From our family to your family:
The Blessed Season of Advent, a Time of Preparation
We have been asked to provide proofs and documentation of our adherence to Church Law with regards to attending “Traditionalist” group religious services. We are providing that here, but first, a little background.
One thing we all know is that we all desire to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and to receive the Sacraments which we knew as faithful Catholics; Catholics who attended daily Mass, Stations of the Cross, Forty Hours Devotion, said the Family Rosary and read daily from our Douay Rheims Catholic Bible. Our family has a heritage of German and Irish ethnicity and Catholicity. For many years we have fought to defend our Faith, first against Protestant prejudice and then against the inroads of Modernism and many other heresies. We have enjoyed the benefits of formal Catholic education, through college level, during the nineteen twenties, thirties, forties and fifties. We developed a keen Catholic Instinct. We resisted what became obvious as modernistic liberalism in the sixties forward. Our resistance involved organized groups, publications, and billboards to preserve Catholic education in our Catholic schools. It even involved visits to the chancery office, including personal confrontations with the diocesan bishop. Finally, it meant a departure from our parish church and from teaching in our Catholic schools.
At first, our saintly pastor in our country parish church refused to turn around the altar and to say the new mass. The diocese punished him, stripped him of his pastor position and sent him into retirement. With that situation, in the early days of the late sixties, and early seventies, we visited the Byzantine Rite, the Ukrainian Uniate Rite and the Armenian Rite, wherever they had not changed to the new mass service. They also became influenced by Rome’s Modernism. We were fortunate to find a blessed priest who had jurisdiction in the diocese. We attended his Mass in a private home until he died. We then observed certain groups without any participation, such as SSPX. There we found nothing but trouble. We were even contacted by a few renegade priests, but there was always the problem of jurisdiction. We investigated many of their claims and the claims of certain “Traditionalist” groups as they became known. They all shared the same problem. They had gone out on their own without ecclesiastical authority, because they thought they should do so.
In the meantime, we collected hundreds of books that were being discarded from seminaries, rectories, convents and schools. We accumulated some three thousand books in our libraries. With our cumulative experiences, it became obvious to us that Almighty God had taken away the Holy Sacrifice, at least from us here in our country. We developed contacts around the world, and discovered the same to be true with them. We knew the Holy Sacrifice had to be offered somewhere legitimately, but it must be behind the Iron Curtain or in the China underground. With this in mind, we stayed home to pray. We pray the Mass Prayers using our Saint Andrew’s Missal, the same one used in the forties and in the seminary in the fifties. We continued our other normal Catholic Devotions at home.
We have written many personal letters in order to provide Catholic advice to others in need. We do so again. May you receive this letter and information in the spirit in which it is given. Following are the “rules” that we follow. It is not our opinion. These are the laws of the Church.
The Morris Family
Instructions for reading these proofs
By Teresa L. Benns
Out of charity for your soul and with the hope that you will choose to heed the teachings of Christ through His Vicars, we are posting the proofs below. Several people participated in the research and compilation of these proofs. While they cite the works of canon lawyers and theologians, what they teach is in perfect agreement in every respect with the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs and the ecumenical councils on these subjects. The latter documents are primary, as the Church insists they must be, and are only faithfully echoed by Her approved authors.
Generally speaking Traditionalists, while they claim obedience to these papal decrees and teachings, allow their “clerics” and lay leaders to recycle them in accordance with their claims to be lawful ministers endowed with the necessary power to act as pastors of souls. Attempts have even been made by some to erase the Church’s ability to infallibly pronounce on strictly disciplinary measures, when this error was condemned as follows by Pope Pius IX in “Quae in patriarchatu”: “In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema,” (emph. mine — Pope Pius IX, September 1, 1876). Some also have suggested that the popes are not infallible in their Ordinary Magisterium. One well-respected Traditional “priest” even taught this heresy publicly. And yet this was defined at the Vatican Council as follows: “Further, by Divine and Catholic faith., all these things must be believed which are contained in the written word of God and in tradition, and those which are proposed by the Church, either in a solemn pronouncement or in her ordinary and universal teaching power, to be believed as divinely revealed,” (DZ 1792).
And furthermore, Catholics are bound also to obey not only infallible decrees but those condemnations of errors which are not strictly heretical: “But since it is not sufficient to shun heretical iniquity, unless these error also are shunned which come more or less close to it, we remind all of the duty of observing also the constitutions and decrees by which base opinions of this sort, which are not enumerated explicitly here, have been proscribed and prohibited by this See,” (Vatican Council, DZ 1820). This also is addressed in Can. 2317, which bars those teaching doctrines condemned by the Roman Pontiff or the Ecumenical council but not as formally heretical, “from the ministry of teaching the Word of God, and hearing sacramental confessions, and from every office of teaching, without prejudice to other penalties which the sentence of condemnation of the doctrine may have perhaps decreed…” And again from Can. 1324: “For it is not sufficient to avoid heretical error, but one must also diligently shun any errors which more or less approach heresy.”
The Vatican Council anathematized anyone who would question that the Roman Pontiff possesses “the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church spread over the whole world, but…over the churches altogether and individually, and over the pastors and the faithful altogether and individually,” (DZ 1831). Canon 1812 tells us that acts issuing from the Roman Pontiff and the Roman Curia during the exercise of their office and entered as proof in ecclesiastical courts “prove the facts asserted,” (Can. 1816), and force the judge to pronounce in favor of the party producing the document, (commentary by Revs. Woywod-Smith). “Proof to the contrary is not admitted against Letters of the Roman Pontiff bearing his signature,” (Rev. Amleto Cicognani’s, “Canon Law, 1935; ibid. p. 626, ft. note). Documents entered into the Acta Apostolic Sedis do not need to be submitted in the original or be an authenticated copy, (Can. 1819). So the citation of the documents of the Roman Pontiffs themselves, without any qualification by anyone, but taken exactly as they appear, cannot be questioned. Why then have those claiming to be lawful pastors, but who instead have no right to rule us, ignored and misconstrued these documents?
