Hermeneutic of Continuity? Yes, but just not Continuity with the Catholic Faith: Fr. Peter Scott's Account of the History of the Humanist Apostasy from the Renaissance to Benedict XVI and his "co-pope" Francis.
And, let us remember the great Humanists of modern times and the great things that they have done for humanity, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Freud, Martin Heidegger, Robespierre, Karl Marx, Margaret Sanger. With "humanism" like this, I am surprised that humanity has survived.
Dr. Chojnowski: We welcome Fr. Peter Scott to RadTrad Thomist. Certainly one of the best minds in the SSPX, he presents here an account of the history of Godless Humanism as a destructive force in Western Civilization leading, ultimately, to a Humanistic Apostasy within the institutional organization of the Catholic Church. Let us not be one of those that only sees the "next thing" coming down Apostasy Road and, instead, put all of it within its proper historical, philosophical, and theological context. Fr. Scott's essay first appeared in the SSPX newsletter from South Africa, Nova et Vetera. Here is the article:
THE ERROR OF COMMUNISM
Our Lady of Fatima told us that if Russia were not consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, then it would continue to spread its errors throughout the world. The consecration has not been done, at least not as specifically requested by Our Lady, that is by the Pope and all the bishops together. Yet Russia seems in some ways to have more faith, more morality and more common sense than the West. How can this be?
We find the key to understanding this in the profound observations of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, as far back as 1978. He called Communism the “most radical and consistent form of modern humanism”, or, as Karl Marx himself said “naturalized humanism”. He further explained that the essential error of Russian communism is “the prevailing Western view of the world which was born in the Renaissance and found political expression since the age of Enlightenment. It became the basis for political and social doctrine and could be called rationalistic humanism or humanist autonomy: the proclaimed and practiced autonomy of man from any higher force above him”. He saw that the Bolshevik revolution was a first experiment, imposed by the West, of radical humanism, of the denial of God. He rightly continued, rightly blaming the West for the survival of this oppressive regime for so many years: “The communist regime in the East could endure and grow due to the enthusiastic support from an enormous number of Western intellectuals who (feeling the kinship!) refused to see communism`s crimes and when they no longer could do so, tried to justify these crimes. The problem persists: in our Eastern countries, communism has suffered a complete ideological defeat: it is zero and less than zero.” (Quoted by Roberto De Mattei, the Second Vatican Council, p, 561).
Solzhenitsyn understood that it was a godless humanism, a man-centered philosophy that excludes the supernatural, a materialism that makes man his own god, which is the real error of Communism. This error, which is why Pope Pius XI condemned Communism as intrinsically perverse, came from the west, and now has returned to the west more powerfully and destructively than ever before, due to the double failure – that of Vatican II to condemn communism and that of the Popes to make the consecration of Russia. We are witnessing the progressive destruction of the remnants of Christendom, of Christian civilization, due to the failure to listen to Our Lady of Fatima.
However, the real problem of humanism has been its infiltration into the Church, which ought to be the bastion against this destruction of the supernatural. This began at the time of the Renaissance, when it was a movement of thought calling for a return, in art, architecture and literature, to the pagan classics, and it existed from the 14th – 16th centuries, preparing the way for moral decadence and for the protestant revolt.
During the 18th century Humanism developed a new form, thanks to the so-called Enlightenment. Due to the influence of nascent Freemasonry, drawing the logical consequence of the naturalism of humanism, namely the denial of divine revelation, original sin, the Catholic Church and the whole economy of salvation. With the advent of the French revolution (1789) and the promulgation of the rights of man, as opposed to the rights of God, humanism took on a new face. The focus on man rather than on God led to the defense of the false principles of liberty, equality and fraternity of all men. Not only did it lead to a rebellion against God, but to also to the exclusion of religion from all public life, including works of charity motivated by the love of God. The motive became the good of mankind, of our fellow man, with whom we share fraternity, and thus was born secular humanism, which is defined as “A type of humanitarianism which is a devotion to the cause of humanity as a substitute for religion. It is a natural philanthropy coupled with a desire to bring the greatest good to the greatest number. It operates from no spiritual or supernatural motives.” (Maryknoll Catholic Dictionary, p. 518). For two centuries the Church firmly resisted this movement of thought, until Vatican II, which attempted to distinguish between humanism and humanism.
