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St. Peter's Exhortation On The Duty of Priests and Laity to Fight Modernism

Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight



Nearly two thousand years ago, and during his pontificate after the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, St. Peter wrote on the duties of priests and laity to "feed the flock of God which is among you," "be subject to the ancients," and to "be you humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God" respectfully. (I Peter 5: 3-7)


St. Peter was referring to the priestly duty for the salvation of souls through administering the sacraments, feeding the faithful the Body and Blood of our Blessed Savior at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Apostle and Pontiff also expressed the duty for the laity to not only "be subject" to the clergy and the magisterium of the Church, but specifically to all the "ancients," or "seniores" in Latin. Both duties, expressed by St. Peter, illustrate a chief understanding and application of the supernaturality of Catholicism that manifests the Faith, in all of Its aspects, through sanctifying grace and a Divine Truth, married with the magisterium of the Church, that remains total, clear, and awesome through all the ages. One cannot simply sacrifice the magisterium of the "seniores" for the magisterium of the clergy today. "Be you humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God," being subject to His Divine Will and Divine Truth that was and is continued through, by and in the "seniores" and the clergy today, who maintain and confess the fullness of the Catholic Faith.


St. Peter's exhortation in I Peter 5:1-11 is a direct assault on modernism and those clergy and laity who no longer exemplify supernatural faith and conduct their duty to the Faith. The Apostle warns, like Christ headed him in the Garden of Gethsemane, "be sober and watch; because you adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about, seeking whom he may devour." Such language was included in Pope Leo XIII's prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, as the intrinsic evils of freemasonry, liberalism, neutralism, materialism, atheism, socialism, and communism were infiltrating the Church in the later half of the nineteenth century. Pope St. Pius X united these evil under the banner of modernism, "the synthesis of all heresies," declaring the world the "roaring lion" that was "devouring" countless souls and victims in Satan's attempt to establish a religion of the brotherhood of man.


The world, throwing material over the invisible and transposing the natural over the supernatural, attempted to modernize the Catholic Church at the Second Vatican Counsel, promoting heretical ecumenism, reducing the unique superiority of the magisterium and the sole salvific characteristic of the Church, and planning to remove all traditional and liturgical identities of Catholicism that hindered ecumenical solidarity with protestant and non-Christian groups. Modernists chose the world over Christ and the "seniores" who St. Peter wrote were "witness of the sufferings of Christ," literally in his case and figuratively through faith, and "partaker(s) of that glory which is to be revealed in time to come." Modernist replaced the Communion of the Saints, who are fully subject to and integrated with the Divine Will and Divine Truth, with the communion of the fallen man, and all of his corruption and error.


St. Peter gives us the pathway to victory over modernism. First, holy priests of supernatural faith are needed to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, offering the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the expiration of the sins of modernism, and increasing reverence before the Holy Eucharist, permitting Holy Communion only kneeling and on the tongue, and to those who are in a state of grace. St. Peter instructed these holy priests to "feed the flock of God which is among you, taking care of it not by constraint, but willingly according to God [His Divine Will]; not far filthy Lucre's sake, but voluntarily." The reward for such holy priests will be "a never fading crown of glory" upon Christ's glorious return. Second, faithful and missionary laity, who are humbled to the administration of the Divine Will, are required to defeat modernism in the family, the parish, and society at large. For the laity who are subject to the Divine Will and "under the mighty hand of God," Christ "may exalt you in the time of visitation." For even a small sacrifice or martyrdom of the will for Christ's sake, St. Peter declares that the Lord will exalt you in His kingdom; "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will Himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you. To Him be glory and empire for ever and ever, Amen."


St. Peter was referring to the priestly duty for thon of souls through administering the sacraments, feeding the faithful the Body and Blood of our Blessed Savior at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Apostle and Pontiff also expressed the duty for the laity to not only "be subject" to the clergy and the magisterium of the Church, but specifically to all the "ancients," or "seniores" in Latin. Both duties, expressed by St. Peter, illustrate a chief understanding and application of the supernaturality of Catholicism that manifests the Faith, in all of Its aspects, through sanctifying grace and a Divine Truth, married with the magisterium of the Church, that remains total, clear, and awesome through all the ages. One cannot simply sacrifice the magisterium of the "seniores" for the magisterium of the clergy today. "Be you humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God," being subject to His Divine Will and Divine Truth that was and is continued through, by and in the "seniores" and the clergy today, who maintain and confess the fullness of the Catholic Faith.


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