Author Archives: John Defensor

Dogmatic Theology, (Volume II), Christ’s Church

Dogmatic Theology, Volume II, Christ’s Church,
by Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D. 

CHAPTER III
The Properties of the Church

The Church’s properties are those qualities which flow from its very essence and are a necessary part of it. Authors differ somewhat in enumerating these properties; and some distinguish between properties and endowments. But the difference seems to concern method and terminology rather than the matter itself. Seven properties, then, can be listed: visibility, indestructibility, infallibility, unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. Since visibility and indestructibility have already been considered, there remain for discussion only the last five.

Article I

THE CHURCH’S INFALLIBILITY

1. Meaning of the Term

The word infallibility itself indicates a necessary immunity from error. When one speaks of the Church’s infallibility, one means that the Church can neither deceive nor be deceived in matters of faith and morals, It is a prerogative of the whole Church; but it belongs in one way to those who fulfill the office of teaching and in another way to those who are taught. Hence the distinction between active infallibility, by which the Church’s rulers are rendered immune from error when they teach; and passive infallibility, by which all of Christ’s faithful are preserved from error in their beliefs.
Passive infallibility depends on and is caused by active infallibility: for the faithful are kept free from error in religious matters only by loyally following their rulers. Consequently, it is limited by the same restrictions as is active infallibility, and it will therefore suffice to treat only the latter. Active infallibility may be defined as follows: the privilege by which the teaching office of the Church, through the assistance of the Holy Spirit, is preserved immune from error when it defines a doctrine of faith or morals.

The words through the assistance of the Holy Spirit indicate that this freedom from error is something derived; the words when it defines a doctrine of faith or morals limit this inerrancy to definite subject matter.

II. Errors

1. Protestants in general ascribe infallibility to no church, at least to no visible church. The Puseyists were willing to grant it to some sort of ideal Church made up of the Roman Catholic, Greek, and Anglican communions. The Pistoians asserted that infallibility, like all sacred power, had been given principally and directly to the whole body of the faithful, but to rulers only as agents of that body. The Jansenists of Holland seem to follow the same opinion, since they demand for an infallible decree: (a) that delegates or representatives of the whole “Church” be gathered together for a ecumenical council; (b) that these delegates agree that the doctrine belongs to the deposit of faith and that it has always been accepted by the whole Church; (c) that their judgment be ratified universally by the Church throughout the world.

2. Modernists, since they acknowledge not even a divinely established teaching office, naturally do not admit that the privilege of infallibility was granted this office. The doctrinal or dogmatic authority which they themselves grant the Church’s rulers means only this: that these rulers are to be watchfully alert for what may, at any given period, be going on in the Christian consciousness, so that they may give it apt formulation. Of course the formulae must be modified as soon as they no longer correspond with the new mentality and the evolution of religious consciousness. In fact, in the Modernist system, the duty of doctrinal authority is not to see to it that there is never any change in the believing or in the understanding of the absolute and immutable truth preached from the beginning by the apostles. This authority is rather to take care that that be maintained which may seem best adapted to the cultural level of each generation. (1)

The first step in the treatment to follow will be a demonstration of the fact of infallibility. Next in order will be a study of its object or extent, and finally an investigation into its nature. The special discussion of the subject of infallibility fits more conveniently into the second section of this treatise. Suffice it to mention here, in anticipation of the fuller discussion, that that subject is both the body of the Church’s rulers together with its head, in other words, the Roman Catholic college of bishops, and the supreme ruler of the whole Church, the Roman pontiff.

Ill. The Fact of Infallibility (2)

PROPOSITION: When the teaching office of the Church hands down decisions on matters of faith and morals in such a way as to require of everyone full and absolute assent, it is infallible.

This is a dogma of faith.

The teaching office of the Church or, as they say, “the teaching Church,” is made up of those to whom God entrusted the right and the duty to teach the Christian religion authoritatively. The words “in matters of faith and morals in such a way as to require of everyone full and absolute assent” are included in the proposition because, according to Catholic teaching, the Church’s rulers are infallible not in any and every exercise of their teaching power; but only when, using all the fulness of their authority, they clearly intend to bind everyone to absolute assent or, as common parlance puts it, when they “define” something in matters pertaining to the Christian religion. That is why all theologians distinguish in the dogmatic decrees of the councils or of the popes between those things set forth therein by way of definition and those used simply by way of illustration or argumentation. For the intention of binding all affects only the definition, and not the historical observations, reasons for the definition, and so forth. And if in some particular instances the intention of giving a definitive decision were not made sufficiently clear, then no one would be held by virtue of such definitions, to give the assent of faith: a doubtful law is no law at all.

Although this proposition has never been defined in the precise form in which it is here stated, it is a dogma of faith by reason of the universal teaching of the Church. Moreover, the Vatican Council did define that the Roman pontiff “enjoys that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished His Church to be equipped in defining a doctrine of faith or morals.” (3)

Proof:

1. From the promises of Christ. (a) Christ said to the apostles in the Last Supper discourse, “And I will ask the Father, and he will grant you another Advocate to be with you for all time to come, the Spirit of Truth … he will make his permanent stay with you and in you … but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and refresh your memory of everything I have told you” (John 14:16-17, 26). “But when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will conduct you through the whole range of truth” (John 16:13). Then, after His Resurrection, He added, “…you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence … you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the very ends of the earth” (Acts 1:5, 8).

Two things are promised in these texts: the Holy Spirit, as the Teacher of truth (a) will come upon the apostles to imbue them with an exceedingly rich knowledge of the Christian religion; (b) He will remain with them forever. The purpose and the result of both these aids is that the apostles will preach Christ’s religion pure and unabridged “even to the very ends of the earth.”

The former promise has in view especially the first communication of the Christian religion and, furthermore, at least in the strict and full sense, refers to the apostles alone. The latter promise, which is concerned more directly with the practice and preservation of this religion, cannot, in view of the words themselves(4) and of the purpose intended, be limited to the apostles personally; but embraces the apostolic college as it is to continue forever. But if the Holy Spirit is to remain with the successors of the apostles forever, and is to be in them that they may be witnesses of Christ to the ends of the earth, He will doubtless keep them from error when they define Christian doctrine. For would they really be witnesses of Christ if they corrupted His doctrine in even one point and unjustifiably demanded the assent of all to a falsehood?

(b) “Absolute authority in heaven and on earth has been conferred upon me. Go, therefore, and initiate all nations in discipleship … and teach them to observe all the commandments I have given you. And mark: I am with you at all times as long as the world will last” (Matt. 28:20). These words contain a promise to the apostolic college, as to a perpetual institution, of continuous and effective aid in teaching all nations the religion of Christ (see no. 20). But this aid certainly includes infallibility, for if they could err at times in defining Christian doctrine, the purpose of the aid would not be realized.

Furthermore, the force of Christ’s promise is highlighted in an extraordinary manner by the obligation enjoined on all men to accept the doctrine preached by the apostles and by their successors throughout all ages: “He that believes … will be saved, but he that does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Could our Lord have imposed this obligation without any limitation or restriction, and under the threat of eternal damnation, if He had left to posterity a teaching authority which was liable to error?

2. From the testimony of the Apostle. St. Paul: I write these instructions to you, so that … you may know what your conduct should be in the house of God which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of truth (I Tim. 3:14-15). Truth purely and simply is the whole body of truth leading to eternal salvation: Christian doctrine in its entirety. The Church considered absolutely, i.e., the universal Church, is called a thoroughly solid pillar of this truth,(5) because it bears and supports the truth as an unshakably solid pillar supports a building. But it would not be the pillar and bulwark of the truth if it could shift from the truth in even one matter. Therefore we have here a direct statement of the infallibility of the Church as a whole; but one can immediately deduce from this the infallibility of the teaching office, since the whole Church depends on this office for its knowledge and profession of the truth.

3. From the testimony of the early fathers. They have left, in unmistakably clear or at least equivalent terms, testimony to their belief in the infallibility of the teaching office or, what actually comes down to the same thing, of the Church itself.

St. Ignatius:

Live in harmony with the mind of God. Surely, Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, for His part in the mind of the Father, just as the bishops, though appointed throughout the vast, wide earth, represent for their part the mind of Jesus Christ.—Epistula ad Ephesios 3. 2; ACW translation.

Now, if those who do this to gratify the flesh are liable to death, how much more a man who by evil doctrine ruins the faith in God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified! Such a filthy creature will go into the unquenchable fire, as will anyone who listens to him. The Lord permitted myrrh to be poured on His head that He might breathe incorruption upon the Church. Do not let yourselves be anointed with the malodorous doctrine of the Prince of this world.—Ibid. 16. 2-17. 1; ACW translation.

St. Irenaeus:

One should obey the presbyters [bishops] of the Church, for they are the successors of the apostles and along with episcopal succession have received the sure charism of truth according to the good pleasure of the Father.(6)

Tertullian makes sport of the thesis that

the Holy Ghost sent by Christ and asked of the Father for this very purpose, viz., to teach the truth, neglected His duty by allowing the Church to understand and to believe otherwise than what He Himself taught the apostles. — De praescriptione 28.

St. Athanasius: “The only words you need for answering those [paradoxes of the heretics] are the following: ‘This is not the teaching of the Catholic Church’” (Epistula ad Epictetum 3).

St. Jerome: “I was able to dry up all the rivulets of false assertions with the one sun of the Church” (Altercatio luciferiani et orthodoxi 28).

St. Augustine:

Many tongues and various heresies speak in opposition … hasten to the tabernacle of God, hold fast to the Catholic Church, depart not from the rule of truth, and you will find in this tabernacle asylum from the tongues which wag in opposition. — Enarrationes in Psalmos 30. 3. 8.

The Catholic Church wages war against all heresies. It can give battle, but it can never be vanquished. All heresies have gone forth from it [the Church] like useless branches pruned from a vine; but it remains itself firmly fixed in its roots, in its vine, in its love. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. (7)

4. Theological argument. The Church, according to Christ’s promises, is indestructible (no. 19); but it would fail through corruption if it strayed from the true teaching of Christ; and it would so stray, indeed inevitably, if its teaching authority were to err at any time in defining points of doctrine.

Corollary

Since even in the Old Testament period the revealed religion was to be piously safeguarded, theologians usually bring up at this juncture the question of the infallibility of the Synagogue. Opinions vary, but, here, in sum, is that of Cardinal Franzelin.(8) (a) The Aaronic priests undoubtedly exercised authoritative teaching power in sacred matters; but there is no sufficient proof that the charism of infallibility was granted this ordinary teaching body. However, (b) even at that time God was watching over the preservation of sacred doctrine, and He did so in a manner suited to the special character of that stage of religious development, when revelation was not only to be safeguarded but also to be steadily increased. He effected this increase through new revelations made to the prophets, whose mission, however, was directed no less to the safeguarding of already promulgated revelation than to its further unfolding. Consequently the teaching office of the Old Testament comprised two elements, the ordinary teaching office of the priests and the extraordinary teaching office of the prophets; and so, considered in its entirety, it guarded the deposit of faith with infallible sureness, inasmuch as the prophets corrected any mistakes which the ordinary teachers might possibly have made.

IV. The Object of Infallibility

In the definition given above the object of infallibility was expressed in these words borrowed from the Vatican Council: “when it defines a doctrine of faith or morals.” It remains now to fix more accurately the meaning and the scope of this formula. This will be done on the basis of the words of Christ and of the apostles cited in the course of the proof; and on the basis, too, of the purpose for which the privilege of infallibility was granted.

It is important to pay attention above all to the word doctrine; for infallibility concerns the teaching office and so has as its special object doctrines, or at least doctrinal decisions by which some truth is presented to be believed or maintained by everyone.

The formula, “a doctrine of faith or morals,” comprises all doctrines the knowledge of which is of vital concern to people if they are to believe aright and to live uprightly in accordance with the religion of Christ. Now doctrines of this sort have either been revealed themselves or are so closely allied with revelation that they cannot be neglected without doing harm to the latter. Consequently the object of infallibility is twofold: there is a primary and a secondary object.

PROPOSITION 1: The primary object of infallibility is each and every religious truth contained formally in the sources of revelation.

By a religious truth is meant anything (doctrine or fact) which pertains to religion, i.e., to faith and morals, and insofar as it does pertain to it. The various ways in which a truth can be formally contained in the sources of revelation will be explained in the treatise on Faith. According to all Catholics, the present proposition is a dogma of faith.

Proof: That religious truths contained formally in the sources of revelation are the object of infallibility calls for no explicit demonstration.

That infallibility extends to each and every one of these truths, whether they be matters of intellectual concern or of practical action, is clear: (1) from the words of Christ, who promised His assistance to the apostles and sent them forth to teach the nations “to observe all the commandments I have given you,” and who promised them the Spirit of truth who “will teach you everything.” (2) from the express purpose of infallibility. If the latter did not embrace all these truths, one could be doubtful about almost any single truth; for where could one find a criterion for distinguishing fundamental from not-so-fundamental truths?

Sequel

To the primary object of infallibility belong specifically:
1. Decisions on the canon, or the material extent, of Sacred Scripture, or on its true meaning in passages dealing with faith or morals.
2. Decisions acknowledging and explaining the records of divine tradition.
3. Decisions on the selection of terms in which revealed truth is to be presented for belief (dogmatic terminology, creeds, dogmatic decrees).
4. Decisions on doctrines directly opposed to revealed truth (condemnation of heresies). For he who knows with infallible certainty the truth of a proposition knows with the same infallibility the falseness of a contradictory or contrary proposition.

PROPOSITION 2: The secondary object of infallibility comprises all those matters which are so closely connected with the revealed deposit that revelation itself would be imperilled unless an absolutely certain decision could he made about them.

The charism of infallibility was bestowed upon the Church so that the latter could piously safeguard and confidently explain the deposit of Christian revelation, and thus could be in all ages the teacher of Christian truth and of the Christian way of life. But if the Church is to fulfill this purpose, it must be infallible in its judgment of doctrines and facts which, even though not revealed, are so intimately connected with revelation that any error or doubt about them would constitute a peril to the faith. Furthermore, the Church must be infallible not only when it issues a formal decree, but also when it performs some action which, for all practical purposes, is the equivalent of a doctrinal definition.

One can easily see why matters connected with revelation are called the secondary object of infallibility. Doctrinal authority and infallibility were given to the Church’s rulers that they might safeguard and confidently explain the deposit of Christian revelation. That is why the chief object of infallibility, that, namely, which by its very nature falls within the scope of infallibility, includes only the truths contained in the actual deposit of revelation. Allied matters, on the other hand, which are not in the actual deposit, but contribute to its safeguarding and security, come within the purview of infallibility not by their very nature, but rather by reason of the revealed truth to which they are annexed. As a result, infallibility embraces them only secondarily. It follows that when the Church passes judgment on matters of this sort, it is infallible only insofar as they are connected with revelation.

When theologians go on to break up the general statement of this thesis into its component parts, they teach that the following individual matters belong to the secondary object of infallibility: 1. theological conclusions; 2. dogmatic facts; 3. the general discipline of the Church; 4. approval of religious orders; 5. canonization of saints.

Assertion 1: The Church’s infallibility extends to theological conclusions. 
This proposition is theologically certain.

theological conclusion is a proposition which by genuinely discursive reasoning is deduced with certainty from two premises, one of which is formally revealed, the other known with natural certitude. It can be strictly a matter of intellectual knowledge, like the fact that the Son proceeds from the Father by a process of intellectual generation; or it can be a matter of practical knowledge, like the fact that one may not directly abort a foetus to save the life of the mother. To assert that the Church is infallible in decreeing these conclusions is to affirm implicitly that it is infallible in rejecting errors opposed thereto; the principle is the same for both.

Proof:

1. From the purpose of infallibility. The Church is infallible in matters so closely connected with revelation that any error in these matters would constitute a peril to the faith. But theological conclusions are matters of this type. The conclusion is obvious.

Major. 
It is evident from Christ’s promises that the teaching office of the Church was endowed with infallibility so that it might be able to carry out its mission properly: to safeguard reverently, explain confidently, and defend effectively the deposit of faith. But the realization of this purpose demands the extension of infallibility to related matters, in the sense explained above. Here is the reason. The security of the deposit requires the effective warding off or elimination of all error which may be opposed to it, even though only indirectly. This would be simply impossible without infallibility in related matters. If the Church were infallible only in the field of revealed truth and not in that of matters annexed thereto, it would be like a general who was assigned to defend a city but was given no authority to build up defenses or to destroy the material which the enemy had assembled. It would be like a caretaker to whom the master of the house had said, “Take care that my house doesn’t burn down; but don’t put out any flames as long as they remain merely nearby”!

Minor. Every conclusion is so connected with its premises that a denial of the conclusion involves necessarily the denial of at least one of those premises. Now one of the premises upon which every theological conclusion rests is a truth evident from reason, and since no one can very well deny such a premise, there is danger that an error in the conclusion may give rise to an error about the revealed premise.

2. From the mind of the Church. The Church surely makes no mistake when it determines the force and extent of its infallibility, for the greatest of harm would result if the Church, by stretching infallibility beyond its limits, could force everyone to give unqualified assent to a matter about which it is liable to be mistaken. But the fact is that the Church has often and openly expressed its conviction of being infallible in the matter of theological conclusions. It has expressed this conviction at least in an active, practical way, by irrevocably repudiating doctrines which, while not directly opposed to revealed truths, are opposed to theological conclusions. See, e.g., DB 602, 679, 1542, 1748.

Assertion 2: The Church’s infallibility extends to dogmatic facts.

This proposition is theologically certain.

dogmatic fact is a fact not contained in the sources of revelation, on the admission of which depends the knowledge or certainty of a dogma or of a revealed truth. The following questions are concerned with dogmatic facts: “Was the Vatican Council a legitimate ecumenical council? Is the Latin Vulgate a substantially faithful translation of the original books of the Bible? Was Pius XII legitimately elected bishop of Rome?” One can readily see that on these facts hang the questions of whether the decrees of the Vatican Council are infallible, whether the Vulgate is truly Sacred Scripture, whether Piux XII is to be recognized as supreme ruler of the universal Church.

From the time of the Jansenist controversies, theologians have understood by the term “dogmatic fact” especially the following question: “Is such and such a doctrine (orthodox or heretical) really contained in such and such a book?” The Jansenists in fact admitted the Church’s infallibility in a question of right or of dogma, i.e., the Church could decide whether this or that doctrine (considered in itself and prescinding from the book in which it was said to be expressed) was heretical. But at the same time they denied its infallibility in a question of fact, e.g., whether this (heretical) doctrine was really stated in such and such a book, as, e.g., Jansen’s Augustinus.(9) One can readily see that a determination of this fact would determine whether one could or could not maintain and defend the doctrine of this book.

Proof:

1. From the purpose of infallibility. The Church is infallible in those related matters in which an error would constitute a danger to the faith. But dogmatic facts are matters of this kind. The reason should be obvious from the examples alleged above. What good would it do to proclaim in theory the infallible authority of ecumenical councils if one could licitly doubt the legitimacy of a specific council? What good would it do to acknowledge the inspiration of the Sacred Books in their original forms — forms long ago extinct — if one could not definitively establish the substantial fidelity of copies of the original, and of the translations which the Church has to use? Could Christians be effectively protected against errors in their faith if the Church could not warn them against poisonous fare, such as are books which contain heresy or errors in religious matters?

2. From the practice of the Church, which (a) often resolutely and officially repudiated heretical writings as e.g., the Thalia of Arius in the Council of Nicaea and the works of Nestorius in the Council of Ephesus; (b) declared the Vulgate to be authentic at the Council of Trent,(10) and the Canon of the Mass to be free of any error; (11) (c) asserted specifically in the case of Jansen that “reverent silence” about a dogmatic fact is not at all adequate, “but that all faithful Christians must condemn as heretical in their hearts as well as with their lips the opinions [which the Church has] condemned in the five aforementioned propositions of Jansen’s book, opinions which the very words of those propositions quite clearly state.” (12)

A famous objection is that concerned with the Three Chapters (Theodore, bishop of Mopsuestia and his works; some of the works of Theodoret, bishop of Cyrrhus, and the letter of Ibas, a priest of Edessa, to Mans of Persia, all of which works favored Nestorianism). The Council of Chalcedon is said to have approved these works and the Second Council of Constantinople and Pope Vigilius subsequently to have condemned them. Consequently, they say, at least one of them was in error about a dogmatic fact. But this conclusion is not justified, for although the fathers of Chalcedon, after having expressly condemned Nestorianism, accepted Theodore and Ibas as members of the Council, they passed no explicit decision regarding the Three Chapters.(13)

Corollary

The Church does not usually pass judgment directly on the dogmatic fact itself; but on the proposition which, through the medium of a dogmatic fact, is deduced from a revealed premise (either through a true reasoning process or through a merely explanatory syllogism). Of course, whatever the Church declares directly must be maintained by everyone, e.g., that the Vulgate contains the word of God; that Pius XII is head of the Church; that the doctrine of this or that book is heretical. It arrived at these decisions in the following manner: every faithful translation of the inspired books contains the words of God; but the Vulgate is a faithful translation; therefore, … Anyone legitimately elected bishop of Rome is head of the Church; but Pius XII was legitimately elected; therefore, … Any book containing this doctrine is heretical; but such and such a book contains this doctrine; therefore, … Since then, the Church’s decision is concerned more directly with the conclusion deduced from revelation with the help of a dogmatic fact, rather than with the dogmatic fact itself (which is assumed in the decision rather than directly affirmed), dogmatic facts can rightly be called not only secondary but also indirect objects of infallibility.

It may help to mention that several theologians treat this question a bit differently. For they understand by the term “dogmatic fact” not a premise drawn from history, on which the conclusion would depend, as in the examples above, but the conclusion itself, e.g., that the Vulgate contains the word of God or that such and such a book is heretical. If one prefers this view of the matter, he will then define a dogmatic fact, in the words of the illustrious de Groot, as “a fact in which a doctrine is expressed.” (14)

One may wonder what name is to be given the conclusion, following the view proposed above. To answer that, a distinction is necessary. If the conclusion is the result of a real reasoning process, it is to be called a theological conclusion. But if the syllogism is merely explanatory, then it expresses a truth formally but implicitly revealed. The precise meaning of this distinction will be explained in the treatise on Faith (no. 200).

