by T. Stanfill Benns | Jan 28, 2022 | New Blog
+St. Peter Nolasco+
I once believed that the quote from Apocalypse used for the title of this blog post referred to the Novus Ordo church. But after delving a bit more into Holy Scripture, I have changed my mind about that initial assessment.
A little background here: In my opinion, the scarlet whore of Babylon depicted by St. John in Apocalypse Ch. 17-18 is Rome in the possession of the usurpers, and certain commentators also have opined that this could be a false church in Rome. But Rome’s occupation by those detestable imposters did not happen all at once with the election of John 23. It began in increments long ago as Pope Leo XIII warned in his long St. Michael’s prayer. Apocalypse Chapter 17–18 refers to the fall of Babylon, and that fall could have more than one meaning. But its primary meaning has always been taught by scriptural commentators as the physical destruction of Rome and Henry Cardinal Manning, in his work The Present Crisis of the Holy See Tested by Prophecy, (1861), agrees with this interpretation. He cites a host of authorities who support this from a strictly theological standpoint (see Lecture IV). Therefore, it is a well-established fact: at some point Rome will be physically destroyed and nothing of her riches and greatness will remain. So when will this be and what will it mean for the Church?
We have already seen Rome’s spiritual destruction and that is by far the most significant fulfillment of this prophecy, since commentators say the Apocalypse is to be taken first in a spiritual sense. All that now remains is the structural shell that once encased the guardians of the divine Deposit of Faith. For those who believe the Church will last until the consummation exactly as she was constituted by Christ, what does this tell them? Some will respond that the Roman See will simply be transferred to another place; others infer that this destruction will only happen shortly before the final consummation. We know Christ’s promise to be with His Church will never fail, for He will always be the invisible Head of His Mystical Body and we will ever be its members. But those defending the Church were so intent on denouncing Protestantism that they entirely ruled out any possibility that even towards the end of the world, Christ’s promise could be suspended, at least for a time, although it could never fail. While admitting the possibility of an extended interregnum, they never drew out the consequences of such an occurrence. And no one ever envisioned the election of a heretic by cardinals who no longer were Catholics themselves, something only Pope Paul IV anticipated in his Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. There he described the result of such an election as the reign of the Abomination of Desolation in the Holy Place.
What Christ promised
We have various translations of the Vatican Council documents regarding what our Lord taught about the Church lasting unto the consummation. Some Catechisms say that Christ willed His Church to endure unto the consummation; this is stated in one translation of the Vatican Council documents. And those insisting that there can be no interruptions in the order He established, of any kind, are adamant that what Christ wills must always transpire because otherwise He would not be true to His promises. (Of course Christ willed that all men be saved, but unfortunately that is dependent on free will, just as papal elections are dependent on free will.) Denzinger’s Sources of Catholic Dogma (DZ 1821), also other catechisms and official works on Church teaching, say that Christ wished, desired, meant or intended His Church to endure to the end of time, and they are not just a few. We can believe irrevocably that Christ intended His Church to exist to the end of time, as He constituted it, without understanding exactly HOW he intended it to exist, or keeps it in existence. This is far from saying that such a thing is an absolute, for if this was the case, then why didn’t the Council teach the following: “[Christ promised] the pastors and doctors to be even to the consummation’”?
Another Vatican Council teaching often cited is the one regarding the Church’s perpetuity. The Vatican Council in 1870 taught that “…Blessed Peter has (not “will have”) perpetual successors in the primacy over the universal Church — Si quis ergo dixerit, non esse ex ipsius Christi Domini institutione seu iure divino, ut beatus Petrus in primatu super universain Ecclesiam habeat perpetuos successores ; aut Romanum Pontificem non esse beati Petri hi eodem primatu successorem ; anathema sit.” (DZ 1825). Habeat = he has (present tense — subjunctive because it follows dixerit according to sequence of tenses). Future tense (he will have) = habebit. He must have = debeat habere. (This was first pointed out by Hutton Gibson in his The War is Now.) Gibson observed: “The Church can oblige us only to Scriptural prophecy (such as St. Paul’s revolt).”
And Henry Cardinal Manning’s translation of the Vatican Council documents found in the appendix to his work The Vatican Council Definitions is even less clear: “If then, any should deny that it is by the institution of Christ the Lord, or by divine right, that Blessed Peter should have a perpetual line of successors in the Primacy over the Universal Church, or that the Roman Pontiff is the successor of Blessed Peter in this primacy; let him be anathema.” Should, as found in Webster’s 7th Collegiate Dictionary, is defined as “owed or obliged to; used in auxiliary function to express a condition, “if he shall” (1), or what is probable or expected (4). Again, why is this not clearly expressed as “will have”? In studying how the Vatican Council arrived at the wording of the canons put forth for belief and often heatedly disputed what words would be used and how they would be used, it is clearly seen that these words were not random selections. And here I trust Manning’s translation even over Denzinger, (which has been shown to contain errors) especially since he believed the papacy would be removed for a time during the days of Antichrist.
Given the above, our intent here is to better explain the disappearance of the juridical Church pointing to Rome’s eventual destruction. That even the traces of the adulterous Novus Ordo church are an abomination to God that must be obliterated should be an indication of how egregious their offenses are in the eyes of God. But that destruction will only be a confirmation of all that has gone before. Why would God destroy the physical remnants of a visible governing Church if it was capable of being recovered or restored, at least in the manner we now understand it to exist? Doesn’t this remind one of the destruction of the Jewish Temple 70 years after His death? Obviously He, as a prelude to His Second Coming, has something else in mind. Already the Church will be relocated or under protection somewhere when this destruction occurs. We know and believe Christ’s Church will last forever, as He constituted it. What we don’t know is precisely how He intends to fulfill His promise, and this is deliberately kept from us in these times.
Rome destroyed for denying the Incarnation
Chapter 18, vs. 6 of Apocalypse describes the scarlet whore, apostate Rome, as “drunk with the blood of the Saints and martyrs of Jesus.” The ten kings directed by the beast to fight against the elect and faithful are, commentators note, instruments God’s justice used to chastise Babylon. The angels announcing Babylon’s destruction implore those not wishing to partake of her sins to “…go out from her,” (Ch. 18: 4). Wrath at her fornication, (which in Holy Scripture indicates idolatry); sins reaching to heaven demanding retribution; the abomination and filthiness of her fornication or idolatry; her betrayal of the saints and martyrs — all merit God’s outrage and justify her destruction. This seems to occur shortly before the death of Antichrist, at least according to some commentators, although such destruction could occur at any time.
I truly don’t believe that anyone can fathom the absolute betrayal of Christ and His Father, in sending His Son to earth to die for our sins, that this destruction of Rome represents. This is unmistakably the denial of the Incarnation spoken of by Cardinal Manning as quoted in our previous blog on Traditionalists as the aiders and abettors of Antichrist. There we explained how Cardinal Manning identifies this denial of the Incarnation as follows: “The world is resolved to drive the Incarnation off the earth… The dethronement of the Vicar of Christ is the dethronement of the hierarchy of the universal Church — the shrine and sanctuary of the Incarnation and the Continual Sacrifice — and the public rejection of the Reign and Presence of Jesus” (The Temporal Power of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, pgs. 161-162; 167). Has anyone really fully internalized the fact that when we lost the papacy, we also lost the hierarchy, and with it the Holy Sacrifice — all the things Christ left to us to continue His mission on earth? Yet it isn’t just Traditionalists who are guilty of rejecting the papacy; in a sense all of us were (and some still are) guilty of this at some time, on some level.
Failing to realize and admit the sheer enormity and debt of sin and guilt involved in this denial has clouded our understanding regarding its inevitable consequences. In His justice, God could not fail to severely punish the pollution of His spotless bride the Church — the degradation, the strangulation and the agonizing dismemberment of that beautiful bride by the usurpers — with the most severe penalties. If this was your mother, your wife, your sister, your daughter would you not demand the full measure of justice be meted out? And yet this was your Holy Mother the Church, violated in a spiritual, supernatural way that none of us on earth can even begin to comprehend in the manner in which God himself understands and experiences it. His justice being what it is, it could not go unpunished in some way both as terrible and as sorrowful to behold as it is fitting.
The reason so many have been blinded to the heighth, depth and breadth of this tragedy is that for over a century before it could first be detected, a trend crept into theological circles regarding the promise made by Christ to His Church. In walking that thin line to defend her against claims that she could one day become obsolete, some theologians crossed over that line and maintained she was untouchable; that especially regarding her hierarchical structure, She was an impregnable wall that could never be breached or surmounted. “I sit a queen and am no widow…” But in their assumptions, they not only ignored the many antipopes and schisms in the past (as well as the advent of Antichrist and predictions in the Apocalypse for the end times); they never once breathed a word about the warnings of Pope Paul IV, (if they were even aware of them.) More importantly, they entirely discounted human nature and the gift of free will.
A call ignored and punishment for sin
Yes, God promised to be with the successors of the apostles including the Pope remaining faithful to him to the very end, even to the consummation. But Christ made this promise knowing full well that His call to preach the Gospel to all men would not be limited to the Apostles and disciples, for His Pontiffs would one day formally incorporate the laity as vested partners of the successors of the apostles. To deny this is to deny that Christ is all knowing, and to intimate He was not fully cognizant of what He was doing. Why else would the popes consistently refer to the apostolate of the laity in their addresses on Catholic Action? And Pope Pius XII says this apostolate may even be engaged in without a hierarchical mission, especially in the absence of the hierarchy. So why are so many blasphemously doubting that these promises of Christ to His Apostles were made without such Divine knowledge? Did he not grant the pope and his successors the power of binding and loosing? Here is further proof of what Pope Pius XII expected from us as apostolic assistants, laid down in his Sept. 7, 1947 address to Catholic youth:
(He warns us away from vague, sentimental spirituality, and he exhorts us to cultivate strong convictions, rooted in doctrine):
“Catholic thought has already profoundly explored every aspect of the questions relevant to religion, to redemption, to the Church. It is up to you to make your own its conclusions, its solutions, its answers, so that the faith in you may be living and fruitful. This is your first duty.”
“But this courage must be shown even if… you should find yourselves in the minority, few in number, perhaps even alone, faced with an adversary more bold and more numerous. Be ready to resist to the end, against them all in your affirmation of the law of God, in the defense of the Faith and of the Church — should We add also, in the defense of order, of progress and of social peace, on every occasion that the common good requires your collaboration?”
