A powerful analysis of American awakening, fracturing, and addicting

Joshua Mitchell’s thesis in his exceptional American Awakening rings true as a general explanation of the dynamics of modern American society in general and of identity politics in particular.

(Image: Travis Gergen/Unsplash.com)

The idea that our culture is post-Christian is an antiquated bromide that is dangerous because it masks a truth that is even more troubling. And that truth is that our culture is now post-post-Christian insofar as the last vestiges of any real cultural influence by historic, conventional Christianity are now long gone. Fifty or so years ago Christianity began its slow decline into cultural irrelevance. But at least in the early stages of the decomposition there were still millions of Americans who had been believers at one time even if they had then fallen away into either a generalized indifference or an overt rejection of the Christian claim. And among the millions who had fallen into indifference there was still what I like to call “religion by proxy”, meaning there were many people who did not practice the faith, but who were glad that there were those who did and who found some measure of comfort in knowing that Christianity was still around.

As such, the rot was not yet so deep as to utterly efface certain cultural markers of our Christian heritage, and Christianity still garnered a measure of social respect and immunity from overt attacks on its place in the public square.

However, the handwriting was on the wall and today we find a culture in which the political Left openly condemns Christianity as an agent of oppression, with many quisling liberal “churches” aiding and abetting the assault. One could be excused, therefore, if one were to reach the conclusion that our culture is now a-religious by and large and that the major themes of Christianity are simply gone in any meaningful cultural sense.

But professor and political philosopher Joshua Mitchell argues cogently that at least one of Christianity’s central ideas—the transgression of Original Sin and its resolution in the Divine scapegoat wherein we are restored to innocence—has not vanished at all. It has simply been secularized and immanentized in the modern movement known as “identity politics”.

The central idea that Mitchell develops early in in American Awakening: Identity Politics and Other Afflictions of Our Time, and which is the guiding motif for the whole, is the notion that when it comes to the question of guilt and innocence, you are really asking a question about justice and its social resolution. Traditionally, as in the Christian view, there are two “economies” wherein justice is sought after, one visible and one invisible. The visible economy consists of all of our worldly efforts to set the scales of justice right and to fight for those who have been wronged and to punish those who were the transgressors.

This is a necessary endeavor but one which Christianity taught could never be achieved with any degree of perfection in this life owing to the inherent sinfulness of the entire human race. You can fight against greed and oppression when it arises, and even vanquish it in localized ways, but somewhere the injustices will return again. Therefore, since we are all sinners (transgressors) in need of divine forgiveness, and since all utopian dreams of a perfectly just society will flounder on the rocks of generalized sin, we become aware that only God can ultimately set the scales right. This is the “invisible economy” of justice which can only be achieved in God’s time, in God’s Kingdom, which we can struggle for even in this life, but which will always remain asymptotic as a goal.

By contrast, modern identity politics seeks to right the scales in the here and now, essentializing groups or “kinds” of human beings into one of two categories: the transgressors and the innocent. The transgressors are white, heterosexual men, and the innocent are everyone else, but most especially non-white racial minorities, LGBTQIA+++ types, women, and anyone who lives in a non-Western culture. In the world of identity politics there is no “invisible economy” of justice and all must be set right in the here and now. And this goal is pursued with an ideological fervor for purity that absolutely demands that a scapegoat be found to purge the social body of the “stain” of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, colonialism, and white supremacy.

Only the righting of injustice in the visible economy will suffice. Therefore this equates to an eschatology of final reckonings, with its narrative of transgressors, the innocent, and redemption through the purging of the scapegoated white, heterosexual males. This eschatological perspective as all the earmarks of an attenuated an misappropriated Christian theology, complete with the full apparatus of a new Inquisition, new dogmas, and the required “confessions” and “recantations” of those who are “guilty” of being in the wrong “kind” of human group.

This is a powerful thesis and Mitchell presses it home with relentless repetition (too much repetition, actually, but that is a small editorial quibble) as he applies this insight to just about every social and political debate in our time, unmasking the proximate, hot-button, “issues” as mere ciphers for the deeper dynamic of the innocent seeking justice against the transgressors via a scapegoating of white, heterosexual men.

However, there is a curious absence in his analysis that is rather surprising. And that is the total lack of any mention of the work of René Girard on the issue of scapegoating as a social mechanism. Perhaps that is because Girard’s thesis is not that modern times represent an immanentized and secularized Christian eschatology. Rather, all human cultures are characterized by the scapegoating mechanism since we all develop early in life what Girard calls “mimetic desires” wherein the child learns what it is appropriate to desire by observing its “model” (parents) and then seeks to imitate those same desires. But we all desire essentially the same things, which leads to conflict and tension that can only be resolved through the violent purging of various scapegoats.

