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Three Cheers for the 'Auto-Demolition?'

John Vennari

Book-review on Animus Delendi I [Desire to Destroy I] by Atila Sinke Guimarães
(Los Angeles: TIA, 2000), 503 pp.

Animus Delendi I

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“There is no part of Catholic truth which they leave untouched, none that they do not strive to corrupt.” - Pope St. Pius X against the Modernists (Pascendi)

A monumental work has recently been published on today’s crisis of Faith. Its 502 pages burst with quotations from progressivist theologians, periti and prelates who are/were the movers and shakers of the Second Vatican Council and of the post-Conciliar period.

The book documents, in a methodical and organized manner, the one point on which all these progressivists converge: that is, their desire to advance a new theology that is different from the 2000 years of Catholicism that preceded them. In order for this new theology to triumph, the “old theology” must be eliminated. Thus, the one characteristic shared by the progressivists is the desire to destroy traditional Catholicism. The teachings must change, the institutions must be reformed, the entire religion must be re-structured. The landmark event that launched this massive “re-structuring” was the Second Vatican Council.

Animus Delendi I [The Desire to Destroy] is Volume IV (1) of the Eleven-Volume work, Eli Eli, Lamma Sabacthani? [My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?] on the Council and its tragic aftermath. The author is Mr. Atila Sinke Guimarães. In 1997, Guimarães published Volume I of this collection, In the Murky Waters of Vatican II. This first volume demonstrated that the documents of the Second Vatican Council are a quagmire of ambiguities and imprecisions. These ambiguities, however, are not due to an honest mishap, but to a calculated plan, a definite strategy, which is to advance a new theology contrary to traditional Catholic teaching. As a result, the Vatican II documents contain within themselves two opposing currents: a progressivist current and a conservative current. The “conservative” passages of Vatican II serve as camouflage for the Council’s liberal orientations.

The texts of Vatican II, then, are flawed documents that have provided the “justification” for a revolution in the Church from top to bottom. In Volume I, the author cited thousands of statements from the progressivists who reveal their avowed aim to remake the Church into their own modernist image and likeness.

Mr. Guimarães’ latest release, Volume IV, examines another aspect of this revolution within a strict framework. It documents extensively the progressivists’ desire to destroy the 2000 years of Catholic teaching that preceded Vatican II, in order to replace it with a new, ever-evolving religion [which they still call Catholicism].

Quotations from avant-garde “luminaries” such as Karl Rahner, Hans Küng, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Joseph Ratzinger, Henri de Lubac, Dominique Chenu, Yves Congar, make it clear that these men believe that the “old religion” (or at least parts of it) had to be wiped out in order for the “new springtime” of Vatican II to succeed. Thus, the destruction and confusion that followed the Council is not something they find appalling. In fact, within varying degrees among the progressivists, they recognize this destruction as good and necessary so that their new religion may grow and conquer.

In 1972, Pope Paul VI himself spoke of the “auto-demolition” of the Church. Yet he did nothing to stop it. Was he condemning this auto-demolition, or was it only a futile lament? Was it a demolition that he saw as “tragic but necessary?” It was this same Paul VI who employed the argument of “tragic but necessary” in order to annihilate Latin in the Liturgy so as to replace it with a banal vernacular. In 1969, regarding the institution of the “New Rite of Mass,” Paul VI was half-lamenting, half-rejoicing when he said:
“It is here that the greatest newness is going to be noticed, the newness of language. No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass. The introduction of  the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power, and the expressive sacrality of Latin. We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance. We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant. We have reason for regret, reason almost for bewilderment. What can we put in the place of that language of the Angels? We are giving up something of priceless worth. Why? What is more precious than these loftiest of our Church’s values?”
What is more precious? Why, appealing to “modern man” of course: a modern man who is so “enlightened” that the Church must change its centuries-old teaching to accommodate him, and who is also so dim-witted that he cannot make head nor tail of Latin prayers - even when the vernacular translations appear alongside of these Latin prayers in his missal. Paul VI continued:

