The Church Hyperion

I have never had the pleasure of visiting the Redwood forests in California, with their steeple-like trunks jetting up in dizzying heights to the blue beyond; but if I ever do get a chance to walk through that true forest primeval, there is every likelihood that, if I walk long enough, I will stumble upon the tallest recorded tree in the world without knowing it, because the tree, Hyperion by name, is kept secret for fear of its destruction. 

What irony it is that the tallest living thing should be practically invisible in the obscurity of a hundred thousand things that resemble and surround it yet differ from it in glory and honor! So it is with the Church. The Church Militant on Earth, like Hyperion, is the most glorious and honorable living thing, but is made to dwell in the obscurity of a hundred thousand things superficially resembling and surrounding it, and precisely for the same reason: She is kept secret for fear of Her destruction! And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the desert unto her place, where she is nourished for a time and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

Look around and count the sects if you can. The Protestant sects are about as numerous as the stars in the sky, and about as bright as them in the light of truth compared with that of the Sun, so leave these aside. Count the “Catholic” sects. There’s the full-blown apostate sect headed by the Vatican, the Pachamama worshipers and suchlike. Then there are the liberals who, though they would not necessarily say they worship Mother Earth, they are very comfortable with sacrificing their unborn babies to her in a ritualistic murder no less diabolical than the Aztec human slaughter house. Then there is the conservative sect who get squeamish about worshipping demons and sacrificing their children to them, but who are cool with worshipping with those who do worship demons, as in the Assisi prayer gatherings, or who embrace the endorsement of demon worship in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. 

Then there are the traditionalists. These are about as untraditional as the Pachamama lovers, if not more so, because they deny the very foundation upon which the Church was built, namely, the papacy. They say the pope can teach heresy, which is a denial of the dogma of papal infallibility, which preserves Church doctrine from error, and the dogma of papal primacy. They say the popes have taught heresy (which is a lie from Hell), and so they can ignore their teachings in favor of their own interpretation of tradition. 

Finally, there are the sedevacantists. These have their own pet heresies, like the material-formal thesis which denies the teaching found in Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, which teaches that a heretic can never become pope. But what really separates these from the others is not so much that they muddy Church doctrine as they murder Church law. To understand how this is, one would need to read studies and articles on the subject. This brief blog post could not do the subject justice, so I direct you to a couple resources to get you started, here and here. 

These sects, and all those sub-sects which belong to them, are the obscuring agents of darkness HOMEBASE speaks of. Just as it is not Hyperion’s fault that he is surrounded by lesser entities, and which conspire to obscure his greatness before the eyes of men, so it is not the Church’s fault She is obscured by these sects. But is it doctrinally sound to say that the Church is in obscurity? The short answer is yes. The long answer may be found here and here.

The Church is in the desert as St. John envisioned in the Book of the Apocalypse at the end of days. He who withheld the Gates of Hell for two thousand years, the pope, was taken out of the way, to make room for the Antichrist and his Antichurch, and to usher in the Great Apostasy. The three attributes of the Church, authority, infallibility, indefectibility, without which the four marks of the Church, unity, sanctity, catholicity, and apostolicity, cannot fully exist, are guaranteed by divine promise to one Church alone, the Church of Rome. Since the death of Pope Pius XII, that Church has been without a head, without a bishop. Subsequently, the universal Church has been without a head as well, and its visibility has been considerably dimmed.  

But I argue that the attributes of the Church, and subsequently the marks of the Church, do exist, not in their formal cause, in the pope and the bishops in communion with him, but in their material effect, in that which they left behind, in approved catechisms, and papal teachings through encyclical letters, even in canon law. These, along with baptism (which anyone may receive from anyone) are sufficient to make a man a Catholic. 

There are so few Catholics left, one is tempted to despair that the visibility of the Church doesn’t mean anything. But this is a mistake. The visibility of the Church is not dependent upon numbers. Was that the case in Noah’s epoch, who was one just man among millions upon millions, called out of the world and into the life of grace and salvation? That massive Ark on the horizon was visible, yes, but only to those in the immediate area.  For most of the world, Noah’s Ark wasn’t even talked about let alone seen. So it is today with the Church. The only difference now is that, instead of one lonely, gargantuan boat swallowing up all the kinds of animals in the world, we have tens of thousands of boats pretending to be the Church of Christ. 