This is not the Hobbesian war of “all against all” but rather a war of innocence and transgression since the acquisition of what we desire is often cast in moral and spiritual terms, with moral and spiritual justifications for those desires grounding the need to assign moral blame to the scapegoated group. And this is why, for Girard, Christianity is the ultimate religious system for breaking this cycle since the “Lamb who was slain” is the divine scapegoat who ends all need for further scapegoats.

But even though Girard’s views are not the same as Mitchell’s, nevertheless, there is a definite overlap between their two approaches insofar as Mitchell’s notion of the invisible economy of justice is nothing more than the salvation wrought by Christ, the divine scapegoat. It is a shame, then, that Mitchell does not take up the Girardian theme of a generalized scapegoating mechanism since even Mitchell notes that modern identity politics is merely an intense modern iteration of a sad legacy of scapegoating by various Christians themselves down through the centuries. Therefore, something more is at play socially, even in modern identity politics, than the dialectic between transgressors and the innocents. And that “something” could be that the groups identified by identity politics as the “innocents” are not only seeking to assign blame and to deflect their own complicit guilt, but also that they are mimetically desiring what it is that the transgressive groups possess: power, wealth, and security.

Mitchell hints at this when he notes that some “kinds” of human beings who are currently “innocent” can be quickly rendered into a transgressive kind, once it is recognized that they too have gained “privilege”. But he only notes this in order to highlight the self-destructive cannibalism of the endless dynamic of “transgression and innocence”, which is like peeling away the layers of an onion in order to get at the non-existing “core”. I think Girard’s analysis is the deeper one on this small, but important, point.

Be that as it may, Mitchell’s thesis rings true as a general explanation of the dynamics of modern American society in general and of identity politics in particular. In fact, insofar as even Girard’s approach is not limited to a desire for material things but also spiritual, it is possible even in his system that what modern identity politics is mimetically desiring is precisely a kind of eschatological salvation modeled by Christianity, which it then secularizes and immanentizes.

Mitchell is not content, however, with mere diagnostics and does have in view a constructive and positive counter proposal. The problem with identity politics is that it destroys the conventional generative family, and almost all other mediating social institutions whereby citizens come together to form what Mitchell calls “liberal competencies”. What he means by this are all of the social and personal skills and moral dispositions required to do the hard work required to build a functional society. His vision is of a society that returns to the Liberal notion of free markets (but not rapacious crony capitalism) and limited government. This is a politics of social compromise rooted in forgiveness of transgressions as we all struggle together to overcome our structural injustices, and the reinvigoration of all of those social institutions wherein all of the competencies required for democracy to work are developed.

His thesis is that identity politics creates a “blame culture” that destroys the very thing that is needed for a society to work. It thus ends with atomized and alienated individuals living within an overweening managerial State. It seeks “freedom” but it ultimately ends in the strange dynamic of a fatalism that sees no hope that it can influence the very State it has created and a concomitant retreat into a digital world of individual entertainments. Freedom thus comes to be equated with idle dissipation in activities that do nothing to build up the very social relations needed for a just society.

In short, Mitchell wants a return to a more classical Liberalism and views identity politics as a very unliberal project.

This then leads to the second half of the book, which is an application of the insights from his main thesis to the topics of “bipolarity” and “addiction”. By “bipolarity” he means exactly what I mentioned above about the strained interplay between the atomized self and the State. He notes, quoting Tocqueville, that in identity politics people think of themselves as “either greater than Kings or less than men.” The “delinked” and atomized individual finds an initial cathartic exhilaration in throwing off all of the traditional constraints and demands, thus elevating themselves into a rarified domain of “freedom” that makes them “greater than Kings”, but soon discover two demoralizing things.

First, that they are not greater than Kings and that the State is impervious to their influence. And second, that such liberation is in fact a form of enslavement to the solipsistic needs of ever more capacious desires, which renders them as something less than a man and on a par with the mere instinctual life of animals. This leads to what he identifies as a dialectic between managerial society and “selfie man”—the latter being a desperate attempt to overcome the insignificance of their enslaved freedom through a projection of themselves into the digital world. This is, in my mind, one of the most exceptional parts of the book as it identifies with scalpel-like precision and with razor wit the destruction of true individuals and true freedom by the corrosive acid of identity politics.

As any sane individual can tell you, true freedom can only develop through a network of prior constraints, many of them moral and spiritual in nature: marriage, parenthood, responsibilities toward parents and siblings, the sacrifices required to have a career, the demands of friendship, and so forth. In other words, you are free in direct proportion to the quality of what you choose to “bind” yourself to. But identity politics destroys all such restraints and all such bindings and leaves us with a diaphanous subjectivity devoid of depth.

