The first deliberate use of mass media to control a society

June 13, 2016                                                                                                                                        The Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua

I was reading Jacques Crétineau-Joly’s marvelous though sadly never translated into English work L’Église Romaine en Face de la Revolution from 1859 about the disastrous calamities in Europe that both caused and resulted from the French Revolution and I came across a fascinating passage about the state of France between 1789 and the massacres of the fall of 1792 (translation and italics mine):

In each city there exists a (political) club and this club writes a daily newspaper.  To the aid of these two new mechanisms there is formed an electric current throughout France which propagates enthusiasm or fear, and which metes out hope or disappointments according to its pleasure.  They want to lead the French nation by degrees to repudiate her history and her cult on her own.  They blow into the hive to enrage the bees.

I have never read a more cogent analysis of the destructive power of mass media than this; and it was written in 1859!  The printing press had existed for a third of a millennium when the French Revolution broke out, and it had been used to bad effect by the Protestants and by Voltaire and his cronies with the licentious and pornographic publications they spread throughout Europe to weaken the wills of the societies that their disciples were now starting to assault but it had never been used quite like this.  Its purpose now was not simply to spread bad ideas but to control public opinion.

This was a first in human history to my knowledge.  The information flow was to be managed.  Certainly spreading rumors, especially in wartime, was an ancient tactic but it was usually local and only by word of mouth.  And newspapers had existed prior to 1789 but they were different: usually just a summary of grain prices, court cases, ship arrivals, and if any foreign news were included it was usually only because someone had sent a letter with some interesting factoids from a foreign port.  In the times when kings and their courts managed the affairs of state there was a lot less for people to worry about.

The revolution of 1789 claimed to launch the people, the French nation, into the halls of government.  And it created mechanisms such as an elected National Assembly that would be the vehicle for this supposed popular control.  The only hitch in this project was that the real revolutionaries had no interest in the actual will of the people.  Most of the people after six weeks of revolutionary government probably would have sought to return to a time of more peace and stability and prosperity with the old institutions firmly in charge, only maybe a little bit less corrupt, though it should be said that corruption is a constant throughout human history no matter what form of government one lives under.  In fact corruption has amplified exponentially in the so called ‘democratic age’ compared to what it was under the Catholic monarchs.

Now the will of the people had first to be constructed, for who could say that the 28 million souls who inhabited France in 1789 possessed a single will between them, and then molded to suit the preferences of the revolutionaries.  This is why the construction of this network of political associations who were producing their own publications all linked to a central authority was so crucial.  People in Bordeaux and in Marseille and in Lille would all be reading the same thing day in and day out.  Public opinion would not simply be managed it would be constructed.  I must also say that this network of political clubs and their publications is suspiciously similar to the network of Masonic lodges that existed throughout France during the years and decades prior to the Revolution.  Just saying it for the record.

With this information highway firmly under the control of the revolutionaries they were free to first exalt certain characters who served their agenda and demolish those who were opposed, sometimes the same person.  They were free to create false hopes and then dash those hopes AND give people someone to blame when those hopes did not materialize.  This was all new in 1789 and it appeared on the scene so fast that the French people had no defense against being manipulated like this.  Even today people can’t seem to figure out that 95% of what goes on in the media is designed to manipulate them into becoming servants of an agenda.  They never seem to get the fact that the way the media is structured even in the internet age allows it to be dominated by a very few whose names we will likely never know.  Some days I think that the modern mass media is that river coming out of the serpent’s mouth in chapter 12 of the Apocalypse.

Please go to Confession and pray three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

 

 

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The religion of the rights of man

May 25, 2016                                                                                                                                             The Memorial of Pope Saint Gregory VII

It is hard to underestimate the change that occurred in the outlook of the human race at the end of the eighteenth century.  Prior to that moment, for all of recorded history, the divine had been at the center of human existence.  Even if cultures or peoples of bygone eras had ignorant or mistaken notions of who God is never in their wildest dreams would they have ever even thought of moving the divine out of the center place of their lives much less doing away with any thought of a God.  It would not have made any sense to them to do so, for they were not yet stupid enough to forget that man did not create himself.  Yet this was what the insane conspiracy that was in the process of seizing control of the French state was about to do.

The Declaration of the rights of man was to be the founding document of the French Republic which itself was to be the founding institution of the new order of things in the world.  Its enumerated principles contained contained many high minded ideals about equality before the law and public accountability that had in fact already been a part of the Catholic worldview since antiquity, even if they were no longer being closely adhered to in the palaces of that corrupt age.  But these were soon discarded by the revolutionaries and are therefore not relevant.  However, the lack of even a cursory mention of God is stunning for the time and should have been a ringing bell in the ears of the French people warning them that trouble was coming.  Why?  Because the God Whom they had known for a thousand years, the God Who revealed Himself in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and the foundation of the Catholic Church who had been midwife to their nation is the Truth, and when the Truth is discarded then all that remains are lies and the father thereof.

I have avoided discussing the chronology of events surrounding the French Revolution to this point because I thought it best to first give evidence by the very ideas and acts of the revolutionaries themselves that tells us what their motives were.  Was the French Revolution simply a local event?  Was it the result simply of a random series of events that caused a crisis in French society and in the French state?  Was it simply the result of long impersonal historical processes or some suppressed ‘general will’?  Or was it something else?

