LIBER ACCUSATIONIS SECUNDUS
1. Of man’s transcendence and kingship :
YOU have dealt with the Kingship of Our Lord on several occasions but always from the same approach. I shall follow you closely here and quote in full from your Dialogue with André Frossard – from his book N’ayez pas peur (Be not afraid), in which the part attributed to you was, in fact, written, revised and carefully amended by you before being published in 1982. This book has given rise to the most flattering reviews all over the world, at least to my knowledge. It truly expresses your own thinking. You wished it to be a revelation, or rather a communication, to the whole Church of your personal religious experience. Your faith is bound up in it.
Now, this is what I read on pages 222 to 227 and what I incriminate. André Frossard poses the following question : “ Is there a political doctrine and, if need be, are there social institutions to be drawn from the Gospel ? ” By way of answer, you recall “ the dialogue between Christ and Pilate ” :
“ Accused of wanting to make himself king, Jesus of Nazareth first of all answered his judge negatively : ‘ My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would strive that I should not be delivered to those who pursue me (the sacred text says, “ to the Jews ”), but my kingdom is not from hence. ’ Pilate rightly observes that this negation includes an affirmation. He therefore asks a second time, ‘ Art thou a king then ? ’ To which Christ answers in the affirmative : ‘ Yes, I am a king. For this was I born and for this came I into the world that I should give testimony to the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice. ’ ”
From there you pass over the centuries from the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Second Vatican Council. You leap over the centuries regardless of the flagrant anachronism ; you jump from centuries old Christianity to modern humanism. And yet you affirm that the link connecting the two is ‘ transparent ’ ! Should we balk at this point and even now cease to believe you ? Frossard prefers to follow Pascal’s advice : take holy water and then fall stupid in order to preserve one’s basic papism. Let us continue our reading with him :
“ I think the path from those words to these of Gaudium et Spes is transparent : ‘ the role and competence of the Church being what it is, she must in no way be confused with the political community, nor bound to any political system (all of which is easily granted ; it is the truth which disposes us to swallow the falsehood). For she is at once a sign and safeguard of the transcendence of the human person ’ (there is the falsehood to which we succumb, with no warning). The field of application for these two declarations, the one by Christ and the other by the Church in 1965, is not exactly the same. ”
What an understatement ! It is not the same at all. There is no logical connection, no ontological relationship between the Divine Word of Christ and the Council’s confused declaration. To link them by using the immense prestige and authority of your Person is an act of “ institutional violence ” as they say nowadays, or an alienation of the worst kind, a mental alienation of a slave subject to his master’s whim. But you know what you want : to divinise the Council in its boldest and most revolutionary propositions and to humanise Jesus Christ in even His most obviously divine words and deeds. In order to effect this, you proceed by stages.
CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A POLITICAL SYSTEM
You begin by taking great care, excessive and even calculated care, to separate our Christianity from the whole of politics. It has nothing to do with politics, you say.
“ The Council states that the Church as a community has no political character, is not a State. Before Pilate, Christ denies that his power is political. Although their respective fields of application do not overlap, they do, however, almost touch. Political power belongs to political communities (at least that is the democratic and communist thesis : for civilised peoples of the past, and for the Church of all time, power belongs by divine delegation to those persons constituted in authority). The Church, a community founded by Christ, aspires to no such power. She is not bound to any system, says the Council. In this precise sense, “ politics ” do not correspond to her nature, to her principles or to her finality. The “ kingdom ” being brought to fulfilment within her “ is not from hence ”.
“ A Church that identified herself with the State would cease to be herself. She would cease to be the Church. The experience of two thousand years confirms that this spiritual frontier has at no point been breached. Despite the different forms of dependency the Church has experienced with regard to the State, or the State with regard to the Church, despite even the existence of the “ Papal States ”, the Church has always remained the Church. The demarcation established by Christ has proved to be stronger than all the trials of history. ”
This equal and reciprocal separation, this distinction and opposition between Church and State, religion and politics, will seem forced to many, in both “ thesis ” and “ hypothesis ”, in theory as well as in practice. It will be contrasted with the Church’s constant teaching and the many formulas of entente and co-operation between the two powers, the two “ swords ”, that she has established down the centuries for the greater good of Christendom.
