+St. Sylvester, Pope +
As the New Year dawns, we must repeat what we have said all these years, regardless of the heading to this blog. We wish all those who love the Catholic faith and desire only to keep it the full freedom to know and exercise that faith, a freedom we believe Traditionalists do not enjoy today. This owing to the many errors Traditionalist pseudo-clergy have propagated for decades, errors that enslave their followers and obscure the truth. A reader, frustrated with trying to explain these errors, reminded us of Henry Cardinal Manning’s evaluation of the times of Antichrist. Sadly, his explanation fits only too well all of what we see today.
Traditionalists, as a general rule, reject the notion that we are living in the times of Antichrist and that the spiritual destruction wrought in Rome over the past 64 years can be associated with either the person of Antichrist proper or his system. They expect instead a savior on a white horse, be he pope, king or both, to come rushing in to save them and usher in the era of peace promised at La Salette and by Our Lady at Fatima. They do not take into account that both these messages were warnings to which were attached conditions, and that those conditions were not only never met, but both messages were suppressed, perverted and ignored. Just as the Jews in Christ’s time expected a powerful Messiah to come sweep them away and deliver to them earthly power and prosperity, so the Traditionalists expect a restoration of the Church on earth, Her glorious triumph, and a return to all that went before. And yet the prophet Daniel prophesied in Ch. 9, v. 27 that the desolation we see in Rome and abroad “…shall continue even to the consummation, and to the end.” Holy Scripture commentators tell us that this applies to Antichrist proper as well as the Jewish antichrist, Antiochus Epiphanes.
This is precisely what Henry Cardinal Manning anticipates in his Temporal Power of the Vicar of Christ: “We are fond of imagining triumphs and glories for the Church on earth — that the gospel is to be preached to all nations and the world to be converted and all enemies subdued and I know not what — until some ears are impatient of hearing that there is in store for the Church a time of terrible trial. And so we do as the Jews of old who look for a conqueror, a king, and for prosperity; and when their Messias came in humility and passion they did not know Him. So I am afraid many among us intoxicate their minds with the visions of success and victory and cannot endure the thought that there is a time of persecution yet to come for the Church of God. I will therefore point out as briefly as I can what appears in the events now around us to be leading on to this result.” And here he goes on to relate that the first sign he saw in his day (the late 1800s) was indifference to the truth. He then predicted the second sign or mark was persecution of the truth and finally, he concludes, the third sign leads plainly to the persecutions of the last days. These consist of the abomination which maketh desolate standing in the Holy Place, the cessation of the continual sacrifice and the strength and the stars being cast down (pgs.148, 151,157).
Marks of perdition
It apparently has never occurred to Traditionalists that by failing to recognize the truly dire nature of our situation and the depth and breadth of this apostasy of all the hierarchy — which occurred before our very eyes — that they could actually be part of Antichrist’s system on earth. After going to great lengths to explain that St. Paul’s “He who withholdeth” is most likely the pope who will be “taken out of the way,” in order that Antichrist may reign and return Rome to the paganism of pre-Christian times, Manning writes: “Antichrist and the antichristian movement has these marks: first, schism from the Church of God; second, denial of its Divine and infallible voice; and thirdly, denial of the Incarnation.” On pgs. 85-86, Manning describes schism as “revolt from authority… the one and universal Church.” Denial of infallibility he characterizes as “the rejection of the office and presence of the Holy Ghost… This necessarily involves the heretical principle of human opinion as opposed to Divine faith; of the private spirit as opposed to the infallible voice of the Holy Spirit speaking through the Church of God” (p. 166). As for denial of the Incarnation, Manning notes on page 161:
“Rome and the Roman states are the inheritance of the Incarnation. The world is resolved to drive the Incarnation off the earth… This is the true interpretation of the anticatholic movement… 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…” And on page 91: “If heresy in the individual dissolves the unity of the Incarnation, heresy in the nation dissolves the unity of the Church, which is built on the Incarnation.” So let all of the above sink in very slowly. It has been proven time and again on this website that Traditionalists are in schism, because they accept men as their “pastors” who were not trained and authorized by a certainly valid bishop approved by the Roman Pontiff. These men were never “…rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority,” (Council of Trent, DZ 960, 967; Can. 147) and therefore are hirelings and intruders, as Pope Pius XII and the theologians explain. “The bishop… invested with the episcopal dignity by the clergy or even by a chapter, contrary to the laws of the Church… is an intruder. All who support a priest, bishop, or diocesan administrator who has not lawfully received his mission from the pope, and all who hold intercourse with him in spiritual matters, are, like him whom they support, treated by the Church as schismatics, because by such action they separate themselves from the Church’s unity” (W. Wilmers, S.J., Handbook of the Christian Religion, pgs.112-113, 371).
Secondly, it also has been proven here at length that Traditionalists deny the authority of the Roman Pontiff by accepting the teachings of these “pastors” in direct contradiction to the laws and infallible teachings of the Catholic Church, for every schism eventually leads to heresy, as all theologians agree. And heresy dissolves the Incarnation, as Manning points out above. So then we arrive at Manning’s third point, denial of the Incarnation. This should be something quite obvious to the average Catholic as a logical consequence of Manning’s first two points, but unfortunately it is not. For “rejection of the office and presence of the Holy Ghost” is a denial of the Third person of the Blessed Trinity, and the Trinity is one and undivided; deny one of its Members and you deny all. Christ’s Vicars speak in His name; they are His living voice on earth. Ignore and demean that voice and every bit of the light of sanctifying grace Traditionalists so wrongly prize as issuing from their “sacraments” is extinguished in the soul. Resisting the known truth is not able to be forgiven if one dies in such a state; rather than the Heaven Traditionalists believe they are assured of they will suffer the torments of Hell.
Papal teaching dismissed in favor of human opinion
Note how Manning describes those rejecting the papacy; he speaks of their reliance on human opinion and the “private” spirit” rather than the clear teachings of Christ’s Vicars, and this is precisely what Traditionalists engage in. Everyone assumes a “position” which reduces to nothing more than an opinion, when only one voice speaking in Christ’s name can dictate what that “position” must be. Truly this is a denial of the Incarnation, for Christ, who invested St. Peter with pontifical power, need scarcely have come to suffer and die for us if we could use our human reason to decide these things for ourselves! Those theologians most faithful to the papacy have written at length on the binding nature of papal documents, and those writings have been often quoted on this site (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/1-what-constitutes-the-papacy/judging-their-infallible-nature-and-the-assent-they-are-due/). Those considering themselves Catholics may find it hard to swallow, but they are bound even to accept a pope’s opinion on any given matter in preference to their own, because that opinion issues from the person Christ Himself invested with the power to lead us. As Msgr. J. C. Fenton explains: “There is “no such thing as a teaching issued by the Holy Father in his capacity as the spiritual ruler and teacher of all the followers of Jesus Christ which is other than authoritative.” But don’t tell Traditionalists that.
Rev. Leo Haydock comments on Matt. 16:18-19: “All the apostles and their successors partake also of this power of binding and loosing, but with a due subordination to [the] one head invested with supreme power….Although Peter and his successors are mortal, they are nevertheless endowed with heavenly power, says St. Chrysostom; nor is the sentence of life or death passed by Peter to be attempted to be reversed; but what he declares is to be considered a divine answer from heaven, and what he decrees a decree of God Himself. He that heareth you, heareth me…” And this reverence for the papacy is what we find in nearly every work written by approved theologians up to the 20th century, with few exceptions, (those being mainly the works of authors tending to Modernism).
But reverence for the papacy began to wane considerably in the 1900s and following the false Vatican 2 council, those heading Traditional movements made certain that any remaining respect for papal authority was eradicated. The popes were suspect, to be judged, not to be trusted. After all, look at what had happened and the men that continued to be “elected” to fill what everyone still considers, more or less, to be the “Holy See.” In order to bolster their own authority, Traditional pseudo-clergy first had to make certain it would not be challenged by either true popes past or those presenting as such since 1958. Papal teaching was mentioned only when it served their purposes; no one actually taught that it must be accepted and obeyed. If a papal document was used to challenge their ministry, it was immediately labeled as a disciplinary decree, or not applicable in times of emergency. And thus the Incarnation sank with Peter’s Barque to the bottom of the sea, symbolized by the teeming mass of humanity found in Apocalypse 13:1 from which Antichrist and his system would rise.
