+Feast of St. Teresa of Avila+
It is not only disconcerting but divisive and entirely disingenuous to be forced by a false accuser to refute errors I have never taught or believed. This is especially true when it has been thought for years that such a person regarded one as a fellow Catholic, acting in good faith. Those so anxious to prove that what is presented on this site is false should at least read the totality of what has been written and quoted here before making any accusations. Even those claiming to be “homealone” Catholics seem to delight in contriving these false allegations, further confusing those who are only doing their best to determine the truth. This is inexcusable, as this present accuser pretends to deliver those he is addressing from the errors of Traditionalism and “false” stay-at-home teaching, only to repackage and restate Traditional errors. In this instance, these teachings are disguised as righteous assertions of truth when in reality they are actually a smokescreen for re-enforcing a heresy that has decimated the Church for several centuries, another attack on papal infallibility from a very surprising source. But perhaps it has been dormant all along, lying in wait to attack those journeying along their way to the truth.
I have been accused of denying that the Church will exist with Her bishops and priests until the consummation. Throughout articles posted in this site, I constantly refer to the Church of Christ as She existed for 1,958 years, an institution which is no longer visible, as the juridic Church, making that distinction repeatedly. Will anyone argue that this Church still exists today as it existed 100 years ago? I clearly distinguish the juridic Church from the Mystical Body, which is the true Church of Jesus Christ, and its Head, as proclaimed in Mystici Corporis Christi by Pope Pius XII. That the JURIDIC Church, including the office of the episcopate, must exist unto the consummation I affirm on one condition, AS INDISPUTABLY TAUGHT BY THE CHURCH HERSELF: this episcopate cannot last as a hierarchical body and function without the existence and direction of THE SUPREME BISHOP RULING OVER ALL, THE ROMAN PONTIFF. I also affirm that the Catholic Church instituted by Christ, which is the Mystical Body — encompassing all the priests and bishops in heaven and in purgatory, as well as any remaining on earth, with all Her Sacraments intact (though some today be unavailable) — will last until the consummation!
No one who has taken the time to read and study all of what I have written from the popes, councils and approved theologians on this site for the past 14 years could ever doubt that this is exactly what I believe and what the Church Herself teaches. And I have checked with my readers, who confirm they never interpreted anything I have written on these topics to indicate I believe there are only two sacraments, that the Church has ceased to exist or, as a rule, that the Church ceases to exist during an interregnum. Regarding all these, I have said only that we have only two sacraments AVAILABLE to us in which we can actively participate — the “necessary” Sacraments, which the Church teaches are Baptism and Matrimony (although I also count the perfect Act of Contrition and Spiritual Communion as substitutes for the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist). If I said such a thing while a true pope reigned and such Sacraments were readily available, then someone could accuse me of uttering an heretical statement. But when I see with my own two eyes (and even the hypocritical accuser admits this) that five of these Sacraments are not available and cannot be received without committing mortal sin, then I hardly think anyone can accuse a person of denying there are seven Sacraments available today. Because Christ Himself instituted the Sacraments they will always exist on earth, but for now they are held in abeyance unless and until Our Lord Himself restores the hierarchy.
Regarding my alleged teaching that the Church has ceased to exist altogether, this only serves to demonstrate the complete misunderstanding of what the Church established by Christ truly is and Her rich and uninterrupted interior life in Her continuing mission on earth. This is explained in articles on the site written six years ago (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/2-the-church/the-doctrine-of-the-mystical-body-pt-i/and https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/2-the-church/the-doctrine-of-the-mystical-body-pt-ii/). This should prove that far from believing She has disappeared, I believe that as a member of Christ’s Mystical Body and incorporated into that body by Baptism, the Church exists and functions marvelously with Christ as Her Head, during this time He Himself ordained, when the true pope has been taken up to his throne in Heaven (Apoc. 12: 5. Rev. E. S. Berry in his The Apocalypse of St. John refers this verse to the martyrdom of a pope elected, the vacancy of the Holy See and a time of trial for the Church, during which Antichrist will be revealed and antipopes will reign). Again, were I to believe this during the reign of a true pope, excluding the need of any obedience or allegiance to him, I would be a heretic. But I believe Christ is the sole Head of His Church during this time only, which he Himself ordained, “For how can the Scriptures be fulfilled, that so it must be done?”
Again, were I to state that the Church does not exist during an interregnum following the death of a canonically elected pope, when an active election was in progress or when the Church was undergoing some crisis such as battling antipopes, as was the case during the Western Schism, then yes, it could be said that I was denying the perpetuity of the Church; but this is not the case today. There is no pope, and no believable contender to the papacy, and abundant proofs have existed on this site to prove this for many years. As for the allegations that I falsely identify Paul 6 as the Antichrist, the proofs I offered to support this decades ago have not been refuted anywhere to my knowledge nor equaled in any other exposition of which I am aware. And as will be explained below, it is actually supported by papal teaching and Church Tradition, something I have pointed out for decades, but something the accuser curiously neglects to accept.
