VIRTUS IN INFIRMITATE PERFICITUR
Homily of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
for Sexagesima Sunday
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of men was on the earth
and that every inner desire of their hearts was always nothing but evil.
On Sexagesima Sunday we are drawing near to the time of penance and fasting in preparation for Easter. Already for a week the Alleluia has been silent in the liturgy, replaced in the Mass by the Tract. And on this Sunday that is quasi-penitential the Church — with the Readings of Matins — accompanies us in the consideration of sin which leads God to destroy the rebellious human race with the Flood, saving only the family of Noah.
Sacred Scripture speaks of the wickedness of men: every inner desire of their hearts was always nothing but evil. It is hard to believe that humanity could have committed in the past the evil that we see it do today: in no ancient culture was the abyss of evil ever so deep as the one into which we see the contemporary world sinking. Massacres, violence, wars, perversions, thefts, robberies, slaughters, profanations, sacrileges committed not only by individual people but imposed through law by the heads of nations, exalted by the media, encouraged by teachers and magistrates, tolerated and even approved by priests. We ask ourselves if modern man does not merit punishments even worse than the Flood, for the wickedness that inspires his every action against God, against his fellow human beings, against Creation; and in contemplating the apparent triumph of the mysterium iniquitatis [2 Thess. 2:7], in seeing how widespread and deeply rooted evil is in our corrupt and apostate world, we ask ourselves how long the Divine Majesty can tolerate the abomination of men. We almost find it difficult to believe in the Lord’s promise: I will no longer curse the ground because of man, because every intention of the human heart is inclined to evil from youth; nor will I again strike every living being as I have done (Gen 8:21).
What leaves us disoriented is not so much the silence in which we are abandoned to ourselves and our tribulations, so much as the fact that the impunity of present crimes and sins may be itself a punishment that is even more tremendous and severe than that which the Eternal Father could send us. Paganized modernity, plunged into barbarism, is preparing with its own hands a scourge that is far more disastrous than the ancient Flood, a much vaster destruction of the human race, in which it believes that it can sweep away from the face of earth not the wicked but rather the good: those who remain faithful to the Lord and to His holy law. And while the stormclouds by which they will be submerged gather, dark and threatening, our contemporaries deride those who are preparing their own spiritual Ark by seeking to save themselves and their loved ones; indeed, they do everything to prevent them from bringing it to completion.
Sacred Scripture and the Fathers teach us that the Ark is a type of the Holy Church, thanks to which the elect can save themselves from mankind’s communal shipwreck.
Hæc est arca — we sing in the Preface of the Dedication of a Church — quæ nos a mundi ereptos diluvio, in portum salutis inducit. “This is the ark which leads us, saved from the flood of the world, into the harbor of salvation.” But where can we find the Ark of salvation? How can we tell her from her counterfeits, which are destined to sink under the weight of those who take a seat on them? From her imitations, used to save the wicked, while the helmsman prevents the good from climbing aboard and and even drives away his own children, identifying them as illegal immigrants unworthy of being rescued from the waters?
This distressng thought is not out of place when we consider who is sitting today on the Throne of Peter. The Ark of the Church seems to want to welcome anyone, with the exception of those who are actually entitled to be rescued. Indeed, it seems that it is useless, because there will not be any flood to escape from. Or worse: the huge flood caused not by God’s wrath but by the tide of men’s iniquities is actually considered to be a moment of regeneration, an opportunity to reduce the global population according to the delusional plans of the Great Reset. Just as on the Titanic, the crew and passengers were dancing, inebriated and carefree, while the ship proceeded full speed ahead against the iceberg that would sink it, an arrogant monument to the pride of those who believe that they are exempt from divine justice. The man who ought to be calling us to board the True Ark has also gotten on board this horrid transatlantic liner, and we see him along with the wicked toasting the mighty of the earth, the enemies of God.
But if on the one hand these human considerations can throw us into despair and make us fear for our very survival, on the other hand we can recognize the True Ark of Salvation, because we see her ready on the mount of Calvary where she was built, and on the mystical Calvary of the altar where she waits for us each day.
It matters little that another ark is pointed out to us — even by people in whom we place our trust and who should not be deceiving us — or that there are those who consider it useless and for this reason make fun of us or treat us like we are crazy. It matters little that there are those who deny the impending flood, even as he himself is its impious architect in his foolish presumption of even being able to control atmospheric phenomena with his geo-engineering.
We know that the True Ark, the Only Ark, is the Holy Church. And by the words of Our Lord, the Divine Helmsman Who holds the rudder firmly, we believe that this Ark will pass through the flood unharmed, and in the end will finally find dry land on which to come to rest. For these reason, we are determined not to let ourselves be deceived, deluding ourselves that we can save ourselves outside this Ark or by building one for ourselves.
In the Epistle of today’s Mass, Saint Paul enumerates all of the trials that he had to face in sowing the Word of God, following the example of the parable of the Sower that is given to us in the Gospel. And He said to me: My grace is sufficient for you, because My power is best felt in weakness (2 Cor 12:9). In recognizing our weakness, in the awareness of our infirmity and our nothingness, God’s power becomes perceptible in an even stronger way the greater our humility and faith in Him. Sufficit tibi gratia mea: My grace is enough for you. Because it is through grace that we are made worthy to find refuge in the Ark; and it is through grace that we can remain there during the Flood; and it is through grace that we will reach the Harbor of Heaven.
Let us not therefore lose the grace of God. Let us climb the mystical mountain on which the Ark awaits us; an Ark in which we also find nutriment for our souls: the Bread of Angels.
And so may it be.
+Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop
12 February 2023
Dominica in Sexagesima