The Catechism alone will definitely NOT save your soul

The Catechism alone will definitely NOT save your soul

+St. Gabriel Possenti+

The topic of the “catechism only” as a source of instruction for Catholic adults is one that has prevailed for several months now and certain points need to be resolved in order to understand this issue properly. It has been stated that without learning the catechism you cannot save your soul, and while this is true, it needs to be pointed out that the truths found in the catechism come from a common source, and that without obedience to that entity, above and beyond anything found in the catechism, authored under the direction of the bishops, salvation cannot be had. For as Pope Pius IX taught in Tuas Libentur: “Even when it is only a question of the submission owed to divine faith, this cannot be limited merely to points defined by the express decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, or of the Roman Pontiffs and of this Apostolic See; this submission must also be extended to all that has been handed down as divinely revealed by the ordinary teaching authority of the entire Church spread over the whole world, and which, for this reason, Catholic theologians, with a universal and constant consent, regard as being of the faith.” And among these truths are the following.

Pope Boniface VIII: “We declare, say, define and proclaim to every human creature that they, by necessity for salvation, are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff.

The Vatican Council: “Further, by divine and Catholic faith, all those things must be believed which are contained in the written word of God and in tradition and those which are proposed by the Church, either in a solemn pronouncement or in her ordinary and universal teaching power, to be believed as divinely revealed.”

Humani generis: “History teaches that many matters that formerly were open to discussion, no longer now admit of discussion… Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: “He who heareth you, heareth me,” and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians” (Pope Pius XII, 1950).

Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton: Those documents “…sent to the episcopate of one country or region, [and] promptly entered into the Acta of the Holy Father, are thus indirectly sent, as normative documents, to the faithful of the entire world… We must not lose sight of the fact that, in the encyclical Humani generis, the Holy Father made it clear that any doctrinal decision printed in the pontifical Acta [Apostolica Sedis] must be accepted as normative by all theologians. This would apply to all decisions made in the course of the Sovereign Pontiff’s ordinary magisterium… the Holy Father is empowered, not only to obligate the disciples of Jesus Christ to accept, on faith or as certain, statements within the sphere of the Church’s doctrinal competence, but also to impose the duty of accepting other propositions within the same sphere as opinions…Humani Generis reasserts the right of the Roman Pontiff to demand an opinionative assent. When, in his encyclicals or in any other documents or utterances of his doctrinal office, he imposes a teaching upon the members of the universal Church militant with anything less than his suprema magisterii potestas, he is calling for such an opinionative judgment…The theologians of the Catholic Church have always recognized the fact that an intention on the part of the Holy Father is requisite if the faithful are to be bound by the teaching contained in his official Acta. Hitherto, however, there has been too much of a tendency to consider that such an intention would have to be manifested by some sort of formula, as for instance, the use of such terms as ‘define’ or ‘declare.’ The Humani Generishas put an end to this dangerous minimism.” (American Ecclesiastical Review, “Infallibility in the Encyclicals”).

And now we will see how the above is applied to the catechism issue.

The Catechism Controversy

The actual teaching method used and structure of the catechism itself was a much-disputed topic beginning in the late 19th century. This can be gleaned from reading the Catholic Encyclopedia article on catechesis. This heated discussion continued up to the death of Pope Pius XII. It even continued after his death, when the old catechisms were gutted and Vatican 2 versions substituted. One of the last approved directives written on catechetical teaching was authored by the esteemed theologian, Canadian Bp. Emile Yelle, who Msgr. Fenton praised as “…one of the outstanding theologians of our time.”  Bp. Yelle’s little work, The Teaching of Catechism, was written in September 1958. In this gem of a work he emphasizes the fact that rote catechetics had long been a failure because the authors of the catechisms themselves and those teaching from them were not properly disposed, either in their writing of the catechism or their teaching.

He advises those writing catechisms to better illustrate and explain the text, to use “language understood by the child… [for] without preliminary explanation the child understands little or nothing of the text of the catechism. Nevertheless, he is obliged to memorize these formulas and to remember them so as to be able to recite them as a prayer: a tiresome task, the purpose of which he cannot understand, in which he is not interested; an effort which disgusts him with religious instruction and which perhaps without his being aware of it, and the teacher too, all unconscious of it, is fostering in the soul of the child religious indifference for the years to come… We taught mere words without explaining anything. We simply touched the surface without every reaching the life-giving spirit. We merely grazed the child’s faculties, never touching the intelligence and the heart. We taught a verbally correct doctrine, but its vivifying force has remained merely on the surface of the soul. Word for word method without explanation is certainly not the correct method of teaching catechism. It is simply the tyranny of the memory over the intelligence

“The child can easily repeat wise sayings and yet for all that be not more learned, nor better educated. A great and needless fatigue has been imposed on him if indeed we have not contributed to create in him a secret desire to rid himself as soon as possible of this unassimilated burden. This first tedious contact with truth is a very poor introduction for any explanation. One might fancy that his work is done when the child has answered correctly that he has attained his goal and that the child ‘knows his catechism.’ No. It is no proof whatsoever that the child knows his catechism because he easily repeats stereotyped formulas… Instead of enlightening the mind of the child by some rays of light adapted to its capacity we have plunged it into darkness — vague ideas scarcely intelligible because insufficiently suitable — and the little that has been understood has left the impression of a world that is unreal and that has no connection with that in which the child lives and moves and sees. No attraction to religious acts, no invitation to the practice of Christian life: ideas suspended in mid-air like soap bubbles that break when they come in contact with the least speck of dust or explode under the slightest breeze. Terrible danger! And it may well be the explanation for that disheartening gap between the theoretical faith of our people and their actual way of life.”

