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Clericalist Iconoclasm Strikes Again

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Just in time for your Annunciation Observed meditation, His Holiness and His Eminence have released a new document, “Dignitas Infinita.” In its press release, Tucho “Heal me with your Mouth” Fernández is already taking shots at the laity from his castle atop the clericalist iconoclast regime of Francis. Before we even begin to digest and analyse the document, it is absolutely vital that we take a step back and realise what’s happening, making important concessions of nuance and understanding the dangers, in order to exercise the virtue of caution.

What is the Clericalist Iconoclast Regime?

Clericalism may be defined as the thinking of “the Church” as only the clergy. Or, in hyperüberultramontanism (which is merely a species of clericalism) only the Pope. No, the Church is not the Pope and the Pope is not the Church. A fortiori, the Church is not the clergy and the clergy are not the Church.

Rather, we can say emphatically (and quote Vatican II, by the way, to prove this), that the Church is the community of all the baptised. Period.

One of the most important areas where clericalism wreaks havoc is in the de facto suppression of the dogma non definitum known as the Two Swords doctrine. This dogma is summed up well by Canonist Stephen of Tournai (1128-1203) who echoes centuries of this traditional dogma this way:

In the same city, and under the same King, there are two people and two authorities. The city is the Church, the King is Christ, the two peoples are the clergy and the laity… and the two authorities are the priesthood and the monarchy.[1]

This is why we should abandon the phrase “Church and State.”

The important text by A. W. Jones

The State is merely the lay rulers of the Church who govern the temporal order according to the temporal sword (Rom. xiii). These are the fathers (and sometimes mothers acting as noblewomen and queens) who are defending their children against the enemies of Christ. Nobility was born when men of God unsheathed their swords against the pagan, Viking, Muhammadan, et al. invasions. Then families realised they could rally around these men of God for protection, and that’s how feudalism began. But this anthropological process is how it is set up in every culture (at least according to the natural law process, to say nothing of other reasons men seize power for other ends).

Clericalist Iconoclasm Began before Vatican II

As we have attempted to show elsewhere, this clericalist iconoclasm predates Vatican II. The problems with Vatican II and the Novus Ordo are merely a symptom of issues which were already latent at that time. This regime was created when Bl. Pius IX broke with centuries of traditional lay nobility at Vatican I. It was strengthened when St. Pius X broke centuries of tradition by removing the veto power of the Holy Roman Emperor. It reached a zenith when the Vatican of St. Paul VI broke with centuries of tradition in attempting to impose American-style religious liberty on Catholic nations following Vatican II while attempting to suppress the ancient Roman Rite.

This clericalist iconoclast regime was weakened insofar as the work of Joseph Ratzinger helped restore the Roman Rite to its rightful place as the primary cultus of western civilisation. But even he seemed to waver in the face of the Liberalism that was unleashed after the Council. Nevertheless he correctly defended the dogma of the Two Swords when he said that Catholic politicians could disagree with St. John Paul II regarding the death penalty.[2]

Pope Francis’s New Clericalist Iconoclasm

Under this pontificate, the dogma of the Two Swords has suffered greater defeats and the clericalist iconoclast regime has been strengthened more than ever. This came first especially with the de facto imposition of the heresy regarding the death penalty. The death penalty is the most conspicuous domain of the laity, since it is literally the temporal sword. Kwasniewski noted the ramifications rightly in a crucial essay:

Either (A) Pope Francis is attempting to change the constant teaching of the Church—or, more precisely, of Scripture and Tradition—that the death penalty is not intrinsically immoral, and indeed is justifiable and justified under certain circumstances; or (B) He is “merely” stating that there is no longer any possible prudential situation in the entire world in which the death penalty may be justified in order to defend the common good of society from malefactors.

If we prescind from (A), Kwasniewski draws the other conclusion:

However, if (B) is the correct interpretation, he is equally in error, because not even the most extreme ultramontanist imaginable ever maintained that the papacy is endowed with a political prudence superior to and inclusive of the political prudence of all princes, presidents, prime ministers, parliaments, legislatures, and courts of the entire world, such that he is capable of knowing, in detail, what is right and just in every possible social circumstance. 

In other words, with hyperüberultramontanism, the Popes (beginning in the 19th century), attempted to be the bishop of every diocese. But with Pope Francis, he has now attempted with the death penalty heresy to be the king of every country too.

This situation obviously got immeasurably worse when Pope Francis attempted to suppress the ancient Roman Rite. But with Fiducia Supplicans, the cards are laid on the table in a much more strident way, where Francis is not only the king of every country, but also the Social Justice Warrior of every legislature. Libera nos, Domine!

Fiducia Supplicans against Our Children

The Francis Vatican had already attempted to dictate to the African nations in particular (many of whom still have rational laws regarding sodomy) that their lay rulers should pledge allegiance to King Francis, not Christ the King. With Fiducia Supplicans, Francis attempted to circumvent the lay nobleman resistance to this clericalism, by imposing on all clerics the error that “same-sex couples” not only exist (a metaphysical impossibility), but these couples can be blessed.

But as the Prophet says, He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them: and the Lord shall deride them (Ps. ii. 4).   

And thus in a twist of Providence, virtually the entire world’s episcopate resisted this sodomitical idolatry coming out of the Francis regime. (I say “virtually” because relative to the Francis regime status quo ante, nothing like this resistance ever existed.) After Fiducia, His Holiness and His Eminence (aka The Emperor and Darth Vader) have faced nothing less than a worldwide rebellion.

