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New Arianism

episcopalianism, luthernism, arianism, traditional movement, christological

Rev. Rama Coomaraswamy


Few if any would deny but that the traditional movement - one is almost forced to put in the plural and say 'movements' - are in trouble. The various groups are in constant conflict with one another over relatively minor issues and intercommunion is the exception rather than the rule. It is often quipped that the priest-presidents of the post-Conciliar church have charity but no faith, while traditional priests have the faith but lack charity.

At the core of these problems are a host of misunderstandings - not the misunderstandings which people inevitably have in dealing with each other, but rather a misunderstanding based on a refusal or inability to understand just what the issues are. And if our leaders do not understand the problem, how can they lead the faithful?

The first point that must be recognized and accepted is that the organized church - the Church structure that we grew up with, is finished. It is not Catholic. It has officially embraced a host of heresies and destroyed the Mass. To claim that it is Catholic under such circumstances is obviously false. And so it is that as St. Athanasius said many years ago with regard to a much less serious heresy, Arianism - 'they have the buildings, but we have the faith.'1 The post-Conciliar church is promulgating a new religion, a religion with some Christian features that is not unlike a liberal Episcopalianism and Luthernism. They even object to the use of the term Catholic and insist on being called Christian. Traditional Catholicism is going to go nowhere until it recognizes and accepts this fact and teaches it to the faithful. With this it clearly follows that no one who is Catholic owes any obedience to the post-Conciliar religion and hierarchy - to give them obedience is to declare oneself a non-Catholic.

Let me give a specific example: We are told that J-P II is about to sign an agreement with the Lutherans (we are told this is to be on the Feast of all Saints!) which pertains to a common understanding about 'justification by faith.' I have not read the agreement, but that is not necessary. The Church position viz-a-viz Lutheranism on this issue has long been settled. Notice however that the Lutherans are in no way agreeing to accept the reality of the Real Presence, or the Catholic Sacramental System, or the necessity of the Apostolic Succession, nor are they about to accept the Infallibility of the Pope (which would include all the other issues). Those who loudly proclaim the obligation we have to follow the lead of 'holy father' are being led right down the path of Lutheranism and no Lutheran is being led into the Catholic Church. This is what in the business world would be called a 'sell out.' If this is what you want that is fine, but don't claim it has anything to do with being Catholic. It is a complete sell out - not the first, but one in a long string of similar events. What is perhaps even more offensive is that this process lacks that charity which we owe to the Lutherans - that obligation we have to offer them and lead them to the fullness of the Truth which is only to be found in the Catholic Church.

I have frequently heard the argument by well meaning people that what one pope has established, another pope can change. This is false. It is a denial of the dogma of infallibility. It is also an impossibility and reduces the statements of true popes who understood their function as an obligation to speak forth the truth, to the level of mouthing private opinions.

This does not mean we as Catholics are relieved of the obligations of obedience. Obedience is a moral virtue. Faith, Hope and Charity are theological virtues and hence of a higher order. Obedience is absurd as an abstract concept. One must know what one is obeying. We used to obey the hierarchy because they enshrined and taught the truth which was incorporated in what is called the Magisterium - the 'teaching authority' of the Church. If the present hierarchy has abandoned the Magisterium, and they have, that is their problem. We still owe our obedience to this Magisterium for the Catholic Faith is more than adequately enshrined in the Magisterium - that is, the Magisterium that existed intact up to the time of Vatican II.

There is of course a 'new Magisterium' promulgated by the post-Conciliar Church which contradicts the traditional Magisterium - and it is the traditional Magisterium that exposes this new 'Magisterium' as false. Since the Magisterium is protected by the Holy Ghost, the idea of a 'new Magisterium' - it is claimed that things have evolved over the last 50 years which is nonsense - the Truth doesn't evolve - this 'new Magisterium' implicitly claims that the Holy Ghost contradicts Himself, quod absit! Let me say it again. The Church and the structure which we loved so much in our youth is finished. It is not Catholic and will never return to being Catholic. It will only deviate from the truth more and more, for it has deliberately destroyed the means of grace with which Christ endowed His Church 2

It is true that the post-Conciliar church, as they like to call themselves has a certain structure. So do most of the Protestant churches. Just as this provides no guarantee of the truth of Protestant churches, so also, it provides no guarantee of the truth of the post-Conciliar church. We must not be seduced into seeking the comfort of familiarity as opposed to truth. I have also heard the argument that if the new church is false it will die away. This is of course ultimately true, but like the Lutheran and Protestant churches, it may take several hundred years to do so.

