(by Roberto de Mattei) At the break of dawn of January 1, 1914, Europe was immersed in the tranquil opulence of the Belle Époque and still trusted in the brilliant progress of humanity. The Twentieth Century had begun steeped in the naive presumption that original sin was a myth and that the evils and errors which afflict man because of his fallen nature had been eradicated forever. Who could have imagined that the year 1914 would have been the start of an era of death and destruction on a worldwide scale?
And in few weeks after the murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, which took place on June 28, the nations of Europe rushed into a terrible war. From 1914 to 1918 the flower of European youth fought and died in fratricidal combat. Almost nine million men went missing from the roll call at the end of this global conflagration. It was during the war that the modern form of communism, which had grown out of the socialist movements of the previous century, burst forth into political history in Russia to spread its errors throughout the world.
Appearing in Fatima on the 13th of May 1917, the very year of the Communist Revolution in Russia, Our Lady provided the key to interpreting what was happening in those turbulent times and what would happen as the century moved ahead: it concerned a chastisement for the sins of humanity. Two years later, but still unaware of the great revelations that had been vouchsafed the three little shepherds of Cova da Iria, a great Catholic author, Mgr. Henri Delassus, wrote a profound book entitled Les pourquoi de la première guerre mondiale (1919) that similarly argued that every war constitutes a punishment for the sins of the belligerent nations. War is an act of justice, he explained, but also an act of supreme mercy, because by means of the suffering it induces, it opens sinful hearts to the truth and goodness from which men have strayed.
The War of 1914 unleased a spiral of disorder that has enveloped humanity up to the present day. Four great Empires fell, the European equilibrium was disturbed, and in addition to the monster of communism there soon grew into being the monster of National Socialism. In the interwar years, the liberal democracies, which had become progressively unanchored from strong Christian values, displayed their hypocrisy, fragility and impotence in the face of these two menaces, and, in little more than two decades time from the end of the First World War, the Second World War broke out, leaving, at its conclusion, a staggering total of 55 million dead, 45 million of whom were from Europe.
This war was followed by a religious and cultural revolution that is still taking place and which has shaken Western Civilisation to its very foundations. The immense and ongoing genocide of abortion is nothing less than a physical and bloody expression of a vaster and much more profound annihilation of souls. Indeed the spiritual and moral damage inflicted through abortion is at least as great, if not greater, than the biological harm that results.
Amongst the few who foresaw the catastrophe of 1914 was Pope Saint Pius X, who began his pontificate in 1903. The motto he adopted as his own — Instaurare omnia in Christo, that is, To restore all things in Christ — indicated the only genuine solution to the evils of the world. Peace is not possible for men, families and society as a whole, apart from that peace which is based on the Kingdom of Christ, true God and true man, the only Saviour of humanity. Pius X foresaw the impending calamity, but perhaps not even he had imagined that that terrible year of 1914 would also be the year of his own death.
The situation of the world is today much more dramatic than it was one hundred years ago. Anyone who still conserves a remnant of moral sense, perceives that the source of the social and moral disintegration we are witnessing arises from the separation and distance that nations have placed between themselves and both divine and natural law. European apostasy from these basic and essential laws has now reached the point where political and media leaders freely proclaim from the heights of their power as tribunes of the people their open hatred of the natural family as formed by one man and one woman. Chaos reigns supreme and the bewildered eyes of those who conserve the faith inevitably turn to the Chair of Saint Peter, the infallible teacher of faith and morals.
Of course, it is not St. Pius X who sits in that Chair today, but rather a very different Pope to whom many have attributed the covert intention of wanting to put into practice that very program of the modernists, which Pius X had anathematized in 1907 in his encyclical Pascendi dominci gregis. What other program can he have in mind, in fact, but a modernist agenda judging from the views which have been attributed to the Pontiff by his Jesuit co-brother, Georg Sporschill, in an article that appeared in the “Corriere della Sera” of 31st December 2013. Sporschill, who, you may recall conducted the last interview with liberal Cardinal Martini, he writes in that article that “both in the analysis of the ecclesiastical situation as well as in the replies which they pronounce, the two Jesuits, Pope Francis and Cardinal Martini, are as close to each other as if they were in agreement.” To these words Fr. Sporschill appends a disturbing message: “The courage with which the reigning Pope pulls down certain sacred cows induces some to fear for his life.”
The inevitable questions we should ask ourselves in the wake of this statement are: What “sacred cows” is he talking about? Who are those who fear for the life of the Pope? And what possibly could their hidden motives be?
In 2013 we watched the astonishing resignation of a Pope from the pontificate, followed by a novel situation in which a “Pope emeritus” stays nearby, almost in counter-relief, to the Pope who governs the Church. What other disturbing things might we experience during the year 2014? What is certain is that the agenda of Cardinal Martini, which anticipated the end of ecclesiastical celibacy, the acceptance of homosexual couples and the transformation of the Papacy into a collegial democracy, is a programme with an unmistakably modernistic character. Is it possible that Pope Francis truly intends to follow this path? Our contemporary world is disorientated, unlike the one that existed one hundred years ago before the outbreak of the First World War. And yet because the illusion in the irreversibility of progress has been substituted by the conviction of the inevitability of decadence and ruin, we seem similarly on the verge of catastrophe. Indeed, today the universal society is more vulnerable than it was in the year 1914 and could undergo a more rapid and devastating collapse than occurred a century ago.
There are moments in which the veil of history is about to be raised. But today men have lost that supernatural sense which renders them capable of understanding the happenings of the world in the light of God, as will be revealed at the Last Judgment. To understand what happens, it is necessary to rediscover the principles upon which human society and the entire universe is governed. These principles have their unique source in God. To repeat them incessantly, when all deny them, as the 19th Century French writer Ernest Hello reminds us, is the equivalent of revealing them. It is necessary to distance oneself from the uproar of the world in order to rediscover these truths of a natural and supernatural order, that the Tradition of the Church hands down to us, of which the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was the first to welcome and conserve in all their integrity and purity in Her Immaculate Heart.
At the birth of the Saviour and the days which followed, Our Lady reflected upon the mysteries which She came to understand through divine grace. As the Gospel says: “Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19). She had the use of infused knowledge, and exemption from original sin gave an extraordinary enlightenment and intuition to Her mind. In Her there was never any doubt regarding the faith; any ignorance or error. Never did Her intelligence, Her will or Her senses rebel against the divine decrees: She was always in possession of all the knowledge and all the will which was necessary for Her sublime mission. When the Redeemer was born and in the following days, the gaze of Mary embraced the centuries from the time of the Incarnation to that of the Antichrist and She knew all the pages of defections and betrayals, of fidelity and of heroism which the history of the Church would know. Our Lady, Queen of the prophets and Queen of history, throughout the centuries, would accompany and support, step by step, every son which had been entrusted to Her. Pius XII remind us, in fact, that: “If Peter has the keys of heaven, Mary has the keys to the heart of God” (Discourse: Questa viva corona of 21April 1940). There is no better wish, for the year 2014, whatever may be the surprises which this year will have reserved for us, than to live it with Mary and in Mary and therefore in the Church, with the Church and for the Church. (by Roberto de Mattei)