By allowing those who have no authority to usurp papal authority and dictate terms we deny that it is the Roman Pontiff alone who possesses the fullness of jurisdiction; he alone is to be obeyed and followed above any so-called clerics, especially during an interregnum. For it is precisely during these dangerous times that the sheep and lambs are most likely to be attacked by the wolf pack. For this reason, when faced with the defection of clergy in France during the time of the introduction there of the Civil Constitution requiring clergy to swear allegiance to the civil authorities over the pope, Pope Pius VI told the faithful: “Keep away from all intruders, whether called archbishops, bishops, or parish priests; do not hold communion with them especially in divine worship. Listen carefully to the message of your lawful pastors who are still living, and who will be put in charge of you later, according to the canons. Finally, in one word, stay close to Us. For no one can be in the Church of Christ without being in unity with its visible head and founded on the See of Peter,” (“Charitas”).
This is true whether we presently have a pope or not. Their teachings bind in perpetuity because they are the voice of Christ teaching His Church on earth. No one may gainsay what they teach, whether such teaching is infallible or not. You say you are sure that your illicit priests can convince us that we are wrong. I tell you that no one shall ever separate us from the love of Christ and obedience to His Vicars. The teachings of the continual Magisterium as presented here — of the Canon Laws whose primary authors are the popes — cannot be refuted, according to the Church Herself. And Christ in Heaven binds what is bound by His Vicars on earth.
It is in the spirit of the Prophet Elias then (3 Kgs. 18:37), that we present these proofs. For he entreated the Lord from the summit of Mt. Carmel as follows: “Hear oh Lord, hear me, that Thy people may learn that Thou art the Lord, God.” Amen.
Jurisdiction, Lawful Pastors and Communicatio in Sacris
© Copyright 2012, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis added unless otherwise noted.)
Some of you have asked for proofs that Traditionalist priests, ordained by Pius XII bishops after his death are unable to celebrate Mass and administer the sacraments. The answers to these questions have already been presented, but perhaps they should be gathered together in one place to speak to this specific point. Because once the answers are understood, it will become clear why — if even those validly ordained by bishops who accepted John 23 as a true pope are forbidden to function — Traditional priests and bishops proper have no hope of validly functioning at all. And once these proofs have been demonstrated, it should be better understood why Traditional “Catholicism” is really just another non-Catholic sect.
From the Catechism
What does Father Thomas Kinkead tell American Catholics on lawful pastors in the catechism used in Catholic schools in the 1940s and 1950s, before the decline of the Church? In his “An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism,” #4, Fr. Kinkead writes in Q. 115: “What is the Church? A. The Church is the congregation of all those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same sacraments, and are governed by their lawful pastors under one visible head.” The Baltimore Council’s approved catechism (#3) for adults also written by Rev. Kinkead tells us in the answer to question # 494 that lawful pastors are “those in the Church who have been appointed by lawful authority and who have therefore a right to rule us.” Note that this says nothing of the supposedly “validly” consecrated bishops who have created these priests; it mentions only lawful authority. Lawful bishops, as will be seen below, are only those consecrated with papal mandate following their appointment by the pope.
“Even if valid orders exist, where jurisdiction is lacking there is no real apostolicity. Schism, as well as heresy, destroys apostolic succession,” (Rev. Thomas Cox, “Pillar and Ground of Truth,” 1900). In his “Manual of Christian Doctrine,” written for religious congregations and Catholic institutions of higher learning, seminary professor Rev. John Joseph McVey wrote in 1926:
Q. 60: Who after the pope are lawful pastors of the Church?
A. The bishops who have been canonically instituted, i.e., who have received from the Sovereign Pontiff a diocese to govern.
Q. 73: Why is it not sufficient to be a bishop or priest in order to be a lawful pastor?
A. Because a bishop must also be sent into a diocese by the Pope, and a priest must be sent into a parish by the bishop. In other words, a pastor must have not only the power of order, but also THE POWER OF JURISDICTION, (emph. McVey’s).
Q. 77: How is the power of jurisdiction communicated?
A. Priests receive their jurisdiction from the bishop of the diocese; bishops receive theirs from the pope; and the Pope holds jurisdiction from Jesus Christ. A bishop who did not have his spiritual powers from the Pope, a pastor who did not have his from the lawful bishop, would be AN INTRUDER OR SCHISMATIC,” (emph. McVey’s). So not only are Traditionalist “priests” and “bishops” illicitly ordained and consecrated, without a true pope they possess NO jurisdiction whatsoever.
For those who may have questions about this answer, please see the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Church, which states in part: “Apostolicity of mission consists in the power of holy orders and the power of jurisdiction derived by legitimate transmission from the Apostles. Any religious organization whose ministers do not possess these two powers is not accredited to preach the Gospel of Christ. For ‘How can they preach,’ asks the Apostle, ‘unless they be sent?’ (Rom. 10:15).” “A Christian society whose bishops go back to the apostles only through the power of order, and not also through the power of jurisdiction, cannot claim to be apostolic, and consequently cannot be the Church of Christ,” Revs. Devivier and Sasia, “Christian Apologetics, Vol. II), wrote in 1924. Canon Law states: “Besides the power of orders, the ministers, to absolve sins validly, must have either ordinary or delegated power of jurisdiction over the penitent,” (Can. 872). 7. Fathers Callan and McHugh in their “A Parochial Course in Doctrinal Instruction,” Vol. 2, p. 305, et seq., make the following statements:
“II. The minister of the Sacrament of Penance must not only be a priest validly ordained, but he must also be duly authorized. 1. The priest in ordination receives the power of forgiving sins, but he cannot exercise that power, unless duly authorized by proper ecclesiastical authority. Just as a judge cannot pronounce sentence of cases outside his own district, so the priest cannot forgive sins, except within the limits of his jurisdiction. That this authorization is necessary for a priest to forgive sins is evident from the practice of the Church from the very beginning.”
