To view article click link below:
Siri Engages in Communicatio in Sacris
Some traditionalists pretend that Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, Archbishop of Genoa (1946-1987), never compromised with Progressivism. The following photos will lay to rest the untruths spread about Siri, that he was a “good friend” of Pope Pius XII’s and a staunch opponent of the V2 changes. Above, first row, he concelebrates with John Paul ll at an outdoor New Mass said in Genoa during the papal visit in 1985. Below, he chose a simple altar turned to the people to say the Novus Ordo Mass at the church in Udine. And in the second picture below, Card. Siri exchanges the embrace of peace with Msgr. Barabino during a New Mass said in Bobbio.
Canon 2314-1: “…Each and every heretic and schismatic incur the following penalties: (1) ipso facto excommunication; (3) If they have joined a non-Catholic sect or have publicly adhered to it, they incur infamy ipso facto and, if they are clerics and the admonition to repent has been fruitless, they shall be degraded. Can. 188 n. 4 provides, moreover, that the cleric who publicly abandons the Catholic faith loses every ecclesiastical office ipso facto, without any declaration, (Revs. Woywod Smith. Can. 188 n. 4 also has Cum ex Apostolatus Officio as the old law, listed in the footnotes.)
“Infamy is an additional penalty separate from excommunication. Revs. Woywod-Smith explain the effects of infamy of law under Can. 2294 §1: “A person who has incurred infamy of law is not only irregular, as declared by Can. 984 n. 5, but in addition, he is incapacitated from obtaining ecclesiastical benefices, pensions, offices and dignities, from performing legal ecclesiastical acts, from discharging any ecclesiastical right or duty, and must be restrained from the exercise of sacred functions of the ministry.” The authors continue: “The person who has incurred…an infamy of law…cannot validly obtain ecclesiastical benefices, pensions, offices and dignities, nor can he validly exercise the rights connected with the same, nor perform a valid, legal ecclesiastical act,” As explained in Rev. Eric MacKenzie’s Canon Law dissertation “The Delict of Heresy” on pg. 69 and 72: ‘The joining of the non-Catholic sect may follow after the externalization of heretical error as a consequence, or may itself be the first internal act which manifests the internal sin of heresy…As a penalty for his aggravated delict, he incurs juridical infamy ipso facto…a juridical status which consists of a series of incapacities…,” (/articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/canon-law/infamy-of-law-bars-the-valid-exercise-of-orders-received/).
From our family to your family:
The Blessed Season of Advent, a Time of Preparation
We have been asked to provide proofs and documentation of our adherence to Church Law with regards to attending “Traditionalist” group religious services. We are providing that here, but first, a little background.
One thing we all know is that we all desire to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and to receive the Sacraments which we knew as faithful Catholics; Catholics who attended daily Mass, Stations of the Cross, Forty Hours Devotion, said the Family Rosary and read daily from our Douay Rheims Catholic Bible. Our family has a heritage of German and Irish ethnicity and Catholicity. For many years we have fought to defend our Faith, first against Protestant prejudice and then against the inroads of Modernism and many other heresies. We have enjoyed the benefits of formal Catholic education, through college level, during the nineteen twenties, thirties, forties and fifties. We developed a keen Catholic Instinct. We resisted what became obvious as modernistic liberalism in the sixties forward. Our resistance involved organized groups, publications, and billboards to preserve Catholic education in our Catholic schools. It even involved visits to the chancery office, including personal confrontations with the diocesan bishop. Finally, it meant a departure from our parish church and from teaching in our Catholic schools.
At first, our saintly pastor in our country parish church refused to turn around the altar and to say the new mass. The diocese punished him, stripped him of his pastor position and sent him into retirement. With that situation, in the early days of the late sixties, and early seventies, we visited the Byzantine Rite, the Ukrainian Uniate Rite and the Armenian Rite, wherever they had not changed to the new mass service. They also became influenced by Rome’s Modernism. We were fortunate to find a blessed priest who had jurisdiction in the diocese. We attended his Mass in a private home until he died. We then observed certain groups without any participation, such as SSPX. There we found nothing but trouble. We were even contacted by a few renegade priests, but there was always the problem of jurisdiction. We investigated many of their claims and the claims of certain “Traditionalist” groups as they became known. They all shared the same problem. They had gone out on their own without ecclesiastical authority, because they thought they should do so.
In the meantime, we collected hundreds of books that were being discarded from seminaries, rectories, convents and schools. We accumulated some three thousand books in our libraries. With our cumulative experiences, it became obvious to us that Almighty God had taken away the Holy Sacrifice, at least from us here in our country. We developed contacts around the world, and discovered the same to be true with them. We knew the Holy Sacrifice had to be offered somewhere legitimately, but it must be behind the Iron Curtain or in the China underground. With this in mind, we stayed home to pray. We pray the Mass Prayers using our Saint Andrew’s Missal, the same one used in the forties and in the seminary in the fifties. We continued our other normal Catholic Devotions at home.
We have written many personal letters in order to provide Catholic advice to others in need. We do so again. May you receive this letter and information in the spirit in which it is given. Following are the “rules” that we follow. It is not our opinion. These are the laws of the Church.
The Morris Family
Instructions for reading these proofs
By Teresa L. Benns
Out of charity for your soul and with the hope that you will choose to heed the teachings of Christ through His Vicars, we are posting the proofs below. Several people participated in the research and compilation of these proofs. While they cite the works of canon lawyers and theologians, what they teach is in perfect agreement in every respect with the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs and the ecumenical councils on these subjects. The latter documents are primary, as the Church insists they must be, and are only faithfully echoed by Her approved authors.
Generally speaking Traditionalists, while they claim obedience to these papal decrees and teachings, allow their “clerics” and lay leaders to recycle them in accordance with their claims to be lawful ministers endowed with the necessary power to act as pastors of souls. Attempts have even been made by some to erase the Church’s ability to infallibly pronounce on strictly disciplinary measures, when this error was condemned as follows by Pope Pius IX in “Quae in patriarchatu”: “In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema,” (emph. mine — Pope Pius IX, September 1, 1876). Some also have suggested that the popes are not infallible in their Ordinary Magisterium. One well-respected Traditional “priest” even taught this heresy publicly. And yet this was defined at the Vatican Council as follows: “Further, by Divine and Catholic faith., all these 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,” (DZ 1792).
And furthermore, Catholics are bound also to obey not only infallible decrees but those condemnations of errors which are not strictly heretical: “But since it is not sufficient to shun heretical iniquity, unless these error also are shunned which come more or less close to it, we remind all of the duty of observing also the constitutions and decrees by which base opinions of this sort, which are not enumerated explicitly here, have been proscribed and prohibited by this See,” (Vatican Council, DZ 1820). This also is addressed in Can. 2317, which bars those teaching doctrines condemned by the Roman Pontiff or the Ecumenical council but not as formally heretical, “from the ministry of teaching the Word of God, and hearing sacramental confessions, and from every office of teaching, without prejudice to other penalties which the sentence of condemnation of the doctrine may have perhaps decreed…” And again from Can. 1324: “For it is not sufficient to avoid heretical error, but one must also diligently shun any errors which more or less approach heresy.”
The Vatican Council anathematized anyone who would question that the Roman Pontiff possesses “the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church spread over the whole world, but…over the churches altogether and individually, and over the pastors and the faithful altogether and individually,” (DZ 1831). Canon 1812 tells us that acts issuing from the Roman Pontiff and the Roman Curia during the exercise of their office and entered as proof in ecclesiastical courts “prove the facts asserted,” (Can. 1816), and force the judge to pronounce in favor of the party producing the document, (commentary by Revs. Woywod-Smith). “Proof to the contrary is not admitted against Letters of the Roman Pontiff bearing his signature,” (Rev. Amleto Cicognani’s, “Canon Law, 1935; ibid. p. 626, ft. note). Documents entered into the Acta Apostolic Sedis do not need to be submitted in the original or be an authenticated copy, (Can. 1819). So the citation of the documents of the Roman Pontiffs themselves, without any qualification by anyone, but taken exactly as they appear, cannot be questioned. Why then have those claiming to be lawful pastors, but who instead have no right to rule us, ignored and misconstrued these documents?
By allowing those who have no authority to usurp papal authority and dictate terms we deny that it is the Roman Pontiff alone who possesses the fullness of jurisdiction; he alone is to be obeyed and followed above any so-called clerics, especially during an interregnum. For it is precisely during these dangerous times that the sheep and lambs are most likely to be attacked by the wolf pack. For this reason, when faced with the defection of clergy in France during the time of the introduction there of the Civil Constitution requiring clergy to swear allegiance to the civil authorities over the pope, Pope Pius VI told the faithful: “Keep away from all intruders, whether called archbishops, bishops, or parish priests; do not hold communion with them especially in divine worship. Listen carefully to the message of your lawful pastors who are still living, and who will be put in charge of you later, according to the canons. Finally, in one word, stay close to Us. For no one can be in the Church of Christ without being in unity with its visible head and founded on the See of Peter,” (“Charitas”).
This is true whether we presently have a pope or not. Their teachings bind in perpetuity because they are the voice of Christ teaching His Church on earth. No one may gainsay what they teach, whether such teaching is infallible or not. You say you are sure that your illicit priests can convince us that we are wrong. I tell you that no one shall ever separate us from the love of Christ and obedience to His Vicars. The teachings of the continual Magisterium as presented here — of the Canon Laws whose primary authors are the popes — cannot be refuted, according to the Church Herself. And Christ in Heaven binds what is bound by His Vicars on earth.
It is in the spirit of the Prophet Elias then (3 Kgs. 18:37), that we present these proofs. For he entreated the Lord from the summit of Mt. Carmel as follows: “Hear oh Lord, hear me, that Thy people may learn that Thou art the Lord, God.” Amen.
Jurisdiction, Lawful Pastors and Communicatio in Sacris
© Copyright 2012, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis added unless otherwise noted.)
Some of you have asked for proofs that Traditionalist priests, ordained by Pius XII bishops after his death are unable to celebrate Mass and administer the sacraments. The answers to these questions have already been presented, but perhaps they should be gathered together in one place to speak to this specific point. Because once the answers are understood, it will become clear why — if even those validly ordained by bishops who accepted John 23 as a true pope are forbidden to function — Traditional priests and bishops proper have no hope of validly functioning at all. And once these proofs have been demonstrated, it should be better understood why Traditional “Catholicism” is really just another non-Catholic sect.
From the Catechism
What does Father Thomas Kinkead tell American Catholics on lawful pastors in the catechism used in Catholic schools in the 1940s and 1950s, before the decline of the Church? In his “An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism,” #4, Fr. Kinkead writes in Q. 115: “What is the Church? A. The Church is the congregation of all those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same sacraments, and are governed by their lawful pastors under one visible head.” The Baltimore Council’s approved catechism (#3) for adults also written by Rev. Kinkead tells us in the answer to question # 494 that lawful pastors are “those in the Church who have been appointed by lawful authority and who have therefore a right to rule us.” Note that this says nothing of the supposedly “validly” consecrated bishops who have created these priests; it mentions only lawful authority. Lawful bishops, as will be seen below, are only those consecrated with papal mandate following their appointment by the pope.
“Even if valid orders exist, where jurisdiction is lacking there is no real apostolicity. Schism, as well as heresy, destroys apostolic succession,” (Rev. Thomas Cox, “Pillar and Ground of Truth,” 1900). In his “Manual of Christian Doctrine,” written for religious congregations and Catholic institutions of higher learning, seminary professor Rev. John Joseph McVey wrote in 1926:
Q. 60: Who after the pope are lawful pastors of the Church?
A. The bishops who have been canonically instituted, i.e., who have received from the Sovereign Pontiff a diocese to govern.
Q. 73: Why is it not sufficient to be a bishop or priest in order to be a lawful pastor?
A. Because a bishop must also be sent into a diocese by the Pope, and a priest must be sent into a parish by the bishop. In other words, a pastor must have not only the power of order, but also THE POWER OF JURISDICTION, (emph. McVey’s).
Q. 77: How is the power of jurisdiction communicated?
A. Priests receive their jurisdiction from the bishop of the diocese; bishops receive theirs from the pope; and the Pope holds jurisdiction from Jesus Christ. A bishop who did not have his spiritual powers from the Pope, a pastor who did not have his from the lawful bishop, would be AN INTRUDER OR SCHISMATIC,” (emph. McVey’s). So not only are Traditionalist “priests” and “bishops” illicitly ordained and consecrated, without a true pope they possess NO jurisdiction whatsoever.