Sin and ignorance
How has this scourge of Traditionalism, this rejection of papal authority come to be? Manning tells us: “‘Some of the learned shall fall’ (Dan. 11:35) from their fidelity to God. And how shall this come to pass? Partly by fear, partly by deception, partly by cowardice; partly because they cannot stand for unpopular truth in the face of popular falsehood; partly because the overruling contemptuous public opinion, subdues and frightens Catholics…” (p. 163). And here I must add, partly from spiritual sloth. For so many individuals who are capable of reading and understanding have failed to truly study their faith from trustworthy sources, or have allowed these dratted Traditionalist “clergy” to guide them and interpret the fruits of their studies. In the end, perhaps this can be laid up to fear — fear of discovering the truth and being obligated to finally do something about it. But that they have such an obligation cannot be denied. Canon 1322 reads: “Christ our Lord confided to the Church the deposit of faith in order that She, with the perpetual assistance of the Holy Ghost, might faithfully preserve and expound the revealed doctrine. Independently of any civil power whatsoever, the Church has the right and duty to teach all nations the evangelical doctrine and all are bound by the DIVINE LAW to acquire a proper knowledge of this doctrine and to embrace the true Church of God.”
Two things are at work here: Sin and ignorance and much of the latter can be classified as willful or affected ignorance, which the Church will not readily excuse. The prophet Daniel relates that the Holy Sacrifice will be taken away “because of sins, and truth shall be cast down onto the ground” (Ch. 8:12). We have seen this happen; we should know why it happened. That we don’t is because no one obeys Canon 1322 and the command of the popes to defend the faith by engaging in Catholic Action. Who studies doctrine? Where are the schools erected that Catholics might study their faith in the absence of the clergy? If these Traditional pseudo-clerics really were pastors of the flock, they would have set up commissions to study the laws and teachings of the Church and catechetical classes for adults as well as children, not Mass centers. For the one thing that was lacking was the necessary knowledge of faith, far superior to the comforts of external religion. If Traditionalist clergy were true successors of the Apostles, they would have heeded the words of St. Pius X in Acerbo Nimis concerning the ignorance of the laity:
“Now we must inquire who has the duty to safeguard minds from this pernicious ignorance and impart to them the necessary knowledge. On this point, Venerable Brothers, there can be no doubt this very grave obligation is incumbent on all those who are pastors of souls. They are certainly obliged by the precept of Christ to know and to nourish the sheep confided to them. Now to nourish is first of all to teach. “I will give you,” God promises by the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah, “pastors according to my own heart and they shall feed you with knowledge and doctrine.” And so the apostle said: “Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the gospel,” indicating that thus the first office of those who are set up in any way for the government of the church is to instruct the faithful in sacred doctrine,” (and this is labeled in the Monks of Solesmes Papal Teaching book as a doctrinal teaching, binding on the faithful). Pope St. Pius X then goes on to describe the plight of the faithful in his day as follows:
“It is a common complaint, unfortunately too well founded, that there are large numbers of Christians in our own time who are entirely ignorant of those truths necessary for salvation. And when we mention Christians, We refer not only to the masses or to those in the lower walks of life – for these find some excuse for their ignorance in the fact that the demands of their harsh employers hardly leave them time to take care of themselves or of their dear ones – but We refer to those especially who do not lack culture or talents and, indeed, are possessed of abundant knowledge regarding things of the world but live rashly and imprudently with regard to religion. It is hard to find words to describe how profound is the darkness in which they are engulfed and, what is most deplorable of all, how tranquilly they repose there. They rarely give thought to God, the Supreme Author and Ruler of all things, or to the teachings of the faith of Christ. They know nothing of the Incarnation of the Word of God, nothing of the perfect restoration of the human race which He accomplished.
“….They have no conception of the malice and baseness of sin; hence they show no anxiety to avoid sin or to renounce it. And so they arrive at life’s end in such a condition that, lest all hope of salvation be lost, the priest is obliged to give in the last few moments of life a summary teaching of religion, a time which should be devoted to stimulating the soul to greater love for God. And even this as too often happens only when the dying man is not so sinfully ignorant as to look upon the ministration of the priest as useless, and then calmly faces the fearful passage to eternity without making his peace with God. And so Our Predecessor, Benedict XIV, had just cause to write: “We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect.”
And this is where those following the false shepherds of Traditionalism find themselves today.
Impugning the Deposit of Faith
The divine Deposit was given to the Church by Christ and His Apostles to safeguard inviolate. Rev. Peter Finlay S.J.,professor at the National University of Ireland, explains the Deposit in his 1917 work Divine Faith: “God from the beginning, has made revelations to mankind… And this whole body of revelation is spoken of as the Deposit of Faith… All the truths contained in it are to be accepted and believed by members of the Church… (p. 1-2). Every truth set forth distinctly, in Holy Scripture, every article of the Catholic Creeds, every solemn, dogmatic definition of a pope or a General Council, is included in the Deposit of Faith (p. 51).” Embracing the truths of both Scripture and Tradition as well as the dogmas of faith, Christian morals, the Sacraments and the hierarchical constitution of the Church (Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology, Revs. Pietro Parente, Antonio Piolanti and Salvatore Garofalo, 1951), this term is explained by the Vatican Council as follows: “And the doctrine of faith which God revealed is proposed not as a mere philosophical discovery to be elaborated by human minds but as the divine Deposit delivered by Christ to His spouse to be by Her faithfully guarded and infallibly declared” (Sess. 3, Ch. 4).”
In explaining the docility with which papal teaching is to be received by the faithful, the Monks of Solesmes, in their work Papal Teachings: The Church (1962) write: “Even when the question does not concern a revealed truth that has its object some truth of the natural order, this docility will make him prefer out of deference the teaching of the master who speaks in the name of God to opinions which are purely human. Finally, this docility will subject him to the guidance of the Church for the work of clarification which is the ordinary line of progress and doctrinal development. For the magisterium of the church is not simply, like Scripture and Tradition a locus theologicus or theological source where is to be found the Deposit of revealed truth; it is a living teacher charged with safeguarding this Deposit, with revealing it and interpreting it as the needs and the crises of each epoch demand.”
But docility is not found in the Traditionalists’ vocabulary, unless it is the slavish “obedience” so many feel they owe these pseudo-clerics. And this even though such obedience is rarely related in any way to the binding teachings of the Deposit of Faith. Who today is guarding and declaring this Deposit which can never perish from the face of the earth? As Parente et al. explain in their work, “The Deposit of Faith has come from God and is entrusted to those to whom a special assistance of the Holy Ghost is assured (2 Tim. 1:14), i.e., to those who succeed the Apostles in their magisterium and in their ministry. Christ has transmitted the deposit whose content cannot be subjected to alterations.” But this cannot apply to Traditionalists, who possess not one iota of apostolicity. And is it not an alteration of the hierarchical structure of the Church to defy this Deposit by pretending the Church can exist outside that hierarchical structure minus Her Supreme Head?! So once again, as Cardinal Manning demonstrates, the Incarnation is denied in denying and demeaning the Deposit. Who are these charlatans who have done this? They are nothing more than confirmed Modernists, whose attitude toward dogma Parente describes as follows in his Dictionary… under dogma:
“The Modernists, having reduced dogma to a symbolic expression of religious sentiment in continual development (see symbolism), or to a practical rule or norm of religious consciousness (see pragmatism) have admitted an intrinsic evolution of dogma which must correspond to the indefinite phases of that sentiment and of that consciousness. These errors were condemned by Pope St Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis and Lamentabili (DZ 2022, 2026 and 2079). According to Catholic doctrine, a dogma cannot undergo intrinsic and substantial changes; [but] there is an evolution… on the part of the faithful as to understanding and expressing a dogma.” Please explain how what Traditionalists teach regarding their now headless Church, and their authority to act as ministers of that Church, (which they cannot and do not possess), is not exactly what is described above? For pragmatism is the heresy of action based not on belief and religious conviction, but on human opinion. Traditionalists tell their followers they have a “duty” under Divine law to administer the Sacraments, and are acting in their best interests. But this is merely an opinion on their part, condemned by the Church numerous times during the course of Her history. This we have demonstrated repeatedly here.
