The Episcopacy (The pastoral Office)

The Episcopacy (The pastoral Office)

The Pastoral Office, Chapter One

By Henry Cardinal Manning

(All emphasis within these quotes is the editor’s.)


In the following pages we will examine what is the teaching of the Church on the Episcopate, and what has been written by authors who are held in veneration in Rome. The subject matter will, therefore, include (1) what is of Divine faith respecting the Episcopate, and (2) what theological opinions may be safely held concerning it.

To do this more surely, I shall, first, do little else than transcribe the text of authors whose works, after due examination by censors, are printed in Rome, and are placed in the hands of students at the Roman Seminary. In following such authorities there can be no danger of error. Novelties, and opinions merely probable, or permissible, or tenable, citra censuram, are unsafe, (emph. the editor’s throughout). In theology the mid-stream is the surest waterway and has the best anchorage. Such accredited authors exhibit not only what theological opinions may be held, but they show what is actually taught and learned by the clergy under the eye of the Holy See.

I shall therefore refrain from quoting from the early Christian Fathers until the doctrine of faith and the present mind of the Church shall have been ascertained. We shall then have the mature result and enunciation of the Divine tradition. This will fix the true sense of the Fathers, and ought to preclude all conflict of interpreters and of interpretations.

1. The first authority I will take shall be the work of Peter Ballerini, De Potestate Ecclesiastica Summorum Pontificum, written to refute the errors of Febronius, and reprinted in Rome at the Propaganda Press in 1850.

(1) His first proposition is as follows: “The ecclesiastical jurisdiction was given by Christ immediately to Peter and the Apostles, and cannot be said to be given immediately to the Church, as if Peter and the Apostles received it from the Church merely as ministers of the same.” He then adds that this power was given when our Lord gave to them, with the keys of the kingdom of heaven, the power of binding and loosing — “quae potestas idem est ac jurisdictio” — which power is one and the same with jurisdiction; and therefore, in its origin, it is juris divini — of Divine right.”

The power of binding and loosing and the power of jurisdiction are one and the same. It is the judicial power over souls. And this is in itself a Divine power, for “Who can forgive sins but God only?” Therefore both in its nature and in its origin it is Divine.

(2) His second proposition is: “The ecclesiastical jurisdiction, given immediately to Peter and the Apostles for the welfare of the Church, was not intended to die with Peter and the Apostles, but to pass onward to the successors of Peter and of the Apostles, and to reside immediately in them, and to continue until the consummation of the world; as also the Church is intended to continue until the consummation of the world, for government of which this jurisdiction was instituted by Christ.”

In this proposition it is asserted that the jurisdiction of Peter and of the Apostles resides forever in their successors — that is, in the Roman Pontiff and in the Episcopate; and that this jurisdiction was instituted in the Roman Pontiff and the Episcopate for the government (regimen) of the Church. The Roman Pontiff alone is, in strict sense, the successor of an Apostle, that is, as a person to a person. The Episcopate is collectively the successor of the Apostolate, as a whole succeeding to a whole. “Thus, the same power, or ecclesiastical jurisdiction, by the institution of Christ, continued in the successors of Peter and the Apostles, has come down to the Roman Pontiffs who succeed S. Peter, and to others whom the Apostles constituted as Bishops, and who are the successors of the Apostles; and therefore it belongs to them by the same Divine right, and it resides immediately in the same who constitute the body of chief pastors, as it resided in S. Peter and the Apostles.”

(3) The third proposition distinguishes the primacy of Peter from the jurisdiction common to Peter and the Apostles. “The jurisdiction proper to S. Peter, by reason of his primacy, was in him singular and personal, so that he presided over the other Apostles, who were otherwise equal in power, not by a prerogative of mere order or honour, but of a peculiar right of power over them for the sake of unity; and this right over them he had not only over them one by one (severally), but also as a body, for the preserving of unity. The very same right belongs in like manner to the Roman Pontiffs, the successors of S. Peter, on whom the same primacy, for the same custody of unity, by right of succession devolves.”

The primacy of Peter consists in a twofold plenitude given to him first, and alone — namely, a plenitude of jurisdiction over the whole flock, pastors and people; and a plenitude of Divine assistance, preserving him from error in his office as Universal Teacher of the Church.

Peter and his successors possess this twofold plenitude independently of the Apostles and their successors, and can exercise this supreme office alone; but the Apostles could not, and their successors cannot, exercise their office without Peter and his successors.

The third proposition, then, affirms that all the Apostles were equal in power (omnes potestate pares), excepting only the proper and personal right of the primacy. This primacy was exclusively in S. Peter alone, and in no way common to the other Apostles; and it was instituted by Christ as the means of forming and perpetually preserving the unity of the whole Church. “By this right S. Peter had pre-eminence even over all the Apostles by reason of the primacy, so that, although they were equal with Peter in the other powers of the Apostolate, in the right of enforcing unity they were subject to Peter.”

 (4) The fourth proposition defines the powers of the Episcopate:

The powers of the Apostles did not altogether pass to the Bishops, the successors of the Apostles. For the jurisdiction over the whole Church, which, in the beginning, belonged to the Apostles, was extraordinary, and did not pass to the Bishops, their successors. In Peter alone that power was ordinary, by reason of the primacy; and therefore the inheritance of the primacy belongs to the Roman Pontiffs alone by ordinary right. To no Bishop, save to the successors of S. Peter, does the jurisdiction over other Bishops belong by Divine institution; but by a right which is ecclesiastical only. This jurisdiction has been entrusted to the Bishops of the chief sees, so that all, with the successors of Peter, conspire together for the good of unity; and this ecclesiastical institution cannot in anything prejudice the jurisdiction of S. Peter and his successors, which is of Divine institution.’ Having thus far explained the radical and essential jurisdiction of the primacy of the Roman Pontiffs, the successors of S. Peter, Ballerini goes on further to define the jurisdiction of the Bishops who succeed to the Apostles.

The Apostles had jurisdiction over the whole world, for as much as they were all alike sent by Christ into the whole world to preach the Gospel to every creature. “But when the Apostles constituted Bishops in certain places, that they might give to those places their care and labour, it was expedient that they should be bound to those same places: their jurisdiction did not reach to the whole world, as that of the Apostles, but was circumscribed within certain boundaries for the good of the Church.”

“Hence the jurisdiction of the Apostles over the whole Church was, in a manner, extraordinary, and does not descend to the Bishops, their successors. . . But this (jurisdiction over the whole Church) in Peter was ordinary, and passes with the primacy to the Roman Pontiffs, the heirs of the same primacy and jurisdiction.” Therefore as no Apostle, except Peter, had jurisdiction over another Apostle, so no Bishop, except the successor of Peter, has jurisdiction over another Bishop. All Primates and Metropolitans, therefore, receive their jurisdiction from merely apostolical or ecclesiastical institution.

“From what has been said,” he continues, “it is evident that the jurisdiction of Bishops and of the Supreme Pontiff is of Divine right, but so that the jurisdiction over the Bishops themselves belongs by Divine institution to the Roman Pontiff alone,” all other jurisdiction over Bishops being of ecclesiastical origin. S. Optatus says that “for the good of unity Blessed Peter was preferred before all the Apostles, and alone received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, to communicate them to the others.”

“But the power of binding and loosing, which, depending on the power of the keys, signifies ecclesiastical jurisdiction, though it was given by Christ Himself to the other Apostles, was not, however, given to any of them singly, as to S. Peter—sed in communi et collective cum Petro — but in common and collectively with Peter, who was also with the others when Christ said, ‘Whatsoever you shall bind on earth,’ &c., that all may understand that Bishops, the successors of the Apostles, can do nothing except in unity with Peter and with the successors of Peter.”

(5) The fifth proposition defines the subjection of the Episcopate to the primacy. “The jurisdiction of Bishops, though it be of Divine institution, is nevertheless subject to the jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiffs; so that their faculties as Bishops may, for the good of the Church, be limited or restrained by them, as to the use and exercise of the same.”

This proposition follows directly from the power of Divine right in the Roman Pontiffs over the jurisdiction of Bishop, which tametsi institutions divinae — although of Divine institution — is subject to the plenitude of Divine jurisdiction in the primacy. After quoting the words of the Council of Trent on Reservations, Ballerini adds: “In which matter there is specially to be noticed, that if there be any power given jure divino to Bishops which might seem of a kind to be left intact, it is, without doubt, the power of absolving from sin, which, it is manifest, was given without any restriction by Christ Himself to the Apostles and to Bishops the successors of Apostles. If therefore this so great and so unlimited a power, and that of Divine right, is subject to the authority of the Pontiffs, . . . what power cannot be likewise limited?”

(6) The sixth proposition distinguishes between the Divine jurisdiction of Bishops, and the use and exercise of the same. “This limitation and restriction, though it affect the faculties of Bishops, which in their origin are of Divine right, is to be referred to the matter of discipline and of ecclesiastical right.”

“It is well perhaps to explain and to confirm more clearly by another observation the plenitude of the supreme pontifical power, to which the measure and the exercise of the episcopal faculties are subject. Jurisdiction as distinct from the power of Order, if it have no subject on whom to unfold itself, is barren, and lacks all use and exercise. Hence the designation and assigning of subjects, or of a region or diocese in which the episcopal right (episcopale jus, or jurisdiction) may be exercised, is necessary for actual jurisdiction: and he who assigns to Bishops their subjects and dioceses gives also to them the use and exercise of their jurisdiction, which in its origin is of Divine institution.”

“Further, as the designation of subjects of this or of that diocese or province, which was given to Patriarchs, Exarchs, or Metropolitans, does not depend on Divine right, because Christ did not institute any partition or designation of the kind, but belongs to ecclesiastical institution; . . . so the episcopal jurisdiction, in its origin, though it is of Divine right, yet in respect to the designation of subjects and dioceses, and to the actual use of the jurisdiction itself and of episcopal faculties, is to be referred to ecclesiastical institution. And therefore nothing is thereby derogated from the Divine origin and institution of the Episcopate, because this limiting and restricting of their jurisdiction does not touch that which is of Divine origin (i.e. the jurisdiction itself), but that only which was left by Christ to the discretion and disposition of the Apostles and of their successors.”

From all these propositions the following doctrines or principles result:

1. That to Peter alone the plenitude of universal jurisdiction independent of all others was given.

2. That dependently on Peter the other Apostles received jurisdiction over all the world.

3. That to the jurisdiction of Peter the Apostles likewise were subject.

4. That Peter and the Apostles were equal as Apostles, but that Peter in virtue of the primacy was their head.

5. That to Peter and the Apostles succeed the successor of Peter and the Bishops.

6. That Peter alone has a personal succession in the Roman Pontiffs.

7. That Bishops are successors not of an Apostle one by one, but of the Apostles as a body; that is, the Episcopate succeeds the Apostolate as a whole to a whole.

8. That the jurisdiction of Peter and the Apostles is continued in the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops.

9. That this episcopal jurisdiction is Divine in its origin and essence, and inherent in the Episcopate; but its actual use is dependent on the Divine and supreme jurisdiction of the successor of Peter, who alone has power to assign subjects, to designate dioceses, and to restrict the extent and exercise of episcopal jurisdiction.

10. That there is therefore one jurisdiction of Divine origin, namely, the jurisdiction of the primacy, over all the world, i.e. universal, independent, ordinary, immediate, and episcopal, to which all, both pastors and people, are subject; and also the jurisdiction of Bishops, which is Divine in its origin and essence, but in its exercise and use dependent on the supreme jurisdiction of the successor of Peter, but nevertheless in the diocese assigned to him it is in itself ordinary, immediate and Divine.

Ballerini then excludes from his treatment of this subject certain opinions which he describes as follows:

“I have been unwilling in this place to contend about the sense in which are to be understood the testimonies of Fathers and ancient Pontiffs, by which they seem to imply that the keys were to be given to the Apostles themselves through Peter, and that the Episcopate had its origin from Peter and through Peter, and that the episcopal jurisdiction flows to others from Peter and the successors of Peter. For I am unwilling to make the opinion concerning the supreme and plenary power of the Pontiffs over Bishops to hang upon a less certain and controverted opinion. So long as the jurisdiction and authority of Bishops, which is undeniably of Divine right, is confessedly subordinate and subject to the jurisdiction of the Pontiffs in respect to the assigning of subjects, and to the exercise and limitation of episcopal faculties, as the adversaries must concede from the points established, this is enough for me, in whatsoever way its origin and propagation be explained.”

The next authority I will quote is Devoti, who was Professor of Canon Law at the Roman Seminary in 1770, an intimate friend of Gregorio Chiaramonti, afterwards Pius VII, to whom his works are dedicated, and under whose eyes they were written. In the Prolegomena to his Institutiones Canonicae, he sums up the whole subject of the Episcopate in these words: “The Universal College of Bishops, who, united with their head, represent the Universal Church, has jurisdiction over the whole world; but the jurisdiction of each Bishop singly is not extended to those nations over which no government has been committed to him. Therefore the legislation of each Bishop affects the particular diocese over which he is set, and binds the subjects who are contained in it; but beyond his own diocese, inasmuch as he has no subjects, he can have no jurisdiction. By which fact may be solved, as it seems to me, the controversy with which even the Fathers at Trent were occupied, but left still undecided, namely, whether the jurisdiction of Bishops is mediately or immediately from Christ, I am of opinion, indeed, that the jurisdiction which is attached to the Episcopate at large is immediately from Christ Himself, and the special jurisdiction which resides in each alone is mediately conferred. This, which is too briefly stated, must be somewhat more carefully explained. It is certain that Christ instituted the Episcopate, and placed in the whole College of Bishops, united with their head, the whole administrative authority of the Christian commonwealth. I here pass by whatsoever was said to Peter alone, apart from the other Apostles, and I insist only on those places in the Gospels in which authority and jurisdiction over the whole Church were given to the Apostles. But how was the power given in these places? It is always given to all the Apostles together with Peter, to no one of them separately, except to Peter alone, who first, apart from the other Apostles, afterwards together with them, received the power to govern the Church. Therefore the jurisdiction which the whole College of Bishops possesses, who succeed to the Apostles, comes immediately from Christ Himself.”

Further, he says: “But if we consider the Bishops singly, as the rulers of particular Churches, they have received no jurisdiction immediately from Christ. All such jurisdiction arises immediately from the Church, which distributes dioceses, in which each Bishop singly is to exercise jurisdiction, and assigns to him certain subjects whom he is to govern.’ But it may even be granted and conceded that the jurisdiction, not only of the whole College of Bishops, but even of each singly, proceeds immediately from God Himself. For to the fountain we must return. A distinction is to be drawn between the jurisdiction itself and the act and use of it in exercise. The jurisdiction, indeed, may be derived immediately from God; but all act and use of it is from the Church, which gives the use of it (i.e. the right of using it) to each Bishop, when it assigns to him his subjects, on whom he may exercise this jurisdiction, which is itself of Divine right; but so long as it has no subjects it remains an otiose jurisdiction. So in ordination a priest receives the power of forgiving sins; but unless he have subjects assigned to him by the Church he cannot use it.” This power of the Bishops detracts nothing from the monarchy (of the Pontiff); for though it be not precarious, but proper and native, yet, as it depends on the Supreme Pontiff, his monarchical power is certainly not diminished by their power.

