+Our Lady of Ransom+
Some have objected that the term abomination of desolation does not necessarily refer to Antichrist and therefore the use of this phrase by Pope Paul IV in his bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio is not a true interpretation of this Scripture phrase. In the next few blogs that will be posted here, the importance of understanding the meaning of these distinctions will be demonstrated. Catholics cannot be ignorant of the truths so necessary to understanding the current world situation today and its relation to their faith. As we draw closer to the culmination of the events that surely must be precipitating either the end proper or some worldwide disaster, no one can afford to any longer believe the fairy tales that some earthly force will deliver us; we alone are the captains of our own souls. Below please find the answer to this important question according to Catholic sources.
The best source of information on this topic is St. Jerome, who according to the Catholic Encyclopedia “was very careful as to the sources of his information… The Biblical knowledge of St. Jerome makes him rank first among ancient exegetes.” St. Jerome wrote as follows on the abomination: “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).
The value and the amazing utility of this phrase, as explained by St. Jerome, is that it expresses several meanings, all of which correspond to the behavior and person of Antichrist and fit the actions of Paul 6 to a “T.” Other commentators concur with St. Jerome. Commenting on the term abomination of desolation in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Francis Gigot writes: “While most commentators regard the first ‘shíqqû,’ usually rendered by ‘abomination,’ as designating anything (statue, altar, etc.) that pertains to idolatrous worship, others take it to be a contemptuous designation of a heathen god or idol. Again, while most commentators render the second ‘shômem’ by the abstract word ‘desolation,’ others treat it as a concrete form referring to a person, ‘a ravager,’ or even as a participial known meaning ‘that maketh desolate.’
“After studying the picture of Antichrist in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Thessalonians, one easily recognizes the ‘man of sin’ in Daniel 7:8, 11, 20, 21, where the Prophet describes the ‘little horn.’ A type of Antichrist is found in Daniel 8:8 sqq., 23, sqq., 11:21-45, in the person of Antiochus Epiphanes. Many commentators have found more or less clear allusions to Antichrist in the coming of false Christs and false prophets (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:6, 22; Luke 21:8), in the ‘abomination of desolation,’ and in the one that ‘shall come in his own name’ (John 5:43; Catholic Encyclopedia, A.J. Maas). Both these articles make it clear that the abomination has been identified with Antichrist, and who else has ravaged the Church, propagated heresy and made Her desolate if not Paul 6 and the V2 usurpers?
In the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Antichrist we read that: “Antichrist simulates Christ, and the Pope is an image of Christ, [so] Antichrist must have some similarity to the Pope, if the latter be the true Vicar of Christ.” This was certainly expressed in the writings of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church, and this allusion to a false pope as the abomination and Antichrist pre-dated Pope Paul IV. St. Bernard, a Doctor of the Church, was the champion of Pope Innocent II. Innocent later recovered the papacy from antipope Anacletus, who for several years occupied the papal see in Rome. We find in St. Bernard’s letters the following:
“Whether we like it or not, the words of the Holy Ghost must sooner or later have their fulfillment and the revolt predicted by the Apostle (2 Thess. 2:3) must come to pass. ‘Nevertheless, woe to that man by whom it cometh; it were better for him if that man had not been born,’ (Matt. 18:7; 26:24). Who is this antipope but the ‘man of sin’ (2 Thess. 2:3)… That beast of the Apocalypse, to whom has been given a mouth speaking blasphemy and power to wage war against the saints (Apoc. 13:5-7) “He has seated himself in the Chair of Peter…The holy place…he covets, not for its holiness, but for its height. He has, I say, got possession of the holy place [but]…not through the merit of his life. The election whereof he boasts is buta cloak for his malice. To call it an election at all is an impudent lie…”
In another letter he writes: “Behold, Innocent, the Christ, the anointed of the Lord, is ‘set for the fall and resurrection of many’ (Luke 2:34). For they that are of God willingly adhere to him, while opposed to him stand Antichrist and his followers. We have seen the ‘abomination of desolation standing in the holy place,’ (Matt. 24: 15), to obtain which the antipope ‘burned with fire the sanctuary of God’ (Psalm 73: 7). He persecutes Innocent and hence all innocence…” (The Life and Teaching of St. Bernard, Ailbe J. Luddy, O. Cist., 1927). Clearly St. Bernard identifies the Holy Place with the See of Peter, nothing else. In this he simply follows St. Jerome. Why would Paul IV deviate from these two great doctors?
The Council of Florence
The following was taken from the Council of Florence, held in Florence, Italy from 1438-1447, a little over 100 years before the reign of Pope Paul IV. The Council was a continuation of the Council of Ferrara, and that council in turn was a continuation of the Council of Basel, in Switzerland. It was convoked in 1431 by Pope Martin V and in 1440 condemned the reign of Antipope Felix V (Duke Amadeus of Savoy). Clearly the idea of an antipope or false pope as the incarnation of Antichrist was not limited to the letters of St. Bernard, as evidenced by excerpts from the council below.
“With the approval and help of this sacred ecumenical council, avenge with condign penalties this new frenzy which has become inflamed to your injury and that of the holy Roman church, your spouse, and to the notorious scandal of the whole Christian people. By the authority of almighty God and of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul and by your own authority, remove and separate from God’s holy church, by a perpetual anathema, the aforesaid wicked perpetrators of this prodigious crime and their unfortunate heresiarch and veritable antichrist in God’s churchtogether with all their supporters, adherents and followers and especially his execrable electors or rather profaners.
“For our part, as soon as we were aware from the reports of trustworthy people that so great an impiety had been committed, we were afflicted with grief and sadness, as was to be expected, both for the great scandal to the church and for the ruin of the souls of its perpetrators, especially Amadeus that antichrist whom we used to embrace in the depths of charity and whose prayers and wishes we always strove to meet in so far as we could in God.Already for some time we had it in mind to provide salutary remedies, in accordance with our pastoral office, against an abomination of this sort.
“That within fifty days immediately following the publication of this letter, the antichrist Amadeus should cease from acting anymore and designating himself as the Roman pontiff and should not, in so far as he can, allow himself to be held and called such by others, and should not dare hereafter in any way to use papal insignia and other things belonging in any way to the Roman pontiff; And that the aforesaid electors, or rather profaners, and adherents, receivers and supporters should no longer, either in person or through others, directly or indirectly or under any pretext, aid, believe in, adhere to or support the said Amadeus in this crime of schism…”
Pope Leo XIII
Then we have the prayers written by Pope Leo XIII, reportedly following a frightening vison of demonic activity throughout the world; this happened sometime before 1886. On September 25, 1888, Pope Leo XIII approved a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel with a 300 days indulgence that was at some point included in The Raccolta. The passage from this prayer pertinent to what is being discussed here reads: “In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.”
