Les FemmesShadow Magisterium Foments
Revolution in Church — Part 1

Christ entrusted the deposit of the faith to St. Peter and his fellow apostles, the early Magisterium of the Church and to their descendents. Every bishop traces his ordination to one of the twelve in apostolic succession. The CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) affirms that the pope and bishops acting in union with him have the duty "to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error." They enjoy the "infallibility promised to the Church... when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium." [CCC 890-891]

The grim reality in the Catholic Church in America today, however, is that a shadow magisterium competes (in the worst cases cooperates) with the authentic shepherds to shape, or rather misshape, the minds and hearts of Catholics. The goal, outlined at CTA (Call to Action) conventions, is no less than total revolution-the death of Holy Mother Church as we know her.

The revolutionaries are to be found amongst theologians, professors on university campuses, liturgical design consultants, seminary teachers, and employees in diocesan chanceries and parish offices. They develop curricula, organize seminars, run national organizations, work for the USCC (U.S. Catholic Conference) and teach in Catholic schools. Some are deliberate and malicious; others are useful dupes and fellow travelers. All work to replace the Catholic faith with modernism, what Pope St. Pius X described in 1907 as the "synthesis of all heresies." In brief, modernism is agnostic; denies divine revelation; makes personal conscience the final arbiter of truth; demands that doctrine be evaluated in terms of scientific progress; considers the Scripture and Church dogma as human works prone to error; teaches that Jesus did not know He was the Messiah, did not claim to be God, did not institute the sacraments, did not intend to establish a Church for the ages, and His Resurrection is not historical fact. Modernism teaches that Peter had no sense of his role as pope and that truth evolves. In the final analysis, it professes that "Modern Catholicism can be reconciled with true science only if it is transformed into a non-dogmatic Christianity; that is to say, into a broad and liberal Protestantism."1 And isn't that exactly what we've seen in this century, accelerated since Vatican II?

The revolution is no secret. At CTA's 1993 convention Fr. Patrick Brennan from the Archdiocese of Chicago said, "Our church is going through a major paradigm shift. We are experiencing... the death-kick, the final days of the last medieval monarchy." He called for "re-imagining the parish" as a small faith community with priests and laity equal, where the "role of the presbyter or the priest is going to be radically changed... [where] parishes will be run by Directors of Parish Life or Directors of Pastoral Life. Most of them will be lay folks."2 This is the hope for which they work —a priestless, doctrine-less Church made up of small encounter groups.

The strategies have become only too clear over the last thirty years. Under the guise of "renewal" (1) undermine belief in core tenets of the faith; (2) attack and emasculate the priesthood; and (3) reinvent the family, the seedbed of the faith. The success of the revolution is evident in the dearth of vocations, loss of belief in the Real Presence, and the sad reality that Catholics divorce, contracept, and abort to the same degree as their unbelieving neighbors. While there are elements of a human revolutionary conspiracy in the networking and cross-fertilization of individuals and groups, in the long run the Grand Strategist of the conspiracy is Satan.

Theologians, university professors, and their professional societies lead the revolution. The dissent to Humanae Vitae, the destruction of the faith on many Catholic campuses, the opposition to legitimate authority-have been spearheaded by dissenting theologians and professors. Fr. Charles Curran became a media darling in 1968 when he challenged the Church's teaching on birth control from the steps of Catholic University. He had many allies, some of whom can be found in CTA today. Immediately after Humanae Vitae, polls showed about 50% of Catholics disagreed with the teaching on birth control. After 30 years of organized opposition and silence on the part of most clergy, 80-90 percent now believe they can use contraception and be "good" Catholics.

A more recent example is Fr. Richard McBrien who declared in the February 12th issue of America, the Jesuit magazine, that he will not seek a mandatum (i.e. authorization) from the local ordinary to teach theology despite the requirements of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the 1990 Vatican document on higher education. The non serviam of the university establishment dates to the Land o' Lakes meeting of 1967 when they declared, "The Catholic university must have a true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind... external to the academic community itself." Translation: no member of the hierarchy can tell us what to do. McBrien claims Catholic schools monitor themselves well and have produced the "best educated laity in the entire history of the Church."3 One can well ask, "educated in what?" given the widespread ignorance of the faith and the prevalence of loony and evil programs regularly conducted on Catholic campuses. [See Twilight Zone, Catholic Colleges... about Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues.]

McBrien anticipates the bishops won't exercise their authority, a good bet if history is the judge. He urges other theologians to follow him in disobedience, nothing new for many who define "academic freedom" as questioning everything—especially dogma. If the Church declares an issue closed they respond with vigorous challenge, often in the N.Y. Times, Washington Post, etc. which are only too delighted to use dissenters at every opportunity as national spokesmen for the Church.

Heterodox theologians and professors are supported by their professional societies. The ACCU [Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities], led by dissenting theologian Monika Hellwig (formerly of Georgetown U.), worked vigorously to stall Ex Corde Ecclesiae, pressing hard last fall for the bishops to engage in more "dialogue," ten years being insufficient. Now that the document finally has been sent to the Vatican for approval and full implementation next year, it will be interesting to see the ACCU's new tactics.

Another organization notorious for dissent is the CTSA [Catholic Theological Society of America]. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver took the Society to task in 1997 for its report on Tradition and the Ordination of Women after the pope closed the debate on women in the priesthood in his 1994 document, Ordinatio Sacerdotali. According to Chaput CTSA claimed its purpose was not to "present arguments for or against the ordination of women," but went on to "raise questions about the authority of this teaching for the rest of its lengthy text." He declared that, "None of the CTSA's points are finally persuasive... But the fact remains that some people will be misled by the CTSA document's content, and the news media are unlikely to overlook a good controversy."4 Which, of course, is the point-create confusion among the laity and generate dissent to an infallible decree, the debate taking place in a media hostile to faith and reason.


1 Pope St. Pius X, "Syllabus Condemning the Errors of Modernism," (Lamentabili Sane), July 3, 1907.

2 Fr. Patrick Brennan, Reimagining Parish: Reimagining Evangelization, CTA National Convention, October 1993.

3 Fr. Richard McBrien, Why I Shall Not Seek a Mandate, America, February 12,2000.

4 Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M.Cap. John Paul II and the Gift of Clarity, Archdiocese of Denver, June 4, 1997.

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