Perpetual Indefectibility and the Latter Days

+Our Mother of Perpetual Help+

A reader has asked for a better explanation of the Vatican Council Decree: “Peter has perpetual successors in the primacy,” wondering how it is that the Church could ever be without a true pope. The answer is that this is a matter of Divine Revelation; as Henry Edward Cardinal Manning teaches, St. Paul seems to indicate in 2 Thessalonians that the withholding power restraining Antichrist’s coming is the papacy. How could Antichrist be “revealed in his time,” as St. Paul explains in 2 Thess. 5-6, unless the pope was first removed from the scene? This withholding power was not to be understood until our own day. And only the appearance of the Man of Sin would itself demonstrate that the event had come to pass. We would not believe it if we had not witnessed it with our own eyes. But now we know what St. Paul warned the early Christians about regarding what would happen to those who lived during the time when the day of the Lord was at hand.

Rev. E.S. Berry in his work The Church of Christ, (1910), provides a comprehensive explanation of perpetuity in its relation to indefectibility below.


“The general notion of indefectibility is indicated by the word itself, which is derived from the Latin in (not) and deficere(to fail). Hence indefectibility is inability to fail, to fall short, to perish. Applied to the Church, it means that she cannot be deprived of any essential power or quality SO LONG AS SHE CONTINUES TO EXISTThe Apostolic See of Rome is the only particular Church to which the promise of perpetual indefectibility has been made. Perpetuity is indefectibility of existence. Strictly speaking, indefectibility pertains to the essential qualities of the Church; perpetuity to Her existence. These two attributes, though really distinct, are so closely related it is difficult to treat them separately. If the Church is indefectible in her essential qualities and perpetual in Her existence, she must be perpetually indefectible in all essential qualities. Therefore the two attributes may be combined as perpetual indefectibility” (pgs. 56-57).

 The Church of Christ is perpetually indefectible in all its attributes and properties

“The proposed thesis does not determine the attributes and properties of the Church; it simply states that whatever they may be, the Church can never lose a single one of them, nor fail in her existence…” (DZ 1686, Pope Pius IX: “each one of these marks so clings to the others that it cannot be separated from them…. ” Rev Kinkead states in his catechism that the four marks cannot exist without the three attributes: authority, infallibility and indefectibility — Q. & A. 519-520, which have primary reference to the papacy.) Rev. Berry continues: “It still must be perpetually and indefectibly one, holy, Catholic and apostolic. In other words, it means that the Church founded by Christ must exist until the end of time without any essential change… [for] if the Church could fail in any of its essentials, even for a time, it would lose all authority to teach and govern because the faithful could never be certain at any time that it had not failed — that it had not ceased to be the Church of Christ, thereby losing all authority. But an authority that may be justly doubted at all times is NO AUTHORITY; it commands neither obedience nor respect as is evident in churches that reject the claim to indefectibility.

“Perpetuity of the powers of the Church is a necessary consequence of her perpetual indefectibility. It follows also from the very purpose for which the Church was instituted, namely, the glory of God and the salvation of souls.The power of Orders is directly concerned with both; therefore, it must exist so long as there are men on earth to attain salvation through the proper worship of God. The power of jurisdiction is ordained for the government of the Church, a visible society that must endure until the end of time; therefore, this power itself must be perpetual. Finally, Christ has promised to convey perpetual powers to His Church: “Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world” (p. 263; end of Rev. Berry comments).


“May God give you the grace necessary to defend the rights of the Sovereign Pontiff and the Holy See; for without the Pope there is no Church, and there is no Catholic Society without the Holy See.” — Pope Pius IX, (Allocution to religious superiors, June,1872)

 In the book advertised on this site, The Phantom Church in Rome, irrefutable proofs from the popes and Canon Law are given regarding the invalid election of John 23 in 1958. These proofs were first presented in rudimentary form in 1990. They are taken from infallible teachings of the Church and Canon and papal laws. Once Angelo Roncalli, the false prophet, usurped the papal see, he paved the way for Paul 6’s reign — Montini, the Antichrist. None of those elected after John 23 were true popes or could ever be true popes. What we have now in Rome is what Pope Paul IV identified as the abomination of desolation — Antichrist — standing in the Holy Place where he ought not to be. (See Pope Paul IV’s Bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio on the Articles page of the website.)

Traditionalists cannot possibly claim to be in the right with their stance of recognize and resist. By resisting they admit they doubt the authority of Francis, for no one could remain a member of the Church and resist a true pope. And as St. Robert Bellarmine teaches and Rev. Berry with him says above, doubtful authority is NO authority. The Church cannot be deprived of any essential power or quality SO LONG AS SHE CONTINUES TO EXISTThe Apostolic See of Rome is the only particular Church to which the promise of perpetual indefectibility has been made.” But she no longer exists. As Pope Pius IX taught, “Without the Pope there IS no Church.” and no Catholic society. Traditionalists must prove a true pope exists so that they may exist as members of that church, and they can prove neither premise.

For as long as the Pope ruled the Church, Peter’s faith never failed; the Church was indefectible. The only time identified as a prophesied break in the established order of things was during the reign of Antichrist and his abominable system, and this is where we find ourselves. Those who disagree must do one of three things: 1) Accept Francis and his five predecessors as true popes; 2) Demonstrate that for the last 62 years no doctrines of the Church have been violated by the apostate church or Traditionalists and 3) Prove that the Church as Christ constituted it can exist with a doubtful or absent head. Yet they can do none of these and remain Catholic.

We have had no true pope for 62 years. The end of time for the Church was 1958. We now live in the period predicted by St. Thomas Aquinas as that time existing after the death of Antichrist and before the coming of Christ. But Rev. Berry does not classify this coming of Christ necessarily as the Second Coming and Final Judgment. First, he writes concerning the verse in Holy Scripture, “There shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive, if possible, even the elect”:

“Christ is here warning the faithful against the prodigies that the agents of Satan will produce in the days of Antichrist, to deceive them if possible. Such prodigies are not miracles, but as St. Paul says, “signs and lying wonders.” This very warning on the part of Our Lord presupposes the power of miracles in the Church, for otherwise there would be no reason for Satan to attempt such counterfeits. There can be no counterfeit coins where there are no genuine coins to counterfeit. The prophecies of the Apocalypse show that Satan will imitate the Church of Christ to deceive mankind; he will set up a church of Satan in opposition to the Church of Christ. Antichrist will assume the role of Messias; his prophet will act the part of Pope, and there will be imitations of the Sacraments of the Church. There will also be lying wonders in imitation of the miracles wrought in the Church.”

 Comment: So he anticipates precisely the position we are in and what we have experienced since Pope Pius XII’s death. Bp. Fulton Sheen and others predicted the same. How can such obvious signs and lying wonders NOT be the fulfillment Rev. Berry describes? He continues:

“The mystery of iniquity mentioned by St. Paul grows apace with the spread of the Church, and will culminate in the coming of Antichrist, when Satan will make a last supreme effort to prevent the universal reign of Christ in His Church. After a short but desperate struggle, the Church will emerge victorious, Antichrist will perish, and the powers of Satan will be curbed, so that he should no more seduce the nations. After the defeat and destruction of Antichrist, all nations will flow into the Church, the Jews will enter her fold, and the universal reign of Christ will be established over all peoples, tribes, and tongues. Then shall the words of Christ be literally and completely fulfilled: I have overcome the world. After a long period of time, symbolically designated as a thousand years, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go forth to seduce the nations which are over the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, and shall gather them together to battle for a final persecution of the Church. By special intervention of God, these hostile nations shall be quickly defeated, and the Church shall stand forth once more victorious. Then will the day of judgment be near at hand.

“[Berry FOOTNOTE]: “The interpretation of the prophecies regarding the time of Antichrist and subsequent events is given as an opinion to be accepted for what it is worth. So far as we know, there is no pronouncement of the Church on this question. In fact, no doctrine is involved. It is generally held by Catholic theologians that the Church will be completely Catholic after the days of Antichrist. This doctrine is not materially affected by the further consideration concerning the time of his appearance. This is merely an interesting speculation, of which the above solution seems probable to us. It might be objected that Christ Himself places the end of the world immediately after the attainment of complete Catholicity by the Church: This gospel shall be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come. (Matt, xxiv, 14.) And St. Paul connects the coming of Antichrist with the second coming of Christ: And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus . . . shall destroy with the brightness of his coming (2 Thess. ii, 8). Neither objection has any weight; in the first Our Lord was simply assuring the Apostles that there would be sufficient time to carry the gospel to all nations, since the consummation will not come until that has been accomplished. He does not say that it will come immediately upon its accomplishment. In the other case, we see no reason why ‘His coming’ …must be taken to mean the personal coming of Our Lord at the last day rather than a metaphorical coming in manifest judgment against Antichrist.” (pgs. 137-38).

“Christ has either failed in His promises, or the Church must ever preserve and teach all truths committed to her through the ministry of the Apostles. In other words, the Church must be Apostolic in her doctrine [also, Berry says, Her origin and ministry] even to the consummation of the world” (p. 143).

Comment: As Berry notes, the Church has never decided on any of these matters. Christ tells us no one knows the day nor the hour of His Second Coming and the Church says that no one was to predict who would be the Antichrist in advance of his appearance. But the faithful were carefully instructed by the Apostles on how to recognize and resist him once he came. Only a remnant would be selected out of grace and if possible, even the elect would be deceived. Christ says when He comes He will find few on earth who have preserved their faith. The greatest deceit perpetrated by the apostate Church in Rome and Traditionalists is to make it appear that a) the Church yet exists, and in the case of Traditionalists is able to exist without a true pope; b) that, in the case of Traditionalists, Mass and Sacraments are still available to the faithful and c) that we are not living in the end times; that Antichrist has not yet reigned and is yet to come.

Many point to the fact that Christ promised He would be with His Church, as it was constituted, until the consummation, so this means that the hierarchy would exist until the very end. This can be true only if there is a brief peace and the papacy is miraculously restored. For already the Church as Christ constituted it no longer exists, since its most important constituent element — the Roman Pontiff —has been absent for 62 years! And once again, Pope Pius IX says without the pope there can be no Church and no Catholic society. Paul IV teaches that the abomination of desolation (Antichrist), who he then feared would gain the papacy, would reign as a falsely elected pope. This man would hold heretical beliefs and would be nothing more than a usurper who would have no authority whatsoever to rule the Church. This is the entire gist of his Bull. Traditionalists condemn it as a disciplinary decree voided by the 1917 Code of Canon Law as part of the old law, but this is an absolute falsehood.