Assertion 3: The Church’s infallibility extends to the general discipline of the Church. This proposition is theologically certain.

By the term “general discipline of the Church” are meant those ecclesiastical laws passed for the universal Church for the direction of Christian worship and Christian living. Note the italicized words: ecclesiastical laws, passed for the universal Church.

The imposing of commands belongs not directly to the teaching office but to the ruling office; disciplinary laws are only indirectly an object of infallibility, i.e., only by reason of the doctrinal decision implicit in them. When the Church’s rulers sanction a law, they implicitly make a twofold judgment: 1. “This law squares with the Church’s doctrine of faith and morals”; that is, it imposes nothing that is at odds with sound belief and good morals. (15) This amounts to a doctrinal decree. 2. “This law, considering all the circumstances, is most opportune.” This is a decree of practical judgment.

Although it would he rash to cast aspersions on the timeliness of a law, especially at the very moment when the Church imposes or expressly reaffirms it, still the Church does not claim to he infallible in issuing a decree of practical judgment. For the Church’s rulers were never promised the highest degree of prudence for the conduct of affairs. But the Church is infallible in issuing a doctrinal decree as intimated above — and to such an extent that it can never sanction a universal law which would be at odds with faith or morality or would be by its very nature conducive to the injury of souls.

The Church’s infallibility in disciplinary matters, when understood in this way, harmonizes beautifully with the mutability of even universal laws. For a law, even though it be thoroughly consonant with revealed truth, can, given a change in circumstances, become less timely or even useless, so that prudence may dictate its abrogation or modification.

Proof:

1. From the purpose of infallibility. The Church was endowed with infallibility that it might safeguard the whole of Christ’s doctrine and be for all men a trustworthy teacher of the Christian way of life. But if the Church could make a mistake in the manner alleged when it legislated for the general discipline, it would no longer be either a loyal guardian of revealed doctrine or a trustworthy teacher of the Christian way of life. It would not be a guardian of revealed doctrine, for the imposition of a vicious law would be, for all practical purposes, tantamount to an erroneous definition of doctrine; everyone would naturally conclude that what the Church had commanded squared with sound doctrine. It would not be a teacher of the Christian way of life, for by its laws it would induce corruption into the practice of religious life.

2. From the official statement of the Church, which stigmatized as “at least erroneous” the hypothesis “that the Church could establish discipline which would be dangerous, harmful, and conducive to superstition and materialism. (16)

Corollary

The well-known axiom, Lex orandi est lex credendi (The law of prayer is the law of belief), is a special application of the doctrine of the Church’s infallibility in disciplinary matters. This axiom says in effect that formulae of prayer approved for public use in the universal Church cannot contain errors against faith or morals. But it would be quite wrong to conclude from this that all the historical facts which are recorded here and there in the lessons of the Roman Breviary, or all the explanations of scriptural passages which are used in the homilies of the Breviary must be taken as infallibly true.(17) As far as the former are concerned, those particular facts are not an object of infallibility since they have no necessary connection with revelation. As for the latter, the Church orders their recitation not because they are certainly true, but because they are edifying.

Assertion 4: The Church’s infallibility extends to the approval of religious orders. This proposition is theologically certain.

The religious state is essentially the observance, under obligation of a vow, of the evangelical counsels recommended by our Lord Himself. But every congregation or order follows its own constitution, its own laws for living the evangelical counsels and for attaining its own special purposes. The present discussion, therefore, has to do with the approval of this constitution, and furthermore, with that solemn and definitive approval which is reserved for the sovereign pontiff and by which a congregation is established as a religious order in the strict sense of the word.(18)

Practically the same thing is to be said about the approval of orders as was said about the general discipline of the Church: it is an indirect object of infallibility by reason of the doctrinal judgment which it implies. No one claims that the Church is infallible in the decree of practical judgment — as, for instance, whether, in view of the circumstances, it would be expedient to allow the foundation of the new order — but only in the doctrinal judgment — as, for instance, whether such and such a constitution is an apt instrument for the acquiring of Christian perfection.

Proof:

1. From the purpose of infallibility. The Church was endowed with infallibility that it might be forever a trustworthy teacher of Christian truth and perfection. But it would certainly not be, if it could approve, by a definitive decision, a constitution opposed to the gospel or to the natural law. It is useless to object that an error in this sort of affair would harm not the universal Church, but only the members of this particular order. Of course it would harm the latter immediately and most of all, but indirectly it would affect the whole Church; for when an order is solemnly approved, it is recommended to the whole Church as a fit means for acquiring perfection, so that no one may licitly impugn it from this point of view.

2. From the solid conviction of the Church, which, when approving orders, expresses itself in such a way as to make it sufficiently clear that it considers decisions of this type to be infallible. For an example of such a decision, see Pesch, Praelectiones dogmaticae, I, 545.

Assertion 5: The Church’s infallibility extends to the canonization of saints. This is the common opinion today. (19)

Canonization (formal) is the final and definitive decree by which the sovereign pontiff declares that someone has been admitted to heaven and is to be venerated by everyone, at least in the sense that all the faithful are held to consider the person a saint worthy of public veneration. It differs from beatification, which is a provisional rather than a definitive decree, by which veneration is only permitted, or at least is not universally prescribed. Infallibility is claimed for canonization only; (20) a decree of beatification, which in the eyes of the Church is not definitive but may still be rescinded, is to be considered morally certain indeed, but not infallible. Still, there are some theologians who take a different view of the matter.

Proof:

1. From the solid conviction of the Church. When the popes canonize, they use terminology which makes it quite evident that they consider decrees of canonization infallible. Here is, in sum, the formula they use: “By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the apostles Peter and Paul and by our own authority, we declare that N. has been admitted to heaven, and we decree and define that he is to be venerated in public and in private as a saint.”

2. From the purpose of infallibility. The Church is infallible so that it may be a trustworthy teacher of the Christian religion and of the Christian way of life. But it would not be such if it could err in the canonization of saints. Would not religion be sullied if a person in hell were, by a definitive decree, offered to everyone as an object of religious veneration? Would not the moral law be at least weakened to some extent, if a protégé of the devil could be irrevocably set up as a model of virtue for all to imitate and for all to invoke? But it cannot be inferred: therefore the Church must also be infallible in authenticating the relics of the saints; for (a) the Church never issues so solemn a decree about relics; and (b) the cases are not parallel, for in the case of relics, it is a question of relative cult, while in that of the saints it is one of absolute cult.(21)

Corollory

Several considerations urge the conclusion that the Church’s infallibility extends also to equivalent canonization, formerly quite common. By this means, without any formal decree of canonization, a deceased person gradually came to be venerated by the universal Church. However, formal and equivalent canonizations arc not at all on the same plane; in the latter the consent of the supreme pontiff can be taken as purely permissive, in much the same way as the veneration of a beatified person is sometimes permitted the universal Church. Some scholars are led by this observation to think that it is not absolutely impossible that someone who is not a saint might appear among those who, without being formally canonized, have a commemoration or even a full office in the Breviary. The papal approval of the Breviary, they say, as far as they who have not been formally canonized are concerned, amounts to nothing more than an order that no change be made therein. This is not a definitive decree, but rather permission to continue the traditional cult.(22)

Scholion: Is the fact of the Church’s infallibility in matters related to revealed truth itself a revealed truth?

In each instance we have proved the infallibility of the Church’s teaching office in matters related to the deposit of revelation from the express purpose of infallibility and from the mind of the Church. It is, consequently, clear that this infallibility is at least a conclusion from revelation; indeed a conclusion whose validity the Church itself has sanctioned at least by its practical attitude and mode of action. But serious reasons incline us to state that this extension of infallibility — not of course to each of the items considered individually above, but to related matters in general — is a formally revealed truth. There is no doubt that our Lord promised His Church the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17), who would teach “the whole range of truth” (John 16:13); the apostle calls the Church the pillar and bulwark of truth (I Tim. 3:15).(23) What, then, does the word “truth” or the phrase “the whole range of truth” mean in these texts: just revealed truth, or all the truth which the Church, in view of its special purpose, must know with certainty? The answer seems to be that since the terms are general, and the purpose of the Church militates against their being restricted to revealed truths, they must doubtless be understood as referring to all doctrines which concern Christian faith and morality either directly or indirectly. In other words, they must include also matters connected with revealed truth.

This is why Cardinal Franzelin could in the following way describe the general proposition of infallibility in related matters: this assertion, “as all theologians agree, is so certain that its denial would be an error, or even, in the opinion of many, a heresy, even though it has not as yet been explicitly condemned as heretical.”(24)

V. The Nature of Infallibility

1. The privilege of infallibility is not merely actual absence of error, but the impossibility of erring. It is of course a supernatural gift, and since it works not to the advantage of the recipients themselves but to that of the whole Church, it is a gratia gratis data or charism. It is often called “the charism of truth.”

2. Infallibility must not be thought of as a habit permanently residing in the minds of the Church’s officio! teachers, a habit which would express itself in the making of a dogmatic definition, as e.g., the habit of faith expresses itself in an act of supernatural faith. It is rather a privilege which depends for its exercise on some objective external help. This privilege can be called habitual in the sense that it was promised by a definite divine decree. But it is in actual existence only when something is being defined.

3. The efficient cause of infallibility is the assistance of God or of the Holy Spirit. This assistance:

a. is a help inferior in nature to revelation and inspiration; furthermore,
b. it can involve any kind of influence which God may choose to use in order to turn away the teacher’s mind from what is false and to lead him to a sure knowledge of the truth.

As for a: this assistance differs from revelation, through which some new doctrine is received from God. “For,” says the Vatican Council,(25) “the Holy Spirit was promised to Peter’s successors [and the same holds good for the Roman Catholic episcopate] not that they might, as a result of His revelation, make known a new doctrine, but that with His assistance they might reverently safeguard and faithfully explain the revelation handed down by the apostles, i.e., the deposit of faith.”

It is different from inspiration, through which a document is written in such fashion as to be the Word of God and comes from the mouth of God in such a way that God is its principal author and man the instrumental author only. A decree issued under divine assistance, however, is the word of the Church, and its principal author is the pope or a council. It is a question here of inspiration in the strict sense, such as that which the sacred authors enjoyed; any divine assistance could be loosely referred to as inspiration.

As for b: God assists at least negatively by preventing an arrival at an erroneous definition. But it seems that we must go further and say that whenever, and to the extent that it is necessary, God also positively guides the Church’s teachers to a correct knowledge and presentation of the truth He has entrusted to the Church. The means, natural or supernatural, which divine Providence selects for this purpose, can be quite varied, and can operate internally or externally.(26)

4. The divine assistance does not render at all superfluous the hard work and study of men, the investigation of the sources of revelation, etc.; it rather supposes and includes these elements. In actual practice, the usual preamble to doctrinal definitions includes not only the request for divine light, but also the most careful theological research. Consequently, those who object that the promise of divine assistance fosters indolence do so without justification. However, infallibility (or the inability to err) does not depend formally on human industry, but on divine assistance. And so no one can spurn a definition of the Church on the pretext that it is not backed up by adequate research; when a definition has once been issued, one can be sure that the Church’s official teacher did not act precipitously, but did all the necessary preliminary research; or else, if he did act rashly, that his rashness did not adversely affect at least the truth of the definition. All this is, of course, only a supposition, for it seems much more reasonable to hold that the Holy Spirit would never allow the Church’s rulers to act rashly in issuing doctrinal definitions.

5. The assistance promised the Church’s rulers extends to the threefold function which they must fulfill with regard to religious truth. (a) They are infallible witnesses of revelation, in that they always reverently safeguard the deposit entrusted to the Church; (b) they are infallible teachers of religious truth, in that they always faithfully interpret and explain revealed doctrine; (c) they are infallible arbiters of controversies, in that they always decide without error questions which have arisen on matters of religion.

Sequel

The rule of faith. It seems timely to add here a few remarks on the rule of faith. This term signifies the standard or norm according to which each individual Christian must determine what is the material object of his faith.
Protestants claim that the written Word of God, Holy Scripture, and that alone, is the one rule of faith. Catholics, on the other hand, even though they, too, admit that our faith must be regulated in the final analysis by the Word of God — including tradition as well as Scripture — hold that the proximate and immediate rule of faith — that rule to which each of the faithful and each generation of the faithful must look directly — is the preaching of the Church. And so, according to Catholics, there exists a twofold rule of faith: one remote and one proximate. The remote rule of faith is the Word of God (handed down in writing or orally), which was directly entrusted to the Church’s rulers that from it they might teach and guide the faithful. The proximate rule of faith, from which the faithful, one and all, are bound to accept their faith and in accordance with which they are to regulate it, is the preaching of the ecclesiastical magisterium.(27) The following assertions concern the proximate rule of faith.
1. The Church’s preaching was established by Christ Himself as the rule of faith. This can be proved from Matthew 28:19—20 and Mark 16:15—16; the command to teach all nations certainly implies a corresponding duty on the part of the nations to believe whatever the apostles and their successors teach, On the other hand, there is no notice anywhere of Christ’s having commanded the apostles to give the people the doctrine of salvation in writing, and never did He command the faithful as a whole to seek their faith in the Bible.(28)
2. The Church’s preaching is a rule of faith which is nicely accommodated to people’s needs. For (a) it is an easy rule, one that can be observed by all alike, even the uneducated and unlettered. What could be easier than to give ear to a magisterium that is always at hand and always preaching? (b) It is a safe rule, for the Church’s teaching office is infallible in safeguarding and presenting Christ’s doctrine. (c) It is a living rule, in accordance with which it is possible in any age to explain the meaning of doctrines and to put an end to controversies.

Notes.

1. See the decree Lamentabili, propositions 6, 62-64; encyclical Pascendi (DB 2093); Oath against Modernism (DB 2147).
2. See J. C. Fenton, “The Church and Catholic Dogma,” AER, 120 (1949), 123 ff.
3. Constitution Dc ecclesia, chap. 4,
4. It is with utter improbability that some have tried to interpret the words of John 14:16, “for all time to come” and those of Matt. 28:20, “as long as the world shall last” — as “to the end of this age,” i.e., the apostolic age.
5. In vain some Protestants, basing themselves on no good reasons, but forced by the need to holster their position, have tried to refer the words “the pillar and bulwark of truth” either to Timothy or to the mystery of the Incarnation. They would read as follows: “… the Church of the living God. The pillar and bulwark of truth and something clearly great is the sacrament of piety which has been manifested in the flesh.”
6. Adversus haereses iv. 26. 2; see iii. 24. 1.
7. De symbolo ad catechumenos 1. 6.
8. De ecclesia, Thesis 3, 2.
9. It was, then, not a question of this fact, viz., whether the five condemned propositions (DB 1092 ff.) can be found verbatim in the book Augustinus; much less whether Jansen maintained in the secret of his soul and intended to teach the doctrine expressed in the five propositions. Obviously the “mind of the author” which is condemned is nothing other than the meaning which the words of the author objectively express according to the usual norms of interpretation.
10, Session 4.
11. Session 22, chap. 4; and canon 6.
12. Constitution Vineam Domini of Clement XI (DB 1350).
13. See Hefele, Conciliengeschichte (2nd ed.), II, 798 if.; Hergenrother-Kirsch, Kirchengeschichte, I, 602 if. See P. Hughes, op. cit., I, 342 ff.; H. M. Diepen, O.S.B., Les trois chapitres au Concile de Chalcédoine (Oosterhout, 1953).
14. De ecclesia (3rd ed.), p. 318.
15. An example may help to clarify the matter. If the whole Christ were not present under the appearances of bread alone, the law forbidding lay people to drink from the chalice would offend against the faith. Or if the words increase and multiply (Gen. 1:28) constituted an ordinance binding every individual man, then the law of celibacy would be opposed to right morals. The same conclusion would hold if virginal purity were morally impossible for men.
16. The bull Auctorem fidei (DB 1578).
17. See Benedict XIV, De servorum Dei beatificatione, lib. IV, pars II, chap. 13, nos. 7-8. Very many bishops asked the Vatican Council for an appropriate revision of the Breviary on some points “which seem not at all square with established historical fact and sound scriptural exegesis” (Coll. Lac., VII, 874; see VII, 844, 882). There should be nothing surprising about this. At the time the Roman Breviary was edited, the critical apparatus now our disposal was simply not available.
18. On a lower plane than this solemn approbation, there are also: (a) episcopal approbation; (b) permissive papal approbation; (c) commendatory papal approbation. These are all treated in works on canon law.
19. See N. Scheid, “Die Unfehlbarkeit des Papstes bei der Heiligsprechung,” ZkTh (1890), p. 599; F. Spedalieri, Dc Ecclesiae infallibilitate in canonizatione sanctorum quaestiones selectae (Rome, 1949); for a critique of latter work see TS, 12 (1951), 249.
20. The names of canonized saints are inserted in the Roman Martyrology, but this work contains other names besides. That is why scholars, following the lead of Benedict XIV, warn us that the presence of a person’s name in the Martyrology is not conclusive proof that that person is enjoying the bliss of heaven. See N. Paulus, “Martyrologium und Brevier als historische Quellen,” Der Katholik, I (1900), 355.
21. Absolute cult or worship is directed to a person; relative cult is directed to some object or other, not because it possesses any intrinsic worth in itself, as a person would, but because it is connected in some way with a sainted person. See A. Aldama, S.J., Sacrae theologiae Summa, III (Madrid, 1953), 469.
22. See N. Paulus, art. cit., p. 359; A. Spaldak, “Zur geplanten Emendation des romischen Breviers,” Der Katholik, I (1905), 290; Bainvel, De magisterio, p. 111.
23. See J. C. Fenton, “New Testament Designations of the Church and of its Members,” CBQ, 9 (1947), 286.
24. De Traditione et Scriptura (3rd ed.), p. 123.
25. Constitution De ecclesia, chap. 4.
26. See Heinrich, Dogmat. Theol. II, par. 90.
27. The Symbols (Creeds, i.e., those formulae in which the Church’s teaching authority sums up the chief points of its preaching in view of the needs of different ages), are also called rules of faith. But they are material rules of faith, while the formal rule of faith is the preaching itself.
28. An appeal to John 5:39 is in vain: (a) from the context, the verb ereunate seems to be the indicative rather than the imperative (Kleist-Lilly: You have the Scriptures at your finger ends; Confrat. NT: You search the Scriptures); (b) even granting that it is the imperative, the text still proves nothing. From the fact that Christ refers the unbelieving Jews, the Scribes and Pharisees, to the sacred books of the Old Testament that they may learn therein of his divine mission, it does not at all follow that He intends every individual Christian to draw his faith directly from the Scriptures.

(Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D., Dogmatic Theology, Volume II, Christ’s Church, Translated and Revised by John J. Castelot, S.S., S.T.D., S.S.L. & William R. Murphy, S.S., S.T.D., The Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland, 1957. pp 102-124.)

Oglasi

The “Heretical” Popes (Part 1): Adrian VI

Setting the Record straight…

The “Heretical” Popes
Part 1: Adrian VI

[UPDATE 07-APR-2015: The First Vatican Council on the Question of a Heretical Pope]

There are two major lines of argument used by people who are rabidly anti-sedevacantist; that is, those who oppose the position of Sedevacantism not on account of evidence, real or imagined, but on account of a desire to see the position opposed for some other motive.

The first line of argumentation is to downplay the problems with the Vatican II “Popes” to make them seem less serious than they are. The second line of argumentation is to exaggerate the problems with some true Popes of the past to make them seem comparable to the situation we find ourselves in today, when outright apostates are claiming the papal office, especially Francis, Benedict XVI, John Paul II, and Paul VI.

As the heresies of Francis are so much out in the open now that anyone who wishes to retain some respectability and credibility can no longer deny them, it is the second line of argumentation that is now receiving renewed emphasis. On various blogs, forums, and web sites, claims are being made by some to the effect that “we’ve always had heretical Popes” — an outrageous and theologically as well as historically erroneous statement that is being uttered with a nonchalantness that could put Hans Kung to shame.

Boiling it down to the basics: The reason it is impossible for the Church to have a publicly heretical Pope is that this would destroy the unity of the Church, one of the hallmarks of her nature. The Church is necessarily united in Faith; if her head publicly held a different faith, she would cease to be one and be no better than the local Protestant church down the street, where each believer may disagree with any other, even with the pastor, about what the truth really is.

Already in Holy Scripture, St. Paul the Apostle refers to Holy Mother Church as “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15) and teaches that our Lord instituted the sacred hierarchy so that “we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ; that henceforth we be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph 4:13-14).

Furthermore, the Catholic Magisterium has consistently taught that all Catholics must be subject to the papacy as a student is subject to his teacher:

“The vigilance and the pastoral solicitude of the Roman Pontiff … according to the duties of his office, are principally and above all manifested in maintaining and conserving the unity and integrity of the Catholic faith, without which it is impossible to please God. They strive also to the end that the faithful of Christ, not being like irresolute children, or carried about by every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men [Eph 4:14], may all come to the unity of faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God to form the perfect man, that they may not harm one another or offend against one another in the community and the society of this present life, but that rather, united in the bond of charity like members of a single body having Christ for head, and under the authority of his Vicar on earth, the Roman Pontiff, successor of the Blessed Peter, from whom is derived the unity of the entire Church, they may increase in number for the edification of the body, and with the assistance of divine grace, they may so enjoy tranquility in this life as to enjoy future beatitude.”

(Pope Benedict XIV, Apostolic Constitution Pastoralis Romani Pontificis, March 30, 1741; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, p. 31; underlining added.)

 

The Holy Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff have primacy in the entire world. The Roman Pontiff is the Successor of Blessed Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, true Vicar of Christ, Head of the whole Church, Father and Teacher of all Christians.”

(Pope Benedict XIV, Apostolic Constitution Etsi Pastoralis, May 26, 1742; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, p. 32; under-lining added.)

 

“Our desire is to maintain unity in the bond of peace; and We have no other motive, in exposing the deceits of those who abuse the names of the [Church] Fathers to give false meaning to their words. Let all understand that there is no teaching which the Fathers have more at heart than that all should be kept in unity, attached to this Chair [of St. Peter] which alone Christ has made mother and mistress of all the others.”

(Pope Pius VI, Decree Super Soliditate, Nov. 28, 1786; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, p. 60; underlining added.)

 

To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor.”

