The marriage of Joseph and Mary

Super Flumina

under the patronage of St Joseph and St Dominic

By the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept, remembering Zion;
on the poplars that grew there we hung up our harps. . . Ps 136

St Dominic


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11th September 2001


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‘I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

‘Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?’

                                        The Ballad of the White Horse[1]

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1. One who stands apart from the modern world to see it in perspective cannot but note the lack of the critical faculty in the majority of men; their disposition, almost slavishly, to follow opinion.

Truth (logical truth) is the identity between what is asserted about reality and reality—between what is said and what is.  The modern attitude of deference to opinion reverses the definition: truth becomes the identity of what is with what is said.  The disposition to adopt opinion rather than reality as the standard of truth is called subjectivism.

The systematic dislocation of judgement it involves attests to the harm precipitated by two men some five hundred years ago.  Each was a Catholic who in the pursuit of overweening self will abandoned his faith.  Each, like Esau of old, surrendered his inheritance for a mess of pottage.[2]

Martin Luther
2. On 31st October 1517, Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk of doubtful vocation, proclaimed formally the long standing disturbance of his Catholic faith in ninety five theses focussed on repentance, purgatory and the power of the Church to grant remission of the temporal punishment due to sins forgiven (indulgences).  In many of their contentions Luther denied what Jesus Christ the Son of God had revealed, and His Church had formally proclaimed, as true.  The ground of objection was his opinion.  In defiance of God’s authority, he asserted his own.

The fire he had, as it were, lit with a single match spread and was soon out of control.  Others, drawn by his example, agreed with him in rebellion, but disagreed on what to reject.  But Luther’s principle informed each heterodox view that took fire.  No longer should a man believe what God had revealed on God’s authority, but on his own authority.  No longer was one bound by each and all of Christ’s teachings; he was free to pick and choose.  No longer was he bound by the canon of sacred scripture; he could reject books with which he disagreed.  No longer was he bound by the interpretations of Christ’s Church; he could make his own.

3. The word ‘religion’ connotes a bond.[3]   Now religion is not a univocal term, signifying the same reality in every setting: it is analogous.  In other words, when said of its logical inferiors, religion signifies a character in each which is somewise same and somewise unsame, but more unsame than same.  Neither is the term faith univocal: it, too, is analogous.  The habit, a product of modern philosophy’s debility in analysis, of glossing over distinctions hides the reality of what Luther did.

“It is manifest that he who adheres to the teaching of the Church as to an infallible rule assents to whatever the Church teaches.  If, however, of the things taught by the Church, he holds what he chooses to hold and rejects what he chooses to reject, he no longer adheres to the teaching of the Church as to an infallible rule, but to his own will.[4]

The bond of each religion is determined by its nature.  In any religion but that founded by God, the believer imposes the religious bond on himself.  In the religion which God founded, the bond is imposed, on the believer’s submission to it, by God.  For the Catholic faith is of God, not of man.  That is why St Paul calls it a gift—something given[5] .  There is, then, hardly more than a nominal community of meaning between faith said of Catholicism, and faith said of Protestantism[6] , or of any other religion for that matter.  Luther did not discover the true religion: he rejected it.  He did not reform Christ’s teachings: he revolted against them.[7]

Henry Tudor
4. In 1521 the young King of England, Henry Tudor, published a refutation of Luther’s heresies in a work entitled Assertio Septem Sacramentorum (“Defence of the Seven Sacraments”).[8]  He did so, almost certainly, with the assistance of the best legal mind in England, Sir Thomas More.  But the King had a problem.  He was licentious and unfaithful to his Queen, Catherine of Aragon.  He became  besotted with one of her maids, Anne Boleyn, and persuaded himself that he had sinned in marrying Catherine, the wife of his late brother, Prince Arthur who had died six months after their marriage (at the age of 15) in 1502.   Because Catherine and Henry were in the first degree of affinity, the canonical impediment to their marriage required a papal dispensation.  This had been granted at the request of the Tudor Court by Pope Julius II in 1504.  Henry’s denial of the efficacy of this act of Christ’s Church was the outrider, as it were, of the storm of rejection of the Church’s authority in which he was to indulge.

When, in 1529, Pope Clement VII rejected his appeal for annulment, Henry removed Cardinal Wolsey as his Chancellor and replaced him with Sir Thomas More.  On the advice of Thomas Cranmer, an apostate priest, whose views pleased him, Henry sought an opinion on the validity of his marriage from the principal universities of England and the Continent.  These, well bribed by Henry’s envoys, decided in his favour.  Henry then threatened the Pope with schism.  Regrettably, the Pope prevaricated.  Henry applied pressure: he threatened the English clergy with prosecution for breaching an English statute forbidding recourse to foreign courts unless they acknowledged him as supreme head of the Catholic Church in England.  To this unprecedented claim the clergy submitted with the qualification ‘so far as the law of Christ allows’.[9]   The principle having been admitted, Henry’s Secretary, Thomas Cromwell, moved to reduce them to subservience.[10]   More, who had weathered an attempt by the King to compromise him, resigned as Chancellor.  Warham, the Archbishop of Canterbury, died and, again regrettably, the Pope accepted the nomination of Cranmer as his successor.

Henry, meanwhile, had put aside his Queen in favour of Anne Boleyn.  Though still married to Catherine, he purported late in 1532 to marry Anne in a secret ceremony.  This was repeated publicly in London on 25th January 1533 by which time Anne was pregnant.  Cromwell then had Parliament abolish all appeals from English courts to Rome so that when, on 23rd May following, Cranmer pronounced the marriage of Henry and Catherine a nullity the Queen was bereft of any avenue of appeal.  By the Act of Succession Henry had the Parliament validate his marriage to Anne and disinherit Mary, his legitimate daughter, in favour of his progeny by Anne.

Clement VII excommunicated him on 11th July.  Henry countered with a series of measures to enforce the subservience of the English faithful including the Act of Supremacy (1534) commanding that the King be recognised as the one supreme head on earth of the Church in England.  He then had his henchmen enforce the pretended title by executing any who would deny it.  A fearful persecution followed and numbers of religious, notably Franciscans and Carthusians, died.  He then executed John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, and his former confidant, Sir Thomas More.

Subjectivism Elevated to the Level of a Principle

5. To appreciate the evils precipitated by Henry Tudor’s schismatic, then heretical, conduct[11] one must understand the reality of his actions.  No longer, after Henry VIII, was God’s law the measure of right moral conduct, but the will of the King—that is, the will of one who had sufficient power to enforce his will.   Henry confirmed at the political level what Martin Luther had demonstrated at the theological, that the will of some man is superior to the Will of God.

Repeatedly, he ordered the Parliament of England to declare—and by his tyrannical conduct he forced the populace to accept—that truth was falsity, and falsity truth.   He joined with Luther in establishing another evil principle of great moment.  God is the Author of the world and of the universe.  Upon Him the essence and existence of every creature depend.[12]   Reality is nothing but God’s surrogate, the means whereby He manifests His will.  In rejecting God and his authority, in substituting opinion for reality as the measure of truth, Luther and Henry VIII proclaimed that reality is what some man asserts it to be.

Exempla trahunt—it was inevitable that this novel principle would penetrate the public psyche.  If the theologian, the ruler, could conduct himself in this way, why could not the believer, the subject?  The spread of Protestantism ensured it was only a matter of time before the principle manifested itself in the philosophical realm.  This occurred with René Descartes whose cogito ergo sum exactly reversed the order of reality—sum ergo possum cogitare.[13]   After Descartes, what mattered was not reality but what the thinker conceived reality to be: not reality, but the thinker’s idea.  The subjective hadreplaced the objective.

6. Among the intellectual creatures God has created, man is the weakest.  His intellect does not, as does that of the angel, understand reality immediately.  Instead he must work rationally upon information obtained through the senses; extracting the intellectual content; proceeding in steps. Moreover, man is wounded in his nature, a consequence of original sin, and his ability to err is patent.[14]   While the social instinct disposes him to embrace a belief held by his fellows, his fallen nature may lead him, if he is not careful, to embrace a belief which has no ground in reality.

What is it that we know when we know?  The great philosophers of realism, Aristotle and St Thomas Aquinas, insist that the senses report reality infallibly: what we know is what is.  But they counsel also that things exist in the mind differently from the way they exist in the real.  With Descartes these distinctions were lost.  Preoccupied with their own ideas and the perceptions of the senses, philosophers began to lose confidence that man could ever know reality; to confuse things in mind with things in the real, taking for reality their imaginings, and their imaginings for reality.[15]   Others denied that the intellect could ever attain truth, giving birth to the scepticism which colours much of modern studies and convinces the artistic that there is no objective ground of beauty.[16]

The rise to dominance of opinion over reality brought with it other consequences.  Valid forms of government, monarchy and oligarchy, were denigrated in favour of the one most easily manipulated by opinion, democracy.  This move was assisted by a weakening of the metaphysical understanding of reality which elevated the material at the expense of the formal.  This led to the naïve view that there exists a simple equality among men.  Men are equal under one respect, but under another, that of their talents and abilities, they are most unequal.

