liberalism-sin-iniquity-abomination

Rev Fr Horacio Bojorge SJ

Prologue

 

In this brief opus Rev. Father Horacio Bojorge S. J. revisits the thought of a prophet of the 19th century, Fr. Sardá i Salvany one of the first voices to warn us about the arrival of this new Barbarian invasion called Liberalism that is flooding Western Civilization. With great insight Fr. Bojorge identifies the core impulse of the Liberal revolt as a sinful rebellion against the paternity of God.

Western Civilization has been nearly destroyed by Liberalism in its many variants but there is no need to despair, for this awful time may be the prelude of a great Christian awakening. In ancient times it took less than two centuries to convert those barbarians invading Rome to the Gospel of Christ. That great civilization that was Rome fell like an empty husk so that Christendom could be born from the ashes of the Greco-Roman world. In a way the barbarians accelerated the arrival of Christendom.

In our day many have sounded the alarm trying to call this world to the ways of the Father. Duty is calling us to action one more time, to continue circling the walls of Jericho until the walls crumble. Then the world may be able to see Christ. Coincidentally it was a blind man from Jericho who recognized Jesus as the Messiah. Faith allowed him to recover his eyesight. The very first thing he saw with his new eyes was the face of God.

Carlos Caso-Rosendi

 

Liberalism

Many authors have exposed the failures and flaws of Liberalism, its historical and philosophical precedents, and consequences. In this exposition, we shall analyze the concept of Liberalism as sin. This is what Liberalism really represents: a systematic rebellion against Divine Paternity. In the classic sense of the word, Liberalism is an abomination.

Liberalism is not simply a sin but ‘the’ sin. Therefore, when we call it “a sin”, we could misunderstand it as just another sin among many. In reality, Liberalism is the sin par excellence, root, base and pinnacle of all sin. By introducing this brief precision I believe I have interpreted correctly the ultimate intention of Fr. Felix Sardá i Salvany, who titled his work Liberalism is Sin.

The thesis

When I say that Liberalism is ‘the’ sin, the quintessential sin; I intent to advance one step closer to the comprehension of the type of sin we are dealing with, and the reason why Liberalism must be defined in that unique way. My thesis could be summarized as follows: Liberalism is ‘the’ sin, because Liberalism is intrinsically evil. It is the sin against the Holy Spirit, the rejection of the Son, and the rebellion against the Father.

We need to understand the importance and depth of this affirmation. Liberalism is the direct sin against Christ and the Father. Consequently, it is a sin against the Holy Spirit. We shall see later that this is the sin that is called “the iniquity” in the New Testament, the sin of the Devil. The book of wisdom says that by envy—by ακηδία[1] of the Devil—death entered the world and those who belong to them, experience that death when they rebel against God,[2] and just like the Devil they aspire to place themselves in the place of God. They are also in accordance with the Devil in his refusal to serve God. This is the sum of all evil, the supreme iniquity. Its complete manifestation is reserved for the Time of the End. This is what Saint Paul calls “the mystery of iniquity” (mysterium iniquitatis.)[3]

Liberalism is exposed as a manifestation of the mystery of iniquity, denounced by Saint Paul as a force acting incipiently in a covert manner already in apostolic times.

We will return to this topic and examine it in more detail. However, it is convenient to define in advance the concept of iniquity. According to the New Testament, iniquity consists in rejecting Jesus Christ and the revelation of God the Father, as agents of man’s life and salvation. Iniquity is the opposition to the Holy Spirit by an impure spirit. It is therefore a direct sin against the Holy Spirit.

This rejection can be explicit or implicit. Explicit like that of Judaism and others who deny the validity of the Christian revelation in history. Implicit, like that of the practical atheists, or those who are indifferent, or those who do not oppose the truth but simply consider truth implicit, and relegate it to the bin of unnecessary, or inconvenient things that are hard to explain.

A recent example

Let me propose an example to show which types of silence, omission, or forgetfulness I am referring to. His Holiness Benedict XVI introduced a small modification in the text of the Theme of the Fifth Conference of the Episcopate in Latin America and the Caribbean. The title of the theme that was presented to him was: “Disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ, so that our peoples may have life”. The Pope added two words: ‘in Him’, changing it to “Disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ, so that our peoples may have life ‘in Him’”.

With this smallest addition of two words (‘in Him’) the Pope called our attention to something fundamentally essential. If that something would have remained implicit, it could have covered a dire ambiguity in the comprehension of the expression “may have life”.

To have life ‘in Him’ means to have the fullness of life as sons. The life announced by Jesus Christ. The goal of the disciple’s mission remains defined explicitly by its objective: “so that they may have life ‘in Him’”. This inspired addition, introduced by the Vicar of Christ, prevented the whole theme of the Conference, (and even the Conference itself) from being infected by that kind of Gramscian reductionism, that limits the life of man to a purely material existence. That immanentist reduction that has its roots in Rationalism, Naturalism, and Liberalism, finding its final form in Marxist Materialism.

I would be satisfied if, at the end of my exposition, I had been able to explain the nature of the sin of Liberalism, helping to comprehend better the nature of the danger avoided by the Pope, when he reminded us that the goal of our missionary work is to aid the peoples to have life in Christ through the message of God the Father. That life is the fullness of life that we can only have ‘in Him’. Such life consists of entering in communion with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, by means of the Holy Spirit.

Notice how, at the bottom of that vague imprecision in the original phrase—at the root of that casual omission—lay something that could have been wrongly construed as an essential part of the Gospel. That ambiguity left just enough room for a surreptitious infection of the message with the Liberal concept that separates human life from its life in God. In that Naturalist vision, the ultimate horizon in the life of man is merely the quality of life.

That silence could have been particularly damaging if its origin would have been a forgetting of the essential. It would have been demonic if its origin would have been a conscious aversion towards the essential.

Félix Sardá i Salvany: Liberalism is sin

Before going any further it is necessary to define, as a fundamental point of reference, the diagnostic given to us by Fr. Félix Sardá i Salvany in his work Liberalism is Sin. There Fr. Sardá writes:

“Liberalism, whether in the doctrinal or practical order, is a sin. In the doctrinal order, it is heresy, and consequently a mortal sin against faith. In the practical order, it is a sin against the commandments of God and of the Church, for it virtually transgresses all commandments. To be more precise: in the doctrinal order, Liberalism strikes at the very foundations of faith; it is heresy radical and universal, because within it all heresies are comprehended. In the practical order it is a radical and universal infraction of the divine law, since it sanctions and authorizes all infractions of that law.

Liberalism is a heresy in the doctrinal order because heresy is the formal and obstinate denial of all Christian dogmas in general. It repudiates dogma altogether and substitutes opinion, whether that opinion be doctrinal or the negation of doctrine. Consequently, it denies every doctrine in particular. If we were to examine in detail all the doctrines or dogmas which, within the range of Liberalism, have been denied, we would find every Christian dogma in one way or another rejected—from the dogma of the Incarnation to that of Infallibility.

Nonetheless Liberalism is in itself dogmatic; and it is in the declaration of its own fundamental dogma, the absolute independence of the individual and the social reason, that it denies all Christian dogmas in general. Catholic dogma is the authoritative declaration of revealed truth—or a truth consequent upon Revelation—by its infallibly constituted exponent [the Pope]. This logically implies the obedient acceptance of the dogma on the part of the individual and of society. Liberalism refuses to acknowledge this rational obedience and denies the authority. It asserts the sovereignty of the individual and social reason and enthrones Rationalism in the seat of authority. It knows no dogma except the dogma of self-assertion. Hence it is heresy, fundamental and radical, the rebellion of the human intellect against God.

It follows, therefore, that Liberalism denies the absolute jurisdiction of Jesus Christ, who is God, over individuals and over society, and by consequence, repudiates the jurisdiction which God has delegated to the visible head of the Church over each and all of the faithful, whatever their condition or rank in life. Moreover, it denies the necessity of divine Revelation and the obligation of everyone to accept that Revelation under pain of eternal perdition. It denies the formal motive of faith, viz., the authority of God revealing, and admits only as much of revealed doctrine as it chooses or comprehends within its own narrow capacity. It denies the infallible magistracy of the Church and of the Pope, and consequently all the doctrines defined and taught by this divine authority. In short, it sets itself up as the measure and rule of faith and thus really shuts out Revelation altogether. It denies everything which it itself does not proclaim. It negates everything which it itself does not affirm. But not being able to affirm any truth beyond its own reach, it denies the possibility of any truth which it does not comprehend.