(Pope Leo XIII, Letter Epistola Tua to Cardinal Guibert, June 17, 1885; underlining added.)

 

“Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

(Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam Sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302; under-lining added.)

 

“Now, whoever will carefully examine and reflect upon the condition of the various religious societies, divided among themselves, and separated from the Catholic Church, which, from the days of our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles has never ceased to exercise, by its lawful pastors, and still continues to exercise, the divine power committed to it by this same Lord; cannot fail to satisfy himself that neither any one of these societies by itself, nor all of them together, can in any manner constitute and be that One Catholic Church which Christ our Lord built, and established, and willed should continue; and that they cannot in any way be said to be branches or parts of that Church, since they are visibly cut off from Catholic unity.

“For, whereas such societies are destitute of that living authority established by God, which especially teaches men what is of Faith, and what the rule of morals, and directs and guides them in all those things which pertain to eternal salvation, so they have continually varied in their doctrines, and this change and variation is ceaselessly going on among them. Every one must perfectly understand, and clearly and evidently see, that such a state of things is directly opposed to the nature of the Church instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ; for in that Church truth must always continue firm and ever inaccessible to all change, as a deposit given to that Church to be guarded in its integrity, for the guardianship of which the presence and aid of the Holy Ghost have been promised to the Church for ever. No one, moreover, can be ignorant that from these discordant doctrines and opinions social schisms have arisen, and that these again have given birth to sects and communions without number, which spread themselves continually, to the increasing injury of Christian and civil society.”

(Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Letter Iam Vos Omnes [1868]; underlining added.)

These quotes speak for themselves, and they are obviously incompatible with the idea that a Pope could be a heretic, and that when he is, each of the faithful needs to determine this for himself and “resist” him accordingly, lest he be led astray and be punished eternally.

If a true Pope could be a heretic and still remain Pope, then the Church would have no need of a Pope — then he would not differ in essence from the leaders of the Anglican sect, or of the Eastern Orthodox churches, or of the Protestant faith communities. He would just become a ceremonial head whose tasks might include that of guiding, directing, and inspecting, but who ultimately holds no genuine authority, in virtue of his office, to teach the Faith and whose teaching demands assent for the mere fact that he, the Pope, is the one who is teaching (cf. Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Humani Generis, n. 20).

The one ecumenical council that dealt extensively with the dogmatic teaching on the papacy and the nature and authority of the Catholic Magisterium was the Vatican Council of 1870 (aka the “First” Vatican Council). Listen attentively to what the council teaches so eloquently:

To satisfy this pastoral duty, our predecessors always gave tireless attention that the saving doctrine of Christ be spread among all the peoples of the earth, and with equal care they watched that, wherever it was received, it was preserved sound and pure. Therefore, the bishops of the whole world, now individually, now gathered in Synods, following a long custom of the churches and the formula of the ancient rule, referred to this Holy See those dangers particularly which emerged in the affairs of faith, that there especially the damages to faith might be repaired where faith cannot experience a failure. The Roman Pontiffs, moreover, according as the condition of the times and affairs advised, sometimes by calling ecumenical Councils or by examining the opinion of the Church spread throughout the world; sometimes by particular synods, sometimes by employing other helps which divine Providence supplied, have defined that those matters must be held which with God’s help they have recognized as in agreement with Sacred Scripture and apostolic tradition. For, the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth. Indeed, all the venerable fathers have embraced their apostolic doctrine, and the holy orthodox Doctors have venerated and followed it, knowing full well that the See of St. Peter always remains unimpaired by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord the Savior made to the chief of His disciples: “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren” [Luke 22:32].

So, this gift of truth and a never failing faith was divinely conferred upon Peter and his successors in this chair, that they might administer their high duty for the salvation of all; that the entire flock of Christ, turned away by them from the poisonous food of error, might be nourished on the sustenance of heavenly doctrine, that with the occasion of schism removed the whole Church might be saved as one, and relying on her foundation might stay firm against the gates of hell.

(Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 4; Denz. 1836-1837; underlining added.)

It should be obvious to all that this teaching cannot be squared with the idea of a Pope who is also a public heretic, that is, one who publicly professes a faith that contradicts the faith of the Catholic Church as received from the Apostles. Quite simply, if a Pope could be a public heretic, then Vatican I’s teaching was false. But this is impossible. Therefore, we know that a Pope cannot be a public heretic.

Nevertheless, time and again assertions are made by anti-sedevacantists that several Popes in the Church’s history were public heretics — the sole objective being, of course, to lend support to the argument that if these “heretical Popes” were still true Popes, then so must we consider Francis and his five predecessors of infelicitous memory likewise to be true Popes, at least until some future Pope should declare otherwise (in which case one would then have to ask why anyone should pay attention to that future Pope if the contemporary ones need not be heeded, since what applies to one Pope necessarily applies to all of them). The position is entirely driven by the desire to justify accepting the Vatican II “Popes” while not having to assent to their teaching or having to submit to their rule.

The names of the alleged “heretical Popes” in Catholic history are usually the following, in chronological order (though others pop up occasionally as well): Liberius, Honorius I, Stephen VII, John XII, and John XXII. We will examine each case one by one, and perhaps a few others, in several installments, of which the current post is but the first, although we must begin with a different name altogether: that of Adrian VI.

Although no one has accused Pope Adrian VI of heresy, we will begin our blog post series on the “heretical Popes” with his case because he is sometimes invoked as having taught and believed that Popes can be heretics. In fact, the infamous quote, “Many Roman Pontiffs were heretics, the last of them being John XXII”, is ascribed to Pope Adrian, and some eager anti-sedevacantists have been quick to circulate this suspicious quote on the internet because, if true, it would help their case tremendously. Yet, this attitude of “Let’s make a claim first and ask questions later” is not acceptable with regard to such a serious and important matter as the orthodoxy of the Vicars of Christ and Catholic teaching on the papacy in general, which is the most august office in the world.

So, let’s pose the question directly: Did Pope Adrian VI truly utter or even teach these words, and what is their source?

The fact is that Pope Adrian did no such thing. Rather, the words were uttered by the theologian Adrianus Florentius, who later became Pope Adrian VI (he retained his baptismal name, Adrian, even as Pope). The book in which Adrianus makes this assertion is his Commentary on the Fourth Book of Sentences of Peter Lombard, published in 1516 (and in other editions even before then). Adrian did not became Pope until 1522 and died the following year. The authenticity of the quote can be verified by consulting an original copy of the book, which is available online. We are producing here a snapshot of the paragraph that contains the passage in question:

Source: Hadrianus Florentius, Quaestiones in quartum sententiarum praesertim circa sacramenta (Louvain, Belgium: 1516), fol. XXIII [screenshot of p. 52 of PDF file provided by Google Books]

There is no doubt that this quote and its source are authentic. We see, for example, other Catholic theologians writing at the time of Adrianus Florentius or after — but before the Vatican Council of 1870, we curiously note — referring to Adrian’s quote. For example, Bp. Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet of Meaux, France, uses the controversial quotation in Chapter 28 of his monograph Gallia Orthodoxa (1682).

Though in many ways recognized as a great theologian, Bossuet was also a proponent of Gallicanism and opposed the infallibility of the Pope, which was later defined as a dogma by the First Vatican Council, where this tenet of the Gallican school was condemned as heretical. At the time of Bossuet, however, a number of Gallican positions later condemned were still permitted theological opinions, or at least ones that were tolerated. This explains why Bossuet was able to hold this particular idea without being condemned at the time.

Gallicanism was a conglomeration of errors concerning the authority of the Pope mostly found in 17th and 18th-century France, though its origins go back to the 14th century. Over time, various Gallican propositions were condemned by the Church, most notably by Pope Alexander VIII in 1690 and Pope Pius VI in 1794, and most recently by the First Vatican Council in 1870, so that Gallicanism “is now professed only by the heretical sect of the Old Catholics” (Donald Attwater, ed., A Catholic Dictionary, s.v. “Gallicanism”) — note well! It is perhaps no accident that a lot of the errors held and promoted by the Society of St. Pius X resemble those of Gallicanism, as their founder, Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, was French.

Back to Bossuet. In the above-mentioned work, he approvingly cites Adrianus Florentius — who, at the time, was a theology professor in Louvain, Belgium — concerning the allegation that “many Roman Pontiffs were heretics”, though he admits that Adrianus wrote this not as Pope but as a theologian before he was raised to the Supreme Pontificate. Nevertheless, Bossuet argues, after Adrian had become Pope, he never retracted his original claim and even published his writings in Rome in 1522, that is, after becoming Pope. This is also the argument made by the rabidly anti-sedevacantist French blog La Question, which features an article on the topic here:

So, this seems like a slam dunk for the anti-sedevacantists, doesn’t it?

Well, not so fast. We need to be careful to distinguish evidence and facts from assumptions and conjecture. Let’s take a step back and list what we know and what we can reasonably infer:

  • Though not clearly proven, it is reasonably established that Adrianus Florentius made the claim that many Popes were heretics — unless the document was a forgery, which, however, would have to be proven
  • It is known that this was Adrianus’ belief before becoming Pope — he uttered it as a theology professor at Louvain
  • This belief, though erroneous, was allowed to be held at the time, or at least tolerated, as we can see from the fact that other theologians who held it, not only Adrianus Florentius but also Bossuet, for example, were not censured at the time (something that St. Robert Bellarmine points out, as we will see below)
  • It has not been directly proven, but merely inferred (albeit reasonably), that the edition of Adrianus’ writing after he became Pope still contains the claim that many Roman Pontiffs were heretics
  • The position taken by Adrianus and seconded by Bossuet was adhered to before the dogmatic teaching on the papacy by the Vatican Council of 1870
  • Even if we were to concede that it is possible for a Pope to become a public heretic and still remain a valid Pope, it is clear that Adrianus’ assertion that “many” Popes were heretics is definitely false
  • The only “Catholic” book we know of that still used the Adrianus quote after the First Vatican Council is Paul Viollet’s 1904 work L’Infaillibilité du Pape et le Syllabus [“The Infallibility of the Pope and the Syllabus”], where the author tries to back up his position that Popes can be heretics. This book, however, was subsequently examined by the Vatican and placed on the Index of Forbidden Books under Pope St. Pius X in 1908

Can you imagine what the anti-sedevacantists would say to us if as “proof” of our position we used a statement written by a Pope before he was Pope on the grounds that he did not retract it after becoming Pope and ordered (or simply didn’t prevent) the publication of his book during his pontificate? We’re talking here about people who do not think they are bound by teachings in papal encyclicals, by papal canonizations, by decrees of ecumenical councils, by universal church law, etc. Why would they care about what a Pope said before he became Pope — even if he allowed the document to be published once more after ascending the papal throne — about 350 years before the First Vatican Council?

It’s really funny how these anti-sedevacantists always demand nothing short of an ex cathedra pronouncement of us to prove our position, but somehow their position is definitively proved by every hiss or sneeze of anyone who wasn’t burned at the stake. The double standard is glaring and quite telling. Apparently, their arguments are determined not by what is true and reasonable, but solely by what helps support their desired conclusion.

But let’s look at some more evidence concerning the position taken by Adrianus Florentius, which he may also have held privately as Pope Adrian VI (we say “privately” because he certainly never made it part of his pontifical Magisterium). It’s not like no Catholic theologian or historian has ever written about this other than Bp. Bossuet and Paul Viollet. In fact, even St. Robert Bellarmine mentioned Adrian VI, as we will see later.

The famous French manual Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique [“Dictionary of Catholic Theology”] has an entry on Adrian VI, and devotes one paragraph in particular to the issue at hand:

In Quaestiones in IVum Sententiarum, the statement that the pope can err, even in something which touches upon the faith has been noted. But it is altogether wrong that certain adversaries of infallibility have seen in this a serious argument in their favor, or that even in our days, certain others pretend to be scandalized by it. Adrian wrote the book from which the citation is taken long before his elevation to the chair of Peter, and it obviously does not participate in any way in the authority of pontifical acts. There is, moreover, no proof that in the mind of its author the assertion applies to ex cathedra definitions; consequently, [the statement] is nothing more than a reproduction of a theological opinion we encounter many times before the sixteenth century, either from the pen of popes themselves or in documents they approved. Thus Innocent III wrote: ‘Faith is so necessary to me that, if for every other fault I am subject to the judgment of God alone, it is only for a sin I commit in a matter of faith that I become subject to judgment of the tribunal of the Church.’ And already even before this, one reads in the Decree of Gratian (dist. XL, c. vi) these words of Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz: ‘No mortal man should pretend to reproach [the Roman Pontiff] for his faults. For, established as the judge of all, he recognizes no judge over himself, at least as long as he does not commit an error against the faith.’ In these texts and many others like it, the pope is obviously spoken of as a private doctor.

(J. Forget, “Adrian VI”, in Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique [Paris: Letouzey, 1913-50], vol. I, c. 461; our translation; some italics removed.)

So, in short, the key take-away here is that what Adrianus said, even if we grant that he ordered it reprinted while he was Pope, is nothing but a “theological opinion” which, at that point in time, was still permissible to hold, but which was certainly no longer acceptable since the First Vatican Council, whose teaching is irreconcilable with the idea that the Pope could be a heretic. Hence it is easy to see why Paul Viollet’s book was put on the Index, even though it actually carried an imprimatur from the local ordinary, Abp. Fulbert Petit (ouch!).

The argument about Adrianus Florentius on the “heretical Popes” is also made by the excommunicated “Old Catholic” heretic Johann von Döllinger in his condemned work Der Papst und das Concil [in English translation as The Pope and the Council (Boston, MA: Roberts Brothers, 1870), p. 306], which he wrote under his pseudonym Janus. The work was also put on the Index of Forbidden Books and was refuted by Cardinal Joseph Hergenröther in his 1870 book Anti-Janus.

Next, let’s go to an Italian resource. The Dizionario di Erudizione Storico-Ecclesiastica [“Dictionary of Historical-Ecclesiastical Erudition”] says regarding Pope Adrian VI:

Adrian VI, Pope 228, formerly Adriano Florenzio, son of the craftsman Florenzio, was born on March 2, 1459 in Utrecht, Netherlands, and not in Sanzano in the diocese of Brescia, as stated without any good reason by the capuchin Mattia Bellintani (Storia di Salò, 1586). He received his degree in Leuven, and after that founded a college in that university which bears his name, which was later also named “Pontifical”. Someone noted that Adrian wrote (in 4 sent. de confirmatione): plures Pontifices fuerunt heretici (multiple Popes were heretics). Lodovico Vincenzo Goti excellently answers this accusation (tom. I verae eccles. cap II. n. 6): Adrian stated this while he was a theologian in Leuven; therefore, if his works were reprinted after he became Pope, without the removal of these words, one cannot say that he, as Pope, would support such a statement. How many times are works not reprinted without the author being aware of it, or with the author not being the last to make amendments? Later, Adrian received the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Leuven, then became dean of the cathedral, and finally vice-chancellor of the university. Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, appointed him as preceptor of Charles, his grandson, also sending him as ambassador to Ferdinand, the King of Spain, who appointed him as bishop of Tortosa, in that kingdom. When Charles ascended to the throne, the king gave to Adrian full powers over all the aspects of his monarchy and, since Adrian had already been made Cardinal of Saints John and Paul by [Pope] Leo X after an inquiry of Maximilian, he left him as general inquisitor and governor of Spain for the whole time, before going to Germany and taking possession of that empire under the name of Charles V.

(Gaetano Moroni Romano, ed., Dizionario di Erudizione Storico-Ecclesiastica [Venice: Tipografia Emiliana, 1840], s.v. “Adriano VI”, p. 104; our translation; some italics changed.)

Ah, so maybe the whole matter isn’t as clear-cut as some anti-sedevacantists would have us believe. Viollet, in his condemned work, mentions this reference and even quotes it (see p. 21, fn. 1) but claims it is improbable that Pope Adrian modified his work before being reprinted, or that it was reprinted without his knowledge or permission. All right, so now we’re down to arguing probabilities. That’s fine, as far as it goes, but let’s not act as though we had a clear-cut case here. In addition, let’s not forget that Viollet’s opinion appears in a book that has been condemned by the Church. So, which position had we rather side with?

At the end of the day, however, as already indicated, it does not really matter whether Pope Adrian had this work reprinted with or without this error, for the following two reasons:

  • The error was a permitted theological opinion at the time
  • The error in no wise became a part of his papal Magisterium

St. Robert Bellarmine himself in fact addresses the thesis of Adrianus Florentius in his monumental work De Romano Pontifice, first published by this name in the 17th century. He calls the opinion that the Pope can be a heretic and of himself (though not when making a definition at a council) teach heresy an opinion that “we dare not call properly heretical, for we still see those who maintain this position tolerated by the Church; yet it does seem completely erroneous and proximate to heresy and can rightly be judged heretical by the Church” (St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, Book 4, Ch. 2, in Opera Omnia, Book 1 [Naples: J. Giuliano, 1856], p. 478; now available in complete English translation here: On the Roman Pontiff).

Now notice one very important thing: St. Robert is writing in the 17th century, over 250 years before the First Vatican Council issued its dogmas on the papacy. This corroborates exactly what we’ve asserted in this post, namely, that before Vatican I, these matters were still being disputed among theologians, especially back in the 1500’s and 1600’s, when Adrianus and Bossuet were writing, and therefore some positions were then either allowed or at least “tolerated” (St. Robert’s word) that can no longer be held today, over 140 years after Vatican I. In fact, St. Robert — who, as of 1931, is a Doctor of the Church, we might add — already says in the 1600s that the position taken by Adrianus and many anti-sedevacantists today could with justice be condemned as heretical in the future. This had not yet been done back then, so the people who held it were not heretics, but it is significant that St. Robert says that it deserves to be condemned as heretical. No wonder books during and after Vatican I who maintainted this position were put on the Index.

Another point that ought to be brought up, even if just for the sake of historical accuracy, is that when Adrianus Florentius wrote that “many Roman Pontiffs were heretics” in his Quaestiones in Quartum Sententiarum, he said it merely in passing and not as part of a treatise on papal authority or the unity of the Church. Rather, the context was dismissing an argument made by a theological opponent regarding the sacrament of confirmation. The opponent had cited St. Gregory the Great to substantiate his point about priests being able to administer confirmations, and Adrianus, disagreeing, said that Gregory had been wrong, and besides (so the theologian Adrianus claimed), “many Roman Pontiffs were heretics”. That is the context of the controversial saying to begin with. This does not, of course, negate what he said, but it is important to keep in mind that Adrianus’ remark was incidental to a discussion on a completely different topic; it was an obiter dictum. In addition to that, we note that he was wrong, not only with regard to confirmation, but also with regard to the question of whether many Popes were heretics. This is something that tends to be glossed over: Adrianus’ assertion is false.

And thus we have demolished yet another misleading anti-sedevacantist argument. As you can see, it takes real research to properly understand such issues, and we Sedevacantists are greatly outnumbered by the (often paid) apologists of the much more popular and convenient “resistance” position, in which you can have all the advantages of the sedevacantist position without any of its disadvantages.

Alas, our critics have the “bully pulpit”. They have the prestige, the positions of authority, the applause of the majority, the fancy broadcasting equipment, and the money and the time to disseminate their position to a wide audience. But there is one thing we have that they do not: the truth. If you would like to help the mission of Novus Ordo Watch, we have listed 12 specific ways you can do so; and no, they do not have to involve money.

A few more closing comments are in order.

In the debate about Sedevacantism, whether the Chair of St. Peter has been vacant since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, a lot of things are asserted by people who do not really understand the subject matter or who do not take the time to do real research. As we can see in the case of Pope Adrian VI here, it is very disappointing and troublesome to see anti-sedevacantists mindlessly recycle a quote of which they have no real knowledge other than someone having discovered it in a book put on the Index. They use the quote because it helps their case, regardless of what the truth of the matter may be. Such “research” and argumentation are reprehensible, and look at the consequences: They have now put in people’s minds the impious idea that a Pope does not even have to profess the true Faith in order to be Pope, in order to be the bulwark of truth and the principle of unity in the Church. The matter is absurd.

What’s also quite interesting is that these arguments and quotes brought forth by the anti-sedevacantists about the “heretical Popes” tend to be brought up, since 1870, only by people who argued against Vatican I. The only two “Catholic” books we know of since that council that use the case of Adrian VI to argue that Popes can be heretics are Dollinger’s and Viollet’s, and both were put on the Index. Not exactly a positive omen for our critics.

That’s why it is no surprise to see that, in general, any “resistance” quotes brought up by anti-sedevacantists are always from sources before 1870, when the First Vatican Council settled a number of teachings regarding the Papacy and the Magisterium. (Our TRADCAST 003 podcast deals with this matter at length.) Why will they not quote theologians after the council to justify their “recognize-and-resist” stance? Quite simply, because they cannot find any who teach such a thing, that’s why.

In Sacred Theology throughout history, you will always find positions at one time permitted and held that are later condemned or abandoned. This is to be expected, as the task of the theologian is to explain Catholic teaching and show its source in and harmony with Divine Revelation. Over hundreds of years, as theologians debate various issues, there will always be positions accepted that are later rejected by the Church as untenable, erroneous, or even heretical, and the history of the Church is full of precisely that, as the famous doctrinal document collection Denzinger (“The Sources of Catholic Dogma”) attests.

As we have insisted on numerous occasions in the past, it is absolutely essential to distinguish “heretical” Popes from immoral or “bad” Popes. The former is an impossibility, whereas the latter is, unfortunately, not unheard of in the history of the Church. The following resources we have produced will clarify this important distinction and explain the reasons why one is impossible and the other isn’t:

The Vatican II Sect and the resistance position of the Society of St. Pius X have done immeasurable damage to people’s understanding of Catholicism, especially the papacy. People are now accustomed to accusing real Popes (including the fake ones, inasmuch as they believe them to be real) of heresy without batting an eye. Yet notice how, even hundreds of years before Vatican I, St. Robert Bellarmine went out of his way to argue that such a thing was not even possible. If only St. Robert had had the wisdom of today’s resistance bloggers! He had no idea that the history of the Church is filled with “heretical Popes”, and neither did the fathers of the First Vatican Council! Martin Luther would be proud.