In the English Civil War Oliver Cromwell ravaged society in the process of destroying a King.  In the French Revolution Danton, Robespierre, St Just and their ilk led a people mad with self-conceit to wreak a greater havoc and destroy the very notion of kingship.  In the Russian Revolution under the influence of Karl Marx these errors were confirmed and these evils multiplied a hundredfold.

7. The instrumental cause of the French Revolution was a movement which is perhaps the most significant of those precipitated by the revolt of Henry Tudor, Freemasonry.  Since its inception late in the sixteenth century, it has served as an effective instrument for the establishment of a program of evil in the lives of men.

Henry used as agent his secretary, Thomas Cromwell.  Cromwell contrived the entrenching of Henry’s tyranny over his subjects by an abuse of the sacred.  An oath had always been required of one who was to fulfil some office of the Crown.  Now, the whole population, each man individually, might be required not only to confirm a lie—that falsity is truth and truth is falsity—which is a breach of the Eighth Commandment[17] , but tocall upon God to witness the endorsement of the lie, a breach of the Second Commandment.

Thus, in the Act of Succession—where Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon was declared null and void, Mary, his legitimate daughter, was disinherited in favour of the illegitimate Elizabeth, and the authority of the Pope was rejected—there was provision for compelling each subject to take an oath—

“that they shall truly, firmly and constantly, without fraud or guile, observe, fulfil, maintain, defend and keep, to their cunning, wit, and uttermost of their powers, the whole effects and contents of this present Act.” [18]

Similarly, in the Act of Supremacy (1534)[19] which commanded that the King be recognised as “the one supreme head on earth of the Church of England”, there was provision for the imposing of an oath on each subject.  What was the effect of this device?  On pain of forfeiture of liberty, of property, and of life itself, the tyrant compelled each of his subjects to address God formally in the following terms—

“I call upon You to witness that I reject what You have revealed; I reject what You have instituted; I reject what You have ordained.”

It was blasphemy.  In a footnote to his life of St Thomas More, Reynolds remarks appositely of the time:

“This was the beginning of what may be termed a riot of oaths.  For a generation men swore and forswore themselves so many times that oaths lost all meaning.”[20]

This character of systematic mockery of God Freemasonry adopted as its own.

For the essence of Freemasonry—what constitutes it—is not its secrecy, nor the conspiracy of minds in which its adherents indulge, nor the extensive harm which may be laid at its door, but the blasphemous oaths with which it binds its members.  Every Mason takes an oath which breaches the First and Second Commandments[21] and so submits himself to the Devil.  As Pope Leo XII remarked in 1826—

“Is not an oath… to establish, as it were, a contract by which someone obliges himself to an unjust murder, and… to despise the authority of those, who… regulate either the Church or legitimate civil society… contrary to Divine Law?  Is it not the most unjust, and the greatest indignity, to call God as a witness and surety of crimes?”[22]

And indeed, Freemasonry emulates the Devil in its operations—hidden and secretive, lying and murderous.  The sole reason for its existence is to destroy the reign of God on earth through His Church.

8. Here, then, is the background to the abiding evil afflicting mankind in the twenty first century.  As with so many other things, it was Pope Leo XIII who grasped the issue precisely:

“[T]hat harmful and deplorable passion of innovation which was aroused in the sixteenth century first threw into confusion the Christian religion, and then, by natural consequence, invaded the precincts of philosophy, whence it spread through all the classes of society…”[23]



The Flourishing of Ideology
9.         Though its source is centuries old, subjectivism did not begin to dominate public thinking until the latter part of the twentieth century.  The varieties of thought which passed for philosophy in the universities grew more bizarre. Rigorous analysis was abandoned as philosophy descended into ideology.  Those who were to teach in our schools, to treat us in hospitals and medical surgeries and to frame and enforce our laws became infected with its follies..  Meanwhile, under the influence of journalists and social commentators, aided by remarkable advances in technology, political correctness percolated into the thinking of the man in the street.

It was a short step from the rise to dominance of the idea, to the emergence of ideology.  When a thinker began his ruminations on some subject affecting mankind he would not now weigh the demands of reality but advance an idea—usually a materialistic and simplistic idea—then set about looking for evidence to justify it.  Thus Karl Marx—

“The style of Marx’s writings is not that of the investigator… he does not quote examples or adduce facts which run counter to his own theory but only those which clearly support or confirm that which he considers the ultimate truth.  The whole approach is one of vindication, not investigation, but it is a vindication of something proclaimed as the perfect truth with the conviction not of the scientist, but of the believer.”[24]

Thus Charles Darwin—

“Neither of the two fundamental axioms of Darwin’s macro evolutionary theory—the concept of the continuity of nature, that is, the idea of a functional continuum of all life forms linking all species together and ultimately leading back to a primaeval cell, and the belief that all the adaptive design of life has resulted from a blind random process—have been validated by one single empirical discovery or scientific advance since 1859.  Despite more than a century of intensive effort on the part of evolutionary biologists, the major objections raised by Darwin’s critics such as Agassiz, Pictet, Bronn and Richard Owen have not been met.”[25]

In similar fashion, as the twentieth century proceeded, their promoters advanced Liberalism, Feminism, Secular Humanism and Moral Relativism as demonstrating the future for mankind, when none of them was anything but the consequence of some idea dislocated from reality and taken to its logical conclusion.  Inevitably each of them brought in its train suffering for the individual and disturbance for society.

Subjectivism’s Concomitant—Materialism
10.       Of whatever exists in the universe there are four causes.  There are no more than four, there are no.  They are—

  • matter, which causes by being determined;
  • form, which causes by determining;
  • the efficient cause which places the form in the matter; and
  • the final cause (the end for the sake of which the efficient cause acts) which causes by being desired.

Every thing, St Thomas Aquinas teaches, is established between two intellects...: the one intellect is that of its Author; the other, that of His creature, man, whose discernment of the marks of intellect it isenables him to conclude to the Author’s existence.[26]  The rejection of reality in the Protestant revolt brought about a loss of the sense of causation and, critically, loss of the understanding of the essential bond that ties matter to form.  The consequence was an evil hardly less significant than subjectivism—materialism.

The assertion that matter alone can explain reality is inherently absurd.  Yet the modern world is full of intellectuals who adopt that view and citizens who adopt their advocacy of the thesis unthinkingly.

The logic is clear: the rejection of God’s revelation (explicitly by Martin Luther, implicitly by Henry VIII) eo ipso involved the rejection of God’s authority and, inevitably, the rejection of God Himself.  Now the rejection of God is atheism.  But no one can embrace atheism unless, at least implicitly, he first rejects the doctrine of causation, i.e., denies there is any cause but matter: for each of the other causes explicitly (in the final cause and the efficient cause) and implicitly (in the formal cause) involves an influence extrinsic to matter, which is intellectual and superior to it.

Subjectivism—A belief system
11.       No man can comprehend the plenitude of reality.  Even the greatest human intellect is limited, and the intricacy of the universe of material being is effectively limitless.  It follows that even those who deny God, must yet hold to some belief.  Now while the religious believer, even one who has not the infinite benefit of the Catholic faith, has an objective ground for his belief—I did not bring myself into existence; I do not keep myself in existence; ergo I am dependent upon some greater being than myself—the denier of God, the atheist,has no such ground for his belief.  What he believes in is an idea.

The Darwinian thesis is grounded in such an idea.  According to that theory the individual person is nothing but the end result of a series of material accidents precipitated by the operations of chance over vast periods of time.   As a ruler is not a cause of a piece of wood, merely the measure of its dimensions, neither is time the cause of material being; merely the measure of its successive existence.  Chance is only the accidental consequence arising on effects of convergent causes.  Chance exists only through relation to a particular cause (or causes) in the mind of one whose knowledge is limited to such cause (or causes).  But in an absolute sense chance does not exist, for nothing follows on the causes that is not solely attributable to them.

Order is the mark of intellect. It matters not whether the accidental interactions of convergent causes was allowed an infinite period of time, without the intervention of intellect they could never produce the order manifested in even one natural thing.  Intellect does not achieve its end (final cause) by chance, but through causation—efficient, formal and material causation.  Accordingly, the appeal to chance is vacuous, albeit consistent with the irrational claim implicit in materialism that reality is without reason.  In truth, the appeal to chance is an endeavour, by sleight of hand, to invoke the force of causes other than the material cause while denying their existence.

Time and chance being excluded, it follows that he who denies God and His existence believes that his own being and that of the whole universe can be explained without recourse to any cause but matter.

12.       The atheist (the materialist) will say that he is a man of facts.  But he is not at all interested in facts, save as they support his idea.  Should some fact emerge which challenges this idea, he turns his back on it.  In this he follows the path well worn by Karl Marx, and by the followers of Charles Darwin.[27]  The issue was well demonstrated in the 1970s.  The writer E. F. Schumacher cited, inter alia, the instance of Thérèse Neumann of Konnersreuth in Germany.  For 35 years she lived, observed by all, on no other food or drink than the daily reception of the Blessed Eucharist.  Yet scientists chose to ignore the phenomenon.  Schumacher wrote with justice—

“If the documentary evidence and eye-witness accounts relating to [her] cannot be accepted as reliable evidence, then all evidence is unreliable, nobody can ever be believed, and human knowledge is impossible.” [28]

The materialist cannot explain such things.  He cannot explain the incorrupt body of St Marie Bernard Soubirous in the church of the Visitation nuns at Nevers in France.  He must label such things as the products of hysteria, or fraud.  Moreover, he dare not investigate them closely for fear his subjectivist faith may be destroyed.

