The end of Vatican II in the midsixties fueled even more, the ideo-theological propaganda offensive by the religious left. With the wide support of western media who largely identified themselves as fellow religious liberals, they continued a decades long campaign of publishing their exaggeratedly liberal commentaries and interpretations of a few but major aspects of Vatican II decisions on various dogmas, and other contentious issues, as widely and repeatedly as they could all over the world. The common spin was that these were the correct theological understanding of the Council’s final textual content of important schemas and resolutions. Coming from various authors and theologians all over the world who were practically of the same liberal theological feathers, and who were quoting one another in support of common conclusions, it looked like a sensus fidei had developed and the Magisterium would have no choice but to sing the same tune.
And so very early in the seventies, a large percentage of Catholics were being brainwashed by such liberal-instigated propaganda. To name a few: a) Vatican II had supposedly downgraded Our Lady’s role in the scheme of Christian salvation, and even discouraged popular devotions in Her honor including the praying of the Rosary; b) activist laypeople allied together with the avant garde ranks of the religious left, brashly considered themselves as the core members of the “people of God” who were thus presumed to be “ecclesiologically” at par and sometimes were even heralded by their leaders as having greater moral and theological gravitas, than even the Hierarchy and Magisterium of the Church; and c) the devil, or Satan were mere symbolisms, who did not really exist, except in the imagination of old fashioned Catholic nuns, priests and laypeople.
Poor Pope Paul VI took the brunt of this largely from behind-the-scenes but powerful opposition and attempted hijacking of the Roman Papacy. Nevertheless Paul VI saw through all the secret mendacities especially at the highest levels of major religious orders and the Curia. The liberal-progressive cabal thought that in 1968 they were already strong and credible enough to challenge the Pope openly. And so their opposition to the encyclical Humanae Vitae was widespread, coordinated worldwide and even (versus Paul VI) personally vitriolic. Especially vicious and ironic were those attacks coming from major religious orders who had been for hundreds of years dependable loyal defenders of the Papacy. For some 400 years, one of these traditional defenders of the Pope even formalized and recorded their solemn sacred vows of loyalty to Peter’s Successor before the Blessed Sacrament, or to Christ Himself! And yet in 1969, the 12 most eminent leaders and noted theologians among them who were here in the Philippines, gathered themselves to vote secretly whether or not to support publicly Pope Paul VI on Humanae Vitae. The shockingly scandalous score was 11 to 1, against the Pope! Since that time however, that congregation has consistently been decimated into smaller and smaller communities worldwide…
The Pope’s frustration with his own senior confreres was dramatically revealed publicly in November of 1972 during a mid-month general audience. His Holiness referred to a related topic he had discussed some five months earlier wherein he said something about “the smoke of Satan penetrating the Temple of God”, the Vatican Curia itself!. This second time around, Paul VI was more explicit and unmistakable in the hierarchal levels of deviltry he was condemning.
“… we find reference to this enemy of mankind so frequently in the mouth of Christ in the Gospel… something supernatural that has come into the world to destroy and strangle the very fruits of the Ecumenical Council… by sowing doubt, uncertainty, problems, unrest and discontent.”
Until his death in 1978, Paul VI and his allies must have been practically a besieged minority in the Vatican. But even before he died and as early as in 1973, Our Lady herself came to his rescue. Help came in the person of Rev. Father Stefano Gobbi hitherto an obscure Italian religious priest. All her 604 messages given by interior locution to Fr. Gobbi were clearly in condemnation of all liberal-progressive theological exaggerations and propaganda. These messages have been published and distributed throughout the world under the title of “Our Lady Speaks to Her Beloved Priests”. She promised that additional divine reinforcements were forthcoming.
True enough, immediately after Paul VI’s death dramatic and decisive developments took place. And thus a real flesh-and-blood spiritual, philosophical and theological DYNAMIC DUO emerged, courtesy of the Holy Spirit and Our Lady too. And so, ENTER: Pope John Paul II and his handpicked Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger!
But the “smoke of Satan” despite the inspiring spiritual and doctrinal leadership of this dynamic duo, still took quite a while to be wafted away from the immediate confines of the Vatican. Nevertheless the tide turned slowly albeit decisively.
And so even after two years of Pope Benedict XVI’s consistent and seamless continuation of the main pastoral and doctrinal thrusts of his predecessor but subject to his own style and substance, many of our religious clergy and hierarchy are still intimidated by their religious-left confreres. The fear in particular is that of being ridiculed and accused of dispensing OPIUM to the people by means of so-called “old fashioned teachings and superstitions” of the Church.
Thus Heaven, Hell, Satan, mortal sin, publicly lying and stealing from the public, repentance, restitution, the Sacraments, Our Lady’s perpetual virginity etc., many priests of our major religious orders shy away from such topics or if unavoidable, merely gloss over them. It is mostly the diocesan clergy who continue to address these hitherto liberal-progressive mangling of salient doctrines of the Catholic Church.
Providentially it seems therefore, this week-end I chanced upon such rejuvenated wisdom. It came from Father Leonardo Polinar, a Bohol diocese-incardinated priest, during his anticipated Sunday Mass homily to some 200 members of his PACEM-affiliated charismatic Servant Communities.
By coincidence or “God-incidence”, at about the same time that Fr. Polinar was delivering his packaged-for-the-poor-and-humble homily on FAITH in God, HOPE for eternal life in heaven, and LOVE as an “other Christ” for our neighbors, Pope Benedict XVI was pronouncing his official views on the IMPORTANCE of the very same age-old evangelical approach employed by Fr. Polinar. This latest papal encyclical Spe Salvi (Saved by Hope), in fact twitted the tendency of the secular world (including I suppose, secular-minded priests, religious members of academe and even bishops) to copy or to have an exaggerated reliance on so-called scientific methods of analyzing and DETERMINING what is supposedly good for society.
Citing the secular world’s “ambiguity of progress” with its known potential either “to do good… or abysmal evil”, Papa Bene re-posited the core principle of our Christian view of life on earth: “the refusal of faith, and of Christian hope, and in the end the refusal of God, leads man ultimately to lose himself”.