Dear OnePeterFive donors, supporters and readers,
Now that we have introduced our new editorial board, it’s time to throw down the gauntlet about where we stand and where we intend to go. This post will not explain in detail all of the controversial topics here—that is left to our writers to analyze, discuss and debate. Rather, this helps to inform everyone what is changing about OnePeterFive and what is staying the same.
First and foremost, our mission is to rebuild Catholic culture and restore Catholic tradition. We set out to fulfill our vocation as Catholics: to restore all things in Christ. What does that mean? It means rebuilding Christendom. At OnePeterFive, we want to highlight where in the world Christendom is being built and talk about how we can restore Catholic glory in all places. This may seem hard, but our fathers have done it over and over. “It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants” (Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique).
All that is necessary is for us to have the same spirit as our fathers, that is, to take up our cross and die for Christ. There is no path to Resurrection except the Passion and the Cross. Our King says solemnly that whosoever doth not carry his cross and follow me, cannot be my disciple (Lk. xiv. 27). And thus the cross is the heart of Christendom, as the great Brazilian crusader, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira observed,
The cross is the symbol of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of all the suffering a Catholic carries in this life, with which, in union with Our Lord Jesus Christ, he opens for himself the doors of Heaven. Placing the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ higher than all things was a concern of the entire Christian civilization.
In cities, the highest buildings used to be church towers, topped by the cross. The cross also topped the crowns of kings. When they wanted to make a very important document, on the top of the document they inscribed the cross (in Roberto de Mattei, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira: Prophet of the Reign of Mary, trans. Schelini [PCP Books, 2019], 136).
To be a crusader is to take up the cross. This is the spirit of our fathers which we hope to invigorate at OnePeterFive. But this is possible only through the power of divine grace.
Everyone abhors suffering, any form of suffering. Love of the cross is a grace that cannot be obtained without a special favor. It is a grace from Heaven to be obtained through Our Lady in view of her merits and sorrows, and above all of the infinite merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Passion. This is the grace we should ask for, and that is how the soul becomes vigorous (Ibid., loc. cit.).
Catholics must rally to the cross, deep within their souls, by uniting the sufferings of our times to the Passion of Our Lord. Only then can there be resurrection: Christendom. We must not only unite against modern errors, but we must provide for our families an alternative to this godless world in Christian civilization. Thus our unity is first for the truth and then against error. The truth we promote is Catholic Tradition in all its fullness—the doctrine of faith and morals, the sacred liturgy, but also the customs, pious beliefs and great monuments of art, architecture and music. We unite according to the binding force of Tradition—that which was passed down to us by our fathers to pass also to our children.
Unite the Clans!
Dietrich von Hildebrand observed that “valuing unity over truth plays a central role in the crisis of the Church” (Charitable Anathema, 1). The enemies of Christ within the hierarchy have continually used a false “unity” and “obedience” without reference to truth and orthodoxy to enforce their wicked will on the faithful. This is because of the false spirit of Vatican I, but we will return to that below.
For if it is true that a false irenicism has been used by our enemies, it is also true that a lack of charity has destroyed the efforts of orthodox Catholics. For among those who confess the dogmas of our faith, a lack of charity has been used by the fallen angels to divide us, so that the force of truth has been frustrated. We have been played by the Devil. He has laughed at us as we fight each other over minutiae while the heretics triumph against dogma.
Michael Matt, editor of the Remnant, whose family has fought for the faith since 1867, had the wisdom to say over two years ago that we must unite the clans in a common effort for Tradition. At OnePeterFive, we support this effort and do not scruple to have an avowed Lefebvrist on our editorial board. All confess the dogmas of the Catholic faith, and all seek to restore Tradition, even when we disagree on difficult and doubtful matters.
If we unite the clans to rebuild Christendom, we are confronted with the obstacles of heresy and error. We observe in particular three errors which tempt and confuse Catholics in our time.
The first error is the false spirit of Vatican I, or “extreme ultramontanism.” This is the vague idea that the whole Catholic life must revolve around the pope who is, as it were, some kind of de facto oracle at Delphi, whose every whim becomes a binding law in the Church. The heretics have used this false spirit by thinking that if they can just get the pope on their side, they can change error into truth, evil into good, or a woman into a man. The spirit of Vatican I is the basis for the spirit of Vatican II, peddled by heretics since before the Council closed in 1965.
But orthodox Catholics are tempted by this extreme papalism too. After all, it is an act of charity to interpret everything doubtful about someone in the best possible light (Summa, II-II q60 a4)—especially the Roman Pontiff. But as Hall notes, “Piously thinking the best about the pope can turn to excess which goes beyond reason.”
