homosexuals in order to “cure” them. In many cases, these experiments were extremely harmful, involving testicular transplants, electro-shock therapies, and Clockwork Orange-style behavioral conditioning. The subjects were often mental patients or prison inmates who had been incarcerated for homosexual behavior; in many cases, they were simply not given a choice or were told that if they submitted to treatment they would receive their freedom.

The effect of this history on the contemporary situation in North America cannot be overestimated. For people within the LGBTQ community, and particularly for people of the older generations, the fear of anti-homosexual sentiment is not simply a fear of name-calling and rejection; it is a fear of the very real violence that was often inflicted in the name of Christianity, or in the pursuit of a “cure” for homosexuality.

The Genesis of the Homosexual Identity
One of the consequences of the historical persecution of homosexuals is the emergence, in the twentieth century, of the idea of a homosexual identity. In previous eras, homosexuality was seen, for the most part, as a taste, a pattern of desire, a sin, a temptation, or a lifestyle choice. Bisexuality was much more common than exclusive homosexuality, and, especially in strongly patriarchal cultures like Rome or Imperial China, most practicing homosexuals were married to members of the opposite sex.

The idea of homosexuality as a fixed element of personality, subject to scientific scrutiny and biological or psychological determinism, changed this. Previously, the persecution of homosexuality had taken the form of punishment for an action; now it was presented as a cure for a personality defect. The pathologization of the homosexual person produced a strong counter-reaction. For the most part, gays and lesbians have accepted that homosexuality really is an element of personality and really is caused by biological and/or psychological factors that lie outside of the will of the individual. But they reject the notion that it is pathological.

Instead, gay and lesbian activists throughout the twentieth century began to construct an idea of homosexual identity as something distinct, unique, and valid. The homosexual community transformed itself from a subterranean complex of means by which same-sex attracted individuals could find like-minded partners, and took on its contemporary form as a complete subculture.

The implications of this are tremendous. According to their construction, a “homosexual identity” is not merely a matter of same-sex attraction: There are plenty of people who are, at various times in their lives, attracted to members of their own sex but who never identify as gay or lesbian. Rather, the homosexual identity cements same-sex attraction as a crucial element of personality, and places it in a privileged category along with culture, religion, ethnicity, and gender. People who adopt this identity refuse to give up the practice of homosexuality because they see it as an essential part of themselves.

Identity & Conversion
My own conversion, and the conversions of others whom I have seen leave a gay or lesbian life for the sake of Catholicism, hinged on this question of identity. I didn’t leave my same-sex partner because I ceased to be attracted to women or because I was miraculously “cured” of homosexuality. I left because my identity as a Catholic was more important to me than my identity as a lesbian. At the time, I really believed that my sexuality was fixed and that I would spend the rest of my life struggling to subordinate my same-sex desires to my intellectual convictions. I was content to accept this because I had first accepted the premises that I possessed free will, that I was in a position to make autonomous decisions about my own sexuality, and that rational, philosophical, and religious convictions were more essential than sexual desires.

I did not end up struggling for the rest of my life. As I moved away from a lesbian identity, I realized that the theories that were supposed to account for my attractions were neither satisfying nor adequate. This was equally true of the genetic theories favored by pro-gay advocates, and of the psychological theories in vogue among the Christian Right. I don’t deny that there are people who turn to homosexuality for psychological reasons — clearly there are women who turn to lesbianism because of their experiences with rape or abusive heterosexual relationships, and men who turn to older male sexual partners in search of a substitute for the affection of a distant father, and so forth. Psychological trauma, family dysfunction, and peer rejection can all be contributing factors, but so can aesthetic preference, ideological conviction, sexual opportunity, and positive experiences with the LGBTQ community.

