St. Benedict Cross,
not the ordinary medal, but for our time, a larger seven-inch,
well-made cross from Archbishop Philip Hannan's group, made in Italy, with a
very substantial and holy feel as no piece of jewelry but a real tool of
defense in your home! Bigger than the palm of your hand, it is nonetheless
the official and sanctioned medal.
STUNNER: 'SMOKE OF SATAN' REMARK IS LINKED TO INVASION OF CHURCH BY 'SCIENTIFIC' MINDSET
For decades it has been said that when Pope Paul VI made his famous statement on June 29, 1972, that the "smoke of Satan" had entered through a crack in the Church, he was alluding to distortions of Vatican II, especially in the way of modernizing devotions and Mass, or perhaps the pervasiveness of liberalism. Some even took it to mean that actual Satanists were operating at the Vatican.
It may well be that a modernistic religious course after Vatican II was part of his comment on smoke, and perhaps he also had the whiff of coming scandal.
But a detailed translation and summary of what the Pope said on that fateful day -- the ninth anniversary of his coronation, during a Mass for the solemnity of Peter and Paul -- provides the almost startling insight that Paul VI was speaking in much broader terms than simple concern over how Vatican II might be interpreted, or how Mass would be celebrated, and was instead alluding to the infiltration of modern psychology, sociology, and scientism into the ranks of his clergy and the hierarchy who serve as shepherds.
In short, it now appears, in the wake of a summary devised by a translator, Father Stephanos Pedrano, and presented by The American Catholic, that the Pope, in 1972, and then at a follow-up at a general audience on November 15 of the same year, was warning of a scientific mindset pervading Catholicism -- that the Church was succumbing to modern notions of "research" and "objectivity," which, instead of accenting the genius of God, sought to cast doubt at every turn and negate the very roots of Christianity: mysticism and supernaturality. Says the summary, in synopsizing the Pope's words with more detail than hitherto available:
"Certain sociological currents today tend to study humanity while prescinding from this contact with God. By contrast, the sociology of St. Peter and the sociology of the Church studies men by pointing to precisely this sacred aspect of conversation with the ineffable -- with God, with the Divine world."
Indeed, the Pope both implied and directly stated it was the adoption of modern psychological notions to replace spiritual theories that bred a new attitude of skepticism toward miracles and began to count Satan himself -- the devil -- as a "superstition." "There is doubt, incertitude, problematic disquiet, dissatisfaction, confrontation," said Paul VI -- immediately after saying that "from some fissure the smoke has entered the Temple of God" in his famous homily, which is often excerpted out of context.
"There is no longer trust in the Church," added the Pope, according to Father Pedrano's summary. "They trust the first profane prophet who speaks in some journal or some social movement, and they run after him and ask him if he has a formula for true life.
"Doubt has entered our consciences, and it entered by a window that should have been open to light.
"Science exists to give us truths that do not separate us from God, but make us seek Him all the more and celebrate Him with greater intensity.
"Instead, science gives us criticism and doubt. Scientists are those who more thoughtfully and painfully exert their minds. But they end up teaching us: 'I don't know; we don't know; we cannot know.' The school becomes the gymnasium of confusion and sometimes absurd contradictions."
This denial of the supernatural -- the "state of uncertainty" -- was now holding sway in the Church, lamented the pontiff in his talk (the entire text never made it into the Vatican record). "There was the belief that after the Council there would be a day of sunshine for the history of the Church," intoned the Pope. "Instead, it is the arrival of a day of clouds, of tempest, of darkness, of research, of uncertainty" [our italics].
Instead of faith, there was now skepticism. Instead of exorcism, there was psychology. Nothing was accepted unless it could meet the narrow protocol of a laboratory. When Vatican II opened the windows of the Church, it was looking to the sunshine of deep past Christian faith -- but instead science and its philosophy of doubt was allowed, like dark smoke, to enter.
"How has this come about?" says the summary. "The Pope entrusts one of his thoughts to those who are present: that there has been an intervention of an adverse power. Its name is the devil, this mysterious being that the Letter of St. Paul refers to."
Observed the Holy Father: "We believe that something preternatural has come into the world precisely to disturb, to suffocate the fruits of the Ecumenical Council, and to impede the Church from breaking into the hymn of joy at having renewed in fullness its awareness of itself."
One might add that where bishops once led an immediate procession to the site of a reputed miracle, now, in a hyper-academic climate, they ignored such claims. The Pope also mentioned the loss of the religious habit and exterior manifestations of the religious life. And this is important.
But it is the idea that he was referring to a larger infiltration -- one that eventually would empty the pews (when the faithful no longer felt the sacred) -- that causes surprise in the detailed summary.
And it takes us to the words in the "1990 prophecy," which said: "
[Announcing Maryland-D.C.-Virginia retreat and St. Louis retreat, Michael Brown: March 27]
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