By Michal Semin
I will start with a quotation:
“We are terrified beyond all else by the disastrous state of human society today. For who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which developing every day and eating into its inmost being is dragging it to destruction? You understand Venerable Brethren, what this disease is — apostasy from God. That, then which in truth nothing is more allied with ruin, according to the word of the prophet: ‘For behold they that go far from Thee shall perish ...’ When all this is considered there is good reason to fear lest this great perversity, may be as it were a foretaste, and perhaps the beginning of those evils that are reserved for the last days; and that may already be in the world, the "son of perdition" of whom the Apostle speaks. Such, in truth, is the audacity and the wrath employed everywhere in persecuting religion, in combating the dogmas of the faith, in brazen effort to uproot and destroy all relations between man and the Divinity! While, on the other hand, and this according to the same Apostle, is the distinguishing mark of Antichrist, man has with infinite temerity put himself in the place of God, raising himself above all that is called God; in such wise that although he cannot utterly extinguish in himself all knowledge of God, he has contempt for God’s majesty and, as it were, made of the universe a temple wherein he himself is to be adored.”
Are We in the Time of Antichrist?
These words were not uttered by Father Gruner in 2006, these words come from the last canonized Pope, St. Pius X, from his first encyclical. That encyclical was issued in 1903. So it's more than 100 years ago that this saintly Pope, when looking around himself, thinking about the conditions of the modern society, smelled the rat. He understood that the situation is so dire that in his very first encyclical — and as we know the first encyclical of the Popes always lay ground for their whole pontificate, their plan for their pontificate — he speaks about the Antichrist.
Well perhaps one might say (and there are people who are saying this) that he was just one of these famous prophets of gloom about which we were “warned” at the opening speech at the Second Vatican Council. That he is someone who is not able to deal with the complexities of the modern world and the technological progress, and all the social and political changes. Which, consequently, also led the Church into searching for new ways of doing things — aggiornamento — updating, changing its relations to the modern world, to other religions, and translating that new mentality into the everyday life of a Catholic.
I know that we come from various nations and the situation in each of our countries is different but I think that, generally speaking, this new mindset is something that, to a certain degree, permeates all the cultures, all the local churches that we are associated with. So I think it’s perfectly legitimate to raise the following question: Who was right? Was it St. Pius X? Was he more realistic about the conditions of the modern world than the modern Catholic, calling for a truce with the principle of principles of modernity, engaging ourselves in dialogue and building bridges and trying to reconcile all the religions and all the cultures, building this world that would be comprised of all the existing religions working shoulder to shoulder, constructing a better world, and so forth?
Where to find the Answer
The answer to these questions, I believe, lays in the proper understanding of the principles of modern thought, and then judging them in the light of sound reasoning and faith.
So what is the spirit of Antichrist that Pope St. Pius X speaks here about? It is the rebellion against God. It is the attempt to replace God’s created order with a different new order of things. And how did this come about? What did bring Pope Pius X into talking about man attempting to sit on the throne of God? Well let’s look at the basic fundamental principles of the modern thought, about which this Pope wrote some other encyclicals. I’m sure you are all aware, especially the clergy here, about the encyclical against Modernism (Pascendi). I don’t know if it’s taught in your seminaries or not but I think it’s one of the most profound encyclicals that deal with the modern thought.
Modern thought undercuts the reliance of the mind on the real world. It separates mind from reality. The classical concept of knowledge is that knowledge is the conformity of the mind to the objective reality. Modern philosophy is associated with a revolution. The contemporary confusion among the intellectuals of our age is a result of a long process of a philosophical degradation beginning with nominalism at the end of the Middle Ages and then the triumph of the private judgment in Protestantism, culminating in the modern philosophy of René Descartes and then especially the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. It is not reality according to Kant which makes up the mind, but it’s the mind through its innate categories which defines the external world. It is this "emancipation" of mind from being, from objective reality, that defines modern thought.* This declaration of independence, you might say, present in the highly acclaimed works of John Locke, David Hume, Kant and later philosophers, triggers a kind of a domino effect. Once the mind becomes detached from reality and "receives" the godly powers of creating the outward universe, then also the world is going to claim independence from reason, and one’s conscience from the objective rule of morality.
Who was right? Was it St. Pius X? Was he more realistic about the conditions of the modern world than the modern Catholic?
What then triumphs is the subjectivity of a person over objective truth. And then man becomes God. Then man is playing God, trying to create the reality outside his mind instead of understanding through the reception of the truth that comes from God and from the world that He created.
In fact truth, the very concept of truth, loses its meaning, becomes a mere opinion due to modern philosophy. And if there is no objective criterion by which we can judge various opinions, including those contradictory to each other, then this has dire consequences for the life of man by losing direction in their lives. For where there is no objective truth, there is no objective purpose for human life. And that’s why we find today so many people totally confused about the purpose of life.
It is modern philosophy which is responsible for undermining not just the knowledge of the natural world outside of the mind, but also the knowledge of God and dependence of man on Him. This has, obviously, serious consequences also in theology, when we apply the basic results of modern philosophy and use them in dealing with religion. And because of that I think we might fairly say that there is something diabolical about modern philosophy. And we don’t have to be philosophers, in the professional sense, to understand that and to be aware that there is something wrong with modern thought in its principles.
By the way, who was the first intelligent being that rebelled against God and the created world and the order of the world? Who was the first who declared his independence from God? Yes, that’s right — not the first heretics of the first centuries, not Martin Luther in the 16th Century, it was Lucifer. It was the devil when he was crying out (non serviam) I will not serve! He is the father of liberalism. The bearer of light became the founder, the originator, and instigator of the modern project of [Masonic] enlightenment.
|* Ed. Note: More precisely — This so-called emancipation of the mind is really the enchainment of Modern Man to lies and fables leading to eternal death and temporal disasters.|