What is a believer to do? How can one be saved in these times, one who is of goodwill and wants to belong to the Church, but cannot locate it? I confess I do not know, apart from the divine call of grace. For many are called, but few are chosen. But, as a comfort, I do know that the Church teaches one may belong to the Church either in Body or in Spirit, those members of the Body being outwardly visible, whereas those who belong to Christ in Spirit, are invisible. Thus far I have spoken of belonging to the Church in Body, in believing in everything that the Church teaches, in participating in Her sacraments as far as possible, and in wanting to be governed by Her lawful pastors. But membership in the Church may be through belonging to the Spirit of Christ as well, in desiring these things, but not knowing how or in what they consist.  

To make the position of CatholicEclipsed clear, the Catholic Church is not invisible, only existing as the Spirit of Christ on Earth. The Body of Christ is visible in its members who profess the Catholic Faith, partake of Her sacraments, and would willing subject themselves to lawful pastors were there any to be subject to. These Catholics are not invisible. I know a handful by name and have had regular correspondences with them. They do not belong to any sects, but hold to the undiluted, unadulterated, undefiled Faith of their Fathers. They are visible for all the world to see. Two such Catholics have websites of their own, which is a way to publicly profess the faith. But owning a website is not required, of course, just a willingness to profess your Catholic Faith, before family, friends, or the postman if he’ll listen to you.    

A big part of the mission of this website is to make the Church more visible in its members for the world. Through a tireless production and promotion of videos and articles on social media, I look at myself as another St. John the Baptist—minus the holiness, honey and locusts—crying out from my keyboard in the wilderness:…make straight the way of the Lord, like a gigantic Redwood reaching to Heaven!

The Fool in the Court of the Cosmic King

There’s a story of popular legend about a juggler who became a monk. Now, I don’t know why a juggler should want to become a monk. Then again, I don’t know why anyone would want to become a monk, save for the only reason that comes to mind: the absolute love of God and no love of the world. 

Anyway, this juggler turned monk, as the legend goes, wasn’t very scholarly or artistic. He couldn’t translate Greek or work out the theological puzzles of the universe in the scholastic method, and knew even less about sculpture, painting, and stained-glass works. He was an outcast among the other monks, and assigned to the most menial labors of the monastery, to which he opened not his mouth.    

One fateful day, just before the hour of morning prayer, our juggler-monk was scouring the stoned floors on his knees, and while he did so, he stared up at a beautiful statue of our Lady with the Child in her arms. And, looking upon the beauty of the statue, he was saddened that he could not please his Lady and Lord with such art as the other monks possessed. 

Then, almost as an instinctual impulse of some past life, he tossed the brush into the bucket, and started tumbling up and down, side to side, back and forth before the statue. He had never somersaulted so superbly! But just then, the other monks started to file in to the chapel, and, on seeing the juggler-monk flipping and flopping to and fro, gasped in utter shock and horror, and thought to themselves, “The sacrilege! The blasphemy!” No sooner had the monks began to murmur amongst themselves, that the Mother and Child statue miraculously came to life, with the Christ Child still giggling over the juggler-monk’s flips and falls. 

Now this legend, or forgotten page of The Lives of the Saints, has a sequel in this website, at least in the essence and antics of the tale, not in the holiness and miracles. Just as the juggler-monk felt called to leave the world and serve God, so did I. The problem, though, is that, just as the juggler-monk had no talents the world recognized as worthy, so neither do I. The best thing he had going for him, is the best thing I have going for myself: a willingness to be made a fool of. There are a number of ways I am trying to accomplish this great and heavy task of being made a fool of for Christ’s sake. Let me mention a few. 

To speak the truth about the Faith, to disseminate information which is only sourced from the magisterium of the Catholic Church, and to do so without qualification, diminution, ellipses, or unauthorized explanatory commentary, has all the feel of a make-believe melodrama. “That’s ridiculous,” people often say. “How can the Catholic Church not have a visible head for over half a century!” Others say, “Oh, I see. You’re one of those Homealoners. Buzz off, fly!” Or, “You live in fantasyland. Grow up and live in the real world!” These kinds of replies I receive on a daily basis in Twitterland, which, were I more holy, I’d account as my daily bread. 

