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Strickland, Francis and the coming Napoleon

As it stands it seems like the Revolution is coming for Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas. It has been reported by the Pillar that trustworthy informants in Rome attest to the Holy Father’s intention to ask Strickland to resign.

As much as I detest the editorial persuasion of the Pillar, they do have good journalist ethics when it comes to presenting the facts. (As an aside, readers should understand that there is no such thing as “straight journalism,’ meaning journalism without at least an implicit opinion. For example, when I wrote the breaking story for LifeSite in 2021 that Kyle Rittenhouse had been acquitted, I made sure to include in the piece that Rittenhouse had acted in self-defence by shooting men who happened to be convicted perverts and pedophiles. Of course, none of that was relevant to the judge’s decision, and I imagine Rittenhouse was not aware of any of this. The fact is, even though I reported what were only “facts,” I reported facts that would leave a certain impression on the reader. The Pillar has followed these journalistic tactics to a T, and after reporting the facts about Rome’s plans for Strickland, the author of the article goes on to use tidbits of information to make it seem like Rome would be justified in doing so.)

At any rate, the Revolution has set its eyes on Strickland, and this tells us a lot.

Before I continue, please understand that I will be making predictions about what I believe will come to pass, but in no way should the reader take my predictions more seriously than I do myself. Of course, none of us knows the future, and my little insignificant prophecies carry about as much weight as Pope Francis’s statements on Alitalia or an alleged revelation from Medjugorje. (On second thought, I shouldn’t be so unkind to the Medjugorje as to compare it to the airplane magisterium.) That being said, I do have some thoughts to share.

Most traditionalists are aware that in 1929 Our Lady spoke to Sister Lucia at Tuy, Spain about the urgent need to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. According to Lucia, Heaven warned that, “Like the King of France they will repent and do it, but it will be late.” This statement was made in reference to the plight of King Louis XVI, who was murdered by the Revolutionaries. It was requested of King Louis XIV exactly 100 years prior to Louis XVI’s death that the King of France consecrate France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but this request was seemingly ignored. It is also said that Louis XVI did finally perform a consecration of France to the Sacred Heart while imprisoned before his death, but that this was “too late.” The context of this historical reference mentioned by Sister Lucy is such that a disaster will befall the Church and the world if the request of Our Lady of Fatima is not fulfilled.

For all we know, it could be that Pope Francis finally performed the real consecration of Russia in 2022, but it was also “too late.” I do not take up this debate here, but wish to pull on this French thread in light of the revolution we are facing.

A little context about the French Revolution.

The Revolution in France was received like a chastisement in France, and was unprecedented in scale and scope. No one was safe, not even a hardened Liberal if the whims of the egomaniacal Robespierre and his cronies decided that a particular person was unwanted. Although it was a Liberal Revolution, it was often the case that Liberals who had initially gone with the Revolutionary program would wise up and change their tune about the whole thing when they saw how out of hand things became.

Something very similar has happened in the Church since the time of the Council. In the 1960s, the revolution was in the air, and everyone who was anyone caught the spirit of the 60s. In a certain sense even Ratzinger was liberal in his opinions, although he did move more to the right later in life, but not nearly as much as he is given credit for. Ratzinger and others who were very enthused about the Spirit of Vatican II while it took place, eventually realized how awful the whole experiment was, and moved away from their former revolutionary opinions, even if not all the way.

During those years after the Council, it was seen as fashionable to adopt a more moderate standpoint, and, like a good Hegelian, it was all the rage to seek a synthesis between the pre and post-conciliar Church. This was seen as the reasonable “conservative” position by respectable churchmen, like Ratzinger and John Paul II. Men like Archbishop Lefebvre were seen as too extreme, unwilling to play nice, and too uncompromising. Of course, more and more Archbishop Lefebvre comes off as a prophet, but that story is told — often by me — in other places.

When the “traditionalists” were sacrificed to the Revolution, even the so-called conservatives were largely okay with this. Again, the truth was to be found in the squishy middle where it was believed Congar and Pius X could meet and debate doctrine over coffee after a reverent Novus Ordo. However, in recent years, the “conservatives” are now starting to defect in droves from their fence-sitting middle-ground and find themselves kneeling at Traditional Latin Masses. Men who for years trumpeted the hermeneutic of continuity and the reform of the reform are now — even if only privately — of the opinion that they would not be caught dead at a Novus Ordo, or at least have become highly critical of the New Springtime.

All of this is to say that we now have a situation in the Church where men who were once loyal subjects of the Revolution have defected from the Spirit of Vatican II and seem to want the Spirit of Trent. I say this with all sincerity and respect for Bishop Strickland, but he is one such man.

Please do not confuse my meaning, I do not believe that churchmen who did their best to go with the Ratzingerian zeitgeist are bad men, far from it, as I believe it is quite reasonable and Catholic in spirit to try and find the golden mean, as well as follow the opinions of the hierarchy. But I mention Strickland in this context because, by his own admission, as he has grown in love for the Lord and for the Church, he has found Tradition and it has changed him. I think we can all attest to a similar experience if we were not raised in Tradition.