I will state here my thesis that the French Revolution was not a random event that was simply the result of a lot of impersonal but natural historical forces.  It was an organized and deliberate coup d’etat.  The French Revolution was nothing but the launching of an all out war by an organized group  who had hitherto remained hidden in dark corners on the relationship between God and man that prevailed in the societies north of the Mediterranean Sea since the conversion of Constantine almost fifteen centuries before.  The Catholic Church was to be dispossessed of her authority and all traces of the accomplishments of the Church of Rome in human history were to be wiped from the mind of man.  The Gospel was to be forgotten, and fallen man was to be deprived of the Sacraments and teaching of the Catholic Church and sent back to his misery like a dog returning to his vomit.

That is my thesis.  It was the thought of Ven. Pope Pius VII when he wrote in paragraph 11 of Diu Satis of the great conspiracy.  It was the constant warning of his successors.  But is it true?  The testimonies of the popes should open our eyes that this isn’t just some crackpot theory.  The rapid eradication of the Catholic Church in the life of France in the period 1789-99 and the mass murder of priests starting in September, 1792 , which was the first of a long series of these atrocities that were to continue in Europe for 150 years until the Catholic Church lost all influence in the lives of the people who inhabited that continent following the Second World War, should open our eyes to the fact that there was something more going on here than just the inept fiscal policies of the French king or a few bad harvests.  The violent destruction of the monarchy itself which was nothing but a visible reminder of the relationship between God and man is itself a clue to wider intentions.  And lastly the invasion of Italy under the French Directory, the seizing of the Papal States, and the attempt to destroy the Papacy itself should tell us that the perpetrators of this revolution had concerns that were wholly other than the welfare of the French people.

So my plan for the present moment, God willing, is to go through the ideas brought forth by the revolution and by its activities that reveal an agenda far different than that which we are told of by the standard ‘histories’ of those times.  After having laid that foundation I will then use evidence from works published at the close of the 1790s that indicates who these conspirators were and what their goals and means of acting were.

Man is not the center of the universe.  The God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ is.

Please go to Confession and say three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

 

 

 

 

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The fallacy of the Declaration of the rights of man and the world’s worst use of an adjective…

May 18, 2016                                                                                                                                       The Memorial of Pope Saint John I

Les Représentants du Peuple Français, constitués en Assemblée Nationale, considérant que l’ignorance, l’oubli ou le mépris des droits de l’Homme sont les seules causes des malheurs publics et de la corruption des Gouvernements

I start this post with those opening words of the document approved by the then recently invented French National Assembly on August 26, 1789 because they were the hinge point in the war of destruction that was then and still is being waged against the human race to this present day.  Before that day these ideas had only been bandied about in the dark lairs of the lodges and in the darker minds of the likes of Voltaire who had sought to manipulate long existing institutions and power structures under a veil of secrecy and disguise in order to weaken those same institutions to pave the way for something else.  This was the day that something else arrived.  On this day the exaltation of man over God became the official policy of the French state i.e. the institution charged by God to govern the French people, the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church; a nation which owed its very existence to the Catholic Church was now throwing off both that Church and her divine Founder Himself, in order to follow their own designs.

Why do I say this?  It all comes down to an adjective, a simple adjective.  Oh, the demonic powers are so subtle and so cute!  In order to understand better I will offer this translation of those above words published in the London Times on September 3, 1789:

The Representatives of the French people, constituted in National Assembly, considering that ignorance, forgetfulness, or contempt of the Rights of Man are the sole causes of public misfortunes, and of the corruption of Governments

The neglect of the rights of man are the sole cause of all of our misfortunes eh?  Only the rights of man?  What about the rights of man’s divine Father and Creator?  Doesn’t He have any say in the matter?  And that is the whole point of this document: pushing the Creator out and putting man in his place, even to the point of capitalizing the ‘h’ in homme the French word for man.  The name of God never comes up in this document, not once, which is astounding considering how religious the French people had been for more than a millennium and still were in that day.  The Declaration of the rights of man has universally been treated and studied as a political document, but that is a mistake.  This was fundamentally a religious declaration.  It is the opening statement of a new order for the relationship of men with their God that had been long planned and now was to be put into effect by the public seizing of the institutions of the French state.  Man was now to act as if God simply wasn’t there.  And how has that worked for ya?

After the guardianship of the Church and of the Holy Father had been set aside by the Bourbon kings this madness of living without God and separating the human race from its common Father spread like wildfire among the fallen human beings who had been their subjects. This is the root of all of our evils.  That the rights of man and his concerns should be the sole concern of man.  It is the root of liberalism and materialism, of Marxism and Communism, of Hitlerism and Stalinism, of atheism and nihilism and of the despotism of despair that rules the life of contemporary man; that he vainly attempts to drive out with seductive empty pleasures and endless emotional stimulation that lead him only to the pit of Hell.

There is a particularly glorious passage in the fourteenth chapter of the Prophet Isaiah that deals with this way of thinking.  I love the way that the Septuagint renders it so here I will offer my own NON AUTHORITATIVE translation:

And you said in your heart “I will mount to heaven, I will set my throne above the stars of heaven, I will dwell in the high places, on the mountain of the Covenant to the side of the north wind, I will mount above the clouds of glory, I will be like unto the Most High.”  And now you shall come down to hell; to the foundations of the earth.  Those who see will wonder at you and say “Is this the man who troubles the earth and shakes kingdoms?”

Please go to Confession and pray three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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What was 1789?

May 3, 2016                                                                                                                                            The Feast of Saints Phillip and James the Less

If one reads a history of the French Revolution written in the last 150 years he will see many theories as to the cause of the events of 1789-1815.  From poor harvests to inept fiscal policy to a weak monarch to a long suppressed ‘general will’ of the French nation to the Marxist fantasy that the bourgeoisie finally after a thousand years somehow discovered by some mysterious mystical force that it was destined to throw off the yoke of feudalism in order to establish the necessary step of capitalism on the road to its own destruction in the paradise of Communism.