So what does The Dictator Pope do when he’s drunk with power? The Emperor built the first Death Star, but he was drunk with power so… how about another Death Star, bigger and better than the last? That’ll crush the rebel alliance once and for all!


And so, the Clericalist Iconoclast regime of Francis has simply doubled down on their drunk power and ridiculed the world’s bishops (and Africa). This has utterly backfired.  

But what does Tucho say with the latest document and its press conference?

So the message is clear: Francis is the bishop of every diocese and the dictator of every nation, city, village and family. Abolish your laws which protect your children from the globalist gender ideology of the fallen angels. Stop defending your children from the fallen angels. In the name of mercy, open the door to the Antichrist.

But what does the document actually say?

Well, first of all we have to remind readers that this is the Roman Catholic Church, even though the regime in Rome has lost the ability to use the Roman language. So there’s no Latin text. Thank you, Vatican II aftermath. We can never cease in reminding readers that the loss of Latin and Romanitas hinders any understanding that can be given to these loquacious documents, and separates this pontificate further from John Paul II and Benedict XVI, both of whom still had official texts in the Roman tongue. This is another way in which this pontificate is a regime of iconoclasm.

However, in this post we’re not going to get into the document yet. As long as the world doesn’t end today with the eclipse on the Annunciation Observed, I’ll have more analysis down the pike this week. To close this I want to simply make a few important concessions in the way of lending further nuance to this document’s reception.

At OnePeterFive we have attempted to add a greater depth to the Trad movement by challenging certain “slogans” which have helped and harmed our movement. These slogans have helped our movement because they have disseminated our movement far and wide. But these slogans have also harmed our movement by hinding the erudition necessary to promote our cause. There are many issues which require an immense amount of scholarship, since they are dealing with human and divine mysteries, and the issue of “human dignity” is one of them. Too often Trads have fallen into slogans regarding this issue, and failed to take into consideration the wider breadth of the history and the analysis of truth. Thus, we want to highlight a number of these issues and then underlay the virtue of caution here, ahead of further analysis on the document.  

The doctrine, per se, of “human dignity” is thoroughly traditional. The phrase itself is contained in a beautiful prayer in the ancient Roman Rite (at the Offertory). Thus as Trads we need to avoid the trap of condemning anything that speaks of “human dignity” merely by the fact that this phrase is used. Yes, although per se it is traditional, the phrase is extremely dangerous in the post-Liberal era, but I will return to that below.

Another concession that needs to be made (since this document makes reference to at least one Renaissance Humanist text), is that “humanism,” per se, is also thoroughly traditional. It is another false narrative too often repeated by Trads that “the Renaissance led to Protestantism which led to Liberalism… ergo humanism is per se, a heresy.” Yes and no. What’s missing here is that the Church baptised Renaissance humanism with the Council of Trent. This led to the glories of Baroque Civilisation, which converted much of the known world to this day.[3]

Finally, we need to be careful, too, if we start to condemn “Personalism” as another, per se, heresy. I have never read a single critique of “Personalism” by a traditionalist which understood the basic sources of the movement (this is why we are publishing Mr. Nicholas Rao’s critique of Personalism here at OnePeterFive). One of the godfathers of the Trad movement, Dietrich von Hildebrand, was fundamental to the development of this Augustinian (and Thomistic) philosophical movement of the 20th century. Cardinal Wojtyła notes in his book Sources of Renewal that the first seven ecumenical councils were indeed “Personalist” in the sense that they had as their object the mystery of the person of Christ, which necessitated delving into the mystery of the human person and human nature, which was assumed by the Divine Person of the Logos.

Moreover, “Personalism” can be understood as a Catholic philosophical answer to the errors about the human person of Liberalism and its two ugly daughters – Feminism and Communism. Therefore the Trad reaction which asserts that Personalism per se is heresy also harms our analysis here. We need to provide something deeper and more erudite than that.

The Virtue of Caution: to See and Avoid Future Evil

Only then can we see the dangers in the use of the term “human dignity.” The primary danger is that the phrase itself – although it is, per se, traditional – is equivocal, and has been used by the Church’s enemies since 1776, 1789 and 1798 to destroy all of Christendom. After Vatican II, good churchmen – like St. John Paul II – naively began to promote the phrase, unwittingly offering the medicine of mercy to the Antichrist. Hence, the rallying cry of “human rights” went from 1776 to the unborn holocaust of 1973. This is where the virtue of caution comes in. Yes, the concepts of “human dignity” and “the human person” are traditional, but let’s not pretend that there is not a conspiracy of the fallen angels sweeping the globe so that children can be killed without baptism and offered to the new idols of Moloch. We are living in a worldwide bloodbath of the unborn holocaust. That’s the reality of “human dignity” today.

And the new gender ideology globalist regime has taken this to a new level, preying on children worldwide by means of the American Empire and other powerful regimes. The Vatican, especially since Fiducia, has been chiding men of God in politics for protecting their children from this demonic evil.

They are clericalist iconoclasts, stuck in their ivory towers utterly disconnected from reality itself. We should pity them, and pray that God may grant them a good death and a purifying time in purgatory.

We will return to this document shortly. Stay tuned.

Happy Annunciation observed!

Jesus is King. 🙂

T. S. Flanders
The Annunciation of the Theotokos

[1] R. W. Carlyle, A History of Mediaeval Political Theory (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1915), vol. II, 198 in C. Dawson, The Formation of Christendom (Ignatius Press, 2008), 216.

[2] Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion,” Letter to Cardinal McCarrick, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (July 2004).

[3] See T. S. Flanders, City of God vs. City of Man (Our Lady of Victory Press, 2021), 208-230.

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