Fr Curzio Nitoglia is an Italian priest who studied at the seminary in Ecône and was ordained by Monsignor Lefebvre in 1984. For several years he collaborated closely with Fr Francesco Putti, founder of anti-modernist magazine "Sí Sí No No", and nowadays is a chaplain of the Disciples of the Cenacle of Velletri, a traditionalist community founded by Dom Putti, and linked to the SSPX until the crisis of 2012.
“Have courage; you must never yield, nor is there any need to yield. You must go into the attack whole-heartedly, not in secret but in public, not behind barred doors, but in the open, in the view of all.” Pope St Pius X
“One should not attack the enemy from the front, but instead induce him to compromise.” Lenin
Analogy between communism and modernism
Pius XI, in the encyclical Divini Redemptoris Missio of 19 March 1937, condemned communism as “intrinsically perverse” because it is theoretically materialist and atheist; consequently he forbade any collaboration, and even simply negotiating with it.
Communism is first of all a practice, but it is not devoid of a theory. To work together with communists therefore means to implicitly accept their theories (“cogitate sequitur esse”), thereby falling into the Marxist trap of ensnaring naive Christians, who shake the hand that communism extends to them.
We can apply to communism the axiom “lex orandi, lex credendi”, namely, one believes as one prays (and vice versa). Thus, if you work together with communists you start to think like communists, just as as those who pray together with Catholics in the Catholic liturgy will begin to believe according to Catholic doctrine. It is for this reason that the Church forbids communicatio in sacris with non-Catholics and likewise also working together with communists (cfr. CIC 1917, can. 1325, § 3; can. 1258, § 1 and 2; the Holy Office , July 8, 1927, June 5, 1948 and December 20, 1949).
Until the sixties and seventies the “outstretched hand” to Catholicism was that of communism with a “human face” (Gramsci, Bloch, Rodano) and many Catholics have since become apostates by going over to materialistic and atheist communism, saying: “How can you reject a hand extended unilaterally by an entity that seemed so formidable, but which proved to be so charitable?”.
Today, with Benedict XVI and especially with Francis I, it is that [hand] of neo-modernism, which seems to have abandoned the hatred towards Tradition (palpable at the time of Paul VI) and which seems to be prepared to grant it rights or at least a practical tolerance. Unfortunately the same refrain that was in the mouths of progressive Catholics yesterday, is found in the mouths of traditionalists today: “Finally a modernist with a human face : Francis I. How can you reject his outstretched hand towards Tradition?“.
To Francis I is applied, with all the orientations and with all the feelings of Catholics, including those of traditionalists, what John XXIII (Pacem in Terris, 1963) and Paul VI (Encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, 1964) applied to the new practice of Marxism with a “human face” towards Christianity : the chance to work together for world peace and social justice, leaving aside doctrinal differences, focusing on what unites us and ignoring what divides us.
The communist tactic
The neo-communist strategy of the “outstretched hand” - with Gramsci, Togliatti and Berlinguer - has caught the naive Christians, who kept the Trojan horse that was introduced into the Sanctuary and which gave rise to the phenomenon of “Christians for socialism”. Gullible Christians have taken the bait, relying on the false presumption that every doctrine although originally erroneous may evolve towards some “good”, but not necessarily towards the truth, which no longer is of any interest to the pragmatic Christians, or to the neo-modernists, or to the Marxists.
In short, from the area of immanentist Kantian modernistic principles (Benedict XVI, from 2005 to 2013) we arrived at the Marxist liberation theology and the absolute primacy of practicality, and of personal encounter (Francis I, 2013-2016). So, from 2013, they no longer speak much about the continuity of Vatican II with Tradition, or the orthodoxy of Paul VI’s Mass, but they meet, they talk, they fraternize and they end up thinking as they act, because they no longer act as they think (“agere sequitur esse”).
Unfortunately, the most fragile and vulnerable are the Catholic faithful, because, unlike the modernists, they are honest, straightforward and maybe even a little naive, while modernism, like Marxism, does not care about what is good and what is true, about metaphysics and morals, but only about the practical results.
