September 2012 Print

The Last Word

A year ago, Pope Benedict XVI stood before a huge crowd at St. Peter’s Basilica and announced his plans for a “Year of Faith.” This event started just a few days ago on October 11, 2012, coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (1962), and with the twentieth anniversary of the promulgation of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992).

During the initial decades following Vatican II, the Catholic hierarchy in Western countries exhibited what can only be called a foolhardy optimism. Time went by and their enthusiasm disappeared, for the great revival in the Church never materialized. Instead, the Church has suffered crisis after crisis, especially a widespread loss of faith in the formerly Catholic countries of Western Europe. With the opening of the Year of Faith, cardinals and bishops met at Rome for a synod. The name given to the synod speaks for itself: “Synod on the New Evangelization.” With a much more sober approach, the synod has identified secularism, both inside and outside the Church, as the key factor destroying the faith today.

Cardinal Wuerl, with Pope Benedict’s blessing, presented an alarming introductory report before the new synod. In it, he laments: “The current situation is rooted in the upheavals of the 1970s and ’80s, decades in which there was manifestly poor catechesis–rather miscatechesis–at so many educational levels.”

Cardinal Wuerl then describes the consequences of this faulty teaching: “Entire generations have become disassociated from the support systems that facilitate the transmission of the Faith.”

The resulting ignorance, explains the cardinal, has drastically affected private and public life: “It is as if a tsunami of secular influence has swept across the cultural landscape, taking with it such societal markers as marriage, family, the concept of the common good and objective right and wrong.”

Cardinal Wuerl then darkly concludes: “Secularization has fashioned two generations of Catholics who do not know the Church’s fundamental prayers. Many do not see any value in Mass attendance, they fail to receive the sacrament of Penance, and they have often lost the sense that mystery or the transcendent have any real or verifiable meaning.”

A great crisis of faith is manifest! Many churchmen, since the closing of Vatican II, have attributed this crisis to the spirit of the times, or to false interpretations of the conciliar texts. The SSPX, however, has consistently identified the main cause of this crisis to be the Council itself (including its problematic teachings). The SSPX still insists that, in order to solve this dire problem, its true roots must first be exposed and acknowledged.

The declaration of the General Chapter of the Society repeated that its “paramount duty” is “to profess the Catholic Faith in all its purity and integrity,” and that “the Society continues to uphold the declarations and the teachings of the constant Magisterium of the Church in regard to all the novelties of the Second Vatican Council which remain tainted with errors, and also in regard to the reforms issued from it.”

May this Year of Faith be for us an occasion to redouble our efforts in defending and spreading God’s unchanging truth.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Jürgen Wegner