“The answer will seem banal, almost prosaic. Yet it is a good answer because it is human, it is apostolic. Understanding of prayer is more important than the silken garments in which it is royally dressed. Participation by the people is worth more - particularly participation by modern people, so fond of plain language which is easily understood and converted into everyday speech” (2)

Paul VI’s speech is a metaphor for what happened to the entire Church since the Council. Vatican II was the work of profane intruders who labor to destroy something of priceless worth, that is, the beauty, truth and immutability of Catholic teaching. Vatlcan II caused unprecedented destruction, since the Council’s prime movers were planning destruction all along.

In Volume IV, Mr. Guimarães has performed a mammoth task in presenting thousands of quotations from the “leading lights” of the Council, and of the post-Conciliar period. Their own words reveal their desire to destroy. This malevolent desire, however, has been “Christened” with a more benevolent name. It is now called “The Spirit of Vatican II.”

Animus Delendi I is actually a demonstration of the modernist thinking that is at the heart of the Vatican II revolution; and not a point-by-point refutation these novelties. This does not mean, however, that the reader is left alone to drown in the whirling tempest of modernists’ bellowings. The author presents the traditional Catholic position well, in order to reveal contrast.

For example, when Guimarães documents progressivists’ plan to destroy the Monarchial character of the Church (Chapter IV) he also proves pages of quotations from Councils, Popes, Saints and Doctors of the Church, who defend the traditional position. Mr. Guimarães works in seven languages from which the English speaking reader benefits enormously. Many of the quotations in his books are statements that appear in English the first time. Guimarães quotes progressivists such as Cardinal Suenens, Hans Küng, Louis Bouyer, Yves Congar, who celebrate Vatican II as a Revolution - as the death of one era and the beginning of a new.

Suenens, who wielded great influence over Pope Paul VI, rejoiced that Vatican II marked the end of the Tridentine epoch and the era of Vatican I (p. 60).

Hans Küng gloated, “Compared to the post-Tridentine epoch of the Counter-reformation, Vatican Council II represents in its fundamental characteristics, a 180 degree turn . . . It is a new Church that has sprung up since Vatican II.” (p. 61)
Father Bouyer, a French perito at the Council, exclaimed with relish that this anti-Protestant, anti-Modernist aspect of the Catholic Church “might as well die.” (p. 59)

La Civiltà Cattolica, the Rome-based Jesuit magazine, also exclaimed joyfully,  “With Vatican Council II. the Tridentine age was brought to a close for the Church.” (p. 62)

These statements are especially audacious when one considers that Trent and Vatican I are dogmatic Councils whose teachings can never be changed, disregarded, or reinterpreted in the name of a “deeper understanding.” (3) Modernists, however, as Pope Saint Pius X warned, do not accept anything as fixed or unchanging. Their chief principle is the “evolution of dogma.” They champion the notion that religion must change for the sake of changing times. In this respect, as in many others, the prime movers of Vatican II reveal themselves as men steeped in the error of Modernism.

