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The Great Amnesia

The 3rd Edition of Fatima Priest has just now been released. One of the new chapters speaks about the Great Amnesia that many people today are suffering. The roots of this spiritual forgetfulness are examined in this chapter.

Taken from the new updated book "Fatima Priest"
by Francis Alban and Christopher A. Ferrara

Revolutionaries throughout human history have always sought to bury the past. For a people which forgets its past is a people with no conception of its present or its future. The victims of revolution, like the victims of amnesia, are compelled to accept a new present and a new future which are not of their choosing. What else can they do, having lost the memory of where they came from?

Is it possible that the Church, a society both human and divine, could suffer the amnesia borne of revolution? That the Church can never teach error is a certainty secured by Our Lord's promise of His divine assistance until the consummation of the world. But Our Lord never promised us that the human members of His Church would not forget, if only for a brief time in history, what they were charged to remember and pass on. From such forgetfulness arose Peter's doubt and betrayal of Christ, the spread of the Arian heresy throughout the Church in the reign of Pope Liberius, and the other crises great and small in Church history.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest of the doctors of the Catholic Church, taught in his Summa Theologica that throughout salvation history God has sent prophets to His people in times of forgetfulness, "not to give a new doctrine, but to remind the faithful of what they must do to save their souls."1 For this reason did St. Paul counsel us: "Despise not prophecy; hold fast to that which is good."2 And so, in 1917, God sent His Blessed Mother to Fatima to remind forgetful "modern man" what he must do to save his soul:

    "You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace ... In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world ..."3

For a time the faithful listened, even if the Consecration of Russia was not performed by the hierarchy. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary grew as never before in Church history, and the harvest of converts grew also--until the critical year of 1960.

In 1960 the whole Catholic world awaited disclosure of the Third Secret of Fatima. Yet in February of that year Pope John XXIII consigned the text of the Secret to a locked desk drawer in his papal apartments, privately dismissing it as irrelevant to his pontificate. Turning away from Fatima (of which he said almost nothing publicly), Pope John looked out upon the vast audience of assembled bishops who had gathered in the great aula of St. Peter's Basilica for the first day of the Council that no one had expected him to call. And then the Great Amnesia began.

Four years after the Council's conclusion, Pope Paul VI made a stunning announcement: The ancient Latin liturgy of the Roman Rite, descended from the Apostles themselves and regarded as sacrosanct by every Pope for more than 1,900 years, was to be junked in a matter of weeks to make way for a new rite of Mass in the vernacular, concocted by a committee which had solicited the advice of six Protestant ministers.4 In his unprecedented audience address of November 26, 1969, Pope Paul, speaking as no pope had ever spoken before, insisted that the Church literally forget her own liturgical past:

    A new rite of Mass: a change in the venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries. This is something that affects our hereditary religious patrimony, which seemed to enjoy the privilege of being untouchable and settled ... No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass ... We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders (!) in the literary preserve of sacred utterance ... What can we put in the place of that language of the angels? We are giving up something of priceless worth ...5

It cannot be said that Pope Paul was a conscious revolutionary. No man on earth may judge the interior disposition of the Roman Pontiff. Yet the Pope's own words objectively declared a revolutionary aim, whatever his subjective intention might have been. Within a few years of Pope Paul's inexplicable demand that the faithful abandon the very form of their divine worship down through the centuries, a plague of forgetfulness would sweep across the entire Church. In June of 1972 Pope Paul surveyed the devastation and uttered his famous lament: "(F)rom somewhere or other the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God ..."6 From somewhere or other.

By the time Pope Paul had passed from this world in 1978, much of what comprised the Church's greatness as a visible institution had already vanished into that incredible memory-hole known as "the renewal of Vatican II." Sent forth by the Pope himself, amazingly rash men had entered the house of God while we were sleeping and carried off nearly all the furnishings, replacing the divine patrimony of the ages with their own crude tinkerings. And when we awoke to find out what had happened, we were told that we must rejoice in the loss of every precious possession, and celebrate the "renewal" of our home.

The Catholics who attended the apostolate's Third Fatima Conference in that November of 1996 had come to draw a line (at least for themselves) at the edge of the still-swirling vortex of post-conciliar "reform", which had most recently disgorged the appalling spectacle of girls in pigtails assisting at the altar of God. Among the faithful who had gathered at Piazza Euclide one could almost sense the constant whisper of a common thought: "Not Fatima. No, not Fatima." They had come to Rome to cling to the memory of Our Lady of Fatima with all their might, to keep Her, too, from disappearing down into the memory-hole.

