LIBER ACCUSATIONIS SECUNDUS
3. A philosophical break :
from the Catholic religion to Wojtylian humanism
FROM Paul VI...
IN my First Book of Accusation, I reproached Paul VI, primarily and principally, with his heteropraxy, his manner of substituting the Church’s dogmas and canons with a shapeless pastoral programme and an ill-defined liberty. And thence – solely as a result of his demagogic penchant for changing religion and making its morality attractive to pagan hearts and ears – I accused him of this incredible heterodoxy – both heresy and idolatry – of the cult of man, with which he took us by surprise, so to speak, in his closing speech to the Council of December 7, 1967. You remember it; you may have been the only one who understood its full significance at the time:
“ The Conciliar Church has also, it is true, been much concerned with man, with man as he really is today, with living man, with man totally taken up with himself, with man who not only makes himself the centre of his own interests, but who dares to claim that he is the end and aim of all existence...
“ Secular, profane, humanism has finally revealed itself in its terrible shape and has, in a certain sense, challenged the Council. The religion of God made man has come up against a religion – for there is such a one – of man who makes himself God.
“ And what happened ? An impact, a battle, an anathema ? That might have taken place, but it did not. It was the old story of the Samaritan that formed the model for the Council’s spirituality. It was filled only with an endless sympathy. Its attention was taken up with the discovery of human needs – which become greater as the son of the earth makes himself greater…
“ Do you at least recognise this its merit, you modern humanists who have no place for the transcendence of the things supreme, and come to know our new humanism: we also, we more than anyone else, have the cult of man. ” (Liber accusationis in Paulum Sextum, The Cult of Man Who Makes Himself God)
I thus summed up this demagogic delirium: “ Love of man – Faith and confidence in man – The cult of man who makes himself God ”. But they were only words, the words of a dreamer besotted by doctrines which others – and who more than you ? – had introduced into the so-called Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, in Chapter One, on The Dignity of the Human Person, the celebrated paragraphs 12 to 22.
Paul VI did not make a god of man; his philosophy did not reach such speculative heights ! He only dreamed of reconciling fire and water, modern atheism and the Christian religion, without daring to proclaim and establish a dialogue between the devil and the good God, “ between Christ and Belial ” ! (2 Cor. 6.15, words curiously omitted by Paul VI in his encyclical Ecclesiam Suam). In practice, he would condemn no-one nor even contradict anyone, but he necessarily allowed the pride of this “ perverse and adulterous ” generation to grow in the extreme, so much so that he confided to his friend Jean Guitton, who has related it (Paul VI secret, passim –DDB, 1979) that men were becoming more and more humanist and less and less Christian. And whose fault is that ? Yet he let everything slide and left the task of reaction to his successor.
He said: “ What strikes me when I consider the Catholic world is how within Catholicism a non-Catholic type of thought seems often to have the upper hand, and it may be that this non-Catholic type of thinking is becoming stronger. But it will never represent the thinking of the Church. ” (Ibid. p.168)
So this humanism was not his profound thought, though it was often the material of his speeches. It will never be the thinking of his successor, John Paul I, of blessed memory. But this thinking, which “ will never represent the thinking of the Church ”, is yours however, and it is the thinking that you wish to see recognised and which you will now apply and teach as the thinking of the Church. It is through you, it is now, and it is in this that the break in Rome consists – the break of your personal humanism with the Church’s faith and morals.
...TO YOU, THE “ ATHEIST ” PHILOSOPHER
Unlike your declared master and father, Paul VI, with you this heterodoxy is primary; it is a conceptual structure that stands by itself and is absolutely valid in itself. It is your philosophy, which is indistinguishable from modern humanist philosophy, that is posited and imposed without reservation, without limitation and without theological control. And your claim is that this philosophy must forge ahead, to innovate, and to save both the modern philosophy, which the world will never renounce, according to you, and the Christian faith, which it feels logically bound – wrongly according to you – to destroy.
Thus you make a profession of meeting “ man who makes himself God ”, not as Paul VI did out of goodness or flattery, but through an intimate identity of philosophical concepts with those of modern atheist thinkers and through approval for their most surprising and audacious dialectic. You do this because you think that you are the first and only one to have reached the “ synthesis ” which must dialectically result from the “ contradictions ” between earlier stages of Christianity and atheism. Already you have infiltrated your message – coded if I may say so since nobody understood you at the time – into the Conciliar texts. Later, you attempted to introduce Paul VI and his entourage to this thinking and to initiate them into it at the retreat you preached in the Vatican In 1976, where Jesus symbolised the Christian, the thinking man of today – you in fact – under the mysterious title of “ Sign of Contradiction ”. It is He – or rather yourself through Him, with no regard for the anachronism – whom you established as the sign of Hegelian “ contradiction ” and of a victorious “ synthesis ”, throughout this strange retreat.
Fr. Armogathe makes no mystery of it in his preface to the French edition (Signe de contradiction, Fayard, 1977): “ It is truly as a ‘ sign of contradiction ’ that we are called to live our Christian existence – beginning with the author himself – between the two poles of the author’s formation: on the one hand, the lucid attention of the philosopher concerned with the currents of contemporary thought – often so foreign to Christianity, which modern philosophy claims to disregard – and, on the other hand, the passionate fidelity of the priest and pastor, the son of a nation that has always said ‘ Yes ’ to God, to the Church of Christ and to his mother. ”
This intimate contradiction once accepted and whilst awaiting to be surmounted, is at one and the same time a Yes to the modern world and to its atheistic philosophy and a Yes to God, the Church and to Mary ! Armogathe does not deny this, and he insists:
“ Modern culture is widely present in the book… The author attempts neither to baptise nor to minimise it. He questions it, calling it to give an account, in the name of its own reasoning, of the despair within it. And he shows how the Christian Revelation brings an adequate answer to the questions posed by the world – questions which the world admits to being incapable of solving alone.
“ There is no break between this challenge to contemporary cultures and fidelity to the Church’s Tradition; it is this balance which constitutes the author’s pietas. ” It is the prayer of Gethsemane “ that the contradictions Christians bear within them be met and synthesised in order to proclaim the world’s salvation. ”
Torn between the thesis of Atheism and the antithesis of Religion, Christians, in imitation of Christ in His prayer, will follow Karol Wojtyla in his new way of living such a contradiction, and with him will approach the synthesis of the future. Such is the “ interest of the Sign of contradiction, this profound quality running through it: a passionate fidelity to the Church’s Tradition and a careful attention to modern ideologies. Prophesied by Simeon with regard to Jesus, this contradiction is enclosed and contained within the very essence of Christianity; it is inherent in any proclamation of the Gospel. ”
Nothing of all this is to be found in either the text or the spirit of the Gospel. It is as crazily anachronistic as imagining the Holy Family sitting down of an evening to watch the Israeli television in Nazareth ! But you and yours are old hands at this kind of thing; the words of Scripture are no more than props for your German dialectic. In St. Luke, Jesus is quite simply – read the text ! – the cause of deep division and contradiction in Israel between those faithful Jews who recognise in Him the Messiah and those perfidious Jews who reject Him, condemn Him and hand Him over to the pagans to be crucified. “ Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted. ” (Luke 2.34; cf. Laurentin, Les Évangiles de l’Enfance du Christ, p.101 – DDB, 1982)
But you are a hundred thousand light years away from Jesus and His Passion. You are in Hegel and in Marx. Certain of surmounting the contradiction, you are not going to reject, criticise or turn your back on the modern world under its most aggressive promethean form, that of atheistic philosophy. On the contrary, you are going to commit yourself to it and drag the Church along with you, saying: HAVE NO FEAR. From your mouth, such talk is not a demagogic speech, nor even an act of apologetic, as it would be with philosophy students taken in by atheism, whom an “ open-minded ” professor was seeking to bring back to the faith without obliging any of them to renounce their humanism.
For you, this humanism is the definitive philosophical truth, that which governs life, that which is practised by mankind today as it frees itself from former superstitions – this adult, emancipated, secularised humanity which must confront Christianity and which Christianity must accept. You take upon yourself the role of introducing the Church into this new history, into this practice of an atheist Christianity or of a Christian atheism – the two propositions are equivalent – in order to define the historical synthesis of faith in man and of faith in Christ and in His God.
As our whole future depends on this great project which is yours and which you are imposing on the Church – and which we have already opposed with a firm and decisive NON POSSUMUS (CRC, April 1979) – it behoves us to take time to examine this modern humanism that you have made your own. In what way is it a challenge to the Christian religion, and what is this synthesis you have created, in which our Christian faith, hope and charity, victorious over the present contradiction, is supposed to consist ?
A SPECULATIVE GOOD FRIDAY: THE ANNIHILATION OF RELIGION
“ The great temptation of German philosophy ” as Thomas Molnar, the Hungarian exile in New York, and one of the finest minds of these times, reminds us, is to strive after the “ unveiling ” in oneself of the “ immanent God ”, through a rejection and annihilation of all external forms of religion. (Le Dieu immanent – Le Cèdre 1983).
THE IMMANENT GOD
Many “ German philosophers and theologians (all contested) already have this in common, that they try to break out of the framework of the Christian religion they have inherited. Their aim is not to break out by conversion to another religion, but by the transmutation of Christianity itself into a speculative system, where the human being would constitute the conscious and driving centre. ”
“ There is an unavoidable impression of impatiently seeking to make man God’s equal or even God’s substitute... Our thinkers do not submit to God, to reason or to the mystery of the Incarnation. They try to equal God, to recreate the world and to affirm themselves as the source of all being and value. It is a titanic work, that of Prometheus... ”
I am reminded of your fondness, of your enthusiasm for Norwid’s Promethidion. Reading Molnar, I constantly have the impression that he is talking about you ! Your endeavour is not a marginal one, as we Latins would like to believe. It is that of a thoroughly germanised Slav. It strides along in the thick of the wide, powerful and rapid torrent of modern German philosophy. It is useful to continue my reading therefore:
“ As long as man, with his religion and his history, remains anchored to transcendence, then the building – the Church, the faith, her dogmas and magisterium – is in danger of collapsing beneath the weight of the Christian contradictions – Incarnation, Resurrection, miracles, etc. – and the positive knowledge accumulated by science.
“ And so the German thinkers, it would seem, strive to find another anchorage, another foundation, considered to be closer to human thought – notably in an immanent force. Thereafter, their philosophy becomes one gigantic and systematic endeavour to explain and get religion and history ‘ working ’ without recourse to a transcendent Being, whilst preserving the Christian ‘ values ’. And consequently it is an endeavour to find within man himself the definitive anchorage for morality, the meaning of history and the destiny of mankind. ” (Ibid. Introduction)
All that – which is the very stuff of modern philosophy, and which was the starting point for the Modernist attempt to change religion, as described by St. Pius X in the encyclical Pascendi (1907) – is your philosophy and your concern, which you would not dream of denying for a moment. You accept and you live this challenge, this mutation, this inversion, because you are assured that your God cannot be vanquished and that our anchorage must in any case be changed, from the Heaven of yore to the intimate ground of our being. But what a formidable onslaught !
A TITANIC COMBAT AGAINST THE TRANSCENDENT GOD
“ After Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Nietzsche, nay Feuerbach and Marx, German philosophy embarked on a titanic combat against the transcendent God, whom it sought to reduce to immanence and finally to human interiority. From Kant, who made a moral guardian of God, through Feuerbach who made God a product of man, down to Nietzsche who proclaimed the death of God, the most illustrious of German thinkers have all striven to efface the irruption of Christ, verus Deus, into the world of the living, and then to liquidate transcendence as such altogether. ” (Ibid. ch. VIII, Heidegger’s atheist theology, p.87)
Such is the “ human independence ” to which all modern philosophy must lead, according to Hegel. “ ‘ It is time ’, he wrote, ‘ to reabsorb this strange entity, God, into humanity, which, at the dawn of Judeo-Christian history, humanity had projected into the skies. ’ For Hegel, this re-absorption would have to take place in thought. The ‘ speculative Good Friday ’ was to set men free for a terrestrial work, and the energy for this work would be provided by philosophical comprehension. ” (Ibid. p.65).
And they all, “ Heidegger, Bultmann, Gogarten, Gollwitzer, Rahner, Tillich, Bonhoeffer, Ricoeur, Moltmann, Teilhard ” (...Wojtyla ?), “ set about liquidating the philosophical bases of the Christian religion. The thinkers in question are, for the most part, theologians or philosophers attached to the immanentisation of the divine. This is not some plot hatched by the Kremlin; it follows logically from the heideggerian, bultmannite… ” – and, I would add, husserlian, schelerian, steinerian, and, therefore… wojtylian – “ endeavour ”.
HEGELIAN CONTRADICTION: GOD AGAINST GOD
“ It is possible, therefore, to distinguish two religions beneath the Christian label: the old, false religion, attached to its idols and its fixed concepts, that taught by Rome (obviously that will have to be corrected now, not because of Paul VI, who still held on to the old ‘ idolatry ’ under the appearances of modernity, but because of You, who were to come and through whom it would cease to be true; it was still the religion in 1978, but not after that date) - and the religion of the promise, which does not stop at myths, precepts and dogma, and which is beginning to blossom even now under the liberating effect of the modern world. ”
“ The antithesis between the two religions is total: between Christianity which is burdened with the weight of Platonism and the furniture of that world – aided by a fixist theology and moral order – and the other post-religious Christianity – therefore nameless in fact – which is opposed to morality as a form of submission to commandments and which frees us from guilt, opening to us the future which is God. ” What ! which is God ? Yes, the footnote reads, “ The future ”, writes Moltmann, “ is God’s essential nature. ” Ah, that’s a relief !