It will be enough if to these two be added the words of Ferrante, whose work is used as the textbook in the Roman Seminary at this time. He says: “Whether the Bishop has the power of jurisdiction (jure divino) by Divine right, that is immediately from God, or by human right, that is from the Supreme Pontiff, was a question agitated in the Council of Trent, but not defined; for which cause the Council, defining that Bishops are superior to priests, and inflicting anathema on those who deny it, purposely abstained from using the words jure divino, which many of the Bishops asked as an addition.

“But though any one may embrace either opinion in this question, [Pope Pius XII infallibly defined this matter in Mystici Corporis  and Ad sinarum gentum — Ed.]) yet he who defends the opinion that the power of jurisdiction is of Divine right must be convinced that it is so, subject to the Roman Pontiff; who by his own right can, for a just cause, either wholly take away from the Bishops or suspend that power, or restrain it within certain limits of places or persons or faculties. For that is necessarily required by the primacy of jurisdiction over the Universal Church which by Divine right belongs to the Roman Pontiff. And he who affirms that the episcopal power of jurisdiction is derived immediately from the Roman Pontiff (which opinion indeed is not only more conformable to the reasons which prove the primacy of the Pope over the Church, but also to the testimonies of the Scriptures and of tradition) must not think that it is lawful for the Roman Pontiff to abolish the order of’ Bishops in the Church; for, as we have before seen, the order of Bishops is of Divine institution, and must exist in the ecclesiastical hierarchy.”

He had before defined the Episcopate as “Ordo praditus spirituali potestate cum regendi tum propagandi et perpetuandi sacris ordinationibus Ecclesiam Dei.” It may be well to place in immediate context with this the words of the Vatican Council, which, after defining the monarchy of the Roman Pontiff as a jurisdiction supreme, ordinary, episcopal, and immediate over the whole Church, says, “So far is this power of the Supreme Pontiff from impeding the ordinary and immediate power of episcopal jurisdiction, by which the Bishops, who, being placed by the Holy Ghost, succeed in the stead of the Apostles as true pastors, feed and rule the several flocks assigned to each, that their power is asserted, strengthened, and vindicated by the Supreme and Universal Pastor, according to the words of S. Gregory the Great: ‘My honour is the honour of the Universal Church. My honour is the solid strength of my brethren. I am then truly honoured when the honour due severally to each is not denied to him.’”

No author has drawn out with greater fullness and precision the nature of the Episcopate than Bolgeni in his refutation of the Febronianism and Regalism, which infested Italy in the last century; and the opinions of Bolgeni may be safely held as sound and Roman. He opens his work with these words: “Bishops are set by the Holy Ghost to rule the Church of God; and the Episcopate is nothing else than the power of ruling and governing the Church — by power is meant the power of order and the power of jurisdiction.” He then treats of the origin of the Episcopate, the superiority of Peter to the Apostles, the primacy of Peter’s successors, the propagation of the Episcopate, its restriction and dependence on the Roman Pontiff, and then the unity of the Episcopate. It is on this that we may dwell for a while.

He draws out from Pope Symmachus and from S. Cyprian the analogy between the unity of the Holy Trinity and the unity of the Episcopate; that is, unity in number, unity in its fountain, unity in plurality, equality in the persons; for the Episcopate of the Bishop of Eugubium is as such equal to the Episcopate of the Bishop of Rome. He then quotes the well-known passage of S. Cyprian, in which he draws out the analogy of the sun and its rays, of the fountain and its streams. He insists on the unity of the origin, of the source, and of the identity of the rays with the sun, and of the streams with the waters of the fountain. He calls the See of Peter the head, the root of the Church. He affirms that God communicates the episcopate through Peter to every Bishop, and that in this he and his brethren are all equal; for the Episcopate in him and in them is one and the same. His superiority is in the primacy, which is distinct from the Episcopate. Next he shows that there is an influx of the primacy of Peter in the whole Episcopate; for without him no Bishop can be elected, confirmed, or consecrated; and when consecrated, he receives from the successor of Peter the diocese and flock within which to rule the Church. In this sense it is strictly true that all comes through Peter; even the power of Order, which is given immediately by God in the Sacrament of Consecration, comes through Peter as the channel through which the consecration is given. This influx of the head in the members of the Episcopate he abundantly proves by the words of S. Optatus, S. Augustine, S. Leo, and many more. He quotes a letter of Stephen of Larissa to Boniface II, read in a Roman Council in A.D. 531, in which he says that “Our Lord, in the words ‘Feed my sheep,’ gave the pastoral care, through the successors of Peter, to the Churches throughout the world.” John of Ravenna, writing to S. Gregory the Great, says that Rome is “That see which has transmitted its rights to the Universal Church.” Pope Gregory IV, speaking of the Roman Church, says: ”That it has so imparted its office (vices suns) to other Churches that they are called to a share of its solicitude, not to the plenitude of its power.” In the Council of Pitres in Gaul, in A.D. 869, it is said that Bishops receive their authority in the person of Peter, “according to the authority which we received in Blessed Peter, when the Lord said, ‘Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth,’” &c. In the Council of Rheims, in A.D. 900, it is said, “By the authority divinely conferred upon Bishops through Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles.” This is what S. Augustine says: “Christ gave this power to the Church in Blessed Peter and his successors”; and S. Leo, “Christ never gave, except through Peter, that which He did not refuse to the others,” and “He transmitted nothing to any one without Peter’s participation.” And S. Gregory of Nyssa, who says that Jesus Christ “gave the keys of heavenly blessings to Bishops through Peter.” After giving many more references he concludes as follows: “Bishops, each one in the government of his Church, act in the place of S. Peter (fanno is veci), are Vicars of S. Peter, and, by consequence, of the successors of S. Peter.”

He then quotes the capitularies of Charlemagne, who says, “That all may know the name, power, authority, and dignity of the priesthood, which may be easily understood by the words of the Lord, by which He said to Peter, whose office Bishops bear (cujus vicem episcopi gerunt, or whose Vicars Bishops are), ‘Whatsoever ye shall bind,’” &c.; and Jona of Orleans, who says, “Of what kind is the sacerdotal power and authority is easily seen from the words of the Lord to Peter (cujus vicem indigne gerimur), whose Vicar we unworthily are.” So also Hincmar of Rheims, “Blessed Peter, in whose (cujus vice) stead Bishops act in the Church.” S. Jerome also says that Bishops “stand in the place of Peter.” All these expressions affirm that every Bishop receives through Peter, but immediately from God, the whole character, grace, and power to govern, not this or that diocese, but the Church. Each particular Church which they govern is assigned to them by the successors of Peter, whom they thereby represent in every place.

The following passage from Natalie Alexander is too much to our point to be omitted: “Bishops arc called frequently by the Fathers successors of Peter, by a right, so to speak, of indirect and collateral succession, because Peter only is the fountain and origin, in a certain way, of the ecclesiastical order, and of the power which is communicated to all Bishops. But by right of direct succession, the Roman Pontiff alone is successor or heir of Peter. As the Apostles almost all had no fixed sees, Bishops cannot be called successors of the Apostles except in general, as our polemical theologians say; that is, they cannot be called specially the successors of Andrew or of Philip, whose authority, as it was extra-ordinary, died with them. But Bishops may by right, and strictly, be called successors of Peter, because Peter alone had the ordinary power to which they succeeded, and to which the authority of all prelates has relation, as to the principal and fontal authority. Therefore all Bishops may be called successors of Peter in authority, but not in the degree of authority; that is, they are successors of S. Peter in the Episcopate, not in the primacy.

The Episcopate in all the world is the representative of Peter; for Peter, as S. Augustine says, represents the Church; and this representation is reciprocal by reason of the identity and unity of the Episcopate, and of the jurisdiction which they receive partly through him and partly from him, because they possess not only the jurisdiction which is potentially inherent in the power of Order, but the actual jurisdiction in which that inherent power of government comes forth into act and exercise.” They have, moreover, a jurisdiction which is in no way contained in their other powers, whereby as delegates of the Holy See they can do what lies beyond their ordinary jurisdiction. In this manifold sense the Episcopate in all the world, and every several Bishop in his diocese, is the proper and only true representative of Peter and of the Holy See. So also Peter of Blois, in his Institutio Episcopi, addressed to a friend lately consecrated, says, “Haeres es et Vicarius Petri, pasce oves meas and again, “Christi Villicus es et Vicarius Petri.

The doctrine of the Episcopate thus stated and defended by Bolgeni is fully developed in the following passage: “Returning to the superiority of S. Peter, we have said and proved that in him the episcopal power was lodged by Jesus Christ in all its fullness and sovereignty in distinction from the other Apostles, in whom it was indeed lodged in all its fullness, but with subordination and dependence on S, Peter. This is true if each Apostle be considered alone and by himself; but if the Apostles are considered as a college or body having S. Peter as head, then this body, united with its head, possesses the Episcopate not only in its fullness, but also in its sovereignty. Let it be noted that Jesus Christ in the act of conferring the universal Episcopate, and of giving mission to His Apostles, said to them, all united together, ” Go and teach all nations; preach the Gospel to every creature.” Pope Celestine I notes this circumstance excellently when he says that all Bishops ought to execute this commandment of preaching the Word of God, which was given in common to all the Apostles: Christ “wills that we all should do what He thus commanded in common to all (the Apostles). It was not possible that each several Apostle should go throughout the world to preach the Gospel to all the nations of the earth.”

That was fulfilled by the Apostles taken all together; and it was immediately fulfilled by means of the disciples who did so. The Episcopate therefore, considered in its division into many persons, carries in itself its restriction (i.e. of offices), as Bossuet has told us; but, considered as a college or body of persons, it resumes, I say, its sovereignty. In fact, we see in the constant practice of the Church this point of doctrine clearly expressed. No Bishop by himself, nor many Bishops united together, possess the privilege of infallibility in matters of dogma, nor can make laws in matters of discipline, which oblige out of their own dioceses. And yet when the Bishops meet legitimately in a body representing the whole Episcopal College, that is, in a General Council, the dogmatic decisions which emanate from this body are infallible, and the laws of discipline bind the whole Church. In this body there is to be clearly seen the full, sovereign, sole, and indivisible Episcopate, “of which a part is possessed fully by each.” But every reader already well understands that the Bishops, in howsoever great a number they may be assembled, can never form the body, or represent the Episcopal College, if they have not at their head S. Peter in his successor.

The episcopal body is not headless (acefalo); but, by the institution of Jesus Christ Himself, has a head in the person of the Roman Pontiff. A body without a head is not that (body) to which Jesus Christ, gave the Episcopate full and sovereign. He conferred it on the College of the Apostles, including Saint Peter, who was made superior to all the Apostles. The Episcopate, which is one and indivisible, is such precisely by reason of the connection of the bishops among themselves, and of their submission to one sole Bishop, who is universal and sovereign. Therefore the full, universal, and sovereign power of governing the Church is the Episcopate, full and sovereign, which exists in the person of S. Peter and of each of his successors, and in the whole Apostolic College united to S. Peter, and in the whole body of the Bishops united to the Pope.

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Final conclusions regarding the Fatima apparitions controversy

+St. Agnes of Monte Pulciano+

 What in the World…

Before delving into the issues raised regarding certain questions about Fatima, we would like to mention a few useful nuggets passed on by friends.

During Holy Week, we received the following instructive video from Patrick Henry, proving what those praying at home have known all along: Traditionalists are in reality only occult members of the Novus Order church awaiting further instructions, and they consider themselves all one, big, happy family: Yes, they all plan to “unite the clans!” Please do spend some time on the JMJ site which is full of useful resources and read the PDF This PDF is necessary especially for many who are new to praying at home and even those who have previously been unaware of the need to adjure the heresies held while members of Traditionalist or other non-Catholic sects.

Pedro also has forwarded more information, this time from Pope Clement IV, regarding the absolute prohibition to consecrate bishops without papal approval. This find will need to be translated, but even in rough translation it further indicts Traditionalist bishops pretending to claim the episcopacy without papal approval. Pope Clement the IV declares such consecrations null and void.

Also, over the next several weeks the website may be up and down while routine maintenance and upkeep work is done. Downtime should be minimal and hopefully the work can be completed without too many interruptions.

The Fatima controversy and its sources

First we present the following commentaries on the credibility of the books containing some of the quotes cited by Fatima opponents as somehow “suppressed” or doctored by the Church in Her official reports. The true nature and origin of these quotes are discussed at length by an individual appearing to be a Traditionalist writer and researcher, using the same documents in question. He raises some very pertinent points regarding sources and the dishonesty of anti-Catholic authors who employ unethical research practices (even by modern journalistic standards, far less those much higher standards demanded by the Church). His comments can be read here:  (Sources for this review can be accessed below, but no approval of the site itself and its contents is intended; it is listed here merely as a probable contrary opinion.)

Fatima Shock: Secrets

The reviewer above cites “cherry-picking” as the main flaw in the arguments used to discredit the apparition. Cherry-picking, also known as mal-observation or non-observation in scholastic philosophy, is a false scholastic argument consisting in “…suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence. [It] is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position while ignoring a significant portion of related and similar cases or data that may contradict that position” (Wikipedia). As Rev. Joseph Walsh points out in his 1940 work Logic, non-observation often is found in publications that are the result of prejudice, which is so often the case in those anti-Catholic works in general, pretending to contest not only Marian apparitions, but Marian devotion in its entirety.

The real issues here are not Fatima per se, but the criteria Catholics are relying upon to try and make sense today of the massive amounts of information available on the Internet and how to judge whether or not they can be trusted. This includes the lengthy videos on secular topics that many freely view, then circulate. Many of them are benign, but others are questionable. And how are we to judge these things without a Church to guide us? This is another topic we hope to cover soon in a video presentation. But The Fatima question we are trying to answer today concerns whether we must believe in the apparitions at all or may reject them entirely.

Regarding the apparition itself, it seems clear that the Church found it worthy of belief and treated it as such. Several mentions of Fatima can be found in the Acta Apostolica Sedis and this alone indicates the Church at least implicitly acknowledged the validity of the apparitions. But the same cannot be said of the actual messages and their content. It appears that Pope Pius XII at least suspected that something was suspicious about Fatima after 1952. (If certain reports can be trusted, it is possible the pope suspected the person claiming to be Lucia dos Santos was an actual impersonator, which several researching her life believe was the case at this time.) Even the 1952 consecration itself is somewhat vague. And Fatima is conspicuously absent in his addresses and other papal documents after this date.

Below we quote two different popes, Pope Benedict XIV and then Pope St. Pius X. speaking on this matter, also some of the theologians. This will provide readers with at least some background on how the Church views these matters.

 The type of assent one must give to revelations according to the popes and theologians

From Heroic Virtue — Treatise of Benedict XIV on the Beatification and Canonization of the Servants of God, Vol. III, 1850:

“The fourth question is, what is to be said of those private revelations which the Apostolic See has approved of, those of the Blessed Hildegard, of S. Bridget, and of S. Catherine of Sienna. We have already said that those revelations, although approved of, ought not to, and cannot receive from us any assent of Catholic, but only of human faith, ACCORDING TO THE RULES OF PRUDENCE, according to which the aforesaid revelations ARE PROBABLE, and piously to be believed.

“So also the fathers of Salamanca. From this, then, it follows that anyone may, without injury to the Catholic faith, give no heed to these revelations, and differ from them, provided he does so modestly, not without reason, and without contempt.