Abp. Amleto Cicognani wrote in his Canon Law: “The Code is exclusive, excluding and declaring abolished all former laws and customs excepting those explicitly or implicitly contained in the Code and… laws… reserved in the Code. The Code is therefore not to be considered absolutely exclusive of all other laws … Outside the Code there still remains in force law… in accordance with the Code or with the old law at least implicitly contained in it… In a commentary on the Canons the footnotes must never be neglected” (pgs. 432-433). Pope Paul IV’s Bull can be found in the footnotes to the Code in a number of different places and is the basis for nearly every canon in the 1917 Code regarding heresy. (See

Have all the signs predicted by St. Paul regarding the end times and Antichrist’s coming been fulfilled? Before any of these signs can appear, he who withholdeth must first be taken out of the way (2 Thess. 2: 6-7). Cardinal Manning teaches that this means the Roman Pontiff will be removed from his throne. Apocalypse 12: 5 seems to indicate that the pope intended to reign either dies or is unable to ascend the throne for whatever reason; and therefore God removes him to heaven or at least suspends his power and reserves it to Himself. And no, this cannot apply to Cardinal Siri who signed Vatican 2 documents, endorsed the false popes and con-celebrated the Novus Ordo with his buddies. (See photos and article at

Once Pope Pius XII died, the following signs predicted by St. Paul took place:

  • First will come the revolt, then the Man of Sin is revealed (2 Thess. 2: 3). The hierarchy revolted by embracing ecumenism, Americanism and other heresies even before the death of Pope Pius XII. The cardinals revolted by electing John 23, an unworthy candidate, to the papacy and attending the false Vatican 2 council. Half of the faithful revolted by remaining within the Novus Ordo church; the other half rightly rejected the false council and left the NO in the 1960s,1970s following the abrogation of the Latin Mass.
  • He shall sit in the temple of God, showing himself as God, (2 Thess. 2: 4). Some thought it would be the temple in Jerusalem, others the Church. Obviously it is the Church, and Paul 6 received the usual “papal adoration” following his invalid election as prescribed in the papal election law. But it is clear from Pope Paul IV’s Bull, which interprets an actual verse of Holy Scripture, that he will be a usurper reigning as a true pope. This interpretation is binding on the faithful). As Pope Pius XII taught, the Pope is Christ on earth; he is Christ’s own Vicar. He may bind and loose and Christ confirms these decisions in Heaven. Did Paul VI purposely take this name to transpose the Roman numerals of Paul IV’s name, indicating a reversal of papal teaching as well as a fulfillment of all his predictions?
  • The coming of Antichrist will be “according to the working of Satan,” exercising Satan’s power, signs and lying wonders (2 Thess. 2: 9). How but by the power of Satan could Paul 6 have managed to appear to secure papal election, reconvene the false Vatican 2 council, promulgate false rites of the Sacraments, close the council and abrogate the Latin Mass, all within the space of six years?
  • He will cause the Continual (Perpetual) Sacrifice to cease: “And it was magnified even to the prince of the strength: and it took away from him the continual sacrifice, and cast down the place of his sanctuary. And strength was given him against the continual sacrifice, because of sins: and truth shall be cast down on the ground, and he shall do and shall prosper” (Daniel 8: 11-12). And there shall stand up in his place one despised, and the kingly honor shall not be given to him: and he shall come privately and shall obtain the kingdom by fraud… And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall defile the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the continual sacrifice: and they shall place there the abomination unto desolation” (Daniel 11: 21, 31).

St. Francis de Sales and St. Alphonsus Liguori both teach that the Sacrifice will cease in the latter days. St. Francis writes: “The revolt and separation must come…the Sacrifice shall cease and…the Son of Man shall hardly find faith on earth…All these passages are understood of the affliction which Antichrist shall cause in the Church…But the Church… shall not fail, and shall be fed and preserved amidst the deserts and solitudes to which She shall retire, as the Scripture says, (Apoc. Ch. 12),” (“The Catholic Controversy”). In his “The Holy Eucharist,” St. Alphonsus stated that: “It is true [the Mass] will cease on earth at the time of Antichrist: the Sacrifice of the Mass is to be suspended… according to the prophecy of Daniel, (Dan. 12:11).” St. Alphonsus goes on to explain, however, that in reality the Sacrifice and priesthood never will cease since “the Son of God, Eternal Priest, will always continue to offer Himself to God, the Father, in Heaven as an Eternal Sacrifice.” And it is only at this altar, in the privacy of their homes, that those who strive to keep the faith without recourse to unlawful pastors choose to honor Him.

  • Take away the papacy and you take away the Mass, and vice versa. The Mass is called continual or perpetual, yet it is taken away. Peter shall have perpetual successors, and yet Cardinal Manning says he who withholdeth, the Holy Father, shall be taken out of the way and then Antichrist will come. Because those who succumb to Antichrist will not love the truth, they will not believe these things will happen. They shall be seduced by the operation of error, and will be judged (2 Thess. 2: 10-11).

Pope Paul IV defines the abomination of desolation as a person; Scripture commentators tend to identify it as the cessation of the Continual Sacrifice, which happened in the time of the Maccabees under Antiochus. But St. Jerome tells us in the Breviary the term abomination can just as easily be applied to Antichrist himself, and that “of desolation” refers to a “ruined temple’ where the Sacrifice to idols (Holy Scripture refers to them as bread idols) is set up. And so the person and the false Sacrifice are linked one to the other, just as Adrian Fortescue says in the Catholic Encyclopedia regarding the Mass and the papacy: “As union with Rome is the bond between Catholics, so is our common share in this, the most venerable rite in Christendom, the witness and safeguard of that bond.”

None of us know when or how all that we are witnessing today will end. It may end with Christ coming briefly to inflict the long-expected chastisement and a restoration of the Church or Christ could easily come for the Final Judgment; commentators are divided on this subject. The Fatima apparitions seem to indicate that there will be a brief peace after the death of Antichrist and before the last persecution and final judgment. But that was predicated on whether enough Catholics said the Rosary and performed penance for the conversion of sinners; also whether or not the Pope consecrated Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart in the manner in which she requested. We have no way of knowing if this was actually the case. Praying and watching is what Our Lord asked us to do; for the Master comes when He is least expected, and only those awaiting Him with their lamps aglow will avoid being cast into the external darkness.



On Disputing Matters of Faith in Discussion Forums

On Disputing Matters of Faith in Discussion Forums

+Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus+

Sweet Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us and on our erring brethren


Many have attempted to participate in the forums on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, but also website forums, which host disputes regarding matters of faith among Traditionalists. I have rarely viewed or commented in such forums and have attempted only to refute the numerous errors found in these mediums on this website, both in articles and blog posts. Although readers’ motives for refuting these errors are sound — i.e., to defend the faith — the Church forbids disputes of this nature as explained below, while permitting both private refutation of errors by the faithful and formal refutations according to Her own Scholastic method. This of course does not set well with Traditionalists, who are well-versed in the art of ad hominem attacks and sophistic argument. They challenge those they oppose with the cry that the theologians have always engaged in such debates to help clarify truths of faith, and that is correct as far as it goes. But as is always the case with Traditionalists they assume as proven that which is yet to be proven.

First, they assume they are Catholics and can therefore dispute these things among themselves and with others. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Secondly, they falsely assume that the things they discuss are open to discussion and have not been settled by the Roman Pontiffs. This is very often untrue, but Traditionalists, who regularly fail to recognize pronouncements of the ordinary magisterium as binding, hold that such pronouncements do not demand at least a firm internal assent on their part. Thirdly, they ignore the teachings of Canon Law, (on this point and many others), which forbids them to engage in these discussions. Lastly, they fail to reconcile previous laws and teachings with more recent papal teaching and waste much time attempting to prove that which either was decided in the past and misconstrued or misinterpreted by modern theologians or decisions made in the first half of the last century. For these reasons, true Catholics cannot participate in these forums and must not engage them in any public disputation, and this will be elaborated below.

The papacy first, then the Church

In his work The Vatican Decrees in Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance, 1875, Henry Edward Cardinal Manning explains that while Catholics were accustomed to theologians treating the Body of the Church in their works before the Head, the Roman Pontiff, the Vatican Council reversed this order and treated first the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff, a distinct and important change in method. This placed the historical order as preferred to the logical order used previously, following Our Lord’s choosing of St. Peter as pope, and then the appointment of St. Peter as the rock on which the Church was founded and from whom all would take direction regarding the Church.

“To Peter alone first was given the plenitude of jurisdiction and of infallible authority,” Manning writes. “Afterwards the gift of the Holy Ghost was shared with him by all the Apostles. From him and through him therefore, all began… A clear and precise conception of the Primacy is necessary to a clear and precise conception of the Church. Unless it be first distinctly apprehended, the doctrine of the Church will be always proportionately obscure. 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. Beginning therefore with the Head, the Council has followed our Lord’s example, both in teaching and in fact.”

THE ABOVE PARAGRAPH MUST BE WHOLLY COMPREHENDED AND DIGESTED BY ANYONE WISHING TO BE COUNTED AS CATHOLIC. It is the definitive explanation of why Traditionalists do not understand Christ’s constitution of the Church, or Her true purpose on earth. Elsewhere in his work, Manning goes into great detail to explain how the proponents of Liberalism had “generated the heresies of Gallicanism, Imperialism, Regalism, and nationalism, the perennial sources of error of, contention and schism,” which is precisely what we see today, both among Traditionalists and in the world in general. Traditionalists are not members of the Catholic Church because they operate either under a false pope or no pope, contrary to papal commands. They therefore are to be regarded as non-Catholics, and there is no help for this. They are part of the problem, NOT the solution.

Catholic guidelines for discussion

Every established society has rules of discussion and resolution of issues, and the Church is no exception. Unlike civil governments, the method prescribed by the Church, the Scholastic method, is the ONLY method endorsed by the Vicar of Christ. Unless this method is followed and adhered to, those failing to use it can be ignored because they are not obeying the popes. “When a scholastic sets down a thesis, he is expected to offer evidence to show that it should be accepted as a correct explanation of Our Lord’s message” (Msgr. J. C. Fenton, The Concept of Sacred Theology). This has been done, over and over again. They offer no evidence whatsoever, only aimless arguments. Fenton also notes that “Melchior Cano rightly attaches the authority of teachers in canon law to that of the scholastics” (Ibid.). Canon Law is negatively infallible according to the unanimous opinion of theologians, which binds Catholics (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, Discipline); theologians individually do not enjoy such infallibility. That is precisely why they prefer them. Cano lists the Popes, the Councils, the Sacred Congregations and the Fathers as the primary sourcesbefore ever mentioning the canonists and theologians.

But where Canon Law is negatively infallible — and all theologians are in agreement on this — the teachings of individual theologians are not negatively infallible. Only the unanimous opinion of theologians is binding on Catholics. Monsignor Joseph Fenton, in response to a Modernist attack launched by a fellow theologian favoring Vatican 2 progressivism, wrote: “It is quite obvious that the individual opinions of individual authors do not constitute Catholic doctrine and could not be set forth as such. But there is a fund of common teaching (like that which tells us that there are truths which the Church proposes to us as revealed by God, and which are not contained in any way within the inspired books of Holy Scripture), which is the unanimous doctrine of the manuals, and which is the doctrine of the Catholic Church. The unanimous teaching of the scholastic theologians has always been recognized as a norm of Catholic doctrine. It is unfortunate that today there should be some attempt to mislead people into imagining that it has ceased to be such a norm in the twentieth century” (The Doctrinal Authority of the Encyclicals,” Part II, The American Ecclesiastical Review, September 1949). So this error was already spreading among liberal theologians in the 1940s.

Any Traditionalist “objections” to what appears on this site which are not backed up with the teachings of the popes or ecumenical councils, the Sacred Congregations or Canon Law, are not worthy to be considered as an adequate response to any given question and must be dismissed. “Every judgment must be based on evidence. No argument or conclusion contrary to the evident facts is valid…The demand for an infinite series of premises and the rejection of any self-evident premises is unreasonable and skeptical” (Rev. Bernard Wuellner, S.J., Summary of Scholastic Principles). Self-evident premises are those that should need no further explanation because, as St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, “Now, a truth may be self-evident in two ways: (a) in itself and to the human mind; or (b) in itself, but not to the human mind.” (The Existence of God; Summa Theologica). Every effort has been made on this site to provide the necessary scholastic proofs not evident to the human mind. Rev. A.C. Cotter explains in his ABC’s of Scholastic Philosophy that when the known quantity of any given thing is sufficiently evident “…it forces our assent… One can call it into question only under pain of bidding defiance to the accepted dictates of common sense… If such a conviction could be false… we could no longer trust any conviction” (p. 167).

So forget Catholic sense; Traditionalists do not even exhibit common sense! There could be nothing more evident to a real Catholic than the fact that the only true Church on earth is the Catholic Church and this Church is distinguished primarily by Her true Head on earth. As Pope Pius IX who confirmed the Vatican Council teaches, without that head there can BE no Church; all Catholics must know this to retain their Church membership. And that head must also be indisputably Catholic as that term has been understood throughout the centuries, so certainly bowing to pagan religions as the usurpers have done and participating in their ceremonies, a sacrilege even to Protestant minds, is manifest evidence of their break with Catholicism. These truths are SELF-EVIDENT and need no further proofs or explanations. Endless arguments and denial of these truths result in heresy (skepticism, according to Cotter as well) and points to only one thing: Traditionalists are not rational, and they certainly are not Catholic. They point fingers at this author as being “a nut case” for electing and following a false pope, but that at least was reasoned out based on the best information available at the time. What is truly insane is a church calling itself Catholic without a true pope!