Symbolism, Parente explains, “…depreciates and eliminates the entire doctrine of faith determined by the Church in its dogmatic formulas… Every dogma expresses primarily a truth to be believed and, as a consequence, a rule of action.” In other words, dogma does not bind the Modernist; it is only a guideline they are free to interpret and/or disregard. Exterior acts that can be seen and are visible to satisfy the senses alone are the expression of faith and this also was condemned by Pope St. Pius X in his Pascendi: “For them the Sacraments are a resultant of a double need, for as we have seen: everything in their system is explained by impulses and necessities. The first need is that of giving some manifestation to religion; the second is that of propagating it, which could not be done without some sensible form and consecrating acts, and these are called Sacraments.”
Here Pope St. Pius X has just described how Modernists set up a false church to honor their beliefs. They first ignore dogma and Canon Law, since necessity knows no law; the obligation to be validly trained, ordained and consecrated, since acting like bishops and priests is more important than actually being validly ordained or consecrated. This is a perversion of St. Thomas Aquinas’ principle that in order to act, one first must “be” (the intellect must first determine by reasoned consideration that such an action is good and is not prohibited by the natural, divine or positive law; this also refutes the error of pragmatism). These men next appeal to the needs of followers asking for their services by providing what appears to be the Sacraments. They also foster and encourage their followers’ impulses to champion the Mass and fight to keep it available and to accept the heresy that bishops can constitute Christ’s Church on earth without being in communion with the Roman Pontiff. Anything rather than adhere to and defend the Deposit of Faith and its guardian, the Roman Pontiff, which would mean separating themselves from Traditionalism.
Traditionalists went to wage a war and fought on the wrong side. Had these men been real priests they would have been careful to educate them regarding the Church’s true status quo, not rush to provide Mass and Sacraments. They especially should have advised them of their precarious position regarding jurisdiction, which expired shortly after the death of Pope Pius XII. Canon 200 clearly states that anyone claiming to possess jurisdiction has the burden of proving it. Catholics exiting Vatican 2 had no understanding of Canon Law, and to be honest, even priests ordained in the 1940s-1950s were woefully ignorant both of Canon law and the true nature of infallibility. But Traditionalists are not interested in Canon Law or magisterial teaching because they are not Catholic.
He who hears you hears Me
Christ’s words as the author of the Divine Deposit and the Man of Sorrows who opposeth those antichrists standing in the temple of God, showing themselves as if they were God, are sufficient for us. The gods Traditionalists worship now standing in the place of Christ’s vicar, whether it be the false pope Francis or the numerous Traditionalist mini-popes, usurp the place of Christ. They are the abomination standing in what should be the holy place, for the Catholic Encyclopedia (Vol. 1) reports that this term can be taken in a concrete form as well, “…referring to a person, a ‘ravager,’ or even as a participal noun, (he) ‘that maketh desolate.’” Both the Old and New Testament treat of this great dishonor to God, applying the word abomination to several different types of serious sin. Proud, deceitful men; wicked shepherds, liars, detractors, idolaters; and those engaging in forbidden sexual relations are referred to as abominations. Especially intended as abominable in the Scripture texts is any unclean or unworthy sacrifice, or an acceptable sacrifice offered before idols. And Traditionalist pseudo-clergy have all the above. They have set up in the name of the true Church the very evil those following them thought they were escaping in exiting the Novus Ordo.
It should be remembered, as another reader reminded me recently, that Moses, who led his people into the desert from captivity, was long delayed while receiving the Ten Commandments. His people thought he would not return. They became bored and wanted to worship something, anything really. So gathering against Aaron, selected for the priesthood by God, they prevailed upon him to fashion the golden calf for them. When Moses returned with the Ten Commandments, he found them paying tribute to the calf, dancing and carrying on, and he ground it to powder. He then summoned all those who wished to remain faithful to God and ordered them to slay the others, some 23,000.
Some believe Aaron only meant for the people to worship the calf as a symbol of God, but that did not satisfy Moses, or God for that matter. Moses had to plead with God to spare even the few who remained (Exodus 32: 7-35). How similar this is to Traditionalists who, after leaving the Novus Ordo, first prevailed upon (then validly ordained) priests to offer the Mass for them when they had no power or permission to do so, simply to satisfy their perceived needs. The bread and priestly idols sacrilegiously worshipped in these so-called masses were no different than the adoration of the golden calf in Moses’ time. And sadly the fate of those who refuse to educate themselves in matters of faith will be no different than that of the Chosen People before them.
That the precious body of the Deposit should be cast aside by those calling themselves Catholics and bread idols and pseudo-priests worshipped in its stead is a sacrilege. It is a denial of the Incarnation, a denial of Christ’s establishment on earth of a hierarchical Church, a denial of all He came to earth to suffer and die for. Traditionalists are not just members of a false church — they are deniers of the very Christ they believe they receive from the hands of their antichrists. The words of the Apocalypse call out to them, the angels of the Lord entreating them in pathetic tones, crying: “Fear the Lord and give Him honor, because the hour of His judgment has come” (Ch. 14:7). “Go out from [Babylon] my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and the Lord hath remembered her iniquities” (Ch. 18: 4-5).
The following is a true story from my Catholic grade school days. Three grades in one room adjacent to a tiny clapboard church served our rural parish very well. A better education could not have been hoped for from the Sisters of St. Joseph and their helpers. A version of this story first appeared in a Traditional publication in December 1979.
Thank you to everyone who has supported this site and for all the much- appreciated donations. You are always in my prayers. Every penny is used for site and computer maintenance.
Wishing you all a peaceful and blessed ChristMass and a holy New Year.
A ChristMass Story
Only children can endow the celebration of Our Lord’s birth with the spirit of wonder and awe that the shepherds must have experienced when they first viewed the star and followed it to the stable. But since the advent of television, the Internet and cell phones Christmas has become less a religious feast day and more and more akin to the Druid holiday of Solstice it was intended to replace. This was true when I was a child, and one Christmas especially comes to mind . . .
I must have been eight or nine that year, old enough to have discarded my notions of how toys made it to our house on Christmas morning, yet still young enough to be hypnotized by the glamour and the glitter of it all. Construction paper chains hung in the hall, aluminum foil stars twinkled from the tops of evergreen and pine trees in each classroom, and Nativity artwork hung everywhere. My best friend Mary Lee and I exchanged snowflake cutouts when Sister wasn’t looking. Mary Lee’s Christmas list was very short and to the point. Coming from a large farm family, she took a realistic point of view, gearing her expectations to the meager family budget. I was sorry for her, but happy for me. My parents weren’t rich, in fact it was a struggle for them just to make ends meet. But somehow, quite magically, our Christmases were always bountiful, even though I had four brothers and sisters. But that year Mary Lee was more excited about giving than getting.
Shortly after Thanksgiving Father Hogan announced that that there would be a special contest held for grades three through eight. We would each try to build a Nativity scene, with no help from our parents, and using materials available in the home whenever possible. It had been three weeks since Father had announced the contest, and Mary Lee gave daily reports on the nightly after chores progress made on the stable construction by an older brother and sister from the upper grades and herself. The prize was a lovely statue of Our Lady, and Mary Lee had her heart set on winning it for her mother. I had similar designs on that statue, and I was determined that my manger scene would be the finest entry of all.