The Rise of Belief in No-God
13.       The life of every man is ordered to an end proportionate to the freedom with which he is endowed as an intellectual creature.  That end is union with Him in whose image man is made, Almighty God.[29]  It is a disturbance of the fundamental order of his being, then, for a man to be brought to forsake that end.

“Every sin consists formally in aversion from God... Hence the more a sin severs man from God, the graver it is.  Now man is more than ever separated from God by unbelief, because he has not even true knowledge of God: and by false knowledge of God, man does not approach Him, but is severed from Him... Therefore it is clear that the sin of unbelief is greater than any sin that occurs in the perversion of morals.”[30]

In all the history of mankind there has been no shift in the public psyche to compare with the abandonment of belief in God which occurred in the fifty years following 1960.  No greater evil has afflicted mankind, not even those committed in the forty years previous by Stalin or Hitler or the evils committed since by lesser tyrants; or even those worked by the tyranny of Muslim fanatics today.  A tyrant may kill a man but he cannot sever him from God.  Atheism severs him from God.

Subjectivism’s ‘Moral Evils’
14.       The moral law is an objective reality written in the hearts of men by their Creator  [Cf. Romans 2: 15].  The evils it condemns are summarised in the Ten Commandments.  In every civilised society these evils are proscribed in posited law: the more civilised a society, the more precisely its proscriptions conform to moral principle, but even in backward societies the demands of the moral law are present in the psyche of the people.  At root is the supreme moral principle, Do good; avoid evil, and its corollary, It is illicit to do evil that good may come of it.

As subjectivism denies reality, so does it incline its adherents to deny reality’s author, Almighty God; to deny that nature is His creation; to deny the rights He has bestowed on man with respect to the creatures He has made; and to deny the moral law and the duty to comply with it.  But man was made to be subject to law.  It was inevitable, then, that even as subjectivism began to deny the force of the laws mandated by nature, it would seek to create its own, laws grounded in ideology.

15.       According to the ideology of Feminism (as, indeed, also those of Marxism and Secular Humanism) the equality between a man and a woman is a simple equality.  Men and women should be treated equally in all circumstances.  In this claim one hears an echo of the slogan of the French Revolution.[31]  And just as the ‘equality’ to which its revolutionaries appealed was without distinction—an equality dislocated from reality—so is the ‘equality’ to which these ideologies appeal.

For the claim is false.  While men and women are equal, they are also unequal; equal under the essential aspect that both are persons, unequal in their ordinations and abilities.[32]  While a man tends to focus on the universal, a woman tends to look to the particular.  Man deals with the world of things, fashioning them to serve his ends.  But woman, since she was created as a helper for man [Genesis 2: 18], deals with human beings and their needs.  The equality between men and women is not, then, a simple equality but a proportional equality, one that takes account of these different ordinations and of the rights and duties that attach to each.[33]

Their error led the followers of these ideologies to insist that those who treat men and women as other than simply equal were being unjust, and that this ‘injustice’ should be remedied.  The device adopted was the novel ‘offence’ of discrimination.  In and after 1970 legislation began to appear in the legislatures of western countries prohibiting conduct ‘discriminating’ between men and women in social intercourse, in employment, in courses of education, in accommodation, in membership of associations, and so on.  Citizens were penalised for treating someone less favourably than, in the same circumstances, they would treat a person of the opposite sex.   It mattered not that they might have sound reasons, i.e., reasons rooted in reality, for so acting; they were forbidden to do so.

So the principals of a hospital, or of a school for young children, who desired, because of their peculiar talents, to train young women as nurses or as teachers, could not direct their advertisements solely to young women.  Carpenters, boilermakers, plumbers, or builders who wished, for a like reason, to apprentice young men to their particular trades were now forbidden to preclude young women from applying. Nor, once persons had applied for the respective positions, could the principals exclude an applicant on the ground that he—that she—was not of the sex he wished to favour.  This social tinkering was disruptive and burdensome.

16.       That the proscription embodied in ‘anti-discrimination’ offends the natural law is readily shown.  Almighty God created all things in love.  That character, love, manifests itself in each of His creatures, particularly among the living, especially in the sensitive and intellective—brute animals and men.  Every animal loves itself and the life it enjoys.[34]  It loves the perfections with which God has endowed it and it loves them, too, where they occur in others.  This is the reason why every animal prefers its own kind; why horses associate with horses, cows with cows, sheep with sheep, and so on.

Man, too, loves himself and the perfections with which he has been invested, perfections infinitely more various than those enjoyed by the most sophisticated of brute animals.  As the man who is a woodworker loves the perfection of woodworking which is his talent, he loves it also in other woodworkers; which leads him to associate with other woodworkers.  A woman who is a nurse loves the perfection of caring for others with which she has been endowed.  She loves it in other nurses and that leads her to associate with them.  In the same way, musicians tend to associate with other musicians; painters with painters, and so on.  For the same reason men of one race or language tend to associate with others of the same race or language; men of the same colour tend to associate with others of that colour.  The inclination to favour one over another is natural, its exercise an essential part of human freedom.  Man is discriminatory by nature. God has made him that way.

17.       Once a principle is admitted, the consequences flow.  The principle of ‘anti discrimination’ having been accepted by a populace lacking insight into its uderlying causes, it was not long before the categories of prohibited conduct expanded, each new category grounded in a further simplistic equality.  As (it was advanced)—

men of all races are equal,
men of all classes are equal,
men of all talents and abilities are equal,
the married and the single are equal,
the pregnant woman is equal with the woman who is not,
the disabled and the able bodied are equal,
the young and the aged are equal,
children must be treated no differently to adults,
the sodomite must be treated no differently to the unperverted; and so on.

In each case the appeal to material identity was accompanied by a refusal to acknowledge formal distinction.  All material beings are equal in being material—for they are all equally comprised of matter.  It is only in formal differences that the reality of each is uncovered, whether the form be substantial or accidental.  Each of the instances of false ‘equality’ cited above refers to some determining form which is accidental.  But there are not wanting ideologues who think that one may ignore substantial formal differences.  The philosopher, Peter Singer, for instance thinks a pig is more deserving of life than the infant human child.

This novel legislation was duly enforced by executive action involving the creation of quasi-judicial ‘anti-discrimination’ commissions and associated bureaucracies.  The policing of these ‘illegalities’ has become a great drain on the public purse, a great burden on society.

Subjectivism Breaches the Rule of Morals
18.       As each category of simplistic ‘equality’ was introduced, human freedom was curtailed, the detriment to society enlarged.  But there was an added, and more significant, detriment.  To organic disruption there was added, episodically, the promotion of moral evil.  Thus a man possessed of a dwelling and desiring to rent it out for a just reward is bound under the moral law not to rent it to persons whom he can reasonably suspect will use it for immoral purposes.  The reason is clear.  To do so would involve him in proximate material cooperation in their moral evil. Through ‘anti-discrimination’ legislation, he was precluded by penal sanction from refusing to rent the dwelling to such persons.  To the extent that such legislation has the effect of condoning moral evil it is morally illicit and operates, as St Thomas Aquinas says, not as a lawful command, but as a species of violence.[35]

There are any number of instances of this violence masquerading as law in the field of ‘anti-discrimination’.  One of the most significant and troubling for parents is that preventing the principals of a school from refusing to employ sodomites or lesbians as teachers of their charges.  Hardly less an evil is that preventing school principals from refusing to employ atheists and secular humanists.

The Inclination to Social Disorder
19.       As subjectivism inverts the order of reality, so does it invert the order that ought to exist between man and society.   This order can only be understood through a right understanding of the person.  But one cannot have a right understanding of the person unless he first understands what God has revealed.  Man is a person because God made him in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1: 26 et seq.).  Man is a person because God is a person.

A person is a being which—

  • exists in its own right—and not as pertaining to something else; and,
  • is of an intellectual nature.

There are, then, two classes of beings which are not persons: 1) those that belong to some other being—as my hand, my arm, the mind, belong to me; and 2) those not of intellectual, or rational, nature, such as brute animals, plants and the whole of the inanimate universe.  The least degree of intellect in one, Aristotle remarked, is a greater reality than the whole of the rest of the material universe.

Whatever is of an intellectual nature is living, that is, automotive; but not simply as regards the execution of its acts, or of the form of its acts, but also as regards the end of its acts.[36]  For the intellectual being is also free; and only those beings are free which can determine the ends of their own acts.