The other way I have been trying to be a fool is through my Sect Spect Report, though I confess I’ve been failing miserably at it. The first few reports have too much seriousness about them, and not enough humor. You see, I take myself too seriously, and that is my downfall. I must script out every word, but were I more like our holy juggler-monk, I’d flip and fall out of an instinctual habit of saying what’s on my mind, which is always better than reading from a script––especially when one doesn’t have a teleprompter, and so looks down from the camera as he reads! I shall work on that, which will probably make more people say, “See how he jokes around about such serious matters! He doesn’t take the Faith seriously!” That’s my goal, anyway. 

Finally, I received one deriding comment which asserted that I couldn’t be taken seriously for all the Star Trek and space stuff. I find this objection to be just sad. That people who call themselves Christian have lost all sense of play and wonder is a great loss indeed, almost as tragic as apostasy. For these unfortunate people, Christianity is something to be talked about in full business attire, clean-cut webpages, and memes as pious as they are puritanical and as sacred as they are saccharine. 

But this is a mistake of tactics, if conversion or fostering religion is the aim––which I have my doubts it is; probably more like fostering more followers on Twitter. Real people look through these things for what they really are: feigned religion. The really religious man does not merely express his religion in tweets of fine art or scholastic argumentation. The really religious man expresses his religion in everything, but most of all he expresses his holy belief in God and his Church, in his hobbies and interests.   

God is a God of personality, because He Himself is a community of Persons. God loves personality, as is evidenced by all the personalities He’s called His friends down through time. Pick out anyone you like, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a bore among them. Why is that you think? Why is it that the saints seem to be inflamed, not only with a holy love of God, but also with a holy love of life? Why are the saints so interesting? Because they let their Faith in God sanctify everything about them, their habits and interests, that’s why! Look at the mind of St. Thomas Aquinas, which was great before it was saintly; where every minute question excited him, from the wings of flies to the wings of Seraphim. Look at the manual labor of St. Isidore the Farmer or the vast learning of St. Isidore the Scholar; St. Catherine of Bologna and her artistic abilities, or Saint Ignatius of Loyola and his militarism which he turned into spiritualism. Look at any saint you please down through the ages of Christendom and what will strike you is, not how holy they were, but how human. Gratia non tollit naturam, sed perficit, as Aquinas would say.    

One would think, though, from all the Catholic tweets going around, that piety and holiness and a living Faith consisted strictly in religious paintings, prayer cards, and verses superimposed onto landscapes––you know the kind with the words Trust in the Lord with all your strength over a Grand Canyon sunrise and a silhouetted rock-climber dangling from a cord. St. Thomas Aquinas, with his crystal orb of a brain, saw the Light of lights reflected in everything, which is why he studied and spoke about everything, from rocks in the dirt to the Angelic throng in the Empyrean. But we, dimwitted and dull in our souls, can only see God and His glory and truth in theological manuals or pious art or in Bible quotes. Our piety lacks personality, lacks perfected nature, and it shows.          

I am the fool in the court of the cosmic King, taking what few worthless tricks I have to please Him, perhaps make Him giggle, and only secondarily please and make you giggle. I do this by taking what interests me and seeing it anew through the lens of Faith, letting grace spiritualize it and so perfect it. Spock, taken by himself, is a hopeless rationalist, but if his character––or at least his costume––could be harnessed for the Faith, with his logical disposition toward facts, and unemotional thinking, I believe he and his pointed ears and powder-blue uniform could do some good in spreading authentic Catholicism, and be entertaining at the same time.

My mind draws me back to one whose love of God was great,  who happened to think highly of space stuff while not thinking too highly of himself. He said somewhere: For I will behold thy heavens, the works of thy fingers: the moon and the stars which thou hast founded. What is man that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? Funny, he also was fond of making a fool of himself, dancing in the court of the presence of God.            

Snipe-Hunting for the Endangered Species Ecclesia Catholica

Can You Spot All the Magical Mythical Monsters

In the past week I have received a firestorm of replies on Twitter which accuse me of holding to heresy, to the idea that the Church has defected because I don’t know where it is. A typical example runs, “With all due respect, you believe in a church that has defected and is not visible. I believe in an eclipsed Church, that has clergy and the Sacraments but is not as easily found as it once was. You do not know where the Church is, it’s not eclipsed for you, it’s gone.” 