I had seen some brightly-colored plastic statues in the town department store, and I knew that if I could just buy them somehow, my nativity scene would look almost as professional as the ones in the mail order catalogue Mother kept hidden on the closet shelf. So I managed to talk my parents into an advance on my Christmas money, and away I flew to the department store. Besides the Holy Family, I needed animals for the stable, at least two shepherds, and an angel for the rooftop. Once the statues were bought, I needed to concentrate on building the stable itself. After a few clumsy attempts with a hammer and some masonite, my father suggested I use glue and masking tape rather than nails.
It worked like a charm, and in no time at all the little building was ready for its occupants. With the statues glued in place, and my angel with glad tidings pinned securely to the roof, I made a quick trip across the street to a vacant lot for the finishing touch. When all the work was completed, I viewed the finished product. I was excited. It did look like the catalogue pictures; the hay stubble from the vacant lot that I had strewn on the stable floor and the roof had lent just the right look to it all. I carried it proudly to school the next day, and Sister placed it in the empty storeroom next door to pass the time, unseen, until all the entries could be judged. But before Sister had wrested it from my grimy little hands, I had quickly shown it to Mary Lee. She dutifully admired it and wished me luck, but I couldn’t help notice her crestfallen look.
The last week of school before Christmas vacation seemed like months to me. But finally all the carols were sung, all the Christmas cookies eaten, and the class gift exchange accomplished. Carefully tucking gilt-edged holy cards from Sister into our prayer books, the last day finally came to a close, and with shouts of “Merry Christmas” we made our separate ways home. I wore my best dress that night, and my party shoes. My parents had to repeatedly remind me to calm down, but finally dinner was over and our family in the car and on its way to what I felt certain would be a victory celebration.
I fidgeted during the upper grades play, and all through the carols sung by the first and second graders. I couldn’t even bring myself to eat any of the refreshments served afterwards. My eyes were riveted to Father who was slowly making his way through the throng bestowing Christmas blessings. At long last, I spotted him making his way to the stage. He instructed parents and children to follow him to the school where he would judge the nativity scene contest. I walked to the small school with my parents, my heart pounding. The little storeroom was tidy, and resplendent with decorations placed carefully around each contest entry.
Father solemnly examined each one, murmuring compliments from time to time. Finally he picked up a manger scene and presented it to the crowd. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Father had chosen the least attractive entry of all. The stable was made from plain gray cardboard, the figures from homemade clay. Remnants of material served for clothes, and excelsior was spread patchily over the whole affair. Suddenly I saw Mary Lee’s family speaking to Father. Their faces shone as Father congratulated them. Resentment roiled up in me for Mary Lee. Father stepped forward and motioned to the crowd for silence.
“I have chosen this entry,” he began, “because to me it best illustrates the spirit of Christmas. Our Lord was born in mean and humble circumstances. His parents were not well dressed; they wore simple quiet-colored clothing. Their Child was swaddled in coarse linen, bedded in rough straw. Lowly shepherds, clothed in animal skins came to worship Him. To rightly celebrate His birth, I believe Our Lord would have us cast off the outer man and rejoice in His birth from our hearts. Our bodies can be swathed in the latest and gayest of fashions, while our souls lie in rags. May God bless you this Christmas and always.”
I was ashamed. The pleasing colors of the plastic statues had attracted me. Their shining perfection had helped me to forget that the state of a man’s soul and what is in his heart; the honest work from his own hands and not the fit of his clothes are the things that commend him to God. I had bought the statues, not formed them by hand as Mary Lee had helped to do. I had sought the smooth masonite for my stable, forgetting that the first stable had not been polished and comely, but only a crude shelter for animals. I remembered hearing how the Chosen People had expected a Messiah of noble birth, a bejeweled king come to deliver them from their Roman oppressors. And it was then that I realized I had forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.
I looked around to see Mary Lee standing shyly by my side. “I’m sorry I won and you didn’t,” she whispered. Sympathy shone in her eyes. Impulsively, I hugged her. “I’m just glad you won,” I told her. And I really meant it.
+Fourth Sunday in Advent+
In the previous blog, we discussed the inability of Lefebvre, Thuc, Mendez, de Castro-Mayer and others to validly tonsure subjects owing to a lack of jurisdiction. Despite this very clear demonstration, which removes all other arguments such as supplied jurisdiction, common error, a colored title, necessity and epikeia, we are continually referred to dated and even incomplete articles by sedevacantists and others claiming validity for their ordinations and consecrations performed without the papal mandate. If these men were really Catholic clergy, they would present arguments from the continual magisterium, not the opinions of theologians, historical summaries and their own worthless opinions. The Church approves only the use of scholastic argument in presenting Her truths, and this they avoid at all costs, in true Modernist fashion. How dare I call these pretenders Modernists? I don’t; Pope St. Pius X does: “Certain it is that the passion for novelty is always united in them with hatred of scholasticism, and there is no surer sign that a man is tending to Modernism than when he begins to show his dislike for the scholastic method” (Pascendi Dominici Gregis, 1908).
These dishonest men do not and will not address the issue at hand and refute it with arguments taken from the canons and Church teaching because they cannot. If a man is not a cleric, he cannot become a priest; and if he is not a priest, then Divine law forbids him to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice and administer the Sacraments, period (Can. 802). In response to the massive smokescreen erected by deceitful Traditionalist pseudo-clergy on this subject and the absolute refusal of those following them to see the truth, despite the clear teachings of the Church and the percepts of Canon Law, we are obligated to reiterate the following.
The facts about Epikeia
St. Thomas Aquinas tells us: “It is evident that epikeia is a virtue, [however]… epikeia does not set aside that which is just in itself, but that which is just as by law established… It must be noted, that if observance of the law according to the letter does not involve any sudden risk needing immediate remedy, it is not competent for everyone to expound what is useful and what is not useful…Those alone can do this who are in authority and who, on account of such like cases, have the power to dispense from the laws. If however, the peril be so sudden as not to allow of the delay involved by referring the matter to authority, the mere necessity brings with it a dispensation, since necessity knows no law…[But] if it be a matter of doubt, HE MUST ACT ACCORDING TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW, or consult those in power,” (Summa Theologica Pt. II-II, Q. 120, Art. 1; Pt. I-II, Q. 96, Art. 6). And since there is no one to consult, how dare they act outside the letter of the law!
The canonists Abp. Amleto Cicoganni, Revs. Bouscaren-Ellis and Woywod-Smith, Rev. Francis Miaskiewicz, Rev. Raymond Kearney and the moral theologians McHugh and Callan with Rev. H. J. Davis — all these approved authors, following St. Thomas above, warn of the great caution that must be used in applying epikeia, and the many dangers of abuse in attempting this application. So why is no one quoting them? Note the reference by St. Thomas to doubt, and when it arises, the need to act according to the letter of the law. This is not Pharisaical, a horror these cretins have carefully instilled in their ignorant followers. It is rather adherence to scholastic truth and the author thereof. Likewise, they ignore Thomistic teaching regarding the fact that only those in authority can determine what is useful and what is not, i.e., they would need a decision from a valid and licit ordinary, the Sacred Congregations or the Roman Pontiff. Note the use of the words “those alone.” These pseudo-clerics have no powers, no authority and no right to act as valid clerics and lawful pastors, which they are not.