In truth, the situation is absurd. In their insatiable desire to see the Novus Ordo “Popes” as true Popes, while rejecting anything and everything from them that they find objectionable, the “resisters” have injected into people’s minds ideas that are entirely at odds with sound Catholic teaching, perverting their Faith to the point that they would never think of applying the clear teachings of the Catholic Magisterium on the papacy to Francis, Benedict XVI, John Paul II, or Paul VI. They would never do so because they know that if they did, it would turn them into heretics. But you cannot fight heresy with more heresy, nor with schism. It is simply impossible to accept Francis and his five predecessors as true Popes (with all that entails, not just the verbal acknowledgment) and still be a Catholic. So, what follows? They cannot have been true Popes. It is a necessary conclusion.

Thus far our first post in our ongoing series The “Heretical” Popes. Others will follow in due time. As you can see, it is very easy to disseminate a quote one has picked up somewhere without knowing the background, and to accuse Popes of the past of having been heretics. But it takes real, painstaking research to disentangle the whole mess and find out what the truth of the matter really is.

 

in Novus Ordo Wire    

Bishop Fellay’s interview

Bp. Bernard Fellay

Bp. Bernard Fellay

Bishop Fellay, who has been, until recently, the head of the Society of Saint Pius X for the past twenty-four years, gave an interview to Tagespost in which he said a few things which deserve attention.

The first is this: “We have never said that the Council directly taught any heresies. But it took away the wall of protection from error, and thereby permitted error to show itself.”

Is this an accurate statement? Did Vatican II merely expose the Church to error? Or did it actually contain heresies? Answer: It contained heresies.

The first heresy of Vatican II: ecumenism. The document Unitatis Redintegratio, or the Decree on Ecumenism, contains a glaring heresy against the Catholic dogma which teaches that outside the Church there is no salvation. The Council states:

It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church. [Unitatis Redintegratio, no. 3] [Emphasis added].

The Catholic Church teaches as dogma — it was called a “most well-known Catholic dogma” by Pius IX — that outside the Church there is no salvation. The Council states the precise contradictory of the Catholic dogma, namely that there is salvation outside the Catholic Church, that these non-Catholic religions can deliver salvation to their adherents, and are indeed the means by which they are saved. This is heresy.

The second heresy of Vatican II: religious liberty. The Catholic Church, professing to be the one, true Church founded by Jesus Christ, and outside of which there is no salvation, understands religious liberty to be the liberty of the Catholic Church to carry out its mission in the world, to establish itself everywhere, to function freely as an entity distinct from the State. It also claims the liberty of its adherents to profess and practice their Catholic faith without harassment or molestation.

It condemns the idea, as being contrary to Sacred Scripture, that all religions have these same liberties and these same rights. For to assert such a thing would be the same as saying that a person or organization would have a right to do something wrong. But this is contrary to the natural law, and therefore contrary to the Church’s teaching. You can have a right only to do something right, and never a right to do something wrong.

Liberty is the power of electing the good. License is the freedom falsely accorded to the will to elect evil. In order that there be the exercise of true liberty, it is necessary that it not detract from any duty. For liberty does not exist for evil, but for the good. Therefore, for as often as man abuses liberty for the purpose of committing evil, it should not be called liberty but instead license.

Liberty of conscience is absolutely impious. For man is by a most strict duty bound to think correctly about God, and concerning those things which regard both speculative and practical religion. But to go against a most strict duty of nature is license, not liberty. If we are talking about a voluntary transgression of our duty toward God, the aforesaid license is impiety. Because, therefore, through liberty of conscience the right is given to man to think concerning God however he pleases, this liberty, this right, is truly an impiety.

The liberty of religions, considered in itself, is absurd. This proposition is proven by what has been already said. For the liberty of religions is inferred only from the liberty of conscience. Because liberty of conscience is absurd, it follows also that the liberty of religions is absurd. But more must be said. If one concedes the liberty of religions, one takes away from God the power of imposing a determined worship upon men, and one imposes upon God a certain obligation of accepting or at least of approving any form of worship shown to Him by human reason. But God has commanded a form of worship — the Catholic religion. Consequently He is not obliged to accept just any form of worship that human beings give Him. It follows that men cannot, without obvious irreligion and impiety reject the precepts of God, and be the arbiters of their own worship. On the other hand, it is an impiety to deny to God the faculty of determining worship, and to impose some kind of duty upon Him of approving all forms of worship indiscriminately. Therefore the liberty of religions is absurd.

Vatican II, however, teaches that liberty of religion for the individual and for religious organizations is a right which flows from the notion of human dignity. Furthermore, it says that this teaching concerning human dignity is contained in revelation, but gives no reference where in revelation God guarantees the right to believe and practice whatever religion you want.

Vatican II teaches in Dignitatis Humanæ, no. 2:

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

Some try to defend the Council by saying that the only thing it means is that no one should be converted to Catholicism by the sword. The Church has always taught that conversion should not take place in such a manner, and has condemned any attempt to do so. That this is not the intention of the Council can be seen from the paragraphs subsequent to the one cited above:

The freedom or immunity from coercion in matters religious which is the endowment of persons as individuals is also to be recognized as their right when they act in community. Religious communities are a requirement of the social nature both of man and of religion itself.

Provided the just demands of public order are observed, religious communities rightfully claim freedom in order that they may govern themselves according to their own norms, honor the Supreme Being in public worship, assist their members in the practice of the religious life, strengthen them by instruction, and promote institutions in which they may join together for the purpose of ordering their own lives in accordance with their religious principles.

Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered, either by legal measures or by administrative action on the part of government, in the selection, training, appointment, and transfer-ral of their own ministers, in communicating with religious authorities and communities abroad, in erecting buildings for religious purposes, and in the acquisition and use of suitable funds or properties.
Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or by the written word.

Those of us who have lived in a country such as the United States, where the religious liberty described in these paragraphs is considered a normal, even sacred, civil right, fail to see the malice of these words. If we substitute “abortion” for “religion,” the point might become clearer: “This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to an abortion.” “Abortion clinics are a requirement of the social nature both of man and of abortion itself.” “Provided the just demands of public order are observed, abortion clinics rightfully claim freedom in order that they may govern themselves according to their own norms, publicly perform abortions, assist their members in the practice of abortion, strengthen them by instruction, and promote institutions in which they may join together for the purpose of ordering their own lives in accordance with their abortion principles.”

Need I go on? It should be pointed out here that, as heinous a crime as abortion is, the profession of a false religion is far more heinous in God’s sight, being directly contrary to His solemn rights. It is not to be forgotten that in Exodus (chapter 32) God ordered the slaying of all those who had participated in the worship of the golden calf, and who had not repented of it. The number of those slain was 23,000. This momentous event was to demonstrate to the Hebrew people the necessity of adhering to the true religion, and of shunning false religions. According to Vatican II, Moses should have proclaimed religious liberty for all of the calf-worshippers.

Religious liberty, as it is taught by Vatican II, is in-deed a heresy. It is solemnly condemned by Pope Pius IX as being against the Scriptures. Furthermore, Archbishop Lefebvre considered religious liberty to be a heresy. He said exactly this to Fr. Cekada in a dinner conversation at Oyster Bay.

The third heresy of Vatican II: The new ecclesiology. By ecclesiology we mean the Church’s doctrine concerning its own nature, that is, its essence and characteristics. Vatican II teaches a heretical ecclesiology. It is contained in Lumen Gentium.

The traditional dogma of the Catholic Church is that the Catholic Church, and it alone, is the one true Church of Christ, and that therefore any entity outside of itself is a false religion. This includes even those schismatic religions of the East which may have a valid priesthood and valid sacraments. If you are cut off from the center — the pope — you are nothing but a dead branch that has fallen off the vine.

Vatican II altered this doctrine in order to include other Christian denominations in the Church of Christ, saying that the Church of Christ, as an organized body, subsists in the Catholic Church.

What does it mean to subsist in? Subsistence is a perfection of a thing whereby it exists on its own, and not in something else. For example, a color cannot exist on its own, but must always exist in something else, e.g., paint, a flower, a cloth. That “something else” must have its own subsistence.

Applying this to ecclesiology, if the Church of Christ does not subsist on its own, but must subsist in something else, it means that the Church of Christ is really distinct from what it subsists in, namely that they are by nature two different things. It means that the Church of Christ is not the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church is not the Church of Christ. If they were by nature not two different things, then they would be the same thing, and it would be necessary to say the the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church, which is precisely the dogma of the Catholic Church.

The “subsists in” doctrine also means that the Church of Christ could subsist in something else, like the Lutheran Church, for example.

While this doctrine does wonders for the heresy of ecumenism and religious liberty, it destroys the Church’s teaching that the Catholic Church is exclusively the Church of Christ, and vice versa. The Church of Christ and the Catholic Church are one and the same, and exclusively so, meaning that no other “Christian” organization can call itself the Church of Christ in any way whatsoever. The only appropriate name for them is a heretical or schismatic sect.

The fourth heresy of Vatican II: Collegiality. This doctrine, also contained in Lumen Gentium, holds that the subject (possessor) of supreme power in the Church is the college of bishops. Listen to the Council:

The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head.

This is heresy. For the Catholic Church teaches that the Roman Pontiff is the head of the Catholic Church. Listen to the Council of Florence: “We likewise define that the holy Apostolic See, and the Roman Pontiff, hold the primacy throughout the entire world, and that the Roman Pontiff himself is the successor of Blessed Peter, the chief of the Apostles, and the true Vicar of Christ, and that he is the head of the entire Church, and the father and teacher of all Christians; and that the full power was given to him in Blessed Peter by Our Lord Jesus Christ, to feed, rule, and govern the universal Church; just as is contained in the acts of the ecumenical councils and in the sacred canons.” (Decree for the Greeks, July 6, 1439)

Pope Pius VI condemned this doctrine: “All the bishops together and in one body govern the same Church, each one with full power.”

Some try to save Vatican II from heresy by saying that the Council states that the pope is the head of the college, and that it cannot act without him. But this does not save it from heresy, because the pope in that case simply becomes another member of the college of bishops, and merely a condition of their power, but not the source of their power.

Others try to save the Council by pointing out that the document asserts that the Pope is the head of the Church: “In virtue of his office, that is, as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church.” This is a futile attempt, however. No organization can have two heads, two supreme legislators. For example, it is impossible that both king and parliament be the supreme legislator. One must have the last word, to whom the other is subservient. King Charles I of England lost his head by upholding the supremacy of the king over parliament.

Yet others try to save the Council by citing the Preliminary Note of Explanation (the Nota Prævia), but this is worthless, since it is not part of the document accepted by the bishops. The modernist theologian Yves Congar was swift to point this out when he was a peritus at the Council. Besides, there is nothing in the Nota Prævia which cancels out the conciliarist heresy in the document.

The Catholic doctrine is that the pope, as supreme head of the Church, may invite the bishops into a general council, in which, by his consent, they participate in his power to rule the Church. Apart from these general councils, the authority of bishops is confined to their dioceses. The power to rule the diocese is from Christ, but comes to them through the Roman Pontiff, who may remove the power from them whenever he will. Pope Pius XII taught in the Encyclical Mystici Corporis: “Yet in exercising this office they [the bishops] are not altogether independent, but are subordinate to the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff, although enjoying the ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly from the same Supreme Pontiff.” (no. 42)

Bishop Fellay sells out to the Modernists on the Council. About a year ago, the Vatican told the Society of Saint Pius X that there could be no hope of reconciliation unless the SSPX accepts Vatican II and the post-Vatican II magisterium. By saying that there is no heresy in Vatican II, Bishop Fellay is saying that Vatican II is orthodox, that is, Catholic, and is not offensive to the Catholic Faith.

If that be so, then what have we been doing for the past fifty years?

Bishop Fellay also sells out on the question of the New Mass. Bishop Fellay makes this remark-able statement: “Not every New Mass is a scandal directly, but the repeated celebration of the New Mass leads to a weakening or even a loss of faith.”

Question: how could it not be a scandal if it leads to a loss of faith? How could an infallible and indefectible Church, the Church of Christ, assisted by the Holy Ghost, the pillar and ground of truth, as St.Paul calls it, promulgate to the whole world a rite which leads to the loss of faith? Bishop Fellay’s statement falls under the anathema of the Council of Trent: “If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs, which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses, are incentives to impiety rather than the services of piety, let him be anathema.”

Bishop Fellay states in this same interview that the traditional Mass is like a silver trumpet, whereas the New Mass is like a brass trumpet:

I say only that if you are receiving a head of State, and you have the choice between a silver trumpet and a brass trumpet, would you choose the brass trumpet? It would be an insult. You would not do it. Even the best New Masses are like trumpets of brass, in comparison to the traditional liturgy. For God, we would choose what is better.

The only conclusion to draw from this statement is that the New Mass is a Catholic Mass but it is merely inferior to the traditional Mass. After all, they are both trumpets! The silver one is merely nicer than the brass one. I think a better analogy would have been to compare the New Mass not to a brass trumpet, but to a giant elephant passing gas.

Bishop Fellay, until recently, was the head of the organization which purports to be the bulwark of tradition, the single hope of the Catholic faithful who want to be protected from Vatican II and its reforms. Yet he is all mixed up in regard to the highest guiding principles of resistance to Vatican II. On the one hand he says that the New Mass weakens or destroys your faith — which means that it is poison — and then a few lines later says that it is a brass trumpet and not a silver one, indicating that there is merely a difference of quality between the two Masses.

It is for this reason that we rejoice over our separation from the SSPX in 1983. We saw the seeds of this utter theological confusion, this theology à la Maxine Waters, and wanted no part of it.

We may be small in comparison to the SSPX, but we are not mixed up. As Garrigou-Lagrange put it: “A thousand idiots do not equal one genius.” Likewise a thousand mixed up priests do not equal one priest with his head screwed on right.

Bishop Fellay’s interview

Recognize-and-OBEY is the Traditional Catholic Teaching

Not ‘recognize-and-resist’…

Recognize-and-OBEY is the Traditional Catholic Teaching

The sedevacantist blogger Steven Speray has recently released an important blog post we are happy to republish on this web site, with his permission. It concerns the foundational belief of those who try to be traditional Catholics while believing the “Popes” after Pius XII to be valid and true Vicars of Christ — the so-called “recognize-and-resist” position (R&R).


Pope Pius XI Squashes the Recognize-and-Resist Position

by Steve Speray (Aug. 27, 2019)

Can the faithful recognize and resist the pope? I dealt with this question in a 2015 article. However, I recently stumbled upon some teachings from Pope Pius XI that castigate the recognize-and-resist theology. I’ve highlighted the relevant parts within the context that contradicts R&R-ism.

In Mortalium Animos – On Religious Unity, Jan. 6, 1928, Pope Pius XI declared:

#5 Admonished, therefore, by the consciousness of Our Apostolic office that We should not permit the flock of the Lord to be cheated by dangerous fallacies, We invoke, Venerable Brethren, your zeal in avoiding this evil; for We are confident that by the writings and words of each one of you the people will more easily get to know and understand those principles and arguments which We are about to set forth, and from which Catholics will learn how they are to think and act when there is question of those undertakings which have for their end the union in one body, whatsoever be the manner, of all who call themselves Christians…

#7…There are some, indeed, who recognize and affirm that Protestantism, as they call it, has rejected, with a great lack of consideration, certain articles of faith and some external ceremonies, which are, in fact, pleasing and useful, and which the Roman Church still retains. They soon, however, go on to say that that Church also has erred, and corrupted the original religion by adding and proposing for belief certain doctrines which are not only alien to the Gospel, but even repugnant to it.

#11…Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls?

The words “recognize and obey” are exactly opposite to “recognize and resist.”  The R&R crowd doesn’t obey those they call the legitimate successors of Peter. They ignore them, resist them, and reject their teachings. They are most certainly trying to stand in the way of the Vatican II popes and implementing Vatican II and the Novus Ordo. Of course, the R&R crowd is correct in rejecting the Modernism of the Vatican II “popes”, but their justification for doing so in opposition to what is recognized as the papal authority, is heretical, blasphemous, and just plain stupid.

The underlying principle of Mortalium Animos is rejected by the R&R crowd. But then again, every papal document is an instance of the Roman Pontiff putting forth his papal authority for the faithful to obey, not to resist.

On Dec. 31, 1929, Pope Pius XI declared in Divini Illius Magistri – On Christian Education:

18. Hence it is that in this proper object of her mission, that is, “in faith and morals, God Himself has made the Church sharer in the divine magisterium and, by a special privilege, granted her immunity from error; hence she is the mistress of men, supreme and absolutely sure, and she has inherent in herself an inviolable right to freedom in teaching.’…

20.The Church does not say that morality belongs purely, in the sense of exclusively, to her; but that it belongs wholly to her.…

25. The extent of the Church’s mission in the field of education is such as to embrace every nation, without exception, according to the command of Christ: “Teach ye all nations;” and there is no power on earth that may lawfully oppose her or stand in her way. In the first place, it extends over all the Faithful, of whom she has anxious care as a tender mother.

The whole document is about the importance of getting a good, holy, and true Christian education, which can only come about by following and obeying the teachings of the Roman Pontiff and following his rules for this education. What’s the point if the Catholic Church is propagating error like every other religion, as the R&R proponents essentially claim?

The position of the R&R crowd makes the Catholic Church out to be the biggest hypocritical organization in the world. It would mean that the Catholic Church is more or less permitted to lead people astray with error, while all other religions are condemned by the Catholic Church for doing the same thing. It would mean only the Catholic Church gets to be heretical, while Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy are condemned by the Catholic Church as false religions when they do so.

That’s why the R&R position is heretical, blasphemous, and stupid.

On Dec. 31, 1930, Pope Pius XI promulgated Casti Connubii – On Christian Marriage. Once again, the pope emphasizes his authority over all the faithful. He declares in #104:

Wherefore, let the faithful also be on their guard against the overrated independence of private judgment and that false autonomy of human reason. For it is quite foreign to everyone bearing the name of a Christian to trust his own mental powers with such pride as to agree only with those things which he can examine from their inner nature, and to imagine that the Church, sent by God to teach and guide all nations, is not conversant with present affairs and circumstances; or even that they must obey only in those matters which she has decreed by solemn definition as though her other decisions might be presumed to be false or putting forward insufficient motive for truth and honesty. Quite to the contrary, a characteristic of all true followers of Christ, lettered or unlettered, is to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor the Roman Pontiff, who is himself guided by Jesus Christ Our Lord.

The approach of the R&R crowd is to resist, dismiss, and disdain every papal teaching that they think comes short of proclaiming in an extraordinary manner dogmas protected by infallibility. In principle, the R&R crowd is really no different than the liberals who reject the teaching of Casti Connubii on the authority of the Roman Pontiff as much as they do — they just apply it to a different issue (that of contraception; see #54).

The pick-and-choose mentality of the R&R crowd is what makes them the worst of hypocrites. They profess to be obedient and faithful Catholics but are neither.

Jesus told us where hypocrites go in Matt. 24:51 — and it’s not paradise.


Minor edits have been made to this post to enhance readability and consistency, with the author’s permission. The original can be found here.


 

in Novus Ordo Wire     0

TRADCAST 025 is here

Novus Ordo Watch for your ears…

TRADCAST 025 Now Available 

TRADCAST — The Traditional Catholic Podcast

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
AND TO LISTEN TO ALL EPISODES

In case you missed our initial announcement on August 21: We have published another full-length episode of our popular TRADCAST podcast program. As always, it is loaded with real traditional Catholicism, hard-hitting refutations of various errors, and razor-sharp analysis. Our content is typically challenging but is always delivered with a relieving touch of humor.

TRADCAST 025 consists of two separate segments. First we evaluate Dan Marcum’s effort to paint Francis as an “anti-liberal”, and in the process we examine the the Modernist strategy of using ambiguity and contradiction in order to spread heresy more effectively and with impunity. Then we comment on what happened when an “indult Mass” goer discovered what religion he is really a part of, and we examine the three main currents that developed in response to the revolution of Vatican II in the 1960s. We wrap up the first segment with a response to Robert Siscoe’s argument, based on an abridged quote from Cardinal Louis Billot, that the “universal peaceful acceptance” by the Church of a papal claimant is an infallible sign of his legitimacy.

The second portion of the podcast begins with a brief announcement concerning Dr. Taylor Marshall’s book Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within and then introduces Dr. Peter Chojnowski’s “Sister Lucy Truth” project, which is dedicated to determining scientifically whether Sr. Lucy of Fatima was replaced with an imposter around 1960. We also preview the Vatican’s upcoming Pan-Amazon Synod and expose the contradictory theology of the One Peter Five web site. We end the program by considering whether Sedevacantism really is, as is often alleged, a “dead end”.

If you are new to the program, you will find that listening to TRADCAST is like drinking from a firehose of information. As always, the podcast is interlaced with important insights, quotes from solid Catholic sources, and some much-needed humor! The total run time of TRADCAST 025 is 1 hour and 11 minutes.

You can listen free of charge by playing the YouTube video above, or you can go to our TRADCAST 025 page, where you will find all the information you need for this show, including links to all the articles, books, blog posts, etc., mentioned in the podcast, and where you will also find ways to download this episode to your computer and sign up to be notified of new episodes by email.

Here’s an idea: Why not throw a late-summer party and invite some friends, neighbors, or family members and listen to the show together and discuss it over hotdogs and burgers? Or how about hosting a virtual discussion with traditionalist or non-traditionalist friends using Google Hangouts or a similar conference tool?

If you are interested in listening to older shows, you can do so using our complete episodes list; or listen to a sermon or an apologetics/catechism class with your friends and family as well. This makes for great conversation — much more important than the usual family discussions — and will open people’s eyes about Francis and the Novus Ordo Sect! It’s one way you can do evangelization the easy way. In any case, don’t miss this TRADCAST and spread the word!

As always, TRADCAST is entirely free of charge. Listeners who would like to support this podcast with a tax-deductible donation, may do so here.