Rev. Ignatius Szal states in his “Communication of Catholics with Schismatics,” (Catholic Univ. Of America dissertation, 1948): “The reception of holy Orders from the hands of schismatic bishops has practically always been forbidden by the Church. Rarely has the Holy See ever considered it necessary to receive orders from a schismatic bishop. The prohibition to receive holy Orders at the hands of a schismatic bishop is contained in the general prohibition against active religious communication as expressed in Can. 1258§1[canon on communicatio in sacris].” Also from Rev. Szal: “On August 7, 1704, The Holy Office also stated that, “The decree which prohibited Catholics from being present at the Masses and prayers of schismatics applied also in those places where there were no Catholic priests and with reference to such prayers as contained nothing contrary to faith and the Catholic rite…On May 15, 1709, the Holy Office forbade Catholics to hear the confession of schismatics or to confess to them…Under no circumstances, not even in the case of necessity, according to a response of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith on Feb. 17, 1761, was it permissible for a Catholic to confess his sins to a schismatic priest in order to obtain absolution from him…” On two other occasions, May 10, 1753, and April 17, 1758, the Holy See again forbade Catholics to participate in the masses of schismatics. In 1769, certain priests “were called to task for joining in the celebration of Mass with schismatics. The ignorance was inexcusable, and the act was a sacrilege which violated the true faith.”
St. Robert Bellarmine cites the unanimous teaching of the Fathers in his work “de Romano Pontifice,” where he states: “Heretics [and below we will see that these “clerics’ are both heretics and schismatics] who return to the Church must be received as laymen, even though they have been formerly priests or bishops in the Church. St. Optatus (lib. 1 cont. Parmen.).” This also is the teaching of Pope Paul the IV in his Cum ex Apostolatus Officio,” (see below).
Canon Law expresses the same concept
This is based on Can. 147, which Pope Pius XII strengthened with special excommunications. It reads: “An ecclesiastical office is not validly obtained without canonical appointment. By canonical appointment is understood the conferring of an ecclesiastical office by the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the sacred canons.” Above we have seen that a bishop can be canonically appointed and sent into his diocese only by a legitimately elected pope. And only a canonically appointed bishop who has received jurisdiction from such a pope can delegate that jurisdiction to the priests in the diocese to which he has been duly appointed. Only lawful pastors, who validly possess an office in the Church, have a right to rule us. And those who may have obtained an office from Pope Pius XII or a bishop in communion with him retains that office only if he denounces the Novus Ordo church, also any Traditionalist sects; otherwise he is guilty of schism under Can. 2314, as explained below. Bishops validly consecrated and appointed by Pope Pius XII, but who later signed V2 documents and remained in communion with the Novus Ordo, have been verified as providing Trad “priests” with jurisdiction, even though such men are/were officially aligned with and loyal members of the Novus Ordo church until their retirement or death! And these men have then been advertised as the last true priests on earth. Yet the minute such men accepted the V2 popes and signed V2 documents, they tacitly resigned for lapsing from the Catholic faith, (Can. 188 §4). Under Pope Paul IV’s bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, still in effect whenever there is a doubt about a bishop retaining office, they lose all said offices and cannot regain them.
Can. 147, which according to the Sacred Congregation and Pope Pius XII is based on “sacred principles” is no ordinary canon. And because it is an invalidating and inhabilitating law, any attempt to intrude oneself into an office or appoint someone to that office without canonical provision is null and void; it simply never takes place.
The decision of the Sacred Congregation issued June 29, 1950 (AAS 42-601) gives the text of DZ 967 (DZ indicates a teaching from Henry Denzinger’s “Sources of Catholic Dogma,” 1957, available online) and yet another version of DZ 960, varying slightly from the Denzinger translation: “If anyone says that…those who have been neither rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but come from a different source, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments: let him be anathema,” (DZ 967). If this is compared to what Rev. McVey and Can. 147 says above, one can see it is in perfect agreement. The document from the Holy Office, beginning with DZ 960, continues as follows: “Those who undertake to exercise these offices merely at the behest of and upon appointment by the people or secular power and authority, and those who assume the same upon their own authority, are all to be regarded not as ministers of the Church but as thieves and robbers who have entered not by the door…His holiness Pope Pius XII…in order to preserve more inviolate these same sacred principles and at the same time forestall abuses in a matter of such great importance…deigned to provide as follows…” And here censures especially reserved to the Holy See are mentioned. The ipso facto excommunications are incurred by the ones occupying or holding an ecclesiastical office contrary to the canons and without any provision and those who allow anyone to be placed in these offices. Also excommunicated are those who have any direct or indirect part in such crimes.
If we examine the sources of this law in the footnotes to Can. 147 (Latin Code), we see that it is based on Pope Pius VI’s “Charitas” below, the condemnation of those bishops and priests who swore allegiance to the civil constitution in France following the French Revolution. Also listed as a source for this canon is Pope Pius IX’s encyclical “Etsi Multa.”
“Love, which is patient and kindly, as the Apostle Paul says, supports and endures all things as long as a hope remains that mildness will prevent the growth of incipient errors. But if errors increase daily and reach the point of creating schism, the laws of love itself, together with Our duty, demand that We reveal to the erring their horrible sin and the heavy canonical penalties which they have incurred. For this sternness will lead those who are wandering from the way of truth to recover their senses, reject their errors, and come back to the Church, which opens its arms like a kind mother and embraces them on their return. The rest of the faithful in this way will be quickly delivered from the deceits of false pastors who enter the fold by ways other than the door, and whose only aim is theft, slaughter, and destruction…
“24. We therefore severely forbid the said Expilly and the other wickedly elected and illicitly consecrated men, under this punishment of suspension, to assume episcopal jurisdiction or any other authority for the guidance of souls since they have never received it. They must not grant dimissorial letters for ordinations. Nor must they appoint, depute, or confirm pastors, vicars, missionaries, helpers, functionaries, ministers, or others, whatever their title, for the care of souls and the administration of the Sacraments under any pretext of necessity whatsoever. Nor may they otherwise act, decree, or decide, whether separately or united as a council, on matters which relate to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. For We declare and proclaim publicly that all their dimissorial letters and deputations or confirmations, past and future, as well as all their rash proceedings and their consequences, are utterly void and without force…” (And here we see the second time the popes refuse to allow these men to act on the pretext of “necessity.”)
