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

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+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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Cardinal Manning clarifies the relation of bishops to the Roman Pontiff

+St. Anthony Mary Claret+

The last blog post addressed errors regarding the office of bishops and the continuation of this office until the consummation.  It also challenged statements that the episcopate can exist without the Roman Pontiff insofar as these bishops can actually function and be of practical use to God for His faithful. This present accuser, whose accusations were addressed in our last blog, initially raised this same basic argument in 2013 — rightly insisting that schismatic bishops ordinarily can validly consecrate, yet denying the Roman Pontiff has the power to bar the valid use of any powers given in these consecrations. Regarding the matter of the Chinese Nationalist bishops performing such consecrations, Pope Pius XII taught in Ad Apostolorum Principis that these particular acts in China were valid. Pope Pius IX taught the same in the case of the Old Catholic Reinken in Etsi Multa, but withdrew all Reinken’s powers and the powers of those ordained by him. Pope Pius XII likewise withdraws these powers from those acting outside papal law or even Canon Law during an interregnum in his papal election law Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.

In both these cases, reigning popes were able to assess these individually and rule accordingly. Today there is no reigning pope to evaluate these situations. Nor is there a previous case that can be cited where bishops openly supporting a schismatic sect ordained men as Catholics who then pretended they were able to function in the absence of a canonically elected Roman Pontiff. This is a violation of Pius XII’s infallible constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.  It presupposes that bishops have the power to function outside the constitution of the Church Christ established, which undeniably rests on its foundation stone, St. Peter. The Church clearly teaches, in various authoritative and binding documents, that the bishops cannot function unless a papal election is actively in progress, and the cardinals electing are unquestionably validly appointed by the previous pontiff and remain Catholic. This is no ordinary interregnum, for never before in the history of the Church has a false pope reigned without being at least opposed by a true contender to the papacy. The cardinals who are primarily bishops and all other bishops must be in communion with the successor of St. Peter and must act as one, undivided unit with him: that is what the present accuser is protesting.

All this was covered long ago in the following excerpt from a work written by Henry Edward Cardinal  Manning, posted to the website at It was intended to inform Catholics of good will that the unanimous teaching of approved theologians, presented in this work by Manning, was the same as that infallibly confirmed and clarified in all its points by Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis Christi and Ad Sinarum Gentum. So it is not as if this matter was openly contested by a majority until this decision by Pope Pius XII — that the bishops do not receive their jurisdiction directly from Christ but only through the Roman Pontiff — was issued, as some pretend. The Church’s approved theologians were already united in their teaching on this doctrine, which indeed followed in the train of the definition of the Vatican Council regarding the papacy.

The question of the schismatic bishops does not take the 1917 Code of Canon Law’s condemnation of heretics into consideration. There Can. 2314 declares that anyone who commits the offense of communicatio in sacris, participating in the services of non-Catholics as Lefebvre, Thuc and other one-time bishops did, incur a vindicative penalty and are then incapable of administering valid Sacraments. And this is in addition to Pope Pius XII’s election law declaration. So how could Lefebvre or Thuc, who openly endorsed Vatican 2 while pretending to hold the conservative position, possibly have validly ordained or consecrated anyone? If there is any serious doubt whatsoever in this regard, and there most certainly is, they could not and did not.

Please read the excerpts from Chap. 1 at the link provided above and return to the blog. In Chap. 2 of this same work, pgs. 37-38, Manning continues to quote from 19th century theologians: “And yet the successor of Peter is not the only shepherd of the sheep. There are others who, with and under him, are veri pastores — true shepherds each of the portion of the flock assigned to them. They receive that assignment and mission, mediately, through the Vicar of Jesus Christ ; but the jurisdiction they receive is in itself and in its essence Divine in its origin, Divine in its authority, Divine in its obligations binding together the shepherd and the sheep in reciprocal duties and mutual relations which are not of man, or by man, but of the Holy Ghost. The sheep are his, and he is theirs. It is strictly true, as the Council of Trent and the Council of the Vatican have said, that the Bishops who are assumed by the authority of the Vicar of Christ are legitimate and true Bishops, true pastors whom the Holy Ghost has placed to rule the Church of God. This Divine order is expressed in the Preface of the Holy Mass on the Feasts of the Apostles, in which we pray that the Eternal Pastor may not forsake His flock, but keep it always, by His blessed Apostles, with a continual protection that it may be governed by the same rulers whom He had bestowed upon it as pastors and vicars of Himself.”

So why would the Church insert this prayer into Her liturgy if it was impossible by virtue of Divine Faith for this order of rulers to ever cease to exist?  Reading the first chapter presented in the web article linked above, it is as Manning explains and the Vatican Council teaches: 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” (p. 3). And the Vatican Council reflects this teaching in stating that “In His Church He wished the pastor and Doctors to be even unto the consummation of the world” (DZ 1821). For immediately following that quote, the Council mentions that Christ wished this to be so in order that the episcopacy “might be one and undivided.” Manning himself later wrote that the Vicar of Christ, like his Master, would be taken away for a time, according to St. Paul’s teaching on “he who withholdeth.” This is confirmed by approved authors mentioned in previous blog posts, cited by Manning.

In his work, Manning presents the teaching of the approved theologians regarding the true origins and constitution of the episcopacy. He makes it clear that “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…

“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…”

How could the confusion currently existing on this matter continue to persist given what Manning has written, especially considering what the Vatican Council and Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius XII taught? Great stress is laid on a teaching by Pope Leo XIII quoted by the accuser, as follows:

“But if the authority of Peter and his successors is plenary and supreme, it is not to be regarded as the sole authority. For He who made Peter the foundation of the Church also ‘chose, twelve, whom He called apostles’ (St. Luke vi. 13); and just as it is necessary that the authority of Peter should be perpetuated in the Roman Pontiff, so, by the fact that the bishops succeed the Apostles, they inherit their ordinary power, and thus the Episcopal order necessarily belongs to the ESSENTIAL CONSTITUTION of the Church. Although they do not receive plenary, or universal, or supreme authority, they are not to be looked at as vicars of the Roman Pontiffs; because they exercise a power really their own and are most truly called the ordinary pastors of the peoples over whom they rule.”

This accuser fails, however, to quote the defining paragraph that follows, which reads:  “But since the successor of Peter is one, and those of the Apostles are many, it is necessary to examine into the relations which exist between him and them according to the divine constitution of the Church. Above all things the need of union between the bishops and the successors of Peter is clear and undeniable. This bond once broken, Christians would be separated and scattered, and would in no wise form one body and one flock. “The safety of the Church depends on the dignity of the chief priest, to whom if an extraordinary and supreme power is not given, there are as many schisms to be expected in the Church as there are priests” (S. Hieronymus, Dialog, contra Luciferianos, n. 9).” Well this bond has been broken, so how can those calling themselves bishops with no right to this title pretend they have gathered the flock and can claim unity? This is what Leo’s entire encyclical is about.

Pope Pius XII states much the same as Pope Leo XIII regarding the actual power of the bishops, writing in Mystici Corporis Christi:

“Bishops must be considered as the more illustrious members of the Universal Church, for they are united by a very special bond to the divine Head of the whole Body and so are rightly called “principal parts of the members of the Lord;” moreover, as far as his own diocese is concerned, each one as a true Shepherd feeds the flock entrusted to him and rules it in the name of ChristYET IN EXERCISING THIS OFFICE THEY ARE NOT ALTOGETHER INDEPENDENT, BUT ARE SUBORDINATE TO THE LAWFUL AUTHORITY OF THE ROMAN PONTIFF, ALTHOUGH ENJOYING THE ORDINARY POWER OF JURISDICTION WHICH THEY RECEIVE DIRECTLY FROM THE SAME SUPREME PONTIFF.”

This only clarifies and further defines what is said by Pope Leo. So if the teachings of Satis Cognitum are taken in their totality and not out of context, and if they are considered alongside the authorities quoted by Cardinal Manning, who wrote during this Pope’s pontificate, we can see that this is precisely what the Church taught then and yet teaches today. Wouldn’t Pope Leo XIII have objected otherwise? And as for the true nature of the Body of Christ, elaborated upon in the last post, Pope Leo also seems to agree, for he writes as follows:

“For this reason the Church is so often called in Holy Writ a body, and even the body of Christ – ‘Now you are the body of Christ’ (I Cor. xii., 27) – and precisely because it is a body is the Church visible: and because it is the body of Christ is it living and energizing, because by the infusion of His power Christ guards and sustains it, just as the vine gives nourishment and renders fruitful the branches united to it. And as in animals the vital principle is unseen and invisible, and is evidenced and manifested by the movements and action of the members, so the principle of supernatural life in the Church is clearly shown in that which is done by it… The head, Christ: from whom the whole body, being compacted and fitly jointed together, by what every joint supplieth according to the operation in the measure of every part” (Eph. iv., 15-16). And so dispersed members, separated one from the other, cannot be united with one and the same head. “There is one God, and one Christ; and His Church is one and the faith is one; and one the people, joined together in the solid unity of the body in the bond of concord.” Regarding the Church’s existence without her head he ALSO says:

“This unity cannot be broken, nor the one body divided by the separation of its constituent parts” (S. Cyprianus, De Cath. Eccl. Unitateccl. Unitate, n. 23). And to set forth more clearly the unity of the Church, he makes use of the illustration of a living body, the members of which cannot possibly live unless united to the head and drawing from it their vital force. Separated from the head they must of necessity die…” Of course those who are separated from the head in this manner are those in heresy, who willfully abandon their faith and do not use the graces given to them to either confirm it before they abandon it or return to it once they have departed. Pope Leo then explains what is truly needed from the faithful to remain members of Christ’s Mystical Body.

“…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).