There is some truth in all of these, except maybe the last two, but they don’t get to the nub of the matter.  They really don’t answer certain questions.  First of all the French Revolution was entirely about ideology, not economics, though France’s sorry economy after its disastrous financing of the American Revolutionary War provided an excuse.  Someone had decided that all of the sudden there was going to be a radical and complete annihilation and reconstruction of society in France (and in the rest of Europe when they were able), right down to the number of days in a week and the names of the months.  Who did this?  Why?

We have voluminous testimony from a great number of witnesses, from Popes Clement XIII and Pius VI to the likes of Voltaire (who died, God rest his soul, a decade before the Revolution), that in the decades prior to the French Revolution a vast number of books with anonymous authors flooded Europe and France in particular from secret printing presses that sought to discredit the papacy and the Church and the authority of kings, and to weaken the morals of the peoples of Europe.  This is an indisputable and essential fact yet it is never mentioned by modern historians.  Maybe some of the books themselves are spoken about as part of a supposed general intellectual ferment, but the secret and suspicious manner of their production and distribution is entirely overlooked.  Moreover we have the whole sad and sorry episode of the suppression of the Jesuits whose import has now been entirely forgotten.

All these things were deliberate steps taken by organized groups who had a certain end in mind.  Thus I will posit that the previously mentioned theories of the origin of the events of 1789 should be discarded.  At best they may explain timing, but other than that they are useless.

What happened in 1789 was simply the result of a conspiracy to seize the institutions of the French state and to use those institutions to spread an insane ideology that had been brewing in dark corners and has now come to dominate the earth: the exaltation of man over God which must of course be a prelude to man’s own (self) destruction.  Do you believe this is possible?  Well you ought to.

The world is rife with collusion and conspiracies.  Conspiracies have always been there.  The annals of history are filled with accounts of conspiracies to seize power in various states using various means for various reasons.  Why should France in 1789 have been any different?  Nor is it in fact any different now in this age where ‘the people’ (whoever they are) supposedly rule everything.  What is a political party after all but an organized group who seek to manipulate the results of elections, often through quite deceptive means, in order to put themselves and their cronies in control of the governing institutions of a state?

But maybe you disagree that the aim and ambition of the goals of such a group.  Maybe you don’t think that such a thing is even possible.  I would beg to disagree.  There is evidence, much evidence, that this is exactly what happened.  In the coming posts I will attempt to show, by the events themselves, that the specific events that gave the French Revolution such an impact on the world had little to do with France and even less to do with the desires of the unfortunate souls who inhabited France at this time.  Only later, God willing, will I go into who might have been responsible and the methods they used.  We will start with the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Please go to Confession and say three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

 

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The birth of the Revolutionary Age

April 27, 2016

From 1768 until 1773 the great Catholic monarchs of Europe were goaded and seduced into making war against the Holy See to force Popes Clement XIII and Clement XIV to bend to their will in a solely Ecclesiastical matter: the suppression of the Society of Jesus.  The children made war against their father, and the era of Christian civilization effectively ended.  The age of Revolution was born with the Suppression of the Jesuits though it would not be manifest for a few years yet.

After the death of Clement XIV Cardinal Giovanni Angelico Braschi was elected pope on February 15, 1775 taking the name Pius VI.  He was to endure through one of the greatest and most tumultuous papacies in the whole history of the Church, though this has sadly been almost entirely forgotten now in our amnesiac age.  He was the first pope of the revolutionary era and felt its onslaught perhaps greater than any of his successors down to the present day.  Pius VI began his reign dealing with rebellious kings and ended it almost a quarter of a century later a prisoner in the fortress of Valence, cast in irons and exiled from his kingdom by the revolutionary army that came out of France.

The age that created his sorrows was one riven with error.  Voltaire’s philosophes had triumphed with the suppression of the Jesuits.  Immoral and anti-Christian literature, penned by anonymous authors and printed in hidden presses, was inundating France and the whole of Europe weakening wills and softening minds.  The Pope no longer had any effective means to combat these plagues.  His right arm, the Jesuits, had been taken away; the Catholic kings no longer had any concern for his welfare; his own power and the prestige of his office had been fatally weakened by the war waged against him by the Catholic kings and the relentless satire and mocking of Voltaire and his so called ‘Philosophers.’

The first revolt struck in 1781.  Joseph II of Austria was the son of Maria-Theresa and from the onset of his reign sought to demolish the Catholic Church in his country.  This monarch had drunk fully from the toxic cauldron of the errors of his age.  His mother had brought in two medical professors from Holland during the 1750s, a Girard van Swieten and Anton de Haen, who were both closet Jansenists and helped to organize Jansenist elements secretly at the court of Vienna.  These elements helped slowly, little by little, to influence the young Joseph with a spirit of rebellion against Rome.  In addition the man had been heavily influenced by the works of the Philosophers.

He began to shut monasteries and confiscate Church property to the point where Pius VI in early 1782 became the first pope in three centuries to leave Rome and journeyed to Austria to meet with the rebellious monarch.  He stayed in Vienna a month and but was unable to change his course.  After the visit the Austrian emperor, in a foreshadowing of later events, appointed a bishop on his own to the See of Saint Ambrose in Milan (then a part of Austria).  He made known his plan for completing the work of Luther and separating the Church in Germany entirely from Rome but was dissuaded from this act before his death.  This further and greater monarchical rebellion was noted well throughout the Church and the Catholic world.