“32. At length We beseech you all, beloved Catholic children, in the kingdom of France; as you recall the religion and faith of your fathers, We urge you lovingly not to abandon it. For it is the one true religion which both confers eternal life and makes safe and thriving civil societies. Carefully beware of lending your ears to the treacherous speech of the philosophy of this age which leads to death. Keep away from all intruders, whether called archbishops, bishops, or parish priests; do not hold communion with them especially in divine worship. Listen carefully to the message of your lawful pastors who are still living, and who will be put in charge of you later, according to the canons. Finally, in one word, stay close to Us. For no one can be in the Church of Christ without being in unity with its visible head and founded on the See of Peter.”
And from Etsi Multa: ““Therefore following the custom and example of Our Predecessors and of holy legislation, by the power granted to Us from heaven, We declare the election of the said Joseph Humbert Reinkens [an Old Catholic], performed against the sanctions of the holy canons to be illicit, null, and void. We furthermore declare his consecration sacrilegious. Therefore, by the authority of Almighty God, We excommunicate and hold as anathema Joseph Humbert himself and all those who attempted to choose him, and who aided in his sacrilegious consecration. We additionally excommunicate whoever has adhered to them and belonging to their party has furnished help, favor, aid, or consent. We declare, proclaim, and command that they are separated from the communion of the Church. They are to be considered among those with whom all faithful Christians are forbidden by the Apostle to associate and have social exchange to such an extent that, as he plainly states, they may not even be greeted,” (Etsi Multa, On The Church In Italy, Germany, and Switzerland, Nov. 21, 1873).
Again in Charitas, we see the same dogmas stressed, the same terms used as are used above. The Church is the same forever; Her teachings never change. Unless jurisdiction comes directly from the pope through the bishops in communion with him to the priests, the chain of apostolic succession is broken and the faithful must not avail themselves of these intruders. This time period in France was similar to our own. Pope Pius VI makes the position of the Holy See concerning ecclesiastical jurisdiction as regards illicit consecrations and ordinations very clear.
Attention is to be paid especially to the following part of the quote from Etsi Multa above: But as even the rudiments of Catholic faith declare, no one can be considered a bishop who is not linked in communion of faith and love with Peter, upon whom is built the Church of Christ…Therefore following the custom and example of Our Predecessors and of holy legislation, by the power granted to Us from heaven, We declare the election of the said Joseph Humbert Reinkens, performed against the sanctions of the holy canons to be illicit, null, and void. We furthermore declare his consecration sacrilegious.
Consider these words carefully. While Reinkins was validly consecrated, his ELECTION (or in other cases it could be illegal appointment, acceptance or intrusion into office) is nullified, not his ORDERS. He is not, and cannot hold the office of bishop, because he is not in union with the pope and was elected and placed in office by heretics and/or schismatics. (The Utrecht Jansenists were considered valid for a time, although this validity later was questioned by some theologians in the 20th century.) Even though validly consecrated, Reinkins is not considered a bishop because he never received the office and accompanying jurisdiction from Rome. The Holy See never approved his consecration and so he remained an apostate Old Catholic priest. And no priest could ever validly ordain another man priest.
Charitas, Etsi Multa and Pope Pius XII’s decision on Can. 147 all are documents of the ordinary magisterium; they are binding on all Catholics as infallible decrees, and deserve a firm and irrevocable assent, as the Vatican Council teaches.
Excommunication and communicatio in sacris
Those championing the “old priests” seem to hold the opinion that the present laws on heresy and schism call for a judgment concerning whether or not the heresy or schism was committed. The Church herself does not require us to jump through endless hoops to determine this. And it is not true that lay people cannot and should not judge heresy and schism, for how else are they to protect themselves from such contagion in their day-to-day lives? That they can so determine what is heresy or schism is proven by this proposition condemned by the Church: “Although it is evidently established by you that Peter is a heretic, you are not bound to denounce him if you cannot prove it,” (DZ 1105; Pope Alexander VII). If I consistently see a priest enter a non-Catholic church at the specified times to celebrate services or he admits he has done so; and I know that in order to celebrate these services he must utter words attributed to Christ which are not His own and violate a decree of an ecumenical council to do this (see DZ 942, 953), I must certainly denounce and avoid such a man. Nor can he even hope to gain re-entrance to the Church unless he publicly renounces his errors, does penance and is then absolved and abjured (also dispensed) by the Holy See.
In the (temporary) absence of a true pope and hierarchy, we must look for our answers to the questions of the day in the most secure places, and one of those places is the research of true priests studying for their degrees as doctors of Canon Law. These dissertations, most published by the Catholic University of America, cover the history of the various canons, their development over time, the opinions of well-respected theologians concerning the various aspects they cover and arrive at conclusions concerning their proper application, as documented in case histories. These works were duly approved by the proper bishop and published following the reception of the author’s actual doctorate. Being the only real case studies on these topics outside the Canon Law Digest and commentary by various canonists, they are the most reliable sources of information on the Sacred Canons that Catholics could follow today. In fact we are bound to prefer them exclusively to any so-called teachings of Traditionalists because they are issued by certainly lawful authority with the power to instruct, and possess the ecclesiastical approval necessary as a guarantee of orthodoxy. This Traditional writings and oral teaching cannot and do not possess. If these Trad priests were so well versed in Canon Law, where is their research, their justification for what they are doing? Are people aware that the Church had quite a few lay canonists with licentiates prior to Vatican “2” and that Canon Law even made special allowances for their studies?
