Reflection on the Sequence
and the Deadly Sin of Presumption
the inauguration of the Second Vatican Council Catholics
have been illicitly assured that everyone who dies goes immediately
to Heaven — no matter
how sinful, selfish, and miserable their evil lives. While this
clearly is not true (or Christ is a liar) we encourage you during
the opening of this Holy Season of Lent to recall that the Dies
Irae was the ordinary Sequence for the Requiem Mass for the dead
for at least 800 and very likely 1200 years. It is a beautiful and
sober reminder of the imminence and inevitability of death.
While Vatican II abolished much that is good and holy, it was not
able to abolish death.
The one thing most conspicuous about this magnificent Sequence
is not so much what is present in its somber verses
— but what is manifestly absent throughout this solemn
chant — the sin of Presumption — that is to say, the unwarranted
presuming that God must and will absolve
us of all sin — despite the absence of any penitential act on
our part or any evidence of genuine sorrow for sin. “All dogs
go to Heaven”.
While this may be true of dogs, it
is decidedly not true of men.
Consequently, the chant was peremptorily expunged following Vatican
II in the quite sudden and eminently convenient “pastoral” realization
that our now inexplicably fragile and effete sensibilities are incompatible
with Holy Scripture and 2000 years of Church teaching explicated
in the Dies Irae: that is further to say that the sin
of Presumption was necessarily abolished together with
the Dies Irae since both are construed to be inimical to
“the spirit of Vatican II”, which is to say the Protestant heresy
of Ecumenism first conceptualized by the “International Missionary
Conference” held at Edinburgh in 1910 and subsequently institutionalized
by the Protestant World Council of Churches in 1948.
In his determination to
align the Catholic Church with contemporary Protestantism Pope John
XXIII (“Good Pope John ...” of Vatican II infamy) appropriately
established a “Catholic” replica called the Secretariat for the
Promotion of Christian Unity in 1961. This, however, required
a dialectic in which all competing and mutually contrary religions
are reconcilable — and the only possible way forward was to
abolish religious distinctions altogether, rendering them superficial
only — or failing that, to maintain that the widely divergent
roads nonetheless converged in the same Heaven — even while
the manifold and conflicting conceptions of Paradise itself turn
out to be both logically and mutually irreconcilable.
Here we enter the province of Mortal Sin — and the
grave sin of Presumption which permeates all post-Vatican II
liturgies and without exception pre-eminently characterizes
them. Let us, then, be clear about this deadly sin, together with
the reciprocal notions of responsibility and accountability inherent
within it. In Catholic theology no less than in moral philosophy
a distinction is understood to exist between what are construed
as logical contrarieties. Some things (acts, intentions, etc.) are
good and others are not. In fact, we often define the one through
its contraposition to the other. Were all human acts equally commendable
and reprehensible, the world would be deprived of rational order,
specifically moral order understood in terms of good and evil, meritorious
and culpable, desirable and loathsome. The very notion of
responsibility would be superfluous, together with any concept of
accountability. Accountable to whom or what? Censurable to what
standard and answerable for what? It is not simply an amoral universe
of absolute indifference, but an illogical one. Such a universe
would not be sustainable on earth — why would we, a fortiori,
hold it to be sustainable in Heaven?
The Mortal Sin of Presumption is the presuming of God’s forgiveness
of sin and His unquestionable willingness — even irrepressible
determination — to bring one who has led a life of unrepentant
— even vicious sin — and who without the least compunction
presumes God’s forgiveness because of God’s absolute goodness
and mercy: in other words, one sacrilegiously anticipates (as the
rendering of a justice due the sinner by God) salvation —
having done nothing to either acquire it or to repent of the many
sins that are invincible impediments to it. It is, in essence, the
depriving of the free will (a perfection) of God Who somehow must
(is compelled — by some incoherent and inexplicable
agency mysteriously superior to God — to forgive every sin and all
sins — despite everything His Beloved Son taught — and bring all
men, Catholics, heretics, apostates, schismatics, Muslims, Shintoists,
Buddhists, Animists, Scientologists, etc. to the same blessed abode
where the one who despises and curses Christ on the Cross
and the one who joyfully surrenders himself in perfect love to God,
equally enjoy perfect and eternal beatitude.
The Sin of Presumption Simply Explained
It is the hope to gain Heaven unaided
by Grace and solely by one’s own natural faculties and abilities,
together with the absolute confidence that God will forgive
us even our most vicious and unrepentant sins, Mortal and Venial,
because He is abundantly merciful.
God’s mercy is abundant, but God’s mercy
is not infinite: were it so, no sin or offense would be
sufficient in itself to separate one from God and to merit eternal
separation from God in Hell. The notion of infinite mercy
also precludes the possibility of rejecting God, even understood
as all-forgiving-of-every-sin-and-every-kind-of-sin. Were God
infinitely merciful and all-forgiving, He would gather together
the sinner and the Saint alike in perfect and eternal beatitude.
