by T. Stanfill Benns | Nov 23, 2022 | New Blog
+St. John of the Cross +
Final wrap up on mis-education
In explaining the dangers of receiving modern liberal arts degrees, those offered as such by the Church in ages past were not a consideration, for they no longer exist. For those receiving such degrees from modern colleges and universities today, the point that should have been taken away from all this is that one cannot rely on such education to reliably inform either oneself or others regarding the practice of the Catholic faith. If not infused with the Catholicity the Church requires and demanded in the days when Catholic universities were in operation, these subjects as taught today are not to be relied upon as capable of guiding one’s conscience in matters of faith or in teaching others about the faith. That is not to say that if one later converts after receiving such an education it becomes absolutely useless and cannot be applied to some extent to matters not concerning the faith. But sorting out thinking errors absorbed in such studies takes time and is often more distressing and confusing than simply starting from scratch by studying more intensely the Church’s, laws, teachings and practices in these matters.
If one’s study of the faith is limited only to the basics this becomes quite difficult, since higher learning is “unlearned” only by replacing it with those things taught by the Church on the same level. This only makes sense. And asking those not sufficiently versed in the many pitfalls that can plague the thinking process to judge how their content is contrary to Catholic teaching is ridiculous, for only the legitimately established hierarchy of the Church could undertake such a task. As Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey explains in his The Spiritual Life, “Philosophical knowledge [is] acquired by the exercise of reasoning; …theological knowledge by applying reason to the data furnished by faith.” If the exercise of reasoning is attenuated in 1,000 imperceptible ways by erroneous thought patterns learned in a secular college or university, (or a Traditionalist seminary minus approved Catholic teachers trained accordingly), how can this possibly be sorted out by lay people expected to know only the basic catechism? And how, then, can it be reliably applied to theological knowledge? One would need to study the works of St. Thomas Aquinas for years, from approved sources, to even be able to begin to undo the damage done.
In Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical, Aeterni Patris, he stresses the great importance of the study of philosophy in the Catholic Church. The Pope writes: “The Church, built upon the promises of its own divine Author, whose charity it imitated, so faithfully followed out His commands that its constant aim and chief wish was this: to teach religion and contend forever against errors. To this end assuredly have tended the incessant labors of individual bishops; to this end also the published laws and decrees of councils, and especially the constant watchfulness of the Roman Pontiffs, to whom, as successors of the blessed Peter in the primacy of the Apostles, belongs the right and office of teaching and confirming their brethren in the faith. Since, then, according to the warning of the apostle, THE MINDS OF CHRIST’S FAITHFUL ARE APT TO BE DECEIVED AND THE INTEGRITY OF THE FAITH TO BE CORRUPTED AMONG MEN BY PHILOSOPHY AND VAIN DECEIT, the supreme pastors of the Church have always thought it their duty to advance, by every means in their power, SCIENCE TRULY SO CALLED, and at the same time to provide with special care that ALL STUDIES SHOULD ACCORD WITH THE CATHOLIC FAITH, ESPECIALLY PHILOSOPHY, ON WHICH A RIGHT INTERPRETATION OF THE OTHER SCIENCES IN GREAT PART DEPENDS.
“It may be well here to speak more fully in the words of one of the wisest of Our predecessors, Sixtus V: ‘By the divine favor of Him who alone gives the spirit of science wisdom, and understanding, and who thou ages, as there may be need, enriches His Church with new blessings and strengthens it with safeguards, there was founded by Our fathers, men of eminent wisdom, the scholastic theology, which two glorious doctors in particular angelic St. Thomas and the seraphic St. Bonaventure, illustrious teachers of this faculty, . . .with surpassing genius, by unwearied diligence, and at the cost of long labors and vigils, set in order and beautified, and when skillfully arranged and clearly explained in a variety of ways, handed down to posterity.
“’And, indeed, the knowledge and use of so salutary a science, which flows from the fertilizing founts of the sacred writings, the sovereign Pontiffs, the holy Fathers and the councils, must always be of the greatest assistance to the Church, whether with the view of really and soundly understanding and interpreting the Scriptures, or more safely and to better purpose reading and explaining the Fathers, or for exposing and refuting the various errors and heresies; and in these late days, when those dangerous times described by the Apostle are already upon us, when the blasphemers, the proud, and the seducers go from bad to worse, erring themselves and causing others to err, there is surely a very great need of confirming the dogmas of Catholic faith and confuting heresies.’“
“Although these words seem to bear reference solely to Scholastic theology, nevertheless they may plainly be accepted as equally true of philosophy and its praises. For, the noble endowments which make the Scholastic theology so formidable to the enemies of truth — to wit, as the same Pontiff adds, “that ready and close coherence of cause and effect, that order and array as of a disciplined army in battle, those clear definitions and distinctions, that strength of argument and those keen discussions, by which light is distinguished from darkness, the true from the false, expose and strip naked, as it were, the falsehoods of heretics wrapped around by a cloud of subterfuges and fallacies.”
So given the clear instructions of Pope Leo XIII above, which should convince any rational Catholic that what was written in our last blog was unquestionably the truth, we need to look in another direction — to examine the possible motives of those insisting that secular credentials in philosophy can be considered legitimate and trustworthy contrary to the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs. Any truly serious student of philosophy should already have read this most important encyclical and firmly and irrevocably accepted it as the Church’s official teaching on this matter. This brings us to another topic that should be better understood in these times when it seems that every tool of the devil is being used to deceive the unwary.
After years of answering questions and accusations from various critics, it is time to apprise readers of the modus operandi of the majority of these strident objectors and the reason they make the rounds as they do. At the bottom of things their motives and arguments are all the same, and come from the same sources, even though they are very careful to make it appear they are unrelated and only pop up at random. To help explain what is really at the root of all these attacks, which issue from a familiar enemy, we have posted an article as a bookmark here exploring their origins. Whenever a new objector appears on the scene, we will simply refer to this bookmark rather than issue a lengthy response. That being said, we hope that by doing this we can avoid further distractions and move on to the many important issues Catholics are struggling with today.