Were the accusation true, I would be a heretic, and would be obliged to do a Sect Spect Report on myself, which would prove somewhat awkward. But, happily, it is not true. I do not believe that the Church has defected. In the Twitter thread, I stressed to my interlocutor the importance of abiding by the philosophical and commonsensical maxim: proceed from the known to the unknown. The reason for doing so should be obvious to anyone at the age of reason, but an example may help to illustrate.  

When I served aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), I heard stories about how new recruits in the engineering department were tried and tested, or else just hazed. The recruit was given a sack and a flashlight and was told to go down into the dark engine room and search for what was called a snipe. He did so without hesitation to prove his readiness to obey all lawful orders of a superior. The result was, though, that the credulous recruit fumbled in the dark all day in a vain quest to find what didn’t exist.

I’d Rather Be Snipe-Hunting

If the unsuspecting sailor just exercised some commonsense, he would have understood that one cannot find what one does not know. To know what a thing is comes before the knowledge of where it is. If the sailor simply asked, “Is it bird-like or cat-like? Four legs or two? Large or small?” then the snickering superior probably would have been tripped up so much the whole joke would have been exposed, and the new recruit, saved from the embarrassment by his sound and questioning mind, would have gone on to enjoy his day spent in a more happy pursuit––like sipping a frozen margarita in a San Diego bar.  

So what’s the point of this delightful digression? I contend that, just as the sailor didn’t know what a snipe was, but was enthusiastically willing to find it, so the Sedevacantist congregant doesn’t know what the Church is, but is enthusiastically willing, not only to look for and find it, but to bag it, run back to Twitter and pull it out, hold it up as a valid and legitimate specimen of the endangered species, ecclesia catholica, and condemn as doctrinal quacks anyone who doesn’t concur.  

Shall we go snipe-hunting ourselves, then, and see what we find? Let’s, but the first question to ask is what does the the Church say the Church is, because we don’t want to spend the next decade in the dark of some sect because we didn’t think things through and ask that question first. Let’s try to trip up those who would see us hoodwinked and beguiled into believing the Church was here or there, before we know what the Church is.

The Spirit of Truth

The Spirit of Truth was given to the Church for all time to teach all mankind the revelation of Jesus Christ and the good news of salvation. The Teaching Church, the pope and councils of bishops in communion with him, promulgated catechisms for the religious instruction of the Church Faithful, or Believing Church. As such, these catechisms are the ordinary and universal magisterium to which the lay faithful owe their divine and Catholic assent of faith. 

With this firmly held in mind, let’s read the answer to our question in the Baltimore Catechism:

“The Church is the congregation of all those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same sacraments, and are governed by their lawful pastors under one visible Head,” (A.489), and “By ‘lawful pastors’ we mean those in the Church who have been appointed by lawful authority and who have, therefore, a right to rule us. The lawful pastors in the Church are: Every priest in his own parish; every bishop in his own diocese, and the Pope in the whole Church,” (A.494).  

So now that we know what the Church is, we can start hunting. The Conciliar sect is not the Church, because it doesn’t profess the faith of Christ, denying almost every single dogma of the Church; the Recognize and Resist sect is not the Church, because it doesn’t profess the faith of Christ, either, denying, for instance the attributes of authority, infallibility, and indefectibility of the Church, among a host of other dogmas. What about the Sedevacantists, are they the Church? According to the universal ordinary magisterium of the Baltimore Catechism, which was given to us lay faithful to learn and be able to answer such a question, the answer is an emphatic, “Not on your life!”  

Not only were Sedevacantists bishops not appointed by lawful authority, I don’t think any claim to rule within a diocese or parish––a neon sign advertising that they are only flirting with being lawful pastors, but they lack the pluck to try to do so. But let’s assume they do make such a claim. We’ll question them further with the help of our handy-dandy book of codified infallible universal ordinary magisterial teachings. 

A Constellation of Signs

With bag, flashlight, and catechism in hand, ask the Sedevacantist clergy, “Do you possess the three attributes of the Church, namely, authority, infallibility, and indefectibility, without which the four marks of unity, sanctity, catholicity, and apostolicity could not exist, which attributes and marks the Church must have, because Christ said so? ” (Cf. A.519, A.520 and A.522). 

