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Originally printed in The Recusant issue 55, Easter 2021.

Fr Paul Robinson is still at it…

 

Towards the end of 2020, Fr. Paul Robinson was allowed to write an article, billed as an “Op-Ed” for the website Rorate Caeli. Entitled “Science is not a Threat to Religion,” it can be found here:

 

https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2020/09/science-not-threat-to-faith.html

Let us begin by pointing out that (as before) the article’s very title is a classic fallacy. Science as such is not a threat to the Faith, no, but the doctrine of evolution, which is not a part of science, most certainly is. It is a deadly enemy of the Faith and has arguably done more to undermine belief and practice amongst Catholics, to prevent conversions, to help souls on their way to hell and form the modern world into what it is today that any other idea or teaching. The same ought equally to be said about all the ancillary teachings which evolution demands, the big bang doctrine, the ridiculous billions of years for the earth to be formed, the bogus “geological column” hoax and all the rest. It is thanks to such toxic lies that we now have to live in an atmosphere permeated by:

Robinson Rorate.png

Communism and Socialism. Recall that “Karl” Marx (real name Moses Mordecai Levi) proclaimed in his own words that: “Darwin’s work is most important and suits my purpose in that it provides a basis in natural science for the historical class struggle,” and that it “contains the basis on natural history for our view,” as well as making explicit mention of Darwin in Das Kapital, a book which he personally sent to Darwin, autographed and with a handwritten note of admiration on the title page (“To Mr. Charles Darwin, on the part of his sincere admirer, Karl Marx”). Class struggle, is after all, only the “survival of the fittest” in socio-economic terms. And, by the way, why shouldn’t everything be reduced to the purely economic, the materialistic, since after all, we are just matter which evolved farther than the other matter around us and not essentially different to any other animal, vegetable or even mineral in that regard..?

 

Captialism. As above, economics is just the survival of the fittest seen in terms of dollar bills. Many who believe that the economic theories of Marx were proved impractical and discredited forever by the various Communist countries of the 20th century (and countries such as Venezuela today) will nonetheless prove, without realising it themselves, that the spirit of Marxist doctrine is still alive and well in their own actions and approach to life. And here again, it is essentially evolutionary. It’s a dog eat dog world, where the only law is the survival of the fittest, except that “the fittest” means the company that can afford to undermine or swallow up it’s competitors. The result (virtual monopolies and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of very few) looks and feels remarkably similar to communism and no one need be bothered by anything resembling a duty towards his fellow man. Why build your workers nice houses to live in? Why make sure they get plenty of holidays, decent health insurance and a wage well above what they require to live on? After all, if    evolution is true and there is no spiritual element to man, only the material, the molecules and cells which make him up, then why shouldn’t he be treated like just another cog in the machine..? In the end, profit is what matters. Happiness has no place in the fight for evolutionary supremacy. Just ask anyone who has worked in an Amazon warehouse.

 

Feminism. Yes, it was Communist Russia which first had widespread abortion on demand, and promoted “free love” and “equality” together with a big drive to put women in overalls working in factories along side men. Our own countries which were shocked and horrified by such things back in the 1920s and 30s now accept and promote them wholeheartedly. But does it not make sense? If there is no Creator and if Eve were not really created from the side of Adam, why on earth should a wife obey her husband? And if there are some differences between men and women which go beyond the merely anatomical, who’s to say that those aren’t “evolutionary” and produced by generations of “sexism,” and not something innate and spiritual, a nature given to us by our Creator?

Environmentalism. If evolution is true and there is no Creator, then our environment, our planet, or however you want to put it, is the closest thing we have to a god since that is what gave rise to us and sustains us. And since human beings are essentially no different to the  other animals, plants or even rocks we see around us, all being part of one big evolutionary continuum, then it becomes an imperative that we look after our planet, our environment, not merely within the bounds of common sense and common decency, but even at the expense of human life. Therefore it makes sense to reduce the population of the earth, to let mother earth flourish without all those parasitical human beings running around on top, digging their mines and building their houses and laying their roads and railways. From this line of thinking, it is but a short step to...

 

Eugenics. After all, we got where we are by “the fittest” “surviving” (which means, in reality, the perishing of the weakest). Were it not for that, we would still be swinging from the trees. Does it not, therefore, make perfect sense to aid this process by helping “the fittest” to survive and the weak to perish? A smaller master race makes better evolutionary sense than hordes of Untermensch, surely?

 

Abortion and Euthanasia. When a woman kills the unborn child in her womb, is that not just the strong (the “fittest”) killing the weak? Likewise, the law in England allowing a baby to be killed all the way up to full term if there is a suspected disability or even relatively minor  deformity (such as a cleft lip) - how can the strong survive unless the weak perish? The same surely goes for the elderly: useless eaters, as someone once said. Why would the strong look after the weak, why should we protect the vulnerable? After all, that’s not how we “evolved”!

 

Animal Rights. Veganism. Why wouldn’t animals have the same rights as human beings, after all, human beings are nothing more than glorified animals. It’s wrong to kill and eat  people, isn’t it? So why wouldn’t it also be wrong to kill and eat other animals? And while we’re at it, how would you like to be held down and shaved for your wool, or have your skin turned into a leather belt, or your milk sold on the shelves of supermarkets? What goes for humans goes for animals. And it all makes sense because there is no essential difference    between the two.

 

Gender Theory. “Who answering, said to them: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, made them male and female?” (Mt. 19:4) Thanks to Darwin and evolution, many people today have not read that, and even among those who have, Genesis 1 is of course a nice story but nothing more. Thus it follows that since God did not make them male and female in the beginning, as a result the idea of male and female is to be viewed like everything else today: relative, changeable, a societal convention and nothing more.

 

Religion? This is something for old ladies and effeminate men. It makes them feel good about themselves, they find it comforting, so we might even let them continue practising it in private; just as long as they don’t go getting ideas about changing the society around them and undoing all our plans. In any case, none of this “religion” stuff is true. It’s just stories.