The Catholic origins of Thanksgiving
Several years ago, while still a reporter, I wrote the following article. It has been amended and updated for this blog piece.
“While American school children have always learned the traditional celebration of the first Thanksgiving began with the Pilgrims on this country’s eastern seaboard in 1621, this was only one of several “thanksgivings” in America, and it was not the first.
“Some 55 years earlier, expedition leader Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, a fervent Catholic and founder of St. Augustine, Fla. accompanied by Father Francisco López, his fleet chaplain, along with their crew, celebrated a feast of thanksgiving with Native Americans there after first offering a Mass of thanksgiving for their safe journey. The meal was nothing like we celebrate with today, being ship’s fare rather than the fruits of the Pilgrim’s first harvest. It reportedly consisted of salt pork, garbanzo beans, bread and wine. But the Mass of Thanksgiving was infinitely greater than any simple a meal celebrated by non-Catholics could ever be. It placed a mark on this land for Christ as His own.
“The largest cross in the Western Hemisphere, 208 feet high, now marks the location of this first offering of thanks. Every year on September 8, the feast of Our Lady’s Nativity, Floridians commemorate the landing of Menéndez in 1565 and the Catholic Mass that followed, with dignitaries from around the world gathering in St. Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S., to reenact the event. Other thanksgivings may also have been celebrated by Coronado, as he moved throughout the Southwest, as well as Ponce de Leon and Hernando de Soto. French, Portuguese and Hispanic Catholic contributions to American culture have received little notice in the history books in decades past, even Catholic history books.
“Southwestern historian Dennis Lopez has noted that one of these later Thanksgivings was celebrated in southern Colorado when a Thanksgiving Mass was offered on Aug. 19, 1598 or 23 years before the Pilgrims. ‘It made me want to learn more because I realized that the first Thanksgiving was NOT with the Pilgrims but with the Spanish! The Spanish had been exploring the Americas for years. Without their exploration and the stories going back to Europe, Europe would have probably never gotten involved in the New World.’”
“’None of us can afford to diminish or set aside the history of another group, especially when it affects all of us. Our beginnings in the Americas are not the pilgrims, or the trappers or Jamestown. It is part of the history of Spain. [The Spanish] chronicled the Native Americans, the lands from the eastern seaboard to California. Understanding their history is like filling in several holes in our own European history. It is past time to learn, share and sometimes even agree to disagree but let us do it with tolerance, respect and understanding. So let us share the day, the family stories, the laughter and the smiles. We will all be better for it!’”
I have heard some Traditionalists remark that Thanksgiving really is only a “Protestant” invention and should not be celebrated as a national holiday by Catholics as though it was the equivalent of ChristMass or Easter. But while it may not be the equal of these two greater feasts, it is not something instituted by the Protestants after all, nor should the excellent opportunity to render thanks to so good a God be passed up on this day. Gratitude is a very important virtue and to set aside one day in a year to express it is precious little. We give thanks every day in our after meals prayer. We thank God or should in our daily prayers for every grace, every, benefit, every cross He has sent to us.
On Thanksgiving Day, we should offer a spiritual mass and communion, also our Rosary, for the countless graces and blessings we receive every day from Our Lord and His Blessed Mother; for the many blessings of yet holding dear close family members and fellow Catholics, including the faithfully departed, and for all of God’s many material blessings. Those living in this country forget that in large part, without the explorations of the Spanish and French, this continent might never have been settled as quickly and successfully as it was. God’s hand was upon this country when St. Brendan first glimpsed it and called it the “isle of the blessed.” Columbus landed on her shores, and Our Lady’s Guadalupe title graced the spot where he landed, just as it did the land of Mexico. Our country has been corrupted and co-opted by those who were determined that she never fulfill her Catholic destiny, but God alone will be the One who decides our fate. If possible at all, it would take a disastrous and devastating fall, a bloody rebirth, followed by a brief but poignant victory, but it is difficult to abandon all hope that this country could somehow convert. In our Thanksgiving prayers we must remember to pray fervently for that miraculous conversion.
My heartfelt gratitude for all the contributors and supporters to this site and may you and your families enjoy a peaceful and blessed day of thanks.
What in the World… It’s not about politics
What we have resigned ourselves to as the prevailing political system today in this country would classify everyone in various parties, but for the Catholic this classification is meaningless. The issues at hand are not political, as I told one media colleague emphatically long ago, but moral. They are moral maladies warned against by the popes for decades, even centuries, prior to Pope Pius XII’s death. They are dangers to the Catholic faith as well, since in the case of secret societies, communism and socialism, they involve the worship of false gods and culminate in atheism. There is no need here to go into the abortion issue, same-sex “marriage,” transgenderism or transhumanism, all of which are innately opposed to the natural law and everything ever taught by the Church. The principalities and powers ruling over us may have politicized all these things, but they remain issues of faith and morals long ago condemned by the popes and in Holy Scripture.
Likewise with the creation of a one world order, first advocated by Pres. Woodrow Wilson. In a hauntingly accurate description of what would result from such a system, Pope Benedict XV on July 25, 1920, in an address honoring St. Joseph as universal patron of the Church, warned of the evils inherent in such a plan and the suppression of individual freedoms which would follow if it was implemented:
“The advent of a Universal Republic, which is longed for by all the worst elements of disorder, and confidently expected by them, is an idea which is now ripe for execution. From this republic, based on the principles of absolute equality of men and community of possessions, would be banished all national distinctions, nor in it would the authority of the father over his children, or of the public power over the citizens, or of God over human society, be any longer acknowledged. If these ideas are put into practice, there will inevitably follow a reign of unheard-of terror.” And much of this has already occurred.