The revelation of truth above human reason it therefore debased at the outset. The divinity of Jesus Christ is beyond its scope. The Church is outside its comprehension. The submission of human reason to the Word of Christ or its divinely constituted exponent [the Catholic Church, especially the Pope] is to it intolerable. It is, therefore, the radical and universal denial of all divine truth and Christian dogma, the primal type of all heresy, and the supreme rebellion against the authority of God and His Church. As with Lucifer, its maxim is, “I will not serve.” Such is the general negation uttered by Liberalism. From this radical denial of revealed truth in general naturally follows the denial of particular dogmas, in whole or in part (as circumstances present them in opposition to its rationalistic judgment). Thus, for instance, it denies the validity of faith by Baptism, when it admits or supposes the equality of any or all religious cults; it denies the sanctity of marriage when it sanctions so-called civil marriages; it denies the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff, when it refuses to accept as laws his official commands and teachings and subjects them to the scrutiny of its own intellect—not to assure itself of their authenticity, as is legitimate, but to sit in defiant judgment upon their contents.

When we come to the practical order, Liberalism is radical immorality. Morality requires a standard and a guide for rational action; it postulates a hierarchy of ends, and therefore of order, within whose series there is a subordination of means to the attainment of an ultimate purpose. It therefore requires a principle or fundamental rule of all action, by which the subject of moral acts, the rational creature, determines his course and guides himself to the attainment of his end. In the moral order, the Eternal Reason alone can be that principle or fundamental rule of action, and this Eternal Reason is God. In the moral order, the created reason, with power to determine its course, must guide itself by the light of the Uncreated Reason, Who is the beginning and end of all things. The law, therefore, imposed by the Eternal Reason upon the creature must be the principle or rule of morality. Hence, obedience and submission in the moral order is an absolute requisite of morality. But Liberalism has proclaimed the absurd principle of the absolute sovereignty of human reason; it denies any reason beyond itself and asserts its independence in the order of knowledge, and hence in the order of action or morality. Here we have morality without law, without order, freedom to do what one pleases, or what comes to the same thing, morality which is not morality, for morality implies the idea not only of direction, but also essentially demands that of restraint and limitation under the control of law. Liberalism in the order of action is license, recognizing no principle or rule beyond itself.

We may then say of Liberalism: in the order of ideas it is absolute error; in the order of facts it is absolute disorder. It is, therefore, in both cases a very grievous and deadly sin, for sin is rebellion against God in thought or in deed, the enthronement of the creature in the place of the Creator.”[4]

The road to follow

Fr. Sardá i Salvany tells the truth. There is more, though a lot is implicit in the precise diagnostic of the Spanish apologist. The first consequence we notice is that Liberalism is ‘the sin’ in a specific sense: it is ‘the iniquity’ identified in the New Testament as the setting in place of the supreme anti-Christian, anti-God evil. The seed of that iniquity lies hidden in history waiting to sprout a virulent manifestation. This is also an eschatological sign, because it is the cause of the final dissolution of mankind an the preamble to the reign of the Antichrist.

As we shall see, Saint John defines ‘that sin’ as η ανομία (ē anomía ‘the iniquity’). This sin is particular and unique, this η ανομία (indifferent negligence that makes no difference between good and evil) always appears in the New Testament as a characteristic of the Antichrist and the End of Times, the Final Judgment, or the παρουσία (parousia) of Our Lord Jesus Christ. From the beginning of the Church it is applied to the rejection of Jesus Christ and God the Father, whom the Son comes to reveal. Saint John affirms that in his First Letter:

“… many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour […] This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.”[5]

That denial or rejection was experienced by Jesus Christ Himself during his life. He defined it as a “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit”.[6] The same rejection was experienced by all the apostolic ecclesial communities, because it is present and operates within them. Saint John and also Saint Paul interpreted its nature in the light of the words of Jesus. They announced its recrudescence in the End of Times.

One example of evil language

As a sample of the language of the modern iniquity, please read what was said by David Friedrich Strauss, Pastor and Theologian, self-appointed arbiter of what we should consider an acceptable Christ:

As long as Christianity is considered like something given to Mankind from outside itself; Christ as something who came from Heaven; His Church like an institution for the forgiveness of sins by means of His blood; Christianity will be understood in a Jewish way and the Religion of the Spirit will continue to be fleshly. Christianity will only be understood when we recognize in it a Mankind made more aware of itself than it has ever been aware so far: that Jesus is only that Man in Whom that profound conscience was manifested for the first time like a force determinant of His whole life and His whole being; and that sin can be erased only by access to this new conscience.[7]

The rebellion against the Father

The aforementioned words of Saint John, teach us that lastly, ‘the sin’, the worse evil, is the rejection of God the Father, the rebellion against a God-Father. That rejection and rebellion are manifested in the rejection of the Son (sent by the Father,) and of those disciples sent by the Son. The Son is rejected because the Father is also rejected. The Father is rejected by those seeking to avoid being subject to Him by filial obedience.

We must remember that the rejection of both obedience and subjection to God’s government of human affairs has long established biblical roots. Remember the people of Israel who wanted to be freed from the lead of Moses.[8] Later, the Israelites asked Samuel to give them a King, like the kings of the neighboring nations.

God interpreted that request as an intent of secularization of political life, a form of early liberalism: “They have not rejected you, they have rejected Me, so that I don’t rule over them.”[9] Certainly, the Israelite monarchy would come to be the history of the infidelities of the chosen people to their Covenant with God, with the kings they have asked for, acting as leaders of the apostasy.

In the New Testament we find the Parable of the Murderous Vineyard Workers. They kill the son to take possession of their master’s vineyard for themselves.

Let us recall the words of Jesus: “He who receives you, receives me, and he who receives me, receives the One who sent me.”[10] Also, inversely: “He who rejects you, rejects me; and he who rejects me, rejects the Father who sent me.”[11] The rejection of God found in the Old Testament continues manifesting itself, as reported in the New Testament, in the form of a rejection of God the Father.

Heresies of Liberal origin

Within the Christian world—including the Catholic world—there were produced certain forms of religious Liberalism. This religious Liberalism, criticized by John Henry Cardinal Newman, produced deviations and heretic theologies containing the rejection of God the Father that we observe and suffer even today.

One of them was the so-called Deism. Deism accepts God as a Creator, a Supreme Architect. But, once the house has been constructed, God leaves it in the hands of its inhabitants. He does not keep any relation with them, leaving them without the possibility of communion or closeness. Deism was a Naturalist, Rationalist rejection of the Christian revelation. It believed in a Creator God with whom there is no possible communion or communication.

Cardinal Pie cleverly diagnosed that, rejecting the communion with a God that invites us to commune, “it is nothing but the fear of vertigo produced by the wondrous heights that God calls us to climb.”[12] That fear to the sublime union, will later invade all dimensions of human life, giving origin to Liberal individualism, the master-slave dialectic substituting Christian brotherhood, class warfare, and finally, the dictatorship of the envious that will impose the hatred of the best[13] and the tyranny of Egalitarianism in the name of Democracy.

From Jesus ‘without Father’ to Jesus ‘against the Father’

A further consequence of religious Liberalism has been the Reductionist vision of Christ, in the style of the one proposed by David Friedrich Strauss we read earlier. This Jeshuanism presents a historical Jesus separated from the Christ of the faith, with no reference ever being made to the Father as the final goal of the Gospel’s message. In the theological-pastoral discourse emerging from that proposition, the Father is relegated to a silent, implicit role. The Father is only explained when someone demands an explanation.

The Dominican Father Le Guillou has said about that contemporary Jeshuanism:

“This places […] Christ, not with the Father, but in lieu of the Father. In that way we see the vague design of a kind of Christicism, or Jeshuanism (generally leaving the name of the Father silent) that tries to pass for real Christianity.”[14]

Saint Paul teaches us: “But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?”[15] That which is not preached is not believed. That is the horrific consequence of leaving the Father in an implicit role, falling outside the conscience of both preacher and faithful.

This fact has been pointed out by Monsignor Josef Cordes in his work: The Eclipse of the Father, in these words:

“When one asks the great contemporary theologians of both confessions (Protestant and Catholic) about the Father of Jesus Christ, one acquires a surprising perspective: the researchers think more frequently and more markedly about ‘God’ that in the “Eternal Father.’ If one calculates the statistical average of how many times the word ‘Father’ is used in the Father-Son relationship, the word is sadly relegated.”[16]

This is the result of the liberal contagion that has affected the common sense of culture and overflows to the faithful, affecting them and the preachers as well. Once could say, extending the words of Saint Paul: How will they preach if they don’t believe?

The Jeshuanism, or pastoral criticism, is frequently proposed by the Protestant sects and ecclesial communities. Protestants preachers heard in tents and radio programs come to mind. Their message is the announcement of Christ as the personal savior, without a reference to the Father, nor the entering in communion with Him as the point of completion of the salvation they announce.