After all, it was only eighty years ago that Our Lady appeared at Cova da Iria to deliver a divine message for our time, authenticated by a prodigious public miracle the likes of which had never been seen in the history of the world. The Miracle of the Sun was not some pious legend of Catholic antiquity, but a brilliant historical fact of the 20th Century which even Hollywood had been compelled to acknowledge in a popular motion picture. The events at Fatima had occurred, moreover, within the lifetime of nearly every bishop who attended the Second Vatican Council.

The Message of Fatima was delivered and authenticated by a miracle to remind the world, in a time of unprecedented peril for souls, that Christ had founded His Church to save souls from the fires of Hell through the intercession of His Immaculate Mother. But today it seems the Vatican no longer remembers how to speak as Our Lady spoke at Fatima, only 45 years before Vatican II got underway. Not only the traditional externals of the Faith, but many of the words by which the Faith is expressed have been forgotten. The simple Catholic words Our Lady spoke at Fatima--"hell", "the souls of poor sinners", "Immaculate", "to save them", "souls will be saved"--have disappeared from the texts of post-conciliar Vatican pronouncements. In their place strange new words have been substituted: "ecumenism", "dialogue", "collegiality". In less than a generation these new words, completely unknown in the Church before 1960, became the governing notions of post-conciliar thought, despite the alarming fact that no one really knows exactly what they mean.

Father Gruner is only one of millions of Catholics who have noticed something terribly amiss in the language of the post-conciliar Church: it no longer speaks to the world of death, judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory. The Last Things, which had comprised the very core of the Church's evangelism and catechesis for nearly 2,000 years before the Council, are no longer mentioned by the generality of post-conciliar Churchmen. Today, preaching on the Last Things is found almost entirely on the pages of spiritual books published before Vatican II and distributed by a few private Catholic apostolates, like the one headed by Father Gruner.

In 1994 the Italian journalist Vittorio Messori submitted a series of written questions to Pope John Paul II, who provided written answers. The resulting "interview" was published under the Pope's name as a best-seller entitled Crossing the Threshold of Hope. One of Messori's questions to the Pope related to this mysterious and unparalleled silence of the post-conciliar Church about the Last Things:

    Recently in the Church, words have multiplied. It seems that in the last twenty years more 'documents' have been produced at every level of the Church than in the entire preceding twenty centuries. Yet to some it has seemed that this very loquacious Church is silent about what is most essential: eternal life ... Why do so many Churchmen comment interminably on topical issues, but hardly ever speak to us about eternity, about that ultimate union with God that, as faith teaches, remains man's vocation, man's destiny, and ultimate end?7

In response to this grave accusation in the form of a question, the Pope rather wistfully recalled the pre-conciliar teaching of the Church on the Last Things. His Holiness wrote in the past tense, as if this most basic element of Church teaching were some sort of heirloom that had been lost and could not be recovered, not even by the Pope:

Let's remember that not so long ago, in sermons during retreats or missions, the Last Things--death, judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory--were always a standard part of the program of mediation, and preachers knew how to speak on them in an effective and evocative way. How many people were drawn to conversion and confession by these sermons on the Last Things!

    Furthermore, we have to recognize that this pastoral style was profoundly personal: 'Remember that at the end you will present yourself before God with your entire life. Before His judgment seat you will be responsible for all your actions, you will be judged not only on your actions and on your words but also on your thoughts, even the most secret.' ... It could be said that these sermons, which correspond perfectly to the content of Revelation in the Old and New Testaments, went to the very heart of man's inner world. They stirred his conscience, they threw him to his knees, they led him to the screen of the confessional, they had a profound saving effect all their own.8

Having noted what is self-evident, that the traditional teaching on the Last Things converted many souls, the Pope conceded to Messori that "one no longer speaks of these things in evangelization, in catechesis, and in homilies ..." That is to say, the Church no longer speaks of them at all. Yet the Pope did not seem to recognize in this amazing development any sort of emergency for the Church, but only a change of her "pastoral style."