“Hurtado, after reciting the approbation of the revelations of S. Bridget, by the sovereign pontiffs, speaks as follows; ‘It is not the meaning of these supreme pontiffs that we may not dissent from these revelations; for Cardinal Torquernada, the vigorous defender of these revelations, and who recites the aforesaid words of the popes, dissented from the revelation made to S. Bridget, that the Blessed Virgin was conceived without original sin, and wrote a whole treatise to prove that she was conceived in original sin.

Gerson, in his Treatise on the examination of doctrines, relates that Gregory XI, when on thepoint of death, holding the sacred body of Christ in his hands, protested before all, and warned them to beware both of men and women, “who under the guise of religion, speak visions of their own head” for that he, seduced by such, had neglected the reasonable counsel of his friends, and had dragged himself and the Church to the hazard of imminent schism, if her merciful spouse Jesus had not provided against it.”

Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi dominici gregis (on Modernism):

“The Councils (of Vigilance) must not neglect the books treating of the pious traditions of different places or of sacred relics. Let them not permit such questions to be discussed in periodicals destined to stimulate piety, neither with expressions savoring of mockery or contempt, nor by dogmatic pronouncements, especially when, as is often the case, what is stated as a certainty either does not pass the limits of probability or is merely based on prejudiced opinion. Concerning sacred relics, let this be the rule: When Bishops, who alone are judges in such matters, know for certain a relic is not genuine, let them remove it at once from the veneration of the faithful; if the authentications of a relic happen to have been lost through civil disturbances, or in any other way, let it not be exposed for public veneration until the Bishop has verified it. The argument of prescription or well-founded presumption is to have weight only when devotion to a relic is commendable by reason of its antiquity, according to the sense of the Decree issued in 1896 by the Congregation of Indulgences and Sacred Relics:

Ancient relics are to retain the veneration they have always enjoyed except when in individual instances there are CLEAR ARGUMENTS that they are false or suppositious. In passing judgment on pious traditions be it always borne in mind that in this matter the Church uses the greatest prudence, and that she does not allow traditions of this kind to be narrated in books except with the utmost caution and with the insertion of the declaration imposed by Urban VIII, and even then she does not guarantee the truth of the fact narrated; she simply does but forbid belief in things for which human arguments are not wanting.

“On this matter the Sacred Congregation of Rites, thirty years ago, decreed as follows: ‘These apparitions and revelations have neither been approved nor condemned by the Holy See, which has simply allowed that they be believed on purely human faith, on the tradition which they relate, corroborated by testimonies and documents worthy of credence’ (Decree, May 2, 1877). Anybody who follows this rule has no cause for fear. For the devotion based on any apparition, in as far as it regards the fact itself, that is to say in as far as it is relative, always implies the hypothesis of the truth of the fact; while in as far as it is absolute, it must always be based on the truth, seeing that its object is the persons of the saints who are honored.”

If the Holy See has once determined that such testimonies and documents are worthy of belief, and has announced even unofficially from these that an apparition is credible and not injurious to faith, it seems to be imprudent to gainsay the Church. It is highly inappropriate for anyone to later claim, based solely on only partially verifiable, cherry-picked information reported by non-Catholics over 100 years later, that these same apparitions could have originated from the Evil One, for this would appear to make the Church a liar. This is yet one more matter that would need to be referred to the Holy See before anything definitive could be decided, and given the long list of crucial dogmatic matters already pending, it would seem to be low priority.

Further explanation on this subject is provided below from The Casuist, a well-respected work issued in 1906 treating cases in moral and pastoral theology.

“1. There are many persons, especially women endeavoring to lead a holy life, who occupy themselves a great deal with so-called revelations made to pious persons, even to the exclusion of all other spiritual reading matter. Sometimes such persons study the revelations made to some particular saint, drawing all their spiritual nourishment from them; then having their appetite whetted by the perusal of one book of this kind, they eagerly devour anything of the same nature that they are able to lay hold of. They believe in these revelations as firmly as they believe in the Gospels and are strongly disposed to brand as heretics, or at least as suspects, all who do not put the same faith in them as they do themselves. This disposition alone is sufficient to prove that the perusal of these private revelations is not a healthy, spiritual exercise for all indiscriminately, and it becomes necessary from time to time to instruct the faithful on this head.

“2. That there may be, that there have been, and that there are at present revelations made to private individuals is beyond question. We are speaking, of course, of revelations made to holy and devout persons, which have been investigated by the Church and declared to contain nothing against faith or good morals. No positive ecclesiastical approbation is ever given to such revelations.

“3. When the Church revises and approves revelations and visions in this sense, all she does is to certify that these visions and revelations contain nothing against the “rule of faith,” the “regula fidei,” so that the faithful may believe them without injury to their faith (pie creditur) and use them as a guide to conduct without fear of believing or doing anything unauthorized by the Church. Where the Church has thus given Her approval to any particular private revelation, it is no longer permitted to ridicule or to despise it. Fas non est, says Card. Franzelin, talesrevelationes contemnere (de div. trad. 22). To do so were to fail in the respect due to the Church. But not to believe the revelation is no sin against the obedience we owe the Church. For the Church, by her approval or quasi-approval of these revelations, has no intention of obliging the faithful to believe them. Whoever believes in them, does so fide humana, and not fide divina, at least not fide divina Catholica. ‘In spiritual things,’ says Catherine Emmerich, ‘I never believed anything except what was revealed by God and proposed for my belief by the Catholic Church. What I saw in visions I never believed in this way.’

“4. The body of revealed truth, necessary to salvation and bearing the seal of infallibility, was completed and closed, once for all, by the teachings of Christ and the apostles. When the Church defines a new dogma, she simply declares authoritatively that it is contained in the teachings of Our Lord and the apostles. Just as private revelations do not bear the seal of infallibility, so neither do they bear the mark of inerrancy. There is no divine inspiration guaranteeing the correct recording of private revelations, as is the case with the Holy Scriptures, even though the fact of the revelations has been established. Private revelations are exposed to a threefold danger. The understanding may err in receiving the revelation. The memory may fail in recording orally or in writing the contents of the revelation. The tongue may err in its effort to clothe the revelation in human words. Moreover, as Benedict XIV remarks, notions and ideas acquired previous to the revelation may be confounded by the person receiving the revelation with the things learned in the revelation, and thus the saints have sometimes considered things to have been revealed to them which were in nowise revealed. Hence the contradictions in different revelations.

“5. The supernatural communication, therefore, as well in its reception as in its transmission, MAY BE UNWITTINGLY FALSIFIED. The Holy Scriptures alone are preserved from such falsifications. And thus it happens that the private revelations of different holy persons contradict one another openly, and in many things.

“6. All that the Church says, therefore, when she lends her approval to the private revelations of the saints or other holy persons, is that these revelations may be believed “fide humana” [human faith], and that they are adapted and may be used for the edification of the faithful. The declaration of Benedict XIV does not contradict this: “When the Church has examined and approved these visions, no one may any longer doubt their supernatural and divine origin.” THE POPE SPEAKS ONLY OF THEIR ORIGIN, AND NOT AT ALL OF THEIR CONTENTS, NOR OF THEIR CORRECT REPRODUCTION. And even a refusal to believe in their divine origin would not be a sin against Catholic faith.

“7. After these theoretical remarks let us add a few words of a practical nature. The reading of these visions and private revelations is in nowise adapted to the needs of ordinary people, even though they may have correct notions about the credibility of private revelations. Many of these revelations are beyond the needs and the intelligence even of persons already far advanced in the spiritual life and are often clothed in language quite unintelligible. And herein precisely lies a new source of anxiety, BECAUSE A NEW DANGER, NAMELY, THE DANGER OF UNDERSTANDING THE REVELATION IN A WRONG SENSE, WHICH MAY EASILY LEAD TO POSITIVE ERROR AND SIN AGAINST THE “RULE OF FAITH.”


In reviewing all of the above, the following conclusions can be made:

  1. Apparitions and messages must be received with prudence owing to the Church’s investigation and judgment regarding these communications. Even so, they may be questioned and even rejected, according to Pope Benedict XIV.
  2. While Fatima was investigated and approved by the bishops there, Pope Pius XII never gave actual approval to the full import of the messages received by the seers during the apparition. Everything points to the fact that he eventually had grave doubts specifically concerning the mention of Russia.
  3. As Pope St. Pius X says regarding relics: “Ancient relics are to retain the veneration they have always enjoyed except when in individual instances there are clear arguments that they are false or suppositious.If this is true of relics, then this principle also could be applied to revelations when truly credible doubts arise regarding their authenticity, but not those doubts which can be proven to be flawed. As Pope Benedict XIV instructs, one may reject these revelations with modesty, NOT WITHOUT GOOD REASON and may not treat them with contempt. Pope St. Pius X forbids publishing commentary on relics (and it seems this also would apply to revelations) which reflect mockery or contempt.
  4. Regarding prudence, then, if we are to avoid even the appearance of such mockery and contempt, it seems to be more in keeping with Church teaching to at least accept the actual apparitions as having taken place. Then any discrepancies to the perceptions of the seers and the messages received should be dispassionately and objectively discussed in private.
  5. While even the divine origin of such apparitions may be rejected, it is not clear whether this is a venial sin or not. Therefore it seems more prudent to at least accept the apparition as of divine origin, out of respect for Our Lady and to avoid scandalizing others, while questioning the rest.
  6. Before absolutely rejecting such apparitions individuals do have the obligation to resolve any serious doubts as best they can from unquestionably approved sources, according to rules governing moral theology. Anti-Catholic sources have never been approved for conducting trustworthy research and Catholics are warned to avoid such works.
  7. Given the teachings of Pope Benedict XIV above, no one may condemn those rejecting even the apparition itself because the Church allows it. The responsibility for such a rejection lies fully within the realm of individual conscience, which all must respect. Nor can those believing in the apparitions express disapproval or warn others to avoid them, if the Church Herself permits this. For: even a refusal to believe in their divine origin would not be a sin against Catholic faith (although it could be a sin against prudence)And those rejecting the apparitions cannot condemn those accepting them, either, for respect of another’s conscience works both ways: we are free to believe or not believe according to the Church. However, publication of anything reflecting mockery and contempt is forbidden.

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Farewell Traditionalists — we will continue to pray for your conversion

+St. Thomas Aquinas+

If you haven’t already, please join us here for the Prophet Elias prayer challenge.

Lent is a time to fast and do penance, as all Catholics know. But it is also a time to reflect and take stock of the course we are on spiritually and where it is leading us. And for us it is time to knock the dust from our sandals and move on.

What is most maddening about the current state of the Church today is the compelling need to correct so many dangerous errors in order to defend the faith.  But what is sometimes lost in correcting these errors, as necessary as this is, is the simplicity of the faith itself. Heresies and broken laws take a lot of demonstration and explaining to understand, and if these laws were not being broken, and the faith was not being denied, it wouldn’t be necessary. But of course they are, and it is, and lest someone falls into the yawning chasms of disbelief they create, they must be exposed.

That being said, quite a few are understandably wearied by the constant need to deal with it all. Traditionalists and their pseudo-clergy grow more irrational and argumentative with each passing day. Witness some of the obviously nonsensical and contradictory statements in the links provided in our last blog post. The delusions they labor under are so entrenched and so strong I really do not believe it is possible to reach them. It is almost as though they function under some sort of satanic spell, and they do — the operation of error foretold by St. Paul. They have traded the true faith for a mess of Protestant pottage (thick soup or porridge) and not only do they deny it is Protestant, they think they are dining on steak and caviar, not pottage!

Generational disconnect

It would be one thing if we were dealing with the first generation of Catholics to depart following Vatican 2, but most of those who knew the Church as She once existed are no longer with us, or soon will be gone. They are the ones who initially embraced Traditionalism and refused to abandon their “priests” and now we are dealing with their children and grandchildren. They became caught up in the drama of Traditionalist life with its many scandals, dissensions and frequent hopping around from group to group, and this is now normal for these family members who went through it with them. They accept it as Catholic in these “emergency times” and with their parents’ support, continue to live the only “Catholic” life they know. Herd animals that they are, products largely of the world in which we live, they avoid at all costs anything that would separate them from their “pack” and cause them to actually think on their own. If many of them were home-schooled and this is the result, then the critical thinking homeschooling is intended to encourage certainly was lacking in their regard.

And so the initial mission to reach those who might yet understand no longer has any purpose and therefore must come to an end. Troubled Traditionalists reassessing their situation or newly-woken Novus Ordo departees are so consumed with the idea of participation and groupthink they are unable to consider any truly viable alternatives. The idea of the Latin Mass and the pageantry that always accompanied liturgical functions attracts newcomers and remains the guidepost for Traditionalists considering a different group.  In a normal world this would be understandable in departing from what one considers a destructive or non-Catholic sect. But surely no one today can pretend the world we live in is anything close to normal.

Those weighing their options must understand that the Traditionalist movement is nothing new or even traditional. It is the continuation of the Jansenist, Gallicanist, Anglican, Orthodox, Theosophist and Gnostic ”tradition,” but that is certainly not Catholic tradition! One book all should read if they wish to see a mirror image of Traditionalist practice and belief is Peter Anson’s Bishops At Large. Written in 1964, it provides an amazing preview of what would soon become the Traditionalist movements and their many offspring. It is appropriate here to quote from the Introduction to Anson’s book written by Henry St. John, O.P. which aptly sums up everything we know as Traditionalism today.

Traditionalism’s true orientation explained

“[Anson’s] story is one of the strangest and most fantastic religious movements to be found in the whole range of what may be described in general terms as the erratic ‘goings-on’ of the underworld. The use of the word underworld in this context must be taken as connoting an ecclesiastical eccentricity rather than roguery or crime, though neither of the latter is wholly absent from its records. The story is closely though not exclusively connected with movements of a Catholic type, mainly arriving from dissatisfied and unstable elements in Catholicism or Anglo-Catholicism. They stand as a rule for Catholicism without the Pope but their preoccupation amounting to obsession is the recovery of Christian unity by the widespread and in effect indiscriminate propagation of valid episcopacy and priesthood.

“In almost every case, the leaders of these multiple movements have been at pains to obtain episcopal consecration from sources often remote and seldom wholly unquestionable which they hoped would be indisputable. Having obtained an episcopal character, they proceeded to found a church based upon it and their own particular version of what true Catholic orthodoxy is. In this way, so the visionary hope takes shape in the minds of these dreamers, that their church will become the center and foundation upon which the unity of Christ’s Church could be rebuilt…

“Mr. Anson’s story shows us a reductio ad absurdum of the divinely ordained hierarchical structure of the Church constituted by Apostolic succession when divorced from almost every consideration but a mechanical conception of validity… The obsession of the bishops at large and their followers with the validity of orders has brought them to the belief that such validity is a sole hallmark of the nature of the Church and its authority. Ubi ordines validi ecclesia is the principle upon which they, all of them, consistently act with a determined conviction,” (valid orders make a strong Church).

