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Friday, July 5, 2013

The 1970s and 80s, A Time of Upheaval and Confusion for the Catholic Church

Sources: Malachi Martin, The Jesuits, 1987;  Wayne Weible, Medjugorje, the Mission, 1994 and Medjugorje, the Message, 1989;;;; and Wikipedia.
John XXIII (1958-1963) was right…the Catholic Church needed to reform, to change, to breathe some of the fresh air of the increasingly global atmosphere on the mid-to-late 1900’s. It needed to rethink certain dogmas such as birth control, the infallibility of the pope, the traditional garb of nuns, the Latin Mass, the elitist view of salvation, etc. That’s all Pope John wanted to accomplish with Vatican II (1962-1965). He worried that the reshuffling or airing out of long-held dogmatics might get out of control, gliding away down the “slippery slope,” but his advisors assured him that it would only invigorate the church and bring renewal through modernization.

The Theologians

The late Malachi Martin (in The Jesuits, 1987), a Jesuit who left the order, wrote extensively as a journalist and theologian on the aforementioned decades of the Catholic Church. The church of Pope John was already slowly unraveling. Sea changes in theological thought were facilitated by a few extremely influential and famous seminary theologians. Karl Rahner (1904-1984), for example, “…was the leader in what can be aptly described as the wolf-pack of Catholic theologians who, since 1965, have lacerated and shredded not merely the flanks but the very substance of Catholicism” (p.22). He attacked sixteen centuries of Catholic beliefs such as “…the integrity of Christ’s person; the meaning and value of the Seven Sacraments; the existence of Heaven and Hell; the divine character of the authority of the bishops; the truth of the Bible; the primacy and infallibility of the pope; the character of priesthood; the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary, Christ’s mother--all would be up for grabs” (p.24). “He taught several generations how to consume their own faith with logic, skepticism, and disobedience” (p.25).

Of course, Protestant denominations have the same challenge. Seminaries become more and more liberal/secular as the decades roll on. The great challenge of religious education as I see it is to separate what is cultural from what God is actually doing and saying. As a Protestant who was raised Catholic, I can sympathize with some of Rahner’s points, but many Evangelical scholars would reject much of such modernization.

A group of French Jesuits called La Penseé followed the lead of Tielhard de Chardin in challenging foundational doctrine such as creation, Latin liturgy, the authority of the pope, the divinity of Jesus, and the church’s teaching on Original Sin. Before the ‘70’s were over, Jesuits and a few other religious orders were in such a state of rebellion against the traditional practice and teaching of the church that author Martin describes an open war between the papacy and the orders. These new ideas did not necessarily flow down to the Catholic on the street, but they influenced the priesthood dramatically.

The Modernist, Marxist Jesuits, Maryknolls, and Dominicans of South America

Decades ago, I heard the term Liberation Theology, but I never knew what it meant until I read Martin’s book. Compassionate Jesuits, already primed by Modernist influences, sympathized with their poverty stricken Latino congregations to the point that they left their monasteries and lived with the people. They did not, however, cease to be called priests, monks, or nuns. They lived on the Catholic name and funds. However, they ignored the lessons of Communism in Eastern Europe. They rebelled against the excesses of Capitalism, which seemed to keep the people exploited and suppressed, and favored Marxism, including its program of violent revolution and class warfare, as the solution to the world’s ills. When Popes Paul VI and later John Paul II protested vigorously, they met with delaying tactics, manipulation, unbelievable disrespect, disobedience, and deception.

As for Pope John Paul I, the predecessor of JP II for 33 days, web tales still abound about a poisoned glass of champagne which disappeared as soon as he was found dead in bed. On his nightstand there was a speech he had intended to deliver to the Jesuit leaders at their international General Congregation in 1978. In the speech was a veiled threat that if the Jesuits continued confusing the Catholic faithful with heretical beliefs, he would disband the order. Of course, the speech was never delivered. Furthermore, JP I had a dossier on the Vatican Bank and their shady dealings. There is good reason to wonder if the man was murdered.