This is further illustrated in Father Lawrence Joseph Riley’s canon law dissertation The History, Nature, and Use of Epikeia in Moral Theology, 1948, (Catholic University of America Press, Inc. Imprimatur: + Richardus Jacobus Cushing. D.D., 7 May, 1948). Rev. Riley observes on pages 344, 347, 387: “At most, epikeia can excuse the individual from the precept, but it can never confer the capacity to act. Epikeia cannot bestow upon him the power which he does not now possess, nor can epikeia restore the power which the law has withdrawn. For such bestowal or restoration of power, a positive act is required… In short, it may be concluded that in regard to matters which touch the essence of the Sacraments, the use of epikeia is always excluded…”
Human law and epikeia
As shown above, it DOES NOT make “perfect sense” to “choose” to obey a human law over a Divine precept in an ongoing (not short-term, as St. Thomas Aquinas anticipated) “emergency,” when someone not even certainly a cleric, far less a priest or bishop, determines that it is somehow detrimental to the Divine Law. It violates instead every rule governing common sense. You keep repeating the mantra “The strict letter of the (human) law does not apply in our situation,” without having the slightest idea of the laws that are being violated or whether or not they are of human or Divine origin. These men are deceivers who are using you to pump up their egos and fund their very comfortable existence. Like the Hare Krishnas and Moonies of yesteryear, Traditionalists faithfully mouth all that they are told and cling to their keepers as the perceived guarantors of the supposed graces they need to reach Heaven; this even though it means stepping over the body of the Divine Deposit of Faith and the Roman Pontiffs who safeguarded it for over 1900 years.
In his Canon Law, 1935 edition, Abp. Amleto Cicognani, a one-time professor of Canon Law at the Pontifical Institute in Rome, provides a few examples of Canons which are dogmatic or doctrinal in character, reminding his readers that all the canons of the Code are “based on doctrine that is immutable and eternal,” reflecting the fact that Canon Law itself is negatively infallible. These canons cannot be considered mere “human law,” as their very wording attests. And they apply to the very issues that we have been addressing over the past several months. Cicognani notes that in the opening pages of the Code appears the Profession of Faith, and all those engaging in an official teaching or governing capacity in the Church are bound to make this profession along with the Oath against Modernism:
“’All power is from God and he that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God.’ (Rom. 13:7). Truly the force of any legislation is to be sought in a higher sphere than that of human power, namely God. If this is to be maintained of any legislation a fortiori, it is true of the Code: for the Code treats of the Church’s hierarchy, of the Sacraments, of divine worship of ecclesiastical discipline and the like; accordingly, the formula which sets forth the changeless constitution of the ecclesiastical society for these is to be considered its firm base [and here he is talking about the profession of faith]. Since moreover in the Catholic Church faith is of all things the beginning and the foundation, the ecclesia doscens as well as the ecclesia discens should begin by faith, continue by faith and do all by faith. By faith first of all do we please God and discipline must rest on faith. They who hold the office of instructing others are especially bound to believe explicitly the truths of faith and their faith must be firm and enlightened since theirs it is to direct themselves and others to the paths of justice” (pgs. 429-431).
First and foremost among the canons on Cicognani’s list is Canon 1322, (all canons below are quoted from A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law by Stanislas Woywod and Callistus Smith):
“Christ our Lord confided to the Church the deposit of faith in order that she, with the perpetual assistance of the Holy Ghost, might faithfully preserve and expound the revealed doctrine. Independently of any civil power whatsoever, the Church has the right and duty to teach all nations the evangelical doctrine and all are bound by the divine law to acquire a proper knowledge of this doctrine and to embrace the true Church of God.”
So, this canon tells us that the divine law binds us to “acquire a proper knowledge of this doctrine and to embrace the true Church of God.” Divine law commands it, but who is obeying this law? What Traditional sect makes the slightest effort to educate the faithful concerning the truths they must know to save their souls, including that very specific truth to obey the Roman Pontiffs (Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam). Those following these supposed clerics will excuse them for handing them stones rather than bread?! We are to acquire a PROPER knowledge of the faith, not just a vague opinion presented by someone not even certainly a cleric, quoting theologians not even named or known to be approved, who wrote prior to the Codification of Canon Law and the pontificates of the last four popes of the 20thcentury. The specific article we mention here, posted to the CMRI website on consecrations without the papal mandate, was never even completed and has remained incomplete for years. It pretends to interpret and attenuate Canon 329 on the basis of texts written centuries ago, when Canon 329, included in Cicognani’s list, is clearly dogmatic.
“The bishops are the successors of the apostles and are placed by divine institution over the individual churches which they govern with ordinary power under the authority of the Roman Pontiff. They are freely appointed by the Pope…”
Woywod-Smith comment on this Canon: “In this Canon the Church repeats the dogmatic teaching on the nature of the office of bishops. They are the successors of the apostles and as the latter had St. Peter as their head, so have the bishops the Roman Pontiff, the successor of St. Peter, as their head. Thus there is perfect unity of government. There is but one supreme head, the Roman Pontiff, who appoints the bishops to the various places, for to St. Peter and his successors was committed the care of the whole Church. The power, however, which the bishops exercise they have in virtue of their office which was instituted by Christ Himself. The extent of the power which the bishops possess was not defined by Christ; it is left to the supreme head of the Church to determine the government of the Church.”
Does this sound like a description of any Traditional pseudo-bishops pontificating today? Do they possess churches assigned to them by the Roman Pontiff? Have they been assigned an office by the Roman Pontiff? Are they subject to the authority of the Roman Pontiff? No to all of these, and therefore they are in direct violation of the DIVINE LAW! So for those who are saying, “Papal mandate is not a divine law; it’s not dogma, it’s a disciplinary law,” start believing what your CHURCH teaches and has ALWAYS taught and not what these shysters are peddling to keep you in the closet with your fellow mushrooms. This Canon lists as its sources the Council of Trent, the Vatican Council, Pope Pius VI’s Auctorem Fidei, Leo XIII’s Satis Cognitum and Pope St. Pius X’s Lamentabili, to name only a few.This, then, is not a human law but one described by The Catholic Encyclopedia as follows:
“…A distinction is made between Divine and human laws according as they are issued directly by God Himself or by men in virtue of the power granted them by God. If man in issuing a law is simply the herald or messenger of God, the law is not human but Divine. Thus the laws which Moses received from God on Mount Sinai and proclaimed to the people of Israel were not human but Divine laws” (see the article on the law). The popes describe themselves as Christ on earth; Christ gave them all power to bind and loose. If anyone in the Traditionalist camp truly believes they can accept the explanation of the above law as a human law and thus deny the teachings of two ecumenical councils and several popes, they were never Catholic in the first place, only members of a non-Catholic sect.
Canon 22 teaches: “A more recent law given by competent authority abrogates a former law if it expressly orders abrogation or if it is directly contrary to the former law.” The laws and circumstances Traditionalists cite in support of violating the laws governing the papal mandate were long ago superseded by subsequent papal teaching. Cicognani comments: “Revocation is tacit when a new law is issued directly contrary to the former law, or when a new law takes up and readjusts the entire subject matter of the former law. The laws Traditionalists so desperately attempt to escape are those that have been tacitly revoked, such as the one regarding the consecration of bishops. As Revs. Pohle-Preuss write in The Sacraments, Vol. IV: “It matters not what the private opinions of…theologians [are]. It is not the private opinions of theologians but the official decisions of the Church by which we must be guided.” For those claiming there are precedents in church history of consecrations performed without papal mandate during an interregnum, and this because they are only disciplinary laws, we have this quote from Pope Pius XII’s Ad Apostolorum Principis, entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis and therefore, as Pope Pius XII’s Humani Generis teaches, it is binding on all Catholics:
“We are aware that those who belittle obedience in order to justify themselves with regard to those functions which they have unrighteously assumed defend their position by recalling a usage which prevailed in ages past. Yet everyone sees that all ecclesiastical discipline is overthrown if it is in any way lawful for one to restore arrangements which are no longer valid because the supreme authority of the Church long ago decreed otherwise. In no sense do they excuse their way of acting by appealing to another custom, and they indisputably prove that they follow this line deliberately in order to escape from the discipline which now prevails and which they ought to be obeying… The faithful are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience not only in matters which pertain to faith and morals, BUT ALSO IN THOSE WHICH CONCERN THE DISCIPLINE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH.”