The truth is that your proposition runs counter to traditional Catholic teaching, and when you claim to align the history of the Church with your theories, then they are all too plainly belied by the facts. Opportunely, however, Frossard comes to your aid and so you can persist in your liberalism as illustrated by Montalambert’s famous maxim, “ a free Church in a free State ”. The Church’s role is no more political than that of her founder ; the proof is that it never has been ! Thus, she has been faithful to her role from all time, and still is. Vatican II, therefore, is in agreement with the Gospel on this point… and on all the rest ! The rest ? The rest is as follows :
CHRISTIANITY IS A HUMANISM
In effect, you now enter upon the second stage of your demonstration. The role of Christ and of the Church is not political. What is it then ? Well, it is what Jesus declared it to be before Pilate and what the Second Vatican Council declared it to be to the modern world, for, as you assure us, their two languages are in agreement with each other :
“ Let us return ”, you say, “ to our parallel. The second part of the answer given to Pilate and the Council’s declaration seem even more closely in agreement : to bear witness to the truth and to safeguard the transcendent character of the human person, it is all one. ”
You begin by making a suggestion, “ they seem ”, and end by imposing your proposition as self-evident, “ it is all one. ” And so you lead your docile readers, in a state of complete mental alienation, from the TRUTH witnessed to by the Son of God, and for which He is going to die, to an absurd and infernal ERROR, borrowed by this ill-fated Council from God’s worst enemies, from the antichrists of our day, who make of man a god. Between the one and the other, “ between Christ and Belial ” (2 Cor. 6.15), what connection is there ? None whatsoever. And yet you present the identity of divine Revelation and this revelation of Satan’s as though it were a fact.
The transcendent character of the human person is, therefore, a truth ! a gospel truth ! to which Christians have witnessed and for which they have suffered persecution down the ages ? To read and to re-read you, it would appear to be the whole truth and the only truth for which Christ died on the Cross !
You deign to give the semblance of a proof : “ For man expresses and realises the transcendence proper to him through his relationship to the truth. ” This alignment of words is a suspension bridge, a dream bridge, a chain of idealist concepts, whereby we pass from Catholic Christianity to contemporary atheistic humanism, or in other words : from Christ’s Gospel to secular humanism.
The TRUTH for which Our Lord Jesus Christ died concerns His Father and Himself, in His unique, sacred, inviolable and inaccessible Holiness, in other words, in His “ transcendence ” as Son of God, only King of the whole world and Saviour of His people. The FALSEHOOD, with which you claim to identify Him, consists in proclaiming, by means of the Kantian concept of transcendence, that man is beyond everything and all things and that there is no proportion or relationship between him and the other beings of this world other than one of sovereignty. Thus, you snatch from the head, shoulders and right hand of Jesus Christ His crown, mantle and sceptre, His hand of justice and all the attributes and insignia of kingship, with which you proceed to clothe Man. “ This transcendence of the human person ”, you say, as though it were self-evident, “ manifests His ‘ kingship ’. We are dealing here with a universal truth concerning every single man and therefore all men. ”
As many words as there are incongruities. “ Man’s relationship to the truth ”… what does that mean ? Nothing very clear, for sure…. “ expresses the transcendence proper to him… ” through relationship to whom and to what ? To things, to animals, to social groups, to political powers… to ecclesiastical power ? It is not known. “ …and realises it. ” But how can one, or should one, realise a transcendence already in one’s possession ? If one is not transcendent to begin with, could one become so, unaided ?
Finally, you say, “ this transcendence manifests his kingship, ” – the kingship of man, of each and every man. But is this kingship one of birth or of conquest ? Does one acquire it before realising one’s transcendence or only afterwards ? A kingship over whom and over what ? Is it political, ethical, metaphysical, religious ? If every man is king, are all men kings ? Being transcendent, each man is a god and therefore a king – certainly a very flattering gospel ! Perhaps every man is a pope also ? The whole thing is absolutely absurd and suddenly turns out to be monstrous.