Mr. Guimarães delivers extensive documentation, citing one audacious statement after another, from influential progressivists who claim that it is now time for the Church to:
  • abandon the teaching of the Church as the Perfect Society,
  • discard Scholasticism,
  • overturn the monarchial structure of the Church,
  • cast aside papal infallibility,
  • reject the notion that Catholic Truth is unchangeable,
  • restructure the Papacy according to ecumenical lines,
  • proposed a grotesque theory of kenosis which falsely claims that the Church must practice “self-annihilation” in order to be “truly Christlike,”
  • renounce the “Militant” aspect of the Church in favor of “dialogue” and “peaceful coexistence” with false religions,
  • encourage the self-destruction of the Church in her Holy, Sacral and Roman Nature,
  • advocate a “Pentecostal church” of “Powerful Laymen,”
  • admit the Church’s “sinfulness” and offer copious “apologies” for past and present sins,”
  • despoil the Church of her wealth [ironically, the cost of Vatican II, endless post-Conciliar Synods, and the ever-growing number of post-Conciliar Vatican congregations have been bankrupting the Church for forty years],
  • disregard Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors,
  • promote the modernist notion that the Faith emanates from the “People of God,”
  • forsake the Church’s claim to be the one true Church established by Our Lord, outside of the which there is no salvation.
And this is just a sampling. Even more disturbing is the fact that the progressivists who promote these views have formed almost two generations of Catholic laity and clergy. The works of Rahner, Küng, Schillebeeckx, Congar, Ratzinger, de Lubac, von Balthasar, and their disciples now dominate the teaching-texts of Catholic seminaries and universities. For the past 35 years, the progressivist tenets of these men have served as the principal formation for priests, religious, theologians, and Catholic college students. Thus, we have now reached a stage, especially in the Western world, where the average bishop will regard Karl Rahner as a greater authority than Saint Robert Bellarmine.

For all practical purposes, these prelates will not base their acceptance of Rahner’s theology on whether or not it squares with Bellarmine. Rather, they will accept the teaching of Bellarmine only according to the spin given it by Rahner. And if Rahner says that Bellarmine’s teachings are now passé, the prelates will nod in fatuous agreement. (4) The same is true of most professors found in Catholic colleges and seminaries.

All of this has occurred under the benevolent gaze, or - as in the case of de Lubac and von Balthasar -  with the full-throttle encouragement of the post-Conciliar Popes who, even before their elevation to the Papacy, were kin to the progressivist brotherhood. (5)

The dynamics of Revolution

A key section of the book which deserves special mention is Chapter III, where Mr. Guimarães reveals the “mechanics” of revolution, and how it applies to Vatican II.

G_011br_FRGuillotine.jpg - 42808 Bytes

The Hotheads of the French Revolution reached the point of no return with the beheading of the King. Here, they boldly show his head to the crowds.
There are two types of revolutionaries whose work harmonizes with each other. The first are the Hotheads (Arditi), or “militant extremists.” The second are the moderates, those who appear innocuous because they advance the revolution at a slower pace. The Arditi charge ahead, even somewhat recklessly, and plant the standard that indicates the goals they want the revolution to achieve. Because they appear to be so radical, however, these arditi will be immediately condemned - even by the “moderates’ who, while sympathizing with many of the views, lament that the “hotheads” have gone “too far.” Yet, in time, the moderate-revolutionaries, traveling at slow speed, eventually accomplish the original goals of the radicals. The “extreme” positions of yesterday’s Arditi become the new “center.” In time, the former Arditi even come to be revered as “prophets” who foretold the future and suffered persecution because they were misunderstood in their own time.

This is the dynamic that played itself out in the French Revolution, and in the apparent struggle between Socialism and Communism. It is also precisely what we see within the Vatican II revolution. Radical extremists such as Congar, de Lubac, Chenu, Rahner, and Ratzinger had been either condemned or under theological suspicion before the Council. These same men, however, without ever changing their positions, gave the decisive orientation to Vatican II and are now hailed as the new luminaries. Many of their formerly condemned positions, such as ecumenism, are now regarded as mainstream. Some of these men are even rewarded with Cardinal’s hats.

A tale of two radicals: Chenu and Kung

Specific examples of this revolutionary dynamic are provided in Chapter Ill, which contains a fascinating comparative study of two revolutionaries: Father Dominique Chenu, O.P., and Father Hans Küng. Chenu was a pre-Vatican II Arditi, who is now considered “conservative;” and Küng represents the post-Vatican II Arditi, the most “leftist of the left.”