In certain articles on this site it is true that I have stated we must believe that these men exist somewhere. But as the years have passed, the chances of their survival have dwindled. To be consecrated a bishop, Canon Law states you must be 30 years old. Men consecrated in 1958 would now be in their nineties and most were older than 30 when consecrated. At one time, in the 1990s, all the surviving bishops were contacted and none had officially separated themselves from the Novus Ordo. We have no certainty that any of the men who were ordained priests or consecrated bishops outside that time frame were validly ordained or consecrated; God alone knows. This is true even of those behind the Iron Curtain and perhaps especially those who were created there, since it has been said the infiltration of their ranks by the Orthodox was considerable. And without certitude regarding their validity, we owe them no allegiance nor are we bound to believe anything regarding their existence or ability to minister to us, if they indeed exist. God does not command the impossible. We can believe that, scattered here or there, they exist or not. But we can never believe that for the Church to exist as Christ constituted it, these bishops and priests are still alive and can function even minimally without a pope at their head.
In raising these false allegations, this accuser condemns only himself. I would happily recant any errors I believe I have made, but the only problem I can see with what has been written is that perhaps I must go to greater lengths to qualify and clarify what I write. The question must be asked — what agenda is he serving in attacking this author after all these years of living more or less peaceably while maintaining the stay-at-home position? Should this be classified as yet another assault by the Devil, an attempt to divide those few who keep the faith from home and set them at odds with one another? Is it possible that some unknown cleric claiming miracles is secretly waiting in the wings to establish yet another Traditionalist sect, which is the only motive I can discern for claiming that priests and bishops must exist to the very end? We shall soon see.
Below, I have outlined the errors taught by the accuser with the necessary proofs to support that they are indeed denials of truths of faith. These errors are difficult to sort out by those not well-versed in the many tortuous and twisted ways those who are not Catholic attempt to portray Church teaching. But they exist and must be knocked to the ground, lest these deceivers succeed in dragging into hell with them those who they wish to seduce or retain as their followers. These excerpts are from site articles published long ago, so nothing new is presented here.
The accuser revives Gallicanism
In his The True Story of the Vatican Council, Henry Cardinal Manning notes it was the Western Schism and the rise of Gallicanism that first brought up the question of infallibility. It was during this time period the Gallicanists began to distinguish between the infallibility of the person occupying the See and the See itself. Manning then goes into greater depth regarding the line of popes versus the individual occupant of the See, writing as follows:
“They distinguished between …the See and him that sat in it…[They] denied the infallibility of the person while they affirmed the infallibility of the See…The doctrine affirmed by the schools and by the Holy See was that infallibility attaches to the office, and that the office is held not by many, as if in commission, BUT BY ONE… Peter’s office, with all its prerogatives, is perpetual and his office is borne by the person who succeeds to his place” (p. 59-61).
As quoted in Dom Butler’s Vatican Council, the Maurist Benedictine Dom Jamin, who held the Gallicanist position condemned at the Vatican Council, wrote in 1768:
“Infallibility in dogmatic judgments has been given only to the BODY of bishops. No particular bishop, even the bishop of Rome, may attribute to himself this glorious privilege. Jesus Christ spoke to all the Apostles in common, and in their persons to all the bishops, the promise ‘I am with you all days, even to the consummation…’ To maintain that the right of judging causes which concern the faith appertains only to the Pope or to the Holy See, and that they ought to be carried there in the first instance, is a pretension unknown to all antiquity and contrary to the practice of the Church” (p. 30-31). In response, Cardinal Manning writes in his The Vatican Council and Its Definitions: A Pastoral Letter to the Clergy (1871):
“The promises “Ego rogavi pro te,” [I have prayed for thee …] and “Non praevalebunt [the gates of hell shall not prevail],” were spoken to Peter alone. The promises, ‘He shall lead you into all truth,’ and, ‘Behold, I am with you all days,’ were spoken to Peter with all the Apostles. The infallibility of Peter was, therefore, not dependent on his union with them in exercising it; but, their infallibility was evidently dependent on their union with him. In like manner the whole Episcopate gathered in Council is not infallible without its head,” (p. 96) Manning then proceeds to cite the various doctors who are in agreement on this, demonstrating the truth of what he is saying by scholastic means. “Bzovius, the continuator of the Annals of Baronius, says, “To Peter alone, and after him to all the Roman Pontiffs legitimately succeeding, the privilege of infallibility, as it is called, was conceded…; Dominicus Marchese writes: “This privilege was conceded to the successors of Peter alone without the assistance of the College of Cardinals…:”
“Vincentius Ferre says, “The exposition of certain Paris (doctors) is of no avail, who affirm that Christ only promised that the faith should not fail of the Church founded upon Peter; and not that it should not fail in the successors of Peter taken apart from (seorsum) the Church…Infallibility was not promised to the Church as apart from (seorsum) the head, but promised to the head, that from him it should be derived to the Church…; Lastly, F. Gatti, the learned professor of theology of the Dominican Order at this day, writing of the words, ‘I have prayed for thee,’ &c., says, ‘indefectibility is promised to Peter apart from (seorsum) the Church, or from the Apostles; but it is not promised to the Apostles, or to the Church, apart from (seorsum) the head, or without the head…
“…Clement VI, in the fourteenth century, proposed to the Armenians certain interrogations, of which the fourth is as follows: ‘Hast thou believed, and dost thou still believe, that the Roman Pontiff alone can, by an authentic determination to which we must inviolably adhere, put an end to doubts which arise concerning the Catholic faith; and that whatsoever he, by the authority of the keys delivered to him by Christ, determines to be true, is true and Catholic; and what he determines to be false and heretical is to be so esteemed?’” (p. 107-108)
“Secondly, it is a matter of faith that the Ecclesia docens or the Episcopate, to which, together with Peter, and as it were, in one person with him, the assistance of the Holy Ghost was promised, can never be dissolved; but it would be dissolved if it were separated from its head. Such separation would destroy the infallibility of the Church itself. The Ecclesia docens would cease to exist; but this is impossible, and without heresy cannot be supposed… Even though a number of bishops should fall away, as in the Arian and Nestorian heresies, yet the Episcopate could never fall away [from the Roman Pontiff]. It would always remain united, by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, to its head; and the reason of this inseparable union is precisely the infallibility of its head. Because its head can never err, it, as a body, can never err. How many soever, as individuals, should err and fall away from the truth, the Episcopate would remain, and therefore never be disunited from its head in teaching or believing. Even a minority of the Bishops united to the head, would be the Episcopate of the Universal Church, [but not if united to a false pope, or to no pope during an interregnum – Ed.) They, therefore, and they only, teach the possibility of such a separation, who assert that the Pontiff may fall into error. But they who deny his infallibility do expressly assert the possibility of such a separation” (pg. 112-113).