During this terrible “ speculative Good Friday ”, which is a new trial, passion and putting-to-death of our God, of our Christ, of our Church – the systematic annihilation of our religion – we shudder first with indignation and then with horror. But you are there holding us by the hand and always telling us to “ HAVE NO FEAR ! I am here. I hold the key to the enigma. I have the answer ! ”
And so you valiantly accept the “ dissolution of Christianity ”, its “ reinterpretation ” which “ in turn affects all the truths of religion, beginning with God and ending with the word ‘ religion ’ itself, which will have to be replaced by an open faith, always on the watch for the next unveiling of Being. The reversal is complete, and in the end – if indeed there ever is an end – the atheist will have become the man of faith par excellence. “ Atheism ”, writes Ricoeur, “ is not drained of meaning in the negation and destruction of religion, but it clears the horizon for something else, for a faith that can be called a post-religious faith, a faith for a post-religious age. ” (Ibid. p.69)
And there again, you are in agreement. You have proved it enough times with your insistence on proclaiming in the Church – at the risk of misunderstanding and scandal – the positive, cleansing and liberating value of atheism as a free and responsible philosophy, but not as a totalitarian indoctrination... It is to you that we owe the eulogy in praise of atheism inserted into the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, paragraphs 19, 20 and 21 !
To what will this enormous effort – this speculative deicide – lead ? To the appearance, to the unveiling, to the auto-creation of the “ immanent God ”, the old aspiration of the German philosophers – from Meister Eckhart and Luther – and, what is more, according to you, the true mainspring, the necessary movement of all human mysticism, even that of St. John of the Cross, whose “ faith ” would be not so much a “ religion ” as a purely interior “ means of union ” relating to intellectual experience, with no sensible or external means other than the word, and involving no cult other than immanent ! (which would explain your choice of thesis for a theology doctorate in Rome, and its extreme scholastic dryness, quite disconcertingly abstract: The faith according to St. John of the Cross – Le Cerf, 1979)
MAN’S AUTO-DIVINISATION AND SELF-EXALTATION
Writing about Meister Eckhart, Molnar already comments that “ The temptation to auto-divinisation was great. The temptation was to take interior experience for self-sufficiency, and to devalue the sacraments and the Church too as an institution. ” (Molnar, op. cit. p.16)
It is the same “ self-exaltation ” that is so clearly discernible in Luther, with its inevitable counterpart of a “ gradual moving away from God entailing secularisation and the levelling down ” of religion into humanism... As Fr. Louis Bouyer writes, “ the ultimate consequence of Protestantism is to lock God up so that it is impossible for Him to communicate with men, and to enclose man in his own solitude, in the ‘ autonomy of his arrogant humility ’. ”
H Boehmer comments: “ In the eyes of Luther, man has no need of a human mediator, and God has no need of one either in his dealings with men. Each Christian is capable of proclaiming the divine word… ” Yes ! but these revolutionary authorities are a little unfaithful to their principles, because they can only do this if “ they are authorised to do so and if the congregation approves – for it can just as well withdraw its approval. ” (Ibid. p.27-28)
This “ enthusiastic subjectivism ” always ends in “ man who makes himself God ”, and Molnar, in the footsteps of many another, traces its amazing line from the Rheno-Flemish mystics to Luther (but not to the mystics of Carmel !), and from Luther to Kant, Fichte and Hegel, ending in the many and countless systems now in vogue – “ eidetic reduction ”, “ phenomenological parenthesising ” – all of which share the same aim, namely to wipe out the objective world and its banal, close, everyday “ God ” for the sake of a self-created god, self-determined by the “ profound me ”, the “ transcendent ego ”, the “ masterpiece of husserlian phenomenology ” (Ibid. 78-79)
It is this “ Being ”, “ unutterable and undiscoverable, towards which man is perpetually voyaging ”, to use the words of Heidegger – whilst voyaging round his bedroom, evidently ! It is this “ Being ” of which the philosopher wishes to be the “ shepherd ” ! At the end of such a study, nothing is left except the Self and the answers which it provides to events or to divine communication, both of which are confused with a world of doubtful existence, which man calls into existence by his will alone. As that is the philosophy you wish to impose on the whole Church, I shall quote my author still further:
“ As God is devalued, so man is affirmed. God ceases to be a person, and Jesus ceases to be an historical figure. He is identified with the Heideggerian abstraction; He becomes Being.
“ It is not the Cross that matters, ” wrote Bultmann, Heidegger’s disciple, “ it is its meaning. What is important in the Bible, said Luther (even at that time !) are not the res gestae of God, it is the meaning for me of God’s word, and what I see in it with the eyes of my faith. ”
I begin to understand now that it is not accidentally, but methodically, that you constantly falsify and anachronistically transpose all the words and deeds of Scripture and force on them another meaning of incredible dogmatism. It is your me, your faith, your law which find an occasion to be revealed in the Scriptures. For:
“ The criterion of truth becomes the criterion of faith, and subsequently it is the self, ” said Calvin, “ which decides whether such and such a preacher is a man of God, and whether the Lord speaks through his mouth. ”
I interrupt again, because at last I understand: the “ Truth ” to which Jesus testifies before Pilate is that preached by the Second Vatican Council, which your Self assures us is the faith... And since the Council, on this issue, was already the same as you, the Word of God today is, on Karol Wojtyla’s word, the Word of Wojtyla ! Such, concretely speaking, is the faith in man within today’s Church: the faith of John Paul II in John Paul II. It is a circle !
“ The historicity of the New Testament takes a secondary place: the events around Jesus and his own acts are simply the backdrop for the proclamation of the divine word, which in the final analysis is judged by the Human-Self. ” The human Karol judges for himself, but also for the whole Church ? By what right ? L’État, c’est moi ?
THE CREATIVE WILL FOR POWER
Here, then, is the peak of this dialectic. “ Given that man alone exists (agreed upon by Kant and Fichte – transcendental idealism – by Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre, as well as the theologians won over to this school) it is enough for man to want (will power) to abolish the supra-sensible order – and not just God – to raise the world to a higher degree. ” Such is trans-ascendence ! “ Nietzsche himself said, it is to raise becoming into being, it is to create a new world where becoming enjoys a status formerly pertaining to being. In Sartre’s language, it is “ freely inventing oneself ”; in Heidegger’s language it is listening in to Being; in Gadamer’s language: time is not a now, nor a succession of “ nows ”, it is the futural (sic) character of the phenomenon. In the language of our theologians: God is the future. All the “ search groups ” must perpetually be scrutinising the meaning of the teaching, of the message, the very quiddity of Yehochoua of Nazareth (Only the “ integrists ” profess that the meaning is fixed once and for all !) ”
Obviously such a philosophy presupposes that all anterior philosophies and theologies are false, at least for the times we are living in; they are said to have been overtaken. “ The epochs preceding ours have nothing more to say to our world in state of full renewal, and nothing more to say to man on the threshold of maturity. ” Today, “ God addresses himself to man in a new language, encouraging him to take full responsibility for himself, to auto-create himself, to become God. ” (Ibid. p.84-85).
You join this team of contemporary thinkers when you say to Frossard, “ If faith is indispensable to walk on the waters, we must constantly be seeking a form of faith that will measure up to a world that is constantly renewing itself, and does not merely measure up to a past left behind never to return. Besides, it would be difficult for us to identify with this past world, even though we admire it; we would find it difficult to live in a ‘ pre-Copernicus ’, a ‘ pre-Einstein ’, or even a ‘ pre-Kant ’ world. ”
You immediately add, “ I think the Council fulfilled its task by showing a side of the Christian faith that measures up to today’s world. And tomorrow’s world. ” (N’ayez pas peur, p.282). And here, through clericalism, you fall into integrism. Because if the world was different yesterday, it will be so tomorrow. And Vatican II and You will be left behind !
AN IRRELIGIOUS FAITH
One last effort, taking in a study of “ Heidegger’s atheist theology ”, and we shall reach an exact understanding of “ modern atheism ” (Molnar, op. cit. chs. VIII & X)
“ The general sense of Heideggerian thought is to dissociate God and being ”. “ The slogan-phrase, ‘ God is dead ! ’ means that contemporary man has transferred the notion of God from the objective sphere of being to the subjective sphere of immanence. ” Thus there cannot be any creation of being by God. “ Being is not engendered by some creative unfolding, which would subordinate it to God; on the contrary, it is God who manifests himself within being ”... If we still speak of God, it will be as the unveiling of being, as a figure of being, as “ a superfluity, a luxury of being ”. He is therefore “ conceived as an object of faith alone, and faith is a matter of indifference to the philosopher. ”
Such a non-existent, a-moral “ God ”, according to Heidegger, “ does not signify a being devoid of love ”. But, according to such an interpretation, “ love is not charity; it is the eschatological ‘ maybe ’ which makes authentic history possible ”. Molnar confesses that such “ love ” leaves him cold, or rather, terrifies him. (Ibid. p.91)
Ultimately it is quite “ another religion, owing its fundamental orientations to Heidegger’s thought ”. (Ibid. p.94) Now it is this religion, this “ modern atheism ”, however paradoxical it might be, writes Molnar – without thinking particularly of You, Most Holy Father, – that is professed by “ a great many of the clergy and of the hierarchy... ” and, he adds, “ since Vatican II ”. (Ibid. p.101-102) This then is the religion of the greater part of the flock of which you are shepherd. My question is, do you accept or do you reject this religion which is no longer a religion, this “ post-religious faith ” ?
It is a radical criticism of all Western Philosophy since Plato, with the exception of the German mystical, and then idealist, tradition. It is also a radical criticism of that Christianity which harmonises with Greek metaphysics. Heidegger and his school reproached Christianity for having constructed a God from Being, a God who subsequently became the Creator, the Revealer, etc., and the list is still not exhausted ! Man is thus enslaved by this God, whereas in reality man sullies and vilifies Being by dressing it in his ideas, definitions and idolatrous representations.
Heidegger’s Being is inaccessible; it is not God. Doubtless, it “ unveils ” itself. But this term “ unveiling ” is highly significant, for it resembles the term “ revelation ”, although it means the contrary. “ Whereas God (the God of the philosophers, of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of Jesus Christ, the God of pre-1978, of course) reveals himself, of his own will, to a man or to a group, communicates through language and details his commandments – Heidegger’s Being has nothing personal or transcendent about it; it makes no use of language and has no commandments to give. ” It unveils itself without saying anything; it leaves man to his wits. It hardly leaves man the possibility of following a path, “ paths that lead nowhere ”.
Thus liberated, autonomous and self-governed, “ the true faithful is not he who clings to past forms (definitions, moral law, dogma, traditions), but he who plunges into the hic et nunc, there to find God’s latest message – a message, moreover, that is no sooner found than outdated. Human existence is an every minute responsibility, it is therefore a total response ”... to an unformulated question. Even the event of Christ becomes in our existence, for Bultmann, Heidegger’s faithful disciple, “ a self projection towards the future, a decision which one renews and which turns into responsibility. ”
Let us leave the conclusion “ to Father Gabriel Moran in his Design for Religion (the use of the word design speaks volumes). He casts doubt on the teaching function of the bishops. ‘ The Christian religion is not taught ’, he writes. ” And you yourself, did you not say to Frossard, “ Faith does not constrain the intelligence; it does not subject it to a system of ‘ ready-made truths ’ (the pejorative inverted commas are not mine – N’ayez pas peur, p.63.) ”
Or better still, let us leave the last word to Father Gregory Baum: “ I like to think that man has not to be subject to any authority outside himself. Theology is not an independent science; it simply has to follow and to classify the religious experience of each one of us. ” (Molnar, op. cit. p.10l-107)
Him at least you will no longer have to judge. Faithful to his “ modern atheism ”, he left the Church. He was, you will remember, one of the great experts at the Secretariat for Unity... But as for the others, how would you judge them, if you agreed to judge anyone ? And if you refuse to judge anyone, especially these, it is because you accept their “ modern atheism ” and have made it entirely your own !
In this speculative Good Friday, are you the victim or the executioner ? Are you the servant of God judged and condemned to be crucified, or are you Pilate ? Or maybe Caiaphas, the high priest of these times ?
A DIALECTICAL HOLY SATURDAY: CHRISTIANITY PREACHED IN HELL
Well, for the popes of Rome, for Roman Catholics, for us, the case has been heard. Moreover, “ Roma locuta est, causa finita est ”. This immanentist philosophy is false, it is anti-religious and what is more it is inhuman; it leads infallibly to the Marxist Gulag, as Thomas Molnar shows:
“ The pure atheist in this century is the Marxist; whence it follows that he is more open than anyone, he is the guide to the future. Although the thinkers we have just reviewed did not directly commit themselves to the Marxist path, it is as clear as daylight that Marxism is always there just round the corner waiting for all their students and seminarians, for all their cohorts ready for dialogue. Marx does not have to be present at the origin of the Hegelian system or at the design table of Heidegger and Bultmann; he does not need to have played a major part in the thinking of Ricoeur, Moltmann, Tillich or Teilhard – Marxism is ever-present to harvest the fruit of a tree it never watered. ” (Op. cit. p.69)
And I add: since all these philosophies, in their hyperdogmatism, pass themselves off as “ modern thought ” – that is to say, as the one and only possible and real way of thinking for modern man – they “ annihilate ”, they arrogantly ignore and persecute all that is not themselves and all that is opposed to their reign, as though it had no right to exist. And so nothing officially exists in the world by way of religion, philosophy, morality, politics and art that is not in line with this subjectivist, atheistic, dialectical idealism and its fundamental irreligion.
It is false, it is impious, and it is totalitarian. There we have three reasons, each one sufficient by itself, why we should rise against so-called “ modern thought ” and accept it as our destiny either to defeat it or to die in the Gulag in some obscure, collective Good Friday. Now one understands how liberating for the human mind and how salutary for souls was that heroically reactionary 80th denunciation of the Syllabus, that greatly hated summary of the errors of these times, condemned by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1964: “ The Roman Pontiff can and must reconcile himself to and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilisation. ” No ! taught Pius IX, with all the weight of his infallible authority and ordinary magisterium, he cannot and he must not ! One does not reconcile oneself to or come to terms with error, impiety, and mortal danger for souls and cities ! One cannot do so without renouncing the Catholic faith and betraying one’s people. A Pope still less than anyone...
THOUGH ROMAN PONTIFF, YOU ACCEPT ATHEISM
You, the Roman Pontiff, notwithstanding the condemnation of your great and holy predecessor, profess to reconcile yourself to and come to terms with this tyrannical, irreligious and atheistic modern thought, and you are resolved to lead the Church become your flock, your over-trusting flock, down this path of perdition ! On the day following this deicidal Good Friday, you have decided to meet the “ assassins of the faith ” and to go down into hell there to dialogue with them. From the impact of the contradictories, you will cause your new synthesis of a Christian atheism, or of a post-religious Christianity, to burst forth.