 

We could go on, of course, but is it really necessary? The point is this. Not only is evolution    a deadly threat to the faith of millions, the same might equally be said of any false “science”  in the hands of men with an agenda that is not God’s. Therefore it is a matter of no small importance that we find the SSPX still continuing to support and promote the work done by one of its priests to, in effect, introduce the tenets of evolutionary thinking in amongst Traditional Catholics where it would not previously have been found. In the humble opinion of this writer, there could be nothing more deadly in the long run than what is currently being done by Fr. Paul Robinson and those aiding and abetting him. Sure, he no doubt thinks he is doing the right thing, but that doesn’t lessen the damage done. Both he and his superiors are to blame.

 

 

Setting the Record Straight

 

Fr. Robinson’s article begins by telling the reader that he wrote his book (The Realist Guide to Religion and Science - reviewed in Issue 46, p.42ff ) because he could see that the SSPX faithful were still clinging to old-fashioned ideas regarding the Bible and science, and he wanted to help them catch up with the forward-thinking SSPX seminary professors:

 

“Anyone who starts such a project knows that they have to have a strong motivation to do so. In my case, I wanted to set the record straight on the Church’s teaching on science in relation to the Bible. I could see that what I was taught as a seminarian and what I was teaching as a seminary professor somehow was not being passed on to the faithful.”

 

And did he? Has he “set the record straight”? Does anyone feel that the Church’s teaching wasn’t clear before, that Fr Robinson has made them more clear and less confusing?! Hmm.

 

What is really interesting here, however, is the admission that the SSPX seminaries were and are far more modernist than the average faithful had ever guessed. What Fr. Robinson was taught as a seminarian and what he himself was teaching was somehow “not being passed on to the faithful”..! It sounds as though the liberal teaching in the seminaries that hadn’t been owned up to in the world outside and among the faithful at large, doesn’t it? Many of us will be able to recall several Resistance priests, including Fr Pfeiffer, Fr Chazal and Fr Hewko, warning as far back as 2013 if not earlier, that a new teaching and new formation was being given in the seminaries of the SSPX, producing a new breed of SSPX priest, far more liberal than those who had gone before him. Occasional anecdotal examples would slip out which confirmed this, and Resistance families who had a son or brother still in an SSPX seminary were well aware of it, but one has the impression that it was not generally known by most SSPX faithful, nor taken too seriously when it was known. And yet here we have a priest of the SSPX openly admitting that the rehabilitation of evolutionary ideas (the teachings of Charles Lyell for instance) was well under way in the seminaries several years ago. Furthermore, he is proud to have led the way in making these ideas “mainstream” in SSPX chapels and helping them take root in the hearts and minds of the faithful.

 

As for setting “the record straight on the Church’s teaching” - just think about that for a     moment. Yes, it can be that a lot of Catholics get the wrong idea and need to be “set straight.” Several examples exist of Catholic teaching being hidden from sight and generally misunderstood or totally ignored by the faithful and even the clergy, several generations before Vatican II. Take usury, for instance, or geocentrism, or extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. One could even cite Catholic Action as the domain of the laity in which the clergy participate or the gradual replacement of the virtue of prudence by a Protestant concept of “conscience” and by a veritable infestation of moral theology manuals. In each of those cases, however, to “set the record straight” it is sufficient to show Catholic teaching from before the confusion, from before the eclipse, to point to any one of the many centuries when the teaching was clearly understood by everyone. There are plenty of Councils, Popes, Saints, Doctors and Fathers of the Church to choose from. The one setting the record straight need only to show what the Church taught and what all Catholics everywhere believed in the middle ages, in the early centuries, in the seventeenth century, or whenever. He can simply point to the Church and need never himself intrude into the matter. 

 

Here however we have something different. Fr. Paul Robinson is going to “set the record straight” about what the Church teaches when it comes to Charles Lyell and similar men. His “setting the record straight” however involves no quoting from Councils, Popes, Doctors or Fathers across the centuries. Indeed, to do so would risk undermining his cause, therefore he must largely ignore them. Instead, he presents a “synthesis” of two diametrically opposed positions, through a filter of his own making. This “interpretation” is his own and no one else’s. Richard Dawkins may talk a lot of nonsense, but he is right about one thing: evolution and the bible don’t go together; in the end you have to pick one of the two. There have been many men in recent generations, theistic evolutionists, progressive creationists or what you will, who have tried to marry the two together, and in every case they are convinced that they have got it just right; yet not one of them can agree completely with the others. Rather like the Protestants, they too are in the business of interpreting the bible rather without regard to what the Church has always taught. And like the Protestants, there are as many theories, doctrines and interpretations as there are exponents of this approach. Fr. Robinson himself is a disciple of the late Fr. Stanley Jaki, and has described his book as an “attempt to popularize Fr Jaki’s work.” And yet even he does not agree with him one hundred percent. What the reader of The Realist Guide is being given then is the teaching of one man, and only one: Fr. Paul Robinson. And yet he has the audacity to claim that he is the one setting the record straight. What does this mean, then, but “Listen to me! I am the voice of the Church! I am the Church! My interpretation is Catholic teaching!” - are we perhaps being unfair on Fr. Robinson? The words about setting the record straight “on the Church’s teaching” are his own, not ours. And it is hard to see what this is if not one man holding up his own fallible and highly contentious opinion as Catholic doctrine. How can anyone be sure, for instance, that it isn’t Fr Stanley Jaki who got it right, and not Fr Robinson? Or any of the other “theorists” and exponents of “progressive creation” or “theistic evolution” for that matter? How certain can anyone be that one day, after Fr. Robinson is dead, another priest won’t “interpret” his work and present his own thesis as a “setting the record straight on the Church’s teaching”..?