A HUMANISM AND NOT A RELIGION
It is now, Most Holy Father, that you utter this blasphemy : “ Christ is king in the sense that in Him, in the testimony He rendered to the truth, is made manifest the ‘ kingship ’ of every human being, the expression of every person’s transcendent character. Such is the Church’s proper inheritance. ”
This blasphemy is the culminating point of all that you have to say. It is sacrilegious. It dispossesses God of His kingship in order to confer it on Man, on this idol whom every man and all men of our time are invited to worship, honour, cherish and serve within themselves in place of and instead of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. What is more, you make Our Lord the prophet of this idolatrous humanism and the martyr to this most impious of causes : man’s dignity, kingship and transcendence. And this is the mission you say the Church has inherited. You make the Church preach the kingship of Man ; you make her practise the cult and service of Man, the transcendent King, in place of and instead of God, and God alone until it kills her !
It cannot be said that I have misunderstood you, when the entire retreat you preached before Paul VI in 1976, which was published under the title of Le signe de contradiction, is based on the substitution of man for God, through the intermediary of Jesus Christ. What I mean is that you have used the Catholic doctrine of the duality of nature in the person of Jesus Christ, and have effected the strangest “ communication of idioms ” ever made, so as to make the attributes of Christ’s divine nature become those of His purely human nature, and thence to persuade us that they are proper to His purely human nature and therefore also proper to every man. It is an odious theft, like that of Satan’s proposal to the first man !
This is what you said in your retreat to Pope Paul VI by way of pious commentary on the Third Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary : the Crowning of Thorns :
“ Here we have before us the Christ in the truth of His kingship. Pilate says : ‘ Behold the Man. ’ Precisely. All the kingship of man, all man’s dignity, which Jesus Christ came to express and renew, are here summed up in Him. Now it is well known that this is a kingdom that is frequently overpowered, thrown to the ground and thrust deep into the mud. It is also well known that this is a dignity that is subjected to every kind of humiliation. We are reminded by the Second Vatican Council (cf. Lumen Gentium 9, 10, 26, 31, 36) that Jesus came in order to reveal the kingship of man, and here He is confronting humanity, crowned with thorns ! Man’s kingship is redeemed and his dignity is paid for, all by the blood of the Son of God ”. (Le signe de contradiction, p. 107)
It is the same blasphemy and the same sacrilege, whereby Jesus is made to hold His dignity and His kingship not from His Heavenly Father, but from Adam. And the role proper to Jesus and the salvation He has come to offer would be no more than to “ express ”, to make “ manifest ”, and therefore to teach, men’s own transcendence and kingship, even if it means “ restoring ” or “ redeeming ” it if ever lost or alienated.
Further on, you present this same blasphemy as though it were both Our Lord’s Gospel and the message of the Council. Of the Council maybe, but of Our Lord, never !
“ If the mystery of Christ – the historical Christ and the mystical Christ ( ?) – reveals the mystery of man to himself, that is to say mankind through the ages (and therefore of all religions and irreligions, presumably ?), then everything that is essentially human is summed up in the mystery of Christ, and is expressed by Christ in either word or deed… This idea in Lumen Gentium has to be linked with the central theme in Gaudium et Spes, where Christ is presented as the Revealer of the full mystery of man and human dignity. The Council stresses that man’s essential dignity is inextricably bound up with Christ’s message, His Gospel, which acts like leaven, either causing a stronger awareness of that dignity or else awakening a need to seek and attain it.