Annoy the heck out of Francis — listen to TRADCAST!

in Novus Ordo Wire     0

TRADCAST 025 (August 21, 2019)

TRADCAST 025 (21 AUG 2019)

Contents

  • Segment 1: Francis the Anti-Liberal? – ambiguity and contradiction as part of the Modernist strategy; bursting the diocesan traditional Latin Mass bubble; the revolution of Vatican II vs. the traditional Catholic teaching on the Church; is it a “dogmatic fact” that Francis is Pope? – response to Robert Siscoe
  • Segment 2: Brief announcement regarding Taylor Marshall’s book Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within; how you can support this podcast; Peter Chojnowski’s “Sister Lucy Truth” project: was Sr. Lucy of Fatima replaced with an imposter around 1960?; the trouble with diabolical disorientation; a preview of the Vatican’s upcoming Amazon Synod; the contradictory theology of One Peter Five; Sedevacantism – a dead end?
  • Total run time: 1 hr 11 mins

You can listen to the show by clicking the big play button in the embedded player above. Alternatively, you can choose right below from more listening/viewing options:

Alternate Show Links (Audio and Video)

Links to Items mentioned in the Show & Related Information

The Errors of Michael Davies: A Comprehensive Refutation

John Daly destroys Semi-Trad Pioneer

The Errors of Michael Davies:
A Comprehensive Refutation

MICHAEL DAVIES — AN EVALUATION
by John S. Daly

(1st ed. 1989, 2nd ed. 2015)

FREE DOWNLOAD!

One of the most prominent and influential writers of the traditionalist movement in the Vatican II Church was the English writer Michael Treharne Davies (1936-2004), shown above with then-“Cardinal” Joseph Ratzinger. No individual has written more prolifically than Davies on traditionalist issues, and probably no single layman, with the possible exception of Dietrich von Hildebrand, has enjoyed wider prominence, credibility, and trustworthiness than him. But is this respect Mr. Davies has enjoyed really well-founded? If not, what does this mean for the people who base most of their understanding of the traditionalist subject matter on the research and argumentation of this one individual?

In a devastating dossier of 584 pages entitled Michael Davies — An Evaluation, Englishman John S. Daly (web site here) thoroughly dismantles the star apologist for Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X. This exhaustively-researched and well-documented book exposes and refutes the errors, fallacies, dangers, false theology, and sloppy scholarship of Michael Davies. Twenty-six years after it was first published, a new revised and expanded edition of this invaluable work was made available to the public in 2015, both in hardcopy and electronically, the latter as a free PDF download only through Novus Ordo Watch. We have advertised this outstanding work in various ways on this web site before and are happy to do so once more.

The book description provided by the author reads as follows:

Cambridge-educated translator John S. Daly puts the scholarship of the late Michael Davies under the spotlight. What emerges from systematic comparison with statements of the Magisterium and the greatest theologians must destroy Davies’s credibility in the eyes of every serious reader. “Michael Davies – An Evaluation” remains not only an unanswered indictment of Davies as a Catholic scholar, but a standing refutation of the entire ecclesiology of those who believe it possible for an orthodox Catholic to reject the doctrinal errors and reformed rites spawned by Vatican II without calling into doubt the legitimacy of recent papal claimants and the validity of the new sacraments….

(source)

There is no doubt, of course, that Davies has done considerable good and provided excellent analysis and refutation of many errors promoted by the Vatican II religion. His work as a whole is certainly responsible for opening the eyes of a great many people to the dangers and heresies of the Novus Ordo Sect (which he, alas, identified with the Catholic Church), and has (re)kindled in countless souls a love for the Holy Catholic Mass offered in the traditional Roman rite.

Daly’s exposé does not mean to detract from the good which has admittedly been accomplished by Davies over the years. However, this good must be weighed against the considerable damage he has done and harm to souls he has caused, as demonstrated throughout this work. A glass may be filled 80% with nutritious juice, but if the remaining 20% are poison, the entire glass will be contaminated, and death or serious illness will result. Pointing out that 80% of the contents were good, will not help to undo or minimize the damage of the 20%. It would also be quite irresponsible and deceptive to focus only on the healthful content and pretend the poison does not exist.

It is for this reason that we wish to assist in the distribution of Mr. Daly’s dossier — to reveal, for the good of souls, the many dangerous errors, fallacies, and problems in the research and argumentation of Michael Davies, upon whom so many, quite unjustifiedly but in good faith, have relied in their understanding of traditionalist Catholic issues over the years.

The author himself clarifies his motives for exposing Davies in the introduction to his study:

In view of Mr. Davies’s uniquely influential position in the Catholic world today, a candid examination of his writings to assess to what extent his facts, theology and reasoning can be relied upon seems to be an appropriate undertaking. That is what this Evaluation sets out to achieve by subjecting Mr. Davies’s writings to careful analysis in the light of Catholic authority.

…After several years of study and work in Catholic publishing I reached the conclusion that an Evaluation such as this was necessary in order to accomplish three main objectives:

(i) To refute the gravely erroneous positions of Mr. Davies … in which his assertions have been responsible for leading many souls astray in matters upon which salvation may quite literally depend.

(ii) To show by careful analysis that Mr. Davies is a grossly unreliable author whose statements about Catholic doctrine should never be accepted without verification from genuine Catholic authorities.

(iii) To set out in a single study the main points of disagreement among those commonly referred to as traditional Catholics, allowing both sides to state their case, and showing by rigorous demonstration in each case where the truth lies.

(John S. Daly, Michael Davies — An Evaluation, new ed. [Saint-Sauveur de Meilhan: Tradibooks, 2015], pp. XIII-XV)

Davies was a very interesting speaker, and his writing was usually quite pleasant to read. His English accent and delightful humor contributed to his affable personality. We have already conceded that much of his research and argumentation was valid and good. However, this cannot exonerate him from the many erroneous arguments he advanced and the inadequate or selective research he engaged in, often with regard to issues impacting Sedevacantism (case in point: his widely-repeated but false thesis that St. Athanasius was excommunicated by Pope Liberius, refuted here and also here).

The conclusions author John Daly reaches about Michael Davies are less than flattering:

The conclusions reached in this Evaluation are that Mr. Davies is a shameless purveyor of false doctrine, sometimes reaching actual heresy; intensely ignorant even on many elementary points of theology as well as on matters of historical fact and general Catholic knowledge; not infrequently guilty of downright dishonesty; an execrable scholar; arrogant and foolish; a source of huge scandal and, in fine, an utter disgrace to the name of Catholic. Naturally these conclusions are far from savoury. My only justification for reaching them is that they are inescapably true, and my justification for publishing them is that the good of souls demands that so great a source of danger be exposed as publicly as possible.

(Daly, Michael Davies, p. XV)

To give you a snapshot of the valuable information contained in Michael Davies — An Evaluation, we are reproducing here its table of contents:

Introduction to the New 2015 Edition

Introduction

I. Davies’s Attitude to Authority

II. Shockingly Slipshod Scholarship

III. The Vacancy of the Holy See

Appendix: Suarez on the Heretical Pope

IV. Dishonesty, Inconsistency and Arrogance

V. Which Side is Michael Davies on?

VI. Miscellaneous Doctrinal Errors

VII. The Society of St. Pius X

VIII. Davies as an Anarchist

IX. Errors of Sacramental Theology

(a) The Orders of Archbishop Lefebvre
(b) The 1968 New Rite of Ordination
(c) Validity and “Significatio Ex Adjunctis”
(d) Validity of the Novus Ordo Missæ

X. The Alleged Fall of Pope Liberius

XI. Salvation Outside the Church?

XII. Doctrinal Evolution?

XIII. Open Letter to Mr. Michael Davies

At almost 600 pages, the reader will find this work is quite comprehensive in its critique of the Lefebvrist apologist. Such a critique is necessary because we who live in these times are engaged, at least in prefigurement, in the battle of Christ vs. Antichrist, and certainly that of Pope vs. Antipope, Church vs. Counterchurch. Human respect can never get in the way of defending the truth, no matter how unpopular it might be.

To purchase a copy of this dossier on Michael Davies in paperback, you may do so directly from Mr. Daly’s web site:

If you prefer to order through Amazon.com, you may do so by clicking here.

If you would like to download for free an electronic copy of this book — fully searchable through optical character recognition — you may do so at the link below:

Download Here:
PDF Format (3.5 MB)

Michael Davies — An Evaluation
by John S. Daly
New Edition (2015)
© John S. Daly

Although this book reserves copyright, Novus Ordo Watch is distributing it with the full and explicit permission of the copyright holder, author John S. Daly.

The battle for truth is an essential part of the battle for the salvation of souls, our own as well as those of others. It is therefore imperative for people to see falsehood exposed for what it is, and to realize that Michael Davies, whom many consider a weighty authority on the pressing issues or our time, was in fact a dangerous charlatan, even if he was right on many points. People who object in principle to a critique such as the one by Mr. Daly, on the grounds that “we should not be criticizing fellow-traditionalists”, have not understood the nature and the severity of the situation we are dealing with. Motives aside, we must know who is working on the side of Christ and the Truth, and who is working for the other side.

In his second epistle to the Thessalonians, St. Paul wrote that God would permit, in the end, the “operation of error” to blind many souls because they did not love the truth:

And now you know what withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way. And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.

(2 Thess 2:6-11; underlining added.)

If you have not seen it yet, make sure you read Cardinal Edward Manning’s commentary on this passage and the great research he did on the question of the Pope, the Antichrist, and the latter times, in which we must surely now be, simply because that which 60 years ago would have been considered practically impossible, has now come to pass, and things are deteriorating quickly:

The situation in which we find ourselves today is unprecedented but not unexpected. A long-term vacancy of the Apostolic See, with no clear way out, seems to be a necessary condition enabling the rise of the Antichrist, else “he who withholdeth” — the Pope — would indeed restrain him. So, keep this in mind, whenever you hear some uninformed loudmouth tell you that “God would never permit this!”, that what God will or won’t permit is told to us in Divine Revelation, including Holy Scripture, and the matter is clear: God will not only permit but even “send”, as it were, the “operation of error”, with the precise intent that people will “believe lying” so that “all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity”.

Davies in his last years

We must remember also that while good will is necessary in this battle, it is not sufficient. The late great Fr. Frederick William Faber warned that one reason why the deception of the Antichrist would be so successful is that many “manifestly good” men would follow him and do his work, in ignorance:

We must remember that if all the manifestly good men were on one side and all the manifestly bad men on the other, there would be no danger of anyone, least of all the elect, being deceived by lying wonders. It is the good men, good once, we must hope good still, who are to do the work of Anti-Christ and so sadly to crucify the Lord afresh…. Bear in mind this feature of the last days, that this deceitfulness arises from good men being on the wrong side.

(Fr. Frederick Faber, Sermon for Pentecost Sunday, 1861; qtd. in Fr. Denis Fahey, The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World [text here]; underlining added.)

Besides, fallen men tend to deceive themselves, quickly ascribing good will to themselves when in fact the truth may be quite different. How often do we not tell ourselves we are only interested in the truth when in fact we are not and prefer our own self-interest before all else! (On this, see the same Fr. Faber’s excellent spiritual advice on self-deceit in Spiritual Conferences, 2nd ed. [1860], pp. 153-235.)

Jeffrey Knight’s talk on Sedevacantism and willful ignorance is also apropos here, a real eye-opener:

So, remember, ignorance alone will not get you off the hook, because much ignorance today is quite culpable. This doesn’t mean that those who are culpably ignorant are guilty of malice or ill will — no, it may simply be a case of culpable negligence. It’s time to show some fortitude, which is, after all, one of the four cardinal virtues and also a gift of the Holy Ghost: This is about the eternal destiny of your soul, for heaven’s sake! And if you have a spouse and children, it is about their souls as well. It’s time to take things seriously! Stop kidding yourself and look the facts in the eye! They do not cease to be facts just because we refuse to look.

Likewise, remember that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain: If Sedevacantism is true, it does not become false just because you refuse to look at the evidence; and if Sedevacantism were false, it would not become true just because you are looking into it. Besides, consider that Sedevacantism is entirely safe. By adhering to it, you cannot be led into heresy, nor into schism, if you are faithful to Catholic teaching. Supposing, for the sake of argument, that the position were false, where would be the danger? What could you be accused of?

The worst that could be said of you is that you were wrong about who the Pope was, or whether there was a Pope. You believed, in good faith, that there was no Pope when in fact there was one — but at least you acted consistently and in accordance with Catholic teaching, to the best of your ability and in peace with your conscience. You could be accused of having made a sincere mistake, nothing more; a mistake regarding the identity of the true Pope, as many others did before in Church history, and quite innocently (assuming, of course, that you have done your best to figure it out). This is the worst that could be said. You could not be accused of adhering to or spreading false doctrine (heresy), nor of refusing to be subject to the man you acknowledged to be the Pope (schism). That you would not submit to a man you were sincerely convinced could not possibly be Pope, cannot be laid to your charge, since a Catholic is required to refuse submission to an impostor.

God does not require us to be infallible, but He does require us to adhere to Catholic teaching at all times and in the same sense and meaning it has always had, and He requires us to accept manifest facts as true and to reject contradictions as false. Sedevacantism is the only position that can reconcile the known empirical facts with Catholic teaching. For this you cannot be faulted, even if — per impossibile — it turned out to be false.

But back to Michael Davies, the man upon whose research and argumentation so many have relied for their understanding of traditionalist issues, from the Novus Ordo Missae to Sedevacantism to the illicit episcopal consecrations of Archbishop Lefebvre.

On April 22, 1980, Davies appeared on Firing Line with Bill Buckley, Jr., debating a Novus Ordo priest and the infamous pseudo-traditionalist Malachi Martin. The video of the show is available online, and we are embedding it below as a little perk so you can experience Michael Davies at a time when he had just published the first volume of his Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre:

Michael Davies on Bill Buckley’s Firing Line (1980)

What’s interesting — and very telling — is that although Michael Davies lived until 2004, he never responded to John Daly’s blistering critique, which had first been published fifteen years prior. One would think that if such a powerful refutation of one’s own writings was being disseminated, that the individual targeted would do everything in his power to defend himself to retain or regain his credibility, certainly over a period of time as long as 15 years and at the request of several intellectuals (see Daly, Michael Davies, pp. IX-X). Not so with Michael Davies — even though his critic had even provided a convenient summary of his findings, issued as an open letter consisting of very specific errors he challenged Davies to address (found in the book as Chapter 13, pp. 553-584). No attempt at a rebuttal was ever made by the Lefebvrist apologist.

Davies died on September 25, 2004, and so has already received his judgment. We pray that it was a merciful one and that he repented of all his errors and sins before being summoned to appear before the Divine Judge. It is not our desire to focus so much on the person of Davies as on his errors, powerfully refuted in this work by John Daly, because these errors are still alive and well today, not least because the name of Michael Davies has been attached to them. Nevertheless we must call attention to the fact that it is not wrong, according to the Catholic position on personal polemics, to attack, besides the argument itself, also the person making it. Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany explained this in his Vatican-endorsed book Liberalism is a Sin (1886):

This monumental dossier on Michael Davies is as explosive as it is detailed, and yet it is also eminently readable. You will find a great many arguments still heard today from people in the “recognize-and-resist” camp competently refuted by the sound reasoning and authentic Catholic sources used in this powerful critique, which most people have never seen or even heard of.

This Evaluation of Mr. Davies will prove a very valuable tool in defending the sedevacantist position and debunking one of its foremost critics. We do not think it an exaggeration to say that after these 584 pages, there is nothing left of the credibility of the celebrated Lefebvrist apologist.

The facts are in; the truth is out. Exit Michael Davies…

That Novus Ordo Paradigm: Contribution to a Dispute between Steve Skojec and Louie Verrecchio

Why didn’t they just look it up?

That Novus Ordo Paradigm: Contribution to a Dispute between Steve Skojec and Louie Verrecchio

A recent argument about sacramental validity between semi-trad bloggers Steve Skojec and Louie Verrecchio illustrates quite beautifully what the fundamental problem is in the camp of non-sedevacantist traditionalists.

Let’s examine chronologically what has happened.

On July 26, 2019, Steve Skojec, editor of the theology-free resistance propaganda blog One Peter Five, published a post entitled “The ‘Novus Ordo Paradigm’ — What It Is and Why It Matters”.

We won’t dwell much on the fact that in this article Skojec essentially describes how his religion has defected from the Gospel and is therefore worthy of anathema (cf. Gal 1:8-9) and a grave danger to Faith and morals and therefore salvation. For example, he puts forward the theologically absurd, utterly outrageous, and solemnly condemned idea that “you are the victim of a crime” if you “have access to nothing but” Mass in a liturgical rite approved by the (supposed) Supreme Pontiff. (By this he means the Novus Ordo Missae (“New Mass”) of Paul VI.)

Such an idea is gravely injurious to the traditional Roman Catholic Faith, for the Church teaches: “If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs, which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses, are incentives to impiety rather than the services of piety: let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Session 22, Canon 7; Denz. 954). And further: “Certainly the loving Mother is spotless in the Sacraments, by which she gives birth to and nourishes her children…” (Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, n. 66). But then, the recognize-and-resisters rarely allow actual traditional Catholicism to interfere with their “traditional Catholic” position.

This is evident also in the rest of Skojec’s piece, where he proclaims (quite correctly, of course, but nevertheless inconsistently) that “Novusordoism and Catholicism [are] Not the Same Religion” — while at the same time insisting that Francis is the head of both of them, making him the Vicar of Christ and the Vicar of the Devil. In Resistance Land, this is what is smugly offered under the label “the gates of hell shall not prevail” — it boggles the mind!

Confecting the Eucharist outside of Mass: Skojec vs. Verrecchio

But let’s turn to the part now that triggered the public skirmish between the two bloggers. Skojec wrote:

Now let’s get this out of the way, because I can hear the objections coming: yes, offered according to the rubrics, the Novus Ordo [Mass] is valid. What does that mean? It means that the Eucharist is confected, and the bread and wine become Our Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity during that liturgy.

But too many people stop there.

Technically, a priest has the power to consecrate the Eucharist anywhere. It’s legally forbidden, but he can do it. He can sit at a bar, drunk, and consecrate bread and wine if he says the right words with the right intention. He could even do the same thing at a satanic Mass for the purposes of desecration.

(Steve Skojec, “The ‘Novus Ordo Paradigm’ — What It Is and Why It Matters”One Peter Five, July 26, 2019; underlining added.)

Skojec is wrong, of course, in saying that the Novus Ordo Missae is valid. It is not, but that’s not our topic now.

All the controversy is about the last paragraph in the above quote, specifically the sentence: “He can sit at a bar, drunk, and consecrate bread and wine if he says the right words with the right intention.”

Blogger Louie Verrecchio, a recognize-and-resister who believes Benedict XVI is the currently-reigning Pope, responded to Skojec, asking him to correct his position:

The grave error in question concerns the following statement:

Technically, a priest has the power to consecrate the Eucharist anywhere. It’s legally forbidden, but he can do it. He can sit at a bar, drunk, and consecrate bread and wine if he says the right words with the right intention. He could even do the same thing at a satanic Mass for the purposes of desecration.

Frankly, I was positively stunned to read this; not because of the source, but mainly since so many people that I respect – people who should know better – had given the article a big thumbs up without making any mention of this horrendous falsehood.

(Louie Verrecchio, “MAJOR CORRECTION: The ‘Novus Ordo Paradigm’”aka Catholic, July 31, 2019; italics given.)

Verrecchio then proceeds to explain why he believes Skojec is wrong. There is no need to repeat all he says here — readers interested in the full argumentation can read it by clicking on the source link given above.

The same day Verrecchio published his post challenging Skojec, the latter reacted to it on Twitter. Be sure to check out the entire thread here.

What interests us in this dispute is not so much the question of who is right — we will get to that later — but rather the way both bloggers go about documenting and defending their respective positions. Let’s have a look at that now:

  1. In his original article on the “Novus Ordo Paradigm”, Skojec did not back up his contention at all that a priest can confect the Holy Eucharist anywhere, as long as he says the right words over the right matter with the right intention. He simply asserted it.
  2. In his response to Skojec, Verrecchio appealed to the following perceived Catholic authorities: a woman professor who teaches Novus Ordo canon law; the oddball canon lawyer “Fr.” Gregorius Hesse; and Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, who was the Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers (at the time he said the words quoted by Verrecchio) and would later go on to found the Society of St. Pius X to resist the Vatican II Church while acknowledging its leadership as the legitimate Catholic hierarchy.
  3. In his Twitter rebuttal to Verrecchio, Skojec pointed to a sermon given by the SSPX’s then-Superior General Bp. Bernard Fellay in 2o11 and also referred his critics to that same woman canon lawyer Verrecchio himself had quoted (and whom Skojec had brought up originally).

What is noticeable in all three cases is what is noticeably absent, namely: documentation from pertinent Catholic theology books published before Vatican II. Instead, all (supposed) authorities appealed to wrote or spoke during or after Vatican II.

Thus, the million-dollar question is: Why is neither Skojec nor Verrecchio quoting from pre-Vatican II Catholic theology books on this issue?

Their failure to even attempt to do so illustrates the fundamental problem so prevalent in Resistance Land: They proclaim themselves traditional Catholics but don’t ever — or very rarely — actually bother to look up what traditional Catholic theology says. Instead they offer ideas from personal reflection, share something their favorite traditional priest or bishop has said, copy argumentation found in a pamphlet written by Michael Davies or a blog post authored by Chris Ferrara, refer to a publication of the SSPX, or rely on a perpetually-recycled quote ascribed to a saint or Pope they have never actually verified and whose meaning they have never researched (the Bellarmine resistance quote is a perfect example). They may even quote something from a book by a real theologian if they can find it easily and quickly by means of an internet search.

Ladies and gentlemen, the issues we are facing are too important for such silliness.

If we are serious about traditional Catholicism, then those of us who blog and speak about theological matters in public are going to need to do real research, and that can require real effort: It will take some money, a decent amount of time, as well as prayer and also perseverance. Sometimes you may end up spending hours reading things only to find that your question still hasn’t been answered and you need to look elsewhere. But no matter the cost, it is definitely worth it, and there is no alternative.

If we’re going to be traditional Catholics, if “preserving Catholic Tradition” is to be more than just a pretty slogan on the masthead of our newspaper or web site, then we’ll have to study and hold fast to the doctrines and principles that were actually taught and believed before all the changes took place. Otherwise, we end up with nothing more than an empty “Latin-Mass-ism” that consists in beautiful externals and pious devotions but is devoid of the actual doctrinal underpinnings of real Catholicism, as beautifully explained by Bp. Donald Sanborn in a recent sermon. It would be like putting makeup on a corpse.

So… who’s right? Skojec or Verrecchio?

