Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part Seven) – Gaudium et Spes – The Place of the Church in the Modern World
by Fr. Pierre-Marie, O.P.
Dominican in Avrillé
From Le Sel de la terre 93, Summer 2015
The Four Constitutions
Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes – on the place of the Church in the modern world
What is the importance of this text?
Because the Council intended to accomplish an updating (aggiornamento) to bring the Church closer to the modern world, this Constitution is the most representative of the Council. Just as the Syllabus of Pius IX in a way constituted the charter of the position of the Church in the face of the modern world before Vatican II 1, so too is GS the charter of the Conciliar Church:
Gaudium et Spes is (along with the texts on religious liberty and the world religions) a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a sort of counter-Syllabus. […] This text plays the role of a counter-Syllabus insofar as it represents an attempt at officially reconciling the Church with the world as it has become since 1789 2.
What is the fundamental error of this text?
The fundamental error of this text, which is that of Vatican II and in a general way that of the Conciliar Church, is having attempted this “official reconciliation of the Church with the world such as it has become since 1789,” whereas Pope Pius IX solemnly condemned in advance such an attitude in the last proposition of the Syllabus: “The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.” (condemned proposition).
Msgr. Gaume explains this well in his Petit catéchisme du Syllabus 3:
The Sovereign Pontiff neither can nor should reconcile himself with these three things 4 because they tend to ruin the tutelary authority of the Church, degrade man, and render him wretched5.
The proof is established by the facts; after Vatican II the ruin of the authority of the Church and the degradation and the miserable state of men have only accelerated.
Is there a Freemasonic influence in this text?
Masonic doctrine appears clearly in this text, as it does in the text on religious liberty. Also, these two documents are the only ones that Archbishop Lefebvre refused to approve at the Council.
Where does the Masonic doctrine of gnosis appear?
In several places, in particular when the text affirms that “the Godlike seed…has been sown in” (§ 3, 2) man, and that “by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man” (§ 22, 2).
GS affirms it of every man; it can only be understood in the perspective of the gnosis according to which there is in the depths of man a spark of divinity, and that man should regain consciousness of his dignity, without having need of the faith or baptism.
Let us note that in § 22, 2 we find the expression “in some fashion” which allows for stating a heresy without clearly affirming it. But afterwards, “in some fashion” will be suppressed and the heresy of universal redemption will be clearly taught, notably by John-Paul II6.
Where does the Masonic doctrine of humanism appear?
Masonic humanism is a consequence of its gnosis; because man is “Godlike“, one should affirm his dignity and even make him the center of the universe. GS insists much on the “dignity” of man7.
The entire chapter 1 of GS is related to the dignity of man, notably that of his conscience, independently of whether he follows the moral law or not: “Conscience frequently errs from invincible ignorance without losing its dignity.” (§ 16, 1).
The dignity of man is not lost, even if he adheres to error: “it is necessary to distinguish between error, which always merits repudiation, and the person in error, who never loses the dignity of being a person” (§ 28, 2).
This dignity was even increased, for all men, by the Incarnation: “Since human nature as He assumed it was not annulled, by that very fact it has been raised up to a divine dignity in our respect too. For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man.” (§ 22, 2).
This dignity is equal in all men (§ 29, 3); private and public institutions are at its service (§ 29, 4); it establishes the relationship between the Church and the world (§ 40, 1); better than all others, the Church ensures its respect (§ 41); it is necessary to honor and promote it also in social and economic life; consciousness of this dignity has increased in our time (§ 26 and 72), etc.
But the most incredible passage of GS remains the affirmation:
“According to the almost unanimous opinion of believers and unbelievers alike, all things on earth should be related to man as their center and crown.” (§ 12).
Msgr. Tissier de Mallerais judges that “this conciliar passage is the expression of an anthropocentrism that verges on blasphemy” 8.
Where does the Masonic doctrine of the rights of man appear?