Two years later, Pope Leo XIII approved a new, longer prayer, “Exorcism against Satan and Apostate Angels,” including the 1888 prayer, which served as a sort of preamble to a series of exorcism prayers. These prayers were later appended to the Roman Ritual. This prayer eventually disappeared from the Raccolta and some Traditionalists claim it referred not to any infiltration of the Holy See, but to political events occurring at the time. It was removed, they said, because the pope was in negotiations with certain political powers and hoped to resolve the matter. While this could be true, no sources are cited to verify it. Nor can it be denied that it could just as easily have referred to a danger to the pope and his retinue, with Mariano Rampolla then Pope Leo XIII’s secretary of state. Why else include this prayer in an exorcism, of all things, if this was not a serious matter? A pope would not allow some transient political events to influence the content of a sacramental rite.
Pope Paul IV merely confirmed the idea of a false pope as Antichrist and Antichrist as the abomination, following St. Jerome and St. Bernard. Pope Leo XIII utilized the same language to describe what was happening to the Church during his pontificate. We cannot dispute the outcome; what they described is precisely what we have witnessed.
Paul IV’s usage of the abomination of desolation
“Whereas We consider such a matter to be so grave and fraught with peril that the Roman Pontiff, who is Vicar of God and of Jesus Christ on earth, holds fullness of power over peoples and. kingdoms, and judges all, but can be judged by no one in this world — (even he) may be corrected if he is apprehended straying from the Faith. 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.”
Given the content and recurring condemnations of Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, Pope Paul IV’s intent in issuing this bull is unmistakable. We see above that no less than St. Jerome interprets “the holy place” as the Church itself. And St. Jerome is the ultimate authority on scriptural interpretation. As for the abomination of desolation, the Catholic Encyclopedia has confirmed that commentators understand it as referring to Antichrist, although as St. Jerome also says it can mean “every perverted doctrine,” as well as idol worship. This would include:
“Bread idols, bread of lying, bread of wickedness, wheat bringing forth thorns, profitless wheat, vine without grapes, wine of iniquity, bitter wine, the wine of the condemned, the two iniquities [bread and wine], a strange god, idols without life, an idol moving the God of the Eucharist to jealousy, altars unto sin, a sin graven on the horns of the altar, sin of the sanctuary, unacceptable holocaust, a conspiracy, vain sacrifices, throne of iniquity, sin of the desolation (Dan. 8:13), falsehood personified, a lying vision, the abomination of desolation, (Dan. 11:31)” (Fr. Kenelm Vaughn’s Divine Armoury)” So both the person and the idol worshipped is included in the same phrase used by Daniel as biblical usage elsewhere demonstrates.
Paul IV is concerned with the persons perpetrating the crime. The reason for this is clear — he realizes that souls will be dragged down into hell if these people are not recognized as imposters and removed from office. He clearly sees that the best way to prevent perversion of the faithful is to remove the wolves from the sheepfold before they can devour the sheep. There can be no idol worship ever set up if there is no one to institute it. It is obvious that he believes the abomination to be heresy, and only a heretic could introduce idol worship. Pope Paul IV is careful to explain that a pope could never become a heretic but could only appear to become one owing to commission of it prior to election, invalidating the election.
The exception would be that a pope [erring in his private capacity] could be corrected, as the pope says above, (but not removed unless he refused to accept correction). But one who publicly spoke or otherwise disseminated heresy is a different matter. Paul IV distinguishes as follows: “Further, if ever at any time it becomes clear that any Bishop, even one conducting himself as an Archbishop, Patriarch, or primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, even as mentioned, a Legate; or likewise any Roman Pontiff before his promotion or elevation as a Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has strayed from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy, then his promotion or elevation shall be null, invalid and void.”
So here we see that one appearing to be a Roman Pontiff who was a heretic before his elevation or had strayed from the faith in some way is considered never to have obtained the office. If we now consider the abomination of desolation as the pope uses it, we can observe the following. 1) This is a definition of that term, since the Protestants at that time were contending a validly elected pope could become a heretic, i. e., Antichrist. It is not conceivable that Paul IV was not aware of this or did not have it in mind when writing the bull. In the preamble to his bull, the Pope states he intends to drive away “those who [are] corrupting the sense of the Holy Scriptures with cunning inventions.”2) It is a definition because prior to that time the holy place had been designated by some commentators to mean the Temple in Jerusalem and by others the Church.
The abomination had also been primarily interpreted as a false sacrifice or idol worship, not heresy per se. 3) Certain commentators limited application of the abomination to the time of the Jewish antichrist Antiochus, not extending it to the time of Antichrist as prophesied in the New Testament. Pope Paul IV definitely extended it to our own time. A papal definition is rendered, according to Msgr. J. C. Fenton and Denzinger’s Sources of Catholic Dogma, when some matter that has been in dispute is addressed by the pope; that matter is then no longer up for discussion. We must remember how the doctrines regarding the Holy Mass and the papacy both were being attacked by Luther and other Protestants during Pope Paul IV’s reign. The pope had good reason to believe that if a heretic of the Lutheran persuasion ever secretly ascended to the papacy, the Mass could be endangered. And as we see today, Paul IV had good reason to fear that just such a thing could happen.
When in doubt, consult Can. 18
In a case of doubt, for those questioning Pope Paul IV’s intention regarding his mention of the abomination of desolation, Canon 18 requires that Catholics first resort to parallel passages of the Code, if any; to the end and circumstances of the law and to the mind of the legislator. Here it is most important to consult the end and circumstances of the law. Therefore, it is necessary to delve into the history behind the bull, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, which we have done before but which will be useful to repeat here. Pope Paul IV suspected Cardinal Giovanni Morone of heresy, something to do with the misinterpretation of Scripture and his sympathies with the Lutherans. Morone also reportedly had been holding meetings behind the pope’s back to promote himself as Paul IV’s successor even prior to the pope’s death.
This prompted Paul IV to write Cum ex. Morone was tried for his heresy and imprisoned. But when Paul IV died, he was back in the running for the papacy. He ran full force, however, into Cardinal Ghislieri, the future Pope St. Pius V. The historian Hergenrother, in his “The History of the Popes” reports that Morone’s campaign as papabili was “quashed by the intervention of Cardinal Ghislieri, who pointedly remarked that Morone’s election would be invalid owing to the question mark hanging over his orthodoxy,” (emph. mine). And this is the opinion not only of a great Pope, but of a great saint.
We also have the following quote from Paul IV himself, provided by author Glenn Kittler: “If I discovered that my own father was a heretic, I would gather the wood to burn him,” Paul IV said. During the trial of Cardinal Morone, Kittler says that Paul IV “decreed that any cardinal accused of heresy could not be elected pope,” (The Papal Princes, pg. 254). And there is to be no exception concerning those who deviated from the faith “secretly” before their election; that is, some heresy that was committed pre-election but became public only after the election. They too are automatically deposed. Here we have a perfect reflection of the mind of the lawgiver concerning an election, which today is worth its weight in gold.