An Indissoluble Union of Religion and Life
“The [early] ‘Church of the Catacombs’…did not live separated from the world …The lives of Christians, in those first blood-stained centuries, were spent in the street and in the home, in the open… They frequented, as others did, the forum, the baths, the shops, the workrooms, the markets, the public squares… They were fully conscious of winning the world to Christ, of transforming, according to the teaching and law of the Divine Savior, both public and private life, from which would spring up a new civilization, would rise up another Rome out of the tombs of the two princes of the Apostles. They achieved their aim. Rome and the Roman empire became Christian.”
The Conclusion – A Call to Action for the laity:
“In fact, the greater the violence of the efforts of unbelief and irreligion to jostle Christ and His Church off humanity’s path, the more the ranks of lay apostles, especially the young, should close in and do combat for the sovereign rights of Christ and the liberty of the Church, on which depend not only the eternal salvation of souls, but even the dignity and happiness of men here on earth, the civil order, justice and peace…”
That this clear call from the popes was never heeded is the reason for the tragedy we are enduring today. Catholics became slothful in their faith. They took everything they had for granted and became attached to the priestly personalities in the Church and external devotions; this rather than develop the interior life to be used as a basis for their own apostolate. Despite Pope Pius XII’s words in Mystici Corporis, begging for lay cooperation, they refused to put forth the required effort to fully live their faith in obedience to the pope. They assumed that regardless of whatever they did or did not do, the Church would always exist because of Christ’s promises. “I sit a queen…”
The explanation for what is described above involves the sin of presumption. Rash presumption makes one expect to obtain supernatural goods in ways other than those ordained by God. Revs. McHugh and Callan, in their Moral Theology: A Complete Course, Vol. I teach regarding presumption: “It is a mortal sin that does grave injury to the divine attributes… In its contempt of God’s majesty and justice consists the final offense of presumption.” Theologians overstating the case for perpetuity — completely forgetting biblical prophecy, the Church’s own tumultuous history, the heresies of Arianism, Protestantism, Gallicanism and Modernism, the encroaching evil of the powers that be which could be seen on all sides — presumed that the demand for strict justice could never override God’s promises. They ascribe to the attribute of indefectibility a quality that not even Pope Pius XII conceded it. In an allocution to the Roman Curia given December 4, 1943, Pope Pius XII reminded Catholics that it is true that “the Church’s indefectibility is visible, inasmuch as it is demonstrable” and that this indefectibility evidenced from the past is “the gauge of Her future.” He cautions however, “But if this indefectibility is a matter of experience, it remains, nonetheless, a mystery (emph. the Pope’s); 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 until the end of the world.”
The only possible explanation for God’s indefinite withdrawal of the juridical Church from this earth is that His justice demanded such a withdrawal. The Church as Christ constituted it yet exists materially, but God now reserves the right to either determine its future restoration or to end its course here on earth with His Second Coming. The fact that we find ourselves without a juridic Church today is a punishment in direct proportion to the enormity of the crimes committed by members of the hierarchy who either engaged in heresy or moral evils or tolerated them. That a Church purchased at such a great price could be so little appreciated and rebellion and disobedience so easily ignored is intolerable to God the Father who sent us His only begotten Son, God the Son who suffered a most horrific death to redeem us and God the Holy Ghost, who must refuse his light and truth to those not worthy of receiving it. “And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more” (Luke 12:48).
Let those who refuse to believe this explain why it happened to God’s very Chosen People in the Old Testament. Catholics foolishly and pridefully presume it could never happen to those of us who have inherited their promise, even though we have been given so much more than they received. It will be 64 years this October since the death of Pope Pius XII. The year 2030 has been targeted for the completion of the new world order and 2028 will mark 70 years the Holy See has been vacant. It is no coincidence that the Babylonian Captivity lasted 70 years just as Jeremiah predicted and mentioned in the book of Daniel. For that captivity was a punishment for idolatry and rebellion against God by the king and the high priests (Ezekiel 28:2) as well as the people and it was an offense that could not be tolerated despite His promise that His people would remain in Judah. Below are the reasons taken from Holy Scripture explaining why God could not keep that promise at that time, although He later would regather the Jews.
The Church’s Babylonian Captivity
Ironically, Rome is often referred to by St. Paul as Babylon. The Babylonian Captivity of the Chosen People lasted exactly 70 years as the prophet Jeremiah predicted, extending from the burning of the Temple in 586 B.C. to its reconstruction in 516 B.C. Even though God had promised to preserve the Chosen People in Judah, He permitted them to be taken away. The prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel had predicted, even before Jerusalem fell, that the Chosen People were not following the law and would be punished, as Moses had warned them. Among their many abominable sins was idolatry. In the time leading up to the Babylonian captivity, Judah’s kings became so evil God finally completely disowned that kingly line of descent, vowing no one issuing from it would ever sit on David’s throne again (Jeremiah 22: 30). In Ezekiel 21: 25-27, God tells the prophet the King’s office would be suspended until the rightful claimant to the throne appeared. This of course was Christ Himself, rejected by the Jewish nation, which is why they have not possessed their land ever since. But when the Jews convert, (Zacharias 12:10), they will once again be able to peacefully occupy their land, this time forever.
“If thou wilt not keep, and fulfil all the words of this law, that are written in this volume, and fear his glorious and terrible name: that is, The Lord thy God: The Lord shall increase thy plagues, and the plagues of thy seed, plagues great and lasting, infirmities grievous and perpetual. And he shall bring back on thee all the afflictions of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of, and they shall stick fast to thee. Moreover, the Lord will bring upon thee all the diseases, and plagues, that are not written in the volume of this law till he consume thee: And you shall remain few in number, who before were as the stars of heaven for multitude, because thou heardst not the voice of the Lord thy God. And as the Lord rejoiced upon you before doing good to you, and multiplying you: so he shall rejoice destroying and bringing you to nought, so that you shall be taken away from the land which thou shalt go in to possess. The Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the farthest parts of the earth to the ends thereof…” (Deuteronomy 28: 58-64).
“Moreover, all the chief of the priests, and the people wickedly transgressed according to all the abominations of the Gentiles: and they defiled the house of the Lord, which he had sanctified to himself in Jerusalem. And the Lord the God of their fathers sent to them, by the hand of his messengers, rising early, and daily admonishing them: because he spared his people and his dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused the prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, and there was no remedy. For he brought upon them the king of the Chaldeans, and he slew their young men with the sword in the house of his sanctuary, he had no compassion on young man, or maiden, old man or even him that stooped for age, but he delivered them all into his hands. And all the vessels of the house of the Lord, great and small, and the treasures of the temple and of the king, and of the princes he carried away to Babylon. And the enemies set fire to the house of God, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burnt all the towers, and whatsoever was precious they destroyed. Whosoever escaped the sword, was led into Babylon, and there served the king and his sons till the reign of the king of Persia” (2 Paralipomenon 36: 14-21).
“If therefore you will hear my voice, and keep my covenant, you shall be my peculiar possession above all people: for all the earth is mine. And you shall be to me a priestly kingdom, and a holy nation. Those are the words thou shalt speak to the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:5). This is the promise that we inherited from the Jewish nation, but it is dependent on keeping the covenant — obeying the 10 Commandments, accepting Christ as Savior and the Pope as His Vicar, obeying the laws and teachings of the Church. Our promise of a Church that would last until the consummation was absolute, while theirs was conditional on the arrival of the Messiah and His acceptance by them. The Jews had no king or prophet following the captivity until Christ came to them as the Messiah. That king they rejected, although His name stands written above Christ’s head on every Catholic crucifix to remind us He was Christ the King, the cornerstone they refused to accept, the Messiah they longed for then put to death. Catholics, in rejecting their earthly king the pope and failing to defend him and restore him to power when the usurpers reigned, also at the same time rejected the invisible head of the Church, Christ the King. And so our visible king was taken away indefinitely, just as happened with the Chosen People.
Some will note that the Jews retained their priesthood, and they did, but their prophets spoke no more. Their temple was rebuilt and their sacrifices resumed, although they never recovered the Ark of the Covenant. And the Holy Ghost, the Shekinah — Who had once rested upon the top of the Ark under the wings of the Cherubim — departed from the Temple shortly before the Babylonian Captivity, never to be seen in the Temple again. As explained in the book of Ezekiel, this also was because of the abominable idolatry and apostasy of the Jewish nation. While thus devoid of the Shekinah, Christ visited Herod’s Temple before it was finished in fulfillment of the Scriptures. The Jewish priesthood was very corrupt even before the time of Christ’s birth as we see from the Gospels. The covenant God made with his Chosen People was inferior to Christ’s institution of the Church and the Apostolic College, which only was the completion of that covenant. God did not assign a perpetual head to speak to them in His name or a college of cardinals, or bishops required to be in constant union with a head priest and bishop as did His Son. He never promised all of Israel He would be with THEM until the final consummation.
The subversion and demolition of Christ’s Church was far greater than anything prior to that in the history of the Church, save our Lord’s betrayal by Judas and His death on the Cross. Seeing His Son crucified again by those who once loved Him, God extinguished the living light of the Holy Ghost, the Shekinah — speaking through Christ’s Vicars in His name — and removed the Holy Sacrifice from their midst. So had He taken away the Ark of the Covenant with its chalice of manna, that served as the Eucharistic prototype, until the conversion of the Jews in the last days. This along with the evil chief priests of Catholicism, joined as one body by Christ to Peter’s successors. One wonders what will happen when the Jews do convert and the Ark is recovered. How will this affect our own Church and will our Sacrifice ever be restored, or — if God in His infinite mercy deigns to forgives us — will we simply enjoy Christ in all His splendor in the heavenly New Jerusalem?
How much longer this state of affairs will last is uncertain but that it is richly deserved is a certainty we cannot deny. We continue to reproach Traditionalists on this blog because as long as they perpetrate the lie that they are the continuation of Christ’s Church on earth, they prevent the repentance demanded by God’s justice to repair the damage done to the Church and to their own souls. They join the Novus Ordo church in the resounding chorus “I sit a queen and am no widow and sorrow I shall never see” (Apoc. 18:7). Holy Scripture tells us otherwise, “…for in one hour is she made desolate (Apoc.18:19). And the light of the lamp shall shine no more… the voice of the bridegroom and the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee” (Apoc. 18:23). Scripture commentators don’t have much to say regarding the meaning of this last verse, but it seems it could be interpreted as follows: The sanctuary lamp declaring Christ’s presence in the most Blessed Sacrament burning no more and the voice of the bridegroom and the bride — Christ and His spouse the Church, speaking as One — ceasing to be heard anymore at all. That occurred with the Church’s spiritual destruction in 1958, yet She will never really be destroyed. Even after the final consummation and the destruction of her physical existence, Christ’s Mystical Body will last forever.