Secular humanism is the freemasonic, and ultimately atheistic ideal that reigns everywhere in modern society, in which man’s refusal to believe in God is supplanted by his willingness to believe in himself without God. Pope Paul VI acknowledged, in his concluding speech at the end of the Second Vatican Council on December 7, 1965, that secular humanism in the 20th century posed a grave danger to the Church, and made this response: “Secular and profane humanism has finally appeared in its terrible dimensions, and, in a certain way, defied the Council. The religion of God made man met up with the religion (for it is one) of man who makes himself God. What happened? A fight, a struggle, an anathema? This could have happened, but did not take place. …An unlimited understanding for men overwhelmed it entirely… You, modern humanists, who refuse the transcendence of higher things, admit for it at least this merit, and know how to recognize our new humanism: we also, we more than anyone else, practice the worship of man…”
Thus was born into the Church a new kind of humanism, no longer considered secular, for it does admit man’s openness to a transcendence above himself, that is called God, and no longer purely material, for it considers above all else the dignity of the human spirit. It is called integral humanism, and Pope Paul VI learnt it from Jacques Maritain. It produced Vatican II’s determination to get along with the world of men, and to give up the Church’s opposition to the world, summarized as it is by St. John: “Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him” (I Jn 2:15). Hence the extraordinary statement of Paul VI in the discourse mentioned above: “A current of affection and admiration overflowed from the Council for the modern, human, world.”.
Such also is the humanism of Pope Benedict XVI, which he calls an authentic humanism to distinguish it from a purely materialist or secular humanism. Innumerable texts could be quoted to demonstrate that this humanism is the driving force behind his whole thought process, the unifying factor in all his decisions and teachings, the constant focus that overcomes the apparent contradictions between conservative and liberal ideas. We find it early on in his career as a theologian, in his 1968 book, Christian Faith, yesterday and today, in which he states that Christ is God because he is the most perfect man, the exemplary man, “the definitive or ultimate, who introduces man to that future which belongs to man, a future consisting in not simply being man, but to be one with God” (In si si no no, June 1994, #8, p. 19). He declares this elsewhere in the form of a rhetorical question: “Do we, then, still have the right to reabsorb Christology into theology? Must we not rather passionately acclaim Jesus as man and consider Christology as Humanism, an Anthropology? Or could authentic man, simply because of the fact of being completely and authentically man, be God and could God be, precisely, authentic man? Could it be possible that the most radical humanism and the Faith in the God of revelation merge together here to become one and the same thing?” (Ib. p. 18).
Prof. Tracey Rowland points out very accurately that Benedict XVI’s positive view of Vatican II’s approach to modern day atheism is precisely because it deals with atheism not to refute it on the level of truth, “but as an authentic desire for a true humanism. Atheism must therefore be answered on an anthropological plane” – that is on the level of the consideration of man’s human nature, according to which it is God alone “who makes it possible for man to be human” (Ratzinger’s Faith, Oxford, 2008, p. 147). In the well known interview with Peter Seewald, published as Salt of the Earth in 1997, Cardinal Ratzinger drew the logical conclusion from this humanism. The history of humanity, he concludes, is no longer determined by the opposition between two cities, the love of God unto sacrifice of self, and self-love unto the denial of God, as defined by St. Augustine, nor even by the opposition between belief and unbelief. “History as a whole is the struggle between love and the inability to love, between love and the refusal to love…: Yes or no to love” (p. 282, 283). He is speaking here of the love which is in every human heart, and not of the supernatural charity that comes from the love of God above all else.
HUMANISM IN THE ENCYCLICALS OF BENEDICT XVI
However, the clearest evidence of the Benedict XVI`s humanism is to be found in his three encyclicals. His first encyclical, Deus caritas est, attempted to bring about a fusion between the two kinds of love, self-serving and self-sacrificing, as if they were a single reality in God (sic! § 9) as also in man. The distinction between natural and supernatural love is done away with and so all love is to enable man to “attain his full stature” (§ 5). He clearly states that it is the Church’s role to promote true humanism, which is why it must work together with non-Catholic charitable agencies, that promote the same: “We all have the same fundamental motivation and look towards the same goal: a true humanism, which acknowledges that man is made in the image of God and wants to help him to live in a way consonant with that dignity” (§ 9).
His second encyclical, on Christian Hope, Spe salvi, presents this humanism as being a positive and very beneficial fruit of the French revolution. “The French revolution was more than anything else an attempt to bring about the domination of reason and of liberty…Reason and liberty seem to guarantee by themselves, in virtue of their intrinsic goodness, a new perfect, human community (§ 19, 18). Note the implicit denial of original sin and its wounds. It is an immediate consequence of this humanism that the Redemption is redefined: “Thus the Redemption appears truly as the re-establishment of unity, by which we gather together again in a union that can be seen in the worldwide community of believers” (§ 14). Note the denial of the supernatural: reparation and payment of the debt for sin. Here we find the fundamental reason why it is open to all men of all beliefs or even of no belief at all. As a consequence there is no longer any fire in Purgatory, unbaptized children go to heaven, the Last Judgment is no longer to be considered as a judgment, but simply as a purification, Hell is no longer a place but a state of mind and very few people go there - only those “who have totally destroyed in themselves the desire for the truth and disposition to love…who live for hatred…” (§45).