This excerpt from Pope Pius XII’s constitution does not apply just to China, but the the entire universal Church; otherwise it would not be binding on all Catholics. That its application is limited is merely a pretext these Traditionalist devils use to do precisely what Pope Pius XII is describing above. it was already condemned by Pope Pius IX in Quartus Supra in 1873:
“Nor can the Eastern Churches preserve communion and unity of faith with Us without being subject to the Apostolic power in matters of discipline. Now such teaching is not only heretical after the definitions and declarations of the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican on the nature and reasons for the primacy of the Sovereign Pontiff, but it has always been considered to be such and has been abhorred by the Catholic Church. It is for this reason that the bishops of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, openly declared the supreme authority of the Apostolic See in their proceedings; then they humbly requested Our predecessor, St. Leo, to sanction and confirm their decrees, even those which concerned discipline.”
And in this same pope’s Quae in patriarchatu, September 1, 1876 we read:
“In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema,” (to the clergy and faithful of the Chaldean Rite).
And then we also have this from Pope Pius XII:
“Clearly no sincere Catholic can refuse to accept the formulation of Christian doctrine more recently elaborated and proclaimed as DOGMAS by the Church, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit with abundant fruit for souls, because it pleases him to hark back to the old formulas. NO MORE CAN ANY CATHOLIC IN HIS RIGHT SENSES REPUDIATE EXISTING LEGISLATION OF THE CHURCH TO REVERT TO PRESCRIPTIONS BASED ON THE EARLIEST SOURCES OF CANON LAW” (Mediator Dei, Nov. 9, 1947; also entered into the Acta Apostolicae Sedis and therefore blinding).
And lo and behold, we find this same teaching on discipline and human authority expressed in one of the canons listed as dogmatic by Abp. Cicognani:
“As the successor to the primacy of St. Peter, the Roman Pontiff has not only the primacy of honor but also supreme and full power of jurisdiction over the universal Church in matters of faith and morals as well as in those pertaining to the discipline and government of the Church throughout the whole world. This power is episcopal, ordinary and immediate and extends over each and every church and over each and every pastor as well as over the faithful and is independent of all human authority.”
This is taken directly from the Vatican Council. The Pope is supreme in jurisdiction in matters concerning the discipline and government of the Church. If we fail to believe the ecumenical councils and their thundering anathemas; if we refuse obedience to the Roman Pontiffs necessary to our salvation to believe the hirelings entered in by the door, who have no claim to our allegiance, how can we save our souls? They lie when they say they exist to assure the salus animarum, suprema lex — the supreme law; the eternal salvation of those who follow them, for they refuse to obey the popes and demand obedience to them. Those woefully ignorant of their own faith in violation of Divine law not only have the duty to rightly inform themselves, the have the obligation to eject these imposters from their midst for the sake of their own souls and the souls of these pseudo-clerics as well. This in accordance with Canons 2259, 2294 and other canons.
Can they invoke epikeia in light of the above as they so basely claim? Rev. Lawrence Joseph Riley, quoted above on epikeia, writes in his dissertation: “The Church as it was constituted by Christ (Pope, bishops, priests) “was established forever as a hierarchico-monarchical society… to remain unchanged until the end of time… Nowhere in revelation is there any evidence of any intention to permit exceptions to — or changes in — this constitution in future history by the use of epikeia or on any other basis. Men are free of course to found other churches, differing in constitution and nature… but such churches are not Christ’s… To maintain that Christ had some intention for the future, contrary to that made manifest in the actual establishment of His Church, is a refusal to believe in the efficacy of the divine promise that Christ would be with the Church unto the consummation of the world; it is a denial of the [four marks] and indefectibility of this divinely established institution” (p. 330-31).
And that Traditionalists have definitely founded their own Church outside the one, true Church of Christ cannot be denied. So if there are those who still believe that they are not committing HERESY by denying that they must obey papal disciplinary laws, or that epikeia can excuse them from obedience to the binding decrees of the Roman Pontiff, given the above, they had better think again.
I am sure there are those who will accuse me of acting as Scrooge and destroying the ChristMass spirit by posting this blog. Let them think what they will. But whatever they may think, let them also remember that Truth was born on ChristMass Day, and as we kneel at the manger offering our gifts we lie to Jesus and to ourselves if we pretend to adore Him while honoring and “obeying” those who do not and could never speak in His name. Truth is one, error is many and it can be found only by the same arduous journey the Wise Men undertook to bring their gifts to Him. This ChristMass, promise our Lord you will make that journey. That is all I ask; truth is the only gift worth giving. It is my gift to you, if you have ears to hear and love Christ Himself enough to seek it.
+Feast of the Immaculate Conception+
This topic has been addressed before, but recent comments by an inquirer required a more detailed examination of the available proofs. What is presented here constitutes the most damning and convincing case yet for the invalidity of ALL Traditionalists claiming to possess orders. It should cause even the most blasé members of that sect to reconsider their current position and contentions, daily placing them in danger of eternal damnation.
Supplied jurisdiction, for all intents and purposes has ceased to be an issue regarding the so-called administration of the Sacraments by Traditionalists. This is true because it has been proven from papal documents and the works of approved theologians that the suppletory source no longer exists. Only a canonically elected pope possesses the power to supply jurisdiction because he is the supreme holder of jurisdiction and has always been the only source of the supplying power in the past, (Pope Pius XII was the last of these popes). Once it was made clear that no one can supply jurisdiction during an interregnum, and Pope Pius XII’s infallible constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis(https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/VASannot.pdf) leaves no room for doubt, all the claims to possess such jurisdiction became groundless. The task left to those who wish to puzzle out the full consequences of the jurisdiction muddle is to determine what acts trace back to jurisdiction and who possessed it following the election of Angelo Roncalli. The easiest way to do this is to study the conferral of Orders, because bishops cannot validly function unless they receive their jurisdiction (an office, confirmed and conferred by papal mandate) from a canonically elected pope. They cannot delegate jurisdiction unless they have received this mandate. Ordinary jurisdiction comes with the office and if there is no office there is no jurisdiction.
A layman presenting as a priest for many years (now deceased) must have realized that supplied jurisdiction couldn’t cover Traditional operations. For he wrote over a decade ago that Christ Himself delegates jurisdiction to priests. This article is still posted on CMRI websites to justify their claims to jurisdiction. Ironically, this is a tacit admission that the bishop(s) ordaining these priests did not have it to delegate to them in the first place. And it is a patent lie, held by Protestant clerics during the Reformation and condemned by the Council of Trent. This same pseudo-cleric was so desperate to refute the jurisdictional arguments on this site that he even resorted to falsifying Council of Trent documents as proven in an earlier blog posted last year (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/traditionalist-mistranslates-council-of-trent-to-condemn-home-alone/; also, https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/false-sedevacantist-bishop-claims-refuted/). Pope Pius XII infallibly settled the Scriptural and doctrinal question that only the pope can delegate power to bishops and approve them, (see Mystici Corporis Christi and Ad Sinarum Gentum). As has been explained many times before, only those heretics known as Gallicanists and their successors, the Old Catholics, held that bishops are equal to the pope, rejecting papal supremacy as defined at the Vatican Council, called specifically to crush the Gallicanist heresy once and for all.
Traditionalist “clerics” are not the pope; they have no power whatsoever and no authority to make decisions regarding the teachings of Holy Scripture (divine law), the popes, the councils and Canon Law. Such power resides only in the Roman Pontiff and the Sacred Congregations. The Church and Her doctrines will last as Christ constituted them until the consummation, but all must stand firm in the belief that this Church was founded on St. Peter the Rock who alone has the power to infallibly teach and define. This means that all Catholics must adhere to the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs as they are contained in the Deposit of Faith, and taught by the Continual Magisterium, for the Church to exist until the very end. Because there is no Pope, the only way that there can be any continuation of the papacy is for Catholics to strictly follow everything that was taught from Peter to Pius XII. One of these many teachings is the nature and the definition of an office and how it is conveyed. For without an office in the Church, no one can even be considered a cleric.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ teaching on tonsure
The Church possesses jurisdiction “by Divine institution,” according to Can. 196. Ordinaries and other bishops are responsible not only for delegating jurisdiction to priests but also for selecting candidates for the priesthood and conferring first tonsure, thereby designating them as clerics. “Those who have been assigned to the divine ministry at least by the first tonsure are called clerics,” (Can. 108). Can. 118: “Only clerics can obtain the power of either orders or ecclesiastical jurisdiction…” And following it, Can. 147: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical provision. Canonical provision means the grant of an ecclesiastical office by competent ecclesiastical authority, made according to the sacred canons,” (Can. 147). St. Thomas Aquinas indicates below that the nature of first tonsure involves appointment to an office, a jurisdictional act made possible by the granting to ordinaries of said jurisdiction over a diocese by the Pope. According to Can. 950, tonsure is implied in law in the terms ordain, ordination, sacred ordination and order by necessity. For unless tonsure is first received, one cannot become a cleric, and the clergy must be distinguished from the laity by Divine law, according to Can. 948.