The message to be taken away from all this is crystallized in the allocution to the Roman Curia by Pope Pius XII mentioned above: The Church’s indefectibility is a mystery, and mysteries are to be accepted on faith even if they are not completely understood. We do not know or understand precisely how the Church continues to exist, except that Her true Head is our Lord, and all faithful Catholics are members of His Mystical Body. Isn’t the Pope telling us in this quote, then, that past experience of this “mystery” is not able to be precisely defined and used as a gauge for future reference? Doesn’t the very language he uses indicate that Catholics must not be too sure they fully understand the totality of this word’s implications? Given the fact that indefectibility is a mystery, this definitely leaves some room for its interpretation that we mere mortals cannot fathom. We must believe in it nevertheless, and await its final explanation, either following the Church’s restoration or, we pray, our arrival in Heaven.
by T. Stanfill Benns | Jan 17, 2022 | New Blog
+St. Peter’s Chair at Rome+
© Copyright 2022, T. Stanfill Benns (All emphasis within quotes added by the author)
The purpose of this blog is to further clarify and address some reprehensible and dangerous teachings still circulating on the Internet, errors that have existed now for quite some time. These false teachings have been addressed in past blogs but not as specifically as they should have been. Therefore, it is my intention here to try and address them all, although this is going to be a pretty lengthy blog.
I have been quite alarmed, as I am sure you all have, at the steady progress made by the powers that be to conclude their plans for the absolute annihilation of Christianity and their final push to introduce a new world order and religion. The only way these monsters will truly conquer us is to destroy our precious faith and they are using every means available to do this. Sadly this includes employing even those who appear to be with us when they are actually against us and who stealthily spread false teaching without us even realizing it. At this time more than any other time in history, true Catholics need to unite in their prayers and hold firmly to the Deposit of Faith, yet it is being attacked in a manner that could split them apart. This can only be a work of the Devil and we must earnestly pray that such efforts be understood for the satanic attacks they truly are.
One of the primary reasons such attacks have been so successful in the past is that people have forgotten how to think properly and use their reasoning abilities in the manner taught by the Church. For this reason, it becomes easy to mislead and confuse them. I am posting here a link that is not specifically Catholic, but which does adequately explain the necessity of using logic (taught by the Church as scholastic philosophy) to avoid the traps laid by those claiming falsely to be true authorities or who are trying to lead others to accept such authorities. I encourage everyone to look through the article and follow the links it provides, especially those regarding incentive and motive — https://effectiviology.com/false-authority/
Below we will list the truths of faith which continue to be attacked both publicly and through email and phone correspondence. It is crucial that all who wish to hold fast to the truths of faith thoroughly understand the nature of these errors and denounce them, if they wish to remain Catholic and weather the frightful storm that is soon to descend upon us.
An overview of heresies at issue
The link provided above should help readers to better determine the legitimacy of those posing as authorities, but they are still going to face difficulty sorting out whether what such people are saying is actually in agreement with Catholic truth. For either they fail to produce sufficient proofs from the magisterium to support their case or they present such proofs in such a convoluted manner that the reader is overwhelmed. Often these “proofs” proceed from a series of false premises that force the reader to dive down rabbit hole after rabbit hole. It is almost impossible to test their initial assumptions without considerable prior knowledge and study, something many do not have time for and cannot always conduct on their own. This is a major problem among Traditionalists and even certain supporters of the homealone position. Those trying to assist others in better understanding their faith have an obligation to at least attempt to explain things in a way they can be understood, although given the difficulty of the subject matter such explanations often must be long and involved.
But an important distinction must be made between simply inferring that something is true when it actually cannot be proven to be true and in the outright denial of truths of faith. One is the holding of a false and illogical opinion, the other is error or heresy, depending on the classification assigned to it by the Church. The heresies to be dealt with here are the nature and constitution of the Church, which have been used most frequently to discredit those choosing to pray at home. These include: the pope’s primacy of jurisdiction over the entire Church; the necessity of canonical election for papal validity, the nature of the power of jurisdiction held by the bishops and the intent of the Church in teaching that Christ would be with Her until the consummation, the denial of Pope Pius XII’s definition in Mystici Corporis Christi that while bishops do receive their power to rule directly from our Lord, they may validly exercise it only through the Roman Pontiff, and the current role of the laity in the Church.
Before addressing these heresies, we will begin with defining terms to be used.
Logic is known to the Catholic as the Scholastic method taught by St. Thomas Aquinas and scholastic debate ordinarily begins with definitions. “Nominal definitions are used chiefly at the beginning of a disputation to indicate what is the subject under dispute. If the word has only one definite meaning, that is to be adhered to… Real definition is an explanation not merely of the term, but the thing signified by it” (A.C. Cotter, S.J.’s ABC of Scholastic Philosophy, 1945).
Church — St. Robert Bellarmine:
“The one and true Church is the assembly of men, bound together by the profession of the same Christian faith, and by the communion of the same sacraments, under the rule of LEGITIMATE pastors, and in particular of the one Vicar of Christ on earth, the Roman Pontiff” (De Controversiis Christianae Fidei, vol. II, Naples, 1857. p. 74).
Pope Pius XII — (Mystici Corporis Christi): “Now since its Founder willed this social body of Christ to be visible, the cooperation of all its members must also be externally manifest through their profession of the same faith and their sharing the same sacred rites, through participation in the same Sacrifice, and the practical observance of the same laws. Above all, it is absolutely necessary that the Supreme Head, that is, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, be visible to the eyes of all.”
“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…” (Pope Pius XII, Feb. 20, 1946, to the newly made cardinals).
(See also definition of Mystical Body)
Addis and Arnold, A Catholic Dictionary: “When the hierarchy is spoken of, what is meant is the organization of ranks and orders in the Christian Church. 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 a forming a portion of the hierarchy. With this agrees the expression of Saint Peter calling the general body of Christians in the countries to which he is sending his epistle “a kingly priesthood and a holy nation.”… there is a hierarchy of divine right consisting under the primacy of Saint Peter and his successors… of bishops, priests and deacons. There is also a hierarchy by ecclesiastical right or a hierarchy of order… There is also the hierarchy of jurisdiction which consists of the administrative and judicial authorities under the supreme pastorate of the Holy See who are charged with the maintenance of the purity of the faith and union among Christians with the conservation of discipline etc.” (Also found in the work, Cabinet of Catholic Information, 1904, under Hierarchy).
The New Catholic Dictionary — Conde B. Pallen, Ph.D., LL.D. John J. Wynne, S.J., S.T.D.
“Sacred rule or government; hence the totality of sacred ministers in the Church, of distinct and various grades, in which the lower is subordinate to and yields obedience to the higher. Since one is constituted a member of the hierarchy by ordination the sacred ministers of the ecclesiastical hierarchy are by orders and office essentially distinct from the laity. In the Church we distinguish a two-fold hierarchy, one of orders, the other of jurisdiction.”
The Catholic Encyclopedia — https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07322c.htm
Catechism of the Council of Trent — (Subhead, The Internal Priesthood, under Orders):
“All the faithful are said to be priests once they have been washed in the saving waters of baptism. Especially is this name given to the just who have the spirit of God and who by the help of divine grace had been made living members of the great high priest Jesus Christ. For enlightened by faith which is inflamed by charity, they offer up spiritual sacrifices to God on the altar of their hearts. Among such sacrifices must be reckoned every good and virtuous action done for the glory of God. Hence we read in the Apocalypse 1: 5,6: ‘Christ has washed us from our sins in His own blood and has made us a kingdom and priests to God and His Father.’ In like manner was it said by the Prince of the Apostles: ‘Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ’ (I Peter 2:5); while the apostle exhorts us ‘to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy pleasing unto God, your reasonable service’ (Rom. 12:1). And long before this David had said, ‘A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit a contrite and humble heart O God thou wilt not despise’ (Ps. 1:19). All this clearly regards the internal priesthood.”
They Have Taken Away My Lord — Fr. Demaris — Nothing better explains the quote above from the Trent catechism than this precious work, available at https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/?s=They+Have+Taken+Away+My+Lord
Pope Pius XII — “This initiative of the lay apostolate is perfectly justified even without a prior explicit ‘mission’ from the hierarchy… Personal initiative plays a great role in protecting the faith and Catholic life, especially in countries where 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. It is clear however that, even so, nothing can be undertaken against the explicit or implicit will of the Church or contrary in any way to the rules of faith or morals, or to ecclesiastical discipline” (The Mission of the Catholic Woman, Sept. 29, 1957).
Relating to the administration of the law or the office or function of a judge (in Catholic terms, the pope and bishops; Websters 7th Collegiate)
Pope Pius XII — (Mystici Corporis Christi: “If we would define and describe this true Church of Jesus Christ — which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church — we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime, or more divine than the expression “the Mystical Body of 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.”
The Mystical Christ, (Rev. John C. Gruden, S.T.L., 1938) — “Bishop Myers clarifies this difference between the Church and moral bodies in the words: ‘What makes Christ’s Mystical Body so very different from any moral body of men is the character of the union existing between Christ and the members. It is not a mere external union; it is not a mere moral union, it is a union which, as realized in Christ’s Church, is at once external and moral, but also in that primarily internal and supernatural. It is the supernatural union of the sanctified soul with Christ and with all other sanctified souls in Christ. The term Mystical Body is used to convey the idea that the Church is not merely a social organization, but an organism, a communion, a body: the living spiritual or supernatural body of Christ.
“The term mystical or mystic calls attention to the fact that in mere natural or moral bodies the relationship between the members and their head and the relationship between the members one to another is moral only or juridical, whereas the relationship between Christ and the members of the Church, members of His body, is quasi-physical and organic. The bonds that unite Christians to Christ and to one another are organic, physical, sacramental, although supernatural and invisible. The Church is not only ‘a complicated but smoothly functioning administrative machine’ it is more than that; Christians and Christ form a body of a special kind, neither physical nor moral, which lives and grows by a vital force descending from the head Jesus Christ to the members. ‘Christ the head, in His members’ says Bishop Myers ‘constitute a unique entity which is designed by a unique name: the Mystical Body of Christ.’”