Since the main focus of this blog post is the semi-trad propensity of not consulting traditional Catholic literature on matters of traditional Catholic theology, we have only done some cursory research on this issue, which is a bit complex. As far as we have been able to ascertain, the traditional Catholic position on the question of the validity of consecrating the Eucharistic species outside of Mass, simply by a validly-ordained priest pronouncing the essential words over valid matter, is that it is probably invalid and at least doubtful. In other words, the preponderance of the evidence appears to favor Verrecchio over Skojec. If we stipulate that the priest in question is drunk, the attempted sacrament is definitely invalid because intoxication inhibits the use of reason and therefore prevents a valid interior intention of doing what the Church does (and to that extent, Skojec’s premise of a priest “sit[ting] at a bar, drunk” yet “with the right intention” is a clear contradiction).

Once we leave Novus Ordo canon lawyers or popular resistance clergy aside and turn to the pre-Vatican II traditional Catholic theological literature, here is what we discover:

First of all, in order to have the sufficient intention of doing what the Church does, “the minister must always act as a serious human agent, for a fictitious intention or an action in jest would be insufficient, since the Church does not act in that way, nor does the minister wish to perform a serious rite” (Rev. Raphael De Salvo, The Dogmatic Theology on the Intention of the Minister in the Confection of the Sacraments [Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1949], p. 27). For this reason, explains the same author, the Protestants were wrong “when they maintained that the sacraments would be valid even if the minister should be manifestly acting out of amusement as he united the matter and the form” (p. 22).

Regarding the specific question of the validity of consecrating bread and wine outside of Mass, the sources we have consulted all say more or less the same thing, namely:

To consecrate outside the Mass would not only be a sacrilege, but probably also an attempt at invalid consecration. The priest would certainly not perform that action in the person of Christ, nor according to the intention of the Church, which is restricted to the celebration of the Mass.

(Rev. P. Charles Augustine, A Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law, vol. IV [St. Louis, MO: Herder, 1920], p. 156)

The canonist Augustine bases his opinion on the teaching of the celebrated moral theologian Fr. Dominic Prummer, who states in his Manuale Theologiae Moralis, vol. III [Freiburg: Herder, 1955], n. 176, that if an evil priest were to pronounce the words of consecration over bread at a bakery, it would be “probably invalid” (probabiliter invalida).

The canon law professor Fr. Henri Ayrinhac echoes that very same position:

…[A] priest who would deliberately decide to consecrate only one element or knowingly use insufficient matter would commit a grave sin of disobedience to the command of Christ to do what He had done; moreover, according to some theologians, his act would be invalid, because he has not the intention of doing externally what the Church does. Still less would we find that external, whatever may be the interior, intention in the case sometimes proposed as an objection, of a priest passing in front of a bakery and pronouncing the words of consecration over baskets of bread.

(Very Rev. H. A. Ayrinhac, Legislation on the Sacraments [New York, NY: Longmans, Green and Co., 1928], pp. 114-115)

This position is confirmed also by Fr. Nicholas Halligan:

Even in a case of extreme necessity it is never allowed to consecrate except within the Mass. A consecration which is not accompanied by the principal parts of the Mass is probably invalid. …To consecrate one species without the intention to consecrate the other renders the consecration doubtful.

(Rev. Nicholas Halligan, The Administration of the Sacraments [Cork: The Mercier Press, 1963], p. 106)

Finally, regarding the question of a priest being drunk when attempting to confect a sacrament, we also have a rather clear answer from an unquestionably traditional source:

…[H]e who would administer a sacrament in a drunken, or somnambulistic [=sleepwalking], or hypnotic state, would perform an action that is null, even though before the occurrence he might have had the most formal intention of doing what the Church does; for in that abnormal state he no longer acts as a rational being capable of being the representative of Christ and the Church.

(Very Rev. P. Pourrat, Theology of the Sacraments [St. Louis, MO: Herder, 1910], p. 393)

So much for Skojec’s idea that a priest could be drunk and intend to do what the Church does.

Concluding Thoughts

At this point we have a fairly clear picture of how the Catholic Church has traditionally looked upon the question of consecrating bread and wine outside of Holy Mass. We’ve consulted genuinely traditional Catholic sources by serious theological authors and not simply relied on a Bp. Fellay sermon, a blog post by a Novus Ordo canonist, or a talk by “Fr.” Hesse.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that if a traditional Catholic wants to know the answer to a theological problem, he ought to look it up in the traditional Catholic literature, i.e. in the books that were written and used before the whole Novus Ordo religion started. That’s the safe way to proceed, keeping in mind that if we do not use the right method in the search for knowledge, we run the grave risk of arriving at a flawed conclusion — and at a correct one only by accident.

Skojec is known for being rich in rhetoric but short on actual Catholic theology. Two years ago he suggested on his web site that people should be sedevacantists in practice but not in theory. In other words: Say Francis is Pope but act like he’s not. What he must have thought of as a smart Catholic idea — he called it “Practical Sedevacantism” — is really just called hypocrisy and schism in moral theology.

Verrecchio makes more of an effort to be serious about theology but his work tends to be flawed because it is still so heavily influenced by the Lefebvrite resistance propaganda the Society of St. Pius X has been spewing with great success for decades. In 2015, Verrecchio had a similar dispute with another blogger (that time with the English writer Mundabor), and there too he relied on the argumentation of his hero “Fr.” Hesse instead of turning to pre-Vatican II Catholic theology books. (We published a powerful critique of him, Mundabor, and the celebrated Hesse in this post.)

With regard to both Skojec’s One Peter Five and Verrecchio’s aka Catholic, we can say: For web sites that supposedly seek to promote, defend, and restore Catholic Tradition, it’s amazing to see just how little of it is actually found there.

By the way: As far as the validity of Paul VI’s “New Mass” goes, which Skojec affirms and Verrecchio disputes to an extent, that issue is pretty much moot, since the large majority of such “Masses” is now conducted by clerics who are themselves bereft of valid holy orders (having been ordained in the 1968 Novus Ordo rite or by a “bishop” himself ordained in such a rite); and of course it does not matter how valid the words of consecration are in themselves if they are pronounced by a mere layman.

That, at least, is what traditional Catholicism says.

 

in Novus Ordo Wire     0

The Doctrinal Value of the Pope’s Ordinary Magisterium

In view of the encyclical Humani Generis

The Doctrinal Value of the Pope’s Ordinary Magisterium

Countless people of varying theological positions and alliances proclaim themselves, and sincerely seek to be, traditional Roman Catholics. Few, however, actually consult the very sources from which genuine traditional (i.e. pre-Vatican II) Catholic teaching can be gleaned, such as this 8-volume dogmatic theology manual, preferring instead the popular literature of authors who wrote in response to the revolution of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

Yet it stands to reason that, if all prejudice towards any traditionalist “camp” is to be avoided, there can be no better source to dispel the theological confusion and controversies of our times than the very authorities and works on matters of Sacred Theology that were used by the Church herself before the Modernists usurped the positions of power at the very top, beginning with the election of Angelo Roncalli as “Pope” John XXIII in 1958.

A very common error in our day is the idea that papal teaching is not binding, not authoritative, unless it is proclaimed ex cathedra, in which case it is protected by infallibility due to the special assistance of the Holy Ghost. This error has its root in another mistaken notion, namely, the idea that the believer’s obligation to assent arises from the Church’s inability to err. But this is false: The obligation to assent arises from the Church’s authority as the divinely appointed teacher, even aside from matters of infallibility: “He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me” (Lk 10:16).

The question thus presents itself: What is the origin of this widespread error about the binding nature of papal teaching? Where are people getting the idea that only infallible Church dogma must be assented to? Whatever their source is, it is most certainly not a traditional Catholic theology book, that is, not one from an approved theology work published before the death of Pope Pius XII.

The following three essays, clearly written not only for theologians but also for educated laymen, are a good example of the true traditional teaching expounded at a time when no one yet knew of a “Vatican II” or “Novus Ordo” anything:

In 1950, Pope Pius XII published the landmark encyclical Humani Generis, an absolutely critical document that refuted many theological errors renascent at the time, including the idea that the ordinary teaching of the Pope is little more than an opinion one can choose to take or leave. The Pope shot this down when he stated clearly: “Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority…” (Humani Generis, n. 20).

At the Sixth Annual Convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) in 1951, Fr. Edmond Darvil Benard (1914-1961) gave a lecture on this very topic, the transcript of which, including an appended “digest of discussion”, we are excited to share with you today.

Fr. Benard’s presentation is entitled “The Doctrinal Value of the Ordinary Teaching of the Holy Father in View of Humani Generis” and has been made available at the web site of Boston College. It can be accessed for reading online at the following link:

“The Doctrinal Value of the Ordinary Teaching
of the Holy Father in View of Humani Generis

by Fr. Edmond D. Benard
Proceedings of the Catholic Theological Society of America
Vol. 6 (1951), pp. 78-107

The scanned PDF file can also be downloaded, simply by clicking the “Download” button at the top right in the viewer that opens when you click the link.

We hope that this essay will enlighten many souls, reminding them that traditional Catholic teaching (for example, on the Papacy) is to be sought not in the works of Michael Davies and Roberto de Mattei but, first and foremost, in the approved theological works before the Vatican II Sect came into being. Traditional Catholic doctrine can never be replaced by theological ideas proposed in our day, which often are merely custom-tailored to account for the apostasy that has taken place while at the same time carefully aiming to avoid the highly undesirable conclusion of Sedevacantism.

Our position with regard to the Vatican II apostasy, the nature of the institution that has emerged with it, and the status of the papal claimants after Pius XII’s death, must be the consequence of the pertinent Catholic doctrine taught, believed, and held by the Church before the entire mess began. Hence, consulting and trying to understand that very doctrine is of the utmost importance.

Those accepting Francis as Pope while trying to adhere to the traditional Catholic Faith should ask themselves how Francis fits into Pope Pius XII’s description of the papal office in Humani Generis: “…this sacred Office of Teacher in matters of faith and morals must be the proximate and universal criterion of truth for all theologians, since to it has been entrusted by Christ Our Lord the whole deposit of faith — Sacred Scripture and divine Tradition — to be preserved, guarded and interpreted…. (n. 18).

Thus, if it is admitted that Francis’ magisterium is not “the proximate and universal criterion of truth” for the Catholic — and it obviously isn’t –, then either traditional Catholic doctrine is false, or Francis isn’t a valid Pope.

Now which of these two alternatives is compatible with traditional Catholicism?

 

in Novus Ordo Wire     0

The Death of Vincent Lambert and the Silence of “Pope” Francis

July 17, 2019

Frenchman starved to death by court order…

The Death of Vincent Lambert and the Silence of “Pope” Francis

When it concerns a matter he really cares about, Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope” Francis) always has his trap open: Whether the topic be migrants, the poor, integral ecology, sustainable development, the elderly, climate change, clean water, albinos in Africa, educational initiatives for the youth in Argentina, or the rights of the indigenous in the Amazon region — for all those causes, Bergoglio couldn’t stop his tongue from moving if his life depended on it.

Of course no one is saying that these aren’t worthy causes for the most part — that’s not the point. Rather, the point is that Francis practices a rather obvious double standard, for when it comes to things of equal or greater importance, the Jesuit apostate suddenly discovers the importance of silence — and if he does say or do something, it’s usually only late in the game, after a sufficient amount of pressure, and/or in minimal fashion.

Here are some examples:

Sadly, the recent high-profile case of Vincent Lambert, a 42-year-old tetraplegic man in France, was no different for the otherwise garrulous pseudo-pope.

Lambert had suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle accident on Sep. 29, 2008, that left him “a brain-damaged paraplegic in a minimally conscious state”, according to a Life Site report by Jeanne Smits. Although he was connected to a feeding tube for nutrition and hydration, Lambert was not terminally ill and not in need of special treatment, nor was he on life support equipment, such as a respirator. He was not dying but was quite alive.

His severe handicap, however, was enough for a number of people to seek his death:

His wife and six of his siblings supported a recommendation made by doctors in 2013 that the provision of nutrition and hydration through a gastric tube should be stopped. Lambert was able to breathe on his own.

But Lambert’s parents and two other siblings had fought the decision in courts, insisting as the Catholic Church does that nutrition and hydration are not extraordinary measures for prolonging his life.

Doctors at the clinic in Reims, France, where Lambert had been cared for, started withdrawing nutrition and hydration in May when a court ruled in his wife’s favor.

However, a few hours later, an appeals court reversed the decision and ordered a resumption of tube feeding and hydration.

In late June, another court ruled that care could be discontinued; doctors began withholding nutrition and hydration July 2.

(“Pope laments death of Vincent Lambert”La Croix International, July 15, 2019)

Lambert died on July 11, a full nine days after nutrition and hydration were withheld from him, and only because they were withheld.

What is even more shocking is that during his starvation ordeal Lambert “received no deep sedation and … during the first days of his agony, he was moaning and groaning, gasping for breath, and crying”, as related by his mother, Viviane, “who could not even give him a drink”. “He also had quieter moments but his eyes were open and he reacted to Viviane when she talked to him until then”, according to a July 11 article by Smits.

And where was Francis? Where was the Vatican?

For his favorite political issues, Francis has lots of time and lots to say. He is able to crank out book-length interviews, addresses, statements, special audiences, forewords, livestreams, video messages — you name it. He had a special message for the Super Bowl in 2017, shared words of wisdom with the same year’s G20 Summit, and blathered at the youth in a video message for a TED conference. Even personal phone calls or in-person visits are not out of the question for something that is dear to him. Two years ago he had fun chatting with astronauts on the International Space Station, and he once even found time to write the foreword to a psychotherapist’s book about the bad habit of complaining.

The fact is that Francis has plenty of time and energy — when it concerns something he actually cares about! As we’ve found out, that’s how it works with his knees, too: He is quite capable of kneeling, he just needs to find a good enough reason to actually do so. Too bad the Feast of Corpus Christi isn’t one for him.

So, what is Francis’ record on the Vincent Lambert case, which is clearly setting a judicial precedent in France for the fate of the handicapped who are effectively deemed “useless eaters” and therefore “unworthy of life”?

In 2018, Francis mentioned Vincent Lambert by name twice (April 15 and April 18) but only briefly as part of his post-Audience/Regina Caeli shout-outs. That’s the time when he makes fleeting remarks on world affairs, requests prayers for various intentions, and greets various pilgrim groups in attendance, such as the dairy farmers from Lesotho or the newlyweds from Micronesia.

On May 20, 2019, Francis sent a generic tweet about protecting human life, by which he includes, of course, opposition to the death penalty, which is not a “natural end” to life:

Whenever Francis or some other Novus Ordo big shot speaks out against murder, he will typically put it in general terms that lump together and condemn all killing, even that which is just and necessary, such as capital punishment meted out by the state for capital crimes, or killing enemy combatants in a just war. In this manner, innocent victims like Lambert or Gard are effectively put on a par with the most heinous criminals, such as Albert FishJames DeBardeleben, or this monster.

On July 10, roughly a week after the hospital had begun starving Lambert to death, Francis tortured himself to release the following tweet:

The Novus Ordo news video site Rome Reports seriously attempted to spin this tweet into a “strong plea for Vincent Lambert’s life” on the part of Francis, when it was clearly no such thing. First, because it does not mention Lambert by name at all; second, because it does not address his case even in general terms. Lambert was not “left to die.” He wasn’t dying at all. He was starved to death. He was dehydrated to death. If putting a convicted murderer in a prison cell and giving him no food or water until he is dead were a method of execution in the United States, the entire world would decry it as barbaric, inhumane, and excessively cruel. Francis himself would omit no opportunity to denounce and condemn it.

Not so in the case of Vincent Lambert, an innocent man whose only objectionable deed was that he was too ill to feed himself.

Not surprisingly, once Lambert’s court-ordered murder had been carried out successfully, Francis suddenly managed to remember his name again:

Thus far Francis’ personal interventions, or lack thereof. Too bad Lambert wasn’t a migrant trying to break down a border fence somewhere.

On May 21, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life and the Pontifical Academy for Life had released the following joint statement:

In full agreement with the affirmations of the Archbishop of Reims, H.E. Msgr. Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, and the auxiliary bishop, H.E. Msgr. Bruno Feillet, in relation to the sad case of Mr. Vincent Lambert, we wish to reiterate the grave violation of the dignity of the person that the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration would constitute. Indeed, the “vegetative state” is certainly a burdensome pathological state, which however does not in any way compromise the dignity of those people who find themselves in this condition, nor does it compromise their fundamental rights to life and to care, understood as the continuity of basic human assistance.

Nutrition and hydration constitute a form of essential care, always proportionate to life support: to nourish a sick person never constitutes a form of unreasonable therapeutic obstinacy, as long as the person is able to receive nutrition and hydration, provided this does not cause intolerable suffering or prove damaging to the patient.

The suspension of such care represents, rather, a form of abandonment of the patient, based on a pitiless judgment of the quality of life, expression of a throwaway culture that selects the most fragile and helpless people, without recognizing their uniqueness and immense value. The continuity of assistance is an inescapable duty.

We therefore hope that solutions may be found as soon as possible to protect Mr. Lambert’s life. To this end, we assure the prayer of the Holy Father and all the Church.

(“Declaration on the case of Mr. Vincent Lambert”Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, May 21, 2019)

The text was signed by McCarrick associate “Cardinal” Kevin Farrell and the scandal-ridden “Abp.” Vincenzo Paglia. Impressive! A few lines of text about human dignity from two Vatican officials nobody knows or pays any attention to. The only thing missing was a quote from Evangelii Gaudium.

A day before Lambert’s death, the Italian periodical Famiglia Christiana published an article penned by Paglia that effectively undid the May 21 declaration’s call for the protection of Lambert’s life and which “perpetuates the confusion between medical treatment and administration of food and fluids”, as one critical review put it.

After Lambert’s passing, Vatican News published a report that put a spin on the facts: “Lambert’s wife and some of his siblings wanted care to be withdrawn, but his Catholic parents, backed by other relatives, launched a series of legal bids to force doctors to keep him alive” (underlining added). This choice of words makes it appear as though Lambert was dying and the hospital was artificially keeping him alive. But that is not so. A report by AsiaNews.it hits the nail on the head: “He died of hunger and thirst, but was not near death and did not need machines to support his vital functions. But his doctors and wife decided he had to die.”

By contrast to all these reactions, the conservative “Cardinal” Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, erred on the opposite side, claiming that Lambert had “died as a martyr”Except he didn’t. He was murdered, yes; but he was not martyred. While it is true that Lambert was “a victim of the frightful madness of the men of our time”, as Sarah accurately described the situation, that is not what martyrdom is.

Donald Attwater’s Catholic Dictionary defines martyrdom as the “voluntary endurance of death for the Catholic faith, or for any article thereof, or for the preservation of some Christian virtue, or for some other act of virtue relating to God” (s.v. “Martyrdom”). Lambert was cruelly murdered in cold blood, but he was not killed for the Catholic Faith or for some supernatural virtue; so to apply the label of “martyr” here dangerously reduces martyrdom to the suffering of any kind of death that is brought about deliberately and unjustly, thereby making the concept meaningless. Sarah also contradicted himself when he said that he “pray[s] for the eternal repose of the soul of Vincent Lambert”, since it makes no sense to pray for the souls of genuine martyrs, who, rather, ought to be invoked to pray for us: “…the Church never prays for the repose of the souls of martyrs” (Catholic Dictionary).

The 2008 accident that put Lambert into this horrifying condition was a very tragic occurrence, but accidents do happen. Much more tragic, on the other hand, is how Lambert’s life was implicitly declared by courts to be superfluous and therefore ordered to be disposed of.

When people are diagnosed as being in a so-called “vegetative state”, this does not necessarily mean that they are not conscious, not aware of their surroundings, as patients who have come out of such a state have testified. In any case, we do not cease to be human simply because we cannot move, or cannot feed ourselves, or are unable to communicate. Human life is not the sum total of various bodily functions.

The following video shows Lambert weeping after hearing that the court had ordered him to be starved to death. His mother beautifully attempts to console him, telling him repeatedly, “Don’t cry” (ne pleure pas):

Lambert’s parents are now pressing murder charges against his doctors. Murder is the deliberate and direct killing of the innocent, and it is one of only four sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance (the other three are sodomy, oppression of the poor, and defrauding the laborer of his just wages).

It is certainly true that no one is obliged to use extraordinary means to prolong his life, but this is not even relevant here: Lambert was not hooked up to life support; he was merely fed through a feeding tube. When it was disconnected, he wasn’t “allowed to die”; he was forcibly dehydrated and starved to death because a court had decided it was in his “best interest.”

Years ago there was a debate among sedevacantist priests as to whether or not a feeding tube constituted extraordinary means — with no Pope to render an authoritative decision, the issue could not be settled. However, this debate need not concern us here, for our focal point in this post is the behavior of Francis, whose own religion has judged feeding tubes to be merely ordinary means.

To sum up: Vincent Lambert was lying in a hospital bed, too ill to feed himself. For nine days the hospital refused to give food or water to him, until he died — and the ever-talkative “Pope” had practically nothing to say.

“For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me” (Mt 25:42,45).

 

in Novus Ordo Wire     0

Francis gives Relics of St. Peter to Eastern Orthodox Patriarch

July 8, 2019

Bergoglio disposing of the Vatican’s last vestiges of Catholicism…

Francis gives away Relics of St. Peter to Eastern Orthodox Patriarch

Orthodox Abp. Job (center) takes possession of the relics of St. Peter,
accompanied by “Cardinal” Kurt Koch (second from left)

You’ve probably heard about it from other news sources at this point, but it’s a story big enough to warrant a dedicated post on this site: On June 29, 2019, the current Modernist usurper of the papal office, Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope” Francis), gave away nine bone fragments of the Apostle and first Pope, St. Peter, to the heretical and schismatic Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, a man who denies the primacy and infallibility of the papal office. The reason? Basically, Francis thought it was a good idea — because he himself has no use for them.

Numerous Novus Ordo news sites and blogs have reported on the incident. Here is a selection:

Of course the Eastern Orthodox, too, have reported on how they obtained the relics, and the following account presents a succinct summary:

On 29 June, 2019, after the Papal Mass in the Basilica of St. Peter, His Holiness Pope Francis invited [Orthodox Archbishop Job of Telmessos] to descend to the tomb of St. Peter under the main altar. They prayed together and the Pope then told him that he had “a gift for the Church of Constantinople”, not indicating what he intended, and invited him to accompany him to the Apostolic Palace. In the private chapel of the popes, he took the reliquary into his hands and handed it to Archbishop Job.