“ Whoever follows Christ, the perfect man, becomes himself more of a man (Gaudium et Spes, 41). And further on : ‘ No human law can guarantee man’s personal dignity and freedom as does Christ’s Gospel, entrusted to the Church ’. ” (Ibid. p. 152-153)
And here we are brought straight back “ before the Roman tribunal presided over by Pontius Pilate ”, “ the setting for an encounter that brought into the full light of day the nobility of the Truth and the dignity of Man (with a capital letter !) who bore witness to it… ”
“ There is no doubt that truth emerged from that encounter as something real, constituting both Jesus’ kingship and the dignity of man (without a capital letter : of each and every man). Christ the great Prophet (sic !) is the one who proclaims divine truth ; and He is also the one who shows the dignity of man to be bound up with the truth. ” For “ truth has a divine dimension ; it is one with the divine Word. At the same time it constitutes an essential dimension of human knowledge and human existence, of science, wisdom, and the human conscience. Every man is born into the world to bear witness to the truth according to his own particular vocation. ” (Ibid. p. 155-156)
Jesus, just the same as all the others ! “ The words spoken during that encounter with Pilate ensure that Jesus the Christ is ever present in the mystery of man. ” (Ibid. p. 155-156) When will you tell us that Jesus is ever present in the mystery of God, in the bosom of His Father ?
You return yet again to this kingship of man, so close to your heart, in chapter XVI of this Retreat, which so much pleased Paul VI and the cardinals present that you were thereafter regarded as papabile, in the chapter evocatively headed The Mystery of man : Conscience. Recalling this mystery – that of man’s kingship – you reiterate your habitual blasphemy and, what is most important, you state that it is the very doctrine of the Council, which we do not doubt. But you add, and in so doing you reveal whom this Council strove to please and who it was that inspired you with so much blasphemy and sacrilege :
“ The Conciliar teaching concerning this kingly function seems remarkably akin to present-day man’s thinking and feeling, and in this sphere where it might have been expected to give rise to serious positive ( !) difficulties or at least verbal ( !) difficulties. For especially in our democratic societies – democratic in name if not always in fact – people now fight shy of categories such as king and kingdom or reign. ” (Ibid. p. 175-176)
No need to be shocked by the kingship referred to in the Gospel. It is not contrary to modern man, who has no room for God, and who, being a democrat, has no room for a king either, because the democrat, the modern man, any man whatsoever, can be arrayed in this transcendence and in this kingship ! “ The royal function ”, which Jesus claimed before Pilate, is not, according to you and the Council, “ the right to exercise dominion over others ; it is a manifestation of the kingly character of man. This kingly character is embedded within the structure of the human personality. ” (Ibid. p. 176)
I would rather believe you to be mad than idolatrous to such an extent. Confronted with such a blasphemy, the Holy Spirit within me cries out, Anathema ! Anathema !
“ It is a fact ”, you imperturbably declare before Paul VI and the post-Conciliar curial cardinals, all apparently satisfied with what you have to say, “ that Vatican II sees in human praxis a manifestation of the kingly character of man, of his dominion over the earth, nature and the world. These two terms belong to the Christian biblical gospel vocabulary ” … What eagerness to saddle the sacred writers with this doctrine of human pride, which could not be more alien to them, in place of and instead of the doctrine of man’s salutary submission to the gentle rule of his God and Saviour ! And you go on to prophesy that “ work creates man ”. “ Yes, it does create, but it does so because it is a work and an activity or – more precisely – a human praxis, an act of the person ”.
“ The Conciliar teaching on the ‘ kingliness ’ of man goes deeper still…. ” No need to tell us. We know enough of your humanism, which though not explicitly despoiling God of all his infinite perfections, nor Christ of His proper mystery as Son of God and Saviour, nevertheless grants Man a transcendence, a dignity and a grandeur second to none – a kingship, a power of self-creation and of self-fulfilment, in the name of the divine Gospel and of the Conciliar Revelation…. to the point where it makes man receive all the honour, praise and worship, hitherto reserved in Holy Scripture and the Church’s prayers and homilies, to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, to the angels and saints.