“This office was communicated to the Church formally by Christ when he said: “Going, therefore teach ye all nations” (Matt., 28). The Church exercises this teaching power infallibly in matters of faith and morals in virtue of the promise of divine assistance given her by Christ: “And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Matt., 28). This command to teach and this promise of special assistance were given to the apostles only. Therefore the actual holders of the teaching office in the Church are the Pope and the bishops as the successors of Saint Peter and the other apostles. The Pope and the bishops constitute the magisterium of the church for the ecclesia doscens, the teaching Church” (The New Catholic Dictionary — Conde B. Pallen, Ph.D., LL.D. John J. Wynne, S.J., S.T.D.)
Fallacies of logic
The numbered items below are taken from Rev. Bernard Wuellner, S. J., Summary of Scholastic Principles, 1956. They prove that the arguments advanced regarding the allegations made against this author are false and that they actually constitute the heresies mentioned above.
- Every judgment must be based on evidence. No argument or conclusion contrary to the evident facts is valid.
Comment 1: In articles posted to this website, I have frequently stated that the juridic Church has ceased to exist, composed of actual clerical bodies governing and ministering to the faithful). This statement has been styled as heretical, yet is a proven fact, acknowledged even by some Traditionalists, that the Church no longer exists as She once existed. I have always maintained that She has ceased to exist in every way Catholics once knew Her to exist, including the loss of all jurisdiction and the inability of the Church now to even provide a head for itself. The proofs I present regarding the inability of the Church to posit a papal election now are incontrovertible, resting as they do on infallible papal documents which cannot be contradicted. Consider the following undeniable facts that demonstrate the Church no longer exists juridically on this earth:
- The papal see is held by a series of usurpers and no man was elected pope to counter their reign; they reign unopposed. This has never happened before in the history of the Church.
- The usurpers confiscated and desecrated all the churches, took over all Church properties and institutions, changed all the Sacraments, abolished the Latin Mass, changed Canon Laws.
- They pretended to change infallible Church teaching and succeeded in imposing it on those who were once Catholic.
- They imposed on the faithful false ministers not possessing apostolic succession.
- They made it impossible for any of those who were truly Catholic to avail themselves of the Mass or Sacraments or any of the services and emoluments previously available to Catholics without denying the Catholic faith.
- The laws in existence prior to their usurpation and which yet remain in existence state that no one may be elected pope unless he is a) elected by cardinals who are certainly Catholic; b) who elect a qualified candidate who is certainly Catholic; c) by a 2/3 plus one majority and d) within the allotted time frame.
- The election of John 23 violated all these laws and deprived the college of cardinals of their right to vote (Can. 2391 §1)
- Pope Pius XII’s infallible election law Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis forbids anyone to change this law in any way, and if such an attempt is made it is null and void.
Given these established facts demonstrated as truths on this website for years — which have never been refuted nor can be refuted — it would be contrary to right reason to say that that the juridic Church has NOT ceased to exist. If all the Church ever was meant to be was contained in that juridic constitution, then it could be said that She has ceased to exist entirely. But we have the Church’s own teaching that She will never cease to exist and Christ’s promise that He will always be with Her until the very end. As Rev. E. Sylvester Berry writes in his The Church of Christ, “It is evident that the Apostolic Succession cannot fail in the Apostolic See so long as the Church Herself continues to exist.” And Rev. Berry, Henry Cardinal Manning, Cardinal Pie, Hilaire Belloc, St. Victorinus, St. Francis de Sales and others believe that for a time the Church WILL cease to exist, during the reign of Antichrist, but commentators do not agree on the length of his reign. Yet the Church will emerge from these trials triumphant.
And while the Church currently lacks a visible head, She is ruled by Christ from Heaven, She possesses the Deposit of Faith in all the readily available papal documents in book stores and on the Internet and She has access to nearly all the teachings of the Doctors, the Early Fathers and the saints. She is one and apostolic in Her belief in these doctrines and their origin, particularly the Primacy of the Holy See; She is holy in Her doctrines, also in keeping the faith to the best of Her ability and obedience to the laws of God and His Church; She is universal in her existence in most of the nations, scattered as She is. Therefore it can be said She is in material possession, at least, of the marks and attributes. Opponents deny the possibility of this material existence because they deny the fact that the juridic Church can cease to exist, believing it is the only true expression of Christ’s Church. For this reason they attempt to bind pray-at-home Catholics to the belief that their pseudo-bishops are true bishops, or that bishops exist “somewhere.” But while the existence of the Church as the Mystical Body is a dogma, they cannot support this claim regarding the bishops.
Comment 2: Please provide proof that the juridic Church, as She was constituted by Christ, with St. Peter and his successors visibly governing, can exist without the Roman Pontiff. Do these people expect me to believe them over the very bishop who called for the convocation of the Vatican Council defining papal infallibility and supremacy? This bishop, later named a cardinal, Henry Cardinal Manning, wrote in his The Temporal Power of the Vicar of Christ:
“St. Avitus: ‘If the Pope of the City (i.e., Rome) be called into doubt, it is no bishop, but the Episcopate at once which will be seen to waver’ (p. xi). The event may come to pass that… our Divine Lord… may deliver over His Vicar upon earth, as He delivered Himself, and that the providential support of the temporal power of the Holy See may be withdrawn when its work is done… when the whole number of those whom He hath chosen to eternal life is filled up. It may be that when that is done, and when the times of Antichrist are come, that He will give over His Vicar upon earth, and His Mystical Body at large, [for a time]”. Manning goes on to explain that even before the pope is taken away, the Church’s influence in the world would be much diminished. Then he writes, “The Son of God shall permit, for a time, the powers of evil to prevail. That He will permit it for a time stands in the book of prophecy. But the imperishable Church of God… will live on still through the fires of the times of Antichrist,” (pgs. 55-57; 139).
So do these objectors also wish to accuse Cardinal Manning of heresy? They will contradict a very learned and esteemed cardinal and Scriptural prophecy?! Is it not clear from this statement that the Church can exist in her lay members in the absence of the Roman Pontiff since Cardinal Manning tells us that not only will the POPE be taken away, but “…the Mystical Body at large,” which can be seen to mean the hierarchy as well. This agrees with all Cardinal Manning says below regarding the bishops.
In his The Pastoral Office (1883, London) Manning writes: “Bishops who are assumed by the authority of the Vicar of Christ are legitimate and true Bishops, true pastors whom the Holy Ghost has placed to rule the Church of God. This Divine order is expressed in the Preface of the Holy Mass on the Feasts of the Apostles, in which we pray that the Eternal Pastor may not forsake His flock, but keep it always, by His blessed Apostles, with a continual protection that it may be governed by the same rulers whom He had bestowed upon it as pastors and vicars of Himself” (p. 37). (And why would we pray this if it could never happen?!!!)
“Every reader already well understands that the Bishops, in howsoever great a number they may be assembled, can never form the body, or represent the Episcopal College, if they have not at their head S. Peter in his successor… The episcopal body is not headless (acefalo); but, by the institution of Jesus Christ Himself, has a head in the person of the Roman Pontiff. A body without a head is not that (body) to which Jesus Christ, gave the Episcopate full and sovereign. He conferred it on the College of the Apostles, INCLUDING SAINT PETER, who was made superior to all the Apostles. The Episcopate, which is one and indivisible, is such precisely by reason of the connection of the bishops among themselves, and of their submission to one sole Bishop, who is universal and sovereign. Therefore the full, universal, and sovereign power of governing the Church is the Episcopate, full and sovereign, which exists in the person of S. Peter and of each of his successors, and in the whole Apostolic College united to S. Peter, and in the whole body of the Bishops united to the Pope…” (p. 26-27).
In this same work, Manning quotes from the theologians:
“Peter and his successors possess this twofold plenitude independently of the Apostles and their successors, and can exercise this supreme office alone; but the Apostles could not, and their successors cannot, exercise their office without Peter and his successors.
“Jurisdiction as distinct from the power of Order, if it have no subject on whom to unfold itself, is barren, and lacks all use and exercise. Hence the designation and assigning of subjects, or of a region or diocese in which the episcopal right (episcopate jus, or jurisdiction) may be exercised, is necessary for actual jurisdiction: and he who assigns to Bishops their subjects and dioceses-gives also to them the use and exercise of their jurisdiction…”
Devoti, (writing under the supervision of the future Pope Pius VII):
“But if we consider the Bishops singly, as the rulers of particular Churches, they have received no jurisdiction immediately from Christ. All such jurisdiction arises immediately from the Church, which distributes dioceses, in which each Bishop singly is to exercise jurisdiction, and assigns to him certain subjects whom he is to govern. But it may even be granted and conceded that the jurisdiction, not only of the whole College of Bishops, but even of each singly, proceeds immediately from God Himself. For to the fountain we must return.
“A distinction is to be drawn between the jurisdiction itself and the act and use of it in exercise. The jurisdiction, indeed, may be derived immediately from God; but all act and use of it is from the Church, which gives the use of it (i.e. the right of using it) to each Bishop, when it assigns to him his subjects, on whom he may exercise this jurisdiction, which is itself of Divine right; but so long as it has no subjects it remains an otiose jurisdiction.”
“He shows that there is an influx of the primacy of Peter in the whole Episcopate; for without him no Bishop can be elected, confirmed, or consecrated; and when consecrated, he receives from the successor of Peter the diocese and flock within which to rule the Church. In this sense it is strictly true that all comes through Peter; even the power of Order, which is given immediately by God in the Sacrament of Consecration, comes through Peter as the channel through which the consecration is given. This influx of the head in the members of the Episcopate he abundantly proves by the words of S. Optatus, S. Augustine, S. Leo, and many more.
“A body without a head is not that (body) to which Jesus Christ gave the Episcopate full and sovereign. He conferred it on the College of the Apostles, including S. Peter, who was made superior to all the other Apostles. The Episcopate, which is one and indivisible, is such precisely by reason of the connection of the bishops among themselves, and of their submission to one sole Bishop, who is universal and sovereign. Therefore the full, universal, and sovereign power of governing the Church is the Episcopate, full and sovereign, which exists in the person of S. Peter and of each of his successors, and in the whole Apostolic College united to S. Peter, and in the whole body of the bishops united to the Pope.”
Manning then adds: “I mention again, lest it should seem to be forgotten, that although these powers were given to all the Apostles, yet the supreme pastoral, office or primacy was given to Peter alone; so that even the Apostles were numbered in his flock.”
How is the above any different in content than the teaching of Pope Pius IX that without the pope there can be no Church and no Catholic society? Or the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas that “In order that the Church exist, there must be one person at the head of the whole Christian people” (Summa Contra Gentiles, Vol. IV, pg. 76). Is it not perfectly clear that Manning and Pope Pius IX were professing the same teaching, that they were well acquainted with each other and with St. Thomas? These disingenuous critics are not accusing me of heresy but those who I provide as sources for my conclusions!