Condemning the Church Without Realising it

 

Fr. Robinson continues:

 

“Why is the corrective [i.e. his book ‘The Realist Guide…’ - Ed.] needed? Because many faithful, on the one hand, make a strictly literal interpretation of Genesis 1 into a matter of faith and so, on the other hand, hold that the Big Bang Theory and Darwinian evolution are, of themselves, against the faith. For them, the authentic Catholic reading of Genesis 1 is that the universe was created in a full formed state 6000 years ago.”

 

And for the Fourth Lateran Council. And for St. Thomas Aquinas. And for St. Basil. And for St. Ambrose. And for St. John Chrysostom. And for all the Fathers and Doctors. Indeed, find me a Father or a Doctor of the Church who teaches anything remotely resembling what Fr Robinson teaches. Fr. Robinson and men like him sometimes point to the fact that St. Augustine believed that things were created in an instant rather than in six days (the others all seem to believe in six literal days), but is there one Church Father who teaches that it took 14 billion years following an explosion? Not one single Catholic of any rank or situation believed this nonsense or anything like it for the first 1800 plus years of Church history. But don’t worry: Fr. Robinson and the SSPX are here to “correct” them all, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Fourth Lateran Council included.

 

Please also notice: that is, in his own words, why he wrote the book in the first place. It was “needed,” he said, to correct you, the foolish   people who still believe that a day is a day, that “covered the whole earth” means covered the whole earth and that “six hundred years old” means, well, six hundred years old. Fr. Robinson was alarmed to discover that far too many people still believe in the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture, in other words. Too many people still think that what the bible says is actually true.

 

“But this is simply not the case…”

 

So there you go. They’re all wrong and I’m right, in other words. People need to stop listening to the likes of St. Thomas Aquinas and all those  other Fathers and Doctors and listen only to me.

 

“What I would like to consider in this article is, firstly, the authentic teaching of the Church; secondly, why some Catholics are little inclined to accept that teaching; and finally, why their fear to accept it is groundless.”

 

In summary then: All the Fathers, Doctors and even Councils of the Church are wrong and Fr. Robinson is right. His peculiar notions and pet theories are “the authentic teaching of the Church” and God allowed all Catholics for century after century to believe something which was not true. Well. That seems quite straight forward at least, though not very Catholic. Why is one suddenly reminded of Joseph Smith or Charles Taze Russel…?

“The first real evidence that the Earth is millions, if not billions, of years old came to light in the middle of the 19th century.”

 

And what was that “evidence,” please? He doesn’t say. The answer will almost certainly be “fossil,” and the phoney-baloney so-called “geological column”. More on that shortly.

 

“It would not be until the 20th century that scientists figured out that there are other   galaxies than our own and started to work their way to a 13.7-billion-year age for the universe.”

 

An interesting admission albeit perhaps an unintentional one. Here we have a little insight into how these “scientists” claim to know the age of the universe. It’s all guess work, in other words, and not exactly disinterested guess work either. They need it to be  that age in order for everything they see to have come about in the way they want it to have come about. If humans took millions of years to evolve, then the earth itself needs to be at least a few billion years old. And if the earth is a few billion years old, then their pet “theory” requires that the       universe be proportionately older, and its age is scaled-up accordingly. But note that the one presupposition depends on the other. If the supposed “evolution of man” isn’t in fact true, then the millions of years aren’t needed, meaning that the earth needn’t be four billion years old, meaning that the universe needn’t be 13.7 billion years old. (By the way, in the 1990s they were telling us that it was 20 billion years old. Now it’s only 13.7 billion - how certain can we be that the number won’t change again in a few years?)

Very Shaky Ground

 

Fr. Robinson’s grounds for what he will reveal as “the authentic teaching of the Church” are remarkably weak and very shaky indeed, especially given the import of what he is proposing, and seem to consist more of reasons why it is not certain that his opponents are right, rather than proofs for why he is right. He cites the Pontifical Biblical Commission, for instance, saying that a “day” in Genesis can be regarded as a certain period of time. Very well, after all a day is a certain period of time! But billions of years? That’s something rather different, isn’t it? Leaving aside the many, many Catholic authorities who did teach that the days in Genesis 1 are literal 24 hour days, let us recall that, according to Genesis 1, the plants were created on day three and the sun, moon and stars on day four. Plants will last one day without sunlight, but can they last a million years without it? There doesn’t seem to be a way around that, unless of course Genesis is wrong, and they weren’t created in that order. But then he would have to tell everyone that Genesis is wrong. Had he been able to point to the Pontifical Biblical Commission saying that one could regard “a day” as a billion or even a million years, Fr Robinson’s case might look like it stood some sort of chance of taking people in. As things are, however, the effect is only to show people how little he could find to support his ideas.

 

The other evidence he presents is as follows:

 

  • Leo XIII’s Providentissimus Deus which asserts that there can be no contradiction between faith and science.

 

This is begging the question and in reality does not help him. It is true, there can be no contradiction between Faith and science. But evolution is not science, it is not observable or falsifiable, it involves several logical fallacies, some of which it depends upon, and is as a whole unscientific. Providentissimus Deus does not say that there can be no contradiction between the Faith and what a the largest or loudest group of scientists in any given age choose to tell the world. Scientists do get things wrong, after all. Confusing “science” with “scientists” is also the fallacy of reification, the sort of thing which the mainstream media are guilty of doing all the time. A Catholic priest ought to know better.

 

  • Pius XII’s Humani Generis saying that “the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution.”

 

That a Pope did not forbid discussion of something hardly proves that that thing is true and needs to be accepted by all Catholics! Leaving aside the obvious weakness of Pope Pius XII, all this means is that he is not saying that no further discussion may take place. That’s all. Fr. Robinson is offering this in his defence almost as though Pius XII had forbidden Catholics to believe in the clear and obvious meaning of Genesis, in a young earth and a genealogical  descent from Adam to Christ.