Therefore, we must not be surprised to see happen to naive believers what is written in the story of Little Red Riding Hood, who naively replied to the wolf (just like Eve naively replied to the snake), who invites her into his den : “what beautiful eyes you have… all the better I can see you with… what a beautiful mouth you have… all the better I can eat you… “. It is in the nature of things that the big fish eat the small ones, the wolf devours the sheep, that the dog hates the cat, that modernism very slowly and imperceptibly mitigates and transforms Christianity from the inside, leaving only the appearances (the beautiful Liturgy) without the substance (philosophy, theology, asceticism and mysticism). And yet, while in the days of Arius Catholics were excommunicated and even martyred for a single iota (homousios / homoiusios), today we don’t see a St. Athanasius in the hierarchy.
In 1945 Palmiro Togliatti (Address to the Central Committee of the CPI, April 12) rekindled in a big way the Leninist / Gramsci idea of clashes, in countries with a Christian majority, between the communist and Catholic masses, and especially between theoretical disputes and industrial, social and pacifist action. They knew all too well that Marxism with it’s pure pragmatism had nothing to loose, while Christianity, which puts the emphasis on the theoretical, would loose it’s salt and would become tasteless, so that “when the salt loses its flavor it is good only to be thrown on the ground and trodden upon.” (Matthew, V, 13).
Togliatti suggested meetings between Communists and Catholics (just as Francis I offers between modernists and traditionalists) solely on the practical level, without any reference to ideologies (just as Francis I did not make any reference to theology). Togliatti openly said : “If you start a philosophical debate, I don’t want to go there.” So does Francis I. Togliatti ceded nothing of the communist doctrine, just as Francis I ceded nothing of the ultra-modernist theology. The important thing initially is to act together in order for the leadership of the Marxist movement to prevail over Christianity, and for practical modernism to prevail over Roman Catholicism. As an example, when the river Po flows into the Adriatic Sea, for the first few meters you can still distinguish the waters of the Po, although they are “watered down” a bit, but a little further on the sea will have completely swallowed up the river. So likewise, if the traditionalists enter or throw themselves into the arms of global modernism, at first they will maintain their identity, even if a little bit watered down, but after that they will inevitably be swallowed up by the globalism of worldwide modernism.
The imprudence, the confidence, the exaggerated optimism, the presumption, and the unhealthy utopianism led Christians into the jaws of Marxism, just as it happened to Little Red Riding Hood, who ended up inside the wolf. We hope that this will serve as an example to traditionalists.
Antonio Gramsci wrote in 1920: “In Italy, in Rome, there is the Vatican, there is the Pope; the liberal state had to find a balance with the Church, so the workers’ state must also find a balance with the Vatican.” Bergoglio says that in today’s New World Order there still remains a slice of non-modernist and non-globalized Catholics, so that there also remains a need to find a balance in order to gobble them up. For him, as for Hegel, “the cunning of reason is the only principle that justifies action” and Bergoglio is quite astute and very authoritarian. Beware of underestimating him !
In the book interview written by Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti, titled Jorge Bergoglio. Papa Francesco. Il nuovo Papa si racconta (Florence / Milano, Salani Publishing, 2013) we read : “The obsession of Bergoglio can be summed up in two words : meeting and unity” (p. 7). In fact Bergoglio defines himself as the theory of “the culture of encounter” (p. 107). According to him, we should give “priority to the encounter between people, to walk together. By doing so, it will be easier to leave differences behind” (p. 76). Also according to Bergoglio it is good to “not get lost in empty theological reflections” (p. 39).
The program proposed by Francis I is start with de-ideologizing, to meet, build bridges, break down barriers, to avoid sterile doctrinal disputes, carrying forward the “dialogue, dialogue, dialogue …”, to work together and then to accidentally think along the same lines (“cogitate sequitur esse “). Thus modernism, which now occupies the top of the Catholic and ecclesiastical environments, asks those who are faithful to Catholic Tradition to act in unity in order to overcome materialism and atheism to become a part of a globalization, a worldwide and New World Order. Some Catholics who in good faith let themselves be persuaded, through an unperceived ideological change, to work together with modernists, end up being eaten by them, as “the smallest fish is eaten by the bigger one.”