It remains to hear you tell us what praxis is enjoined upon Christianity as a result of this theory. For in your dialogue with Frossard, you prepared the ground for the ultimate revelation of your humanism when, in your all-out desire that Christ should have testified before Pilate to man’s kingship, you added, “ For that is the Church’s proper inheritance. ” (N’ayez pas peur, p. 225)
A HUMANISM AND A SUBVERSION
We have not forgotten that your dialogue with Frossard began by posing the question of the role in politics of Christ, of the Church, and finally of the Christian layman. Now that you are sure of having persuaded us of man’s transcendence and of his kingship, theoretically and absolutely, you can count on our being made to accept, serve and defend this same transcendence and kingship in practice… in life and in politics.
“ Your question touches on the problem of the Church and politics, you say to Frossard by way of transition, whence my reference to Christ’s answer to Pilate. We have not reached the end of the question. You ask me whether it is possible to draw any political system from the Gospel, since the contemporary Church lays such stress on politics and social justice in the name of the same Gospel. Although Christ’s answer may not exhaust the question, it nevertheless casts an indispensable light on an area of primary importance on account of the testimony it gives to the truth – therefore to the transcendent character of the human person. For this is the domain of politics. ” (Ibid. p. 225)
Doubtless your thousands of readers and millions of hearers will hear your message thus : The Church does not go in for politics. Or if she does intervene in politics, it is following the example and on the orders of Her Lord. Not on behalf of temporal ideas and interests, but to testify to the Truth. All of which is very holy, noble and good, except, Most Holy Father, for this enormous lie – forgive me – which you immediately add : to testify to the truth is equivalent to testifying to the transcendent character of the human person. That is a lie, an impiety and a blasphemy. Politically, it is ignominious because it is the principle activating endless subversion and anarchy, as you yourself are going to explain, moreover.
All this is far too grave for me not to quote you in full. Here again you proceed in stages and you begin by explaining the nature of politics :
“ According to Aristotelian teaching, politics and social ethics are more or less coterminous. For the modern world, politics are more concerned with the technique of government, a technique, moreover, that is heavily burdened with utilitarianism, as witnessed to by Machiavelli’s famous treatise. According to the former, politics also signifies social justice, but not according to the latter. ”
I would point out to you, disrespectful though it may be – but at the stage we have reached forms of respect take second place – that you know nothing of political science, of the science whereby cities live and for want of which they perish and expire in blood and tears. Politics is not the art of conquering power by force, cunning and corruption, and then of holding on to power by the same odious means, as you seem to believe. Nor is it a social ethic – a means whereby liberty, equality and fraternity are made to reign among men, which is your alternative. The art of politics consists in discerning where the nation’s common good lies and in defending and protecting that common good by all legitimate means. The common good is the nation’s sovereignty and unity against all internal disorder and against every external threat. Its maintenance presupposes diplomacy, an army, police and justice.
And on this subject, notwithstanding your total ignorance of the nature of politics, you have an excellent paragraph wherein you succinctly state the traditional teaching, as though copied from a manual : “ When the Church pronounces on political affairs, she does so in conformity with her teaching mission which concerns itself on principle with matters of faith and morals. Each time, she provides the appropriate interpretation of the moral law explicitly contained in or confirmed by the Gospel. In this sense the Church teaches social ethics whilst leaving the care of government to competent persons… ” (N’ayez pas peur, p. 226). Here, you do not go the whole way with Catholic doctrine, which not only teaches the divine law but also orders it to be observed by kings and by the mighty of this world on pain of sanction and punishment should they violate it. As you yourself could and should have done on several occasions, beginning with the horror of legalised abortion. In this particular exercise of Christ’s divine mission, I find you too timid.
But in your humanist mission, which you and the Council have invented for the Church and for every Christian, and which you place immediately after her mission with regard to the divine law, you are very forceful… so much so that you make the exercise of political power impossible. You begin by defaming that which you will then destroy completely.