 

“These are the weightiest of the Catholic authorities of the time speaking on these questions,” says Fr. Robinson. What - that’s it? No Saints? No Doctors? No Councils? No Fathers? And what does “of the time” mean? The Church isn’t of a time, of any time, she teaches consistently down the ages. Notice what he is missing: all of the above come from the late 19th / early 20th century, when the confusion was already growing and spreading. It’s as though the Church didn’t exist  before Leo XIII. Now, one can guess why he has limited himself to the Church of the last century and a half. He would no doubt say that it is because the “discoveries” of “evidence” for the age of the earth had not been made until then. Very well. But that still doesn’t change the fact that all the authorities are on our side. And besides, the supposed “evidence” for the age of the earth is nonsense, as we shall see.

 

Fr. Robinson continues:

 

“But, in point of fact, I have not been able to find any Catholic authority saying that the evidence for an ancient Earth must be rejected on grounds of faith, after consulting many seminary manuals and Catholic books on science from that period.”

 

Might that be, as mentioned above, because the “evidence,” such as it is, is a fairly recent modern phenomenon, as well as being totally fraudulent (in reality, there is no “evidence” for an ancient earth)? Might it also be because limiting himself to looking only for Catholic   authorities who explicitly reject 19th century ideas is a convenient way of ignoring the first 1800 years of the Catholic Church? Notice that he does not say “I have not been able to find any Catholic authority saying that the earth is 6,000 years old” or “...who says that a day in Genesis is a literal 24hour day.” He can’t say that because the moment one looks outside the modern era, one practically cannot move without tripping over Catholic authorities who say precisely that!

 

As for “consulting many seminary manuals and Catholic books on science from that period” - it is not hard to imagine that a fairly good case for the so-called “liturgical reform” could be made from consulting Catholic liturgical books “from that period” (i.e. on the dawn of the disaster, shortly before Vatican II, when the rot had already set in). Again, a very different picture would be presented by reading books from before “that period.” But then, perhaps that is why Fr. Robinson decided to limit himself to only a very narrow period of time?

 

He then goes on to cite Cardinal Wiseman, someone called Fr. Gerard Molloy (no, me neither...) and even “the pre-Vatican II catechism My Catholic Faith” as being authorities who do not take Genesis literally and are therefore not opposed to his evolutionary timescale. “None of them have a problem with the earth being millions of years old.” Which is more likely, which the more plausible: that St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St. Lawrence of Brindisi and so many others besides, as well a at least one Council of the Church are all wrong? Or that Cardinal Wiseman, Fr. Molloy and My Catholic Faith are the ones who have dropped the ball? The reader will no doubt recall our book review of My Catholic Faith which dealt, among other things, with that specific point (see p.35ff, Issue 50, Jan. 2020) as well as the many other howlers, such as praising the  American Revolution because it was “supported by Catholic France” or bragging about how Catholics make such good, obedient citizens (that one really hasn’t aged well, especially in light of the past year’s events, and I’m sure will continue to age very badly!).

 

He then also throws in “the great manualists Fillion, Gigot, Simon-Prado, and Renié” as being on his side. How “great” are these “manualists”? Is it inconceivable that priests who wrote manuals in the middle of the 20th Century might be unreliable too? Such things have been talked about in these pages before, and the reader might recall, for instance, a rather long and detailed article by Fr. Joseph Clifford Fenton showing how such 19th and 20th century “manualists” managed to get it completely backwards regarding the Church’s necessity for salvation. Manuals are not organs of the magisterium, they are not infallible; they can and do get things wrong. Furthermore they are (in the opinion of this writer) themselves a symptom of the decay, because the virtue of prudence is how we ought to know right from wrong, not looking-up behaviours in a “manual” of human behaviour (which is what, in effect, a manual of moral theology is). That might be why they only started appearing in the post-reformation era, the last couple of centuries in particular.

Finally, Fr. Robinson adds the following:

 

“It was this climate of complete acceptance of real scientific evidence and reconciliation of that evidence with the faith that allowed for someone like Fr. Georges Lemaitre to propose the Big Bang Theory and for Pope Pius XII to embrace it in his 1951 speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.”

 

Fr. George Lemaitre was a fool for proposing the “Big Bang Theory” and Pius XII an even bigger fool for temporising with it, but please notice that one random priest and a speech   given by a Pope - that is supposed to be enough to overturn the authority of Sacred Scripture, of the Fathers of the Church, of Doctors of the Church (such as St. Thomas Aquinas) and Councils of the Church..? Not to mention the question of whether the literal six-day creation in Genesis is part of the ordinary magisterium of the Church being, as it was, taught and    believed in all places and all eras until the late 1800s.

 

At any rate, that is the sum total of the witnesses for the defence called by Fr Paul Robinson. Cardinal Wiseman agrees with me, some mid- 20th century priests who wrote theology    manuals agree with me, My Catholic Faith agrees with me too. Pope Pius XII once gave a speech… Not a single Church Father. Not a single Doctor of the Church. Not a single     Council. Not very solid grounds, to say the least.

 

Please notice, once again, that Fr. Robinson is mostly not even calling witnesses for his own case. He is not citing authorities who teach positively that the earth is billions of years old (apart from My Catholic Faith perhaps). Included in the “authorities” whom he cites are those who say nothing more than that one “does not have to believe x or y as a dogma” or “we will allow the discussion to continue”. He can’t find a single Pope who supports him (except perhaps the conciliar Popes, and he can hardly quote them! That might give the game away!); the best he can find are some weak Popes from not too long before the Council who didn’t fully, totally condemn what he is selling us. Yet even they did not actually agree with or promote what Fr. Robinson stands for, much less did they disagree with us “young earth creationists” as he does. Leo XIII, Pius XII or the Pontifical Biblical Commission would not have had any problem with you believing in a literal six-day creation which took place roughly six thousand years ago, even though Fr Robinson himself does. So are they really on his side?

Simply No Grounds?