Did those quoting from this encyclical even read it in its entirety?! Everyone should read it completely through before trying to expound on it. It can be found at The Pope himself writes:

“Agreement and union of minds is the necessary foundation of this perfect concord amongst men, from which concurrence of wills and similarity of action are the natural results. Wherefore, in His divine wisdom, He ordained in His Church Unity of Faith; a virtue which is the first of those bonds which unite man to God, and whence we receive the name of the faithful – “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. iv., 5). That is, as there is one Lord and one baptism, so should all Christians, without exception, have but one faith. And so the Apostle St. Paul not merely begs, but entreats and implores Christians to be all of the same mind, and to avoid difference of opinions: “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms amongst you, and that you be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Cor. i., 10).

“Such passages certainly need no interpreter; they speak clearly enough for themselves. Besides, all who profess Christianity allow that there can be but one faith. It is of the greatest importance and indeed of absolute necessity, as to which many are deceived, that the nature and character of this unity should be recognized. And, as We have already stated, this is not to be ascertained by conjecture, but by the certain knowledge of what was done; that is by seeking for and ascertaining what kind of unity in faith has been commanded by Jesus Christ.” But many believe they can adhere to their own opinions, even in contradiction to those of a true pope. And they refuse to realize that all this confusion and misunderstanding is the work of the Devil. As St. Peter warns us: Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5: 8).

Doesn’t Cardinal Manning’s work make this matter clear? And when Pope Pius IX tells us that without the pope there can be no Church, are we not bound to believe what he is teaching us? What the other Church authorities quoted in the last post are teaching us? Those making these accusations keep pointing to my “teachings” as erroneous. What teachings? I only offer the teachings of the Popes and Councils, Canon Law and approved theologians and try to explain them and cross reference them as best I can. The claim that I am the one teaching such things is simply a distraction created by the accuser and others to avoid sufficiently proving their own points. If readers do not wish to read what is offered here, no one is keeping them from pushing the exit button. No one can be drug into heaven as one Traditionalist from long ago put it. But they certainly have an obligation to avoid and denounce those who would drag them into hell. If all that is left is the laity to defend the faith, Pope Pius XII gave us hope that at least we rank as honorable members of Christ’s Mystical Body on earth following all the continual magisterium has taught.

“The faithful, and more precisely the laity are stationed in the front ranks of the life of the Church, and through them the Church is the living principle of society. Consequently, they must have an ever-clearer consciousness, not only of belonging to the Church, but of BEING THE CHURCH, that is, of being the community of the faithful on earth under the guidance of their common leader, the Pope, and the bishops in communion with him. THEY ARE the Church, and therefore even from the beginning, the faithful, with the consent of their bishops, have united in associations directed to the most diverse types of human activity. The Holy See has never ceased to approve and praise them,” (The Catholic Church in Action, by Michael Williams, quoted from an address delivered by Pope Pius XII Feb. 20, 1946, to the newly made cardinals). We cannot be the entire Church as She was constituted by Christ on earth, but according to His will we are the only visible evidence that the Church yet exists at all.

Today is the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret, another great champion of the papacy. During the arguments leading to the declaration of infallibility at the Vatican Council, St. Anthony was gravely offended by the errors, blasphemies and heresies being voiced at the council by the Gallicanists opposed to the definition. This so disturbed the good saint, who already had suffered much from the heat in Rome and the need to study so closely the arguments made at the council, that he suffered a stroke. Nevertheless, he delivered an address at the Vatican Council two days later, telling the council fathers:

“Having heard …certain words that extremely displeased me, I resolved in my heart that I must in conscience speak out, fearing the ‘woe’ of the Prophet Isaiah, who says: ‘Woe is me, for I have been silent!’” He then gives his endorsement of the definition: “The Supreme Pontiff is infallible in the sense and manner that is held in the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church… I ardently desire that this faith of mine should be the faith of all… Doubt not, most eminent fathers, that this declaration of the infallibility of the Supreme Roman Pontiff will be the winnowing fork or fan with which our Lord Jesus Christ will clean his threshing floor, gathering the wheat into His barn or granary and burning the chaff in unquenchable fire (Luke 3:17). This declaration will separate the light from the darkness (Gen. 1: 4)… Would that I, in confessing this truth, might shed all my blood and suffer the same fate. I supremely desire, most eminent and reverend fathers, that all of us should acknowledge and confess this truth.”

And so this great Saint, who wrote over 70 works on the faith in his lifetime and served as a bishop on this very continent (Cuba), professed his faith. In so doing, he prophesied exactly what we are experiencing today. Why anyone professing the name Catholic would dare to question the necessity of the Roman Pontiff in order that the Church might exist, is incomprehensible to me. Gallicanism is an intolerable evil and the Vatican Council was supposed to have eradicated it permanently, according to the historians. Yet here we are. Some would say that if the bishops could not comprise the Church without the pope than neither can the laity. But those bishops claiming today to be Christ’s successors are not true Catholics, and the only ones left professing the faith are those who revere all that the popes have taught and follow the laws of the Church. If the Church cannot cease to exist, then how else can it be identified at all? We exist as members of Christ’s Mystical Body, and that is enough for us, because it is His will for us in these times.

All would do well to remember the words of Holy Scripture, quoted by Cardinal Manning regarding what will happen to those who fail to recognize the pre-eminence of the Supreme Pontiffs: “Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matt. 21:44.)











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Fomenters of dissension and disunity

+Feast of St. Teresa of Avila+

It is not only disconcerting but divisive and entirely disingenuous to be forced by a false accuser to refute errors I have never taught or believed. This is especially true when it has been thought for years that such a person regarded one as a fellow Catholic, acting in good faith. Those so anxious to prove that what is presented on this site is false should at least read the totality of what has been written and quoted here before making any accusations. Even those claiming to be “homealone” Catholics seem to delight in contriving these false allegations, further confusing those who are only doing their best to determine the truth. This is inexcusable, as this present accuser pretends to deliver those he is addressing from the errors of Traditionalism and “false” stay-at-home teaching, only to repackage and restate Traditional errors. In this instance, these teachings are disguised as righteous assertions of truth when in reality they are actually a smokescreen for re-enforcing a heresy that has decimated the Church for several centuries, another attack on papal infallibility from a very surprising source. But perhaps it has been dormant all along, lying in wait to attack those journeying along their way to the truth.

I have been accused of denying that the Church will exist with Her bishops and priests until the consummation. Throughout articles posted in this site, I constantly refer to the Church of Christ as She existed for 1,958 years, an institution which is no longer visible, as the juridic Church, making that distinction repeatedly. Will anyone argue that this Church still exists today as it existed 100 years ago? I clearly distinguish the juridic Church from the Mystical Body, which is the true Church of Jesus Christ, and its Head, as proclaimed in Mystici Corporis Christi by Pope Pius XII. That the JURIDIC Church, including the office of the episcopate, must exist unto the consummation I affirm on one condition, AS INDISPUTABLY TAUGHT BY THE CHURCH HERSELF: this episcopate cannot last as a hierarchical body and function without the existence and direction of THE SUPREME BISHOP RULING OVER ALL, THE ROMAN PONTIFF. I also affirm that the Catholic Church instituted by Christ, which is the Mystical Body — encompassing all the priests and bishops in heaven and in purgatory, as well as any remaining on earth, with all Her Sacraments intact (though some today be unavailable) — will last until the consummation!

No one who has taken the time to read and study all of what I have written from the popes, councils and approved theologians on this site for the past 14 years could ever doubt that this is exactly what I believe and what the Church Herself teaches. And I have checked with my readers, who confirm they never interpreted anything I have written on these topics to indicate I believe there are only two sacraments, that the Church has ceased to exist or, as a rule, that the Church ceases to exist during an interregnum. Regarding all these, I have said only that we have only two sacraments AVAILABLE to us in which we can actively participate — the “necessary” Sacraments, which the Church teaches are Baptism and Matrimony (although I also count the perfect Act of Contrition and Spiritual Communion as substitutes for the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist). If I said such a thing while a true pope reigned and such Sacraments were readily available, then someone could accuse me of uttering an heretical statement. But when I see with my own two eyes (and even the hypocritical accuser admits this) that five of these Sacraments are not available and cannot be received without committing mortal sin, then I hardly think anyone can accuse a person of denying there are seven Sacraments available today. Because Christ Himself instituted the Sacraments they will always exist on earth, but for now they are held in abeyance unless and until Our Lord Himself restores the hierarchy.

Regarding my alleged teaching that the Church has ceased to exist altogether, this only serves to demonstrate the complete misunderstanding of what the Church established by Christ truly is and Her rich and uninterrupted interior life in Her continuing mission on earth. This is explained in articles on the site written six years ago (see This should prove that far from believing She has disappeared, I believe that as a member of Christ’s Mystical Body and incorporated into that body by Baptism, the Church exists and functions marvelously with Christ as Her Head, during this time He Himself ordained, when the true pope has been taken up to his throne in Heaven (Apoc. 12: 5. Rev. E. S. Berry in his The Apocalypse of St. John refers this verse to the martyrdom of a pope elected, the vacancy of the Holy See and a time of trial for the Church, during which Antichrist will be revealed and antipopes will reign). Again, were I to believe this during the reign of a true pope, excluding the need of any obedience or allegiance to him, I would be a heretic. But I believe Christ is the sole Head of His Church during this time only, which he Himself ordained, “For how can the Scriptures be fulfilled, that so it must be done?”

Again, were I to state that the Church does not exist during an interregnum following the death of a canonically elected pope, when an active election was in progress or when the Church was undergoing some crisis such as battling antipopes, as was the case during the Western Schism, then yes, it could be said that I was denying the perpetuity of the Church; but this is not the case today. There is no pope, and no believable contender to the papacy, and abundant proofs have existed on this site to prove this for many years. As for the allegations that I falsely identify Paul 6 as the Antichrist, the proofs I offered to support this decades ago have not been refuted anywhere to my knowledge nor equaled in any other exposition of which I am aware. And as will be explained below, it is actually supported by papal teaching and Church Tradition, something I have pointed out for decades, but something the accuser curiously neglects to accept.

