+ St. Philomena +
Please see the new postings on the Mystical Body of Christ at the bottom of the articles list. These are commentaries I have made on an article written by Msgr. Myers in the 1920s and Pope Pius XII’s infallible encyclical, Mystici Corporis Christi. The comments only relate our situation today to the article/encyclical. They also point out the many misconceptions about the Church’s own definition of Christ’s Mystical Body, and how many of the errors Pope Pius XII details in Mystici Corporis are very much with us today.
One of those glaring errors is Quietism, which has taken on a more pathetic face than in the past. Pius XII defines Quietism as attributing: “…the whole spiritual life of Christians and their progress in virtue exclusively to the action of the Divine Spirit, setting aside and neglecting the collaboration which is due from us…’For divine favors are conferred not on those who sleep, but on those who watch,’ as St. Ambrose says. For if in our mortal body the members are strengthened and grow through continued exercise, much more truly can this be said of the social Body of Jesus Christ in which each individual member retains his own personal freedom, responsibility, and principles of conduct…Not only the clergy and those who have consecrated themselves to God in the religious life, but the other members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ as well have, each in his degree, the obligation of working hard and constantly for the building up and increase of this Body.” And in these times, Pope Pius XII assigns us a task, in the absence of the hierarchy, that is truly daunting; for he says we must take upon ourselves “all their duties.”
As we look out on the sad and confused state of the world today, we see in the secular sector that same fatal tendency of blind obedience and dependency that we saw in the Church long before its heartbreaking decline. Rather than seek the truth for themselves by spiritual reading, the study of dogma, retreats, Catholic Action and the many other helps available from the Church, herd mentality Catholics derived whatever they knew about the faith from Sunday sermons and participation in exterior devotions, with maybe a lecture or two a year from some visiting dignitary, and occasional peeks at the Catechism. The type of union with Christ described by Rev. Myers and Pope Pius XII was unknown to them. As Fr. Frederick Faber wrote in his “Creator and Creature,” Bk. 1, Ch. 1, Catholics in his day considered the spiritual life: “far-fetched and unreal. They stand off from persons who profess to teach such doctrines or live by them, as if they had some contagious disease which they might catch themselves.” And that was nearly 150 years ago! The type of physical, emotional and intellectual dependency we are seeing today has so far progressed that it borders on the infantile state, especially where the younger generations are concerned. And it is dangerous because it breeds credulity, the willingness to accept everything at face value and to follow whoever appears to satisfy one’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
In psychological parlance it is called “co-dependency,” seen in the behavior of those who live with alcoholics, drug addicts and those suffering from other addictive states. They allow themselves to be controlled by a person and a situation that is both unhealthy, even toxic, because they feel unable to take responsibility for themselves and their own behavior. Many trying to stay Catholic today find themselves in the same situation. They belong to or stay with Trad “clerics” and chapel groups who are not even teaching the Catholic faith, and hence are toxic to that faith, because they feel that they cannot possibly keep it on their own. But faith is a gift from God, not Trad sect leaders. And God who gives it will provide and has provided the means to maintain it. It is called human reason and the graces needed to develop the interior life. But those whose senses are so beguiled by the appearance of external ritual and the “feelings” attached to the sacraments they believe they receive — also by the sense of “belonging” to a group of like-minded people, which even gangs can offer — are hard-pressed to engage in the grueling work of study necessary to learn the truth and face the fact they have been wrong. And the primary thing that Traditionalists have been mistaken about is the fact that the Mass was not the raison d’etre for the demise of the Church; it was the disappearance of the papacy and the rest of the hierarchy, the destruction of the mark of apostolicity. But it was especially the eradication of the doctrines the Church taught from Her inception, which is an essential ingredient in the apostolicity of the Church.
Had anyone known their faith; had they understood the true meaning of the word “Church” as defined by the Church Herself, this confusion that has persisted about the meaning of this word would never have arisen in the first place. It is hoped that these comments on the writings of Rev. Myers and Pope Pius XII will help Catholics to better understand the Church’s own constitution, and their bounden duty to actively participate as valuable members in the Church Christ established on earth.