Martin’s book also helped me appreciate the trials of JP II. He was a fit and active man in his youth, but in 1981 he was hit with 2 or 3 bullets by a Turkish assassin. Then (allegedly by mistake), he was sent to a regular hospital rather than the Vatican clinic, and allegedly by mistake he was given regular blood rather than the blood that was laid aside for him at the Vatican. The blood transfusion gave him hepatitis, disrupting his recovery and debilitated his resolve to reform or disband the Jesuits. When he visited Nicaragua in 1983 to confront the priests that had morphed into the Sandinistas, his speech was drowned out by catcalls and shouting. His reception was so humiliating that he was shaking with anger.

When the Sandinistas became the new oppressor, a new group called the Contras arose to overthrow them. The U.S. supported the Contras, who were not communists, by selling weapons to Iran through Israel. It evolved into an illegal arms for hostages deal. Seven hostages were released, and some of the arms money was funneled secretly to the Nicaraguan Contras. President Reagan managed to slither out of any proven association with the deal, and all administration officials who were indicted and convicted were pardoned by George H.W. Bush when he became president. (Wikipedia)

In spite of ongoing health issues, JP II was greatly loved and lasted until 2005. During those years however, the Catholic priesthood was plagued with growing numbers of homosexual and pedophile priests. The modernists had no problem with the homosexuals, but the pedophiles were being protected and shuffled from parish to parish, a policy approved by the higher authorities of the Church. Catholics were baling out of the church and thriving in Evangelical churches. Candidates for the religious orders were declining in numbers.
 Pope John Paul I, murdered?

The Charismatics

During the late ‘60s through ‘80s the Charismatic Renewal was going strong amongst many Catholics, including priests and nuns. I handed a copy of The Cross and the Switchblade to a couple of Jesuits who found it to be extremely encouraging. Tongues and prophecy were gifts manifested in special meetings attended by both Catholics and Protestants. My mother thought I had joined a loony cult until she realized that Catholic priests were also speaking in tongues and talking about being baptized in the Holy Spirit. This trend was an interesting counter movement to the growing ranks of Modernists.

The Marian Apparitions

I’ve already blogged at length about Apparitions of the Virgin Mary, but in those posts I wasn’t able to pin the wailings of Bayside Mary to events in the Vatican. Nor did I do an extensive analysis of Medjugorje Mary. Bayside Mary is easy to lampoon because of the shrill absurdities, threats, scoldings, declarations about the plots to assassinate two popes, the evil Curia, Vatican II, the forces of 666 in the Vatican, worldly nuns, homosexual priests, abused children, and various horrendous apocalyptic scenarios which will destroy most of the population of the earth. By contrast, MM was so bland and politically correct that it’s hard to find a seam to pick at. In a country where Muslims, Eastern Orthodox Catholics, Roman Catholics, and secular communists live in tense proximity, you’d better believe MM cannot foster ethnic violence by condemning all non-Roman Catholics to Hell. In contrast, BM declares that all lapsed Catholics are doomed. MM calls for people to respect all religions because only those who absolutely knowingly reject God and Jesus actually go to the hot place. The Croatian Jesus accepts people of all religions.

MM continually called for prayer, penance, fasting, peace, and turning away from the world and materialism. She encouraged the charismatics who made pilgrimage to her meetings. BM, rather, warned her children to reject the seeking of the Spirit. She hated guitars, women who work outside the home, and hussy nuns who wore skirts above their knees. Veronica Leuken, the seeress of NY, saw Hell swallowing one such nun. What would BM think of Jesus receiving Muslims and Hindus? BM also warned the world about UFOs being instruments of Hell, a topic not mentioned by MM.

MM ends each of hundreds of brief messages with the phrase “Thank you for responding to my call.” Through the Christmas holidays, she invites all to come to “little Jesus” in her arms. It reinforces an image of big Mama Mary and little Baby Jesus. Did he wear diapers back then? Her messages are so repetitive, they are hardly compelling. Even around the time when the Twin Towers fell and the Iraq War began, or all through the Gulf Wars, MM’s messages in Croatia were bereft of any substantial answers, direction, confrontation, or information. BM, however, never ceased to make demands and new rules, and to scold the leadership for being lax and corrupt.

The difference in agenda and personality is so stark that Catholic officials could not believe that both were the same Mary (and neither can I), so strife began as to which was the real deal. There were healings and miracles in both camps. Lives were changed in both locations. Miraculous photos were developed in NY while the sun seemed to dance in Medjugorje. Silver rosary chains turned to gold in the pockets of pilgrims.