The last section of the book deals with the notion of “addiction” by which he means, well, addiction. Our various addictions are the direct result of the creation of the empty “selfie man” who constantly seeks shortcuts to happiness as he seeks to slake the rapacious and endless demands of his various desires. Mitchell develops his theme by tracing the relationship between a “meal and a supplement” (such as vitamins) and notes that in our society of shortcuts that eschews the work of developing competencies we are constantly seeking to make the supplements a substitute for the meal. This then leads to an addiction to the supplements and the destruction of true human enjoyment of the basic goods of this world.

Mitchell’s list of the many supplements our society has turned into substitutes is a long one: plastic water bottles instead of tap water and an old fashioned, reusable thermos; fast food; non-generative marriages in which procreation is no longer the “meal” but a hindrance to sexual fulfillment; social media instead of in-person interactions; Amazon instead of brick and mortar shopping; online education; GPS instead of the “meal” (competency) of reading maps; digital over analog everything (especially in music); statism instead of localism; open borders; fiat currency; and globalist corporatism as a substitute for actually building a real business.

Space precludes me from dealing with all of these topics individually. But the common denominator in all of them is the destruction of various competencies as we seek shortcuts to happiness via cheap substitutes to which we become addicted. Therefore, he does see hope for our future insofar as people do really prefer, in the end, the authentic over the fake, the real over the counterfeit, the meal over the supplement. He sees hope in the fact that there are many people today who are genuinely wearied of all of this and who seek an “alternative lifestyle” such as the back to the landers and various forms of bohemian living. But these too are flawed projects since they seek to “get behind” industrial society in order to “restore our purity”. Mitchell says this will not do since you cannot put the industrial/technological genie back in the bottle.

Thus, our only way out is the development of liberal competencies in a real return to our senses—a return to the meal table.

Let me conclude by simply saying that this is a truly wonderful book and I cannot recommend it more highly. It is quite powerful and its diagnosis is often nothing short of brilliant. It style is eminently readable without being pedestrian. He manages that most elusive of literary styles: academic and yet accessible to almost any educated person. I would also say we should thank Joshua Mitchell for his courage. This book will make him a lot of enemies but, hopefully, many more friends.

American Awakening: Identity Politics and Other Afflictions of Our Time
By Joshua Mitchell
Encounter Books, 2020
Hardcover, 296 pages

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About Larry Chapp 33 Articles
Dr. Larry Chapp is a retired professor of theology. He taught for twenty years at DeSales University near Allentown, Pennsylvania. He now owns and manages, with his wife, the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm in Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania. Dr. Chapp received his doctorate from Fordham University in 1994 with a specialization in the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. He can be visited online at "Gaudium et Spes 22".


  1. In the late 1960s, Cardinal Danielou was light years ahead of today’s great disintegrator: Identity Politics. He noticed that a bit of each of us is really in all of us, and vice versa: “There is nobody more English than Shakespeare and no one more universal; none more Italian than Dante and no one more universal; none more French than Racine and no one more universal” (Prayer as a Political Problem, 1967, p. 115).

    But, if Danielou is right about the permanence of things truly human, then what will the cardboard-cutout media talking heads have left to talk about, to maintain their prime-time market share? And, surely, the prolonged (almost permanent!) Super Bowl half-time display was the worst in event history, and probably the worst even imaginable.

  2. “Mitchell hints at this when he notes that some “kinds” of human beings who are currently “innocent” can be quickly rendered into a transgressive kind, once it is recognized that they too have gained “privilege”

    What sustains the power of evil within the Church today? Is it not the privileged?
    The reality of this power/evil to-day within the church is manifest by
    ‘privileged’ laity who colluded with the elite, in what could be described as a Church within a Church which appears to be held together by a ..V.. which I believe signifies one of the five points of the Pentagram. This given ..V.. transforms itself into a Circle of Worldly Power. All circles of worldly power rely on secrecy, this gives an advantage based on deception and serves the Evil One. He cannot be beaten at his own game, the early Christians used signs and gestures, but these can be duplicated, then we have duplicity and confusion at play; for those on the outside, like me, friend or foe you no longer know.

    It was put to me many years ago, “it’s a bit like the game of tag, you pass the lurgy (British slang) to someone else” Conclusion you then become part of Groupthink ..V.. (The privileged herd). While also been told jovially “the new holder of the lurgy always has the option to get rid of his load (Worldly troubles) by passing it on”

    While the V (Two finger sign often used covertly) is used widely within society which often promotes advantage or the expectation of advantage in commerce, education, healthcare, etc, and all organized community activities including those within the religious sphere which enables corruption to flourish.