Your defamation : “ The Church, you say, never ceases to express in her pastoral and magisterial concern that the technique of government should not be merely a technique for holding on to power but one which serves social justice. ” As against machiavellianism that is, with which I agree. It is the moralism to which I object, however. Here we have the temporal, sovereign power being obliged “ to serve social justice ”, which is a way of handing the sovereign power over to the control of the opinion-formers, all utopians and socialists to a man ! All the more so since your understanding of the political “ common good ” is no more than a vague, indefinite and debatable notion of social justice :
“ …Let the technique or art of government ”, you write, “ serve social justice, that is to say the common good of the members of the political society ( !). Social justice and the common good are kindred notions (it is plain that you do not know what you are talking about), for they both designate a pattern of social relationships that preserves… ” Ah ! here we are back to your old idol again… “ that preserves the transcendent character of the human person, with respect for his primordial rights. ”
You have won. By means of this mishmash of tangled notions, you have rejected the politics of the politician and you have shown ignorance of the true nature of politics, which is a work of primordial and sovereign importance guaranteeing the very life and survival of nations. Instead, you have identified your dream politics with social justice, which for you consist in the cult of man and the service of man’s rights, demands and desires. And in so doing, you have provided the very principle for the dissolution of all human society. Furthermore, you claim that this principle was bequeathed by Christ to his Church as her most imperative duty :
“ Whence the Church’s frequent stance in response to her twofold need : fidelity to the Gospel and fidelity to man. ” Ah ! you never copied that from any Catholic manual. That is your humanism, which has become the doctrine of a political and social hyper-revolution “ The Church has the duty to bear witness to the truth, as Christ did before Pilate. In recalling yet again this dialogue, we must clearly enunciate the Church’s need to be profoundly aware of the kingdom ‘ that is not from hence ’, so as to enable her to pronounce clearly and resolutely on the affairs of this world, in which man must not lose his transcendence (I thought I heard you say that this transcendence was inviolable ?), but in order to meet and confirm this transcendence – as well as to make man aware of and have it revealed to him (sic) – it is necessary to bear witness to the truth. ”
Christ’s language is now being used by you to serve as a vehicle for revolutionary humanist ideas : conscientisation, demands and insurrection will be the result of this theoretical humanism, which you make Christ preach. It is the revolutionary praxis. In the name of the Lord Jesus, you have lit the torch to spark off a universal personalist revolution.
Frossard ends this exchange in a state of bewilderment : “ My question was, ‘ Is there a political system to be drawn from the Gospel ? ’ To which the Pope answered that the politics of the Gospel consist in the transcendence of man. The human person is constituted by this transcendent relationship with the truth, which, according to Christianity, is itself a person, the person of Jesus Christ. The man who bears witness to the truth is at the same time bearing witness to himself ( ?) A political doctrine ‘ drawn from the Gospel ’, therefore, would have as its principle and objective that of making evident – at every moment – this act of witness, in which the person finds its basis. ” (Ibid. p. 226-227)
A HUMANISM, A SECULARISM
The Evangelical and Conciliar Church is therefore indifferent to political life to the extent of no longer knowing what it consists in or why, after religion which assures our eternal salvation, it should be the most necessary work, that which provides for our temporal well-being. But then the Conciliar Church has very little time for religion. To read you, she would appear to have lost all interest in it. Like the post-Conciliar Christ, she is above all concerned with humanism. She works in the philosophical and moral sphere for the recognition of men’s natural transcendence and royal dignity. Such is the “ cult of man ”, which Christ is supposed to have bequeathed to the Church. And the mission of Christ was supposedly to establish this cult.