These two clergymen share a common scar: they both were censored by the Vatican because of their heretical views: Chenu in 1942, and Küng in 1976 and 1979. The study of these men provide two primary lessons:
1. It is an example of how yesterday’s heresies have mysteriously become today’s “orthodoxy.”
2. It explains why today’s radical theologians do not take Vatican condemnations seriously, since recent history has shown that if the most leftist theologian sticks to his guns, in time, he may rejoice to see his formerly condemned views emerge as “mainstream Catholicism.”
Chenu: Yesterday’s Kung

Dominique Chenu, an advocate of the New Theology made famous by Henri De Lubac, was formally condemned in 1942 by Pope Pius XII. His book Une ecole de theologie was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books and he lost his rectorship at the Dominican College of Le Saluchoir (p. 40)

Father David Greenstock, writing in the 1950 Thomist against the New Theology of Chenu and De Lubac, explained the dangers of their system and the reason for their condemnation. Greenstock pointed out that the partisans of the New Theology reject Aristotilio-Thomistic philosophy in favor of modern philosophies. This must be done, they claim, in order to appeal to “modern man” who finds Thomistic philosophy “irrelevant.” The result is that Catholic theology is knocked off of its firm, philosophical foundation and shifted onto the fluid philosophical systems of the 20th Century, most of which are founded upon atheism and agnosticism.

Chenu also rejected the unchangeableness of Catholic doctrine, claiming that the source of all theology is not immutable dogma, but rather the vital life of the Church in its members, which cannot be separated from history. Thus, strictly speaking, says Greenstock, Chenu held that “theology is the life of the members of the Church, rather than a series of conclusions drawn from revealed data with the aid of reason:” a principle that is slippery, imprecise and erroneous. As a result, Chenu held that religion can change with the times, and should change with the times, according to the demands of circumstances Greenstock explained that the partisans of this New Theology are both unorthodox and deceitful. “The main contention of the partisan of this new movement,” wrote Greenstock, “is that theology, to remain alive, must move with the times. At the same time, they are very careful to repeat all the fundamental propositions of traditional theology, almost as if there was no intention of any attack against it. This is very true of such writers as fathers de Lubac, Daniélou, Rahner, [etc.] All of whom are undoubtedly at the very center of this movement. (6)

Likewise, in a public discourse published in the Dec. 19, 1946 L’Osservatore Romano, Pope Pius XII targeted the heterodox theories of Chenu and de Lubac, and warned that the New Theology will end up undermining the Faith:
“There is a good deal of talk [but without the necessary clarity of concept] about a ‘new theology,’ which must be in constant transformation, following the example of all other things in the world, which are in a constant state of flux and movement, without ever reaching their term. if we were to accept such an opinion, what would become of the unchangeable dogmas of the Catholic Faith; and what would become of the unity and stability of that Faith?” [Emphasis added]
The eminent Dominican theologian, Father Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange, writing in his famous 1946 essay “Where is the New Theology Taking Us?” (7) demonstrated that the purveyors of the New Theology [Blondel, De Lubac, Chenu] pervert entirely the concept of the immutability of Truth. Thus, he warned, the New Theology can only lead in one direction - it leads straight back to Modernism.

While all this was going on, Chenu and (de Lubac) were receiving behind-the-scenes protection and encouragement from Cardinal Suhard, Archbishop of Paris. Suhard told Chenu not to worry because “In twenty years, everyone in the Church will be talking like you.”

In the early 1960s, Chenu was one of the many radical theologians who were invited to Vatican II by Pope John XXIII. In the end, thanks to the Council’s progressivist orientation, Chenu saw many of his formally condemned theories advanced as part of Vatican II’s new teachings, especially, within Gaudium et Spes. Chenu relates joyfully that the very points for which he was condemned in 1942 are the very same exact points now promoted by members of the Hierarchy in the name of the Council. (p. 129)

Kung: Tomorrow’s Chenu?