    I personally have witnessed the use of this V by some of the laity within the church often in collusion with the hierarchy and this creates a hidden (occult) church within church one which enables all types of injustice to flourish while mirroring the reality of the corruption in society at large. While I do not think ‘all’ of those within this circle of secrecy see themselves as evil or serving the Evil One, as it has been implied on another site that it is a form of self-protection for the fellowship of established (Privileged) churchgoers. (Which from the outside looks to be elitist)

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

      • Thank you, Athanasius, for your comment “Where exactly is this happening?

        On which planet have you been living on?

        The hidden action of evil thrives because of this type of denial and those who remain quite collude with that evil.

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

  3. Isn’t it merely a reversal of roles? The transgressor becomes the innocent and the innocent becomes the transgressor? No, it is evil who will always be the transgressor no matter what it’s physical identity may be.

  4. Catholicism is under two pronged assault within and without. How? Larry Chapp’s review of author Joshua Mitchell gives the first clue, who argues Original Sin and its resolution in the Divine scapegoat wherein we are restored to innocence has not vanished. It is secularized and immanentized in the modern movement known as identity politics. Socialist secularist idealization of justice is religiosity. Wherein good is the modern Golden Calf, Liberty limitless and sacred as defined by former Justice Anthony Kennedy. Evil is its opposition identified in Apostolic Catholicism, Evangelicals, cultural conservatism grouped as White supremacists. Christopher Dawson spoke eloquently of religiosity in politics particularly Soviet communism and the god Lenin whose incorrupt corpse worshiped by Moscow throngs with pageantry and pious solemnity. Have you noticed how Biden has received an old heartwarming epitaph Uncle Joe? Of course you have. Old because Josef Stalin was affectionately known simply as Uncle Joe by the media. That was until his death and the second Russian cultural rotation. Yeltsin standing on tanks Old Joe statues toppled and spit upon searing memories of KGB night arrest [remember Oliver Stone] the Gulag. Though Old Joe Stalin lost popularity would he perchance gazing up from the Abyss smile in satisfaction at Uncle Joe Biden who piously fingers his rosary on camera, attends Mass the new devout applauded by the Left approved by the Vatican who believes in his heart of hearts that justice makes terrible demands for sake of democratic plurality and Liberty. O the pathos poor Old Joe suffers while the NY Times the entire media except those rascals like Rush Limbaugh et al at Fox. I like the military for its valor when justly valorous. “Though it was once the fashion of this army to treat them in the most contemptible light, they are now become a formidable enemy” (British Colonel Harcourt 1777). General Sir John Burgoyne taking that into account devised the idea of a two pronged attack on Albany NY to defeat General Washington’s army. Maybe it’s an impossible longshot, and despite Mitchell’s “you cannot put the industrial/technological genie back in the bottle” I like to think Apostolic Christians will in the long term win against the Apostates and rabid Left as did our American heroes do the impossible under Old George. We need a real leader. Either way it’s worth the fight.

    • Fr. Morello cites a key line in Mitchell, that “you cannot put the industrial/technological genie back in the bottle.” So, the rural civilization return-to-the-land movement is possible only for the Amish and maybe a few “conservative” Catholics…

      Cardinal Danielou, again, offers a perspective: “[the current] atheism is no more than a transitional phase, a momentary crisis, located as it is between the paganism of the rural civilizations of yesterday and [our] paganism of the industrial civilization of tomorrow” (Prayer as a Political Problem).

      But. horrors! Might it be that the Triune Oneness has actually entered into human history, and therefore, that the mission of the Apostolic Succession is to proclaim both Christ and the nature of the transcendent human person, each and every one, as now elevated above both the pastoral settings of yesteryear and the techy playgrounds of today’s uncorked industry—-elevated to share the very inner life of the Divinity? An invitation made possible by the historical Incarnation?

      But, like Luther and especially Calvin, we hang less on the sacramental Real Presence of the eternal Word than on our own letterheads and endlessly written words (Gutenberg’s printing press, and now the Internet!)…so quick, let’s cave in to golden-boy Cupich and his ilk, and settle for another business-as-usual position paper!

      • Insofar as industry and technology it’s inevitable that Western Man freed from ancestor worship and the limitations of colloquial tradition by the Christ event would be creative, as Bergson spoke of in The Creative Mind. We can with facility recognize similarity across the spectrum of activities because they all in some form reflect us, their inventor. So religiosity is found in politics, scapegoating Mitchell’s insight in the dynamics of society. Much of these appearing revelatory, helping us better understand ourselves. If as you say we were able to put the genie back in the bottle would we be like the Amish, or some would like to think having read opinions on these sites living the Benedictine Option as ‘monks’ with families running farms in a simple, beautiful, honest life? That attractive notion I’ve thought of. Man, more evident in Christian Man nevertheless has his inherent capacity to make things work better, to invent, to improve, to explore earth and universe. Unfortunately, we’ve abandoned our spiritual nexus and are at odds with each other’s vagaries. We’re consigned as such to do our part to restore that order which is the basis for moral sanity. The scapegoat was sent into the desert bearing our sins. Life in the desert even if figurative has its own merits.