20.       While man is a person, he is a person with limitations.

“The individual man is a person but not a self sufficient person.  And therefore is ordered by nature to be completed and supplemented by society.  But not as a mere part thereof, nor as a mere means to the end thereof.  Wherefore the individual man has an end of his own [and is not a mere means to the end of society].  And society has an end of its own [and is not a mere means to the end of the individual man].  The end of society [is] ultimately for the sake of the end of the individual man… inasmuch as it is [the common] ultimate end of all men.  [And in this] both the individual man and civil society are… distinct from, and subordinate to, God.  For God alone is a self sufficient person, and God alone is his own end to himself.”[37]

Without the help of other men—that is, without the help of society—a man is incapable of acquiring those goods to which his nature impels him; namely, his life and the means to sustain it; his bodily goods, health and physical development; and his mental goods such as virtue and learning.  Moreover he requires society as matter upon which to bestow the richness of his own intellectual goods, for the person is driven by its nature to display the abundance of its riches—bonum est sui diffusivum.  Hence society is not, as the philosophers of the Enlightenment thought, something arising out of a contract implied between men.  It is the natural increment arising on man’s creation.  Man is social by nature: God made him that way.  Society, and its characteristic manifestations statehood and civil authority, derive from God “for there exists no authority except from God.”  [Matthew 28: 18; Romans 13: 1]

Because he is a person, man is not a mere means to the end of something (or someone) else.  He is himself an end.  He exists for his own sake; indeed, for his own beatitude (or happiness) which is the vision of God, his Creator and his ultimate end.

21.       Man has personal obligations, the most fundamental of which is that he must attain this ultimate end, union with God.  But since right follows on, and is correlative with, obligation, it follows that he has rights–-natural rights—which may not be disturbed by civil society without a breach of the moral law.   Each man enjoys a dignity proper to his essence as a person, and a corresponding worth which precludes anyone from treating him as a mere means to an end.  So, while society is entitled to require him to contribute to its welfare, and even to defend its existence, a man is entitled to have society respect his life and moral freedom.

As the individual man has a good proper to him, a virtuous life, society too has its proper good, called paradoxically, the common good.  In this, the common good, all members of society are, by definition, benefited.  Just as the individual man has obligations, so does society: just as an individual man has rights, so also does society.[38]  But society only carries out its obligations, only exercises its rights, correctly when it keeps clearly before it the rights and obligations of man, the person; for this thing—the human person—is the only reason for its existence.  Society has rights, but those rights may not conflict with the inherent rights of the persons who constitute it.  As an individual, man is inferior to society and bound by its lawful proscriptions.  As a person, man is always superior to society.

But subjectivism subverts this order.

22.       Subjectivism betrays the entitlement of man as a person to society’s protection, allowing the defenceless, the unborn, the disabled and the infirm elderly, to be sacrificed for what is perceived, falsely, to be society’s benefit.  It entrenches divorce which attacks the very foundation of society; it endorses contraception which attacks the material foundation underpinning marriage leading to its abandonment as the only licit ground for conjugal union between a man and a woman.  It defends experimentation on human gametes, and the fertilisation in vitro of human embryos as if these were nothing but expendable commodities, and not human beings.  And, in matters of less significance, it exalts the rights of society over its members, stifling their rights to information and service through the evils attendant on bureaucracy.

Subjectivism betrays the entitlement of society over man as an individual to protect itself by denying that the individual has a right never to suffer the death penalty no matter how heinous his conduct may be; by denying society has a right in an appropriate case to compel its members to defend it.  It subverts the natural order by denying, or inhibiting, the right of society to know the public details of the lives of its members through the plea of a ‘right’ to individual privacy.  There is no moral entitlement in any individual, save in a case of reasonable apprehension of harm, for public records to be hidden from society’s knowledge.  Man is a social being.

Other Consequences of the Failure to Acknowledge Form
23.       When something is done, what matters is not what is done, but why it is done.  The same physical act (the matter of an action) can bear any number of formalities, as a man’s act of swinging his arm may be—

to give him some relief from neuralgia
to shake off one who is pestering him,
to exercise the arm which has been weak,
to signal a man some distance away, or
to strike an offender.

What matters is why an act is done.  Subjectivism inclines its adherents to blindness to formality, to regard the matter of an action as the only consideration worthy of attention.  This blindness leads people to folly, to condemn as evil an action which is good.  So, for instance, the act by a parent of striking a child admits of a number of formalities: one of these is to do the child harm—and this is abuse, and is an evil; another, is to punish him for his evil conduct—and this is good as it serves to correct the child’s character and so assist him in arriving at the end for which he was created. It serves, moreover, to render the child tractable and to remove from society the nuisance of his noise and misbehaviour.

Under subjectivism’s pernicious influence, errors arising from this blindness to formality have been incorporated into posited law to the detriment of the common good of the societies in which this has occurred.

Confusion of Will with Intellect
24.       There are two faculties inherent in the person, intellect and will.  By the power of intellect a man knows universal realities.  The will is the appetite that follows on intellect, and is the instrument by which he orders and directs his life.  Of these two faculties, it is man’s use of his will which determines whether or not he will achieve his final end.  It is, then, the will rather than the intellect that needs to be rightly formed.  The right formation of the will is called virtue.

Now, subjectivism is a blind to formality.  This blindness leads those under its influence to treat as one, things really distinct from each other.  Typical of this blindness is the tendency to confuse will and intellect.  This is the ground for the modern fallacy that if a man will only have his intellect properly instructed, he will use his will rightly; demonstrated in the practice of requiring one who has offended by his poor behaviour not to undergo training in virtue and self discipline, but to attend some course of information, which cannot affect his will except per accidens.  There is a pernicious logic in the business: for subjectivism—

  • denies that man was created;
  • denies that he was created to attain an end;
  • denies that that end is union with God; and therefore,
  • must deny that it is necessary to adopt the means necessary to attain the end, namely, to practise virtue.

Subjectivism’s Characteristic Manifestations
i. Political Correctness
25.       We must be grateful to those observers astute to categorise the innumerable ideologies that flourish today as ‘political correctness’.  Rafts of assertion driven by opinion masquerade as indisputable truths.  These are accompanied by attitudes which verge on the violent towards anyone who would dare advance a reasonable argument against them.  Into this category fall contentions such as the following—

that the equality between men and women is a simple equality;
that only that history is true which reflects the ideology of Karl Marx;
that only that history is true which reflects the ideology of Feminism;
that the universe is nothing but a material continuum formed by the accidental interplay of chance and time;
that man has a right to prevent conception upon the act of human intercourse;
that man has a right to kill the innocent child in the womb;
that democracy is the only valid form of government;
that the death penalty can never be justified;
that only a society that acknowledges the demands of the multitude of the cultures of its members can truly be called a society;
and so on.

The ubiquity of subjectivism ensures that these rafts of opinion have fertile ground in which to take root.  The disposition in man to believe is fundamental.  If he will not believe in God, he must believe in something.  If he will not conform to reality, he is condemned to embrace the delusions of some false philosopher.  Hardly a month passes where some new ideology does not arise to befuddle man’s reason with the pretence of profundity.  The devils let loose by Martin Luther and Henry Tudor have demonstrated that their name is 'legion'.[39]

ii. Social Schizophrenia
26.       Subjectivism involves its adherents in serial contradictions which manifest a sort of social schizophrenia.

  • A man will support the need, indeed the entitlement, of each child for the nurturing and support of both a father and a mother in a stable relationship.  This can only be supplied in the life long mutual commitment of marriage.  Yet the same man will not stand in the way of those who argue that a man and a woman may live together without marriage, with the harm frequently entailed by this state to the very children he says he cares about.
  • Another will rightly be angry to read of the abuse and murder of a child and join in seeking the application of the civil law in punishing those who have so offended.  Yet the same man will accept with equanimity the decision of a woman to abort her unborn child, that is, its abuse and murder, as necessary to ensure her social or economic wellbeing.
  • Yet another will be opposed to war because it involves the killing of men—though in the case of a just war such killing may be justified—yet the same person will express himself in favour of euthanasia, that is, the killing of men who are aged or infirm.
  • A fourth will oppose capital punishment because it involves the killing of a man—though, again, this may in cases be justified—but will see no difficulty in condoning the killing of the unborn or the infirm elderly.
  • A fifth will rightly be appalled at the sexual perversion of a child, yet be unconcerned over the  sexual perversion of a man.

In each of these mooted cases there is a coupling of the acknowledgement of principle with its denial.  The contradiction occurs because the person allows himself to be  driven not by the rule of morals, an objective thing, but by majority opinion.

Deprivation of Man’s Eternal Inheritance
27.       God has made every man to desire happiness.  It is imprinted in his very being by the One Who created him.  St Augustine expressed the issue eloquently, Thou hast made us for Thyself, O God and our hearts are not at rest until they rest in Thee.[40]  With its tendency to substitute the intentional for the real, subjectivism deprives a man of the achievement of this good, his inheritance.  It provides the impetus for that syndrome of escape from reality which is the dominating characteristic of the modern world.  Under its pernicious influence people without number live out their lives not in a real, but a surrogate, existence escaping from the time and place to which reality binds them, in search of an illusory ‘happiness’.

This appetite for distraction, rooted in a lack of any sense of discipline, works immense harm in the individual and in society because it impedes, or stultifies, the person’s intellectual and emotional maturity. The appetite it generates, psychological in origin, finds innumerable outlets for satisfaction through each of the five senses.

The eye is enthralled with portrayals on television, computer or cinema screens whose content ranges from the tasteless and banal, to the pornographic and the violent.  The ear is assailed with music ranging from the corybantic to the savage and the satanic; while the largely valueless views of commentators on passing events provide an unremitting background static.  The sense of taste is tempted to unrestrained indulgence in food and drink bringing the weak to an unnatural bodily obesity and its accompanying dullness of mind.  The lack of a fitting restraint in the use of the sense of touch, so closely involved in the sexual act, ensures that children are quickly deprived of their innocence and disposed to coarseness of life.