And as for teachers, Bp. Yelle quotes from Pope Pius XI’s encyclical on education: “’That they be thoroughly prepared and well-grounded in the matter they have to teach [and] possess the intelligence and moral qualifications required by their important office; who cherish a pure and holy love for the truths confided to them, because they love Jesus Christ and His Church, of which these are the children of predilection; and who have therefore sincerely at heart the true good of family and country… It is necessary that the teacher understand the meaning of the text and the knowledge of the profound ‘truth’ that the words express to be able to distinguish the central point of the doctrines in order to revert to them in his explanations and in order to captivate the minds of the children by these beacons: Our Lord, the state of grace, prayer, faith Divine Providence, the Holy Eucharist and the spirit of sacrifice. It is evident that to do this requires more than a mere knowledge of words.”

“The teacher must know what the doctrine is and be able at the same time to express it in other words than those of the text. He must know the doctrine before teaching it; he must learn the Gospel by meditating upon it thus entering into all the details of the life of Our Lord in such a way [as to] be able to teach catechism in a truly Catholic way.” Please tell me who is it who will train us as catechists? Who has offered the means for such training from approved works? Where would we find these things? And even if we possessed them, how could we adapt it successfully to what Bp. Yelle so wisely suggests, when the rote method is all that anyone knows today? The little children’s catechism by Fr. Heeg, (my first catechism), posted on this site thanks to the tireless work of a kind benefactor, was chosen precisely to comply with Bp. Yelle’s suggestions. For it tells a story as well as offers questions to be answered and provides memory aids to help children better remember the lessons.

If those adults teaching and quoting the catechisms do not know or accept the doctrines on which they are based, and those doctrines that flow from what the popes later teach, how can they possibly impart the full scope of truths to their children or adult converts? How can they possibly claim to be obedient to the Roman Pontiffs or to love Our Lord when they are not accepting or teaching the whole truth, integral and entire?? For only from Christ’s Vicars themselves, not the bishops or the theologians, many of whom had long abandoned the true faith even before Vatican 2, can we be assured of infallible truth. Below we will rely on those yet faithful to the truth to explain the importance of what is known as doctrinal development.

How doctrine develops

As Pietro Parente, Antonio Piolante and Salvatore Garofalo write in their Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology (1951): “According to Catholic doctrine, a dogma cannot undergo intrinsic and substantial changes. There is an evolution, however, on the part of the faithful as to understanding and expressing a dogma (extrinsic and subjective evolution). This legitimate progress appears in the history of the dogmatic formulas defined by the Church as gradually the meaning of the truths contained in the sources of divine revelation came to be more profoundly and clearly understood.”

And this is also stated in the Catholic Encyclopedia under dogma: “The full meaning of certain revealed truths has been only gradually brought out; the truths will always remain. Language may change or may receive a new meaning; but we can always learn what meaning was attached to particular words in the past.” The full meaning here under discussion is the binding nature of the pope’s encyclical letters and other documents entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis.

Dom Prosper Gueranger, the intrepid Abbot of Solesmes in his book, Pontifical Monarchy, explained authentic doctrinal development in these words: “It is a fundamental principle of theology, that all revealed truths were confided to the Church at the beginning; that some were explicitly proposed for our belief from the start, whereas others, although contained implicitly in the first set of truths, only emerged from them with the passage of timeby means of formal definitions rendered by the Church with the assistance of the Holy Ghost, through Whom she is infallible.”

“May understanding, knowledge and wisdom progress as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole Church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding.” — St. Vincent of Lerin. Msgr. Joseph. C. Fenton, commenting on this statement by St. Vincent points out:

“The Vatican Council has used the words of Saint Vincent of Lerin to declare as a matter of faith that the understanding of one man as well as that of the Church as a whole can progress and grow in its grasp of the revealed truth and that this growth always takes place in one and the same sense and meaning (DZ 1800). There can be no question, of course, of new doctrines or propositions which the ancient Church did not recognize as revealed but which the same Church in later years accepted as having been communicated by God. Neither can there be a question of some statement which God added to the deposit of faith after the death of the last apostle. As a matter of fact, there has been no addition whatever to the content of public revelation since the death of Saint John the Evangelist.

“The Church is, and has been since Her inception, perfectly infallible in Her teaching of the revealed truth. Since She first came into being, She has taught the entire doctrine which God gave to the world through Jesus Christ our Lord without error. Then the definite progress in dogma and in sacred theology has come in the process of resolving problems and questions in such a way that the true and objective meaning which was contained in the divine teaching is set forth continually in answer to attacks against Catholic doctrine and for the enlightenment of the piety of the faithful throughout the ages” (The Concept of Sacred Theology, 1941).

And in another essay, “The Church and Catholic Dogma,” written for the American Ecclesiastical Review in February 1949, Msgr. Fenton comments further:

“When he began his preparation for the definition of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Pius IX made it completely clear that he relied upon the assistance of divine grace to enlighten his mind on the project he was about to undertake. In an encyclical letter, dated Feb. 2, 1849, the great pontiff begged the bishops of the Catholic world to have the faithful entrusted to their care pray publicly for him. Yet Pope Pius IX certainly did not consider that this divine help in any way exempted him from examining the properly theological evidence about this doctrine. In this same encyclical he announced the appointment of a pontifical commission to study this evidence and to report to him.

“The commission appointed at that time by Pope Pius IX applied itself first of all to a consideration of the characteristics in function of which a truth or a proposition is said to be definable as Catholic dogma. It indicated no less than nine principles which must be employed in evaluating a proposition as definable. The first four among these principles dealt with the type of evidence not absolutely necessary in order that a proposition should properly be judged as definable.

