The Benedict Option
By Michael Hoffman
Pope-follower Rod Dreher of The American Conservative magazine is the author of The Benedict Option, which lays out a commendable strategy for preserving Christendom against the barbarians by securing a redoubt in rural America and creating communities that will have a decent chance to survive and flourish, similar to those of St. Benedict of Norcia (480-547 A.D.).
Dreher is seconding a well-known alternative. It is not his original concept, as he freely admits. We may quibble with the particulars but the idea is sound and many are acting upon it. Where I reside, in northern Idaho, many hundreds of Conservatives (at least) relocate here every year, seeking freedom and fellowship with Christian people of like mind. So kudos to Dreher for popularizing and attempting to systematize the “Benedict Option.”
The Other “Benedict Option”
The problem is that Dreher himself, as a flawed personal guide to the Vatican labyrinth, is enamored of some very confused and naive thinking concerning another Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who is now “emeritus Pope" Benedict XVI.
Could Mr. Dreher be so gullible as to be unaware of the Machiavellian and Hegelian feints, stratagems, double-talk and double mind issuing from the popes of Rome? It would seem so, based on his analysis of Pope Benedict’s recent, thinly veiled hints to the effect that his successor, Pope Francis, is making shipwreck of the Church.
These signals were delivered by Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Benedict's surrogate, in a eulogy for a deceased “Conservative,” Cardinal Joachim Meisner, on July 15. Dreher and other “Conservative Catholic” pundits view Benedict’s eulogy for Meisner — who had questioned Francis— in which the erstwhile pope spoke of a catastrophe afflicting the Church, as a sign of resistance to Francis (See Dreher, “Pope Benedict’s SOS”).
Benedict’s surrogate stated, “...the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.”
Mr. Dreher writes:
“Keep in mind that Catholics think of the Church as the 'barque of Peter' — a boat, captained by Peter. Benedict XVI is saying here that the Church appears to be going down, capitulating to the Zeitgeist. ...I had to re-read that statement from Benedict several times to quite believe it. This is a staggering remark, one whose power is amplified by the fact that it was delivered at the requiem mass for a cardinal who challenged Pope Francis directly. I cannot read it as other than Benedict’s judgment of the state of the Catholic Church under Francis. If you have a more plausible reading, let’s hear it. If I’m correct, contained within these few lines is Benedict’s counsel to the Catholic faithful who wish to resist this dictatorship of the Zeitgeist: you are not wrong; things really are as bad as they seem — but stand fast in the faith, and fear not."
The patent message is that there remains one “conservative” pontiff willing to buck the tide of a liberal pope, and rally troops on the Right against the Left.
Why the need to send this message? It is important to the Cryptocracy to retain Conservatives' faith in the popes. The pay-pray-and-obey tradition on the Right must be kept open for the sake of the survival of the institution. The far-Leftist Francis is undermining the centuries-old Left-Right papist symbiosis. Into the void and in the nick of time steps the other "Benedict option," 90-year-old Pope Benedict to attempt to build Conservative morale sufficient to keep Right wing sheep in the wolf's fold.
(His eulogy was vague enough to afford him plausible denial should the Left call him out on “undermining” Francis).
If he truly were a tribune of Conservative Catholicism, however, why did Benedict abdicate in the first place, knowing full well there was a strong chance the papacy would be turned over to Bergoglio? Even more significant is the fact that Benedict XVI was himself a wrecker. The Cryptocracy has performed a wonderful act of prestidigitation in transforming Pope Benedict into a faithful watchman against revolution, when in truth he was a leader of it.
For example, Benedict is a pontiff who does not believe in the literal bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, as documented in this writer’s book, The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome (pp. 89-90). Hence, he is not a Christian by any meaningful standard of measurement. Like many popes since the Renaissance he is also a Neoplatonic heretic (p. 90).
Followers of the Church of Rome may lull themselves to sleep concerning the grave transgressions of Pope Benedict XVI, though by doing so they are leaving the field wide open for Protestants who are not so myopic. Matthew Vogan, who writes with civility in his essay, “Does the Pope Believe in the Resurrection?” (Free Presbyterian Magazine, September, 2010; reprinted in my book [pp. 89-92]), compiled a devastating dossier on Benedict which true Catholic Conservatives should have written themselves, but were too busy blindly extolling Benedict's alleged orthodoxy.
In the Church of Rome since the sixteenth century, the thesis is always played against the antithesis, i.e. the Right is always a stage prop against the Left. The opposition of zealous Leftists to the pontificate of Benedict XVI did not render Benedict a true Catholic. Leftists are enraged that Benedict did not modify church edicts against contraception and women priests. But of what genuine significance is this particular “conservatism,” when a Neoplatonic-Hermetic revolution against the Gospel itself—the radical overthrow of nearly 1500 years of Christian teaching on Judaism—is implemented by Pope Benedict?
The Left-wing oppositional thesis does not absolve Benedict XVI of his complicity in Paul VI’s 1965 Nostra Aetate, or John-Paul II’s “Shoah” business, or his own unconscionable synagogue visits where he behaved nothing like the apostles of the early Church or St. Vincent Ferrer. In the synagogues he colluded with the rabbis and thereby encouraged them in their resistance to the Gospel.
Furthermore, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, his "Pontifical Biblical Commission" documents promulgated by Pope John Paul II (such as The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible), offered support for the "misunderstood" ancient Pharisees, and amounted to a whitewash of these deadly enemies of Our Lord. Moreover, the future Pope Benedict recommended the blasphemous Talmud and Midrash (“Jewish exegesis”) to Catholics for a better understanding of the Scriptures (The Occult Renaissance, pp. 551-558).This is a Conservative? What this is, is a mockery.