    • Writing in haste I wrote off poor Uncle Joe Biden in an epitaph, meaning epithet. And it was Roger not Oliver Stone who I referred to as victim of a middle of the night raid by the Justice Dept, agents armed with laser guided assault rifles smashing through his door. That’s your due if you’re a friend of Trump from a widespread Leftist presence in Govt. This Administration is becoming increasingly despotic governing unilaterally surrounding our Capital with a large military cordon, razor wire barriers with the seeming message, We’re in charge and it’s staying that way. Complaints are met with accusations of insurrection. Victor Davis Hanson Hoover Inst Sen Fellow said, Everyone is one word, one wink away from being destroyed. That the cancel culture won’t stop unless we fight back. As Catholics we’ll likely be harangued, persecuted, our beliefs judged as discriminatory. Uncle Joe will preside over it all. Fighting means speaking directly in defense of justice and our religious freedom. Also with prayer, sacrifice, courageous willingness to suffer as did the saints of old, and recently under Communism. If it comes to pass we’ll have good cause for achieving sanctity like our brothers in China.

  5. It’s probably better than he doesn’t use Girard; Girard’s theory will probably be more widely recognized as being not in accordance with the anthropolgical data in a few years.

  6. I have discovered the answer to all of todays problems in the Church. It is to be found in the Council of St. Pope John XXlll. The truly open windows of the Church to let the fresh air in.

    I found it in the Biography of Pope Benedict XVl.

    At the Council all who participated were sworn to secrecy, that explains why those at the Council never spoke up, they couldn’t.

    The Council did not begin on October 11, 1962. The Council was already finished by that date. The Bishops of the world were called to Rome for October 11, 1962 only to sign the Vatican Council ll Documents. There were 70 Schemata or official Vatican ll Documents. The Documents were sent well in advance to all the Bishops of the world. The Bishops were given the opportunity to make suggestions, corrections etc… We hear that St. Pope John XXlll anticipated the Council would end a good time before Christmas of 1962. The Council was to last only 2 to 3 weeks. Just for the the Bishops of the world to place their signature on the Council Documents. At the Council for the signing of the Vatican ll Documents Tragedy struck. Some Council Fathers claimed the Documents were too old fashioned, too in line with the Church’s official way of speaking. These Progressives wanted a different approach, a softer approach, they had trouble but they finally garnished enough votes to trash the actual finished Council of St. Pope John XXlll. The Holy Father found only to accept the idea to allow the progressives to make a new Council.
    This explains many things. St. John Paul the Great hammered at teaching the “Fullness of Truth and not in a watered down manner”. He was implementing the Council of Pope John XXlll that had been strangely trashed.

    Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was also implementing the real Council of St. Pope John XXll. But all were sworn to secrecy. The original 70 documents of Vatican ll was to be a great Council as it reaffirmed the Catholic Faith in all its irreputable Truth.

    Pope Benedict XVl says in his Biography that the original Council of St. John XXlll can “BE LEGALLY RECLAIMED”. The Council we got is a counterfeit Council, it is mans Council. The Holy Ghost was with Pope John XXlll and all his collaborators and Bishops of the world in the original 70 Documents of Vatican ll. Now in the words of St. Pope John XXlll when the 70 Documents “was a done deal”, “Now we can fearlessly move forward”.

    Pope Benedict XVl had taken the vow of secrecy, but as Pope he was able to lift it. Now he has told us what actually transpired in the hijacking of the Council of Pope John XXlll. Now I know for sure why Archbishop Vigano called for the counterfeit Council to be declared illegitimate. Viganos words, “By what authority, by what right did they do this”. This may not be printed but I hope it is. Its the most important aspect of Vatican ll. A council that ended with 70 Documents and then Voted away to the trash bin.

  7. This reader would like to see in more precision what Pope Benedict XVI actually means when he (?) “says in his Biography [autobiography?; or journalist Peter Seewald–“Benedict XVI: A Life, Vol. 1”] that the original Council of St. John XXIII can “BE LEGALLY RECLAIMED”.

    Upon the death of John XXIII, Pope Paul VI had the papal option to either reconvene the Council, or not. To what extent is the Second Vatican Council actually that of Pope Paul VI rather than John XXIII? Benedict XVI has never held that Vatican II was illegitimate. So, then, what does it mean to “reclaim the Council “legally”?