In response to Morone’s attempt to promote himself as pope, Paul IV also penned the apostolic constitution Cum secundum Apostolum sometime in 1559. The constitution decreed extreme penalties against those who discuss the election of the future pope, behind the back and without permission of his predecessor while he is still alive, a crime now visited by Pius XII with the highest possible excommunication on the books: a latae sententiae penalty reserved in a most special manner to the Holy See. (This bull is listed in the footnotes to Pope Pius XII’s 1945 constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.) This means that only the pope can dispense from such a censure.
As explained in a previous blog, Pope Paul IV was a very strict disciplinarian. He gave no quarter where heresy or the honor of the Church was concerned. Pope Paul III appointed him to head the Roman Inquisition after Paul IV himself suggested it be convened. His whole career seems to have been devoted to stamping out heresy at all costs, and given the terrible toll exacted by the Protestant Reformation, who can wonder that this would be so? His legacy on this topic is enshrined in Canon Law, with Cum ex… cited as a footnote in several canons, nearly all involving heresy. The articles below in the Archives section of the site chronicle this.
- Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio: Infallible & Retained in the Code (PDF)
- How “Cum Ex…” Is Retained In the Code (PDF)
- “Cum Ex…” and Ecclesiastical Discipline
- Doctrinal Conclusions Drawn From “Cum Ex…”
Finally, there is this regarding the interpretation of the law from Rev. Amleto Cicognani’s Canon Law:
- Clear words admit no interpretation nor conjecture of the will.
- General words are to be generallyunderstood, (“excommunicated”).
- Where the law does not distinguish, neither are we to distinguish.
- An indefinite expression is equivalent to one that is universal.
- The words of law also should be considered in their context, (“except,” “any just reason”).
- Any argument made should not be made outside the heading of the statute, (i.e., it should remain within the bounds of the subject being discussed under the heading of each section insofar as is possible. The heading for the statutes derived from Pope Paul IV’s bull involves censures and excommunication for heresy.)
- Where the words are not ambiguous, they need no interpretation.
(For more on this topic visit https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/canon-law/who-interprets-the-law/)
Nothing in Pope Paul IV’s law is unclear or ambiguous; ergo, it needs no interpretation. As proofs go, Canon Law tells us it is absolute and no other proof against it is admissible. We have no reason whatsoever to believe Pope Paul IV would not follow the teaching of St. Jerome and St. Bernard, also the Council of Florence and other councils, in his bull. The abomination of desolation is any high-ranking heretic who purports to hold an ecclesiastic (or even secular) office and publicly teaches heresy. This includes the pope. We know he is speaking, however, of the pope in this passage because he refers to him standing in the Holy Place, that is the See of Peter, as St. Bernard teaches. And this can be gleaned from the circumstances of his law regarding Cardinal Morone.
Many of the controversies concerning the times in which we live can be answered by asking the following question: Who is prophesied to take away the Continual Sacrifice? Daniel tells us it is the Antichrist of our day. Will anyone deny that the Sacrifice has indeed been taken away by John 23 and Paul 6? It would be difficult to find even a Traditionalist who would deny this. But as is so tellingly the case with all these Traditionalists and Novus Ordo types, they fail to complete the logical consequences of what they believe and follow them to the very end. Only Antichrist could have abolished the Sacrifice. It is the unanimous opinion of theologians, as stated by Henry Cardinal Manning, that the Sacrifice will indeed cease:
“The Holy Fathers who have written upon the subject of Antichrist and the prophecies of Daniel — all of them unanimously — say that in the latter end of the world, during the reign of Antichrist, the Holy Sacrifice of the altar will cease.” And the Council of Trent has determined that when the Fathers unanimously agree on a point of Holy Scripture, as explained above, they cannot be mistaken.
We find in St. Paul that Antichrist will be dispatched as follows: “And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming, (2 Thess. 2: 8).” In other words, as Rev. Haydock explains, it will be an easy thing to take out the Son of Perdition. It is no coincidence, then, that Montini died on the day that he did. According to the reports of the Swiss guards, as related by John Parrot in the 1990s, he was tormented days before his death, and cries of despair were heard coming from his room; his face reportedly became so contorted no one could bear to look at him. His agony was ended on the feast of the Transfiguration. Holy Scripture describes the appearance of Christ during the Transfiguration as follows: “His face did shine as the sun, and His garments were white as snow” (Matt. 17: 2). This fact is examined at length by Francis Panakal in his work, The Man of Sin. It is something at least to ponder, for often the dramatic fulfillments we seek today can be explained in less obvious ways. We need only think of the Apostles, who missed so many of the meanings of Christ’s parables. Yet regarding the abomination of desolation Christ advises, “Let him who reads understand.”
+Most Holy Name of Mary+
A few more comments are in order on the subject of visibility and apostolicity. It is a topic that should be treated in far greater depth at some point, but unless and until a sufficient number of Catholics begin to take their faith seriously, there is no need to say more than what has already been written here. Our appeal is the same as that of Pope Pius XII, who wrote in Mystici Corporis Christi, June 29, 1943:
“4. And it is to be hoped that Our instructions and exhortations will bring forth abundant fruit in the souls of the faithful in the present circumstances. For We know that if all the sorrows and calamities of these stormy times, by which countless multitudes are being sorely tried, are accepted from God’s hands with calm submission, they naturally lift souls above the passing things of earth to those of heaven that abide forever, and arouse a certain secret thirst and intense desire for spiritual things. Thus, urged by the Holy Spirit, men are moved, and, as it were, impelled to seek the Kingdom of God with greater diligence; for the more they are detached from the vanities of this world and from inordinate love of temporal things, the more apt they will be to perceive the light of heavenly mysteries. But the vanity and emptiness of earthly things are more manifest today than perhaps at any other period, when Kingdoms and States are crumbling, when enormous quantities of goods and all kinds of wealth are being sunk in the depths of the sea, and cities, towns and fertile fields are strewn with massive ruins and defiled with the blood of brothers.
“5. Moreover, We trust that Our exposition of the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ will be acceptable and useful to those also who are without the fold of the Church… Before their eyes nation rises up against nation, kingdom against kingdom and discord is sown everywhere together with the seeds of envy and hatred. If they turn their gaze to the Church, if they contemplate her divinely-given unity — by which all men of every race are united to Christ in the bond of brotherhood — they will be forced to admire this fellowship in charity, and with the guidance and assistance of divine grace will long to share in the same union and charity.”
This is our message to Traditonalists. The visibility of the Church could increase and the mark of unity could at least be partially realized if only those believing themselves to be Catholic would heed this pope’s words.
(All quotes below are from the theological manuals quoted in our last blog.)
— Material visibility requires a public, not a private profession of faith.
— Members all over the world are united by the profession of a common faith, by participation in a common worship, and by obedience to a common authority.
— The Church’s members are visible, for they are flesh and blood people.
— To insist on the Church’s being visible is not to claim that all its elements are immediately apparent to the senses. THE CHURCH MUST BE ADJUDGED TRULY VISIBLE EVEN IF SOME ELEMENT WHICH IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF ITS MAKEUP CANNOT BE SEEN DIRECTLY, provided that this element be by its very nature joined to and eternally manifested by some visible element.