“(1) The fact that, in the past, there have been conflicting teachings on this subject within the Catholic Church, or the fact that all have not hitherto agreed on this teaching, does not render a doctrine incapable of definition.

(2) The fact that even authoritative writers can be quoted in opposition to a teaching does not render that teaching incapable of being defined.

(3) In order that a doctrine be definable, it is not necessary that there should be explicit, or even implicit, testimony to this doctrine in Sacred Scripture, since it is certain and manifest that the scope of revelation is wider than that of Scripture.

(4) In order to show that the doctrine to be defined belongs to Tradition, it is not necessary to adduce a series of Fathers and of other witnesses reaching back to apostolic times.

“All of these negative principles imply the commission’s conviction that, in order that a doctrine should be considered as definable, there must be real evidence that this teaching is actually to be found in the apostolic deposit of divine public revelation. The commission manifested not the slightest trace of willingness to content itself with a conviction about the definability of a doctrine based upon some corporate religious sense within the Church or upon any other so-called “non-intellectual” factor. This concern of the commission shows itself even more clearly in the positive principles it delineates.

“(1) In order that a statement may be considered as definable, there must be a certain number of solemn testimonies directly pertinent to it.

(2) A proposition is capable of being defined if there can be found one or more revealed principles containing it.)

(3) A proposition is capable of being defined if it shows a necessary connection with dogmas. In other words, a proposition ought to be accepted as revealed when, from the denial of this proposition, there follows by logical and immediate necessity the denial of one or more revealed principles.

(4) A proposition may be defined as Catholic dogma if it is preached as a part of divine public revelation in the concordant teaching of the actual episcopate. (T. Benns commentFound in all Catholic Catechismsduly authorized by diocesan bishops, beginning with the Catechism of the Council of Trent.)

(5) A proposition is capable of definition when it is shown to be a part of divine public revelation by the practice of the Church.

“In calling for a theological examination of the question he considered defining and for a study of the conditions that rendered a truth capable of definition, Pope Pius IX stated clearly that he was following the precedent established by his predecessors on the pontifical throne.” Msgr. Fenton references another article he terms as excellent, Opinions Concerning Doctrinal Development, by Rev. Charles Sheedy, C.S.C., published in the January 1949 edition of The American Ecclesiastical Review,  that places what is said above in perfect perspective. Rev. Sheedy wrote: “Thus it is clear that there has been progress, development in the dogmatic teaching of the Church, not merely in precision of terms but in actual content and subject matter. Doctrines are taught today as divinely revealed which were not explicitly taught 100 years ago and after the Council of Trent, a whole galaxy of truths entered into the dogmatic teaching of the Church, proposed to the faith of Catholics, not as new dogmas, BUT AS CONTAINED IN THE ANCIENT DEPOSIT.

In a genuine development, a doctrine is presented by the Church as pertaining to faith which did not enter into the explicit faith of Christians of earlier times, perhaps a truth which did not even occur to them. Or again, a truth which was not universally accepted but which was thought to lie in the area of free theological disputation is later taken out of that area and formally recognized as part of the original deposit.” This is true regarding the “implicit desire” of the Suprema haec sacra, for example, which inspires so much venom from Feeneyites, and was first contradicted by Leonard Feeney. That contradiction was definitively condemned by Pope Pius XII.

Errors in the catechisms

Can the ignorance of later developments of dogma, decisions of the Roman Pontiffs entered into the Acta, contribute to actual errors or inaccuracies in the catechisms many are using today? They can and they have. Two examples are listed below:

Bishop Louis Morrow, My Catholic Faith, 1958, 1961: In his section on The Sphere of Infallibility, Morrow writes: “The Pope… must speak as the Vicar of Christ in his office as Pope and to the whole Church; to all the faithful throughout the world. In his capacity as private teacher, for example in his encyclical letters, he is as any other teacher of the Church. We accept what he teaches not on faith but in obedience to his authority, out of respect for his experience and wisdom.” Morrow states that Rev. Francis J. Connell “painstakingly reviewed” his work, and yet Connell’s own statement in a previous article and later in his catechism on this subject does not read the same.

Fr. Francis J. Connell’s 1949 Baltimore Catechism: “

In an article for The American Ecclesiastical Review, (November 1947) Rev. Francis J. Connell, C.S.S.R. wrote: “Besides the infallible teachings of the Church on matters contained in Revelation or connected with it, there also are pronouncements of Her official teachers which are authoritative though not infallible. . Such are decisions of the Roman Congregations or Commissions, and also doctrines taught by the pope officially, but without the intention of using the fullness of his authority and of giving a definitive decision. The statements of the Sovereign Pontiff are usually in this category. The faithful are obliged in conscience to accept such decisions internally, for even though their correctness is not guaranteed by the charism of infallibility, those who formulate and promulgate them are undoubtedly aided by the Holy Ghost. Furthermore, every natural precaution is taken before such declarations are published, particularly the meticulous supervision of men who are specialists in the matters involved, [see also DZ 2008]. The acceptance of these decisions is not an act of Divine faith, but is rather an act of obedience, known as religious assent…The general rule is that all Catholics, learned and unlearned, clergy and laity, must acquiesce wholeheartedly to these authoritative (though not infallible) decisions of the Church…”

Bishop Morrow cannot be excused for his statement since it was written 10 years after Humani generis was released in 1950. He went on to accept Vatican 2, while Connell did not. Rev. Connell’s remarks, however, were written prior to 1950 and doubtlessly were adjusted once Humani generis was released, (although one wonders why he would have passed over Bp. Morrow’s statements, given what he says above.) So those using the 1949 Connell and Morrow catechisms are misinformed on this topic because they trust what a priest and a bishop say over what the pope has taught. So how could these catechisms be considered infallible? Msgr. Fenton shows how some tried to pretend that Pius XII never intended to admit that encyclicals could be infallible in the first place by mistranslating one word in Humani generis(Msgr. Fenton’s article on this is available on request). And clearly this belief dichotomy continued into Vatican 2 as Fenton further notes and I have explained from an historical perspective HERE.