But if the Church's "pastoral style" is no longer "profoundly personal", if after 2,000 years she has suddenly ceased speaking to each person about the realities of death, judgment, heaven, hell and purgatory, then what does she teach men today that they might save their souls? The Pope's remark to Messori is as enigmatic as it is disturbing:

    It can be said that until recently (i.e., for the first 1,962 years of Church history) the Church's catechesis and preaching centered upon an individual eschatology, one, for that matter, which is profoundly rooted in Divine Revelation. The vision proposed by the Council, however, was that of an eschatology of the Church and of the world.9

What are the faithful to make of this? If the teaching on the Last Things is "profoundly rooted in Divine Revelation", then why was it suddenly replaced with a "vision proposed by the Council"? Or was it replaced? Does the Council's "eschatology of the Church and of the world"10 exclude the traditional teaching on the Last Things? If it does not, then why would the Pope cite the Council's "vision" to explain to Messori why the teaching on the Last Things has vanished from the post-conciliar Church?

And what does this "eschatology of the Church and of the world" really mean to the individual man, who must still turn away from mortal sin and live a life of supernatural faith in order to be saved? Is the Council's eschatological vision anything more than a beguiling abstraction which causes pastors to ignore the jeopardy of souls? As the Pope conceded to Messori, that is exactly what it is:

    We can ask ourselves if man, with his individual life, his responsibility, his destiny, his personal eschatological future, his heaven or hell, does not end up getting lost in this cosmic dimension. Recognizing the good reasons which led to your question, it is necessary to respond honestly by saying yes. To a certain degree man does get lost; so too, do preachers, catechists, teachers; and as a result, they no longer have the courage to preach the threat of hell ... (emphasis added)11

Despite these explosively disturbing admissions, the Pope clearly views the Council's "vision" as a good thing. But is it a good thing? Or is it possible that this unprecedented loss of focus on the eternal destiny of the individual soul is the very calamity foretold in the Third Secret of Fatima? Sister Lucy spoke of a "diabolical disorientation" in the post-conciliar Church.12 Could there be a more diabolical disorientation than for the sacred pastors to lose sight of death, judgment, heaven, hell and purgatory?

Messori's question to the Pope had only touched upon a great and terrible truth which can be seen in shadow behind the painted facade of "the great renewal of Vatican II." There are still many Catholics who have not forgotten the state of the Church before the Council. Like Father Gruner, they remember full seminaries and convents; a majestic liturgy; parish churches packed to capacity every Sunday. No, they do not remember an ecclesial paradise in which every member of the Church had the fervor of a saint. But they do remember that the Church as a whole had vigor; that her preachers had "the courage to preach the threat of hell"; and that her members believed in hell and kept the moral law, if only with the imperfect contrition borne of a fear of hell. And they remember that this once vigorous Church made many converts. Until 1960. Until the Third Secret of Fatima was locked away in Pope John's desk drawer, instead of being revealed to the faithful as Sister Lucy's superiors had promised her it would be.

The Catholics who remember what the Church was only thirty-eight years ago are not prepared to consign the entire pre-conciliar past to the memory-hole, with a nod to the Council's vague new vision and a fond recollection of the Church's former "pastoral style." What the Church was before the Council, she must be again. The Catholics who still remember have passed that memory on to their children; and their children have grown to have children of their own. Three generations of Catholics now on the face of this earth still carry the memory with them, even if they comprise a tiny minority of those who call themselves Catholics today.

Those who still remember, including Father Nicholas Gruner, ask the same question Messori asked the Pope--the question certain Vatican bureaucrats find intolerably embarrassing. They want to know how it has come to pass that a Church divinely commissioned to save souls from hell no longer mentions hell. They want to know, quite simply, why the Church has forgotten how to speak as Our Lady spoke at Fatima.

From the eternal perspective of the Holy Catholic Church there is no "modernity" to speak of; no age in which the Church has been obliged to recognize that man has finally "progressed" to the point where there is something truly new about him which the Church must learn and assimilate into her teaching. Man can never progress one iota beyond what the Church has always known about his nature. For human nature does not change, and what the Church knows of man has been revealed to her by God. Can the creature that God fashioned from a lump of clay tell God something new about its constitution?

The age-old attitude of the Church toward man's pretentious claims of "modernity" is only a reflection of God's eternal attitude. Throughout salvation history men have presented their Towers of Babel to their Creator, impudently demanded recognition of their great achievements, and watched them crumble under the hammer-blows of divine wrath. So what else is new?