Heresy, schism not difficult to judge
In his dissertation “The Delict of Heresy” (1932), Rev. Eric MacKenzie, A.M., S.T.L., J.C. L. gives these examples of judging heresy from different theologians: “Pighi rightly states that if a person disbelieves in the Real Presence, and in token of this belief, deliberately omits to remove his hat in a Catholic Church, he has completely expressed his heretical tenet and has incurred censure…Noldin cites the case of those who seek to divine the secrets of the present, past or future …by appeal to spiritistic activities,” even if the individual only is “implicitly aware” such practices are condemned by the Church. He says that such a consultation is a delict and the one seeking it incurs censure. “The very commitment of any act which signifies heresy, e.g., the statement of some doctrine contrary or contradictory to a revealed and defined dogma, gives sufficient ground for presumption of heretical depravity.”
Despite abundant proofs, however, many Traditionalists still maintain that those ordained by schismatics, who have never received the canonical mission precisely as outlined above are nevertheless justified in exercising powers they do not possess. As we can see from what was just stated by Rev. MacKenzie, and if we read once again DZ 967 above, it becomes clear that to maintain Traditionalist clergy may function is heretical. MacKenzie carefully lays out and examines all the arguments for the exercise of Can. 2261 §2 by those who have belonged to a non-Catholic sect, and makes the necessary distinction between simple heresy and communicatio in sacris. He begins by discussing material heresy, something Traditionalists seem to assume is not subject to censure. This MacKenzie disputes, following the practice of the canonists.
Material heretics still incur the censure
He begins by explaining that some of those who are validly baptized, but brought up outside the Church may be of good faith, and if so “their sin of heresy is purely material and does not involve personal guilt.” But, in the external order, “they are held responsible for their non-memberships in the Church by presumption of law, (Can. 2200),” and Church teaching (DZ 864) still binds them to the observance of Canon Law. So if even Protestants are bound and incur censure, it is very difficult indeed to see how one of the Church’s own clerics would not be bound to a much greater degree. Seminary professor Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey, whose theological texts were used worldwide to train theologians, then points out that, “All theologians teach that publicly known heretics, those who belong to a heterodox sect through public profession, or those who refuse the infallible teaching of the authority of the Church, are excluded from the body of the Church, even if their heresy is only material heresy,” (“Manual of Dogmatic Theology,” Vol. II). It is difficult to see how such heresy could be material in the case of those priests validly yet illicitly ordained by schismatic bishops, when they went from the Novus Ordo church to yet other schismatic Traditional sects, once again committing communcatio in sacris.
As Rev. J. C. Fenton notes in his “The Teaching of the Theological Manuals,” (The American Ecclesiastical Review, April 1963): “If the theses taught by Tanquerey were opposed to those of ‘the most authentic Catholic tradition of all ages,’ then thousands of priests, educated during the first part of the twentieth century were being led into error.” Based on decisions issued by the Holy Office, Revs. Woywod-Smith observe concerning the status of material heretics: “Nevertheless, in the external forum they are not free [from the penalties of Can. 2314] for, according to Can. 2200, when there is an external violation of Church law, malice is presumed in the external forum until its absence is proved.” Respected canonists who wrote following the publication of MacKenzie’s thesis agree with this statement. As St. Alphonsus, quoted by Revs. McHugh and Callan, teaches: “’In doubt, decide for that which has the presumption.’ In this case the presumption is for the continuance of the law, since it was certainly made, and there is no probability for its non-continuance.” And Can. 2200 contains a presumption of law.
Ignorance no real excuse for clerics
While many are anxious to see these Traditionalist “care providers” as guiltless material heretics, there is no support found for this false assumption in Canon Law or Church teaching. Concerning a plea of ignorance of the heretical nature of the offense or the actual penalty attached to it by a cleric guilty of occult heresy, Rev. MacKenzie states that: “If the delinquent making this claim is a cleric, his plea for mitigation must be dismissed, either as untrue or else as indicating ignorance which is affected, or at least crass or supine. His ecclesiastical training in the seminary, with its moral and dogmatic theology, its ecclesiastical history, not to mention its canon law, all insure that the Church’s attitude toward heresy was imparted to him…He had ample opportunity to know about heresy. Hence his present ignorance is unreal; or if real, it can be explained only as deliberately fostered — affected ignorance — or else as the result of a complete failure to do even a minimum of work in regard to fundamental ecclesiastical theory and practice — crass and supine ignorance.” In his dissertation, “Ignorance in Relation to the Imputability of Delicts,” (Cath. Univ. of America, 1948), Rev. Innocent Swoboda, O.F.M., J.C.L. defines crass and supine ignorance as: “A complete lack of diligence when it is known that the truth could be easily discovered…A complete and total failure to use any effort to fulfill the obligation of knowing the law or the pertinent facts surounding the law. The failure itself may arise from mere sloth or from a sinful heart or from a sinful habit of acting without due consideration of the results of one’s conduct…only the ignorance of those things which can be easily learned can be considered crass or supine.”And if the faithful could recognize that the Vatican 2 church was false and abandon it, then what possible excuse could those far better educated in the faith offer?
And finally, in their commentary on Canon Law, under Can. 2242, Revs. Woywod-Smith observe: “Contumacy of the offender is implied in the deliberate violation of a law to which a censure latae sententiae is attached, and therefore the censure is incurred immediately with the breaking of the law. The violation is considered to be deliberate where disqualifying and invalidating laws are concerned, such as a lack of jurisdiction which invalidates the Sacrament of Penance.”