However, it is Benedict XVI’s third encyclical Caritas in veritate, which is most radical in its teaching of authentic and integral humanism. In fact the title of the encyclical, not addressed just to Catholics “but to all men of good will” is “on integral human development in charity and truth”. It begins with a redefining of charity in line with his first encyclical, simply as the aspect of man’s willingness to have relationships with others, “Charity can be recognized as an authentic expression of humanity, and as an element of fundamental importance in human relations” (§ 3). The Church’s highest role, above all else, is consequently “in promoting integral human development… to the advancement of humanity and of universal fraternity…(§ 11). Truth is likewise redefined as dialogue, or communication with others, so that fidelity to truth is fidelity to man, “which alone is the guarantee of freedom and of the possibility of integral human development” (§3).
Hence the Benedict XVI`s preoccupation with globalization, which is ethical because of the unity of the human family, and because it promotes the dialogue with the followers of other religions and even with non-believers without which there is no truth, and consequently as a requisite for integral human development. He likewise calls for a one world government that has real teeth to promote that dialogue, thus excluding any Catholic society and any possibility of the reign of Christ the King. His conclusion, it is true, is a rejection of a secular humanism, to be substituted by the integral humanism that allows for the transcendence of man to be acknowledged: “A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism. Only a humanism open to the Absolute can guide us in the promotion and building of forms of social and civic life” (§78), which is why Benedict XVI, like Paul VI before him, dedicates himself “with generosity to the task of bringing about the development of the whole man and of all men” (§ 79).
POPE FRANCIS` HUMANISM
Although not such a theoritician of Humanism, Pope Francis has been its practical promoter in every way. Edward Pentin had this to say on November 9, 2017: «Papal pronouncements are more and more on issues such as the UN, poverty, appeals for peace and migration.Those are acceptable,” he said, “while abortion and other pro-life issues and same-sex marriage and any mention of Christ for that matter in the public square has become hardly spoken of at all because they’re seen as taboo. So the Church is finding her positions on family and life in particular, being steadily narrowed, but this seems to be hardly noticed and it’s happily conceded to.” He rightly observed that this Pontificate “appears to not only be going along with the secularists, but also actively encouraging them in their ideology” and that the Vatican is now “openly flirting witih population control advocates to find a solution to poverty and climate change, does not dare criticize Islam, promotes a seemingly syncretist view of religion as a result, and gives blanket approval to UN sustainable development goals, despite their support for reproductive health, which everyone knows is a code word for abortion and contraception”. (CFN conference).
It is the exclusion of the supernatural that is the clear mark of the infiltration of Humanism into the Church. This is clearly evident in Pope Francis` first Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel in November 2013. There he called for a «conversion of the Papacy» based upon collegiality, meaning a renunciation of authoritative doctrinal teaching, which is supernatural. It also contained a very clear rejection of Tradition, for, he accused Catholics of “feeling superior to others” because “they remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past” whereby “instead of evangelizing, one analyses and classifies others” (#94). He also attacked those who have “an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact” on the needs of the people (#95). Behind this caricatures of Tradition, lies a rejection of it as the great means of transmitting the deposit of the Faith.
The consequences of this humanism are clearly manifest in his encyclical Laudato Si, calling for an ecological conversion, and also in his 2015 Motu proprio, Mitis judex, allowing declarations of nullity of marriage for such specious reasons as not having the Faith. By changing the presumption from validity to non-validity of marriage, he has changed the focus from Almighty God and His law, to man and his feelings. The manipulation of the synods on the family and the deliberate ambiguities of Amoris Laetitia allowing public sinners to receive Holy Communion are other examples of the practical consequences of Humanism – pleasing man and disregarding the laws of God.
Our response to this Humanism must be a supernatural one: a strong Faith, defense of the rights and prerogatives of the Church, love of the Mass and the sacraments, penance and prayer, especially the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Faith is the key to the entire supernatural order, since it teaches us divinely revealed truth, Catholic doctrine, which is the only means to go to heaven, as Our Divine Saviour said: “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by me”(Jn 14:6). The living of this Faith is accomplished by our fidelity to the prayers of the Mass of all time, which express this supernatural Faith so perfectly, as Our Lord also taught “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you.” (Jn 6:54). May this New Year of 2018 coming up be sanctified by our determination to apply these supernatural principles to our daily life so as to fight against every form of Humanism.
Yours faithfully in Christ, Our Newborn King, and His Holy Mother,
Father Peter R. Scott