“The result of this action is that they are in effect reduced to saying get valid orders and you can choose what you believe. They are unaware that they are saying this and consequently lay great stress on the supreme importance of an orthodoxy which turns out to be no more than their own particular and sometimes variable “doxy.” What they have forgotten in their often wild and eccentric way is that even a valid Apostolic succession is of small value unless it is possessed by a believing community that is a visible organic society divinely preserved from the loss of its structural unity. This unity preserves and is preserved by its sensus fidelium and by the teaching authority of its united episcopate. This is the essential nature of the Church as taught by the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church in common, in accordance with historic tradition from the earliest times” but in the Catholic Church, of course, the Roman Pontiff alone is the guarantee of this undivided unity as the head member of that “united episcopate.”

The disturbing truth

And so we see that Traditionalists are no different than those schismatic sects who preceded them in pretending that one can have a Church without a pope. The underworld has now become their norm, and far from striving for any sort of Catholic unity, which necessarily requires a true pope, they seem to glory in their diversity. Anson goes into great detail to describe the occult connections of these groups, also their interests in ancient heresies, which so many have now resurrected and even perfected. Catholic writer Mary Lejeune warned those joining Traditionalist sects that they were occult-based and Masonic in origin in the 1970s, but to no avail. Author Craig Heimbichner, in his Blood on the Altar (2005) notes that many of those initially singing the praises of the Latin Tridentine Mass in the late 1960s, early 1970s were practicing theosophists, who succeeded in luring traditionalists into “Latin Mass” groups.

He links the awe for the old Mass to C.W. Leadbetter, founder of the Liberal Catholic (Theosophical) church in Sydney, Australia in 1917, citing several quotes proving theosophic occultism later was introduced into Traditional circles. He quotes Wasserman as stating that “Persons of Gnostic-hermetic interests have more in common with traditionalist Catholics than with either modernist Vatican II Catholics or with Protestants…The Right-wing exploits a superstition among some Catholics who hold to a kind of unspoken “magic sacramentalism,” [condemned by Pope St. Pius X in his encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis against Modernism], i.e, the notion that being present at the Holy Mass itself, with its awe-inspiring solemnity and its bells, incense and candles — not one’s state of grace, fidelity to the Commandments of God or relationship with Jesus Christ — becomes the individual’s guarantor of sanctity.” Heimbichner calls this a “Satanic perversion” of Catholicism, mixing pagan elements with the true, much as is done in the Satanic rituals connected to Voodoo and Santeria. And if this is what those investigating Traditionalism really wish to expose themselves to, they definitely are not looking for the true faith as taught by St. Peter through Pius XII.

Traditionalists’ intense focus on perpetuating their shady lineages and defending their legitimacy occupies the time that, were they anything but pseudo-clerics, should be devoted to developing a true understanding of the entirety of Catholic existence, not just its exterior aspect. They all have developed their own ideas of orthodoxy, as St. John notes above, and this is illustrated by the recent controversies among themselves regarding una cum and the material formal hypothesis. Also as noted above, their theory regarding the episcopacy reduces the Church’s establishment of a hierarchy based on true apostolic succession headed by a canonically elected pope to an absurdity. The only difference between those sects described above and Traditionalists is that Traditionalists have succeeded in convincing their ignorant followers that they are the true Church, and the “True Restoration” crowd pretends to be able to unite all these scraggly sects to present the appearance of a unity they can never possess without a true pope.

Anson’s book is filled with photos of incredible pseudo-Catholic pageantry, clerical ostentation and simulated piety, found reproduced on nearly every Traditional “Catholic” website in existence. These sites feature full-color photos of alleged consecrations and ordinations, wide-eyed “seminarians” being ordained as “priests,” and pious congregations attending ”high masses” offered in vain. Such pretension is an insult to any true Catholic and should be recognized by all for what it truly is — the continuation of a long line of heretics and schismatics who wish to dethrone the pope forever and usurp his authority. Apostolicity of origin, doctrine and mission must all be one, and they have none of these, as has been proven by the Church herself on the pages of this site and elsewhere time and time again. But the followers of these imposters are concerned only with appearances, not reality. And here we must leave them in their fantasy world to fend for themselves as best they can.

The sad neglect of true Catholic spirituality

The primary thing that is needed today is not religious externals and a renewal of Catholic social life, possible only when the Church possesses a true pope and hierarchy. What is really needed is true Catholic spirituality, and the reason the Church was taken away was precisely because Her interior life atrophied to the point it could no longer nourish Her very soul. That life is the knowledge and contemplation of Her truths, obedience to Her laws, conformity to God’s will, performance of daily duties and the offering up of oneself as a spiritual sacrifice. Already prior to the false Vatican 2 council many Catholics were largely engaged in only a mechanical performance of their spiritual duties and had become absorbed in the rampant materialism of the day. They forgot, if they ever knew, their true role as Catholics, best explained in this paragraph below.

Catechism of the Council of Trent — (Subhead, The Internal Priesthood, under Orders):

“All the faithful are said to be priests once they have been washed in the saving waters of baptism. Especially is this name given to the just who have the spirit of God and who by the help of divine grace had been made living members of the great high priest Jesus Christ. For enlightened by faith which is inflamed by charity, they offer up spiritual sacrifices to God on the altar of their hearts. Among such sacrifices must be reckoned every good and virtuous action done for the glory of God. Hence we read in the Apocalypse 1: 5,6: ‘Christ has washed us from our sins in His own blood and has made us a kingdom and priests to God and His Father.’ In like manner was it said by the Prince of the Apostles: ‘Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ’ (I Peter 2:5); while the apostle exhorts us ‘to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy pleasing unto God, your reasonable service’ (Rom. 12:1). And long before this David had said, ‘A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit a contrite and humble heart O God thou wilt not despise’ (Ps. 1:19). All this clearly regards the internal priesthood.”

Statement of Belief

It may be useful here for those who are not clear on all that involves praying at home and not attending services of non-Catholics to list the following core beliefs held by true Catholics.

+ We live in the last times; the Church has entered upon a period that will end either in the Final Judgment or a brief peace that will see Her restoration.

+ Pope Pius XII was the last true pope. We are bound to obey all the teachings of the popes from St. Peter to Pius XII — the continual magisterium — even though we have no sitting pope today. This because their teachings are the authentic expression of the Deposit of Faith, revealed truth found in the Scriptures and Tradition as interpreted and taught by the Roman Catholic Church for the belief of faithful Catholics till the end of time.

+ Therefore, the authority, infallibility and indefectibility of the Church remains, expressed in the Deposit of Faith as explained by all true popes throughout the ages.

+ Pope Pius XII was the last true pope because John 23, as a public heretic, was ineligible for election in 1958 and never became pope.

+ Doubts raised about the 1958 election in many quarters prove St. Robert Bellarmine’s axiom, that “a doubtful pope is no pope” applies to his “election.”

+ Bishops consecrated under Pope Pius XII and any remaining faithful cardinals were obligated to gather and elect a true pope once it became clear that John 23/Paul 6 were heretics. St. Robert Bellarmine in his de Conciliis, Pope Pius XII in his 1945 election constitution, also Pope Paul IV in his Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, made allowances for this. It is now impossible, however, to hold a papal election, because all those bishops consecrated under Pope Pius XII have passed away.

+ Pope Paul IV ‘s infallible bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio (Cum ex…) and Pope Pius XII’s infallible constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS) are the governing documents for these times. Cum ex… is the annotated source of the Canons regarding heresy, canons which have been called into doubt for decades. Under Can. 6 §4 this old law is to be used as the prevailing law in dealing with heresy, apostasy and schism, especially in regard to papal elections and the appointment of cardinals and bishops. VAS determines what can and cannot be done during an interregnum.

+ According to VAS, not even the college of cardinals may exercise papal jurisdiction during an interregnum. This law has been observed since the early Middle Ages. All is to be left to the future pope.

+ This would include, then, the issuance of the apostolic letters and papal mandate, necessary for episcopal consecration. For VAS clearly states that if anyone attempts to exercise papal jurisdiction during an interregnum, such acts are null and void. Therefore, Traditionalist consecrations and ordinations are null and void, since ordinations may take place only by a bishop who has presented the papal mandate, been validly consecrated, been assigned a diocese and has received papal permission to erect a seminary.

+ VAS also renders null and void any attempt to dispense from or alter in any way papal laws, especially those governing elections. Traditionalists have violated numerous papal laws and canon laws, which have as their source papal law and the teachings of ecumenical councils, especially Trent. Hence their invocation of epikeia for jurisdictional acts is nullified and voided.

+ Because Catholics who now pray at home are obedient to the Roman Pontiffs, they must consider Traditionalists now calling themselves bishops as doubtful at best, for two reasons:

1) They are members of a schismatic sect by definition, since they act outside the authority of the Roman Pontiff; and

2) They are declared by Pius XII to possess no office or authority whatsoever, because their ordinations and consecrations are null and void.

+ In seeking to inform their consciences on such matters, i.e., what to do when there is no pope and no certainly valid bishops or priests, those wishing to remain Catholic follow the unanimous opinion of theologians, which states:  When it comes to the Sacraments, (or matters which involve the necessary means to eternal salvation), one cannot use a probable opinion regarding their validity (see Dominic Prummer’s Handbook of Moral Theology,1957).

+ This is solidly based on the teaching of Bd. Pope Innocent XI (Denz. 1151). Theologians teach it is a mortal sin of temerity not to follow the unanimous opinion of the theologians (Fr. Sixtus Cartechini, S.J., The Church’s Theologiocal Notes or Qualifications, 1951).

+ In order to obey the Roman Pontiffs and their decrees, since it is necessary to salvation to be obedient to the Roman Pontiff (Denz. 469); and in order to avoid mortal sin, certain Catholics resolved to pray at home rather than engage in the schismatic and sacrilegious services of Traditionalists, for “Obedience is better than sacrifices.”

+ This can be best summed up by the following, taken from Life of the Blessed Virgin, by Rev. B. Rohner, O.S.B, Benziger Bros., 1897: “If you are deprived of the presence of your lawfully appointed teachers, then pray privately in your own house or in company of other faithful laity, to your divine Redeemer and ever Blessed Mother. In patience persevere in the faithful discharge of your duties till the dawn of better days in your Church affairs.”

+ This has been the practice of Catholics down through the ages, including the English during the persecutions following the Reformation, the Japanese in the 1600s, The French during the French Revolution, Americans without priests on the American frontier and those forbidden to practice their faith behind the Iron Curtain. It is not a novelty nor can it be condemned as forbidden by Traditionalists, who have no authority to command anyone to do anything.

+ Those who pray at home believe that the Head of their Church is Christ joined to all the popes and bishops in Heaven, and that they are members of His Mystical Body, as Catholics have always believed. They do NOT believe the Church Herself has ceased to exist since Pope Pius XII taught infallibly that She IS the Mystical Body. They accept the undeniable fact that we are without the visible hierarchy, at least for now. They believe the Church is still visible in Her physical (lay) members, is one in Her belief, is universal or Catholic in nature, (since there are those  praying at home all over the world); is holy in her doctrines and Her saints, and is apostolic in origin, doctrine, and mission.

Those praying at home perform their daily duties, have a daily prayer routine, practice mental prayer and engage in spiritual reading. They recite the Mass of St. John or the Spiritual Mass daily as well as on Sundays and holydays, they are usually involved in some service to the Church and in helping others to understand the faith, and they pray together for others. It is a very simple and peaceful life, undisturbed by the inevitable and perpetual strife that plagues those in the Novus Ordo and Traditional sects. Even when in the catacombs the early Christians had to be witnesses to their faith in performing their daily duties in the world; they worshipped in the catacombs but did not live there. So it is with those of us living in the virtual catacombs.

We wish only for others what we have experienced ourselves, that blessed peace which surpasseth all understanding. And we pray for the conversion of all sinners, Traditionalists and Novus Ordo members included.

What in the world…

This is a new feature where we will try to comment briefly on the latest developments in Traddie land and the world in general. This time around we will address the sudden clamor for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

But didn’t we already do that in the 1950s, you might ask? Well some say yes, some say no. It was never done by Pope Pius XII as Sr. Lucia requested per Our Lady, or by the bishops of the whole world. On June 6, 1930, Sr. Lucia wrote to Rev. Jose Bernardo Gonzalves: “If I am not mistaken, the good Lord promises to end the persecution in Russia if the Holy Father will himself make a solemn act of reparation and consecration of Russia to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary as well as ordering all the bishops of the Catholic world to do the same. The Holy Father must then promise that upon the ending of this persecution he will approve and recommend the practice of the reparatory devotion already described” (the Five First Saturdays).  Pope Pius XII himself did consecrate Russia specifically to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1952, but even before it was done, Lucia had said to Fr. Gonzalves “He will do it, but it will be too late.” Yet some of the renditions of her letter read only: “It will be late.” So which is it?

Obviously it is the former, as we are seeing today. Our Lord also told Sr. Lucia that if the consecration was not done as requested, His ministers would suffer the same fate as the Kings of France — the last of those kings, Louis XVI was tortured and met his fate on the guillotine. Some believe Pope Pius XI died from poisoning by one of Mussolini’s agents, shortly before issuing a most important encyclical. It is our firm belief that Pope Pius XII also was tortured in various ways and was poisoned, not once, but twice. And after his death, just as in France, the papal monarchy fell. Sr. Lucy warned in a 1940 draft of a letter to Pope Pius XII that if the consecration was not performed, Our Lady announced that Russia “…would spread her errors throughout the world, and there would be wars, persecutions, of the holy Church, martyrdom of many Christians, several persecutions and sufferings reserved for your Holiness, and the annihilation of several nations,” all duly fulfilled. Now we see Russia threatening the world, and we wonder why.

Was the consecration done as required? The real Sr. Lucy reportedly died in 1949 (, so we will never know. Was prayer and penance, also sacrifices for sinners accomplished? Sr. Lucy replies in the negative. In an August 18, 1940 letter to Rev. Jose Bernardo Gonzalves Sr. Lucia wrote: “More than ever He needs souls that will give themselves to Him without reserve; and how small this number is!” In another letter she notes that “The number of souls He meets through sacrifice and intimate life of love is extremely small and limited.” As Joseph A. Pelletier writes in his The Sun Danced at Fatima, “We have known since 1917 the part of the Fatima message that needs to be known by everyone, namely that we should amend our lives and stop offending God, Who is already greatly offended. This is what we need to do to hasten the conversion of Russia and …eliminate the threat of atomic war.” And we know where the world has headed since then.

One thing no one seems to have considered here is a little-known message given to a holy woman by Our Lord at the same time the Fatima apparitions were taking place. This woman, a victim soul named Berthe Petit, was known to Pope St. Pius X. She had forwarded to him in 1914 the warning that Archduke Ferdinand would be assassinated, and that his assassination would ignite World War I. In a series of revelations once the war had begun, the Sacred Heart of Jesus guides Berthe, a Franciscan Tertiary, to petition Cardinal Bourne of England to consecrate his country to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary to end the war. Cardinal Bourne cooperated with Berthe’s request, with astonishing results. The same prayer was recited during World War II, and it halted the air attacks on Britain by the Germans, also marking the turn of the war in favor of the Allies. Our Lord told Berthe: “

“The calamities which I foretold are come to pass (World Wars I and II). Therefore it is time and it is my wish that the nations should turn to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of my mother… Recourse to my mother under the title I wish for her UNIVERSALLY is the last help I shall give before the end of time… It is as a Son that I have conceived this devotion for my mother; it is as God that I impose it.” During the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, Our Lady appeared as the Sorrowful Virgin. This was confirmed in a conversation the author John Haffert had with Sr. Lucy in 1946 (Russia Will Be Converted, p. 182). And yet there was never any discussion among the hierarchy — to the best of our knowledge — to add Our Lady’s title of Sorrowful to the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart. (Pope Pius XII, however, did issue a consecration prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary making three specific mentions of Our Lady’s Sorrowful Heart.)