The fact that they attest that such bishops must and do exist and can now constitute the Church without Her Supreme Head favors the Gallicanist heresy and also denies the infallible declaration of Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis, which reads: “Bishops must be considered as the more illustrious members of the Universal Church… Yet in exercising this office they are not altogether independent, but are subordinate to the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff, although enjoying the ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly from the same Supreme Pontiff.” Papal and conciliar decrees must be cited stating specifically that the juridic Church can be said to visibly exist in the bishops alone minus her Supreme Head.
Pope John XXII condemned the errors of the heretic Marsilius of Padua for holding that: “St. Peter received no more authority than the other Apostles, …that Christ gave no head to His Church and appointed no one as His vicar here below — all which is contrary to the Apostolic and evangelic truth. These …lying men say that all priests, be they popes, archbishops, or simple priests are possessed of equal authority and equal jurisdiction, by the institution of Christ” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Marsilius of Padua). In saying that these bishops can constitute the Church without one of them being a true pope, isn’t this implicitly stating that they are equal in power and authority to Christ’s vicar? Heresy may be either implicit or explicit, according to Can. 1325. One either believes that the Pope is necessary for the Church to exist or not.
And consider the following, also condemned as a heresy: “The apostles and faithful priests of the Lord strenuously in necessities ruled the Church unto salvation before the office of the pope was introduced; thus they would be doing even to the day of judgment were the pope utterly lacking” (DZ 655, heresy of John Hus condemned by the Council of Constance). Isn’t this uncomfortably close as well to what these critics are maintaining? And moreover, in stating that it is blasphemous or heretical, as they do, to hold that a true pope can no longer be elected, what are we to think of the clear teaching that: “Likewise, whether he believes that the Pope canonically elected who lived for a time after having expressed his own name is the successor of the blessed Peter having supreme authority in the Church of God,” (DZ 570d, in different wording but the same meaning, proposed for belief to the Armenians; as stated here, DZ 674, proposed for belief to the Wycliffe and Hussite heretics at the Council of Constance).
And in Canon 219: “the Roman pontiff legitimately elected obtains from the moment he accepts the election the full power of supreme jurisdiction by divine right.” And in Canon 147, which reads: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical appointment. By canonical appointment is understood the conferring of any ecclesiastical office by the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the sacred canons.” In an authentic interpretation of this canon, the Holy Office decreed that this is a binding precept per the Council of Trent and entered it into the Acta Apostolica Sedis. Papal elections are governed under Can. 160 in the 1917 Code. No bishops unable to be investigated and determined legitimate by the Holy See could ever be considered competent electors! Only faithful bishops consecrated under Pope Pius XII could possibly have elected a pope, and they long ago expired. So where are the PROOFS that all laws and teachings of the popes and councils on the necessity of canonical election can be contravened in our current situation?
- In doubt, facts cannot be presumed, but must be proved.
Comment: These accusers are presuming such bishops exist; they cannot and have not proven it. So where are they and what good are they, even if they do exist? According to Can. 331, bishops must be at least 30 years old at the time of their appointment. Even if Pope Pius XII approved the appointment of a number of 30-year-old bishops in 1958, which he did not, those bishops today would now be 94 years old and that was the minimum age for episcopal appointment; the average age was more likely 40 to 50 years old. We are being told we must believe that these 94 to 105-year-old bishops still exist and can, without communion with the Roman Pontiff, constitute the true Church today. We are being asked to believe this not knowing if it could be proven they are who they say they are. We are being asked to believe they would have universal jurisdiction over us which only the cardinals and a true pope possess. We are being asked to assume this even though in 2019, in the whole world, there was just one single bishop — an Archbishop Emeritus — then alive who was appointed by Pius XII. (http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/sordb2.html) and he was a Novus Ordo bishop! We are being asked to believe highly improbable facts that no one can establish to arrive at the truth. But this is logic, this is sanity, this is Catholic teaching? I think not.
So what if there are “secret” bishops ordained as infants who exist behind the Iron Curtain? We have considered just such a possibility. (See https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/uniate-extraordinary-faculties-do-not-provide-jurisdiction/, subhead A Matter of Infallible Teaching, for Cardinal Manning’s explanation of this and a consideration of the known facts). Let us jump through the hoops proposed by the Church to determine if such men could be considered true bishops. If still alive, they would be quite elderly; it was 1939 when Pope Pius XI sent bishops behind the Iron Curtain to perform these consecrations. And even then, Montini is reported to have revealed their identities to the Soviet authorities who later went in and murdered them! Would they be certainly mentally competent at such an advanced age? Can it actually be proven they are the same individuals that they claim to be? Can any documents not suspect of forgery be produced to verify their claims? We certainly could not trust anything coming from Rome! Can they prove their mission with miracles, as St. Francis de Sales requires in his Catholic Controversy?
Enough of this nonsense. Just as the situation we find ourselves in today, we would have serious doubt regarding their validity. No one but a canonically elected pope could ever decide if such men were true bishops. And following the teaching of Bd. Pope Innocent XI and the unanimous opinion of the theologians, as pointed out in the link in the above paragraph, they are doubtful bishops and would have no jurisdiction over us whatsoever. So how would they ever be considered to constitute the true Church of Christ when to be true successors of the Apostles they need to unquestionably possess both orders AND jurisdiction? (See https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/1-what-constitutes-the-papacy/apostolic-succession-are-schismatic-clergy-and-laymen/).
As one reader phrased it: Who cares if they exist? Who would want to trust such puling, cowardly bishops who for decades have thrown the sheep Our Lord commanded them to feed and protect to the wolves?! And PUHLEASE, do not insult the saintly popes, cardinals and bishops who gave their lives for the faith by pretending that just because certain bishops did not attend Vatican 2, they can be considered true bishops. They remained SILENT in this awful betrayal of the Church, and they were our SHEPHERDS. Read Can.1325 and weep. They were commanded by the Church to elect a true pope for us even if it meant endangering their lives and they failed in their duty to lay down their lives for Christ’s sheep. Their duty to have elected is a fact based on the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine, established long ago in my first book.
In Pope Pius XII’s definition of the Church from Mystici Corporis above, there is no mention of the bishops as part of this visibility but there is every indication that we today could still materially, at least, satisfy this description even in the absence of the hierarchy. Otherwise Christ’s promise to His Church — that He would be with Her unto the consummation — is a lie, and the prophecy that for a time we would be without a true pope — when he who withholdeth is taken out of the way — is false. So how else are we to understand the certain fulfillment of His promise except in those of us who remain? As Our Lord warned us: “I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed” (Matt. 26:31). But we question this Divine truth, that as Cardinal Manning believes, the pope would follow the fate of his Divine Master?
Some of those who comment on Holy Scripture interpret sheep as the Apostles and by way of comparison their successors. Is not this exactly what happened when the bishops apostatized in the 1960s? Rev. Leo Haydock comments that this same passage in Zacharias (“Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand to the little ones,” Zach. 13:7) means that, “Christ takes care of his little flock, and always is one with the Father.” In the Matt. 26:31 version, he notes that “I will strike” means that Christ’s death (and in an accommodated sense, the vacancy of the Holy See) are trials and sufferings “directed by God.” He quotes from Luke 12:32 which reads: “Fear not little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you a kingdom.” Citing St. Bede, Haydock writes on this verse: “In order to console us in our labors, he commands us to seek only the kingdom of Heaven and promises that the Father will bestow it as a reward upon us.” Why is that not enough for some people? The answer is because it does not fit their pet idea of how God’s will is to be accomplished in these times.
- No inference contrary to the evident facts is true; conjectural opinions are dangerous (and the latter is condemned in Pope Pius XII’s infallible encyclical Humani Generis).
Comment 1: All these objectors can produce is inference regarding my supposed denial that the Church as Christ constituted it yet exists and will last until the consummation. Evident facts show that this is not at all what I have written for many years on my website for those who care to read it. The inference they are asking readers to assume here is that I “teach” that the Church of Christ on earth minus its visible head — the juridic Church — has ceased to exist, and they infer I believe this is all that was ever the Church on earth. But what about the Mystical Body? What about the invisible Head who rules us from Heaven? The interior life of the Church is just as much a living reality as her physical existence, as Bishop Myer states above under definitions and Pope Pius XII taught in Mystici Corporis. And in fact it was the neglect of this interior life that resulted in the false Vatican 2 council and the Traditional movement.
I made it crystal clear in articles written long ago that the Church continues Her existence as the Mystical Body of Christ in the absence of the hierarchy (see the following 2013 articles at https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/2-the-church/the-doctrine-of-the-mystical-body-pt-ii/, https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/7-recent-articles/the-church-has-not-failed-and-cannot-fail/). How can these dishonest people claim that I “teach” that the Church has entirely ceased to exist when I explain it at length from papal and other approved works in these and other articles? All that I have ever done is present what the Church Herself and Her approved theologians teach. What is the purpose of going to the macabre lengths of condemning me in moronic, repeated propositions based on unprovable conjectures that bishops must yet exist, when all this has been available on my website for years? THIS is true insanity, and I might even add, in certain cases, proof of malicious intent.
In Mystici Corporis Christi, Pope Pius XII condemned “popular naturalism, which sees and wills to see in the Church nothing but a juridical and social union… Although the juridical principles, on which the Church rests and is established, derive from the divine constitution given to it by Christ and contribute to the attaining of its supernatural end, nevertheless that which lifts the Society of Christians far above the whole natural order is the Spirit of our Redeemer who penetrates and fills every part of the Church’s being and is active within it until the end of time as the source of every grace and every gift and every miraculous power.” Doesn’t that very last sentence explain precisely how Christ is to be with His Church in these times? Isn’t it exactly what is stated above in the definitions section? Traditionalists and others are so caught up in the existence of the actual physical and external properties of the Church, (which in normal times, of course, must always exist and yet exist in reality in Heaven), they cannot fathom this most necessary and exquisitely tender supernatural union. In other words, they deal Christ right out of His own Mystical Body and the supernatural life, which Pope Pius XII DEFINES as the Church in Mystici Corporis above.