Scholastic method teaches: “In a conflict of law, the higher law prevails. Laws justly declaring an incapacity to act or to receive benefits invalidate the attempted act or reception even if they are inculpably unknown or facts pertaining to their application in a concrete instance are unknown” (Rev. Bernard Wuellner, S.J., Summary of Scholastic Principles). Traditionalist “clerics” did not have to be aware they were receiving questionably valid ordination, or had reasoned out that the popes following Pope Pius XII were usurpers for their “orders” to have been considered invalid. And the laws are just because they guard against a common danger as mentioned in Can. 21 — the risk of sacrilege and fraud. The Roman Pontiff is always the source of the highest law and is the only one who can interpret and decide matters of the Divine and natural law — NOT Traditionalists. That was what was decided at the Vatican Council, once and for all, and is the very dogma Traditionalists refuse to accept.

We are not allowed to engage in disputes with non-Catholics, and Traditionalists are non-Catholics. In these forums and websites they run, Traditionalists attempt to engage those who stay at home in a series of disputations which are conducted entirely contrary to Scholastic and canonical rules approved and enforced by the Roman Pontiff! Canon 1325 states: “The faithful are bound to profess their faith publicly whenever silence, subterfuge or their manner of acting would otherwise entail an implicit denial of their faith, a contempt of religion, an insult to God or scandal to their neighbor… Catholics shall not enter into any disputes or conferences with non-Catholics — especially public ones — without the permission of the Holy See, or in urgent cases, of the local Ordinary (bishop).”

Even though we are obligated under the law to defend the faith in the first part of this canon, and certainly this obligation applies to our circumstances today, the law makes it clear that this does not extend to (debates or) disputes with Traditionalist non-Catholics. In his 1945 papal election law Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, para. 3, ( Pope Pius XII declares null and void all the actions of anyone who dares to usurp papal jurisdiction during an interregnum such as we now are experiencing. Pius XII is saying that during an interregnum no one can presume his permission to engage in certain acts that he would otherwise need to approve. And there is no Ordinary to determine urgent need.

Papal obedience — a self-evident truth

Pope Pius XII in his allocution Si diligus condemned the idea that the laity could attempt to dabble in sacred theology without strict adherence to the teaching of the continual magisterium.

There never has been, there is not and there will never be any legitimate teaching activity of the laity in the Church which is exempted by God from the authority, the leadership and the vigilance of the sacredmagisterium… The very denial of submission offers convincing proofs and evidence that laymen who speak and act in this way are not guided by the spirit of God and Christ. There is also the danger that incompetent men may begin to instruct their fellows, men who are deceitful and treacherous, men whom St. Paul  described when he said: ‘The time will come when men…always itching to hear  something fresh, will provide themselves with a continuous succession of new  teachers, as the whim takes them, turning a deaf ear to the truth, bestowing their attention on fables instead.” (And as pointed out before, Traditionalists presenting as clerics are nothing more, according to the teachings of the Catholic Church, than laymen.)

“…It is not sufficient for learned Catholics to accept and revere the aforesaid dogmas of the Church… It is also necessary to subject themselves to the decisions pertaining to doctrine which are issued by the Pontifical Congregations, and also to those forms of doctrine which are held by the common and constant consent of Catholics as theological truths and conclusions, so certain that opinions opposed to these same forms of doctrines, although they cannot be called heretical, nevertheless deserve some theological censure” (DZ 1684).

In an article for The American Ecclesiastical Review, (November 1947) Rev. Francis J. Connell, C.S.S.R. wrote: “Besides the infallible teachings of the Church on matters contained in Revelation or connected with it, there also are pronouncements of Her official teachers which are authoritative though not infallible. Such are decisions of the Roman Congregations or Commissions, and also doctrines taught by the pope officially, but without the intention of using the fullness of his authority and of giving a definitive decision. The statements of the Sovereign Pontiff are usually in this category, [but note that Connell wrote before Humani Generis was written]. The faithful are obliged in conscience to accept such decisions internally, for even though their correctness is not guaranteed by the charism of infallibility, those who formulate and promulgate them are undoubtedly aided by the Holy Ghost. Furthermore, every natural precaution is taken before such declarations are published, particularly the meticulous supervision of men who are specialists in the matters involved” [see also DZ 2008]. The acceptance of these decisions is not an act of Divine faith, but is rather an act of obedience, known as religious assent…The general rule is that all Catholics, learned and unlearned, clergy and laity, must acquiesce wholeheartedly to these authoritative (though not infallible) decisions of the Church…”


Etienne Gilson, in his The Church Speaks to the Modern World: Social Teachings, Pope Leo XIII, 1954, writes: The Encyclical letters are the usual means by which the Popes exercise this definite teaching function. These letters are the highest expression of the ordinary teaching of the Church. To the extent that they restate the infallible teachings of the Church, the pronouncements of the encyclical letters are themselves infallible. Moreover, while explaining and developing such infallible teachings, or while using them as a sure criterion in the condemnation of errors, or even while striving to solve the social, economic, and political problems of the day in the light of these infallible teachings, the Popes enjoy the special assistance of the Holy Ghost, a higher guidance in which the supernatural gift of prudence plays a decisive part. The teachings of the Popes, as found in their Encyclical Letters, can by no means be considered as expressing mere opinions which anyone is free to hold or to reject at will. Even though they may not be binding as to faith in ALL their parts, the teachings of an encyclical are all directly related to Faith by the Supreme Teaching Authority of the Church with the special assistance of the Holy Ghost. There is always grave temerity in not accepting a teaching of an encyclical on any one of the points it touches.”  This of course was later confirmed by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis.

Pius XII taught in Humani Generis that, “The Magisterium must be the proximate and universal criterion of truth for all theologians, since to it has been entrusted by Our Lord the whole deposit of Faith — Sacred Scripture and Divine Tradition — to be preserved, guarded and interpreted.” As Msgr. J. C. Fenton stated in the December 1946 issue of The American Ecclesiastical Review, “Every dogmatic definition is the statement of a truth given to the Church before the death of the last Apostle. The expressed acceptance of the body of truth within which the defined doctrine belongs constitutes the profession of faith necessary for membership in the true Church of Jesus Christ,” (“The Necessity for the Definition of Papal Infallibility…”). As Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey has pointed out, “We must submit ourselves with childlike docility to the teachings of faith…We submit our judgment not only to the truths of faith, but to the directions of the Holy See…We must study before all else not what is pleasing but what is profitable…In order to discipline the mind we must study what is most necessary, with the desire to know and love the truth and to live by it…As St. Augustine tells us, knowledge should be put to the service of love: ‘Let knowledge be used in order to erect the structure of charity,’” (The Spiritual Life).

The necessity of true knowledge

In his work, The Life of the World to Come, Abbot Dom Anscar Vonier, O.S.B. explains how true knowledge is the reality that lies behind the symbolism of the Scriptures regarding our existence in Heaven. And yet, if we do not even bother to strive to taste this knowledge while on earth, consigning our blessed heritage instead to the unworthy, we debase and rob ourselves of a portion of our spiritual inheritance, even of Heaven itself.

“The much exhausted student of theology is told that… his intellect one day, if he but die in the grace of God, will practically become omniscient; the whole mighty universe will one day be reflected in his mind, as in a mirror, and he himself will find it possible to express that universe to himself and to other minds. Many a student has been tempted to look upon his present labors as upon idle and wasted efforts, being mindful that such an inheritance of knowledge would be his one day without any such effort… [But] mental slothfulness would be for him the surest road to the loss of that heavenly wealth of knowledge and light which is the reward of all mortal struggles.

“There is no surer sign of decadence than an aversion for knowledge. Not to want to know is the beginning of brutalisation in man. A passion for knowledge is the surest sign of a healthy mental constitution, whilst listlessness and indifference for the bright things of the intellect argues more than mental paralysis: it is a positive depravity of the heart; the heart has become heavy through the things of the senses, and it loathes the effort which is implied in all true knowledge. Judged by this standard, our present generation may appear to some of us as being very near unto salvation. Was there ever a greater effort in the field of knowledge than in our own days? Did men ever attach more value to knowledge than they do now? It is happily not my mission to sit in judgement on my fellow men. Nothing would please me more than the discovery that a great thirst for knowledge is truly discernible amongst the men and women of the present generation.

“With such a thirst none of them can be far from the kingdom of God, and the harvest of souls is sure to be a record crop. There are, however, some alarming signs that this thirst is not a healthy desire for the waters of the spirit, but only the fevered craving of a sick man. Was there ever a greater and more outspoken dislike of doctrine than in our own days? This is a question to be asked in conjunction with the rather complacent questions I put a moment ago into the mouth of an unseen interlocutor. If our society is conspicuous for its appreciation of knowledge, it is not less remarkable for its dislike of doctrine or dogma… When doctrine becomes to his diseased mind a kind of bugbear, [man] clutches all the more tenaciously at what he calls science, which, after all, is merely doctrine on a small and limited scale. Like a bird frightened by some empty sound, man flies away from the cedars of doctrine and hides under the hyssop of science.

“Perhaps an apologist of modern life has a ready answer: he will say that aversion for doctrine is the very thing you will find in a man who thirsts for knowledge. Doctrine fetters the mind and cramps the flight of the intellect towards the regions of pure knowledge. If dislike of doctrine and dogma — and I do not here exclude Catholic doctrine and dogma — were accompanied in our moderns by an intense eagerness to find out things high and divine, by an effort to meet with truth as great as is their energy in driving out doctrine and dogma, one would not be greatly alarmed… [But] there is nowhere noticeable that compensating effort I have just described. The effort to drive out dogma leaves no energy behind to find out things divine. It is not a passion for knowledge, but a positive dislike of knowledge that is at the root of all aversion for doctrine.”

So intent are Traditionalists on establishing and enjoying their manmade Church on earth that they have forgotten their true destination should be Heaven. In the work Towards Vatican III, edited by David Tracy, Hans Kung and Johan B. Metz (1978), a Luis Maldonado notes the “importance and positive value of ritual…” and urges a future council to recognize and address the resurrection of the old rite alongside that of the NOM. Other authors contributing to this work also stress the need for “liturgical pluralism.” No longer do they need a council, however; Traditionalists have done all their work for them. This was the plan all along, as gradual concessions to “tradition” have been made by the usurpers. There is no discernible Catholic knowledge factored into any of this; visuals and externals are all that is necessary to satisfy those mesmerized by the sensual gratification — flashy ritual display minus any content — they mistake for devotion and Catholic practice. And this makes perfect sense: to merge with the Modernist church one must possess a Modernist outlook.

The Modernist tenets of Traditionalism

Just how Modernist Traditionalists truly are is explained in great detail in Pope St. Pius X’s Pascendi Dominici Gregis. Put into question and answer form by the Rev. J.B. Lemius, O.S.I, (A Catechism of Modernism), this encyclical is packed full of references to the very attitudes and beliefs exhibited by Traditionalists, but of course this orientation, like all else “Traditional,” will be ignored. It is, however, a perfect example of how knowledge and a true understanding of the faith has disintegrated into a mockery of the Catholic religion. The most intelligible way to explain this is to enumerate the common points shared by Modernism and Traditionalism. Pope St. Pius X condemns the following Modernist errors, taken from the answers to questions in Lemius’ work.