In certain articles on this site it is true that I have stated we must believe that these men exist somewhere. But as the years have passed, the chances of their survival have dwindled. To be consecrated a bishop, Canon Law states you must be 30 years old. Men consecrated in 1958 would now be in their nineties and most were older than 30 when consecrated. At one time, in the 1990s, all the surviving bishops were contacted and none had officially separated themselves from the Novus Ordo. We have no certainty that any of the men who were ordained priests or consecrated bishops outside that time frame were validly ordained or consecrated; God alone knows. This is true even of those behind the Iron Curtain and perhaps especially those who were created there, since it has been said the infiltration of their ranks by the Orthodox was considerable. And without certitude regarding their validity, we owe them no allegiance nor are we bound to believe anything regarding their existence or ability to minister to us, if they indeed exist. God does not command the impossible. We can believe that, scattered here or there, they exist or not. But we can never believe that for the Church to exist as Christ constituted it, these bishops and priests are still alive and can function even minimally without a pope at their head.

In raising these false allegations, this accuser condemns only himself. I would happily recant any errors I believe I have made, but the only problem I can see with what has been written is that perhaps I must go to greater lengths to qualify and clarify what I write. The question must be asked — what agenda is he serving in attacking this author after all these years of living more or less peaceably while maintaining the stay-at-home position? Should this be classified as yet another assault by the Devil, an attempt to divide those few who keep the faith from home and set them at odds with one another?  Is it possible that some unknown cleric claiming miracles is secretly waiting in the wings to establish yet another Traditionalist sect, which is the only motive I can discern for claiming that priests and bishops must exist to the very end? We shall soon see.

Below, I have outlined the errors taught by the accuser with the necessary proofs to support that they are indeed denials of truths of faith. These errors are difficult to sort out by those not well-versed in the many tortuous and twisted ways those who are not Catholic attempt to portray Church teaching. But they exist and must be knocked to the ground, lest these deceivers succeed in dragging into hell with them those who they wish to seduce or retain as their followers. These excerpts are from site articles published long ago, so nothing new is presented here.

The accuser revives Gallicanism

In his The True Story of the Vatican Council, Henry Cardinal Manning notes it was the Western Schism and the rise of Gallicanism that first brought up the question of infallibility. It was during this time period the Gallicanists began to distinguish between the infallibility of the person occupying the See and the See itself. Manning then goes into greater depth regarding the line of popes versus the individual occupant of the See, writing as follows:

“They distinguished between …the See and him that sat in it…[They] denied the infallibility of the person while they affirmed the infallibility of the See…The doctrine affirmed by the schools and by the Holy See was that infallibility attaches to the office, and that the office is held not by many, as if in commission, BUT BY ONE… Peter’s office, with all its prerogatives, is perpetual and his office is borne by the person who succeeds to his place” (p. 59-61).

As quoted in Dom Butler’s Vatican Council, the Maurist Benedictine Dom Jamin, who held the Gallicanist position condemned at the Vatican Council, wrote in 1768:

“Infallibility in dogmatic judgments has been given only to the BODY of bishops. No particular bishop, even the bishop of Rome, may attribute to himself this glorious privilege. Jesus Christ spoke to all the Apostles in common, and in their persons to all the bishops, the promise I am with you all days, even to the consummation… To maintain that the right of judging causes which concern the faith appertains only to the Pope or to the Holy See, and that they ought to be carried there in the first instance, is a pretension unknown to all antiquity and contrary to the practice of the Church” (p. 30-31). In response, Cardinal Manning writes in his The Vatican Council and Its Definitions: A Pastoral Letter to the Clergy (1871):

“The promises “Ego rogavi pro te,” [I have prayed for thee …] and “Non praevalebunt [the gates of hell shall not prevail],” were spoken to Peter alone. The promises, ‘He shall lead you into all truth,’ and, ‘Behold, I am with you all days,’ were spoken to Peter with all the Apostles. The infallibility of Peter was, therefore, not dependent on his union with them in exercising it; but, their infallibility was evidently dependent on their union with him. In like manner the whole Episcopate gathered in Council is not infallible without its head,” (p. 96) Manning then proceeds to cite the various doctors who are in agreement on this, demonstrating the truth of what he is saying by scholastic means. “Bzovius, the continuator of the Annals of Baronius, says, “To Peter alone, and after him to all the Roman Pontiffs legitimately succeeding, the privilege of infallibility, as it is called, was conceded…; Dominicus Marchese writes: “This privilege was conceded to the successors of Peter alone without the assistance of the College of Cardinals…:”

“Vincentius Ferre says, “The exposition of certain Paris (doctors) is of no avail, who affirm that Christ only promised that the faith should not fail of the Church founded upon Peter; and not that it should not fail in the successors of Peter taken apart from (seorsum) the Church…Infallibility was not promised to the Church as apart from (seorsum) the head, but promised to the head, that from him it should be derived to the Church…; Lastly, F. Gatti, the learned professor of theology of the Dominican Order at this day, writing of the words, ‘I have prayed for thee,’ &c., says, ‘indefectibility is promised to Peter apart from (seorsum) the Church, or from the Apostles; but it is not promised to the Apostles, or to the Church, apart from (seorsum) the head, or without the head

“…Clement VI, in the fourteenth century, proposed to the Armenians certain interrogations, of which the fourth is as follows: ‘Hast thou believed, and dost thou still believe, that the Roman Pontiff alone can, by an authentic determination to which we must inviolably adhere, put an end to doubts which arise concerning the Catholic faith; and that whatsoever he, by the authority of the keys delivered to him by Christ, determines to be true, is true and Catholic; and what he determines to be false and heretical is to be so esteemed?’” (p. 107-108)

“Secondly, it is a matter of faith that the Ecclesia docens or the Episcopate, to which, together with Peter, and as it were, in one person with him, the assistance of the Holy Ghost was promised, can never be dissolved; but it would be dissolved if it were separated from its head. Such separation would destroy the infallibility of the Church itself. The Ecclesia docens would cease to exist; but this is impossible, and without heresy cannot be supposed…  Even though a number of bishops should fall away, as in the Arian and Nestorian heresies, yet the Episcopate could never fall away [from the Roman Pontiff]. It would always remain united, by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, to its head; and the reason of this inseparable union is precisely the infallibility of its head. Because its head can never err, it, as a body, can never err. How many soever, as individuals, should err and fall away from the truth, the Episcopate would remain, and therefore never be disunited from its head in teaching or believing. Even a minority of the Bishops united to the head, would be the Episcopate of the Universal Church, [but not if united to a false pope, or to no pope during an interregnum – Ed.) They, therefore, and they only, teach the possibility of such a separation, who assert that the Pontiff may fall into error. But they who deny his infallibility do expressly assert the possibility of such a separation” (pg. 112-113).

Manning is speaking of a deliberate and complete defection of the bishops from an existing and unquestionably valid head, a man canonically elected, stating that this could not occur. Well it did not occur in our case; there was no heresy of this kind because those bishops crossing over following Vatican 2 did not defect from a true pope then reigning although they did abandon the Deposit of Faith and follow a schismatic “pope.” I have maintained from the outset that the pope could never fall into heresy as a pope, but only appear to do so; he would have to have been a heretic invalidly elected as anticipated by Pope Paul IV in his bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. So this scenario, which seems to presume said bishops would defect from a validly elected existing pope by claiming him guilty of heresy, is not fulfilled by our situation.

This accuser insists I recognize the “fact” that bishops not only can but MUST exist in order for the Church to exist and can so constitute the Church. He totally ignores the Church’s dogmatic teaching that She cannot exist without Her head. He acts as though Pope Pius IX never taught the Church cannot exist without a pope, a truth also taught by the Vatican Council, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Council of Trent. And yet he also holds we have no true pope! He may not see it, he may not even realize it (and that is granting him far more lenience than he has granted me), but what he is really saying here is that the Church can be held to be the bishops only sans the pope. Ergo, then, he must of necessity hold that infallibility and hence indefectibility (see Fr. Kinkead below) exists in the body of bishops, as the Gallicanist heresy contends.

How is this any different than what Traditionalists believe? Is it not holding the door open for someone to claim they have located a “true” bishop who performs miracles, as the accuser notes is necessary in order to claim jurisdiction, and we must all, willy-nilly, follow him, as a bishop, not as a pope?! For the only thing any bishop or group of bishops still proven beyond any doubt to possess the Catholic faith could hope to do is first to elect a true pope! Could anyone today trust such a person, even if it appeared they were gifted with miracles, given the ability of modern technology to manipulate and falsify these manifestations? When in doubt regarding the Sacraments or eternal salvation one cannot risk such things! And this is a teaching of the faith demanding our obedience.

Above, Cardinal Manning does not consider the matter of an extended interregnum where there is a contested election (as there should be in this case) and no contender for the papacy against a doubtful Roman Pontiff. Notice that he does not even grant authority to a minority of bishops unless in communion with the Roman Pontiff, giving the lie to the Traditionalist contention that they must consecrate bishops outside communion with a true pope to perpetuate the episcopacy. The logical conclusion of what he IS saying is that without a true pope, certainly the episcopal body could err and all but fall away, because the only thing that prevents it from erring is a certainly canonically elected pope possessing infallibility! The two go as a unit or not at all, for as he also writes, “And further, that the independent exercise of this privilege by the head of the Episcopate, and as distinct from the Bishops, is the divinely ordained means of the perpetual unity of the Episcopate in communication and faith with its head and with its own members.”