— Without the profession of the same faith, participation in the same rites and obedience to the same authority by true Catholics, there is simply no Church of Christ. (End of quotes)
So as we observed in our initial blog on this subject, a website which can be seen by anyone in the world is a public profession of the faith. Those subscribing to it, donating to it and commenting on it are part of that public profession. These people are flesh and blood Catholics. They are either members of the Church by actual Baptism or baptism of desire. They profess the same faith, avail themselves of the two remaining Sacraments and of the substitutes for Penance and the Eucharist, recite the Mass of St. John and obey ALL the teachings of the Popes and the Ecumenical Councils, also Canon Law. Even though we have no visible pope and hierarchy, we are yet members of Christ’s Mystical Body. As such we can count ourselves as at least materially visible. Pope Pius XII taught in Mystici Corporisregarding this body, “If we would define and describe this true Church of Jesus Christ — which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church — we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime, or more divine than the expression ‘the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ,’ an expression which springs from and is, as it were, the fair flowering of the repeated teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the holy Fathers.”
And Christ, the invisible Head, rules this body as Supreme Pontiff, so materially we also have a Head of this Church. We are in daily communion with the Church Triumphant in Heaven and the suffering souls in Purgatory. In Heaven Our Lord Himself offers Sacrifice on the heavenly altar, St. Alphonsus Liguori teaches. He tells us that the Sacrifice and priesthood will never cease even during the time the Holy Sacrifice is taken away, since “the Son of God, Eternal Priest, will always continue to offer Himself to God, the Father, in Heaven as an Eternal Sacrifice” (Holy Eucharist). St. Gregory Nazianzan wrote: “What then? Will they forbid us their altars? Even so, I know of another altar, and the altars we see now are but a figure of it… All the activities ’round about that altar are spiritual; one ascends to it by contemplation. At this altar I shall stand, upon it I will make immolations pleasing to God, sacrifices, oblations, holocausts, better than those that are offered now…“(Ibid). St. Thomas of Aquinas writes: “The state of the New Law is intermediate between the state of the Old Law… and the state of glory, in which all truth will be fully and perfectly manifested. Then there will be no more Sacraments; but now, inasmuch as we see only through a glass darkly, we have to enter into spiritual things through sensible signs.”
Sensible signs, taken to Modernist extremes by Traditionalists, reduce to the fact that they must have the Sacraments at all costs, even if it means receiving them from men who were never ordained or consecrated. This “need” arising from impulses and perceived necessities — but which is actually the product of a deranged sentimentalism — is condemned by Pope St. Pius X in his Pascendi Dominici Gregis, but they cannot and will not admit this applies to them. They refuse to believe that we have a Pope in Christ the Supreme Pontiff; the wealth of pontifical teachingleft to us over the centuries, available on the Internet worldwide; hierarchy in the heavenly host of saintly popes, priests and bishops, and Holy Mass, celebrated at the altar before the throne of God in heaven, which is referred to many times in St. John’s Apocalypse. We also have the Sacraments necessary to salvation, and substitutes for Penance and Holy Communion. They scoff at the assertion that in these times it is at this heavenly altar that we offer ourselves as victims in union with the eternal Sacrifice, attended in Heaven by Popes, bishops, priests, abbots, abbesses, religious and all the angels and saints — joining our prayers to theirs. Let the Jesuit priest Maurice de La Taille, (The Mystery of Faith, Bk. I, pgs. 225-26) quoting from a commentary on the teaching of St. Augustine by Gerhoh of Reichersberg, better explain this great mystery:
“We have seen that St. Augustine calls Christ an altar. He sets apart the earthly altar at which both the just and the unjust assist. Christ is the one priest of the celestial altar, and yet not alone. It is as the whole Christ, Head and members, that He stands there, (In Psalms 25). There is also an altar before the eyes of God; the priest who first offered Himself for us has entered there. He is the heavenly altar. If you betake yourself to this altar you will be taken up in the Holocaust and from being mortal you will be made immortal again…: You have the tabernacle of the present Church, the altar common to the good and the bad… There is another altar, sublime invisible, accessible to the good alone unto which — like the high priest who alone and not without sacrifice enters into the holy of holies — the just man enters once only. He does this when he is taken up to God body and soul as a Holocaust, that his youth in every part of his being may be renewed there. He does not go into that altar in sadness, with any interior affliction derived from the old external trappings of his humanity, but all that he is and with all his being, he cleaves to God who rejoices his youth. I shall go into this altar too, repenting at last of my sins, to God who rejoices my youth,” (In Psalm 42). Introibo ad altare Dei, Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meum.
This time on earth without Mass, Sacraments and the hierarchy is an invitation to draw close to God on His heavenly throne and experience a foretaste of Heaven, to prepare ourselves for departure from this earth and the final fulfillment of all our spiritual hopes and aspirations. But Traditionalists are rejecting it. They choose sensible signs on earth over manna from heaven, as though their probation here is the end all be all. Why do Traditionalists remain blind to this? Because they have allowed themselves to be seduced by a material and Modernist idea of the Church. They have followed false shepherds and hirelings, despite Christ’s warnings regarding the last days. Therefore they cannot profess the same faith or obey the same authority, necessary to visibility. They have forgotten, if they ever knew, what is written in the Apocalypse: That the Church will flee into the desert, accompanied by Our Lady. It is said by some writers that her Rosary is the eighth Sacrament, (for those who bemoan their loss of the Sacraments should they do the right thing and abandon their position), so it as not as though we flee as motherless orphans. The desert in early Christian times was associated with the lack of Mass and Sacraments, according to St. Francis de Sales. In the desert, the early hermits and penitents hid themselves to devote their lives to two things: prayer and contemplation. This is the meaning of the two wings of the great eagle in the opinion of some commentators writing on the Apocalypse.
We read also in the Apocalypse that the man-child brought forth by the woman, who was to rule with a rod of iron, is taken up to God and his throne in Heaven. Some commentators identify this child as the pope to be elected during the time of Antichrist. God Himself, then, has taken away our pope, whether by martyrdom in some unknown circumstance or simply by allowing a false election to take place owing to the sinful will of the electors. Christ tells us in Matt. 26: “For it is written, I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed.” And then Judas betrayed Him and all the apostles abandoned Him, just as all the cardinals and bishops did likewise during the election following the death of Pope Pius XII and at the false Vatican 2 council. But Traditionalists cannot accept this. And they forget the most important part of apostolicity: apostolicity of doctrine, without which there can be no apostolic succession.
(All quotes below are from the theological manuals quoted in our last blog.)
— Apostolicity of doctrine and mission is necessary.
— If the Church of Christ still exists it must be teaching His doctrine. Hence Apostolicity of mission is a guarantee of Apostolicity of doctrine.
— Jurisdiction is essential to the Apostolicity of mission… One who intrudes himself into the ministry against the laws of the Church receives no authority, and consequently can transmit none to his successors. There is not the slightest intimation in Scripture or tradition that Christ ever promised to confer authority directly upon the ministers of the Church.