Communicatio in sacris differs from simple heresy
First of all, MacKenzie explains, only those who have committed a simple delict of heresy may be considered toleratus. Different by far is the individual who has publicly affiliated with a non-Catholic sect. Rev. Charles Augustine defines such a sect as “Any religious society established in opposition to the Catholic Church, whether it consists of infidels, pagans, Jews, Moslems, non-Catholics, or schismatics.” In this case, it is schismatics. Formal membership is required for the delict to occur, according to the law, and no more formal membership exists than to be a minister in such a sect. The heretical act is expressed by either joining the sect or expounding its beliefs. “In either case,” MacKenzie continues, “the delinquent incurs first the basic excommunication inflicted on simple heresy. In addition, as a penalty for his aggravated delict, he incurs juridical infamy ipso facto, whether or no there is further official action by the Church.” Attwater’s Catholic Dictionary” defines infamy as “A stigma attached in canon law to the character of a person…” Juridical infamy or infamy of law is a special punitive penance or vindicative penalty attached to certain grave offenses. It includes “repulsion from any ministry in sacred functions and disqualification for legitimate ecclesiastical acts.” (Under Can. 2294, Revs. Woywod-Smith qualify these acts as invalid.) Also, under Can. 188 §4, one who has engaged in non-Catholic worship “no longer has any rights or powers deriving from [an ecclesiastical] position,” (Ibid).
Concerning the exception made by Can. 2261 §2 MacKenzie relates: “If a priest has incurred more than a simple excommunication — [if he has] resigned his office by joining a non-Catholic sect,” he cannot even assist at marriages. And of course with the penalty for infamy of law comes loss of jurisdiction, if it was ever granted, so neither can he hear confessions or preach, even at the request of the faithful, because such acts would be null and void. And regardless of any existing censures, MacKenzie explains that to make use of Can. 2261 §2 requires that “the power of jurisdiction [be] already possessed.”
Doubts concerning application of censures and Can. 2261 §2
Rev. MacKenzie explains in his work that occult heretics and those not yet sentenced by a judge for publicly manifested heretical or schismatic acts may minister to the faithful when requested, but only briefly addresses the case of an individual who has publicly joined a non-Catholic sect. He seems to be concerned mainly with those who have incurred only delicts of simple heresy, for he states in one place that those committing simple heresy are allowed to invoke Can. 2261, calling them toleratus, but excluding those joining a non-Catholic sect from the status of toleratus. This can only be laid at the door of the vindicative penalty they incur in addition to the simple delict of heresy, which is infamy of law. While some invoke Pope Martin V’s “Ad Evitranda Scandala” to prove that heretics and schismatics may be resorted to in these times, there are several difficulties involved with this. One, no pope envisioned a long-term and widespread reliance on such men for the Mass and Sacraments, but rather a limited use of them, only when necessary. It is frightening to think that many of these men have belonged to several non-Catholic sects and in any other time, would long ago have been sentenced as vitandus and degraded. Those who are “repeat” offenders are especially dangerous to the faith of others. Also, no one would ever have foreseen the long vacancy of the Holy See that we have seen nor imagined that anyone would actually rely on the pretended status of schismatic bishops to justify such a usage. Below we examine “Ad Evitanda Scandala” and hear from St. Robert Bellarmine, who has something interesting to say about schismatic bishops.
“To avoid scandals and many dangers and relieve timorous consciences by the tenor of these presents we mercifully grant to all Christ’s faithful that henceforth no one henceforth shall be bound to abstain from communion with anyone in the administration or reception of the sacraments or in any other religious or non-religious acts whatsoever, nor to avoid anyone nor to observe any ecclesiastical interdict, on pretext of any ecclesiastical sentence or censure globally promulgated whether by the law or by an individual; unless the sentence or censure in question has been specifically and expressly published or denounced by the judge on or against a definite person, college, university, church, community or place. Notwithstanding any apostolic or other constitutions to the contrary, save the case of someone of whom it shall be known so notoriously that he has incurred the sentence passed by the canon for laying sacrilegious hands upon a cleric that the fact cannot be concealed by any tergiversation nor excused by any legal defence. For we will abstinence from communion with such a one, in accordance with the canonical sanctions, even though he be not denounced. (Fontes I, 45.)” — Pope Martin V. But not long afterwards, St. Robert Bellarmine clarified, per Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio (1559), who precisely was included in Pope Martin V’s decree as follows:
“There is no basis for that which some respond to this: that these Fathers based themselves on ancient law, while nowadays, by decree of the Council of Constance, they alone lose their jurisdiction who are excommunicated by name or who assault clerics. This argument, I say, has no value at all, for those Fathers, in affirming that heretics lose jurisdiction, did not cite any human law, which furthermore perhaps did not exist in relation to the matter, but argued on the basis of the very nature of heresy. The Council of Constance only deals with the excommunicated, that is, those who have lost jurisdiction by sentence of the Church, while heretics already before being excommunicated are outside the Church and deprived of all jurisdiction. For they have already been condemned by their own sentence, as the Apostle teaches (Tit. 3:10-11), that is, they have been cut off from the body of the Church without excommunication, as St. Jerome affirms… All the ancient Fathers…teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction, and outstandingly that of St. Cyprian (lib. 4, epist. 2) who speaks as follows of Novatian, who was Pope [i.e. antipope] in the schism which occurred during the pontificate of St. Cornelius: “He would not be able to retain the episcopate [i.e. of Rome], and, if he was made bishop before, he separated himself from the body of those who were, like him, bishops, and from the unity of the Church.’” — St. Robert Bellarmine, An Extract from St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30, (http://www.cmri.org/02-bellarmine-roman-pontiff.html .This link is placed merely for purposes of attribution; no endorsement of this site is hereby intended.)
