This lecture was delivered in Post Falls, Idaho in 2016.
This talk is a continuation of the one given last year about Malachi Martin. Last year we looked at Malachi Martin the man. Today, we are examining his main thesis, which deals with the state of the modern Church.
An article in a recent issue of Christian Order, a traditional Catholic magazine published in England, stated the following: "Controversy forever swirls around the late Fr. Malachi Martin... Yet, even his worst critics... are faced with the accuracy of his insightful analyses and predictions."
What were Malachi Martin's prophecies? He was virtually alone in exposing a movement pushing the Pope to retire. The resignation of a Pope actually happened one Papacy later than he thought it would, but he was almost alone in believing a papal resignation actually could happen.
Although the resignation of Pope Benedict demonstrates Malachi Martin's gift of prophecy, this was not his central thesis. His main thesis was that the Catholic Church is in the midst of apostasy.
What is apostasy? The dictionary definition is that it is the abandonment of a former religious belief. An apostate no longer believes in the basic truths of the Catholic faith, like the physical resurrection of Jesus, the divinity of Jesus, or the existence of an immortal soul. It is important to distinguish between schism, heresy, and apostasy. A schismatic disputes the authority of Catholic churchmen, but continues to believe in the truths of the Catholic faith. The Eastern Orthodox are schismatic, but not heretical. A heretic disputes at least one truth of the Catholic faith, but does not suffer from an overall loss of faith. I would argue that Martin Luther was a heretic because he rejected some truths of the Catholic faith, while continuing to believe in other truths. An apostate is something else. An apostate suffers from a complete loss of faith.
When I interviewed Malachi Martin in the 1990's, he believed that we were in the early stages of an apostasy of the churchmen. Today, the evidence is that we are beyond the early stages of the apostasy; we are in the midst of it. The evidence suggests that now the apostasy has spread to most churchmen and even the present Pope.
It is important to recognize how this apostasy is taking place. The churchmen are not openly making announcements such as: "We no longer believe what the Church used to teach on the existence of hell," or "Marriage is not for life any more," or "We don't believe in the real presence of Jesus in Holy Communion." That's not how this new breed of apostate works.
When challenged, the modern apostate will say something like, "Of course, we believe in the real Jesus in Holy Communion, but today we have a new understanding of this teaching." Only rarely will they openly repudiate a teaching of the Church. They don't actually reject the old teaching; they just act as if it doesn't matter. The old teaching stays on the books, but it is ignored.
Today's apostasy is taking the form of modernism, described by Pope St. Pius X as the synthesis of all heresies. Pope Pius X realized the danger posed to the Faith by modernism and so he actively suppressed it. Newly ordained priests were required to take an oath against modernism. These safeguards worked for about half a century, until modernism broke out again during the proceedings of the Second Vatican Council. Modernism represents a loss of faith cloaked in Catholic language. So, today's apostasy is camouflaged.
It was probably inevitable that today's apostasy would be camouflaged, as one would not expect an apostate churchman to one day announce, "I don't believe any longer." Apostasy doesn't work like that. Malachi Martin had an interesting insight that apostates do not realize that they have lost the Faith. Instead, they believe that they have a new understanding of the Faith. The curse of the modernist is that he has lost the faith and does not realize that he has lost it.
The phenomenon of camouflaged apostasy represents a challenge for the laity. How are we to know if a clergyman still believes in a truth or not? If we challenge a modernist clergyman by asking, "Do you believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist?" he will inevitably answer, "Oh yes, of course I believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist." If the apostate doesn't officially repudiate a teaching, then his position is unclear. This accounts for the confusion so pervasive in modern-day Catholicism.
Again, Malachi Martin has a simple answer to this problem. You can tell if a churchman is a real believer, not by what he says, but by what he does. If a clergyman says that he believes in the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, but then shows no respect for it, perhaps by throwing the leftover Precious Blood of Jesus down the sink, then you know that this clergyman is not a believer. So, you make judgments not by what they say, but by what they do.
Using this criterion, it is possible to have doubts about whether Pope Francis actually believes in the Church's tradition teaching on marriage, which is that marriage is for life. Pope Francis has recently introduced new procedures for fast-tracking annulments. If Pope Francis actually believed that marriage is for life, would he have made it so much easier to get an annulment? If annulments are easy to get, then what you have is divorce, Catholic style. Notice how this development follows the pattern of today's apostasy. The modern Church has not actually changed its official teaching on marriage, but by making annulments easy to get, it has rendered this teaching meaningless.
Likewise, the video produced by Rome which you saw at the beginning of the talk shows exactly the same tendency. Rome has not actually changed its official teaching that outside the Church, there is no salvation. But if modern Rome actually believed in this dogma, would they have produced a video which conveys the idea that one religion is as good as another or that the doctrinal differences between religions are insignificant, just so long as we all believe in love?
So, the modern-day apostates are very clever. They have abandoned the Faith without actually saying so. By disguising their loss of faith, they have neutralized what would have been a loud outcry or an open split within the Church, had they openly repudiated the old teaching.