“Further,” you’ll want to add, “If you do claim such attributes and subsequently such marks, could you prove your apostolic successional authority, by showing that you received it directly or indirectly from God? Could you also direct me to the laws you have promulgated for the common good of the Church?” (Cf. A.507, A.524). 

Did the Sedevacantist bishop answer your questions, or rather quote canon law, theological textbooks and commentaries, Greek terms, Latin precepts, or nothing at all? Did he tell you how silly you were to rely on so simplistic and unsophisticated a text as a catechism to determine what and where the Church is during these times of extraordinary emergency?

My Twitter interlocutor set out to find the Church, without asking first what the Church is. He believed the Sedevacantist bishop’s claim to be the Church, before he even knew what the Church was. Is it any wonder, therefore, that he found a magical mythical monster instead of a member of the species ecclesia catholica

A Curious Case of Catholicism

There’s a very little known fringe group of Sedevacantist Catholics you may have heard of but probably never met. These are called by various names, from the most popular and designedly offensive “Home-Aloner” to the more complimentary “Catacomb Catholic,” or to my personal favorite (because I made it up), “Eclipsed Catholic.” From blog posts to comment boxes, there has been much vitriolic hatred for this fringe group, almost entirely from Sedevacantists themselves. Indeed, when once I visited a com-box, and the participants got wind I was a Home-Aloner, figurative fangs came out, and I was given two options: stay and be slain by verbal stoning, or flee to the mountains! Now this curious phenomenon needs explaining, doesn’t it? 

Comment-Box Combat

If we take Sedevacantists as a whole and in their basic belief––which is that the Chair of Peter is vacant because a heretic cannot sit there––and compare this group as a whole to that of other “Catholic” groups (Catholic in quotes here meaning those who identify as such but are not in fact), then the picture which emerges is quite curious. Sedevacantists as a group are outcasted and ostracized themselves by both the Novus Ordo liberal and SSPX-er. What’s the point here? Eclipsed Catholics are treated by Sedevacantists the same way Sedevacantists are treated by the other groups, and, I would argue, for the exact same reason. 

Why are Sedevacantists persecuted in general? Some charge them with judging the Pope, with exercising judgment over that which is superior. Others argue that Sedevacantists place too much importance on their conscience, that by it they sever bonds and communion with those they shouldn’t. Naysayers say Sedevacantists live in a fantasy land, who build up for themselves a phantasmal church. “The Church is a visible institution,” they say, “Its ecclesiastical structures must hold until the end of time.” Still more scoffers say, “Without a hierarchy, how will we ever see another reigning pope again? Your theory destroys the Church!” These arguments the world throws in the face of Sedevacantists like sand. And the Sedevacantist, blinded by a billion motes in his own eyes, turns to his brother Sedevacantist, and says essentially the same exact thing!

Ecclesia in the Clouds

“You’re a Home-Aloner!” they say, “What authority or learning do you have to judge whether our clergy have valid or licit orders, huh?” Or they will say, “You Home-Aloner, you’d see the faithful denied the Mass and Sacraments, the Priesthood destroyed, and Apostolic Succession cease!” Or my personal favorite, “You have no hierarchy to get a pope back, loser!” scoff, eye-roll, then Twitter block!       

The prima facie case for Eclipsed Catholicism is not good. All the arguments against Sedevacantists seem to redouble in potency against Eclipsed Catholics. Home-Alone Catholics look more like one of those loners you’d see dressed in black in some dark corner, headphones on and hiding behind some book, while the basketball game carried on, and cheers and popcorn and soda and happy joy swirled round about the high school gymnasium.     

But on second thought and inspection, Eclipsed Catholicism is just the last and logically necessary and completing step of the Sedevacantist hypothesis. If there is no pope, then there cannot be a hierarchy as such. Its like saying there could be a computer without a microchip processor, or a ship without a rudder, a sheepfold without a shepherd, or a liturgical vestment hanging without a peg: “In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the peg be removed, that was fastened in the sure place: and it shall be broken and shall fall: and that which hung thereon, shall perish, because the Lord hath spoken it.” The idea is unreasonable, and, quite frankly, not Catholic.