So, now we have a bishop who has expressed his deep devotion to two preceding popes on the proverbial chopping block by their successor.

This, my friends, is what happens in revolutions. The revolution will use the moderate and the conservative and then dispense with them when they become too moderate in their liberalism or conservative in their conservatism. This is why the only proper response to the Revolution is to live and die in the Vendée or hold fast to Tradition in the desert with Athanasius.

We are now at the point in the Church where the Revolutionaries are no longer satisfied with taking out the traditionalists. Anyone who seems a bit right of centre, or a bit unsatisfied with the pope, will lose his proverbial head at some point. They have come for Strickland, a man who recently threw himself into the fray at the Vendée, content on bleeding for the Sacré-Cœur, and they will not stop.

Mark my words, the Barrons, Paprockis, Müllers and Burkes are not safe. The only thing that keeps the latter two in good stead is that they have ceremonial positions and for all the things they might say in the papers, they pose no actual resistance to the plans of the regime. It is now open season for the Revolution, and the only thing that will stop it will be itself, just like what happened in France.

In France, the bloodshed became so ridiculous and expansive that Robespierre and his cronies went after everyone and anyone, until Robespierre himself lost his head. And this, I think, is the point we are at in the Church.

Of course, I am not hoping or suggesting that Francis will lose his literal head, but continuing with the theme of the French Revolution, I see the Revolution in the Church as reaching the point of absurdity with this latest move against Strickland by Pope Francis. After all, Francis has made it clear he wants to radically reform the Church, and that he is not afraid of “schism,” which in revolutionary terms means complete breakdown of institutions and civil war.

Notice that after the Revolution in France began to revolt against itself, the leaders quickly lost “the people.” The same has happened in the Church, which is evidenced by the massive support by the laity for Strickland. Sure, there are some who want to see Strickland gone, but they are mostly Liberals and heretics, if they fulfill the commandments of the Church at all. Furthermore, it was happily revealed from survey results from World Youth Day, that the youth sincerely want Tradition and are tired of the gruel the Neo-Modernists have been serving. A revolution is like a bicycle and it falls over when it loses momentum. The momentum has been lost, and it is a matter of time.

This means that pretty soon when Robespierre is gone and the experiment falls into oncoming traffic, there will arise a type of Napoleon out of necessity. I do not condone the actions of Napoleon per se, but it must be admitted that he did temper the state of France after its fit of absurdity. Under him, the traditions of France regained their rights to a degree, even if for reasons of mere utility, and we might say he “stopped the bleeding,” even if he himself was a tyrant and a bad man.

In a situation like this, it is only a man like Napoleon who can emerge. He is the logical conclusion of the whole situation. Napoleon cannot be a traditionalist, because a traditionalist must be moral, and a traditionalist would never be able to gain the trust of those within the ranks of the revolutionaries. But he must also not be an ideological Liberal because liberalism as an ideology has failed, and Liberals are ultimately inept at governance due to the fact they often have no self-control and are effeminate. Furthermore, there is simply no way — barring some sort of miracle — that an orthodox, pious and immensely strong prelate could be found amongst our current class of cardinals, and even if there were, it is almost impossible that such a man could be elected.

Amidst the chaos the Napoleonic pope will arise as Napoleon did: while the revolutionaries are staggering and inebriated with the drug of novelty, a great opportunist, Pope Napoleon will one-up the revolutionaries and stab them in the back like they have stabbed so many.

As with Napoleon, even though he is no friend of tradition in the true sense, his iron-fisted efficiency and insistence on conscientiousness will restore a semblance of order, even if it is as peaceful as a Pax Romana. This will be far from a “golden age” for the Church, but it is worth noting that if we compare the Catholic Church in France of the last part of the 18th century to the French Church in the 19th century, we see massive differences between the two. In the former time period, Catholics were slaughtered and offered as libation for Lady Liberty — the demoness that failed — while in the latter period, we see the rise of one of the most saintly eras in French Catholicism. The era that gave us Thérèse of Lisieux, Jean Vianney, and the parents who raised Marcel Lefebvre.

Although the Church existed in a state of tension with the Napoleonic government and its successors, it cannot be denied that the situation for the Church greatly improved and ameliorated in a way that it could have done were it not for Napoleon’s rise. Napoleon was many things, but cowardly and weak were not one of them. Although he fought for the wrong reasons, he was willing to fight and even die for his principles. This is what sets this sort of pseudo-revolutionary apart from the measly crop who lord it over the Church today. The men who run Christ’s Church today are revolutionaries in their mindset, but they act like catty women in high school and destroy by way of character defamation and backstabbing. Napoleon — although not a fully moral man — does not act like this. He will go to war if that is what it takes, and he will swing a sword alongside a man he disagrees with as long as that man is really a man.

This is why a Napoleonic pope will respect Traditionalists in so far as they are principled, and why he will look with disgust at centrist-conservatives who flatter him to the point of absurdity.

Personally, I do not think we are too far off from a situation like this, given that the Revolution is now tired of going after Trads and is going after the John Paul II crop of priests. It is, as they say, a matter of time until the Strong Man arises. Gird your loins, and be strong enough to find your way through the chaos.

Photo credit: Catholic Review

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