So, Togliatti in the speech at the meeting in Bergamo (20 March 1963) said : “By now, even the Church [after John XXIII and Paul VI, ed] is in agreement that the era of Constantine has come to an end, the era of the anathemas, the era of religious discrimination”.
In these communist and modernist proposals for a “historic compromise” there are some concrete guarantees for the exercise of the Catholic faith, but don’t you you think that should lead to the question : “And after that ?”. It was this question that St. Philip Neri asked the young Vincenzo Zazzera, who had told him that he wanted to become a priest and then a bishop, a cardinal and even the Pope. So St. Philip asked: “And after that ?”. The poor wretch did not listen, he did not say to St Philip Neri : “I would like to go to Heaven!”, no thought of eternity, but only for his career. He did become a bishop, but he did not find peace with the Lord. One sees, then, the dishonesty of the Marxist / Modernist promise and, at a minimum, of the accepting of this ingenuity in Catholic thinking, but not of the “And after that?” Just the here and now.
The internal crisis in the Catholic post-conciliar environment of the sixties and seventies, which was conducive to the practical collaboration with Marxism, is similar to the crisis that is clearly showing today in the anti-modernist Catholic world, where there is an inclination to be squashed by super-modernism.
In short, just as in the sixties it was said that Christ and Marx cannot get along, but Christians and Marxists can come together to collaborate on the level of public affairs; so today it is said that modernism and Catholicism are irreconcilable, however, that Catholics and modernists may advance together and collaborate in the Church’s affairs, helping Her to overcome this long period of crisis and to lay the foundations of the New World Order, where there will be one universal Temple in a single universal Republic.
The important thing is, as Lenin said, to “not attack the enemy from the front, but induce him to compromise”.
The modernist tactic
Now modernism is the “synthesis of all heresies” (St. Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi, September 8, 1907). Therefore, it is more perverse than communism, because it is not only materialistic and therefore atheist, but because all errors against right reason, all heresies against the faith and all depravities against morality (including atheism) characterize it and flow into it, just as the drains of small sewage channels flow into the central drain.
Even from the doctrines taught by the Magisterium of the Church on modernism one may wonder whether an agreement and a practical collaboration between Catholicism and modernism is at all possible. Well according to the teaching of Pius X and Pius XI the answer is clear : any cooperation and any agreement between them is unlawful, even at the level of one single action.
If you analyze the nature of modernism and of Catholicism you will also understand the reason for this prohibition. In fact, modernism is based on modern idealist philosophy (Kant / Hegel), according to which it is the human thought that creates reality. The theology of Catholicism is based on natural good sense and on a philosophy of realism and knowledge (Aristotle / S. Thomas), that reality exists independently of human thought and this [thought] must conform to reality if one wants to reach the truth. Revelation also confirms what right reason comes to know, that God created the world and man. Therefore it is not the thought of man that creates reality, but that this reality is only an effect of the uncaused first cause, which is called God.
In his allocution “Accogliamo” (April 18 1907) St. Pius X clearly highlights that the Church does not fear open persecution, like “when the edicts of Caesar’s Commission warned the early Christians to abandon the worship of Jesus Christ or die.” Likewise, today, with Pope Sarto, we should not fear so much the open persecution of the Apostolic Tradition, but rather the hand extended by modernism, which starts by wanting us to work together and later on will proceed to make us speculatively modernized and inadvertendly “updated” (John XXIII-Francis I). “Whoever does not act as he thinks will end up thinking as he acts.” If a Catholic works together with modernists he will sooner or later end up thinking like them without realizing it.
Today’s agreement between Catholics and neo-modernists
Today we have this burning issue of a possible cooperation or agreement between Catholicism and modernism, and in order to support this possibility multiple reasons are mentioned, which have no basis in reality. Let’s look at them one by one.
1) Many bishops and conservative cardinals have raised their voice.
Concerning novelties against natural and divine morality, contained in the “exhortative” teachings of Francis I (Exhortation Amoris laetitia, March 19, 2106), it would seem that there is a certain return to Traditional Catholic teaching in the Church and in the hierarchy.