I find the complete proof of this in that “ retreat ” you preached before Paul VI at the Vatican In 1976. Its theme is summed up in the title, SIGN OF CONTRADICTION, involving a dialectical contradiction between the religion of the victim and the irreligion of the executioners. What sort of resurrection will this lead to ?
But you begin by firmly establishing yourself in this aggressively atheistic modern thought, as though there were no question about it. What in fact does “ the soul’s itinerary towards God ” mean for you ? (Signe de contradiction, p. 21 ff) There is neither hesitation nor doubt: “ The soul’s itinerary towards God emerges from the inmost depths of created things and of man ”, following St. Bonaventure. But you quickly leave creatures so as to consider man alone, modern man, as the starting point ! “ Along this path the contemporary outlook finds a certain support for its experiments and for its emphasis on the transcendence of the human person. Man is he who goes beyond himself. In some ways (sic) man must go beyond himself. ”
There we have it ! As an obvious starting point – verified by experience ! – we are given all the poison of modern philosophy, hardly attenuated by reservations calculated to avert any possible criticism. Without more ado, you quote the atheists, embracing and presenting them as our masters in human sciences: “ The atheists of our period ” experience in their way what all our contemplatives experience: “ The unknowable and the absolutely Transcendent ”. A negative experience known to the highest of the mystics. And you go on to quote a verse from St. John of the Cross. Behold our atheist brethren in the “ Dark night of the faith ” !
In this experience, they discover at least an unquestionable reality, you say: their own transcendence for want of God’s, which, being unable to find they deny. But what does it matter ! You already regard them, in their very negation – yes ! – as members of our confraternity. “ The Church of the living God gathers together all men, who in one manner or another (but what is this manner ?) share in this marvellous transcendence of the human spirit. ” (Ibid. p.17)
Between our atheist brethren and ourselves, there rises, however, a total, dialectical, hegelo-marxist contradiction, which, as everyone knows, will be resolved in a higher synthesis by this very movement of pure Thought or of brute Matter. The contradiction is this: for some, the human person “ is created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen. 1.27) ”; for others it is set “ beyond the bounds of good and evil, as would have been desirable (!) to Nietzsche and other proponents of the absolute autonomy of man. ”
Already, Most Holy Father, you have betrayed us a little. Instead of holding firmly onto the truth that man is nothing before his Creator, but dependent on Him through a relationship of love and grace, you have made man great. On page 37 you imagine the creature to be a fragment of the divine Being “ The God of infinite majesty – Ipsum Esse Subsistens – ‘ is divided ’ (the inverted commas are yours) into beings of varying degrees of perfection. ” Well, well ! Then you proclaim – in agreement with the adversary – that man’s transcendence is a self-evident and experimental truth. You then regard the atheists as our brethren in Christianity. And now you show them – these proponents of the hegelo-marxist antithesis of our faith – sincerely hesitating between recognising a God in whose image and likeness man is meant to be and proclaiming Man’s autonomy in making himself god. What a dilemma !
You set at naught all those who in no way feel themselves to be concerned with such a temptation and who are not drawn into this dialectic at all. Those people, you say, belong to another century; their thoughts are no more than phantoms of thought. They have no problems because they are without life, without weight.
“ It may sound a trifle strange, but I think it is true, that today one cannot understand either Sartre or Marx without having first read and pondered very deeply the first three chapters of Genesis. These are the key to understanding the world of today, both its roots and its extremely radical – and therefore dramatic – affirmations and denials. ”
Is this the skill of the orator, who knows how to catch one’s attention just as he is about to enter the heart of the matter or to venture on a more arduous demonstration ? One expects you to explain modern irreligion through original sin, its first act of pride inspired by Satan and its intellectual and moral corruption thereafter passed on to the whole race of Adam and Eve: Deceived by the Devil, they disobeyed God. Later, men will generalise this revolt and will claim that they are the sovereign masters, the only masters, of the earth, from which they will dare to chase out God ! In these last apocalyptic days of the world, men will go so far – as foretold in the Scriptures – as to deny and kill God and then worship themselves.
That is the classical ecclesiastical exposition, which, moreover, is normally convincing and will convert souls, transporting them to the heights of faith. But not at all ! You use the divine Word as a vehicle for your own dialectic, shamelessly piling up anachronisms and falsifications – not one of which is accidental or innocent – to justify, before the whole court of Paul VI, Man’s threefold project of total disobedience, absolute mastery of the universe, and auto-divinisation.
In the contradiction between Atheism and Christianity, you move over to the atheist camp and advance all the way along their path. Even to the extent of crossing swords with us, solely to their advantage and in their service. You intend to prove to us that man was right and was entitled to realise this threefold “ humanist ” project, and that it was Satan’s lie, a lie constantly repeated by the priestly party, to say that this project was something forbidden by God and sinful. There can only be sin, hatred and revolt as a consequence of prohibition. Of an unjust and lying supposed prohibition, invented by the devil ! This is how you proceed, and certainly in a style that your friends admit is heavy and difficult. I would be more inclined to think it esoteric, Germanic at any rate.
OBEY, SUBMIT, ADORE, THREE LIES OF SATAN !
In chapter IV, The Ways of denial (Op. cit. p.45-46), you present the adversaries at grips with each other, or rather you show them quoting texts from Vatican II, like brothers in a friendly dialogue. On the one side, we have the postconciliar Christians: You and your like, in your “ new humanism ” consisting in a faith purified “ from all magical conceptions of the world and from any surviving superstitions ”. On the other side, we have the atheists in their “ new humanism ” also – they are attached to their scientific methods and discoveries, and to the recent progress in philosophy, and for that reason in an attitude of “ denial of God or of religion ”.
The new Christian humanist therefore – freed from the narrowness of times past and emerging from his, Catholic Christian ghetto – seeks a sympathetic understanding of and dialogue with this modern scientist and philosopher who, for all his anti-religion and atheism, is nevertheless sincere and generous. Where does he get this denial of God or this rejection of religion from ? From Satan, you say. Not that Satan lured him into his rebellion ! No, not yet. But he deceivedhim, raising between him and God an appalling and unjust misunderstanding, imputing as a crime to man what is most natural, most normal, most passionately dear and necessary ! And, therefore, inevitably making him revolt against God and against his priests.
“ It was the serpent that deceived me. ” (Gen. 3.13) It is all Satan’s fault. What type of fault is it then ?
But first of all you place Satan in his “ extra-empirical reality ” (?), opposed to God in everything, word against Word, the “ Anti-Word ” dictating to men an “ Anti-Gospel ”. And, as we know, he was “ a liar from the beginning ”. This enemy of God and of man will introduce his cunning lies into the clear and natural relationship between God and man in order to create confusion. And in this he will succeed only too well. Because I am not writing a novel, I shall summarise your argument without further ado. Satan persuades man that God wants of him a blind, prompt and disinterested obedience, in itself unjust and odious. That is the first conflict. He then invents the story that God does not tolerate man’s pretension to make himself ruler and king of the world – an irritating and revolting jealousy. The second conflict. Finally, in our day, he invents the story that God will never tolerate man’s making himself God, when man has the capacity and irrepressible desire for this. God thus provokes man to murder and fatal deicide. Third conflict and end of history.
All that is simply a dream and a lie, you say. God is not against man in that way ! And for the first time in the history of mankind, the contradiction is going to be revealed and surmounted by you. Gentlemen atheists and deicides, you will say to them, I have understood you. You did the right thing to revolt, to dominate the earth and to kill off all those false gods obstructing humanity’s forward march. The disciple and apostle of the God of the future views you as his brethren and his forerunners in the new humanism where God becomes man’s friend and no longer his rival. Because, until today you have been misled about God and about the true religion.
Such is your new humanism and here it is all set forth.
SIN IS NOT TO DISOBEY, BUT TO COMMAND
“ It all begins ”, you say, “ with an untruth that one might think was merely based on faulty information and showed an innocent intention: ‘ Has God told you then not to eat of any of the trees in paradise ? ’ The woman unhesitatingly corrects the faulty information, perhaps without sensing that this is merely an opening gambit, a prelude to what the father of lies is about to say to her. Here is what follows. First he calls in question God’s veracity: ‘ You will not die ! ’ Next he strikes at the heart of the covenant between God and man. ”
Very few readers will have noticed, Most Holy Father, that even here you are cheating. You have concealed one card, and on the next page you will produce another. You have skirted around the existence of a God-given precept to our first parents – an order, which they had to obey, surely ? In its place, you introduce another principle, of your own fashioning:
“ Satan’s statement ”, you say, “ is intended to destroy the truth about the God of the Covenant, about the God who creates out of love, who out of love concludes an Alliance with humanity in the person of Adam, and who out of love puts to man requirements which have direct bearing on the very essence and on the very reason of man. ”
Here, it is not Satan who is deceiving man, it is you. You deny – by a clever omission, which is a mortal sin here – that God has the right to command, that he has in fact commanded his creature under pain of punishment, and that he willed to command him, demanding of him his obedience for the pure and simple good, merit, advantage and glory of obedience. You make authority a sin, and disobedience a natural and virtuous reaction to any trampling on man’s rights by God or anyone else ! Love, according to your lie, excludes any law that would exceed what “ the very essence of man ” under the control of “ reason ” demands !
“ It is forbidden to forbid ”, you tell the modern atheists. That is the first law of your common humanism. Those who claim the opposite are man’s executioners and the devil’s accomplices, and those who believe their false claim are the victims of the devil and of his confederates. On the side of the victims are the anti-clericals of all ages, who believed this claim and for that reason rebelled. On the side of the executioners are all the religions that preceded you and your Council.
“ The God of the Covenant is effectively presented to the woman, ” you explain, “ as a Sovereign who is jealous of the mystery of his absolute rule. He is presented as an adversary of man against whom man needs to rebel. ” One would think that you yourself were slipping into the serpent’s skin to make God’s gentle authority over his Creatures absurd, odious, unbearable and revolting. Having thus presented the divine truth as a satanic lie, having thus sponsored man’s disobedience and his rejection on principle of all divine law, you will draft an initial attempt at reconciliation. You will tell the atheists: This God is not, or at least is no longer, the God we are announcing to you. The God of Love, Love itself, forbids nothing, does not stand in man’s way and would be grieved to vex him ! He allows everything; he desires and wants all that man in the first place wants. Should he forbid a fruit, it is because that fruit is poison !
For you, therefore, Satan is “ the author of a false conclusion ”, namely, that God gives commandments, exceeding his rights and violating man’s rights and freedom ! “ However, ” you continue, “ the ‘ deity ’ of man is of no concern to Satan. The only thing that matters is to transmit to man his own rebellion, a rebellion by which he has identified and established himself in this universe outside the truth and outside the law of dependence on the Creator. That is the message of his ‘ Non serviam ’ (I will not serve) which is the true antithesis of another definition: ‘ Mi-cha-El ’ (who is like God ?). ”
What you mean is this. Man in his “ deity ” – for you recognise in him an inborn deity ! – had only to follow his own personal law. Being transcendent, he should have known that God could not command anything that his own deitas, his divine nature, his intelligence, his heart and his nature had not itself first commanded. He should not, or rather Eve should not, have fallen into Satan’s trap and believed such a monstrous thing: that God should commit such an abuse of power as to give him an order !
“ To rebel is the first of duties ! ” proclaims modern man. Yes, say you, but there must be matter for rebellion. And, in your dialogue with atheism, you swear that God, or at least your God, has never used authority, has never claimed to impose his will, his “ good pleasure ” from on high or from without, on any human person. The rebels against God and against religion of all time have rebelled through error, because of a disastrous misunderstanding, the source of which is to be found in the earthly Paradise, in Satan, or if that is a Babylonian myth, in that Spirit of Lying and of Evil, which poisons man’s relationships with God, disfiguring them so that they are no longer relationships of love and of freedom but those of slave to master.
The first stage, therefore, in your modern agreement with the impious and in your preaching to them is that sin consists primarily in the authority that commands, and not in the revolt by which it is justly answered. But your God, you swear to the impious, will never allow anything to be commanded to the human “ deity ”.
SIN IS NOT MAKING ONESELF KING, BUT BEING OPPOSED TO IT
“ One might say that here we are at the beginning of man’s temptation, the beginning of a long process that will unfurl itself throughout history. Even under the apparent simplicity of the event related in the third chapter of Genesis… ”
First stage: Satan makes man believe that God commands, setting himself as up an enemy of man’s freedom, violating his dignity, his responsible conscience, his “ deity ”. Man believed this enormous lie and the result was misunderstanding and confusion lasting for centuries. But that was only the “ Evil One’s ” first success.
“ Satan does not achieve complete victory. He does not achieve the total revolt of man against God, such as it is found in his own negation… ” Here you announce the third temptation, and it is difficult to follow you. For the moment, we are at the historical birth of the second lie, the second misunderstanding, which stems, unfortunately, from the second conflict.
“ ... Instead, Satan succeeds in inducing man to turn towards the world, which will stray progressively in the direction he wishes it to go. From that moment the world becomes the terrain of man’s temptation, the terrain in which man turns his back on God in various degrees; a terrain of rebellion rather than of collaboration with the Creator; a terrain where human pride seeks not the glory of God but its own greater satisfaction. It is not for nothing that the Scriptures will speak of ‘ the spirit of this world ’ (1 Co 2.12) as the antithesis of the spirit of God, and of ‘ friendship toward the world ’ as enmity for God (Jm. 4.4).
“ The world is a terrain for the struggle between man and God, for the created being’s defiance of his Creator; this is the great drama of history, myth and civilisation. ” Thus the biblical myth of the lying Serpent would supposedly prepare the way for the pagan myth of Prometheus, of the man who wants to be master of the world and who defies God.