It is true that catechisms contain infallible truths; they simply do not generally contain ALL the truths we as Catholics today must know and understand to make sense out of the nightmare we have endured for the past 65 years. Fr. Connell’s 1949 catechism was written for ninth graders. If anyone thinks we were intended to remain at the level of a ninth-grade education to accomplish anything else in life, far less save our souls in these troubled times, they must be mad. As Bp. Yelle pointed out, it is a lack of understanding the catechism and putting it into practice that destroyed the faith of young Catholics and led to Vatican 2. Those believing the catechism is enough to know about their faith obviously have not read the many papal allocutions on Catholic Action or catechesis, and they certainly should heed the words of Peter Michaels, who wrote: “If all Catholics have a moral duty to understand their faith at their level of secular education few of us are going to be saved. A college graduate for instance ought to have a pretty good understanding of Saint Thomas and of the natural law. He ought to see the major issues involved in restoring society to God. Do you by any chance think he does? Pope Pius XI said in another connection: ‘In our day and age, an unenlightened heroism is not enough’” (This Perverse Generation, 1949).

Those advocating “the catechism only” theory have not been honest in pointing out the dangers of their thesis. It is our responsibility to see that those they are misinforming know the truth.

Take up your cross and follow Me: the true meaning of Lent

Take up your cross and follow Me: the true meaning of Lent

+Ash Wednesday+

For those who may still believe that we were not warned beforehand about the evils we see all around us today, evils that we mourn especially this Lent because they crucify Our Lord anew, we offer the following observations from the Roman Pontiffs.

Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, 1832

“4. We come to you grieving and sorrowful because We know that you are concerned for the faith in these difficult times. Now is truly the time in which the powers of darkness winnow the elect like wheat.[3] “The earth mourns and fades away….And the earth is infected by the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinances, they have broken the everlasting covenant.”[4]

“5. We speak of the things which you see with your own eyes, which We both bemoan. Depravity exults; science is impudent; liberty, dissolute. The holiness of the sacred is despised; the majesty of divine worship is not only disapproved by evil men but defiled and held up to ridicule. Hence sound doctrine is perverted and errors of all kinds spread boldly. The laws of the sacred, the rights, institutions, and discipline — none are safe from the audacity of those speaking evil. Our Roman See is harassed violently and the bonds of unity are daily loosened and severed. The divine authority of the Church is opposed and her rights shorn off. She is subjected to human reason and with the greatest injustice exposed to the hatred of the people and reduced to vile servitude. The obedience due bishops is denied and their rights are trampled underfoot.

“Furthermore, academies and schools resound with new, monstrous opinions, which openly attack the Catholic faith; this horrible and nefarious war is openly and even publicly waged. Thus, by institutions and by the example of teachers, the minds of the youth are corrupted and a tremendous blow is dealt to religion and the perversion of morals is spread. So the restraints of religion are thrown off, by which alone kingdoms stand. We see the destruction of public order, the fall of principalities, and the overturning of all legitimate power approaching. Indeed this great mass of calamities had its inception in the heretical societies and sects in which all that is sacrilegious, infamous, and blasphemous has gathered as bilge water in a ship’s hold, a congealed mass of all filth.

“6. These and many other serious things, which at present would take too long to list, but which you know well, cause Our intense grief. It is not enough for Us to deplore these innumerable evils unless We strive to uproot them. We take refuge in your faith and call upon your concern for the salvation of the Catholic flock. Your singular prudence and diligent spirit give Us courage and console Us, afflicted as We are with so many trials. We must raise Our voice and attempt all things lest a wild boar from the woods should destroy the vineyard or wolves kill the flock. It is Our duty to lead the flock only to the food which is healthful. In these evil and dangerous times, the shepherds must never neglect their duty; they must never be so overcome by fear that they abandon the sheep. Let them never neglect the flock and become sluggish from idleness and apathy. Therefore, united in spirit, let us promote our common cause, or more truly the cause of God; let our vigilance be one and our effort united against the common enemies.

“7. Indeed you will accomplish this perfectly if, as the duty of your office demands, you attend to yourselves and to doctrine and meditate on these words: “the universal Church is affected by any and every novelty”[5] and the admonition of Pope Agatho: “nothing of the things appointed ought to be diminished; nothing changed; nothing added; but they must be preserved both as regards expression and meaning.”[6] Therefore may the unity which is built upon the See of Peter as on a sure foundation stand firm. May it be for all a wall and a security, a safe port, and a treasury of countless blessings.[7] To check the audacity of those who attempt to infringe “upon the rights of this Holy See or to sever the union of the churches with the See of Peter, instill in your people a zealous confidence in the papacy and sincere veneration for it. As St. Cyprian wrote: “He who abandons the See of Peter on which the Church was founded, falsely believes himself to be a part of the Church.”[8]

“8. In this you must labor and diligently take care that the faith may be preserved amidst this great conspiracy of impious men who attempt to tear it down and destroy it. May all remember the judgment concerning sound doctrine with which the people are to be instructed. Remember also that the government and administration of the whole Church rests with the Roman Pontiff to whom, in the words of the Fathers of the Council of Florence, “the full power of nourishing, ruling, and governing the universal Church was given by Christ the Lord.”[9] It is the duty of individual bishops to cling to the See of Peter faithfully, to guard the faith piously and religiously, and to feed their flock. It behooves priests to be subject to the bishops, whom “they are to look upon as the parents of their souls,” as Jerome admonishes.[10] Nor may the priests ever forget that they are forbidden by ancient canons to undertake ministry and to assume the tasks of teaching and preaching “without the permission of their bishop to whom the people have been entrusted; an accounting for the souls of the people will be demanded from the bishop.”[11] Finally let them understand that all those who struggle against this established order disturb the position of the Church.