In 1864, only seventy-five years after the French Revolution, the current version of the Tower of Babel was already beginning to rise in the world. "Modern man" was announcing everywhere, even in Catholic countries, his final emancipation from God and His Church. In response, Blessed Pope Pius IX promulgated his Syllabus of Errors, declaring his intention to "unveil and condemn all those heresies and errors ... averse to the eternal salvation of man (which) the most bitter enemies of our religion, deceiving the people and maliciously lying, disseminate ... by means of pestilential books, pamphlets and newspapers dispersed over the whole world." His Holiness condemned an entire list of the false propositions which are the very foundation stones of "modern civilization" — everything from unrestrained "liberty of worship" for false sects, to "liberty of conscience", to "freedom of the press", to the abolition of the Church's indirect power over temporal affairs.13

In #80 of the Syllabus, Pope Pius specifically condemned as error the proposition that "The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization." In this he merely echoed every one of his predecessors. For why should the Vicar of Christ pay tribute to the latest version of the Tower of Babel, when God will sooner or later reduce it to a pile of rubble?

There is no mere human haughtiness at work in the Church's perennial disdain for the claims of "modern civilization." The ephemera of modernity have always been transparent to the Church; in every age she looks through them to see the very same thing: a world full of fallen men in danger of hellfire. Our Lady said as much at Fatima, at the dawn of the 20th Century: "You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart."

But in 1960 the Third Secret of Fatima was locked in a papal desk drawer. And then came Vatican II.

The Conciliar document Gaudium et spes bears the disturbing subtitle "Pastoral Constitution On The Church in the Modern World." For the first time in Church history a Council had deigned to regard a particular era as modern in distinction to all the previous eras of human history. The very phrase "Church in the modern world" was an implicit concession to the 20th Century Zeitgest, which insisted that "modern man" had finally come of age, and that the Church was obliged to view him, his "rights" and his "modern world" with a new respect. No less than Cardinal Ratzinger would confirm that this was the very tenor of Gaudium et spes:

    "The feeling that now, at last, the world had to be, and could be, changed, improved and humanized — this feeling had quite obviously taken hold of them (the Council Fathers) in a way that was not to be resisted ... (T)here reigned at once a feeling of euphoria and frustration. Euphoria, because it seemed that nothing was impossible for this Council which had the strength to break with attitudes that had been deeply rooted for centuries; frustration, because all that had thus far been done did not count for mankind and only increased the longing for freedom, for openness, for what was totally different.14

The Council, then, "breaking with attitudes that had been deeply rooted for centuries", yearning to satisfy "modern man's" desire for something "totally different", decided to celebrate man and his great accomplishments, to admire his technology and his recently discovered "rights." The Council would declare that "Man is on the road to a more thorough development of his personality, and to a growing vindication of his own rights."15 This "new age" of man was not to be condemned for its abominable offenses against God's law, including Communism and abortion, but rather was to be admired: "(W)e can speak of a new age in human history ... (W)e are witnesses of the birth of a new humanism, one in which man is defined first of all by his responsibility toward his brothers and toward history."16 The Council would even declare, in an almost giddy embrace of imprecision, that "the human race has passed from a rather static concept of reality to a more dynamic and evolutionary one."17

These were stunningly naive opinions in view of the horrors of this century raging outside the aula of St. Peter's. The Message of Fatima is that the "modern world" must listen to the Church, beg forgiveness and do penance for its incomparable sins, so that a worldwide chastisement might be avoided. But the message of Gaudium et spes is that the Church must listen to the "modern world", and make up for having been so insensitive to its needs for so long. To that end, the document declares that priests and bishops "should fit themselves to do their part in establishing dialogue with the world and with men of all shades of opinion."18 And what precisely was meant by "establishing dialogue with the world"? Had the Bride of Christ been mute for the previous 2,000 years? Was the Church just now, at Vatican II, learning how to speak to man?

This much is clear: After the promulgation of Gaudium et spes the Church which had always been known as mater et magister —mother and teacher — would suddenly and mysteriously cease speaking to the world with the authority of a divinely founded institution to which the world must listen. Now she would listen, most attentively, to all of the very important things "modern man" had to tell her.

Perhaps the most striking example of the Council's willingness to sit at the feet of the world and listen, is the opinion in Gaudium et spes that "In pastoral care, sufficient use must be made not only of theological principles, but also of the findings of the secular sciences, especially of psychology and sociology, so that the faithful may be brought to a more adequate and mature life of faith."19 More adequate and mature? Was it really the Council's teaching that the faith of Catholics for twenty centuries — a faith nourished by the seven sacraments, the prayers of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs — was less adequate and mature than it could have been with the help of psychology and sociology? Were the faithful really expected to believe that the Church established by God Himself now needed to consult the practitioners of recently invented pseudo-sciences which view man as a subject with no immortal soul or eternal destiny? What did the likes of Sigmund Freud and Margaret Mead have to say to the Bride of Christ about the life of Faith? And which of the many conflicting schools of psychology and sociology would the Council have the sacred pastors consult in their care of souls? The Council offered no definite advice. Nor did it have the slightest competence to do so, for Our Lord did not commission the Church as a referral network for psychologists and sociologists. The divine commission is to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments, which God has given men as the only truly effective balm for their wounded souls.