— All legitimate succession, or Apostolicity of ministry in the Church, depends upon communion with the chair of Peter and is lost the moment that communion is severed. Hence no particular part of the Church is indefectibly Apostolic, save the See of Peter.
— 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.
— Apostolicity of doctrine is the logical and indispensable consequence of the unity required in the true Church. (End of quotes)
All we have ever said is that the Church is not visible as a juridic body, that some of Her essential elements cannot be seen directly; that She now lacks the hierarchy and a true pope ruling from Rome. We have always claimed to possess access to Her apostolicity of doctrine, as presented on these pages for the past 14 years. And we have always acknowledged Christ as the origin of that doctrine. We have taught against the manifold errors regarding jurisdiction for over 36 years. We have championed the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, the necessity of the papacy, also the importance of adherence to all the teachings of the magisterium, for 40 years. And we have emphasized repeatedly that without legitimate succession and communion with Rome, Traditionalists cannot possibly possess any pretension to the four marks.
So given this fact and the length of time this information has been available, how Traditionalists can continue to maintain they are truly Catholic while denying the necessity of the papacy and ignoring the absence of jurisdiction is truly mind-boggling. That they selfishly continue to insist — despite long-existing, irrefutable evidence of their heresies — that they must have the “Mass and Sacraments” leads one to wonder whether they are either secretly working for the other side or are intellectually incapable of understanding the written word which expounds the teachings of Christ. Locked in the high-school mentality of defending their hero-leaders and rooting against members of the Novus Ordo led by the heresiarch Francis, they treat the faith as either a political contest or a drive to win the Superbowl. All is geared to the secular idea of enjoying the Church as She existed in the 1950s, but without the necessity of the interior life or any commitment to learning Catholic doctrine and engaging in Catholic Action. All is superficial and consists of nothing but the external elements of religion, as previously noted.
Traditionalist “clergy” pretend to be the sources of Catholic truth and teaching, but this is a betrayal of Christ, because no one has ever sent them; they are not clerics and possess no mission. As quoted above, the Church must ever preserve and teach all truths committed to her through the ministry of the Apostles or Christ has failed in His promises. So they today are testifying by their very existence that Christ’s promises have failed! For the one truth they deny most blatantly is the necessity of true apostolic succession, both of doctrine and of mission, in addition to the necessity of the papacy. They seem to care nothing that the consequences of this for their followers could be the loss of their souls, for engaging in false worship and failing to follow all the teachings of the continual magisterium up to the reign of Pope Pius XII. We must tell the truth here but we wish them no ill; we wish only that they abandon their errors and help unite the faithful in a true effort to restore the Church. The Church can finally triumph on earth if all accept Her teaching on Apostolic succession and the necessity of the papacy. A mighty force, united in belief, could finally confront the evils of this world, if only they would admit their errors, do penance and embrace the truth. We eagerly seek their conversion but must remember that the remnant consists of only a few, selected out of grace. How many would constitute that few has not been revealed to the Church.
It is that grace we continue to pray for and to which we direct all our works. “Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word. That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may also be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me” (John 17: 20-21).
+Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary+
We address yet another accusation: “You believe in a Church that has defected and is not visible.” This time someone else is being accused, but it has been the primary objection to what I have presented here for years. One wonders if anyone has ever bothered to really read and understand the true meaning of visibility, which is secured by the four marks. Or to fully understand and comprehend the fullness of the four notes or marks themselves, which, in reality, could still exist if those claiming to be Catholic would abandon their schismatic sects and obey the teachings of the Church regarding the marks. Could they exist in their fullness? No, not without the hierarchy, which necessarily includes a canonically elected pope. But all of these guarantees of faith yet exist de jure, if not de facto; that is, by right if not in fact. Apostolicity of mission, that is apostolic succession, is only one of three components of apostolicity, which will be demonstrated below. And while we do not have a true pope, cardinals or bishops, we do have the wealth of teachings left by the continual magisterium to guide the Church, and this supplies in part for the absence of the hierarchy.
As for claims in various articles and by certain theologians that the Church, ”can never become corrupt in faith or in morals; nor can it ever lose the Apostolic hierarchy, or the sacraments through which Christ communicates grace to men,” we can only say that this is a statement open to interpretation; and regarding the hierarchy, one that fails to take into account the time of Antichrist, the cessation of the continual sacrifice and St. Paul’s prophecy that he who withholdeth (the Roman Pontiff) will be taken out of the way. The true Church could never become corrupt in faith and morals, of course, but could appear to do so (among those believing the Novus Ordo church was the true Church). As for the Sacraments, the necessary Sacraments are still available to us and the substitutes for the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist confer graces, when the actual Sacrament is not available. Since the Sacrifice of the Mass has ceased, it is impossible to obtain these graces in any other manner. However, we also may obtain graces by prayer and good works. So it is not as though we are bereft of the means to obtain grace.
Since the latest claim is based on our supposed denial of the Church’s visibility, let us see what is actually said by theologians about this property of the Church. (Bolded text is used to emphasize points for later comment.)
The material visibility of the Church involves no more than that it must ever be a public, not a private profession; a society manifest to the world, not a body whose members are bound by some secret tie. Formal visibility is more than this. It implies that in all ages the true Church of Christ will be easily recognizable for that which it is, viz. as the Divine society of the Son of God, the means of salvation offered by God to men; that it possesses certain attributes which so evidently postulate a Divine origin that all who see it must know it comes from God.
Formal visibility is secured by those attributes which are usually termed the “notes” of the Church — her Unity, Sanctity, Catholicity, and Apostolicity (see below). The proof may be illustrated in the case of the first of these. The unity of the Church stands out as a fact altogether unparalleled in human history. Her members all over the world are united by the profession of a common faith, by participation in a common worship, and by obedience to a common authority.
Msgr. G. Van Noort, S.T.D, Christ’s Church
On page 12 and 13 he writes: It is due to the institution of Christ himself that the Church is visible; this proposition is certain. That the Church is visible follows necessarily from the fact it is a real society, for there can be no genuine society in the world of men unless it be visible… It is one thing to ask whether the church which Christ founded is a public society and quite another to ask whether that society can be recognized as the true Church of Christ by certain distinguishing marks. It’s being formally recognizable presupposes it’s visible, but the two are not identical. Furthermore, the present discussion centers on the visible character of the Church insofar as it is a society. No one denies that the church’s members were visible for they are flesh and blood people, but some do question whether by the institution of Christ Himself these members are bound together by external bonds so as to form a society that can be perceived by the senses, a society of such a nature that one can readily discern who belongs to it and who does not. Mark well the words “the institution of Christ Himself,” for the question is precisely this: did Christ personally found a visible church, one which, by its very nature, would have to be an external public society so that the invisible church could not possibly be the true Church of Christ? For once one proves that the one and only Church which Christ founded is visible from its very nature, then it necessarily follows that an invisible church such as that to which Protestants appeal is a pure fiction and that all the promises which Christ made to his church refer to a visible church. Note lastly that to insist on the Church’s being visible is not to claim that all its elements are immediately apparent to the senses. Just as a man is really visible even though one cannot see his soul directly, so too the church must be adjudged truly visible even if some element which is an essential part of its makeup cannot be seen directly, provided that this element be by its very nature joined to and eternally manifested by some visible element.