No wonder, then, that the bishops lost unity among themselves and left the Church. Manning is only reiterating what the Vatican Council he participated in taught. There is no question that in regular times when the Church merely pauses to elect a man pope, She most certainly continues to exist. This is because an election is in progress,according to the canonical rules existing at the time. The last six false popes have never been officially challenged, a first in the long history of the Church. The only elections in progress have been false, illegal ones such as the one in 1990 in which I regrettably participated. This accuser has questioned my activities ever since that false election, even though his own background is equally less than stellar. But it should be pointed out that one of the reasons I believed that such an election should take place is the very “error” he is now accusing me of committing: the undeniable truth that without the pope the Church cannot exist.  Cardinal Manning concludes:

“And lastly, that though the consent of the Episcopate or the Church be not required, as a condition, to the intrinsic value of the infallible definitions of the Roman Pontiff, nevertheless, it cannot without heresy be said or conceived that the consent of the Episcopate and of the Church can ever be absent. For if the Pontiff be divinely assisted, both the active and passive infallibility of the Church exclude such a supposition as heretical” (pg. 118). And this is what happened: the cardinals and bishops secretly refused to accept the authoritative teachings of Pope Pius XII during his lifetime, especially concerning Communism, ecumenism, papal elections, the status of the bishops and the inviolability of the liturgy. Following his death, they made this known at the false Vatican 2 council and in this way led countless Catholics away from their faith.

Pope Pius XII cleared away the seeds of dissension sown by Butler and others dissatisfied with the definition in his encyclicals Mystici Coproris and Ad Sinarum Gentum, where he authoritatively teaches that the power of bishops comes to them only through the Roman Pontiff. The accuser admits these papal teachings in condemning Traditionalists functioning without jurisdiction. Yet he apparently does not follow these teachings through to their logical conclusions, because he simultaneously holds the bishops could constitute the Church itself alone, without a pope at their head. The study of the Kinkead Baltimore Catechism # 3, written for high school students is sufficient to dispel this belief, if studied and assimilated properly, but obviously the accuser’s understanding of “the stability, the unity, the apostolicity and the indefectibility of this divinely established institution” is hopelessly skewed.

For when this teaching is applied to our current situation, it can be seen that the four marks no longer exist in the Church. This is because, as Rev. Thomas Kinkead explains, they can exist only if the three attributes — authority, infallibility and indefectibility — first exist, (Kinkead’s Baltimore Catechism #3, Q. & A # 520). The Church no longer exists as Christ willed She exist, because the pope must exist in order that the juridic or visible Church exist. But yet the Church as Christ’s Mystical Body never ceases to exist. Kinkead then asks: “Q. In whom are these attributes found in their fullness? A. These attributes are found in their fullness in the Pope, THE VISIBLE HEAD OF THE CHURCH, whose infallible authority to teach BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND PEOPLE in matters of faith or morals will last to the end of the world.”

Is it not true that even without a true pope, the teachings of the continual magisterium have been left to guide us in these trying times? Will not these teachings be available then until the consummation? Because as Kinkead says in Q. 115: “What is the Church? A. The Church is the congregation of all those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same sacraments, AND ARE GOVERNED BY THEIR LAWFUL PASTORS UNDER ONE VISIBLE HEAD.” Well there is no visible Head or lawful pastors and hence no ordinary access to the Sacraments; furthermore, there are no two Traditionalists who can agree on tenets of the faith, so where is the Church?! And think about this: Kinkead rightly states that the Pope also teaches the bishops and priests as members of the faithful, in Christ’s name, for it was He who taught the apostles while on earth and the pope is His Vicar.

Rev. Kinkead writes further in his Baltimore Catechism #3: “When we say the Church is indefectible we mean that the Church will last forever and be infallible forever; that it will always remain as our Lord founded it and [will] never change the doctrines He taught.” Could anyone possibly contend that the Church in Heaven could be deprived of the popes, bishops and priests who served Her on earth? That all the Sacraments instituted by Christ which they conferred to help the elect gain Heaven and all their intercession for those on earth who honor them and pray to them could be discounted and erased? How preposterous! But this is what it would mean to say that the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ no longer exists. The Church will last forever in Heaven; the Deposit of Faithwill forever stand inviolable. What the Vicars of Christ have bound and loosed is already set in stone in Heaven by virtue of Christ’s promise to St. Peter. What has been infallibly taught can never be changed and will always exist, even though the human bodies of those who taught these truths of faith and conferred the Sacraments are no longer visible to us.

Let us not forget that the Church is infallible in three instances. First, She is infallible when the Roman Pontiff speaks of his own accord to define a doctrine or settle some dispute. Secondly She is infallible when the bishops meet in ecumenical councils, which are then confirmed by the reigning pope. Third, She is infallible when all the bishops, priests and faithful, in communion with a canonically elected pope, profess belief in what the pope and the ecumenical councils have taught, as they are indeed bound to do. If those among the faithful today profess this belief and join their confirmation of these teachings in communion with the last true pope on earth, Pope Pius XII, they then have already accepted as true all the Church teaches on indefectibility, infallibility, the Sacraments and countless other things.

Some of the confusion regarding the constitution of the Church versus the primacy can be dispelled by quoting yet another work from Cardinal Manning: “In all theological treatises, with the exception of one or two of great authority, it had been usual to treat of the Body of the Church before treating of its Head. The reason for this would appear to be that in the explanation of doctrine, the logical order was more obvious… It is, therefore, all the more remarkable then that the [Vatican] Council inverted this order, and defined the prerogative of the Head before it treated of the constitution and endowments of the Body… The Church in Council, when, for the first time, it began to treat of its own constitution and authority, changed the method; and, like the Divine Architect of the Church, began in the historical order, with the foundation and Head of the Church…

From Peter and through him, all, therefore, beganA clear and precise conception of the primacy and privilege is necessary to a clear and precise conception of the Church. Unless it be first distinctly apprehended, the doctrine of the Church will always be proportionately obscure. THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH DOES NOT DETERMINE THE DOCTRINE OF THE PRIMACY, BUT THE DOCTRINE OF THE PRIMACY DOES PRECISELY DETERMINE THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH. In beginning, therefore, with the Head, the Council has followed Our Lord’s example, both in teaching and in fact; and this will be found one of the causes of the singular and luminous precision with which the Council of the Vatican has, in one brief constitution, excluded the well-known errors on the Primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff,” (The Vatican Council Decrees in Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance. All emphasis appearing in bold in this work is added by the author unless otherwise noted.)

And so we come finally to the teaching of Pope Pius IX, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Catechism of the Council of Trent below, which shows that the Church does indeed teach that without Her head She cannot exist:

“…AND IN ORDER THAT THE EPISCOPATE ALSO MIGHT BE ONE AND UNDIVIDED, and that by means of a closely united priesthood the multitude of the faithful might be kept secure in the oneness of faith and communion, HE SET BLESSED PETER OVER THE REST OF THE APOSTLES AND FIXED IN HIM THE ABIDING PRINCIPLE OF THIS TWO-FOLD UNITY…” (The Vatican Council, 4th Session, First Dogmatic Constitution. If the mark of unity is destroyed, then, as Pope Pius IX teaches in DZ 1686 and Rev. Kinkead reiterates, the other marks cannot exist. Pius IX directly links the foundation of these four marks to the seat of all unity, the Roman Pontiff.)

Pope Pius IX taught: “May God give you the grace necessary to defend the rights of the Sovereign Pontiff and the Holy See; for without the Pope there is no Church, and there is no Catholic Society without the Holy See,” (Allocution to religious superiors, June 24, 1872; Papal Teachings: The Church, by the Monks of Solesmes, translated by Mother E. O’Gorman, St. Paul Editions, 1962; no. 391, p. 226).

St. Thomas Aquinas writes: “In order that the Church exist, there must be one person at the head of the whole Christian people,” (Summa Contra Gentilis, Vol. IV, 76).

The Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches: “It is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers that this visible head is necessary to establish and preserve unity in the Church,” and this from Christ’s guarantees to St. Peter found in Holy Scripture, (Revs. McHugh and Callan edition, p. 104.).

Revs. Devivier and Sasia: “As it is to the character of the foundation that a building owes its solidarity, the close union of its parts, and even its very existence, it is likewise from the authority of Peter that the Church derives Her unity, her stability, and even Her existence Herself. The Church, therefore, cannot exist without Peter.”

Pope Pius XII confirmed this truth for our times in Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, when he wrote infallibly that: “We declare invalid and void any power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff in his lifetime, which the assembly of Cardinals might decide to exercise (while the Church is without a Pope)…  If anything contrary to this prescript occurs or is by chance attempted, we declare it by Our Supreme authority to be null and void.”

As St. Anthony Mary Claret phrased it in explaining the marks:

“The fourth note or mark of the Church is to be Apostolic. That is to say, it was founded by the Apostles and is governed by their successors, the bishops, who, since the Apostles, have succeeded without interruption. And these bishops have a lawful mission to guard always, in their teaching and management of the Church, the unity of Faith and of communion with their head and center, the Roman Pontiff… You will notice that with the word mission I added the word lawful, that is, coming from that one who has the keys of the kingdom of heaven or of the Church, who is the Pope. Therefore the intruder bishops, or those who have separated themselves from obedience to the Roman Pontiff, are not successors of the Apostles. Rather, they are thieves, as Jesus Christ calls them, and we must flee from them as the sheep flee from the wolvesIf, then, any heretics come to you, my son, saying that their churches are also Apostolic, there is nothing more to say to them than what Tertullian said: Prove the origin of your churches. Make us see that the order of your bishops has in some way

through succession descended from the beginning, that the first was any of the Apostles, or had as a predecessor some of the Apostolic men who had persevered together with the Apostles.”