    Without dismissing anything in Seewald, offering a day-to-day account of how sausage is made in the kitchen, is Fr. Ralph M. Wiltgen’s very fine-grained “The Rhine Flows into the Tiber” (TAN, 1967-85) detailing the inner workings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). The plight of the original 70 Documents is not overlooked:

    “After two years’ work, ending on the eve of the Council…a total of seventy-five schemas [“preliminary drafts, capable of improvement”, according to Msgr. Vincenzo Carbone, an official of the General Secretariat”] some of them later combined with others by the Central Preparatory Commission, and still others were considered too specialized for treatment by the Council, and were referred to the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law. In this way, the seventy-five schemas were ultimately reduced to twenty.” etc. etc. etc.

    Yes, the original schemas were set fully aside and completely reworked, but Benedict has still affirmed the concept of “discontinuity within continuity” versus the radicals’ falsifying “hermeneutics of discontinuity”.

    Wiltgen, a professional historian, published a daily newsletter of the Council is six languages, of the proceedings of the Council (through his Council News Service, which went to 3,000 subscribers in 108 countries). Is it really true, then, as Angelo interprets, that “The Council did not begin on October 11, 1962. The Council was already finished by that date”(?).

    • Peter D. Beaulieu, You say you would like in more precision what Pope Benedict XVl actually means when he says “Can Legally be reclaimed”. Pope Benedict XVl has given us the tool, now we the Laity must work with it. The injustice that by a vote the Second Vatican Council was trashed and those who trashed it made up their own Council. Know them by their fruits. The Counterfeit (my term) Council wreaked havoc on the Church, no one can deny this. St. Pope Paul Vl shortly after the Council, stated something about, “Because of the Council the Church is in auto-demolition”. St. Paul Vl spoke of how “by some crack in the Church the smoke of satan has entered the very house of God”. I honestly believe that the dumping of Vatican Council two, was the crack that allowed the very smoke of satan into the House of God. Honestly, how could a democratic vote dump a whole Council??? As I said Pope Benedict XVl has given us the tool and now we must use that tool for the true reform of the Church. The true reform should be to legally take back the Council of St. Pope John XXlll. It fascinates me that the FACT that the reform of the Liturgy was already done at Vatican Two with the introduction of the 1962 Missal. That the importance of Latin was given at the Second Vatican Council in the form of an Apostolic Constitution signed by St. John XXlll on the altar of St. Peters Basilica during the Actual Council. Also that the actual Council began on Pentecost Sunday May 17, 1959. This whole matter is a bombshell that has brought me great joy and relief.

  8. Peter Beaulieu, The most important facts we now know are a relief. I did not like Vatican ll, I tried to defend it, the Modernists programmed us to never speak out against their Super Vatican ll. I begged God to forgive me many, many times because in my Heart I regretted the Council ever happened. Thanks to Pope Benedict XVl I can now say, the Vatican ll that took place needs to be trashed. I have now learned that Vatican ll started on May 17, 1959. From the Vatican ll of St. Pope John XXlll the 1962 Missal is the fruit of Vatican ll. A few months before the big day of October 11, 1962 The Pope issued an Apostolic Constitution calling for the importance of Latin with instructions that all priests be able to read, write and speak fluent Latin. This was Vatican ll! The Bishops were called to Rome on October 11, 1962 only to finalize the Second Vatican Council by the Bishops signatures. St. Pope John is quoted as saying right before Oct 11 “Its a done deal” “Now we can fearlessly move forward”. The Bishops signing the Vatican ll Documents was to take only 2 thru 3 weeks. Pope Benedict XVl has stated that he still has qualms about overturning the Council of Pope John XXlll. That we can legally reclaim the original Council, I will do what the counterfeit Council calls for, “More active participation of the Laity”. For my Family and myself we hereby reclaim the Council of St. Pope John XXlll. I hope they translate the Council Documents in English very soon. I pray to God, I accept the whole Council of St. Pope John XXlll. I very much wish to go to Italy to venerate the incorrupt body of the Pope of the true Vatican ll. Maybe that’s why God has kept St. Pope John XXlll’s body incorrupt. There is unfinished business, and that’s the restoration of the Second Vatican Council. May God be Praised and Glorified through the Real Council. It is now set in stone, the counterfeit Council destroyed the Church. The Modernists should have left well enough alone, but Nooo they failed miserably.

    • Legally reclaim = “more active participation of the Laity?” This is precision? You have yet to define your term attributed to Benedict XVI: “the tool.” (Not really interested in your term “counterfeit.”)