Each instance of indulgence interferes with what is fitting and due to man as the most noble of material creatures: each works to reduce him to the level of the savage of earlier ages.[41]  Indeed, it leads him lower because of the greater means to indulge in degradation provided by modern technology. Television, mobile communications, portable radios and music players, computers, the internet, video games, each provide scope for escape from the demanding business of facing, and dealing with, reality.  Modern filming techniques can ‘create’ a surrogate reality whose portrayal only adds to the difficulty of discerning the real from the apparent.  And all of this says nothing of those less ambiguous means of harm, illicit drugs, so called aphrodisiacs, and devices which are intrinsically evil, such as contraceptives. 

28.       So has subjectivism served to disturb the psychological balance of the person and to interfere with the exercise of those natural rights and duties that should lead him to the end for which he was made, union with Almighty God.



As with every item that appears on this website, the views expressed in this article are subject to the ruling of the Catholic Church.  In the Dogmatic Constitution, Pastor Aeternus (July, 1870), the Church taught infallibly that the Pope is the immediate superior of every Catholic.  Should the Pope direct the author to remove from the public domain this document, and any other document critical of the Second Vatican Council, it will be done.  We hope the day will come when Almighty God through His Holy Church will endorse the views expressed here as correct.  But He does not need our disobedience to His Vicar’s lawful commands to achieve His ends.

Reversing Subjectivism’s Influence
29.       Evil is not something, but the lack of something—a negative which we conceive after the fashion of a positive.[42]  It is the lack of a good; but not of any good at all: it is the lack of a due good.  Blindness is not evil in a tree, for sight is not due to a tree, but it is evil in a horse.  Theft is not evil in a dog, for a dog is not bound by the rule of morals; but it is evil in a man, for a man is bound by that rule.  So is subjectivism an evil, the lack of something due in the act of judgement; the lack of relation to reality.

Now, no evil is greater than the good of which it is a privation.  No matter how universal its extent, then, the evil of subjectivism can be remedied and its harm reversed.  The principal power on earth capable of applying that remedy, of reversing that harm, is the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church was founded by Almighty God for the good of mankind: first  (principally), for the eternal salvation of all men; second (instrumentally), to aid them in the ordering of their lives so as to dispose them to embrace that salvation.  She is a mother guiding men to avoid the evils which are incident to their flawed existence: she is a teacher correcting error and proclaiming the truth—Mater et Magistra.  Though she may seem to exercise little influence on this man or that, yet she does influence them through her teaching and the example of her members.

The Church, as English author Hilaire Belloc remarked early in the twentieth century, is the one thing in this world different from all other.  She must, of necessity, involve herself in the material; yet she is not material.  Men comprise her members and her ministers; yet she is not something human.  Her Founder and Head is God the Son, Jesus Christ, second person of the Blessed Trinity.  Her soul is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.  The end and reason for her existence is union with God the Father of man, the creature He made in His own image and likeness.  While her members are fallible and defectible, she is infallible and indefectible.  It is this quasi-Divine character of the Catholic Church which underlies Our Lord’s promise that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.[43]

Yet the Church has herself suffered from the subjectivist blight—or rather, her bishops, priests and members have suffered from it.  And before she can exercise again the influence for good she exercised in ages past, that blight must be removed.

Subjectivism’s Attack on Religion—Modernism
30.       The noxious flowers to which Protestantism had given birth produced in due course lethal fruit with the emergence of thinkers who questioned whether there was any objective ground for the assertion that God had revealed His truth to men.  These called themselves Deists, or Free-Thinkers, and claimed that religion was something at which one could arrive through natural reason.[44]  Typical of these was the Protestant, Hermann Reimarus (1694-1768), according to whom the Bible was a tissue of lies and deceit, the purpose of the writers of the New Testament, the service of selfish ambition.  Reimarus stands at the head of a school of biblical critics who deny any reality to the transcendent.

It was not long before this evil precipitated a new heresy within the Catholic fold, a heresy Pope Pius X was to categorise as “the synthesis of all heresies”—Modernism.  Why he so described it may be shortly related.  Heresy is the obstinate post baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with Divine and Catholic faith.[45]  He who holds what he chooses to hold and rejects what he chooses to reject of the Catholic Church’s teaching, as St Thomas says, no longer adheres to the Church as to an infallible rule but to his own will.[46]  Now, while every heresy causes the loss of the Catholic faith, its particular character is determined by the ground on which it is advanced.  Here the ground could not be more universal, for Modernisminsists that all assertion of the existence of being which transcends the material is illusory.

Hence, the Modernist joins the Gnostic heretic in his assertion of the possession of a knowledge higher than that provided by Divine revelation, for he is possessed of a knowledge higher even than that of the ancient Gnostic, the knowledge (as he thinks) that there is nothing transcendent.  He joins the Pelagian in his insistence that the Church is in error in asserting man cannot aspire to heaven without the assistance of God’s grace—for he knows that all assertion of ‘God’s grace’ is an illusion.  He joins the Arian in denying the Divinity of Christ—for he knows that all assertion of ‘Divinity’, whether by Christ or anyone else, is illusory.  And so on, for each of the other heresies.  In Modernism Protestantism reaches its fulfilment for the heresy ends, as Pius X noted, in atheism.

In his signal encyclical, Pascendi (8.9.1907), the saintly pope condemned Modernism comprehensively, establishing structures to ensure its suppression.  But its proponents persisted and the enormous social upheavals caused by two cataclysmic wars—where the Protestant principle dominated the Catholic—permitted Modernism to endure as a latent force among the Catholic faithful.  Bishops and seminary heads, ignoring the strictures imposed by successive popes (notably Pius XII in Humani Generis, 12.8.1950) against allowing scope to modern philosophy in their students’ studies, failed in their duties.  The result was the defective formation of a great number of young priests and religious.  The more exposed they were to the novelties and shifting ground of modern philosophy, the more were they attracted to Modernism’s simplistic explanations.  The heresy’s momentum grew and, during the pontificate of John XXIII, it resurfaced to find expression in attitudes favourable to Protestantism among bishops and their periti at the Second Vatican Council.

Subjectivism’s Attack on Religion—Freemasonry
31.       Meanwhile, another of Protestantism’s evil fruit, Freemasonry, had been working quietly to bear the souls of men away from their reliance upon God.  In 1884, Pope Leo XIII laid out the Masonic program in detail.[47]  Here are its more salient elements:

  • human nature and human reason ought in all things to be sole mistress and guide of the soul;
  • nothing has been taught by God;
  • the teaching and authority of the Catholic Church should be of no account in the civil state;
  • Church and state ought to be altogether disunited;
  • the state should be without God;
  • authority comes not from God but by command, or permission, of the people;
  • states ought to be constituted without regard for the precepts of the Church;
  • it should be lawful to attack with impunity the very foundations of the Catholic religion, in speech, in writing, and in teaching;
  • the religious orders should be uprooted and scattered;
  • all religions are alike and there is no reason why one should have precedence;
  • those things grasped by the natural light of reason—the existence of God, the immateriality of the human soul, and its immortality—can no longer be considered certain;
  • in educating the young nothing should be taught as certain concerning religion;
  • each man must be at liberty to follow the religion he chooses, or none at all;
  • all men have the same rights and are, in all respects, equal and of like condition.

32.       Because of the connection between them, in whatever country Protestantism predominated there occurred an inclination to follow Masonic doctrine, as in respect of that most basic of issues, the right and obligation to educate children.  It is God, and God alone, Who gives parents the power to bring children into the world.  It is God alone who endows them with the entitlement to educate them.  No one, no group of men, no society, no state authority, is entitled to deprive parents of this entitlement.  In Protestant dominated countries the state tended to establish school systems.  While there is nothing intrinsically evil in such a system—parents can delegate the exercise of their right to educate their children to others, even to teachers employed by the state—it opens the way for abuse.  For, inevitably, such school systems are funded from the public purse, that is, from taxes levied on the populace at large.  Such a system is inherently unjust.  For, consistent with their obligations, the costs of education of children are properly to be borne by their parents, and by no one else.

The parents of children who chose to have their children educated other than in a state run system soon realised the injustice.  Not only were they paying for their own children’s education, they were assisting through their taxes, to pay for the education of the children of all others.

This injustice was felt particularly by Catholic parents who were fundamentally opposed to the education of their children in secular institutions.  Something of this injustice was retrieved by the device of ‘state aid’, whereby a refund of part of the moneys of which the parents should never have been deprived was returned by way of ‘grant’, or ‘subsidy’.  But this provided only a material, not a formal, restoration of justice as the state invariably regarded itself as entitled to impose conditions on these returns.  Moreover, because of perceived favouritism, the existence of these ‘grants’ bred a spirit of resentment among those who were blind to the issues.  Things were further obscured with the increasing intrusion of government into people’s lives through socialism.  Even as the state contributed to the needs of (chiefly) Catholic parents, it embedded the Masonic claim of state entitlement in the detail.  The way was open for the further intrusion of Masonic principle.