(From the Summa):
“No Order is given except during the celebration of Mass. But tonsure is given even outside the office of the Mass therefore it is not an Order. Further, in the confirming of every Order, mention is made of some power granted but not in the conferring of tonsure. Therefore, it is not an Order.
“I answer that: The ministers of the Church are severed from the people in order that they may give themselves entirely to the divine worship. Now on the divine worship are certain actions that have to be exercised by virtue of certain definite powers and for this purpose the spiritual power of order is given while other actions are performed by the whole body of ministers in common, for instance the recital of the divine praises. For such things it is not necessary to have the power of Order but only to be deputed to such an office, and this is done by the tonsure. Consequently, it is not an Order but a preamble to Orders.”
“Reply Obj. 1: I answer that: Some spiritual thing inwardly corresponding to it as signate corresponds to sign, but this is not a spiritual power. Wherefore a character is not imprinted in tonsure as in an Order.
“Reply Obj. 2: Although a man does not receive a character in the tonsure, nevertheless he is appointed to the divine worship; hence the appointment should be made by the supreme minister, namely the bishop.” (Summa Theologica, Vol III, Q. 40, Art. 2, Suppl.; end of St. Thomas Aquinas quotes) And all the following agree with St. Thomas:
“The tonsure or cutting of the hair which precedes the conferring of minor orders is not an order. It is an ecclesiastical ceremony which places a man in the clerical state. It confers no power whatever” (Sacramental Theology, Bk. I, Rev. Clarence McAuliffe).
Rev. J. Tixeront states in his Holy Orders and Ordination: “Tonsure is not an order. It confers no power in the liturgical order: it simply distinguishes him who receives it from the laity” (p. 133).
Revs. Stanislaus Woywod and Callistus Smith, (A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, 1957) explain in their history of ordination that, “Tonsure is not an order but a sacred ceremony by which young men are enlisted in the ranks of the clergy before they receive any orders.”
Rev. Charles Augustine, A Commentary on Canon Law: “Tonsure is not enumerated among the minor orders nor is it considered an order at all.” In a footnote to Can. 118, he comments that it is now the common opinion of theologians that tonsure is not an order.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “Tonsure itself is not an ordination properly so called, nor a true order. It is rather a simple ascription of a person to the Divine service in such things as are common to all clerics … In the Latin Church it began as a separate ceremony about the end of the seventh century…”
“By reception of first tonsure a cleric is ascribed to…the diocese for the service of which he was promoted,” (Can. 111; also the Council of Trent, Sess. 23, Ch. 16). “Only clerics can obtain the power of either orders or ecclesiastical jurisdiction…” (Can. 118). Tonsure or some valid order is, by ecclesiastical law, a prerequisite for the VALIDITY of any office” (Canon Law: A Text and Commentary, Revs. T. Lincoln-Bouscaren and Adam Ellis, (Can. I09, 118).
The canons teach that without the bishop’s call, a vocation cannot exist. But first one must prove that a VALID AND LICIT bishop (Ordinary) in communion with a canonically elected Roman Pontiff who has appointed him to head a specific diocese and establish a seminary for that diocese has called a man to the priesthood. Can. 147: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical provision. Canonical provision means the grant of an ecclesiastical office by competent ecclesiastical authority, made according to the sacred canons,” (Can. 147). St. Thomas Aquinas above indicates that the nature of first tonsure arises from the Ordinary’s office as an act issuing from his jurisdictional faculties granted by the Pope and not specifically the power of Orders. It should be noted that while Lefebvre, Thuc and others receiving their episcopate from Pope Pius XII could (theoretically) validly ordain IF they had possessed the jurisdiction to first administer tonsure, those who have since been foisted on gullible Catholics as ordained and “consecrated” by them or others without the papal mandate received nothing at all. Whether touted as priests or bishops, having never received tonsure, they could never even have become priests!
As proven elsewhere, Lefebvre, Castro de Mayer, Thuc, Mendez et al — all lost any jurisdiction they once possessed by joining the Novus Ordo sect, celebrating the Novus Ordo Missae, signing Vatican 2 documents and accepting offices from a false pope. This according to Canons 188 no. 4, 2314 and 1258, with Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio being the fontes for both Canons 188 no. 4 and 2314. They therefore could not exercise any jurisdiction they did not possess and could not and did not assign any men as clerics to be ordained as priests. There is absolutely nothing in way of proofs these men can present that even so much as hints they possess or ever possessed such jurisdiction. As the canonists all teach, without receiving tonsure defining one as a cleric one cannot become a priest; this is a matter of Divine Law, as explained in Can. 948. Even if it could be said that such men did indeed become priests, which is highly unlikely and can never be established with any certainty without a decision from the Holy See, Canon Law forbids them to exercise their orders for seeking them from a schismatic, even, Pope Pius VI teaches in Charitas, “under any pretext of necessity whatsoever.” During an interregnum any acts usurping papal jurisdiction (presuming the approval of a true pope to administer a diocese and create priests) are declared null and void by Pope Pius XII in his Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.
For those who believe they are receiving valid Sacraments from validly ordained priests, this information is of the utmost importance. Because these (unwitting?) imposters never became priests for lack of valid tonsure, as simple laymen they are not (a) bound to keep the Seal of the Confessional, since it involves no Sacrament; (b) able to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice because they cannot validly or licitly consecrate the Body of Christ and (c) fit to administer any of the other Sacraments. If they baptize it is illicit at best and they baptize only as laymen. Their actions are termed simulation of the Sacraments, punishable under Can. 2322 by ipso facto excommunication specially reserved to the Holy See. And those adoring Christ in what they believe to be the consecrated host, once they hear of their status, or could or should have learned of it, are guilty of idolatry as well as communicatio in sacris. Moreover, such men also may be guilty of simony for collecting money basically donated to them to procure what their followers believed to be the Sacraments. This is punished by an ipso facto excommunication simply reserved to the Holy See.
The Church’s teaching on offices
A quick look at the canons governing this case in the order they are listed will provide a better understanding of what the Church teaches regarding offices. Canon 145 tells us that an ecclesiastical office is a position permanently created by the divine or ecclesiastical law which, in its strict sense, carries with it either the power of orders or of jurisdiction. Remotely, therefore, tonsure is the preparation for Orders. In a broad sense, any task undertaken in the Church may be called an ecclesiastical office. In law, the Code states, the term ecclesiastical office is used in its strict sense unless the context clearly indicates the contrary. And it appears that the term office in this instance must be taken in the broad context, since tonsure is not an actual order and there is no transference of power. Tonsure is enough to qualify the cleric to validly hold an office, as Bouscaren-Ellis state above.
However, the promise of a perpetual benefice is bestowed, since the diocese, should the candidate proceed to ordination, takes on the education, care and support of the cleric. This is confirmed by Can. 979, which states: “The canonical title for the secular clergy is the title of a benefice, of a patrimony or pension. This title should be really secure for the whole life of the cleric and truly sufficient for the proper maintenance of the cleric…” The Code states that Canons 147 and 148 apply to those who receive a benefice. Now Canon 147 tells us that: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical appointment. By canonical appointment is understood the confirming of an ecclesiastical office by the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the sacred canons.” Lefebvre and Thuc were not competent ecclesiastical authorities. Having acknowledged and accepted offices from John 23 and Paul 6, they neither possessed nor could they validly convey offices and they did not act according to the Canons. They lost their offices and all jurisdiction under Can. 188 no. 4 by committing schism and communicatio in sacris. Pope Pius XII, on June 29, 1950, citing the Council of Trent, ordered that anyone violating Can. 147 was ipso facto excommunicated with the excommunication specially reserved to the Holy See.
