Obedience and the Knowledge of God
Is Better Than Sacrifices
© Copyright 2009, T. Stanfill Benns (None of what appears below — in whole or in part — may be used without the express and written permission of the author.)
What appears here in the revision of this site is an attempt to answer recent questions posed by various Traditionalists and to resolve the dichotomy between the necessity of the papacy for the Church's very existence and the situation in which we find ourselves today. And by Traditionalists is meant those who exited the Novus Ordo Church following the changes that were made as a result of the false council known as Vatican II. This definition encompasses everything from Lefebvrists, to Sedevacantists and even Conclavists, or those who have elected a "pope," (since they are, in the final analysis, only the flip side of Traditionalism). At thebeginning of the Great Apostasy, the exodus from the Church, which began after the false Vatican II council (V2), it was clear that even those leaving the Church on account of the changes did not know their faith and were at best followers, not leaders. If they had been truly knowledgeable Catholics, they would have insisted that any remaining valid and licit bishops and other qualified clergy elect a pope, or in the event that this was proven impossible, to at least organize in some meaningful and licit way to carry on the Church's mission of salvation. They would have demanded proofs from their pastors concerning the necessity of jurisdiction, their good standing in the Church prior to the council, and proofs of valid ordination. In some cases, they did request proof of any Orders received. But the necessity of jurisdiction was not even addressed until 1984. While some in the early 1970s already realized that usurpers occupied the See of Rome, they were unsure how this affected the Church. By the time Sedevacantists united and became an actual sect, other sects in the Traditionalist movement already had bifurcated countless times and had spread far and wide.
In evaluating the initial situation, it was assumed that somehow the V2 "popes" were at least quasi-legitimate, thanks to the Society of Pope St. Pius X and Marcel Lefebvre. Pius X Society “theologians” fought the idea of sede vacante, first suggested by Rev. Joaquin Saenz-Arriaga in Mexico in the early 1970s, long and hard. As a result, it did not sift down to the majority of Traditionalists until the late 1970s. Catholics were unsure whether the actual sede vacante began with Roncalli or Montini. This question was crucial, since upon it pivoted the lawfulness of those ordained and consecrated from 1959 on. And it also raised the question of whether an (Imperfect) Council should be convened to elect a true Pope. Originally those supporting Bp. Thuc suggested that in consecrating the Mexican bishops, in 1981, the groundwork would be laid for a papal election. But no such election was ever mentioned following the consecrations. The Lefebvre bunch also had tossed around the idea of a papal election at one time, according to former Society members. But these fleeting thoughts of orthodoxy soon disappeared.
Eventually the Conclavists began pushing for an election, and were roundly ridiculed and condemned without any solid explanations offered from dogmatic sources as to why this was not in keeping with Church teaching. Several of these elections were held, each more disastrous than the first. Sedevacantists accused Conclavists of fouling the waters and ruining any future chance for a universally accepted election. Conclavists accused Sedevacantists of usurping papal powers in interpreting the faith without a Supreme
Head. Both groups were equally blind and hypocritical, each in their own way. Many valid objections from a doctrinal standpoint could have been raised against both positions; but because the faith was so little understood, these objections were never properly presented. Recriminations and backbiting, also constant wrangling over articles of faith, have plagued the two parties for more than 25 years. In reality, neither could have objectively evaluated the truth because they came from two different yet subjective viewpoints: Trads in general insisted on having Mass and Sacraments and Conclavists on electing their various popes.