A young combat photographer recently returned from some of the bloodiest battles fought in the Pacific theater during World War II wrote much the same thing in the late 1940s. Having just embarked on his writing career about that time, the echoes of recent peace discussions were fresh in his mind. The realization of the horrors of war, never erased throughout his lifetime, were at their most intense, and after an unsuccessful bid for a writing position with The Baltimore Sun he wrote:
“In the event of another war, the people of the world will be faced with one of two decisions: total annihilation or a swift arbitration and consolidation of peoples, governments and cultures worldwide. Not one nation could be omitted from the list, for as long as one nation remained independent and self-governing, there would always be the temptation and high probability of aggression on the part of the major nation. This temptation would have to be eliminated, for so long as one man or one nation has something that another has not, the greed of possession will be uppermost in the mind. Thus civilization and advancement will come to a standstill, and in time, like a timepiece sitting in the weather, the functioning parts of the mechanism will become rusted and will deteriorate into a solid, immovable mass.” — William E. Stanfill, Soliloquy
We have been fighting that war now for decades, a spiritual warfare never recognized as such but one that has taken from us first our beloved Church, and now our country. There will come a time, and it may be sooner than we think, when a line will be drawn in the sand, one we cannot afford to cross. That day will divide all those who now present as Catholic or Christian and unmask them for who they truly are — the wheat will be separated from the chaff. Those who stand firm will be openly persecuted and many will eventually be martyred. The rest will be counted among the ranks of Antichrist and his system. In the coming weeks, we hope to able to present some spiritual consolations and practical helps to prepare us for those times and strengthen our faith for the fight ahead.
by T. Stanfill Benns | Nov 13, 2022 | New Blog
The last blog touched briefly on the dangers of secular education, dangers most Catholics today, even Traditionalists homeschooling their children, well understand. But what they don’t understand is the deficits they themselves are saddled with if they were educated in public schools or even so-called “Traditionalist” schools, many of which have been racked with controversy, scandal and frequent changes in staff, providing an unstable learning environment for young children. Those educated in secular colleges or universities will have the greatest obstacles to overcome in successfully operating a home school. For unless they do their best to deprogram themselves successfully from the indoctrination they received, much of which is so deeply lodged in the intellect it escapes identification and correction, they will not be able to competently instruct their own children. Understanding the deviant nature of such indoctrination and how to combat it is key to ridding themselves of its effects.
The best expose of public (and private) schools was written in 2001 by John Taylor Gatto, who before his retirement in the 1990s was declared Teacher of the Year by both New York City and New York State. The book is based on his 30 years of teaching experience in the public school system and his many frustrations with uncooperative school administrations who failed to put children first. His book, which is heavily documented and goes into great detail, can be downloaded at https://archive.org/details/TheUndergroundHistoryOfAmericanEducation_758 Some may be familiar with Gatto’s first book Dumbing Us Down, a bestseller ever since it was released in 1992. In this work, Gatto presents the bare outline of his 2001 book, which was the result of 10-years-worth of research. Promotional material for Dumbing Us Down reads:
“John Taylor Gatto has found that independent study, community service, large doses of solitude and 1,000 different apprenticeships with adults of all walks of life are the keys to helping children break the thrall of our conforming society. For the sake of our children in our communities, John Taylor Gatto urges all of us to get schools out of the way and find ways to re-engage children and families in actively controlling our culture, economy and society.” While Gatto, who describes himself as a lapsed Catholic, is perhaps too quick to question some Catholic educational practices and leans towards personalism, an excessive freedom of individual behavior and expression, with emphasis on love of the person as an individual. (Personalism is an error emanating from ecumenism popularized by the leftist Dorothy Day and advocated by John Paul 2.) Such leanings, however, must be understood in the light of its contrary — the total eradication of the personality and the individual talents and excellences of students in public education. In his 2001 work, Gatto is insistent that the moral and faith-based principles of education are indispensable to its success.
Public schools and colleges founded on German military principles
These criticisms aside, Gatto’s work is otherwise brilliant and thought-provoking. Some of the quotes from The Underground History of Education will give the reader an idea of what to expect from his research and observations. The major premise of his work is as follows:
“It took seven years of reading and reflection to finally figure out that mass schooling of the young by force was a creation of the four great coal powers of the 19th century. Nearly 100 years later on April 11,1933, Max Mason, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, announced to insiders that the comprehensive national program was underway to allow in Mason’s words: ‘The control of human behavior…” In 1935 at the University of Chicago’s experimental school where John Dewey had once held sway, Howard C. Hill, head of the social science department, published an inspirational textbook called The Life and Work of the Citizen. The title page clearly shows four cartoon hands symbolizing law, order, science and the trades interlocked to form a near swastika. By 1935, Prussian pattern and Prussian goals had embedded themselves so deeply into the vitals of institutional schooling the heartless soul noticed the traditional purposes of the enterprise were being abandoned…” Gatto demonstrates just how the Prussian system of education was introduced in the 1800s, a system of compulsory education intended to create: “Obedient soldiers to the army; obedient workers for mines, factories and farms; well subordinated civil servants; well subordinated clerks for industry; citizens who thought alike on most issues; national uniformity in thought, word and deed.
“Traditional American school purpose — piety, good manners, basic intellectual tools, self-reliance, etc. — was scrapped to make way for something different… the compulsion school institution was assigned the task of fixing the social order into place… Society was to reflect the needs of modern corporate organizations and the requirements of rational evolution. The best breeding stock had to be protected and displayed; the supreme challenge was to specify who was who in the new hierarchical order… At the heart of the durability of mass schooling is a brilliantly designed power fragmentation system which distributes decision making so widely among so many warring interests that large scale change is impossible without a guidebook. Few insiders understand how to steer this ship and the few who do may have lost the will to control it.”