Then Guimarães spotlights the the 1976 and 1079 “condemnations” of Hans Küng, another “leading-light” of the post-Conciliar period. Küng had worked closely at the Council with other radicals such as Congar, Ratzinger, Rahner and Schillebeeckx. In the 1970s, however, because Küng had gone “too far,” he was censored by the Vatican for certain heretical views in which Küng rejects Papal Infallibility, teaches that Bishops do not receive their teaching authority from Christ, propounds that any Baptized layperson has the power to consecrate the Eucharist, denies that Christ is “consubstantial” with the Father, and undermines doctrines (unspecified) concerning the Virgin Mary.

Guimarães points out, however, that these are only some of Küng’s heretical views, but they were they only ones mentioned within the Vatican’s sanctions. Thus, in effect, the Vatican left Küng’s other heterodox tenets untouched.

The only penalty that the Vatican inflicted against Küng was that he was “not allowed” to be considered a Catholic theologian, and as such, was not allowed to teach theology in a Catholic university.
The Vatican, however, never condemned Küng as a heretic, never excommunicated him (as canon law approves), never ordered that his books be removed from libraries in Catholic seminaries and universities (where they are now found in abundance), never prevented him from being a guest-lecturer at Catholic institutions, never obstructed him from publishing articles in Concilium or other progressivist “Catholic” publications. To this day, Küng remains a priest in good standing in the diocese of Basle, with no other canonical penalties leveled against him. Thus, he is still allowed to conduct public liturgy, preach and give advice in the confessional.

The University of Tübiginin, Küng’s home campus, retained Küng as a reaching professor. They simple restructured part of the University so that Küng, a veritable celebrity, may continue teaching in that part of the University that is now chartered as a “secular” school.

So, despite the feeble “Vatican condemnation,” Küng retains access to a wide variety of influential “pipelines” to disseminate his poisonous doctrine throughout the Church. In fact, it is said that Hans Küng’s “theological breakthroughs” on the nature of the Church are what provided the “theological foundation” that made possible the 1999 “Lutheran-Catholic” Accord.

Further, in 1998, Vatican Secretariat of State, Cardinal Sodano, the most powerful Cardinal in the Church, praised Küng in a public speech in Rome. The Cardinal referred to him as a “theologian” even though Küng had been supposedly stripped of this title.

Now, the 1942 condemnation that the Vatican leveled at Chenu was much more severe that what was hurled at Küng. Yet Chenu not only survived, but became a leading-light of the Conciliar Church without ever changing his erroneous views. The same is true of Rahner, Congar, de Lubac, Ratizinger, von Balthasar, all of whom were theologically suspect before the Council, and now enjoy great prestige even though they never abandoned their liberal principles.

Küng, then, and those like him, have reason to believe that the present condemnation he suffers is just a temporary inconvenience, an annoying setback, a fate meted out to all true “Prophets.” Just as Chenu saw his heretical views eventually win the day, thanks to a revolutionary Council, so likewise Küng may fill his breast with hope that his erroneous views will, in the not-so-distant future, eventually emerge as “mainstream Catholicism.”

This cannot be dismissed as far-fetched, if we ponder what is now considered as “mainstream Catholicism” thanks to the “Spirit of Vatican II:”
  • Communion in the Hand,
  • Lay “Eucharistic Ministers,”
  • Altar girls,
  • A religious liberty that claims pagans and heretics have a “right” to publicly practice their false religions,
  • Pan-religious prayer-meetings with Catholics praying in public with Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Snake-Worshippers. Instead of labeling this correctly as a mortal sin against the First Commandment, it is now given the name “The Spirit of Assisi,”
  • The Latin Tridentine Mass eclipsed by a new liturgy constructed upon Protestant principles,
  • A Pope who kisses the Koran in the name of ecumenical fraternity,
  • “Inculturated” liturgies such as Hawaiian “Hula Masses,” Polish “Polka Masses” and Vietnamese “Dragon Masses,”
  • A veritable rejection of the thrice-defined dogma, “Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation,”
  • The announcement of a “Common Martyrology” that includes Catholics and non-Catholics,
  • Catholics asking Protestant-Pentecostals to “lay hands on them” and then claiming to be “filled to overflowing with the Spirit” as a result,
  • “Catholic-Charismatics” babbling in “tongues” and dancing to rock and roll music within a Sunday “Mass.”
  • “Impossible!”
  • “Unthinkable!”
  • “It could never happen!”
Only forty-five years ago, this how the average Catholic would have responded if he were told that by 2001 all the above-mentioned aberrations would become common practice within the Catholic Church.