That same illness has been extended among, and penetrates into the common sense of Catholics, priests and theologians included. I refer you to your own experience in hearing the preachers in our own temples. Something caught my attention in the final message of the Conference of Aparecida—please note that I am not referring to the magnificent Final Document of the Conference, but to the Final Message, a sort of draft of the Final Document written by the Ad Hoc Commission—In this Final Message, different from the later, final document, the Father ends up relegated to an implicit role in the whole opening part, the doctrinal-kerygmatic speaking of Jesus (ten times,) or Lord Jesus (one time,) or Jesus Christ (four times.) In the message the Father is mentioned three times. He is never mentioned in the first part, where Jesus Christ is presented, but later after passing over the doctrinal-kerygmatic moment, in the parenthetical context of the fourth and fifth sections. In this manner Jesus Christ is presented predominantly as Jesus, without an explicit reference to His Father.

The contrast with the original discourse of Benedict XVI is remarkable. There, Benedict XVI reiterates explicitly, that the Father is the goal of the evangelizing process to which the Conference of Aparecida is calling.[17] That is reflected in the Final Document.

This phenomenon I have been describing so far—the growing detachment of Jesus from the Father in pastoral preaching—is emphasized until it reaches a form of paroxysm in the diffusion of Freudian psychoanalysis. Father Ignatius Anderggen has written:

“Freudian psychoanalysis, as a method and technique, is intrinsically in solidarity with its fundamental intent of reaching a full awareness of the rebellion of man against God the Father, the rebellion rooted in the unconscious structure of those vices and passions of man that have not been restored by grace. This intention of Freud, and also of Nietzsche, consists in their conscious opposition against God and their pretension of taking God’s place.”[18]

From the rebellion against God the Father to a society without fathers

Monsignor Paul Josef Cordes comments:

“Freud—who knew that the father in the flesh is the analogy of the Celestial Father—had to get rid of the former first, to eliminate the later “.[19]

That is why, by means of the psychoanalysis, he attacks the Father in the soul of the patient being analyzed. Fr. Le Guillou, in the same work quoted before, points to the fact that the abolition of God the Father, is a basic element in what Monsignor Paul Josef Cordes has called “the eclipse of the Father” in our culture; a progressive disappearance of the paternal figure and of the culture of paternity; the effective destruction of the paternal male. The religious rebellion against God the Father in liberal civilization brought about sociological and cultural consequences. There has been a continual extermination of the paternal man, an also of the filial man, the spousal man and the fraternal man. The abandoning of the fathers to the geriatric nursing home by the present generation, is the consequence of the previous abandonment of God the Father, relegated to Heaven, just as if Heaven was a geriatric home. That generation did not lived with God anymore. They only visited Him from time to time or during visit hours… or never.

The Italian psychotherapist and sociologist Claudio Risé, in his book Il Padre l’Assente Inaccettabile (The Father, Unacceptable Absent), dedicates an entire chapter to describe how Western Civilization is “distancing itself from the Father”. Claudio Risé establishes a parallel between the secularization process, initiated during the French Revolution (the fruit of seeds planted by the German Reformation) and the decadence and disappearance of the paternal figure and of the right of the family man in the West.[20]

On Earth as it is in Heaven

The disappearance of the paternal figure in our society is nothing strange. Mircea Eliade has demonstrated in his studies in History of Religion, that man builds his civilization and culture imitating his gods:

“In reenacting Sacred History, imitating the behavior of the divine, man takes his place and continues united to the gods in what is real and significant.”[21]

“The modern-irreligious man assumes a new existential situation. He sees himself as the only subject and agent of history, rejecting all calls to transcendence […] he does not accept any model of mankind outside of the human condition as it is found in the diverse historical situations. That man is self-built but he does not reach the completion of the task beyond the point of de-sacralizing himself and the world. He sees the sacred as an obstacle for his freedom. He will not be truly free until he has killed the last god.” [22]

The religious rebelliousness of Liberalism against God the Father ends therefore, with the dissolution, not only of the paternal culture, but of all culture. That is the result of the untying of forces of destruction in the human heart, forces that accelerate and precipitate the apocalyptic threats upon that part of mankind living apart from God.

Mircea Eliade affirms:

“In the Judeo-Christian perspective one could say that the no-religion is equal to a new fall of man […] After the first fall, religiousness fell to the level of the torn conscience. After the second fall, it has fallen even further down, to the underworld of the unconscious: it has been forgotten.”

The non-religious man is a disconnected man

Now we can understand better the relationship between the sin that is ‘the iniquity’ and all the other sins that emanate from it. When men revolt against Heaven, they revolt against each other on earth. God came seeking to rescue man, fallen by original sin. When fallen man refuses to take the hand that God extends to lift him up, he falls to even more unforgivable depths.

In the light of the prophecy of Malachi—the last words of the Old Testament—our theme acquires apocalyptic tones. This prophecy closes the Old Testament announcing the coming of Elijah. The New Testament connects that return of Elijah with the advent of John the Baptist, precursor of Christ:

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.”[23]

In our world, the irreligious and the anti-religious men, all have religious ancestors. Along with their rebellion against God the Father, there is a rebellion against their own fathers. The heart of the sons has turned against the fathers and the heart of the fathers has turned against the sons.[24]

Christ has reconciled all things with His blood on the Cross—including fathers and sons, sons and fathers—that is what happened in the Catholic culture. After the arrival of Christ, if men insist again in rejecting Christ and the Father, just as Liberalism does, the result is that men are planted against God the Father, and also against each other.

If there is no possibility of a new reconciliation, then, the only expectation left, is that of a land smitten by the curse. A curse that men could have avoided but they consciously refused to avoid. This curse, they chose freely, misusing their freedom to reject goodness and accept evil.

Kant’s liberation from religious moral—An example of rebelliousness

I have quoted so far, a number of contemporary authors who have studied the illnesses of our culture. All of them coincide in affirming that the origin of those ailments can be traced back to the German Reformation, the French Revolution, the ideology of Illuminism and the Soviet Revolution.

That path shown, shows clearly that the irreligious emancipation of morals leads inevitably to the dissolution of the social bonds among men. Plain history debunks the myth of the secularization of morals and the emancipation of all divine and religious moorings, proposed by the Kantian utopia.

Let us see if the Liberal manifest of Kant was on target:

“So far as morality is based upon the conception of man as a free agent who, just because he is free, binds himself through his reason to unconditioned laws, it stands in need neither of the idea of another Being over him, for him to apprehend his duty, nor of an incentive other than the law itself, for him to do his duty. At least it is man’s own fault if he is subject to such a need; and if he is, this need can be relieved through nothing outside himself: for whatever does not originate in himself and his own freedom in no way compensates for the deficiency of his morality. Hence for its own sake morality does not need religion at all (whether objectively, as regards willing, or subjectively, as regards ability [to act]); by virtue of pure practical reason it is self-sufficient.”[25]

You have just read the manifest of iniquity. The voice of that sin from which all other sin derives; the religious impiety that is the origin of all impiety perpetrated among men: “You will be like God, knowing good and evil.”[26] The central proposition of Liberalism is: “Do free men need the Christian revelation to live morally? Does he need to be subject to a God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit? No, thanks. Does he need to be saved from something by God? Not at all! Man can fend for himself!”

The many-horned beast that said grandiose things

Kant’s manifesto has been proved fallacious by history, however it continues to be taken seriously even more now than ever before. The image of the Beast, described by the prophet Daniel, comes to my imagination. This is the last Beast that emerges from the depths of the sea.

We know that the bottom of the sea, in the biblical imagery, is the place of residence of all the evil forces, the enemies of God. The last Beast emerges from the sea. Unlike the previous ones, this is a talking Beast. It says grandiose things. Horns multiply protruding from its head.[27] The bombastic things it proclaims are the lies of Satan, the original liar and the father of lies. The horns are the multiple political powers born of Satan’s lies.

The Christian interpreters of the Apocalypse have seen in this Beast and its horns, the figures of the political powers and the ideologies that support them: Naturalism, Rationalism, Free-thinking, Liberalism, Socialism, Communism, Marxism, Progressivism, Modernism, Post-Modernism, etc.

The Beast represents the sum of all iniquity, the rejection of Christ and the rebellion against God the Father. That Beast speaks saying grandiose things. It opposes the Word of God, the Word made Man with its eloquence, its propaganda, the erroneous discourse of its ideology, and the manifestos of its lawlessness (Greek ανομíα, anomía).

As the previous beasts are fearsome due to their menacing maws and terrible paws, this Beast impresses with its misguiding eloquence. It displays a convincing sophistry, opposed to the Word of God. When we arrive to the Apocalypse of John this will become a deafening croaking of frogs.

We are reminded of this beast, representing Satan himself, by the words of Our Lord:

“Do not fear those who kill the body [the lion, the bear and the leopard seen by Daniel] but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body [the fourth beast that says grandiose things, the father of lies and all his servants, the prince of this world and all the kingdoms belonging to him] in hell.”[28]

Sin is ‘the’ iniquity

Liberalism is the historic manifestation of the spirit of the Antichrist. From the beginning of history, he hides the seed of his final reign. The “Mystery of Iniquity”[29] prophesied by Saint Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2, 7 that breaks into the world at the end of times. But, before going into the Pauline mystery of iniquity, let us deal with the ανομíα, the lawlessness. Let us analyze its essence as it is expounded in the Holy Scriptures. We begin with the First Letter of John. In this case the Revised Standard Version Catholic, renders ανομíα as lawlessness.