You portray Christ as bearing witness before Pilate the Roman governor, personification of all temporal power and political order, to the transcendence and kingship of man. You make him the first activist and the first martyr in the service and cause of Man. Here is what you said during the Stations of the Cross at the Coliseum on Good Friday, 1980 :
“ When, surrounded by the Roman praetorium, Christ was presented to the gaze of the mob, Pilate added these words : ‘ Behold the Man. ’ And the mob answered, ‘ Crucify him ! ’ Thus it is that the Cross became the symbol in Christ of the rejection of man ( !). In a remarkable way, the rejection of God and the rejection of man walk hand in hand. By shouting ‘ Crucify him ! ’ the Jerusalem mob pronounced the death sentence on the whole truth about man as thus revealed in Christ, the Son of God. And by the same token, they also rejected the truth about man’s origin and the end of his pilgrimage on this earth, and the truth of his dignity and highest vocation. ”
You said the same thing, only much more clearly, at the Angelus for the Feast of Christ the King on November 26, 1978 : “ In this dialogue between Jesus and Pilate, we see the first confrontation between the Christian and the political power. ” And you went on to recall “ those of our brethren who are judged and perhaps condemned to death – if not bodily death at least to civic death – because of the faith they profess, because they are faithful to the truth and because they defend true justice. ” It was necessary, you said, on this Feast of Christ the King “ to draw attention to the similarity between those who experience these sufferings and Christ Himself, who was judged and condemned before Pilate’s tribunal. ”
“ Thus thinks and thus speaks the contemporary Church ”, you said. A fitting afterthought, because the pre-Conciliar Church never entertained such language. And no doubt your docile hearers thought you were referring to the martyrs beyond the Iron Curtain… Not at all ! In La Croix for December 13, Fr. Cosmao enlightened us as to the meaning of your ambiguous words. Those who are suffering for their faith and who are bearing witness to their faith, to truth and to justice, who alone are of interest to you and the Conciliar Church – these are the defenders of Man and the militants of the Revolution. And he went on to prove it. Their faith is in man, their truth lies in man’s transcendence, and their justice is about safeguarding this human dignity, which you say is inviolable and sacred. They carried their struggle to the point of bearing the supreme witness.
I summed up Fr Cosmao’s article, which was a faithful interpretation of your own thinking, in the subheadings of the commentary I wrote : “ The Church of human rights – she sides with man against the State – rejecting Caesar, she divinises the people – to end in the modern Gulag. (That last heading, however, was mine, not yours !) ” (French CRC No. 137 for January 1979)
The proof ? To Frossard, who, like a good traditional Catholic, was referring to martyrdom as a contemporary fact and to the possibility for many of today’s Christians to have to shed their blood for their faith – their religious faith, of course – you gave a very cool answer :
“ The hour of bearing witness has sounded at one time or another in many parts of the world during the Church’s long history. The baptism of blood has been repeated here and there (sic) at different periods. For example, I am thinking at this moment of the Church in certain Asian countries (Asia ! It could not be more vague – so vast and so distant that you can lose yourself there !) where the harvest of martyrs seems to be more abundant than in the times of the Roman Empire. If we look at a map of today’s world, we can easily point out (well, do so then ! point them out !) where and how the hour of bearing witness has come for such and such a church. ” (N’ayez pas peur, p. 264).
It is clearly a subject that leaves you cold. You are either indifferent to or embarrassed by the Christian, Catholic martyrs of today. But, having paid your obligatory respects to those millions of martyrs – persecuted by you know not or care not whom – those martyrs of ATHEIST HUMANIST COMMUNISM – you suddenly become impassioned. I marvel at your brusque change of humour.
“ But ”, you say with renewed eloquence, “ the call to bear witness does not always take the same form. It is not always, not exclusively, encountered amid the bloody or unbloody persecution of the Church, of religion or of believers (clearly things and persons of no interest to you). There are other situations in this world where the bearing of witness does not consist so much in defending the Church herself, her missions, institutions and her believers (what contempt this enumeration shows, what veiled hatred !) as in opposing (the emphasis is yours and shows where your heart is) political, economic and social injustice, in defending life and morality in legislation (which you failed to do yourself, and failed to exhort others to do at the time of our fight against legalised abortion ! But even that is not what you really have in mind ; your real interest is in the struggle on behalf of revolutionary man against the authorities, for whom you have no love).
“ If the Church were to fail in her duty of opposition where necessary, she would be unfaithful to her prophetic and pastoral mission ; she would not be interpreting Christ’s call to vigilance as she should do (another sacrilegious falsification of the Gospel, travestied to make of it a call to revolution !)