This revolt in Austria dominated the Church’s attention during the 1780s and distracted her attention from the steadily worsening situation in France that was to culminate at the end of the decade in the events that gave form to the nightmare world that we have been living through ever since.  The popes continually inveighed against the principles that became dominant in these years during the long series of disasters that would follow one after another between 1789 and 1945 when the catastrophe of the Second World War permanently shifted global power and influence away from these nations who had rejected the Gospel to other parts of the world.  Even as late as 1937, in the days of Stalin and Hitler, Pope Pius XI would cry out in his encyclical Divini Redemptoris:

There would be today neither Socialism nor Communism if the rulers of the nations had not scorned the teachings and maternal warnings of the Church.

Next that we have examined the prelude in some depth it is time to take a closer look at what really happened in 1789 or at least as good a look as we can get from a distance of 227 years.

Please go to Confession and pray three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

 

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Part 2: Voltaire

April 20, 2016

The name Voltaire loomed large over the gathering darkness of the middle to late 18th century.  His importance has largely been forgotten in our own day, an era that is as amnesiac as it is short sighted, and if he is remembered at all it is largely as some whig wearing ‘free thinker’ of an earlier time who wrote plays and preached ‘tolerance,’ but he was much more than that.

François-Marie Arouet was born into the lowest rung of the French nobility and baptized into the Catholic Church on November 22, 1694.  He was educated, ironically enough, by Jesuits but his early life was characterized by disobedience to his father, a series of scandalous romantic liaisons, and a growing impatience with the demands made on one by the practice of religion.  He was imprisoned in the Bastille for eleven months in 1717 because in a line of satirical verse he accused the French Regent Phillip II of an incestuous affair.  This experience chastened the young François-Marie Arouet and he made a determined effort the rest of his life to avoid going back to prison, even accepting exile on multiple occasions.

After leaving the Bastille the young man adopted the pen name Voltaire.  During a later exile in England during the 1720s we are told that he was impressed by English commercial freedoms, ‘tolerance,’ and ‘freedom of religion.’  I place the terms ‘tolerance’ and ‘freedom of religion’ in scare quotes because in 1720s England it was still very much illegal to be a Roman Catholic.  If I had to make a guess I would argue that it was this latter fact that impressed him.

Claims of ‘tolerance’ and ‘freedom’ would often be used  in later times, even to our own day, by the conspiracy to destroy the teaching of Jesus Christ in order to deceptively implement tyrannies of despotism and anarchy as part of their attempt both inside and outside the Church to erase the Gospel from the memory of the human race.

Fearful of more exile, imprisonment, and suffering Voltaire after he returned to France made his attacks on the Church and on authority in general more subtle and more clever.  The man was gifted with an astute cleverness and a talent for satire.  This combined with his incredible personal charm gained him admittance into and prestige in certain aristocratic circles and in centers of power throughout Europe as the century wore on.  He began to gather to himself like minded intellects by the 1750s who determined themselves to upset the order of the world.  They referred to themselves as les Philosophes, “The Philosophers.”

It was not an apt title.  Philosophy implies a love of wisdom, whereas these ones seemed only to love indulgence and craved desperately to unleash disorder, anarchy, and misery on the world.  And they did so.  Voltaire described the tactics of his ‘philosophers’ in a letter written at the end of 1768 to the Marquis de Villevielle (translation mine):

Our philosophers, today, are more skillful; they do not have the silly and dangerous vanity to put their names on their works; these are the invisible hands who pierce the fanaticism (i.e. the Catholic Church-mine) from one end of Europe to the other, with the arrows of the truth (i.e the arrows of lies-mine).  Damilaville just died; he was the author of Christianity Unveiled and of many other writings.  No one ever knew; his friends kept the secret as long as he lived with a fidelity worthy of philosophy.  No one yet knows who is the author of the book given under the name Fréret.  Someone has printed in Holland, for two years, more than sixty volumes against superstition (i.e. the Catholic Church-mine).  Their authors are absolutely unknown, although they try daringly to expose them…

A thousand pens write, and a hundred thousand voices are raised against abuse (i.e against the moral and religious practices that sustained Europe for a millennium after the catastrophic collapse of the Roman Empire-mine) and in favor of tolerance (i.e. the murderous despotism and atheistic tyranny that has reigned in large parts of the Catholic world since 1789-mine).  Be very sure that the revolution that has been made, in around twelve years (1754-1768), in the spirits of the people, has in no small way served to chase the Jesuits from so many states and has encouraged the princes to strike the idol of Rome which made them tremble in other times.

It is claimed by some today that the Baron d’Holboch was the author of Christianity Unveiled, but, since he and Damilaville were collaborators in Voltaire’s network of philosophes, this is not relevant.  Of equally little concern is that Voltaire would publicly attack Christianity Unveiled for its overt atheism since the man was a self admitted liar, and it served his purposes equally well to attack the work in public while he was secretly backing its publication.

But from this little snippet of Voltaire’s thinking and his description of the activities of his ‘philosophers’ we can get an idea of the problems that were besetting the Church during the reigns of both Pope Clement XIII and Clement XIV.  This storm of anonymous works emerged from one end of Europe to the other attacking religion and authority while all the time those members of of the Church best equipped to deal with this crisis i.e. the Jesuits were being driven from the most important Catholic kingdoms.  Keep also in mind that Voltaire is writing here of princes striking “the idol of Rome” at the end of 1768 at the precise moment when the Catholic kings had all gone to war against the Holy See in the most traitorous act in the history of the Catholic world, and were occupying parts of the Papal States in an attempt to get the Holy Father to bend to their will and suppress the Society of Jesus.

