Reverend Father Leonardo Castellani
A prophet of the end of times
Translated from the Spanish by Roberto Hope
C) The strategy outlined by Father CastellaniWe cannot follow the Utopia of the «Civilization of Love». We cannot make illusions about a supposed temporary re-establishment of «Medieval Christendom»... What is it that we ought to do?
We now complete the strategy outlined by the prophet of the end of times.
Let's see what he said in March 1954; the first thing he does is present us the reality of the facts.
“It is unpleasant to be a prophet of doom; being a prophet of joy is a lot more profitable, and I pray to God that He make me a bad prophet of doom. But the destruction of tradition in the West is something that is right ahead of us, and to close our eyes in the face of it is like closing our eyes while walking in the street. To open our eyes may be a remedy at any rate, because of that which says that «the first medicine is to know the disease» (...) Humankind advances towards the resolution of the great drama of History, a drama which has one protagonist and many antagonists (...) The current world situation, that which is called the «contemporary crisis», is one of a progressive destruction of Western tradition and of a defense thereof”. (San Agustín y Nosotros, pages 91, 93 and 94).
He then describes the strategies of the contenders:
“The Catholic Church, which is traditionalist par excellence, does nothing new since the Council of Trent: it restricts itself to defend what exists: «confirma cetera, quae moritura erant»; but the successive ruptures, of religious tradition (Luther), of philosophical tradition (Descartes), of political tradition (Rousseau), and consequently of social tradition and even of artistic tradition, are produced from different sectors and with different motives. A house is a house: the burglars who break into it may come from different places, but those who defend it respond from the center.” (San Agustín y Nosotros, pages 91, 93 and 94).
And we reach the culminating point of the question posed:
“What can we do, if all this depends on a series of successive destructions, and forms part of a destruction which advances? «Keep the things that have remained, which are perishable» commands Jesus Christ to the Angel of the Church of Sardis, the fifth Church of the Apocalypse; which means «abide by tradition», which is what the Catholic Church has done since the Council of Trent. But the greek text expresses it somewhat differently and more forcefully «strengthen that which has remained, which shall perish anyway» (San Agustín y nosotros, page 106).
And he forestalls the objection put forward by human weakness and by the timorous, too earthly posture:
“Bur this is inhuman; we are commanded to fight for something which will perish, to fight without hope of victory. This is impossible for the man who stands on the ethical plane, whose sign is the fight for victory; but not for the man who stands on the religious plane, who fights for God, and knows that God's victory is assured, and that he has been born to be used, perhaps to be defeated, but what does it matter? We have been born to be used! By whom? Not by the State, but by the Father who is in heaven! «Because you know you will never get there, that is why you are great» a poet said, who, by the way, never put himself in such a plane; he never was great.” (San Agustín y nosotros, page 106).
He ends pointing to the strategy wished by God:
“We have to fight to the last redoubt for all the good things which have remained, disregarding whether those things will all be «integrated anew in Christ», as Saint Pius X used to say, by our own efforts or by the irresistible force of the Second Coming of Christ. «Truth is eternal, and will prevail, whether I make it prevail or not». That is why we should oppose the law of divorce, we should oppose the new slavery and the social war, and we should oppose the idealist philosophy, and this without knowing if we will gain victory or not. «God does not ask us to triumph. God asks us not to be defeated.» The Church is eternal! say the Christian Democrats. The Church is eternal in the sense that Jesus Christ spoke: but the external organization of the Church, let's say the Vatican, is not eternal, that organization has been broken and reformed many times. And the Church will be broken at the end of the world. What is eternal is man's soul united to God...United to God to be utilized” (San Agustín y Nosotros, pages 106-107).
Let us highlight in the quoted text that, according to Father Castellani, the «Omnia instaurare in Christo» not necessarily has to be accomplished by our own strength and before the Parousia, but that all things can be integrated anew in Christ by the irressistible force of His Second Coming.
There is plenty to discuss and to reflect upon for philosophers and theologians. But, if you have much to comment on Father Castellani, please reflect on what he has written.
For all of this, on our part, to be more in conformity with revelation and with the reality of the circumstances, we embrace the teachings of Father Castellani. We add these precious indications to what was quoted above:
1a) Abide by the essential message of Christianity.“My friends, as long as there remains something to be saved; calmly, peacefully, prudently, firmly, imploring the divine light, we have to do as much as possible to save it. When nothing remains to be saved, we will still have to save our souls (,,,) It is quite possible that, under the pressure of the plagues which are befalling the world, and of this new falsification of Catholicism to which I alluded above, the makeup of Western Christianity will keep on crumbling down in a form such that, very soon, there will be very little or nothing for the true Christian to do in the public sphere. Now our bounden duty is to abide by the essential message of Christianity: flee from the world, believe in Christ, do all the good we can, detach ourselves from temporal things, keep away from the false prophets, keep death in mind. In a word, bear witness to the truth with our life, and yearn for Christ's return. In the midst of this tumult, we have to work out our salvation carefully (...) The first Christians did not dream of reforming the judicial system of the Roman Empire but, with all their strength, of being capable of facing the beasts; and, in contemplating with horror, in Emperor Nero, the monstrous power of the devil over man.” (A Modo de Prólogo. Decíamos Ayer, pages 31-32).