America’s Bishops Embrace Masonic Principle
33.       Masons had exercised great influence in the founding of the United States of America, and a Masonic bias was present in the Protestant cast of her founding documents.  This manifested itself in the school systems conducted by the various States that made up the Union with the effects mentioned above.  In the 1947 case of Everson v. Board of Education the United States Supreme Court entrenched Masonic principle when it endorsed a rigorous separation of Church and state.  It was no accident that the writer of the majority judgement, the Mason, Justice Hugo Black, chose to draw on the thought of Unitarian and Deist, Thomas Jefferson, the country’s Third President.[48]

Before proceeding further, let us remind ourselves of the issues at stake.  Freemasonry is of the Devil.  It arose out of the rejection of the Divine authority in the Church God had founded, the Catholic Church.  Its whole being, and the program it endorses (summarised above) is aimed at the suppression of the authority God gave to His Church and, by this means, to remove God’s authority from among men.  Hence, when Freemasonry calls for separation of Church and state, that is, calls for the removal of religious influence upon civil government, its focus is not the separation from government of the influence of any particular religion, but only of the one that has the right to have its principles incorporated in the operations of the state, the religion founded by God, the Catholic religion.[49]

34.       How did America’s Catholic bishops address this entrenchment of Masonic principle?  They issued a pastoral letter the following year entitled The Christian In Action.[50]  The reader of this pastoral letter will be bemused to discover that the American bishops did not—

  • insist that the institution established on earth for man’s eternal salvation is the Catholic Church, and no other;
  • assert that far from harming the operations of the state, the involvement of Christ’s Church in those operations could not do otherwise than assist in achieving the welfare of its citizens, and even more, could marvellously enhance the achievement of that end;[51]
  • note that while it might be conceded that America had flourished in large measure under the influence of Protestantism, it had done so because Protestantism was underpinned by Catholic principle.

Nor did they reiterate the warnings the Church had issued for two centuries about the evils of Freemasonry[52]; nor warn of the further evils that would flow from the continued toleration of Masonic influence in the running of their country.  Instead they treated the ruling of the Supreme Court as a matter of faulty interpretation.  Far from rejecting Masonic principle, they adopted it, explicitly acknowledging the licitness of two critical elements each of which the Church had repeatedly condemned, separation of Church and state and religious liberty.[53]  There were to be grave consequences of this negligence not only for America, but for the rest of the world.

Advance Of the Masonic Program
35.       It is enlightening to review the Masonic program exposed by Leo XIII and observe how, increasingly since about 1960, its influence has come to dominate world thinking.[54]  In particular, one should note how the formation of children, once passed the age of innocence and committed by their parents to secular schools, has now been conformed to that program, in—

  • the removal of all deference to God;
  • the removal of reference to God;
  • the reduction of the study of religion to a comparison of religious opinions;
  • the rejection of Divine revelation as containing any element of truth (coupled with the implication that human reason is the highest principle);
  • the lauding of religious freedom—that everyone should be free to choose a religion, or no religion;—and,
  • the consequent flourishing among them of atheism.

Of the elements of the Masonic program listed above, items i, ii, iii, v, vi, x, xi, xii and xiii have been put in place; and the children so formed have been disposed thereby to endorse the remaining elements of the program, and any passing ideology.

In every city or town in western countries one may see churches reflecting the presence of adherents of the Catholic faith and of the various Protestant denominations.  Each will have, more or less, a measure of grandeur, testifying to the faith of its members in God.  It is sobering to reflect that none of them have had more influence on the societies they serve than the adherents of the idolatry practised in the dowdy Masonic Temples to be found in their midst.

The Devastation of Catholicism
36.       In various of the countries of the world prior to 1965, Christ’s Church exercised great influence for good through formal protocols known as concordats, among them, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Bolivia, Columbia, Brazil, Malta and Ireland.  Such agreements were the happy result of the implementation by their governments of the Church’s perennial teaching as, for example, found in Leo XIII’s Immortale Dei (1.11.1885):

“The Catholic Church… has for her immediate and natural purpose, the saving of souls and securing our happiness in heaven.  Yet in regard to things temporal, she is the source of benefits as manifold and great as if the chief end of her existence were to ensure the prospering of our earthly life… [W]herever the Church has set her foot, she has straightway changed the face of things and has tempered the moral tone of the people with a new civilisation and virtues before unknown.  All nations that have yielded to her sway have become eminent by their gentleness, their sense of justice and the glory of their high deeds.”  [n. 1]

Man’s very nature and existence are given him by God, as is his disposition to live in society.  So, too, the order and subordination under authority which arises in society, no matter what form it may take, is derived from its Author.

“Hence, it follows that all public power must proceed from God.  For God alone is the true and supreme Lord of the world… so that whoever holds the right to govern holds it from one sole and single source, namely, God, the Sovereign Ruler of all… Then, truly will the majesty of the law meet with the dutiful and willing homage of the people, when they are convinced that their rulers hold authority from God, and feel that it is a matter of justice and duty to obey them, and to show them reverence and fealty, united to a love not unlike that which children show their parents.”  [nn. 3 & 5]

There was a time when, universally, states were governed by the rule of Christ’s Church, and man and society flourished together.

“Christian Europe… subdued barbarous nations and changed them from a savage to a civilised condition, from superstition to true worship.  It… rolled back the tide of Mohammedan conquest… stood forth… as leader and teacher… in every branch of national culture; bestowed on the world the gift of a true and many-sided liberty and… founded numerous institutions for the solace of human suffering… A similar state of things would certainly have continued had the [universal] agreement of [Church and state] been lasting… had obedience waited upon the authority, teaching and counsels of the Church, and had this submission been specially marked by greater and more unswerving loyalty.  For… [as] Ivo of Chartres wrote to Pope Paschal II: When kingdom and priesthood are… in complete accord the world is well ruled and the Church flourishes and brings forth abundant fruit.  But when they are at variance, not only do smaller interests not prosper, but even things of greatest moment fall into deplorable decay.“  [Imoortale Dei 21, 22]

In the forty five years since 1965, these concordats have been systematically dismantled at the instigation of the Vatican to the detriment of the citizens of the countries involved, and of the world at large.  In lieu of the Catholic principle they represented, the Vatican has substituted the Masonic principle of separation of Church and state.  Item iv in the Masonic program set out above has been implemented.

37.       After 1965, priests were invited to embrace the secular in the administration of the sacred.  Many, in consequence, embraced the secular completely.  In the next twenty years 46,000 priests, on one assessment, abandoned their vocations.[55]  Another, which compares figures published by the Vatican Secretary of State for 1969 and 1976, shows the number of priests fell in those seven years alone by 70,000.[56]  The loss to the Catholic faithful was traumatic.  Millions abandoned their faith.  This loss might be regarded as reflecting the implementation of any of the elements of the Masonic program set out above, but the most telling is that listed as item xi, those things grasped by the natural light of reason—the existence of God, the immateriality of the human soul, and its immortality—can no longer be considered certain.

Of no less concern was the slide by those priests who remained in the practice of their priesthood into Modernism, or semi-Modernism.  The pride characteristic of this heresy marked their attitude of systematic disobedience to the Church’s directives and to the teachings and practice of the Catholic faith.  By their misrepresentation of the faith, these priests worked greater harm among the faithful than the bad example of those who had abandoned their vocations.  Many among them, bishops included, eventually lost their way and abandoned the faith.

38.       The permission of the incursion of the secular into the realm of the sacred had another tragic effect.  By the nature of his vocation the religious devotes himself to God: his life and conduct are marked by this exclusivity which is manifested especially through the vow of chastity.  It is for this reason that, while characteristic of the secular, sexual expression is anathema in the realm of the sacred.  Inevitably after 1965, religious men and women began to compromise the chaste ideal to which they had bound themselves.  Great numbers of brothers and nuns rejected their vocations, leaving convents and monasteries abandoned and desolate throughout the world.  Item ix of the Masonic program set out above was implemented.

Many who remained, effete and largely directionless, abandoned the traditional structure of religious life and began to conduct themselves like members of some secular corporation.  Others gave themselves over to novelty, subverting the holiness of their calling to the demands of passing ideologies.  With this loss of holiness of life from its midst, the welfare of all members of society suffered, and suffers still.[57]

39.       Due in large measure to the abandonment of their vocations by members of the religious teaching orders, Catholic education languished, then failed completely.  The school children who now passed through these Catholic schools were deprived of the knowledge and the discipline of the faith essential to its practice.  Statistics demonstrate an almost total failure of adherence to the faith in former students.  Catholic schools have become little more than state schools by another name.  As with their secular peers, Catholic school children suffered the implementation of items i, ii, iii, v, vi, x, xi, xii and xiii of the Masonic program set out above.

But for these children the effects were worse than for their peers in state schools.  For, misled by teachers infected as well by Modernism as by Masonic principle, they believed that the religion conveyed to them so poorly was the Catholic faith, when it was nothing but a parody of the faith.

40.       Just when it was essential that appropriate discipline be applied to the conduct of priests and religious to limit the harm that was occurring, a lassitude marked by an unwillingness to exercise authority descended upon Vatican authorities.  As breaches of discipline went unpunished, the harm was compounded.  The effect of this was the tacit endorsement of the Masonic principles that—

  • the teaching and authority of the Catholic Church should be of no account;
  • authority comes not from God but from the people;
  • it should be lawful to attack with impunity the very foundations of the Catholic religion;
  • each man must be at liberty to follow religion as he chooses.