We also have a better idea of what made Clement XIII write this in his encyclical Christianae Reipublicae two years before:

The well being of the Christian community which has been entrusted to Us by the Prince of shepherds and the Guardian of souls requires Us to see to it that the unaccustomed and offensive licentiousness of books which has emerged from hiding to cause ruin and desolation does not become more destructive as it triumphantly spreads abroad.  The distortion of this hateful error and the boldness of the enemy has so increased, especially at this time, in sowing weeds among the wheat either in word or in writing that unless We lay scythe to the root and bind up the bad plants in bundles to burn, it will not be long before the growing thorns of evil attempt to choke the seedlings of the Lord Sabaoth.  For accursed men who have given themselves over to myths and who do not uphold the stronghold of Sion from all sides vomit the poison of of serpents from their hearts for the ruin of the Christian people by the contagious plague of books which almost overwhelms us.

But the Jesuits, the Holy Father’s best means of laying the scythe to the root of this evil, had been taken away from in coordination with those publishing these books.  He was naked and alone in the world with princes and clever men aiming arrows at his heart.

Voltaire, however, was not alone; he had friends who were powerful in the world.  Among these was Frederick II of Prussia, afterwards called the ‘great’, who was in a later time to be very much admired by Adolf Hitler.  Frederick II was a Protestant by birth but had ambitions to be a philosopher king of mythological fantasy.  He despised religion and collaborated with Voltaire in finding the best way to rid the world of its restraints.  The Prussian king was also intimately aware of the affairs of the various Catholic monarchs and sought to use this knowledge to destroy religious houses throughout Europe.

His plan was not new.  It had been pioneered by his ancestors during the Protestant revolt a quarter of a millennium earlier.  In order to increase their wealth many German princes became Protestants for the sole reason that this enabled them to confiscate Church property for themselves.  Fredrick II knew how in debt particularly France was by the 1770s and sought to use this to provoke the French monarchy to destroy religious orders in order to confiscate their property.  He explains his motivation in some sadly prophetic words in an August 13, 1775 letter to Voltaire (translation mine):

If one wishes to diminish fanaticism, one must absolutely not touch the bishops; but if one succeeds in reducing the monks, above all the mendicant orders, the people will become cold, and less superstitious, it will permit the powers to dispose of the bishops in a way that suits the good of the States.  This is the only way to follow.  To sap silently and without any noise the edifice of unreason, that is to force it to collapse on its own.  The Pope, seeing the situation he is in, is obliged to give briefs and bulls as his dear sons require of him but this power, justified by the great reputation of the Faith is lost to the extent that this diminishes.  If he then finds at the head of nations some ministers beyond vulgar prejudices, the Holy Father will go bankrupt.  No doubt posterity will rejoice at the advantage of being able to think freely.

Are you rejoicing?  Am I?  Men marrying men and women marrying women?  Hundreds of millions of people murdered over the last century.  Tens of millions of broken families and destroyed lives.  Fifty-five million abortions in the Untied States alone, and now a major push (that will almost certainly succeed) is on for adult men to be allowed into the same public restrooms as young girls?  These are the rewards of  so called “free thought.”  Or am I just a superstitious fanatic?

In any case I think we have established here some evidence.  There was something going on in the 18th century.  This was no spontaneous intellectual movement going on here.  This was an organized effort that purposefully operated from the shadows, concealing not only their intentions but even their identity.  These people were plotting the overthrow of the Christian order, and their only goal was this: to destroy the Gospel and to erase it from the memory of man.  But the Truth cannot be destroyed.  Next we must begin to examine the revolutionary age itself that resulted from all of these shenanigans.

Please go to Confession and say three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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While the Jesuits were being suppressed… Part 1: Jansenism

April 5, 2016                                                                                                                                                The Memorial of Saint Vincent Ferrer “Angel of the Apocalypse”

All through the long death agony of the Society of Jesus, during the late middle part of the 18th century, there were other currents of troubled water flowing through the Catholic world. Two of them, Voltairianism and Jansensim, contributed directly though in different ways to the disasters that have afflicted the Church and the world since 1789.  In this post I will try to describe Jansensim which has been almost forgotten in our day but is crucial to understand if one wishes to get a stronger handle on the disasters of the late 18th century.

The ideas that gave birth to the Jansenist movement arose from the writings of a Dutch theologian, at the end of his life Bishop of Ypres, named Cornelius Jansen that were published after his death in 1638.  I do not wish to get too involved in the complicated theology that gave birth to this movement but it consisted mainly of an exaggerated view of the depravity of fallen man that originated with Jansenius’ seeming misinterpretation of the views of Saint Augustine on the subject.  These views would lead among some of its adherents to almost Calvinistic views of predestination and the nature of the elect.

Five specific Jansenistic propositions were condemned by Pope Innocent X in the Bull Cum Occasione on May 31, 1653.  So the subscribers to these propositions were left with a choice: either submit to the authority of the Holy See, or leave the Church as Calvin himself had done a century before.  But instead they pioneered a third option.  Over the next century, between the publishing of Cum Occasione and the era of of which we have been writing the Jansenists for the most part attempted to remain in the fold of Rome on the superficial sense always issuing craftily worded acceptances of the papal condemnation whilst still retaining their errors in their hearts.  They would say things like  “We accept the Holy Father’s condemnation of such and such a proposition,” and then would launch into a craftily worded argument of how the sense in which the the Pope had condemned said proposition was not actually the sense in which it had originally been proposed.  That was all for public consumption.  They wished only to appear to be loyal to the Holy Father so as to further the effectiveness of their goal of encouraging disobedience to Papal authority.  This is the sense in which Jansenism was truly revolutionary.  Its doctrines were mainly recycled poppycock from heresies that had died out more than a millennium before, but it was this tactic of retaining a just thin enough veil of public orthodoxy to remain within the fold of Church institutions while all the time seeking to degrade those institutions from within that was truly earth shattering.