Manning is speaking of a deliberate and complete defection of the bishops from an existing and unquestionably valid head, a man canonically elected, stating that this could not occur. Well it did not occur in our case; there was no heresy of this kind because those bishops crossing over following Vatican 2 did not defect from a true pope then reigning although they did abandon the Deposit of Faith and follow a schismatic “pope.” I have maintained from the outset that the pope could never fall into heresy as a pope, but only appear to do so; he would have to have been a heretic invalidly elected as anticipated by Pope Paul IV in his bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. So this scenario, which seems to presume said bishops would defect from a validly elected existing pope by claiming him guilty of heresy, is not fulfilled by our situation.
This accuser insists I recognize the “fact” that bishops not only can but MUST exist in order for the Church to exist and can so constitute the Church. He totally ignores the Church’s dogmatic teaching that She cannot exist without Her head. He acts as though Pope Pius IX never taught the Church cannot exist without a pope, a truth also taught by the Vatican Council, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Council of Trent. And yet he also holds we have no true pope! He may not see it, he may not even realize it (and that is granting him far more lenience than he has granted me), but what he is really saying here is that the Church can be held to be the bishops only sans the pope. Ergo, then, he must of necessity hold that infallibility and hence indefectibility (see Fr. Kinkead below) exists in the body of bishops, as the Gallicanist heresy contends.
How is this any different than what Traditionalists believe? Is it not holding the door open for someone to claim they have located a “true” bishop who performs miracles, as the accuser notes is necessary in order to claim jurisdiction, and we must all, willy-nilly, follow him, as a bishop, not as a pope?! For the only thing any bishop or group of bishops still proven beyond any doubt to possess the Catholic faith could hope to do is first to elect a true pope! Could anyone today trust such a person, even if it appeared they were gifted with miracles, given the ability of modern technology to manipulate and falsify these manifestations? When in doubt regarding the Sacraments or eternal salvation one cannot risk such things! And this is a teaching of the faith demanding our obedience.
Above, Cardinal Manning does not consider the matter of an extended interregnum where there is a contested election (as there should be in this case) and no contender for the papacy against a doubtful Roman Pontiff. Notice that he does not even grant authority to a minority of bishops unless in communion with the Roman Pontiff, giving the lie to the Traditionalist contention that they must consecrate bishops outside communion with a true pope to perpetuate the episcopacy. The logical conclusion of what he IS saying is that without a true pope, certainly the episcopal body could err and all but fall away, because the only thing that prevents it from erring is a certainly canonically elected pope possessing infallibility! The two go as a unit or not at all, for as he also writes, “And further, that the independent exercise of this privilege by the head of the Episcopate, and as distinct from the Bishops, is the divinely ordained means of the perpetual unity of the Episcopate in communication and faith with its head and with its own members.”
No wonder, then, that the bishops lost unity among themselves and left the Church. Manning is only reiterating what the Vatican Council he participated in taught. There is no question that in regular times when the Church merely pauses to elect a man pope, She most certainly continues to exist. This is because an election is in progress,according to the canonical rules existing at the time. The last six false popes have never been officially challenged, a first in the long history of the Church. The only elections in progress have been false, illegal ones such as the one in 1990 in which I regrettably participated. This accuser has questioned my activities ever since that false election, even though his own background is equally less than stellar. But it should be pointed out that one of the reasons I believed that such an election should take place is the very “error” he is now accusing me of committing: the undeniable truth that without the pope the Church cannot exist. Cardinal Manning concludes:
“And lastly, that though the consent of the Episcopate or the Church be not required, as a condition, to the intrinsic value of the infallible definitions of the Roman Pontiff, nevertheless, it cannot without heresy be said or conceived that the consent of the Episcopate and of the Church can ever be absent. For if the Pontiff be divinely assisted, both the active and passive infallibility of the Church exclude such a supposition as heretical” (pg. 118). And this is what happened: the cardinals and bishops secretly refused to accept the authoritative teachings of Pope Pius XII during his lifetime, especially concerning Communism, ecumenism, papal elections, the status of the bishops and the inviolability of the liturgy. Following his death, they made this known at the false Vatican 2 council and in this way led countless Catholics away from their faith.