When God walked among men, He established His Kingdom among men by appointing Twelve Men to go out and rule the world––in a spiritual sense, of course. But God, in His infinite wisdom and love, established one Man among the Twelve to rule over the Twelve. This was, I am sure you all know very well, Peter, who along with his successors ruled the world––again, spiritually, of course––for about two thousand years, give or take a decade and a hiccup here and there during short interregna. But for 22,968 days, as of this writing, Catholics have been without a Pope, a true successor of Saint Peter, and the world is spinning––more than it usually does, as in more than zero, but that’s a subject for another post (Geocentrism forever!).    

During this painfully protracted period without a pope, the Antichrist has set up shop in the physical buildings once Catholic and consecrated, now desecrated by his unholy hands. His aped episcopate and priesthood have spread throughout the world and have covered all that is holy in filth and vileness. Most inhabit this false church of Antichrist unwittingly. Others blasphemously believe this church of Antichrist to be Christ’s Spotless Bride. But the Bridegroom sings, “How beautiful art thou, my love, how beautiful art thou!” in ecstasy at the sight of Her beauty. Satan, in his hatred for the Church, sneers, “Thou! Thou filthy and defiled thing!” and spits in Her face. Novus Ordo clergy and laity are complicit in the defilement by either commission or omission, by carrying out sacrileges themselves, or not speaking up against it. And the Recognize and Resist crowd are happy to join Satan in jeering and sneering at Christ’s supposed Spotless Bride.

Sedevacantist clergy are a different matter. They are something better than Novus Ordo and Recognize and Resist, and yet something worse. They have this veneer of holiness which is like sweet spiritual honey to those fleeing from the False Church of Antichrist, like a gilded vestment of elaborate floral leaf that breaks your heart by its beauty. They have the sacraments, which draw faithful souls in love with God after them: “Draw me: we will run after thee to the odour of thy ointments.” Why do I say, then, that Sedevacantist clergy are worse than the other sects? Because beauty is more dangerous than ugliness.

It cannot be demonstrated within the space of this article what I am about to claim. Others more intelligent and virtuous have taken great pains to do so elsewhere, like here. The scope, purpose and mission of CatholicEclipsed is not to convince but to shake awake people fast asleep. Once awake, they can take a look about the room and see for themselves where they are and come to their own conclusions. Anyway, my big claim is: Sedevacantist clergy have no manifest mission from the Church, and so must be avoided as a heretical sect. There, I said it out loud. Excuse me while I duck under my desk and wait for the stones to stop flying!

St. Francis de Sales Preaching to Sedevacantists

When St. Francis de Sales wanted to re-evangelize the fallen away of Chablais who joined the Calvinist sect, he had his own troubles. Between assassination attempts, starvation, and being scorned and called a sorcerer, the saintly priest somehow managed to convert back to the Faith some 72,000 of the Calvinist sect. How? By simply proclaiming the basic truths of the Faith by posting in little tracts in public spaces, or slipping them under doors at night.  

In beginning his mission, St. Francis de Sales spoke to the sects about the most important and fundamental thing he could think of: mission. He begins like this, “First, then, your ministers had not the conditions required for the position which they sought to maintain, and the enterprise which they undertook.” He goes on to preach and reprimand the people with his secret little pamphlet. “Tell me,” he says to the conscientious Catholic-turned-Calvinist sitting by the fireplace, reading, “What business had you to hear them and believe them without having any assurance of their commission and of the approval of our Lord, whose legates they called themselves?” The Calvinist is silent in his seat, and reads on.   

“Now you cannot be ignorant that they neither had, nor have, in any way this mission. For if Our Lord had sent them, it would have been either mediately or immediately,” that is to say, by the Church, as in those to be consecrated to the episcopate would have a papal mandate, or by God Himself, like Moses, the Prophets, and last of all the Apostles, who all made their mission known by miracles. 

The doubting Calvinist stirs in his seat, looks up about the room (he’s waking up), then back down at the hand-written note, held now with a tremulous hand, “But neither in the one nor in the other way have your ministers any mission. How shall they preach, says the Apostle, unless they be sent?” The pamphlet gently falls to the floor, and the Catholic lowers his head into his hands and weeps bitterly in the crackling firelight. 