And now, at the last hour, with Our Lady’s requests for prayer and sacrifices unfulfilled — in the absence of universal devotion to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart — everyone wonders why Russia never converted?! Our Lady came to La Salette weeping to warn us that Rome would become the seat of Antichrist, and that prophecy was ridiculed and suppressed. Today even  Traditionalists are appealing to Rome and expect Antichrist to consecrate Russia to Our Lady and save us? More insanity! But then what else can we expect? As the prophet Isaias foretold:

“Behold the Lord shall lay waste the earth, and shall strip it, and shall afflict the face thereof, and scatter abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be as with the people, so with the priest; and as with the servant, so with the master… With desolation shall the earth be laid waste and it shall be utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word. The earth mourned, and faded away, and is weakened: the world faded away, the height of the people of the earth is weakened. And the earth is infected by the inhabitants thereof: because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinance, they have broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore shall a curse devour the earth, and the inhabitants thereof shall sin; and therefore they that dwell therein shall be mad, and few men shall be left,” (Isa. 24: 1-6).



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Intention undeniably lacking in Trad episcopal consecrations (and an important update)

+St. John of Matha+

A long overdue and important update to the Masonic origins of Traditionalism article is now available here: What follows in this blog piece is directly related to and attributable to that article and should be kept in mind while reading what is written below. It renders even more questionable those dubious “orders” received and conferred by Traditionalists. And it places in an entirely different light the entire purpose and intent of founding Traditionalism altogether. Below we will delve into the circumstances surrounding the examination of Anglican orders by Pope Leo XIII to further demonstrate that the claims of ALL Traditionalists are seriously flawed and incapable of being considered as certainly valid. It does not take a rocket scientist to seriously study Pope Leo XIII’s Apostolicae Curae and conclude that those today who present as validly ordained and consecrated Traditionalist priests and bishops, for lack of a right intention, manifested externally, possess the same doubtfully valid orders and episcopal consecrations as the Anglicans Pope Leo XIII considered in his bull.

What is the intention required for the Sacrament of Orders? The Catholic Encyclopedia answers: The common doctrine now is that a real internal intention to act as a minister of Christ, or to do what Christ instituted the sacraments to effect, in other words, to truly baptize, absolve, etc., is required. Can Traditionalists become true ministers of Christ if they deny the necessity of observing His command that they obey His vicar on earth? Rev. Bernard Leeming S.J., in his 1955 work Principles of Sacramental Theology, explains that heresy of itself does not destroy the validity of the one conferring Orders provided that a contrary internal intention has not somehow been manifested. That was one of the things emphasized in Pope Leo XIII’s decision on Anglican orders: their intention was made clear in their alteration of the rite, not just the essential form.

Leeming tells us that it is now the universal opinion of theologians that a Sacrament is invalidated by a contrary intention, even a secret one, “contrary to the substantial nature of the Sacrament” (p. 484). He remarks that if the minister is “…so convinced that Christ does not will a particular effect of the Sacraments that they absolutely exclude this from their intention,” then the presumption that they validly confer the Order is seen to fail (p. 493). Traditionalists, from the beginning, have been convinced that bishops alone minus their head, the Roman Pontiff, can constitute Christ’s Church on earth, even though this is clearly belief in the Gallicanist heresy, as proven many times over from Church teaching. In receiving episcopal consecration and executing their episcopal duties, they must intend obedience to the Pope and be included in the Apostolic College. And it is clear from what we see and what is explained below that they absolutely exclude any intention of such inclusion or obedience.

Before we begin, let us remind readers of what Pope Pius XII said in his infallible constitution on Holy Orders. The Pope mentions “essential words,” regarding the form, indicating this is the bare minimum needed for validity. Furthermore, Pope Pius XII states, “It shall be in no way right to understand from what we have declared and ordained above as to matter and form, that it would be lawful to neglect in any way or to omit the other established rites of the Roman Pontifical. Indeed, We ever command that all the prescribed details of that Roman Pontifical be religiously observed and carried out… in case any doubt arises, it is be submitted to this Apostolic See. Below we will go point by point and consider Traditionalist orders versus Anglican Orders.

From Apostolica Curae

Pope Leo: “Paul IV issued his Bull Praeclara Charissimi on June 20 of that same year [1555]. In this, whilst giving full force and approbation to what [Cardinal] Pole had done, it is ordered in the matter of the Ordinations as follows: “Those who have been promoted to ecclesiastical Orders  … by anyone but a Bishop VALIDLY AND LAWFULLY ORDAINED are bound to receive those Orders again.”

Comment: Was Marcel Lefebvre validly and lawfully ordained? Could and did Peter Martin Ngo dinh Thuc validly and lawfully ordain anyone? There are grave doubts regarding the valid ordination and consecration of Lefebvre by the Freemason Lienert as well as his own membership in a secret society (see link above). And the validity of the Thuc ordinations and consecrations, owing to Thuc’s mental state was sufficiently demonstrated by Clarence Kelly in his work, The Sacred and the Profane. Without a decision from the Holy See, such doubts are not capable of being resolved, as Kelly admits.

“Where [the Church] judges that the previous orders were certainly valid it permits their use, supposing the candidate to be acceptable; where it judges the previous orders to be certainly invalid it disregards them altogether, and enjoins a re-ordination according to its own rite; where it judges that the validity of the previous orders is doubtful, EVEN THOUGH THE DOUBT BE SLIGHT, it forbids their use until a conditional ceremony of re-ordination has first been undergone” Cath. Encyc., Anglican Orders.  And such re-ordination/consecration is not satisfied by simply appealing to a different schismatic Traditionalist, Old Catholic or other sect; a decision must be received from Rome regarding the status of the orders given. Note that even those orders considered valid presume the fitness of the candidate, and as demonstrated on this site in numerous places, very few if ANY Traditionalist candidates for the “priesthood” satisfied requirements laid down by the Sacred Congregation of Rites prior to 1958.

 And according to the Very Rev. P. Pouratt, V.G. : “In the administration of the Sacraments, the safest course must ever be followed. According to Benedict XIV, “When there is reason to believe that a sacrament which cannot be repeated and is of great importance, v. g. Baptism or Holy Orders, has been very probably conferred by a minister who had not the interior intention, that sacrament is to be repeated conditionally, unless time allows to consult Rome on the line of conduct to be followed. Rome’s answer will almost always be that Baptism or Ordination must be repeated conditionally” (Theology of the Sacraments, B. Herder, 1910).

The theologian Jean-Marie Herve also comments: “[Regarding] the sacrament of Holy Orders …the public good demands that the unworthy applicant, even if he be secret, be repelled though his offense cannot juridically be proved. The reason is that in this case the reception of the Sacraments is considered to be inferior in worth to the worthy exercise of the sacred functions and the public good of the Church. Moreover, says Pesch, the public good cannot effectively be defended without injury to the latter…” (Manual of Dogmatic Theology, Sacraments, Vol. I-II). So much for the Traditionalists’ pretended concern for the cura animarum!

Pope Leo: “But who those Bishops not ‘validly and lawfully ordained’ were had been made sufficiently clear by the foregoing documents and the faculties used in the said matter by the Legate; those, namely, who have been promoted to the Episcopate, as others to other Orders, ‘not according to the accustomed form of the Church,’ or, as the Legate himself wrote to the Bishop of Norwich, ‘the form and intention of the Church,’ not having been observed.”

Comment: The “intention of the Church” is to consecrate bishops who will obey the pope and rule their flocks under his direction. No one, not Lefebvre, not Thuc, not any other bishop consecrating without the papal mandate could possibly have consecrated bishops with this intention. The following is the consecration form taken from:

The Traditional Catholic Rite of Consecration of a Bishop According to the Roman Pontifical dated 30 March 1892, + Michael Augustinus Archiepiscopus Neo-Eboraci:

The first part includes the form of ascertaining solemnly that the Bishop-elect has the right to Episcopal consecration; of receiving his oath of submission to the Holy See, the centre of unity… NO ONE is to be consecrated unless first the Consecrator shall be sure of the commission to consecrate, either by apostolic letters, if he be outside the curia, or by verbal commission given by the Sovereign Pontiff to the Consecrator, if the Consecrator himself be a cardinal.

“Most Reverend Father, our holy Mother the Catholic Church, asks that you promote this priest here present to the burden of the episcopate.” The Consecrator says:

“Have you the Apostolic Mandate?” The senior assistant bishop answers:

“We have.”

The Consecrator says: “Let it be read.”

Then the notary of the Consecrator, taking the mandate from the assistant bishop, reads it from the beginning to the end: in the meanwhile all sit with heads covered. The mandate having been read, the Consecrator says: “Thanks be to God.”

Or, if the consecration is made by virtue of Apostolic letters [used only in the case of titular or auxiliary bishops, which is not under consideration here] by which even the reception of the oath to be made by the Bishop-elect is committed to the Consecrator, these letters being read, before the Consecrator says anything else, the Bishop-elect coming from his seat, kneels before the Consecrator and reads, word for word, the oath to be taken according to the tenor of the aforesaid commission, in this manner, viz:

 Form of Oath

“ I N., elected to the Church of N., from this hour henceforward will be obedient to Blessed Peter the Apostle, and to the holy Roman Church, and to our Holy Father, Pope N. and to his successors canonically elected. I will assist them to retain and to defend the Roman Papacy without detriment to my order. I shall take care to preserve, to defend, increase and promote the rights, honors, privileges and authority of the holy Roman Church, of our Lord, the Pope, and of his aforesaid successors. I shall observe with all my strength, and shall cause to be observed by others, the rules of the holy Fathers, the Apostolic decrees, ordinances or dispositions, reservations, provisions and mandates. I shall come when called to a Synod, unless prevented by a canonical impediment. I shall make personally the visit ad limina apostolorum every ten years, and I shall render to our Holy Father, Pope N., and to his aforesaid successors an account of my whole pastoral office, and of all things pertaining in any manner whatsoever to the state of my Church, to the discipline of the clergy and the people, and finally to the salvation of the souls which are entrusted to me : and in turn I shall receive humbly the apostolic mandates and execute them as diligently as possible.

“But if I shall be detained by legitimate impediment, I shall fulfil all the aforesaid things through a designated delegate having a special mandate for this purpose, a priest of my diocese, or through some other secular or regular priest of known probity and religion, fully informed concerning the above-named things. I shall not sell, nor give, nor mortgage the possessions belonging to my mensa [by mensa is understood the real estate or investments set aside for the proper support of the Bishop], nor shall I enfeoff [exchange land for service] them anew or alienate them in any manner, even with the consent of the chapter of my Church, without consulting the Roman Pontiff. And if through me any such alienation shall occur, I wish, by the very fact, to incur the punishments contained in the constitution published concerning this matter.”

And in questions asked by the one consecrating there is this:

5.) Will you exhibit in all things fidelity, submission, obedience, according to canonical authority, to Blessed Peter the Apostle, to whom was given by God the power of binding and of loosing, and to his Vicar our Holy Father, Pope N. and to his successors the Roman Pontiffs? (

The entire portion of the ceremony above involving the reading of the mandate was necessarily omitted by Traditionalists, or something was inserted in its place, depending on the one “consecrating.” (No written form of the “consecrations” now in use could be found on the Internet or elsewhere.) Note that NO ONE is to be consecrated without the apostolic mandate. The section of the oath highlighted above will be addressed later below.

Pope Leo: “That ‘form’ [in ordination] consequently cannot be considered apt or sufficient for the Sacrament which omits what it ought essentially to signify. The same holds good of episcopal consecration. For to the formula, ‘Receive the Holy Ghost,’ not only were the words ‘for the office and work of a bishop.’ etc. added at a later period, but even these, as we shall presently state, must be understood in a sense different to that which they bear in the Catholic rite…  As the Sacrament of Order and the true sacerdotium of Christ were utterly eliminated from the Anglican rite…and hence the sacerdotium is in no wise conferred truly and validly in the episcopal consecration of the same rite, for the like reason, therefore, the episcopate can in no wise be truly and validly conferred by it, and this the more so because AMONG THE FIRST DUTIES of the episcopate is that of ordaining ministers for the Holy Eucharist and sacrifice.

Comment: Traditionalists intend to receive the episcopacy in “a sense different to that which they bear in the Catholic rite…because they deny the necessary subordination of bishops to the Roman Pontiff. Here Leo is speaking of the essential form, yes, but in the context of “the Catholic rite.” The final word on the full extent of this subordination of bishops to the Roman Pontiff was not defined until Pope Pius XII wrote Mystici Corporis. While ordaining ministers is “amongthe first duties of the episcopate, a bishop’s first and primary duty is obedience to the Roman Pontiff and inclusion in the Apostolic College. Otherwise he cannot even hope to tend to be assigned a diocese or ordain priests — the rite itself says he cannot be raised to the episcopacy without the necessary mandate.

The words uttered by Traditionalists receiving the Sacrament and conferring it mean nothing. And without that sense, the Sacrament is null and void. This is true of those words uttered by Traditionalists promising allegiance and obedience to the Pope, which, quite frankly, is an outright lie. No truly Catholic man could be considered a bishop who never planned to submit to the Roman Pontiff, be obedient to him as the head bishop, and thereby constitute a part of the Apostolic College.  Only those in communion with the Roman Pontiff are considered to be true bishops.

Pope Leo: “All know that the Sacraments of the New Law, as sensible and efficient signs of invisible grace, ought both to signify the grace which they effect, and effect the grace which they signify.

Comment: How can it possibly be that men never rightly vetted as candidates for the priesthood, never trained in properly approved seminaries that preserved and rigorously developed holiness of life, never taught theology and so many other subjects by truly Catholic superiors, who confessed to men having no jurisdiction over them, so were never forgiven their sins or released of any impediments or irregularities, possibly be fit subjects to receive the grace of ordination, far less episcopal consecration?! Has anyone ever heard the tales that come from these so-called seminaries, told by those who have departed from them in disgust???

Pope Leo: “For once a new rite has been initiated in which, as we have seen, the Sacrament of Order is adulterated or denied, and from which all idea of …” (in our case, obedience to the Roman Pontiff and “his successors canonically elected;” also defense of the papacy and the rights, honor and privileges of the Roman Church) have been removed, the rite becomes “words without the reality which Christ instituted.

Comment: Here we must mention the absolute hypocrisy of Traditionalists who continually demonize the Novus Ordo for changing the rites of the Sacraments, when the very oath of obedience to the Pope above has been entirely eliminated from the Novus Ordo rite ( Christ never intended to institute the episcopacy without Peter as its inseparable head, to whom the bishops owe strict obedience. This is defined by the Vatican Council (DZ 1821). This is an obedience and subservience dictated by Divine authority. Rev. Leeming says that “If the rite is changed, then the minister who uses that rite is presumed to conform his intention to that of the body which uses the changed rite” (p. 495), and an investigation must be conducted; but by whom?  Traditionalists then must be ordaining in the Novus Ordo, or Old Catholic rite or the rite of some other schismatic sect, but they are not consecrating bishops in the Catholic rite!