“When we entered the chapel,” said Archbishop Job, “the Pope Francis explained to me that Pope Paul VI wanted to keep a part of the relics of St. Peter from the Vatican Basilica in his private chapel.” Further, Pope Francis told him that during the prayer the previous evening he had this thought: “I no longer live in the Apostolic Palace, I never use this chapel, I never serve [offer] the Holy Mass here, and we have St. Peter’s relics in the basilica itself, so it will be better if they will be kept in Constantinople. This is my gift to the Church of Constantinople. Please take this reliquary and give it to my brother Patriarch Bartholomew. This gift is not from me, it is a gift from God.” Archbishop Job admitted that this decision of Pope Francis was a surprise to everyone: “This is an extraordinary and unexpected event that we did not expect. The relics of the Holy Apostle Peter were always kept in Rome where they were the purpose of pilgrimages. The Orthodox Church has never asked for them since they never belonged to the Church of Constantinople. This time, we do not speak of a return of relics to their original place. This time, the relics are being presented as a gift. This prophetic gesture is another huge step on the path to concrete unity,” stressed Archbishop Job of Telmessos.

(“Pope Francis of Rome gave relics of Saint Peter to the Church of Constantinople”Ecumenical Patriarchate Permanent Delegation to the World Council of Churches, July 1, 2019; underlining added.)

Rome Reports has published a video clip on Francis’ latest indiscretion:

Here is an alternate video report:

As reported by the German church historian Michael Hesemann on the Austrian Kath.net, these relics of St. Peter were discovered only in the last century, when workers in the Vatican grottoes began to prepare the sepulcher for the body of Pope Pius XI, who had just died. That was in 1939.

The relics of St. Peter are kept inside a bronze reliquary which had been commissioned by “Saint Pope” Paul VI — that accounts for its ugliness. The only time these relics were ever displayed to the public for veneration was Nov. 24, 2013. Here is a video clip showing part of the ceremony:

On June 30, Bartholomew publicly received and venerated the relics in Istanbul (which is what Constantinople is called today). The Facebook page of the Orthodox patriarchate published a number of photos.

To be clear: The Vatican still has other relics of St. Peter — but that’s not even the main issue. The main issue is that a man whom the world believes to be the Pope of the Catholic Church has given nine bone fragments of the first Pope, who received his mission directly from the Son of God, to the representatives of a false religion, a religion that has separated itself from that very Church of St. Peter, a religion which denies a number of divinely-revealed truths, including the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the existence of purgatory, and papal primacy and infallibility. They certainly have a lot in common with Francis!

What adds even greater insult to this injury is the fact that June 29 was the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, the Petrine feast day of the year. The symbolism of the whole thing is striking.

By the way: Francis isn’t the first pseudo-pope to give away Catholic relics. A similar incident occurred in 2004, when the Voodoo admirer and Polish apostate “Pope Saint” John Paul II handed over the relics of St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory Nazianzen to the same Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew.

As Pope Leo XIII wrote in his Exorcism Prayer against Satan and the Apostate Angels, published in 1890: “These most crafty enemies [of God] have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions”. Bergoglio is merely the latest manifestation of this same evil force, now in de facto possession of the Vatican structures.

So the Modernist thieves in the Vatican have now started to give the Church’s physical goods away. Her spiritual goods they took care of long time ago, replacing them with mostly bogus sacraments and a Counterfeit Catholicism.

Ladies and gentlemen, are you shocked at this? If so, why? These are the people who give the (supposed) Body of Christ to public heretics and unrepentant public sinners — why wouldn’t they give away the relics of St. Peter to a false religion?!

In any case, it’s always more fun to give away things that aren’t yours in the first place.

 

in Novus Ordo Wire     0

Francis vs. Pope Pius XI: The Catholic Position on Sex Education

July 11, 2019

Modernist Apostate vs. Vicar of Christ

Francis vs. Pope Pius XI:
The Catholic Position on Sex Education

by Francis del Sarto

“More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”
–Our Lady to the children at Fatima on July 13, 1917

“The Least Serious Sins are the Sins of the Flesh.”
–“Pope” Francis to an agnostic French sociologist, 2017 (source)

Ever wonder how pretend-pope Francis wakes up in the morning? It could be that he has his clock radio blast the tango to get him going on the desired chaotic trajectory, after which he rises and consults his day planner to see what part of the Magisterium he’s scheduled to contradict that day. On very rare occasions, he will come across a listing marked “Double Down Day”, when he gets to set aside his vaunted (ahem) humility and take aim at a pair of Church teachings in one fell swoop.

Such an opportunity for double-down lunacy occurred January 28, 2018, during an on-board discussion he had with reporters as he returned to Rome on Airhead One at the conclusion of World Youth Day in Panama City. A previous article on this web site had already taken apart the heretical comments he made then concerning one of the dire consequences resulting from abortion:

In the same stand-up routine — er, in-flight press conference — the Oracle of the Pampas had another such “pearl of wisdom”, this time on the need for sex education. The exchange went as follows:

Q: Many girls in Central America get pregnant too early. The Church’s detractors say it’s the Church’s responsibility because it’s opposed to sexual education. What is your opinion on sexual education?

A: Sexual education must be given in school; sex is a gift of God, it’s not a monster; it’s a gift of God to love. That some then use it to earn money or to exploit is another problem. But it’s necessary to give an objective sexual education, without ideological colonization. If you begin to give a sexual education full of ideological colonization, you destroy the person.

However, sex must be educated as a gift of God. To educate in the sense of having the best of people emerge and to accompany them along the way. The problem is the system: the teachers and textbooks must be chosen for this task. I’ve seen some rather dirty books. There are things that make one mature and things that do harm. I don’t know if they are working on this in Panama; I don’t go into politics. But it’s necessary to have sexual education. The ideal is to begin at home. It’s not always possible because there are so many varied situations in families. And, therefore, the school supplies this, because otherwise there will be a void, which will then be filled by any ideology.

(Source: “Holy Father’s In-flight Discussion with Reporters (Full Text)”Zenit, Jan. 29, 2018; underlining added.)

The reporter’s question seems as though it may have been scripted, giving Francis an opportunity to respond to the charge that “the Church” is to blame for girls getting pregnant before they should in Panama, “because it’s opposed to sexual education”. He gives the sort of reply one expects from a Modernist, couching part of it in somewhat Catholic-sounding terms like “sex is a gift from God”, but also asserting, in direct repudiation of numerous authentic Church pronouncements, that “sexual education must be given in school”. His justification? After acknowledging that instruction in the home is “ideal”, it is “not always possible because there are so many varied situations in families”. And, as if to assuage any concerns about what will be taught, he emphasizes that he wants “objective sex education, without ideological colonization [sic]”.

Yet if some traditionally-minded souls are somewhat relieved at the qualifier objective, then they really don’t fully appreciate the level of devious mischief Jorge Bergoglio is capable of making out of one little word. For them it means that there won’t be any special interest group taking the lessons into places that impressionable young ears should not hear; for Francis, on the other hand, it has an altogether different meaning, as will be seen shortly.

“Pope” Francis can’t seem to keep Bergoglian dialectics out of any discussion, no matter the subject. Does the term “ideological colonization” have a certain Marxist ring to it? Well, it should, because like much of Francis’ rhetoric, that’s where it finds its roots. Among his many firsts, Bergoglio is the first of the Novus Ordo “popes” to use the term (no true Pope ever used it either, for that matter; but then, none of them were leftist Argentinians either).

His use of the term “ideological colonization” in regard to sex education is only the most recent time he’s invoked it, but don’t let that fool you — it’s a pet phrase of his, a go-to deprecation for whatever irks his Modernist sensibility. According to a Crux article from November 2017, he used the buzzword in the course of a homily. The reporter sought to give it a bit more context:

Francis has used the term “ideological colonization” to describe what he sees as a form of oppression of developing societies by affluent ones, especially the West, through imposing an alien worldview or set of values on poorer societies, often by making adoption of those values a condition of humanitarian or development aid.

(Inés San Martín, “Pope Francis: Ideological colonization a ‘blasphemy against God’”Crux, Nov. 21, 2017)

If that sounds like so much quasi-Marxist claptrap, it’s because that’s precisely what it is. In its promotion of a book on Francis’ theology, the publishing arm of the radical Maryknoll Order, Orbis Books, notes that

he has drawn not only from the social teaching of the Latin American Church, but also in a particular way from a school of the­ology that arose in Argentina called “Theology of the People.” A type of liberation theology, it emphasizes respect for the culture and popular religious expressions of the poor.

(Publisher’s description of Pope Francis and the Theology of the People by Rafael Luciani)

When “Theology of the People” is mentioned, one should think of the word “People” in the sense it is used by so many Communist countries past and present (as in: People’s Republic of China, Hungarian People’s Republic, etc.), and other similar instances, such as the publication of the Communist Party USA, People’s World (they’re fans of Bergoglio, by the way), ex-Beatle and leftist John Lennon’s song “Power to the People”, or the satirical conservative site, The People’s Cube. In all of these cases, the term signifies the lower socio-economic class — it’s always the people because leftists insist on emphasizing the collective to the detriment of individual worth.

Nearly forgotten due to an attempted Vatican cover-up by the scrubbing of a web page, the recognize-and-resist publication Tradition in Action is to be commended for exposing how Francis celebrated the 60th anniversary of the bloody, anti-Catholic Cuban revolution by welcoming a circus troupe from that island tyranny.

Indeed, the career of the “hammer-and-sickle crucifix pope” has been so consistently to the far left that it’s no wonder famed Vatican reporter Sandro Magister could write a column credibly titled “The Communists the Pope Likes. And Vice-versa”.

In any case, the question may now be asked, what possible relevance could Francis’ mention of “ideological colonization” have in the context of his sex-ed remarks? The Crux article explains:

Francis has a long record of denouncing ideological colonization, especially one form he believes it often takes, which is the imposition of “gender theory.”

“A great enemy of marriage today is the theory of gender,” Francis said in Georgia in Oct. 2016.

“Today, there is a global war trying to destroy marriage… they don’t destroy it with weapons, but with ideas. It’s certain ideological ways of thinking that are destroying it…we have to defend ourselves from ideological colonization,” he said.

(Inés San Martín, “Pope Francis: Ideological colonization a ‘blasphemy against God’”Crux, Nov. 21, 2017)

Further on in these 2016 comments, Bergoglio had alluded to “that wickedness shown today, by indoctrinating people with the gender theory”, citing this example:

A French father told me that he was chatting with his children at table once and asked his 10-year-old son: ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ ‘A girl!’ the boy said. The father realised that school text books were teaching the gender and this goes against what is natural. For a person to have this inclination, or this option or those who change sex, is one thing. It is quite another to teach according to this line at school, in order to change people’s mentality. This is what I call “ideological colonisations”.

(Andrea Tornielli, “This is how, I, as Pope, welcome homosexual people and transsexuals”Vatican Insider, Oct. 3, 2016)

But doesn’t Francis seem to be confused here? After all, if there is nothing wrong with a person having such an “inclination”, of what harm is there to acknowledge this in school as part of a broad gender “spectrum”?

Indeed, he himself brings this up in the next breath when he speaks of how he invited Diego Neria Lejárraga, a Spanish woman “identifying” as a man, and her female “fiancee”, to the Vatican, and endorsed their unnatural relationship. So, still more confusion. A photo shows Bergoglio posing with the “couple”. One wonders how Novus Ordo parents explained to their children how the “no gender theory in school pope” is giving free positive publicity to the transgender movement! Of course, as is so often the case, this was not so much Bergoglio’s personal confusion as it was him fomenting it.

Novus Ordo Watch, in an article from that time entitled “Francis on Transgenders: Case-by-Case Discernment Needed!”, addressed his hypocrisy in this way:

So, in short, the apostate pretend-pope gave his standard one-size-fits-all answer that says nothing concrete and leaves everything up in the air, just like in his infamous exhortation Amoris Laetitia. As always, he wants to have it both ways and remains vague and ambiguous so that each side — conservative or liberal — can pick whatever it prefers. On the one hand, he said “sin is sin” and we must accompany with “truth” — but then he also said we need to be “open” and use “mercy” and “accompany”, “discern”, and “integrate” because “this is what Jesus would do today”. You know, like our Blessed Lord did when He sensitively told the Samaritan adulteress at the well: “…he whom thou now hast, is not thy husband” (Jn 4:18). That kind of accompaniment?

Francis can verbally and theoretically reject transgenderism as being “against what is natural” all he wants; in actual practice he sings a different tune, and he admitted as much. Several times he referred to the Spanish girl as “male” simply because she “felt like a boy” and later, as an adult, had herself surgically mutilated. But as a biological female, how would she possibly know what it feels like to be a male, anyway? Still, Francis accepts her as male and thus in practice swallows the entire gender theory he just verbally denounced, hook, line, and sinker. Whatever he may say, the fact is that he accepts genderism; he accepts the female as a male simply because she “feels” that way. What is even worse, Francis also accepts that this woman-pretending-to-be-a-man can enter a marriage with a woman! This is beyond sickening!

But should anyone be surprised? This is a “Pope”, after all, who also believes in a transgender god, as it were, who is both father and mother. Remember?

(“Francis on Transgenders: Case-by-Case Discernment Needed!”Novus Ordo Wire, Oct. 2, 2016)

The same “Pope” Francis warns that “there is a global war trying to destroy marriage”, but again and again he shows himself to be an ideological colonialist who wages war against matrimony and traditional sexual morality by:

This is what must be considered at the forefront of his promotion of sex-ed. If you’re interested in understanding his spin on “objective sex education” (read: virtue-free, Bergolian XXX sex education), look no further than the July 29, 2016 LifeSiteNews article, “Vatican sex ed ‘surrenders’ to sexual revolution: Life and family leaders react”. Columnist Pete Baklinski opens by reporting:

Three international life-and-family leaders who have defended Catholic teaching on marriage, sexuality, and life for decades have called the Vatican’s newly released sex-ed program for teens “thoroughly immoral,” “entirely inappropriate,” and “quite tragic.”

“I find it monstrous that an official arm of the Church would not only create a sexual education program for teens but one that bypasses parents as the primary educator of their children,” said Dr. Thomas Ward, Founder and President of the National Association of Catholic Families as well as a Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The program, titled “The Meeting Point: Course of Affective Sexual Education for Young People,” was released last week by the Pontifical Council for the Family to be presented this week to young people at World Youth Day in Poland.

(Pete Baklinski, “Vatican sex ed ‘surrenders’ to sexual revolution: Life and family leaders react”Life Site, July 29, 2016; underlining added.)

In a separate piece on the Vatican’s sex-ed, Mr. Baklinski notes that “sexual sins are not mentioned at all [and] immoral videos are used as springboards for discussion.” And among his bullet points (from a much, much longer list) we read:

  • Handing the sexual formation of children over to educators while leaving parents out of the equation.
  • Failing to name and condemn sexual behaviors, such as fornication, prostitution, adultery, contracepted-sex, homosexual activity, and masturbation, as objectively sinful actions that destroy charity in the heart and turn one away from God.
  • Failing to warn youths about the possibility of eternal separation from God (damnation) for committing grave sexual sins. Hell is not mentioned once.
  • Failing to distinguish between mortal and venial sin.
  • Failing to speak about the 6th and 9th commandment, or any other commandment.
  • Failing to teach about the sacrament of confession as a way of restoring relationship with God after committing grave sin.
  • Not mentioning a healthy sense of shame when it comes to the body and sexuality.
  • Teaching boys and girls together in the same class.

(Pete Baklinski, “At World Youth Day, Vatican releases teen sex-ed program that leaves out parents and mortal sin”Life Site, July 27, 2016. Further indication of the very naturalistic orientation of the Vatican’s program is evident from a link near the beginning of the article to a slideshow of course offerings that comes with a viewer advisory that reads “Caution: Sexually explicit images.” Novus Ordo Watch reported on the outrage here.)

So, it turns out that the detractors mentioned in the question to Bergoglio were way behind the curve in suggesting that the Novus Ordo religion was against sex education, as it had already been in place and sowing its poisonous seeds for years. Now, if those detractors were somehow confusing the Vatican II Sect for the Catholic Church, then they would be right in thinking there is opposition to sex education, as it was explicitly condemned numerous times by the true Church.

Now might be as good a time as any to contrast what the American hierarchy 12 years before the start of Vatican II and three years after its conclusion were thinking about sex education. If you want a prime example of the hermeneutic of discontinuity, look no further! In an article entitled “Amoris Laetitia and ‘Sex Education’”, author and researcher Randy Engel observes:

On Nov 17, 1950, the National Catholic Welfare Council issued a formal statement titled “The Child: Citizens of Two Worlds” in the name of ALL the American bishops in which the hierarchy reminded parents of their special competence and duty in regard to the provision of sex instruction to their children. The paragraph ended with the solemn warning, “We protest in the strongest possible terms against the introduction of sex instruction into the schools.”

Take note of the date. It’s the last time you will see the American bishops’ collective support of Divini Illius Magistri. Eighteen years later, in their Pastoral, Human Life In Our Day, the American bishops made sex instruction “a grave obligation” and called for “systematic” provisions for classroom sex instruction in the diocesan curriculum due to “the new circumstances of modern culture and communications.” In fact, the only real change was the disintegration and collapse of the collective hierarchial spine.

(Randy Engel, Amoris Laetitia and ‘Sex Education’”AKA Catholic, Apr. 29, 2016; formatting given.)

It’s great that she sheds light on this pre-Vatican II/post-Vatican II disconnect but regrettable that she didn’t follow up on her last statement. Yes, there’s been a “disintegration and collapse of the collective hierarchical spine”, but why? That’s the big question, but it didn’t occur by accident, nor were they coerced due to societal changes. This Dr.-Jekyll-to-Mr.-Hyde transformation took place because they imbibed deeply of the toxic, vaporous potion of Modernism concocted at Roncalli-Montini Laboratories (“new circumstances of modern culture and communications”, as if fundamental human nature could be radically altered), and served in tall flasks and test tubes at the mad scientists’ conference known as the Second Vatican Council.

As the Novus Ordo is wont to be, things would soon go from bad to worse. One may reasonably ask the question: How could nominally Catholic teachers ever have been persuaded to turn away from sound teaching to include curricula so vile and impure as to lead countless pupils to embrace sexual promiscuity, even to the point of becoming sodomites, who in some cases became “clerical” sex abusers? To help answer this question, we turn to a 2002 World Net Daily article entitled “Catholics Learning Sex from Kinsey’s Disciples”. There, columnist Art Moore reports:

The U.S. Catholic bishops’ latest proposal to create “safe environments” for children through an “Office of Child and Youth Protection” offers little comfort to some members who closely monitor the Church’s gatekeepers.

For lay activists who have documented corruption in the church hierarchy over the past several decades, it comes as no surprise that the radical, anything-goes philosophy of famed “sexologist” Alfred Kinsey, a reputed pedophile, has triumphed over traditional teaching in Catholic institutions across the U.S., creating a flourishing environment for priests who abuse teens and children.

“It’s like fighting cancer with a topical medication,” said Stephen Brady, president of the lay group Roman Catholic Faithful. “They are not addressing the problem – but they can’t because many of these bishops are compromised and waiting to be exposed [for abuse] themselves.”

The influence of the “father of the sexual revolution” on the Church can be easily illustrated in a course called “Sexual Attitude Restructuring,” which urges participants to rethink “restricting attitudes” acquired in their religious upbringing and adopt a lifestyle of free sexual expression.

The course is a staple of an institute started nearly 30 years ago by Kinsey disciples that directly or indirectly influences nearly every sex education and therapy program in the country. The San Francisco-based Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, or IASHS, requires its students to complete the SAR, where participants have been known to strip down and interact sexually with each other while surrounded by multiple screens that display hard-core pornographic films.

In her book, “Kinsey, Crimes and Consequences,” Judith Reisman, a noted researcher of Kinsey’s legacy, documents the IASHS leaders’ characterization of the course contents as the “f—orama.”

The SAR and its X-rated theater – perhaps missing only the in-class “lab work” – was offered to parishioners for 10 years by the Milwaukee Archdiocese under Rembert G. Weakland, who recently took early retirement after admitting to a $450,000 payment by the archdiocese that settled a complaint by a young man with whom he had an “inappropriate” relationship.

Lay activists, including Roman Catholic Faithful, have documented Weakland’s legacy of amoral values and homosexuality in diocesan schools and in pastoral and lay training.

Activist Thomas Phillips says in the preface to a dossier he collected on the archdiocese: “It is within this climate of lax sexual mores set by Rembert Weakland that proclivities toward sexual abuse have grown and festered, until giving rise to an explosion of pedophilia cases, criminal convictions and lawsuits.”

That was written nearly 10 years ago when seven priests had been accused of abuse. Since then, more cases have arisen, leading up to the present media focus on a crisis that afflicts not only Milwaukee, but the entire U.S. Church.

Brady states what is obvious to fellow Catholics who have connected the dots between the kind of environment created by Weakland and the current sex scandal.

“When you break down sexual barriers and open people to not being sensitive or ashamed, then you start to make them vulnerable to sin,” he told WorldNetDaily.

(Art Moore, “Catholics Learning Sex from Kinsey’s Disciples”World Net Daily, June 12, 2002)

It was Kinsey who did the most to open the Pandora’s Box known as the “sexual revolution” that has plagued American society and other parts of the world for over 70 years, since his 1948 book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. This and its companion volume, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), were pivotal in leading to the weakening or outright abandonment of traditional morality concerning the sexual act in favor of a naturalistic, statistics-driven, virtue-free conception.

Indeed, the late Hugh Hefner, founder of the pornographic Playboy, a magazine that introduced sexual hedonism to a mass audience, was “inspired” by Kinsey, even stating in an editorial from the inaugural issue that “we believe… we are filling a publishing need only slightly less important than the one taken care of by the Kinsey report.”