We can believe irrevocably that Christ intended His Church to exist to the end of time, as He constituted it, without understanding HOW he intended it to exist. That appears to be a mystery to which Christ alone holds the key — an issue on which the Church has not yet decided — since not all catechisms or theological manuals state that the Church will last to the end without any sort of interruption. Even Pope Pius XII said that, “History gives clear evidence of one thing: the gates of Hell will not prevail,” (Matt. 16: 18). But there is some evidence on the other side too; the gates of hell have had partial successes,” (“Preaching the Word of God,” address given during the Sixth National Week on New Pastoral Methods, Sept. 14, 1956).

And from an allocution given to the Roman Curia Dec. 4, 1943: “The Church’s indefectibility is historically demonstrable, the past through which She has lived being the gauge of Her future… But if this indefectibility is a matter of experience, it remains, nonetheless, a mystery, for it cannot be explained naturally but only by reason of the fact, which is known to us by Divine revelation, that Christ who founded the Church is with Her in every trial till the end of the world” (Monks of Solesmes, translated by Mother E. O’Gorman, St. Paul Editions, 1962). He would elaborate further in Mystici Corporis on this topic:

“But our Divine Savior governs and guides the Society which He founded directly and personally also. For it is He who reigns within the minds and hearts of men, and bends and subjects their wills to His good pleasure, even when rebellious. “The heart of the King is in the hand of the Lord; whithersoever he will, he shall turn it.” By this interior guidance He the “Shepherd and Bishop of our souls,” not only watches over individuals but exercises His providence over the universal Church, whether by enlightening and giving courage to the Church’s rulers for the loyal and effective performance of their respective duties, or by singling out from the body of the Church — especially when times are grave — men and women of conspicuous holiness, who may point the way for the rest of Christendom to the perfecting of His Mystical Body. Moreover from Heaven Christ never ceases to look down with especial love on His spotless Spouse so sorely tried in her earthly exile; and when He sees her in danger, saves her from the tempestuous sea either Himself or through the ministry of His angels, or through her whom we invoke as Help of Christians, or through other heavenly advocates, and in calm and tranquil waters comforts her with the peace “which surpasseth all understanding.”

The message to be taken away from the allocution to the Roman Curia by Pope Pius XII above is that the Church’s indefectibility is a mystery, and mysteries are to be accepted on faith even if they are not completely understood. Isn’t the Pope telling us in this quote, then, that past experience of this “mystery” is not able to be precisely defined and used as a gauge for future reference? And if indefectibility is a mystery, doesn’t this leave some room for its interpretation that we mere mortals cannot fathom?! Rev. Berry states that indefectibility is really promised only to the Roman Pontiff, which explains precisely why the Church cannot exist without Her head. In his work The Church of Christ he wrote: “The Apostolic See of Rome is the only PARTICULAR Church to which the promise of indefectibility has been made.” And this leads us to the accusers second error.

Denying the pope’s clear authority to interpret Holy Scripture

That the Apostolic See was prophesied by a pope to be overthrown by an imposter centuries ago escapes this accuser, who ignores a papal interpretation of Holy Scripture to teach his own version of who and what Antichrist will be. He accuses this writer of falsely teaching that Antichrist was Paul 6, when exhaustive proofs have been presented to support this conclusion. All these proofs are based on the FACT that in 1559, Pope Paul IV rendered an official interpretation of Holy Scripture in Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, alerting us to exactly who Antichrist would be. The binding nature of such an interpretation is explained below by Cardinal Manning in his The Vatican Council and Its Definitions: A Pastoral Letter to the Clergy:

“The Council of Trent (Sess. IV) declares that to the Church it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of Holy Scripture. Now the sense of the Holy Scripture is two-fold; namely, the literal and grammatical, or, as it is called, the sensus quis; and the theological and doctrinal, or the sensus qualis. The Church judges infallibly of both. It judges of the question that such and such words or texts have such and such literal and grammatical meaning. It judges also of the conformity of such meaning with the rule of faith, or of its contradiction to the same. The former is a question of fact, the latter of dogma. That the latter falls within the infallible judgment of the Church has been denied by none but heretics,” (p. 75).

Pope Paul IV stated the following in his bull regarding the identification of the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place: “Also, it behooves us to give fuller and more diligent thought where the peril is greatest, lest false prophets (or even others possessing secular jurisdiction) wretchedly ensnare simple souls and drag down with themselves to perdition and the ruin of damnation the countless peoples entrusted to their care and government in matters spiritual or temporal; and lest it befall Us to see in the holy place the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, We wish, as much as possible with God’s help, in line with our pastoral duty, to trap the foxes that are busily ravaging the Lord’s vineyard and to drive the wolves from the sheepfolds, lest We seem to be silent watchdogs, unable to bark, or lest We come to an evil end like the evil husbandmen or be likened to a hireling.”

Now unless this phrase is explained in its historical context, its full impact will not be appreciated. Paul IV wrote during the Protestant Reformation, when the reformers, especially the Lutherans, were loudly proclaiming that the Popes were Antichrist. During his Pontificate, he charged one of his own cardinals, Morone, with heresy and tried him for it in ecclesiastical court, believing he was sympathizing with followers of Luther. He also accused him of attempting to campaign for election as pope, during Paul IV’s reign and wrote a separate bull condemning this error, as de Montor reports. Later Pope Pius XII would condemn such campaigning as disqualification for papal election in his Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.

Fully believing that this cardinal was a heretic, attempting to intrude himself into the Holy See, he wrote Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, forever excluding heretics from valid possession of the papacy, episcopacy and other ecclesiastical offices. Morone was never convicted, the trial being interrupted by Pope Paul IV’s death. But Morone did campaign for the papacy in the conclave following Pope Paul IV’s death, and as one Catholic author reports, he was cautioned by none other than the future Pope St. Pius V that he could not be elected pope because he had been suspected of heresy. Following this admonition, he withdrew his bid. Given this background, and the tenor of the bull itself, available on the website, there can be no doubt that Paul IV wrote this bull specifically to exclude forever the possibility that anyone even suspected of heresy could rise to the episcopacy, cardinalate or even the papacy and retain any claim to validly holding any office in the Church.

That the above quote is found in the opening paragraphs of the bull tells us that the Church interprets heretics pretending to hold office as the abomination of desolation, and this is confirmed by St. Bernard’s reference, in his writings regarding the antipope Anacletus, to Anacletus as Antichrist. Ecumenical council documents also refer to antipopes as antichrist, the only difference here being that none of them reigned successfully, all being opposed by the true pope and later deposed. The Antichrist or abomination, as referred to by Pope Paul IV could only be an individual who succeeded in convincing the faithful he was the true pope, which both John 23 and Paul 6 did. The only reason John 23 is not identified as THE antichrist is that he best fits the role of false prophet, for without him Montini would never have been a cardinal or have been elected. Montini acted behind the scenes as Roncalli’s inspiration and supporter, helping author encyclicals and acting as a go-between in matters involving the Communist party, relations with the Jews and the conciliation with Freemasonry.

In disqualifying Montini as the Antichrist, the accuser joins the Pope St. Pius X Society and other Traditionalist groups in discrediting and dismissing Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. He sweeps aside the pope’s doctrinal interpretation of the term abomination of desolation, in favor of his own theories. This, Cardinal Manning says, is heresy. The accuser then builds a case based on Scripture alone, and his own take regarding it, ignoring the fact that as Catholics

In his The Temporal Power of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, Manning tells his readers: “The secret societies have long ago undermined and honeycombed the Christian society of Europe, and are at this moment struggling onward towards Rome, the centre of all Christian order in the world… [This is] the casting down of ‘the Prince of Strength;’ that is, the Divine authority of the Church, and especially of him in whose person it is embodied, the Vicar of Jesus Christ. God has invested him with sovereignty, and given to him a home and a patrimony on earth… The dethronement of the Vicar of Christ is the dethronement of the hierarchy of the universal Church, and the public rejection of the Presence and Reign of Jesus.”

“This leads on plainly to the marks which the prophet [Daniel] gives of the persecution of the last days. Now there are three things which he has recorded. The first, that the continual sacrifice shall be taken away; the next, that the sanctuary shall be occupied by the abomination which maketh desolate; the third, that ‘the strength’ and, ‘the stars,’ as he described it, shall be cast down.” Didn’t all this occur with the “election” of Paul 6 and the conclusion of the false Vatican 2 council? In his The Apocalypse of St. John, Rev. Berry describes the stars (Apoc. 6: 13) as “large numbers of bishops, priests and faithful… They fall thick and fast.” How much clearer do these prophecies need to be, prophecies interpreted by a great cardinal of the Church and champion of the papacy, who taught that for a time the Holy See would be vacant, as well as an approved theologian?! We are to believe the accuser and ignore Cardinal Manning and Rev. Berry? Really?

Denial of the Church’s invisible interior life

The Church is not just a visible moral body; She enjoys an active invisible life as well. As Pope Pius XII explained earlier, the Mystical Body is a Mystery; it cannot be fully enjoyed, understood or appreciated on this earth. In believing that we are members of this Body and participating as fully as we can in its invisible activities, we are fully members of the Church on earth which Pope Pius XII has defined as the Mystical Body. This is explained more fully below by Msgr. Can. Edward Myers.

“The negation of the visible character of the Church of Christ, and of its hierarchical constitution, has led to such stress being laid upon the visible, tangible aspects of the Church that those who are not Catholics have come to think of it in terms of its external organization and of its recent dogmatic definitions, and not a few Catholics, concentrating their attention upon the argumentative, apologetical, and controversial side of the doctrine concerning the Church, have been in danger of overlooking theoretically – though practically it is impossible for them to do so – the supernatural, the mysterious, the vital, the overwhelmingly important character of the Church as the divinely established and only means of grace in the world, as the Mystical Body of Christ. 