      The Civil War also was expected to last only two or three weeks, and yet it happened, undeniably. Heavily exploited and betrayed–yes, all of the “havoc” you mention especially re the Liturgy–the very imperfect Second Vatican Council remains a fact, all things considered. Eppur se Muove.

      • Peter D. Beaulieu, Yes, “Eppur se Muove”, regrettably. But for how long? The tool I refer to is that Pope Benedict XVl has now let us know that there were two Vatican ll’s. One was perfect the other was counterfeit. Counterfeit because unscrupulous men in the Church had, and carried out the plot to destroy the real Council and supplant it with their own=Counterfeit. This hard-core knowledge is the tool of us Traditionalists to be used to take back our Church and finally smash the Modernist heresy once and for all. When St. John Paul the Great gave the first Indult for the Tridentine Mass which was never abrogated, but was re-issued during the Vatican ll of St. John XXlll, it unleashed the power of the Traditionalists. This revelation of Pope Benedict XVl will be our tool, it could very well be the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary lead us to Victory.

  9. From the article:
    Christianity’s central ideas—the transgression of Original Sin and its resolution in the Divine scapegoat wherein we are restored to innocence—has not vanished at all.
    Correct me if I am wrong, but Christ’s death on the Cross and baptism only remit the penalty of Original Sin. The effects, concupiscence, remain. We still have the darkened will and intellect from Original Sin. We all have that log in our eyes.

    • GregB, you asked to be corrected if you are wrong. First, I am among those with logs in my eyes, four different pre-dominant sins. When it comes to the Cross Jesus says, “Deny your very selves take up your Cross and come after me”. The Cross delivers, it purifies, it sanctifies. Christ said, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect in Heaven”. In the OT it says, “As gold is tried by fire so the soul is purified by tribulation”, In the NT it says, “God’s will is your sanctification”. St. Paul speaks that he had a thorn in his side and he asked God to remove it 3 times (3 times was used symbolically for innumerable times by the Jews), God answered him, “My grace is enough for you, for it is in weakness that power comes to perfection”. Toward the end of St. Paul’s life he exclaimed, “I have run the race I have fought the good fight”. And then says heaven awaits him. God’s promise was fulfilled in St. Paul, weakness was the path to St. Paul’s perfection. It is the same for us, if we wish to be perfect as Jesus commands, then it is only through the Cross that we can achieve it. It is only the Cross that gives us strength. As a priest once said in his sermon, “You will never receive anything from God except through the price of pain”. There is no other path to God save by the Cross. We waste our time just languishing in our imperfections, lets stand, take up our Cross and follow Jesus to Calvary.

      • Consider the possibility that Benedict XVI–as reported by Seewald–is making his familiar distinction between the “real” Council (1962-5) and the “virtual” council (1962-5) marketed by termite theologians (their inventive “hermeneutics of discontinuity”)—rather than now offering a contradiction between the Council and the original working documents of 1959 (as you suppose).

        To correct the virtual and false image, Benedict recommends actually reading the Vatican II Documents. (At the 20-year point, this was also a recommendation of the 1985 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, convened to reclaim the real work and meaning of Vatican II.)


        • From my understanding Vatican ll’s real workings started on Pentecost Sunday May 17, 1959. Over 850 Scholars and 100’s of Theologians. Seewald quotes Benedict XVl about the signing of the 70 decrees of Vatican ll, it was expected to last from 2 through 3 weeks. That was just enough time for some 2500 Bishops to sign each and every one of the 70 Council Documents. The words of St. John XXlll right up to October 11, 1962 says it all, “Its a done deal”, “Now we can move forward fearlessly”.

          What I want to read are the 70 Documents of Vatican Council ll. Why not place side by side the 70 decrees of Vatican ll of St. John XXlll and the Vatican ll Documents from 1962-1965, that would be fun.
          Did Pope Benedict XVl give us a virtual and false image about the Council? Pope Benedict never gave up the “Munus” (Papacy) only the “Ministerium”. It is through his short notes, letters and Biography that he stills leads the Church in the right direction. I like his style!

          • Peter D. Beaulieu, I believe God gave his Church a great gift in Pope Benedict XVl. As Fr. Ratzinger at the Council, a Liberal, then he became a Modernist, then he began to question himself, then a Traditionalist, all the way up to the Papacy. I believe God saw satans plan for the Council and interrupted it with Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, Bishop Joseph Ratzinger, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then Pope Benedict XVl and now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVl, a Sovereign Pontiff in retirement “But no less a Pope). God has taken just about every Saint through winding paths, the Saints light fires called Jesus Christ through the whole path until the day that Eternal Bliss dawns for them.