This abandonment of authority communicated itself to the Church’s bishops who allowed breaches of the Church’s laws to go uncorrected.

The Second Vatican Council
41.       The bishops of the Catholic Church were summoned to Rome late in 1962 for what they were assured would be the Church’s 21st Ecumenical Council.  In his Opening Speech of 11th October 1962 Pope John XXIII said as much—

“Mother Church rejoices that by the singular gift of Divine Providence, the longed-for day has finally dawned when… the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council is being solemnly opened here beside St Peter’s tomb.”

What was the aim of the Council?  A perusal of the Pope’s Opening Speech reveals a number of relevant passages:[58]

  • “In calling this vast assembly of bishops, the latest and humble successor to the Prince of the Apostles… intended to assert once again the magisterium which is unfailing and perdures until the end of time in order that, taking into account the errors, the requirements and the opportunities of our time, it might be presented in exceptional form to all men throughout the world.”
  • “Illuminated by the light of this Council, the Church, we confidently trust, will become greater in spiritual riches and, gaining the strength of new energies, will look to the future without fear.  In fact, by bringing herself up to date where required, and by the wise organisation of mutual cooperation, the Church will make men, families and peoples really turn their minds to heavenly things.”
  • “The salient point of this Council is not… a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all.  For this a Council was not necessary.  But from the renewed, serene and tranquil adherence to the teaching of the Church in its entirety and precision… the Christian, Catholic and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and formation of consciousness… studied and expounded through the methods of research and the literary forms of modern thought.”
  • “We might say that heaven and earth are united in the holding of the Council, the saints in heaven interceding to protect our work, the faithful of the earth persevering in prayer to the Lord, and you, applying the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to ensure that the work of all may correspond to modern expectations and the needs of the various peoples of the world...”

Nowhere did Pope John XXIII expose a doctrinal or disciplinary issue that needed addressing.  Indeed, in the third passage cited he denied any such need.  He focussed instead upon the perceived need to accommodate the Church to “the requirements and opportunities of [the] time”; “to bringing the Church up to date where required”; to achieving “a doctrinal penetration and formation of consciousness… studied and expounded through the methods of research and the literary forms of modern thought”; and “to ensur[ing] that the work of all… correspond[ed] to modern expectations and the needs of the various peoples of the world...”   This, as a careful analysis of them will show, marked a radical departure from the focus of each of the previous twenty Ecumenical Councils of the Church.

The Issue
42.       Let us recall the principle of subjectivism.  It is this: truth is not measured by reality, but by assertion; by opinion.  Thus, when Henry Tudor asserted that he was not lawfully married to Queen Catherine of Aragon, it was sufficient for him to assert it for it to be held to be true.[59]  The assertion was endorsed by innumerable of his subjects, and by subsequent Kings and Queens of England.  But it was not true; for it was denied by reality.

Pope John XXIII asserted that the Second Vatican Council was an ecumenical council; that is, a council whose determinations would be infallible and, therefore, binding upon the Church.  Consistent with the subjectivist principle, it was sufficient for him to assert it for it to be held to be true.  The assertion was endorsed by innumerable bishops and priests, and by subsequent popes.  But merely because the Pope asserted it, it did not follow that it was true if it was denied by reality.

Now, it will be objected immediately that the cases cannot be compared.  The Pope is, after all, Christ’s Vicar on earth: he does not always speak infallibly but even his passing words should be treated with respect.  A pope is infallible “in very rare situations,” as Pope Benedict XVI said in the first public statement he made after his elevation in 2005.  He is infallible in those circumstances defined in the Decree Pastor Aeternus (1870) by the Vatican Council: namely, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is—

  • when carrying out the duty as pastor and teacher of all Christians,
  • in accordance with his supreme apostolic authority,
  • he explains a doctrine of faith or morals
  • to be held by the universal Church.

Pope John’s pronouncement that the Second Vatican Council was an ecumenical council did not fall within those circumstances.  It was not, then, eo ipso infallible.  It had to be weighed against the reality that makes a council of the Church ecumenical to determine whether or not it was true.

But there was a problem.  While the Church has defined when a pope is infallible, she has not yet defined when a council is infallible (that is, a general or ecumenical council).  In other words, she has not formally identified the reality to which a council must conform in order to be an ecumenical council.

When Is A Council Ecumenical?
43.       The reality—that which makes a council ecumenical—can only be ascertained by recourse to the metaphysical doctrine of causality.  Regrettably, by the time Pope John XXIII had his inspiration that the Church needed an ecumenical council, the teaching of metaphysics (and the rigour of thought which is its accompaniment) was languishing.  Ten years or so earlier, in Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII had lamented its abandonment in Catholic seminaries and had warned of the consequences.

A pope can summon the world’s bishops to meet together in council for any number of reasons as, for example,—

  • to get to know them better;
  • for a communal feast;
  • to discuss some moral issue which is troubling the Church’s members, such as the current plague of sexual abuse;
  • for the funeral of a great prelate;
  • for a general synod; or,
  • to determine some issue essential to the faith.

It is not the summoning of the bishops—the conforming to the legalities—that makes a council ecumenical, even a summoning (reflecting the Church’s universality) from every jurisdiction.  The summoning—the gathering—is merely the matter.  The council only becomes ecumenical when this matter is accompanied by the appropriate form. An ecumenical council’s form is determined by its final cause which, remotely taken, is the good of the Church; and, proximately taken, is the need to determine some issue whose clarification is essential for the Church to carry out her Divine mission of the salvation of men.  Only when a council is formed by this essential determination does it become an ecumenical council.

The Reality of Vatican II

44.       What Pope John XXIII essayed in summoning the Church’s bishops to the Vatican in 1962 may be seen from the extracts from the Opening Speech quoted above.  It was to accommodate the Church’s teaching to the demands of the secular world.  Indeed, he coined a particular word to encapsulate this aim—aggiornamento.  He called the Council “to bring the Church up to date”.  But the Church had no such need.   The Church is outside time: the Church is timeless.

With Vatican II the ordination which had marked each of the previous twenty Ecumenical Councils was reversed: instead of the resolution of an issue giving legitimacy to a Council, a Council resolved to give legitimacy to an issue.  More precisely, instead of the resolution of a doctrinal issue giving legitimacy to the Second Vatican Council, the Second Vatican Council resolved to give legitimacy to a secular issue.  What was the result?  The end essential for an ecumenical council being absent, the formality ensuring that the determinations of the Council would be infallible was likewise absent.  The Second Vatican Council was not an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church.[60]

It was the Council’s initiative of licensing the entry of the secular into the realm of the sacred that enabled the subjectivist evils of Freemasonry and Modernism to make the inroads into Christ’s Church detailed above.  Now appears the significance of the attendance of members of the American episcopacy.  They brought to the Council their endorsement of those elements of Masonic doctrine, separation of Church and state and religious liberty which the Church had long condemned.  Here is the cause of the effects that led Pope Paul VI on 29th June 1972 to lament, “through some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.”  Vatican II was not just a fissure: it was a gate thrown wide open!

Vatican II’s Contribution to the Greatest Scandal
45.       In the history of the Church there have always been clergy and religious inclined to succumb to sexual temptation but, except in times of dissipation, they were relatively few.[61]  The rigours attendant on the practice of their vocations assisted many, perhaps most, of those so inclined to cope.  Vatican II’s licensing of the entry of the secular into the realm of the sacred removed the buttressing effect of a rigorous religious life.  The weak not only found an excuse for indulging their weaknesses, but were deprived of the institutional support and example that might have preserved them from this folly.  The abandonment of the exercise of authority by the Vatican and the Church’s bishops served to increase the scope of the evil.

Corruptio optimi pessima—once embarked on this course, the depths of degradation to which these consecrated persons could descend was measured only by the heights to which they had originally been raised.  The resulting evils have tarnished not only the victims and their families, but also the bishops and priests who sought, foolishly, to protect the offenders.  The scandal to the Church has been immense.

Christ’s Church Will Triumph

46.       The Catholic Church has Christ’s guarantee of infallibility: it is she, and no philosopher or theologian, who will determine the issues at stake—

  • what precisely it is that makes a council of the Church’s bishops ecumenical; and,
  • whether in truth Vatican II was an ecumenical council of the Church.

These issues must be determined, we contend, before the restoration to its fulness of the salutary influence of the Church upon the world.  At the heart of the business is the exposure of that intellectual imposture which grounds the denial of the authority of God, and of reality—subjectivism.

47.       We shall end this project where we began it, with Chestertonian good sense and the prospect of a return of mankind to sanity.

“[The] peril is that the human intellect is free to destroy itself.  Just as one generation could prevent the very existence of the next generation by all entering a monastery or jumping into the sea, so one set of thinkers can in some degree prevent further thinking by teaching the next generation that there is no validity in any human thought.  It is idle to talk always of the alternative of reason and faith.  Reason is itself a matter of faith… The creeds and the crusades, the hierarchies and the horrible persecutions were not organised, as is ignorantly said, for the suppression of reason.  They were organised for the difficult defence of reason… Insofar as religion is gone, reason is going…”[62]

The apotheosis is upon us.  Modern man is hard at work, decorating his body with the marks of Satan, gathering with his fellows for the charge down the Gardarene slope. Who can save him?  Only his Creator and Redeemer.  Twenty centuries ago Almighty God established the means of man’s salvation, the Catholic Church.  That is the means He will use.