Pope Pius XII cleared away the seeds of dissension sown by Butler and others dissatisfied with the definition in his encyclicals Mystici Coproris and Ad Sinarum Gentum, where he authoritatively teaches that the power of bishops comes to them only through the Roman Pontiff. The accuser admits these papal teachings in condemning Traditionalists functioning without jurisdiction. Yet he apparently does not follow these teachings through to their logical conclusions, because he simultaneously holds the bishops could constitute the Church itself alone, without a pope at their head. The study of the Kinkead Baltimore Catechism # 3, written for high school students is sufficient to dispel this belief, if studied and assimilated properly, but obviously the accuser’s understanding of “the stability, the unity, the apostolicity and the indefectibility of this divinely established institution” is hopelessly skewed.
For when this teaching is applied to our current situation, it can be seen that the four marks no longer exist in the Church. This is because, as Rev. Thomas Kinkead explains, they can exist only if the three attributes — authority, infallibility and indefectibility — first exist, (Kinkead’s Baltimore Catechism #3, Q. & A # 520). The Church no longer exists as Christ willed She exist, because the pope must exist in order that the juridic or visible Church exist. But yet the Church as Christ’s Mystical Body never ceases to exist. Kinkead then asks: “Q. In whom are these attributes found in their fullness? A. These attributes are found in their fullness in the Pope, THE VISIBLE HEAD OF THE CHURCH, whose infallible authority to teach BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND PEOPLE in matters of faith or morals will last to the end of the world.”
Is it not true that even without a true pope, the teachings of the continual magisterium have been left to guide us in these trying times? Will not these teachings be available then until the consummation? Because as Kinkead says in Q. 115: “What is the Church? A. The Church is the congregation of all those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same sacraments, AND ARE GOVERNED BY THEIR LAWFUL PASTORS UNDER ONE VISIBLE HEAD.” Well there is no visible Head or lawful pastors and hence no ordinary access to the Sacraments; furthermore, there are no two Traditionalists who can agree on tenets of the faith, so where is the Church?! And think about this: Kinkead rightly states that the Pope also teaches the bishops and priests as members of the faithful, in Christ’s name, for it was He who taught the apostles while on earth and the pope is His Vicar.
Rev. Kinkead writes further in his Baltimore Catechism #3: “When we say the Church is indefectible we mean that the Church will last forever and be infallible forever; that it will always remain as our Lord founded it and [will] never change the doctrines He taught.” Could anyone possibly contend that the Church in Heaven could be deprived of the popes, bishops and priests who served Her on earth? That all the Sacraments instituted by Christ which they conferred to help the elect gain Heaven and all their intercession for those on earth who honor them and pray to them could be discounted and erased? How preposterous! But this is what it would mean to say that the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ no longer exists. The Church will last forever in Heaven; the Deposit of Faithwill forever stand inviolable. What the Vicars of Christ have bound and loosed is already set in stone in Heaven by virtue of Christ’s promise to St. Peter. What has been infallibly taught can never be changed and will always exist, even though the human bodies of those who taught these truths of faith and conferred the Sacraments are no longer visible to us.
Let us not forget that the Church is infallible in three instances. First, She is infallible when the Roman Pontiff speaks of his own accord to define a doctrine or settle some dispute. Secondly She is infallible when the bishops meet in ecumenical councils, which are then confirmed by the reigning pope. Third, She is infallible when all the bishops, priests and faithful, in communion with a canonically elected pope, profess belief in what the pope and the ecumenical councils have taught, as they are indeed bound to do. If those among the faithful today profess this belief and join their confirmation of these teachings in communion with the last true pope on earth, Pope Pius XII, they then have already accepted as true all the Church teaches on indefectibility, infallibility, the Sacraments and countless other things.
Some of the confusion regarding the constitution of the Church versus the primacy can be dispelled by quoting yet another work from Cardinal Manning: “In all theological treatises, with the exception of one or two of great authority, it had been usual to treat of the Body of the Church before treating of its Head. The reason for this would appear to be that in the explanation of doctrine, the logical order was more obvious… It is, therefore, all the more remarkable then that the [Vatican] Council inverted this order, and defined the prerogative of the Head before it treated of the constitution and endowments of the Body… The Church in Council, when, for the first time, it began to treat of its own constitution and authority, changed the method; and, like the Divine Architect of the Church, began in the historical order, with the foundation and Head of the Church…
“From Peter and through him, all, therefore, began… A clear and precise conception of the primacy and privilege is necessary to a clear and precise conception of the Church. Unless it be first distinctly apprehended, the doctrine of the Church will always be 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. In beginning, therefore, with the Head, the Council has followed Our Lord’s example, both in teaching and in fact; and this will be found one of the causes of the singular and luminous precision with which the Council of the Vatican has, in one brief constitution, excluded the well-known errors on the Primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff,” (The Vatican Council Decrees in Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance. All emphasis appearing in bold in this work is added by the author unless otherwise noted.)
And so we come finally to the teaching of Pope Pius IX, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Catechism of the Council of Trent below, which shows that the Church does indeed teach that without Her head She cannot exist:
“…AND IN ORDER THAT THE EPISCOPATE ALSO MIGHT BE ONE AND UNDIVIDED, and that by means of a closely united priesthood the multitude of the faithful might be kept secure in the oneness of faith and communion, HE SET BLESSED PETER OVER THE REST OF THE APOSTLES AND FIXED IN HIM THE ABIDING PRINCIPLE OF THIS TWO-FOLD UNITY…” (The Vatican Council, 4th Session, First Dogmatic Constitution. If the mark of unity is destroyed, then, as Pope Pius IX teaches in DZ 1686 and Rev. Kinkead reiterates, the other marks cannot exist. Pius IX directly links the foundation of these four marks to the seat of all unity, the Roman Pontiff.)