Saint John affirms in his First Letter: “Sin is lawlessness.” [ανομíαανομíα anomía, iniquity].[30] We can take profit from listening and keeping in mind the context of this apostolic affirmation:

See what love the Father has given us,[31] that we should be called children of God; and so we are.[32] The reason why the world does not know us[33] is that it did not know Him.[34] Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And every one who thus hopes in Him [Jesus] purifies[35] himself as He is pure.[36] Every one who commits sin [ten hamartían] is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness [ten anomían, iniquity].[37] You know that He appeared to take away sins,[38] and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins;[39] no one who sins[40] has either seen Him or known Him. Little children, let no one deceive[41] you [planáto]. He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous. He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother. (1 John 3, 1-10 RSV Catholic)

This passage is full of meaning. In it, John opposes to the sons of God to the sons of the Devil. Two generations, meaning two progenies or human races. His letter teaches us how to discern one from the other.

This discernment is necessary and difficult for two reasons. Firstly because the manifestation of the sons of God has not yet occurred. Secondly, because the generation of the original serpent is a race of snakes. They are the sons of the Devil, the descendants of he who was a liar from the beginning. They lie with their thought, word and deed! They are consummated hypocrites, able to pass for sons of God. Even more, they take upon themselves to declare that they are the real sons of God and accuse and condemn the true sons. Their lies are like the deafening croak of the swamp frogs. They are the clamor of the swamp.

The lawlessness or iniquity

At this point we need to go in further in the interpretation and specific sense of the ανομία (pr. AH-NOH-MEE-AH, iniquity, lawlessness) in the text of Holy Scripture. Comprehending the nature of ανομία as it is revealed in Scripture, will allow us to understand what is the ‘sin of the world’ that Jesus came to take away. That will allow us to understand also why Liberalism is ‘the iniquity’ (ανομία,) whether in its more radical, rabidly open anti-clericalism, or in those other secondary forms, where the radical edge has been mitigated. These are basically hypocritical forms, moderated only in appearance.

The etymology of the Greek word ανομία (from ánomos, no-law) means literally lack of law, negation of the law, without law. What the Vulgate translated as ‘iniquity’ (iniquitatis,) is basically lack of law, negation of the law. In the case of Liberalism, ανομία is, in all truth, an adequate adjective because Liberalism seeks to free itself of all laws exterior to the individual, making the will of the individual its own law. That is what we have heard from Kant in his manifesto for the liberation of all morals.

Due to this moral relativism, Liberalism has allowed certain errors to reemerge in our time. For example, the “situation moral,” known in moral theology. This is effectively, moral pragmatism.

John Paul II had to fight against the modern moral relativism engendered by Liberalism. In his encyclical Veritatis Splendor, he defended the objectivity of Natural Law against moral relativism and subjectivism. We have read before how Kant affirms that man does not need God telling him what is good and what is bad, because man has the science of good and evil. What else can we add to that?

Benedict XVI continues to combat the wave of moral relativism invading classrooms and parliaments. Relativism is one of the bêtes noires of the contemporary world.

The moral academicians within the Catholic realm are not completely free from its influence. It is precisely because of that ανομία, that iniquity, that we can say that Liberalism is ‘the sin’. That lawlessness is an effort to adroitly shake off the subjection to all laws, especially God’s law. Lawlessness negates all limits to the self determination of the individual and society. [42]

If we see it from the perspective of the thought of Mircea Eliade, we could say that ανομία is the voiding of the divine example in the configuration of human life. When Saint John makes the affirmation: “Sin is lawlessness [iniquity]”, his affirmation has a specific meaning. Without denying the usual meaning of the Greek word ανομία—opposition to the law—he presents it predicating specifically in the sense of denying Jesus, He who has “not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.” (Matthew 5:13-20). Considering the Christian perspective, it is obvious that he who rejects the one who is Himself the fulfilling of the law, wholly rejects the law. He who ignores, does not acknowledge, or takes no heed of Him who perfectly fulfills the law, commits the ultimate act of lawlessness, the most extreme of iniquities. He perpetrates the deepest of iniquities, the most radical and perverse sin, carrying the most baneful and deadly consequences for himself, and mankind.

The ανομία according to John is the rejection of Jesus Christ, the Revealer, the obedient Son—who lives by and fulfills—the will of the Father. Jesus Christ the Son, the fullness of the law fully revealed by his behavior as a perfect Son doing the Father’s will: “For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life […]” (John 6, 40). Those who do not recognize the will of the Father and commit the ανομία, rebel against the will of the Father, thus excluding themselves from eternal life by refusing to live as sons in filial justice.

Finally, for Saint John, the sin is: the ανομία, the iniquity or lawlessness. It is to willfully refuse to believe in Christ. It is the negation of the Son and the Father, the rejection of the only way to enter into a communion of life with them.

To refuse to believe is to deny to enter and participate in the family covenant offered to humans by the Divine. This is apostasy (αποστασία), the abandonment of the ancestral communion. The iniquity is fundamentally, apostasy. This apostasy is often made visible when the rejection of the ecclesial communion is made manifest in public by those who depart from their brothers, after having judged, accused and condemned them. This rejection of the ecclesial brotherhood shows clearly that the apostate loves the world more than the Father. He loves his own passions and the world much more than having God as Father.

Eschatology and ανομία

The word ανομία is used in the New Testament in a context predominantly eschatological, relative to the Final Judgment, the parousía (παρουσια), and the future of the Church at the End of Times. It does not have a predominant moral sense, but rather religious, relative to the salvation of condemnation of men.

In the Sermon of the Mountain, we hear Jesus say that He will be the judge of that future judgment: “On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me,[43] you evildoers.’ [η ανομία].”[44]

The iniquity condemned by Jesus, has been perpetrated in history by means of invoking His name to produce—by means of that invocation—prodigious signs, prophecies and expulsion of demons, thus appearing to give credit to those who are only Christian in appearance. What does this mean?

Jesus warns us in His instructions about the future:

For many will come in my name, saying, `I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray […] For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Lo, I have told you beforehand.[45]

These are the impostors that will appear before the Judge saying, “Lord, Lord, we have performed many miracles in your name”. Jesus will reject them on the grounds of them having been evildoers, workers of lawlessness.

They appear in history invoking the name of Jesus, but hypocritically doing their own will and not the will of the Father. They announce the messianic salvation and try to put it to work. Let us reflect for a moment in the so called “theologies of liberation” that were introduced in the name of a “liberator Christ” while proposing class warfare. They did not promote the freedom of the sons of God announced by Jesus Christ, the need to become sons of God and the loving subjection of ones own life to the will of the Father. Those and other pseudo-Messiahs, make human will the norm of interpretation of the words of Jesus Christ, while adroitly manipulating the Christ’s image.

Ανομία and scandal

Going further in our reading of these passages of Sacred Scripture we can learn more about what is the ανομία. Pointing to the End of Times, in the parable of the wheat and the weeds, Jesus says:

So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those [evildoers] who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.[46]

We can make a few useful observations here:

  1. Here ‘the evildoers’ are presented—let us emphasize this—as being internal to the Kingdom: ‘[the angels] will gather out of His kingdom…’. This is something that happens inside the kingdom, it also happens in the name of Jesus, with knowledge of His teaching, invoking His teaching, twisting the meaning of His teaching as they find it convenient—but—not doing what Jesus teaches. They listen to His words—and perhaps they may teach His words in His name—but they don’t practice them.
  2. Those ‘workers of lawlessness’, those evildoers operate in a scandalous manner, being like stumbling blocks causing the fall of those who have faith. We have to notice here the technical application and the salvific sense of the word scandal, which we use more frequently in a moral sense (as in “scandalous sins.”) Jesus uses this word in the sense of making the disciples stumble in their following of Jesus, who is the road to the Father. What is the relationship between iniquity and scandal? Scandal, used here in parallel with iniquity, supposes in this context, that the evildoers— by the mere device of being evil—induce many believers into iniquity.

Iniquity is contagious and damaging to the believers’ faith. Even more when it is more than an isolated practice, when it has been turned into an environment, a civilization, a culture, a contagion penetrating in the hearts of the believers as an invisible cultural colonization, altering their common sense, their outlook on life and the world. Thus they also become hypocritical Christians, underground evildoers who have heard the words of Christ in the beginning and they ended up not practicing them, or perhaps practicing a modified version of Christ’s teaching, which is equally bad. They are victims, more or less guilty of the evildoers’ reinterpreting of the doctrine of Jesus to undermine it.

