|Not a viable option for Catholics|
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Sermon: Roman Pantheon, American Pantheon
I listened to a very good sermon yesterday, after seeing it mentioned on Tantamergo’s blog. You can listen to it here; and I have transcribed it below. My apologies in advance to the priest for any errors in my transcription!
Et unam, sanctam, cathólicam et apostólicam Ecclésiam. And one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Words taken from the Creed. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
One of the most famous buildings in the city of Rome is called the Pantheon; and it has a long history. In its origins, the Pantheon was built by pagans as a temple consecrated to the various gods throughout the Roman Empire. In fact, that is why it is given the Greek name “Pantheon”, which literally means “all gods”.
This round structure with its famous concrete dome with a hole in the middle was very inclusive, since no major god was left out. And this allowed people from all walks of life to offer incense or sacrifice to their favorite deity without anyone insisting that there was only one true god and one true religion.
But with the rise of Christianity, or Catholicism, things began to change quite quickly. The Church Militant, you see, fights for the rights of Almighty God, the true God, and excludes any other claimant from the temple of worship. You see, religious pluralism and Catholicism cannot ultimately coexist. Pagan worship was prohibited in Rome by the middle of the 4th century AD, since only Catholics had true religious liberty to worship the true God in a way that He has commanded.
The Pantheon and various other pagan temples were closed, and they were boarded up by order of the Christian emperor in consultation with the Pope, the Bishop of Rome. Eventually many of these abandoned buildings, including the Pantheon, were consecrated as Catholic churches. The emperor, history tells us, gave the Pantheon over to the Pope for the purpose of worshiping the true God who admits no rival.
One historian wrote, "The old temple called the Pantheon, after the pagan filth was removed, was made into a church in honor of the Holy Virgin Mary and all the martyrs so that the commemoration of the saints would take place." This same historian then adds that "the ancient pagans were not worshiping gods in the Pantheon, but rather the demons behind those gods." Remember what the apostle St. Paul clearly taught in one of his letters; it's also in the book of psalms: namely, the gods that the pagans worship are demons.
Christ conquered Rome and his church militant had turned the pantheon into the church of Santa Maria ad Martyres. Niches that once were filled with pagan idols were replaced with devotional statues in honor of Saints Agnes, Agatha, Cecilia; Saints Lawrence, Sebastian, Marcelinus – all martyrs who witnessed to the true God and to the true Faith with their blood. And while that pagan filth was removed from the Pantheon, cartloads of martyrs’ relics were brought into the newly consecrated church.
In that same city of Rome, right in St. Peter's square, you'll find a giant pagan obelisk. This needle-like stone structure has a cross firmly implanted on the top of it. Furthermore, at the base of this monument in Rome there is an engraving which reads Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat. Christ conquers, Christ reigns, and Christ commands.
Now in a sense this pagan obelisk at St. Peter's Square is like the golden calf in the old testament, which represented idolatry, rebellion against god's order, false liberty and licentious behavior, sensuality, falsehood, and corruption; but this beast, this obelisk, is contained. It's restrained. And yes, it's conquered by Christ the king, whose Cross impales it on the top. His mystical body, the Catholic Church, also controls this thing as well. The Pantheon, as a pagan temple, was closed, and the shadow of the Holy Cross covered Rome – and eventually all of Christendom – with its healing grace. Satan would have to look to other shores in order to find and build a new Pantheon so that many gods would be worshipped – false gods, false ways.
In our nation's capital, there's actually another giant obelisk that stands some 150 feet high. This pagan, Egyptian, and masonic symbol, known as the Washington Monument, is missing one important feature: namely, there's no cross on the top. That is, there's nothing to restrain, contain, or conquer the golden calf, since Christ's kingship is not recognized by the liberal Republic along the Potomac.
Although this nation was founded and established by men of Christian and European ancestry, it was never a part of Christendom. It never was part of the Christian order of things. It was a new order. It was here, then, that a new Pantheon could be built that would influence the whole world, and even the membership of Holy Church – the Church Militant – with the idol of liberties.
The leading men of the American experiment wished to establish a new way to organize society where the government would have no duties to the true God, and no responsibilities to the true faith. The very document by which the Republic was founded would in no way establish a church, nor favor or recognize any religion, nor demand any religious tests to hold public office. Authority in this new order would seemingly come from below – “we the people” decide things – as opposed to being from above. That meant the popular will would trump the Divine Will of Almighty God. And of course, it goes without saying in such a new order, the Church and State would be separated, even divorced.
Furthermore, in this newly created nation, no man will be molested for his religious opinions spoken freely, [or] communicated in speech, writing, and printing, even if they were offensive to Almighty God, and literally erroneous, and even contributing to the damnation of souls. And with the government being totally indifferent toward the question of religion, a virtual Pantheon will be built that would allow incense to be offered at any altar people wished, so long as peace was preserved… and tolerance.