For those who may have questions about this answer, please see the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Church, which states in part: “Apostolicity of mission consists in the power of holy orders and the power of jurisdiction derived by legitimate transmission from the Apostles. Any religious organization whose ministers do not possess these two powers is not accredited to preach the Gospel of Christ. For ‘How can they preach,’ asks the Apostle, ‘unless they be sent?’ (Rom. 10:15).” “A Christian society whose bishops go back to the apostles only through the power of order, and not also through the power of jurisdiction, cannot claim to be apostolic, and consequently cannot be the Church of Christ,” Revs. Devivier and Sasia, “Christian Apologetics, Vol. II), wrote in 1924. Canon Law states: “Besides the power of orders, the ministers, to absolve sins validly, must have either ordinary or delegated power of jurisdiction over the penitent,” (Can. 872). 7. Fathers Callan and McHugh in their “A Parochial Course in Doctrinal Instruction,” Vol. 2, p. 305, et seq., make the following statements:
“II. The minister of the Sacrament of Penance must not only be a priest validly ordained, but he must also be duly authorized. 1. The priest in ordination receives the power of forgiving sins, but he cannot exercise that power, unless duly authorized by proper ecclesiastical authority. Just as a judge cannot pronounce sentence of cases outside his own district, so the priest cannot forgive sins, except within the limits of his jurisdiction. That this authorization is necessary for a priest to forgive sins is evident from the practice of the Church from the very beginning.”
Rev. Ignatius Szal states in his “Communication of Catholics with Schismatics,” (Catholic Univ. Of America dissertation, 1948): “The reception of holy Orders from the hands of schismatic bishops has practically always been forbidden by the Church. Rarely has the Holy See ever considered it necessary to receive orders from a schismatic bishop. The prohibition to receive holy Orders at the hands of a schismatic bishop is contained in the general prohibition against active religious communication as expressed in Can. 1258§1[canon on communicatio in sacris].” Also from Rev. Szal: “On August 7, 1704, The Holy Office also stated that, “The decree which prohibited Catholics from being present at the Masses and prayers of schismatics applied also in those places where there were no Catholic priests and with reference to such prayers as contained nothing contrary to faith and the Catholic rite…On May 15, 1709, the Holy Office forbade Catholics to hear the confession of schismatics or to confess to them…Under no circumstances, not even in the case of necessity, according to a response of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith on Feb. 17, 1761, was it permissible for a Catholic to confess his sins to a schismatic priest in order to obtain absolution from him…” On two other occasions, May 10, 1753, and April 17, 1758, the Holy See again forbade Catholics to participate in the masses of schismatics. In 1769, certain priests “were called to task for joining in the celebration of Mass with schismatics. The ignorance was inexcusable, and the act was a sacrilege which violated the true faith.”
St. Robert Bellarmine cites the unanimous teaching of the Fathers in his work “de Romano Pontifice,” where he states: “Heretics [and below we will see that these “clerics’ are both heretics and schismatics] who return to the Church must be received as laymen, even though they have been formerly priests or bishops in the Church. St. Optatus (lib. 1 cont. Parmen.).” This also is the teaching of Pope Paul the IV in his Cum ex Apostolatus Officio,” (see below).
Canon Law expresses the same concept
This is based on Can. 147, which Pope Pius XII strengthened with special excommunications. It reads: “An ecclesiastical office is not validly obtained without canonical appointment. By canonical appointment is understood the conferring of an ecclesiastical office by the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the sacred canons.” Above we have seen that a bishop can be canonically appointed and sent into his diocese only by a legitimately elected pope. And only a canonically appointed bishop who has received jurisdiction from such a pope can delegate that jurisdiction to the priests in the diocese to which he has been duly appointed. Only lawful pastors, who validly possess an office in the Church, have a right to rule us. And those who may have obtained an office from Pope Pius XII or a bishop in communion with him retains that office only if he denounces the Novus Ordo church, also any Traditionalist sects; otherwise he is guilty of schism under Can. 2314, as explained below. Bishops validly consecrated and appointed by Pope Pius XII, but who later signed V2 documents and remained in communion with the Novus Ordo, have been verified as providing Trad “priests” with jurisdiction, even though such men are/were officially aligned with and loyal members of the Novus Ordo church until their retirement or death! And these men have then been advertised as the last true priests on earth. Yet the minute such men accepted the V2 popes and signed V2 documents, they tacitly resigned for lapsing from the Catholic faith, (Can. 188 §4). Under Pope Paul IV’s bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, still in effect whenever there is a doubt about a bishop retaining office, they lose all said offices and cannot regain them.
Can. 147, which according to the Sacred Congregation and Pope Pius XII is based on “sacred principles” is no ordinary canon. And because it is an invalidating and inhabilitating law, any attempt to intrude oneself into an office or appoint someone to that office without canonical provision is null and void; it simply never takes place.
The decision of the Sacred Congregation issued June 29, 1950 (AAS 42-601) gives the text of DZ 967 (DZ indicates a teaching from Henry Denzinger’s “Sources of Catholic Dogma,” 1957, available online) and yet another version of DZ 960, varying slightly from the Denzinger translation: “If anyone says that…those who have been neither rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but come from a different source, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments: let him be anathema,” (DZ 967). If this is compared to what Rev. McVey and Can. 147 says above, one can see it is in perfect agreement. The document from the Holy Office, beginning with DZ 960, continues as follows: “Those who undertake to exercise these offices merely at the behest of and upon appointment by the people or secular power and authority, and those who assume the same upon their own authority, are all to be regarded not as ministers of the Church but as thieves and robbers who have entered not by the door…His holiness Pope Pius XII…in order to preserve more inviolate these same sacred principles and at the same time forestall abuses in a matter of such great importance…deigned to provide as follows…” And here censures especially reserved to the Holy See are mentioned. The ipso facto excommunications are incurred by the ones occupying or holding an ecclesiastical office contrary to the canons and without any provision and those who allow anyone to be placed in these offices. Also excommunicated are those who have any direct or indirect part in such crimes.
If we examine the sources of this law in the footnotes to Can. 147 (Latin Code), we see that it is based on Pope Pius VI’s “Charitas” below, the condemnation of those bishops and priests who swore allegiance to the civil constitution in France following the French Revolution. Also listed as a source for this canon is Pope Pius IX’s encyclical “Etsi Multa.”
“Love, which is patient and kindly, as the Apostle Paul says, supports and endures all things as long as a hope remains that mildness will prevent the growth of incipient errors. But if errors increase daily and reach the point of creating schism, the laws of love itself, together with Our duty, demand that We reveal to the erring their horrible sin and the heavy canonical penalties which they have incurred. For this sternness will lead those who are wandering from the way of truth to recover their senses, reject their errors, and come back to the Church, which opens its arms like a kind mother and embraces them on their return. The rest of the faithful in this way will be quickly delivered from the deceits of false pastors who enter the fold by ways other than the door, and whose only aim is theft, slaughter, and destruction…
“24. We therefore severely forbid the said Expilly and the other wickedly elected and illicitly consecrated men, under this punishment of suspension, to assume episcopal jurisdiction or any other authority for the guidance of souls since they have never received it. They must not grant dimissorial letters for ordinations. Nor must they appoint, depute, or confirm pastors, vicars, missionaries, helpers, functionaries, ministers, or others, whatever their title, for the care of souls and the administration of the Sacraments under any pretext of necessity whatsoever. Nor may they otherwise act, decree, or decide, whether separately or united as a council, on matters which relate to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. For We declare and proclaim publicly that all their dimissorial letters and deputations or confirmations, past and future, as well as all their rash proceedings and their consequences, are utterly void and without force…” (And here we see the second time the popes refuse to allow these men to act on the pretext of “necessity.”)
“32. At length We beseech you all, beloved Catholic children, in the kingdom of France; as you recall the religion and faith of your fathers, We urge you lovingly not to abandon it. For it is the one true religion which both confers eternal life and makes safe and thriving civil societies. Carefully beware of lending your ears to the treacherous speech of the philosophy of this age which leads to death. Keep away from all intruders, whether called archbishops, bishops, or parish priests; do not hold communion with them especially in divine worship. Listen carefully to the message of your lawful pastors who are still living, and who will be put in charge of you later, according to the canons. Finally, in one word, stay close to Us. For no one can be in the Church of Christ without being in unity with its visible head and founded on the See of Peter.”
And from Etsi Multa: ““Therefore following the custom and example of Our Predecessors and of holy legislation, by the power granted to Us from heaven, We declare the election of the said Joseph Humbert Reinkens [an Old Catholic], performed against the sanctions of the holy canons to be illicit, null, and void. We furthermore declare his consecration sacrilegious. Therefore, by the authority of Almighty God, We excommunicate and hold as anathema Joseph Humbert himself and all those who attempted to choose him, and who aided in his sacrilegious consecration. We additionally excommunicate whoever has adhered to them and belonging to their party has furnished help, favor, aid, or consent. We declare, proclaim, and command that they are separated from the communion of the Church. They are to be considered among those with whom all faithful Christians are forbidden by the Apostle to associate and have social exchange to such an extent that, as he plainly states, they may not even be greeted,” (Etsi Multa, On The Church In Italy, Germany, and Switzerland, Nov. 21, 1873).
Again in Charitas, we see the same dogmas stressed, the same terms used as are used above. The Church is the same forever; Her teachings never change. Unless jurisdiction comes directly from the pope through the bishops in communion with him to the priests, the chain of apostolic succession is broken and the faithful must not avail themselves of these intruders. This time period in France was similar to our own. Pope Pius VI makes the position of the Holy See concerning ecclesiastical jurisdiction as regards illicit consecrations and ordinations very clear.
Attention is to be paid especially to the following part of the quote from Etsi Multa above: But as even the rudiments of Catholic faith declare, no one can be considered a bishop who is not linked in communion of faith and love with Peter, upon whom is built the Church of Christ…Therefore following the custom and example of Our Predecessors and of holy legislation, by the power granted to Us from heaven, We declare the election of the said Joseph Humbert Reinkens, performed against the sanctions of the holy canons to be illicit, null, and void. We furthermore declare his consecration sacrilegious.
Consider these words carefully. While Reinkins was validly consecrated, his ELECTION (or in other cases it could be illegal appointment, acceptance or intrusion into office) is nullified, not his ORDERS. He is not, and cannot hold the office of bishop, because he is not in union with the pope and was elected and placed in office by heretics and/or schismatics. (The Utrecht Jansenists were considered valid for a time, although this validity later was questioned by some theologians in the 20th century.) Even though validly consecrated, Reinkins is not considered a bishop because he never received the office and accompanying jurisdiction from Rome. The Holy See never approved his consecration and so he remained an apostate Old Catholic priest. And no priest could ever validly ordain another man priest.
Charitas, Etsi Multa and Pope Pius XII’s decision on Can. 147 all are documents of the ordinary magisterium; they are binding on all Catholics as infallible decrees, and deserve a firm and irrevocable assent, as the Vatican Council teaches.
Excommunication and communicatio in sacris
Those championing the “old priests” seem to hold the opinion that the present laws on heresy and schism call for a judgment concerning whether or not the heresy or schism was committed. The Church herself does not require us to jump through endless hoops to determine this. And it is not true that lay people cannot and should not judge heresy and schism, for how else are they to protect themselves from such contagion in their day-to-day lives? That they can so determine what is heresy or schism is proven by this proposition condemned by the Church: “Although it is evidently established by you that Peter is a heretic, you are not bound to denounce him if you cannot prove it,” (DZ 1105; Pope Alexander VII). If I consistently see a priest enter a non-Catholic church at the specified times to celebrate services or he admits he has done so; and I know that in order to celebrate these services he must utter words attributed to Christ which are not His own and violate a decree of an ecumenical council to do this (see DZ 942, 953), I must certainly denounce and avoid such a man. Nor can he even hope to gain re-entrance to the Church unless he publicly renounces his errors, does penance and is then absolved and abjured (also dispensed) by the Holy See.
In the (temporary) absence of a true pope and hierarchy, we must look for our answers to the questions of the day in the most secure places, and one of those places is the research of true priests studying for their degrees as doctors of Canon Law. These dissertations, most published by the Catholic University of America, cover the history of the various canons, their development over time, the opinions of well-respected theologians concerning the various aspects they cover and arrive at conclusions concerning their proper application, as documented in case histories. These works were duly approved by the proper bishop and published following the reception of the author’s actual doctorate. Being the only real case studies on these topics outside the Canon Law Digest and commentary by various canonists, they are the most reliable sources of information on the Sacred Canons that Catholics could follow today. In fact we are bound to prefer them exclusively to any so-called teachings of Traditionalists because they are issued by certainly lawful authority with the power to instruct, and possess the ecclesiastical approval necessary as a guarantee of orthodoxy. This Traditional writings and oral teaching cannot and do not possess. If these Trad priests were so well versed in Canon Law, where is their research, their justification for what they are doing? Are people aware that the Church had quite a few lay canonists with licentiates prior to Vatican “2” and that Canon Law even made special allowances for their studies?
Heresy, schism not difficult to judge
In his dissertation “The Delict of Heresy” (1932), Rev. Eric MacKenzie, A.M., S.T.L., J.C. L. gives these examples of judging heresy from different theologians: “Pighi rightly states that if a person disbelieves in the Real Presence, and in token of this belief, deliberately omits to remove his hat in a Catholic Church, he has completely expressed his heretical tenet and has incurred censure…Noldin cites the case of those who seek to divine the secrets of the present, past or future …by appeal to spiritistic activities,” even if the individual only is “implicitly aware” such practices are condemned by the Church. He says that such a consultation is a delict and the one seeking it incurs censure. “The very commitment of any act which signifies heresy, e.g., the statement of some doctrine contrary or contradictory to a revealed and defined dogma, gives sufficient ground for presumption of heretical depravity.”