  • Modernists exhibit a “need for the divine,” which in individuals inclined to religion excites a certain sentiment. This need operates “according to the principles of Fideism” which Modernists confuse with the faith. It leads to a sentiment that must be “sanctioned by the heart” (p. 25-26; 38); and it is this experiential “intuition of the heart” that makes the individual a believer and provides the necessary certitude (pgs. 40-41).
  • “The Sacraments are a resultant of a double need — everything in their system is explained by inner impulses and NECESSITIES” (p. 59). The first of these is described as “some [external] manifestation for religion;” the second, “is that of propagating it, which could not be done without some sensible form and consecrating acts, and these are called Sacraments.” Pope St. Pius X points out that Modernists really teach the Sacraments were created “solely to foster the faith,” a heresy condemned by the Council of Trent, (DZ 848).
  • Traditionalists disregard dogma and believed it should be adaptable to the circumstances (p. 38-39) because they are imbued with the false idea of being able to choose what to believe from among these dogmas, (p. 64-65). This is the democratic idea of governance by the people, versus accepting without question what the Supreme Pontiff teaches as Christ’s Vicar on earth. It totally excludes obedience to Christ’s Vicar.
  • They believe they may choose democratically what to believe or not believe in way of dogma and may even critique it; they externally profess obedience to doctrine and acceptance of papal authority while withholding internal assent, (p. 69-70).
  • They have no use for logic or scholasticism, (pgs. 123-25).
  • Modernists attempt to take away the guidance of intelligence and replace it with religious sentiment and experience (p. 114). “The vast majority of mankind holds and always will hold firmly that sentiment and experience alone, when not enlightened and guided by reason, do not lead to the knowledge of God” (Pope St. Pius X).
  • Traditionalists identify Tradition as whatever Catholics hold in way of a “common mind” or collective experience of what went before (false “sensus catholicus,” and “uniting the clans” p. 63-76). In other words, their common need for and common experience of Mass and Sacraments, the Traditionalist experience, is the glue that seals their unity and dictates their faith, NOT the papacy. We read in the Catholic Encyclopedia under Tradition: “Tradition, in the double meaning of the word… is Divine truth coming down to us in the mind of the Church and it is the guardianship and transmission of this Divine truth by the organ of the living magisterium, by ecclesiastical preaching, by the profession of it made by all in the Christian life.” Faith to Traditionalists is only sentiment and common experience.
  • Modernists use Traditionalists’ perceived need for the Mass and Sacraments to make it appear they are conserving Tradition while paying lip service to authority, (p. 75).
  • The laity must advocate for progress (or conservation) as their consciences dictate and a compromise must be reached with authority, (p. 75). This will accomplish the desired synthesis (as in Toward Vatican III, quoted above).
  • The Modernists ignore the condemnations of the Church, (p. 103). They come to each other’s aid when attacked and vent their fury on those who defend Catholic dogma, (pgs. 128-29). They are incorrigible and refuse to desist from their heresy, (pgs. 15, 17).
  • “When an adversary rises up against them with an erudition and force that render him redoubtable, they try to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attack,” (p. 128-29).

Summing things up, Pope St. Pius X teaches that the Modernists, (as well as Traditionalists): “are indeed well calculated to deceive souls… This almost destroys all hope of a cure: their very doctrines have given such a bent to their minds that they disdain all authority and brook no restraint. Relying on a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that which in reality is the result of pride and obstinacy… We first of all showed them kindness, then We treated them with severity, and at last We have had recourse… to public reproof,” and this last sentence describes the steps we ourselves have taken over the decades. In his Pascendi, Pope St. Pius X warns us as follows: “The Church’s… injury is certain the more intimate their knowledge of Her,” and to this can be added the more they appear to possess such knowledge, the more likely it is those attracted to them believe they do possess it. St. John tells us to run from the bathhouse before the roof collapses, not stand inside and try to convince the bathers there is a heretic in their midst (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.3.4).









How Obstacles to Grace Impede the Understanding, Pt. 2

+Sts. Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia+

Please review Part I of this post and order Fr. John Kearney’s valuable work on the faith. A link for this is provided at the end of Part I.

What follows here is not some sensationalistic evaluation of a modern-day plague, but is an actual condition observed as evil and destructive to religion by Pope Pius XII prior to his death. It is a miasma covering the minds of those who otherwise might see and rejoice in the truth, but who, unable to escape this poisonous fog, instead lash out with hatefulness and rancor, cheered on by their Traditionalist leaders and cohorts. While such blindness is prophesied for these times, we must ever pray that those suffering from it be granted the miracle of grace they need to find Our Lord, who alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

The cult phenomena

The word cult is no longer “politically correct,” but what is discussed here does not have anything to do with politics. While obstacles to the faith will be peculiar to each individual, there is yet another phenomena that must be factored in that did not even exist as such when Fr. Kearney wrote his work. This is not an obstacle so-called, but an overriding mental state that must be recognized and combatted before any of the other obstacles can even be considered. It has to do with compelling vulnerable individuals to accept a false idea of authority and obedience to the same. And unless this veil is lifted, no progress at all can be made in the life of grace. Pope Pius XII in his constitution Ad apostolorum principis identified this tactic at work in Red China through:

“…a variety of means including violence and oppression, numerous lengthy publications, and group meetings and congresses, [where] the unwilling are forced to take part by incitement, threats, and deceit. If any bold spirit strives to defend truth, his voice is easily smothered and overcome, and he is branded with a mark of infamy as an enemy of his native land and of the new society… An almost endless series of lectures and discussions, lasting for weeks and months, so weaken and benumb the strength of mind and will that by a kind of psychic coercion an assent is extracted which contains almost no human element, an assent which is not freely asked for as should be the case… These are methods by which minds are upset — by every device, in private and in public — by traps, deceits, grave fear” (and other means). “Against methods of acting such as these, which violate the principal rights of the human person and trample on the sacred liberty of the sons of God, all Christians from every part of the world, indeed all men of good sense cannot refrain from raising their voices with Us in real horror and from uttering a protest deploring the deranged conscience of their fellow men.”

Today the term coercive persuasion is used to designate the type of thought reform now being used by most religious cults. A modern definition found on the Internet reads: “The coercive psychological influence of these programs aim to overcome the individual’s critical thinking abilities and free will – apart from any appeal to informed judgment. Victims gradually lose their ability to make independent decisions and exercise informed consent. Their critical thinking, defenses, cognitive processes, values, ideas, attitudes, conduct and ability to reason are undermined by a technological process rather than by meaningful free choice, rationality, or the inherent merit or value of the ideas or propositions being presented.” And this describes very well the plight of many who seem dazed by systematic truth and unable to absorb it. To this must be joined the constant assault on the senses by the liberal media (including N.O. publications), ever seeking to mold public opinion to its standards and thereby control the thought processes of the masses.

The system Pope Pius XII described above in Ad apostolorum principis was the ruthless use of thought reform by the Communists in all its classical applications. Because the dangers of the system eventually became so well known, the Communists were forced to modify it and resort to more subtle means of “persuasion” without resorting to violence. In turn, this modification was refined to suit the needs of whatever group adopted this technique, and this process is described by ex-Moonie Steven Hassan in his Combatting Cult Mind Control (1988). So sophisticated are the methods of these sects and personality cults today that when Hassan met with Robert Jay Lifton, the author of  the definitive work Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, (on brainwashing methods used on American prisoners during the Communist Chinese takeover and the Korean War), Lifton told him that these sects today were so much more sophisticated and so thoroughly evolved that he no longer was the expert — Hassan, the ex-Moonie was the expert. Today, in light of our own experiences with these Traditionalist groups, all of us may be the “experts.”

Lifton enumerates eight likely markers of coercive persuasion, and all of these in some way can be identified with Traditionalists. They are:

  • Milieu control or control of the environment. This is the deliberate limitation by leaders of destructive sects on the types of information followers are allowed to read (or, in the case of Traditionalists, the interpretation they are allowed to take away from what they do read, regardless of whether this clearly contradicts Church teaching). In some sects, contacts with non-sect family members and friends is discouraged or forbidden.
  • Mystical manipulation, where group members are introduced to mystical experiences attributed to the leaders. This can be specialized or “secret” information known only to the leaders and certain group members, a “miracle,” a vision or prophecy fulfilled, or some special “power” the leaders possess to transmit spiritual favors (such as the Mass and Sacraments, when the Church teaches Traditionalists do not possess these powers). One group in particular is guilty of promoting secret information, which most likely qualifies them as a secret society in the eyes of the Church and excommunicates their followers for apostasy and heresy. Little do they know that the secrets they think they are hiding are known to be elaborate fabrications, exposed as such in a document yet to be released, with all the pertinent documentary proof.
  • Demand for purity of purpose regarding the goals of the group; pursuit of spiritual perfection without the means necessary to accomplish this goal (the hierarchy in union with a canonically elected pope; valid mass and sacraments.).
  • Cult of confession, which would not be seen as anything but one of the seven Sacraments if Traditionalists were certainly valid and possessed the jurisdiction to hear confessions. But because this is not the case, this is nothing more than confessing past sins to fellow laypeople with no obligation to observe the Seal of the Confessional, which means these men could easily use such knowledge against the ones confessing.
  • Sacred Science, such as Traditionalists doctrines like “the salvation of souls is the supreme law” and the absolute necessity of Mass and Sacraments. Only the group perspective is true and to be believed, whether it is contrary to the teachings of the Church or not. One is not allowed to disagree with or point things out to the almighty Traditionalist “hierarchy” without receiving a barrage of verbal abuse.
  • Loaded language, which is the vocabulary of the groupthink of each particular sect: “Unite the clans,” “recognize and resist,” “It is the Mass that matters,” “save the Mass,” “counterfeit church,” “Materialiter/Formaliter,” “the Church eclipsed” and many others. These terms are shortcuts or ready-made explanations for followers to use in order to escape the rigors of study, or handy phrases signifying a united purpose. These slogans or cliches only reinforce existing prejudices.
  • Doctrine over person means that all previous experience in other Traditionalist or Novus Ordo groups can only be viewed through the lens of the group’s own doctrines, regardless of any contradictions where actual Church teaching is concerned.
  • Dispensing of existence means anyone in the group challenging its leadership, no matter how previously useful or loyal they may have been, is dispensable. Salvation is possible only within the group.

In his book, Into the Rabbit Hole (Google Books), Michael Warren talks of “buzz words, phrases and slogans” used by those wishing to dominate others, phrases that send “very strong signals” to the brain every time they are spoken or written. This is what Lifton calls “loaded language.” Another secular author assigns the use of slogans especially to demagogues, those now busy creating political (and spiritual) unrest. Let’s use as an example the word “homealone,” coined by a Traditionalist cleric decades ago. First association: Frightened children, left to their own limited resources. Second association: Well now it is quarantine, limited social contacts, no support systems and so forth. Third association: The movie was basically a comedy, so it is ridicule to boot. Who would ever want to be counted as a member of that group?

This is how destructive religious groups prejudice others against the truth. Rev. A.C. Cotter says regarding slogans: “Slogans [are] the handy tools of intellectual laziness… Certitude is to be had only at the cost of serious effort and untiring labor… The indolent student …finds it easier to repeat what others have said than to probe the matter for himself…” (The ABC’s of Scholastic Philosophy, p. 288; 1949). And like it or not, we all must be students today and all must arrive at certitude before acing. “Man’s first duty is to know God,” Fr. Kearney writes. “Ignorance… shows a want of esteem for the gift of Faith and this is a disloyalty to God who has given us the Faith. Hence it leads to a diminution of grace.” Shouldn’t everyone seek to become more knowledgeable, then, on what the Church has always taught if grace is the prize they are truly seeking?! Willful or affected ignorance is nothing more than self-deceit.

Spiritual combat: Overcoming mind control and spiritual obstacles

Hassan the Moonie left the Unification Church to become what is known as an “exit counselor,” one who assists those involved in cults to leave the groups they belong to and resume their lives free from the strictures of enforced belief. With the situation in the Church being what it is today, the greatest obstacle to any exit from Traditionalist groups is the lack of authority needed to guide those involved in error back into the true Church of Christ.  While priests and bishops may not be at our disposal today, there is a wealth of information and instruction that will aid in this process if inquirers become as little children and assume the docility Fr. Kearney speaks of in the beginning of this article. In the words of A. C. Cotter, S. J.: “[Only] authority clothed with the necessary conditions is true authority. False authority makes the same claims, although it lacks these conditions… Authority is not the last criterion of truth or motive for certitude.” In other words, Catholics must make sure they are obeying only legitimate pastors!