 

There are, on the other hand, plenty of authorities who would have a big problem with you believing what Fr. Robinson teaches, and very weighty authorities they are too. He does not address this at all (you will no doubt be astonished to hear), but instead says:

 

“In short, there are simply no grounds for Catholics to believe that an ancient age for the Earth or the universe is in conflict with a Catholic interpretation of the Bible or any of the articles of the Catholic Faith.”

 

This is just not true. Fr. Robinson cannot be so ignorant, surely? On the other hand, would he deliberately lie? Who knows what is going on here, but it is demonstrably not true that there are “simply no grounds” for Catholics rejecting his bogus gorillions-of-years narrative. There are plenty of grounds! Here are a few.

 

1. Catholic authorities who contradict Fr. Robinson’s view of creation. We have already mentioned above Fathers, Doctors and at least one Council who explicitly reject his ideas and positively teach the contrary. We have quoted them in these pages before at some length. Were they alive today, he would call them Biblicists. What they would call him is anyone’s guess. One wonders why he passes over them in silence and does not discuss the fact that they contradict him, almost as though he doesn’t want his audience to know about them - he must be totally ignorant unaware of them, otherwise his silence concerning them might seem to have the character of deceit, which surely cannot be the case…

 

2. Sacred Scripture is true. There is also to be considered the fact that Fr. Paul Robinson’s modern ideas make Genesis totally unreliable: a nice story, but nothing more. No doubt he and his kind will always be able to pick out some bits of “theological truth” (to be decided by them!) from Genesis 1, but the thing as a whole cannot be accepted at face value. That includes the six days of creation as well as the account of the flood, according to which Noe climbed aboard the ark,

 

“And after the seven days were passed, the waters of the flood overflowed the earth. … And the flood was forty days upon the earth, and the waters increased, and lifted up the ark on high from the earth. For they overflowed exceedingly: and filled all on the face of the earth: and the ark was carried upon the waters. And the waters prevailed beyond measure upon the earth: and all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The water was fifteen cubits higher than the mountains which it covered.”  (Gen. 7:10 ff)

 

Fr. Robinson’s teaching - that the flood waters only covered the inhabited earth, not the whole earth - is at variance with Sacred Scripture, not least because Scripture makes it quite clear that the flood “overflowed the earth” - does that sound like a regional flood to you? And what about “all the mountains under the whole heaven” being covered by fifteen cubits of water - how could there be other parts of the earth where there was no flood if “all the high mountains” were covered? Or could it be that this wasn’t a regional flood? That would explain why Scripture gives no hint of it being regional, or of what region was flooded and which regions remained dry, and talks only as though the entire earth were covered in water. What about Our Lord’s teaching in the Gospels that His second coming will be just like the flood in the days of Noe? Will the Second Coming of the Son of Man be a regional affair, or was Our Lord unaware that the flood was only regional? Our Lord does seem Himself to take Genesis literally and to believe in a worldwide flood.

 

This is not merely a rhetorical point - Sacred Scripture is important and anything which undermines its authority ultimately undermines the Faith. We have pointed out that Saints, Doctors and Fathers have vastly more authority than 20th century manualists and Cardinal Wiseman. Well, what has more authority than Fathers and Doctors, if not a Council (such as Lateran IV)? And what has more authority than even a Council? That’s right. Sacred Scripture itself. If we “Biblicists” had nothing else to appeal to than Sacred Scripture itself, then that would still be enough to undo Fr. Robinson.

 

3. The Question of Universality. Fr. Robinson’s, er, “novel interpretation” (*polite cough*) of Sacred Scripture (the one whereby a day is not a day, the order of creation is the wrong way around, and so forth) and his ideas concerning the age and timescales of the world we inhabit (squillions and gajillions of years, but totally empty of life for 99.9985% of that time, with mankind appearing only for the last 0.0015%) spectacularly fail the test of universality. Ask yourself this: if you were to poll all the Catholics who had ever lived, across the world, from the first century down to our own time, how many of them would side with Fr Robinson and how many with us “Biblicists”..? Then remove the last century-and-a-half from the equation: how many Catholics from the first 1800 years of the Church believed what Fr. Robinson teaches? The answer is: none of them, not one, and in fact they would almost certainly have rejected it as something contrary to the Catholic Faith. St. Vincent of Lerins famously tells us to hold fast to “that faith which has been believed everywhere, always and by all.” (“quod semper, quod ubique, quod omnibus”). What Fr Robinson is trying to get everyone to accept is something believed by no Catholics, in no places, in no era except the late 19th Century onwards (in the Western world - somewhat later elsewhere). Whether a particular error became commonplace amongst priests and people in the 1890s or 1960s is hardly the point. Unless you can point to Ukrainian Catholics in the 1800s, and Mexicans in the 1700s, Spaniards in the 1600s and Italians in the 1400s, and Germans in the 1300s and Englishmen in the 1200s… and Greeks, Romans and Egyptians in the 300s, all believing and teaching the same thing, then it cannot possibly be true. Wherever one looks, and whenever one looks, nobody - not one person - believed anything approaching this nonsense. How then can it be true? To say otherwise is to say that God allowed everyone to get it completely wrong for 1,800 years, and only be put right by the arrival of the latter-day prophet (Joseph Smith, Charles Taze  Russell, Charles Lyell, Darwin, take you pick…). The word “Catholic” means “universal,” and the Church and her teaching is “Catholic” for precisely this reason. Ours is not a religion only for 19th century North American farmers or only for 18th century French aristocrats. It is what was taught and believed in all eras, among all classes and ranks of society, from emperors down to slaves, and it is for countries and cultures across the world. Fr. Robinson’s teaching is - to use the proper sense of the word - simply not “catholic”.

 

4. Evidence of dubious origins. As if all the above weren’t enough “grounds for Catholics” to regard his precious “scientific” [pah!] “billions of years” teaching as incompatible with the Faith and needing to be rejected, there are yet further reason which can be gleaned from looking at the supposed “evidence” itself. What is the “evidence” for Fr. Robinson’s evolutionary timescale, and what is the origin of the theories he seeks to promote amongst the Traditional Catholic world?