Pope Pius IX taught: “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 24, 1872; Papal Teachings: The Church, by the Monks of Solesmes, translated by Mother E. O’Gorman, St. Paul Editions, 1962; no. 391, p. 226).
St. Thomas Aquinas writes: “In order that the Church exist, there must be one person at the head of the whole Christian people,” (Summa Contra Gentilis, Vol. IV, 76).
The Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches: “It is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers that this visible head is necessary to establish and preserve unity in the Church,” and this from Christ’s guarantees to St. Peter found in Holy Scripture, (Revs. McHugh and Callan edition, p. 104.).
Revs. Devivier and Sasia: “As it is to the character of the foundation that a building owes its solidarity, the close union of its parts, and even its very existence, it is likewise from the authority of Peter that the Church derives Her unity, her stability, and even Her existence Herself. The Church, therefore, cannot exist without Peter.”
Pope Pius XII confirmed this truth for our times in Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, when he wrote infallibly that: “We declare invalid and void any power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff in his lifetime, which the assembly of Cardinals might decide to exercise (while the Church is without a Pope)… If anything contrary to this prescript occurs or is by chance attempted, we declare it by Our Supreme authority to be null and void.”
As St. Anthony Mary Claret phrased it in explaining the marks:
“The fourth note or mark of the Church is to be Apostolic. That is to say, it was founded by the Apostles and is governed by their successors, the bishops, who, since the Apostles, have succeeded without interruption. And these bishops have a lawful mission to guard always, in their teaching and management of the Church, the unity of Faith and of communion with their head and center, the Roman Pontiff… You will notice that with the word mission I added the word lawful, that is, coming from that one who has the keys of the kingdom of heaven or of the Church, who is the Pope. Therefore the intruder bishops, or those who have separated themselves from obedience to the Roman Pontiff, are not successors of the Apostles. Rather, they are thieves, as Jesus Christ calls them, and we must flee from them as the sheep flee from the wolves… If, then, any heretics come to you, my son, saying that their churches are also Apostolic, there is nothing more to say to them than what Tertullian said: Prove the origin of your churches. Make us see that the order of your bishops has in some way
through succession descended from the beginning, that the first was any of the Apostles, or had as a predecessor some of the Apostolic men who had persevered together with the Apostles.”
We can believe irrevocably that Christ intended His Church to exist to the end of time, as He constituted it, without understanding HOW he intended it to exist. That appears to be a mystery to which Christ alone holds the key — an issue on which the Church has not yet decided — since not all catechisms or theological manuals state that the Church will last to the end without any sort of interruption. Even Pope Pius XII said that, “History gives clear evidence of one thing: the gates of Hell will not prevail,” (Matt. 16: 18). But there is some evidence on the other side too; the gates of hell have had partial successes,” (“Preaching the Word of God,” address given during the Sixth National Week on New Pastoral Methods, Sept. 14, 1956).
And from an allocution given to the Roman Curia Dec. 4, 1943: “The Church’s indefectibility is historically demonstrable, the past through which She has lived being the gauge of Her future… But if this indefectibility is a matter of experience, it remains, nonetheless, a mystery, for it cannot be explained naturally but only by reason of the fact, which is known to us by Divine revelation, that Christ who founded the Church is with Her in every trial till the end of the world” (Monks of Solesmes, translated by Mother E. O’Gorman, St. Paul Editions, 1962). He would elaborate further in Mystici Corporis on this topic:
“But our Divine Savior governs and guides the Society which He founded directly and personally also. For it is He who reigns within the minds and hearts of men, and bends and subjects their wills to His good pleasure, even when rebellious. “The heart of the King is in the hand of the Lord; whithersoever he will, he shall turn it.” By this interior guidance He the “Shepherd and Bishop of our souls,” not only watches over individuals but exercises His providence over the universal Church, whether by enlightening and giving courage to the Church’s rulers for the loyal and effective performance of their respective duties, or by singling out from the body of the Church — especially when times are grave — men and women of conspicuous holiness, who may point the way for the rest of Christendom to the perfecting of His Mystical Body. Moreover from Heaven Christ never ceases to look down with especial love on His spotless Spouse so sorely tried in her earthly exile; and when He sees her in danger, saves her from the tempestuous sea either Himself or through the ministry of His angels, or through her whom we invoke as Help of Christians, or through other heavenly advocates, and in calm and tranquil waters comforts her with the peace “which surpasseth all understanding.”
The message to be taken away from the allocution to the Roman Curia by Pope Pius XII above is that the Church’s indefectibility is a mystery, and mysteries are to be accepted on faith even if they are not completely understood. Isn’t the Pope telling us in this quote, then, that past experience of this “mystery” is not able to be precisely defined and used as a gauge for future reference? And if indefectibility is a mystery, doesn’t this leave some room for its interpretation that we mere mortals cannot fathom?! Rev. Berry states that indefectibility is really promised only to the Roman Pontiff, which explains precisely why the Church cannot exist without Her head. In his work The Church of Christ he wrote: “The Apostolic See of Rome is the only PARTICULAR Church to which the promise of indefectibility has been made.” And this leads us to the accusers second error.
