Above: a Russian icon of Ss. Peter and Paul.
As different as my culture is from that of my readers, there are still many things in common between Anglicanitas and Pax Russica – those two split-league hairs were once paired branches of the Roman Empire. Grafted by cutting, this ancient sprig has turned into a shrubbery sprawling East and West down from the Hill of Capitolium with myriad branches striving for sunlight and soil moisture. Tended and gardened through ages by the same Catholic Church, straining after the same Sun of Goodness, that is God Himself, still all the shoots have always blossomed in their own unique manner bearing slightly different fruit by rooting in different subsoils. That is how our cultures differ. Nevertheless, their roots intertwine and, all the flowers pollinated with the same bees, even strong similarities or direct borrowing shouldn’t come as a surprise.
All these differences belong to the natural order of things, or should I say to those ‘Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,’ which are intrinsically good. Problems arise with evil becoming a parasite on what is good, as it always does. The groundwater was infected by the cadaveric blood of Satan after our Blessed Lord beheld him as lightning fall from heaven through the sin of pride. Gradually penetrating into our circulatory system, the poison and infection that oozes from his impure wound gave rise to many heresies and schisms within Christianitas that would aggravate the various branches of Christianity through various historical interactions and borrowings, leaving a mark on the very genome of our cultures – a rare autoimmune disease, ironically confirming our kinship and common origin.
It is genuine hatred towards Catholicism: an attitude once vivid and deliberate, dull and residual nowadays, after the parasites of Marxism and consumerism pushed religion out of public life and discourse – those who ripped Christ from His Cross and spawned on the idolatrous remains.
The terrible truth is that sometimes we the Catholics, all Christians, added our own effort to the work of Satan – by knowledge or ignorance, reason or foolishness, but always in pride.
I shall give an example. It is philosophically impossible to imagine Marxism without Hegel, as it is Hegel without understanding the Protestant tradition of understanding historicism and chiliasm of Joachim of Fiore – a Catholic monk glorified by Protestants – who were led among others by a former Catholic monk named Fr. Martin Luther, who in his turn had been raised by the teachings of another person religious – a Franciscan named William of Ockham.
Joachim thought that the Kingdom of the Holy Spirit would be the new era of universal love that would transcend the traditional forms of Catholic ecclesiastical organisation, that the Order of the Just [monks] would rule the Church. Could he have known that in a couple of centuries the Holy Ghost would be replaced by the Zeitgeist and the Absolute (though totally immanent) Spirit, while the Church would be replaced by the State and a mass society under the guidance of some other quasi-religious orders – Parties, be they National- or just -Socialist – equally striving to create their own now godless Order of the Just? We can hardly guess at this point in history. We do know though that, among priests and bishops, monks and laity, even a Successor of St. Peter, the supreme guardian of the Church, hasn’t always managed to do his job well:
- The Chief Apostle Peter himself would judaise out of fear after even betraying the Lord;
- His close successor, Pope Liberius, consorted with the Arians and approved the condemnation of St. Athanasius leading many souls to dangerous doctrinal errors;
- Pope Vigilius caved in to Emperor Justinian and provoked thereby a hundred-year schism in North Africa. Being inconsistent in his decisions, authoritative proclamations, and judgments, he compromised the Papal Office while creating a historical president to a future heresy of Conciliarism;
- Pope Honorius was posthumously condemned by the 6th Ecumenical Council for his vague fight against the Monothelites and his rather ambiguous and scandalous formulations of faith;
- It was the papal legates of German origin who behaved arrogantly during their trip to Constantinople in 1054, leading to the Great Schism. Their arrogance and impatience stood in the way of maintaining justice and fragile ecclesiastical peace: although Pope Leo IX, who had sent them to the Capital was already dead during the climax, no future Pope did enough to reconsider the case or stop the Crusaders from persecuting Eastern Christians in the Middle East soon after the schism, making things even worse;
- Protestantism… My readers probably know a lot more about the role of the spiritual crisis in the Western Church and that of various Papal misconducts in the development of that tragedy than I shall ever do in my life. Apart from any sin of omission standing behind the very conception of that serpent, it was after the break of the Protestant revolution when the Western Catholic Theology and ecclesiastical practices accepted the pernicious idea of ‘Cujus regio, ejus religio’ postulating thereby the separation between civil and religious, as well as certain superiority of the former, thus securing primacy of all things worldly in the modern mentality.
The complete list would be much lengthier, but the principle is clear: as any of us needs brotherly correction when inclined to fall in this or that manner, so does the Pope need the help of those who are his brothers and children in Christ.
We have been living through the times of another crisis since the worldly mentality of the 1960s infiltrated the Church. The danger nowadays is in looking for concordance with the atheist-philanthropic elites, speaking in the words of Cardinal Müller. Indeed we are now in a crisis of identity, at risk of forgetting the true perspective of the Christian faith and the main aim of the Catholic Church – the salvation of souls – while quietly, step by step, becoming only an ecological, charitable, and peacemaking organisation under the UN.
Joachim’s chiliasm bears its fruit again, entwining the Church like devil’s guts, and the thousand-year mother-earthly kingdom, in which the Church is ruled by the Just (although no longer the monks, but rather laymen and even laywomen, instead of the traditional hierarchy established by Christ and the Apostles) – this is what many people fear and even crave to read in Pope Francis’s teaching.
Indeed, a lot of faithful Catholics are frustrated by the way our hierarchy and the Holy Father himself are involved in this crisis. They are sons of their time with their own eyesores, human weaknesses, and imperfect knowledge (not to speak of malignancy). Many believe that the Pope, as well as numerous cardinals and bishops alike are either knowingly or unknowingly doing things that are aggravating the crisis and harming the Catholic Church; that they are abusing their power entrusted by Christ for salvation of souls; that Peter does not strengthen his brothers anymore, but deliberately leads them into temptation instead. And often does the devil use the disappointment to lead these wounded Catholics out of the Church to one of the Eastern Orthodox Churches or an unregulated community of Latin priests and laity who either formally recognise Pope Francis or do not see him as their Caput et Pater at all.
In this article, I would like to provide the example and advice of the Eastern Catholic Churches and their saints, which is more than relevant in our situation. These are the words and deeds of some holy men who were ready to die for loyalty to Rome, still always putting their loyalty to Jesus Christ fully above. We shall talk about ancient and relatively modern Eastern Catholics, who were one hundred percent for the Pope, but far from ultramontanism. About those martyrs who would take the Pauline role and actually made the Catholic Church better without leaving her.
Read part II: Pope Benedict IX was “A Devil from Hell”
 Korey Maas, The Reformation and Robert Barnes: History, Theology and Polemic in Early Modern England (Martlesham, UK: Boydell & Brewer), 132 URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=M_aARwxw7lkC&dq=Joachim+of+fiore+reformation&pg=PA132
 Frank E. Manuel and Manuel, Fritzie P. Manuel, Utopian Thought in the Western World (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), 56–59 URL: https://archive.org/details/UtopianThoughtInTheWesternWorld/page/n7/mode/2up
 Agostino Mathis, Appunti critici di Storia Medievale in La Civiltà Cattolica 66 (1915), nr. 4.