Changes in my ideological outlook, my understanding of femininity, and my sexual behaviors were enough to allow me to be open to the possibility of a genuinely intimate, emotionally open heterosexual relationship. I didn’t fixate on “praying away the gay” or on eliminating all vestiges of same-sex desire; I figured that anyone entering into a marriage was likely to be occasionally troubled with extra-marital attractions and that it didn’t particularly matter whether they were directed toward members of the same or the opposite sex. In both cases, chastity and self-control were going to be required. There was nothing about same-sex attraction that made it somehow more urgent or problematic than any other form of unwanted attraction.

Effective Outreach
Several factors made my conversion possible, and I think that they’re worth considering because they provide a blueprint for how Christians can effectively reach out to people within the LGBTQ community. First, I was able to put aside the idea of a lesbian identity because I was not reliant on a lesbian community in order to provide for my social needs. Furthermore, my conversion did not happen in isolation: I was surrounded by friends who were also on the road to conversion at the same time I was. This is absolutely essential. Many people identify as gay or lesbian because they find love and acceptance within the LGBTQ community and nowhere else. A great deal of damage is done when Christian communities are openly homophobic, when effeminate men or masculine women are treated with contempt, and when cruel jokes or dismissive speech are used to demean people who have same-sex attractions. I was a girl with a shaved head who wore weird clothes and who did not behave in a traditionally feminine manner. If I had had to rely on the lukewarm support of the local Newman club and the mainstream Catholic community, I probably would have given up within the first year and written it off as my “Catholic phase.”

Second, I was able to find ways of integrating my Catholic identity, and Marian spirituality, with an atypical femininity. Many people seek sanctuary within the LGBTQ community because their own particular expression of masculinity or femininity is not “normal” in the mainstream culture. The more restrictive the gender roles within a given subcommunity, the truer this is: In parts of the U.S. poor hand-eye coordination in childhood is a predictor of a gay identity later in life. This is not because a “gay gene” causes boys to be bad at baseball; it is far more likely that a severely limited understanding of what makes a male a male leads to exclusion, name-calling, and gender confusion among boys who aren’t sufficiently skilled in sports. Christians who reach out to LGBTQ folks need to remember to practice liberality in nonessentials. Conformity with cultural gender expectations is not a precondition of salvation in Christ.

Finally, I was converted, not by arguments against homosexuality, but by the love of Christ. I was aware of the arguments years before I converted and even found them relatively coherent. I could see that if you believed in a God who had designed the universe, and that the natural creation was a manifestation of His wisdom, and that sexuality was ordered and designed for the union of spouses and the procreation of children, then obviously homosexuality had to be immoral. I didn’t believe in such a God. Nor would I have been willing to give up one of the most important relationships in my life for anything less than the person of Christ Himself.

Effective outreach to the homosexual community will be possible only when Catholics are willing to acknowledge that there are real reasons why gays and lesbians choose to identify with their sexuality and that these reasons have to do with more than just sex. Only then can authentic and fruitful dialogue take place. It is not enough to offer arguments, however rational, against the morality of homosexual acts. If the Church does not offer adequate emotional and spiritual support for people with same-sex attractions who wish to live out a full Catholic life in accord with magisterial teaching, then Catholic witness is doomed to failure. A small minority will be willing to tough it out, but the vast majority will turn to the gay subculture and the LGBTQ community, where there is at least a strong and concerted effort to see that their emotional needs are being met.

It is also essential that Catholics enter into this dialogue with humility, and recognize that our own attitudes, and the attitudes expressed by Christians in the past, have caused real and substantial harm to people with same-sex attractions. Often the simple acknowledgment of another person’s grievances, and the willingness to listen and to respond with compassion and contrition, is enough to break down the barriers that prevent real understanding.

Melinda Selmys is the author of Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism (Our Sunday Visitor, 2009). A regular columnist for the National Catholic Register, her articles have appeared in numerous Catholic publications, including This Rock, The Catholic Answer, and Envoy. She writes from Canada, where she and her husband are awaiting the birth of their sixth child. Melinda Selmys' article, "Authentic Dialogue Is Possible" originally appeared in the New Oxford Review (May 2011), and is reproduced here by kind permission of New Oxford Review, Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706.