The Council would acknowledge the "problems" of the "modern world" in the course of extolling its supposed progress. Yet Gaudium et spes would say nothing about the gravest of those problems: world communism, whose adepts were killing, torturing and imprisoning Catholics at the very moment the document was being promulgated. The Vatican-Moscow Agreement had insured that the Council which purported to address the state of "the modern world" would, absurdly, neglect to condemn or even mention the greatest threat to the world's survival.

All in all, as Cardinal Ratzinger has noted, in Gaudium et spes "the attitude of critical reserve toward the forces that have left their imprint on the modern world is to be replaced by a resolute coming to terms with their movement."20 But what of #80 of Pius IX's Syllabus, which had condemned the very notion that the Church ought to "come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization"? Like the Roman liturgy and the teaching on the Last Things, the Syllabus would be forgotten in the Great Amnesia. As Ratzinger explains:

    If it is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the text as a whole, we might say that (in conjunction with the texts on religious liberty and world religions) it (Gaudium et spes) is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of counter-syllabus ... Let us be content to say here that the text serves as a counter-syllabus and, as such, represents, on the part of the Church, an attempt at an official reconciliation with the new era inaugurated in 1789 ...21

So what Pius IX had solemnly condemned as error was officially accepted by the "counter-syllabus" (!) of Gaudium et spes. Pope was pitted against Council, and the teaching of the Pope was "revised" to reconcile the Church to "the new era inaugurated in 1789" — an era which began when Robespierre and Marat filled barges with priests and nuns, mothers and children and sank them in the Loire, on their way to butchering a million Catholics in the French Revolution.

How could the Church attempt an "official reconciliation" with an era which had begun with the genocide of Catholics in France and was continuing with the genocide of Catholics in the Soviet Union? How could the Church have "a resolute coming to terms" with a civilization in which every vital link between Church and State had been severed, and even Catholic states had embraced the very error Pius IX condemned in the Syllabus: "In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship."22

These questions lead to an ultimate question about the Council itself: If Gaudium et spes "revised" the solemn condemnations in the Syllabus, was it not the case that the Church had contradicted her own prior teaching? Has the Church herself, then, failed? The answer, of course, is no. For the Council itself had declared that "In view of the pastoral purpose of the present Council, this sacred Synod defines matters of faith and morals as binding on the Church only when the Synod openly declares so."23 Vatican II was the first Council in Church history to issue a disclaimer on the weight of its own documents. This was no small relief to many of the Council Fathers, who were troubled by the strange ambiguities and novel attitudes which permeated Gaudium et spes and other conciliar texts. The Irish bishop Thomas Morris, for one, would confide to a reporter shortly before his death that "I was relieved when we were told that this Council was not aiming at defining or giving final statements on doctrine, because a statement of doctrine has to be very carefully formulated and I would have regarded the Council documents as tentative and liable to be reformed."24

Nowhere in Gaudium et spes did the Council "openly declare" that it was defining any doctrine to bind the faithful, or that it was actually overruling the Syllabus. What the Council had ventured (as Ratzinger noted) was a mere "attempt" to reconcile the Church with "the new era inaugurated in 1789." An attempt is not a doctrine, and Gaudium et spes was manifestly not a doctrinal pronouncement, but an exercise in sociological commentary by bishops who were not commissioned to teach sociology. There is really no contradiction, then, between what the authentic Magisterium has always taught and what the Council "attempted" in Gaudium et spes because an "attempt" is not a teaching. And the constant teaching of the authentic magisterium has never contradicted itself. No Catholic is bound to follow an "attempt" or an "attempted" teaching.

