It has been announced that Pope Paul VI, of unhappy memory, is to be beatified at the close of the Synod of the Family in October. One may ask why the rush to canonize three recent popes, is it the case that their value of models of holiness will diminish with the passing of the ages? Or is it that with the sober judgement of time these men will appear to be no more than adequate as Roman Pontiffs and more probably, less than suitable for the heroic task of the papacy?
I will say rather clearly that this set of ill-thought out and rushed canonizations has nothing at all to do with the men themselves. Apart from the case of Pope John Paul II, there has been little attempt to highlight and proclaim the great holiness of either John XXIII or Paul VI. Who has relate their heroic virtues? Are they worthy models of imitation for Christians? Who could possibly know as even the proponents of their raising to the altars are at a loss to explain exactly why they are deserving of this great honour. I set aside consideration of John Paul II as at least his firm faith and hope during tremendous suffering could be imputed to him as great virtue combined with his lively sense of piety.
These canonizations have nothing to do with the men themselves. They are pawns in the defense of a crumbling council. The council needs defenders. It needs canonization. What fruit of the Council can be detected? A vernacular liturgy that few attends? A new priesthood that men shy away from? A theology that is no more than sentimental mush that ill prepares even the keenest of intellect to defend the Faith against even the dullest of detractors? Point out to me a fruit of the Council and I will reply that it is laced with poison. The Roman Rite? Trivialised. Theology? Sentimentalised and no more than sentimental anthropology. Vocations? Few. Catholic nations? Just as atheistic and socialist as any other land. The popes travel, the popes wave, the crowd cheers...the crowd return home and live etsi Deus non daretur.
Would not one expect the Church to have canonized the various popes that were involved in the Council of Trent and those who strove to implement it? Frankly speaking, few of them were worth it. If we are to ascribe to the Bishop of Rome, supreme, universal and immediate jurisdiction over the whole Bride of Christ are we not to demand great holiness, wisdom and fortitude in exercising the petrine ministry? The faithful of those ages should have been even more triumphalistic about their Pontiffs considering the danger of the Reformation and the Protestants attack on the institution of the papacy. Yet, they wisely avoided this further danger. The vast majority of Roman Pontiffs have been no more than adequate. Plenty have been utter scoundrels and rascals who divided the garments of Christ among them for their own personal good. The traditionalist is not embarrassed by these scandals. Our Blessed Lord did not promise that Peter himself would never fall. All too often the popes have occupied the throne of Satan instead. On the other hand, great men have been chosen to succeed Peter and have dutifully carried out their mission with rectitude and courage. Where is the clamouring for the canonization of the superb Leo XIII? Or the much forgotten Benedict XV? The fate of souls was too pressing a matter for those involved in the Counter Reformation to divinize the Council of Trent and avert their eyes to the misery of heresy and schism. At least this sixteenth century Council produced great art and architecture? The Second Vatican Council? No more than the modernistic Scandinavian ''spaceship'' that is my local parish.
We are to raise three men to the altars, yet where have the men gone? The Faith proclaimed by these men has proven so ineffective to the evangelization and retention of young Catholic men who have therefore found solace in practical agnosticism at best. Where are the young men who will offer the Holy Sacrifice, who will raise families in the face of hostile secularism, who will teach boys to be men? These three pontiffs were more than negligent in presenting the Catholic Faith of the ages to these souls. The militancy of the baptised soul was to be purged in favour of a spirit of vain dialogue that has only created indifferentism and has made secular humanism the pinacle of moral consciousness. The Church seeks only a place at the table of discussion. She seeks fairest and an opportunity to speak in her turn. What a pathetic institution that these men have presided over! The bishops may be criticised but the popes? The popes who are of the same mould as their brother bishops are to be immune from criticism even when the same guilt belongs to them for the same acts and omissions!
Paul VI, a wretched, indecisive figure, divested himself of the papal tiara and in turn abrogated the kingship of Christ. Where in our Lord acknowledged? In the inter religious meetings? At Assisi? Certainly not before journalists where Francis refused to bless them in the Name of the Trinity, 'respectando la conciencia de cada uno''. Even a third rate sociologist appraising the numbers of the faithful who attend Mass, who can articulate a modicum of the Faith, the size and health of families and the state of such Catholic nations as Spain, Italy, Portugal and Brazil, can see that the Council failed in almost every aspect.
The Neo-Catholic can only demand fidelity and ''obedience''. He is entirely incapable of defending the Faith in the light of tradition. It is contrary to the spirit and greatness of the Fathers and Doctors to angrily assert ''The magisterium holds such and such, believe it or you're disobedient!'' Did not these great men of old labour earnestly to explain the Faith suitably so that the doubters and deniers could reach an understanding of the mysteries of faith or the philosophical underpinnings of it? No such effort is considered by these apologists. Threats of suspension, excommunication and of being ''uncharitable'' are their stock in trade.
I await eagerly a true explanation of the the continuity of the Council with immemorial tradition, especially in the areas of religious liberty and ecumenism. There is nothing to be triumphalistic about in these matters. Millions of souls have perished due to the effects of the Council, whether the 'real' one or the virtual Council that Benedict XVI recently spoke about.
When facts are of little use, cries of ''disobedience!'' resound. Let the Neo-Catholic consider why we need a New Evangelization if the Council were not a complete failure? To them, it appears the New Evangelization is nothing more than a new buzz phrase which allows them to consider themselves faithful to the latest pontiff.
It is urgent that we realise the damage of the Council. Even if we are to hold that the Council has not been implemented correctly, are we to state that the Pontiffs were not involved in this ''bastardization'' of the Council? Were they not the ones who promoted and tolerated every novelty, heresy and extravagance? It is their Council and their implementation, their souls must mirror it.