I say: it is true that with regard to the recent excesses in morals there has been among cardinals and bishops a considerable and commendable reaction, but the problem that lies at the origin of this deviation is that of the Second Vatican Council, whose decrees are objectively breaking with the apostolic Tradition, with the constant teachings of the Magisterium, the traditional teachings of the Popes and with sound theology. Now these bishops and cardinals do not question the deviations of the pastoral teachings of Vatican II from Catholic Tradition.
For example, even the pious cardinal Raymond Burke has repeatedly stated that his entire priestly formation took place in the light of Vatican II. So the principles of Vatican II are totally acceptable for him (Monde et vie, n. 899). Even the brave cardinal Sarah has criticized the deviations with regard to morality, but said at the same time one needs to faithfully follow “the constant teaching of Blessed Pope Paul VI, St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI” and that we must have confidence in the “faithfulness of Francis I” (Monde et vie, n. 905, p. 19). Also, the theologian Msgr. Athanasius Schneider asserted, “it is the Second Vatican Council which has given the understanding of the mystery of the Church in Lumen Gentium” (Présent, January 10, 2015).
And according to Msgr. Schneider, the exhortation Amoris laetitia of Francis I (March 19, 2016) has been distorted by a bad interpretation of some liberal bishops and in itself does not contain anything contrary to Catholic doctrine, but that at worst there are only some ambiguities (A. Schneider, Declaration of Amoris laetitia, April 30, 2016). Card. Burke spoke of reading Amoris laetitia in the light of the traditional teaching of the Church.
So you see, their doctrine is Ratzinger’s theory ( “very often preached, but never proven,” as demonstrated Msgr. Brunero Gherardini), hermeneutics of continuity between Vatican II and the Apostolic Tradition. Even during Vatican II there were some more, and some lesser modernist theologians, as we can see in the opposition (as regards the way and not the substance) between the Concilium (Rahner, Küng, Schillebeeckhx) and the Communio (Daniélou, de Lubac, Ratinger, von Balthasar) . The phenomenon of more conservative progressive prelates has always existed from John XXIII to today. But almost hardly anyone has ever questioned the principles of Vatican II as incompatible with Catholic doctrine. Recently Msgr. Mario Oliveri Bishop of Albenga did so, but he was removed from his diocese. Even the valiant theologian Msgr. Brunero Gherardini did so together with the Franciscans of the Immaculata, who were dissolved and persecuted and who were completely moved aside.
In the recent past Msgr. Antonio de Castro Mayer († April 25, 1991) and Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre († March 25, 1991) have done so, but they were convicted (1976⁄1988). Evidently the traditionalists are welcomed and tolerated only if they accept Vatican II and the perfect orthodoxy of the Novus Ordo Mass, but if only they dare to ask the question whether the Vatican can truly be reconciled with the Apostolic Tradition, then they are inexorably doomed. So an agreement with modernists can only be done on the condition of inadvertently and practically accepting the Second Vatican Council and the full orthodoxy of the new Mass of Paul VI.
2) There has been a real change in mentality in the Church hierarchy.
The Pope has almost frantically pushed Vatican II’s modernism. As for the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Benedict XVI on July 7, 2007, he declared that he did not want to move away [from Vatican II], and that the old rite should not become an ideological barrier (Monde et vie, n. 849). He also condemned the Franciscans because of the risk that they would return to the past, because of their pre-conciliar spirit, an ideologization of the Mass of St. Pius V. So you have to “raze the bastions” (Hans Urs von Balthasar).
His closest collaborators, who really govern the Church and who have not been put aside (as Burke and Schneider …) are also radically modernist. For example, cardinal Müller (Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) despite having expressed reservations about Amoris Laetitia is a student and an admirer of p. Gustavo Gutierrez, a leader of the school of liberation theology. He recently defended the Catholic University of Lima (Peru) from the censorship of the Archbishop of Lima, cardinal Thorne (La Stampa, February 18, 2013). His theology is vitiated by serious errors and heresies, as for example : according to him, Our Lady is always a virgin, but not physically, transubstantiation is reduced to transignification, there are many churches within the one people of God (cfr. Le Sel de la terre, n. 84, spring 2013, p. 165 ff.).