“…From the beginning that Church has been a complex entity, and its history is filled with incidents in which men have concentrated upon some one essential element of its constitution to the exclusion of another equally essential element, and have drifted into heresy.  The Church has its visible and its invisible elements, its individual and its social claims, its natural and its supernatural activities, its adaptability to the needs of the times, while it is uncompromising in vindicating, even unto blood, that which it holds from Christ and for Christ….Albert the Great explains the term “Mystical Body,” applied to the Church, as the result of the assimilation of the whole Church to Christ consequent upon the communion of the true Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist; so that the true Body of Christ under the appearance of bread became the symbol of the hidden divine reality.

“From Christ as Head comes the Unity of that Body, its growth, the vitality transmitted throughout its members… We have defended every detail of her visible organization against non-Catholic assault.  But let us be on our guard against imagining that because we have grasped every element of her visible and of her moral constitution which Christ willed should be in order that his Church might utilize all that is best in man’s human nature – that we understand Christ’s Church through and through.”  (The Mystical Body of Christ, Right Rev. Msgr. Can. Edward Myers, M.A. (Taken from the Teaching of the Catholic Church, by Can. George D. Smith, D.D., Ph.D., Vol. II; 1959, first printing 1927).

It was Henry Cardinal Manning who believed that the pope, as Christ before him, would disappear from the face of the earth “for a time”; that has been repeatedly referred to on this site. Is the accuser calling him a heretic, for did not Manning above also write that “the dethronement of the Vicar of Christ is the dethronement of the hierarchy of the universal Church? Should he not have known far better than this accuser, having played a prominent role in orchestrating the Vatican Council, that this would mean that the flock would then be scattered as Zacharius and Christ Himself prophesy? Isn’t the denial that the pope must exist in order that the Church exist a direct denial of this passage of Holy Scripture?  So in stating that stay-at-home Catholics are denying the Church no longer exists because they believe she has ceased to exist juridically only, the accuser himself implicitly denies the teachings of approved theologians (who Manning cites above) far superior to him in knowledge, in addition to denying the  existence of the Mystical Body as She is united to Christ in Heaven! If Christ is truly Head of His Church, then that Church must also exist as described above. The Church cannot be split up and compartmentalized; her teaching must be taken as an integral whole, or not at all.

Answers to some of the accuser’s more pertinent questions

Do you agree that it is also correct, accurate, truthful, and in accordance with true Catholic doctrine to teach: “I believe with equally firm faith that the Catholic Church was built upon the apostolic hierarchy until the end of time”?

God’s time, not our perception of it. God’s ways and his measuring of time are far different from ours.  And define hierarchy, please. Because without the pope we KNOW it cannot exist! It exists in Heaven – is that not good enough for you? Does the Mystical Body not exist there as well? Do you actually question this?

St. Alphonsus says: “It is true [the Mass] will cease on earth at the time of Antichrist: the Sacrifice of the Mass is to be suspended…according to the prophecy of Daniel, (Dan. 12:11).” He goes on to explain, however, that in reality the Sacrifice and priesthood never will cease since “the Son of God, Eternal Priest, will always continue to offer Himself to God, the Father, in Heaven as an Eternal Sacrifice.” The same is true of all the Sacraments, the hierarchy, everything, which continue to exist in the Church Triumphant and in our own DESIRE for these Sacraments here on earth.

Do you agree that it would be a great blasphemy for anyone to contradict the truth that there will always be a VISIBLE and external priesthood and a hierarchy by Divine ordination instituted, consisting of bishops, priests and ministers?

Not unless you include a pope in that hierarchy without whom the bishops cannot function! Try including the Vatican Council teachings here, not just Trent.

Do you agree that therefore I am correct in my belief that there is a permanent Catholic hierarchy with bishops, priests, and other ministers of the Catholic Church still alive and physically living in their bodies someplace on earth; and also say there are still seven sacraments at least potentially available just because there is a Catholic hierarchy living on earth?

You omit the pope? He is not part of the hierarchy? Christ constituted His Church without him? The bishops can exist and rule without him? Could you tell me again what Traditional sect it is you now belong to?!

I am beginning to wonder if there is not a “method to your madness” and you are laying the groundwork for some revelation or change in direction from your former position. I say this because of your criticism of Pope Pius XII in the past and your objection to his teachings on the laity. I fear that perhaps like so many others you now doubt Pope Pius XII was a true pope, although you can offer no real basis for this. Nor can there be any decision regarding his papacy without a true pope or council to investigate the matter, if this could even be possible. But it would explain your insistence that the bishops could exist as valid hierarchy without the pope, for then you could claim the decision made by Pope Pius XII — that bishops receive their jurisdiction only from the Roman Pontiff — is negated.

“Canon VI (Trent) — If anyone saith that in the Catholic Church there is not a hierarchy by Divine ordination instituted, consisting of bishops, priests and ministers; let him be anathema.

I have never said nor would I ever say that the true Church on earth should not consist of the hierarchy in this way, only that at this time they are not available to us.

Do you agree that because the ESSENTIALS, of the Catholic Church will never cease to be even FOR A TIME; that it is heretical to believe there will be a time when no Catholic bishops are living, and then later on some EXTRAORDINARY means are used to again have St. Peter or Jesus Christ consecrate NEW bishops and elect a new pope – and so to speak to give the Church a second start with a NEW hierarchical structure?

As explained above, indefectibility is a mystery! Some things we simply cannot be certain of today. Where is your appreciation of things spiritual? Is not faith belief in things unseen?

Nothing is impossible with God. He could be preserving bishops in the empyrean heaven for all I know but they are not able to function on earth. Do you deny that God could work a miracle to restore the Church? You really wish to deny the possibility of miracles in this situation and the fact that God is capable of anything? You would accept a bishop(s) who would prove jurisdiction with miracles but would not admit God could directly work a miracle to restore a bishop to us? Holy people have said this is possible and the Church has not condemned their messages. You are smarter than the Church?

The Oath Against the Errors of Modernism under Pope St. Pius X also teaches:

Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors until the end of time.

We are always to believe this is how the Church was constituted by Christ, was intended to exist and yet exists in Heaven. The papal and conciliar doctrines teaching this truth will be available to those who care to learn them until the end of time.

Do you agree that your writings attack and pervert the true power of jurisdiction when you in effect attempt to transfer it to the people by saying there are nothing but laypeople left in the Catholic Church?

I pervert nothing and do not transfer anything to lay people, nor do I lay any claim to any jurisdiction. I follow only the authoritative teaching of Pope Pius XII, who said that in the absence of the hierarchy Catholics must assume all their responsibilities insofar as they are able to, as lay people. You are going to contradict his teaching from an A.A.S document, yet you cite them as binding in your own accusations?

Do you agree that if you now proclaim that you do not attempt to transfer this true power of the magisterium to the laypeople when you claim that only laypeople now exist in the Catholic Church; then you thereby deny that there is a perpetual, living, and infallible magisterium in the Catholic Church?

I deny nothing of the sort and I myself make no such transfer.

That the JURIDIC Church, including the office of the episcopate, must exist unto the consummation I affirm on one condition, AS INDISPUTABLY TAUGHT BY THE CHURCH HERSELF: this episcopate cannot last as a hierarchical body and function without the existence and direction of THE SUPREME BISHOP RULING OVER ALL, THE ROMAN PONTIFF. I also affirm that the Catholic Church instituted by Christ, which is the Mystical Body — encompassing all the priests and bishops in heaven and in purgatory, as well as any remaining on earth, with all Her Sacraments intact (though some today be unavailable) — will last until the consummation!


So since this individual is himself teaching false doctrine, and because what he says otherwise can be proven false by studying the authorities quoted on this website and elsewhere, his arguments can be dismissed. I do not see how he can explain his current position without destroying his own premises, since it was laid on a false philosophical foundation and the contradiction of dogmatic teaching on papal infallibility to begin with. The words below should be heeded by Catholics who are tempted to believe that what we are actually seeing today is anything less than the fulfillment of the Apocalypse.

“We must not be too ready to pronounce on what God may permit. But we, or our successors in future generations of Christians, shall perhaps see stranger evils than have yet been experienced, even before the immediate approach of that great winding up of all things on earth that will precede the day of judgment. I am not setting up for a prophet, nor pretending to see unhappy wonders, of which I have no knowledge whatever. All I mean to convey is that contingencies regarding the Church, not excluded by the Divine promises, cannot be regarded as practically impossible, just because they would be terrible and distressing in a very high degree.(“The Relations of the Church to Society — Theological Essays,” Rev. Edmund James O’Reilly, S.J.; from the chapter “The Pastoral Office of the Church,” all emphasis by Rev. O’Reilly in the original. Rev. O’Reilly was the theologian of choice in Ireland for local Irish Councils and Synods, was a professor of theology at the Catholic University of Dublin and was at one time considered as a candidate for a professorship at the prestigious Roman College by his Jesuit superior.)

“And the Lord said to me: The prophets prophesy falsely in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, nor have I spoken to them: they prophesy unto you a lying vision, and divination and deceit, and the seduction of their own heart” (Jeremias 14: 14).

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No Papal Mandate in Episcopal Consecrations = No Apostolicity

+Seven Sorrows of the BVM +

(This article is longer than the others so please bear with me here. Also, as is the case in all my blogs and articles, any emphasis within the texts quoted is my own unless otherwise noted.)