48.       It is only a matter of time before Christ stirs His Church to action to expose the lies that have for so long afflicted the world, lies which have infiltrated, at the last, the minds even of those whom He has chosen to speak in His name.


Michael Baker
May 30, 2010—Trinity Sunday

Revised and reissued February 17, 2019—Septuagesima Sunday (forma extraordinaria:  Sixth Sunday of the Year (forma ordinaria)

[1]   G K Chesterton, 1907.  The author puts these words in the mouth of Our Blessed Lady as she addresses King Alfred the Great.

[2]   Cf. Genesis 25: 29-34

[3]   It is derived from the Latin verb religare, to bind fast.

[4]   St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae II-II, q. 5, a. 3

[5]   Cf. Ephesians 2: 8.  There is an apodictic proof of this in a phenomenon of which Catholics—and only Catholics—are aware.  When a man loses the Catholic faith he loses all memory of the thing he once possessed.  If the Catholic faith was of man and not of God, one who had forsaken that faith would yet remember the reality he had forsaken.

[6]   This may be seen in the relations that characterised Henry’s legitimate daughter, Mary Tudor, a Catholic, and Lady Jane Grey; and between Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth.  Jane and Elizabeth were raised in Protestant households and taught to hate Catholicism.  Neither understood the nature of Mary’s belief.  Nor, it must be said, did she understand the limitations of their Protestant faith.

[7]   Something amply demonstrated by Luther’s personal life.

[8]   Dedicated to Pope Leo X who rewarded him with the title Fidei Defensor.  The English historian, Scarisbrick, describes the work as “one of the most successful pieces of Catholic polemics produced by the first generation of anti-Protestant writers."  It went through some twenty editions in the sixteenth century, and as early as 1522 had appeared in two different German translations.

[9]   The Emperor Charles V’s ambassador Chapuys remarked, “This is in fact equivalent to declaring the king to be Pope of England.  It is true that the clergy appended a proviso… but… no one in future will dare to argue with the king regarding its extent.”  And so it proved.

[10]   He brought charges against the bishops and established a commission to examine the Church’s laws to see whether they infringed the royal prerogative.

[11]   It is frequently asserted that Henry remained a faithful Catholic until he died.  This is untrue.  He directed the Commons to declare that it would no longer be an heretical act to deny that the Pope was the Vicar of Christ on earth.  This was sufficient to make him a heretic.  In any event, he died excommunicate.

[12]   Man is both contingent and dependent.  He has existence—for the moment—and may lose it at any time.  He depends for his sustenance upon nature.  The very air he breathes is given to him.

[13]   “I exist and therefore I can think.”  Do follows be, not the other way round.

[14]   Chesterton remarked that the doctrine of Original Sin was the one Church teaching which could be proved experimentally.

[15]    A syndrome that marks the reasoning of the defenders of Darwinian theory.

[16]   And which has reduced poetry, art and music to their present abysmal state.

[17]   You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

[18]   25 Hen. VIII, c.22.

[19]   26 Hen. VIII, c.1.  This Act was repealed by Queen Mary, but a fresh Act of Supremacy was passed by Elizabeth in 1559.

[20]   E E Reynolds, The Field is Won, Milwaukee, 1968, p. 297.

[21]   I)  You shall have no gods besides me.  II)   You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.  Cf."Leo XIII & Freemasonry" at for an example of the Masonic oaths.

[22]   Apostolic Constitution Quo Graviora (13.3.1826).

[23]   Immortale Dei, 1.11.1885, n. 23.

[24]  Karl Jaspers, ‘Marx und Freud’, Der Monat, xxvi (1950); quoted in Paul Johnson, Intellectuals, London, 1988, p. 62.

[25]  Dr Michael Denton, Evolution, A Theory In Crisis, London, 1985, p. 345

[26]  Res naturalis inter duos intellectos constituitDe Veritate, Q. 1, art. 2, resp.

[27]  Darwin was never so sure of the truth of his theory as were his antagonistic followers, such as Thomas Huxley.  “If it could be demonstrated,” Darwin remarked, “that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”  [On the Origin of Species, 1859, p. 158]

[28]  A Guide for the Perplexed, London, 1977; reprinted by Abacus, 1986, cf. this edition pp. 106 et seq, pp. 109-110.

[29]  For the sake of that end the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became a man, lived and died. 

[30]  St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 10. a. 3.

[31]   Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!  As in all slogans falsity was admixed with the truth.  The liberty the revolutionaries advocated was a false liberty; the equality, a false equality; the fraternity, a false fraternity.  For further light on the folly of slogans see Orwell’s Animal Farm.

[32]  Generically both are men.   “God created man in His own image; to the image of God He created him.  Male and female He created them.”[Genesis 1: 27] 

[33]  This distinction is real, not imaginary: if it is not recognised the very ground of society is disturbed and grievous harm follows.

[34]   Willing itself both to live and to be.  Which is why it will do all in its power to prevent someone trying to terminate its life and its existence. 

[35]  “Human law has the nature of law in so far as it partakes of right reason; and it is clear that, in this respect, it is derived from the eternal law.  In so far as it deviates from reason, however, it is to be called unjust, and has the nature not of law but of violence… Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 93, a. 3, ad 2; and see  I-II, q. 96, a. 4.

[36]  St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae I, q.18, a. 3; and cf. the author’s analysis in Atheism’s Great Cosmogenic Myth at's_cosmogenic_myth.pdf

[37]  A M Woodbury SM, Ph.D, S.T.D., The Foundations of Political Theory (A text of the Aquinas Academy, Sydney), n. 14.

[38]  As society has obligations to see that order is maintained in the interrelations and dealings between men; that the moral law is upheld; that children are properly educated.  As it has obligations to defend itself against attack from without, or from within.  In pursuance whereof it has the right to act in those things which individual men are unable to do for themselves, such as governing; to promulgate laws, and to enforce them.

[39]  Cf. Mark 5: 9

[40]  Confessions I, 1

[41]  Evidenced in the pre-occupation with that mark of the savage, body tattooing.

[42]  The reality of evil is the absence of due good.  In giving this lack, this negative, the appearance of something positive, the mind creates, as it were, a reality in mind.  Hence evil is a mental construction.  In the same way is darkness a mental construction.  The reality is the lack of light in the ambient air.  We clothe that negative with the marks of a positive by labelling it as if it were a reality.

[43]  Matthew 16: 18; and cf. Matthew 28: 20.

[44]  Implicit in this claim was the contention that being is confined to the experimentally verifiable.  Deism is the intellectual root of those variants of the Protestant spirit Unitarianism and Freemasonry.

[45]  Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2089.

[46]  Summa Theologiae II-II, q. 5, a. 3

[47]  In the encyclical Humanum Genus (20.4.1884). 

[48]  Deism  was the forerunner of Freemasonry. 

[49]  Men may opine on the varieties of religion to which to give their adherence.  But the Devil sees things with crystal clarity.  He knows that there is only one religion which will lead them infallibly to God.

[50]  Cf. Pastoral Letters of the United States Catholic Bishops, Hugh J Nolan Editor, Washington DC, 1983, pp. 82-9.

[51]  Immortale Dei, nn. 19 and 22; Longinqua oceani (6.1.1895).

[52]  Clement XII, Bull In Eminenti (28.4.1738); Benedict XIV, Constitution Providas (18.3.1751); Pius VII, Constitution Ecclesiam a Jesu Christo (13.9.1821); Leo XII, Apostolic Constitution Quo Graviora (13.3.1826); Leo XIII, Encyclical Humanum Genus (20.4.1884).

[53]   Leo XIII, Humanum Genus (20.4.1884); Immortale Dei (1.11.1885); and Libertas praestantissimum (20.6.1888).

[54]  Anyone who doubts this sea change should attend his local library and study a copy of a 1965 newspaper, comparing its content with that of a current issue.

[55]  Figure quoted by George Weigel in The Courage to be Catholic, New York, 2002, p.27.

[56]  Cf. Romano Amerio, Iota Unum, A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the XXth Century, Sarto House, transl. from 2nd Italian Edition by Fr John P. Parsons, Kansas City, 1996, p.182.

[57]  Notably in the absence of a Catholic hospital system.

[58]  Opening Speech in The Documents of Vatican II, Walter M Abbott S J, General Editor; London, 1966, p.710 at p. 715.

[59]  The assertion reinforced by legislation passed by a compliant parliament.

[60]  Pope and bishops do not make themselves infallible: God alone does that; and He does not bestow that charism without adequate reason.  Infallibility is like virtue: it cannot be abused: it exists only for the welfare of the Church and the Catholic faithful.

[61]  As may be seen, for instance, in a perusal of The Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena (c. 1382) or of the Life of Saint Teresa (c. 1565).

[62]  G K Chesterton, Orthodoxy, London, 1908; my copy, Fontana Books, 1963, pp. 33-4.