 

To properly understand the idea that the earth is extremely old we need to examine the supposed “evidence” of what the godless moderns call the “fossil record.” To understand where the idea of a “fossil record” as evidence for an extremely old earth came from, we have to take a look at the idea of uniformitarianism and in particular its main proponent, a Mr. Charles Lyell. Any Traditional Catholic who discovers Charles Lyell for himself would at once grasp the absurdity as well as the evil of what Fr. Robinson is promoting and would  reject it in an instant. If there are some who have not yet fully rejected Fr. Robinson’s teaching once and for all, it must surely be that they are unacquainted with Lyell. Something really ought to be done about that.

“Yet, the reality of the situation is that there are a fair number of Catholics in 2020 who shudder at hearing about the Big Bang Theory or Darwinian evolution. If pre-Vatican II teaching is open, at least, to these theories being proposed, why are such Catholics so afraid?”

 

This surely shows the folly of seeing things in terms of “pre-Vatican II” rather than in terms of Tradition, the constant teaching and practice of the Church down the ages. Lots of things were wrong on the eve of the Council. The Cardinal Bea breviary, the Pius XII Holy Week and the dialogue Mass are all “pre-Vatican II,” as are Americanism and the replacement of the Social Reign of Christ the King with a thing called “Christian Democracy.” They may be “pre- Vatican II” but they aren’t Traditional and - let’s be completely honest - they aren’t Catholic either. They are 20th century phenomena, something which only our disgusting modern age could produce and which the Church, already sickly and on the brink of the Vatican II disaster, failed properly to prevent and condemn. Many Traditional Catholics no doubt have the sense to realise that. Perhaps that is why they are “so afraid”..? 

In summary, then…

 

Fr. Robinson:

 

1. Talks a lot about “the evidence” but yet again manages to avoid saying exactly what that evidence is. He says it appeared in the mid– 19th century, but doesn’t say what it was. What was it, Father? It almost feels as though he is avoiding saying it. Why might that be?

 

2. Bases the defence of his teaching almost exclusively on 20th century writers (plus Leo XIII), almost all of whom were priests like him and therefore quite capable of being wrong. The two Popes he cites say little more than “Faith and Science aren’t against each other” or “We give permission for discussions to continue.” That is the best he can come up with.

 

3. Proceeds to demonstrate a shamelessly mean-spirited, legalist attitude (“Well, technically, I haven’t been told that I’m absolutely 100% forbidden from saying this…”). It is not hard to imagine a SSPX priest introducing the dialogue Mass to his chapel using similar reasoning. No spirit of generosity, no embracing of Tradition, just: this is what I can get away with    because it was technically, just about, “pre– Vatican II.”

 

4. Cites not one single Saint, Doctor, Father or Council, nor does he even quote from Sacred Scripture itself (which makes sense, after all it’s probably best not to actually read Genesis if you want to believe what he’s teaching!). He won’t find any support there, only contradiction, so he simply behaves as though they don’t exist. For him, the Church might as well have begun only a few generations ago.

 

5. Says that he wrote his book “to set the record straight” about what the Church teaches and “as a corrective” aimed at those who believe that “the authentic Catholic reading of Genesis 1 is that the universe was created in a full formed state 6000 years ago” or who “shudder at hearing about the big bang or Darwinian evolution.”

 

6. For all his bluster, does not offer a single shred of evidence for why Catholics are not    allowed to believe that the world was made 6,000 years ago.

 

7. Admits that this sort of liberalism has been rife in SSPX seminaries for years, even though the faithful have been largely shielded from it. From what he himself seems to say, he mission is to change that. The faithful have a right to the same elevated levels of liberalism that the seminarians currently “enjoy.”

  *   *   *   *   *  

Questions for Fr. Paul Robinson

 

Just in case Fr. Robinson comes to speak at your church or in your town, if he gives a talk to promote his book and takes questions at the end (already a few ifs, I know), here are a few suggested questions which any enterprising members of the faithful out there might want to ask him. His website has a “Questions and Answers” section - perhaps he would be happy to answer them there?

 

  • Why was your book published by Novus Ordo publisher Gracewing and why is your name on the book’s cover given only as “Paul Robinson” without “Fr.”..?

 

  • Which Church Fathers or Doctors teach that the earth is extremely old? Which Fathers or Doctors teach that the Flood was only over part of the earth, not all of it?

 

  • The Council of Trent (Session IV) condemns those “who even dare to interpret sacred Scripture contrary to the unanimous consensus of the Fathers” (“...etiam contra unanimem consensum Patrum ipsam Scripturam Sanctam interpretari audeat.”). What is the consensus of the Fathers concerning the earth’s age, the Flood and in general the whole question of how literally we should take Genesis?

 

  • You say that Catholics are allowed to believe in an “ancient earth” and you cite some recent Catholic writers to support that. Do any of them say that we are not allowed to believe in a 6,000-year-old earth?

 

  • What does St. Thomas Aquinas say concerning the length of the six days of creation?

 

  • What does the Fourth Lateran Council have to say concerning these things?

 

  • Did God allow all Catholics, His entire Church in fact, to totally misunderstand His work of creation all the way down to the late 19th century, and if so, why did He do that? Shouldn’t He have made it clearer that there was a big bang and billions of years, and not let everyone hold the wrong position for more than 18 centuries?

 

  • St. Basil in the Hexaemeron tells us to take Scripture at its word and not be ashamed of it. Is he wrong?

 

  • Are the ideas and teachings of Charles Lyell, particularly Uniformitarianism, wrong or is he correct, and can you please tell us a little bit about what sort of a man Lyell was, including his attitude towards the Church and the Bible?

 

  • Scientists have been wrong about plenty of things over the years. Is it not at least  possible that they might now be wrong about this too?

 

  • Are you prepared to accept that what you think of as evidence for an ancient earth might bear a different interpretation than the one you accept?

