Wednesday, January 23, 2013
The Vortex on Steroids: Rod Pead
The other day, I mentioned in passing a talk given by Rod Pead in 2000 at a “Faith of Our Fathers” Conference. The title of the talk was “Sword of Unity: There Was War in Heaven!” It's almost 13 years old, but it hasn't lost its punch.
Who the heck is Rod Pead? I had never heard of him before, but I will never forget him after listening to his talk.
Rod Pead is the editor of a British magazine called Christian Order; the description on the website says:
Christian Order is a British international monthly devoted to the defence and propagation of the One True Faith - Catholic, Apostolic and Roman - through incisive comment on current affairs in Church and State; at home and abroad.
Well, you have to like the sound of that! On the “About Us” page of the website, there is a longer description of the organization and its aims, ending with this:
Unless the Church is militant, She cannot thrive and flourish. Thus Christian Order is a militant antidote to the secular "live and let live" attitude which has brought the Church low. For forty years it has embodied that uncompromising spirit demanded by Pope Leo XIII, who contended that in times of necessity each Catholic is "under obligation to show forth his faith to instruct and encourage other of the Faithful" [Sapientise Christianae].
My introduction to this publication was an email from a friend who had stumbled upon a recording of Rod Pead’s keynote address at above-mentioned conference in 2000. You can listen to it – it’s in two parts, but the talk is really one coherent piece – here and here (each part is about 30 minutes). You can also read the manuscript here. But if you can spare the time, I highly recommend listening to Mr. Pead deliver his talk. It is very powerful. That’s a lot coming from me, as I tend to be a “visual” person and would generally rather read than listen to a speech.
I’m going to just throw out a few excerpts here to give you the flavor of the talk, and encourage you to listen to it, or at least read the whole thing. It will inspire you.
From his introductory remarks:
This is the plan of attack. We'll first undertake a cook’s tour of ecclesiastical reality today; of bishops and clergy as agents of dis-unity. We'll then very briefly consider two of the chief Modernist weapons employed to undermine Catholic truth and unity. And finally, consider how the self-defeating mentality of many faithful Catholics has also helped reduce Catholicism in the United Kingdom to the same farcical level as slapstick Anglicanism. Above all, this talk is directed to correcting that suicidal tendency in our own ranks.
We all know about the curse of cafeteria Catholicism, but the cafeteria-Catholics are simply mimicking their pick-and-choose prelates.
In discussing a long list of errant bishops in the United Kingdom, Pead sums up by saying:
…and simply say about the bishops: "Who do they think they are!" The plain-speaking Cardinal Silvio Oddi said the same thing in another way during an interview with an American journalist in 1983: "some bishops have come to believe their own infallibility," he said. "They are wrong, and far from the teaching of God. They are condemned. They are condemned most of all before the Church." And I should add that following this statement, as recorded in my book Death of A Catholic Parish, the journalist asked His Eminence if the arguments of the likes of Augustine, Aquinas and Cardinal Newman were correct, that in the words of Aquinas - "if the Faith be in imminent peril, prelates ought to be accused by their subjects, even in public," the Pope's close friend and colleague answered: "Absolutely. Without question."
In a section called “Weapons of Disunity”, Pead makes the point that
The bishops, of course, justify their complicity in all this disobedience and dissent, by regurgitating the magic mantra - "dialogue". It is "dialogue", you see - rather than prayer, penance and pronouncement - that is going to save and unite us all. Well, we would need to devote another conference to discussing the difference between true dialogue and counterfeit dialogue…
"Dialogue" as presently understood, of course, means not holding strongly to anything in case you offend people who don't hold the same position. And it rests on the new, secular super-virtue embraced by our Shepherds - "tolerance"… Fr. Felix Salvany has observed that "in time of schism and error, to cloud and distort the proper sense of words is a fruitful artifice of Satan." And just as the meaning of "dialogue" has been distorted to serve the ends of Modernism, so too "tolerance". It used to mean simply the act of enduring - tolerating - some evil or suffering which could not be helped. It now means the opposite of that - tolerance now means avoiding conflict and getting along with everyone, no matter what they hold.
Pead concludes about the distortion of the meaning of words:
And so false tolerance has led to false ecumenism - entailing interminable discussion which has led to nothing but the capitulation of the Catholic side.
That certainly rang true for me! “Ecumenism” always seems to mean that we must forfeit our Catholic identity in order to “get along” with the Protestants or even non-Christian groups!
About the “endless dialogue” that he says plagued the UK, Pead notes:
After disciplining and excommunicating dissenters in his diocese a few years ago, the admirable Bishop Bruskewitz of Nebraska summed it up when he said: "Whoever heard of the fire-brigade dialoguing with the fire!" As the renowned Italian philosopher Romano Amerio states in Iota Unum, his masterful tome on the roots of the postconciliar crisis: "There is a dialogue that converts, and a dialogue that perverts - by which one party is detached from truth led into error." It is this latter, the dialogue of perversion, which holds sway throughout Britain and Ireland today.
Pead also hits on a point I’ve seen expressed concerning some of the more orthodox bishops’ unwillingness to speak out for fear of alienating their more liberal brother bishops. Their rationale seems to be that they will slowly move their peer toward the orthodox view, with sugar rather than vinegar; they don’t want to be labeled and thrown in with the wild-eyed radicals. Pead says:
…[T]here exists here a crushing preponderance of orthodox laity and clergy living this liberal illusion that we can defend Christ and Catholic truth without conflict and the unpleasantness of raised voices and pointed fingers.