The second feature of Jansenism’s public face that aided and abetted the crisis of the 18th century was the fact that its Calvinistic views of predestination led to an excessive moral rigorism.  Keep in mind that an 18th century Catholic priest who was a member of the Jansenist sect was viewed by his parishioners as speaking with the authority of Rome as long as he could express his opinions subtly enough to keep from drifting into open heresy.  When a person hears a priest preach an excessive moral rigorism that lacks any emphasis on the grace and Divine Mercy which keep us going through our exile in this world toward the goal of life eternal, despite our many falls, chiefly through the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist then he begins to lose his fervor.  He begins to think that it is not possible to live a good life and that God is an angry Judge rather than a merciful Savior, and that he just doesn’t have a chance.  And then he starts to feel distant from God and distrust toward his Church.  And he begins to be pulled by a stronger temptation to pleasure seeking since “if I am incapable of Heaven and destined for Hell anyways then I might as well get what I can get while I can get it.”  And all this makes a person, or a group of people, or a city, or a nation easy prey for the likes of Voltaire and Rousseau.

Moral rigorism aside the fire of its original doctrines had largely subsided by the middle of the 18th century and its principal animating feature at that time was hatred for legitimate Church authority, especially for Pontifical authority emanating from the Church of Rome.  That, plus its secretive and crafty method of maintaining a public facade of orthodoxy whilst in its heart remaining firmly heretical made it a ready made instrument at the birth of the Revolutionary Age to attack the Church from the inside.  It is also useful to note that there was within the Jansenist movement an abiding hatred for the Society of Jesus.  The Jesuits had been in the forefront of attacking the five condemned propositions in the middle of the seventeenth centuries and in the decades that followed they were always the most effective in detecting the subtle craft and piercing the mask of orthodoxy that the Jansenists liked to employ.   And as such by the middle part of the 18th century the Jansenists were ready, despite their public moral rigorism, to concoct a strange alliance with the Voltarian types were seeking to annihilate the Society of Jesus and therefore to degrade the prestige of the Pope.

Jansenism as an ideology began to fade during the French Revolution.  Their were Jansenist prelates and clergy who felt the time was right to make their hostility to Rome public during the 1790s.  They allied themselves to the Revolutionary government and became ‘constitutional’ bishops and priests.  But the movement’s ideological principles were largely abandoned by the time of Napoleon, and the last officially Jansenist convents came back into communion with Rome during the middle part of the 19th century.

But certain other of its aspects have lingered.  The excessive public moral rigorism would infect individual members and whole communities of generations of clergy, partly out of reaction to the massive public immorality of the late 18th and the 19th and 20th centuries; in fact it survived to a time within living memory, before the rug was pulled out from under it by the disastrous sexual revolution of the 1960s that this insane rigorism probably did a lot to lay the ground work for.

The tactic of appearing in public to remain faithful to the Catholic Church while launching a murderous assault against her from the inside that the Jansenists pioneered would seem to have been used with great gusto by the conspiracy to destroy the teaching of Jesus Christ.  This was the prime means of infiltrating the highly destructive heresy of Modernism, condemned by Pope Saint Pius X in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, into the clergy during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and that cancer has remained with us until this very moment.

Then there is the destructive hatred of pontifical authority by members of the so called ‘right’ in the Church that has resurfaced in our own day.  I use that term advisedly since there was really no such thing as a political ‘right’ or ‘left’ during much of the life of Jansenism.  What I mean are the movements who appear to be so traditional and rock solidly founded in essential Catholic teaching but then destroy all of that and enter into a de facto alliance with those who one would think would be their most implacable adversaries by a seemingly inexorable devotion to practicing disobedience to the Roman Pontiff.  One thinks in this regard of the schismatic priests of the Society of Saint Pius X or any of its numerous spin offs including the myriad sedevacantist groups that one encounters on the internet.

This then is a rough sketch of the legacy of Jansenism.  In the next post we will do an examination of Voltaire and his minions.

Please go to Confession and pray three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

 

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A belated thank you to Pere de Ravignan

March 21, 2016                                                                                                                                         Monday of Holy Week

My primary source for this entire discussion of the Suppression of the Jesuits has been the book Clement XIII et Clement XIV published in 1854 by the priest of the restored Society of Jesus Père Gustave François Xavier de Lacroix de Ravignan.  This book was written in French during the reign of Napoleon III and to my knowledge has never been translated into English and I would dare say was largely forgotten in the Catholic world after the First World War.

It is however a wealth of information.  I have tried to translate and distill the enormous range of facts that de Ravignan presented to the best of my ability but it is really something.  The documents that were at his disposal in the 1840s and 1850s and that he presents to us are really incredible.  I don’t know if they could be assembled again due to all of the carnage that happened in Europe during the twentieth century but this Jesuit priest, zealous for the reputation of his order, has given us a wonderful testimony of these events and how they occurred during the mid to late 18th century.  We can see that the suppression was no accident.  That the game was rigged so to speak.  That there was at the time a transnational group of conspirators determined to destroy the Society of Jesus.  Some were just useful idiots, but others were hardened conspirators who were taking the first big step to breaking the hold that the Church of Rome had over the nations whom she had midwifed into existence.  And furthermore he gives us evidence that the Popes of the day, Clement XIII and Clement XIV, among others knew exactly what was going on.  And sadly history has borne out their fears.