“The great destructive myth of the 20th century was the aggressive contention that a child could not grow up correctly in the unique circumstances of his own family; forced schooling was the principal agency broadcasting this attitude… God was pitched out of our schooling on his ear after World War II and this wasn’t because of any constitutional prescription (there was none that anyone had been able to find in over a century and a half), but because the political state and corporate economy considered the western spiritual tradition too dangerous a competitor… I lived through the great transformation which turns schools from often useful places into laboratories of state experimentation with the lives of children, a form of pornography masquerading as pedagogical science… The evidence of your own eyes and ears tells you that average men and women don’t really exist except as a statistical conceit… What has happened in our schools was foreseen long ago by [Thomas] Jefferson. We have been recolonized silently in a second American Revolution. Time to take our script from the country’s revolutionary start; time to renew traditional hostility toward hierarchy and tutelage.”
Fabian socialism and Hegelianism
Gatto’s keen insights predicted long ago the exact situation in which we find ourselves today: “The direction of modern schooling for the bottom 90% of our society has followed a largely Fabian design and the puzzling security and prestige enjoyed at the moment by those who speak of globalism and multiculturalism is a direct result of heed paid earlier to Fabian prophecies that a welfare state followed by an intense focus on internationalism would be the mechanism elevating corporate society over political society and is a necessary precursor to utopia… Fabian practitioners developed principles which they taught alongside Morgan bankers and other important financial allies over the first half of the 20th century. One insightful Hegelianism was that to push ideas efficiently, it was necessary first to co-opt both political left and political right. Adversarial politics competition was a losers’ game.
“By infiltrating all major media, by continual low-intensity propaganda, by massive changes in group orientations (accomplished through principles developed in the psychological warfare bureaus of the military) and with the ability, using government intelligence agents and press contacts to induce a succession of crises, they accomplished that astonishing feat… Thus the deliberate creation of crises is an important tool of evolutionary Socialists. Does that let you understand the government school drama a little better or the well-publicized doomsday scenarios of environmentalists?” And Gatto links Darwinism and its principles to the Fabians. But it doesn’t stop there. For those who want to crow about being highly educated, consider what Gatto says here:
Schools Masonic, Rockefeller funded, and psychopathic
“The whole blueprint of school procedure is Egyptian, not Greek or Roman. It grows from the theological idea that human value is a scarce thing represented symbolically by the narrow peak of a pyramid. That idea passed into American history through the Puritans. It found its scientific presentation in the Bell Curve, along which talent supposedly apportions itself by some Iron Law of Biology. It’s a religious notion [and ]school is its church. I offer rituals to keep heresy at bay. I provide documentation to justify the heavenly pyramid. School is a religion [and] without understanding the holy mission aspect you’re certain to misperceive what takes place as a result of human stupidity or venality or even class warfare. All are present in the equation… [John] Dewey’s pedagogic creed statement of 1897 gives you a clue to the zeitgeist:
“’Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right social growth. In this way the teacher is always the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of heaven.’ and John Dewey’s patron was John D. Rockefeller. Gatto explains: “The Rockefeller foundation has been instrumental through the century just passed along with a few others in giving us the schools we have. It imported the German research model into college life, elevated service to business and government as the goal of higher education, not teaching. And Rockefeller financed University of Chicago and Columbia Teachers College have been among the most energetic actors in the lower school tragedy.”
Gatto further describes public schools, even the less offensive ones, as peddlers of psychopathology. Their bewildered and confused graduates, he claims, come away from their school experience having learned emotional and intellectual dependency, indifference, memory loss, lack of self-respect and self-confidence, lack of empathy, inability to experience true intimacy, materialistic, purposeless, shallow, superficial, indecisive, entitled and perpetually fixed in adolescent mode. Perhaps this explains Traditionalists’ insane fixation with exterior religion and dependence on Traditionalist pseudo-clergy. Seldom in touch with self, always fixated on the outside world. One wonders if perhaps the some 40 or 50 percent who left the Church following Vatican 2 were those who at least had received some Catholic schooling, while the others remaining with new church had been sent to public school and CCD classes. Many of those children who are now adults in Traditionalist groups, if they were not homeschooled, doubtlessly were forced to resort to public school once Catholic schools no longer existed. (And attendance at dysfunctional Traditional schools does not count as a Catholic school education.) This accounts for their unreachability.
So given all the above, exactly why would anyone striving to be truly Catholic attend such obviously Masonic, anti-Catholic institutions or behave as though such institutions could possibly educate them in anything other than error and immorality? Why would they brag about credentials they have received from them? It is beyond belief that those homeschooling their children, Traditionalists among them, stop at the 8th or 12th grade of schooling to send their children to so-called ”conservative” high schools and colleges, even public high schools and secular colleges. That they pay to send them to such perverse academies is communicatio in sacris, cooperation in a false religion, as Gatto so well illustrates. We are to be in this world but not of it, and even if it means we might make less money or appear to be less desirable in the world’s eyes as an employee, our faith demands we spurn such institutions as inimical to our beliefs and a clear and present danger to both Church AND state.
Self-education the only option today
Gatto sums up his observations as follows: “My purpose is only to show that the wisdom tradition of American Christianity has something huge to say about where we’ve mis-stepped in mass compulsion schooling… Americans have been substantially broken away from their own wisdom tradition by forces hostile to its continuance. No mechanism employed to do this has been more important than the agency we call public schooling. In neglecting this wisdom tie, we have gradually forgotten a powerful doctrine assembled over thousands of years by countless millions of minds hearts and spirits which addresses the important common problems of life which experience has shown to be impervious to riches intellect charm science or powerful connections.” In his Dumbing Us Down, Gatto writes: “We need to trust children from a very early age with independent study… We need to invent curricula where each kid has a chance to develop private uniqueness and reliance… As they gain self-knowledge, they also will become self-teachers, and only self-teaching has any lasting value.”