“ I therefore share your conviction that the hour for bearing witness is approaching for Christians. But I think this can be said at all times, and we must always be aware of it. We must be awake to time and place, not only to understand and to know, but also to keep watch together. We must be with those who suffer the passion and who, in various ways, accept challenge and undertake responsibility In the midst of all these trials, we must ceaselessly watch out for the essential : to remain a Church that loves ! ” (Ibid. p. 265)
We understand perfectly : a Church that loves Man, that strives for Man and who on Man’s behalf at times falls victim to the bullets of those defending order ! Because, for you, refusal to regard man in his dignity and in his rights is the supreme injustice and the supreme lie. “ This denial ” – as you explained to Paul VI in that famous retreat, which must have especially confirmed him in his democrat-Christian utopianism – “ this denial can take different forms in our complex world. Given the structures of present-day civilisation, given the pressures they exert, each and every man’s personal responsibility towards truth becomes greater as the threat to truth constantly becomes greater…
“ Christ is most certainly present amongst us (Mt. 28.20) when we, His disciples, wish to share in His prophetic mission, His responsibility and witness to the truth both human and divine. Christ is also present among other people (of all religions and irreligions, therefore ?) who bear witness to the truth within a variety of political systems and situations.
“ Witness of this kind is an effective counter to those who sow mistrust of one’s fellow-men, and even to those who destroy not only man’s sense of responsibility towards the truth but also his awareness of his absolute right to the truth. Let us therefore entreat Christ to continue always to send us the Spirit of Truth, the charism of truth, and the strength to make the truth manifest to the complex and sometimes unruly world of today. Let us ask Christ to grant this grace as the greatest good that can be given to the Church. ” (Signe, p. 122)
“ It is a question of the ‘ mystery of man ’, for the neuralgic point, the point of personal tension of this mystery is and always will be the truth – the truth of the knowledge of oneself, of the world, of God (ah ! of God also !) the truth of conscience, of science and of faith (and of faith as well !). ” (Ibid. p. 156) But since all sorts of other people can bear witness to the truth, it must be a “ basic ” Credo that we are talking about here, and enough has been said for it to be apparent that this Credo is merely human, not Christian ; it has to do with man, his transcendence and his kingship, because for you that is the Gospel. You have stifled God in order to elevate Man, whom you have made your idol. And you have made Jesus Christ and His Church the witness, prophet, priest and priestess of the same idol. You have thoroughly corrupted “ the religion of God made man ” to make it conform with “ the religion – for there is such a one – of man who makes himself God ”, as Paul VI declared, and which I quoted and denounced in my first Book of Accusation against him.
STILL TOO CLERICAL !
There remains one final step to take, and it is the theologian of Tübingen, your friend, and perhaps partly your mentor, at least your protégé, Hans Küng, who will urge you to take it. In an interview published by Paris Match for August 31, 1979, he declared that he was very happy with your election to the sovereign pontificate, but…
“ I am very happy about the truly Christian humanism the Pope has shown … I am very happy about the openness he has shown with regard to social problems and his serious commitment to human rights. I am very happy. I would simply like to see him draw the full consequences implicit in the positions he has taken, including those affecting the life of the Church.
“ The Church’s mission in the world and the reform of the Church go together. One cannot expect the world to change whilst the Church holds on to the idea that there is no need for her or her hierarchy to change. One cannot demand that human rights be respected in the outside world and in society at large but not within the Church. ” (cf. French CRC No. 146, p. 8-9)
There is the test of your sincerity and of your faith in man, which is expected by those who have long been engaged in the fight for Man against all oppressive power. You are not expected to exempt your own power from their evangelical contestation ; you are expected to consent to its being questioned, contested and finally abolished ! So let your pontifical power be sabotaged as a testimony to its evangelical and conciliar faith in Man !
If man is transcendent, he must be no less so with regard to your own laws and decrees. If man is king – and by that token resistant to all subjection or alienation – then he must be equally free from your own personal sovereignty and domination. Hans Küng is calling on you to bear witness to the Man-god, to the Man-king, by sacrificing yourself to your own convictions ! Just as your post-Conciliar Jesus did before Pilate !