Denying the pope’s clear authority to interpret Holy Scripture
That the Apostolic See was prophesied by a pope to be overthrown by an imposter centuries ago escapes this accuser, who ignores a papal interpretation of Holy Scripture to teach his own version of who and what Antichrist will be. He accuses this writer of falsely teaching that Antichrist was Paul 6, when exhaustive proofs have been presented to support this conclusion. All these proofs are based on the FACT that in 1559, Pope Paul IV rendered an official interpretation of Holy Scripture in Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, alerting us to exactly who Antichrist would be. The binding nature of such an interpretation is explained below by Cardinal Manning in his The Vatican Council and Its Definitions: A Pastoral Letter to the Clergy:
“The Council of Trent (Sess. IV) declares that to the Church it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of Holy Scripture. Now the sense of the Holy Scripture is two-fold; namely, the literal and grammatical, or, as it is called, the sensus quis; and the theological and doctrinal, or the sensus qualis. The Church judges infallibly of both. It judges of the question that such and such words or texts have such and such literal and grammatical meaning. It judges also of the conformity of such meaning with the rule of faith, or of its contradiction to the same. The former is a question of fact, the latter of dogma. That the latter falls within the infallible judgment of the Church has been denied by none but heretics,” (p. 75).
Pope Paul IV stated the following in his bull regarding the identification of the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place: “Also, it behooves us to give fuller and more diligent thought where the peril is greatest, lest false prophets (or even others possessing secular jurisdiction) wretchedly ensnare simple souls and drag down with themselves to perdition and the ruin of damnation the countless peoples entrusted to their care and government in matters spiritual or temporal; and lest it befall Us to see in the holy place the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, We wish, as much as possible with God’s help, in line with our pastoral duty, to trap the foxes that are busily ravaging the Lord’s vineyard and to drive the wolves from the sheepfolds, lest We seem to be silent watchdogs, unable to bark, or lest We come to an evil end like the evil husbandmen or be likened to a hireling.”
Now unless this phrase is explained in its historical context, its full impact will not be appreciated. Paul IV wrote during the Protestant Reformation, when the reformers, especially the Lutherans, were loudly proclaiming that the Popes were Antichrist. During his Pontificate, he charged one of his own cardinals, Morone, with heresy and tried him for it in ecclesiastical court, believing he was sympathizing with followers of Luther. He also accused him of attempting to campaign for election as pope, during Paul IV’s reign and wrote a separate bull condemning this error, as de Montor reports. Later Pope Pius XII would condemn such campaigning as disqualification for papal election in his Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.
Fully believing that this cardinal was a heretic, attempting to intrude himself into the Holy See, he wrote Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, forever excluding heretics from valid possession of the papacy, episcopacy and other ecclesiastical offices. Morone was never convicted, the trial being interrupted by Pope Paul IV’s death. But Morone did campaign for the papacy in the conclave following Pope Paul IV’s death, and as one Catholic author reports, he was cautioned by none other than the future Pope St. Pius V that he could not be elected pope because he had been suspected of heresy. Following this admonition, he withdrew his bid. Given this background, and the tenor of the bull itself, available on the website, there can be no doubt that Paul IV wrote this bull specifically to exclude forever the possibility that anyone even suspected of heresy could rise to the episcopacy, cardinalate or even the papacy and retain any claim to validly holding any office in the Church.
That the above quote is found in the opening paragraphs of the bull tells us that the Church interprets heretics pretending to hold office as the abomination of desolation, and this is confirmed by St. Bernard’s reference, in his writings regarding the antipope Anacletus, to Anacletus as Antichrist. Ecumenical council documents also refer to antipopes as antichrist, the only difference here being that none of them reigned successfully, all being opposed by the true pope and later deposed. The Antichrist or abomination, as referred to by Pope Paul IV could only be an individual who succeeded in convincing the faithful he was the true pope, which both John 23 and Paul 6 did. The only reason John 23 is not identified as THE antichrist is that he best fits the role of false prophet, for without him Montini would never have been a cardinal or have been elected. Montini acted behind the scenes as Roncalli’s inspiration and supporter, helping author encyclicals and acting as a go-between in matters involving the Communist party, relations with the Jews and the conciliation with Freemasonry.
In disqualifying Montini as the Antichrist, the accuser joins the Pope St. Pius X Society and other Traditionalist groups in discrediting and dismissing Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. He sweeps aside the pope’s doctrinal interpretation of the term abomination of desolation, in favor of his own theories. This, Cardinal Manning says, is heresy. The accuser then builds a case based on Scripture alone, and his own take regarding it, ignoring the fact that as Catholics
In his The Temporal Power of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, Manning tells his readers: “The secret societies have long ago undermined and honeycombed the Christian society of Europe, and are at this moment struggling onward towards Rome, the centre of all Christian order in the world… [This is] the casting down of ‘the Prince of Strength;’ that is, the Divine authority of the Church, and especially of him in whose person it is embodied, the Vicar of Jesus Christ. God has invested him with sovereignty, and given to him a home and a patrimony on earth… The dethronement of the Vicar of Christ is the dethronement of the hierarchy of the universal Church, and the public rejection of the Presence and Reign of Jesus.”