In this world today, the only kind of education available to true Catholics is self-education. This is not by choice, but by necessity. What we wouldn’t give for true bishops, priests and Catholic nuns to teach us! Traditionalists, had they followed the laws of the Church, could have helped establish Catholic communities centered not on the Mass and sacraments, which they could not convey, but on catechetics, Catholic dogma and the spiritual life, which all can attain to according to their ability. They could have used the old Catholic teachings and methods to train catechists and baptizers, to instruct those aspiring to the married state and to assist parents with training in child-rearing and home-schooling. In this way strong, largely rural Catholic communities could have been built comparable to those maintained for nearly two centuries by the Amish and Mennonites.
Regarding such teaching, Pope St. Pius X taught in Acerbo Nimis, his encyclical on catechetical instruction, in 1905:
“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 Jeremias, ‘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 thus that 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.”
This tells us volumes. First of all, had Traditionalists truly been lawful “pastors of souls,” they would have nourished the sheep by teaching them, not setting up chapels and simulating Mass and Sacraments. Secondly, they must not have been “pastors according to My own heart,” for they did not impart to the faithful “knowledge and doctrine.” And finally, we see that such knowledge must proceed the administration of the Sacraments, as Christ himself modeled to the Apostles in establishing the Church. For only after three years of preaching and educating them did he bestow on them the power to confer the Sacraments and celebrate the Holy Sacrifice. Traditionalists calling themselves clerics were never set up in any way for “the government of the Church,” or they would have nourished the flock, not thrown them to the wolves.
Low on priests and religious to teach the faithful, the popes, beginning with the Vatican Council in 1870, did their utmost to engage Catholics in Catholic Action to fill the gap, with little success. No one rose up to bear the standard handed them by Pope Pius XII to assume the responsibilities of the hierarchy once they had all apostatized. In a column on Communism written by author Solange Hertz for The Wanderer in the 1980s, sent by a reader, we read the following:
“Fr. François Dufay, who witnessed the battle at close quarters in China [in the 1940s], says to lose no time in preparing the Church of the Catacombs: “Take as principle that normal exterior life – liturgy, teaching, apostolate – should continue as far as possible [but only when certainly valid clergy are available — Ed.]. But, at the same time, prepare Christians to preserve their essential religious life in the absence of priests, worship and Sacraments… Prepare memory aids on the dogmas of necessary means, marriage without clergy, perfect contrition, assistance to the dying, Baptism, child education, etc., and place these leaflets in safe places…”
“It would be good if trustworthy priests of high caliber were to set themselves to living the life of the people. They need profound dogmatic and spiritual formation, especially on the theology of the Church, the meaning and value of persecution and suffering, and should be steeped in the remembrance of the great saints and martyrs of the past. Thus armed, the Christian faith will use its bad times for growth in charity,” making the most of the service Communism will render it by purifying and detaching it from all that is not God here below. And again, “Actually it’s solitaries who must be found and trained, in other words, Christians capable of living their faith all alone, amid the strongest pressures, the most painful happenings and the most forbidding of deserts.”
Gatto was looking to build those strong solitaries among his students. He knew that atheistic materialism — Communism and its forerunner Fabian socialism — had infiltrated the schools. He knew that, as we learn fromthe Catholic Encyclopedia:
“• Intellectual education must not be separated from moral and religious education. To impart knowledge or to develop mental efficiency without building up moral character is not only contrary to psychological law, which requires that all the faculties should be trained but is also fatal both to the individual and to society. No amount of intellectual attainment or culture can serve as a substitute for virtue; on the contrary, the more thorough intellectual education becomes, the greater is the need for sound moral training.
“• Religion should be an essential part of education; it should form not merely an adjunct to instruction in other subjects, but the centre about which these are grouped and the spirit by which they are permeated. The study of nature without any reference to God, or of human ideal with no mention of Jesus Christ, or of human legislation without Divine law is at best a one-sided education. The fact that religious truth finds no place in the curriculum is, of itself, and apart from any open negation of that truth, sufficient to warp the pupil’s mind in such a way and to such an extent that he will feel little concern in his school-days or later for religion in any form; and this result is the more likely to ensue when the curriculum is made to include everything that is worth knowing except the one subject which is of chief importance.
“• Sound moral instruction is impossible apart from religious education. An education which unites the intellectual, moral and religious elements is the best safeguard for the home, since it places on a secure basis the various relations which the family implies.” https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05295b.htm
Tell that to those who would have us revere credentials received from these halls of “higher learning.” And when these same people advise us to give Traditionalists credit for their alleged accomplishments, when all that these “accomplishments” amount to is decades of skewing the truth, remind them of what Fr. Dufay said above. Ask them how it is that they have secured the salvation of souls and prepared their followers for these times with their perpetual bad example, infighting, immorality, and denial of the necessity of the papacy. They must answer to God for their sins. We are to avoid them, warn others against them and through prayer, penance and self-education, do our best to persevere until the very end.
by T. Stanfill Benns | Nov 5, 2022 | New Blog
In the preface to my last blog, I made a point of stating that not all questions would be answered. I also requested that my critics please allow me to complete the full explanation of all statements and terms before prematurely jumping to conclusions. Apparently, that was too much to ask. The latest accusations are that these blogs encourage the dissolution of doubtfully valid marriage contrary to the presumption of validity stated in Can. 1014, and that today marriage before a non-Catholic minister in a religious ceremony, contradicting the clear warnings of canonists, must be considered valid, when this event actually falls under the conditions outlined in Canon 2319 §1. Perhaps I should have indicated in the last blog that a further explanation would be provided later, but I have been trying to adjust what is presented here to the questions raised. While I had already intended to write further on this topic, this specific question now has presented itself and is answered below.
Meaning of “attempted” in Canon Law
While marriage is not an offense of course, for two Catholics to attempt it before a non-Catholic minister in a religious ceremony is definitely an offense, as Canon 2319 §1 and Pope Pius XII state. Those pretending attempted means the same as actually completed need to follow the rules of the Code and define attempted. Webster’s 7th Collegiate Dictionary defines it as: “1. To TRY: an unsuccessful effort.” This is simple grade school research that anyone should be capable of conducting. Lest objections be made that the meaning of this word in Canon Law differs from the accepted meaning, the definition of this term from the Code on attempted offenses is provided below.