The Physics of Faith

What Goes Down, Must Come Up

I remember an event which happened just a few years ago and which I shall never forget until I die: the unearthly and hauntingly beautiful experience of observing a solar eclipse. It was summer, and the day was bright and warm. A very small black disc inched its way over the all-powerful, blinding sun. And after what seemed like an eternity, the time of totality was upon us. As soon as the last rays of the Sun escaped to the Earth, I first saw the shadows fade then disappear. The earth was shadow now, at least for almost as far as the eye could see. There was a rim of blue and a bright ring of sunny day about ten miles out on the horizon all about us. But at the epicenter of the eclipse, where I stood with my family, my wife and children, all was dark. The birds fell silent. The air itself was stilled and thinned and cooled, like a perfect autumn in the midst of zero summer. I was more giddy than my young children. I was on the verge of tears, overwhelmed by the beauty, but before I could be so conquered by the natural phenomenon, it was over, it was passed, the thing hadn’t lasted. The sun returned from behind the ominous disc of black. The air was again heavy with summer warmth. Shadows returned, and sunlight poured once again through the foliage of trees full of birdsong. As my family made their way back into the house for lunch, I stood quiet and still for a moment on the driveway and wondered at what just happened.   

The world thinks nothing good lasts, whereas the Christian thinks nothing evil lasts. “What goes up, must come down,” the worldling says. The Christian reverses this maxim, and says, “What goes down, must come up!” and obliterates all desire to worldly despair. Instead of despair, the Christian has hope, which is the good fruit of Faith. Through a study of the Physics of Faith, we understand that what goes down, must come up, that he who is willing to die, will live; he who is humbled, will be exalted; he who loses everything, gains an inestimable treasure, and so on and so forth throughout all the Gospel.  

Christ’s death epitomizes this phenomenon. Our Lord dies and is buried, but rises. The greatest evil that could befall creation––the Death of God––only lasted about three days. True, those were the longest three days of existence, and all the created order––Angels, Saints, Humans, Animals, Plants, Rocks, and Elemental forces––groaned in lamentation, bewailed the greatest of crimes, deicide, but this only for a while. 

Do you know of another phenomenon that doesn’t last? Solar eclipses. If a solar eclipse were to last longer than, say, seven and a half minutes (the typical time of an eclipse), animals would probably go insane and start eating each other, would run wild and confused into the streets, losing all sense and instinctual compass and immediately die horrible and unnatural deaths soon after such an extended period of totality befell them. 

Well, something very much like that is happening now in the spiritual world, because the Catholic Church is in Eclipse. Look around. The headquarters of the New World Religion, I mean the promulgators of the Novus Ordo Missae, the Vatican, doesn’t let a day go by or a sun go down without inserting at least one of those Save the Rainforest slogans into their website articles. You know the kind: The world’s future is bleak! Rainforests are dying! Oceans are rising! Oceans are drying up! Global warming! Global cooling! Plastics don’t biodegrade! Ad nauseam, ad infinitum. These concerns about the Earth and its ecological or climatological health may have their place––just no where here on this blog, and surely no where on an organization’s website whose aim (at least sixty years ago) was the supernatural hereafter, not this fleeting world of mud and rock. But times change.

All Roads Lead to Death.

Continue to look around. You see R&R fairing no better than the spiritual authority they recognize yet resist to the face. For example, one Remnant Newspaper columnist wrote the other day: “The devil seems to have been given much freer rein now than ever before. Perhaps it was that the flood of grace which the Latin Mass brings was cut down to a trickle after the Second Vatican Council. At this late hour, however we parse the cause, we have only death, and each road that seems to bring us back to the light of life leads to death, too,” Jason Morgan, “Supreme Mort: America’s Danse Macabre with Death,” Remnant, article online.

Now I do not take issue with the author’s bleak description of American politics, because it is accurate. The killing of babies––no, not just killing but the ritualistic sacrifice of infants in the womb to devils––is a bleak reality. But my point is, the R&R proponent suffers from the same ideological disease as the Vatican he opposes and resists. The columnist is in love with despair, because he adheres to the Physics of the World, instead of the Physics of Faith.