“This leads on plainly to the marks which the prophet [Daniel] gives of the persecution of the last days. Now there are three things which he has recorded. The first, that the continual sacrifice shall be taken away; the next, that the sanctuary shall be occupied by the abomination which maketh desolate; the third, that ‘the strength’ and, ‘the stars,’ as he described it, shall be cast down.” Didn’t all this occur with the “election” of Paul 6 and the conclusion of the false Vatican 2 council? In his The Apocalypse of St. John, Rev. Berry describes the stars (Apoc. 6: 13) as “large numbers of bishops, priests and faithful… They fall thick and fast.” How much clearer do these prophecies need to be, prophecies interpreted by a great cardinal of the Church and champion of the papacy, who taught that for a time the Holy See would be vacant, as well as an approved theologian?! We are to believe the accuser and ignore Cardinal Manning and Rev. Berry? Really?
Denial of the Church’s invisible interior life
The Church is not just a visible moral body; She enjoys an active invisible life as well. As Pope Pius XII explained earlier, the Mystical Body is a Mystery; it cannot be fully enjoyed, understood or appreciated on this earth. In believing that we are members of this Body and participating as fully as we can in its invisible activities, we are fully members of the Church on earth which Pope Pius XII has defined as the Mystical Body. This is explained more fully below by Msgr. Can. Edward Myers.
“The negation of the visible character of the Church of Christ, and of its hierarchical constitution, has led to such stress being laid upon the visible, tangible aspects of the Church that those who are not Catholics have come to think of it in terms of its external organization and of its recent dogmatic definitions, and not a few Catholics, concentrating their attention upon the argumentative, apologetical, and controversial side of the doctrine concerning the Church, have been in danger of overlooking theoretically – though practically it is impossible for them to do so – the supernatural, the mysterious, the vital, the overwhelmingly important character of the Church as the divinely established and only means of grace in the world, as the Mystical Body of Christ.
“…From the beginning that Church has been a complex entity, and its history is filled with incidents in which men have concentrated upon some one essential element of its constitution to the exclusion of another equally essential element, and have drifted into heresy. The Church has its visible and its invisible elements, its individual and its social claims, its natural and its supernatural activities, its adaptability to the needs of the times, while it is uncompromising in vindicating, even unto blood, that which it holds from Christ and for Christ….Albert the Great explains the term “Mystical Body,” applied to the Church, as the result of the assimilation of the whole Church to Christ consequent upon the communion of the true Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist; so that the true Body of Christ under the appearance of bread became the symbol of the hidden divine reality.
“From Christ as Head comes the Unity of that Body, its growth, the vitality transmitted throughout its members… We have defended every detail of her visible organization against non-Catholic assault. But let us be on our guard against imagining that because we have grasped every element of her visible and of her moral constitution which Christ willed should be in order that his Church might utilize all that is best in man’s human nature – that we understand Christ’s Church through and through.” (The Mystical Body of Christ, Right Rev. Msgr. Can. Edward Myers, M.A. (Taken from the Teaching of the Catholic Church, by Can. George D. Smith, D.D., Ph.D., Vol. II; 1959, first printing 1927).
It was Henry Cardinal Manning who believed that the pope, as Christ before him, would disappear from the face of the earth “for a time”; that has been repeatedly referred to on this site. Is the accuser calling him a heretic, for did not Manning above also write that “the dethronement of the Vicar of Christ is the dethronement of the hierarchy of the universal Church? Should he not have known far better than this accuser, having played a prominent role in orchestrating the Vatican Council, that this would mean that the flock would then be scattered as Zacharius and Christ Himself prophesy? Isn’t the denial that the pope must exist in order that the Church exist a direct denial of this passage of Holy Scripture? So in stating that stay-at-home Catholics are denying the Church no longer exists because they believe she has ceased to exist juridically only, the accuser himself implicitly denies the teachings of approved theologians (who Manning cites above) far superior to him in knowledge, in addition to denying the existence of the Mystical Body as She is united to Christ in Heaven! If Christ is truly Head of His Church, then that Church must also exist as described above. The Church cannot be split up and compartmentalized; her teaching must be taken as an integral whole, or not at all.
Answers to some of the accuser’s more pertinent questions
Do you agree that it is also correct, accurate, truthful, and in accordance with true Catholic doctrine to teach: “I believe with equally firm faith that the Catholic Church was built upon the apostolic hierarchy until the end of time”?
God’s time, not our perception of it. God’s ways and his measuring of time are far different from ours. And define hierarchy, please. Because without the pope we KNOW it cannot exist! It exists in Heaven – is that not good enough for you? Does the Mystical Body not exist there as well? Do you actually question this?
St. Alphonsus says: “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).” He 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.” The same is true of all the Sacraments, the hierarchy, everything, which continue to exist in the Church Triumphant and in our own DESIRE for these Sacraments here on earth.
Do you agree that it would be a great blasphemy for anyone to contradict the truth that there will always be a VISIBLE and external priesthood and a hierarchy by Divine ordination instituted, consisting of bishops, priests and ministers?
Not unless you include a pope in that hierarchy without whom the bishops cannot function! Try including the Vatican Council teachings here, not just Trent.
Do you agree that therefore I am correct in my belief that there is a permanent Catholic hierarchy with bishops, priests, and other ministers of the Catholic Church still alive and physically living in their bodies someplace on earth; and also say there are still seven sacraments at least potentially available just because there is a Catholic hierarchy living on earth?