Is it not true that we can apply in full, this definition of iniquity to a pretended Christian teaching that would limit itself to teach values, while avoiding to look at the practical exercise of theological and cardinal virtues? Today we see how easily Jesus Christ is substituted by values, and not even virtues at that! The substitution of the faithful and explicit Gospel for a sort of ‘Gospel light and stretch’. This is a chilling procedure, bringing to mind the exchange of Christ for thirty silver coins—a monetary value. The substitution of the Gospel message for the mere proclamation of values, even if those values are the values of the Gospel: is it not a form of treason? Certainly this definition can be applied to the program of hetero-interpretation of the believer’s language proposed by Antonio Gramsci, a program that has been a stumbling block for so many believers.

Liberal Catholics

The parable of the weeds can help us to focus on the phenomenon of religious Liberalism. It is quite obvious that Liberalism has been a stumbling block for many—even more so its religious version—It has been an obstacle and a scandal for many Christians. It has lead many to confusion. It has been the cause why many Catholics have gone astray, including clergy and bishops who have wandered into the ways of liberal Catholicism. This has happened mainly to those Christians more inclined to listen to the flattery of the world and more fearful of its condemnations and persecutions.

Fr. Félix Sardá i Salvany observes how the liberal iniquity becomes a cause for scandal, once installed in the minds of priests or bishops. That is a stumbling block causing the believers to accept the Liberal opinions. To those faithful who are taken aback by the fact that something like that may even happen, Fr. Salvany says:

“Yes, friendly reader, yes. There can be, unfortunately, ministers of the Church who are Liberal, some of those in that sect are fierce, and others gentle, and there are some that are just resented. This happens just in the same way among the laymen. The ministers of God are not exempt from paying tribute to human frailties […] This should not come as a shock to no one, considering that there has been hardly any heresy in the Church of God that has not been propagated or exalted by some cleric.”[47]

These words of Jesus apply very well to those men of the Church who have fallen prey to the Liberal contagion: “ So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (ανομία).”[48] What turns the ανομία into grave iniquity is precisely the act of becoming an obstacle for men who are in their filial way to reach the Father:

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.” (Matthew 23, 13).

The Kingdom of the Heavens is nothing more than the way to attain communion, as sons, with the Father. Therefore, hypocrisy is ανομία, the iniquity that causes one to separate from the faith in Christ, loosing the opportunity to reach the communion of the human and the Divine. Thus iniquity (ανομία) is scandal because it makes us stumble and fall while we are following Christ in our way to the Father.

Jesus calls those who are championing the opposition to Him in every time, the sons of Satan, a brood of vipers, a perverse generation: “ You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?”[49] Here we find again, the same opposition that we saw earlier in the text of the First Letter of John. The sons of God, who are pure as the Lamb, counter to the sons of Satan who oppose the Son, the workers of lawlessness, the evildoers who practice the iniquity (ανομία) which is ‘the’ sin.

The Iniquity According to Saint Paul

The teaching of Saint Paul about the iniquity extends the doctrine emanating from the texts of Saint Matthew and Saint John. The most significant passage containing this teaching is this:

“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren, not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you this? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his appearing and his coming. The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” [50]

The Mystery of Iniquity

We enter now fully into eschatological predictions, into the fullness of apocalyptic doctrine. That is why we are going to link Liberalism with that eschatological lawlessness which—invoking the Christian mysteries—it is against them and yet able to parasitize them, working prodigies in Christ’s name. These are marvels of efficacy that the wicked use to propel themselves, augment their prestige, and hypocritically mislead the elect.

The Fraud and Falsehood of Modernity

Romano Guardini has described well the Christian perplexity standing before the Modern Age, showing features common to both the age and the mystery of iniquity in this manner:

“The [Christian] memories of the Modern Age rebellion against God were too deeply impressed, leading to an excessive suspicion of modernity and its way of placing all spheres of cultural activity in contradiction with the faith. We must add to that, the occurrence of what we have called the fraud [the hypocrisy] of the Modern Age, that falsehood consisting in the denial of one part of the Christian doctrine and order of life, while at the same time reclaiming for modernity the fatherhood of the cultural results of Christian doctrine and order. This caused the Christian feeling of insecurity relation to the Modern Age: everywhere one could find ideas and values of obvious Christian heritage, being presented falsely as belonging to the common patrimony. Elements of the Christian heritage everywhere were being turned against their own originator.”[51]

This is a fact that deserves further reflection. I prefer to ruminate on it in the light of the observations of Mircea Eliade. Let us reflect on the situation of the Christian man in a Liberal medium, where there is also religious Liberalism. What is going to happen to that Christian when he is forced to live in a world that he cannot configure according to his divine archetypes, nay, this world is imposed to him, constructed by others according to the disordered configurations of the irreligious man? Would this Christian be tempted to reconcile the irreconcilable, the configuration of the irreligious world with the religious archetypes of his faith? Wouldn’t that put him in a state of confusion? Would he end up splitting in two, with his religious faith on one side, and the Liberal secular sense on the other? This is something to think about. At this stage we finally arrive to the thought of Father Leonardo Castellani.

The teachings of Fr. Leonardo Castellani

Fr. Leonardo Castellani has disserted deeply and abundantly about the mystery of iniquity in the eschatological context of the Antichrist, and about Liberalism as an apocalyptic phenomenon related to the mystery of iniquity. I bring up here some passages of Fr. Castellani that are useful to revise and confirm what we have been analyzing. “The Mystery of Iniquity is the hating of God and the idolizing adoration of Man.”[52]

There is evidently an implicit mention of Liberalism in this quote. Liberalism can be also defined properly as “a negation of God and divinization of Man.” Now Fr. Castellani comments on other apocalyptic characters connected with this mystery:

“The two beasts are [the first:] the political powers and [the second] man’s religious instinct turned against God and controlled by the Pseudo-Christ and the Pseudo-Prophet. […]

“The Great Harlot is religion, de-constructed and placed in the hands of the temporal powers.”

“The adoration of man and the hating of God have always existed […] that [phenomenon] has a tendency to coalesce in the body politic and crush the saints. That was the power that condemned Socrates, persecuted the prophets, crucified Jesus, and later multiplied the martyrs. That power, incarnated in a man of satanic greatness, a plebeian and perverse genius, perhaps [not unlike Our Lord] of the Jewish race, superhuman intellect, absolutely evil, will destroy the Church when the obstacles impeding him are removed, Satan will lend him his power and accumulated fury.” [53]

Fr. Castellani foresees that this tide of iniquity will mortally affect Catholicism:

“The temporal structure of the Church—at least a sizeable part of it—will be captured by the Antichrist, fornicating with the kings of the earth, as it has already happened in history. At that point the abomination causing desolation will enter the Holy Place.”[54]

In other passages of his commentaries on the Apocalypse, Fr. Castellani links Liberalism with one of the three frogs of Saint John’s Revelation. Those three frogs appear in the scene after the pouring of the sixth “cup of the ire of God” that the seven angels pour over the earth.[55]

Let us keep in mind that the frogs (Hebrew, tsefardim) are God’s second plague sent to punish Pharaoh[56] Even when here they appear to be only three frogs, one could think that they gather the kings of the earth, to lead an invasion of frogs. In the story of Exodus, the frogs fill the whole country getting into homes, furnaces and everywhere.

These three frogs come out of:

  1. the mouth of the Serpent
  2. the mouth of the first Beast
  3. the mouth of the False Prophet (identified by some with the second Beast)

These three frogs “are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.” [57]

Fr. Castellani observes:

“[The frogs] have challenged the interpreters; the Fathers of the Church, and almost all have seen in them heresies the latest and newest of them. These are Liberalism, Communism and […] Modernism”. [58]

The same interpretation is put by Fr. Castellani in the mouth of his literary character, Don Benjamin Benavides:

“The three frogs are Liberalism, Communism and Modernism, three noisy, jumpy, swampy, stuttering heresies […] they come out of the sixth plague […] they are three unclean spirits [opposed to the Holy Ghost] capable to execute prodigies to congregate the kings of the earth to the last battle against God.”[59]

“The text does not say ‘three demons’, neither is in agreement with the fact that two of the spirits come out of the mouths of men. The text says ‘unclean spirits’. Those words, in any language, designate a movement, an ideology, a theology […] they resemble frogs; slimy, lascivious, occult, swampy, noisy and boring animals, incessantly repeating their monotonous croak:

Croak, croak, croak, the frogs sing
From the bottom of the river,
Democracy, croak, croak, croak,
Social Justice, croak, croak, croak
Humanity, croak, croak, croak,
The diabolic trio sings unceasingly.