The lesson is simple

By suddenly blessing the work of previously-condemned theologians who never corrected their heretical views, the pastoral, non-infallible, vatican II and the post-Conciliar Pontiffs have emboldened the most radical of leftists. As long as our Pontiffs pledge first allegiance to vatican II, rather than to the uninterrupted teaching of their predecessors, the darkness will increase. Given the precedent of Vatican II, nothing is unthinkable, anything is possible, even the eventual, ambiguous “blessing” of some of Hans Küng’s most heterodox tenets - perhaps due to a future “Third Vatican Council” and the “Spirit of Vatican III.”

The desire to destroy

What these “most-leftist” theologians have accomplished, and what they now plan for the future, are documented heavily in Mr. Guimarães’ latest book, Animus Delindi I. No Catholic can afford to be without this information, especially since the auto-demolition continues unimpeded. The post-Conciliar establishment is an international monster whose appetite for destruction seems to grow by the ruins on which it feeds.

This is why we have stressed repeatedly in Catholic Family News that we are now only in the early stages of the Vatican II revolution. There are many more revolutionary changes to come. It is not difficult to cite fresh examples. This past Jubilee Year 2000 was heavily exploited to establish countless revolutionary precedents that bolster Vatican II’s “continuous aggiornamento.”

And it matters little that now and then moderate-revolutionaries, such as Cardinal Ratzinger, slow down the Arditi’s forward march. The “extreme liberals” simply laugh at Ratzinger’s “condemnations,” since Ratzinger himself is a left-wing beneficiary of the Council’s upheaval.
1. See pp. 9, 10 of Animus Delendi I for explanation as to why Volume IV was the next volume published after Volume I.
2. Cited from Christopher Ferrara, “The Third Secret of Fatima and the Post-Conciliar Debacle,” Part 3, Catholic Family News, December, 1997.
3. “The meaning of Sacred Dogmas, which must always be preserved, is that which our Holy Mother the Church has determined. Never is it permissible to depart from this in the name of a deeper understanding.”[Vatican I, Session III, Chap.IV, Faith and Reason].
4. Otherwise, these prelates would have to reject Vatican II, which was essentially “Rahner’s Council.”
5. Before his elevation to the Papacy, Paul VI, then Cardinal Montini, was one of the clique of progressivist Cardinals in Europe. He was close friends and collaborator with Cardinal Suenens, probably the most progresivist Cardinal at Vatican II. (see “The Charismatic Cardinal Suenens,” J. Vennari, Catholic Family News, Oct. & Dec. 1997, Reprint No. 254 for US $2.50) Likewise, Father Ludvik Nemek, a “conservative” Catholic, writes in praise of John Paul II that “Bishop Wojtyla took a progressive stand” at Vatican II, and that he “interacted with progressive theologians” at the Council. Pope John Paul II, A Festive Profile (Catholic Book Publishing. NY. 1979), p. 98.
6. Greenstock. David, “Thomism and the New Theology,” The Thomist, October, 1950. The entire article is well worth reading if one wishes to grasp the erroneous nature of the “New Theology.”
7. First published in the Angelicum in 1946 .English translation published in Catholic Family News. August. 1997, “Where is the New Theology Taking Us?” Reprint No. 309 available for US $1.75.

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John Vennari is the editor of Catholic Family News.
This book review was first published in that periodical, February 2001

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