The contradiction thus recognised, what have you to say about it ? You resolve it, or rather you surmount it as you did for the first. By referring to the Council – but that was already your own thinking and perhaps even your own draft – you settle the question: This contestation is artificial. It is the result of a new trick of the Devil’s, provoking a second misunderstanding between modern man and God from the birth of humanism, one that has regrettably been made more poisonous by the religions and by the Churches down to our day. Vatican II understood this lie and resolved this misunderstanding by solemnly proclaiming “ the fully legitimate autonomy of human society and science ”. And here is the antithesis of this diabolical lie: “ not only is this autonomy demanded by the men of our time, it is also in conformity with the will of the Creator. ”
A Satanic lie, you say, at last denounced and belied by the Council ? Most Holy Father – I have to say this lest we go to our ruin – it is this denunciation and denial that are themselves the lies, because the condemnation of man’s autonomy in the world, which you attribute to Satan, is in fact the sacred and unchangeable Catholic doctrine of the Bible, of Tradition and of the infallible Magisterium ! You attribute this truly divine Word to Satan, so as to allow yourself to reject it. And then you burden the Catholic Church and God with full responsibility for the humanist revolt, for its shattering irreligion and for its desire for a world totally emancipated, secularised and void of God !
Is it a satanic lie, this so-called will of God to reign over all His creation ? Is it a detestable misunderstanding ? And is it, therefore, understandable, just and legitimate, that modern society should revolt against this imperial divinity, its Christ the King, its politicised Church, and all religion ? It is you, the Roman Pontiff, who speaks thus ! It is the Second Vatican Council ! And for this you change the divine Word into a satanic lie ? Yes, man is free and the whole World belongs to him for good and for all. Let us have no more talk of obedience, you plead; the word is a trap. Let us talk of justice. And here is what you have to say:
“ It is true that this term ‘ justice ’ is more suitable and more commonly used for relationships between equals. But we are not exaggerating when we say that man today – man who belongs to this era of progress, superior civilisation and advanced technology – now seems even more unjust towards God the Creator precisely because he is the man of progress and because, in large measure, created goods are due to his assistance and he fully profits from them. ”
It is a captious argument, but I follow you perfectly in this maze. You grant modern man everything, so as to say to him on behalf of your God, not ours: What are you complaining about ? You are creator with God, you fully profit from all the world’s riches, you are king, you are lord ! If you still complain, it can only be, I swear to you, because of a misunderstanding, because of a lie of Satan’s, enemy of God and of man ! Between God and you, Man, there can be no competition, no rivalry, no contestation concerning the world, because God has given you the world as your sovereign property and kingdom.
“ This is why ”, you add, “ the age-old temptation of mankind is between secularism and secularisation. While secularisation recognises a just autonomy for earthly things – an autonomy that is temporal (saeculum) – secularism insists that the world must be removed from God’s hands. And for what reason ? – so that everything may unreservedly be given to man ! ”
What is your answer to this impious language, to this hatred of God and rebellion against the mild yoke of Our Lord Jesus Christ and of His Church, a language which all the Roman Pontiffs before you had denounced as the cry of “ demons sprung straight from hell ” (Pius IX) ? You offer words of appeasement to these henchmen of Satan, so as to show them that they have no further cause for complaint against a God thus stripped and humiliated.
“ But can this world ”, you say in violation of our Catholic faith and of our divine law, “ be given to man more fully than it was given to him at the start of creation ? Can it be given to him independently of the objective order of good and evil ? And supposing it were to be given to man in a different way, would it continue to remain in his service and remain truly his ? Might it not rebound on man and reduce him to slavery ? Might it not turn him into a tool and a victim of the world ? Nowadays one needs only to consider the progress made in nuclear physics alongside the attendant folly of atomic weapons, the progress made in medicine alongside the attendant folly of abortion !
“ Here is the capital text from Vatican II – on the rightful autonomy of all earthly realities and human institutions – which is applicable to all this: ‘ Once God is forgotten, creatures themselves become impenetrable. ’ (Gaudium et Spes, 36) What a wealth of meaning there is in those words ! ”
On the contrary, what an abominable phrase, artful and diabolically mendacious ! Your whole argument, in effect, empties the world of all divine authority, of all God’s law and grace, and of our Heavenly Father’s good pleasure and supernatural designs, in order to agree with the wicked that this world is theirs, entirely and exclusively, so that it could not be more theirs if it were bequeathed to them. And they have no need to submit to any duty, sacrifice, renunciation or prohibition prescribed by God. But out of an innate sense of justice and out of a free act of gratitude, they have only to give thanks to the Creator for this kingship He has given them, abdicating His own entirely for their exclusive advantage.
And here again, in order to explain the existence of divine commandments – like the prohibition of abortion – you refer to man’s possible “ follies ”, not to his crimes, still less to his sins. And it is thus that you plead the cause of God, your God who is never seen, a God who has deliberately renounced His government of the world to abandon it to the power of man. Of men ! for there are many, even billions, of them, and if God is not their great King, since they all claim to be king, which of them will prevail over all the others, and by what absurd and terrible means ? You are not concerned about the result. You have simply once more pleased the atheist of this apostate century by attributing to a Satanic lie what is in fact the Catholic doctrine of the Omnipotence and Kingship of God, of Jesus Christ Son of God made man, over the world and over history – a doctrine which is unbearable to the atheist.
Second stage of your agreement with the wicked of this century: sin exists in divine, ecclesiastical, political, patronal, and paternal authorities who govern and reign in the name of God, who impose on men a law of God, an idea of God’s kingship, “ unjustly ” taking from them the government of the world. Sin exists not in the wicked who shouted, “ We will not have this man to rule over us ! ” You swear that your new God is not ours. The moment has come to say to you, as Jesus said to Peter who tempted him: “ Vade retro, Satana ” (Mt. 16.23).
SIN IS NOT IN MAKING ONESELF GOD, BUT IN CONDEMNING THIS CULT
You thus continue to work your charm, going all the way with the modern atheists. And yet, we arrive at the most thorny question: If man is God, God cannot be. God must be one or the other; each necessarily excludes its rival. You take up this point:
“ Nevertheless, the anti-Word does not stop there. Once it has been voiced, it goes further and deeper still, well beyond the line of its original inspiration.
“ The concept of alienation, as formulated by Marx and by his followers in our times, is equally applicable to religion. Religion itself also causes man’s alienation, so to speak (you mean: allegedly, or rather: as Marx might speak). To alienate here means to de-humanise: to deprive man of his human nature, it being understood that this nature is man’s exclusive property and right. In religion, man denies himself this property and the right to his own human nature to the benefit of the idea of God, an idea which he himself devised, subordinating himself to one of his own products ! ”
You sink deeper and deeper into the Hegelian dialectic mentality and into its most elementary and Marxist interpretation, where mind is but a superstructure and its ideas no more than brute products of economic conflict ! You take seriously this basic atheistic propaganda with its unfailing “ master versus slave ” conflict, this “ fairy story for puerile philosophers ”, as Molnar says (Op. cit., Au coeur du marxisme, la dialectique, p.46). In your desire for dialogue, you even wish to take this seriously. It does not disgust you. But in taking it seriously, you dishonour yourself and you dishonour religion. Religion would be a form of alienation, that is to say of dehumanisation, suffered by man as the result of an idea he would have forged for himself, thereby making himself the slave of his own “ product ”. It is absolutely ridiculous. And for you to take it seriously is grotesque.
What is grave, on the other hand, is what you incidentally concede to these allegedly materialist atheists: namely that man is the exclusive owner of his nature, that he has a right to his own being, that he is initially an Absolute, before being subjected to this dialectic. And, without criticism, you admit this as a postulate, clearly as unproven as it is unprovable, a postulate for which all the hegelo-marxist claptrap is merely a vain accompaniment.
And on that, according to you, hangs Satan’s final temptation: “ When the Devil says, ‘ Your eyes will be opened and, like God, you will know good and evil ’ (Gen. 3.5), these words express the full range of temptation for mankind, from the intention to set man against God to the extreme form it takes today [...]. Perhaps we are experiencing the highest level of tension between the Word and the anti-Word in the whole of human history. To think of alienation in this way implies not only the denial of the God of the Covenant, but also the denial of the very idea of God, the denial of his existence; at the same time it implies the postulate – the imperative – of liberation from the very idea of God in order to bolster up man. ”
Whilst you are talking, I keep my attention fixed, not on what you say about alienation, but on this postulate which you hold on to throughout your dialectic game, that of man the absolute owner of his nature with an exclusive moral right to it. That is the important thing. You continue:
“ Here is a typical extract from Feuerbach’s book on religion:
‘ In place of the love of God, we ought to acknowledge the love of man as the only true religion; in place of belief in God, we ought to expand man’s belief in himself, in his own strength, the belief that humanity’s destiny is dependent not on a being higher than humanity but on humanity itself, that the only demon for man is man himself – primitive man, superstitious man, egoistic and evil – but that similarly man’s only god is man himself. ’
You tell us that that undoubtedly is the supreme temptation foretold by the Scriptures. Have no fear; we knew that that had to come. “ We accept with trepidation, but also with trust, the inspired words of the Apostle Paul: ‘ Let no-one deceive you in any way; because first it is necessary for the rebellion to come, and for the man of sin, the son of perdition, to reveal himself ’ (2 Th. 2.3). ”
And so, Feuerbach, Marx and their followers are the final tempters of mankind, or else they themselves were tempted by “ the Evil One ” at the height of his paroxysm. And what is this temptation ? To suppress God from man’s thinking and from his world, to make man himself the object of his faith, hope and love, making him the only object of his cult and adoration.
At the moment of this supreme temptation, are you going to break your agreement with the atheists and suddenly lose all the benefit of your preaching to these demons ? Or are you going to congratulate them again and, by means of a third denial of your Christian faith, join chorus with modern humanism in its ultimate and excessive claim, in proclaiming the death of God, so that man might live without alienation or limit of any sort ? Yes, you will stick to your gamble; you are going to remain faithful to your atheist friends, against God Himself.
“ Secular anthropocentrism ”, you write, is even more opposed to admitting man’s relationship with Satan than it is to acknowledging man’s relationship with God or with anything sacred. Man is alone, and his greatness requires that this be so: that he be alone, ‘ beyond good and evil ’, beyond God and of Satan. All the same, might not the perfection of human temptation lie precisely in this, that man should believe himself to be alone ? ”
I have not forgotten that you are preaching a retreat to Pope Paul VI, when you are still only a young cardinal of fifty-six years. All the same, you have to present your proposals of conciliation with atheism wrapped in a certain nebulosity. To gain acceptance for the legitimacy and value of atheism, in all its deicidal praxis and its fight against religion, is under such circumstances, in such a place and before such an audience, quite a feat. One that you succeeded in, thus meriting you the position of pope today.
But what clearly and precisely did you propose to the modern deicides ? This: That man begin by setting himself alone in all his grandeur, in all his natural, personal stature, by belonging to himself alone, having freed himself from all that is not him, good or evil, the devil and the good God. Humanism. Beyond good and evil. And beyond all religion such as magic, witchcraft, superstition or primitive taboos. That he proclaim the “ death of God ”, the God of religions, of tradition, of cults both pagan and Christian. But also, and equally, the death of Satan. Let him exorcise his fears, his phobias, his complexes and his resentments both conscious and unconscious.
You set up Man in his wise, determined, atheist humanism. You know that he despises religion, that he hates priests and sends believers to die in his huge concentration camps. All that you accept and applaud. Man must at last be himself, alone and free. You agree that he should reject all alienation. And you think yourself well able to deflect these considerations about alienation onto Satan: Let man free himself from Satan as well as from God, you suggest, going further in the direction of their atheism than even the atheists themselves had dreamt.
You do not explain your manoeuvre to Paul VI and his Roman Curia. It is sufficiently clear for them to guess it from the two previous ones: It is through the Devil’s lies that on two occasions already sin has entered into the world. We now come to the third occasion.
It was not man’s freedom that was bad, although the devil made our fathers believe so, throwing them into a culpable fury against God. Culpable because unjust.
It was not man’s domination over the world that was bad, which is what the devil made humanists of past centuries believe, setting them in a state of criminal rebellion against God. Criminal because unreasonable, unjust, and ungrateful.
Today, it is not that man should know, claim and make himself God that is evil in your eyes, Karol Wojtyla. For you, this auto-divinisation is the truth of his being and of his history. In so far as divinities are opposed to it, they deserve to die; and if the religions condemn it, they sign their own condemnation. The crime is not there. It is beyond this. The crime consists in allowing ourselves to be deceived by the Liar, who is the Evil One within us, darkening our minds without cause, precisely because he is the Evil One. The crime consists in thinking that there is no God who is both able and desirous to authorise, support, and love man whilst the latter makes himself God and adores himself in His very presence – and this without any spirit of rivalry or hatred on the part of God.
For the third and last time, you declare the devil to be a liar just when he is being forced to tell the truth through the mouths of Feuerbach and Marx. Namely, that in order to make himself God, man must deny the true and living God; that he cannot succeed in his own ideal divinisation without cancelling within him the Idea of God and without exterminating, outside of himself, all things and people that testify to a God other than himself, this God who is distinct from him.
A satanic lie, you say ! Man can make himself God without wounding the God whom I know, whom I and I alone adore, and who is transcendent and not to be compared with the idols of paganism nor even with the ancient divinities of Christians, the Pantocrator God of the Constantinian age, of the Middle Ages and of the Counter Reformation age. My God, of the phenomenological age, has nothing to fear, nothing to lose, from man’s divinisation today. On the contrary ! by making himself transcendent, Man will restore within himself “ the image and likeness ” of hyper-transcendence, of the Transcendent Other who is beyond our world and who, like his Adversary Satan, is “ extra-empirical ”.
You, and you alone, in the Church of all the centuries, approve of “ secular anthropocentrism ”, that which openly dares to reject traditional Christian sectarianism, and which entitles itself, therefore, to demand of atheists a parallel rejection of their diabolical sectarianism. You ask of them nothing other than to accept the possibility for man “ of not being alone ”. You applaud his divinisation, and you then flatter yourself on unveiling to him, at the very heart of his “ Egolatry ”, a familiar, benevolent, wordless and faceless presence, that of a new, unnamed and unnameable God, a Self above and within me, immanent and transcendent.