Despite abundant proofs, however, many Traditionalists still maintain that those ordained by schismatics, who have never received the canonical mission precisely as outlined above are nevertheless justified in exercising powers they do not possess. As we can see from what was just stated by Rev. MacKenzie, and if we read once again DZ 967 above, it becomes clear that to maintain Traditionalist clergy may function is heretical. MacKenzie carefully lays out and examines all the arguments for the exercise of Can. 2261 §2 by those who have belonged to a non-Catholic sect, and makes the necessary distinction between simple heresy and communicatio in sacris. He begins by discussing material heresy, something Traditionalists seem to assume is not subject to censure. This MacKenzie disputes, following the practice of the canonists.
Material heretics still incur the censure
He begins by explaining that some of those who are validly baptized, but brought up outside the Church may be of good faith, and if so “their sin of heresy is purely material and does not involve personal guilt.” But, in the external order, “they are held responsible for their non-memberships in the Church by presumption of law, (Can. 2200),” and Church teaching (DZ 864) still binds them to the observance of Canon Law. So if even Protestants are bound and incur censure, it is very difficult indeed to see how one of the Church’s own clerics would not be bound to a much greater degree. Seminary professor Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey, whose theological texts were used worldwide to train theologians, then points out that, “All theologians teach that publicly known heretics, those who belong to a heterodox sect through public profession, or those who refuse the infallible teaching of the authority of the Church, are excluded from the body of the Church, even if their heresy is only material heresy,” (“Manual of Dogmatic Theology,” Vol. II). It is difficult to see how such heresy could be material in the case of those priests validly yet illicitly ordained by schismatic bishops, when they went from the Novus Ordo church to yet other schismatic Traditional sects, once again committing communcatio in sacris.
As Rev. J. C. Fenton notes in his “The Teaching of the Theological Manuals,” (The American Ecclesiastical Review, April 1963): “If the theses taught by Tanquerey were opposed to those of ‘the most authentic Catholic tradition of all ages,’ then thousands of priests, educated during the first part of the twentieth century were being led into error.” Based on decisions issued by the Holy Office, Revs. Woywod-Smith observe concerning the status of material heretics: “Nevertheless, in the external forum they are not free [from the penalties of Can. 2314] for, according to Can. 2200, when there is an external violation of Church law, malice is presumed in the external forum until its absence is proved.” Respected canonists who wrote following the publication of MacKenzie’s thesis agree with this statement. As St. Alphonsus, quoted by Revs. McHugh and Callan, teaches: “’In doubt, decide for that which has the presumption.’ In this case the presumption is for the continuance of the law, since it was certainly made, and there is no probability for its non-continuance.” And Can. 2200 contains a presumption of law.
Ignorance no real excuse for clerics
While many are anxious to see these Traditionalist “care providers” as guiltless material heretics, there is no support found for this false assumption in Canon Law or Church teaching. Concerning a plea of ignorance of the heretical nature of the offense or the actual penalty attached to it by a cleric guilty of occult heresy, Rev. MacKenzie states that: “If the delinquent making this claim is a cleric, his plea for mitigation must be dismissed, either as untrue or else as indicating ignorance which is affected, or at least crass or supine. His ecclesiastical training in the seminary, with its moral and dogmatic theology, its ecclesiastical history, not to mention its canon law, all insure that the Church’s attitude toward heresy was imparted to him…He had ample opportunity to know about heresy. Hence his present ignorance is unreal; or if real, it can be explained only as deliberately fostered — affected ignorance — or else as the result of a complete failure to do even a minimum of work in regard to fundamental ecclesiastical theory and practice — crass and supine ignorance.” In his dissertation, “Ignorance in Relation to the Imputability of Delicts,” (Cath. Univ. of America, 1948), Rev. Innocent Swoboda, O.F.M., J.C.L. defines crass and supine ignorance as: “A complete lack of diligence when it is known that the truth could be easily discovered…A complete and total failure to use any effort to fulfill the obligation of knowing the law or the pertinent facts surounding the law. The failure itself may arise from mere sloth or from a sinful heart or from a sinful habit of acting without due consideration of the results of one’s conduct…only the ignorance of those things which can be easily learned can be considered crass or supine.”And if the faithful could recognize that the Vatican 2 church was false and abandon it, then what possible excuse could those far better educated in the faith offer?
And finally, in their commentary on Canon Law, under Can. 2242, Revs. Woywod-Smith observe: “Contumacy of the offender is implied in the deliberate violation of a law to which a censure latae sententiae is attached, and therefore the censure is incurred immediately with the breaking of the law. The violation is considered to be deliberate where disqualifying and invalidating laws are concerned, such as a lack of jurisdiction which invalidates the Sacrament of Penance.”
Communicatio in sacris differs from simple heresy
First of all, MacKenzie explains, only those who have committed a simple delict of heresy may be considered toleratus. Different by far is the individual who has publicly affiliated with a non-Catholic sect. Rev. Charles Augustine defines such a sect as “Any religious society established in opposition to the Catholic Church, whether it consists of infidels, pagans, Jews, Moslems, non-Catholics, or schismatics.” In this case, it is schismatics. Formal membership is required for the delict to occur, according to the law, and no more formal membership exists than to be a minister in such a sect. The heretical act is expressed by either joining the sect or expounding its beliefs. “In either case,” MacKenzie continues, “the delinquent incurs first the basic excommunication inflicted on simple heresy. In addition, as a penalty for his aggravated delict, he incurs juridical infamy ipso facto, whether or no there is further official action by the Church.” Attwater’s Catholic Dictionary” defines infamy as “A stigma attached in canon law to the character of a person…” Juridical infamy or infamy of law is a special punitive penance or vindicative penalty attached to certain grave offenses. It includes “repulsion from any ministry in sacred functions and disqualification for legitimate ecclesiastical acts.” (Under Can. 2294, Revs. Woywod-Smith qualify these acts as invalid.) Also, under Can. 188 §4, one who has engaged in non-Catholic worship “no longer has any rights or powers deriving from [an ecclesiastical] position,” (Ibid).
Concerning the exception made by Can. 2261 §2 MacKenzie relates: “If a priest has incurred more than a simple excommunication — [if he has] resigned his office by joining a non-Catholic sect,” he cannot even assist at marriages. And of course with the penalty for infamy of law comes loss of jurisdiction, if it was ever granted, so neither can he hear confessions or preach, even at the request of the faithful, because such acts would be null and void. And regardless of any existing censures, MacKenzie explains that to make use of Can. 2261 §2 requires that “the power of jurisdiction [be] already possessed.”
Doubts concerning application of censures and Can. 2261 §2
Rev. MacKenzie explains in his work that occult heretics and those not yet sentenced by a judge for publicly manifested heretical or schismatic acts may minister to the faithful when requested, but only briefly addresses the case of an individual who has publicly joined a non-Catholic sect. He seems to be concerned mainly with those who have incurred only delicts of simple heresy, for he states in one place that those committing simple heresy are allowed to invoke Can. 2261, calling them toleratus, but excluding those joining a non-Catholic sect from the status of toleratus. This can only be laid at the door of the vindicative penalty they incur in addition to the simple delict of heresy, which is infamy of law. While some invoke Pope Martin V’s “Ad Evitranda Scandala” to prove that heretics and schismatics may be resorted to in these times, there are several difficulties involved with this. One, no pope envisioned a long-term and widespread reliance on such men for the Mass and Sacraments, but rather a limited use of them, only when necessary. It is frightening to think that many of these men have belonged to several non-Catholic sects and in any other time, would long ago have been sentenced as vitandus and degraded. Those who are “repeat” offenders are especially dangerous to the faith of others. Also, no one would ever have foreseen the long vacancy of the Holy See that we have seen nor imagined that anyone would actually rely on the pretended status of schismatic bishops to justify such a usage. Below we examine “Ad Evitanda Scandala” and hear from St. Robert Bellarmine, who has something interesting to say about schismatic bishops.
“To avoid scandals and many dangers and relieve timorous consciences by the tenor of these presents we mercifully grant to all Christ’s faithful that henceforth no one henceforth shall be bound to abstain from communion with anyone in the administration or reception of the sacraments or in any other religious or non-religious acts whatsoever, nor to avoid anyone nor to observe any ecclesiastical interdict, on pretext of any ecclesiastical sentence or censure globally promulgated whether by the law or by an individual; unless the sentence or censure in question has been specifically and expressly published or denounced by the judge on or against a definite person, college, university, church, community or place. Notwithstanding any apostolic or other constitutions to the contrary, save the case of someone of whom it shall be known so notoriously that he has incurred the sentence passed by the canon for laying sacrilegious hands upon a cleric that the fact cannot be concealed by any tergiversation nor excused by any legal defence. For we will abstinence from communion with such a one, in accordance with the canonical sanctions, even though he be not denounced. (Fontes I, 45.)” — Pope Martin V. But not long afterwards, St. Robert Bellarmine clarified, per Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio (1559), who precisely was included in Pope Martin V’s decree as follows:
“There is no basis for that which some respond to this: that these Fathers based themselves on ancient law, while nowadays, by decree of the Council of Constance, they alone lose their jurisdiction who are excommunicated by name or who assault clerics. This argument, I say, has no value at all, for those Fathers, in affirming that heretics lose jurisdiction, did not cite any human law, which furthermore perhaps did not exist in relation to the matter, but argued on the basis of the very nature of heresy. The Council of Constance only deals with the excommunicated, that is, those who have lost jurisdiction by sentence of the Church, while heretics already before being excommunicated are outside the Church and deprived of all jurisdiction. For they have already been condemned by their own sentence, as the Apostle teaches (Tit. 3:10-11), that is, they have been cut off from the body of the Church without excommunication, as St. Jerome affirms… All the ancient Fathers…teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction, and outstandingly that of St. Cyprian (lib. 4, epist. 2) who speaks as follows of Novatian, who was Pope [i.e. antipope] in the schism which occurred during the pontificate of St. Cornelius: “He would not be able to retain the episcopate [i.e. of Rome], and, if he was made bishop before, he separated himself from the body of those who were, like him, bishops, and from the unity of the Church.’” — St. Robert Bellarmine, An Extract from St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30, (http://www.cmri.org/02-bellarmine-roman-pontiff.html .This link is placed merely for purposes of attribution; no endorsement of this site is hereby intended.)
In doubts of how we are to proceed today in these matters, Canon Law says in Can. 6 §4: “In case of doubt whether some provision of the canons differs for the old law, one must adhere to the old law.” In the case of Can. 2261 §2, we have a doubt whether Can. 2261 §2 should be extended to men who are heretics, many of whom, in any other day, would have been declared vitandus or degraded and deposed. In the case of Traditionalists, as noted elsewhere, many have been warned by the faithful for decades that they do not have the jurisdiction necessary to function, and yet they continue to function, despite the fact there is no pope to supply them jurisdiction. But on the basis of the doubts about the long-term use of Can. 2261 §2 when this was not the original intention of the lawgiver, we can refer to the parent law for guidance, which is Pope Paul IV’s “Cum ex Apostolatus Officio.” It is clear from the highlighted sections of the bull, below, that once such offenders were outside the church, they could not be admitted back in for any reason, even to minister to the faithful. So to return to the old law would be to consider them unable to be rehabilitated in any way, at any time.
“We approve and renew, by Our Apostolic authority, each and every sentence, censure or penalty of excommunication, suspension and interdict, and removal, and any others whatever in any way given and promulgated against heretics and schismatics by any Roman Pontiffs Our Predecessors, or considered as such, even in their uncollected letters, or by the sacred Councils recognized by God’s Church or in the decrees or statutes of the Holy Fathers or in the sacred Canons and Apostolic Constitutions and ordinances. We sanction, establish, decree and define, through the fullness of Our Apostolic power, that …all and sundry Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates, Cardinals, Legates… who, in the past, as mentioned above, have strayed or fallen into heresy or have been apprehended, have confessed or been convicted of incurring, inciting or committing schism or who, in the future, shall stray or fall into heresy or shall incur, incite or commit schism or shall be apprehended, confess or be convicted of straying or falling into heresy or of incurring, inciting or committing schism, being less excusable than others in such matters, in addition to the sentences, censures and penalties mentioned above, (all these persons) are also automatically and without any recourse to law or action, completely and entirely, forever deprived of, and furthermore disqualified from and incapacitated for their rank [now retained in Can. 188 §4]…
“They shall be treated, as relapsed and subverted in all matters and for all purposes, just as though, they had earlier publicly abjured such heresy in court. They can never at any time be re-established, re-appointed, restored or recapacitated for their former state or for Cathedral, Metropolitan, Patriarchal or Primatial Churches, for the Cardinalate or other honor or for any other greater or lesser dignity or for active or passive voice, or authority…If ever at any time it becomes clear that any Bishop, [Cardinal or Pope]… before his promotion or elevation [has strayed from the Catholic Faith or] fallen into some heresy, [or has incurred schism], then his promotion or elevation shall be null, invalid and void. It cannot be declared valid or become valid through his acceptance of the office, his consecration, subsequent possession or seeming possession of government and Administration… The persons themselves so promoted and elevated shall, ipso facto and without need for any further declaration, be deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and power, [without any exception as regards those who might have been promoted or elevated before they deviated from the faith, became heretics, incurred schism, or committed or encouraged any or all of these.]”