But there were even darker dimensions to Kinsey’s pseudo-scientific “research”: He utilized the testimony of inmates incarcerated for sex crimes, and he sanctioned and concealed the systematic abuse of children — even infants. By using this “data” and other highly objectionable “scientific findings”,

…Kinsey has created a “field” that advocates for normalization of sex between adults and children, including infants and youths as well as sex with animals. Indeed, Kinsey himself, viewed morality based standards of “normal” and “abnormal” as non-pragmatic, unrealistic and unenforceable. Unfortunately, such a perspective has become the seed of a social contagion that has infected the law, medicine, education, the media as well as religious and cultural institutions worldwide.

(Judith A. Reisman and Mary E. McAlister, “ECOSOC, the Kinsey Institute and Child Sexual Abuse”International Center on Law, Life, Faith and Family)

And there was also Kinsey’s involvement with the occult, which ties in with the child abuse. In 1955, eight years after the death of the notorious Satanist Aleister Crowley, Kinsey journeyed to Sicily to visit the ruins of Crowley’s so-called Abbey of Thelema, where he met filmmaker Kenneth Anger, a fellow devotee of Crowley, co-founder of the Church of Satan, and producer of movies with explicitly sinister titles such as Lucifer Rising and Invocation of My Demon Brother.

The two were drawn to the site based on its reputation as a center for “sex magick” (as spelled by Crowley to distinguish it from stage illusions). Rumors had it that the children who lived there witnessed — and perhaps participated in — such rituals. Other bizarre stories involved such incidences as when a follower, upon Crowley’s orders, drank cat blood and died. Benito Mussolini forced the cult out of Italy in 1923.

The rumors likely have more than a grain of truth, for in 2011 four members of a Welsh sex magick cult based on Crowley’s Book of the Law (a demonically-dictated tome that solemnly declares the advent of the “Æon of Horus”, an age that would signal the end of Christianity) were convicted of various crimes, including dozens of counts of perverted acts with children.

With such a background of Kinsey, the thought that his warped thinking is echoed in a “Sexual Attitude Restructuring” course, which urges participants to rethink “restricting attitudes” concerning sex, is beyond disturbing. Of course, in order for anti-Christian propaganda to have entered the doors of once-Catholic institutions, it required someone with enough power to open the doors for them in a welcoming manner.

That man was “Pope Saint” Paul VI, who at Vatican II pushed for sex education in the declaration on “Christian” education, Gravissimum Educationis, the first “magisterial” document to go against the previous teaching of the Church on the subject. So important is that declaration to the Novus Ordo revolution that Francis felt obliged to cite it in his infernal document Amoris Laetitia, which itself takes the revolution to a whole new level:

The Second Vatican Council spoke of the need for “a positive and prudent sex education” to be imparted to children and adolescents “as they grow older”, with “due weight being given to the advances in the psychological, pedogogical and didactic sciences”. [Vatican II, Declaration Gravissimum Educationis, n. 1]

(Antipope Francis, Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, n. 280)

In the subsequent paragraph of Amoris Laetitia, Francis attempts to allay concerns by speaking about modesty and the need for age-appropriate material in such curricula, but the truth can be seen by examining the bullet points above to see that neither of these are in reality of particularly great importance to him — it’s just another example of him playacting as a Catholic. What follows will show how vast the divide is between authentic Catholic thought concerning the sexual instruction of youth and what is being falsely presented as Catholic in the Novus Ordo religion.

As a general principle, even before the evil of sex-ed was proposed in recent times, The Roman Catechism (aka Catechism of the Council of Trent, a work written primarily for parish priests) gave a recommendation on how the Sixth Commandment should be taught:

In the explanation of this Commandment, however, the pastor has need of great caution and prudence, and should treat with great delicacy a subject which requires brevity rather than copiousness of exposition. For it is to be feared that if he explained in too great detail or at length the ways in which this Commandment is violated, he might unintentionally speak of subjects which, instead of extinguishing, usually serve rather to inflame corrupt passion.

(Catechism of the Council of Trent, trans. by John A. McHugh and Charles J. Callan [New York, NY: Joseph F. Wagner, Inc., 1923], p. 431)

So, the mind of the Church is such that this is a topic about which a priest is to be circumspect even with adults.

As for modern sex education, the first condemnation was by Pope Pius XI in the encyclical titled Divini Illius Magistri (On the Christian Education of Youth) issued on December 31, 1929. Here, His Holiness specifically mentions the great importance of a 16th-century work by a teacher of St. Charles Borromeo (principal editor of The Roman Catechism):

54. While treating of education, it is not out of place to show here how an ecclesiastical writer, who flourished in more recent times, during the Renaissance, the holy and learned Cardinal Silvio Antoniano, to whom the cause of Christian education is greatly indebted, has set forth most clearly this well established point of Catholic doctrine. He had been a disciple of that wonderful educator of youth, St. Philip Neri; he was teacher and Latin secretary to St. Charles Borromeo, and it was at the latter’s suggestion and under his inspiration that he wrote his splendid treatise on The Christian Education of Youth. …

65. Another very grave danger is that naturalism which nowadays invades the field of education in that most delicate matter of purity of morals. Far too common is the error of those who with dangerous assurance and under an ugly term propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural, such as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public; and, worse still, by exposing them at an early age to the occasions, in order to accustom them, so it is argued, and as it were to harden them against such dangers.

66. Such persons grievously err in refusing to recognize the inborn weakness of human nature, and the law of which the Apostle speaks, fighting against the law of the mind; and also in ignoring the experience of facts, from which it is clear that, particularly in young people, evil practices are the effect not so much of ignorance of intellect as of weakness of a will exposed to dangerous occasions, and unsupported by the means of grace.

67. In this extremely delicate matter, if, all things considered, some private instruction is found necessary and opportune, from those who hold from God the commission to teach and who have the grace of state, every precaution must be taken. Such precautions are well known in traditional Christian education, and are adequately described by Antoniano cited above, when he says:

Such is our misery and inclination to sin, that often in the very things considered to be remedies against sin, we find occasions for and inducements to sin itself. Hence it is of the highest importance that a good father, while discussing with his son a matter so delicate, should be well on his guard and not descend to details, nor refer to the various ways in which this infernal hydra* destroys with its poison so large a portion of the world; otherwise it may happen that instead of extinguishing this fire, he unwittingly stirs or kindles it in the simple and tender heart of the child. Speaking generally, during the period of childhood it suffices to employ those remedies which produce the double effect of opening the door to the virtue of purity and closing the door upon vice. *[hydra — The etymology is from the Greek, “a many-headed monster.”]

68. False also and harmful to Christian education is the so-called method of “coeducation.” This too, by many of its supporters, is founded upon naturalism and the denial of original sin; but by all, upon a deplorable confusion of ideas that mistakes a leveling promiscuity and equality, for the legitimate association of the sexes. The Creator has ordained and disposed perfect union of the sexes only in matrimony, and, with varying degrees of contact, in the family and in society. Besides there is not in nature itself, which fashions the two quite different in organism, in temperament, in abilities, anything to suggest that there can be or ought to be promiscuity, and much less equality, in the training of the two sexes. These, in keeping with the wonderful designs of the Creator, are destined to complement each other in the family and in society, precisely because of their differences, which therefore ought to be maintained and encouraged during their years of formation, with the necessary distinction and corresponding separation, according to age and circumstances. These principles, with due regard to time and place, must, in accordance with Christian prudence, be applied to all schools, particularly in the most delicate and decisive period of formation, that, namely, of adolescence; and in gymnastic exercises and deportment, special care must be had of Christian modesty in young women and girls, which is so gravely impaired by any kind of exhibition in public.

(Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Divini Illius Magistri, nn. 54,65-68)

There is scarcely a precept expounded on here upon which Bergoglio and his “objective” sex education program haven’t made a full-on attack. The very grave danger against the purity of morals, about which Pius XI warns, namely Naturalism, is the demon lurking just beneath the very thin veneer of a Modernist Rome’s pseudo-Catholic curriculum.

But let us continue, for there is much more of relevance from this papacy. The following year, Pope Pius came out with Casti Connubii, his celebrated landmark encyclical on Christian Marriage. Although not directly addressing sex education, it lays out principles that show that those who advocate a naturalistic approach to treating carnal appetites, one that shoves God aside and relies on “natural means”, are “greatly deceived” to believe this way can “establish chastity”:

87. …since man cannot hold in check his passions, unless he first subject himself to God, this must be his primary endeavor, in accordance with the plan divinely ordained. For it is a sacred ordinance that whoever shall have first subjected himself to God will, by the aid of divine grace, be glad to subject to himself his own passions and concupiscence; while he who is a rebel against God, will, to his sorrow, experience within himself the violent rebellion of his worst passions.

1o1. They are greatly deceived who … think that they can induce men by the use and discovery of the natural sciences … to curb their natural desires. We do not say this in order to belittle those natural means which are not dishonest; for God is the author of nature as well as of grace, and He has disposed the good things of both orders for the beneficial use of men. But they are mistaken who think that these means are able to establish chastity in the nuptial union, or that they are more effective than supernatural grace.

(Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Casti Connubii, nn. 87,101)

However, Bergoglio’s program is even worse in a sense, because, as noted, not only does it ignore “a healthy sense of shame when it comes to the body and sexuality” — something absolutely necessary to keep passions in check –, it also fails to identify and condemn “objectively sinful actions that destroy charity in the heart and turn one away from God”. In other words, it is pure Naturalism.

In 1931, the Holy Office issued this pertinent judgment:

QUESTION: May the method called “sex education” or even “sex initiation” be approved?

ANSWER: No. In the education of youth the method to be followed is that hitherto observed by the Church and the Saints as recommended by His Holiness the Pope in the encyclical dealing with the Christian education of youth promulgated on December 31, 1929. The first place is to be given to the full, sound and continuous instruction in religion of both sexes. Esteem, desire and love of the angelic virtue must be instilled into their minds and hearts. They must be made fully alive to the necessity of constant prayer, and assiduous frequenting of the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist; they must be directed to foster a filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin as Mother of holy purity, to whose protection they must entirely commit themselves. Precautions must be taken to see that they avoid dangerous reading, indecent shows, conversations of the wicked, and all other occasions of sin.

Hence no approbation whatever can be given to the advocacy of the new method even as taken up recently by some Catholic authors and set before the public in printed publications.

(Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, Decree on “Sex Education” and on “Eugenics”, Mar. 21, 1931; in Acta Apostolicae Sedis XXIII [1931], pp. 118-119; underlining added. Translation taken from EWTN.)

Pope Pius XI even made mention in Mit Brennender Sorge (On the Church and the German Reich), his 1937 encyclical to the German hierarchy in light of the ascendancy of the National Socialist ideology, of how compulsory naturalistic education (though not sex-ed, which was not favored by the Nazis) in government schools was gravely violating the rights of parents. Like with Francis’ sex education, the Hitler regime bypassed parents as the primary educators of their children. So, what’s important here to the present-day discussion is that the Pope restated the Church’s perennial position on said parental rights and obligations, declaring:

Parents who are earnest and conscious of their educative duties, have a primary right to the education of the children God has given them in the spirit of their Faith, and according to its prescriptions. Laws and measures which in school questions fail to respect this freedom of the parents go against natural law, and are immoral. The Church, whose mission it is to preserve and explain the natural law, as it is divine in its origin, cannot but declare that the recent enrollment into schools organized without a semblance of freedom, is the result of unjust pressure, and is a violation of every common right.

(Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge, n. 31)

It is certainly worth reviewing the words of his successor, Pope Pius XII, whose comments in 1951 directed to French fathers shows how far the Modernists had made inroads in this regard, showing an ill-disguised contempt for anyone so backward as to think Pius XI’s words were still relevant (as if truth needed to change with the times in order to keep up with the advances of psychology, sociology, and other natural sciences):

…There is one field in which the work of educating public opinion and correcting it imposes itself with tragic urgency [i.e., classroom sex-ed].… Even the principles so wisely illustrated by Our Predecessor Pius XI, in the encyclical Divini Illius Magistri, on sex education and questions connected thereto are set aside — a sad sign of the times! With a smile of compassion: Pius XI, they say, wrote twenty years ago, for his times! Great progress has been made since then! … Fathers of families… Unite… to stop and curtail these movements under whatever name or under whatever patronage they conceal themselves or are patronized.

(Pope Pius XII, Allocution to French Fathers and Families, Sep. 18, 1951; excerpted in Benedictine Monks of Solesmes, eds., Papal Teachings: Education [Boston, MA: Daughters of St. Paul, 1960], nn. 568,572; underlining added.)

And in the same place Pius XII warned about so-called Catholic sex-ed literature in the strongest possible terms:

One is appalled at the intolerable impudence of such literature; and while paganism itself, in the face of the secret of matrimonial intimacy, seemed respectfully to draw the line, We are compelled to witness this mystery violated and its vision – sensual and dramatised – offered as food to the public at large, even to the youth. It is the case really to ask oneself if the dividing line is still sufficiently visible between this initiation, which is said to be Catholic, and the press which with erotic and obscene illustrations purposely and deliberately aims at corruption and shamefully exploits, for vile gain, the lowest instincts of fallen nature.

(Ibid., n. 570; underlining added.)

Here, Pope Pius almost seems to be casting a prophetic eye towards our times to castigate the sexual instruction favored by Bergoglio and his minions.

To further reinforce where the mind of the Church stands on the subject, let’s also take a moment to reflect on the sage wisdom of Pope Leo XIII, who taught in his encyclical Sapientiae Christianae (1890) the vital importance of parents inculcating virtue in their children — faith, piety, charity and chastity — which is of special importance when the enemies of Christ had redoubled their efforts to attack Him by attacking families through the instruction of little ones in wickedness:

This is a suitable moment for us to exhort especially heads of families to govern their households according to these precepts, and to be solicitous without failing for the right training of their children. The family may be regarded as the cradle of civil society, and it is in great measure within the circle of family life that the destiny of the States is fostered. Whence it is that they who would break away from Christian discipline are working to corrupt family life, and to destroy it utterly, root and branch. From such an unholy purpose they allow not themselves to be turned aside by the reflection that it cannot, even in any degree, be carried out without inflicting cruel outrage on the parents. These hold from nature their right of training the children to whom they have given birth, with the obligation super-added of shaping and directing the education of their little ones to the end for which God vouchsafed the privilege of transmitting the gift of life. It is, then, incumbent on parents to strain every nerve to ward off such an outrage, and to strive manfully to have and to hold exclusive authority to direct the education of their offspring, as is fitting, in a Christian manner, and first and foremost to keep them away from schools where there is risk of their drinking in the poison of impiety. Where the right education of youth is concerned, no amount of trouble or labor can be undertaken, how great soever, but that even greater still may not be called for. In this regard, indeed, there are to be found in many countries Catholics worthy of general admiration, who incur considerable outlay and bestow much zeal in founding schools for the education of youth. It is highly desirable that such noble example may be generously followed, where time and circumstances demand, yet all should be intimately persuaded that the minds of children are most influenced by the training they receive at home. If in their early years they find within the walls of their homes the rule of an upright life and the discipline of Christian virtues, the future welfare of society will in great measure be guaranteed.

(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Sapientiae Christianae, n. 42)

It is evident that Catholics have a moral obligation to oppose sex education; and arguably even more so in 2019 than in the late 1800s or mid-1900s, given that the level of vile degradation to which such indoctrination has sunk is vastly worse than anything imagined back in those days. And yet this is the kind of spiritual sickness that Modernist Rome not only says we need not oppose but practically mandates as the only way to spiritual health for teens and pre-teens.

The more we hear from the lips of “Pope” Francis, the more clearly evident it is that he’s on a counter-crusade, a crusade against purity among the youth.

Earlier this year, Novus Ordo Watch carried a report entitled “Moral Advice from ‘Pope’ Francis: ‘The Least Serious Sins are the Sins of the Flesh’”, which covers a series of interviews he gave to Dominique Wolton, a French sociologist who happens to be an agnostic. (Don’t worry, Dominique, your skepticism is safe with Jorge.)

After citing the relevant passage, this web site responded as follows:

This is so outrageous and filled with error and half-truths that, in order to refute it, it’s a good idea to first provide a succinct recap of just what Bergoglio is actually affirming, namely:

  1. Sins of impurity are the least serious of all sins.
  2. Sins of impurity are not necessarily the gravest.
  3. Pride and vanity are more serious sins than sins of impurity.
  4. Not reading the Gospel is a more serious sin than impurity.
  5. Confessors ought not to inquire as to circumstances in which a sin of impurity was committed, and those who do need a psychiatrist.

We offer the following succint points in response, some of which we will then elaborate on:

  1. False. Impurity does not admit of light matter, wherefore every such sin, if committed with full knowledge and consent, is mortal.
  2. True, but so what? It does not follow from that that they are therefore the lightest of all sins or that they are not grave or very dangerous.
  3. False. Ordinarily, pride and vanity are only venial sins, although they can be mortal under certain circumstances.
  4. False. Although reading the Gospels is very much to be encouraged, not doing so is not in itself a sin. There is no divine law that states: Thou shalt read the Gospel.
  5. False. Although needless details must be avoided, the penitent must confess all the circumstances necessary to make known the species of the sin and the number of times he has committed it. If he does not do so, the confessor has the right to ask for this information. Such questions also help the confessor to assess the general spiritual state of the penitent’s soul.

Before we look at the subject matter in greater depth, it must be pointed out that in this controversy no one can defend Francis, as is so often done, on the grounds that he was merely speaking off-the-cuff and therefore may be excused for not having the most theologically precise terminology at the ready. This is not true. We are talking about a book publication that gets proofread, vetted, and edited as necessary before final release in order to ensure all the words printed say exactly what the person interviewed wants to communicate. In other words: There is no “slip of the tongue” in Wolton’s interview book. All of the words attributed to Francis are definitely and intendedly his.

So, is it true to say that the “least serious sins are the sins of the flesh”? That the “more serious sins are elsewhere”? Although it is clear that there are sins graver than those of a sexual nature, it does not follow that therefore sins of lust are among the least serious or the least dangerous.

Sacred Scripture is clear that sins of impurity, if not genuinely repented of, make the sinner worthy of eternal punishment. St. Paul wrote to the Hebrews: “[Let] Marriage [be] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled. For fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb 13:4).

(“Moral Advice from ‘Pope’ Francis: ‘The Least Serious Sins are the Sins of the Flesh’”Novus Ordo Wire, Feb. 14, 2019)

From this we get further proof that the mind of Bergoglio is not remotely one with the mind of Christ and His Church, and is, in fact, much closer to one of the gravest errors against orthodox moral teaching: Antinomianism. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains what the term signifies:

The heretical doctrine that Christians are exempt from the obligations of moral law. The term first came into use at the Protestant Reformation, when it was employed by Martin Luther to designate the teachings of Johannes Agricola and his sectaries, who, pushing a mistaken and perverted interpretation of the Reformer’s doctrine of justification by faith alone to a far-reaching but logical conclusion, asserted that, as good works do not promote salvation, so neither do evil works hinder it; and, as all Christians are necessarily sanctified by their very vocation and profession, so as justified Christians, they are incapable of losing their spiritual holiness, justification, and final salvation by any act of disobedience to, or even by any direct violation of the law of God.

Although the term designating this error came into use only in the sixteenth century, the doctrine itself can be traced in the teaching of the earlier heresies. Certain of the Gnostic sect — possibly, for example, Marcion and his followers, in their antithesis of the Old and New Testament, or the Carpocratians, in their doctrine of the indifference of good works and their contempt for all human laws — held Antinomian or quasi-Antinomian views. In any case, it is generally understood that Antinomianism was professed by more than one of the Gnostic schools. Several passages of the New Testament writings are quoted in support of the contention that even as early as Apostolic times it was found necessary to single out and combat this heresy in its theoretical or dogmatic as well as in its grosser and practical form. The indignant words of St. Paul in his Epistles to the Romans and to the Ephesians (Romans 3:8, 31; 6:1; Ephesians 5:6), as well as those of St. Peter, the Second Epistle (2 Peter 2:18, 19), seem to lend direct evidence in favour of this view.

(Catholic Encyclopedias.v. “Antinomianism”; underlining added.)

While it is true that Francis doesn’t openly promote the outright rejection of the moral law, he certainly relativizes it in Amoris Laetitia, and he not-so-subtly undermines it by continually minimizing the gravity of sin and its offense to Almighty God. It is fair to say that his is a quasi-Antinomianism, which is no less a heresy since it blurs, and at times erases, the line between mortal and venial sin, as well as trivializes its consequences, as when he went so far as to deny the very existence of Hell. Parents who knowingly send their children to schools that include Francis’s virtue-free sex-ed classes are in effect guilty of poisoning their youngsters’ souls.

Of course, any school using a Modernist, post-Vatican II curriculum will have the same deadly effect on souls, though sex-ed is where the lethal dose is perhaps most likely to find easy entrance. Children must be removed from such schools as quickly as if a venomous snake were about to strike them, because in a sense that’s exactly what happens. The only options available are homeschooling or traditional Catholic schools, though even some schools promoting themselves as traditional have proven to be suspect, to say the least, as shown here.

In any case, parents will not be held blameless before the Judgment Seat if they allow their children to be spiritually ruined, when their responsibility is to raise them chastely and keep them out of harm’s way, and that means keeping them out of Bergoglio’s Schools of Scandal — and out of Novus Ordo schools in general.

How sage has the observation of the English writer Malcolm Muggeridge proven to be:

So the final conclusion would surely be that whereas other civilizations have been brought down by attacks of barbarians from without, ours had the unique distinction of training its own destroyers at its own educational institutions, and then providing them with facilities for propagating their destructive ideology far and wide, all at the public expense. Thus did Western Man decide to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brought the walls of his own city tumbling down, and having convinced himself that he was too numerous, labored with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keeled over — a weary, battered old brontosaurus — and became extinct.

(Malcolm Muggeridge, Jesus: The Man Who Lives [London: Collins, 1975], pp. 32-33; underlining added.)

And all along, the Novus Ordo Counterfeit Church has been complicit in the destruction, at every step inverting Catholic teaching and becoming more and more openly aligned with anti-Christian maxims of the world. No one seems to embrace this destructive work with so unconcealed a glee as pretend-pope Francis.

May God quickly remove the smirk from his mouth, and by removing him and the rest of the Modernists from Rome, rescue the Church from their clutches!

“Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil.”
–Isaias 5:20

“And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
–Matthew 18:5-6 (Are you listening, Jorge Bergoglio?)

 

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