Having sat at the knee of false authority, exiting Traditionalists need now to immerse themselves in the true teachings of the Church minus the filters superimposed on the Catholic Faith by Traditionalists. Fr. Kearney leads them along this path by warning the faithful against the following, which endangers their faith:

  • Indiscriminate reading: This becomes a real problem for many Catholics with the easy availability of all sorts of information on the Internet that is not always easy to evaluate or verify. Concerning written works, Fr. Kearney writes: “Many literary works are prejudicial to the faith. Their tendency is to weaken it imperceptibly. The naturalistic philosophy, irreligious views, materialistic outlook contained in them is so subtle as not to be noticed.In this matter of safeguarding our Catholic faith and morals, no one should presume to say that his Faith is so strong and his morals so firmly established as to be proof against all attack, no matter how subtly or systematically directed. Neither good intentions nor experience in life can render anyone absolutely immune to painful surprises. It may be taken as a practical rule of guidance that indulgence in evil reading will end in spiritual disaster… The only effective antidote to bad books is to think rightly. This involves filling the mind with … the truth of Jesus Christ such as is found in Catholic literature.”
  • Indiscriminate discussion: “A person who asks… for information on the teaching of the Church and honestly desires to know should be answered and you should be able to answer. You are not required to prove the doctrine from Scripture. [But] a person who wishes to discuss religion simply for the sake of argument or for the purpose of confounding you should not be answered… The danger of discussion for those whose opportunities have not permitted them to make a very profound study of their religion is due to the fact that they may find themselves in the hands of a very clever man who misrepresents things and whose errors their limited knowledge is not able to detect. Look what a clever barrister can do when he has a bad cease to defend, how he can put interpretations on the facts, misrepresent their different importantces, and in the end completely persuade those who are ignorant.”

Canon 1325: “The faithful are bound to profess their faith publicly whenever silence, subterfuge or their manner of acting would otherwise entail an implicit denial of their faith, a contempt of religion, an insult to God or scandal to their neighbor… Catholics shall not enter into any disputes or conferences with non-Catholics — especially public ones — without the permission of the Holy See, or in urgent cases, of the local Ordinary (bishop)” (A Practical Commentary on the 1917 Code of Canon Law; Rev. Stanislaus Woywod, revised by Rev. Callistus Smith; Joseph F. Wagner, 1957). Defending the faith by stating the truth is one thing; entering into a series of protracted public discussions is quite another. We have no bishops to consult and conducting such discussions without the proper training is a presumption of papal permission, hence a usurpation of papal jurisdiction. This is forbidden during interregnums by Pope Pius XII in his papal election law Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.

  • Frequent association with non-Catholics: “Frequenting the company of, and making friends with, those who are not friends of Our Lord, who are not childlike and docile before Him, is an evident disloyalty to Our Savior and our God, and hence a cause of the diminution of our graces,” (and unfortunately this also applies to maintaining friendships with Traditionalists). “It leads to a spirit which is the very opposite of the spirit of a child before the Father in Heaven. John Henry Cardinal Newman warns Catholics about these non-Catholics in his comments on obstacles to the will, discussed in Part I.
  • Mixed marriage in these times is scarcely possible to avoid today, and in this emergency the Church has relaxed her laws on this score. But Catholics should be counseled to marry only those with the best possible backgrounds and who they determine are at least open to the possibility of conversion in the future. Of course the promises must always be made and the children raised Catholic, and this can become a major stumbling block to faith and marital relations, which is why the Church prohibits mixed marriages in the first place.

Fr. Kearney then explains how Catholics can strengthen their faith as follows by:

  • Learning and obeying the laws and teachings of the Church;
  • Fidelity in prayer; daily examination of conscience, (a Perfect Act of Contrition each day and frequent Spiritual Communions);
  • Frequent deliberate acts of faith;
  • Spiritual reading, particularly reading about the Church of God and Her teachings;
  • Keeping the will united always to God, which better enables the mind to submit to the word of the Church, and
  • Filling our memory and imagination with the things of God, the grandeur of the Faith, and the glorious works of the Church.

As Fr. Kearney observes: “The life which includes contemplation of Divine truth and giving to others the truth we have contemplated is, as St. Thomas teaches, most like the life of Christ and therefore most perfect. St. Thomas also teaches that a special aureola of splendour will be given in heaven for doctrine and preaching. Preaching does not mean formal teaching in the pulpit only; it means the leading of others by word and example to understand the Catholic doctrine… Here is a test of our charity: If we think much of God and find our contentment in Him, if His interests are our interests, if the success or failure of His Church brings us joy or sorrow, if, in comparison, with those of heaven, we despise the passing things of earth, then we can have confidence that charity is predominant in our life, and, in consequence, it will be easy for us to make charity predominant among the motives that lead us to do good to our neighbour… The Church wants strong Catholics. The most prominent fault in our fairly strong Catholics is weakness — want of courage. We must be independent of evil even in our own home, in our own community… Our resistance to evil will be very much more pleasing to God if we are not only charitable to our own soul but try to do something to eradicate the evil we meet, i.e., to cause the evil to cease. If we do this for the honor of God and for the good of the soul of our neighbour, we are doing a work of supreme divine charity and of supreme fraternal charity,” (As I Have Loved You, 1941).

I have tried for many years to follow Fr. Kearney’s advice. Still there are those who accuse this author and others of being prideful and refusing correction, even when acting with the assurance of formal certitude; of behaving in a harsh even rude manner when truths of faith are questioned and a defense must be made. This only displays their liberal mindset, described by Rev. Felix Sarda-Salvany: “Liberalism prefers the tactics of recrimination, and under the sting of a just flagellation, whiningly accuses Catholics of a lack of charity…Narrow! Intolerant! Uncompromising! …Are not your vigorous denunciations, it is urged against us, harsh and uncharitable, in the very teeth of the teaching of Christianity which is essentially a religion of love? Such is the accusation continually flung in our face,” (Liberalism Is a Sin).

So in light of this, I make no apologies. As Fr. Kearney himself explained, “Who will stand by in silence and see His Lord and Saviour insulted by sin or by lukewarmness and never raise his voice, never make an effort to stop the evil, but will permit the heart of Jesus which bled for him, to be again grieved and the Precious Blood to be ignored? What ingratitude, what meanness, what cowardice there is in this,” (Ibid.). Good Catholics are docile, as noted in part one of this post, and not easily put off if they are really looking for the truth. They do not take offense at an impassioned defense of the faith or show displeasure when corrected. And those demonstrating the doctrines of the Church need not walk on eggshells in presenting these truths.

As Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey has pointed out, “We must submit ourselves with childlike docility to the teachings of faith…We submit our judgment not only to the truths of faith, but to the directions of the Holy See…We must study before all else not what is pleasing but what is profitable…In order to discipline the mind we must study what is most necessary, with the desire to know and love the truth and to live by it…As St. Augustine tells us, knowledge should be put to the service of love: ‘Let knowledge be used in order to erect the structure of charity,’” (The Spiritual Life).

Dangers of Traditionalists interpreting papal documents

The truth is out there if Catholics will only accept it from the continual magisterium, without interpolation by Traditionalists using coercive persuasion. Below, Msgr. J. C. Fenton explains the dangers of allowing theologians — and Traditionalists are essentially leaders of destructive sects, not valid clerics far less theologians! — to interpret papal encyclicals. This only the lawmaker (the Roman Pontiff, the Sacred Congregations, those on the Commission for the Authentic interpretation of the Code of Canon Law) are allowed to do.

“There is, however, an attitude towards the encyclicals which can be productive of doctrinal evil, and which can lead to a practical abandonment of their teaching. According to this attitude, it is the business of the theologian to distinguish two elements in the content of the various encyclicals. One element would be the deposit of genuine Catholic teaching, which, of course, all Catholics are bound to accept at all times. The other element would he a collection of notions current at the time the encyclicals were written. These notions, which would enter into the practical application of the Catholic teaching, are represented as ideas which Catholics can afford to overlook.

Despite its superficially attractive appearance, however, this attitude can be radically destructive of a true Catholic mentality. The men who have adopted this mentality imagine that they can analyze the content of an individual encyclical or of a group of encyclicals in such a way that they can separate the pronouncements which Catholics are bound to accept from those which would have merely an ephemeral value. They, as theologians, would then tell the Catholic people to receive the Catholic principles and to do as they liked about the other elements.

“In such a case, the only true doctrinal authority actually operative would be that of the individual theologian. The Holy Father has issued his encyclical as a series of statements. Apart from those which he himself stamps as manifestly merely opinionative, all of these statements stand as the Holy Father’s own declarations. The man who subjects these declarations to an analysis in order to distinguish the element of Catholic tradition from other sections of the content must employ some norm other than the authority of the Holy Father himself. The Holy Father’s authority stands behind his own individual statements, precisely as these are found in the encyclicals.

“When a private theologian ventures to analyze these statements, and claims to find a Catholic principle on which the Holy Father’s utterance is based and some contingent mode according to which the Sovereign Pontiff has applied this Catholic principle in his own pronouncement, the only effective doctrinal authority is that of the private theologian himself. According to this method of procedure, the Catholic people would be expected to accept as much of the encyclical as the theologian pronounced to be genuine Catholic teaching. This Catholic teaching would be recognizable as such, not by reason of the Holy Father’s statement in the encyclical, but by reason of its inclusion in other monuments of Christian doctrine.

“There is, of course, a definite task incumbent upon the private theologian in the Church’s process of bringing the teachings of the papal encyclicals to the people. The private theologian is obligated and privileged to study these documents, to arrive at an understanding of what the Holy Father actually teaches, and then to aid in the task of bringing this body of truth to the people. The Holy Father, however, not the private theologian, remains the doctrinal authority. The theologian is expected to bring out the content of the Pope’s actual teaching, not to subject that teaching to the type of criticism he would have a right to impose on the writings of another private theologian.

“Thus, when we review or attempt to evaluate the works of a private theologian, we are perfectly within our rights in attempting to show that a certain portion of his doctrine is authentic Catholic teaching or at least based upon such teaching, and to assert that some other portions of that work simply express ideas current at the time the books were written. The pronouncements of the Roman Pontiffs, acting as the authorized teachers of the Catholic Church, are definitely not subject to that sort of evaluation.”

“Unfortunately the tendency to misinterpret the function of the private theologian in the Church’s doctrinal work is not something new in English Catholic literature. Cardinal Newman, in his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk (certainly the least valuable of his published works), supports the bizarre thesis that the final determination of what is really condemned in an authentic ecclesiastical pronouncement is the work of private theologians, rather than of the particular organ of the ecclesia docens which has actually formulated the condemnation. The faithful could, according to his theory, find what a pontifical document actually means, not from the content of the document itself, but from the speculations of the theologians.

“If we were to apply this procedure to the interpretation of the papal encyclicals, we would deny, for all practical purposes at least, any real authority to these documents. We would be merely in a position to admit that the Holy Father had spoken on a certain subject, and to assent to his teaching as something which the theologians would have to interpret. In the final analysis, our acceptance of doctrine or truth as such would be limited to what we could gather from the interpretations of the theologians, rather than from the document itself.

This tendency to consider the pronouncements of the ecclesia docens, and particularly the statements of the papal encyclicals, as utterances which must be interpreted for the Christian people, rather than explained to them, is definitely harmful to the Church. It is and it remains the business of Catholic theologians to adhere faithfully to the teachings of the encyclicals and to do all in their power to bring this body of truth accurately and effectively to the members of Christ’s Mystical Body” (The Doctrinal Authority of the Encyclicals,” Part II, The American Ecclesiastical Review, September 1949).

But Traditionalists make no attempt whatsoever to do this. Interpretation, not explanation, is their game plan. They cannot and will not accept the plain words of the encyclicals or any other papal document, even if it is an infallible one, as binding on their consciences. Truly they aid, then, in the operation of error to believe lies, which in truth they have been doing for decades. And this deception will be allowed to take place, Scripture commentators tell us, solely because these people have not loved the truth nor sought it out. So as Mother Mary Potter cautions us, do not wonder that so many of our friends and relatives fall into these errors; wonder instead that we are not among them and pray with all our might that we never shall be!