Furthermore, there would be no admonition against sin, for
sin would not incur penalty. Moreover, it would equally preclude
an Eschatological Judgment — but Holy Writ clearly states otherwise.
One could commit idolatry, murder, adultery, theft, etc. with impunity
and — apart from the first instance — only be answerable to, and
punishable by, secular authorities and mutable civil
laws. In other words, Law — and Punishment incurred by the breach
of Law — is only secular in nature and temporal in duration.
Such a conception, however, deprives
God of the divine perfection of Justice.
We may argue that such a conception of Heaven is tantamount to a
Mental “Field Hospital” (as Francis understands the Bride of Christ,
the Church) or we may simply resign ourselves to the flatus of Vatican
II ... observing nothing distinguishable between them.
Indeed, in the end we find that the Mental Hospital and the
“Field Hospital” are one and the same.
Boston Catholic Journal
Printable PDF Version
by Father Thomas de Celano, OFM,
(1185-1260) Translated by William J. Irons, (1812-1883)
Tuba mirum spargens sonum per sepulchra
regionum, coget omnes ante thronum.
1. Day of wrath, O day of
see fulfilled the Prophet's warning,
Heaven and earth in ashes burning.
2. Oh, what fear man’s bosom rendeth ,When from Heav’n
the Judge descendeth, on whose sentence all dependeth!
Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth, thro' earth's sepulchers
it ringeth, all before the throne it bringeth.
4. Death is struck and nature
quaking; all creation is awaking, to its Judge an answer
5. Lo, the book, exactly worded,
wherein all hath been recorded;
Thence shall judgment be awarded.
6. When the Judge His seat attaineth
and each hidden deed arraigneth,
nothing unavenged remaineth.
7. What shall I, frail man, be pleading? Who for me
be interceding when the just are mercy needing?
8. King of majesty tremendous,
Who dost free salvation send us,
Fount of pity, then befriend us.
9. Think, good Jesus, my
caused Thy wondrous incarnation;
leave me not to reprobation!
10. Faint and weary Thou
hast sought me, on the Cross of suffering bought me;
shall such grace be vainly brought me?
11. Righteous Judge, for
sin’s pollution grant Thy gift of absolution
ere that day of retribution!
12. Guilty, now I pour my
all my shame with anguish owning:
spare, O God, Thy suppliant groaning!
13. From that sinful woman
from the dying thief forgiven,
Thou to me a hope hast given.
14. Worthless are my prayers and sighing; yet, good
Lord, in grace complying, rescue me from fires undying.
15. With Thy favored sheep, oh, place me!
nor among the goats abase me, but to Thy right hand
16. While the wicked are confounded,
doomed to flames of woe unbounded,
call me, with Thy saints surrounded.
17. Low I kneel with heart-submission,
see, like ashes, my contrition;
help me in my last condition!
18. Day of sorrow, day of
when, in dust no longer sleeping,
man awakes in Thy dread keeping!
19. O, God, to judgment
called are guilty men:
20. Merciful Jesus, grant rest unto them!
(Alt. Spare, Lord Jesus — in mercy spare them!
Day of Wrath
1. Dies iræ, dies illa,
Solvet sæclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla
2. Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando Judex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!
3.Tuba mirum spargens sonum
per sepulchra regionum,
coget omnes ante thronum.
4. Mors stupebit et natura
cum resurget creatura,
5. Liber scriptus proferetur,
in quo totum continetur,
unde mundus judicetur.
6. Judex ergo cum sedebit
quidquid latet apparebit:
nil inultum remanebit.
7. Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
quem patronum rogaturus
cum vix justus sit securus?
8. Rex tremendæ majestatis
Qui salvandos salvas gratis
salva me, fons pietatis.
9. Recordare, Jesu pie
quod sum causa Tuæ viæ:
Ne me perdas illa die.
10. Quærens me, sedisti lassus:
redemisti Crucem passus:
tantus labor non sit cassus.
11. Juste Judex ultionis
donum fac remissionis
ante diem rationis.
12. Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
culpa rubet vultus meus:
supplicanti parce, Deus.
13. Qui Mariam absolvisti
et latronem exaudisti
mihi quoque spem dedisti.
14. Preces meæ non sunt dignæ;
sed tu bonus fac benigne
ne perenni cremer igne.
15. Inter oves locum præsta
et ab hædis me sequestra
statuens in parte dextra.
16. Confutatis maledictis
flammis acribus addictis
voca me cum benedictis
17. Oro supplex et acclinis
cor contritum quasi cinis
gere curam mei finis
18. Lacrimosa dies illa
qua resurget ex favilla
19. Judicandus homo reus
huic ergo parce, Deus:
20. Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem.
Totally Faithful to the Sacred
Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Holy See in Rome
opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum
Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum”
know your works ... that you have but little power, and
yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.”
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