And some of the old laws Pope Paul IV recalled into service above are mentioned here by St. Robert Bellarmine, (de Romano Pontifice, Bk. 2, Chapter 40): “The Holy Fathers teach unanimously not only that heretics are outside of the Church, but also that they are ipso facto deprived of all ecclesiastical jurisdiction and dignity …Saint Nicholas I (epist. Ad Michael) repeats and confirms the same. Finally, Saint Thomas also teaches (II-II, Q39, A3) that schismatics immediately lose all jurisdiction, and that anything they try to do on the basis of any jurisdiction will be null.” It must al;so be remembered that Cum ex Apostolatus Officio was confirmed by Pope St. Pius V in his motu proprio, Intermultiplices.
There are several different things preventing those priests ordained validly but illicitly by Novus Ordo bishops from validly and licitly conveying the sacraments and offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
As stated in Charitas, by papal decree “illicitly consecrated men, under this punishment of suspension, [cannot] assume episcopal jurisdiction or any other authority for the guidance of souls since they have never received it… They must not grant dimissorial letters for ordinations. Nor must they appoint, depute, or confirm pastors, …or others, whatever their title, for the care of souls and the administration of the Sacraments under any pretext of necessity whatsoever. Nor may they otherwise act, decree, or decide, whether separately or united as a council, on matters which relate to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. For We declare and proclaim publicly that all their dimissorial letters and deputations or confirmations, past and future, as well as all their rash proceedings and their consequences, are utterly void and without force… “ Nothing could be clearer than this decree. It completely wipes out any Traditionalist bishops and the priests they pretend to create, so that not only were they never bishops, but could never validly ordain or consecrate other priests/bishops. In summary:
- Such priests never received jurisdiction, since as Charitas states they could never validly obtain it from schismatic bishops, far less from schsimatics consecrated by schismatic bishops; these “bishops” remain priests and priests cannot ordain other priests! Rev. Francis Miiaskiewicz, in his dissertation on this canon, is insistent that where Can. 209 states the “Church” supplies, this means only the Roman Pontiff, AND WITHOUT A POPE THE SUPPLETORY PRINCIPLE IS ENTIRELY LACKING. This is further confirmed by Pope Pius XII in his papal election constitution, “Vacantis Apostolica Sedis,” where he teaches that during an interregnum the intended effects of all usurpation of papal jurisdiction is null and void.
- The fact that they have never received and could never receive such jurisdiction prevents these men from invoking the application of Can. 2261 §2, which presumes valid and licit ordination/consecration and canonical mission jurisdiction. Any doubts in this matter also can be resolved by consulting the old law governing heresy, which, after all, is in accordance with Can. 6 §4 and Can. 147 above, making it “in harmony with the sacred canons,” (Can. 147). This law (see above) forbids any rehabilitation of heretics and schismatics for any purposes.
- Those clerics appointed or procured by lay people or who come from “some other source” are judged both by Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius XII to be vitandus. Vitandus cannot provide the sacraments on request for lay people even though no other minister is available (Can. 2261 §3) because they still must rely on supplied jurisdiction which can be provided only by a reigning pontiff. In his Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, Pope Pius XII infallibly nullifies any attempts to usurp papal jurisdiction during an interregnum.
Let us apply all this to certain bishops appointed to their episcopal sees by Pope Pius XII. Trad lay leaders claim these bishops, even though officially affiliated with the Novus Ordo, can absolve their priests and grant them valid jurisdiction. Canon 430 discusses the “privation” of an episcopal see owing to excommunication. This the canonist, Rev. Charles Augustine defines as the “canonical” death of a bishop. This would be considered a “tacit resignation,” incurred by the fact itself, or ipso facto, for heresy or schism, as Canon 188 §4 (footnoted by Pope Paul IV’s “Cum ex…”) states. Such resignation would be effective immediately and would require no acceptance, only evidence of the facts in the case. And it would occur the instant that a validly ordained and consecrated bishop joined the Novus Ordo anti-church, and/or signed V2 documents; this was the above mentioned “simple act of heresy” to which must be automatically added infamy of law, according to MacKenzie. Pope Paul IV states that bishops who are schismatic lose all power and authority, become infamous, and infamy of law strips them of jurisdiction. Infamy of law is both a vindicative penalty and an impediment to Orders barring the excommunicate from the exercise of valid, legal acts issuing from the clerical state, (or rights or privileges enjoyed by the laity). Heresy and infamy are two separate things. Infamy requires a dispensation and Can. 2295 states: “Infamy of law ceases only on dispensation granted by the Apostolic See.”
Revs. Woywod-Smith comment: “The person who has incurred…an infamy of law…cannot validly obtain ecclesiastical benefices, pensions, offices and dignities, nor can he validly exercise the rights connected with the same, nor perform a valid, legal ecclesiastical act.” Canon 2236 states that the dispensation of a vindicative penalty (infamy of law) “may be granted only by him who has inflicted the penalty or by his competent superior or successor. In this case the original penalty was inflicted by Pope Paul IV in “Cum ex…” and currently there is no canonically elected papal successor able to lift it. Can. 2237 no. 2 forbids the Ordinary to remit censures (for simple heresy) reserved in a special manner to the Apostolic See (heresy, schism) and Can. 2237 no. 3 forbids the Ordinary to dispense from the vindicative penalty for infamy of law, which invalidates the offender’s acts. Again, these are two separate things. If the case is public, and it is, a special indult from the Holy See is required for the Ordinary to be able to lift the censure. But he cannot dispense from infamy of law. Any indult granted to bishops by Pope Pius XII was lost when they committed heresy and schism, and in any case, it would only lift the censure; infamy of law would remain. The entire case is moot in any event since these priests did not possess jurisdiction, having never received it under bishops who lost it, and could not convey it, and by accepting John 23 and participating in the false Vatican “2” council, (see the papal decree, “Execrabilis”). In fact, according to Pope Pius VI, such men never even became priests. The Pope is the one in charge here, not lay Traditionalists and their pretend priests. To make such a decision on one’s own is to interfere with the rights of the Apostolic See.
Any clerics who have publicly celebrated the N. O. “mass” or who have joined Traditional mass groups to offer their services have adhered to a non-Catholic sect and can be at least externally considered schismatic. Donald Attwater, in his Catholic Dictionary, also states “anyone guilty of an external act of schism is ipso facto excommunicated; the conditions for absolution are the same for heresy,” (emph. his). Public adherence to a non-Catholic sect is all that is required under Can. 2314 to ipso facto incur infamy of law, and until a true pope exists, there is no way to reverse it. Once Pope Pius XII died, the chain of Apostolic Succession was temporarily interrupted because none of the Catholic cardinals or bishops separated themselves to elect a true pope to continue his line. Siri was incapable of doing this, being excommunicated for communicatio in sacris himself, incurring all the same penalties listed above. If those currently functioning as “clerics” within the Traditionalist organization would lay down their claims perhaps this terrible crisis would end.
And the only way this will happen is if their followers, who also have now been excommunicated for attending their non-Catholic services, refuse to cooperate with them in sin. To follow Canon Law as Pope Pius XII commands, Traditionalists now are bound to obey Can. 2294§1, which states that those who have incurred infamy of law “must be restrained from the exercise of sacred functions of the ministry.” Under Can. 1935, so also should those be denounced and ordered to cease and desist from these services wherever they may exist. In saying their mass prayers at home, stay-at-home Catholics are observing the censure they believe they have incurred for attending Novus Ordo and Traditionalist services, in penance for their sins and in obedience to Canon Law. For as long as God is being mocked and His people continue to dishonor Him by committing sacrilege, nothing will change. The truth has the power to set ALL of us free, if we just recognize it for what it is.
+ + +
Ven. Bartholomew Holzhauser, 17th Century
“During this period, many men will abuse the freedom of conscience conceded to them. It is of such men that Jude the Apostle spoke when he said, ‘These men blaspheme whatever they do not understand; and they corrupt whatever they know naturally as irrational animals do… They feast together without restraint, feeding themselves, grumbling murmurers, walking according to their lusts; their mouth speaketh proud things, they admire people for the sake of gain; they bring about division, sensual men, having not the spirit.’”
“During this unhappy period, there will be laxity in divine and human precepts. Discipline will suffer. The Holy Canons will be completely disregarded, and the Clergy will not respect the laws of the Church.Everyone will be carried away and led to believe and to do what he fancies, according to the manner of the flesh…”
“They will ridicule Christian simplicity; they will call it folly and. nonsense, but they will have the highest regard for advanced knowledge, and for the skill by which the axioms of the law, the precepts of morality, the Holy Canons and religious dogmas are clouded by senseless questions and elaborate arguments. As a result, no principle at. all, however holy, authentic, ancient, and certain it may be, will remain free of censure, criticism, false interpretation, modification, and delimitation by man…”
“When everything has been ruined by war; when Catholics are hard pressed by traitorous co-religionists and heretics, then the Hand of Almighty God will work a marvellous change, something apparently impossible according to human understanding…”
+Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary+
We address yet another accusation: “You believe in a Church that has defected and is not visible.” This time someone else is being accused, but it has been the primary objection to what I have presented here for years. One wonders if anyone has ever bothered to really read and understand the true meaning of visibility, which is secured by the four marks. Or to fully understand and comprehend the fullness of the four notes or marks themselves, which, in reality, could still exist if those claiming to be Catholic would abandon their schismatic sects and obey the teachings of the Church regarding the marks. Could they exist in their fullness? No, not without the hierarchy, which necessarily includes a canonically elected pope. But all of these guarantees of faith yet exist de jure, if not de facto; that is, by right if not in fact. Apostolicity of mission, that is apostolic succession, is only one of three components of apostolicity, which will be demonstrated below. And while we do not have a true pope, cardinals or bishops, we do have the wealth of teachings left by the continual magisterium to guide the Church, and this supplies in part for the absence of the hierarchy.
As for claims in various articles and by certain theologians that the Church, ”can never become corrupt in faith or in morals; nor can it ever lose the Apostolic hierarchy, or the sacraments through which Christ communicates grace to men,” we can only say that this is a statement open to interpretation; and regarding the hierarchy, one that fails to take into account the time of Antichrist, the cessation of the continual sacrifice and St. Paul’s prophecy that he who withholdeth (the Roman Pontiff) will be taken out of the way. The true Church could never become corrupt in faith and morals, of course, but could appear to do so (among those believing the Novus Ordo church was the true Church). As for the Sacraments, the necessary Sacraments are still available to us and the substitutes for the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist confer graces, when the actual Sacrament is not available. Since the Sacrifice of the Mass has ceased, it is impossible to obtain these graces in any other manner. However, we also may obtain graces by prayer and good works. So it is not as though we are bereft of the means to obtain grace.
Since the latest claim is based on our supposed denial of the Church’s visibility, let us see what is actually said by theologians about this property of the Church. (Bolded text is used to emphasize points for later comment.)
The material visibility of the Church involves no more than that it must ever be a public, not a private profession; a society manifest to the world, not a body whose members are bound by some secret tie. Formal visibility is more than this. It implies that in all ages the true Church of Christ will be easily recognizable for that which it is, viz. as the Divine society of the Son of God, the means of salvation offered by God to men; that it possesses certain attributes which so evidently postulate a Divine origin that all who see it must know it comes from God.
Formal visibility is secured by those attributes which are usually termed the “notes” of the Church — her Unity, Sanctity, Catholicity, and Apostolicity (see below). The proof may be illustrated in the case of the first of these. The unity of the Church stands out as a fact altogether unparalleled in human history. Her members all over the world are united by the profession of a common faith, by participation in a common worship, and by obedience to a common authority.
Msgr. G. Van Noort, S.T.D, Christ’s Church
On page 12 and 13 he writes: It is due to the institution of Christ himself that the Church is visible; this proposition is certain. That the Church is visible follows necessarily from the fact it is a real society, for there can be no genuine society in the world of men unless it be visible… It is one thing to ask whether the church which Christ founded is a public society and quite another to ask whether that society can be recognized as the true Church of Christ by certain distinguishing marks. It’s being formally recognizable presupposes it’s visible, but the two are not identical. Furthermore, the present discussion centers on the visible character of the Church insofar as it is a society. No one denies that the church’s members were visible for they are flesh and blood people, but some do question whether by the institution of Christ Himself these members are bound together by external bonds so as to form a society that can be perceived by the senses, a society of such a nature that one can readily discern who belongs to it and who does not. Mark well the words “the institution of Christ Himself,” for the question is precisely this: did Christ personally found a visible church, one which, by its very nature, would have to be an external public society so that the invisible church could not possibly be the true Church of Christ? For once one proves that the one and only Church which Christ founded is visible from its very nature, then it necessarily follows that an invisible church such as that to which Protestants appeal is a pure fiction and that all the promises which Christ made to his church refer to a visible church. Note lastly that to insist on the Church’s being visible is not to claim that all its elements are immediately apparent to the senses. Just as a man is really visible even though one cannot see his soul directly, so too the church must be adjudged truly visible even if some element which is an essential part of its makeup cannot be seen directly, provided that this element be by its very nature joined to and eternally manifested by some visible element.