It follows from this that the various priests and groups who do wonderful work in providing the remnant faithful with valid Sacraments, are not going to bring it back the Church they were brought up in. Nor are they going to create a parallel organization that in some way mimics this structure. In a certain sense we are back to the time of the Apostles who had no church buildings to speak of and who made their living mending tents. This means that if the Catholic Church is to survive - and lets be clear, it will survive because it is True and the Truth cannot die - it will do so with entirely different structures. We will of course have priests -validly ordained priests for we need the Apostolic Succession which the new church has destroyed, and we will have the true Mass which the new church has forbidden and all but destroyed. But not necessarily in the way that we are used to having them.

Fundamental to this is the need to recognize that we are at war. The enemy - his name is legion - is not interest in taking away our buildings. He is interest in destroying our faith. He doesn't mind if we go to the Indult Mass providing we also accept and attend the Novus Ordo Missae. He loves it when he gets us to think that being Catholic means we dress in a certain way or don't watch television. The one thing he doesn't want is saints.

It is clear to anyone with a modicum of perspicacity that there are powers and principalities at play who intend to create a world in which there is one government, one economics and one religion. Those who are truly Catholic are opposed to all three, certainly to the last. Christ did not die on the Cross so that a batch of modernists could create a one world religion. And if we are at war, make no mistake about it, those who have embraced this 'new vision' (one is tempted to say this 'new Pentecost' and 'springtime') also know that we are the enemy. It is we 'recussants' who are standing in the way of 'progress.' What is more, there is considerable evidence that the post-Conciliar establishment is going to crack down on the traditional groups.

Those who do not think that a crackdown is in the offing would do well to read The Mouth of the Lion by Dr. David White (Angelus Press). The form of the crackdown will of course vary from diocese to diocese for the enemy is clever. One recent approach is to invite priests who insist on the Tridentine Mass to join the local diocese and as long as they accept the authority of the local bishop, they can continue to say the Tridentine Mass. They are even provided with a church and a stipend. What's wrong with this you may ask? The answer is simple. In accepting the authority of the local hierarchy, one accepts the whole new church. As Scripture says, what has the light to do with darkness? One group of traditional Catholics who refused to accede to this proposition was promptly 'suspended,' subsequent to which the 'bishop' of said diocese stated that any priest who said any 'mass' not facing the people would be automatically suspended. Let me say it again. If you accept the authority of the present hierarchy, you have sold out. I have heard all the arguments about being conservative - but Christ our Exemplar was not a conservative priest. If He had accepted a 'deal,' He would not have been Crucified. I have learnt time and again that you cannot have your cake and eat it. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Another common ploy is to provide 'Indult' Masses in the neighborhood of priests who say the Tridentine Mass, thus encouraging the faithful who are not let into the game plan the opportunity of having a valid Mass in obedience to the new hierarchy. Needless to say, this dilutes the income and resources of the Tridentine priest and in certain cases has led to his having to shut down. Once this is achieved of course, the Indult can be withdrawn at any time, and indeed, we have been told that they intend to do this. In a war, there are many different ways of fighting a battle.

This means traditional priests are going to have to accept poverty. David told us that the just man would not starve. Traditional priests will not likely become destitute, though even this must be accepted if it is God's will. Personally, I have known many traditional priests, and while plagued by poverty, none have starved as yet. I know of several priests who feared to become traditional because they would loose their insurance benefits. I do not deny but this would be a major consideration for older priests. But then, our Exemplar had no insurance and we will look rather foolish if we stand before him on the day of Judgment and offer this as an excuse for not doing what we know in our hearts He wants us to do. As He told us, do not fear those who can kill the body, but rather those who can kill the soul along with the body.


1 I call this a much less serious heresy because it was at heart a 'Christological' heresy while the present heresies which revolve around Modernism are an attack on every aspect of religion, and hence on religion itself.

2 The falsification of the teaching of the true Church about the Magisterium - its nature and its function - is something that many so-called traditional groups and writers have joined in. Thus for example, Michael Davies, a well known conservatives, informs us the ordinary Magisterium can contain error. This is pure heresy. For those who are interested, I can provide a study on the nature of the Magisterium based, not on opinion, but on the teaching of the Church.

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