2a) A constructive pessimism:«It is necessary to toil as though the world would last forever; but it is necessary to keep in mind that the world will not last forever». This attitude, apparently contradictory or impossible, has always been the guiding principle of religious spirits in all the great crises in history. The two terms seem to be irreconcilable, and they would be so if it were not for the mysterious catalyst which is the faith. But, the pragmatic value of the apocalyptic attitude can be perceived even outside of the faith, by a talented positivist, for example. That is why we have not hesitated to publish, and that, with no little effort or risks, in the middle of the uncertainty and pain of this time, an essay on the Apocalypse, which the superficiality of someone will, without doubt, characterize as «pessimist». It is a constructive pessimism.” (Visión Religiosa de la Crisis Actual. Cristo, ¿vuelve o no vuelve? Page 284).
There is much for a philosopher to chew in this phrase of the Angel: “The time is over”. The end of God's creation is atemporal, although Time moves towards that end. The terminus and the end of the world do not coincide in all aspects; as it is known that a movement may reach its terminus without reaching its end; it simply can fail as so many other great human undertakings have failed, beginning with the Tower of Babel and ending with the Society of Nations.
The terminus of History will be a catastrophe, but the divine objective of History will be attained in a metahistory, which will not be a new creation but a transposition, since “new heavens and new earth” means all things renewed in accordance with their pristine divine pattern.
Just as the Providence and the action ― even miraculous ― of God's free will accompanies the History of man's free will, the same way in its resolution and end, both agents will participate, and that is why the End of the World will be twofold. Humankind will commit suicide but God will resurrect it; not making it over again, but transposing it to the plane of the eternal. (...,)
The attitude of Christianity is not Pessimism, much less the goody Optimism of illuministic philosophy, the notorious “indefinite Progress”. Christian Prophecy gives us a position which is above those two simplistic extremes, into which fall all “those that do not have the seal of God on their foreheads“. The world runs toward an intra-historical catastrophe which conditions an extra-historical triumph; that is, a transposition of the life of the world into an afterworld; and of Time into a Supertime; in which our new lives will not be annihilated and then created again, but ― as it fits God, all transfigured in their entirety, without losing even one of their elements. (El Apocalipsis de San Juan, pages 124-126).
3a) Christ will returnReligious spirits, like good doctors, smell death, but they go on medicating. It is the paradoxical attitude of the faith. The faith assures Christians that this eon, this cycle of creation has its end, which will be preceded by a tremendous agony followed by a splendid reconstruction, or, in religious terms, «Christ comes back one day to put his enemies as footstool for his feet and to take effective possession of the Kingdom of Heaven transferred to earth...» That is how the text says, I am not responsible for this enormity (...) Due to a paradox of profound psychology, this pessimist literature has sustained the constructive optimism of Christianity. (Visión Religiosa de la Crisis Actual. Cristo, ¿vuelve o no vuelve?, page 285).
Also here, we call the reader's attention so that, what our author understands by «splendid reconstruction» be not read too hastily.
4a) All this and much more has been foreseenWhen the immense vicissitudes of the drama of History, which are above man and his meager rationalism, reach a point which exceeds his power of medication and even his power of understanding ― as is the case in our days ― only the believer possesses the lucky charm to keep calm and go on working (...) When it seems that the world's foundations yield and the entire structure gets all messed up ― as it happened, for instance, in the fourteenth century ― then the wise man reads the Apokalypse and says: «All this and much more has been foreseen. Attention! But, after this, comes the final victory. The world has to die. Although it has been cured of many infirmities, this illness will be the last. But the soul of the world, as that of man, is not a mortal thing» (...) The consideration of the religious vision of the current crisis is one of the most powerful engines (even the first engine) of the political and economic movement. If man has no idea of where he is going, he does not move; or if he goes on moving, a moment comes when the movement ceases to be human and it turns into a convulsion. (Visión Religiosa de la Crisis Actual. Cristo, ¿vuelve o no vuelve?, page 286).
5a) The true aimThe union of nations into great groups, first, and then under a single World Empire (powerful dream and great movement of today's world) cannot be accomplished but with Christ or against Christ. What only God can do (and He will do at the end, as we believe, in accordance with what has been promised), the modern world feverishly tries to construct without God, abominating the old arrangement of unity which was called Christendom and oppressing fiercely even human nature, with the intended suppression of the family and of the fatherlands. But we will defend these natural parcellings, these primal nuclei of humanity to the end, with the aim, not to gain victory, but not to be defeated. That is, knowing that if we are defeated in this struggle, that will be our major triumph, because if the world ends, then Christ told the truth. And then the ending is a guarantee of resurrection. (Visión Religiosa de la Crisis Actual. Cristo, ¿vuelve o no vuelve?, pág. 289-290).
(To be continued)