As Rev. Alan McCoy O.F.M., J.C.L. wrote in his 1944  dissertation, Force and Fear in Relation to Delictual Imputability and Penal Responsibility, (Catholic University of America, 1944), under the general heading of “Delictual Acts Interdicted by Divine Authority,” anytime that “…an act is intrinsically evil, or involves contempt of the faith or of ecclesiastical authority, or works to the detriment of souls… imputability is not taken away in such cases since in these instances the observance of the law still urges under the pain of sin, even though the most severe personal hardship or danger, or also the greatest private harm might come from such observance. And the reason for this is that some spiritual good, either of God or of the Church or of individual souls is involved… There is consequently always grave guilt in the deliberate transgression of such a law.” Certainly the use of the consecration formula as it stands involves at the very least contempt of the ecclesiastical authority of the Roman Pontiff, if not contempt of the faith itself.

On page 97, under the heading “Acts that Work to the Detriment of Souls,” McCoy writes: “These are all acts which draw people away from the faith or from the practice of Christian morals and thus expose them to the danger of eternal damnation… Those acts which, by their nature, work to the detriment of souls are listed particularly in Titles XVI and XVII of the fifth book of the Code…bearing the headings: ‘Offenses Committed in the Administration or Reception of Orders or the Other Sacraments’ and ‘Offenses Against the Obligations Proper to the Clerical and Religious State.’” Among the offenses McCoy lists that work TO THE DETRIMENT OF SOULS are: “…the administration of Sacraments to those who are forbidden to receive them…the consecration of a bishop without a papal mandate…the reception of Orders from unworthy prelates…the negligence of a pastor in the care of souls.

These are the Church’s ideas of what constitutes contempt of faith and a true detriment to souls. So rather than working to save souls, Traditionalists, by acting without the papal mandate and resorting to unworthy prelates are endangering these souls. Given the above, no one pretending to receive a Sacrament and falsely swearing to defend the papacy and work “for the salvation of souls,” as the episcopal consecration states, could receive the very graces they spurn by administering consecration or accepting the same from a doubtfully ordained and consecrated schismatic without the papal mandate. It is ludicrous to presume, as some Traditionalists do, that Pius IX’s allocution Luctuosis exagitati — reluctantly granting bishops dealing with the civil government permission to satisfy the civil demands in certain countries — applies to them today. The allocution intended to facilitate “the care and salvation of souls, which is the supreme law for us, and which were called into open risk” in specific cases only, where bishops unquestionably validly ordained and consecrated and in communion with Rome were experiencing difficulties. These pseudo-clerics are grasping at straws, and they know it.

The situation Pope Leo is addressing here in Apostolica curae deals with an altered rite which denied the existence of a sacrificing priesthood, able to consecrate the Eucharist. Yes, the alteration affected the actual form, but Pope Leo was considering the offering of the Holy Sacrifice, the Consecration of the Eucharist, and the intent to create a sacrificing priesthood. This is not what we are considering here. Here we are considering only the episcopal consecration, The situation regarding Traditionalists concerns a fictitious swearing to a pope who does not even exist and who the men “consecrated” know full well they will not restore to his throne. They promise an obedience they will never be held to and commit to things they will never be required to execute, since they will never be assigned to a diocese. A mockery is made of the entire ceremony. And lest it be thought that this also could be said of schismatics and heretics consecrating validly in their own sects without the said mandate, this distinction must be made: TRADITONALISTS ARE MEN CLAIMING TO BE AND REPRESENTING THEMSELVES AS THE SURVIVING MEMBERS OF CHRIST’S TRUE CHURCH ON EARTH, not as members of a schismatic sect, although in reality that is all they truly are. This is not true of heretical and schismatic sects who generally give only a passing recognition to Rome, if that, and never claim Church membership. Given such chicanery, how could the grace necessary for the effect of the Sacrament be presumed?

Pope Leo: “With this inherent defect of “form” is joined the defect of “intention” which is equally essential to the Sacrament. The Church does not judge about the mind and intention, in so far as it is something by its nature internal; but in so far as it is manifested externally she is bound to judge concerning it. A person who has correctly and seriously used the requisite matter and form to effect and confer a sacrament is presumed for that very reason to have intended to do (intendisse) what the Church does. On this principle rests the doctrine that a Sacrament is truly conferred by the ministry of one who is a heretic or unbaptized, provided the Catholic rite be employed. On the other hand, if the RITE be changed, with the manifest intention of introducing another rite not approved by the Church AND OF REJECTING WHAT THE CHURCH DOES, AND WHAT, BY THE INSTITUTION OF CHRIST, BELONGS TO THE NATURE OF THE SACRAMENT, then it is clear that not only is the necessary intention wanting to the Sacrament, but that the intention is adverse to and DESTRUCTIVE OF THE SACRAMENT…

Comment: The audacity of Traditionalists to claim validity outside the authority of the Roman Pontiff is definitely external proof of their lack of intention. How could they possibly “seriously” use the form when there is no Roman Pontiff and they can reasonably foresee there will not be one?! Whenever the rite is altered, especially when in the rite itself consecration without the mandate is expressly forbidden, then intention comes into question. There can be no doubt that in omitting the necessary mandate those pretending to consecrate reject what the Church does in demanding that Her bishops be approved by the Roman Pontiff, to protect the faithful. And they likewise reject precisely what belongs to the nature of the Sacrament — that necessary inclusion of all bishops as members of the Apostolic College, and subsequently in subjection to the head bishop of that College, the Roman Pontiff.

Clearly the intention of these men in their attempt to become bishops is adverse to the Sacrament and destroys it, since there is never any intent of that necessary subjection to the Roman Pontiff. And in fact their actual intent, condemned by Pope Pius VI in Auctorem Fidei and elsewhere as schismatic and leading to schism (DZ 1506, 1507, 1508), is to act OUTSIDE the supervision of the Holy See entirely. And of course this is aside from the proven fact that the authority of the Roman Pontiff and his necessity for the Church’s existence is entirely ignored by Traditionalists, which is heretical as the Vatican Council defines.

Pope Leo: Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this matter, to the decrees of the pontiffs, our predecessors, and confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by our authority, of our own initiative and certain knowledge, we pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void.

Comment: And likewise those of Traditionalists as well, for lack of intention and alteration of the rite. Of course the cry will be raised, as it always is, “But this cannot apply to our case, we are not the Anglicans,” (or the Chinese, in the case of Ad Apostolorum Principis, or the Germans, in the case of the Old Catholics or the English re the Old Roman Catholics). It doesn’t matter. Protest all you want, you cannot exercise the disputed orders without a decision from the Holy See. And if you don’t have a Holy See to appeal to, you have no one to blame but yourselves.

Pope Leo: “We decree that these letters and all things contained therein shall not be liable at any time to be impugned or objected to by reason of fault or any other defect whatsoever of subreption or obreption of our intention, but are and shall be always valid and in force and shall be inviolably observed both juridically and otherwise, by all of whatsoever degree and preeminence, declaring null and void anything which, in these matters, may happen to be contrariwise attempted, whether wittingly or unwittingly, by any person whatsoever, by whatsoever authority or pretext, all things to the contrary notwithstanding.

Comment: And from the Catholic Encyclopedia under Anglican Orders: “What may be safely assumed is that it [Apostolica Curae] fixes the belief and practice of the Catholic Church irrevocably. This at least Leo XIII must have meant to signify when in his letter to Cardinal Richard, of 5 November, 1896, he declared that his “intention had been to pass a final judgment and settle (the question) forever” (absolute judicare et penitus dirimere), and that “Catholics were bound to receive (the judgment) with the fullest obedience as perpetuo firmam, ratam, irrevocabilem.” Rome has spoken and the case is closed.

(Note: Of course the above is no official “pronouncement” against the Traditionalist sect, but it is a carefully reasoned conclusion based on Church teaching and Church practice. In the end, only a canonically elected Roman Pontiff can decide the validity of ordinations and consecrations, but we have no doubt that at the very least all would need to be conditionally re-ordained and that the episcopal consecrations would be completely ignored. And as we continue to insist, Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis infallibly declares all these attempted ordinations and consecrations, performed during an interregnum, NULL and VOID.)

But there is much more…

The Church, in Her practice both before and since Apostolicae Curae was issued, has continued to demonstrate her rejection of anyone claiming episcopal orders outside the papal mandate. The first of these can be found in Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, where he condemns all those professing heresy, apostasy or schism, be they bishop, archbishop or even one appearing to be pope, forever deprived “ipso facto and without need for any further declaration …of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and power.” Because so much doubt has been raised concerning the laws regarding heresy, Canon Law tells us under Can. 6 §4 that we must adhere to the old law governing those canons, which is listed in the footnotes for the Canons on heresy, and Cum ex… is contained in those footnotes. This alone should disqualify all Traditionalists, but of course they will not hear of it. Then we also have Pope Pius VI’s Charitas, stating that: “For the right of ordaining bishops belongs only to the Apostolic See, as the Council of Trent declares; it cannot be assumed by any bishop or metropolitan without obliging Us to declare as schismatic both those who ordain and those who are ordained thus invalidating their future actions(see Can. 2265 §1 [2-3]). So as schismatics they lose all power under Pope Paul IV’s bull, which later was ratified by Pope St. Pius V in his Intermultiplices.

Then we have the declarations against the Old Catholics and the Old Roman Catholics issued by Popes Pius IX and St. Pius X. Pope Pius IX teaches: “They have chosen and set up a pseudo-bishop, a certain notorious apostate from the Catholic faith, Joseph Hubert Reinkens. So that nothing be lacking in their impudence, for his consecration they have had refuge to those very Jansenists of Utrecht, whom they themselves, before they separated from the Church, considered as heretics and schismatics.. But… 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; who does not adhere to the supreme Pastor to whom the sheep of Christ are committed to be pastured… Therefore, by the authority of Almighty God, We excommunicate and hold as anathema Joseph Hubert 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” (in other words, the pope condemned him as a vitandus).

So it is clear that no one is considered a bishop who is not in communion with Peter. And Traditionalists may want to think about supporting these impersonators given the excommunication pronounced above. Moreover, this is not even taking into consideration the many decisions from Rome regarding the need for unconditional and conditional ordination, decisions from  the Roman Congregations which are binding on Catholics, found here under the subheading “Valid and Licit”: .

Well Traditionalists, are you going to ignore the commands of Pope Pius IX on the pretext no one has personally excommunicated YOUR pseudo-bishop? Of course you will, because no one can exact obedience from your all-hallowed intellects. And likewise you will ignore Pope St. Pius X’s bull Cravi Iamdiu Scandalo, issued Feb. 11, 1911, excommunicating the Old Roman Catholic Arnold Harris Mathew and two other bishops. In this bull he denounces Mathew for “arrogating unto himself the title of Anglo-Catholic Archbishop of London [and] all others who lent aid, council, or consent to this nefarious crime, by the authority of Almighty God, we hereby excommunicate, anathematize and solemnly declare to be separated from the communion of the Church and to be held for schismatics.” This bull called Mathew a pseudo-bishop and condemned him as a vitandus. And of course CMRI pseudo-bishop Pivarunas has explained away the meaning of Pope Pius XII in Ad apostolorum principis, condemning such consecrations, by stating the following:

“When there is a true Pope, no bishop may be consecrated without papal authorization, much less to establish a “hierarchy” for a schismatic Church… Some may claim that those who perform or receive episcopal consecrations during the present interregnum have incurred excommunications according to Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Ad Apostolorum Principis of June 29,1958. However, those who claim this fail to understand the very nature of law and the principles of Canon Law… Pope Pius XII in his encyclical was addressing the situation in China in which the Communist government had established a schismatic Church to rival the Catholic Church. When there is a true Pope, no bishop may be consecrated without papal authorization, much less to establish a “hierarchy” for a schismatic Church… There is certainly no parallel between the situation in China in the 1950’s and that of traditional Catholics today.”

Ad apostolorum principis is not Canon Law, which is indirectly infallible, but a specific papal law, entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis (AAS), which is directly infallible. Anytime a papal document appears in the AAS, it is considered a document for EVERYONE, a teaching of the ordinary magisterium, as Msgr. J. C. Fenton has explained numerous times before in documents on this site. Entry into the AAS as authoritative was defined by Pope Pius XII in his infallible encyclical Humani generis, also an AAS document. There doesn’t need to be any “parallel.” And speaking of parallels, this is what blows Pivvy clear out of his little mud puddle here. Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, written 13 years prior in 1945, tells us that there is no way for anyone to change the laws of the Church or usurp papal jurisdiction when there IS NO TRUE POPE, not just when the pope is reigning. This also is entered into the AAS and has been available on my website for years: Moreover, this papal election constitution clearly states in para. 3 that it is issued with “Our Supreme authority,” a clear hallmark of papal infallibility. Of course no mention is made of this constitution on any of the Trad websites unless it is to be dismissed as inapplicable “in our times.”

So do the many Traditionalist pseudo-bishops, all emanating from the same questionably valid sources (Lefebvre, Thuc and others consecrating without the papal mandate), really receive episcopal consecration? Not according to Pope Leo XIII’s definition given above in Apostolicae Curae and all the succeeding and preceding decisions of the Roman Pontiffs.  Had the Traditionalist founder bishops been truly Catholic and performed their sacred, bounden duty to the Church, they would have provided Her with a head, but this obviously was not God’s plan for these times. For the VERY FIRST DUTY of any truly Catholic bishops remaining in the Church was NOT to ordain and consecrate priests and other bishops, but to re-establish the head, the center of unity and the source of all jurisdiction in the Church. That they did not do so, and as will be shown below DELIBERATELY refused to do so is even further proof of their true intent — not to continue the Church as She once existed, but to establish yet another counter-church, one without even the appearance of a true pope.

The rest of the story…

Below are excerpts from the first book I wrote in 1990, promoting a papal election. While that book and the “election” it prompted has been the object of sneers, derision, ridicule, falsified accounts and countless ad hominem attacks, even physical threats, there is a reason for this. It was not the “election” itself they objected to, but the basis for calling such an election. After proving that Roncalli and Montini were heretics and offering proofs they were members of secret societies, after carefully explaining from Canon Law itself that Roncalli had been invalidly elected and was never Pope, nor Montini following him, I then observed that all this had long ago been predicted by Pope Paul IV in his 1559 bull, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, and a remedy for the situation provided. The SSPX especially, and others, then renewed their attacks against the bull, which had begun following its first appearance in Spanish in 1978. They continue to malign it today, despite irrefutable proofs that it was completely incorporated into Canon Law under the laws governing heresy and related matters.

No, these Gallicanist pseudo-bishops wanted to hear none of that and they had to make certain that the entire idea of a papal election was beat into the ground, as well as anyone promoting such an enterprise. Even though I long ago left the false pope elected and spent two years on the Internet refuting the errors of his sect, the malicious calumnies and slander continue. I welcome it as proof that the sore point I hit on so long ago actually yet causes them pain for deceiving so many of those intended to be the elect. It is time that some at least become aware of their true episcopal status, what could and should have been done and why it was not done, so that they may understand that this is precisely why we find ourselves in the dire straits we face today. Please read the statements below and ask yourselves why such an election was not conducted immediately following the institution of the Novus Ordo Missae and destruction of the Sacraments in 1968.