In doubts of how we are to proceed today in these matters, Canon Law says in Can. 6 §4: “In case of doubt whether some provision of the canons differs for the old law, one must adhere to the old law.” In the case of Can. 2261 §2, we have a doubt whether Can. 2261 §2 should be extended to men who are heretics, many of whom, in any other day, would have been declared vitandus or degraded and deposed. In the case of Traditionalists, as noted elsewhere, many have been warned by the faithful for decades that they do not have the jurisdiction necessary to function, and yet they continue to function, despite the fact there is no pope to supply them jurisdiction. But on the basis of the doubts about the long-term use of Can. 2261 §2 when this was not the original intention of the lawgiver, we can refer to the parent law for guidance, which is Pope Paul IV’s “Cum ex Apostolatus Officio.” It is clear from the highlighted sections of the bull, below, that once such offenders were outside the church, they could not be admitted back in for any reason, even to minister to the faithful. So to return to the old law would be to consider them unable to be rehabilitated in any way, at any time.
“We approve and renew, by Our Apostolic authority, each and every sentence, censure or penalty of excommunication, suspension and interdict, and removal, and any others whatever in any way given and promulgated against heretics and schismatics by any Roman Pontiffs Our Predecessors, or considered as such, even in their uncollected letters, or by the sacred Councils recognized by God’s Church or in the decrees or statutes of the Holy Fathers or in the sacred Canons and Apostolic Constitutions and ordinances. We sanction, establish, decree and define, through the fullness of Our Apostolic power, that …all and sundry Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates, Cardinals, Legates… who, in the past, as mentioned above, have strayed or fallen into heresy or have been apprehended, have confessed or been convicted of incurring, inciting or committing schism or who, in the future, shall stray or fall into heresy or shall incur, incite or commit schism or shall be apprehended, confess or be convicted of straying or falling into heresy or of incurring, inciting or committing schism, being less excusable than others in such matters, in addition to the sentences, censures and penalties mentioned above, (all these persons) are also automatically and without any recourse to law or action, completely and entirely, forever deprived of, and furthermore disqualified from and incapacitated for their rank [now retained in Can. 188 §4]…
“They shall be treated, as relapsed and subverted in all matters and for all purposes, just as though, they had earlier publicly abjured such heresy in court. They can never at any time be re-established, re-appointed, restored or recapacitated for their former state or for Cathedral, Metropolitan, Patriarchal or Primatial Churches, for the Cardinalate or other honor or for any other greater or lesser dignity or for active or passive voice, or authority…If ever at any time it becomes clear that any Bishop, [Cardinal or Pope]… before his promotion or elevation [has strayed from the Catholic Faith or] fallen into some heresy, [or has incurred schism], then his promotion or elevation shall be null, invalid and void. It cannot be declared valid or become valid through his acceptance of the office, his consecration, subsequent possession or seeming possession of government and Administration… The persons themselves so promoted and elevated shall, ipso facto and without need for any further declaration, be deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and power, [without any exception as regards those who might have been promoted or elevated before they deviated from the faith, became heretics, incurred schism, or committed or encouraged any or all of these.]”
And some of the old laws Pope Paul IV recalled into service above are mentioned here by St. Robert Bellarmine, (de Romano Pontifice, Bk. 2, Chapter 40): “The Holy Fathers teach unanimously not only that heretics are outside of the Church, but also that they are ipso facto deprived of all ecclesiastical jurisdiction and dignity …Saint Nicholas I (epist. Ad Michael) repeats and confirms the same. Finally, Saint Thomas also teaches (II-II, Q39, A3) that schismatics immediately lose all jurisdiction, and that anything they try to do on the basis of any jurisdiction will be null.” It must al;so be remembered that Cum ex Apostolatus Officio was confirmed by Pope St. Pius V in his motu proprio, Intermultiplices.
There are several different things preventing those priests ordained validly but illicitly by Novus Ordo bishops from validly and licitly conveying the sacraments and offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
As stated in Charitas, by papal decree “illicitly consecrated men, under this punishment of suspension, [cannot] assume episcopal jurisdiction or any other authority for the guidance of souls since they have never received it… They must not grant dimissorial letters for ordinations. Nor must they appoint, depute, or confirm pastors, …or others, whatever their title, for the care of souls and the administration of the Sacraments under any pretext of necessity whatsoever. Nor may they otherwise act, decree, or decide, whether separately or united as a council, on matters which relate to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. For We declare and proclaim publicly that all their dimissorial letters and deputations or confirmations, past and future, as well as all their rash proceedings and their consequences, are utterly void and without force… “ Nothing could be clearer than this decree. It completely wipes out any Traditionalist bishops and the priests they pretend to create, so that not only were they never bishops, but could never validly ordain or consecrate other priests/bishops. In summary:
- Such priests never received jurisdiction, since as Charitas states they could never validly obtain it from schismatic bishops, far less from schsimatics consecrated by schismatic bishops; these “bishops” remain priests and priests cannot ordain other priests! Rev. Francis Miiaskiewicz, in his dissertation on this canon, is insistent that where Can. 209 states the “Church” supplies, this means only the Roman Pontiff, AND WITHOUT A POPE THE SUPPLETORY PRINCIPLE IS ENTIRELY LACKING. This is further confirmed by Pope Pius XII in his papal election constitution, “Vacantis Apostolica Sedis,” where he teaches that during an interregnum the intended effects of all usurpation of papal jurisdiction is null and void.
- The fact that they have never received and could never receive such jurisdiction prevents these men from invoking the application of Can. 2261 §2, which presumes valid and licit ordination/consecration and canonical mission jurisdiction. Any doubts in this matter also can be resolved by consulting the old law governing heresy, which, after all, is in accordance with Can. 6 §4 and Can. 147 above, making it “in harmony with the sacred canons,” (Can. 147). This law (see above) forbids any rehabilitation of heretics and schismatics for any purposes.
- Those clerics appointed or procured by lay people or who come from “some other source” are judged both by Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius XII to be vitandus. Vitandus cannot provide the sacraments on request for lay people even though no other minister is available (Can. 2261 §3) because they still must rely on supplied jurisdiction which can be provided only by a reigning pontiff. In his Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, Pope Pius XII infallibly nullifies any attempts to usurp papal jurisdiction during an interregnum.
