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A Tree Known by Its Fruits

Fr. Paul Sretenovic

Book-review on Will He Find Faith? [Inveniet Fidem?] by Atila S. Guimarães,
(Los Angeles: Tradition In Action, 2007), 384 pp.


Book cover of Will He Find Faith?

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Jesus Christ, as recorded in the Gospels, stated that one will "know a tree by its fruits." As beneficial as it may be to study the tree that is the Second Vatican Council, as presented in the preceding volumes of Atila Guimarães’ Collection Eli, Eli, Lamma Sabacthani, what was said by Our Lord applies, I think, in a particular way to the latest book in the series that was published, Volume VI, Inveniet Fidem? Even if one has not yet read one or more of the four books released thus far, there is much to be gained in this one book, which starts the study of Vatican II’s fruits.

Since the time of the Council, many well-meaning people among the laity, and even priests and Bishops, have been deceived by false philosophies that could be said to be nothing more than the manifestation of the Devil disguising himself as an angel of light, something St. Paul warned the Corinthians in the early Church could happen at any time. Ironically enough, it is the philosophy of the "Enlightenment," and "Post-Enlightenment," through the pens of such "philosophers" as Immanuel Kant and Karl Marx, to name two, that has been the source of the ideas that have been taught in seminaries and through encyclical letters of Popes over the past forty years. It has filtered down all the way to the parish level in many instances so that the crisis is not limited to the intelligentsia, but can be said to be nothing short of universal in scope.

This touches upon the heart of the title of the book, Inveniet Fidem? When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on earth? Could the Second Vatican Council have been the gateway into the very times foretold by Our Lord that would precede His Second Coming, when He would scarcely find faith on earth? It is hard to imagine anything else producing such universally bad fruits, among which, as Mr. Guimarães shows, has been a complete metamorphosis of the meaning of the term "faith."

In addition to this, and as well as exposing the proponents of the philosophical errors over the last two hundred years or so, Mr. Guimarães tackles one of the worst enemies from within, the modernist "theology of communion." This is possibly the most dangerous of the attacks against the Catholic Faith, because, as Guimarães shows, many of the terms used to describe this phenomenon are identical to ones that have always been used to refer to the perennial teachings of the Church. Such terms as catholic, agape, and una sancta (one holy) have always classically referred to a tension between a Faith that is all-inviting, but exclusive nevertheless. Yet now, these very terms have been kept on paper, but refer to a reality that is just the opposite of the traditional understanding. The "all-inviting" part is still intact but the exclusivity that the nature of truth demands is gone, which, in consequence, removes the significance of any invitation.

A withered tree with goats standing on its branches

A bad tree - Cellar IotD
One thing that struck me in reading Inveniet Fidem was something that I have noticed before in each book of the series Eli, Eli, Lamma Sabacthani. To me, it is incredible reading reference after reference after reference "out of the horse's mouth," in a manner of speaking. The sources and footnotes are phenomenal (no relation to "phenomenology"). This does show that those who would say that traditionalists are taking the Second Vatican Council and, by extension, the New Theology, out of context, are wrong. In fact, the very arguments that traditionalists are making have been stated repeatedly by the progressivists themselves. If Guimarães would have given an isolated quote here or there that could be misinterpreted or taken out of context, one could still be in doubt. But this did not happen. As one reads Guimarães' works, the opposite becomes evident. After reading even one of the books from the series on Vatican II, one discerns the real intentions of theology experts such as Frs. Dominique Chenu, Karl Rahner, Edward Schillebeeckx, and a number of other household names from the Council. This consideration alone, I believe, makes Inveniet Fidem priceless.

As Mr. Guimarães observes, "the ‘theology of communion’ aims to establish a synthesis among divergent opinions in both the internal and external ambits of the Church. The ‘faith’ resulting from this conjugation would be a ‘universal faith’ and, in this sense, a ‘Catholic faith,’ since etymologically catholic means universal" (p. 225). What the "theology of communion" does, in effect, is attempt to wed beliefs that are fundamentally contradictory in order to try to convince people that everyone really believes essentially the same thing. This leads to an enormous crisis in faith in which very few, in the end, believe in much of anything, and certainly not the Faith as given to us by Jesus Christ and handed down by the Apostles and their successors.

How will the Faith be restored? It will be by a miracle comparable, at least symbolically, to that of Our Lord raising Lazarus from the dead. Our Lady of Good Success herself revealed to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres that it would be precisely when all seemed to be lost, when the Church seemed to be destroyed, and therefore the one true Faith extinguished, that she would intervene miraculously and crush the head of Satan.

I highly recommend the book Will He Find Faith? as a great resource for those who have recognized that there has indeed been much bad fruit in the Church and in the world since the time of the Second Vatican Council, and are looking to make some important connections between the cause and the effect, or rather, between the tree and its fruit.

Posted May 26, 2007

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