“This political heresy, now diffused throughout the world, does not yet have a name. When it gets a name, it will not be his own, that is what Newman called “Religious Liberalism.” He saw in it—just like I do—an omen of the Antichrist.” That is what Pius X called ‘modernism’ and Hillaire Belloc called ‘aloguism’ [and ‘anthropolatry’]. That is the old religious Naturalism that goes back to Rousseau and the Encyclopedists and, if you will, has his roots in Baius (Michel Bay) […] that is, deep inside, the idolatry of Man and Mankind, the worse possible error, attributed by Saint Paul to the [lawlessness, the iniquity, the chaos] the ánomos (ανομoσ).”

“I have written much about it, I will condense my thought here. This is a subtle falsification of Christianity, intent on emptying Christianity of its supernatural meaning, leaving the empty hull, which is filled again promptly by ‘the spirit that loves the unclean wasted spaces’ with he ancient call ‘you shall be like Gods.’”

“Josef Pieper justly observed that the slogan of Liberalism, the dictum: ‘Religion is a private thing and is not a concern of the State’ implies make a God out of the State, putting it above a private God. This is the idolatry of the State, as old as the world itself, or at least, as old as the Roman Caesars, now proclaimed openly by Hegel: the worshiping of the Nation, man’s creation, ‘higher that practical intellect,’ in the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas; who also adds, referring to the ancient cult of the Caesars: if man ceases to worship God he falls into the worshiping of the State—his nation, his race, his Science, his aesthetics, his power to wage war, his Freedom, his Constitution, and also Goddess Reason. Those last three deities were adored by the French Revolution; although the incense ascended towards Robespierre, who stood in the background, behind the prostitutes adorned with priestly silk and gold.[60]

Don Benjamin Benavides offers more information about the three frogs:

“Liberalism, struggling with his son Communism, is the frog-like spirit that came out of the mouth of the Beast, the other came out of the Dragon’s mouth […] Modernism will ally itself to both […] Modernism is the common ground of these two opposing heresies. One day—we can see it coming—the Pseudo-prophet will fuse them together.”[61]

“Modernism cannot be defined briefly, […] That heresy is nothing more than the explicit, pedantic center of an omnipresent spirit permeating today’s world. His origin in history was the ‘Philosophism’ of the 18th century. Fr. Manuel Lacunza [60b] with a very keen eye, saw the heresy of the Antichrist, the last heresy, the more radical and perfect of them all. Ever since those days, it has taken diverse appearances, but deep inside it has been always the same. It keeps repeating the same old song “ Croak, croak, croak, the frogs sing, from the bottom of the river” […] Anyone can figure out what a frog is saying because it’s more noise than word. It is a magical noise, it is hypnotic, demonic, full of signs and prodigies… It attracts, subdues, hypnotizes, inebriates, exhilarates […] in its own way, in a wholesale manner.

“The ‘croak-croak’ of Liberalism is ‘freedom, freedom, freedom;’ the croak-croak of Communism is ‘social justice.’ The croak-croak of Modernism and the mother of them all is “Paradise on Earth”, “Man is God” […] and Democracy is the chorus of the three frogs singing together: political democracy, social democracy, and religious democracy. […] These are the last three heresies because one cannot go any further in the falsification of Christianity. These are the false messiahs predicted by Our Savior. Inside them beats the heart of “the Abomination causing Desolation” consisting in the worshipping of man instead of God, under the pretension of holding to the Christian ways, while keeping the exterior structure of the Church.”[62]

After this consideration of the writings of Fr. Castellani, we can conclude that Liberalism is not only ‘the’ sin, it is also the ‘unclean, impure spirit,” that opposes the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father through the Son. Fr. Castellani ended his conference about the Essence of Liberalism taking a phrase from a letter by Juan Manuel de Rosas[63] a quote presented as his Argentine Definition of a Free Man.

“A truly free man is he, who exempt from unfounded fears and unnecessary desires, in any country, finding himself in any given condition, is still subject to the mandates of God, the dictates of his conscience and of right reason…”

In the same conference, Castellani encourages his young audience telling them:

“Neither you, nor I can defeat the Liberals with one hit. There is though, a way to defeat them in the end: “Giving witness” in the manner of the great Catholics that have confronted it intellectually.[64]

Conclusion

I have striven to show how Liberalism is ‘the’ sin, the supreme iniquity, the sin against the Holy Spirit. This is essentially the rebellion against the Father, the shout of “I shall not serve”. This is consistent with not obeying, not wanting to be His sons, not wanting to recognize God as Father, not wanting to recognize any right over one’s life, not wanting to receive one’s being from the Father. That is wanting to be one’s own beginning and end, to be one’s own god. Confronted with this terrible blasphemy of our times, in the words of Fr. Castellani, we have nothing to oppose but our own witness of wanting to be sons of the Father, striving to live like sons and to know God as Our Father. That is why I invite you to pray this Prayer to the Father, saying with me:

Father, beget us in this hour and in every hour, in this day and every day. We want to receive our being from You always and in every instant here on earth, and in heaven, eternally so that we can glorify You like You deserve. Give us our being, our sight, our thinking, our understanding, our wanting to do Your will, our remembering your charity from where we come and to where we go. Our joy and peace, our happiness: we worship You, we praise You, we bless You. We have no happiness outside of You. To give You glory is the blessing of Your sons. Do not let us fall into the temptation of this generation of indifference where You have placed us. They are saddened by our joy. Deliver us from the evil one. Do not let his sadness prevail over the joy of Your sons, so that nothing will obscure Your glory and the glory You gave to your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.[65]

Notice

With the exception of short excerpts for critical reviews, no part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.

Translated from the original Spanish by Carlos Caso-Rosendi. Permission granted for electronic publication in English by the author. © Horacio Bojorge. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Author

Father Horacio Bojorge S.J. was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1934. His parents were non-practicing Catholics. He received his primary education in the State Lyceum. In his youth he was part of various Catholic Youth movements between 1949-1952 entering the Society of Jesus in 1953. He received his priestly ordination in Maastricht, Holland, in 1965. He pursued the study of Classics in Chile and earned Advanced Degrees in Philosophy in Argentina in 1959; and another in Theology in the Netherlands in 1966; and in Holy Scripture in the Pontifical Biblical Institute of Rome in 1969.

He has authored numerous books in Spanish. His ministry serves a wide audience in his native Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile. He resides in Montevideo.

 


[1] ακηδία, pron. ah-ceh-dee-ah; meaning negligence, indifference, for the wicked are indifferent, make no distinction between good and evil. Latin acidĭa, derived from the same Greek word.

[2] Wisdom 2, 24.

[3] 2 Thessalonians 2,7.

[4] Félix Sardá i Salvany, El liberalismo es pecado, (Liberalism is Sin), Ediciones Cruz y Fierro, Buenos Aires, 1977. Colección Clásicos Contrarrevolucionarios 2. Quoted from the Spanish edition in c. 3, pp. 32-34.

[5] 1 John 2, 18-23.

[6] Mark 3, 29.

[7] David Friedrich Strauss, Das Leben Jesu, für das deutsche Volk bearbeitet (The Life of Jesus for German Working People), Leipzig 1864, p. 18.

[8] Exodus 32, 1: When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, “Up, make us gods, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

[9] 1 Samuel 8, 7; Cfr. Luke 19, 14 `We do not want this man to reign over us.’

[10] Matthew 10, 40.

[11] Luke 10, 16.

[12] Alfredo Sáenz, El Cardenal Pie. Lucidez y Coraje al Servicio de la Verdad. (Cardenal Pie. Lucidity and Courage in the Service of Truth). Editorial Gladius, Buenos Aires. 2nd. Ed. 2007, p. 276.

[13] See the study by Helmut Schoeck, La Envidia. Una Teoría de la Sociedad (Envy. A Theory of Society). Ed. Club de Lectores, Buenos Aires 1969.

[14] M. J. Le Guillou, O.P. El Misterio del Padre. Fe de los Apóstoles (The Mystery of the Father. Faith of the Apostles). Gnosis Actuales. Editorial Encuentro, Madrid 1998, p. 196.

[15] Romans 10, 14.

[16] Mons. Paul Josef Cordes, El Eclipse del Padre (The Eclipse of the Father), Editorial Palabra, Madrid 2003, 1967, quoted in p. 167.

[17] In the discourse of Benedict XVI the reference of Jesus Christ to the Father is very clear. Jesus has come to reveal the Father. The discourse expresses clearly this relation of Jesus to the Father in three main passages.

  1. By pointing at what must be done by the Conference of Aparecida with the situation faced by the Latin American Continent at this point. “A new situation is being analyzed here in Aparecida. Facing these crossroads, the, the faithful expect of this new Conference, a renewal and revitalization of their faith in Christ, our only Teacher and Savior, who has revealed to us the unique experience of the Father’s infinite love for mankind.”
  2. By pointing at Jesus as the one who reveals God: “For the Christian the nucleus of the response is simple” Only God knows God, only His Son, Who is God, is from God, true God can know Him. “He who is ‘in the bossom of the Father’, has revealed Him.”
  3. By pointing at the charism and the mission of those religious and consecrated people: “remind your brothers and sisters that the Kingdom of God has arrived already; that justice and truth are possible if we are open to the loving presence of God our Father, of Christ our Brother and Lord, and the Holy Spirit our Consoler.”