9. Furthermore, the discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or be branded as contrary to certain principles of natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority. In this discipline the administration of sacred rites, standards of morality, and the reckoning of the rights of the Church and her ministers are embraced.

10. To use the words of the fathers of Trent, it is certain that the Church “was instructed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and that all truth was daily taught it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”[12] Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain “restoration and regeneration” for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune. Indeed these authors of novelties consider that a “foundation may be laid of a new human institution,” and what Cyprian detested may come to pass, that what was a divine thing “may become a human church.”[13] Let those who devise such plans be aware that, according to the testimony of St. Leo, “the right to grant dispensation from the canons is given” only to the Roman Pontiff. He alone, and no private person, can decide anything “about the rules of the Church Fathers.” As St. Gelasius writes: “It is the papal responsibility to keep the canonical decrees in their place and to evaluate the precepts of previous popes so that when the times demand relaxation in order to rejuvenate the churches, they may be adjusted after diligent consideration.”

 Pope Leo XIII, Humanum Genus, 1884

“The enmity of the sectarians against the Apostolic See of the Roman Pontiff has increased its intensity… until now the evil doers have reached the aim which had for a long time that of their evil designs, namely their proclamation that the moment has come to suppress the Roman Pontiff sacred power and to completely destroy the papacy which was divinely instituted.”

Pope St. Pius X, Our Apostolic Mandate, 1910

“Jesus has loved us with an immense, infinite love, and He came on earth to suffer and die so that, gathered around Him in justice and love, motivated by the same sentiments of mutual charity, all men might live in peace and happiness. …Whilst His heart overflowed with gentleness for the souls of good-will, He could also arm Himself with holy indignation against the profaners of the House of God, against the wretched men who scandalized the little ones, against the authorities who crush the people with the weight of heavy burdens without putting out a hand to lift them. He was as strong as he was gentle.  He reproved, threatened, chastised, knowing, and teaching us that fear is the beginning of wisdom, and that it is sometimes proper for a man to cut off an offending limb to save his body. Finally, He did not announce for future society the reign of an ideal happiness from which suffering would be banished; but, by His lessons and by His example, He traced the path of the happiness which is possible on earth.”

 Pope Pius XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor, 1928

“How great is the necessity of this expiation or reparation [to the Sacred Heart], more especially in this our age, will be manifest to everyone who, as we said at the outset, will examine the world, “seated in wickedness” (1 John v, 19), with his eyes and with his mind. For from all sides the cry of the peoples who are mourning comes up to us, and their princes or rulers have indeed stood up and met together in one against the Lord and against His Church (Cf. Psalm ii, 2). Throughout those regions indeed, we see that all rights, both human and Divine, are confounded… Bands of boys and girls are snatched from the bosom of their mother the Church, and are induced to renounce Christ, to blaspheme and to attempt the worst crimes of lust; the whole Christian people, sadly disheartened and disrupted, are continually in danger of falling away from the faith, or of suffering the most cruel death. These things in truth are so sad that you might say that such events foreshadow and portend the “beginning of sorrows,” that is to say of those that shall be brought by the man of sin, “who is lifted up above all that is called God or is worshipped” (2 Thessalonians ii, 4).

Leo Panakal tells us that: “After the death of  Pius XI, Pope Pius XII began his pontificate with still another statement which has even more significant implications. In his encyclical Summi Pontificatus, after describing his generation as one “tormented … by spiritual emptiness and deep-felt interior poverty,” he applied to it this passage of the Apocalypse: “Thou sayest: I am rich, and made wealthy , and have need of nothing: and knowest not, that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Apoc 3:17). This particular passage is a description of the church at Laodicea which, in the opinion of Catholic interpreters, is a representation of the Church as a whole during the time of the Antichrist. Thus Pius XII’s application of this passage of the Apocalypse to his time would, in effect, be an indication that the age of the Antichrist had in some way already begun.

But we have not been warned?! As mentioned in a previous blog, Fr. Albert F. Kaiser, C.P.P.S., in a two-part article written for the American Ecclesiastical Review in December-January, 1953-54 (“The Historical Backgrounds and Theology of Mediator Dei”, it was a particular note of those advocating for liturgical renewal to shrink from suffering — to be treated gently, with kid gloves and cossetted; their desire to de-emphasize the Passion — that destroyed the Mass. Kaiser wrote that in their attempt to simplify everything, bringing the liturgy back to the bare bones of the early Christian era, the liturgical reformers emphasized all the benefits of being Catholic and participating in the liturgy versus the responsibilities of being educated Catholics. And this resulted in ignoring the pain and suffering of Christ on the Cross. As Kaiser explains, there is no way to experience properly the joy of the Resurrection except through acknowledging and participating in the pain of the Crucifixion. “It confused sentimental fear of suffering and psychotic fear of penance with the true role and purpose (both theological and psychological) of the Cross of Christ, as a redeeming principle and the redeeming factor in Christianity. It confused objective and subjective holiness or at least failed to integrate the two in any realistic or even spiritual orientation.”