There are other clues that a Catholic, as a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, can use to detect apostasy. One clue to detect apostasy is ambiguity. Until Vatican II, Church pronouncements were clear. The statements of the Council of Trent are unambiguous. They often included the phrase, "Let him be anathema..." The encyclicals of Pope Pius XII, for example, are clear and easy to understand. In contrast, the statements of Vatican II were often a compromise between traditionalists and modernists and can be read either way. The writings of the post-conciliar Popes are obtuse and often difficult to understand. Clarity, not ambiguity, is a hallmark of Catholicism. Ambiguity is a hallmark of those who do not know what they believe.
Another clue which can be used to detect apostasy is a lack of content. I was raised on catechisms which were an empty vessel; they did not express the teachings of the Catholic Church. They must have been written by churchmen who were uncertain in their beliefs. The new catechisms do not express Catholic teachings and so in mainstream Catholic schools the Faith isn't being taught. Now, if the churchmen were real believers, they would see to it that the Faith would be handed down to the next generation.
Apostasy occurs as a process. A devout Catholic just does not wake up one morning and say, "I don't believe in anything anymore." The loss of faith generally happens gradually. For the Church as a whole, this apostasy has been a gradual process. At the time that I interviewed Malachi Martin, the Church was in the early stages of apostasy. Now we are further into it, but not at the end of it. It is important to recognize that the Church is in a grave crisis, an unprecedented apostasy. Yet, it would be an error on the other side to say that there is no faith at all in the official Church. That would be going too far. The fact that there was much resistance among some members of the hierarchy to changing the Church's teaching on the family in the run-up to and during the recent Synod on the Family is an indication that there is still some faith left in the Church. For example, the bishops of Poland were united in opposition to making any changes to the Church's teaching on marriage. I don't think that you can say that Pope Francis has no faith at all. The Church is sinking, but it is not yet sunk. And until it is sunk, we must continue fighting to save it.
Where are we headed? The logic of apostasy is that we are headed for the formation of a new one world syncretist religion. If the leaders of the world's great religions no longer believe in anything, then it is natural that they would join together. Such a view is supported by prophecy, as Our Lady of La Sallett said that Rome would lose the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.
Just as there is a measure of ambiguity in the modernist-led apostasy, there is also ambiguity in the syncretist movement. You are not going to see the world's great religions combine to form one, giant institution. Even today, there would be too much of a reaction to that development to make it feasible. The institution of the Catholic Church will continue to exist, but it will be a component of a large, one world religious system.
There is a parallel in politics. The European Union is not erasing national boundaries; it is making them meaningless because more and more of the real decisions are being made in Brussels rather than London or Paris. In the EU of the future, Germany and France will continue to exist, but the differences between them will be like the differences between Kansas and Nebraska.
So, the Catholic Church of the future will continue to exist as an institution, but it will be a hollowed-out façade, emptied out of its traditional beliefs and part of a giant, ecumenical movement. The new religion will focus on man and building mankind's habitat here on earth, not on the eternal and the supernatural. Like the present pontiff, the new religion will have a this-world focus. The real Catholics will be primarily, but not exclusively, located in traditional chapels throughout the world.
Is there hope that this catastrophe for the Catholic Church can be averted? I think that a sign of hope exists in the world of politics. Not everyone in Europe wants to see the death of their nation-states and the creation of a multi-cultural super-state. By the way, the Catholic ethos is that nation states should be preserved, not merged into a giant super-state. During the thoroughly Catholic Middle Ages, life was intensely local in nature. Every town had its own patron saint and festivals.
New nationalistic political leaders such as Nigel Farage in the United Kingdom and the Le Pen family in France are rallying voters and making strong gains in European elections. While it is unlikely that these gains by nationalist movements can be sustained if they are not underpinned by a spiritual regeneration, the fact that these movements are gaining support in the face of a hostile media is a sign that the victory of globalist forces is not a foregone conclusion.
To fight the globalist forces of religion, it is important to support the movement for the restoration of the traditional Latin Mass. I once had a conversation with Fr. Kramer about the Mass. He said that Michael Davies in his trilogy, The Liturgical Revolution, had done a good job of explaining what was wrong with the New Mass. What this work didn't do, though, is explain why the New Mass was introduced. According to Fr. Kramer, the New Mass was brought in to facilitate ecumenism and eventually prepare the way for the one world, syncretist religion. The traditional Mass was thoroughly Catholic and so is unacceptable to most non-Catholics. The modern Mass has been stripped of its most distinctly Catholic elements and so is acceptable to non-Catholics. So, it is essential that we fight for the restoration of the traditional Latin Mass, which represents an impassible barrier to the globalist religious forces.
So far, what we are lacking in the Catholic world is the emergence of a viable movement to oppose the modern-day apostasy and the Church's drift into a one world, ecumenical religious system. We must unceasingly pray for the intention that strong leaders will emerge to oppose the current direction of the modern Church and take a stand for tradition, opposing the forces of apostasy and merger with religions which have always been the enemies of Our Lord.