[18] Fr. Ignatius Andereggen: Santo Tomás de Aquino- Psicólogo (St. Thomas Aquinas-Psychologist). Sapientia, 205 (1999) 59-68. R. Fr. Andereggen refers these affirmations by Sigmund Freud to: Totem y Tabú (Totem and Taboo), Buenos Aires 1993, 155-156.

[19] Mons. Paul Josef Cordes, El Eclipse del Padre (The Eclipse of the Father), Editorial Palabra, Madrid 2003, 1967, p. 179.

[20] Claudio Risé, Il Padre, l’Assente Inaccettabile, (The Father, the Unacceptable Absent) San Paolo, 2003, 7th Ed. pp. 49-70.

[21] Mircea Eliade, Lo Sagrado y lo profano, (The Sacred and the Profane) Ed. Guadarrama, Madrid 1967, p. 196.

[22] Mircea Eliade, ibid. p. 197.

[23] Mircea Eliade, ibid. p. 207.

[24] Malachi 3, 23-24; Matthew 17, 10-13; Luke 1, 17.

[25] Immanuel Kant, Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der blossen Vernunft, Beginning of the Prologue to the 1st Edition, 1793.

“Die Moral, so fern sie auf dem Begriffe des Menschen als eines freien, eben darum aber auch sich selbst durch seine Vernunft an unbedingte Gesetze bindenden Wesens gegründet ist, bedarf weder der Idee eines andern Wesens über ihm, um seine Pflicht zu erkennen, noch einer andern Triebfeder als des Gesetzes selbst, um sie zu beobachten. […] Sie bedarf also zum Behuf ihrer selbst (sowohl objectiv, was das Wollen, als subjectiv, was das Können betrifft) keinesweges der Religion, sondern Vermöge der reinen praktischen Vernunft ist sie sich selbst genug.” En: Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der blossen Vernunft. Vorrede zur ersten Auflage.; Kant’s gesammelte Schriften, Hsgben. von der Königlich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften Band VI, Seite 1.

[26] Genesis 3, 5.

[27] Daniel 7, 7-8.

[28] Matthew 10, 28.

[29] In this section I make use of the study by Fr. Ignace de la Potterie S.J. El Pecado es la Iniquidad (Sin is the Iniquity), from the volume containing several of his works: La Vida según el Espíritu, (Life According to the Spirit,) Ed. Sígueme, Salamanca 1967, pp. 69-86), from the French original: La Vie selon l’Esprit, Ed. Du Cerf, Paris 1965.

[30] 1 Juan 3, 4.

[31] Dédoken, given, delivered.

[32] Esmén, we are. The continuous present in Greek means literally: “we are being’.

[33] Ginôskei hemás, “That is why the world did not know Him [ignored Him]”.

[34] Egnô autón, Egnô is at the root origin of the English word for “ignorance” which implies “not to know” both in the intransitive and the transitive.

[35] Agnízei, purify

[36] Agnós, pure; from where the Latin word “agnus” (lamb) derives.

[37] Pás ho poiôn tên hamartían kai tén anomían poiéi, kai hê amartía estin he anomía.

[38] Tas hamartías.

[39] Hamartánei, a present word, here given a continuing sense.

[40] Pas ho amartanôn, “all sinners,” participle.

[41] Planato, to deceive, to misguide, to deviate. “The misguiding, planê is one of the characteristics of the forces of darkness in the eschatological dualism light-darkness. In the darkness we stray off the road, with light we can see it. Remember that even in Matthew the notions of iniquity and perdition (straying off the road of salvation) are shown together in the warnings about the false prophets.” Fr. Ignace de la Potterie S.J. La Vida según el Espíritu, (Life According to the Spirit,) Ed. Sígueme, Salamanca 1967 p. 81.

[42] This part of Fr. Bojorge’s work brings to mind the rebellion of the nations against the Father and His Messiah, prophesized in Psalm 2. That rebellion precedes the triumph of the Kingdom of God on earth. [EDITOR’S NOTE]

[43] Psalm 6,8-9: “Depart from me, all you workers of evil; for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my supplication; the LORD accepts my prayer.” This eschatological interpretation is shown in reference to the lawlessness made manifest in the Passion of Our Lord. The same will be manifested the time the Antichrist is revealed.

[44] Ergazoménoi ten anomían; Matthew 7, 22-23.

[45] Matthew 24, 5, 23-25.

[46] Tous poiountas tēn anomian; Matthew 13, 40-42: ωσπερ ουν συλλεγεται τα ζιζανια και πυρι κατακαιεται ουτως εσται εν τη συντελεια του αιωνος τουτου. αποστελει ο υιος του ανθρωπου τους αγγελους αυτου και συλλεξουσιν εκ της βασιλειας αυτου παντα τα σκανδαλα και τους ποιουντας την ανομιαν. και βαλουσιν αυτους εις την καμινον του πυρος εκει εσται ο κλαυθμος και ο βρυγμος των οδοντων.

Transliterated: ōsper oun sullegetai ta zizania kai puri katakaietai outōs estai en tē sunteleia tou aiōnos toutou. apostelei o uios tou anthrōpou tous angelous autou kai sullexousin ek tēs basileias autou panta ta skandala kai tous poiountas tēn anomian. kai balousin autous eis tēn kaminon tou puros ekei estai o klauthmos kai o brugmos tōn odontōn.

[47] Félix Sardá i Salvany, El Liberalismo es Pecado (Liberalism is Sin) p. 129.

[48] Matthew 23, 28.

[49] Matthew 23, 33.

[50] 2 Thessalonians, 2, 1-13.

[51] Romano Guardini, El Ocaso de la Edad Moderna, (The End of the Modern Age) Ed. Guadarrama Madrid, 1958, p. 143.

[52] “El Misterio de la iniquidad es el odio a Dios y la adoración idolátrica del Hombre.” Quoted from Cristo: ¿Vuelve o no vuelve? (Chist: Will He Return or Not?) Fr. Leonardo Castellani. Ed. Vórtice, Bs. As. 2004; pp. 26.

[53] “Las dos Bestias son [la primera:] el poder político y [la segunda] el instinto religioso del hombre vueltos contra Dios y dominados por el Pseudo-Cristo y el Pseudo-profeta. […] “La Gran Ramera es la religión descompuesta y entregada a los poderes temporales”. “La adoración del hombre con el odio a Dios ha existido siempre […] él tiende a corporizarse en cuerpo político y aplastar a los santos. él fue quien condenó a Sócrates, persiguió a los profetas, crucificó a Jesús, y después multiplicó los mártires; y él será quien destruya la Iglesia, cuando, retirado el Obstáculo que lo retiene se encarne en un hombre de satánica grandeza, plebeyo genial y perverso, quizás de raza judía, de intelecto sobrehumano, de maldad absoluta, a quien Satán prestará su poder y su acumulada furia”. Fr. Leonardo Castellani, Cristo: ¿Vuelve o no vuelve? (Chist: Will He Return or Not?) pp. 26-27.

[54] “la estructura temporal de la Iglesia existente será presa del Anticristo, fornicará con los reyes de la tierra—al menos una parte ostensible de ella, como pasó ya en la historia—y la abominación de la desolación entrará en el lugar santo.” Fr. Leonardo Castellani, Cristo: ¿Vuelve o no vuelve? (Chist: Will He Return or Not?) p. 27.

[55] Revelation 16, 12 ss.

[56] Exodus 8, 1-4: Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, `Thus says the LORD, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs; the Nile shall swarm with frogs which shall come up into your house, and into your bedchamber and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and of your people, and into your ovens and your kneading bowls; the frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your servants.” And the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, `Stretch out your hand with your rod over the rivers, over the canals, and over the pools, and cause frogs to come upon the land of Egypt!’“ So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. ובכה ובעמך ובכל עבדיך יעלו הצפרדעים׃ (Exodus 8, 4. Hebrew Bible)

και επι σε και επι τους θεραποντας σου και επι τον λαον σου αναβησονται οι βατραχοι (Exodus 8, 4. Septuagint)

[57] Revelation 16, 14.

[58] “han hecho sudar el quilo y romperse el mate (la cabeza) a los intérpretes; los santos Padres, casi todos, han visto en ellas ‘herejías’, las últimas y ‘novísimas’. Son el liberalismo, el comunismo y el […] modernismo”. Fr. Leonardo Castellani, El Apokalypsis, (The Apocalipse) Ediciones Jus, Buenos Aires 1963, p. 228

[59] “Las tres ranas son el liberalismo, el comunismo y el modernismo, tres herejías vocingleras, saltarinas, pantanosas y tartamudas […] surgen de la plaga sexta y según dice el profeta son tres espíritus impuros [opuestos al Espíritu Santo] y capaces de hacer prodigios para congregar a los [ocho] reyes de toda la tierra a la última batalla contra Dios.”