Benedict’s synthesis of the Leftist thesis and the Rightist antithesis culminated in his continuing perpetuation of the calamitous “Elder brothers in the faith” fraud, and Holocaustolatry. Both of these modernist innovations were as strong as ever under Benedict’s pontificate and thanks to his astute maneuvering, were taken up by “Roman Catholic conservatives and traditionalists.”
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Few people in the world bear more personal responsibility for the theological, moral, liturgical, and pastoral chaos in the Vatican II Sect than Joseph Ratzinger.
As theological advisor to Cardinal Josef Frings, Ratzinger participated in the shaping of some of the Vatican II documents to a significant degree. As an influential theology professor at various universities, and as an academic and author, he helped inculcate in his students’, colleagues’, and readers’ minds the “letter and spirit” of that infernal synod.
As “Archbishop” of Munich and Freising, Ratzinger implemented and applied Vatican II throughout his diocese. As Prefect of the so-called Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he determined the official “magisterial” interpretation and application of the Second Vatican Council for over 23 years, in close collaboration with “Pope” John Paul II.
Novus Ordo milestones such as the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, the 1993 Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, the 1993 Balamand Declaration, the 1999 Lutheran-Catholic Accord on Justification, and the 2000 Dominus Iesus Declaration were all issued under Ratzinger’s watch.
And as “Pope” from 2005-13, well, he had the power to do whatever he pleased. He could have changed anything he liked, righted every wrong, retracted or corrected every error, excommunicated every heretic.
Instead, he had Hans Kung over for coffee, went to synagogues and mosques, paid his obeisance to the Jews at the Wailing Wall, continued the blasphemous Assisi prayer meetings introduced by John Paul II...and appointed (Leftist) “cardinals” like Donald Wuerl, Reinhard Marx, Rainer Woelki, Kurt Koch, Luis Tagle, Gianfranco Ravasi, and Francesco Coccopalmerio.
Is the Novus Ordo Sect capsizing? You bet it is! Though not despite Joseph Ratzinger, but in large part because of him.
It is an old trick: Lament the very problems you yourself are responsible for creating or aggravating! Governments love to use it. It evokes compassion and makes you look like a hero. It works every time it’s tried because people have a very short memory. And it is particularly easy to pull off when your complaint blackens your successor, when you yourself are no longer in the game and thus won’t be called to account anymore.
Don’t be taken in by Benedict’s crocodile tears. Back in 1985, a mere 20 years after the close of the council, he was making headlines claiming we needed to “rediscover the true Vatican II” (see Joseph Ratzinger and Vittorio Messori, The Ratzinger Report [Ignatius Press, 1985], pp. 29-31) and warned against “degrad[ing] the liturgy to the level of a parish tea party and the intelligibility of the popular newspaper” (p. 121). That was 32 years ago! That record has been playing ever since.
It was no different for John Paul II. As far back as 1980, he ostensibly bewailed “the varied and frequent abuses being reported from different parts of the Catholic world” concerning the liturgy (see Instruction Inaestimabile Donum, Foreword).
Over 20 years later, he was still “lamenting” the same thing: “In various parts of the Church abuses have occurred, leading to confusion with regard to sound faith and Catholic doctrine concerning this wonderful sacrament” (John Paul II, “Encyclical” Ecclesia De Eucharistia , n. 10).
The following year, he once again emphasized that “it is not possible to be silent about the abuses, even quite grave ones, against the nature of the Liturgy and the Sacraments” (Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, n. 4) — all the while his own “papal” liturgies looked like this.
“Pope” Paul VI did the same thing when he “deplored” (boasted?) that “the smoke of Satan has entered the sanctuary” (Homily of June 29, 1972), yet he himself continued to fan the flames at every opportunity. This is not the mark of sincerity, it is the mark of hypocrisy.
Don’t fall for this latest episode of the same old charade. They’ve been doing it for decades.The latest trick is that they’re trying to make you believe there is an essential difference between the “good and orthodox” Benedict and the open Modernist Francis. The truth, however, is that both are selling you a pig — it’s just that Benedict’s has lipstick on it.
Brilliant and insightful commentary as usual, Michael. Reading this piece, I am further emboldened in my choice to forego the Left-Right Papal diddling altogether by remaining a faithful Greek Orthodox. It's too bad so many "conservative Catholics" out there have allowed themselves to become unwitting pawns and rationalizers in behalf of such gross apostasy.
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich said the (true) Church would be in eclipse. The ORCR has helped me wrap my head around this without going down the dead end road of sedevacantism. God willing, He will help my family and I stay near valid Sacraments.
Unfortunately (for us Orthodox), Dreher is no longer a papist and is now one of us.
Has anyone thought of the impact of the Gregorian Reform and the rise of the papacy.
According to wikipedia
"Gregory VII's life work [...] was based on his conviction that the Church was founded by God and entrusted with the task of embracing all mankind in a single society in which divine will is the only law; that, in his capacity as a divine institution, he is supreme over all human structures, especially the secular state; and that the pope, in his role as head of the Church under the petrine commission, is the vice-regent of God on earth, so that disobedience to him implies disobedience to God: or, in other words, a defection from Christianity."
Calling yourself the "vice-regent of God on earth" is pretty papist to me.
What do you think?
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