At Issy-les-Moulineaux, you referred, in your discourse to the French bishops, to this “ meta-temptation ”, to which mankind is subjected in modern times. None of them actually bothered to understand your thinking and so they stupidly thought you were talking about the temptation for modern man to make himself God ! Which would be impossible to admit or tolerate because, in so doing, man would take the place of God and end in proclaiming the “ death of God ”. You appeared to them to be saying, “ Contemporary man is subject to the temptation to reject God in the name of his own humanity. ” (D.C. June 15, 1980, p.590)
But the rest of your discourse, which was not an anathema against those atheists and deicides of our times, should have enlightened and disturbed your audience. “ It is ”, you explained, “ a particularly profound and menacing temptation from the anthropological point of view, if one considers that man only has meaning as an image and likeness of God... ” And so, “ we ought not to ‘ judge man ’, but to love this man still more, and to love always means to understand in the first place ”.
It sounds sibylline, but what it means is this: one must understand, love and encourage man who makes himself God, and not condemn him. For God’s true opportunity in the modern world is that man, in admiring himself, and in absolutely and infinitely loving himself, should see himself as God, the Image and Likeness of Another. Of another and benevolent God.
YOUR DESCENT INTO HELL
We have a better understanding now of the speculative peace of this dialectical Holy Saturday, of which the liturgy is like a clamant symbol. And of which the Gospel event has become, in your faith, the symbol and prophetic announcement. “ Had not Christ to die and so enter into his glory ? ” Thus God, whose manifestation He was at a certain point in time, ends in dying beneath the blows of atheist humanism in our time. It had to be so, and His disappearance in the world does not disturb you. It is the old God who is disappearing, the God set up more by Satan’s deceit than by His own Word, the God of the “ Anti-Word ”, who had become the God of a culture and of a civilisation whose day is over, which we can nostalgically regret, but which is irresistibly and rightly condemned.
This God who would command man as one would not dare even command a child ! This God and master of the universe, reigning over a people of slaves, subject to all kinds of despotic authorities all governing in his name ! This God who, through the mouth of His prophets and priests, claimed Himself to be alone transcendent and adorable, and who reserved to Himself the right to attribute His grace where he willed, thus making Himself responsible for every kind of segregation and the worst kinds of racism, adopting some for His sons and daughters, making them His children and heirs, whilst treating the others as worthless creatures, strangers to His life, unlike Him and ungraceful !
Thus you run along the road of atheist humanism. You descend alive into hell there to renew the Gospel. You have chosen the philosophies of the death of God, so that every man’s right to the auto-realisation of his own “ deity ” should at last be recognised. So that no God or king should set himself up as man’s rival, for man looks upon himself, wishes himself and makes himself king of creation and transcendent god, and will not tolerate on earth the shadow of any lord whatsoever.
Obviously, for this liberation, triumph and exaltation of man to be accomplished, the atheists must do their part. The antithesis must historically devour the thesis, feed on it, and so engender the synthesis. Marxism comes within the scope of this providential historical dialectic. The old God must die, in the whole of His empirical reality and in His social body. What we are witnessing in both East and West is the wasting away of an over-literal dogmatic belief, of a certain narrow-minded ecclesial community, backward-looking and timid, characterised by the ghetto mentality and an unhealthy desire for sacraments and indulgences. Ostensibly you are not going to lend a hand to this wasting away but, aware of its fruitful necessity, you are not going to oppose it either.
The death of God is also the disappearance beneath the blows of destiny of a certain Christian civilisation, one that is bound to this outworn religion and imprinted with its same theocratism. You certainly deplore that this redundant world should fall beneath the blows of an atheist totalitarianism and its anti-religious propaganda, and suffer its wars, persecutions, genocide and oppression. But you do not judge it to be your duty to defend the counter-revolution or those reactionary mentalities being hounded by the police of the new regimes. You would not intervene in politics ? The excuse is not sound enough for it to be accepted as completely honest. What is certain is that for you the Marxist road is the way of the future. You would like it to be non-violent, but it is the inevitable path of historical development.
YOU HAVE JOINED HANDS WITH THE ATHEISTS
Since your adolescence, you have been on another path than that of traditional Polish Catholicism, eminently theological, theocentric and theocratic. That Catholicism which the greatest Slav thinker of our times, Vladimir Soloviev, found so attractive and which he considered to be the future form of regenerated humanity ! You are on another path, its opposite, that of anthroposophy, anthropocentrism, phenomenological humanism. One day you confided this to a gathering of three thousand Italian teachers, whose congress theme was suggested to them by your own preaching, and for which you congratulated them:
“ In your congress theme: ‘ A school for man. Redemptor hominis, a message for Catholic teachers ’, I found an explicit and intentional reference to what is – as you know – the leitmotiv of the encyclical ‘ Redemptor hominis ’, which I published last Spring a few months after the Lord called me to the supreme office in his visible Church.
“ Concerning this, I wish to confirm that this reflection on man and more especially a particular and direct interest for concrete man, for every man individually – as a creature constituted in natural and supernatural dignity, thanks to the convergent and provident action of the Creator God and of the Redeemer Son – has been for me a mental habitus that I have always had and which acquired a more lucid determination after the experiences of my youth and after my call to the priestly and pastoral life.
“ But it is evident in my Encyclical there is more to it than this element of a personal, psychological order, that is to say the reflection of my interior sensibility – ‘ de homine et pro homine ’ (about man and for the benefit of man): there is also a much vaster and objective reason, that man is and will remain the way of the Church. ” (Discourse of November 3, 1979)
Thus, from your youth you had this cult of man, this attraction for man, in a sort of exaltation in which you felt him to be as though redeemed and divinised in advance, perfect in nature and super-nature, everything coming together to make this particular man, whoever he might be, like a god. As a child, Teilhard fervently adored his “ lump of iron ”, which he passionately charged with life, spirit, and Christic grace ! And for you, it was “ man ” who was to be your “ way ” before being made the “ way ”, through your preaching, of the entire Church !
Your studies in Rome did nothing to alter your direction. And perhaps your interpretation (which I contest) of the faith of St. John of the Cross purged your own “ faith ” of all religious content, releasing it to go lightly and swiftly along the way of atheist humanism.
At any rate, it was at Lublin that you sought in this humanism a new foundation for your ethics. It was an a priori admission that for you the old Christianity was already dead. Germanic idealism had led it to the grave. You proposed examining the conditions for the resurrection of its God, the same God, of course, but different, no longer carnal but spiritual, no longer humiliated but glorified.
From your earliest years as a professor, you kept a visible distance from all controversy and showed your repugnance towards all anathema. Your path was to separate you from the ecclesiastical professors and to put you in close contact with laymen, especially the younger ones who were disposed to follow you in your revolutionary line – that of dialogue, not speculative, but practical and constructive (On all this, see Blazynski, John Paul II. A Man from Cracow - Stock, 1979). It was no longer a question of opposing doctrine to doctrine, but of attempting to think and to live, of taking the other’s vision of the world and his practice as far as possible – those of the Marxist for you therefore – to see whether parallel lines would meet at infinity.
“ In the early post-war years in Poland ”, you said in the course of the retreat preached before Paul VI, “ Catholic intellectuals in argument with Marxists demonstrated that matter cannot have the character of an absolute. These discussions came to a virtual standstill... ” (Signe de contradiction, p.26) That is what you said and I am prepared to believe it, but here it is made to be the justification for your personal decision, your sudden impulse, which was disapproved of by all your colleagues, whether lay or religious philosophy professors ! “ ...attention became concentrated on the anthropological problem. ” Who thus concentrates his attention ? You, and you alone. Despite the others. For they all prophesied that this way led to atheism. They did not suspect that that was what you intended.
You smiled at their fears, in this Holy Saturday of the Polish Church under oppression. You were sure that there would be a “ passage ” – that is the meaning of the word “ Pasch ” ! – through this very atheism; that it would be regenerating, and that you would then be the first and only one to reach the unveiling of a new God – acceptable to all and worthy of consideration by atheistic humanism – at the very heart of this “ secular anthropocentrism ”, as you like to call the system. You would leave outworn, sociological religion to waste away. And you would follow Marxism beyond the limits of its outdated materialism, in order to reveal to it the perfect stature of man.
You continued your confidence to Paul VI:
“ However, the Weltanschauung and the Marxist system continue to assert that matter constitutes the be-all and end-all of man, his beginning and his end, the fullness of his aspirations and the absolute finality of his existence ... ” (Ibid. p.27)
You wish to spring open this materialist bolt. On condition that we first follow this phenomenological “ scientific ” path, without any a priori and especially not religious ! To accept the absolute reign of man in the material universe, the only reality of man in the “ empirical ” sphere. To recognise his autonomy, dominion and transcendence. That is your audacious path, a path that your Catholic colleagues at the KUL refused to accept. That did not shake you. You are certain that in the end you will demonstrate that in every atheistic humanist system, including Marxism, there subsists the possibility of another God, of a transcendent Other, in the “ extra-empirical ” sphere.
Thus it was that you destabilised Poland and even then shook the wall whereby her Church had withstood atheistic infiltration. There is no need to insist here on this aspect. Riding alone and free, whilst the Primate, Cardinal Wyszynski, and the Archbishop of Cracow, Mgr Baziak, were interned by the Communist power, you adopted an open attitude, you advocated new relationships between the Church and the Communist State, and, beyond that, with the Party. The strip cartoon on sale all over the world with the official stamp, “ the only illustrated biography authorised by the Vatican ” (Produc. Arédit Marvel, compos. Malinski, 1983), says it all quite plainly.
On the death of Cardinal Sapieha, Malinski attributes to you these strange thoughts: “ He resolved to fill the void left by the departure of Sapieha and to do everything to become a spiritual guide for the Polish people ” (P.38), – a precocious ambition for a young priest of thirty-one years ! Later, when you were raised to the cardinalate, Malinski was inspired with this thought: “ Karol Wojtyla is now at the pinnacle of the Polish Church. Only Cardinal Wyszynski is superior to him... And everyone agrees that Wojtyla is not made to succeed the Primate. ” Further on we are given this suggestive image, truly too suggestive for this legend: “ Karol Wojtyla is now the spiritual guide of his nation. ” (p.43)
So, you are a “ spiritual ”, which is far weightier than – how should I say it ? – the “ politicals ”. The latter stonewall every advance of the Party intellectuals with stubborn silence and total contempt. They are content to discuss with the powers-that-be the conditions for a de facto co-existence between the two worlds of religion and atheism, which are opposed on everything and mutually ignore each other.
You, the “ spiritual guide ” of the nation, advocate intellectual dialogue and the claim to full and entire religious liberty in the name of Marxist humanism itself. “ In his native Poland, he insisted on the dignity of the individual, which is superior to that of the state. ” (P.57)
That was a breach in the Church’s defence. “ He always discouraged ”, Blazynski says of you, “ the more militant forms of anti-Communism and the concept whereby the Church had the right to give orders to those who do not share her beliefs. ” (Op. cit. p.158)
YOU HAVE THE CULT OF INFERNAL IDOLS
“ Wojtyla showed himself to be extremely accommodating towards atheism ”, continues Blazynski and, in an attempt to understand you, he quotes you as saying: “ It is necessary to show to an atheist that religion is not an alienation from the world but a conversion to God. ” (Ibid. p.252-253)
He comments: “ A dialogue with the atheists is therefore absolutely necessary ”, and he quotes this account that Cardinal Koenig, Archbishop of Vienna (whom I would prefer not to say any more about !), gave of you: “ He possesses a profound knowledge of atheism in theory and in practice, and he knows how to meet it ”. By way of meeting it, there is no question of… living under the same roof, but of entering into its system and of working alongside it, with it and for it...
“ The Church must cease to be silent and must speak. It is very important that we realise, preached Wojtyla one day, just how far a reinterpretation of the Gospel (my emphasis) opens up new ways of teaching. Christians have the duty to “ fashion the face of the earth ” and to “ make human life more human ”. “ It is their duty to give what is called social progress its true meaning. ” (p.253)
Such is the infernal logic of your entryism, of your Communist collaboration – from which you count on finally receiving recognition from the Party which you will have so faithfully served – and of man’s transcendence, to be found according to you in its humanism... and of the Other transcendence, which you hope to see accepted by the Party through gratitude for your good and loyal service in the cause of humanity.
What I retain of this dialectical Holy Saturday is that you serenely accept the condemnation, crucifixion and burial in a sealed and police-guarded sepulchre, of Jesus Christ and of His Church of yesterday. And, through the implacable logic of this new master whose slave you have become, you have reached the point where you passionately want the elevation and exaltation of atheistic humanism, to the extent of wanting its broken and derelict idols to be restored and rehabilitated. Must this Holy Saturday be so black and so murderous for your Pasch to flourish ?
SERVANT OF IDOLS !
See how you answer André Frossard, who is a free man when you no longer are. (N’ayez pas peur, p.269-275)
Having observed that nothing is going well in our mad world, where “ religion seems to be unsure of itself, science as well, and ideologies are degraded to their simplest law-enforcement expression ”… Having remarked that “ the fear of a world conflict is gradually mounting and that man is locked in history and does not dominate it ”, he concludes magnificently: “ Man has believed in humanism, in science, in progress, and in all sorts of metaphysical idols, all of which have crumbled one after the other into dust. Now he no longer believes in anything and expects no light or compassion from some spiritual ‘ elsewhere ’. Nevertheless, in the midst of his nausea, he still sometimes feels a kind of sorrowful aspiration for ‘ something else ’, which he is incapable of putting a name to, and which he will often enquire about from various techniques or mystical arts, all more or less suicidal. ”
If I am not mistaken in my interpretation of your entire thinking and pastoral approach, these reflections of Frossard’s could not be more contrary to your thinking. It is a statement of the error of your views and of the total failure of your impious works. Now, in all candour and in the certainty of eliciting from you a favourable answer which would boost the faith, joy and hope of the Catholic masses, he puts you a question to which an apostate would answer coldly and meanly: No ! and to which a Catholic, a child of God and of the Church, would be pleased to answer ardently: Yes, most certainly !
“ Whence my first question to John Paul II about the world: Has not the moment come to speak of God plainly without any vain psychological circumlocutions and without recourse to those doctrinal attenuations which partially save morality, but only at the expense of destroying the Christian celebration ? ”
As I said, a man of the devil would furiously answer, No ! A man of God would fervently answer, Yes ! Here is the hour of your judgement. You answer: Yes, but... no ! and quite the contrary !