          • You write of “Satan’s plan for the Council,” and then the guiding role over the years of Benedict (about which there is no disagreement)…

            As for the real Council, and even the recognition by the Council of Satanic influences, Benedict (who, incidentally, refutes the notion of some that he is still “no less a [the?] Pope”), was well attuned to all this long before the eve of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, convened in 1985 to reclaim the “real” Council from the “virtual” council peddled by modernist operatives. From the interview:

            “‘There are already signs of the return of these dark powers, and Satanic cults are spreading more and more in the secularized world.’ We are bound to inform our readers that statements of this kind are completely in line with the Church’s traditional teaching, ratified by Vatican II [!], which speaks seventeen times of ‘Satan’, the ‘devil’, the ‘evil one’, the ‘ancient serpent’, the ‘power of darkness’ and the ‘prince of this world’. At least five times these references occur in Gaudium et spes [!!], the most ‘optimistic’ document of the entire Council” (The Ratzinger Report, interview with Vittorio Messori, Ignatius, 1985, p. 139).

            If we might not be able to access the original schemas as you suggest (an interesting proposal), there’s probably no harm in actually reading, at least, the final Council Documents themselves, before airbrushing the whole thing as “counterfeit.”

        • Peter D. Beaulieu, I looked at the link you gave. Sometimes I wonder how Pope Benedict XVl, the smartest man on earth works. He is brilliant. I read this morning that in about 2019 Pope Benedict spoke of the (counterfeit/my term) Council on “Freedom”. He stated that what the Council says is misleading because it makes no sense. And he was speaking of the actual Council texts. There are many things questioned about that Council gone awry. One is a point by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, he said this was a heresy and it is, “Catholics and Muslims worship the same God” and then we get the Abhu Dabi declaration. The Dogmatic teaching of the Church is that Catholics and non-Catholics do not worship the same God, this has long been declared a heresy and when one thinks about it, it is in fact a blatant heresy coming from the Council. Another heresy from the Council is when it refers to the Church’s as in other religions. There is but one true Church and it is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, the other Church’s cannot be placed side by side with the one true Religion. Archbishop Lefebvre is now being praised for being right all along. One important man went as far as saying, “Lefebvre will one day be declared a Doctor of the Church”. He’s another St. Athanasius who stood alone in proclaiming the truth without compromising. Lefebvre suffered greatly for not backing off his duties as a successor of the Apostles. I would like for him to be declared both a Dry Martyr for the faith and a Doctor of the Church.

          • We read: “I read this morning that in about 2019 Pope Benedict spoke of the (counterfeit/my term) Council on ‘Freedom’”. And that he was commenting on Council texts as “misleading”…

            My bet is that this impression might misconstrue Benedict’s (very rare) public statement, dealing directly with sexual abuse within the Church and attributing this crisis largely to the intrusive influence of sexual “freedom”—-the Sexual Revolution of the late 1960s (coming after the Council was completed). Of course, perhaps, there might be some other very rare public statement from Benedict in 2019, for which you can supply a citation and link!

            Here’s the full text of Benedict’s essay:

            (Not many would deny that the Council’s multiply-edited and counterbalanced declarations on Religious Freedom and on Non-Christian religions are problematic. Now, yes, to be (unwittingly?) exploited in one mutant and very pivotal word (“pluralism”) in one part of the “Abhu Dabi” (sic for Abu Dhabi) Declaration of 2019.

  10. Peter D. Beaulieu, I believe God gave his Church a great gift in Pope Benedict XVl. As Fr. Ratzinger at the Council, a Liberal, then he became a Modernist, then he began to question himself, then a Traditionalist, all the way up to the Papacy. I believe God saw satans plan for the Council and interrupted it with Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, Bishop Joseph Ratzinger, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then Pope Benedict XVl and now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVl, a Sovereign Pontiff in retirement “But no less a Pope). God has taken just about every Saint through winding paths, the Saints light fires called Jesus Christ through the whole path until the day that Eternal Bliss dawns for them.

    • Peter D. Beaulieu, I agree with you. For 44 years I have done all possible to defend the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I look back and realize I was like a boat tossed by the waves. I have in the past tried to defend Vatican ll from Ultra-Traditionalists and from another side I tried to defend Vatican ll from the Modernists. In my days I have ruffled a lot of feathers. Last Christmas I told my wife that I sensed God taking me into a new direction, and He is. In January the bombshell fell on me with the Biography of Pope Benedict XVl. Its been like with Moses, I have seen the promised land but will have no chance to enter it. Vatican ll caused me unbearable anguish and all because I love the Church. Imagine, there are those whose anguish was more painful than mine. I was 6 years old when the Council ended. I know of many older men whose lives were destroyed by Vatican ll. In departing, I can only say I want the Council of St. John XXlll because I don’t like the counterfeit Council and its aftermath. Viva Christo Rey!

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