…Well, I'm telling you, if we adopt this attitude; if we opt for life in this Establishment Catholic comfort zone of perennial appeasement and Quietism; if we are more interested in retaining an air of respectability than in confronting, strongly and bluntly, this mysterious darkening of episcopal hearts and minds for fear of being called 'extremists' and 'zealots' and 'fanatics'; if we continue living this liberal illusion that we can act justly without risking our good name, our tranquil life, our well-being - then we might as well stand around fretting like Peter and wait for the cock to crow!
About praying for our prelates:
We are all soaked in human respect; full to the brim with false charity. I guess affluence and Catholic faith have never been good bedfellows: food on the table and a warm bed at night does little to encourage the vigorous prayer life required to sustain the truly Catholic mind we need in order to act justly. How else are we to explain the lack of passion and sense of urgency before the disaster we face. It is true that while at the moment we find we can't live with the bishops, we know, too, that by God's design we can't live without them, and that there is only so much we can do. But have we done even that much? Have we prayed and fasted and done penance and really begged God on our knees to convert the hearts and minds of the bishops? Have we consistently pleaded with Him to take the hirelings who will not respond to His grace to their early reward, and send us real Catholic Shepherds in their stead?
On a “Catholic mind”
This is all about retaining that increasingly rare commodity in the neo-pagan West: a Catholic mind, encompassing a truly Catholic view of life. A view once summarised as that "which sets all earthly values within the context of the eternal, the view which relates all human problems - social, political and cultural - to the doctrinal foundations of the Catholic Faith, the view which sees all things here below in terms of God's supremacy and earth's transitoriness, in terms of Heaven and Hell."
…[O]ne who possesses a truly Catholic mind is alarmed by heresy! He sees that souls are being lost now! And this sense of urgency alerts him, intuitively, to the deeper implication of Cardinal Manning's contention that "all conflict is theological". He sees, in other words, that everything, every debate on whatever issue returns to Catholic moral and doctrinal realities and, therefore, that a healthy, unified Catholic Church precedes and gives rise to a healthy, unified and coherent State. And he sees all about him the catastrophic consequences for society of the Modernist heresy destroying the Western Church. Thus, he doesn't put the cart before the horse; he doesn't fool himself into accepting that a sick Church can heal a sick world; he knows that we have to heal the Church and unite ourselves - Catholics of the Latin Rite - before trying to heal the world and unite divided Christianity.
And so with that broad appreciation of the importance of a healthy Church - a Church untainted by the stench of heterodoxy and heresy - the Catholic thinker is not as easily pleased as the average orthodox layman whose standards, after years of struggle, have plummeted to desperate levels. A prelate stands up to condemn sodomy or abortion - the minimum one might expect of a Catholic bishop - and we go weak at the knees and lose all sense of proportion in our rush to congratulate him. In our desperation for something - for someone - to hold on to, we blithely ignore the standards set by St Paul, who wrote to Titus that "a bishop must be beyond reproach, since he is the steward of God's house…", and that the bishop is duty bound to "rebuke sharply" the "many disobedient, vain talkers and seducers" who "bring ruin on entire households by false teaching"; false teachers who, St. Paul concludes: "must be silenced." [Titus 1:7-13].
On the charity of challenging bishops on wrong teaching (my emphases):
Look, we are kidding ourselves if we think we do well to commend what looks like duplicity in our leaders. Episcopal salvation is, to say the very least, problematic. "Many priests are lost and few bishops are saved," said St. John Chrysostom, himself a bishop. After his mother congratulated him on his appointment as Bishop of Mantua, St. Pius X told her: "Mother, you do not realise what it means to be a bishop. I shall lose my soul if I neglect my duty." So we have to stop pandering to duplicitous Shepherds and start fearing - for them, since they appear to have lost all fear of God themselves, and fearing for our complicity in their negligence.
And near the end, again Pead mentions the Church Militant:
If the Church is not Militant, She cannot thrive and flourish: Her sword of unity becomes blunt and useless. And if we have thus far not been sufficiently Militant - if that sword has lost its edge - it is surely because so few in the orthodox camp have taken Pope Leo XIII at his word when he said that Catholics were "born for combat": by which he meant that a Catholic enters a spiritual war zone when he leaves his mother's womb, that his Baptism enlists him into the ranks of the Church Militant and that the war is there to be fought daily, for his own soul and for the life of the Church, until he departs this world in a box!
Tragically, we have sought to avoid the burden of this stressful, outspoken Militancy, which is our birthright and our duty, by seeking refuge in a thousand popular good works and less militant apostolates. And even worse, we have failed to support or openly sniped along with the Jolly Hockey Sticks, at those who have worked to expose the rot and refused to be silent and acquiescent in the sins of our spiritual Fathers in Christ.
He concludes with this:
We ARE principal protagonists in a spiritual civil war! We ARE a Catholic RESISTANCE MOVEMENT! And for the sake of your children and
grandchildren, for the love of Jesus Christ crucified, it's time we started praying and thinking and acting like one! Acting like worthy successors and keepers of the FAITH OF OUR FATHERS!