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Ahead lies the Arctic shore and beyond, the sea.
And still, the little animals surge forward.
Their frenzy takes them down the …cliffs,
creating tiny avalanches of sliding soil and rocks, seemingly indestructible …..
They reach the final precipice, this is the last chance to turn back.
Yet over they go, casting themselves bodily out into space.
All seem to survive the ordeal.
For now they begin to swim.
Not toward land strangely, but away toward the far horizon.
Others find the beaches by round about ways.
They too plunge into the waves.
It’s not given to man to understand all of natures mysteries.
But as nearly as he can surmise,it would appear that the lemmings consider this body of water just another lake and if it’s another lake, it must have a distant shore.
And so they strike out boldly.
Then gradually the strength wanes, determination ebbs away.
And soon the Arctic Sea is dotted with tiny bodies.
And so is acted out the legend of mass suicide and
the destruction of a species it would seem to be.
Except that nature, in her infinite wisdom has spared a few.
Back on the Arctic plain, there remains a small handful that did not make this fatal journey.
And in time, new generations will take the place of those that have been lost.
And yet when the population cycle mounts to another peak, the lemming legend will be told again.
It will come to this same amazing climax, a final rendezvous with destiny and with death.

Today we transition back to the VIRTUAL REALITY vs OBJECTIVE REALITY theme …bah, to the COLLECTIVE DELUSION theme, that we have been engaged in over the last few weeks. Over at one of the “mainstream” “catholic” news outlets, we are entertained by a post regarding a couple of old favorites of this blog. (see here) One is the Brazilian Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, the Prefect of the Congregation for Religious Life (see here) and his side kick Archbishop José “just call me Pepe”Rodríguez Carballo, the Vatican congregation’s secretary. (see here and here)

Today’s news report has Card. Braz de Aviz giving a speech to a new, by Church standards organization comprised of 1200 “formation directors”. Here is the relevant passage:

Brazilian Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, speaking to a first-of-its-kind congress of many of the world’s religious formation directors, also warned the religious against trying to abandon the changes in the church brought about by the Second Vatican Council.

So it probably does not take an exceptional amount of brain power to figure out why this “first-of-its kind” congress was called and why this particular theme of this “first-of-its-kind” congress was chosen. And if you can’t figure it out, think Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Excuse the digression… Here is what was said:

The contexts have changed,” he said. “We are disoriented. In our identity, we are a bit insecure. We need a new deepening, a new pausing, a new listening.”

Continuing, the cardinal told the formation directors: “Do not distance yourself from the great lines of the Second Vatican Council.”

Aside from the obvious irony of a self confessedout of context”, “disoriented” and “insecure” prelate giving instructions about how to overcome the “out of context-edness”, “disorientation”and “insecurity” of the situation to 1200 similarly “out of context”, “disoriented” and “insecure” “formation directors”, it needs to be said that the instruction was quite clear, focused and firm. Now whether it was correct, well that’s a horse of a different color.

Just so that you dear reader are 100% clear about what it is that the good cardinal does not want the “formation directors” to distance themselves from, is this:

Religious Orders IWhat the graph above represents, is the time period that Card. Braz de Aviz was referring to in his above quote, the time period during which he, the formation directors and especially their religious orders became “out of context-ed”, “disoriented”and “insecure”.

Just to make sure that we understand, this above time period represents the 50 years of “changing context, insecurity in identity and disorientation” that the members of the religious orders have experienced, or as it is commonly referred to, the advent of the “new springtime of the spirit of Vatican II”. If you recall, the Second Vatican Council ended in 1965 and as is just so happens, the peak membership of not just the above orders but all orders and clergy for that matter was circa 1966.

Here is another depiction of this time period, the time period that card. Braz says that we can not distance ourselves from.