 

  • The Church teaches that Christ is the “Second Adam.” Did Adam exist, and if so  approximately how many years before Christ was Adam alive on the earth?

 

  • Was the late Fr. Stanley Jaki a Traditionalist, and if not, is it wise for a priest of the SSPX such as you to rely so heavily on his thinking?

 

  • How do you explain polystrate fossils? Why didn’t those trees fall over or rot away?

 

  • Why are there sea shells on the tops of mountains (Himalayas, Andes, and others)..?

 

  • How did multiple layers of rock come to be folded and even turned upside down if each layer is millions of years old? Might this not be evidence for a flood?

layers 2.jpg

 

HOW OLD ARE THOSE LAYERS?

(...millions of years each? Or were they deposited all in one go?)

JoeTaylorFfafDrpOystersPeruMtns1.jpg

 

Found in an underwater shipwreck off the coast of South Africa. The rock encasing the coin cannot be millions of years old: the coin is dated 1744.

 

Sea shells embedded in rock at the summit of Mt. Diabolo, Ca. USA (c.3,800 ft above sea level)

 

Giant fossilised clams found in the Andes mountains, Peru - (12,300 feet above sea level)

“God … the creator of all things visible and invisible, of the spiritual and of the corporal; who by His own omnipotent power at once from the beginning of time created each creature from nothing, spiritual and corporal, namely, angelic and mundane, and finally the     human, constituted as it were, alike of the spirit and the body.”

 

 - Lateran Council IV

 

[“Deus…creator omnium visibilium et invisibilium, spiritualium et corporalium: qui sua omnipotenti virtute simul ab initio temporis utramque de nihilo condidit creaturam, spiritualem et corporalem, angelicam videlicet et mundanam: ac deinde humanam, quasi communem ex spiritu et corpore constitutam.”]

“The Holy Roman Church determined   in the Fourth Lateran Council that the angels along with the creatures of the world were at once created ex nihilo from the beginning of time.”

 

  - St. Lawrence of Brindisi (Doctor of the Church), commentary on Genesis 1

 

“To be sure, the Lateran Council under Innocent III declared: One must believe with firm faith that ‘from the beginning of time God created from nothing both spiritual and corporeal creatures, viz., the angelic and the mundane.’ … The Council’s words seem too well expressed and clear to be twisted into another meaning. Wherefore, my opinion is no longer just probable, but is both certain and de fide, for this is what the Council itself declares and defines.”

 

  - Cornelius a Lapide, commentary on Genesis 1

 

(Emphasis ours. See: catholicorigins.com and kolbecentre.org)

All reviews are from the website Amazon.com (all publicly visible, for example, here).

 

“The Realist Guide…”

- A Review of Reviews

We wish to show just how subversive and divisive this book is, but we refuse on principle to purchase a copy, not wishing to reward the author, his press or his superiors. Arguably the next best thing, then, is take a look at what a cross-section of people, who have read the book have to say, both positive (five stars) and negative (one star). Perhaps it will prove revealing.

 

DACKNB  (Five Star Review)

[Giving a chapter-by-chapter summary of the book]

“… Ch.7 ‘Protestant Biblicism’ – when Luther invented his Bible alone religion, he   wanted to leave reason completely out of it. This led him to an idealism similar to that of the Muslims: a sacred text that is not to be interpreted, a God who acts without consistency or reasonableness, a world that cannot be investigated by the human mind. Modern Protestant fundamentalists (and the one-star reviewers of The Realist Guide) are faithful to this worldview when they attack science using the Bible. Fr Robinson shows that they are wrong about geocentrism, about the earth being only 6000 years old, and about the Flood covering the entire earth, instead of part of it.”

 

A favourable review giving damning evidence. So it’s not that the wicked evil Resistance are inventing lies or exaggerating or unfairly criticising poor Fr. Robinson. He actually does say those things. Oh, and regarding the last point (“...about the Flood covering the entire earth”) that would be Genesis that says that, not us. So you mean he “shows that Genesis is wrong”..? Also, they don’t attack “science” since evolution is not “science,” nor are billions of  years.

 

Martin  (One Star Review)

“Fr. Robinson's work merely adds to a flood of novel propositions by Catholic authors that have served more to confuse than clarify Scriptural Revelation. … The Church and her   eminent scholars have inclined to the notion of a young earth of thousands of years in age, not millions of years. This is more in line with genuine scientific and historical observations relating to, for example, the oldest trees, coral reefs, civilisations and languages, not to  mention a perfect fit with the global flood and sudden extinction of the dinosaurs.”

 

Well said. Or the earth’s declining magnetic field, or the salt content of the oceans, the   shrinking of the sun or the moon moving gradually further away from the earth, or even the very existence of comets… and much more besides. Is Fr. Robinson ignorant of these things, one wonders, or does he choose to ignore them? The same goes for the fossilised jellyfish, the presence of sea shells on top of mountains, polystrate fossils… the list could go on.

 

Artmarkit (Five Star Review)

“I am trying to be a faithful Catholic and I am cautious about publications from SPPX backgrounds, but I think there is much to merit in this book. Fr Paul writes from a Catholic perspective… You don’t have to accept everything he says as science moves on at a rapid pace…”

 

No, indeed it’s probably advisable not to accept anything he says, for precisely that very reason, that “science moves on at a rapid pace” which is a polite way of saying that scientists are prone to contradicting each other and hence one can never be entirely certain of anything. We already pointed out elsewhere that the universe was supposedly 20 billion years old in the 1990s whereas now it is a mere 13-and-a-bit billion years old. And really, “Fr. Paul”..?