When this excess starts to strain the reason of good and faithful Catholics, the first error can lead to a second error: sedevacantism. This comes from another pious attitude, since it seeks to hold onto the Tradition in the face of widespread confusion. But unfortunately the sedevacantists, in an attempt to avoid novelty, end up making a worse novelty. But this will be treated in future articles.
Then, if the first two errors are found to be both unreasonable and against Tradition, some Catholics lose all faith in Rome and seek refuge in one of the Greek schisms, also known as “Eastern Orthodoxy.” Again, these Catholics are striving to be faithful—to hold to the tradition of our fathers and seek the truth. But this is perhaps the most tempting “solution” of all, since these churches have every appearance of Tradition and it takes years of study to unravel the historical fallacies and straw men that these schisms are built upon.
Thus we have three tempting errors for orthodox Catholics in our modern epoch—the false spirit of Vatican I, sedevacantism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. In our efforts to rebuild Christendom, OnePeterFive intends to fight for Tradition on all fronts, combating these three errors while preaching the Holy Gospel to heretics, Jews, Muslims, and every other lost soul for whom Christ shed His Precious Blood.
We have a number of writers to tackle these subjects, but as always we welcome guest submissions: editor [at] onepeterfive.com. Please support this effort with your prayers and financial support.
Perhaps the silver lining of the Francis pontificate will be found in a complete repudiation of the false spirit of Vatican I, and thus God will once again bring good out of evil, as He always does.
This brings us to our points which are non-negotiable. Besides the doctrine of the faith already taught by the Church (according to every theological note), there are some fundamental truths which form the standard context of debate among Catholics to resolve our crisis. These are:
- We accept Pope Francis as the reigning pontiff
- Vatican II is the 21st Ecumenical Council of the Church
- The New Mass and Sacraments are valid
These three reflect the definition of Catholic in our time as given by Bellarmine in his On the Church Militant. But many of the heretics accept these three as well, and are weaponizing them against the faith. This manifests a common rebellion in Church and society which began in 18th century.
School of Thought
Therefore OnePeterFive represents the anti-Modernist effort that began before Vatican II. Its fundamental basis was the spiritual sword wielded by the popes against modern errors going back to Pius VI in 1794 and later the strength and orthodoxy of St. Pius X. It was the subtle mind of Newman and the precision of Franzelin.
Counter-revolutionaries and lay leaders rose up: O’Connell, Montalembert, Ozanam, de Maistre, Moreno and Cortés with the Ninth Crusaders and the Matt family in the United States.
But the soul of the movement has always been liturgical—exemplified the piety of Guéranger—and its heart aesthetic—the beauty of composers, painters, sculptors, and architects (like Pugin) working within the great tradition, and later the worlds of Tolkien.
Our Lady appeared at Fatima to call modern man to repent, lest the wrath of God fall upon him, and this became the rallying cry for the movement.
But fighting on all fronts since the 1773, the movement pivoted to fight new things after World War II.
The first salvo on this front was the great Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange in his critical engagement with Nouvelle théologie.
The fight continued in the warnings contained in Humani Generis about “some false opinions threatening to undermine the foundation of Catholic doctrine.”
It was the efforts of the Coetus Internationalis Patrum at the Council.
It was Lefebvre, Ottaviani, de Castro Mayer and others against Teilhard de Chardin and the spirit of Vatican II.
It was the vigorous charity and aesthetic philosophy of Dietrich von Hildebrand, the scholarship of Michael Davies, the careful articulation of Fœderatio Internationalis Una Voce and the courage of Klaus Gamber.
This new front is known today as traditional Catholicism, and these names (among many others) are the godfathers of this movement in its most recent form. At OnePeterFive, we intend to defend their thought and distill it for the faithful, seeking to restore Christendom in all its glorious truth, goodness and beauty, in service to the Mystical Body of Christ, for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. This is the faith of our fathers. In this faith we intend to live and die.
May Our Lady obtain for us the spirit of our fathers, to embrace the cross of Christ, so that we may fulfill the command, by grace, given by 1 Peter 5:
Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you. To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
T. S. F.
St. Raymond Nonnatus
Timothy Flanders is the editor of OnePeterFive. He is the author of City of God versus City of Man: The Battles of the Church from Antiquity to the Present, which is forthcoming, and Introduction to the Holy Bible for Traditional Catholics. His writings have appeared at OnePeterFive and Crisis, as well as in Catholic Family News. In 2019 he founded The Meaning of Catholic, a lay apostolate dedicated to uniting Catholics against the enemies of Holy Church. He holds a degree in classical languages from Grand Valley State University and has done graduate work with the Catholic University of Ukraine. He lives in the Midwest with his wife and four children.