Our columnist concludes his song of despair with these words: “…I have given up on winning back the Supreme Court. It makes no difference now, I’m afraid. Our government, and much of our society, have developed a full-blown addiction to the suffering and murder of children and the horrible loneliness and psychological scarring which ensues for their mothers. And for a thousand other hateful and anti-human pastimes. Like hell itself, the currency of Washington is cruelty minted in the image of lies. Supreme Mort.” 

Again, this all may be very much true––which I tend to think it is––but the quote above was the very last sentence of the article the Remnant writer typed in a putative Christian newspaper. Where is the hope? Where is the call to change, an encouraging word that Christ has conquered death? The concern of the the Remnant columnist is worldly, the tone, a long, sad discordant song of despair to the end, to accompany the Dance of Death he so much “protests.”   

Meet “Bp.” Nutty

Let’s look at one more group, the Sedevacantists. This group is the sanest of the insane squirrels and other frantic animals running around in the streets. They say the Vatican is illegitimate, that it is not Catholic, so naturally they are not inclined to resist Francis to the face, because they rightly observe and believe he is not the pope, because he is a heretic. But that is about as far as their sanity gets them. The Sedevacantists still suffer from the illusions of the Physics of the World, because they presumably haven’t study enough the Physics of Faith. Let me explain. 

Early on, decades ago, Sedevacantist clergy got their start when bishops who had mission and jurisdiction, such as once Archbishop Thuc or Archbishop Lefebvre, went on a consecration campaign, without papal approval (this was the time after the usurpation of the papacy by modernists), and made this man and that man and any man a bishop who seemingly wanted to be, and these arbitrary bishops went on to ordain this man and that man and any man who wanted to be a priest. 

The resultant catastrophe of this consecration-happy campaign was the admixture of baser matter to the episcopate and priesthood. How was this possible? Because, once a few bishops got wind that the Catholic Church was being eclipsed, they started shouting in the streets, “Emergency! Emergency!” which, they thought, gave them special powers to do what they did. It was like the new Pentecost all over again, and the bishops of the Church were running around like they were drunk.  

Later, those who benefited from such disregard for ecclesial disciple, bishops and priests of the next generation, shouted down the opposition––obedient and faithful Catholics––with yet another slogan, “Epikeia! Epikeia!” This new slogan gave them, so they thought, the absolute powers of a pope: de facto universal jurisdiction, which enabled them to set up shop whenever and wherever they wanted, to make bishops at will, erect mass centers, establish monasteries, and found seminaries and even parochial schools for children, to extend their new-found empire over the earth, and all because they said the Church was in a state of emergency and epikeia could exempt them from all ecclesial law, not to mention papal decrees.

The Sedevacantist Squirrels are still in the streets, frantically running amok, though “emergency” doesn’t seem to be on their little lips anymore. One “Bishop”––we’ll lovingly call him, “Bp.” Nutty for the sake of anonymity––would often report in his congregation newsletter on the antics of his cat, or make banal comment on the weather. No emergency alarms ringing there. All was hunky-dory, though epikeia was still readily talked about and weaponized against dissidents all the same.  

“…And the sun was darkened…”

But this is just another instance of the Physics of the World at work. True, the Catholic Church went into eclipse at the death of Pope Pius XII, and in particular with the public defection of almost all the world’s bishops at the time the Second Vatican Council. But Catholics would not have despaired, because the Physics of Faith would have taught them that what goes down, must come up. The Church was in eclipse, but such phenomena don’t last. The Faith would shine out soon enough, in God’s good time. The answer was not to go insane and think one could save the Church or prevent the spiritual passion of our Lord. “…[Christ] turning, said to Peter: Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men.” Christ was being crucified anew in his Mystical Body, in the Church. We, the faithful, were to stand at the Cross with our Mother, to pray and to weep and to hope. And we stand with Her still.      

The spiritual eclipse of the Church is decades long now––22,964 days, to be precise––and many there are who have lost their minds because of its extended duration. Some have fallen into despair, others into utter lunacy, still others into apostasy. But I prefer to be a giddy child, just as I was during that eclipse of the sun. The world’s atmosphere is still and cool. Things are so clear and crisp and easy to understand, like who is with Him, and who is against Him. A gentle autumn wind blows through all things, all souls, throughout all the world. Can you feel it? It is the fan of the Lord: He is winnowing the wheat from the chaff, and so the unquenchable fire is not long to follow.