From the threefold bond which Christ himself imposed it was indicated above how our Lord founded the church by enjoining on his disciples the profession of the same faith, participation in the same rights and obedience to the same authority. It is by these bonds that the church is drawn into unity and held together. Without them there is simply no Church of Christ. Now since these bonds are external things which people can see, they necessarily make the Church an external, visible society. One can discern, using one’s external senses, which men profess the same doctrine, frequent the same sacraments and obey the same rulers. It is then clear that the Church is visible by the very institution of Christ or in other words that its visibility flows necessarily from its very nature.
This conclusion is corroborated by the manner of speaking employed by Christ. The apostles and the earliest fathers who clearly had in mind a visible society whenever they spoke of the Church. Christ compares his Church to a Kingdom, to a flock, to a house, to a net set down into the sea, to a field producing wheat and weeds, to a city built on a mountain peak. He teaches besides that sinners whose reformation is proving difficult are to be reported to the Church. The apostles called the Church a body in which many members are joined together and are mutually interdependent, the House of God in which pastors live, the pillar and mainstay of truth, the flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed the bishops as shepherds. The earliest Fathers urged the absolute obligation of belonging to the Church of Christ and clearly teach that it is easily discernible. They could have done neither were the Church not visible. A further consideration is the fact that long before this the prophets had described the Kingdom or Church of the Messiah as a very high mountain which attracts people to itself precisely because it can be seen from anywhere. (End of Van Noort excerpt)
(Comment: Given these two sources, and they do not differ in teaching from any of the other sources consulted, it can be determined that at least materially, the Church as professed by flesh and blood, stay-at-home Catholics publicly on the Internet constitutes visibility. They all profess the same doctrine, frequent the same Sacraments and their substitutes, engage in the same worship and obey the popes, councils and Canon Law. So how does the teaching and belief of the true Church as demonstrated on this website not constitute as much visibility as is possible today?)
And as for apostolicity, claimed by those who pretend their invalid priests and bishops provide them with this mark of the Church against all Church teaching to the contrary, those objecting to this website and its content have completely misrepresented the meaning of this mark as will be seen below.
Apostolicity is the mark by which the Church of today is recognized as identical with the Church founded by Jesus Christ upon the Apostles. It is of great importance because it is the surest indication of the true Church of Christ, it is most easily examined, and it virtually contains the other three marks, namely, Unity, Sanctity, and Catholicity… the Church is called Apostolic, because it was founded by Jesus Christ upon the Apostles. Apostolicity of doctrine and mission is necessary. Apostolicity of doctrine requires that the deposit of faith committed to the Apostles shall remain unchanged. Since the Church is infallible in its teaching, it follows that if the Church of Christ still exists it must be teaching His doctrine. Hence Apostolicity of mission is a guarantee of Apostolicity of doctrine… The writings of the Fathers constantly refer to the Apostolic character of the doctrine and mission of the Church. St. Cyprian (Ep. 76, Ad Magnum): “Novatianus is not in the Church, nor can he be considered a bishop, because in contempt of Apostolic tradition he was ordained by himself without succeeding anyone.” Billot emphasizes the idea that the Church, which is Apostolic, must be presided over by bishops, who derive their ministry and their governing power from the Apostles. Apostolicity, then, is that Apostolic succession by which the Church of today is one with the Church of the Apostles in origin, doctrine, and mission.
…The very fact of separation destroys [Anglican] jurisdiction. They have based their claims on the validity of orders in the Anglican Church. Anglican orders, however, have been declared invalid. But even if they were valid, the Anglican Church would not be Apostolic, for jurisdiction is essential to the Apostolicity of mission. A study of the organization of the Anglican Church shows it to be entirely different from the Church established by Jesus Christ.
Rev. E. S. Berry, The Church of Christ, Vol. 1
Historians use the term to designate the Church as it existed in the days of the Apostles; with theologians, it means that the Church is, in some manner, derived from the Apostles. In this sense the Church is Apostolic in origin, doctrine, and ministry. The Church is Apostolic in origin, because it is and must ever remain, the identical society founded by Christ and organized through the ministry of the Apostles; it is Apostolic in doctrine, because it teaches the self-same truths that Christ committed to its custody in the persons of the Apostles. Finally, the Church is Apostolic in ministry (or succession), because the authority which Christ conferred upon the Apostles has come down through an unbroken line of legitimate successors in the ministry of the Church.
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. It is evident that authority can be transmitted only by legitimate succession; therefore, the Church must have a legitimate, or formal, succession of pastors to transmit apostolic authority from age to age. One who intrudes himself into the ministry against the laws of the Church receives no authority, and consequently can transmit none to his successors.
No one can be a legitimate successor in any society unless he receive due authority therein; it follows, therefore, that there can be no legitimate successor in the Church of Christ who has not received jurisdiction either directly or indirectly from her supreme authority. But, as will be proved elsewhere, supreme authority in the Church of Christ was committed to St. Peter and his lawful successors, the bishops of Rome: consequently all legitimate succession, or Apostolicity of ministry in the Church, depends upon communion with the chair of Peter and is lost the moment that communion is severed. Hence no particular part of the Church is indefectibly Apostolic, save the see of Peter, which is universally known by way of eminence as the Apostolic See.
(Comment: Therefore, there are three parts of apostolicity. The first two parts yet exist as long as Catholics are faithful to all the doctrinal teachings of the Church. It is only the third part that is absent, and that is because all the bishops defected and those pretending to be bishops were never validly ordained or consecrated. The defection of the bishops at Vatican 2 is hardly the fault of the faithful. If we want to know why there is such doctrinal confusion today it can be cited as proof that there are no true bishops ruling the Church, for the two go hand in hand. Can we have apostolicity of doctrine without apostolicity of mission? If we adhere to the teachings of the Church as taught prior to the death of Pope Pius XII, when true bishops yet existed, yes: for the teaching of the Church is a living thing and it shall never cease to exist.
In the above, Berry also refutes the de facto, de iure arguments advanced by Sedevacantists regarding the V2 usurpers. The Sedes require competent authority to declare the usurpers heretics, and since none to their mind exist, they believe that they remain at least de iure in office. This is the denial of the teaching found in Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, which clearly states no such declaration is necessary, and even the secular authority can remove a pope who deposes himself through heresy from office. Canon Law itself also states this regarding the need for a declaration. Since Cum ex… is the parent law for all canons concerning heresy, and Canon Law itself declares that in a doubt of law one is to follow the old law (Can. 6 §4), there is no excuse for this false teaching put forward by these Sedevacantists. What a thorn in their side Cum ex… must truly be!)