How Obstacles to Grace Impede the Understanding, Part 1 of 2

+Feast of Corpus Christi+

Help for those who feel scholastic teaching “is just too hard”

For those who may be bewildered by all the proofs offered on this site regarding the legitimacy of Traditionalist orders and jurisdiction, there may be an easier way to evaluate the current status of Traditionalist groups and arrive at a common sense estimation of their claims to possess apostolicity, or direct descent from the Apostles. But it will not vary from what has already been written; all Catholic teaching on this subject state that no individual can possess apostolicity unless he can prove that the Orders, he received are unquestionably valid and able to be exercised, and such proof has not been forthcoming. We are bound to accept the teachings of those approved authors who wrote prior to the death of the last true Pope, Pius XII; not those today commenting on what they wrote or interpreting it for readers. The condensed version of this teaching given below, by an approved author writing in 1910, concisely summarizes apostolic succession and apostolicity. But it is not just a more general and less complicated explanation that is required here; there are other considerations that must be taken into account, and these will follow Fr. Berry’s summary.

From Fr. E. S. Berry’s The Church of Christ:

“Apostolicity of origin and of doctrine: “[These] are easily understood without further explanation, but some knowledge of succession is necessary for a proper conception of apostolicity of ministry. Succession, as used in this connection, is the following of one person after another in an official position and may be either legitimate or illegitimate. Theologians call the one formal succession; the other, material. A material successor is one who assumes the official position of another contrary to the laws or constitution of the society in question. He may be called a successor in as much as he actually holds the position, but he has no authority, and his acts have no official value, even though he be ignorant of the illegal tenure of his office. A formal, or legitimate, successor not only succeeds to the place of his predecessor but also receives due authority to exercise the functions of his office with binding force in the society… The power of Orders may be obtained by fraud or conferred against the will of the Church by anyone having valid Orders himself, and therefore does not depend upon legitimate succession.

“Jurisdiction is authority to govern and must be transmitted in the Church as in any other society; it can be conferred only by a lawful superior, according to the constitution and laws of the society, and may be revoked at any time. Consequently, jurisdiction in the Church can neither be obtained nor held against the will of her supreme authority; its transmission depends entirely upon legitimate succession. It is not sufficient, therefore, that a church have valid Orders; it must also have a legitimate succession of ministers, reaching back in an unbroken line to the Apostles, upon whom our Lord conferred all authority to rule His Church… There can be no legitimate successor in the Church of Christ who has not received jurisdiction either directly or indirectly from her supreme authority. Christ has either failed in His promises, or the Church must ever preserve and teach all truths committed to her through the ministry of the Apostles. In other words, the Church must be Apostolic in her DOCTRINE even to the consummation of the world.

“Ministry: It is evident that there can be no authority in the Church save that which comes directly or indirectly from her Divine Founder, Jesus Christ. But there is not the slightest intimation in Scripture or tradition that Christ ever promised to confer authority directly upon the ministers of the Church; consequently, it can only be obtained by lawful succession from those upon whom Christ personally and directly conferred it, i. e., from the Apostles. In other words, the Church must be Apostolic in her ministry by means of a legitimate succession reaching back in an unbroken line to the Apostles. From Tradition. In controversies with the heretics of their age, the early Fathers always appealed to Apostolic succession as a proof for the true Church of Christ, and argued that heretical sects could not be the true Church for the simple reason that they lacked this succession.

“Apostolicity: Most of the Orthodox churches of the East have valid Orders, and to that extent may be called Apostolic; they have Apostolic succession of the powers of Orders. In some cases they may also have a material succession of bishops from Apostolic times, but this avails them nothing, since they lack both unity and Catholicity, two essential marks of the true Church. In no case do they have legitimate succession; there is no transmission of jurisdiction because they have withdrawn from communion with Rome, the centre and source of all jurisdiction.”

Dispositions of the inquirer

The above should be simple enough for the average reader to understand; it is not any more difficult than the instruction found in most high school catechisms. It repeats what has been said on this site over and over again — no pope, no hierarchy; no apostolic succession no valid authority to rule and govern. Many have complained that the scholastic approach is just too hard for them to puzzle out. But if even the above is confusing to certain readers and does not convince them of the truth, then a rational person must assume there is more going on here than meets the eye. The alleged inability to comprehend these things has much to do with the disposition of the reader, as the beloved Irish catechist, Fr. John Kearney, tells us in his Our Greatest Treasure: “The disposition which should be in the inquirer and which is called the disposition of Faith is a disposition of humility and docility, of willingness to submit to God’s word once there is reasonable evidence that God has spoken it… The dispositions of soul from which the Act of Faith proceeds can be attained only by cooperating with God’s special grace.”

When those who have participated in the Traditionalist movement for many years receive the first beginnings of this grace and begin to ask questions, they must keep one thing in mind: they have been members, for however long, of a non-Catholic religion. It may have great resemblance to the Catholic faith, just as Anglicanism and other schismatic sects evidence, but it is not that faith. They need to discover what the Catholic faith really teaches, from the mouths of Her popes, the ecumenical councils and Her laws, not what someone dressed up as a bishop or a priest SAYS She teaches. This point cannot be emphasized enough. So many Traditionalists are absolutely convinced they are wholly Catholic and believe all that the Catholic Church teaches and has ever taught. The problem with this belief is that unless this understanding of faith comes from the successors of those Christ Himself appointed, we have no guarantee whatsoever that this “faith” is pure and unadulterated. This is precisely why apostolic succession is so vitally important for Catholics. Doctrine, above all, must be apostolic and this supersedes any perceived right to participate in the Mass and receive the Sacraments.

There are numerous proofs presented on this site that show God and His Church have indeed spoken the things that are quoted in the available material, and this can be verified by consulting the sources cited. Nevertheless, when investigated, these proofs do not seem to satisfy inquirers, even when they are proofs that have always been taught and believed and demand assent from Catholics. Even after viewing these proofs, many still have difficulty processing and accepting Catholic truth and making the necessary distinctions. And it really has nothing to do with the difficulty of the topic. How many readers spend countless hours learning computer technology and new techniques to enhance performance, combing through technical manuals that seem incomprehensible to a large majority of the population, and manage to make sense of them? It is the WILL to understand that makes this possible, and maybe those who are exploring the “options” to Traditionalism lack this strength of will when it comes to their quest for the truth. This is only one of several reasons why the understanding may be impeded, and we will start with the Catholic reasons provide by Fr. Kearney.

Obstacles to obtaining grace

First of all, Kearney says, those approaching the true faith from a non-Catholic position (and this is how Traditionalists must look at it, as hard as that may seem to them) must be made aware of what could hamper their cooperation with the graces of faith. He separates these obstacles as those occurring in the mind, in the will and in the imagination. Kearney lists obstacles in the mind as:

1) Ignorance: This may be culpable or inculpable. Affected ignorance — which is pretending one cannot learn or understand something or does not know certain things when, in fact, this is not the case — is a form of self-deceit and as such is always culpable. “Affected (pretended) ignorance of either the law or its penalty only does not excuse from any penalties latae sententiae, even though the law contains terms… demanding full knowledge and deliberation…” (Can. 2229 §1 and §2). The canonists Woywod-Smith add that “Affected ignorance is never admitted as an excuse.”

2) A superficial mind: “The constant absence of serious thought makes the grasping of fundamental religious principles very difficult… The seed of the Word never penetrates the soul that is dissipated or superficial.”

Obstacles in the will include want of generosity in facing the sacrifices demanded. One convert explains how difficult it was for him to leave the Anglican Church because it was all he had ever known and all the people and things he had loved his entire life were there. This was a great trial for him, and he confesses that it was only by a miracle of grace on God’s part that he was able to overcome it. The second obstacle in the will is an impure life, which St. Augustine describes in his Confessions. This involves a “continual and deliberate rejection of the Divine Will” and “impedes the consideration of the Divine truths revealed by God.” Pride, especially intellectual pride, is the third obstacle, and this has two unfortunate consequences: 1) “The danger of being unwilling to admit our limitations and, in consequence, finding it hard to bow down the mind by the act of Faith, [which] easily leads to bad faith and 2) The difficulty of admitting that we have made a mistake, that we have been mistaken for years, while the Catholic child was right. A man finds it difficult to admit that he is beaten in an argument; he will not look straight at the adverse reasons.”

This last sentence is most telling because it is so often the reason that causes those who read the truth to reject it. Hear what Fr. Kearney quotes from John Henry Cardinal Newman concerning this particular affliction: “In spite of so much that is good in them, in spite of their sense of duty, their tenderness of conscience on many points, their benevolence, their uprightness, their generosity, they are under the dominion (I must say it) of a proud fiend; they have this stout spirit within them, they determine to be their own masters in matters of thought, about which they know so little; they consider their own reason better than anyone else; they will not admit that anyone comes from God who contradicts their own view of truth (Discourses to Mixed Congregations).” As one convert of old puts it: “In its splendid ideal, Catholicism appealed to my heart, but in its practical results it caused me to shrink from it; the logical coherence of its dogmas appealed to my intellect but its tone of authority caused me to rebel against it (A Modern Pilgrim’s Progress).”

“Pride easily leads to the loss of faith,” Fr. Kearney continues. “The loss of faith through pride appears especially in those who criticize the Church, who criticize Her laws, who criticize the actions and words of those appointed to speak and act in her name. Many lose the faith through this sin of criticizing. They make themselves the judges of the words of the Bride of Christ… It is easy to see that complacence in our own superiority — pride — is at the root of all these sins. The loss of faith through pride follows frequently from positive disregard of the laws of the Church… In all this it is our will that is wrong. We do not want to submit. Submission means accepting our inferiority, our dependence. Our pride resists this.” How dare Traditionalists criticize Pope Pius XII for his changes in the liturgy, or insinuate that Pope Pius IX was a liberal, even a Freemason as pope. Who are they to presume to interpret papal teachings against the mind of the Church and Her laws, which they do on a regular basis?

Father Kearney then moves on to obstacles in the imagination. Among those who are not ignorant and are sincere in their search for the truth, he notes, prejudice often clouds their efforts. “Prejudice, …a foregone judgment, is a disposition which leads to a judgment formed before sufficient attention has been given or references made to existing facts. It acts as an obstacle to the correct action of our mind in forming a judgment on one particular question. It acts like a brake on the movement of our reason… A man of one nation who is prejudiced against the men of another nation is no fair judge of them. Can any good come out of Nazareth?, asked Nathanael. He was prejudiced.  Prejudice is an infirmity, a weakness, and is usually due to false early training which made a deep impression on the memory and imagination… Our mind draws the essential material for its reflections from the storehouse of the memory and the imagination. And when these are filled with untrue impressions, which are numerous and deep regarding a particular point, it is very difficult for the mind to judge correctly on that one question.”

“Hence,” Kearney continues, “if these numerous and deep impressions kept in the memory and imagination are hostile to the [true] Catholic Church we can easily understand the great obstacles that they put in the way of the graces of conversion, which enlighten the mind and incline the will.” Of the three different obstacles, “[Prejudice] is the hardest to overcome,” Kearney observes. “That warp of the imagination is extremely difficult and involves great suffering. To cast it off seems like a martyrdom which wins the kingdom of Heaven. Some give way and never get the Faith. Hence the necessity of a very strong grace” [emph. Kearney’s]. All of what Fr. Kearney says is true of Novus Ordo “catholics” as well as Traditionalists, and each have a special additional obstacle to overcome.

Novus Ordo believers find it difficult to reconcile their idea of the modern world with the stark reality of a world where so many of the liberal ideas they have imbibed were previously condemned by the Church. They have great difficulty in giving up the idea of their church as a political and social force in the world, albeit an evil one; all the ancient churches spread throughout the world including the Vatican, and also all the pomp and splendor the Church exhibited in previous ages. They feel as though they are heirs who suddenly find themselves disinherited, left without even the bare necessities of the spiritual life. They are forced to forge an entirely new and bewildering conception of the true faith, one that often frightens them because it seems devoid of what they have been led to believe is God’s overriding mercy and love. Making the leap from their church to stay-at-home is especially trying because they must, in many cases, abandon all their social and even business contacts, not to mention giving up many family relationships. And in the spiritual wilderness where stay-at-home Catholics live there are no replacements for these social and familial amenities.