“El texto no dice ‘tres demonios’ ni tampoco es congruente con el salir dos de ellos de boca de dos hombres: el texto dice ‘espíritus’ [impuros] palabra que, en todas las lenguas designa también un movimiento, una ideología, una teología. […] se parecen a ranas, animal viscoso y lascivo, oculto y fangoso, vocinglero y aburridor, que repite sin cesar su croar monótono:

“Cuá, cuá, cuá, cantaba la rana
Cuá, cuá, cuá, debajo del río
La democracia, cuá, cuá,
Justicia social, cuá, cuá,
Y la Humanidad, cuá, cuá,
Canta el diabólico trío”.

“Esta herejía política difusa hoy en todo el mundo, que aún no tiene nombre y cuando lo tenga no será el propio suyo, que Newman en el siglo pasado llamó ‘liberalismo religioso’ (y por cierto vio en ella, como yo ahora, presagios del Anticristo); que San Pío X llamó ‘modernismo’ y Belloc ‘aloguismo’, es el viejo naturalismo religioso que remonta a Rousseau y los Enciclopedistas; y en su raíz, si se quiere, al presbítero belga Baius (Michel Bay) …; la cual es, en su fondo, la idolatría del Hombre y de la Humanidad, el peor error posible, atribuido por San Pablo al ánomos. Fr. Leonardo Castellani, Los Papeles de Benjamín Benavides, (The Papers of Benjamin Benavides.) Ediciones Dictio, Buenos Aires 3rd Edition, 1978, p. 43.

[60] “Mucho he escrito sobre ella, me resumiré aquí. Consiste en una adulteración sutil del cristianismo, al cual vacía de su contenido sobrenatural dejando la huera corteza, la cual rellena de inmediato ‘el espíritu que ama los sitios sucios y los lugares vacantes’ con el antiguo ‘Seréis como dioses’. “Josef Pieper observó con justeza que el dicho ‘la Religión es cosa privada y al Estado no le interesa’, lema del liberalismo, comporta nombrar Dios al Estado, poniéndolo por encima del Dios…; privado. Es la estatolatría, tan vieja como el mundo, o por lo menos, como los Césares romanos, proclamada ahora abiertamente por Hegel: la adoración de la ‘Nación’, creación del hombre, ‘la más alta obra del intelecto práctico’ dice Santo Tomás; el cual añade, refiriéndose al antiguo culto de los Césares, que si el hombre deja de adorar a Dios, cae a adorar al Estado—a su nación, a su raza, a su Ciencia, a su Estética, a su poder bélico, a la Libertad, a la Constitución—y a la Diosa Razón; a cuyas tres últimas deidades tributó culto la Revolución Francesa; aunque era Robespierre, en el fondo, que estaba allí detrás de las prostitutas enjaezadas de seda y oro sacerdotales, a quien subía el humo del incienso”. Fr. Leonardo Castellani, El Apokalypsis, (The Apocalipse) Ediciones Jus, Buenos Aires 1963, pp. 228-230

[61] “El liberalismo, en pugna con su hijo el comunismo, son el espíritu batracio que salió de la boca de la Bestia, y el otro que salió de la boca del Dragón […] El modernismo coaligará a los dos […] el modernismo es el fondo común de las dos herejías contrarias, que algún día—que ya vemos venir—las englobará por obra del Pseudoprofeta”. Fr. Leonardo Castellani, Los Papeles de Benjamín Benavides, (The Papers of Benjamin Benavides.) Ediciones Dictio, Buenos Aires 3rd Edition, 1978, p. 45.

[62] “[El modernismo] no se puede definir brevemente. […] Esa herejía no es más que el núcleo explícito y pedantesco de un impalpable y omnipresente espíritu que permea el mundo de hoy. Su origen histórico fue el filosofismo del siglo XVIII, en el cual, con certero ojo, el Padre Lacunza vio la herejía del Anticristo, la última herejía, la más radical y perfecta de todas. Desde entonces acá ha revestido diversas formas, pero el fondo es el mismo, dice siempre lo mismo: ‘Cuá, cuá, cantaba la rana, cuá, cuá, debajo del río” […] ¡Cualquiera interpreta lo que dice una rana!—rió Don Benya—es más un ruido que una palabra. Pero es un ruido mágico, arrebatador, demoníaco, lleno de signos y prodigios…; Atrae, aduerme, entontece, emborracha, exalta […] pero así, aproximadamente y a bulto.

“El cuá, cuá, del liberalismo es ‘libertad, libertad, libertad’; el cuá, cuá, del comunismo es: ‘justicia social’, el cuá, cuá, del modernismo, de donde nacieron los otros y los reunirá un día, podríamos asignarle éste: ‘Paraíso en la tierra’; ‘Dios es el Hombre’; ‘el hombre es Dios’“ […] “y la Democracia es el coro de las tres ranas juntas: democracia política, democracia social, y democracia religiosa”.

[…] “Estas son las tres últimas herejías, porque no se puede ir más allá en materia de falsificación del cristianismo. Son literalmente los pseudo-cristos que predijo el Salvador. En el fondo de ellos late la ‘abominación de la desolación’; [que consiste] en la adoración del hombre en lugar de Dios, y eso bajo formas cristianas y aún manteniendo tal vez el armazón exterior de la Iglesia”.

Fr. Leonardo Castellani, Los Papeles de Benjamín Benavides, (The Papers of Benjamin Benavides.) Ediciones Dictio, Buenos Aires 3rd Edition, 1978, p. 46-47.

[63] “El hombre verdaderamente ‘libre’ es aquél que, exento de temores infundados y deseos innecesarios, en cualquier país y cualquier condición en que se halle, está ‘sujeto’ a los mandatos de Dios, al dictado de su conciencia y a los dictámenes de la sana razón…”. Leonardo Castellani, La Esencia del Liberalismo, (The Essence of Liberalism) Ediciones Nuevo Orden, Buenos Aires 1964, 2nd edition, c. Carta a Josefina Gómez.

[64] “Neither you or I can defeat Echeverría, Ingenieros or Repetto (Argentine Liberal writers of the 19th and early 20th centuries: Esteban Echeverría, José Ingenieros, and Nicolás Repetto) in one fell swoop (I cannot even read them myself) but we can serve Truth, and furthermore if God choses us we can give witness to the Truth; that is the great battle cry of Christianity that made fall the walls of pagan Jericho. All the religion of Christ is contained in these two words presented by Christ to the Apostles: give witness. […] In Spain, during the century dominated by Liberalism, there were always men, from Donoso Cortés to Ramiro de Maetzu, that made Truth, that is, gave witness; and Spain [in time] triumphed over Liberalism. That is the true Great Mission of Buenos Aires: not precisely to exteriorize religiosity, nor to make religious propaganda, or [rather] religious boredom, repeating the same commonplace religious platitudes that have bored people to death; but to make Truth. How do you make Truth? By making Life, that is the rough material [of Truth]. How do you make Life? God has given us a little bit, we cannot increase it or diminish it, but we can spend it well.”

“Ni yo ni ustedes podemos vencer de golpe a Echeverría, a Ingenieros y a Repetto (yo ni siquiera puedo leerlos) pero podemos servir a la verdad, e incluso si Dios nos elige podemos dar testimonio a la Verdad; lo cual es el gran grito del Cristianismo, el que hizo caer las murallas de la pagana Jericó. Toda la religión de Cristo se encierra en estas dos palabras que Cristo impuso a sus Apóstoles : dar testimonio. […] En España durante un siglo que duró el dominio del liberalismo nunca faltaron hombres, desde Donoso Cortés hasta Ramiro de Maeztu, que hicieron Verdad, o sea, dieron testimonio; y España venció al liberalismo. Esta es la verdadera Gran Misión de Buenos Aires: no precisamente hacer exterioridad religiosa, ni propaganda religiosa, ni aburrimiento religioso, repitiendo lugares comunes religiosos de los cuales la gente está aburrida; sino hacer Verdad. ¿Cómo se hace Verdad? Solamente con Vida, esa es la materia prima. ¿Cómo se hace Vida? Dios nos ha dado un cachito, no podemos aumentarlo ni disminuirlo, podemos biengastarlo.” Taken from La Esencia del Liberalismo, (The Essence of Liberalism) by Fr. Leonardo Castellani, Ediciones Nuevo Orden, Buenos Aires 1964, 2nd edition.

[65] This essay by Rev. Fr. Horacio Bojorge, S.J. has been published in Spanish by Ediciones del Alcázar, Buenos Aires, under the title El Liberalismo es la Iniquidad—La Rebelión Contra el Padre (Liberalism is ‘the’ Iniquity-The Rebellion Against the Father.)

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