And yet this non-doctrinal excursis on modernity, like the other documents of this pastoral Council, has somehow attained the appearance of dogma in the post-conciliar amnesia, obliterating the memory of all the truly doctrinal teaching that had come before. Just as the conciliar "vision" of Lumen gentium has eclipsed the traditional teaching on the Last Things, so has Gaudium et spes eclipsed the traditional opposition of the Church to the "modern world" with its modern "liberties." Even Cardinal Ratzinger, the Pope's own defender of doctrine, felt obliged to make a public protest against this fraudulent exaggeration of the Council's importance in the history of the Church:

    "The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as part of the entire living tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, but deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of super dogma which takes away the importance of all the rest."25

So it is not a defect of doctrine which has led to the current crisis, but a loss of memory which has caused the Council to be regarded as "an end of Tradition, a new start from zero." Perhaps it is this development which brought to Fatima no less a prophet than the Mother of God. Our Lady came to Fatima knowing what was to happen in the Church during the lifetimes of the children who would become the bishops of Vatican II. She came to remind them of the simple things they must teach the world in order that men might save their souls. For what did the Second Vatican Council really need to say to the "modern world" that Our Lady had not already said at Fatima? Repent. Do penance. Make the communions of Reparation. Make sacrifices. Consecrate Russia and establish devotion in the world to My Immaculate Heart. Do these things to prevent the annihilation of nations.

Yet the Council Fathers had made no mention of these things. They issued instead a document which exhorts us to "scrutinize the signs of the times",26 while ignoring the great sign of Fatima and the great evil Our Lady predicted would spread throughout the "modern world" if Her requests at Fatima were not heeded.

And so it seems that the dazzling "modern world" of science and technology tempts even Churchmen to behave as if the Faith of the 20th Century cannot really be so simple as those three primitive shepherd children from Portugal made it out to be. Surely, in this enlightened age of psychology and sociology, ecumenism and "interreligious dialogue", salvation is a much more complicated affair than simply praying for the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to save "poor souls" from the "fires of hell". Surely, once we have finished pondering all the recently developed nuances on the question of salvation, taking into consideration the elaborate psychological excuses men have lately discovered to justify their sins, we can safely place the Message of Fatima into the category of a pious exaggeration.

The "modern world" ridicules such "exaggerated" notions as souls burning forever in the fires of hell. The modern world says: "Hell is a violation of the rights of man. Who is this God who coerces us to believe with threats of hellfire? We will not hear of Him." Modern Churchmen, who have "established dialogue" with the world and no longer teach with authority, find they cannot bring themselves to say any longer that God will damn to hell everyone who dies in a state of mortal sin.

They have "lost the courage to preach the threat of hell," as the Pope himself concedes. And what will the Vatican do about this loss of courage in the Church? The answer is not clear, for there has yet to be any talk of hell from the post-conciliar Vatican itself.


  1. 1. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, Q 174 art. 6.

  2. 2. 1. Thess. 5: 20, 21.

  3. 3. Fatima in Lucia's Own Words (Sister Lucia’s Memoirs) Fatima,1976, p. 162.

  4. 4. Davies, Michael. Pope Paul’s New Mass Angelus Press: Kansas City, p. 585

  5. 5. Audience address of Pope Paul VI, November 26, 1969

  6. 6. Speech of June 30, 1972, quoted by Romano Amerio. Iota Unum. Sarto House: Kansas City (1996), p. 6.

  7. 7. Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Alfred A. Knopf. New York, 1994, p.k 178.

  8. 8. Ibid. pp. 179-180.

  9. 9. Ibid. p. 180.

  10. 10. Ibid. p. 181.

  11. 11. Ibid. p. 183.

  12. 12. The Whole Truth About Fatima, Vol. III, The Third Secret, Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, p. 755, Buffalo, 1990.

  13. 13. Quanta Cura, nn.1, 6; Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX.

  14. 14. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology. Ignatius Press: 1987, p. 380.

  15. 15. Gauduim et spes, n. 41.

  16. 16. Ibid. n. 54.

  17. 17. Ibid. n. 5.

  18. 18. Ibid. n. 18.

  19. 19. Ibid. n. 12.

  20. 20. Ratzinger, op. cit. p. 380.

  21. 21. Ibid. p. 382.

  22. 22. Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX, n. 77.

  23. 23. Theological Note to Lumen Gentium, November 16, 1964.

  24. 24. Interview of Bishop Morris by Kieron Wood, Catholic World News September 27, 1997, at http:\\www.cwnews.com\news\viewrec.cfm? RefNum=4091.

  25. 25. Speech in July 1988 in Santiago, Chile, quoted in Latin Mass magazine, Spring 1998, p. 23.

  26. 26. Gaudium et spes, n. 4.

Continued next issue.

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