“Whosoever institutes or omits actions which of their very nature lead to the commission of an offense but does not complete the offense either because he changes his mind or because its completion is impossible owing to the insufficiency or inadequacy of the means is guilty of an attempted offense… If the law decrees a special penalty for an attempted offense, the attempt constitutes a true offense… An attempted offense induces liability which increases in proportion as it approaches nearer to the consummation of the offense although the liability is always less than for the consummated offense” (Canon 2212, °2048 and °2049). This explains why Woywod-Smith state in Can. 2319 that: “The law of the Code has superseded the particular law of the Council of Baltimore [noted in Kinkead’s Baltimore Catechism no. 3, Q. 1040] insofar as the marriage of a Catholic with a non-Catholic before a non-Catholic minister is concerned. But the law of that council remains, we believe, with reference to the marriage or rather attempted marriage of two Catholics before a non-Catholic minister. For the Code does not punish this offense of two Catholics with a latae sententiae censure” (since Canon 2316 mentioned here is only a ferendae sententiae censure).
This is where Traditionalists also err in evaluating these laws, for one of them writes: “Presumption of Validity: Marriage is a unique sacrament because it enjoys the favor of the law. That means that regardless of the type of doubt which may occur after the attempted contracting of marriage, marriages are presumed valid until and unless they are proven invalid.” But as Woywod-Smith explain below, a doubt concerning validity arising in the case of marriage exists only to certainly contracted marriage. Attempted marriages cannot, by definition, be presumed valid; the parties never achieve the completed act, meaning the contract cannot, by Church law, be entered into. Under Can. 1014 Woywod-Smith state: “If a doubt arises as to the validity of a MARRIAGE CONTRACTED, the validity must be upheld until the contrary is proved. No contract which exercises so important a role as marriage… in the lives of Christians should be set aside unless it is absolutely necessary.” But no marriage is actually contracted in the cases being considered here, only “attempted.”
Under these same canons, Dom Charles Augustine also notes: “The external act committed exists whenever one does something which of itself would lead to the perpetration of a crime but does not consummate the crime itself, either because he gives up the criminal intent or because the means chosen are insufficient or inadequate to produce the criminal effect… If attempts at crime have a determined penalty appointed in the law, they constitute separate crimes,” and as Woywod-Smith note this includes the excommunication from the Baltimore Council in addition to Can. 2316, specifically because the offense was only attempted, but was prevented from actually happening by the laws themselves.
So if the attempt to commit this crime had not been impeded by Canons 1063 and 1094, the crime itself would be complete and would be punished with the latae sententiae censure of Can. 2314. Instead it is punished with a ferendae sententiae penalty which applies only because the act of marriage was not able to be competed under the two canons mentioned. Here the canonists expect those familiar with the Code to understand the nature of an attempted offense, a concept that this author intended to better explain to readers of this blog after further research and a better understanding of this concept. The words “seemingly” and “appears” were used to acknowledge the fact that all terms had not yet been fully explained.
Two baptized Catholics cannot marry validly in a non-Catholic ceremony even under Can. 1098 when a justice of the peace is available. Woywod-Smith are saying above that an attempted offense is always punished less severely than a consummated offense and that it is impossible for two Catholics to enter into a Catholic marriage under Can. 1094 or the exceptions provided in Can. 1098, which are to be interpreted strictly. There he says that Catholics must not use a non-Catholic minister if a justice of the peace is available and if for some reason they do so must never allow him to use a religious ceremony. Those quoting our articles to critique them mention only those Catholics marrying before a non-Catholic minister, but omit the important part about the religious ceremony to try and make their fictitious “case.” Nearly all Traditionalists and Novus Ordo members, however, engage in such a ceremony. We move on now to further points to help better summarize these blogs.
Timeline for determining marital status
Some will be wondering how one can determine any kind of timeline regarding marriage validity since the advent of Vatican 2. The following is suggested as a general guideline.
— Those baptized in the Catholic Church prior to 1959 and partially raised in the NO – If married before 1963 (some believe this should be 1965) by a priest whose bishop was appointed by Pope Pius XII and had not left his diocese, is valid.
— All marriages between 1963-March 1969, even those performed by priests under bishops appointed by Pope Pius XII who had not left their diocese: doubtfully valid.
— Trads or NO who have been validly baptized, raised in either sect and marry in that sect were validly married in that sect but not in the Catholic Church.
— Those realizing the Novus Ordo or Traditionalist sects were not Catholic who then left one of these sects to pray at home but later returned to them and married in a religious ceremony before one of their ministers: validly married in that sect but not in the Catholic Church.
— Baptisms are considered valid unless proven otherwise in certain cases, although good reason often exists to suspect them following 1968 and the introduction of the new rites.
All the blogs posted on marriage are based on the fact, examined in great detail on this site, that John 23 was not validly elected and could not provide jurisdiction to anyone following the death of Pope Pius XII. The discrepancy in determining when all this began (1963 vs. 1965) enters in because some believe that the bishops should not be held culpable until the completion of Vatican 2 for failing to recognize that John 23 was a heretic, and the council was not a true ecumenical council. But already in the first session held in 1963 and even before this date, Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton was vehemently pointing out the dangerous direction in which the Church was headed, and he and a few others vehemently protested the propositions proposed at the first session of Vatican 2. Bishops are not permitted to be culpably ignorant; cooperation in heresy is punished with the same penalties as heresy itself. And with heresy comes loss of jurisdiction. Nevertheless, until this question is settled, 1965 can be used as the date in doubtful cases, at least.
