The Restoration: A daydream coming true

Rev. Robert Brucciani

There are many theories about how our prayers for the “liberty and exaltation of Holy Mother the Church” will be answered. Some predict a cataclysmic war, others predict a violent persecution, others still predict a miraculous intervention.

The Church is in crisis, the world is becoming more anti-Christian; the solution has to be dramatic.

Or does it? While reading Hilaire Belloc’s, Europe and the Faith, another possibility presented itself. Belloc, that wonderful historical storyteller of profound understanding, explains the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the Roman Empire and the emergence of the nation state:

In a word, the gradual cessation of central Imperial rule in Western Europe, the failure of the power and habit of one united organisation seated in Rome to colour, define and administrate the lives of men, was an internal revolution; it did not come from without. It was a change from within; it was nothing remotely resembling an external, still less a barbaric, conquest from without. All that happened was that Roman civilization having grown very old, failed to maintain that vigorous and universal method of local government subordinated to the capital, which it had for four or five hundred years supported. The machinery of taxation gradually weakened; the whole of central bureaucratic action weakened; the greater men in each locality began to acquire a sort of independence, and sundry soldiers benefitted by the slow (and enormous) change, occupied the local “palaces”, as they were called, of Roman administration, secured such revenues as the remains of Roman taxation could give them, and, conversely, had thrust upon them so much of the duty of government as the decline of civilisation could still maintain. That is what happened, and that is all that happened.” (Chp 4)

Now this decline of the old order and the rise of a new order, could well be the pattern of the fall of modernist Rome and the restoration of Catholic Tradition in the Catholic Church. The parallels are striking:

Just as the Roman Empire became weak because it abandoned its founding principles, the rule of law and the love of Rome, the Catholic Church became weak because its members abandoned Our Lord Jesus Christ as the unique Law of salvation with their false notion of religious liberty, and they failed in their love of Holy Mother the Church with their false ecumenism.

Just as the Roman Empire was convulsed by an internal revolution, the Catholic Church was convulsed by the internal revolution of the Second Vatican Council in the twentieth century. Just as the Roman Empire faltered in its government as a consequence, the Catholic Church has faltered too. It no longer teaches, governs nor sanctifies as it should; religious ignorance, disrespect for God’s law, abuse of ecclesiastical law (especially those concerning the liturgy) and desacralisation are becoming its hallmarks. A widespread collapse of its institutions—religious orders, seminaries, parishes and schools—signals an imminent end to the old order.

But just as the collapse of the Roman Empire permitted new men to occupy the “palaces” of power, the same might happen following the collapse of the church of the Second Vatican Council. Indeed, the process is already begun; the field is clearing for those who have kept the faith. We see how traditional communities attract a disproportionate number of vocations. In France, one forecast predicts that the number of traditional priests will overtake the number of conciliar priests by the year 2030. We have witnessed great edifices being handed to the Ecclesia Dei communities in increasing numbers because there is no-one left to maintain them. We have witnessed institutions such as our own having to rely on supplied jurisdiction to continue the Church’s mission. We have also seen jurisdiction for canonical processes and the administration of the sacraments being granted or delegated more freely than ever before. The similarities are striking.

There is, of course, one difference with the fall of the Roman of Empire: the visible Church will never fail. It will always be one, holy, Catholic and apostolic; it will always have a hierarchy with the bishop of Rome as its head, however much it is afflicted and however unfaithful its incumbents.

Archbishop Lefebvre's vision of the restoration happening through the restoration of the Catholic priesthood fits perfectly into this model and is already coming true. The only thing that will fail in the Church is the revolution ... and when that happens, she shall have the liberty and exaltation that we earnestly pray for. Deo gratias.

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