Can. 953: “The episcopal consecration is reserved to the Roman Pontiff in such a manner that NO BISHOP IS ALLOWED TO CONFER EPISCOPAL CONSECRATION ON ANYONE UNLESS HE HAS FIRST ASCERTAINED THAT THERE IS A PAPAL MANDATE TO THAT EFFECT.” A papal mandate is permission issued specifically by the Roman Pontiff to those consecrating any bishop confirming the bishop’s nomination or election and assuring his fitness for consecration. As Abp. Cicognani comments in his Canon Law, according to a rule of law, wherever the Church in Her laws does not differentiate, neither should we. So how do Traditionalists and their pet theologians explain away “NO BISHOP” and ANYONE here? Yet those claiming to be bishops in the Traditional movement have attempted to dismiss these papal decrees forbidding their so-called consecrations using every possible loophole they can find. Necessity and epikeia are the excuse most often used for the consecration of these men they call bishops but as will be seen below and in the later article on epikeia, this will not suffice.

It must be remembered that there can be no apostolic succession without an unquestionably canonically elected pope, (and no, lay people and not even so called Traditionalists “clerics” can pose as electors). Validly and licitly consecrated bishops must be approved and appointed by a canonically elected pope and be fully in communion with him to ordain priests and assign them to parishes. Apostolic succession exists only when orders AND jurisdiction both are present, and neither is the case with Traditionalists whose orders are at best questionably valid (see Jurisdiction cannot be present because it was never received, it CANNOT come directly from Christ Himself as our last blog demonstrated, and without a canonically elected Roman Pontiff it cannot be supplied, even in danger of death.

Traditionalists are robbers and thieves because they have not come through the door. They have not received their jurisdiction through the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the canons as Can. 147 and Pope Pius XII demands. They have not been rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, because even in the case of “priests,” the ordination proceeds without the dimissorial letters. Impediments also are removed in those to be ordained by “bishops” who have no jurisdiction whatsoever and whose acts are made null and void under the terms of Pope Pius XII’s papal election constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.

Pope Pius VI’s Charitas is listed as one of the sources from the old law for Can. 147, which states: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical provision. Canonical provision means the grant of an ecclesiastical office by competent ecclesiastical authority, made according to the sacred canons.” After quoting this teaching from the Council of Trent, (“If anyone says that… those who are neither duly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but who come from elsewhere are legitimate ministers of the word and of the Sacraments, let him be anathema,” DZ 960,) the Sacred Congregation of the Council declared under Can. 147:

“In order to preserve more inviolate these same sacred principles and at the same time forestall abuses in a matter of such great importance, His Holiness Pope Pius XII has deigned to provide,” an ipso facto excommunication especially reserved to the Holy See for: “1) those who contrive against legitimate ecclesiastical authorities or attempt in any way to subvert their authority; 2) anyone who without a canonical investiture or provision made according to the sacred canons occupies an ecclesiastical office, benefice or dignity, or allows anyone to be unlawfully intruded into the same, or who retains the same; 3)  those who have any part directly or indirectly in the crimes mentioned in one (1) and  two (2),” (Canon Law Digest, Vol. 3, under Can. 147. And as Pope Pius IX teaches, Catholics are bound in conscience to obey also any decree issued by the Sacred Congregations.) This proves without a doubt that the section of Trent referring to unlawful pastors is not limited to the Protestants. These censures are very similar in nature to the excommunication found in Can. 2345 and Pope Paul IV’s condemnation in Cum ex Apostolatus Officio of those who usurp ecclesiastical offices. The canonists Revs. T. Lincoln Bouscaren and Adam Ellis, editors of the Canon Law Digest, say that Can. 147 applies also to the Holy See.

This excommunication is listed under Can. 2394, which automatically deprives anyone, not just bishops, of an office seized illicitly and recommends them for punishment by the Ordinary. This for taking possession “of an ecclesiastical benefice, office or dignity by his own authority or before he has received the necessary letters of confirmation or institution [from the bodies or individuals electing or nominating clerics for various offices] and has exhibited them to the persons designated by law.” The meaning of offices will be explained below. Pope Pius XII was deadly serious about the confirmation of all offices by the necessary superior; he was guarding here the rights of the hierarchy, i. e. the Church. This is why only a year later he would write Ad Apostolorum Principis. So clearly the mind of the Church in this matter is that expressed here by Pius XII, as well as by the Council of Trent and Pope Pius VI in Charitas.

Offices and those who occupy them

We already know what constitutes canonical appointment; it has to be done by the authority who in the canons is indicated as the one competent to make the appointment and confirm it. In this case those priests and bishops “electing” or choosing candidates for the episcopacy are not certainly even clerics and cannot elect or appoint anyone; they do not constitute competent ecclesiastical authority. In the case of bishops, the Roman Pontiff, even if one existed, could only confirm such an election or appointment if made by competent ecclesiastical authority. The mandate provides proof the appointment has been reviewed and approved and permission given to consecrate, and this would not happen if the electing or appointing body was found to be wanting in any way.

Next must be determined what constitutes an office. By office, according to Can. 145, is meant, “in a broad sense…any employment which is legitimately practiced for a spiritual purpose. In the strict sense, an ecclesiastical office means a stable position created either by the divine or ecclesiastical law, conferred according to the rules of the sacred canons and entailing some participation at least in ecclesiastical power, whether of orders or jurisdiction. In law, the term ecclesiastical office is used in its strict sense…” unless a specific law indicates otherwise. If Traditionalists were qualified to assume an office, they would have to call it an office, but they are not qualified to assume anything.

No matter what kind of bishop is intended here, when they are appointed or elected, they are assigned to a specific office according to this definition. These Trad clerics cannot claim jurisdiction of any kind, because jurisdiction is a grant of authority made by a competent superior in communion with the Roman Pontiff to be exercised over specific subjects. Nor can they claim certainly valid orders. Lefebvre and Thuc may have been validly appointed, but without the papal appointment of the bishops they consecrated, these bishops were never validly created for ANY position. Both Lefebvre and Thuc have huge clouds hanging over their heads where intention, their own validity and fitness are concerned. This cloud would need to be lifted before any question of the validity of their ordinations and consecrations could be decided by a true Roman Pontiff. They certainly could not give to others what they did not receive themselves, (please see website link on Apostolic Succession above).

Those they created, whether priests or bishops, are only doubtfully valid AT BEST; and according to Pope Pius VI in Charitas, the whole affair is null and void. They possess no jurisdiction and cannot use any assumed power of Orders for any purpose. This because we cannot resort to doubtfully valid ministers according to Pope Innocent XI’s declaration that it is not safe to receive sacraments from such persons, (DZ 1151). Furthermore, Can. 154 declares that, “Offices which entail the care of souls cannot be validly conferred upon clerics who are not ordained priests.” Like it or not, Trads all have assumed an office they are not qualified to possess. And if the office of bishop is not validly held, how can such men possibly call and create priests?

The canons say they cannot. A priest cannot create a priest, and in most cases these “bishops” are not even priests themselves! In the consecration rite, these men are specifically called to the office of bishop. If they cannot accept such an office because papal appointment was never made, how can they receive it?! As Rev. Patrick Madgett S. J. teaches in Vol. II of his work Christian Origins (1943) under bishops: “A successor in any office or task is one who is lawfully substituted in place of another to perform the same duties, with the same powers.” And Trad “bishops” present as successors of the Apostles with all the same duties and powers but are not lawful and are at the very least doubtfully valid.

Can. 148 defines appointments as any of the following: (1) free appointment by the legitimate superior; (2) by the so-called “institution” in cases where a patron has the right to nominate or present to the ecclesiastical superior the person who is to obtain the office; (3) confirmation by a superior in the case of elections and (4) In the case of postulation in religious officers, when voters appoint a certain candidate for office the superior accepting the determination of the voters is said to grant admission and (5) an office may be obtained simply by election and acceptance of the elected, but only if the law does not require confirmation of the elected.  Canon 110 states:

“Though the Holy See gives some of the clergy the title of prelate without jurisdiction as a mere honorary title, the term ‘prelates’ properly denotes in law clerics, either secular or religious, who have ordinary jurisdiction in the external forum.” Under Canons 147 and 148, Rev. Augustine comments that: “The competent authority in conferring major ecclesiastical offices (prelacies) is the Roman Pontiff.” A prelate is one who “rules over the clergy and people of a district that is separated from every other diocese,” (Revs. Woywod-Smith, Can. 319). Donald Attwater defines a prelate as, “A dignitary having jurisdiction in the external forum. The principal prelates are the bishops; others are vicars and prefects apostolic.” So regardless of whether Traditionalists claim to be “residential bishops” or not, they are bound to be confirmed by the Roman Pontiff for consecration regardless.

This is demonstrated by what Pope Pius IX taught regarding the Old Catholics in Germany:

Etsi Multa, Pope Pius IX, Nov. 21, 1873

“24. But these men, having progressed more boldly in the ways of wickedness and destruction, as happens to heretical sects from God’s just judgment, have wished to create a hierarchy also for themselves, as we have intimated. They have chosen and set up a pseudo-bishop, a certain notorious apostate from the Catholic faith,Joseph Humbert 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, as do all other Catholics. However, this Joseph Humbert dares to say that he is a bishop, and, what passes belief, he is recognized and named in an explicit decree by the most serene Emperor of Germany and is proposed to all his subjects as a lawful bishop. But as even the rudiments of Catholic faith declare, no one can be considered a bishop who is not linked in communion of faith and love with Peter, upon whom is built the Church of Christ; who does not adhere to the supreme Pastor to whom the sheep of Christ are committed to be pastured; and who is not bound to the confirmer of fraternity which is in the world.

“And indeed “the Lord spoke to Peter; to one person therefore, so that He might found unity from one”; to Peter, “the divine dignity granted a great and wonderful consortium of his power, and if He wished anything to be common with him and the rest of the princes, He never gave, except through him, what He did not deny to the others.” Hence it is from this Apostolic See, where blessed Peterlives and presides and grants the truth of faith to those seeking it, that the rights of venerable communion flow to all; and this same See ‘for the Churches spread throughout the whole world is certainly the head, as it were, of their members, from which if one cuts himself off, he becomes an exile from the Christian religion, as soon as he begins not to belong to its structure.