Answer: from the above it follows that Francis I and his close associates with a real power in the Church are not at all willing to question the Second Vatican Council, in fact they are carrying the ecclesiastical environment radically towards a kind of “Vatican III”.
3 ) Francis I no longer calls for the formal acceptance of Vatican II and the New Mass.
The “emeritus pope” Benedict XVI was a theologian and was very attached to doctrinal issues. So he demanded acceptance of the theology of Vatican II. Pope Bergoglio on the other hand is a practical man, who is not interested in theology, and who totally ignores speculative issues. The important thing for him is to get in touch with people (like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, maybe by shining the promise of some scarlet cap or red beretta) and to walk together, know each other and then get to understand each other and respect each other. He slowly unlocks conflict situations that were created in the post-council through practical concessions, which (apparently and initially) do not affect the doctrine and not put themselves at risk of being contaminated by neo-modernism.
I reply: if the external attitude, the way of acting of Francis I may give that impression, it still remains true that he also made some statements, which go in the opposite direction and which are for him “non-negotiable issues.” In fact, Pope Bergoglio, in an interview with the newspaper La Croix (17 May 2016), stated that “you must first establish a fundamental agreement. The Second Vatican Council has its value.” On May 24 cardinal Müller said that “if we want to be fully Catholics we must recognize the Second Vatican Council” (Magazine Herder Korrespondenz). Attention is also drawn to the statements of Msgr. Guido Pozzo (cfr. Zenit, February 25, 2016; La Croix, April 7, 2016), that certainly the Second Vatican should be read “in the light of Tradition”, but for the modernists there is full compatibility between Tradition and Vatican II, while for integral Catholics there is an objective breakdown. Now you can not make a deal (especially not on matters of faith and morals) based on ambiguity. Because it is the modernists who rule today and it is they also who hold the knife by the handle and lay down the law in a possible agreement. To accept the risk of being absorbed by modernism or to make a deal with the Pope and then having to break it again and thus earn the ridicule of the whole world, would be a gamble one does not take; we should wait and not get caught up in a hurry, which is always a bad counselor. According to the modernists you may be granted at most a right to “constructive criticism” of Vatican II, “according to the hermeneutic of continuity”, but never [a right to criticize] a break between Apostolic Tradition and conciliar theology.
What is a deal ?
“Agreeing” means having “uniform ideas, opinions that avoid conflicts, to have the same principles, the same views and the same way of doing things” (N. Zingarelli). “Agreement” means “harmonious union of feelings, opinions, ideas” (N. Zingarelli). In short an agreement presupposes that both parties come to … agree. Now between modernism and Catholicism there is no possibility of agreement, indeed there is a diametrical difference on all fields. In St. Paul it is put like this : “And what concord hath Christ with Belial?” (II Cor., VI, 15).
Can there be a “unilateral” agreement ?
No, because, by definition, in the agreement both parties will agree, even if the manifestation of the will to agree is on one side only and is therefore “unilateral” as a starting point, it will become bilateral in the end. Therefore we should speak of a legal or canonical recognition. Now a canonical recognition is a legal act, which presupposes a principal and higher party, having authority and dominance, which recognizes the secondary and lower part, subject to this authority, which becomes recognized. But in our case it is the Holy See who recognizes, while the traditionalists would be recognized. It would be unthinkable to believe that the traditionalists recognize and accommodate the First See, which by definition is “First”, since it has no human authority above it. So if the “legal recognition” is unilateral, that does not mean that the party that is recognized owes nothing to be grateful for, because, by definition, the latter has accepted a recognition, which is granted unilaterally or only from the First Office which then must be paid obedience.
The word “unilateral” is a sophistry employed by modernists to make traditionalists fall into the trap. It does not mean that the Holy See gives everything and traditionalists concede nothing, but it means just the opposite: the Holy See plays the part of the lion and the traditionalists that of the lamb. To give a concrete example, if a usurer nicely and “unilaterally” gives me 100 million Euros and I accept this, than that does not mean that I don’t need to return the usurer the sum lent, but also the interest, which, because of the nature of a “unilateral” offer, becomes even more and more exorbitant up to the point of “usury” (which is why the usurer is called a “loan shark”).