They wish to deny the repeated teaching of Holy Scripture and the Holy Fathers of the Church, as defined by the Popes above?! Wake up, people — we don’t live in normal times; we live in the end times and pretending the Church can now come back and change all that with these supposed bishops is wishful thinking. We must deal with REALITY, which the theologians teach can only be attained by applying the rules of logic. “[Logic] is the collection of rules which guide the mind to think correctly in its attainment of truth… Truth, as here understood, means the attainment of knowledge; that is, conformity or agreement of our thoughts with objective reality” (Logic, Joseph B. Walsh, SJ., Fordham Univ., 1940). The truth is, we cannot know for certain how or when the Church will return. We know only that Christ will be with us to the very end and that the Church will eventually triumph. That is something called faith — belief in things unseen.
Pope Pius XII taught that the Church’s indefectibility, though visible, “…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 through every trial to the end of the world” (Dec. 4, 1943 address to Roman Curia). So if it is a mystery, it is something we must simply believe and accept, not question. And it is not something we can know with any certainty. Christ is with us and will always be with us. How is not our concern. The commentators agree only that the Church will triumph — they are undecided regarding whether or not She will enjoy a revival following the death of Antichrist and his system or whether we may expect the consummation and Final Judgment immediately following his death. The Church has never decided this point, although Pope Pius XII taught it cannot be safely taught that the Church will reign on earth with Christ before the Final Judgment. It is taught by a good number of theologians that the triumph of the Church will be the destruction of Antichrist and his system and the renewal of the earth after the consummation, where the saints will then reign with their physical bodies.
The juridic Church as Christ constituted it is likely not coming back, not without an outright miracle anyway. The belief of many regarding this revival after Antichrist’s defeat is fueled primarily by private prophecy, and while Catholics can privately choose to believe this, they cannot beat people over the head with accusations of heresy for not believing it. If certain objectors believe that the laity in these times cannot possibly constitute what is left of the Church since clergy must also exist, they are refusing to accept reality. We did not place ourselves in this position or elevate ourselves to it; we were unlucky enough to find ourselves in it. They are the ones denying that the Church currently exists. The visible bishops they insist on and cannot produce would need to necessarily include a pope, for in order for the Church to exist as Christ’s Mystical Body on earth, as Pope Pius XII states above, “…it is absolutely necessary that the Supreme Head, that is, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, be visible to the eyes of all.”
As we also stated years ago on this website and have restated recently: Canon 1812 tells us that acts issuing from the Roman Pontiff and the Roman Curia during the exercise of their office and entered as proof in ecclesiastical courts “prove the facts asserted,” (Can. 1816), and force the judge to pronounce in favor of the party producing the document, (commentary by Revs. Woywod-Smith). “Proof to the contrary is not admitted against Letters of the Roman Pontiff bearing his signature,” (Abp. Amleto Cicognani, Canon Law, p. 626, ft. note). Documents entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis do not need to be submitted in the original or be an authenticated copy, (Can. 1819). Produce the signed papal statements that the Church can indeed exist with only bishops at Her head minus the pope and that bishops, not regularized or approved by Her, possess the jurisdiction necessary to apostolicity.
Refute the infallible papal election law of Pope Pius XII which teaches that during an interregnum, all is held in abeyance until the election of a true pope. Only the cardinals may make emergency decisions and we have none. Such decisions would have devolved on those faithful bishops consecrated under Pius XII who could have done only one thing: elect a true pope. But that did not happen, and no bishops today presenting some 64 years after the fact are able to resolve this situation without receiving a decision regarding the status of their consecrations from a true pope. The previous election law of Pope St. Pius X that Pius XII rewrote and updated in 1945 changed very little. Why? Because it reflected all the laws of the Church regarding papal elections throughout the centuries. So who is really violating the constant teaching of the Church here?
Comment 2: There also is inference involved concerning the absurd accusation that I “teach” we have only two Sacraments left to us. Again, stick to the facts. It is a proven fact that we cannot avail ourselves of five of the Sacraments today because our Church has ceased to exist juridically. I have carefully gone into all of this on my website. For two of these, Confession and Communion, we have spiritual substitutes. While ignoring the fact that I have repeatedly documented why we cannot receive the five Sacraments in question, some opponents jump to the entirely false and unsubstantiated conclusion that I have denied the existence of the other Sacraments. This is the best demonstration of their inability to reason properly so far. If I tell you that I have seven equally valuable and beautiful classic cars in my oversized garage but that I have a clear title to only two of them, and therefore cannot drive the other five because I cannot register them, does this mean that I am denying the existence of the other five or diminishing their beauty and value? Hardly. After all, someday I might be able to clear all those titles! I think this point alone sufficiently illustrates the irrational thread running through all these accusations.
- The common good demands certitude concerning the validity of acts (Cicognani).
Comment: Can we be certain such bishops exist? No, as explained above. Are we to believe it on a mere conjecture? Pope Pius XII forbids it. I have pointed this out before regarding the Siri “election.” The evident facts from papal decrees and the teachings of the Holy Office, also binding, are proofs that cannot be refuted. If such bishops are to be considered as the hierarchy, it is assumed that at some point those promoting them as the hierarchy would expect them to act as such. But they cannot so act in the absence of the Roman Pontiff; they are not able to elect a pope when their validity and competency is in question. We are facing the same situation with these fictitious bishops that we face at present, and we must behave the same: regarding anything involving eternal salvation and the validity of the sacraments we must take the safer course.
It is outrageous to follow the conclusions proposed in the fallacious reasoning advanced in this matter because it leads us to the very “heresy” I am accused of “teaching.” These so-called Catholics are asking the laity to judge the validity of these bishops and accept them as hierarchy — a usurpation of papal authority condemned in Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, by the Council of Trent and forbidden by Canon Law! So who is really promoting a lay church here? These people clearly have an agenda, they may already have these men waiting in the wings and they may even be prepared to receive orders from them. What else could account for the viciousness of these attacks and the strident denial of such a self-evident truth? For as Cardinal Manning stated above: “EVERY READER already well understands that the bishops, in howsoever great a number they may be assembled, can never form the body, or represent the Episcopal College, if they have not at their head S. Peter in his successor…”
Unless one wishes to accept the Traditionalists or the Novus Ordo as the true Church, there is no argument or conclusion that can contradict the evident facts, as stated above in no. 1: we no longer have a valid hierarchy, the Mass or the Sacraments. However you wish to look at it, the juridic Church is gone. At least one of the early Fathers, St. Victorinus, saw this and commented on Apocalypse Ch. 6:14 as follows: “And the heaven withdrew as a scroll that is rolled up.” For the heaven to be rolled away, that is, that the Church shall be taken away.” And Ch. 15:1: “And I saw another great and wonderful sign, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is completed the indignation of God.” For the wrath of God always strikes the obstinate people with seven plagues, that is, perfectly, as it is said in Leviticus; and these shall be in the last time, when the Church shall have gone out of the midst.” http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0712.htm
A final note: Paul 6 as Antichrist
Finally we must address the subject of Paul 6 as Antichrist, an opinion I set forth in my first self-published work in 1990 and have taken considerable heat for ever since. But all that has been said above applies to this topic as well, only in mirror reverse. Opponents present claims they insist must be taken as fact without the required proofs and evidence. In the matter of Antichrist, they attempt to force their readers to believe those things that are only opinions of the Scripture commentators as facts that are written in stone. Granted, some of these are the opinions of the early Fathers, but by no means are they unanimous, meaning that we are not obliged to accept them as certain. Very little at all is certain regarding Antichrist as the commentators all agree. And those things that ARE certain are the very things these objectors reject out of hand. They take completely out of context what has been said on this topic and offer no alternative explanation whatsoever to refute meticulously well-documented facts and events presented on this site about the Man of Sin.
Whatever is not certain in this matter does not bind us to belief; we are free to believe or not. In fact the Scripture commentators, even St. Robert Bellarmine, leave to those living in the time of Antichrist to determine what is meant by the texts which remain obscure: Antichrist’s name, number and mark, as well as other details. (Ryan Grant’s translation of St. Bellarmine on Antichrist, p. 100). Rev. Huchede tells us in his work on Antichrist that “The events connected with the end of the world will alone remove the mystery on which the sacred text is at present enveloped… I leave what is mysterious to be explained by the event.” He even admits that regarding the explanation of these mysteries, even “the greatest theologians and some of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church have failed.” Regarding the teachings of the Fathers, Huchede tells us we may “abandon their opinion with deference,” when it fails to conform to the truth, while accepting what they teach that is not fulfilled as probable. In very little are the Fathers unanimous regarding Holy Scripture, as Pope Pius XII notes in his encyclical on Scripture studies, Divini Afflante Spiritu.
But in my preliminary evaluation, I proceeded not on the opinions of commentators, not even primarily on the Fathers, but on the predictions of the popes. These are three: Pope Paul IV, who remarkably defined the very Scripture verse on the abomination of desolation that fits Antichrist’s advent to a “T”; the long St. Michael’s prayer written by Pope Leo XIII, warning that the abomination had already appeared in the holy place and Pope St. Pius X’s 1903 announcement that he believed Antichrist was already born (Montini was six years old at the time). Then of course there is the unanimous opinion of the Fathers which must be accepted as a rule of faith (DZ 1788) — that Antichrist will cause the Holy Sacrifice to cease. How anyone can deny the fact that Paul 6 caused the Holy Sacrifice to cease is beyond me. That is probably the most telling prophetical fulfillment of all since it is an actual fact that even Traditionalists acknowledge. But these objectors are no respecters of facts. They try to make it appear that just because the Mass ceases it does not mean the hierarchy does not exist. And so they return to their endless circular arguments regarding the non-cessation of the juridical Church.
St. Robert Bellarmine writes in his work on Antichrist that, “In the times of Antichrist ALL PUBLIC OFFICES and divine sacrifices will cease on account of the vehemence of the persecution” (p.134). But we will still have the hierarchy? Once again, I think I will take the opinion of a notable Doctor over that of my opponents. Bishops without an office are not apostolic; they are bishops in name only. Those objecting to my opinion on Antichrist do so because it conflicts with their own ideas of what is to come, or what they have planned. They may not agree with my opinion on Paul 6, but I challenge anyone to be able, at this point in time, to find the conditions necessary to support the fulfillment of the prophecies today. How can the Sacrifice now cease publicly since it no longer exists? Who would be those constituting the Great Revolt (defection of the cardinals and bishops even before Paul 6 reigned)? What large body of Catholics today are left to apostatize? Who and/or what is withholding today when we are without a true pope, and everything is in ruins?