“ St. Paul answered long ago in writing to Timothy: ‘ I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, and in the name of His coming and His kingdom: proclaim the word, insist on it in season and out of season. ’
“ These words of St. Paul, ‘ insist on it in season and out of season ’, mean that we must always and everywhere speak (sic) of God, bear witness to Him before men and before the world – not only because that is the disciple’s mission and vocation, but because it is man’s and the world’s deepest need: the world and man especially have no meaning outside God... ”
“ I would like us to preserve here a necessary sense of proportion, and a sense of the relativity which is indispensable to any observation on the state of the human conscience. I suppose that your opinion, ‘ Man has believed in humanism, in science, in progress, and in all sorts of metaphysical idols ’, involves certain sectors of the contemporary world. If all men were involved, it would be necessary to sate that they were involved in different ways. It could be that those who have lost the faith (sic) in those ideals are indeed those who once professed them most ardently; it is in them that this faith seems to have weakened most.
“ I understand that this secular faith, according to you (!), was meant to eliminate religious faith. It was to lead man to an unrestricted belief in the world, and to think of his existence in this world – with all that it has to offer him – as constituting his sole, total and definitive destiny. That the whole meaning of his life was included in this unique dimension. To speak the language of existence rather than that of knowledge, it was a question of somehow making man abandon himself and entrust himself totally to the world, so as to realise his ideals of humanism, science and progress.
“ According to you (sic), this secular faith – a ‘ laicist ’ faith or at least programmed as such – is collapsing for our contemporaries. There is, therefore, a particular need – perhaps one could even talk of an opportunity, an excellent opportunity – for talking about God, and bearing witness to God in a clear and simple manner, ‘ without any vain circumlocutions ’. According to St. Paul in his letter to Timothy, this need has never ceased. The truth has to be proclaimed ‘ in season and out of season ’. ”
AND YET… NO !
“ And if today that is necessary more than ever before, it is not so much that (how diabolically clever to switch from yes to no, without our noticing !) man has lost his faith in Progress, Science and Humanism (which you grant capital letters), as because there is a need to help man precisely not to lose (the emphasis is yours) this faith in humanism, science and progress (which I have written this time without capital letters, although they could be used without detriment to my purpose). With or without capital letters, humanity, science and progress speak to us of man, testify to him, and make manifest his transcendence (oh !) with regard to the world. In them and through them, man can realise himself ‘ as the only creature of the earth willed by God for its own sake. ’ Thus speaks Gaudium et Spes. And that is why the Book of Genesis designates man as being ‘ the image and likeness ’ of God. ”
NO, QUITE THE CONTRARY !
“ Consequently, if man’s situation in the modern world, and above all in certain circles of civilisation, is such that his faith – let us say his secular faith (sic) in humanism, science and progress – is collapsing, there is surely opportunity to tell this man about the God of Jesus Christ, the God of the Covenant, and the God of the Gospel, quite simply in order (this ‘ quite simply in order ’ is of an incredible density) that he may recover thereby (through faith in God, in Jesus Christ, and in the Gospel) the fundamental and definitive meaning of his humanity, that is to say, the proper meaning of humanism, science and progress, which he does not doubt, and which he does not cease (oh ! above all, let him not stop !) to regard as his earthly task and vocation. ”
And so you acquiesce in Frossard’s proposition: Yes, preach God, Christ and the Church clearly... But why ? To bring men back to their revolting idolatries, to persuade them of the ‘ fundamental and definitive ’ value of the cult of the flesh, of the earth, of the world, and of him who is its Prince ?
Frossard gives a sudden start and objects, “ Humanism, science and progress, however, are only different articles of the credo of Reason erected into a divinity by the French Revolution, which raised a statue to it in the Place de la Concorde, in Paris in 1793. ” Unfortunately, his thought slips and loses its weight. “ It is true that the cult of the ‘ goddess reason ’ lasted only for a short while and could in no way be said to have taken its place as a national festival, as its founders had hoped. It is none the less significant, and I was thinking of this – among other things – when talking to the Holy Father about ‘ metaphysical idols’: Reason was adored for a time by the unbelievers who ended by believing a whole lot of things and who have now been led by the unhappy state of the world to note that reason by itself is not always sufficient for the construction of wisdom. ”
Having reached this point, Frossard calls off the dogs and allows (willingly ?) his great prey to escape unscathed. He then turns elsewhere:
“ But, and this is my question to the Pope (no, it is another question that deflects attention away from the crucial question), how is it that men, reasonable creatures, show such inaptitude (sic) for regulating their lives, their relationships and their actions reasonably ? ” (Ibid. p.274)
There ! You are rid of the religious question that would have given you so much trouble and brought back to the easy meanderings of philosophy, where you are never short of things to say. You ramble on:
“ Yes, why is it that man, a reasonable creature, acts in such an unreasonable manner ? It is a fascinatingly profound question, and an fascinating problem in ethics and existential anthropology. An age-old question also ! I think it takes up a good part of world literature ”, and so on and so forth...
We have escaped from God ! And so things are concluded by ducking the question and by triumphing over any return in full strength of the, oh so dangerous, Catholic faith:
“ It is a problem (sic) as old as the world and is of a universal nature. In order to introduce the answer of the Christian faith, I shall begin by quoting to you a concise and synthetic passage from Gaudium et Spes. It is the chapter devoted to the dignity of the person, which opens with these words: ‘ According to the almost unanimous opinion of believers and unbelievers alike, all things on earth should be ordained to man as to their centre and summit. ’ ”
There, you have re-erected the idol and overturned God. Even so, it was a narrow escape for you. Frossard is silent and vanquished. Is he shaken ? converted ? I have no idea. What I learn from this conversation is the unprecedented malice of your: Yes, but... no, and quite the contrary ! This tirade proves that: with the “ Yes ”, you hold on to your official Catholic position; with the “ No ”, you are a servant of modern idols, that is to say, of masonic idols; and with the “ But ”, which leads us back from God to the idols, you are cunning and duplicitous. Finally, with your “ Quite the contrary ! ”, you have consciously and deliberately fallen into the power of Satan, the Prince of this world, whose idols you have reconstructed and now serve.
You are, therefore, the incarnation or the reincarnation of that “ other beast coming up out of the earth, with two horns, like a lamb (the divine Lamb, Christ, the Lamb that is spotless and immolated !), but speaking like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed (and whose fallen idols you restore). ” The vision of St. John in his Apocalypse. You know it well ! (Apoc.13.11)
Kill me if you will, I am proud to have caught you out, to have unmasked and identified you.
IDEALIST PASCH: THE EMERGENCE OF “ ANOTHER TRANSCENDENCE"
With no vain regrets and no reservations either, the former religion has been sacrificed to its modern antithesis, humanism. It has certainly not yet been seen in events, at least not too clearly; this “ speculative Good Friday ” will take years to translate itself into the “ reform ” of the Christian life, its customs of piety and ultimately beliefs, a reform that must end in their total dissolution, their natural death. The process was started at the Council and is well advanced.
The “ dialectical Holy Saturday ” was not kept waiting. It has occupied all your thinking and all your intellectual life for thirty years. It is the confrontation of atheistic humanism with the Christian religion, the latter ceaselessly enriching the former by its own negation. Thus, for you, humanism is in a constant state of development, integrating every fact and aspect of the present-day world. Today, man is all; his work in the world absorbs all his energy. Humanism, atheism, materialism have dialectically absorbed every other absolute, every other theory !
Here, then, for you is Easter Morning, the Pasch, the hour of the resurrection of the faith, or of faith in the resurrection of God in the heart of man. It is through humanism, atheism and materialism, accepted in all their rigour, that the Church will supposedly save her faith and rediscover her God. That was the assurance you gave at Lublin, and that was your urgent message to the Council (your allocution of October 10, 1964 on Vatican Radio; and the commentary of Malinski, op.cit. p.173-175). Now is the time of your victory and your reward: God approaches; Man rediscovers God in himself and starting from himself. Faith is no longer forbidden; belief in God is no longer outmoded; it is serious; it is imperative as a future value. That at least is your conviction.
FROM THE TRANSCENDENCE OF MAN...
Let us try to witness this miraculous resurrection of God by following your philosophical elaboration of a rigorously modern humanism, “ scientific ” of course, but drawn still more from personal experience... And for this it is better to listen to one of your close friends expounding this grandiose work, which, he says, is not “ strictly a scientific work, but rather a creative one ”. “ That is not a problem ! It was a true creative work. It sprang from the reading and meditation of one who profoundly lived the reality he encountered. ” He who speaks thus is Father Marian Jaworski, and he who relates his statements is your close friend Mieczyslaw Malinski (Mon ami Karol Wojtyla, Centurion 1980, p.249-252)
Let us leave them to tell us the whole story, the construction of your system, where they agree that “ everything is concentrated around the notion of the person. ”
– Yes, he is a personalist. Man in his most profound meaning is what interests him above all. He wants to exploit the opportunities that philosophy enjoys today in studying the person in the contemporary world. He thought this even before Vatican II, when he was drafting propositions for this Council. He wanted to go ahead with the problem of man, a “ subject ” much neglected by Christian philosophy, although taken up by modern philosophy. He thought it was time to work out a Christian anthropology. Some Polish philosophers had been opposed to this, maintaining that anthropology would lead to atheism. The Cardinal knew that things could not be left as they were. With him, the problem of God as well as the problem of Christ can only be defined in this context. The fact that Christ saves the world does not signify man’s alienation, but rather the identity of man. ”
There we have a clear exposition of the historical dialectic in which you intervene. The out-dated thesis is Christian philosophy where God and Christ are everything and man is nothing (I leave the responsibility for this analysis with you); theocentrism and christocentrism having become untenable and insupportable “ after Copernicus, Kant and Einstein ”... the antithesis is found in present-day scientific anthropology, which radically excludes all religion, to the point where your colleagues of the KUL were certain that it could only end in total atheism with no opening on to Heaven... Thereupon, Jaworski indicates your working hypothesis: If Christianity were in no way to imply subjection, renunciation, in short “ alienation ”, and if, on the contrary, it consolidated man’s “ identity ”, then the consequence, the outcome of this conflict, could very well be a synthesis of anthropocentrism and, indeed, of pure Christianity.”
– This vision is not limited to theology or philosophy; it goes much further... Man’s commitment to the world and his responsibility with regard to the world in an historical perspective are born of contemporary ideology. In this context, Christianity is backward. Now, the miseries of the world such as famine, war and racial conflict cannot be passed over in silence by Christians but must constitute their major problem. Otherwise Christianity would represent for modern man what the mediaeval habit of a nun must represent for a modern young girl. ”
I wish to forget this comparison quickly; it shocks and saddens me and leaves me profoundly indignant. The idea again here is one of dialectical exclusion, of a contradiction between the old Christianity, not committed to politico-social activity and to the service of the earthly city, and atheistic humanism, essentially engaged in the world’s problems. But, on this second point, your friend does not let us guess your future synthesis...
Here, then, is a fairly systematic exposition of both syntheses: the synthesis which permits and promises the reconciliation of anthropocentrism and theocentrism, and the synthesis which will reconcile secular humanism and social Christianity.
“ The object of his research ”, Marian Jaworski says of you, “ is based on man’s lived experience. It is from this experience that he engages in his philosophical meditations. For him, man has created a system of norms for behaviour by drawing on his own inner experience.
“ In the context of Catholic moral teaching, this attitude was clearly progressivist at the time when he affirmed it. Wojtyla fully realised this and tried to define very precisely what he understood by the word ‘ experience ’. He did not understand the word in a purely sensual or intellectual perspective. Experience has to be understood globally, as the sum total of lived human given facts in order to be able to give a faithful rendering of the reality of man.
“ This experience is more particularly expressed in the aspects of conscience, freedom, community, and self-fulfilment through action. The human act integrates all the various layers that make up man and thus provokes the concentration of the personality. Then, man becomes truly subject; he lives himself as subject. It is only in and through such an act that the human person can realise and fulfil himself. It is only in and through such an act that man can be free: ‘ Man is free – this means that thanks to his dynamism as subject he is dependent only on himself ’. ”
Thus, according to Jaworski, you prove that man is not “ alienated ” but that he constructs himself and realises himself through action, outside all religious subjection and all moral or legal conditioning. And it is a believer, a theist, and even a Christian who says so. Is this a proof, an adequate argument for, a demonstration of the existence of God ? – or of the presence in man of a Creator and Father, who does not oppress or annihilate him, but who is Someone who supports him, intervening and counting for something in his life, and with whom he ought, with whom he wishes, and with whom he loves to direct and develop his own actions ? One cannot see this here...
“ A second aspect of the human personality of importance to the author is ‘ sociability ’. He develops the notion of participation which constitutes an important relationship of human nature, a ‘ me-us ’ relationship (why ‘ me ’ first ?); the core of social community is the relationship between several ‘ me’s ’ and the common good. In order for there to be a true community, the good that it acknowledges must be a good in the positive, noble sense. The opposite attitude in society engenders alienation where the words ‘ you, us, neighbour ’ disappear from human relationships to be replaced by ‘ the other, the foreigner, the enemy ’.
“ These analyses lead him to formulate a personalist rule: ‘ The person is of such a value, that the correct, rich and value-supportive attitude towards him can only be that of love. The human person is of such value that he must never be treated as a means to an end. ’
“ Again, he shows that the essential feature of the experience of love is ‘ belonging ’. Following St. Thomas, he repeats that, as in every act of knowledge man takes into himself the object he wishes to know, so in the act of love he gives himself entirely thereto and he comes out of himself towards the beloved object. ”
And thus you show, according to Jaworski, that man is in no way distracted or torn from the world and especially from the service of the human person by any kind of religious alienation. And it is to be hoped, from reading you, that believers such as yourself will be able to love the world and their fellow brethren, men. There is nothing in this personalist philosophy or value ethic, however, that in any way implies the existence, presence or “ grace ” of a creator and legislator God to start off with or of a Saviour and animator who will support and accompany this sociability.
The problem, at the stage we have reached, is this: A Christian named Karol Wojtyla draws from his “ lived ” experience an anthropology that rigorously satisfies the draconian demands of contemporary humanism: there is no trace of God in this construction, no need for any anterior or superior existence as man’s cause, condition or last end. In this Christian’s system, Man is everything; he is his own beginning and end, his own law, and the law of everything else.