This is why most Novus Ordo members spend at least some time in the Traditional movement: they sense that they need what they feel is a rational transition between old and new. But if they are sincere in their search for the truth, it soon becomes clear that the Traditionalists are very much like the Protestants. Their constant divisions and the internal strife and drama among each of the many Traditionalist groups soon wears thin and the search begins again. Traditionalists have their own brand of prejudices to overcome, and this mainly applies to their disrespect for and indifference to the papacy. The papacy is a given for the Novus Ordo crowd, even if they left because of Francis’ unCatholic behavior and teaching. Not so for Traditionalists, who often seem to resent the idea of a Supreme Head and see it as an impediment to their Traditionalist outlook. Unaware they have espoused the heresies of the Gallicanists and Old Catholics, many believe that infallibility is a charism exercised only infrequently and obedience to papal directives is optional.

Even though many Traditionalists home-school their children, they deplore the self-educated among those who try to point out Traditionalists errors, dismissing them only as lay know-it-alls who have no authority. It never strikes them that they need to at least consider points raised regarding the authority of their so-called clerics, who in reality are only laymen themselves. These men never possessed such authority either, and even were the Church restored tomorrow, they would never be allowed to function as clerics.

Traditionalist sect leaders actively warn their members of the dangers of “homealone” and wave Mass and Sacraments over their head like a magic wand, pretending grace can be received only through their auspices. As a result, their followers develop an ingrained bias against the idea. They also genuinely fear they will lose the means of grace and like those in the Novus Ordo, their social and family contacts hold them back from making this commitment. A simple subjective study of the Church’s true teachings on this topic would ease their minds, but they are taught they are not capable of making any determinations themselves because they must accept only the interpretations of their leaders. The majority of Traditionalists also foster anti-Semitic prejudice, and this is a very big stumbling block for them. For if they can no longer blame the Jews for their predicament, they might have to consider the fact they are looking at the entire situation in a false light, and they are loathe to do this.

A very strong prejudice toward women who write against Traditionalism also exists, and this bias is fueled by the “priestly caste” and their defenders who are terrified they will be bested on some score by a mere woman. This has nothing to do with anti-feminism as they pretend, but with the entrenched belief among Traditionalists in general that the Church really does believe women are inferior to men and should not be allowed to study or write about theology. Of course if there were real Catholic men and valid clergy out there doing this there would be no need, but they choose to ignore this salient fact. (For the substantial intellectual and theological contributions rendered by Catholic women, see

There is yet another major obstacle hampering Catholic understanding of the faith, but this will be left for our next installment. The above is enough to give food for thought and perhaps will shed light for some on the real causes of those who just don’t seem to “get it.” Readers are encouraged to study Fr. Kearney’s entire work, available at:

End Times Teaching and Traditionalists

+St. Clotilda, Queen+

Before delving into this article, I would like to recommend that readers review a new blog site now featuring a comprehensive analysis of recent findings confirming that indeed, there was a false Sr. Lucy of Fatima and now there is concrete evidence to prove this. This blog explores unanswered questions concerning the evidence and addresses new questions that have arisen as a result of this new information. To review these posts and learn about the author go to:

Divine Revelation and the demise of the Church

Even after ad hominem attacks fail because they have no scholastic arguments to defend themselves,Traditionalists continue to point fingers at members of the laity who dare question the credentials of Traditionalist “clergy.”  But there is a notable difference between these purported clerics calling themselves Traditionalists and those who rightfully challenge their authority, as pointed out recently by a reader in Australia.

Lay critics of the Traditionalist movement didn’t go out and pretend to become priests and bishops, appropriate false credentials and pose as authorities who must be listened to and obeyed, then present themselves as the channels through which Christ transmits HIS Sacraments and renews HIS sacrifice. They never used this false authority as a tool to solicit money from people, involve themselves in their marriages and the lives of their children or become privy to their innermost secrets in “confession.” All they have done is study the papal encyclicals, ecumenical councils and Canon Law  then warned  others of the wolves in sheep’s clothing who are stalking them, something they are obliged to do in these times in order to defend the faith. They have presented the teachings of the one, true Church prior to Pope Pius XII’s death and for this they are demonized and ridiculed.

Little do Traditionalists know how different things might have been if these men had truly intended to follow God’s will and obey His laws. They had the necessary information, but they failed to provide it to their followers in accordance with the laws and teachings of the Church. So what did they know and when did they know it? That is the question that so many people fail to ask themselves regarding the origin and operations over the years of Traditionalist “clergy.” If these men truly wished to save the souls of their followers, they would have assayed the situation at hand and done their due diligence before seeking ordination or running after a mitre, even if it meant admitting they had been wrong before. They would have valued the truth above all else and set out to learn it and accept it at any cost. It was right before their very eyes; they even acknowledge that they knew many of its aspects. But they did not love the truth, because it interfered with their plans. They wanted to put it together in a way that fit into their agenda, and that is exactly what they did. But this haphazard mess of pottage they fed to their followers was not in keeping with Holy Scripture and the teachings of the continual magisterium, no matter how much they would like it to be.

All the signs were there in the 1970s, for the most part. There already were questions about Paul 6 being the Antichrist. In 1970, a Fatima publication which went into several printings published the fact that the Fathers unanimously taught the Mass would cease, and according to the Vatican Council, this must be accepted as a rule of faith. A devout study of Holy Scripture would have revealed nearly all the rest, had it been used to gauge what was happening within the Church and in the world. The gist of these prophecies is presented below, but many more could be cited. And scriptural commentary can be used to figure out the rest.

  • The shepherd shall be struck and the sheep scattered — Zach. 13:7; Matt 26: 31.
  • He who withholdeth shall be taken out of the way — 2 Thess. 2: 6-7. (Henry Cardinal Manning teaches that this means the Roman Pontiff.)
  • The Temple shall be utterly destroyed (also the Church in Rome, eventually, according to the common opinion of scriptural commentators and theologians) — Matt. 24: 2.
  • This time shall be like no other, but it will resemble the time of Noe — Matt. 24: 21; 37-39.
  • Many false prophets shall rise and seduce many (Protestant Reformation and what followed) — Matt. 24: 24.
  • When the abomination of desolation foretold by the prophet Daniel shall stand in the Holy Place, he who readeth let him understand. (This is interpreted by Pope Paul IV in Cum ex Apostolatus Officio as a heretic obtaining the see by fraud, not canonically) — Matt. 24: 15.
  • The abomination of desolation is also interpreted as the substitution of a false sacrifice or idols to whom one must render adoration (Haydock Commentary, Matt. 24:15).
  • False christs (false popes) and false prophets shall show great signs and wonders to deceive if possible even the elect. Behold, I have told it to you beforehand (in other words, you’ve been forewarned!) — Matt. 24: 24-25.
  • First will come the revolt, then the Man of Sin is revealed. — 2 Thess. 2: 3.
  • He shall sit in the temple of God, showing himself as God, (some think the temple in Jerusalem, others the Church. But it is clear from Pope Paul IV’s Bull that he will be a usurper reigning as a true pope, and this interpretation is binding on the faithful) — 2 Thess. 2: 4.
  • The coming of Antichrist will be “according to the working of Satan,” exercising Satan’s power, signs and lying wonders — 2 Thess. 2: 9.
  • Because those who succumb to Antichrist will not love the truth, they shall be seduced by the operation of error, and will be judged — 2 Thess. 2: 10-11.

Especially intended as abominable in the Scripture texts is any unclean or unworthy sacrifice, or any sacrifice offered before idols.  St. Jerome wrote as follows on this topic: “It is possible to apply this text easily to either the Antichrist, to the statue of Caesar which Pilate placed in the Temple or even to the equestrian statue of Hadrian, which down to this present day stands on the very site of the holy of holies. In the Old Testament, however, the term abomination is applied deliberately to idols. To identify it further, ‘of desolation,’ is added to indicate that the idol was placed in a desolate or ruined temple. The abomination of desolation can be taken to mean as well every perverted doctrine. When we see such a thing stand in the holy place, that is in the Church and pretend it is God, we must flee…,” (Breviary Lesson for the 24th and Last Sunday after Pentecost).

Why would St. Paul specifically state the Man of Sin could not come unless and until the withholding power was first removed? And why would Pope Paul IV refer to this advent of the abomination of desolation in a papal bull dealing nearly exclusively with heresy reigning even in the highest ranks of the Church, including the papacy, if this was not the interpretation the Church had always held regarding the abomination? St. Bernard, last Father of the Church, demonstrates this was the case with Innocent II. The very reason Pope Paul IV made this important distinction was to refute the Protestant error that legitimate popes had reigned as antichrists throughout history, clarifying that if such a thing appeared to happen, such a man could never be a true pope. In fact, he further clarified that if such a man ever did succeed in this, he would be the Antichrist. But no Traditionalist clergy ever connected this Scripture passage with the papacy, for they couldn’t admit the Mass had been taken away and still serve their self-assigned purpose.

I remember the debates about who the withholding power was, and only Sedevacantists thought it might be the papacy. There was never sufficient interest to even continue the discussion. But the Scripture prophecies stand. The Church has been completely destroyed as a spiritual organization, the times began to become what they are today in the 1960s, the usurpers have reigned, abrogating the Latin Mass and sending out their false ministers to seduce the faithful. The abomination (the NOM) was set up by Antichrist, and many left the Church. Traditionalist clergy pointed to the new mass itself and Vatican 2, but not to the men pretending to be Christ’s Vicars as the linchpin to explain what had really happened to the Church. The elect were deceived but some later regained their senses and began questioning the legitimacy of the papacy and even the Traditionalist movement itself. But they did not go far enough. They failed to draw the logical conclusions from what Our Lord and St. Paul said, or perhaps they simply could not bring themselves to acknowledge it.

The juridical Church ceased to exist, (although Christ’s Mystical Body will exist until the consummation). This very event was prophesied in Holy Scripture, despite the ridiculous Traditionalist claims that to deny the Church could ever disappear is to deny Her indefectibility. Many point to the fact that Christ promised He would be with His Church, as it was constituted, until the consummation, so this means that the hierarchy would exist until the very end. This can be true only if there is a brief peace and the papacy is miraculously restored. For already the Church as Christ constituted it no longer exists, since its most important constituent element — the Roman Pontiff — is absent. This false Traditionalist claim must be dismissed, once and for all. Either we accept Francis as a true pope (an impossibility; even necessity cannot demand we commit ourselves to anything evil) or we accept the reality that, as is prophesied in Apoc. 13:7, Antichrist has overcome the saints, the Mass has ceased and we live in those times following the death of Antichrist, although we are still chafing under the Satanic succession to the papacy established in his  successors.

If we look at it from the perspective that we can measure the end by the Church’s non-existence and Antichrist’s arrival, then it corresponds to this statement by Rev. E.S. Berry in his The Church of Christ: “The Apostolic succession cannot fail in the Apostolic See so long as the Church Herself continues to exist, for although the See be vacant for many years, the Church always retains the right to elect a legitimate successor, who then obtains supreme authority according to the institution of Christ.” But without the necessary means to canonically elect an unquestionably valid successor (valid cardinals and bishops), how can the ends be achieved without the means?!  Only by a miracle, as stated above, could the situation we find ourselves in today be remedied. And while Scripture commentators and holy seers hint at such an event, we cannot be so certain they are correct that we exclude the possibility that the Final Judgment may be the conclusion of all this, which many scriptural commentators also teach.

Meditate, for just one moment, on these words of Pope Pius IX: “May God give you the grace necessary to defend the rights of the Sovereign Pontiff and the Holy See; for WITHOUT THE POPE THERE IS NO CHURCH, and there is no Catholic Society without the Holy See.” — (Allocution to religious superiors, June 1872). Do you truly believe that the successors of St. Peter are the Vicars of Christ, speaking in His name, and that Pope Pius IX, teaching on the very issue of the necessity of the papacy, was telling us the absolute truth? Do you believe without a doubt that Pope Pius XII was the last true pope, which even most Traditionalists teach? Since the answers to all these questions must be yes, then WHY IS ANYONE DOUBTING THE CHURCH NO LONGER EXISTS? And if the Church no longer exists, how can there possibly be true and valid bishops and priests functioning in Her name?! Obviously not enough religious or members of the hierarchy prayed for or received the graces necessary to defend the rights of the Sovereign Pontiff and the Holy See as Pope Pius IX requested. Pope Pius XII also commanded in his 1945 election constitution Vacantis Apotolicae Sedis that these rights be defended by the cardinals.