As stated above, it has occurred to me that all this may be a prelude to some attempt to introduce “true bishops” and satisfy the longing of many pray-at-home Catholics for a restoration of what they might be led to believe is the Church. I pray with all my heart this is not the case. We live in very dangerous and perilous times that I believe could soon culminate in the final realization of all the end times prophecies. Rather than destroy what unity exists among us, we need to huddle together to survive the horrific storm about to descend on us all if we wish to keep our faith intact. It is God’s will that at this present time the Sacrifice has ceased, and we have no hierarchy to guide us. Why are we questioning His will? Why are we not accepting all this as a penance for our sins? If and when God decides to send us a true pope and bishops we will know it and there will be no doubt they are who they say they are. Yes, in the past I have said I believed they exist somewhere, but these hopes can no longer be realized after all these years, as explained above, without an outright miracle. Please excuse me if I dismiss all these pestiferous Pharisees in favor of the prophetic words of a truly holy man, Cardinal Louis Pie of Poiters, France:
“The Church, though of course still a visible society, will be increasingly reduced to individual and domestic proportions. She who in Her young days cried out: “The place is strait: give me room wherein to dwell,” will see every inch of Her territory under attack. Surrounded on all sides, as the other centuries have made Her great, so the last will strive to crush Her. And finally the Church on earth will undergo a true defeat: “…and it was given unto him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.” (Apocalypse 13:7). The insolence of evil will be at its peak. Now, in this extremity, what will be the remaining duty of all true Christians, of all men of faith and courage?
“The answer is this: Spurred on to ever greater vigour by the apparent hopelessness of their predicament, they will redouble their ardour in prayer, their energy in works, and their courage in combat so that their every word and work cries out together:
“Oh God, Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name, on earth as it is in Heaven,Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven,Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven, Sicut in coelo…et in terra!”
“And they shall still be murmuring these words as the earth is snatched from beneath their feet. And just as of old, after a comparable calamity, the Roman Senate and every rank of the state once went forth to greet the conquered consul Varro on his return and to honour him for not despairing of the Republic (“…quod de re publica non desperasset…”), so shall the celestial senate, all the choirs of angels and all the ranks of the Blessed come out to welcome the generous athletes who have continued the combat to the end, hoping against hope itself, “…contra spem in spem…” (Romans 4:17). COME, LORD JESUS!”
by T. Stanfill Benns | Jan 11, 2022 | New Blog
For many years, opponents of what is written here have pointed to Can. 1385 as prohibiting anyone from publishing without an imprimatur and nihil obstat. I long ago satisfied my conscience in this regard with the necessary investigation but perhaps the conclusions I reached need to be presented here to answer these objections once and for all.
We know that at present there are no true clergy able to teach or administer the Sacraments. That leaves everything to the laity. I have many times mentioned the quote from Pope Pius XII which states that in the absence of the hierarchy the laity must assume all their responsibilities as long as there is no violation of faith, morals or ecclesiastical discipline (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/3494-2/). Since the time of the Vatican Council in 1869, the popes have urged the laity to engage in Catholic Action. The Church requested the laity’s assistance because there were not enough priests to effectively minister to the faithful. Prior to Pope Pius XII’s death, lay people were to do so under the supervision of the hierarchy, but this is no longer possible. And Pius XII says in the above-mentioned address that an explicit mission to engage in the apostolate is not necessary. This one address and a few others are enough for me, but obviously not for others. So it will be useful to trace this out and demonstrate that there is a desperate need, there are grave obligations and there is no violation of the law involved in publishing Catholic teaching on this site or anywhere else.
Catholics were woefully ignorant of their faith over 100 years ago
Pope St. Pius X taught in Acerbo Nimis: “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… 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). Moreover, it is an interpretation of Holy Scripture and should be recognized as such.
So this is what Traditionalists presenting as priests and bishops SHOULD have been doing, not pretending to ordain and consecrate men to simulate the Sacraments at their various mass centers. There was a longstanding plea from the popes to educate the faithful and to help them establish their own Catholic Action cells and apostolates. Those truly wishing to preserve the faith were obligated to obey these commands to help the faithful understand what happened after Pope Pius XII’s death and why it happened. But they couldn’t afford to do this because eventually it would have become clear that once the jurisdiction of those validly ordained during Pius XII’s reign expired, there was no certainty that it could be supplied given the doubtful pope situation. It is interesting to note that Sedevacantists often cited the “a doubtful law is no law” and “a doubtful pope is no pope” yet never provided the source for this latter teaching. That source would have given far more weight to this statement than they wished, since it was the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine, so the ridiculous and heretical materialiter/formaliter hypothesis was introduced.
In short, Traditionalists did not want those following them to do any thinking on their own. Rather than offer them any real spiritual sustenance in exploring and explaining the truths of faith, they basically stuck a pacifier in their collective mouths — their contrived mass and sacraments — to shut them up. They had to make it appear that the Church’s mark of apostolicity yet existed in order to justify this, since this is the primary proof of this mark. And yet it is not the only proof.
Apostolicity of doctrine and the marks
Traditionalists could not address this however because to do so would have required them to acknowledge the times in which we live. To follow the clear signs — the apostasy of the bishops at Vatican 2, the abolition of the true Latin Mass, the desolation of the Church — would have indicated that Antichrist, the Man of Sin, had come and the Mass had ceased. The means to determine how it happened and what really needed to be done were already available in Pope Paul IV’s 1559 bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio in the mid-1970s, but this bull was attacked the minute it appeared and was successfully relegated to the rubbish pile of laws no longer in effect, even though it was proven beyond doubt that this law is still very much in effect. Is Antichrist still with us? Yes, he lives on in the usurpers in Rome just as Peter’s successors lived after him, Satan’s crude attempt to replicate the papacy. He is the whore of Babylon in league with all the principalities and powers that be, now ruling the world.
“Apostolicity… is the surest indication of the true Church of Christ, it is most easily examined and it virtually contains the other three marks… 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… 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… It is apostolicity of mission which is reckoned as a note of the Church” (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912). All this is true, however, ONLY if these bishops and the cardinals remain in communion with the Roman Pontiff. The only time we would not have this note is the time of Antichrist, when “he who withholdeth” is taken out of the way (the pope) and the bishops, beginning with the cardinals, would all apostatize. It is not “our” teaching, but conclusions drawn from the teaching of Henry Cardinal Manning and others.
Rev. Devivier writes in his Christian Apologetics: “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…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.” This explains why there is no true unity in the Church today — apostolicity of doctrine as it existed prior to the death of Pope Pius XII is not taught as an integral whole.
Devivier then explains the Church’s end. “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.” So unless we have apostolicity of doctrine, holiness in the Church cannot exist.
Rev. E. S. Berry, in his The Church of Christ, emphasizes the importance of apostolicity of doctrine but only if it is taught by legitimate pastors. “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… 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…
“The very purpose for which the Church was instituted, [is], namely, the GLORY OF GOD and the salvation of souls…. The Church is eminently fitted to give glory to God by its wonderful manifestation of His power, wisdom and goodness in providing such efficacious means of salvation for all men at all times, whatever be their condition or state in life. Christ proclaimed His doctrines, gave His precepts, and instituted the Sacraments to enable all men to participate in the fruits of the Redemption. He then instituted the Apostolic ministry to perpetuate this work in the world. He sent forth the Apostles with authority to teach and govern all men and to administer to them the means of salvation. But, as already shown, Christ instituted His Church by instituting the Apostolic ministry. It follows, then, that the Church was established to perpetuate the work of the Redemption by applying it to the souls of men.
“In a word, the Church was instituted to save all men, or, as St. Paul expresses it: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ until we all meet into the unity of faith and of the knowledge, of the Son of God, unto a perfect man.” … As Christ Himself admonishes: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice.” Since the Church was instituted to save mankind by bringing souls to eternal life, the ultimate end to be attained must be that which Christ enjoined upon all men and which the Apostles demanded of those who entered the Church, i. e., to submit to the authority of the Church, to be instructed by her in all revealed truths, to receive the Sacraments, and to offer true worship to God — in a word, to practice the Christian religion and thus prepare for eternal life.”
“The unity of faith and of knowledge:” If we fail to present the truths of faith contained in the Deposit as it existed on the death of Pope Pius XII, we are sabotaging our own unity and refusing to glorify God and fulfill the real meaning of “the salvation of souls” which Pope St. Pius X so clearly illustrated in Acerbo Nimis: knowledge of the true faith. Souls cannot be saved by (at best) questionably ordained priests created by bishops who were never given papal approval or permission (jurisdiction) to function as bishops. Christ is the Head of the Mystical Body in these terrible times — His Church has not ceased to exist. We can and must obey all that He commanded through His canonically elected Vicars whose teachings remain available to us; these must be learned and understood if we wish to remain Catholic.
The case of impossibility in observing the law
This is not a case of a doubtful law requiring the invocation of epikeia. This is a matter of both physical and moral impossibility in observing the law, treated under the rules governing Canon Law and moral theology. Traditionalist pseudo-clergy wishing to justify their own operations triumphantly claim that in violating Can.1385 — which requires permission to publish anything treating of theology, the Catholic faith, prayers and religious images — those so doing are appealing to epikeia and so cannot chastise them for doing the same. But this is not true in this case because Traditionalists, who also justify their operations by pointing to Can. 15 and the cessation of a doubtful law, cannot apply it to their situation. The reason they cannot apply it is because both canonists and moral theologians unanimously agree that regarding the validity of the Sacraments, they cannot be administered or received whenever doubt exists. To invoke Canon 15, Traditionalists first would have to prove their ordinations/consecrations were certainly valid.
Rev. Dominic Prummer says in his Manual of Moral Theology that if a person finds it completely impossible to observe a law, then absolute impossibility excuses from the observance of the law. Moral impossibility does not excuse from the observance of natural law, but it usually excuses from positive law with the exception of invalidating laws. Moral impossibility makes an act so difficult that the majority of men would never or only rarely perform such an act… [When] the law becomes detrimental to the common good and thus ceases to be law this is embodied in the well-known principle ‘no positive law obliges when there is grave inconvenience’ and applies also to divine positive law” (no. 107, 108). The canonist Rev. P.J. Lyddon, in his Ready Answers in Canon Law (1937) says that when doubtful Church laws (Can. 15) “do not bind, we act as if they did not exist until the legislator explains them.”
But more to the point are the principles laid down in matters governing conscience and the positive law. These are enumerated by Bernard Wuellner, S.J. below in his Summary of Scholastic Principles (1956) where no other author is cited.
- “As in all other concerns of education, so in the training of conscience we must use the several means. As a check on individual caprice, especially in youth, we must consult the best living authorities and the best traditions of the past. At the same time that we are recipient our own active faculties must exert themselves in the pursuit with a keen outlook for the chances of error. Really unavoidable mistakes will not count against us; but many errors are remotely, when not proximately, preventable” (Catholic Encyclopedia under conscience).