It is truly, as your friends explain, a purely modern philosophy: “ In Wojtyla’s philosophy one recognises echoes of Gabriel Marcel’s Être et Avoir, Heidegger’s Sein und Sendung, of Japsers, Sartre, Max Scheler, Husserl, and Ingarden. But his whole philosophy is integrated with St. Thomas’ grand philosophy of being. Nevertheless, we should add that Cardinal Karol Wojtyla’s philosophy of created man (sic) is not an eclectic work, but one that is highly personal. ”
But that does not tell us how, from a humanism as radically atheistic as Heidegger’s and Sartre’s, a philosopher like you is going to be able to conjure up and resuscitate the God of the philosophers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of Jesus Christ.
…TO THE RESURRECTION OF GOD
This, the most delicate stage of your dialectic, the most unbearable for our pious ears, and the most futile for the ears of the freemasons and Marxists to whom you nevertheless pay homage, is something you have expounded on many an occasion, principally in your confused work The Person and the Act, and then in your equally confused conferences, ‘ The personal structure of auto-determination ’, ‘ The auto-teleology of man ’ etc. (with all this autolatry, we are clearly in the century of the auto !). It is invariably a matter of showing how and why, from what imperative need or desire, and by what process of auto-decision, as Georges Blazynski summarily says, “ man surpasses his own humanity and attains the infinitude of God. ”(Op. cit. p.208)
I accept neither the logical chain of your demonstrations nor their phenomenological bases; for me, therefore, their validity is null. I shall simply content myself, therefore, with copying out two or three texts chosen by Blazynski, so as not to be suspected of stopping over the most incoherent and blasphemous. Here is one that is not bad for a start. It is from a recent sermon given in May 1978. A sermon !
“ Man must discover himself, he must completely reconstruct himself, and he must completely redeem himself (stupidity !). Because man is not just matter, like a lump of coal or a block of stone, no more can be compared to the most beautiful statue.
“ Man is an image of his God – God made him in his own image ! Man redeems himself and discovers himself when he identifies himself with this image, when he discovers his likeness to God. ” (Ibid. p.256)
And here is a second extract presented by your biographer as characteristic of your “ struggle for man ” and his “ transcendence ”:
“ The comprehension of the human being in his total richness, the comprehension of the human being as a personal subject capable of auto-determination based on his self-awareness – who wishes to fulfil himself by reference to the transcendental powers (stupidity !) of his soul and who struggles by various means to reach this end – is the essential condition for a conscious and creative participation in the present ‘ struggle on behalf of man ’.
“ This struggle was born mainly out of the concept of alienation. I think that this concept – utilised by Marxism in a way that is not always open to question – does not find its full meaning by reference to the human being as an individual of the species Homo, but by reference to the human being as a personal subject.
“ This personal subject can be ‘ dehumanised ’ in many different circumstances, and in fact often is to a high degree. It is stripped of its objectively inalienable rights. To a certain degree, it is stripped of all that constitutes its human nature. All this is included in the concept of alienation or derives from this concept [...]. ”
Now, “ we know that Marx considered religion (also) as a source of alienation. The experience of the human being who considers it his duty in the context of the realisation of Marxism, to think deeply about the problem of the human being as a personal subject, leads to a clearer realisation that the only world where the victory over man’s alienation can be completely won is precisely the world we find in the Gospel – and no other.
“ Only in this world, in this dimension of comprehension, reason, and an ethical sense of duty, can man succeed in freeing himself from all that ‘ dehumanises ’ him. And all that ‘ deifies ’ man in this world can certainly not bring about his ‘ dehumanisation ’, since the image of God is the essential measure of the human being.
“ I believe that a new path for theology and for the Church in the contemporary world is being opened up in this direction, a path that will emerge in all its clarity from the ‘ struggle for man ’, which is becoming ever more intense. A special appeal is coming from that direction, an appeal that theology cannot ignore. ” (Ibid. p.258-260)
It would be insolent to ask you what all this could possibly mean. Especially as all the dignitaries of the theological and philosophical world, Thomists even, have told you how highly they think of it all; the theologians of Mainz, for example, who awarded you an honorary doctorate of their university of Johannes Gutenberg for this reason:
“ Because Cardinal Wojtyla has opened new methodological paths to Christian ethics by basing himself on phenomenology and by continuing in the line of Christian personalism, and because he has given us a convincing picture of man’s inviolable dignity in an original demonstration of philosophico-theological anthropology, thus making an admirable contribution to the current theologico-moral discussion on the theory of the moral norm and essential values, and winning great honour for himself. ” (Ibid. p.258) It is ludicrous !
One can see what you are aiming at, but do you get there ? As with a mountain guide, encouraging his followers across rock chimneys, vertical slabs, and overhangs, it is the last few yards that count. And if he cannot make those last few yards, instead of joy and glory for him and all those he has conducted on this mad climb, it is a headlong fall and death. At the final stage of your daring dialectic, either you make appear before our eyes and consciences your new God, when we had already lost the Former, or else we relapse into an atheism without past or future.
So, I read and re-read. What is to be drawn from these texts ? First of all this: that Marxist Man, if he is a material entity, cannot be subject to any kind of alienation. He is but an object. In order to feel himself enslaved and to wish to free himself, he must have interior awareness, feelings, spirit, and inner freedom. Against materialism, you are right. That is exactly the objection your colleagues of the KUL made to the Communists thirty years ago.
You then proceed to show man engaged in his struggle against alienation, in search of his pure “ ’identity ”, as well as helping others through “ sociability ” to free themselves with him. You say that, in doing this they allow themselves to be guided by the lofty idea of Man they bear within themselves, the idea of man as “ image of God ”. But why “ image ” and what is this “ God ” ? You never say.
In fact there is a dialectical hiatus between the absolute man and the relative notion of man. Let us admit that this is not a new, surreptitiously oppressive and religious “ alienation ”. If man in no way depends on Him whose copy he is, if man projects himself into an ideal image above and beyond, as an auto-realisation, then we have a purely gratuitous movement involving no rational adherence.
We are not at the end of our uncertainties and, let us say, of your implausibilities. It is entirely by virtue of this “ image ” of himself as future, as free and transcendent, that man discovers “ the transcendent Other ”: God. A new dialectical leap that you never explain. The difficulty is this. If the image comes first, depicted in man’s consciousness through his “ faith ” in himself, and if this image be projected into a supreme transcendence, then the God who will appear to him will not be “ Being ”, but Image of the image of man. You will not have constituted man as “ image of God ” or “ man of God ”, but you will have given to the human ideal a usurped divine status: the “ god of Man ”. This hypostasised “ image of Man ” will never be the “ true and living God ”, but an idol without being or life !
Finally, with regard to this force, this virtue, this grace whereby man will supposedly redeem (?) himself and discover himself to be the image of God, and which apparently will already constitute this latent image you call “ deity ”, you never shed any light on it other than that of a phenomenology entirely based on your lived experience of love. Nothing could be less convincing or less communicable. What is more suspect or more easily reducible to religious sublimation than erotic or revolutionary emotions ?
So when you grab hold of Christianity, a lived, purely interior, non-dogmatic, invisible, non-historical Christianity of pure mysticism and faith without object, you are certainly preaching for your own parish, as we say, but you will convert nobody. Here again, we have an impassable hiatus: between this purely anthropological and personalist subjectivity, on which your entire dialectic is based, and the particular historical category of “ Christianity ” to which it can never be confined.
Altogether, although you are very strong against materialism and strong in your desire to destroy the old religion in the name of the absolute of Man, you are powerless to effect the reappearance of God after having killed him in souls and buried him in the tomb of your secular and worldly humanism – the reappearance on the third day of the old God, risen as the brand new Beautiful God in the image of the perfect man.
Despite all your efforts, he remains a will-o’-the-wisp, without being, without life, without face.
A “ FUTURAL ” GOD
I am not at all weary of your dialectic. But I am ashamed to make fun of you in this game, as you make fun of and abuse Frossard in the first two chapters of your dialogue on Faith and on Morals. (N’ayez pas peur, p.64)
I find it very interesting to follow you in all the about-turns you cause in your friend’s convictions – convictions that are frank and objective – in order to make them agree with your immanentist and subjectivist wishes ! Thus you accept the existence of God, the rational proofs for his existence, and even everything that the old religion – which is Frossard’s – teaches us about Him, about His Word, Jesus Christ, and about all the mysteries. Curiously, however, you call this your “ theism ”, to which you are bound, as you recall, by the teaching of the First Vatican Council.
“ It is the rational path towards God, and the adherence of the intelligence to the Word and to the mystery enclosed in It ”. This, you say to Frossard, is the “ solution to your problem of the knowledge of God through reason (which would correctly be termed ‘ theism ’) and of its welcome in faith, which is born of Revelation and through Revelation. ” (Ibid. p.69)
That is most reassuring, all the more so as you encompass within it all St. Thomas’ “ philosophy of being ”, its “ essential basis ”, etc. (p.74-75) This “ theism ” was dominant in your mind for a certain period of your existence, and it still remains in “ correlation ” with the new mode of being a Christian, a “ believer ”, which gradually replaced it, you remark, as you sound the depths of your religious awareness. (Ibid. p.70)
Ah ! clever man that you are ! Frossard religiously follows you, although gropingly...
It is then that you propose, under the generic name of faith, another awareness, so much better and more attractive than the rational approach ! Especially as it corresponds to the desire of “ an entire generation ” which “ refuses to accept ready-made beliefs constraining their intelligence ”. (Ibid. p.63) And this is precisely your faith now, corresponding as it does to modern man’s demand for dignity and autonomy. “ For faith – this faith which you are going to unveil to us and which lives within you - does not constrain the intelligence nor subject it to a system of ‘ ready-made truths ’. ”
The path thus opened, you forge ahead: “ We have just established the distinction between the conception of the theist world and faith; in either case it is a question of an authentic commitment on the part of our intelligence. In so far as it is a conception of the world, theism results from a reasoning or certain way of understanding the world, whereas faith is a free and conscious response of the mind to the Word of the living God. As such, it engages the whole person. The fact that I believe, and why I believe, is organically bound up with what I believe. ” (Ibid.)
One might still think that we were dealing here with the distinction between natural or philosophical certitudes and the supernatural certitudes of the faith in the Christian Revelation... But you are already a long way from that ! You have come to abandoning the Catholic faith for the sake of the religious experience of the divine, which wells up in the depths of our consciousness where your new God is revealed !
An adherence constrained to believe a Credo taught by the Church ? Theism is this passivity before a truth fallen from on high and repeated by the Church. It is an extrinsecism that is intolerable to our generation ! “ Faith – yours – is much more than that: it is an interior response to God’s Word within the human being’s sphere of thought and will; it therefore implies a particular intervention on the part of God. ” (Ibid. p.63)
In the old theism, which you identify with natural philosophy, the better to disqualify it, “ intelligence, you say, can form an idea of God and, contrary to an opinion that has become commonplace, reason can very well demonstrate it, though it cannot show it. ” Ah, reason cannot show it ? Evidently not: “ Reason can only give a blind knowledge of God and it is not from reason [...] that men’s hope has come from the conscious beginnings of the Judeo-Christian religion. ” (Ibid. p.76)
With these few deadly and deicidal words, you have just broken the bonds of Creation, of Providence and Government, of Revelation and Legislation, of the True and Living God of our religion with His faithful people. This God exists; we know very well that He exists. But that is all. According to you, since man’s intelligence is burdened by dogmatic constraint, his heart crushed by legalistic obligations, and his life taken up with ritual prescriptions, he cannot know, feel or experience anything of his God who remains unknown !
Whereas in the purely immanent, subjective, actual and personal faith, which you are going to confide to Frossard, there is actual contact of the soul with its God, there is harmony and mutual consent, so to speak, creation and reciprocal unveiling of being. This God is truly the one desired by modern men, because He does not impose Himself, He does not command and He does not determine...
You complete this scholarly dialectical conversion of outdated “ religion ” to the Modernist “ faith ” when you exile the old God into the invisible in order to privilege your new God, who is perceptible to the heart: “ This God in whom we believe as Christians is not just the invisible creator (your emphasis; and I re-emphasise the word invisible) which our intelligence can attain to through the world and through creatures. He is a God who comes towards man and who thereby enters into history. ” – “ Which is our natural place of sojourn ”, concludes Frossard to show that he has understood. (Ibid. p.81)
So, it is quite simple. The God of external religion is an invisible, distant and inaccessible God. He is as though non-existent for modern man. And it is here that atheism, agnosticism, and “ even the theology of the death of God, cease to be so absurd ”, in that they correctly declare the phenomenal non-existence of the God of religions... “ The theology of the death of God seems to me to be the negative equivalent of the title of your book, God exists, I have met Him ”, you tell Frossard.
There we have it. For you, God is not an historical fact or an object of science. And in so far as the old religions, the traditional Catholic faith, affirm Him to be so, they fall under the chopper of atheism and agnosticism; “ A temporary obscuring of the divine in minds that are obstinately turned towards matter ”, suggests Frossard. (Ibid. p.74)
But God will be reborn in the life of man: from his “ reflection in men’s consciousness ” will spring forth the new revelation awaited by the world ! (Ibid.)
You tell us a few words about this revelation of God in modern man (Ibid. p.82-84). They are words that are of major importance. At last, we are going to witness the promised resurrection of your God, today. It is His genesis in history... Here it is:
“ Man is a being caught up in history and therefore subject to the flow of time; but he is aware of this passing time which he must fill by fulfilling himself. He must therefore establish himself in time and use time to make of himself a unique and unrepeatable being [...] Thus conceived, the historicity of man explains the appearance of God on the horizon and His entry into history [...], in the concrete form of salvation history. ”
It is then that God springs up and flows within man, creating and fulfilling Himself in history. This is what you say:
“ God gives Himself to man created in His image, and this ‘ image ’ and ‘ likeness ’ alone can make this communication possible. It is this that creates the innermost, transcendent and final framework of each man’s history and that of all mankind.