From the threefold bond which Christ himself imposed it was indicated above how our Lord founded the church by enjoining on his disciples the profession of the same faith, participation in the same rights and obedience to the same authority. It is by these bonds that the church is drawn into unity and held together. Without them there is simply no Church of Christ. Now since these bonds are external things which people can see, they necessarily make the Church an external, visible society. One can discern, using one’s external senses, which men profess the same doctrine, frequent the same sacraments and obey the same rulers. It is then clear that the Church is visible by the very institution of Christ or in other words that its visibility flows necessarily from its very nature.
This conclusion is corroborated by the manner of speaking employed by Christ. The apostles and the earliest fathers who clearly had in mind a visible society whenever they spoke of the Church. Christ compares his Church to a Kingdom, to a flock, to a house, to a net set down into the sea, to a field producing wheat and weeds, to a city built on a mountain peak. He teaches besides that sinners whose reformation is proving difficult are to be reported to the Church. The apostles called the Church a body in which many members are joined together and are mutually interdependent, the House of God in which pastors live, the pillar and mainstay of truth, the flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed the bishops as shepherds. The earliest Fathers urged the absolute obligation of belonging to the Church of Christ and clearly teach that it is easily discernible. They could have done neither were the Church not visible. A further consideration is the fact that long before this the prophets had described the Kingdom or Church of the Messiah as a very high mountain which attracts people to itself precisely because it can be seen from anywhere. (End of Van Noort excerpt)
(Comment: Given these two sources, and they do not differ in teaching from any of the other sources consulted, it can be determined that at least materially, the Church as professed by flesh and blood, stay-at-home Catholics publicly on the Internet constitutes visibility. They all profess the same doctrine, frequent the same Sacraments and their substitutes, engage in the same worship and obey the popes, councils and Canon Law. So how does the teaching and belief of the true Church as demonstrated on this website not constitute as much visibility as is possible today?)
And as for apostolicity, claimed by those who pretend their invalid priests and bishops provide them with this mark of the Church against all Church teaching to the contrary, those objecting to this website and its content have completely misrepresented the meaning of this mark as will be seen below.
Apostolicity is the mark by which the Church of today is recognized as identical with the Church founded by Jesus Christ upon the Apostles. It is of great importance because it is the surest indication of the true Church of Christ, it is most easily examined, and it virtually contains the other three marks, namely, Unity, Sanctity, and Catholicity… the Church is called Apostolic, because it was founded by Jesus Christ upon the Apostles. Apostolicity of doctrine and mission is necessary. Apostolicity of doctrine requires that the deposit of faith committed to the Apostles shall remain unchanged. Since the Church is infallible in its teaching, it follows that if the Church of Christ still exists it must be teaching His doctrine. Hence Apostolicity of mission is a guarantee of Apostolicity of doctrine… The writings of the Fathers constantly refer to the Apostolic character of the doctrine and mission of the Church. St. Cyprian (Ep. 76, Ad Magnum): “Novatianus is not in the Church, nor can he be considered a bishop, because in contempt of Apostolic tradition he was ordained by himself without succeeding anyone.” Billot emphasizes the idea that the Church, which is Apostolic, must be presided over by bishops, who derive their ministry and their governing power from the Apostles. Apostolicity, then, is that Apostolic succession by which the Church of today is one with the Church of the Apostles in origin, doctrine, and mission.
…The very fact of separation destroys [Anglican] jurisdiction. They have based their claims on the validity of orders in the Anglican Church. Anglican orders, however, have been declared invalid. But even if they were valid, the Anglican Church would not be Apostolic, for jurisdiction is essential to the Apostolicity of mission. A study of the organization of the Anglican Church shows it to be entirely different from the Church established by Jesus Christ.
Rev. E. S. Berry, The Church of Christ, Vol. 1
Historians use the term to designate the Church as it existed in the days of the Apostles; with theologians, it means that the Church is, in some manner, derived from the Apostles. In this sense the Church is Apostolic in origin, doctrine, and ministry. The Church is Apostolic in origin, because it is and must ever remain, the identical society founded by Christ and organized through the ministry of the Apostles; it is Apostolic in doctrine, because it teaches the self-same truths that Christ committed to its custody in the persons of the Apostles. Finally, the Church is Apostolic in ministry (or succession), because the authority which Christ conferred upon the Apostles has come down through an unbroken line of legitimate successors in the ministry of the Church.
A formal, or legitimate, successor not only succeeds to the place of his predecessor but also receives due authority to exercise the functions of his office with binding force in the society. It is evident that authority can be transmitted only by legitimate succession; therefore, the Church must have a legitimate, or formal, succession of pastors to transmit apostolic authority from age to age. One who intrudes himself into the ministry against the laws of the Church receives no authority, and consequently can transmit none to his successors.
No one can be a legitimate successor in any society unless he receive due authority therein; it follows, therefore, that there can be no legitimate successor in the Church of Christ who has not received jurisdiction either directly or indirectly from her supreme authority. But, as will be proved elsewhere, supreme authority in the Church of Christ was committed to St. Peter and his lawful successors, the bishops of Rome: consequently all legitimate succession, or Apostolicity of ministry in the Church, depends upon communion with the chair of Peter and is lost the moment that communion is severed. Hence no particular part of the Church is indefectibly Apostolic, save the see of Peter, which is universally known by way of eminence as the Apostolic See.
(Comment: Therefore, there are three parts of apostolicity. The first two parts yet exist as long as Catholics are faithful to all the doctrinal teachings of the Church. It is only the third part that is absent, and that is because all the bishops defected and those pretending to be bishops were never validly ordained or consecrated. The defection of the bishops at Vatican 2 is hardly the fault of the faithful. If we want to know why there is such doctrinal confusion today it can be cited as proof that there are no true bishops ruling the Church, for the two go hand in hand. Can we have apostolicity of doctrine without apostolicity of mission? If we adhere to the teachings of the Church as taught prior to the death of Pope Pius XII, when true bishops yet existed, yes: for the teaching of the Church is a living thing and it shall never cease to exist.
In the above, Berry also refutes the de facto, de iure arguments advanced by Sedevacantists regarding the V2 usurpers. The Sedes require competent authority to declare the usurpers heretics, and since none to their mind exist, they believe that they remain at least de iure in office. This is the denial of the teaching found in Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, which clearly states no such declaration is necessary, and even the secular authority can remove a pope who deposes himself through heresy from office. Canon Law itself also states this regarding the need for a declaration. Since Cum ex… is the parent law for all canons concerning heresy, and Canon Law itself declares that in a doubt of law one is to follow the old law (Can. 6 §4), there is no excuse for this false teaching put forward by these Sedevacantists. What a thorn in their side Cum ex… must truly be!)
Thesis.—The Church of Christ is necessarily Apostolic in origin, doctrine, and ministry.
That the Church is in some sense Apostolic, is a dogma of faith as appears from the Nicene Creed: “I believe in one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Apostolicity of ministry and of doctrine have been de- fined, at least implicitly, by the Vatican Council: “If anyone should say that it is not by the institution of Christ, and therefore not by divine right, that the blessed Peter has perpetual successors in his primacy over the whole Church, . . . let him be anathema.” l
“The Holy Ghost was not promised to the successors of Peter that He might reveal to them a new doctrine, but that He should assist them to preserve religiously and faithfully expound the revelation, or deposit of faith, handed down by the Apostles.”
PROOFS from Reason and Scripture. The thesis is a self-evident truth, rather than a proposition to be demonstrated.
- a) Origin. Christ instituted but one Church through the ministry of the Apostles, and to none other did He give any authority to organize a church in His name. Consequently a church existing at any time since then, is either the identical Church established by Him, and therefore Apostolic, or it is not that identical Church, and therefore in no wise the Church of Christ, but merely a false claimant having no right to exist.
- b) Doctrine. Our Lord committed the teaching of all His doctrines to the Apostles and promised to be with them until the consummation of the world: “Teach all nations . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you . . . And behold, I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.” He also promised to them the Spirit of Truth, to remain with them forever guiding them in all truth: “I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete that he may abide with you forever . . . he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.” Christ has either failed in His promises, or the Church must ever preserve and teach all truths committed to her through the ministry of the Apostles. In other words, the Church must be Apostolic in her doctrine even to the consummation of the world.
- c) Ministry. It is evident that there can be no authority in the Church save that which comes directly or indirectly from her Divine Founder, Jesus Christ. But there is not the slightest intimation in Scripture or tradition that Christ ever promised to confer authority directly upon the ministers of the Church; consequently it can only be obtained by lawful succession from those upon whom Christ personally and directly conferred it, e., from the Apostles. In other words, the Church must be Apostolic in her ministry by means of a legitimate succession reaching back in an unbroken line to the Apostles.
Unity of Doctrine
PROOFS. /. From Scripture. Christ commissioned His Apostles to “teach all nations . . . all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” He also promised to be with them “all days even to the consummation of the world,” and to send upon them the Spirit of Truth to abide with them forever, and to bring to their mind all things whatsoever He had taught them. Consequently the Church must teach all the doctrines committed to her; she must teach them to all nations and at all times, even to the consummation of the world — a mission made possible by the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth. But in thus proclaiming all the doctrines of Christ, to all people, at all times, the Church enjoys the most perfect unity; her doctrines are the same at all times and in all places
Unity of profession
Unity in the profession of faith is a natural consequence of the unity of doctrine; a mere corollary to be explained rather than proved. Members of a society must accept its principles, or teachings, at least in word and action, for he who rejects the very principles of a society by word or act, thereby rejects the society itself and ceases to be a member. Therefore, every member of the Church must accept its teachings, i. e., he must make at least an outward profession of faith, “for with the heart we believe unto justice; but with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.” Since this outward profession concerns the one faith taught by the Church, it will be essentially the same for all its members; in other words, there will be unity in the outward profession of faith.
Unity of Worship
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. Unity of worship, known also as liturgical unity, refers especially to acts of public worship, in which the faithful participate in their capacity as members of a society, the Church. It applies only to those things that are of divine institution, which may be summed up in the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments.
Nature of Holiness
The English word holiness originally meant wholeness, soundness, or health. It is now used almost exclusively as an equivalent of the Latin sanctitas, from the verb sancire, — to set apart, to dedicate. Therefore a thing is holy (sanctum) when set apart or devoted in some manner to God, and holiness or sanctity is the state or condition of the thing thus set apart and devoted to God. Holiness also includes the idea of being pleasing to God because of some union or conformity with Him. Finally, that which serves to manifest holiness is also said to be holy. Hence we have a three-fold holiness, — physical, moral, and manifestative.
- a) Physical Holiness consists in the consecration or dedication of a thing in some manner to the honor and glory of God. It is also called real because it is often connected with inanimate things (res in Latin). In this sense a church, an altar, or a chalice is said to be holy. Persons are also holy in this sense if consecrated to God in some special manner.
- b) Moral Holiness consists in the consecration of the will to God by conforming it to His will. Moralists usually define it as that moral uprightness by which a person is made like to God and united with Him through charity.
- c) Manifestative Holiness, as the name indicates, is any external evidence that a person or thing is holy and pleasing in the sight of God.
When applied to the Church, it may mean (a) that the Church is to endure for all time; (b) that she teaches all the doctrines of Christ and uses all the means instituted by Him for salvation; (c) that she is destined for all men; or (d) that she is spread throughout the whole world.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem briefly explains the Catholicity of the Church in these various senses: “It is called Catholic, then, because it extends over all the world from one end of the earth to the other; and because it teaches universally and completely one and all the doctrines which ought to come to man’s knowledge concerning things both visible and invisible, heavenly and earthly; and because it brings into subjection to godliness the whole race of mankind, governors and governed, learned and unlearned; and because it universally treats and heals the whole class of sins which are committed by soul and body, and possesses in itself every form of virtue which is named, both in deeds and in words, and in every kind of spiritual gifts.”
Christian Apologetics, Rev. Devivier
In saying that the true Church is necessarily apostolic, we mean that she must profess the doctrine taught by the apostles: this is apostolicity of doctrine; then, that she must be able to trace her descent from the apostles through the succession of her lawful heads: this is apostolicity of ministry or government. Apostolicity of doctrine is the logical and indispensable consequence of the unity required in the true Church. The necessity of this characteristic is rarely disputed, but it is of little service as a note, as a positive means of discerning the true Church. Hence we shall dwell more particularly on the apostolicity of ministry. We have shown above, pp. 303 f., 318 f., that all authority in the Church has been really bestowed upon the apostles. This authority must, as we shall prove, pass to their successors.
Art. II — The Church of Rome Possesses the Four Positive Notes of the True Church.
- The Church of Rome Possesses Unity
- The Church is One in Doctrine. — Throughout the whole world we find the children of the Church chanting and professing the same creed, accepting the same precepts, the same sacrifice, the same sacraments. And if we go back to apostolic times we find the same identity of doctrine.
The Church, moreover, possesses a principle which necessarily sustains unity of belief: she professes as an essential dogma that all must accept every doctrine which she proclaims to be of faith, under pain, if they persist in error, of being ejected from her bosom.