Let us never be like those who banished Christ from our churches, replacing his Cross of crucifixion with the condemned crosses of the risen Christ. We were warned, and many of us ignored those warnings. Now we must offer all these things back to Him who we know as the Mas of Sorrows. Christ asks us each Lent to fill up what is wanting to His sufferings, not to shrink from them or to see them as something to flee from. Our sufferings consist in all that we have lost because of our many sins, of existing without the Church, without the Mass and Sacraments, but most especially without our Christ-appointed earthly guide the Pope. We should offer these things to Jesus with joy, knowing that in this offering we make satisfaction for our sins, and can comfort Him in his continued sufferings from the horrid evil that men do. Below are some helps to spend Lent in prayer and contemplation. May God bless all in their shared sufferings with Christ on the Cross. (CAUTION: Please ignore any Novus Ordo content on this site and enjoy only the traditional prayers there.)

Those believing LibTrad clergy are only illicit are not Catholic

Those believing LibTrad clergy are only illicit are not Catholic

+St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church+

“They (the Apostles) strove to learn through one, that preeminent one, Peter.” (St. Cyril of Alexandria, c. A.D. 424). Would that all true Catholics living today strove to “learn through Peter,” and not from the mouths of those who teach falsely regarding obedience to the teachings of his successors. This applies especially to those calling themselves bishops and priests, but who we know from Pope Pius XII’s infallible teaching in Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS) are nothing more than laymen, having never received ordination or consecration. This is true of all who received orders during this lengthy interregnum (see HERE). 

Throughout the years, we have spoken much of VAS, also Pope Paul IV’s 1559 bull, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio (Cum ex…), and its far-reaching implications. Paul IV’s bull is an infallible decree stating that a man who commits heresy while holding the papal office was a heretic pre-election, so never became pope. But this bull is only one of a certain class of papal documents known as special legislation. Such legislation is called special because it contains what is called a “curse,” a sentence toward the end of these documents calling down the indignation of God and the wrath of Sts. Peter and Paul should any of the papal directives in these teachings be disobeyed. We may add to VAS and Cum ex… Pope Pius II’s Execrabilis, forbidding the appeal of a Roman Pontiff’s decrees to a future council; Pope St. Pius V’s Quo Primum, prescribing the Latin Mass of the Roman Rite be said in perpetuity, further confirmed by Pope St. Pius V’s bull De Defectibus; Pope St. Pius X’s papal election law Vacante Sede Apostolica, a codification of all papal election laws down through the centuries; Pope Benedict XV’s Providentissima Mater Ecclesia, promulgating the 1917 Code of Canon Law and finally VAS itself, which invalidates any change in the laws or teachings of the Church in any way during an interregnum.

That all the papal pronouncements containing such an oath are protected from any sort of abrogation is explained by Rev. Nicholas J. Neuberger, in his Canon 6: The Relation of the Codex Juris Canonici to Preceding Legislation, Catholic University of America, 1927.) Rev. Neuberger comments on the phrase “hac immutabili et in perpetuum valitura constitutione” stating that while such a phrase does not curtail the power nor invalidate future acts of a (legitimate) successor of the Roman Pontiff, nevertheless “the legislator attaches an especial juridical sanction to laws which have such a clause appended. Pihring advances the theory that the laws of general councils are not abolished unless a derogatory clause is annexed next to the posterior enactment… If a prior law is bound up with an oath which reads into it immunity from abrogation, the law is not countermanded unless express mention is made to that effect. The reasons for this assertion are that the legislator is mindful of a law which has an oath attached and hence abrogation would be invalid.

All of the above are Church teachings which can neither be questioned nor violated; they can only be changed by the pope himself. And these are just the papal documents containing this curse that we know about. There are doubtless other laws that contain this curse, and in every case the same reason can be adduced for its use: the legislator wished it to be a seal of sorts guaranteeing the inviolability of the law, unless indicated otherwise. It is interesting, though, that so many related laws with this same curse come together for application in the present crisis the Church has endured over the past 65 years, and in a certain sense they are all interrelated. First, we have the bull Execrabilis, issued by Pope Pius II in 1460. It became necessary to issue this bull because the Gallicanists were still at work undermining the papacy and the pope believed that their activities could precipitate a schism. The Vatican Council, intended to deal the death blow to Gallicanism, only succeeded in disabling it for a time: it reappeared in full force with the advent of Vatican 2, collegiality and then Traditionalist pseudo-clergy, with their odious claims to represent the Church minus her head bishop.

Pius II’s Execrabilis states: “An execrable, and in former ages unheard-of abuse has sprung up in our time; namely, that some people, imbued with the spirit of rebellion, presume to appeal to a future council from the Roman Pontiff… They do not do so because they are anxious to obtain sounder judgment but in order to escape the consequences of their sins… Anyone who is not ignorant of the laws can realize how contrary this is to the Sacred Canons and how detrimental to the Christian community.” (And this is exactly what the apostate cardinals and bishops did following the death of Pope Pius XII at the false V2 Council, since neither John 23 nor Paul 6 had the authority to call it.” “Consequently, We enjoin that nobody dares under whatever pretext to make such an appeal from any of our ordinances, sentences or commands and from those of our successors, or to adhere to such appeals, made by others, or to use them in any manner…We denounce them as erroneous and detestable, and entirely quash and annul them.” So aside from John 23 being a false pope, such a council never happened. Yet how many insisted on separating out the “good” V2 decrees from the heretical or erroneous, when all were condemned outright?