It is clear to all save Traditionalists apparently, ignorant of their faith and eager to follow anyone wearing the precious collar or the purple, that every society must have a head. This is considered an indisputable necessity in the Catholic Church since Christ left us this head to speak in His name — this Head and no other, not even, without him, the “body of bishops.” This is explained well by Rev. Clement H. Crock in his Discourses on the Apostles’ Creed:

“In every well-regulated society, some head is necessary. You can call him by whatever name you will — mayor, governor, president, prince, or king. Without such a head, it is impossible to preserve peace and order, much less develop any activity for the upbuilding of a community. Should then, the Church of Christ alone be lacking in what the whole world acknowledges to be a prime necessity for every other institution? Should the Church of Christ spread through the whole world for the purpose of keeping all nations, all countries in the unity of faith and life and not be protected against the unrelenting attacks of enemies and infidels by some visible head? God owed it to His wisdom and His providence to give His Church a visible chief to preserve intact, the deposit of faith and guide the faithful until the end of time. Napoleon, his profound knowledge of men and his genius for organization, saw the absolute necessity for a supreme head of the spiritual world. Hence, to him, is credited the saying, that if the papacy did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it. But this provision was made by a greater genius than Napoleon; Christ Himself, when He said: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (pp. 220-221.)

During an interregnum, bishops can only elect a pope

(Some of the following information has been expanded upon and added to the quotes originally contained in the 1990 book Will the Catholic Church Survive…)

“Indeed, Holy Writ attests that the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven were given to Peter alone, and that the power of binding and loosening was granted to the Apostles and to Peter; but there is nothing to show that the Apostles received supreme power without Peter, and against Peter. Such power they certainly did not receive from Jesus Christ. Wherefore, in the decree of the Vatican Council as to the nature and authority of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, no newly conceived opinion is set forth, but the venerable and constant belief of every age (Sess. iv., cap. 3)” (Satis Cognitum, Pope Leo XIII)

“A body without a head is not that (body) to which Jesus Christ, gave the Episcopate full and sovereign. He conferred it on the College of the Apostles, INCLUDING SAINT PETER, who was made superior to all the Apostles” (Henry Cardinal Manning, The Pastoral Office)

  1. Reverend J. Wilhelm, S.T.D., Ph.D “A council… acting independently of the Vicar of Christ… is unthinkable in the constitution of the Church… such assemblies have only taken place in times of great constitutional disturbances, when either there was no pope, or the rightful pope was indistinguishable from anti-popes. In such abnormal times, the safety of the Church BECOMES THE SUPREME LAW, and the first duty of the abandoned flock is to find a new shepherd, under whose direction the existing evils may be remedied.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, Councils, IV.)
  2. Reverend William Humphrey, S. J.“The function of the electors, whoever they may be — the cardinals, as at present, or others, as in times past — is to designate the person who is to occupy the vacant See of Rome. The mode of designation has not been determined by God by any divine law and so it remains free to be determined by ecclesiastical law.:. (Urbs Et Orbis, p. 272.)
  3. The Archbishop of Grenada(speaking at the 22d session of the Council of Trent): “…When any bishop is elected Supreme Pontiff, either by cardinals, or by the clergy, or by the people according to the times, from whom does he obtain the supreme power of jurisdiction? From Christ, of course…. ” Concilium Tridentuum. Editio Goerresiana, Vol. IX, No. 50; Frieburgi Br. 1919.)
  4. St. Robert Bellarmine — (Here St. Robert is considering the case of a Pope “held captive among infidels, dead, effectively insane or [who] has repudiated the papacy.” He writes): “For the Church without doubt has the authority of providing itself with a head although it is not able without the head to decide about many things… In no case would a true and perfect council be able to be convoked without the authority of the Pope, of which kind of council here we do not dispute; because obviously it would have the authority of defining questions of the faith. For there is a special authority in the head, that is in Peter, who is ordered that he confirm his brethren, and for this also our Lord prayed for him that his faith might not fail (Luke 22).

“Nevertheless, in these [above] cases an imperfect council will be able to be gathered, a council which would be sufficient for providing for the head of the Church. For the Church without doubt has the authority of providing for itself a head, although it is not able, without the head, to decide about many things which it is able [to decide] with the head, as Cajetan rightly teaches in his little work about the power of the Pope (Ch. 15 and 16).“…Previously presbyters of the Roman Church taught [this] in the epistle to Cyprian which is in the 7th book in the works of Cyprian. But that imperfect council will be able to happen if either it is called by the College of Cardinals or bishops of their own accord, who come together in one place(De Conciliis, Chap. 14, under Certain Doubts Are Explained).

“And in another place, St. Robert Bellarmine writes: “But if a papal election is really doubtful for any reason… [and the pope]  refuses to resign, it becomes the duty of the bishops to adjust the matter, for although the bishops without the pope cannot define dogmas nor make laws for the universal Church, they can and ought to decide, when occasion demands, who is the legitimate pope; and if the matter be doubtful, they should provide for the Church by having a legitimate and undoubted pastor elected. That is what the Council of Constance rightly did.” (De Concilio, II, 19). Bellarmine says this because in his lifetime Pope Paul IV, in his 1559 bull, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, gave even the cardinals an indefinite amount of time to determine such things. Paul IV wrote in his Bull that, “It shall be lawful for all and sundry…even for those who participated in the election of one straying from the Faith, or of a heretic or schismatic to the Papacy, or who otherwise presented and pledged him obedience and paid him homage… to depart with impunity at any time from obedience and allegiance to said promoted and elevated persons and to shun them as sorcerers, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs [without fear of censure]…” (para. 7).

  1. Francis Cardinal Zabarella — In his work The Origins of the Great Schism (1948), Walter Ullmann relates that Cardinal Zabarella deplored the “incalculable damage… inflicted upon the Faith and the Church if the latter were in the hands of an heretical pope,” something we have witnessed in our day. Ullmann reports that Zabarella favored the calling of a Council by the Emperor and presumed that “good clerics and loyal believers and followers of the Church” would support such a council; and they did. Indeed, the Emperor Sigismund insisted on the calling of Constance, following Zabarella’s reasoned line of thinking. The Church thereby recognizes that whenever several papal claimants exist, the best plan is abdication and the only other recourse is a declaration that such men were never popes. As Cardinal Zabarella wrote: “It is the people themselves who have to summon the neighboring bishops for special purposes if the properly instituted bishop neglects his duty of summoning his colleagues. In a case such as ours, Zabarella says, “Good clerics and loyal believers and followers of the Church” would need to resolve the situation, and God would have to intervene, since the Church, ‘cannot not be.’” This should have been the sole purpose of Catholic Action in our day; instead, no one was even aware of the rights and obligations of the laity to force any true bishops who remained to provide the Church with a head.
  2. Rev. Charles Journet(Professor at the Major Seminary at Fribourg): “During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the Church… possesses only the power of proceeding to the election of a new pope, either through the cardinals, or in default of them, by other ways….” (The Church of the Word Incarnate, p. 480.) Journet asks: “In whom does the power to elect the Pope reside?” Cajetan answers: “The Pope can settle who the electors shall be and change and limit in this way the mode of election.” Journet, in summarizing Cajetan’s arguments writes: “In a case where the settled conditions of validity have become inapplicable, the task of determining new ones falls to the Church by devolution, this last word being taken, as Cajetan says (Apologia, Chap. xiii, No. 745), not in the strict sense (devolution is strictly to the higher authority in case of default the lower), but in the wide sense, signifying all transmission, even to an inferior” (p. 480). And the order for this devolution is given by Cardinal Cajetan below.

Journet tells us that it was during the course of the disputes concerning papal authority versus the authority of an Ecumenical Council in the 15th and 16th centuries, that questions of who was invested with the power to elect the pope were brought up. He records Cajetan’s thinking on this subject as follows: “…The power to elect the Pope, resides in his predecessors eminently, regularly, and principally… the Church, in her widowhood, [is] unable to determine a new mode of election, save ‘in casu,’ unless forced by sheer necessity…. During a vacancy of the Apostolic See, neither the Church nor the Council can contravene the provisions already laid down to determine the valid mode of election. Howeverif the Pope has provided nothing against it, or in case of ambiguity (for example, if it is unknown who the true cardinals are, or who the true Pope is…), the power ‘of applying the papacy to such and such a person’ devolves on the universal Church, the Church of God(Caietan: De Comparata, Cap. xiii, No. 202- )04; also, Apologia, Cap. xiii, No. 736).

Next, [Cardinal] Cajetan affirms through Journet’s reasoned explanation: “…When the provisions of canon law cannot be fulfilled, the right to elect will belong to certain members of the Church of Rome. In default of the Roman clergy, the right will belong to the Church universal, of which the Pope is to be bishop….” John of St. Thomas says: “…The concrete mode in which the election is to be carried out… has been nowhere indicated in Scripture; it is mere ecclesiastical law which will determine which persons in the Church can validly proceed to election.” (Journet, pp. 280-281. Journet and Wilhelm both agree that the only function the Church can perform in a sede vacante is that of the election of the Roman Pontiff. It also should be noted here, however, that a papal election law which is infallible, i.e., Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, is not just ecclesiastical law, but a law binding on all Catholics for belief; see the link to this document above. John of St. Thomas wrote long before the reign of Pope Pius XII.)

(End of Will the Catholic Church Survive …quotes).

Comments on the above

Attempts to organize an imperfect council prior to the election push were unsuccessful. The documents I had published at the time explaining how such a council could be convened (in John Beauclair’s Francinta Messenger, Boise, Idaho) and other information were plagiarized and used in the early 1990s to promote the imperfect council idea in South America and this country, to no avail. Had bishops used St. Robert Bellarmine’s opinion alone, and the precedent provided by the Council of Constance, there could have been a valid election using Can. 20 as a template. But this was never what Traditionalists intended. And it is useless to cite the necessity of the papacy — that Peter must have perpetual successors as the Vatican Council and other papal teachings decree (DZ 1825, 638-39, 654); or that denial of the necessity to be subject to the Roman Pontiff is a heresy (DZ 469). It hardly needs to be said that a vacancy of the Holy See is dangerous and rife with the possibility of untold harm to the Church. We have witnessed that firsthand. And the fact it was maliciously allowed to continue by those pretending to rule the Church in the place of the Roman Pontiff is undeniable.

Vicomte Leon de Poncins explains in his Freemasonry and the Vatican that Freemasonry sets up both sides of the spectrum in infiltrating various organizations — the right and the left. This is as true here of the Church as it is in modern-day politics, something we have seen ample evidence of just recently. The left set up the counter-Church in Rome, the right set up its own counter-Church, Gallicanist/Gnostic Traditionalism, and here we are today. Proof of this can be found in the link provided at the beginning of this article on Freemasonry. So all the wasted rantings and ravings over the terrible Novus Ordo and the constant updatings regarding the antics of the usurper clowns have only been a distraction. And it succeeded in preventing the unwary from properly assessing and then questioning the authority and validity of Traditionalists and their organizations. This when Traditionalism is even more offensive to God than the Novus Ordo, claiming as it does to represent the Church we lost when it does nothing of the sort, being only one more accursed heretical sect.

False basis for episcopal supremacy

How do we know Traditionalist clergy actually discouraged a papal election? Well first we have the case of Lefebvre, who was all too happy to blast the usurpers from his lofty throne, while using them to “legitimize” his seminary and sanctioning their John 23 missal, also marital and other policies. You can scarcely consider a papal election when you’re playing pattycakes with the enemy. And then we have the Thuc bunch, plagued from the very beginning with scandal, fraud and disorganization. A recent Internet find shows us exactly who and what all these people were — and remember, Lefebvre and Thuc were bosom council buddies — and what they really believed. Below are excerpts from an April 30, 1983 letter by the Mexican layman Alvaro Ramirez Arandigoyen to Moises Carmona. Carmona, a follower of Rev. Joaquin Saenz Arriaga (an admitted member of a secret society), was one of two Mexican priests “consecrated” by Thuc. The translation of the letter was first printed in the German publication Einsicht. Ramirez is asking Carmona to clarify “the essential complex of questions of the episcopal powers and their importance in the framework of the Church.” Ramirez writes as follows:

“The Bishop of Rome… possesses the universal power of jurisdiction as well as the infallibility, a privilege, which, by tradition, is being recognised and defined for the Bishop of Rome as follower of St. Peter and the Vicar of Christ. But in the strict sacramental sense of the Church, as administrator of the Holy Mysteries, the Bishop of Rome possesses no greater power of office than the other bishops, as followers of the Apostles… It is therefore clear that the Bishop of Rome is entitled to the universal jurisdiction for the election of all bishops of the local jurisdiction. But this election is in no way essential for the episcopal power of consecration in the sacramental sense.

“Meanwhile the bishop, who consecrates new bishops without required apostolic mandate, commits an illegal act of consecration, illegal consecrations and an extremely grave sin, which, by canonical right, is punished with excommunication. But this illegality does not affect in any way the internal value and the sacramental validity, as the bishop has the distinguishing feature of a sacramental authority of power, a MYSTERIOUS, ALL VALID AND ABSOLUTE POWER, which is neither less than the one belonging to the Bishop of Rome, it does not proceed from him, nor can it be essentially been brought about through him.”

“A curve of the Church’s decadence of the latest centuries proves that it always occurs when the bishops cease to exercise their power of authority. The holy episcopal powers, received from the Apostles and carried on through tradition, are of divine right. And here we ask the question which forces itself to be solved, regarding the Roman and Apostolic Church in our historical hour of the present crisis and worldwide apostasy: there is no doubt, that the Roman Pontiff, bishop of Rome, is competent — through holy tradition — to appoint the bishops sees according to his own right of universal jurisdiction. This is undisputable and must not be violated… It is an elementary truth, which cannot be proclaimed loud enough, that the holy, Catholic, visible and hierarchical Church is not founded solely on Peter, but Peter and the Apostles, united in the community of faith in Jesus Christ. According to the divine right it is therefore a duty in conscience for a bishop, who has still remained faithful in the world, under the threat of losing his salvation, to exercise his apostolic powers without restrainment, fully und wholly, so to continue the Church of Christ….

The bishop…, as well as the new bishops consecrated by him, would certainly not be authorised to elect the Bishop of Rome, because this right belongs to the local church in Rome, which is, today illegally usurped by a heresy (heretic). They also are not authorised to occupy the usurped bishoprics held by the heretics of the whole world, but in agreement with tradition, they may found new churches and provide them with the necessary powers of office.*)… WHAT THESE BISHOPS SHOULD NOT DO, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, IS TO ELECT A NEW POPE,  also not to found any kind of sect and also not to adopt an universal jurisdiction by founding a modern religious order, which would not be in accordance with the apostolic intention, (as Lefebvre does). What they should do, is just this: to act the way the Apostles did — and nothing else.

* Editor’s note: Mgr. M.L. Guêrard des Lauriers has published an explanation, which refers also to this subject and its first part has been published already in the SAKA-INFORMATIONS of January 1984, the second part has now followed in the February issue. We shall also try to find authors, who can give us an information about the election of a Pope as such, about its possible realisation under today’s circumstances. Then the suggestions made by Mr. Ramirez would have to be reconsidered. (The editor listed for this article is one G. Resch.)

It can only be assumed that what Ramirez said above was fully adopted, from that point on, by Traditionalists. Shall we begin by enumerating the heresies?