 

 

E. Bermingham  (One Star Review)

“...Fr. Robinson gives far too much credit to fallible human hypotheses in natural science  in thinking that a young earth and a global Flood have been disproven, contrary to the   Bible. His acceptance of uniformitarianism, which was specifically condemned by St. Peter (2 Peter 3:3-6), is disturbing, especially in light of the anathema of Vatican Council I ten years after Darwin’s publication of Origin of Species against anyone who would say that ‘the progress of the sciences’ demands that any dogma of the faith be understood in a    different way. At the time that anathema was handed down, Blessed Pope Pius IX made the Roman Catechism the gold standard for teaching the dogmas of the Faith throughout the world, and the Roman Catechism clearly teaches the fiat creation of all things at the beginning of time, in direct opposition to theistic evolution or progressive creation over long ages. Natural scientists will not be impressed by his adding Divine intervention into their atheistic concepts of evolution.

 

It is ironic that Fr. Robinson’s main authority, Fr. Stanley Jaki, believed that special creation required God to intervene in the natural order, when St. Thomas and all of the Fathers and Doctors held that God created all of the different kinds of creatures for man in the   beginning and then stopped creating new kinds of creatures. Thus, it is progressive creation - which requires that God intervene periodically to create new kinds of creatures - which confuses the supernatural order of creation with the natural order of providence, not the true Catholic doctrine of creation which clearly distinguishes between the supernatural work of creation in the beginning and the natural order which began when the work of fiat creation was finished. What is most disturbing is Fr. Robinson’s dismissal of the global Flood with his only defense being one quotation from Vigouroux, since the Flood is so solidly established by the Holy Bible, by all of the Fathers, Doctors, and Saints, and by the very words of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.”

 

Spot on, well said.

Johann Wolfgang Koch (Five Star Review)

“Fr. Robinson’s book is a travel guide to this adventurous country, an intellectual frontier, waiting for its spiritual settlement: The Realist Guide to Religion and Science. With a  smiling wink of the eye, the title alludes to a cult novel of the science and technology   community, Douglas N. Adams' satirical science fiction series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 1979.”

 

You can keep your “intellectual frontier” thank you very much - there was a time when the SSPX was supposed to be about, you know, Tradition. Not “intellectual frontiers”! Douglas Adams worked for the BBC and was, in his own words, a “radical atheist.” And yes, of course, Fr. Robinson didn’t write this review and isn’t answerable for it. But it is perhaps a little bit revealing about the type of person (or one of the types) who is a fan of his book.

 

Christian (One Star Review)

“… Even though Fr. Robinson claims to be promoting progressive creationism (p. 253), his position corresponds to cosmic theistic evolution because he says that, once God created the initial matter and energy of the Big Bang, the non-intelligent secondary causes of the universe did not require God’s direct and special causality and intervention to develop into galaxies, stars and planets. Progressive creationism, on the other hand, teaches that the physical universe and all life forms were created by the direct and special causality of God rather than by natural processes of secondary causes by themselves.

 

Fr. Robinson’s explanation of cosmic evolution actually coincides with the Deist explanation of the creation and evolution of the universe, which compares God’s act of creation to that of a watchmaker who builds a watch, sets it in motion, and then no longer intervenes in its actions. […]

 

The natural religion of Deism is the foundation of Freemasonry’s idea of God as the ‘Great Architect’ of the Universe. The emblem of compass and square used in Freemasonry supposedly symbolizes the mathematic and scientific principles used by God to design the universe - as if referring to Wisdom 21:11, which says that God ‘hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight.’

 

Thus, Fr. Robinson’s explanation of cosmic evolution tends to coincide with the Deist / Freemasonic idea that God should be seen as the Great Architect of the Universe, Who simply sets everything in motion for cosmic evolution after the Big Bang - by the ‘fine-tuning of the universe necessary for stars, galaxies and planets to form.’

 

Fr. Robinson’s idea of cosmic evolution is not possible according to the very principles of causality. For God’s natural causality moves secondary causes according to their natural mode of operation. As St. Thomas Aquinas says: “Whatever is received, is received according to the mode of the receiver.” But the natural mode of operation of secondary causes of the universe (matter and energy, e.g., atoms, molecules, gases, gravity, etc.), is non-intelligent, for by nature they are blind forces. Thus, the natural motion they receive from God does not move them towards intelligent design and complex order. It’s true that they possess a certain degree of intrinsic design (e.g., atomic structure, ordered mode of operation, etc.), but scientific evidence shows that they are not naturally predetermined, pre-programmed or “fine-tuned” to act intelligently and develop into the complex and beautiful design we see in the universe.

 

Consequently, even though secondary causes of the universe can produce various effects with beauty and simple design (e.g., the formation of mountains, landscapes, oceans, lakes and rivers, waterfalls, the Grand Canyon, etc.), they cannot give themselves intelligent  design, i.e., organize themselves and develop into the complex order and intelligent design of stars, galaxies and planets, without the direct and special intervention of God. This supernatural/special action of God is precisely His “six-day” work of creation and formation of all things in the universe, as revealed in Genesis and explained by St. Thomas Aquinas and the Fathers of the Church.

 

...With regard to Creation Science and a young universe, St. Thomas Aquinas gives the reason why God can create the universe in a highly developed condition without the need of long periods of time to form into stars, galaxies and planets. He says: “God produces being in act out of nothing, and can, therefore, produce a perfect thing in an instant, according to the greatness of His power” (Summa: I,66,1,2). This principle applies to all being, whether organic or inorganic. Thus, if God created the universe this way, then even though it would have the physical perfection and development of an “ancient” universe, it would actually be very young.

 

...Fr. Robinson states that natural selection can-not produce macro evolution, i.e., one life form evolving into another (p. 456). But in another place he says: ‘Once God has created, for instance, animals with all five senses, like dolphins, then secondary causes - such as dolphins, natural selection, humans, and even good and bad angels - can modify dolphins to make other animals that are new to some degree’ (p. 405); and he also says: ‘Once a biologist admits the existence of formal causes outside the mind, he can then propose a coherent naturalistic evolutionary process for one life form changing into another’ (p. 449). These statements are contradictory and ambiguous.”

 

Very well said. So we’re not the only ones who can see that something is very wrong...

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