See, this in this new order, this new world, and the key virtue is tolerance, mutual acceptance, co-existence – and finding that central natural point upon which we can all agree. Well, a liberal or a mason might feel quite comfortable and at home in the Pantheon, but a Roman Catholic, a soldier of Jesus Christ in the Church Militant, can never feel comfortable in such an environment. It's unacceptable. And this is why the true Church has always had martyrs filled with a supernatural and loving fortitude, as opposed to a godless tolerance – Christian witnesses who allow violence to be done to themselves as they witness to the true faith, as they knock down idols at the Pantheon, and cut down sacred groves because they want to plant the Cross of Christ in men's hearts and society.
You see, the same God – the same exact God – who created individual men, also created societies and governments; and just like a man is bound to acknowledge the true God and the true Faith, so it is with societies. Pope Leo XIII of holy memory taught the following regarding the duties of every state: "Civil society must acknowledge God as its founder and parent, and must obey and reverence his power and authority. It's binding upon a state. Justice therefore forbids the state to be godless, or to treat various religions alike with equal privileges and rights."
Now with no Cross to restrain and conquer it, the filth of this new Pantheon corrupted many members of the Church Militant, causing them to become sterile and impotent in regards to the faith. For us, it would be the American way, Americanism. It began to be promoted as the best way for the Church to thrive in this new order. A free church in a free state competing in a free market of religions. Although almost everything else would be regulated in order to prevent fraud and damages, religion would be unregulated, with simply "beware the buyer".
Americanism would also infect many Catholics within the United States, with the watering down of the faith because we have to be tolerant. False ecumenical spirit would be present in order to encourage "dialogue" – not conversion, dialogue – within the Pantheon. Some Catholics even supported religious diversity and pluralism, rejoicing that people of different so-called faiths could somehow live peaceably together. Many adherents to this heresy would favor natural means over supernatural means. They would favor the active life over contemplation, and they would choose unrestrained liberties of conscience, speech, and press, before a Gospel freedom founded on truth and doing the morally right thing, according to Cod's will.
It all began with the first bishop in this country, in the United States: the Bishop of Baltimore, namely John Carroll. The episcopal seal for Bishop Carroll tells us a lot. It shows the Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child, along with stars around her blessed head. But this seal has come to be known as the Americanist Madonna. For instead of twelve stars surrounding her blessed head, representing the twelve apostles as seen in the book of Revelation, we see rather thirteen stars, representing the original colonies making up the United States in the early days. The Catholic Church of the Carrolls (because there was more than just John) said one commentator, was "an American Church first and foremost; a national Church, made up of clerics and laity who were very respectable members of the American establishment”. In other words, we made no waves. We didn't look to Rome; we would be more American than Catholic.
Cardinal Gibbons, a later archbishop of Baltimore and another Americanist, boasted that in the Catechism he wrote, there was not one word that would ever offend our Protestant brethren in the American Pantheon. Furthermore, this same cardinal stated that if he did have the power to change the US Constitution – which makes no mention of God, no mention of Christ as king, no mention of his Church – if he had power to change it, he would not alter it in any way: not a single paragraph, not a sentence, not a word. For the document, he states, and the Catholic religion fit perfectly together.
And finally another Americanist bish of the 19th century stated in a very Kennedy-esque kind of way that he would never allow the Pope the smallest interference in the American voting process.
In the late 19th century, Americanism was condemned by Pope Leo XIII, again of holy memory. But as decades have passed, it seems the American way of religion, Pantheon and all, has gained many adherents. Ecumenism has become a virtual dogma throughout the Church. Interreligious dialogue is seen as irrevocable; we can never go back. Assisi prayer days make the Pantheon incarnate, with the leaders of the various world religions, including the Pope all on the same exact level – no one higher than the other. The Church Militant has become in many places the Church Tolerant, with Christ the King being demoted to just another inspired religious founder.
But this is not truly Catholic. Remember the phrase engraved in stone at St. Peter's square:Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat. Christ is a conqueror with an unending reign, where he commands the nations to follow his plan. His Catholic Church has an absolute monopoly – an absolute monopoly – on all saving truth and saving grace. No one religion outside of Catholicism can save anyone. The martyrs of old believed this truth, and they helped convert the pagans. The members of the Church Militant cannot ultimately accept the Pantheon model.
To close, I would like to quote a good archbishop of the 19th century – the Archbishop of New York, John Hughes. He once said the following, and would his words be ours: "The goal of the Catholic Church is to convert all pagan nations and all Protestant nations. There is no secrecy in this," he adds; "it is the commission of God to his one Church." John Hughes continues, "Everyone should know that we have for our mission to convert the world, including the inhabitants of the United States: the people of the cities, the peoples of the country, the officers of the Navy and the Marines, the commanders of the Army, the Legislature, the Senate, the Cabinet, the President, and all."