Who incurs the censures of Canon 2319 §1
First, we would also like to clarify the meaning of a “sacramental” marriage, since our critics have accused us of assuming that marriage among baptized Catholics outside the Church is not sacramental. “Any two baptized persons, Catholics or not, receive this Sacrament if no diriment impediment blocks their marriage” Sacramental Theology, S.J., Vol. I, p. 378; Rev. Clarence McAuliffe, S.J., 1958). No impediments today, however, apply to us under the emergency law for China. But here we are talking about marriages VALIDLY CONTRACTED, and attempted marriages are never contracted. Even if such marriages were simply unlawful, Rev. Kinkead in his no. 3 catechism tells us that receiving the Sacrament of Marriage unlawfully is a mortal sin and deprives Catholics of the graces of the Sacrament (Q. 1006). Marriages only attempted do not confect the Sacrament, and those marrying validly but unlawfully in ceremonies they believe to be Catholic receive no graces.
It should not have to be said that attempting marriage in a sect that closely resembles Catholicism, but in reality is not even Catholic, is more reprehensible, even, than marrying in a religious ceremony before a Protestant. At least non-Catholics marrying each other validly contract, in the Church’s eyes, and their ceremonies do not pretend to be something they are not. Their members simply are not contracting in the Catholic Church. The following person are considered to be excommunicated according to our best information from the canonists under the Canons mentioned above.
- As a general rule, under Can. 2200, two baptized Catholics in the NO or Trad sects who intend Catholic marriage, marrying before one who is not a priest but presents as one: at least material heretics in the external forum, outside the Church and forbidden to receive the Sacraments (Can. 1063, 2260, 2319). On departing from the NO or Traditionalist sects, may later renounce the marriage as attempted only, and under Can. 104 as an act of fraud or error.
- Those professing to be Catholic with the intellect and means to have discovered that there is serious doubt regarding the liciety and validity of Traditionalist sacraments, but who either attempt marriage before their ministers or remain in their sect despite this knowledge.
- A couple, one of whom at least, for a time, professed to be a pray-at-home Catholic but later returned to the NO or Traditionalist sect and attempted marriage in that sect.
- One professing currently to be a pray-at-home Catholic who inexplicably gives way to human respect or for some other unknown reason attempts to marry before a Traditionalist minister in a religious ceremony.
As Woywod-Smith note under Can. 1098 °1120: “The Church does not dispense in cases of necessity from invalidating laws,” and resorting to a non-Catholic religious ceremony in a non-Catholic Church violates Can. 1094, an invalidating law. Canon 2203 also states: “If a person violates a law by the omission of proper diligence or care, the liability is diminished to a degree to be determined from the circumstances at the prudent discretion of the judge. If the offender foresaw the infraction of the law and nevertheless neglected to use those precautions which any prudent person would have employed, the guilt is practically equivalent to deliberate violation of the law…” Here we are forced to be our own judges based on the teachings of the Church in these matters, relying on Canon Law and Church teachings only. Violators of the law are presumed guilty and must prove their innocence as stated in Can. 2200. This could be done by swearing out an affidavit to this effect and including exculpatory documents.
All those mentioned above in the bulleted points eventually become formal heretics under Can. 2314 if they do not repent within six months. There may be some hope for those who are unable to completely understand the theology of the pray-at-home position, or who are in fear for their souls if they leave the Traditionalist movement. Yet still they are bound by the censure for heresy and schism under Can. 2200 until they are able to present a believable case that proves their innocence.
As far as renewing consent goes, this ideally should be done using Can. 1098 as soon as possible and videotaped and dated to create a permanent record. Even in doubt that consent needs to be renewed, as with all the other Sacraments, a (conditional) renewal is the safest course. For those who must leave the marriage for serious reasons or whose partners refuse to commit to the promises not to molest the faith of the one staying at home and agree that the children are to be raised outside these sects under Can. 1098, perhaps it is best to separate for three years. This would allow for the completion of the probationary period prescribed by Canon Law for those guilty of heresy and other crimes. It would also give reluctant partners time to recant and would allow for study, reflection and prayer to prepare for a reunion or possible new marriage. But if there is serious danger of impurity involved in such a lengthy time period, it would not bind one who wished to remarry before completing the probationary period.
The study of marriage and related research will continue, and any additional information, especially anything that would better explain or change what has already been presented, will be reported.
Instructions on marital purity available
Finally, a refutation of a controversy conducted online for years regarding the teachings of St. Alphonsus Liguori on lawful sexual conduct in marriage has been found in two older, most useful and circumspect volumes written by Canon Alois De Smet. See Betrothment and Marriage, p. 206, Vol. 1: Lawfulness of the Sexual Act Between Married Persons. They can be downloaded here: https://archive.org/details/betrothmentmarri01smetiala and here: https://archive.org/details/betrothmentmarri02smetiala
The foolishness of this world
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice… Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks; but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened. For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:18 21-22).
I am not concerned about what readers think of my credentials (or lack thereof) or their opinion of me as an individual. Why? Because I don’t rely on either of these things to substantiate what I write. This blog is not about me. As a general rule, I don’t present my own opinions here — and when I do I say so, even though this only invites jeers from my opponents. I present what the popes, the councils, the canonists and approved authors have written themselves, not what I think about what they have written. They can speak quite well for themselves, thank you. We are to believe what they say and obey, not question what was written or taught by the popes and councils or the individuals they designated to expound what they taught. This is not a high school debate club, and Catholic teaching is not up for debate. Why would anyone think that? Well those who have not had the benefit of a Catholic education would believe, as is now popular in the Novus Ordo and Traditionalist circuses, that all theological questions are open to debate. All this tells us is that their education was decidedly secular and/or Novus Ordo and their thinking poisoned by a modern educational system that was even being condemned as anti-Catholic and dangerous in the 1930s. (Search for Crucifying Christ in Our Colleges, by Dan Gilbert, 1935).