The text frequently speaks about them (three times more frequently than the duties of man), saying that the Church, in virtue of the Gospel that was confided to it, proclaims them (§ 41, 3), that it asks that they be developed in all regimes that recognize them (§ 41, 3), that these rights are universal and inviolable (§ 26, 2), that it is necessary to respect them (§ 65, 66, 75), protect them (§ 26, 2), where it is affirmed that this is one of the advantages of “socialization“, (§ 29), promote them (including the rights “to express one’s own opinion and to profess one’s religion both publicly and privately“, § 73), and defend them (including, if needs be, by strikes—although in certain civilized countries striking is justly forbidden by the law, e.g. in certain Swiss cantons).
« With respect to the fundamental rights of the person, every type of discrimination, whether social or cultural, whether based on sex, race, color, social condition, language or religion, is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God’s intent. For in truth it must still be regretted that fundamental personal rights are still not being universally honored [§ 29, 2]. »
It is known that the doctrine of the Rights of Man, issuing from the masonic lodges, was proclaimed by the French Revolution (afterwards by the United States) and condemned by the Church as the expression of a new right that is not based on the natural law and on the Gospel, but on general will 9.
Subsequently, the more recent popes have sought to proclaim a correct doctrine of “fundamental rights” of the human person in the face of totalitarianism 10. Whatever the success of such an enterprise is, the text of GS favors the Masonic interpretation of the doctrine of the Rights of Man, even if only because it does not mention any of the condemnations of the novel right 11.
Does GS speak of laicism?
No, not more than the other texts of the Council, whereas a pastoral council should have spoken of this, “the plague which now infects society12“, which consists in denying the rights of Our Lord Jesus Christ over society. Certainly GS asks Catholics to conduct themselves thus within the framework of public life (§ 43, 1), but it specifies that it is “the function of their well-formed Christian conscience to see that the divine law is inscribed in the life of the earthly city” (§ 43, 2). This detour to “conscience” suffices to annul the objective and obligatory character of the submission of society to Christ the King. Laicism is very dear to Freemasons, and it is undoubtedly why the Council would not attack it.
Where does the realization of the goal of Freemasonry appear?
The aim of Freemasonry is the “reconstruction of the Temple“, i.e., the reunification of humanity dispersed after the episode of the Tower of Babel. This Masonic “great work” is performed under the guidance of the Great Architect of the Universe, which is none other than Lucifer seeking to be adored in the place of God and who also prepares the coming of the Antichrist. He will lead the world government when the aim is implemented13.
Now, we have seen, the Council set itself the goal of working for “the unity of the whole human race” (§ 42, 3), and it is above all in GS that this desire is expressed. In its preface, the text joins the idea of a “brotherhood of all men” (§ 3, 2) to the gnostic thesis of the “Godlike seed” sown in all men:
« Therefore, this sacred synod, proclaiming the noble destiny of man and championing the Godlike seed which has been sown in him, offers to mankind the honest assistance of the Church in fostering that brotherhood of all men which corresponds to this destiny of theirs [§ 3, 2]. »
And in its conclusion, GS returns to the matter, affirming that this is the aim of the constitution and that this “brotherhood of all men” includes all men, believers and unbelievers.
« Drawn from the treasures of Church teaching, the proposals of this sacred synod look to the assistance of every man of our time, whether he believes in God, or does not explicitly recognize Him. If adopted, they will promote among men a sharper insight into their full destiny, and thereby lead them to fashion the world more to man’s surpassing dignity, to search for a brotherhood which is universal and more deeply rooted, and to meet the urgencies of our ages with a gallant and unified effort born of love [§ 91, 1]. »
Could you please identify some other errors taught or favored by GS?
- The text suggests the inversion of the ends of marriage14 and the condemnation of the Catholic doctrine of just war (§ 82), favors conscientious objection (§ 78 and 79), promotes democracy to the detriment of other legitimate forms of government (notably § 31, 3 and 7515), etc.
- One can even indicate the scandalous silence of GS, a pastoral constitution devoted to the problems of our time, on communism which savagely persecuted Christians then, despite a request from more than 450 bishops. But this silence was the result of a secret Rome-Moscow pact.