Thesis.—The Church of Christ is necessarily Apostolic in origin, doctrine, and ministry.
That the Church is in some sense Apostolic, is a dogma of faith as appears from the Nicene Creed: “I believe in one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Apostolicity of ministry and of doctrine have been de- fined, at least implicitly, by the Vatican Council: “If anyone should say that it is not by the institution of Christ, and therefore not by divine right, that the blessed Peter has perpetual successors in his primacy over the whole Church, . . . let him be anathema.” l
“The Holy Ghost was not promised to the successors of Peter that He might reveal to them a new doctrine, but that He should assist them to preserve religiously and faithfully expound the revelation, or deposit of faith, handed down by the Apostles.”
PROOFS from Reason and Scripture. The thesis is a self-evident truth, rather than a proposition to be demonstrated.
- a) Origin. Christ instituted but one Church through the ministry of the Apostles, and to none other did He give any authority to organize a church in His name. Consequently a church existing at any time since then, is either the identical Church established by Him, and therefore Apostolic, or it is not that identical Church, and therefore in no wise the Church of Christ, but merely a false claimant having no right to exist.
- b) Doctrine. Our Lord committed the teaching of all His doctrines to the Apostles and promised to be with them until the consummation of the world: “Teach all nations . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you . . . And behold, I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.” He also promised to them the Spirit of Truth, to remain with them forever guiding them in all truth: “I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete that he may abide with you forever . . . he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.” 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.
- c) 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, 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.
Unity of Doctrine
PROOFS. /. From Scripture. Christ commissioned His Apostles to “teach all nations . . . all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” He also promised to be with them “all days even to the consummation of the world,” and to send upon them the Spirit of Truth to abide with them forever, and to bring to their mind all things whatsoever He had taught them. Consequently the Church must teach all the doctrines committed to her; she must teach them to all nations and at all times, even to the consummation of the world — a mission made possible by the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth. But in thus proclaiming all the doctrines of Christ, to all people, at all times, the Church enjoys the most perfect unity; her doctrines are the same at all times and in all places
Unity of profession
Unity in the profession of faith is a natural consequence of the unity of doctrine; a mere corollary to be explained rather than proved. Members of a society must accept its principles, or teachings, at least in word and action, for he who rejects the very principles of a society by word or act, thereby rejects the society itself and ceases to be a member. Therefore, every member of the Church must accept its teachings, i. e., he must make at least an outward profession of faith, “for with the heart we believe unto justice; but with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.” Since this outward profession concerns the one faith taught by the Church, it will be essentially the same for all its members; in other words, there will be unity in the outward profession of faith.
Unity of Worship
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. Unity of worship, known also as liturgical unity, refers especially to acts of public worship, in which the faithful participate in their capacity as members of a society, the Church. It applies only to those things that are of divine institution, which may be summed up in the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments.
Nature of Holiness
The English word holiness originally meant wholeness, soundness, or health. It is now used almost exclusively as an equivalent of the Latin sanctitas, from the verb sancire, — to set apart, to dedicate. Therefore a thing is holy (sanctum) when set apart or devoted in some manner to God, and holiness or sanctity is the state or condition of the thing thus set apart and devoted to God. Holiness also includes the idea of being pleasing to God because of some union or conformity with Him. Finally, that which serves to manifest holiness is also said to be holy. Hence we have a three-fold holiness, — physical, moral, and manifestative.
- a) Physical Holiness consists in the consecration or dedication of a thing in some manner to the honor and glory of God. It is also called real because it is often connected with inanimate things (res in Latin). In this sense a church, an altar, or a chalice is said to be holy. Persons are also holy in this sense if consecrated to God in some special manner.
- b) Moral Holiness consists in the consecration of the will to God by conforming it to His will. Moralists usually define it as that moral uprightness by which a person is made like to God and united with Him through charity.
- c) Manifestative Holiness, as the name indicates, is any external evidence that a person or thing is holy and pleasing in the sight of God.
When applied to the Church, it may mean (a) that the Church is to endure for all time; (b) that she teaches all the doctrines of Christ and uses all the means instituted by Him for salvation; (c) that she is destined for all men; or (d) that she is spread throughout the whole world.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem briefly explains the Catholicity of the Church in these various senses: “It is called Catholic, then, because it extends over all the world from one end of the earth to the other; and because it teaches universally and completely one and all the doctrines which ought to come to man’s knowledge concerning things both visible and invisible, heavenly and earthly; and because it brings into subjection to godliness the whole race of mankind, governors and governed, learned and unlearned; and because it universally treats and heals the whole class of sins which are committed by soul and body, and possesses in itself every form of virtue which is named, both in deeds and in words, and in every kind of spiritual gifts.”
Christian Apologetics, Rev. Devivier
In saying that the true Church is necessarily apostolic, we mean that she must profess the doctrine taught by the apostles: this is apostolicity of doctrine; then, that she must be able to trace her descent from the apostles through the succession of her lawful heads: this is apostolicity of ministry or government. Apostolicity of doctrine is the logical and indispensable consequence of the unity required in the true Church. The necessity of this characteristic is rarely disputed, but it is of little service as a note, as a positive means of discerning the true Church. Hence we shall dwell more particularly on the apostolicity of ministry. We have shown above, pp. 303 f., 318 f., that all authority in the Church has been really bestowed upon the apostles. This authority must, as we shall prove, pass to their successors.
Art. II — The Church of Rome Possesses the Four Positive Notes of the True Church.
- The Church of Rome Possesses Unity
- The Church is One in Doctrine. — Throughout the whole world we find the children of the Church chanting and professing the same creed, accepting the same precepts, the same sacrifice, the same sacraments. And if we go back to apostolic times we find the same identity of doctrine.
The Church, moreover, possesses a principle which necessarily sustains unity of belief: she professes as an essential dogma that all must accept every doctrine which she proclaims to be of faith, under pain, if they persist in error, of being ejected from her bosom.
- The Church of Rome Possesses Sanctity
The Church of Rome is holy in her final end, which is the sanctification and the salvation of the faithful. She is holy in the means she employs; in her dogmas, which are attacked only because of their sublimity and because many of them transcend, as to their essence, the limit of human reason; in her moral teaching, to which even her adversaries pay homage, which proscribes all vices, inculcates all virtues, and culminates in the perfection of the evangelical counsels; in her sacraments, fruitful sources of grace and holiness; in her worship, the most spiritual which ever existed, the purest and freest from immoral or superstitious practices. She is holy, finally, in the members who faithfully follow her precepts; only those who refuse to conform to her teaching, and thus incur her condemnation, fail to witness to her sanctity.
Catholic means universal. The application of this word to the Church means that at every period of her existence, after the adequate diffusion of the Gospel, she must extend morally throughout the whole world, and be everywhere the same.