Also, in Vol. I, The Catholic Encyclopedia defines Antichrist as (a) one directly opposed to Christ (b) “one resembling Christ in appearance and power” and finally (c) “a king who reigns during an interregnum” (!) Neither Roncalli nor Montini ever ascended the papacy, as “Cum ex…” demonstrates, yet they reigned supreme over Rome and the world. This is clearly a revival of pagan Rome and the powers of the ancient Caesars.

The mystical body of Satan

Christianity was still in its infancy when the early councils began anathematizing heretical sects. The Gnostics were among the first to be condemned and many others would follow over the centuries. Always the mystery of iniquity existed in that irresistible force that draws men to embrace evil and abandon that which is good. It was of course Satan and his fallen angels who enticed men to abandon truth and nothing has changed in two millennia. What has changed, however, is the definition of Christianity, defined and redefined numerous times since the Reformation in the 1500s split what was intended to be Christ’s indivisible Church into a thousand splintered factions. What was willed by God to be one Mystical Body united to its head, Christ, was effectively dismembered and reduced to thousands of pieces despite what many believe. All call themselves Christian, yet none can find one set of truths on which they all agree. It would be, in analogy, as if the liver was rejecting the very blood it filtered, or the heart, not agreeing with the blood vessels, refused to pump its life-giving force throughout the body.

It is interesting to note that the Latin word for six is “sex,” symbolizing division or differentiation. If we thus interpret 666 as “divide-divide-divide,” we must come to the conclusion that this number of which Giovanni Montini, Paul 6, was so fond must truly symbolize the destruction that was so blatant during his reign as “pope,” including what has been reported as his sexual deviancy. For what is more precisely opposed to unity than fragmentation? How more perfectly could the enemies of the Church have opposed all that Our Lord ever meant to establish in Peter than by scattering the very lambs and sheep He told Peter and the Apostles to gather? While Christians believe they possess a certain species of unity, it is only of the negative sort — unity in diversity. Isn’t that what we keep hearing day and night on television? The great wonders and advantages of our country’s diversity? But it has nothing to do with the unity Christ prescribed for His Mystical Body. Diversity is even in evidence among the numerous Traditionalist factions today, who pretend they can “unite the clans” without obedience to a canonically elected pope, the ONLY center of all true unity in the Church.

It was St. Thomas Aquinas who best described the nature of this negative unity:

“There are two mystical bodies in this world: The Mystical Body of Christ and the mystical body of the Devil or of the Antichrist. To one or another every man belongs. The Mystical Body of Christ is the Holy Church, His pure and faithful Spouse …The mystical body of the Devil is the ensemble of impious men. Like an adulterous wet nurse, it nourishes this ensemble. The Devil is its head, and the evil persons are its members … “The body of the Devil,” says St. Gregory, “is composed by all the impious men.”

“Just as Christ, in Himself and through His disciples, always seeks to cut off the members of the Devil and incorporate them to Himself …. so also does the Devil. By his efforts and those of his cohorts, the Devil aims to amputate the members of Christ to unite them to the sordid members of his prostitute. ‘Know you not, that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I, then, taking the members of Christ, make them the members of a harlot?’ (1Cor 6:15). And St. Paul answers: ‘God forbid.’ St. Augustine writes: ‘They cannot be at the same time members of Christ and members of a prostitute. Many receive the Body of Christ in the Sacrament, but not in their souls. By failing to receive Christ spiritually and leading bad lives, they reduce the members of Christ, making themselves members of the Devil, so they greatly diminish the Body of Christ.’” (, Feb. 10, 2007; St. Thomas Aquinas, De venerabile Sacramenti Altaris, Marietti, 1931, 114 (This attribution in no way indicates support for the content of this website.)

Reverend Paul Furfey, in his Mystery of Iniquity, wrote: “It is not too much even to speak of a mystical body of Satan, united to the devil in a most intimate union.” This diabolical entity, Furfey explained, reverses the order of all truths in the Church, works to destroy Her and constitutes a negative sort of unity actively serving the forces of Antichrist. Furfey warns that true to its perfect opposition to Christ’s Mystical Body, the mystical body of Satan in action is not easily discernable. Unlike the Church, known by Her attributes and four marks, Furfey observed:

“It is useless to expect to find the Kingdom of Satan, the world, embodied in an organization as definite and as clearly outlined as the Church…What will be found is a group of forces which, at first glance, appear separate and independent but which on closer examination prove to be interlocking, so that in spite of their seeming separateness, they actually cooperate surprisingly well together” (The Mystery of Iniquity, Bruce Publishing Co., Milwaukee, Wis., 1945, p. 24).

The coming of Satan’s “son” — Antichrist

Satan was cast from the heights of Heaven because of his disobedience, which proceeded from his all-consuming jealousy of God. He most envied God’s ability to create, a power he did not possess. After his fall he determined to pervert everything good God had created for the attainment of salvation in order to secure man’s eternal damnation. To best imitate that which he hates and cannot have, Satan as “father” devised his own trinity, consisting in his son, Antichrist, and the false prophet who precedes him, disseminating the evil spirit of his diabolical system.

One Protestant site depicts Satan’s trinity as the devil [the unholy, diabolical spirit], the sea beast [Antichrist], and the land beast [the false prophet] — (Apoc.16:13) — and his church as, “the synagogue of Satan” (Apoc. 2:9). He also has his own ministers, “ministers of Satan” (2 Corinthians 11:4-5); his own system of theology “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1); his own sacrificial system; “The Gentiles…sacrifice to demons” (1 Corinthians 10:20) and his own communion service, “the cup of demons…and the table of demons” (1 Corinthians 10:21). These ministers proclaim the gospel of Antichrist “a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you” (Galatians 1:7-8). He has established a throne for himself in opposition to that of Christ and His Vicar (Apoc. 13:2) and boasts own worshipers (Apoc. 13:4).

Thus he has established a counterfeit church featuring false christs and self-constituted messiahs (Matthew 24:4-5). False teachers present as specialists in Antichrist’s “theology,” to introduce “destructive heresies, even denying the Master who brought them” (2 Peter 2:1). They are experts at the art of diluting truth with error, attenuating truth just enough to make error palatable. They carry on their teaching surreptitiously and often anonymously. He sends out false prophets [even among those who pretend to oppose him]. “And many false prophets will arise and will mislead many” (Matthew 24:11). He introduces false brethren into the church, who “had sneaked in to spy out our liberty…in order to bring us into bondage” (Galatians 2:4); false apostles who imitate the true (2 Corinthians 11:13).” One could also add that he is attempting to create his own imitation of man by cloning, artificial intelligence, robots, drones and by other means, with science as the new theology.

Above can be seen all too clearly the exact modus operandi of the Novus Ordo and Traditional sects, described in this Scriptural word picture of the end times by no less than a Protestant. Catholics should be ashamed. But this event in history was foretold in detail by Bp. Fulton Sheen shortly before the death of Pope Pius XII:

“[Satan] will set up a counterchurch which will be the ape of the [Catholic] Church … It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. We are living in the days of the Apocalypse, the last days of our era. The two great forces – the Mystical Body of Christ and the Mystical Body of the anti-Christ – are beginning to draw battle lines for the catastrophic contest. The ‘false prophet’ will have a religion without a cross. A religion without a world to come. A religion to destroy religions…or a politics which is a religion, one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s…There will be a counterfeit ‘Church.’ Christ’s Church, the Catholic Church, will be One; and the false ‘prophet’ will create the other.

The false ‘Church’ will be worldly, ecumenical, and global. It will be a loose federation of ‘churches’ and religions, forming some type of global association. A world parliament of ‘churches.’ It will be emptied of all Divine content; it will be the mystical body of the Antichrist. The Mystical Body on Earth today will have its Judas Iscariot, and he will be the false ‘prophet.’ Satan will recruit him from our bishops. The Antichrist will not be so called; otherwise he would have no followers. He will not wear red tights, nor vomit sulphur, nor carry a trident nor wave an arrowed tail as Mephistopheles in Faust. This masquerade has helped the devil convince men that he does not exist. When no man recognizes, the more power he exercises. God has defined Himself as ‘I Am Who I Am,’ and the Devil as ‘I am who I am not.’

“In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity, and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret, which he will tell to no one. He will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counterchurch… a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the Mystical Body of Christ.”

Anyone with even a basic idea of what happened following Vatican 2 will be able to recognize the establishment of this counterfeit church in Rome beginning with the reign of the usurper “pope” John 23rd, the false prophet. Then we have his successor the false Christ — Paul 6 the Antichrist — made “cardinal” by John 23rd against the wishes of Pope Pius XII. And lastly we have Antichrist’s system and successors, in diametric opposition to the divine establishment of the papacy and its perpetual succession unto the end of time (which may well have been post-1958, in regards to the Church’s existence on earth.)

This is the only possible way Satan could imitate in most perfect fashion Christ’s Church on earth and appear to destroy it by Antichrist’s usurpation of the papacy. It is the only plan that could ever satisfy his aspiration to the Divine heights, allowing as it were the closest possible resemblance of Satan to God the Father and Antichrist to His Son, perversely replacing creation with destruction. As The Catholic Encyclopedia author of the article on Antichrist observes: “Since Antichrist simulates Christ, and the Pope is an image of Christ, Antichrist must have some similarity to the Pope, if the latter be the true Vicar of Christ.”

For only after he who withholdeth was taken out of the way could the Continual Sacrifice itself be abolished and replaced — the abomination of desolation, prophesied in Daniel. It was the Roman Pontiffs who were ever the guardians of the Deposit of Faith. Once that guardianship was removed, the truths of faith were without any protection and fell into the hands of devils. Theologians are divided on whether the consummation and Final Judgment will come immediately after the destruction of Antichrist or whether there will be a brief period of peace and restoration of the Church before the very end. The latter is the more common opinion, but this does not mean it will actually transpire.

This period is spoken of by St. Thomas Aquinas as follows: “Although men be terrified by the signs appearing about the judgment day yet before those signs begin to appear the wicked will think themselves to be in peace and security after the death of Antichrist and before the coming of Christ, seeing that the world is not at once destroyed as they thought hitherto.”

Either Paul 6 was the most perfect incarnation of a prelude to Antichrist that could possibly be imagined, or he was Antichrist himself. All evidence points to the latter. There can be no explanation for why the papacy was destroyed and no one took notice until the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice was abrogated. And there is no excuse, especially on the part of any remaining clergy, why the alarm was not sounded once the Novus Ordo Missae, with its heretical consecration of the wine, replaced the Latin Mass. No true pope could have allowed Christ’s words to be falsified and instinctively those who left the Novus Ordo knew this. Until they became Traditionalists, that is. Then it was either implicit or explicit recognize and resist, accompanied by the material formal hypothesis, a false teaching that a man can legitimately occupy the papal see even while teaching error. This teaching is in direct contradiction to Pope Paul IV’s bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. These tactics have been successful in destroying the idea of the reverence owed the papacy and papal infallibility.

Traditionalists behaved as though the Mass had not been taken away and had never ceased. Refusing to admit that this had actually happened despite clear evidence and the fulfillment of all St. Paul’s prophecies regarding the Great Apostasy and Antichrist’s coming, they denied then and to this day continue to deny Divine Revelation regarding the cessation of the Sacrifice while pretending to champion it in regards to their “right” to minister to their followers — “the salvation of souls is the supreme law.” Do they not substitute damnation for salvation? Are they not part of Satan’s plan to deceive the elect by offering them those things most sacred to all Catholics — Mass and Sacraments — when God’s signified will tells us His gifts are not available to us in these times? If Holy Scripture and papal teaching is not enough to convince those believing themselves to be Catholic that they must choose Divine Revelation over the teachings of men, then the operation of error has triumphed and Apocalypse 13:7 has been fulfilled. “Watch ye therefore, for you know not what hour your Lord will come” (Matt. 24: 42).