The journey to the truth has been a maze of dead ends, twisted passages, detours and uphill travels. If anyone had bothered to follow the example of the Vatican Council in determining what direction the Church should take, they would have arrived at the proper solution long ago. The Church first defined infallibility, not its own constitution, because the Pope isthe head of the Body. As such, the primacy determines the doctrine of the
Body: the Church does not determine the doctrine of the primacy, which is entirely of
Divine faith. Had anyone bothered to supplement the decisions of the Vatican Council (and any reliable commentaries) with the infallible teaching of “Mystici Corporis Christi,” the picture presented would have been very nearly complete and without further need of explanation. Add a third document, namely Paul IV's “Cum ex Apostolatus Officio,” (already available in Latin in 1978), and the heretical orientation of the false popes could have been certainly known. The documents of the Council of Trent, “Quo Primum” and the 1945 election law of Pope Pius XII, “Vacantis Apostolica Sedis,” shed further light on what the Church's course should have been all these years. These documents were available and were even studied and quoted. But their full significance was obscured by the ignorance of the faithful concerning the true nature of the faith and all it requires of man, and the failure of those claiming the ability to lead them to bring their attention to the truths contained in these documents.
Faith, not Mass and Sacraments, is what Traditionalists should have pursued with all their might. It was early Traditionalists who failed to seek out and implore — even demand — that valid bishops do their duty and elect a Pope to organize the Church. In the age of sit- ins and protests, European Catholics held marches and stood outside the Vatican, begging the traitors to come to their senses. Americans and Europeans alike signed countless petitions addressed to Paul 6. But no one rounded up the remaining faithful bishops, on whom the right to elect a pope devolved, and insisted they do God's will. The failure of early "Trads" to do this created the situation we are in today. And the faithful, who believed themselves justified in satisfying their spiritual wants and needs, also played their part in sabotaging the Church. Is there a way to repair the damage? Possibly, but that depends primarily on what God has planned. It also is dependent on the willingness of those calling themselves Catholics to make sacrifices and embrace the true faith. The Church has not been visible in the same manner that She once was for nearly 50 years; those seeing Her from the outside have accepted the false for the true. But it is not productive to be content with placing blame. If the Church is truly in "eclipse" as foretold at La Salette and Fatima, Catholics must understand that this eclipse was first symbolized on Calvary when a solar eclipse accompanied the death of Christ. We stand at the foot of the Cross, and await the Resurrection. Just as the Church was without a visible head during the three days Christ lay in the tomb (St. Peter was not actually commissioned as the first Pope until after the Resurrection), so also are we without that same head during this time, the Passion of Christ’s Mystical Body. This loss of visibility, as Henry Cardinal Manning and St. Francis de Sales teach, will happen only once, during the time of Antichrist. So if we believe this eclipse exists, we had better be accurately reading ALL the signs of the times predicted for his reign.
What is presented here comes primarily from the Popes, the general councils and decisions of the Apostolic See, proofs binding on the faithful and far more reliable than the .the teachings of approved scholastic theologians teaching pre-1959. Traditionalists try to justify their actions by citing these theologians, whose works are unquestionably valuable but not generally authoritative unless their teaching is that of all theologians.
Traditionalist priests and bishops tend to limit their proofs to operate primarily to the teaching of theologians, ignoring infallible teaching and disciplinary decrees. While the theologians can and should be used in truly disputed questions, we must remember what the Vatican Council taught concerning the papacy, according to Henry Cardinal Manning: “The doctrine of the Church does not determine the doctrine of the Primacy, but the doctrine of the Primacy does precisely determine the doctrine of the Church. In beginning, therefore, with the Head, the [Vatican] Council has followed Our Lord's example, both in teaching and in fact; and this will be found one of the causes of the singular and luminous precision with which the Council of the Vatican has, in one brief constitution, excluded the well-known errors on the Primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff," (“The Vatican Council Decrees in Their Bearing on Civil
Enough of petty bickering and deflecting the blows of mudslingers. Time is running out for the Church. Catholics do not realize that because they have not obeyed God’s law, they labor under a Divine and papal curse that is actually impeding the restoration of the Church. Only by absolute obedience to these laws and repentance for our sins can we hope to avert the destruction visited on Sodom and Gomorrah and earn the reprieve granted to Nineveh and Tyre. The fate of the Church is ultimately in God’s hands, but as St. Augustine said: “God who made you cannot save you without you.”
(The cult information formerly presented on this page can be obtained here.)