Everywhere the same; for true Catholicity supposes unity of doctrine and of communion, otherwise the Church in China, for example, would not be the same as the Church existing in Brazil; and it would be false to say that it is one and the same Church in Brazil and in China. Hence it is evident that a collection of sects having nothing in common but a name (it is well known that this is the present condition of Protestantism), even though its various elements are spread throughout the entire world, cannot merit the name of Catholic or universal religion.
- The Church of Rome Possesses Apostolicity.
- The Doctrine of the Church of Rome Goes back to THE Time of the Apostles. — Her doctrine of today is the same as that of the apostles. In speaking of the unity of doctrine in the Church we demonstrated a complete identity between the oldest creeds or professions of faith, the writings and decisions of the first ages and those of our time.
Protestants claim, it is true, that after the first centuries the Church of Rome created new dogmas; for example, that of the real presence, purgatory, and the invocation of the saints. We have replied to this objection (p. 332). Moreover, such a statement is worthless unless proved. It is necessary to show when and how these dogmas were introduced into the Church; this our opponents have never done, and for a good reason. Meanwhile what is stated without proof the Church has a right to deny without proof, for she is in possession. She does not, however, lack proof: she has history to testify how zealously in the first ages popes and bishops opposed all doctrinal innovations. Hence they would have offered the same opposition to the introduction of the important dogmas contested by Protestants. They did not do so, for ecclesiastical history, so watchful in matters of this kind, is silent on this point. Perhaps it will be said that all the members of the Church, pastors and flocks in all parts of the world, agreed to admit without protest such numerous and grave innovations. In the first place, this hypothesis is absurd; in the second, the heretics of that period would not have failed to make themselves heard: condemned as innovators by the Church, they would have seized the opportunity to reproach her with her own innovations. (End of Devivier quotes.)(Comment: If we substitute the entire history of the teachings of the magisterium for the lack of apostolic succession, and accept all these truths as binding, including the necessary avoidance of all Traditional clergy, there is no reason why Catholics could not claim to possess the four marks as they are described above. All that has ever been maintained on this site is that Traditionalists cannot and do not possess them. The attributes of authority, infallibility and indefectibility must exist for the four marks to exist. Authority can be found in all the binding papal documents, the teachings of the Councils and Canon Law, which yet exist. Infallibility is demonstrated in these documents and indefectibility means these infallible teachings will exist and be obeyed by flesh and blood Catholics until the consummation. Given the facts and circumstances existing today there is simply no other way to explain the meaning of the Church’s indefectibility, which Pope Pius XII described as follows: “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 to the end of the world” (address to the Roman Curia, delivered December 4, 1943).
So who is it that Pope Pius XII considers to be the Church? This question is answered below.
We Are the Church
“The faithful, and more precisely the laity are stationed in the front ranks of the life of the Church, and through them the Church is the living principle of society. Consequently, they must have an ever-clearer consciousness, not only of belonging to the Church, but of BEING THE CHURCH, that is, of being the community of the faithful on earth under the guidance of their common leader, the Pope, and the bishops in communion with him. THEY ARE the Church, and therefore even from the beginning, the faithful, with the consent of their bishops, have united in associations directed to the most diverse types of human activity. The Holy See has never ceased to approve and praise them,” (The Catholic Church in Action, by Michael Williams, quoted from an address delivered by Pope Pius XII Feb. 20, 1946, to the newly made cardinals).
But what happens when there is no pope or bishops?
“The initiative of the lay apostolate is perfectly justified even without a prior explicit ‘mission’ from the hierarchy… Personal initiative plays a great part in protecting the faith and Catholic life, especially in countries where these contacts with the hierarchy are difficult or practically impossible. In such circumstances the Christians upon whom this task falls must, with God’s grace, ASSUME ALL THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES, (emph. mine). It is clear however that – even so – nothing can be undertaken against the explicit and implicit will of the Church, or contrary in any way to the rules of faith, morals or ecclesiastical discipline,” (Address to the 14th Congress of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations, Sept. 29, 1957.)
“In a wide and loose sense, when the whole Catholic Church is considered as existing in the midst of heretics, schismatics, and the heathen, even the laity may be considered as forming a portion of the hierarchy. With this agrees the expression of St. Peter, calling the general body of Christians in the countries to which he is sending his epistle “a kingly priesthood” and “a holy nation” (1Peter 2: 9). Saint Ignatius, writing to the Smyrnaeans, salutes “the Bishop worthy of God and the most religious presbytery, my fellow servants the deacons and all of you individually and in common.” So at the Mass, the priest turning to the people bids them pray that his and their sacrifice may be acceptable to God and at the incensing before the Sanctus the acolyte, after the rite has been performed to all the orders of the clergy within the sanctuary, turns toward and bows to the laity and incenses them also.” Catholic Cabinet of Information, various authors, p. 131).
In earlier days, I spent much time urging Catholics to engage in Catholic Action. Pope Pius XI tells us not to do so is a sin of omission, which can be grave in some cases, and it would seem that this is one of those cases. I have tried to do my part with this site. Many excerpts from papal addresses on this topic can be found at https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/2-the-church/the-popes-on-catholic-action/ What I am about to say may offend some readers, but if anyone is guilty of facilitating the denial of visibility and negating the three attributes and four marks, insofar as we can possess them today, it is Traditionalists as a body. They have destroyed apostolicity of origin and doctrine by committing communicatio in sacris with their invalid clergy. The only way that the Church can fulfill Her mission on earth until the consummation under the present circumstances is to faithfully adhere to the doctrines taught by Christ and His Church regarding Apostolic Succession. Therefore, they must do the thing they most abhor and become stay-at-home Catholics. As Rev. Devivier teaches, “Apostolicity of doctrine is the logical and indispensable consequence of the unity required in the true Church.”
If Traditionalists en masse would abandon these hirelings and imposters and place their energies toward becoming a truly visible Church, obedient to the continual magisterium, the Church could be restored to the best of lay abilities and be made a recognized presence once again on this earth. We are the Church militant, engaged in a warfare on this earth that is neither recognized nor appreciated for what it truly is. Our calling to do battle as members of the Catholic faith is a deadly serious business. There is no time to entertain light-mindedness or flights of emotional fancy. Longing for those comforts and consolations of the past is only a refusal to face the very stark realities facing us today and indicates a lack of faith and longsuffering. Catholics may fear they cannot worthily aspire to martyrdom, but they are being called to become at least martyrs in spirit. They may long for Mass and Sacraments but today we cannot pretend to receive them unless we are literally willing to sell our souls to obtain them.
It is high time Traditionalists faced the ugly fact that to remain where they are is a full-fledged denial that communicatio in sacris means today what it meant in the 1950s, the 1700s, the 1600s, the 1500s and before. In true Modernist fashion, whether they realize it or not, they shout with everything they are and believe that doctrine evolves, and that because it evolves, they can validly attend Mass and receive the very Sacraments their Catholic forbearers eschewed as fatal to the faith, dying rather than tasting their poison. True Catholics can choose to obey what the Church teaches or join the rest of the world in its sure march to hell.