In our case, the party that is recognized, owes the superior party at the top that gave the recognition obedience, practical submission, as happens between subordinate and superior. So if the grant was given “unilaterally”, then once it is accepted we are faced with a condition that becomes bilateral through the nature of things. Therefore, the “unilateral” concession invariably involves legal consequences of the relationship between dependent, subordinate subject and superior. Now it is the subject that obeys and the superior that commands. It is a contradiction in terms to speak of a full recognition of traditionalists by the Holy See and the absolute independence of these people to its authority. But a traditionalist subordinate to a modernist is like a rat in a cat’s mouth.
Is there a real danger of schism?
The schism exists when you reject the authority of the Pope, that is, if you don’t recognize that he as the Vicar of Christ has supreme power, directly and immediately on the universal Church. Disobedience to the Pope’s orders does not lead to a denial of his primacy of jurisdiction, but if it is done only to not do what is commanded, it is not a sin of schism but of disobedience (cf.. L. Billot, De Ecclesia Christi, Rome, Gregoriana, V ed., 1927, vol. I, Thesis XII, p. 310 ff., St. Thomas Aquinas, S. Th., II-II, q. 39; Cajetanus, In Summ. Th. in IIAM Objection, q. 39).
Now heresy breaks the bond of faith, while schism that of charity, but the unity of faith precedes and presupposes that of charity (Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis cognitum, 1896. Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium Animos, 1928). So it is clear that the unity of faith prevails, and exceeds that of charity. So if you do not obey orders, directives or exhortations that go against the faith, not only is there no schism, but the act is right, since obeying would undermine the faith.
See also S. Thomas Aquinas, S. Th., II-II, q. 10, a. 10. The Angelic Doctor poses the question whether “unbelievers may have authority over Christians” and he answers that this “should not be allowed in any way” because it would be dangerous for the faith of subordinates. Moreover, Aquinas (S. Th., II-II, q. 12, a. 1 and 2) shows that to follow a leader, who has erred from the faith is very dangerous for the soul of subordinates. Now, if the one in power should have a spiritual authority that has no human superior, as in the case of the Pope, even more so would subordination be very dangerous if his teaching does not conform to the traditional doctrine of the Church, which has happened in the Church from John XXIII onwards and especially today with Francis I. It is therefore necessary “to do what the Church has always done, in a period of crisis and confusion that has invaded the whole Church” (St. Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorio, III, 15) and wait until peace returns, and agreement will happen spontaneously. If you walk in the mountains at night and you stumble and fall into a ravine, you must wait for daybreak before resuming your hike. St. Ignatius of Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises (Rules on the discernment of spirits, n. 318) recommends to never make any changes during a time of spiritual darkness, but to remain strong and steadfast in determination and in the purpose in which you were before this darkness, because as the good spirit guides us in the light, so does the evil spirit lead us in the dark.
To reject for a certain time, until light returns, an agreement with the ultra-modernists is not, therefore, a schismatic attitude because it is based on serious grounds of faith and morals, which oblige us not to follow the current ecclesiastical direction. One must know how to wait for as long as God decides to allow the crisis in the Church to endure. Do not be discouraged, or turn to the left with an untimely and infamous agreement, neither to the right to declare the reigning Pope a heretic and considered deposed ipso facto. These are the two roads that some traditionalists (and in some cases they are paradoxically the same) are taking today. The major risk we face today is not schism, which is stirred by Masonic globalism and modernism as a bogeyman to induce us to make a misstep. No! The real danger is in causing the shipwreck of our faith” without which it is impossible to please God” (Heb., Xi, 6).
A practical agreement with neo-modernism, as a minimum, would lead inevitably, little by little to shutting ourselves up in the sacristy of Tradition, with the official recognition of modernism, as happened to American Indians, who are being held in reservations by the “WASP” (“White , Anglo-Saxon, Protestant”), and who were properly recognized but ended up reduced to a folk phenomenon in order to show to tourists. But the Catholic spirit “does not allow itself to be enclosed by the four walls of the temple. The separation between religion and life, between the Church and the world is contrary to the Christian and Catholic ideas” (Pius XII, Address to the parish priests of Rome and Lenten, of 16.03.1946).
Don Curzio Nitoglia