Religious Orders IIThis graph depicts the decline in percentage terms of the respective religious orders. The manner in which this graph is read is that, for example the Jesuits have approximately 48% the number of members that they had in 1966. What this graph also displays is that the Jesuits had the largest decrease in membership in percentage terms of the major religious orders. In other words, the Jesuits were “winning”, in a Charlie Sheen sort of way. (see here)

Having said the above, we know from our logic class that correlation and coincidence do not necessarily prove causality. Necessarily, that is. But in this above case, I think a solid argument can be made that an inverse relationship exists between the membership levels and the number of years spent under the “new springtime of the spirit of Vatican II” regime. In other words, the longer under the VII regime, the lower the memberships level. Or in other words, there appears to be a very strong causal relationship. 

However, Card. Braz does not acknowledge this causal relationship. Here is what card. Braz asserts:

In fact, those that are distancing themselves from the council to make another path are killing themselves — sooner or later, they will die,” Braz de Aviz said. “They will not have sense. They will be outside the church. We need to build, using the Gospel and the council as a departure point.”

Very interesting assertion. The “departure point” appears to be similar to the precipice in the embedded video. But I digress…

But what is the evidence that this assertion, i.e.

In fact, those that are distancing themselves from the council to make another path are killing themselves — sooner or later, they will die,”

is in fact a true assertion?

Unfortunately Card. Braz did not provide his audience with any supporting evidence, neither empirical nor anecdotal for his assertion. So we are left to our own devices.

Therefore, let’s compare some numerical data of religious societies that have been “distancing themselves from the council” and compare them to the religious orders for which we have empirical data presented in the above two graphs.

The first example is the Fraternity of St. Peter. Here is how their membership data looks”:

Religious Orders III

Oh my! It does not look anything like the first two graphs. Surely this is an exception?

Another religious society that has distanced itself form the council is the Society of St. Pius X, and here is how their respective membership numbers look.

Religious Orders IV

Oh my! Oh my! This membership data looks even better than that of the FSSP. Hard to call this an exception.

And just for good measure, let’s examine the graph of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, and how their membership numbers looked… before they were brutally suppressed on the order of Francis and carried out by card. Braz, “just call me Pepe Rodriguez Carballo and the notorious admitted slanderer Commissioner Volpi: (see here)

Religious Orders VFrom the above empirical evidence, it would appear that the following statement by card. Braz, i.e.

In fact, those that are distancing themselves from the council to make another path are killing themselves — sooner or later, they will die,”

is a FALSE statement.

Summarizing the evidence assembled above, it would appear that the religious societies that distanced themselves from the Second Vatican Council are not only growing, but thriving. Not only are they thriving, but they are taking over churches that the “post conciliar” orders are abandoning. (see here and here) The fact of the matter is this, the post conciliar orders are abandoning these churches since they do not have either the members nor the pew sitters to maintain them.

As a matter of fact, a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church just made an announcement during this past Lent that he is closing most of the churches in his country due to not distancing himself from the council soon enough.  (see here)

So how do we reconcile the apparent dichotomy between Card. Braz’s assertions and the facts presented above?

Enter our little furry friends.

I will paraphrase the narrator from the video embedded above since I think there may be a phenomenon underpinned by a higher natural law that is at work in both cases, i.e. the suicidal tendencies of both the lemmings and the post-conciliar hierarchy/clergy. Here is one possible and very likely explanation:

It’s not given to man to understand all of natures mysteries. But as nearly as we can surmise, it would appear that the post concilier hierarchy considers the Second Vatican Council just another council, and if it’s another council, it must have continuity with the Magisterium. And so they strike out boldly as if the NewChurch is the same as the Catholic Church. But then, gradually the strength wanes, determination ebbs away. And soon the post-concilier landscape is dotted with empty churches and dying congregations. And so is acted out the legend of mass suicide and the destruction of another sect that it would seem to be, such as the Arians, Pelagians, Donatists, Jansenist, Lutherans, Universal Unitarians, etc, etc, etc. And in time, new generations will take the place of those that have been lost. But nature, in her infinite wisdom has spared a few. Back in the Swiss Alps, there remained a small handful that did not make this fatal journey.

And to them, salvation will be their just reward.

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