Let us apply all this to certain bishops appointed to their episcopal sees by Pope Pius XII. Trad lay leaders claim these bishops, even though officially affiliated with the Novus Ordo, can absolve their priests and grant them valid jurisdiction. Canon 430 discusses the “privation” of an episcopal see owing to excommunication. This the canonist, Rev. Charles Augustine defines as the “canonical” death of a bishop. This would be considered a “tacit resignation,” incurred by the fact itself, or ipso facto, for heresy or schism, as Canon 188 §4 (footnoted by Pope Paul IV’s “Cum ex…”) states. Such resignation would be effective immediately and would require no acceptance, only evidence of the facts in the case. And it would occur the instant that a validly ordained and consecrated bishop joined the Novus Ordo anti-church, and/or signed V2 documents; this was the above mentioned “simple act of heresy” to which must be automatically added infamy of law, according to MacKenzie. Pope Paul IV states that bishops who are schismatic lose all power and authority, become infamous, and infamy of law strips them of jurisdiction. Infamy of law is both a vindicative penalty and an impediment to Orders barring the excommunicate from the exercise of valid, legal acts issuing from the clerical state, (or rights or privileges enjoyed by the laity). Heresy and infamy are two separate things. Infamy requires a dispensation and Can. 2295 states: “Infamy of law ceases only on dispensation granted by the Apostolic See.”
Revs. Woywod-Smith comment: “The person who has incurred…an infamy of law…cannot validly obtain ecclesiastical benefices, pensions, offices and dignities, nor can he validly exercise the rights connected with the same, nor perform a valid, legal ecclesiastical act.” Canon 2236 states that the dispensation of a vindicative penalty (infamy of law) “may be granted only by him who has inflicted the penalty or by his competent superior or successor. In this case the original penalty was inflicted by Pope Paul IV in “Cum ex…” and currently there is no canonically elected papal successor able to lift it. Can. 2237 no. 2 forbids the Ordinary to remit censures (for simple heresy) reserved in a special manner to the Apostolic See (heresy, schism) and Can. 2237 no. 3 forbids the Ordinary to dispense from the vindicative penalty for infamy of law, which invalidates the offender’s acts. Again, these are two separate things. If the case is public, and it is, a special indult from the Holy See is required for the Ordinary to be able to lift the censure. But he cannot dispense from infamy of law. Any indult granted to bishops by Pope Pius XII was lost when they committed heresy and schism, and in any case, it would only lift the censure; infamy of law would remain. The entire case is moot in any event since these priests did not possess jurisdiction, having never received it under bishops who lost it, and could not convey it, and by accepting John 23 and participating in the false Vatican “2” council, (see the papal decree, “Execrabilis”). In fact, according to Pope Pius VI, such men never even became priests. The Pope is the one in charge here, not lay Traditionalists and their pretend priests. To make such a decision on one’s own is to interfere with the rights of the Apostolic See.
Any clerics who have publicly celebrated the N. O. “mass” or who have joined Traditional mass groups to offer their services have adhered to a non-Catholic sect and can be at least externally considered schismatic. Donald Attwater, in his Catholic Dictionary, also states “anyone guilty of an external act of schism is ipso facto excommunicated; the conditions for absolution are the same for heresy,” (emph. his). Public adherence to a non-Catholic sect is all that is required under Can. 2314 to ipso facto incur infamy of law, and until a true pope exists, there is no way to reverse it. Once Pope Pius XII died, the chain of Apostolic Succession was temporarily interrupted because none of the Catholic cardinals or bishops separated themselves to elect a true pope to continue his line. Siri was incapable of doing this, being excommunicated for communicatio in sacris himself, incurring all the same penalties listed above. If those currently functioning as “clerics” within the Traditionalist organization would lay down their claims perhaps this terrible crisis would end.
And the only way this will happen is if their followers, who also have now been excommunicated for attending their non-Catholic services, refuse to cooperate with them in sin. To follow Canon Law as Pope Pius XII commands, Traditionalists now are bound to obey Can. 2294§1, which states that those who have incurred infamy of law “must be restrained from the exercise of sacred functions of the ministry.” Under Can. 1935, so also should those be denounced and ordered to cease and desist from these services wherever they may exist. In saying their mass prayers at home, stay-at-home Catholics are observing the censure they believe they have incurred for attending Novus Ordo and Traditionalist services, in penance for their sins and in obedience to Canon Law. For as long as God is being mocked and His people continue to dishonor Him by committing sacrilege, nothing will change. The truth has the power to set ALL of us free, if we just recognize it for what it is.
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Ven. Bartholomew Holzhauser, 17th Century
“During this period, many men will abuse the freedom of conscience conceded to them. It is of such men that Jude the Apostle spoke when he said, ‘These men blaspheme whatever they do not understand; and they corrupt whatever they know naturally as irrational animals do… They feast together without restraint, feeding themselves, grumbling murmurers, walking according to their lusts; their mouth speaketh proud things, they admire people for the sake of gain; they bring about division, sensual men, having not the spirit.’”
“During this unhappy period, there will be laxity in divine and human precepts. Discipline will suffer. The Holy Canons will be completely disregarded, and the Clergy will not respect the laws of the Church.Everyone will be carried away and led to believe and to do what he fancies, according to the manner of the flesh…”
“They will ridicule Christian simplicity; they will call it folly and. nonsense, but they will have the highest regard for advanced knowledge, and for the skill by which the axioms of the law, the precepts of morality, the Holy Canons and religious dogmas are clouded by senseless questions and elaborate arguments. As a result, no principle at. all, however holy, authentic, ancient, and certain it may be, will remain free of censure, criticism, false interpretation, modification, and delimitation by man…”
“When everything has been ruined by war; when Catholics are hard pressed by traitorous co-religionists and heretics, then the Hand of Almighty God will work a marvellous change, something apparently impossible according to human understanding…”