BM repeatedly ranted in anger about the Third Secret of Fatima not being revealed when it was supposed to be. She declared that the secret was that Satan had entered the highest levels of the Vatican (Pope Paul VI agreed). Well, what pope would reveal that? MM didn’t mention the secret at all, nor had any word about popes.

MM does not make the claim to be Co-Redemptress or the Queen of Heaven, but the emphasis on the Rosary and the IH as the answer to the world’s ills puts MM firmly in the center of Redemption and Grace. Both declare that Mary’s IH is a path to Jesus and Jesus is the path to God. BM claims to be the Mediatrix of all grace, among other exalted titles. In fact, the Fatima apparition and other apparitions are very much about the IHM and global devotion to it.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary has openly been receiving Catholic devotion since the 1600s. A vision of ‘the Miraculous Medal’ appeared to Catherine Laboure in 1830. This was one of ‘Mary’s’ major stepped up campaigns to increase devotion to herself in the world. An image of her IH is set next to the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His and Her hearts sit beneath a cross and a large M. Twelve stars surround the whole image, suggesting that Mary is the Woman Clothed with the Sun in the Book of Revelations, in which the apocalyptic woman is crowned with 12 stars. On the other side is a picture of Mary, not Jesus. This medal, according to the Mary of 1830, is what will protect the wearer days of judgment attacks of the devil. BM commands that medals and scapulas never be removed from the necks of Catholics and their children to protect them from the brutal days of God’s wrath (the Ball of Redemption, the antichrist, the plague that will destroy millions of children, etc.), not to mention the devil, who comes lurking just outside the door to attack us and destroy our offspring.

    This image taken from Wikipedia,

Another theme shared by the Marys is that of suffering. MM informs us that no great penance is needed to get to heaven, but some seers and special saints are allowed to suffer rather than be healed because those sufferings can help mitigate the judgment of others. BM is all about suffering as an aid to help sinners and souls in Purgatory.

And then there is the necessity of constant Rosaries. Rosaries will save the world. Rosaries create the divine energy that can stop wars, turn back disasters, convert the sinner. In spite of all the Rosaries, inhabitants of the Middle East are shredding each other over religion and ethnic power struggles. The world is continually on the brink of nuclear war. Capitalism is running amok in the West and has corrupted all levels of government. The middle class in America is disappearing. Sin has not abated among the secular citizens nor among the Catholic priesthood. BM was right about quite a few of her complaints, but then again, the Bible tells us that Satan is the accuser of the brethren.

Mary of Fatima’s demand that Russia be dedicated to her IH was fulfilled twice, once by Pope Pius XII in 1952 and again by John Paul II in 1982. The Berlin Wall did fall in 1989, and communism’s grip on the world has lessened, but although Paul’s consecration is quite beautiful, full of references to Christ and a plea for the world to be delivered from evil and war, Russia has not yet been converted. You can read about these consecrations here. As a bookend statement by Paul VI that the smoke of Satan had entered the Vatican (the Curia), John Paul II stated that the church could not be reformed during his administration. He had apparently given up. He refused to reveal the contents of the Third Secret. It was finally released by Benedict XVI, but many Catholics refuse to believe that it is the real secret. You can read it here.

I personally think that if Catholics would pitch their Rosaries and Marian medals in the ocean, the world would be better off. If one ‘BVM’ can be false, any of them can. Devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart hasn’t brought peace or redemption to the Earth. Rather, if these apparitions are evil spirits, actual UFO-related deceptions, the rosaries only open portals to invite them into our dimension. Recall that in the story of the Gulf Breeze Six, ‘Mary’ and several other New Testament characters allegedly communicated through a Ouija Board to 6 young, naïve American intelligence officials in Germany. It was a brilliant, but terrible deception. Furthermore, the spinning disc seen at Fatima and Medjugorje was NOT the sun. It was something that many UFO witnesses have seen in which colors fly off a spinning disc. Fatima Mary appeared out of a cloaked UFO.

I’m not enough of an expert on the state of the Catholic Church to analyze what is happening today with Pope Frances. However, according to the prophecy of St. Malachy, this is the last pope. In his day, says the seer, Rome is supposed to be destroyed. Thus, I am not done with the theme of the Catholic Church. In my next post, I want to write about that prophecy, again drawing from the expertise of others.