If you read French I would suggest taking a look at this work Clement XIII et Clement XIV: it is available on Google books here.  He lays out the facts, just the facts incredibly well and his research is culled from primary sources, many of which are not likely to exist anymore.  His biography is available on the Catholic encyclopedia.  The review of his work in this now century old Catholic encyclopedia article states of Clement XIII et Clement XIV that “the literary merit of the work is not the highest,” but I would disagree.  De Ravignan was aiming not at poetry but at a recitation of facts; facts that gave birth to a historical earthquake that we are still living through more than a century and a half after his work was published.  And the facts speak for themselves.

De Ravignan ends his work with a stirring conclusion that runs on to the restoration of the Society of Jesus by Pope Pius VII in 1814 with the solemn and correct declaration that the Church founded by Jesus Christ will conquer all enemies, but here we will end our time with him and move on to another work.  I thank him for he opened up a whole new world and a whole new view of history for me.  He gave me to know with certainty that the French Revolution and all of the disasters which followed were not just the natural result of history, of bad kings, and a corrupt nobility.  However much truth there is in those charges we also know that there were people working to destroy the Church and the power of kings and that their motives had precious little to do with the welfare of the man in the street so to speak.

Next we will move on to another work available only in French: L’Église Romaine en Face de la Révolution published by Jacques Crétineau-Joly in Paris in 1859.  In terms of timeline this work takes up where de Ravignan left off, with the election of Pope Pius VI in 1775 and brings the tale up to Crétineau-Joly’s own day in the 1850s.

Please go to Confession and say three Hail Marys for the repose of the soul of Père de Ravignan.

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The legacy of the Suppression

March 10, 2016

The Suppression of the Jesuits was the first act of a revolution.  This revolution unleashed an age of immense barbarism unprecedented in human history that we are still living through.  The revolution’s purpose at this point was to begin to dismantle the authority of the Catholic Church in its heartland, within the nations it had given life to so long ago.

This done the revolution could then replace the Gospel in the minds and hearts of those who had once believed, or their children, with its own contrivances.  This fraudulent view of the world had already been conjured up in dark dens and had also been partially revealed by the pen of its chief minister: François Marie Arouet, who went by the nom de guerre Voltaire.

The Jesuits were broken in the 1760s.  The Catholic kings were seduced into being accomplices in this stupid act.  Voltaire and his ‘philosophers’ lauded their efforts in public while plotting their demise in private.  Such is the fate of those who seek after the praise of men.  Empty flattery followed some time after by a blade on your neck.

I had thought that Europe began to throw off the Catholic faith with the French Revolution in 1789, but I was mistaken.  De Ravingan’s work Clement XIII et Clement XIV revealed a whole new view of the world for me.  I had never heard of the war that the Catholic kings had waged against the Holy See.  In military terms the war was small, almost insignificant, but in moral, religious, and sociopolitical terms it was a catastrophe.

When all of the major Catholic powers save Austria (and Austria eventually consented to this plot) conspired to force their will upon Popes Clement XIII and Clement XIV in the matter of suppressing a religious order, which is the exclusive purview of the Church, and when they didn’t get their way resorted to force of arms against the Successor of Saint Peter something ended.

These nations who had been formed out of nothing by the Catholic Church once upon a time.  They were the refuse of the earth when the Popes first encountered these barbarians who had wandered off the plains of Asia into the ruins of Imperial Rome worshiping trees and fleeing the relentless advance of the Huns.  During the centuries to come the Gospel preached to them by the Successors of Saint Peter shaped these vagabond tribes into great, stable, and long lived civilized nations that had by the 18th century come to dominate the earth.

And the rulers of these nations rejected the Successor of Saint Peter and sought to subjugate him to their own authority, and in doing so they rejected Him who sent him.  They allowed themselves to be seduced by the ravings of impious flatterers, and  in their pride they thought that they had accomplished all of this themselves.  They must have.  Or else why would they have made war against their own life giver?  But alas they did.  And when they did that the Almighty gave them over to their own desires.  The Jesuits were suppressed.  The power of the Pope diminished relative to the power of kings.  And their own authority among their own peoples went with it.  It wasn’t twenty years after the Suppression of the Jesuits that a French king was led to the scaffold through the streets of Paris amidst the howls of his subjects to meet his end.  They sowed and they reaped.  Let that be a lesson to us all.

We must never forget this warning written so long ago, at the height of the power of pagan Rome, when the conversion of Caesar and the millennium long Age of Faith which followed with its great Gothic cathedrals could not yet even be conjured in the human mind, when Holy Mass was being offered in private homes and the Sacred Host was held in the rough hands of fishermen who had once eaten and drunk with the Eternal Word when He took on flesh and dwelt among men:

See then the goodness and the severity of God: towards them indeed that are fallen, the severity; but towards thee, the goodness of God, if thou abide in goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off (Rom. 11: 22).