- The Church of Rome Possesses Sanctity
The Church of Rome is holy in her final end, which is the sanctification and the salvation of the faithful. She is holy in the means she employs; in her dogmas, which are attacked only because of their sublimity and because many of them transcend, as to their essence, the limit of human reason; in her moral teaching, to which even her adversaries pay homage, which proscribes all vices, inculcates all virtues, and culminates in the perfection of the evangelical counsels; in her sacraments, fruitful sources of grace and holiness; in her worship, the most spiritual which ever existed, the purest and freest from immoral or superstitious practices. She is holy, finally, in the members who faithfully follow her precepts; only those who refuse to conform to her teaching, and thus incur her condemnation, fail to witness to her sanctity.
Catholic means universal. The application of this word to the Church means that at every period of her existence, after the adequate diffusion of the Gospel, she must extend morally throughout the whole world, and be everywhere the same.
Everywhere the same; for true Catholicity supposes unity of doctrine and of communion, otherwise the Church in China, for example, would not be the same as the Church existing in Brazil; and it would be false to say that it is one and the same Church in Brazil and in China. Hence it is evident that a collection of sects having nothing in common but a name (it is well known that this is the present condition of Protestantism), even though its various elements are spread throughout the entire world, cannot merit the name of Catholic or universal religion.
- The Church of Rome Possesses Apostolicity.
- The Doctrine of the Church of Rome Goes back to THE Time of the Apostles. — Her doctrine of today is the same as that of the apostles. In speaking of the unity of doctrine in the Church we demonstrated a complete identity between the oldest creeds or professions of faith, the writings and decisions of the first ages and those of our time.
Protestants claim, it is true, that after the first centuries the Church of Rome created new dogmas; for example, that of the real presence, purgatory, and the invocation of the saints. We have replied to this objection (p. 332). Moreover, such a statement is worthless unless proved. It is necessary to show when and how these dogmas were introduced into the Church; this our opponents have never done, and for a good reason. Meanwhile what is stated without proof the Church has a right to deny without proof, for she is in possession. She does not, however, lack proof: she has history to testify how zealously in the first ages popes and bishops opposed all doctrinal innovations. Hence they would have offered the same opposition to the introduction of the important dogmas contested by Protestants. They did not do so, for ecclesiastical history, so watchful in matters of this kind, is silent on this point. Perhaps it will be said that all the members of the Church, pastors and flocks in all parts of the world, agreed to admit without protest such numerous and grave innovations. In the first place, this hypothesis is absurd; in the second, the heretics of that period would not have failed to make themselves heard: condemned as innovators by the Church, they would have seized the opportunity to reproach her with her own innovations. (End of Devivier quotes.)(Comment: If we substitute the entire history of the teachings of the magisterium for the lack of apostolic succession, and accept all these truths as binding, including the necessary avoidance of all Traditional clergy, there is no reason why Catholics could not claim to possess the four marks as they are described above. All that has ever been maintained on this site is that Traditionalists cannot and do not possess them. The attributes of authority, infallibility and indefectibility must exist for the four marks to exist. Authority can be found in all the binding papal documents, the teachings of the Councils and Canon Law, which yet exist. Infallibility is demonstrated in these documents and indefectibility means these infallible teachings will exist and be obeyed by flesh and blood Catholics until the consummation. Given the facts and circumstances existing today there is simply no other way to explain the meaning of the Church’s indefectibility, which Pope Pius XII described as follows: “If this indefectibility is a matter of experience it remains nonetheless a mystery, for it cannot be explained naturally but only by reason of the fact, which is known to us by divine revelation, that Christ, who founded the Church, is with Her in every trial to the end of the world” (address to the Roman Curia, delivered December 4, 1943).
So who is it that Pope Pius XII considers to be the Church? This question is answered below.
We Are the Church
“The faithful, and more precisely the laity are stationed in the front ranks of the life of the Church, and through them the Church is the living principle of society. Consequently, they must have an ever-clearer consciousness, not only of belonging to the Church, but of BEING THE CHURCH, that is, of being the community of the faithful on earth under the guidance of their common leader, the Pope, and the bishops in communion with him. THEY ARE the Church, and therefore even from the beginning, the faithful, with the consent of their bishops, have united in associations directed to the most diverse types of human activity. The Holy See has never ceased to approve and praise them,” (The Catholic Church in Action, by Michael Williams, quoted from an address delivered by Pope Pius XII Feb. 20, 1946, to the newly made cardinals).
But what happens when there is no pope or bishops?
“The initiative of the lay apostolate is perfectly justified even without a prior explicit ‘mission’ from the hierarchy… Personal initiative plays a great part in protecting the faith and Catholic life, especially in countries where these contacts with the hierarchy are difficult or practically impossible. In such circumstances the Christians upon whom this task falls must, with God’s grace, ASSUME ALL THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES, (emph. mine). It is clear however that – even so – nothing can be undertaken against the explicit and implicit will of the Church, or contrary in any way to the rules of faith, morals or ecclesiastical discipline,” (Address to the 14th Congress of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations, Sept. 29, 1957.)
“In a wide and loose sense, when the whole Catholic Church is considered as existing in the midst of heretics, schismatics, and the heathen, even the laity may be considered as forming a portion of the hierarchy. With this agrees the expression of St. Peter, calling the general body of Christians in the countries to which he is sending his epistle “a kingly priesthood” and “a holy nation” (1Peter 2: 9). Saint Ignatius, writing to the Smyrnaeans, salutes “the Bishop worthy of God and the most religious presbytery, my fellow servants the deacons and all of you individually and in common.” So at the Mass, the priest turning to the people bids them pray that his and their sacrifice may be acceptable to God and at the incensing before the Sanctus the acolyte, after the rite has been performed to all the orders of the clergy within the sanctuary, turns toward and bows to the laity and incenses them also.” Catholic Cabinet of Information, various authors, p. 131).
In earlier days, I spent much time urging Catholics to engage in Catholic Action. Pope Pius XI tells us not to do so is a sin of omission, which can be grave in some cases, and it would seem that this is one of those cases. I have tried to do my part with this site. Many excerpts from papal addresses on this topic can be found at https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/2-the-church/the-popes-on-catholic-action/ What I am about to say may offend some readers, but if anyone is guilty of facilitating the denial of visibility and negating the three attributes and four marks, insofar as we can possess them today, it is Traditionalists as a body. They have destroyed apostolicity of origin and doctrine by committing communicatio in sacris with their invalid clergy. The only way that the Church can fulfill Her mission on earth until the consummation under the present circumstances is to faithfully adhere to the doctrines taught by Christ and His Church regarding Apostolic Succession. Therefore, they must do the thing they most abhor and become stay-at-home Catholics. As Rev. Devivier teaches, “Apostolicity of doctrine is the logical and indispensable consequence of the unity required in the true Church.”
If Traditionalists en masse would abandon these hirelings and imposters and place their energies toward becoming a truly visible Church, obedient to the continual magisterium, the Church could be restored to the best of lay abilities and be made a recognized presence once again on this earth. We are the Church militant, engaged in a warfare on this earth that is neither recognized nor appreciated for what it truly is. Our calling to do battle as members of the Catholic faith is a deadly serious business. There is no time to entertain light-mindedness or flights of emotional fancy. Longing for those comforts and consolations of the past is only a refusal to face the very stark realities facing us today and indicates a lack of faith and longsuffering. Catholics may fear they cannot worthily aspire to martyrdom, but they are being called to become at least martyrs in spirit. They may long for Mass and Sacraments but today we cannot pretend to receive them unless we are literally willing to sell our souls to obtain them.
It is high time Traditionalists faced the ugly fact that to remain where they are is a full-fledged denial that communicatio in sacris means today what it meant in the 1950s, the 1700s, the 1600s, the 1500s and before. In true Modernist fashion, whether they realize it or not, they shout with everything they are and believe that doctrine evolves, and that because it evolves, they can validly attend Mass and receive the very Sacraments their Catholic forbearers eschewed as fatal to the faith, dying rather than tasting their poison. True Catholics can choose to obey what the Church teaches or join the rest of the world in its sure march to hell.
+St. John Gaulbert +
Many have asked if it is possible that we are spending our Purgatory here on earth, given the dire state of affairs we find ourselves in and the absence of the visible Church. St. Thomas Aquinas seems to indicate this might be possible, at least according to St. Vincent Ferrar. But when this was mentioned in a previous blog, some objected that the quote was not convincing and perhaps not even authentic, although it came from a reliable source and is supported by the writings of St. Thomas in his Summa and other works. Some readers fear that the belief we are spending our Purgatory time here will lead to laxity, so advise that such matters are better left alone. That might be the case if so many were not in near despair that they will save their souls. Hope is a precious commodity, and where it can be offered it seems only right and just that it be made available to those struggling to remain Catholic today.
But St. Thomas is not the only one who has opined on the topic of earthly Purgatory, although he is the only one who mentions it in relation to the end times. To refresh everyone’s memory about what he said, we again quote St. Vincent Ferrar who is talking about the fires of the final consummation. “Saint Thomas Aquinas speaks beautifully of this when he says that this last fire, inasmuch as it precedes the Judgment, will act as an instrument of God’s justice. It will also act like natural fire, inasmuch as, in its natural power, it will burn both wicked and good and reduce every human body to ashes. Inasmuch as it acts as an instrument of God’s justice, it will act in different ways with regard to different people. For the wicked will suffer intensely through the action of the fire, but the good in whom nothing is found which must be purged away will feel no pain from the fire, just as the three children felt nothing in the fiery furnace, although the bodies of these others will not be preserved as were those of the three children. And this will come to pass by the divine power, that without pain or suffering their bodies will be resolved into ashes.
“But the good in whom there is some stain to be purged away will feel the pain of this fire, more or less according to the merits of each. But they will be swiftly purged for three reasons. The first reason is that in them little evil is found, for they have been already in great measure purged by the preceding tribulations and persecutions. The second is that the living will voluntarily endure the pain; and suffering willingly endured in this life remits much more quickly than suffering inflicted after death. This is seen in the case of the martyrs, for if, when they came to die, anything worthy of purgation was found, it was cut away by the pruning knife of their sufferings. And the sufferings of the martyrs were short in comparison with the pains of purgatory. The third reason is that the heat of the fire gains in intensity what it loses through the shortness of the time. But in so far as the fire is active after the judgment its power only extends over the damned, since all the bodies of the just will be impassible” (Angel of the Judgment: A Life of Vincent Ferrer, by S.M.C., Ave Maria Press. Chapter 11, pgs. 102-117)
This may be true of those few left on earth when Christ comes a second time, but there are other means of avoiding Purgatory. These are outlined in a little booklet written by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, How to Avoid Purgatory. He gives a simple method for doing so including the necessity, of course, of avoiding mortal sin and deliberate venial sin (performing an act or entertaining thoughts we know are sinful, although not mortally so); praying to always do God’s Holy Will; mortifying ourselves in small matters and undergoing trials sent with patience and resignation; asking God directly for deliverance from Purgatory every day; resigning ourselves to whatever death God may send us and praying for a holy and happy death; bearing our pains in union with the Passion of Christ; hearing Mass and frequenting the Sacraments (St. John’s Mass and our Act of Contrition, Spiritual Communion) and devotion to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. These means are repeated in the work below but are added to and amplified in a remarkable way that should bring solace to all those who are reading this post.
In a little book entitled Purgatory Surveyed, a French Jesuit priest, Fr. Etienne Binet, writing in the 1600s, explains how those on earth might well be exempted from the fires of Purgatory through certain practices and by the circumstances in which they live. It gives greater force to the argument that the majority of Catholics are saved and can offer hope to many, particularly those in their senior years and soon facing eternity, who feel especially bereft of any consolation in these times. The first of those conditions Fr. Binet lists as applying to us today is to die with “tears in our eyes,” with a contrition so perfect that it washes away every trace of sin, although Fr. Binet admits this is a rare exception, but in these times the Act of Contrition is the only means available to us. For this reason it is of supreme importance that all have a complete understanding of how to attain it. The best work on how to achieve Perfect Contrition can be found on the Internet at https://s3.amazonaws.com/ANF/2011/PDFs/FNL112-Booklet+Final+Layout.pdf
Devotion to the Blessed Mother
Another is a tender devotion to the Blessed Mother, and it is hard to imagine a stay-at-home Catholic that is not so devoted. But it must be a constant and special devotion, offering her prayers, giving alms in her name, constructing a chapel for her, (daily reciting) and promoting devotion to her Rosary, or some other special service. It should be noted here that those who devote themselves to Our Lady of Sorrows, according to a revelation given to St. Bridget of Sweden, are promised peace in their families, consolations in their daily pains and work, answers to all prayers not opposed to the Divine Will, defense when engaging in spiritual battles throughout their lives, and finally, “I will visibly help them at the moment of their death — they will see the face of their Mother. I have obtained this grace from my Divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy” (St. Bridget). The author of the book Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother (1958) also relates that according to an account found among the acts presented for the beatification of St. Vincent Palloti, “…the evil spirit once declared by the mouth of a possessed person that no one who had practiced devotion to Mary Sorrowful had yet been lost, and that the evil spirit had been commanded by God not to assail with temptations in the hour of death those who had faithfully practiced this devotion.”