- “In order that a man tend to his last end, it is not sufficient that the way be pointed out in a general manner” (McHugh and Callan). “The natural and positive laws “must be applied to each act in particular by the practical reason or conscience, as it passes judgment on the right or wrong of an action in the light of all the circumstances.
- No one may act until a doubt of conscience is resolved
- A doubtful law is not binding, (and Cicognani includes doubts regarding cessation under his commentary on Canon 15).
- In doubt a minimum certain obligation only is to be exacted. (In the matter of Can. 1385 and its obvious cessation, the minimum certain obligation has been fulfilled: Recourse primarily to the teachings and laws of the Church Herself and when helpful for purposes of explanation, recourse also to those authors already approved by the Church.)
- Guilt must be proven.
- Facts must be proven.
- Invalidity must be proven.
- A valid positive law is not binding when there are extreme difficulties in observing it.
- Henry Cardinal Manning writes in his The Vatican Decrees and Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance that according to the laws of morality, “If [the exercise of them] is physically impossible, [they] would be morally impossible [and] repugnant to equity,” (p. 80).
- Positive law is true only when it is physically and morally possible of observance.
- No law can bind the subject to do the impossible or anything morally evil.
- In a conflict of law, the higher law prevails.
- “In a conflict of law… the more important law prevails. A precept of the natural law takes precedence over the positive law, a divine precept over a human precept, laws pertain[ing] to justice over those pertaining to charity” (Abp. Amleto Cicognani, Canon Law, 1935)
- The natural law is superior to positive law (“The 10 Commandments follow directly from the most general precepts of the natural law” — McHugh and Callan).
- The law of charity, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, (Summa Theologicae, II-II, q. 44, McHugh and Callan), is implicitly contained in all the commandments of other virtues, for charity is the end of every commandment (1Tim. 1:5)… A good conscience is had by the observance of the affirmative commandments of the natural law. Charity is also a precept of Divine law.
- Charity owed to our neighbor demands that in extreme spiritual necessity one give up even his life to assist him (McHugh and Callan, Prummer, theologians in general). The first, seventh and eighth commandments are violated by Traditionalist pseudo-clergy who cause the faithful to cooperate in non-Catholic services, contribute money to their mass centers, and who rely on the power of deception and withholding of Catholic truth to continue their “ministry.”
- “Obligations of justice have precedence over obligations of charity” (McHugh and Callan). The laws of justice demand that rights be upheld: “Render justice or his rights to each” (Wuellner).
- Catholics have both the obligation under Divine law to learn doctrine and the strict right to every possible means of learning and understanding it. “Persons and societies have the natural right to defend perfect rights against unjust assailants in proportion to both a) the necessity of the measures necessary for effective defense and b) the comparative importance of the right or good attacked. Whoever has a right to an end also has the right to the necessary just means to accomplish that end” (Wuellner).
- Furthermore, Catholics are bound under Can. 1325 to profess their faith whenever “…silence, subterfuge ormanner of acting would otherwise entail an implicit denial of their faith, a contempt of religion, an insult to God or scandal to their neighbor.”
Observance of Can. 1385 contrary to faith
We are fighting for our spiritual lives here, the survival of what is left of the Church and the right to practice our religion without molestation and to defend the Deposit of Faith. Those who insist that Canon Law forbids us to write in these times must necessarily deny the following:
- The necessity of apostolicity of doctrine
- The authority of the popes to define how this doctrine will be perpetuated in the absence of the hierarchy
- The principles of law regarding moral and physical impossibility as explained by the canonists and moral theologians
- The right to the necessary just means to accomplish our salvation and defend against unjust assailants.
- The strict obligation to inform our conscience and follow it according to “the best living authorities and the best traditions” available.
- In order to diligently form a right conscience, one must be able to ascertain facts, prove guilt in a given case and prove invalidity when validity is questioned.
- All the circumstances must be considered in each case.
- One is forbidden to remain silent in the face of a denial of faith, contempt for religion and scandal to the neighbor, particularly when such a wholesale denial is presenting as Catholic and suppresses the knowledge of truth.
- Silence gives consent. “It is a vice, by keeping quiet, to allow someone unworthy or unfit to be chosen for promotions and honors, or permit someone worthy to lose his dignity, goods or honor… The same can be said if, in meetings of the council, you keep quiet out of ignorance or malice and thus withhold the truth from the other advisers. Likewise, during a court hearing, if you see someone make a fraudulent accusation or be unjustly condemned, you will sin. And if you fail to reprehend the detractors in conversations defaming others by neither excusing nor praising the person defamed, you will sin by remaining silent. Likewise, when you perceive that a word to edify, instruct, exhort or correct someone is necessary, you commit a sin if you withhold that wholesome advice. Hence Isaiah exclaimed: ‘Woe is me, because I have held my peace’ (6:5). The same is said in Ecclesiasticus: ‘And refrain not to speak in the time of salvation’ (4:28)” (Vincent of Beauvais,13th century Dominican theologian, Speculum Majus).
- The obligation to aid our neighbor in extreme spiritual necessity.
- The longstanding papal command to supply for the absence of the hierarchy by engaging in Catholic Action and the catechetical apostolate.
- The duty to defend the Church according to one’s talents and abilities.
- The duty to avoid the heresy of quietism, which teaches: “…the desire to do anything actively is offensive to God and hence one must abandon oneself entirely to Godand thereafter remain as a lifeless body” (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912).
But what about Can. 21?
Canon 21 reads: “Laws enacted for the purpose of guarding against a common danger bind even though in a particular case there is no danger.” Cicognani states that “…the reason and purpose for which the law was made can change… and it ought to be revoked if it becomes useless, harmful or unreasonable. And if it has not actually been revoked, it is to be reasonably presumed to be revoked.” He then explains when this canon applies to the law. “A law ceases adequately when all its purposes cease, inadequately when only some particular purpose ceases.” Now all the purposes of this law ceased because there is no competent authority to administer the law. Cicognani continues: “The purpose of the law ceases contrariwise when an injurious law becomes either unjust or impossible of observance or negatively when the law becomes useless; universally when the purpose of the law ceases with respect to all subjects… If the purpose of the law ceases adequately and contrariwise for the whole community, the law ceases for the entire community. If it ceases adequately and negatively, in practice we can hold that the law ceases, according to the majority of canonists.” So either way, despite this cautionary canon, the law has ceased.
The right use of reason
As seen above, the right use of reason must be employed even in determining right and wrong when forming a right conscience. This involves arriving at conclusions and making the proper deductions. To claim we are not allowed to do this regarding the presentation of truths of faith is to actually embrace teachings condemned by the Catholic Church. The first of these were proposed by Nicholas of Autrecourt and condemned by Pope Clement VI: “Through natural appearances, no certainty [can] be had regarding things” (DZ 553). And “From evidence from one matter, another matter cannot be inferred or concluded…” Also condemned are the errors of Traditionalism and Fideism, described in the Catholic Encyclopedia as follows: “[Traditionalism is] a philosophical system which makes TRADITION the supreme criterion and rule of certitude.” Fideism is a bit more complicated but is very similar in its tenets. “Fideism (Lat. fides, faith), [is] a philosophical term meaning a system of philosophy or an attitude of mind, which, denying the power of unaided human reason to reach certitude, affirms that the fundamental act of human knowledge consists in an act of faith, and the supreme criterion of certitude is authority.”
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia article on certitude, “Many truths, indeed, have to be accepted on authority; but then it has to be made evident that such authority is legitimate, is capable of knowing the truth, and is qualified to teach in the particular department in which it is accepted.” As Rev. A.C. Cotter S.J. teaches in his The ABC of Scholastic Philosophy, (p. 284): “Authority clothed with the necessary conditions is true authority. False authority makes the same claims although it lacks these conditions.” Cotter comments that those following self-styled teachers of any philosophic system have the “duty to investigate for themselves. Authority is not the last criterion of truth or motive of certitude.” This duty is precisely what would be violated were the provisions of Can. 1385 followed. The Church has always taught that instruction be tailored to the times and circumstances and the understanding of the learner. If Catholics have no one to help them in this regard, how are they to fulfill their obligations and obey the Roman Pontiffs?
According to the laws of the Church (which are negatively infallible), in a conflict of law, the higher laws of justice and charity, found in the natural law, prevail. The laws of conscience cannot be violated; we cannot and must not embrace error of any kind and we must follow the rules laid out in the Canons for determining when a law ceases to bind. This is following Pope Pius XII’s admonition in his address on the mission of Catholic women not to violate ecclesiastical law. But the highest law, the salvation of souls which is the very reason for the Church’s existence, is supreme. No one is ever required to do the impossible. It has been proven that no authorities in Rome now exist to grant theimprimatur and review works to guarantee them free from error. Yet the obligation to strive for the salvation of souls, defend the faith and assist the neighbor remain.
And this obligation is not, as some have suggested, limited to our family, friends and acquaintances; everyone is to be considered our neighbor. Particularly in this time period when so many are scattered among the heathen in various lands without even any Catholics nearby, as several of our correspondents have communicated, with no way of accessing reliable Catholic resources, this work is necessary. Of course one must restrict any written presentation to those authors already approved by the Church and to the teachings and laws of the Church Herself, particularly Sacred Scripture, the Roman Pontiffs, the Fathers and the Councils. Where explanation is required, approved authors faithful to the magisterium must be used. This is all we have tried to do here, although we are aware that many take issue with what we present. But we cannot ignore the higher law without answering for it to God, and we are bound to obey our conscience if we wish to save our souls.
We end with this from Saint Alphonsus de Liguori’s sermon for the Sunday after the Ascension:
“Such should be your answer to all those satellites of Satan: you must despise all their maxims and reproaches. And when it is necessary to reprove those who make little of God’s law, you must take courage and correct them publicly. Them that sin, reprove before all (1 Timothy 5:20). And when there is question of the divine honor, we should not be frightened by the dignity of the man who offends God; let us say to him openly: This is sinful; it cannot be done. Let us imitate the Baptist, who reproved King Herod for living with his brother’s wife and say to him: It is not lawful for thee to have her (Matthew 14:4). Men indeed shall regard us as fools and turn us into derision; but on the day of judgment, they shall acknowledge that they have been foolish, and we shall have the glory of being numbered among the saints. They shall say: These are they whom we held sometime in derision. … We fools esteemed their life madness, and their end without honor. Behold how they are numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the saints (Wisdom 5:3).”
© Copyright 2022, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)