This warning is contained in a letter addressed specifically to the Church of Rome and it goes for all of us who are in communion with her.  And it is for all time.  So let us abide in goodness.  Please go to Confession and pray three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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The implementation of Dominus ac Redemptor and the death of Clement XIV

March 9, 2016                                                                                                                                        The Memorial of Saint Frances of Rome

So now the Society of Jesus was suppressed, by the order of Pope Clement XIV in the brief Dominus ac Redemptor.  The Holy Father was forced into making this decision.  He did not wish it, but he had to do it.  How do we know this?  Here are some words taken from the English translation of the brief by John Murphy S.J.:

In cultivating God’s vineyard and in preserving the house of the Christian religion whose cornerstone is Christ, we root up and we destroy and we dispose and we scatter and we build and we plant. This has always been our mind and firm intention that we ought not leave anything undone for the peace and quiet of the Christian republic. We ought to act by planting, by building, by doing whatever is suitable. Similarly, when the same bond of charity requires it, we should be prompt and ready to uproot and to destroy anything even if it be most pleasant and gratifying to us and even if doing without it would cause the greatest distress and mental anguish.
Clement XIV’s motive was simply to preserve the peace and unity of the Catholic world as it stood in 1773.  He was menaced by threats of schism by France, Spain, Naples i.e. all of the great Catholic powers, the only great Catholic powers along with their at the time worldwide empires that remained after the disaster of Martin Luther’s revolt two and half centuries before.  And he had seen, after what the Marquis de Pombal had pulled off in Portugal, that this was no idle threat.
An evil seed had been sown in the courts of Catholic Europe, a seed that would shortly lead to their annihilation, but for now the target of this nascent conspiracy was the Society of Jesus.  This Society had been instrumental in stopping the Protestant revolt in its tracks a few centuries before and it was in the 18th century the Church and the Holy Father’s best tool for keeping the Catholic nations aligned with the Church of Rome that had after all given them life in the first place.  It had to be dismantled.  And it was.  The Bourbon courts were seduced by a motley crew of ne’er do well ministers into demanding the destruction of the only thing that was keeping them in power.  And they did it.  Clement XIV tried to placate them and to appease them and to play for time but it was not to be.  The Society of Jesus was extinguished on August 16, 1773.
But Clement XIV did manage to include a provision in the brief that ended up doing a lot of good for the Church and the Jesuits but cost him a lot of frustration during the last year of his life.  The brief was not binding on the members of the Society of Jesus in a particular diocese until they were informed of it by the local Ordinary i.e the bishop of that diocese.  The pope did that in order arrange the distribution of the Jesuits’ property and that it remained within the Church rather than just being sold off to the highest bidder after an abrupt eviction.
Strangely enough this allowed the Society of Jesus to survive in of all places Russia.  Poland had only been partitioned the year before (1772) by Russia, Prussia, and Austria.  The empress Catherine the Great had therefore acquired a large number of Catholic subjects in this arrangement.  The Jesuits had been in Poland for more than two centuries at that point and the empress, who was Russian Orthodox and therefore not in communion with the Roman Pontiff, did not wish to threaten the peace of her newly acquired territories by subjecting them to another major shake up coming so quickly after the partition.  She therefore ordered the Bishop of Vilnius on pain of banishment not to communicate in any way the brief Dominus ac Redemptor to the local Jesuits.  Things were to remain as before.  This resulted in an almost comical situation where the local Jesuits, who were well aware of the Holy Father’s desires and wished to be obedient to them, pleaded with their sovereign to allow them to be suppressed and the schismatic Empress flatly refusing their pleas and thus managing to preserve one of the great orders of the Western Church.  It is really strange the way Divine Providence works sometimes.  Here are a bunch of Catholic kings trying to destroy one of the Roman Church’s great assets, and it ends up being a schismatic Orthodox empress who allows it to survive.  More proof, if any were needed, that the Almighty truly does have a fine sense of humor.
But Clement XIV was not in a laughing mood.  He was continually subjected to demands that the state should be able to get hold of the Jesuits property.  His mental and physical health deteriorated over the next year.  He was continually assailed by the mental torment of all that had transpired during his pontificate and he was tired.  One of his successors, Pius VII, when he was imprisoned by Napoleon at Fontainbleu three decades later is reported to have quipped that he feared that he “would die mad, like Clement XIV.”  Saint Alphonsus Liguori is reported, and this is documented in several of his personal letters, to have been extremely concerned over the Holy Father’s health and the burden that he was carrying.  He prayed for him constantly and there is a very credible report of the Saint bilocating i.e. he rested immobile in his armchair for two days but later stated that he was not asleep but at the bedside of Clement XIV in his death agony.  That end came on September 22, 1774.
He had been Pope for five tumultuous years and in all truth things did not look good for the Church at his death.  His actions were ironically praised by the Voltaires of the world, but many Catholics thought he was weak and had left the Church disarmed.  In truth what could he have done?  The real damage was done under the reign of Clement XIII when the Jesuits were suppressed in the great Catholic kingdoms of France, Spain, and Portugal along with their world wide empires.  If Clement XIV had defended the Society of Jesus to the last drop of blood and provoked a great schism then the Church, weak though she appeared at the end of his pontificate, would have been in a far worse position to meet the onslaught which was to be unleashed on her in a few short years.  Whether the Society of Jesus had been suppressed by the pope or not that onslaught was still coming, and the Jesuits who had by that point been so greatly weakened by their suppression in the Bourbon monarchies were not then in a position to be any great help to the Church.
I don’t know if Clement XIV made all of the right choices but I do know that I would not have wanted his job.  My own opinion is that he made the right choice with regard to the Jesuits.  The conspiracy never did manage to provoke open schism.  It has always been the goal of the Church’s enemies to separate the faithful from the Roman Pontiff.  And while the last few centuries have been tragic in the life of the Church that union with Rome, however tenuous in some cases, yet remains.
Please go to Confession and say three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
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