“ It is also a ‘ trans-historical ’ framework [...], and it is this that constitutes man’s historicity – this arresting of and seizing on what is passing in order to extract from it that which does not pass – which serves to immortalise what is most essentially human, that whereby man is God’s image and likeness [...]. Historicity is also the existence of someone who, whilst ‘ passing ’, keeps his identity.
“ Thus understood, man’s historicity is the reference place of Revelation, where his faith, his history, and consequently his salvation history, are fashioned [...]. It is precisely in his historicity and because of it that man is prompted to seek a Being that realises everything which is resistant to the transience in himself, a Being that is the ultimate Transcendent of his own transcendence, the eternal model whose image and likeness he is, as man. And so, it is not only the world (or the Universe) that is the basis for a rational knowledge of God, but also, and perhaps especially, man himself-in-the-world, man in his historicity, that is to say, in that which at the same time surpasses him. ” (Ibid. p.83-84)
During this discourse, Frossard has completely lost sight of the Old God, the Creator through whom all things exist, live, and move in the universe. He has also lost sight of the historical God of the Old Testament, the God who is the Saviour, Legislator, and Judge to come of the New Testament. All this “ theism ” has fallen beneath the blows of the atheism and agnosticism of a justified “ death of God theology ”, for God is not an object, nor a being in the world, nor a phenomenological reality ! That religion is dead.
But now your “ faith ” reveals to man a new God in man – as man creates his own singular and sublime history – a new, possibly phenomenal, God, or at least a “ futural ” God who creates history with man, or who creates Himself in history with man: “ the ultimate Transcendence of his own transcendence ” !
It is Gadamer’s “ futural ” God. It is Heidegger’s God of Becoming erected by man into Being. You are convinced, as was this atheist – a nazi to boot, when nazism was the future – that “ the epochs preceding ours have nothing more to say to our world in the thick of renewal or to contemporary man on the threshold of maturity. Thus revelation and salvific action are reinterpreted and projected into a non-temporal utopian future. We are on the verge of the most enormous transformation, at the dawn of a new (of the ultimate ?) unveiling of Being. ”
According to Bultmann, whom you copy, “ man’s historicity is the comprehension of the self insofar as it is always in the future ”, and according to Rahner, “ Christianity is the religion of this future, which is the absolute ”; and according to Nissotis, it has now become quite useless to appeal to the “ theist God ” – even him you copy ! –, the new theology consists in making Christ come according to the signs of the times, through development and revolution. (vide Molnar, op. cit., Les sources philosophiques de la théologie progressiste contemporaine, p.77-85) I leave the excellent Molnar to conclude:
“ It is useless to continue. At every turn, contemporary theology, a certain theology, reproduces and reinvents the blemishes of contemporary or bygone German philosophical speculation, simplifying them to the point of vulgarity. In this demolition work, nothing remains of the eternal philosophy or of orthodox theology. And yet, there is no question of a ‘ conspiracy ’, but rather of a so-called Christian version of an auto-destructive speculation where by turns the object, the subject, and the cognitive act uniting them, are thrown out of the window. There remains only the flux, the intangible and scarcely camouflaged void. It is not surprising that this void should be filled up with every fashionable system, Marxism and the ‘ revolution ’ in the first place, utopian systems which translate into secular popular language false interpretations of the Christian doctrine. ” (Ibid. p.77-85).
For the paschal resurrection of a new God, it is a total failure. From the tomb in which you have walled up the Old God, having handed Him over to the executioner to be executed, no new god has arisen.
A NOUMENAL GOD FOR A PHENOMENAL POPE
(This play on words can only really be appreciated by true Kantian philosophers. It is not of my invention. It dates from the international Thomist Congress of Rome in 1974, where you were a distinguished lecturer. “ A phenomenologist cardinal is truly a phenomenon ”, is what was said. Cf. Blazynski, p.172)
Your last chance for the resurrection of God is here, in morals. This is your field, ethics ! Let us take a look. Having rejected the “ theist God ” – the true God of our Catholic faith, the Legislator and Sovereign Judge of the living and the dead – for the sake of your God of conscience and of the future, who is full of admiration and love for man, you have not, alas, succeeded in giving to this God any life, face, speech or consistent existence. Will you succeed better when Frossard offers himself for easy target practice in this new terrain – which is not that of either philosophy or faith, but nevertheless related to it – that of morals ?
Here again he poses the question as a good and honest Christian. How is it that men no longer obey God ? What is the remedy for it ? “ The West is sliding towards a sort of moral self-management which the State cannot oppose with any kind of divine or philosophical law... ” “ Where he is still free, the human being intends to base himself on his own moral law, in so far as he feels the need for one, without any concern for a God in whom he no longer believes, or concern for a neighbour who could be sent away to obtain public assistance from the social welfare organisations. ” And he explains that this is precisely “ the situation predicted by the serpent in the first garden: men no longer recognise themselves as and do not wish to be ‘ images of God ’, but they wish to be themselves ‘ gods ’, free to define what is good and what is bad as it suits them. ” (N’ayez pas peur, p.130)
Does Frossard suspect that he is still holding on to this outdated “ theism ”, from which you had previously tried to free him ? The fact remains that he is putting a question certainly dictated by Your Holiness, so much does it reveal a dialectic to which he is clearly allergic: yours !
“ Does man’s being ‘ in the image of God ’ quite simply imply a moral law (the poor man had certainly not imagined otherwise !), or (and this is your dialectic) a permanent conflict within man, who, being made or struck as it were in the image of another, could paradoxically only be himself in that other ? ” I translate: Come along Frossard, let us leave this outworn concept of an alienating morality, one of filial obedience to God, Creator and Father. There is something much more exalting than that ! Let us talk about my humanist morality – which is so dear to my secular anthropocentrism at this hour of the death of God – my humanist morality whereby man is free in his opposition to the oppressive God of old and is in search of a new God that will guarantee man’s freedom !
In fact, you do not even bother this time to turn the good Frossard from his reactionary extrinsecism to modern immanentism. You expound your Kantian ethic without more ado. (Ibid. p.131-146) Man is a subject who must conquer the fullness of his absolute and therefore infinite being by his own efforts, in the name of his own dignity, freely and in accordance with the orientations and norms of his conscience:
“ All the riches proper to the human being prove his transcendence to be an essential dimension of his existence. Through his very humanity, man is called to surpass himself ”, and you add that this cannot fail to please modern man who thus finds himself having “ direct experience ” of the image of God within him.
Frossard reels under the blow: “ We have often had occasion to note that the Pope refers to the idea of ‘ transcendence ’ as a certain aptitude of man’s to overstep his own limits in order to go further or higher – a singular property for which proof can be found even in the Lascaux caves... ”
I will spare you the details: the cave drawings of bisons which prove man’s transcendence... It is Moliéresque ! But what follows is not Molière, it is you: this chain of concepts to establish how man makes himself god. From freedom – “ this ‘ fissure ’ or breach of being which opens man towards the infinite – that is freedom ” – we pass to responsibility which relates to awareness of the truth whence moral obligation is born... Ah, here is Kant ! In other words, responsible auto-determination. (Ibid. p.145)
The fact remains that in this “ experience of great intensity ”, man learns of “ humanity ”, which is “ that whereby man is finally and essentially man ”. For “ it is there that is rooted the fact of man’s becoming ‘ subject ’ and of his opening towards the infinite and therefore towards the absolute, which Kant expressed by affirming that moral good rests on the categorical imperative ”. And so “ man in his freedom becomes for himself a task to be fulfilled ”.
In fact, all that is simply a plagiarism of the presuppositions of Kant’s morality. Brilliant ! is how a German thinker of your age will see it. Feeble is how any young Frenchman of my acquaintance will greet it. But how can this ethic be the herald of the resurrection of a new God for the 20th century ? As follows: Man is the unique, exclusive and supreme principle of his own moral effort, as he is also his own ultimate end. Now, you state, “ this conquest of himself, in another dimension, is the conquest of the Kingdom of God ” (oh dear !) (Ibid. p.146). Therefore (therefore !) humanism as such is Christianity...
And God ? You come to that: “ I am convinced (sic) that God is the ultimate guarantee of man’s freedom. ” What does that mean ? You explain. In the mesh of determinisms of modern society, permissive or totalitarian – for you it is the same – man can no longer “ think of his freedom ” without being led to “ discover God ”.
“ I think that in both these situations (permissiveness or totalitarianism), a man conscious of the rules and mechanisms of his existence can discover God, or be convinced that He alone can save him from integral determinism. And it is more easily done in a totalitarian world than in a permissive world (of course !). But in either case, the passage from slavery to freedom is nonetheless often bound up with the discovery of God. ”
That is all ! Is that your apotheosis, your resurrection of a beautiful God in glory who will dispense us from having to remember the God of Moses and the God of Jesus Christ ? It is Emmanuel Kant’s “ noumenon ” and nothing else ! This “ noumenon ” which all his disciples allowed to die out and be annihilated in the infinite void of the starry beyond !
Such then is your God, of no more “ empirical ” reality than your Satan. This Satan whom you manoeuvre throughout human history from Adam and Eve to Feuerbach and Marx, to tell us, at a certain moment, that he is of an “ extra-empirical reality ” (Signe de contradiction, p.47)... corresponding to “ Evil ” in our world, an intangible “ phenomenon ”, a perverse inclination pushing man to the gratuitous act of rebellion against God. So, God and Satan are realities of a sphere that is invisible, inaccessible, and unknowable, which corresponds to what we recognise in our existence, but... God knows how !... Man experiences within himself freedom, auto-determination, transcendence, “ deity ” – he experiences his own absolute and his own infinite. In him, the “ image of God ” is real and “ phenomenal ”. God is its figure, symbol, projection, and guarantee in the unobserved, unproven and unprovable “ extra-empirical ” order of the “ noumenal ”.
The great advantage of this God is that He does not exist, or if He does exist, it is as though he were non-existent for us – the pure guarantor of our freedom. Man, Man, Man ! For a “ phenomenal ” Pope, there is only Man, guaranteed by a fictitious God who is “ noumenal ”.
A GOD FOR MAN’S PLEASURE
You have solved the “ contradiction ” of which every man, the man Jesus in particular, is the “ sign ”. You have freed man from his “ religious alienation ”. He is no longer the slave of oppressive powers, God, emperor, pope, kings and bosses. He is “ Man ”, and you have given him all these powers. He is his own boss, his own master and, if he likes, his own God.
Well then, having come to the end of conquering the world, why not conquer Heaven too ? To do that, he only has to add to his well-being, to his “ having ”, the supreme value of culture, which is of the order of “ being ”, of “ hyper-being ”. Without neglecting its most exquisite part, “ the sacred ”. Thus you make of faith man’s final adornment. Who could refuse it ?
“ Man tends towards God who is his ultimate goal. Man is a pilgrim making his way towards the Holy City (a series of biblical references), towards the sanctuary that is accessible only to him. The dimension of the sacred (ah ! so it is a dimension !) and sacral values (so they are values !) constitute the noblest and most definitive sphere of human existence, which is also the sphere of man’s most perfect auto-realisation. He realises himself in this dimension. Through the sacred, all human experience is made sublime and raised towards ‘ the above ’ (?), despite its natural inclination towards the ‘ below ’. In living by these sacral values, man reaches that which confirms him in all his plenitude and which realises him (???).
“ The countless analyses showing how the sacral dimension is so closely bound up with man constitute philosophical and scientific negations of these concepts which see the source of man’s alienation, of his dehumanisation, precisely in his relationship with the sacred (?), especially with the supreme Sacred (??). The result of this is often an imperative, sometimes crazy, desire for desacralisation and for a striving against all that is holy, against all the sacredness contained in the various aspects of human existence, notably in social and public life. There results a certain stubbornness in wanting man to exist outside the sacred altogether, that he should exist only as man, that is to say, desacralised. In short, we find ourselves faced with a programme of desacralisation in the name of a so-called humanisation. ”
You would think the “ sacred ” was a sort of folkloric liturgy of importance for man’s psychic equilibrium and for the socio-biological harmony of mankind !
“ The whole experience of the Church and of humanity, however, prove that the sacred brings humanisation to completion. It is on this plane that the Church possesses a vast historical experience which shows itself, among other things, in the beatifications and canonisations of God’s servants and through the history of human (sic) holiness throughout the centuries and generations of men. ” (Ibid. p.196-197)
Despite all contrary efforts, those of desacralisation and therefore of dehumanisation, there is no need for us to worry: “ The glory of God is man alive ”, and everything necessarily advances towards the “ final Fulfilment ”. (Ibid., chap.20, p.219-231)
“ Whatever kind of resistance mankind might put up (might !), whatever the actions of the Anti-Gospel (very depersonalised here) and their efficacy, the history of man in the world is in principle penetrated by this entirely divine process, by the entire economy of grace and of salvation. ” Who, therefore, could still be afraid ? Even evil tends towards the good ! And: “ the great Goethe says even of Satan that he is a force that always desires evil and yet always does good. ”
So, “ the glory of God is man alive ! ” and there will come about the “ Fulfilment of all things ”. (Ibid. p.229) All God’s works are full of his glory: creation, redemption, sanctification and fulfilment. All this glory is referred by God specifically to man: “ The glory of God is the living man ! And God leads him towards glory... And this glory is what God wishes above all. Only He has the power to reveal the glory of the creature, to reveal the glory of man in the mirror of His Truth, and consequently in the dimensions of the final Fulfilment... The glory of God is the living man. ” (Ibid. p.231)
Here at last is your synthesis of the old Religion and of contemporary atheism. It is their final fulfilment in living Man, rich in having and in being, brought to completion in the feeling of life’s sacredness and in the glory of freedom. Man and God are reconciled, but in Man. St. Irenaeus, whom you quote in support of your humanism, understood it quite differently, in a way now believed quite outdated. The reconciliation he had in mind was not in Man but in God : “ The glory of God is the life of man. And the life of man is the vision of God ” ! (Adv. haer., IV, 20.5-7.) Here man depends entirely on God and on His grace, and not on his own freedom and on his own pride. Between the two there is all the difference of a religion and its opposite, of the worship and love of God leading to the sacrifice of oneself and to death on the cross, and of the worship and exaltation of self to the death of God and the obliteration of Jesus Christ. Why have you chosen Satan against God ?