A humble patience
Then there is the following, regarding those who suffer a lifetime of miseries on earth with a humble patience: “If God meant to punish His servants in Purgatory in this life, He would not punish them here in a Purgatory of miseries. His goodness is not wont to punish the same fault twice… God, to save His friends from the horrible torments of Purgatory fire, sends them a good store of crosses and afflictions in this world which are nothing so painful; and yet are highly meritorious in His sight, whereas the other are but pure sufferings. Hear St. Chrysostom: ‘The tongue that praises God in the midst of afflictions is not inferior to the tongues of martyrs, and likely they may have both the same reward. If a man praise God and give Him thanks in his sufferings, it is reputed as a kind of martyrdom; and would you have a martyr go to Purgatory…?’ The works of patience, according to St. James are perfect.” Our Lord tells us in Apoc. 3: 19-21: “Such as I love, I rebuke and chastise. Be zealous therefore and do penance. Behold, I stand at the gate, and knock. If any man shall hear my voice, and open to me the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with me in my throne: as I also have overcome and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
As Rev. Henry James Coleridge, S.J. wrote in his Prisoners of the King (1889): “The Prophet Malachias (Malachias 3:17) speaks of those who remain faithful to God in the midst of generations who turn from Him, and his words may apply to the souls of which we speak: “A book of remembrance was written before Him for them that fear the Lord, and think upon His Name. And they shall be My special possession, saith the Lord of hosts, in the day that I do judgment.” We also are reminded of the verses found in Apoc. 14: 12-13: “Here is the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying to me: Write: Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord. From henceforth now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; for their works follow them.”
What greater trial could we have endured on this earth than the loss of the Holy Sacrifice, the Sacraments and the papacy? All else pales in comparison. We lost all opportunity to educate our children in Catholic schools, to be cared for in Catholic hospitals and other institutions, to attend retreats, to make Eucharistic holy hours, to have Masses said for our dearly departed, to participate in processions, to receive spiritual direction and to benefit from the sacramentals — and that is the short list. According to Fr. Binet it would seem contrary to God’s infinite mercy to deprive us of worshipping Him at the heavenly altar who have so often longed to worship him in Catholic churches here on earth, taken from us by the usurpers in Rome. For as Fr. Binet so aptly explains, God will not punish us twice for our faults, especially when what has happened was His express will, in order that the Scriptures be fulfilled. If we accept all of this willingly and with perfect resignation, it cannot but count for exactly such a humble patience.
Then there is also the keen sufferings of those who for many years frequented various Traditional groups, thinking they would eventually find a truly Catholic community. Instead many encountered grave disillusionment, families were split apart, dissensions among the community and its leaders were rife, abuse of various kinds took place and families commonly experienced financial reversals, even bankruptcy. And this only accounts for temporal losses. Those realizing their mistake were shamed and greatly saddened by the sacrileges committed when all along they believed they were receiving true Sacraments. The betrayal by those they believed to be valid and licit Catholic clergy was galling, particularly when it was clear that all the confessions they had made were to a layperson who could not even claim the seal of the confessional. And finally the acceptance of the fact that they would need to keep their faith in the privacy of their homes and were not even able to socialize with other Catholics hit many the hardest. All this is true deprivation, and it is hard to believe that having lacked Catholic friends and relatives on earth, they would not be able to find them in Heaven.
And this is not even taking into consideration what we have already endured and may yet be facing on the civil scale!
Devotion to the Poor Souls and the dying
Those interested in the subject know that wearing their scapular and devotion to the Poor Souls are two means that can eliminate or at least shorten their time in Purgatory. Numerous saintly testimonials exist to verify this. But this is true only if those wearing the scapular and praying for the Poor Souls are in a state of grace in the first place and able to avail themselves of these promises. There are many treatises and books on the Internet available on Purgatory. (One such site is http://www.traditionalcatholic.co/free-catholicbooks/) The work most recommended or made available by Traditionalists for many years, by a Fr. Schouppe, is the most rigorous, and gives little hope of escaping such punishment. Other works are more consoling, without softening the doctrine of Purgatory itself in any way. As Fr. Binet notes and we have mentioned in a previous blog, the saints, including St. Francis de Sales and St. Thomas Aquinas, teach that charity to the suffering souls is superior to any charity to the souls here on earth, for the Poor Souls have no one else to help them. If we may be so bold to say it, it also seems that prayers for the dying might also rank among Fr. Binet’s exemptions, since they are the neediest next to the Poor Souls. A most excellent book on this topic, Devotion to the Dying by Mother Mary Potter, can be found at http://www.catholictradition.org/Classics/holy-souls.htm (This is given only as a reference; no endorsement whatsoever is given to the site. This book also can be purchased from various vendors.)
Frequent confession and Spiritual Communion
Yet another purgatorial exemption is to communicate well and often, also mentioned by Fr. O’Sullivan. While Catholics cannot receive Our Lord physically in Holy Communion, there is reason to believe that in being deprived of the Eucharist yet supplying for it by desire, there is possibly greater merit than receiving it from the hands of a Catholic priest. (See the heading on Spiritual Communion below.) As Rev. Coleridge, S.J. wrote in his previously mentioned work, “Again, we may remember that we have the power of renewing in our own hearts as often as we like the affections and holy acts which prepare for, or accompany, or follow, the actual reception of Communion, making at any time of the day or night, and many times in each, those spiritual communions of which the Saints have been so fond. It cannot be doubted that our Lord, on His part, is always ready to crown these tender and secret acts of love with great graces, renewing and confirming in us the effects of His own Sacramental Presence.” We may communicate only once a day in actually receiving the Body of our Lord, but many times when receiving Him spiritually. And this is productive of “great graces.”! Why do those who condemn these observances not educate themselves?!
Faithful and exact obedience
A final exemption of great note listed by Fr. Binet is that of “a faithful and exact obedience” — to God first, to superiors, the laws and teachings of the Church and even the civil law. Here he gives examples of obedience to God that seemed to endanger the lives of prophets such as Elias in his fiery chariot, Moses in the bottom of the Red Sea and Daniel in the lion’s den. Then there is also Jonas in the belly of the whale, Isaac, ready to be sacrificed by his father Abraham and Susanna, waiting to be stoned. Binet writes, “It is a kind of martyrdom to die for obedience, and without question, Purgatory was not made for martyrs.” He adds that St. Thomas teaches all heroic virtues place the soul in a pure and perfect state, but that “man can give God nothing that is of more value in this miserable life than to consecrate his will and submit it not only to Him but for love of Him.” Gerard, as he lay dying in St. Bernard’s arms, cried out: “I have been carried before God’s high tribunal and have seen the power of obedience; nobody shall ever perish who is truly obedient…” Binet adds: “A soul once purged in the fire of obedience hath no need of being purged again in the fire of Purgatory.” He then says an amazing thing. He tells us that God will refuse nothing to an obedient soul —that if she asks Him to be freed from Purgatory, He will not deny her.
Surely those who have obeyed God’s laws by departing from Traditionalism or the Novus Ordo to avoid communicatio in sacris can hope to at least lay claim to some measure of obedience. And perhaps it would be possible to also cite several of these other precious exemptions above for ourselves, at least in part. Others mentioned by Fr. Binet include angelical purity, a profound humility, to die as a religious, to serve the infected, and apostolic preaching. Those who have preserved virginity or been faithful to their marriage vows; those who at least try to humble themselves, those who defend the faith by word and/or example, who care for those with the Corona virus or other contagious diseases, those who wish to live the lives of religious although they cannot — isn’t all of this worthy at least of partial fulfillment of these exemptions? Both Fr. Binet and the Jesuit priest who translated his work, Fr. Richard Thimelby, lived during the precarious days of the Reformation. Fr. Thimelby is said in the preface to Binet’s work to have been a man of extraordinary piety by his biographers, and he says in the preface to the work he translated that Fr. Binet wrote may other treatises he only wish could also be translated. Fr. Binet ends his work with the following entreaty to his readers:
“It is in your power to make your way [to Heaven] without passing through Purgatory. Believe me, it is no trifling matter but the most important business we have to do in this world, to purchase Heaven… Learn at least by these discourses to have a tender heart for the Poor Souls and to use your uttermost endeavor to go yourself directly into Heaven out of this wicked world. It is the thing I earnestly beg out of God’s infinite mercy for you, and for myself, at the instance of your good prayers. For though I must acknowledge I deserve nothing more than hell-fire, and have reason to take it for a high favour to be sent into Purgatory, to lie there as many months and years as it shall please God; yet I confess ingenuously I have no great mind to either place, but only to heaven, which I beseech God, by the merits of my dear Saviour, and by the Plenary Indulgence of His most infinite mercy, to grant to us all.”
Given all the above, it would seem impossible for one committed to avoiding hell to ever go there if he or she availed themselves of every possible help listed here by these authors. This in spite of the fact that we lack Mass and Sacraments, although we have their spiritual substitutes. Those preying on souls today have made it seem that it will be difficult to save ourselves without their ministrations, but we have from God’s mouth the promises that a contrite heart He will not despise, and obedience is better than sacrifices. Why would we spurn this precious obedience that assures our salvation to please our fellow men and appear to worship God, when in fact we are worshipping idols? The treasury of the Church is rich with the means to save our souls if we but take the time and effort to discover them and put them into practice. Pray God that we are given the graces to do so!
The following is simply a refresher course from the popular work by Bp. Demaris, who reiterates all that was said previously.
Excerpts from Bp. Demaris
For those committed to avoiding at all costs the sacrilegious and idolatrous services of those who are not true members of Christ’s Mystical body or the hierarchy, there is nothing more consoling than the words of Fr. Demaris, a French bishop writing to his flock during the time of the French Revolution (They have Taken Away My Lord). During that time bishops had sworn allegiance and been installed by the French government, and these men were subsequently condemned by Pope Pius VI as not possessing jurisdiction and therefore incapable of transmitting valid Sacraments.
“The Catholic Church and the whole episcopal body has received and respected this judgment of the Holy See…,” we find in Arturo de Montor’s Lives of the Pope under Pope Pius VII. “The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was condemned by the same dogmatic judgment of Pius VI, as containing errors against the deposit of faith… “The decisions of ancient councils were also appealed to. One of these, held in Benevento in 1087 by (Bl.) Pope Victor III, had decreed as follows: ‘The Sacraments of Penance and Communion are to be received only at the hands of a Catholic priest; if none such is to be found, it is better to remain without communion and to receive it invisibly from Our Lord.’” Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Editor James Hastings and others, Vol. IX, 1917, Charles Scribner and Sons, New York; by Georges Volet). De Montor confirms this by stating that Victor III forbade Catholics to receive penance or the Eucharist “at the hands of heretics or simoniacs.”
In a past blog piece on the Petit Eglise, this entire period of history is examined and shown to be a complete vindication of the stay-at-home position, although none will accept this fact and quibble instead that Pope Pius VI’s Charitas proclaiming the condemnation was not dogmatic. This definitely is not the case and was not the opinion of Cardinal Consalvi, who de Montor quotes as follows: “The Catholic Church and the whole episcopal body has received and respected this judgment of the Holy See… The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was condemned by the same dogmatic judgment of Pius VI, as containing errors against the deposit of faith… His Holiness observes that, as his predecessor found it impossible to yield to the request made… it is equally impossible for him to admit to his communion and invest with canonical constitution the constitutionals, who, contrary to the dogmatic decision contained in said briefs, persist in maintaining the error condemned in them, refuse to acknowledge their illegitimate character, and to adhere and submit to the judgment pronounced by the Holy See.”
We find ourselves today in much the same position as the French Catholics, although our situation is much worse because we have no true pope. (However, the French Catholics faced real persecution and death and we do not, as yet.) Therefore the reassuring words below offered by Fr. Demaris will resonate spiritually with those who have withdrawn from anything smacking of false religion. Furthermore, it should convince Catholics that their determination never to dishonor Christ by committing communicatio in sacris will be abundantly rewarded and will merit them the very graces they are accused of neglecting in absence of the true Mass and valid Sacraments. Who to believe then – Traditionalists or the teaching of Popes Pius VI and VII and a missionary bishop?! The choice seems very simple. And as also shown below, there are other reasons to believe that rather than doing a disservice to religion, and actually sinning by avoiding “Mass and Sacraments,” as many have accused us of doing, we instead are acting meritoriously. In fact it is possible that we may indeed not only be able to snatch our souls from the fires of hell but we may be able even to avoid a lengthy Purgatory, as seen above. This by simply bearing our plight without complaint and offering up our sufferings for our own sins and those of others. This is further confirmed by the consoling words of Bp. Demaris:
“You are frightened, my children, at what you see: all that you hear is frightening, but be consoled that it is the Will of God being accomplished. Your days are numbered; His Providence watches over us. Cherish those men who appear to you as savages. They are the means which Heaven uses in its plans, and like a tempestuous sea, they will not pass the prescribed line against the countering and menacing waves. The stormy turbulence of revolution that strikes right and left, and the sounds that alarm you are the threats of Herod! Let it not deter you from good works, nor change your trust, nor wither the shower of virtues that tie you to Jesus Christ. He is your model. The threats of Herod do not change the course of His Destiny.