You omit the pope? He is not part of the hierarchy? Christ constituted His Church without him? The bishops can exist and rule without him? Could you tell me again what Traditional sect it is you now belong to?!
I am beginning to wonder if there is not a “method to your madness” and you are laying the groundwork for some revelation or change in direction from your former position. I say this because of your criticism of Pope Pius XII in the past and your objection to his teachings on the laity. I fear that perhaps like so many others you now doubt Pope Pius XII was a true pope, although you can offer no real basis for this. Nor can there be any decision regarding his papacy without a true pope or council to investigate the matter, if this could even be possible. But it would explain your insistence that the bishops could exist as valid hierarchy without the pope, for then you could claim the decision made by Pope Pius XII — that bishops receive their jurisdiction only from the Roman Pontiff — is negated.
“Canon VI (Trent) — If anyone saith that in the Catholic Church there is not a hierarchy by Divine ordination instituted, consisting of bishops, priests and ministers; let him be anathema.
I have never said nor would I ever say that the true Church on earth should not consist of the hierarchy in this way, only that at this time they are not available to us.
Do you agree that because the ESSENTIALS, of the Catholic Church will never cease to be even FOR A TIME; that it is heretical to believe there will be a time when no Catholic bishops are living, and then later on some EXTRAORDINARY means are used to again have St. Peter or Jesus Christ consecrate NEW bishops and elect a new pope – and so to speak to give the Church a second start with a NEW hierarchical structure?
As explained above, indefectibility is a mystery! Some things we simply cannot be certain of today. Where is your appreciation of things spiritual? Is not faith belief in things unseen?
Nothing is impossible with God. He could be preserving bishops in the empyrean heaven for all I know but they are not able to function on earth. Do you deny that God could work a miracle to restore the Church? You really wish to deny the possibility of miracles in this situation and the fact that God is capable of anything? You would accept a bishop(s) who would prove jurisdiction with miracles but would not admit God could directly work a miracle to restore a bishop to us? Holy people have said this is possible and the Church has not condemned their messages. You are smarter than the Church?
The Oath Against the Errors of Modernism under Pope St. Pius X also teaches:
Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors until the end of time.
We are always to believe this is how the Church was constituted by Christ, was intended to exist and yet exists in Heaven. The papal and conciliar doctrines teaching this truth will be available to those who care to learn them until the end of time.
Do you agree that your writings attack and pervert the true power of jurisdiction when you in effect attempt to transfer it to the people by saying there are nothing but laypeople left in the Catholic Church?
I pervert nothing and do not transfer anything to lay people, nor do I lay any claim to any jurisdiction. I follow only the authoritative teaching of Pope Pius XII, who said that in the absence of the hierarchy Catholics must assume all their responsibilities insofar as they are able to, as lay people. You are going to contradict his teaching from an A.A.S document, yet you cite them as binding in your own accusations?
Do you agree that if you now proclaim that you do not attempt to transfer this true power of the magisterium to the laypeople when you claim that only laypeople now exist in the Catholic Church; then you thereby deny that there is a perpetual, living, and infallible magisterium in the Catholic Church?
I deny nothing of the sort and I myself make no such transfer.
That the JURIDIC Church, including the office of the episcopate, must exist unto the consummation I affirm on one condition, AS INDISPUTABLY TAUGHT BY THE CHURCH HERSELF: this episcopate cannot last as a hierarchical body and function without the existence and direction of THE SUPREME BISHOP RULING OVER ALL, THE ROMAN PONTIFF. I also affirm that the Catholic Church instituted by Christ, which is the Mystical Body — encompassing all the priests and bishops in heaven and in purgatory, as well as any remaining on earth, with all Her Sacraments intact (though some today be unavailable) — will last until the consummation!
So since this individual is himself teaching false doctrine, and because what he says otherwise can be proven false by studying the authorities quoted on this website and elsewhere, his arguments can be dismissed. I do not see how he can explain his current position without destroying his own premises, since it was laid on a false philosophical foundation and the contradiction of dogmatic teaching on papal infallibility to begin with. The words below should be heeded by Catholics who are tempted to believe that what we are actually seeing today is anything less than the fulfillment of the Apocalypse.
“We must not be too ready to pronounce on what God may permit. But we, or our successors in future generations of Christians, shall perhaps see stranger evils than have yet been experienced, even before the immediate approach of that great winding up of all things on earth that will precede the day of judgment. I am not setting up for a prophet, nor pretending to see unhappy wonders, of which I have no knowledge whatever. All I mean to convey is that contingencies regarding the Church, not excluded by the Divine promises, cannot be regarded as practically impossible, just because they would be terrible and distressing in a very high degree.” (“The Relations of the Church to Society — Theological Essays,” Rev. Edmund James O’Reilly, S.J.; from the chapter “The Pastoral Office of the Church,” all emphasis by Rev. O’Reilly in the original. Rev. O’Reilly was the theologian of choice in Ireland for local Irish Councils and Synods, was a professor of theology at the Catholic University of Dublin and was at one time considered as a candidate for a professorship at the prestigious Roman College by his Jesuit superior.)
“And the Lord said to me: The prophets prophesy falsely in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, nor have I spoken to them: they prophesy unto you a lying vision, and divination and deceit, and the seduction of their own heart” (Jeremias 14: 14).