Then  of course there is Quo Primum, which many LibTrads now consider non-infallible, and have relegated to the status of only a “disciplinary law.” Pope St. Pius V taught: “Furthermore, by these presents [this law], in virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used… We likewise declare and ordain that no one whosoever is forced or coerced to alter this Missal, and that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force…” There also is Pope St. Pius V’s De Defectibus, given at the conclusion of the Council of Trent,

De Defectibus

(Papal bull decreed by Pope St. Pius V in ratifying the Council of Trent)

V Defects of the form

  1. Defects on the part of the form may arise if anything is missing from the complete wording required for the act of consecrating. Now the words of the Consecration, which are the form of this Sacrament, are:


If the priest were to shorten or change the form of the consecration of the Body and the Blood, so that in the change of wording the words did not mean the same thing, he would not be achieving a valid Sacrament.

And here is the condemnation of all that was introduced in the Novus Ordo. We also wish to include a comment on the rubrics, or rules governing the celebration of the liturgy, below:

Follow the Rubrics (from: The Pastor, Vol.1, 1882):

“Follow the Rubrics” (Serventur Rubricae), which frequently occurs in the decisions of the Sacred Congregation of Rites means, that the rubrics, as they appear on their face in the missal, are to be simply followed, neither adding to, nor taking anything from them, changing nothing, explaining nothing or interpreting nothing. For the missal clearly indicates what the rubrics are, and how and when to be observed.

“On this head nothing could be plainer than the words of the Bull of St Pius V, Quo primum, dated July 1570, and prefixed to all our missals. The saintly Pontiff therein declares “that he ordered the missal as revised and corrected to be printed and published, in order that priests may know what rites to use, which rites and ceremonies they are thenceforth to retain in the celebration of mass.” Then he solemnly decrees “that nothing shall ever be added, taken from or changed in this our missal under pain of indignation.” Nay further he expressly forbids the introduction of any ceremony not found in the missal, “prescribing, in virtue of holy obedience, that all sing and say mass according to the rite, and after the style and manner, which are now set forth in this missal; nor shall any in the celebration of mass presume to add other ceremonies, or recite other prayers than those contained in this missal.” (

Then we have Pope St. Pius X’s papal election law, a codification of all papal election laws throughout the century. One of the purposes of this codification was to make it difficult for any government entity to interfere with a papal election. This following the jus exclusivae veto of Mariano Cardinal Rampolla, advanced by the Austria-Hungary emperor, Franz Joseph during the 1903 papal election. Rampolla, a suspected Freemason, had presented as a papal candidate and appeared to be winning, so Franz Joseph blocked his election. Even though the emperor was right to do as he did, Pope St. Pius X saw the dangers if other governments, most of which were already non-Catholic and even anti-Catholic, were ever allowed to influence an election. And in this he was correct.  One wonders if he did not better understand the intent of Franz Joseph following the death of Rampolla in 1913, and the reported discovery by St. Pius X of his Masonic membership after his death, especially when Franz Joseph was later assassinated. For the pope himself died shortly after these events, in August of 1914, just as Europe entered World War I.

Pope St. Pius X began the codification of canon law with the codification of papal law in his Vacante Sede Apostolica, making sure it was invalid to invoke the exclusivae in future elections. Pope Benedict XV then continued the codification of canon law begun by his predecessor, concluding this onerous labor by officially promulgating the 1917 Code in his Providentissima Mater Ecclesia. In his bull, Benedict XV explained how the Church spent 13 years purging laws from her books which had been abrogated over the centuries by other papal laws and were no longer able to be applied for various reasons, adjusting and reconciling laws that were too strict or too lax and laws that no longer served the common good. This was done “for the restoration and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline.” To accomplish this, Benedict XV explained how first St. Pius X and later he himself consulted all the bishops, appointed a commission of Cardinals, then called together only canon law experts to do the actual work on the rest of the Code. These were succeeded, as they died, by yet other experts appointed by Benedict XV, until the work was completed.

Pope Pius XII himself was one of those who assisted these men in their labors. In the process, a commission for the authentic interpretation of the Code was established to resolve questions as they arose. These decisions are reflected in the revised editions of the Code issued in the 1950s. So in consulting these works, we can be relatively certain that the authors have reconciled their comments with the decisions of the Roman Pontiffs and the decisions of the Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code. These decisions, Can. 17 states, can be made only “by the lawmaker and his successor and by those to whom the lawmaker has committed the power to interpret the laws. The authoritative interpretation of the law has the same force as the law itself.” In promulgating the Code, Pope Benedict XV wrote:

“Therefore, having invoked the aid of Divine grace, and relying upon the authority of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, of Our own accord and with certain knowledge, and in the fullness of Apostolic power with which we are invested, by this Our constitution, which we wish to be valid for all time, We promulgate, decree, and order that the present Code, just as it is compiled, shall have from this time forth the power of law for the Universal Church, and we confide it to your custody and vigilance… Wherefore let no one violate or rashly oppose in any way this document of Our constitution, ordinance, limitation, suppression, derogation, and expressed will. And if anyone shall presume to attempt to do so, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of his Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.”

There is no doubt that this decree is infallible, for it contains in this sentence all the necessary marks required for infallibility. But who has kept the law and followed it “just as it is compiled,” even as set forth by commentators in the 1950s? Certainly not LibTrad pseudo-clerics, (who never received valid orders nor were properly instructed in Canon Law themselves, and therefore ignore and misinterpret them), or certain laymen who pretend to be knowledgeable in these laws yet lead others into error concerning them. Instead of enforcing these laws with the due vigilance counseled by Pope Benedict XV, they have instead consistently acted contrary to the law, dispensed from these laws, or have changed these laws to “suit the times.” These are acts allowed only to the lawgiver, his successors or the Commission for the law’s interpretation established by the Code. Is Canon Law itself infallible? Indirectly at least, according to the constant teaching of the Church on this matter, which tells us She could legislate nothing that would act against the best interests of the faithful.