The Church’s general attitude towards public schools and universities need hardly be mentioned here. Catholics were always forbidden to attend these schools whenever it was possible to attend a Catholic school; the Code treats of this in canons 1372-1383. I thank God for my Catholic parents who made many sacrifices to send their five children to Catholic elementary school. I also frequently thank Him for the great grace of being able to learn all three levels of the Baltimore Catechism from the Sisters of St. Joseph into eighth grade, and this before the changes of Vatican 2 wracked the Catholic school system. (So no, I already graduated with “A’s” from that level of education so scarcely need to be “re-educated” by rank amateurs.) I pity those who were not able to enjoy this privilege, but as I have said before, Catholics are expected to move on as adults as best they can in these times and obey Pope Pius XII’s command to carry on in the absence of the hierarchy.
(Note: The Kinkead Baltimore Catechism is only a starting point because it does not offer a complete assay of all the Church taught up to the death of Pope Pius XII. Taking on the duties of the hierarchy as Pope Pius XII commands requires much greater study and research. According to this manifestation of his will as a lawgiver, we are obligated to make certain everything is done to obey and uphold “the laws of the Church and ecclesiastical discipline,” as he instructed when commissioning the faithful to supply for the hierarchy. This is why there must be insistence on obeying Canon Law and everything taught by the popes. The Kinkead Baltimore Catechism, which we consider the most reliable, was written prior to the Code and many of the Church’s laws and teachings are therefore not included in the scope of this work, although later editions were updated to some extent. It is our opinion, however, that while approved, some of these later editions are liberal in nature.)
Those touting degrees received from secular or Novus Ordo institutions as evidence of their credentials and superior knowledge are only demonstrating their ignorance of Catholic teaching on this subject. And the higher the level of education even in the best of these cesspools, the worse the effects of the indoctrination received. All PhD means today is excrement piled higher and deeper. Unless re-educated in Catholic institutions truly grounded only in Catholic philosophy, such persons would not be allowed to act as Catholic teachers. Truly Catholic universities were struggling even in the 1940s and 1950s. They died in the 1960’s. Anything after that was nothing but pure heresy, apostasy and licentiousness. Leading Traditional “clergy” received degrees from these secular institutions in addition to their training in so-called seminaries operating outside the laws of the Church. They and their students are the supposed “experts” in law and theology today. And like the elite we see ruling in the political sphere, they rule absolutely. But where does their so-called knowledge issue from? The polluted founts of modernism, rationalism, naturalism, pragmatism, traditionalism and all the many isms that foul these secular institutions, and without the Church they are ALL secular institutions. Even non-Catholic conservatives today are horrified by what is taught in these “hallowed halls” of education.
Christ chose 12 uneducated men to serve as his apostles. Great Roman and Jewish schools of learning existed then, but the apostles had not attended these. Christ Himself comments on this in Matt. 11: 25: “I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones.” And from Acts 4:13: “Now seeing the constancy of Peter and of John, understanding that they were illiterate and ignorant men, they wondered and they knew them, that they had been with Jesus.” Many of the saints had only a basic education; some could not even read or write. If we are to come to Jesus as little children and learn from His lips only, and the lips of His Vicars, we cannot carry with us the hateful philosophies of this world.
There are those who will use the age-old tactic of divide and conquer to try and convince the unwary that only the enlightened ones who have imbibed the teaching of devils blessed by a degree can properly instruct them in spiritual or secular things; thus did the Gnostics deceive many Christians in the early ages. But these tactics will succeed only as far as God allows. We are in His hands and must pray we ever remain there.
“Those already praying at home who now are seeking release from marital situations or suffering from anxiety about the validity of their marriages will be surprised to learn that they are not considered validly married under Canon Law if they were married by a Traditional or Novus Ordo minister whom they believed to be a true priest, but who in fact could not validly witness the marriage.” This is the second paragraph of the first article written on marriage. It is clear from this paragraph that in this series I was addressing ONLY those praying at home or considering the pray-at-home position. Given the consistent stand on this site that Traditionalist and Novus Ordo believers are not Catholic it would be ludicrous to think I was addressing anyone else here as “Catholic.” Any true Catholic who knows about these laws would have an obligation to notify pray-at-home individuals that such laws exist and apply to them. Not to do so would be a grave sin and would definitely not be in keeping with the safer course in all things involving the Sacraments which has always been advocated on this site.
Catholics must have absolute certainty regarding the validity of the Sacraments. A doubtful law has no force only when it involves the lawfulness of an act, not its validity. It is the unanimous opinion of theologians based on the teaching of Bd. Pope Innocent XI that the safer course must always be taken when a doubt concerns the validity of a Sacrament, and it is a mortal sin to do otherwise. Canon 1094 treats of validity, not lawfulness. Unless one renews vows under Can. 1098 after leaving any non-Catholic sect, the contract they made in that sect is not considered valid in the Catholic Church; only when vows are renewed does their marriage become sacramental having been previously invalid. Marriage in non-Catholic sects between two baptized non-Catholics is sacramental in the sense that two validly baptized persons receive the sacrament, but not the full complement of graces necessary to their state; it is sacramental only in a wide sense. For they are not members of Christ’s Mystical Body, which alone assures them of the fullness of those graces. Deny that and you are outside the Church. This will be better explained in a future article.
Those “reeling” at the damage to marriages they claim will follow from making these laws of the Church known must not be very confident in the faith and good will of those praying at home. The “damage” they predict will apply to relatively few; a good number of those praying at home have already renewed their vows. What they seem to be envisioning is the damage that might result if those in the Traditionalist sect start questioning the validity of their marriages. And this would be a bad thing? And is this even a valid concern? As stated before, it is highly unlikely that those in the Novus Ordo or Traditionalist sects will ever leave those sects in large numbers to pray at home. A few here and there perhaps, but that is all. So what are those opposing the release of this information really objecting to and why? Could it be:
- The laws of the Church, based primarily on papal and conciliar law
- The fact that we are bound to observe those laws unchanged during an interregnum to remain Catholic
- That many of these laws and their true import have been suppressed and obscured for decades and are now coming to light
- That perhaps this might create additional fissures in the already shaky foundations of certain Traditionalist organizations
Honest answers to these questions might help explain their true motives for objecting to these blogs.