You can’t win a war without the military.
The Church Triumphant: Souls who have attained and reside in Heaven.
The Church Suffering: Souls who have attained Heaven, but are currently undergoing their final purification in Purgatory.
The Church Militant: The faithful on earth currently battling and struggling to attain perfection.
How is this a history lesson, you ask? Because the abandonment of this ancient formula describing the threefold division of the Church is often overlooked among the most regrettable actions/inactions of Vatican II. The formula itself is expressly expunged; it appears not once in all the VII documents, nor in the current Catechism. Although if you strain your neck, you might find a remnant in LG#14 and later in CCC 954.
Here’s why it matters.
The duties of the Church Militant can be broken down into a threefold engagement in spiritual and temporal warfare, to which we are all called:
- The internal spiritual battle against personal sin, which subsists in all the faithful as the result of Original Sin and its ensuing Concupiscence, which is closely related to #2,
- The external spiritual battle against demons, Powers and Principalities; those evil spirits prowling about the world seeking the ruin of souls
- The external temporal battle against human institutions, laws, inequities and iniquities, imposed by men, which are contrary to Divine Law
The Catechism of Trent, Article IX, puts it very succinctly:
It is called militant, because it wages eternal war with those implacable enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil.
Does any of this language sound familiar? Have you ever heard a sermon preached on spiritual warfare? Have you ever heard a sermon on rooting out personal sin? Have you ever heard a sermon on your duty to fight unjust laws and unjust men? You haven’t? Welcome to the post-conciliar Church.
Just as the wrecking ball takes multiple swings to bring down an edifice, omission of this precise formula was but one blow in the brick by brick demolition of the faith orchestrated by the modernist marxist infiltrators who hijacked the council and the faith.
We are talking here about the perennial battle for human souls. Pretty important stuff – free will in all its glory and horror. Not the kind of thing very lightly discarded, you would think. But the council had a job to do, namely, to open the Church to the modern world. As if the Church needed fixing and the modern world was the ideal. So we could not POSSIBLY go on talking about PEOPLE needing fixing. That’s so pharisaical, man. Make love not war.
Mankind itself was the idol of this council, and the culture demanded its feminization, sterilization, and exaltation all at the same time. But before it could install man on the throne as king of kings, something else had to be done first. The very nature of the Church, as both transcendent and immutable, had to be abrogated. Yet, obvi (smh), it is impossible to even entertain the notion that the Church can/should adapt Christ’s teachings to the culture of the day, while at the same time maintaining that she remains transcendent and immutable. It’s called the law of noncontradiction.
Sorry to harp so much on root cause; it’s hard for me not to go down that rabbit hole every time, because it is key to understanding how we got here. I highly recommend going back further and studying the entire history of modernism dating to the 19th century, and then back even further to the errors of Lockean philosophy which birthed the false interpretations of liberty and equality during the Enlightenment.
So now we got us some history, such that we may rediscover two essential bricks we have lost in the demolition: Masculine leadership and the sense of the supernatural. These are the two major theaters where the war must be won. Let’s explore each individually and then tie back to the premise.
The concept and imagery of the Church Militant is dependent on the idea of masculine leadership manifested in battle and struggle. The Latin root militans denotes foremost being a soldier and servant in a military sense, and secondarily as one in struggle. Masculine leadership is not optional. It is mandatory in every aspect of this total war. While both men and women are engaged in this battle, it is masculine leadership which must be the focus. The yawning void of masculine leadership we face today is the result of a civilization drowning in narcissism and Feminism, abetted by a feminized priesthood, a feminized liturgy (mainly the Mass, but also the Hours and other things), and feminized churches – the buildings themselves. These are the areas where the battle lines need first be drawn, the troops assembled and trained. That means laymen, you and I, are where the buck stops. It’s not the priests, it’s not the bishops. There will be some standouts among the clergy, as you will see in a moment. But the PRIMARY force for change are LAYMEN: Lay men committing themselves to personal sanctity as the first and foundational step. Lay men executing masculine leadership with their wives and children united with them. The battle lines also lie outside the Church. The unjust laws, abortion, pornography, promotion of fornication, etc. Also, conversely, the violation of the Rule of Law by intentional refusal to enforce just laws.
Moving on to the second major theater of operation: The supernatural. We must speak forcefully about the reality of the supernatural. Those demons are real, and their first tactic is always to hide from the light. We must proclaim this reality and call out the grim destiny of those who refuse to believe it. Recall again we are speaking here of a moral duty, and the task is not for the faint-hearted. This is about doing battle with fallen angels, created beings possessing intellects orders of magnitude greater than our own. They have been thrown out of heaven for their refusal to serve, and their only goal is to drag more souls to Hell by convincing said souls to refuse to serve. Our hope rests only in God, who does not send his servants into battle unarmed. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty to God, unto the pulling down of fortifications, destroying counsels.
Some of the best contemporary thought on this issue comes from Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix AZ USA in his Apostolic Exhortation “Into the Breach”. Please do go read every word over there. A sobering sample:
“Men, do not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you, the battle that is wounding our children and families, the battle that is distorting the dignity of both women and men. This battle is often hidden, but the battle is real. It is primarily spiritual…progressively killing the remaining Christian ethos in our society and culture, and even in our own homes. The world is under attack by Satan, as our Lord said it would be (1 Peter 5:8-14). This battle is occurring in the Church herself, and the devastation is all too evident…this is a serious breach, a gaping hole in Christ’s battle lines…the losses are staggering.”
“The Father sent his Son to reveal what it means to be a man, and the fullness of this revelation becomes evident on the Cross. He tells us that it was for this reason that He came into the world, that it is his earnest desire to give himself totally to us. Herein lies the fullness of masculinity; each Catholic man must be prepared to give himself completely, to charge into the breach, to engage in spiritual combat, to defend women, children, and others against the wickedness and snares of the devil!
Looking to what the secular world holds up as “manly” is in fact to look at shadows – or even at outright counterfeits – of masculinity. The idolatry of celebrities at this time is a particular temptation, but to build one’s masculine identity on such fleeting models is to build an identity on sand. My Catholic sons and brothers, we can only build a certain foundation for masculinity on the rock, Jesus Christ. We look to our Savior to be transformed in Him, to be the men we are called to be, and to let others see Him in us.”
Now back to the premise: You can’t win a war without the military.
We are the military.
Ora et labora. Pray unceasingly and take action. Don’t pretend it will be easy and neat, nay, it will be hard and ugly.
Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. Matt 5:11-12