The Vatican Council provides the most recent testimony to this teaching: “This power of jurisdiction on the part of the Roman Pontiff, is truly episcopal and immediate; and with respect to this the pastors and the faithful of whatever rite and dignity, both as separate individuals and all together, are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church…” (DZ 1827; emph. mine). Needless to say, this is an infallible pronouncement which must be obeyed.

The Vatican Council also condemned the following: “For the doctrine of the faith has not been handed down as a philosophical invention to the human mind to be perfected, but has been entrusted as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ, to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted. Hence also that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be a recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding…” (DZ 1800). This teaching reflects the later issuance of Pope Pius XII’s papal election law.

Pope St. Pius X taught in his Oath Against Modernism: “I accept sincerely the doctrine of faith transmitted from the Apostles through the orthodox fathers, always in the same sense and interpretation, even to us,” (DZ 2145). Pope St. Pius X also taught that “Hence the triple authority in the Catholic Church [is] disciplinary, dogmatic and liturgical…” (DZ 2091).

Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS) abrogated the previous 1904 election law of Pope St. Pius X, yet generally left Pope St. Pius X’s law intact with a few exceptions. This confirms the statements of Rev. Neuberger above, that such laws can be abrogated only by the pope himself, and even here Pius XII was very careful to only strengthen his predecessor’s law, not weaken it in any way. For in one change he clearly marked the first three paragraphs of his revised constitution as infallible, also adding references to censures regarding the cardinals from the Code of Canon Law which had not yet been completed and promulgated when Pope St. Pius X issued his law. Another most notable change required a two-thirds plus one vote, to prevent any cardinal from being elected because he voted for himself.

The invalidation of any acts usurping papal jurisdiction — also the paragraph invalidating all acts contrary to papal law, the election law itself, but also any of the Sacred Canons — is found in both Pope Pius XII’s as well as St. Pius X’s election laws. This upholds the validity of Execrabilis, (Can. 2332), as well as all the laws promulgated in the 1917 Code by Pope Benedict XV. It invalidates any election held contrary to these laws, especially one in which a secular government was involved. This even aside from Roncalli’s heresies, which under Cum ex… exclude him as pope. This is why there is reference in VAS to Can. 188 §4, also to another bull by Paul IV excluding all from election who promoted themselves as candidates prior to the reigning pontiff’s death, which Roncalli did. Quo primum of course is a moot point, for all know that the Mass existed under this bull until the usurpers abolished it. As pointed out before, it was all an illusion. With Pope Pius XII’s death, both Quo primum and VAS stand, incapable of ever being abrogated in any way. Pope Pius XII concludes VAS as follows:

“These same documents are manifestly and will be always and perpetually true, valid, and effective, and acquire and obtain their own full and undiminished results; and we command those individuals to whom it pertains and will pertain for the time being to vote, that the ordinances must be respectively and inviolably observed by them, and if anyone should happen to try otherwise relative to these things, by whatever authority, knowingly or unknowingly, the attempt is null and void… Therefore, let it be permitted to no man to weaken this Our constitution, ordinance, abrogation, commandment, binding order, warning, prohibition, precept, and will, or to go against it by a rash undertaking. Moreover, if anyone presumes to attempt this, let him know that he will incur for it the anger of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.”


Given the above, that no one is to weaken this constitution or go against it, and that should this occur, one will suffer God’s indignation and the wrath of Sts. Peter and Paul for deviating from these papal commands in any way, it is impossible to understand how one could misinterpret, disregard, ignore, contest and defy such teachings. And yet we see statements by certain parties presumably praying at home who piously claim to “reject all modernism, heresy, dissent from Catholic teaching, including the Novus Ordo … and uphold the Catholic faith in its entirety” yet state they cannot participate in “liturgical practice” because it is conducted by “illicit clergy.” They claim to take the “gentle” approach (read here the approach of those practicing liberal charity), but there is no escaping the stern and undeniable warnings found in the papal documents above. We know and must believe, as stated in VAS, that LibTrads parading as clerics were never validly consecrated or ordained, because such acts were infallibly declared “null, void and invalid” as a usurpation of papal jurisdiction by Pius XII.

I remember well my time in a conclavist sect when I first began to realize that a lay papal election was not valid or even possible. It was an agony to decide if I dared to leave a man I had believed to be pope, on the off chance I was wrong and he was after all a true pope. The revelation that he knew he was not qualified to become pope because he had been involved in heresy pre-election finally convinced me he was not validly elected. But fear of disobeying him as pope kept me a prisoner of that sect for many years.

Today there is no fear of sinning or displeasing God in any way. And the true nature of infallibility has been so successfully obscured by the LibTrads that they can get away with justifying almost anything. None of the young rubes they prey upon realize that even if something that is considered only a papal opinion is registered in the Acta Apostolic Sedis (AAS), as taught by Pope Pius XII in Humani generis, this binds them to believe. They are duty bound to believe and obey what the popes teach and flee from those who have no authority to teach them at all.

“Fear of the Lord [of offending Him or angering Him] is [only] the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the holy is prudence.” (Prov. 9:10). No matter what they may have learned in their LibTrad sects, those are not wise, nor are they holy or prudent, who do not tremble at the words of the popes declaring the indignation of almighty God and the wrath of Sts. Peter and Paul. The clear words of VAS, duly entered into the AAS, show that LibTrad clergy are invalid not just illicit, for attempting to usurp papal jurisdiction. When those now believing them to be only illicit once reject the trap set for them by their deceivers and accept and obey these infallible papal teachings, then and only then will they be members of Christ’s Mystical Body — true Catholics. Until then they are, sadly, outside the Church.