Heresy 1: “But in the strict sacramental sense of the Church, as administrator of the Holy Mysteries, the Bishop of Rome possesses no greater power of office than the other bishops, as followers of the Apostles.” From the Vatican Council: “If anyone thus speaks, that the Roman Pontiff has only the office of inspection or direction but not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church spread out over the whole world; or that he possesses only the more important parts but not the whole plenitude of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate or over the Churches altogether and individually and over the pastors and the faithful all together and individually let him be anathema” (DZ 1831; see also Satis Cognitum above).

Heresy 2: “The bishop has the distinguishing feature of a sacramental authority of power, a MYSTERIOUS, ALL VALID AND ABSOLUTE POWER, which is neither less than the one belonging to the Bishop of Rome.” (See again DZ 1831; also the decision regarding bishops made by Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis and Ad sinarum gentum, that bishops, for all their powers, are still subordinate to the Roman Pontiff.) The mysterious and all valid absolute power he accredits to these bishops is reminiscent of the “magic of apostolic succession,” referred to by Peter Anson in his book Bishops at Large, (p. 296). There Anson chronicles the plethora of sects, many of them Gnostic and occult in origin, which proceeded from schismatic and other unauthorized consecrations in the 20th century. Anson also notes: “All over France, especially in the South and West, little groups of neo-Gnostics flourished. Most of them had their own priests and bishops, for it was believed that the magical rites could only be effective with an Apostolic succession guaranteed to be valid” (p. 309.)” Also the “divine right” episcopacy mentioned by Ramirez smacks of Gallicanism, as does his entire letter.

Heresy 3: “…The holy, Catholic, visible and hierarchical Church is not founded solely on Peter, but Peter and the Apostles.”  From the Vatican Council: “The primacy of jurisdiction over the entire Church of God was promised and was conferred immediately and directly upon the blessed apostle Peter by Christ our Lord… Upon Simon Peter alone Jesus, after His resurrection, conferred the jurisdiction of the highest pastor and rector over his entire fold saying, ‘Feed my lambs feed my sheep… To this sacred teaching of Holy Scripture… as always understood by the Catholic Church… are opposed openly the vicious opinions of those who perversely deny that the form of government in His Church was established by Christ the Lord; that to Peter alone before the other apostles, whether individually or altogether, was confided the true and proper primacy of jurisdiction by Christ” (DZ 1822).

The bishop…, as well as the new bishops consecrated by him, would certainly not be authorised to elect the Bishop of Rome, because this right belongs to the local church in Rome, which is, today illegally usurped by a heresy (heretic).” Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, already available in Spanish as early as 1978, resolved this entire issue, and resolved it infallibly. All heretics lose their offices, and these offices cannot be restored to them. (See the excerpt from this bull above). Obviously Ramirez didn’t do much research regarding the papal election business. The right to elect devolves, as Cardinal Cajetan explains above, and this is apparent from what happened at the Council of Constance, as St. Bellarmine notes. Of course it could never devolve on Thuc or Lefebvre or any of those they attempted to elect, all of them being heretics and schismatics disqualified by Paul IV’s bull, Canon Law and Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.

The editor’s note to this letter is interesting, and perhaps provides a motive for why Guerard des Lauriers felt the need to arrive at his absurd material/formal theory regarding the papacy. A papal election was not what these “bishops” wanted — they wished to reign as mini-popes in their own little fiefdoms. And therefore today they continue to do so, despite the fact that without the pope they had no other function but to elect a true successor of St. Peter. Having failed to do this when it was possible, they have doomed the Church to Her present state and forever lost the opportunity to remedy this situation. God alone will now resolve it, at His own pleasure and in His own good time.





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“St. John is Still Alive”: The New R&R ruse

“St. John is Still Alive”: The New R&R ruse

+St. John of the Cross+

As the discussion of whether there are any true bishops left alive on earth continues, a reader has pointed out the following translation, found on one Traditionalist site, of the 1870 Vatican Council decree on the Church of Christ. It differs from the one found in Henry Denzinger’s Sources of Catholic Dogma, although it seems that Denzinger offers the more accurate translation. From the Traditionalist site:

“So then, just as He sent apostles, whom He chose out of the world [39], even as He had been sent by the Father [40], in like manner it was His will that in his church there should be shepherds and teachers until the end of time. In order, then, that the episcopal office should be one and undivided and that, by the union of the clergy, the whole multitude of believers should be held together in the unity of faith and communion, he set blessed Peter over the rest of the apostles and instituted in him the permanent principle of both unities and their visible foundation.”

This is a translation of the Latin as follows:

Sessio IV:

Constitutio I. de Ecclesia Christi

Pastor aeternus et episcopus animarum nostrarum, ut salutiferum redemptionis opus perenne redderet, sanctam aedi ficare Ecclesiam decrevit, in qua veluti in Domo Dei viventis fideles omnes unius fidei et charitatis vinculo continerentur. Quapropter, priusquam clarificaretur, rogavit Patrem non pro Apostolis tantum, sed et pro eis, qui credituri erant per verhum eorum in ipsum, ut omnes unum essent, sicut ipse Filius et Pater unum sunt. Quemadmodum igitur Apostolos, quos sibi de mundo elegerat, misit, sicut ipse missus erat a Patre: ita in Ecclesia sua Pastores et Doctores usque ad consummationen saeculi esse voluit. Ut vero episcopatus ipse anus et indivisus esset, et per cohaerentes sibi invicem sacerdotes credentium multitudo universa in fidei et communionis unitate conservaretur, beatum Petrum caeteris Apostolis praeponens in ipso instituit perpetuum utriusque uni tatis principium ac visibile fundamentum, super cajus fortitu dinem aeternum exstrueretur templum, et Ecclesiae coelo in ferenda sublimitas in hujus fidei firmitate consurgeret.

Denzinger’s translation reads: “Thus as He sent the apostles, whom He had selected from the world for Himself, as He Himself had been sent by the Father, (John 20: 21), so in His Church He wished the pastors and the doctors to be “even to the consummation of the world” (Matt. 28: 20). But that the episcopacy itself might be one and undivided, and that the entire multitude of the faithful through priests closely connected with one another might be preserved in the unity of faith and communion, placing the blessed Peter over the other apostles He established in him the perpetual principle and visible foundation of both unities, upon whose strength the eternal temple might be erected and the sublimity of the Church to be raised to heaven might rise in the firmness of this faith.”

Use of the word should in De Ecclesia Christi

The closest one can get to defining what might be meant in the Vatican Council document by the word should is by consulting legal definitions following the method advised by Rev. Matthew Ramstein, S.T. Mag, J.U.D, of the Friars of Minor Conventual. Ramstein wrote the following in 1947 regarding how one is to interpret passages of Canon Law. Because much of Canon Law is derived from papal law, it seems reasonable to assume that this same method can be used to determine the finer distinctions in the two translations of the Vatican Council teaching.

Normally the word “shall” (or must) indicates a compulsory requirement and “may” is used for one that is permissive. Because should is somewhat ambiguous, some believe it has no place in legal documents. The following is a sampling of majority opinions regarding the use of should in legal documents today.

Should means that a certain feature, component and/or action is desirable but not mandatory (majority opinion).

 Should means the term used in the interpretation of a standard to reflect the commonly accepted method yet allowing for the use of effective alternatives.

Should means that the described action is necessary and expected with some flexibility allowed in the method of compliance,

Should means implementation of the policy is expected but its completion is not mandatory. The policy is directive with substantive meaning, although to a lesser degree than “shall” for two reasons. (1) “Should” policies recognize the policy might not be applicable or appropriate… due to special circumstances. The decision to not implement a “should” policy is appropriate only if implementation of the policy is either inappropriate or not feasible. (2) Some “should” policies are subjective; hence, it is not possible to demonstrate that a jurisdiction has implemented it.

Should/shall (v.)

Old English sceal, Northumbrian scule “I owe/he owes, will have to, ought to, must” (infinitive sculan, past tense sceolde), a common Germanic preterite-present verb (along with canmaywill), from Proto-Germanic *skal- (source also of Old Saxon sculan, Old Frisian skil, Old Norse and Swedish skola, Middle Dutch sullen, Old High German solan, German sollen, Gothic skulan “to owe, be under obligation;” related via past tense form to Old English scyld “guilt,” German Schuld “guilt, debt;” also Old Norse Skuld, name of one of the Norns), from PIE root *skel- (2) “to be under an obligation.”;_ylt=A0geK.CpLrxfvqEAxEBpCWVH;_ylc=X1MDMTE5NzgwMzg4MQRfcgMyBGZyA2NvbXNlYXJjaARncHJpZAN4cFJudzFoVVNYLlJ6Qlk1RTBSTERBBG5fcnNsdAMwBG5fc3VnZwMyBG9yaWdpbgNzZWFyY2guYW9sLmNvbQRwb3MDMARwcXN0cgMEcHFzdHJsAzAEcXN0cmwDMjgEcXVlcnkDRX

Ground sense of the Germanic word probably is “I owe,” hence “I ought.” The sense shifted in Middle English from a notion of “obligation” to include “futurity.” Its past tense form has become should (q.v.). oportet, dehibeo (verb), conpos (adjective), debere, debet, ut mori (         None of these Latin words are found in the Latin version of the council documents.

Use of the word wish in De Ecclesia Christi

The word wish does not appear to have any legal connotations, and like should seems to imply not that Christ guarantees pastors and doctors will indeed last until the consummation, but that it is His will or intention for the Church that they do so. This is quite different than guaranteeing that the Church can never be without pastors and doctors. Peter alone was guaranteed the privilege of never failing to teach the truth and given special protection in this regard. Christ could not guarantee that mere men without this protection, given that they have the use of free will which He cannot withdraw from them, would continue without Peter’s successor as their head to carry out His wishes and desires or honor His will for the Church.


voluit (Latin) Verb

Inflection of volō (third-person singular perfect active indicative)

  1. Cognate with Sanskrit वृणीते‎ (“vṛṇīte”), Old English willan‎ (“to will, wish, desire”).
  2. Under will, also listed as a reference, the following is found: (rareintransitive) To wish or desire (that something happen); to intend (that). (9th-19th c.)”God willthat all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (Tim. 2:4). ; – English

While the word should might be an acceptable alternate translation, the actual Latin word voluit indicates the literal translation is wish. Some translations of this same section of the Vatican Council decree use the word will, and certain individuals take this as a concrete indication that whatever Christ wills must inevitably come to pass. But the above Scripture quote in (2) explains how the use of will does not mean an absolute guarantee; Christ willed that all men be saved and know the truth as well, but all men have not done so. He also taught that when He comes again He would scarcely find faith on earth.

What is the difference between wish and should? Should indicates an obligation exists to carry out the act. But shouldas defined above seems to indicate a flexibility in terms, meaning the fulfilment of any action is not mandatory. Certainly the hierarchy were bound to perpetuate the Church as Christ constituted it. They chose the path of Judas Iscariot instead, exercising their will and their idea of what the Church was meant to be, not Christ’s. So the Church has determined in its council language there was no guarantee on Christ’s part the condition will be inevitably fulfilled. Wish also translates to will and desire, and neither term gives any indication whatsoever that something is being promised in an unqualified manner.

We must remember that this section of the Vatican Council is the one session dealing with the Church specifically. The Council did not take up any definition of the Church Herself, only the papacy. And as Henry Cardinal Manning said in his The Vatican Council Decrees and their Bearing on Civil Allegiance, it is precisely the definition of the papacy that defines the Church. Without a true pope the Church cannot exist. The above should end the arguments of those who believe that the hierarchy sans the pope will exist unto the consummation, but it has not and most likely will not.  For there are those who simply cannot imagine that a “faithful” bishop will not come to rescue them and provide them with what they wish to possess in way of Mass and Sacraments. They have found who they believe is such a bishop, as mentioned in a previous blog, although no certainty can be had regarding his valid ordination far less any supposed episcopal consecration!

Now they are preparing what they believe is a case for his existence by presenting the belief of some of the early Church Fathers that St. John never died and is still alive on this earth; that St. John will appear to rescue the episcopacy and restore the faith of doubting Catholics that it has ceased to exist.  Well excuse me, but the episcopacy was never guaranteed to remain unto the consummation without its head bishop, nor was it ever granted the gift of infallibility without being united to the Supreme Pontiff. This is the teaching of the Vatican Council as seen above and has been reiterated by Henry Cardinal Manning in his works. The tell-tale red flag here is this seizing by the R&R crowd on the perpetuity of the episcopacy, not the PAPACY. It easily condemns them as the Gallicanists they truly are and exposes their agenda to re-establish the Church based on the Gallicanist idea of the pope as a ministerial head only. This has all been treated at length in articles on this site and recent blog posts where cogent arguments are provided to prove that the Gallicanist heresy is alive and well among Traditionalists.

That they would use St. John the Evangelist as a cover for these activities is not only an outrage, it is blasphemous. It sheds an abundance of light on the recent accusations made by a certain individual against this author, claiming that truths of faith have been denied, and among these truths that Christ constituted the Church, including the episcopacy, to last till the end of time.  But as the Vatican Council explains, it was indeed His will that the episcopacy last until the very end, but since when have men today concerned themselves with learning and obeying God’s will, which is expressed in His laws and those of the Church?! Those who are promoting the sudden appearance of St. John the Evangelist indeed quote the early Fathers to prove he could still be alive, but these Fathers’ opinions on this topic are nowhere cited as unanimous. Therefore, we are not bound in any way to believe them, although of course we should respect their teachings on this matter.

After quoting the Fathers, they then descend into St. John’s presence in certain Marian apparitions, which have absolutely no claim whatsoever on us as far as belief is concerned. We may believe them with ecclesiastical faith if we choose; this is all. They also note that St. John’s symbol is the eagle, and this is indeed interesting but for reasons they fail to draw out. We know in these times that the woman clothed with the sun, described in St. John’s Apocalypse, is ever with us and indeed carries us “in the crossing of her arms,” as she told Juan Diego during her Guadalupe apparition to him. Who was it who stood beneath the Cross with Christ’s Mother?

The only Apostle who did not abandon Our Lord, St. John. We are experiencing the Passion of the Church, so will there be a St. John at our side? Yes, in every way, for it is St. John who gave us the Apocalypse, the wings of the great eagle, the very words of the Holy Ghost in Scripture, that carry the Church into the desert. There She is nourished by the prophecies of this last book of the Holy Bible, written by St. John who was inspired by the Holy Ghost.

We are living all he saw, all he wrote, all he experienced in just such a mystical manner. If we are lonely in this earthly exile, so was he in his exile on Patmos. If Our Lady is with us, and we know she is, so is he. Will he manifest himself to us in this cataclysmic time? With God all things are possible. But he would not come to supplant as a bishop the role given by Christ to St. Peter; he would have Peter’s successor at his side. And he certainly would never come in defiance of all existing laws of the Church established by his beloved Savior. “If you love Me, keep My commandments,” Jesus told us. St. John above all loved his Master so would never violate the very laws made by the Church on earth that Christ has bound in Heaven. The successors of Antichrist know their time is growing short; they will work every false miracle within their power to deceive the elect. And make no mistake — those parading as clergy are leading R&R Traditionalists by the nose right through the back door of the Novus Ordo church. Whoever has not loved the truth as taught by the Church shall be given the operation of error to believe lies. And when the blind lead the blind, all shall fall into the eternal pit.

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