Point 22. Against the Progressivism
of Félicité de Lamennais
Any theory advocating that the Church undergoes obligatory transformation and that Christendom can be surpassed, leaves the Phalangist of the Immaculate unmoved, since he is convinced that such impatience and such revolts are not inspired by the Spirit of Christ but by the pride of Satan.
Impatience, wild dreams, revolutionary prophecy, followed by the disappointment that leads implacably to apostasy – all find in Félicité de Lamennais their matchless illustration. It was easy to foresee straightaway where his Progressivism§ would lead him. For once it is admitted that Jesus, right down to our own days, has obtained and achieved nothing glorious in His Church through the power of His Spirit, then the necessary conclusion is that He is not God and that every effort inspired by Him is equally vain. Unless, that is, one judges oneself to be greater than Jesus Christ, and a true saviour and messiah!
1. To the Progressivists afflicted by this revolutionary contagion, the holiness and apostolicity of the ancient, mediaeval, and classical and modern Church appear all too imperfect to correspond to the divine mind and will. Arguing from the imperfections, the slowness, and the disorders of centuries past, and concluding that the Church has been radically unfaithful to the Spirit of Christ and to the inspiration of the early Christians, they reject the Church’s age-old institutions and her entire tradition. They then prophesy another future, a new age; they demand and prepare for a global reform of all institutions, a mystical revolution of the peoples roused by the Spirit, which will usher in the millennium, the age of the Holy Spirit, the new Pentecost, new heavens and a new earth.
2. The substitution of these chimerical visions for the reality of traditions is assuredly the work of human minds and innovators who, discontented, stubborn, and ambitious, are more prone to error than anyone else. Following their own unchecked inspirations, they dare to excise both what is essential and what is accessory, what is good and what is bad, what is divine and what is human, what is obsolete and what is permanent! In doing so, they carve into the very quick of the body and soul of the Church and Christendom! It is dangerous surgery. Then in the space left unoccupied after so many excisions, the visionaries arrange their ideal creations, each more inhuman and arbitrary than the last, as they vie with each other to make them as foreign and as contrary as possible to everything seen and done in a detested past.
3. That which is done in disregard of tradition or against it, is done in disregard of the Spirit of God, and of the Virgin Mary, and against Them. It can only be something wretched. Thus the Progressivists, who excel in destroying the works of God and all their great past, turn out to be incapable of building any holy or lasting works. If one honours them, they end up living as parasites on the very Christendom that they have worked to destroy. If, on the other hand, one thwarts them and prevents them from doing any harm, they forsake the Church like Félicité de Lamennais who, despairing of her, replaced the statue of the Virgin Mary with the statue of “Liberty”. Like him, they will end their days in the despair and darkness of apostasy.
This Christian Progressivism is a lamentable story, as is the tragedy of so many priestly souls who have been led astray and ruined by it. This same Progressivism is the main driving force behind the conciliar and postconciliar upheaval of Vatican II!