“The disciples of Jesus Christ in their fidelity to God are faithful to their country and full of submission and respect for all lawful authority — firm in their principles with a conscience without reproach — adoring the Will of God, they must not coward-like flee persecution. When one loves the Cross, one is fearless to kiss it and even enjoy death. It is necessary for our intimate union with Jesus Christ. It could happen any instant, but it is not always so meritorious or glorious. If God does not call you to it, you shall be like those illustrious confessors, of whom St. Cyprian said, “That without dying by the executioner, they have gained the merits of martyrdom, because they were prepared for it.”
“This consoling truth can only be appreciated by the righteous, and don’t be surprised if in our own time, we see what St. Cyprian saw in his: that most of the faithful succumbed. To love God and fear Him alone, such is the lot of a small number of the elect. It is this love and this fear that makes martyrs by detaching the Faithful from the world and attaching them to God and His Holy Law. To support this love and this fear, in your hearts, watch and pray.
On the absence of the Eucharist and Confession
“It is by Faith that the Faithful are united. In probing this truth, we find that the absence of the Body does not break this unity, since it does not break the ties of Faith, but rather augments it by depriving it of all feeling… This loss deprives you of Sacraments and spiritual consolation. Your piety takes fright, since it sees itself alone. However, through your desolation, never forget that God is your Father, and if He permits your deprivation of the dispensation of the Mysteries, that doesn’t mean that He shuts off the means of His Graces and Mercies. I’m going to offer them to you as the only sources to which you can possibly go for purification. Read what I write with the same intention as I have in writing. Seek nothing but the truth, and our salvation in self-denial, in our love for God and a submission to His Holy Will… If life’s events change the position of the Faithful, the events change our obligations.
“St. Leo said that love of justice contains in itself all Apostolic Authority, and in that he has expressed the belief of the Church… If confession must precede absolution, your conduct here, precedes the graces of holiness and justice which God gives you and is confession public and continuous. “Confession is necessary,” said St. Augustine, “because it embraces the condemnation of sin.” Here, we condemn it in a manner so public and so solemnly, that it is known by all, and this condemnation, which is why we cannot go to a priest, isn’t it more meritorious than an accusation of private sin made in secret? Our example tells the Faithful that there is more evil than one thinks in doing what is being done to us. We do not confess to a priest, but we confess to the Truth, which is the most noble confession, and the most necessary in these circumstances. We do not confess our sins in secret, we confess the Truth in public.
“The Holy Eucharist had for you many joys and advantages when you were able to participate in this Sacrament of love, but now you are deprived of it for being defenders of truth and justice. Your advantages are the same, for who would have dared approach this fearsome table if Jesus Christ had not given us a precept, and if the Church, which desires that we fortify ourselves with this Bread of Life, had not invited us to eat It by the voice of its ministers, who reclothed us with a nuptial dress. All was obedience, but if we compare obedience by that which we are deprived of with that which led us there, it will be easy to judge the merit. Abraham obeyed in immolating his son, and in not immolating him, but his obedience was greater when he took the sword in his hand than when he returned it to its scabbard.
“We are obedient in going to Communion, but in holding ourselves from the sacrifice we are immolating ourselves. Quenched of the thirst of justice and depriving ourselves of the Blood of the Lamb which alone can slake it, we sacrifice our own life as much as it is in us to do. The sacrifice of Abraham was for an instant, an angel stopped the knife; ours is daily, renewing itself every day, every time that we adore with submission the Hand of God that drives us away from His altars, and this sacrifice is voluntary. It is to be advantageously deprived of the Eucharist, to raise the standard of the Cross for the cause of Christ and the glory of His Church… Let not the love of the Eucharist drive us away from the Cross.
“Observe, my children, that Jesus, after having given His Body, found no difficulty in dying for us. There is the action of a Christian in the persecutions, the Cross follows on from the Eucharist. Let not the love of the Eucharist drive us away from the Cross. It is to arise and make glorious advance in the grace of the Gospel, to go out from the Cenacle, to go to Calvary. Yes, I have no fear in saying it. When the storm of the malice of men roars against truth and justice, it is more advantageous to the Faithful to suffer for Christ than to participate in His Body by Communion. I seem to hear the Savior saying to us: “Do not be afraid to be separated from My table for the confession of My Name: it is a grace I give you, which is very rare. Repair by this humiliating deprivation that glorifies Me, all the Communions which dishonor me.
“Feel this grace. You can do nothing for Me and I put into your hands a means of doing what I have done for you, and to return to Me with magnificence, that which I have given you is the greatest. I have given you My Body, and you give it back to Me, since you are separated from it in My service. You give back to the truth what you have received from My love. I could not have given you anything greater. Your gratitude matches by that, the grace I have given you — the greatness of the gift I made to you. Console yourselves if I do not call upon you to pour out your blood like the martyrs, there is Mine to make up for it. Every time that you are prevented from drinking it, I will regard it the same as if you had spilled yours; and Mine is far more precious.” So that is how we find the Eucharist, even during the deprivation of the Eucharist. From another view, who is able to separate us from Christ and His Church in Communion in approaching its altars by faith in a much more efficacious manner since it is spiritual and further from the sense. It is what I call communicating spiritually in uniting oneself with the Faithful who are able to do it in different places on the earth.”
The cessation of the Holy Sacrifice
(Editor’s note: If we recite the Mass of St. John, or say our Mass prayers in the absence of the True Mass; if we offer our very selves on this altar of sacrifice willingly and in a spirit of resignation to God’s will each day as Pope Pius XII enjoins us in his encyclical Mediator Dei, isn’t the Sacrifice still renewed spiritually in a continual way? In his The Mystery of Faith, Vol. I, Rev. de la Taille writes concerning chapters 5-16 of Apocalypse: “It is declared plainly that in the New Jerusalem which is to succeed the Church Militant, there would be neither Temple nor light, except God and the Lamb…Under these sacrificial symbols and metaphors we have an indication of some kind of heavenly and eternal worship,” consisting of Christ’s perpetual immolation eternally offered before the Throne of God.
St. Gregory Nazianzan wrote: “What then? Will they forbid us their altars? Even so, I know of another altar, and the altars we see now are but a figure of it… All the activities ‘round about that altar are spiritual; one ascends to it by contemplation. At this altar I shall stand, upon it I will make immolations pleasing to God, sacrifices, oblations, holocausts, better than those that are offered now…” (Ibid). St. Thomas writes: “The state of the New Law is intermediate between the state of the Old Law…and the state of glory, in which all truth will be fully and perfectly manifested. Then there will be no more sacraments; but now, inasmuch as we see only through a glass darkly, we have to enter into spiritual things through sensible signs.” So either we are being offered a foretaste of life in our Eternal Home, and the Church will eventually be restored; or we are being prepared for the end of the world proper and the commencement of the life to come in a very intimate way.) We continue now with more from Bishop Demaris:
“When you look to the future and see yourself on your deathbed, without the last sacrament, without Extreme Unction and without any help on the part of the ministers of the Lord, you see yourself abandoned in the most sad and terrible way. Console yourselves, my children, in the trust you have in God. This tender Father will pour on you His graces, His blessings and His mercies, in these awful moments that you fear, in more abundance than if you were being assisted by his ministers of whom you have been deprived only because you wouldn’t abandon Him Yourself. The abandonment and forsakenness that we fear for ourselves resembles that of the Savior on the Cross when He said to His Father: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27: 46). Ah! How constructive and consoling are these words! Your pains and abandonment lead you to your glorious destiny in ending your life like Jesus ended His.
“The number of the elect was always small… God only wants those who give themselves to Him entirely. Do not be surprised at the great number who quit. Truth wins, no matter how small the number of those who love and remain attached to Him.” (End of Bishop Demaris quotes)
The saints and Spiritual Communion
St. Alphonsus Liguori writes: “I advise everyone who desires to grow in love for Jesus to communicate in this spiritual manner at least once a day… This devotion is far more salutary than many suppose, while at the same time it is very easy of practice.”
Rev. Mueller relates in his work that St. Catherine of Siena at one point in her life was forbidden to communicate. But her desire to receive Communion was so intense that the smallest particle from the Host, being broken at the altar into three pieces by her confessor, St. Raymund Pennafort, flew from the altar to rest on St. Catherine’s tongue. Our Lord assured St. Raymund that this miracle was a reward for her intense desire to receive Him. A similar miracle occurred in the case of St. Juliana Falconieri, who was unable to communicate because of a gastrointestinal disorder. She begged the priest to lay a veil on her breast, and to place the Blessed Sacrament on it to receive Jesus in a spiritual Communion. This wish was complied with and the Sacred Host disappeared suddenly, to be found no more. Shortly afterwards, St. Juliana died with a smile on her face.
Rev. Mueller tells us: “[Our Lord] displays a similar love toward anyone who has a true desire to be united to Him. As soon as a soul ardently desires to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, He comes to satisfy her desire, not as he did to St. Catherine, under the Sacramental species, but by the way of Spiritual Communion. This devotion is so full of grace and consolation that everyone should know how to practice it… Spiritual Communion, according to St. Thomas, consists in an ardent desire to receive Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament. It is performed by making an act of faith…and then an act of love, and an act of contrition for having offended Him. The soul then invites Him to come and unite Himself to her and make her entirely His own; and lastly she thanks Him as if she had really received Him sacramentally,” [and here Mueller gives the common form of Spiritual Communion].
“Our Lord Himself told St. Jane [Joanna] of the Cross that as often as she communicated spiritually, she received a grace similar to that received from her Sacramental Communions. He also appeared to St. Paula Maresca, foundress of the convent of St. Catherine of Siena at Naples, with two vessels, one of silver and one of gold, and told her that in the golden vessel He preserved her Sacramental Communions and in the silver vessel her spiritual Communions. The Fathers of the Church go so far as to say that one who has a very great desire for Communion, accompanied with great reverence and humility, may sometimes receive even more graces than another who, without these dispositions, should actually receive Our Lord in the Sacramental species; for as the Psalmist says: ‘The Lord hears the desire of the poor and fills their heart with good things.’”
Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great the following regarding spiritual communion:
On account of an interdict, St. Gertrude the Great was unable to hear Mass. In The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude, issued by the nuns of her Benedictine convent in Germany, it is written: “[The Saint] addressed God thus: How wilt Thou console us most kind Lord, in our present affliction? He replied: “I will increase My joys in you; for as a spouse entertains himself more familiarly with his bride in the retirement of his house than in public, so will I take My pleasure in your retreat. My love will increase in you, even as a fire which is enclosed burns with great force; and the delight which I will find in you, and the love which you will have for Me, will be like a pent-up ocean, which seems to increase by the impediments placed to its progress, until at last it breaks forth impetuously. ‘But how long will this interdict continue?’ inquired the Saint. The Lord replied: ‘The favours which I promise you will last as long as it does.’
The Perfect Act of Contrition
In his Heaven Open to Souls, Rev. Henry Semple, S. J. shows that a perfect Act of Contrition is a common act. Semple quotes St. Alphonsus Liguori, who attributes the opposite belief, that such an act is not common, to the Jansenists. St. Alphonsus teaches that “the opposite teaching…that Contrition with remiss charity does not justify outside the Sacrament [of Penance] is altogether unsupported by any reason, and is false…It is at variance with all theologians and the common sentiments of the Fathers…It most openly contradicts many testimonies of Scripture and Councils and Holy Fathers,” (“Moral Theology,” Book 6, Treatise 4, n. 442 of St. Alphonsus). Rev. Raymond Kearney writes: “The Sacraments are the usual, not the exclusive channels of grace…Penitents frequently make acts of Perfect Contrition…These facts go to show that while the Church does not always supply jurisdiction as lavishly as some writers would desire, she is ever the Pia Mater Ecclesia,” (“Principles of Delegation,” 1929). In the book Semple references below, Rev. von Den Driesch writes:
“… There is no one who, if he sincerely wishes it, cannot, with the grace of God, make an act of Perfect Contrition. Sorrow is in the will, not in the senses or feelings. All that is needed is that we repent because we love God above everything else; that is all. True it is that perfect contrition has its degrees, but it is nonetheless perfect because it does not reach the intensity and the sublimity of the sorrow of St. Peter, of St. Mary Magdalene, or of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. Such a degree is desirable, but it is by no means necessary. A lesser degree, but, provided it proceeds from the love of God, and not through fear of His punishments is quite sufficient…Often, very often, without even thinking of it, you have Perfect Contrition for your sins. For example, when you hear Mass devoutly or make the Stations of the Cross properly; when you reflect before your crucifix or an image of the Sacred Heart. What is more, every time you say the ‘Our Father’, in the first three petitions you make three acts of perfect charity, each of which is sufficient to cancel every sin from your soul.”
These words are from saintly men and women and must be taken above anything taught by so-called Novus Ordo or Traditionalist clerics. For this was the true Catholic Church, the works of approved authors, not the mewlings of the hirelings we are currently offered. Honor that Church, study its wealth of teachings, listen to the words of the Roman Pontiffs, and pray that God have mercy on the souls of all who are in error today.