Requisites qualifying candidates for an office
Rev. Matthew Ramstein, S.T. Mag., J.U.D., in his A Manual of Canon Law, (1947) wrote: “Most vacant offices are filled by free appointment. This is the act by which the competent superior confers an office upon the candidate of his choice…. The clerical candidate must possess those qualifications which the law demands for the office in question. These qualifications are found under the various headings of the Code which treat of the different ecclesiastical offices in detail. (Can. 152)
The following requirements for tonsure are outlined in The Popes and the Priesthood, A Symposium of Sacred Documents on the Priesthood, Meinrad, Indiana, 1944.
Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments, M. Cardinal Lega, (Dec. 27, 1930)
- “It is of the greatest importance to eliminate from the beginning, even before Tonsure and Minor Orders have been received, all those who are unfit for the office of priesthood or who lack Divine vocation…
- “Before Tonsure, a petition signed by the candidate for orders together with personal information as to the fitness of the candidate is to be submitted to the bishop.
- “The bishop then asks the rector of the seminary to verify the qualifications of the candidate as manifested during his seminary stay.
- “The rector then consults the candidate’s teachers, director, and the alumni prefects to report to him, both in private and in a group, on the qualifications and fitness of the candidate.
- “Based on this the rector then submits his own judgment to the bishop. The bishop also orders the pastor of the candidate and his family to make careful inquiries into the student’s signs of a vocation, his virtues and his piety, also habits of life both past and present. Such questions as whether the candidate is fond of strong drink, is charitable and whether he is proper and truthful in speech are put to those in a position to know. The reputation of the candidate’s family, also whether family members have exercised any undue influence on the student, are to be investigated.
- “The Bishop must duly investigate any suspicions that the candidate has inherited some vice or abnormality from his parents, whether physical or psychical.
- “The Bishop shall interview the rector and vice-rector of the candidate’s seminary to determine sincerity of faith.
- “When advisable, other persons of outstanding character, either clerical or lay, who may be able to give special information, should also be interviewed; especially when a slight doubt remains concerning the moral character and canonical fitness of the candidate.
- “The whole frame of mind in particular of each candidate is to be investigated by the candidate’s own bishop who must determine whether the candidate fully understands the nature of the burdens he is assuming and whether they feel themselves able to shoulder all these burdens.
- “If admitted to Tonsure, the documents of these investigations are to be consulted once again when the candidate receives the order of subdeacon. At that time, the entire method, omitting, however, inquiries made to the family, must be updated and repeated before the subdeaconship is conferred.” (This Instruction was reviewed by the Cardinals and personally ratified and confirmed by Pope Pius XI.)
If Traditionalist candidates were vetted according to the criteria above, would ANY of them have qualified as candidates worthy of tonsure? Who, exactly, considered of “outstanding character” in the eyes of the Church today would the bishop interview? What rectors of legitimately established seminaries were there to interview? The appointment of candidates to the clerical state satisfies all the requirements for appointment to an office upon reception of the various orders whenever the necessary qualifications are satisfied. We have no assurance whatsoever that these qualifications were met and every right to believe they were not met. As Canon 153 states, “The candidate for promotion to an office must be a cleric,” and tonsure is the first step in promotion to that office, filling the actual need of the diocese for additional clerics.
But no true bishop was ever approved for appointment to a diocese, so no need could be determined. No candidates were qualified to even be considered for tonsure and no jurisdiction existed to validly convey it. Ergo, it was never received in a manner that satisfies the requirements of Can. 147 for validity; every canon law regarding the administration of tonsure was violated. According to Rev. Charles Augustine in his above-mentioned Canon Law commentary, “Ordination according to the Code includes the conferring of the tonsure…” (Can. 950). The tonsure is renewed at different times during the progression of the cleric through the various orders. But it cannot be validly received unless the bishop administering it qualifies the candidates and possesses jurisdiction.
No mandate, no diocese, no tonsure
Traditionalists have tried to slip out from the noose around their necks by various subterfuges, primarily:
- assuming as true what is yet to be proved: that they actually received valid orders and can validly exercise those orders, when infallible decisions and decrees forbid and nullify this;
- the assumption that tonsure is an actual order arising from the power of Orders, when it is actually an act of jurisdiction;
- refusal to recognize Pope Pius XII’s decision regarding episcopal orders and jurisdiction, i.e., that such powers are subject to the Roman Pontiff and do not issue directly from Christ Himself when Pope Leo XIII states in Satis Cognitum: “Holy Writ teaches that the keys to the kingdom of Heaven were given to Peter alone. There is nothing to show that the Apostles received Supreme jurisdiction without Peter and against Peter. Such power they certainly did not receive from Jesus Christ;”
- their absolute denial of the teaching of Bd. Pope Innocent XI (DZ 1151), upheld unanimously by the theologians, that probable opinions cannot be used in receiving or administering the Sacraments (Rev. Dominic Prummer’s Handbook of Moral Theology);
- their claim that laws regarding jurisdiction have lost all force because they are only ecclesiastical laws, when Can. 196 clearly states jurisdiction is a matter of “Divine institution.” St. Alphonsus Liguori teaches: “…The presumption is for the continuance of the law, since it was certainly made, and there is no probability for its non-continuance,” (Revs. McHugh and Callan, rules of conscience, Moral Theology: A Complete Course).
- attempts to discredit Pius XII as pope and Mediator Dei as ambiguous;
- obfuscation of the meaning and issuing of the papal mandate;
- the fact that Traditionalists have never claimed to possess an office;
- arguments that bishops were allowed to function during interregnums in the past.
Pope Pius XII on more than one occasion warns of harking back to previous discipline to justify one’s actions. This pope teaches, in Mediator Dei, (Nov. 9, 1947): “Clearly no sincere Catholic can refuse to accept the formulation of Christian doctrine more recently elaborated and proclaimed as dogmas by the Church, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit with abundant fruit for souls, because it pleases him to hark back to the old formulas. NO MORE CAN ANY CATHOLIC IN HIS RIGHT SENSES REPUDIATE EXISTING LEGISLATION OF THE CHURCH TO REVERT TO PRESCRIPTIONS BASED ON THE EARLIEST SOURCES OF CANON LAW.” And in any case, his papal election law specifically addressing interregnums is the most decisive factor, for no other law is tailored so closely as this one to the current situation. Consecrating without a papal mandate i.e., approval by the pope, is a usurpation of papal jurisdiction. Exercising the privileges of an ordinary as though one has been assigned to a diocese in the process of that approval also is a usurpation of papal jurisdiction. The bishop alone who is validly vested with the power of jurisdiction by the pope has the authority and power to choose men to tonsure and ordain for a given territory, and no assignment of any territory was ever received by Traditionalists.
Under Can. 188 no. 4, all bishops who recognized the counter-Church as the Catholic Church and engaged in communicatio in sacris by celebrating the John 23 “mass” and the Novus Ordo Missae became guilty of schism and lost all jurisdiction. This could have been avoided had they refused to participate in the false Vatican 2 council and sign its documents and withdrawn their obedience to and cooperation with the false popes as heretics and schismatics. Lefebvre, Thuc and others schismatic bishops like them who established Traditionalism, thereby misleading the faithful, were far worse than those bishops who abandoned them by remaining in the Novus Ordo church. For rather than leave them to their own devices, as those abandoning them did, they led those of good will among the faithful into error, when all they desired was to remain truly Catholic. Traditionalists and their followers can deny it and attempt to smear and discredit those who publish the facts proving their decades-long imposture all they like, but papal and conciliar teaching and Canon Law cannot lie.