1. Within the Church herself, a new heresy.

To my friends
Letter 58

The gods of the pagans are demons.” (Ps 95:5)

These two Cities – the redeemed family of Christ the Lord, the pilgrim City of Christ the King, and its enemy, Satan’s earthly City, are entangled together in this world, and intermixed until the Last Judgement effects their separation,” wrote Saint Augustine in his great book “The City of God,” and he added: “I now proceed to speak, as God shall help me, of the rise, progress, and end of these two Cities; and what I write, I write for the glory of the City of God, that, being placed in comparison with the other, it may shine with a brighter lustre.” That is what I intend to do for you, throughout this year, for so long as the Holy Spirit deigns to enlighten me, in a time when the good and bad, the true and the false, the Christian and the pagan are mixed to such an extent that everyone’s faith is endangered.

The evil is all the more formidable in that its existence is denied by the large majority and supported rather than opposed by so many in high places. Out of fear, cowardice, a false conception of charity or a secret complicity, a horror of polemics or fear of being accused of sectarianism, it is practically forbidden to denounce anything as the enemy of the true Faith or to condemn anything as contrary to Christian morals. That so many people should be conquered by the gangrene of vice, that ignorance mixed with muh pride should throw so many into practical apostasy might not necessarily be so disturbing in itself since the world of original sin is deeply ingrained in human nature. That the world should be subjugated by its own mechanical inventions and applied sciences, that it should be reduced to such an abnormally low and vulgar way of life through its love of comfort and its detestable social institutions is something that one might have submitted to with bitter resignation. There is, however, something else, infinitely more serious, that the Pastors of the Flock can no longer ignore, nor allow to grow, a disease which threatens to lay hold of the entire flock. I have reached the conclusion that all the individual and social ills from which we suffer are dependent on much deeper evils that greatly increase their potency and which are neither ineluctable nor natural. They are the work of the Adversary, of Satan himself. It is concerning them that we should remind ourselves of Saint Paul’s warning: “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities, against the Powers, against the world Rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual Hosts of Wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ep 6:11-12) Once you have seen that, you cannot remain silent.

If it were simply a matter of world Communism and its adepts, or of Muslim fanaticism, which is expanding at a formidable rate, then one could say that the danger has long been discovered and the enemy sufficiently unmasked. Here, however, we will be dealing with a much more agonising form of diabolical domination at the very heart of the Church and as Saint Pius X foretold, it is acting insidiously in the name of the Church through her ministers and her institutions, often under cover of her authority but always in agreement with and favouring the Church’s outside enemies. I say these things not lightly but with fear and trembling, because at the end of ten years of searching I now [1959] see the evil in its depth. I used to wonder how so many Christian thinkers, priests, religious and fervent souls could be carried away in this movement which works entirely for the subversion of the Church and in aid of her enemies. Through what blindness and with what hope? I now reply that it is on account of a false mysticism, of a doctrine apparently inspired by faith but which in reality is the corruption of the Faith, namely Progressivism, a new heresy, far more serious than the worst heresies of former times and which continues to attract souls simply for lack of having been clearly defined and condemned outright.

If the malice of the demons were not sometimes transformed into an angel of light,” as Scripture says, “then it would not be able to achieve its work of seduction.” Progressivism is nothing more than one of Satan’s creations, but it is not easy to really unmask it. For my part, I have long believed that this mass of people committed to Progressivism was simply animated by a desire to be in the trend, an ill-informed and quite imprudent zeal for the Church, and leftist political opinions or sentimentality. So far as the flock is concerned that is true. Yet a movement of such dimensions and revealing such unity of thought, such discipline of action cannot just be the product of several different agencies. The worldwide diffusion of this movement only makes sense if we understand that it can only be led from the top by lucid men who are themselves nourished on a new “mystique.” The doctors of this heresy are still in the Church, they share her Faith and commune in her worship but concealed under these identical appearances, the intimate content of their faith, their hope and their charity is quite other. In their minds, Catholic forms become clothed in a vision of the world which is no longer that of our Faith, which is even its contradiction, and where the most beautiful mysteries of our religion are transposed into a decidedly pagan order. To sound the depths of this depravation is an unbearable calvary: they were our brothers, but we discover that they are so no longer although they still appear to be so. They are even bent on the ruin of the Church, our common Mother, while still living off her and speaking in her name! In them the word of the Apostle is verified: “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” (2 Co. 11:13-15)

 “Let no one think me foolish,” he adds, and that is precisely the fear of those who keep the purity of the faith and defend it in these troublesome times when the Heresy is growing without being unmasked or condemned, and in large areas of the world where the full malice of this heresy has not yet become fully manifest. It is certain that in China and Poland, for example, Christian Progressivism appears more obvious than in France [1959] and shows its true face: its detestable fruits make the tree well-known. In those countries, however, it has lost its power of spiritual seduction and is hardly more than a political instrument in the hands of the wicked. In France on the other hand, this sordid aspect of Progressivism is not apparent and everyone is doing his best to ignore it or neglect it. The upholders of Progressivism are nothing other than ‘angels of light’ and no one is entitled to suspect their faith and abundant sincerity. In Communist countries, Progressivism is on the side of the persecutors and it tends to set up schismatic churches to the detriment of the One True Roman Church. Over here, Progressivism claims to be the vital spearhead, the dynamic part, the mystic elite of the Church, and the hierarchy, which alone has the authority to denounce it in the name of Orthodoxy, is mainly devoting itself to covering up for its ringleaders. They call themselves Christians and we are supposed to bow down before their sincerity and, in the name of charity and brotherly union, it is forbidden to hold them in suspicion. Yet what a strange Christianity it is!

The best political minds have already established the anti-national and even unnatural character of their ‘temporal commitments.’ Sound moralists have denounced their patent immorality. In the name of discipline, their complicity with the Church’s worst enemies and their stands opposed to those of the hierarchy have been demonstrated and stigmatised, but all in vain. Progressivism nevertheless continues to seduce entire generations of priests and Catholic Action militants because it goes beyond all these secondary criticisms, all these minor objections and sanctions. For the Progressivists, these are only inspired by political prejudice or ecclesiastical routine, by sectarian “integrism” or the blind bureaucracts of the Roman Curia, and they impose in lieu, their Christian faith in its purity, which is more perfect, more authentic and vital than all the others. It is their Christian faith that dictates to them the principles that command all their action. Theirs is the true Christianity!

Thus, we will only vanquish Progressivism by calling into question the orthodoxy of this superior faith of theirs. That is the origin of this vitality, of this energy hostile to the Church and that is what must be regarded with suspicion. Sincere they may be, but are they in the truth? I shall show you that theirs is a corrupted faith, that this heretical mystique besots souls and wins them over on account of its resemblance to Christianity. It arouses in souls an ardent enthusiasm and a generous dedication simply on account of what it preserves of the Christian mysteries. There is an added frenzy for everything that is new and sectarian and that comes from Satan. Because this mystique is totally depraved, it unfailingly leads those who succumb to it into fighting against the Church of Jesus Christ in every manner and on every front, and in the end it leads to a denial of the true Faith in order to enlist in the great army of the Antichrist.

Let the Church therefore hasten to denounce this Heresy, let her confound its doctors instead of guaranteeing their sincerity, in order to save the many seduced and misled souls from the peril of damnation and to loosen the iron grip that is stifling the Church of Christ.

Letter to My Friends no. 58, 1959.
Published in Catholic Counter-Reformation no. 55, October 1974.