“25. Therefore the holy martyr Cyprian, writing about schism, denied to the pseudo-bishop Novatian even the title of Christian, on the grounds that he was cut off and separated from the Church of Christ. ‘Whoever he is,’ he says, ‘and whatever sort he is, he is not a Christian who is not in the Church of Christ. Let him boast and preach his philosophy and eloquence with a proud voice; he who does not have fraternal charity and does not retain ecclesiastical unity, loses also what he previously had. Since by Christ one Church was founded divided into many members throughout the world, so likewise one episcopate, diffused in the harmonious multiplicity of many bishops. Subsequent to the teaching of God and the conjoined unity of the Catholic Church, he attempts to build a human church. Therefore, he who does not retain unity of spirit nor communion of peace and thus separates himself from the bond of the Church and the college of the priesthood cannot have the power nor the honor of a bishop because he kept the unity or the peace of the episcopacy.’”


“26. We have been undeservingly placed on this supreme seat of Peter to preserve the Catholic faith and the unity of the universal Church. Therefore following the custom and example of Our Predecessors and of holy legislation, by the power granted to Us from heaven, We declare the election of the said Joseph Humbert Reinkens,performed against the sanctions of the holy canons to be illicit, null, and void. We furthermore declare his consecration sacrilegious. Therefore, by the authority of Almighty God, We excommunicate and hold as anathema Joseph Humbert himself and all those who attempted to choose him, and who aided in his sacrilegious consecration. We additionally excommunicate whoever has adhered to them and belonging to their party has furnished help, favor, aid, or consent. We declare, proclaim, and command that they are separated from the communion of the Church. They are to be considered among those with whom all faithful Christians are forbidden by the Apostle to associate and have social exchange to such an extent that, as he plainly states, they may not even be greeted.”

Does this even give Traditionalists any pause whatsoever, that something so similar to their own elections and consecrations of bishops results in a sacrilegious act and VITANDUS excommunication for those following said bishop?! And here we see Pope Pius IX holds Reinkens’ election null and void, and this following “custom, the example of Our predecessors and holy legislation.” Likewise Pope Pius VI’s Charitas held France’s appointment of constitutional bishops null and void, so surely Pope Pius IX was referring to Charitas as well as other decrees in Etsi Multa. When such consecrations are performed during an interregnum outside the laws of the Church, Pope Pius XII has decreed they are null and void altogether.

Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, Pope Pius XII, 1945 (paras.1- 3, Ch. 1)

  1. While the Apostolic Seat is vacant, let the Sacred College of Cardinals have no power or jurisdiction at all in those things which pertain to the Pope while he was alive…but let everything be held, reserved for the future Pope. And thus we decree that whatever power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff, while he is alive (unless in as far as it is expressly permitted in this, Our Constitution) the meeting of Cardinals itself may have taken for exercising, is null and void.
  2. “Likewise we order that the Sacred College of Cardinals is not able to dispose of the laws of the Apostolic Seat and the Roman Church in any manner it wishes, nor may it attempt to detract wheresoever from the laws of the same, either directly or indirectly through a species of connivance, or through dissimulation of crimes perpetrated against the same laws, either after the death of the Pontiff or in time of vacancy, [however] it may seem to be attempted. Indeed, we will that it ought to guard and defend against the same contention of all men.
  3. “Laws given by the Roman Pontiffs are in no way able to be corrected or changed through the meeting of the cardinals of the Roman Church [the See] being vacant; nor is anything able to be taken away or added, nor is there able to be made any dispensation in any manner concerning the laws themselves or some part of them. This is very evident from pontifical Constitutions [on]…the election of the Roman Pontiff. But if anything contrary to this prescript occurs or is by chance attempted, we declare it by Our Supreme authority to be null and void(private translation commissioned by Irene Keast).

In the above papal paragraphs, we find the phrase “null and void” just as it is found as follows in Charitas: “We therefore severely forbid the said Expilly and the other wickedly elected and illicitly consecrated men, under this punishment of suspension, to assume episcopal jurisdiction or any other authority for the guidance of souls since they have never received it. They must not grant dimissorial letters for ordinations. Nor must they appoint, depute, or confirm pastors, vicars, missionaries, helpers, functionaries, ministers, or others, whatever their title, for the care of souls and the administration of the Sacraments under any pretext of necessity whatsoever. Nor may they otherwise act, decree, or decide, whether separately or united as a council, on matters which relate to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. For We declare and proclaim publicly that all their dimissorial letters and deputations or confirmations, past and future, as well as all their rash proceedings and their consequences, are utterly void and without force…”

And in Ad Apsotolorum Principis: “Bishops who have been neither named nor confirmed by the Apostolic See, but who, on the contrary, have been elected and consecrated in defiance of its express orders, enjoy no powers of teaching or of jurisdiction since jurisdiction passes to bishops only through the Roman Pontiff as We admonished in the Encyclical Letter Mystici Corporis.” This key phrase referencing jurisdiction and teaching is what Traditionalists consistently ignore, which is why they must pretend to receive their jurisdiction directly from Christ.

In Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, no change in the law is allowed even to the cardinals, most of whom were bishops. There can be absolutely no usurpation of papal jurisdiction; all must be left to the future pope. Even any attempt at such things is null and void and this is infallibly decreed in Etsi Multa, Charitas, and is clearly stated in equivalent terms in Ad Apostolorum Principis. And the cardinalate is directed by Pope Pius XII to prevent any such crimes from occurring. We live in an interregnum. Traditionalists have created their own “hierarchy” and yet all is an illusion; their acts were null and void. They will say the law does not apply to them, that they are allowed to function and call the law itself into question. They say this about all these laws and infallible decrees except those they feel serve their purpose. They offer no proofs whatsoever giving them direct permission to proceed; all the proofs are against them. Yet still they continue to offend God, violate the law and refuse to do His will.

And there is something else that to date no one seems to have pointed out. In the episcopal consecration ceremony, any and ALL bishops, whether being consecrated as ordinaries or for other positions are asked to present the “Mandate or Apostolic Letter from the Pope,” which is read aloud. The Bishop-elect then kneels before the consecrator and solemnly swears an oath to submit himself to the Holy See, an oath which in the case of Traditionalists, if indeed it is even made, is as barren and worthless as the episcopal ceremony itself. As we have seen above, all such candidates for the episcopacy must be approved by the Roman Pontiff and present themselves for consecration within three months of such approval. In his Ad Apostolorum Principis as well as in Charitas, no distinction is made between residential bishops, titular bishops, missionary bishops, etc.

In the episcopal rite of consecration, the one being consecrated is consecrated for the OFFICE of bishop. The one being consecrated makes this solemn oath to submit to the Holy See as follows: “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.” (Some Trad bishops have removed all reference to the papal mandate from the rite, something that is strictly forbidden by the Church. Only the pope can attenuate the rites of the Sacraments.) Later in the rite, the consecrator says to the one being consecrated: “Will you teach the people for whom you are ordained, both by words and by example, the things you understand from the divine Scriptures? Will you receive, keep and teach with reverence the traditions of the orthodox fathers and the decretal constitutions of the Holy and Apostolic See?“ If these so-called bishops are not teaching obedience to the Roman Pontiffs and the continual magisterium — and they are not — then this oath is worthless. (See the two rites compared at“Bishop” Anthony Cekada and others pretend that only ordinaries or residential bishops can hold an office, but the rite itself contradicts him. As seen above, even a priest or religious can hold an office by appointment of the superior.

The Catholic Encyclopedia under “bishop” elaborates further on the above. In the case of those allowed to make recommendations for candidates to the episcopacy, “this does not juridically bind the sovereign pontiff, who has the power to choose the new bishop from persons not included in the list of recommendations.” In certain countries where bishops are elected, the votes are sent to the Holy See for approval along with a list of “useful information” about each of the candidates. “Whatever the manner of his nomination, the bishop has no power until his nomination has been confirmed by the Holy See…” The request to receive the papal mandate, which is to be read aloud, followed by the oath of the one consecrated, is the first and most important part of the entire rite. This should be obvious to any rational person, because in the wording of the rite, it is implied that without the papal mandate, the man seeking consecration has no right to be consecrated.

Nullity according to Pope Leo XIII’s constitution on Anglican Orders

Then we have yet another problem to address, that of those who challenge the true meaning of null and void in all the above decrees. One person claims it need not be interpreted to mean exactly what it says, according to canonists and theologians, and does not mean that all the acts so declared are invalidly or even illicitly performed before or after the fact. Unfortunately, this is not the teaching of the Holy See and does not provide the out these “bishops” are so desperately seeking. In fact it strengthens the case for invalidity — something surely unintentional in raising this issue on our opponents’ part — but providential for those who believe the Roman Pontiffs enjoy the primacy of jurisdiction and supreme power in the Church and are to be obeyed when defining terms over theologians and canonists. From Pope Leo XIII in Apostolicae Curae:

“For to obtain orders nulliter means the same as by act null and void, that is invalid, as the very meaning of the word and as common parlance requires. This is especially clear when the word is used in the same way about Orders as aboutecclesiastical benefices. These, by the undoubted teaching of the sacred canons, were clearly null if given with any vitiating defect. Moreover, when some doubted as to who, according to the mind of the pontiff, could be called and considered bishops validly and lawfully ordained, the said Pope (Pope Paul IV) shortly after, on October 30, issued a further letter in the form of a brief and said:

We, desiring to wholly remove such doubt, and to opportunely provide for the peace of conscience of those who during the aforementioned schism were promoted to Holy Orders, by clearly stating the meaning and intention which we had in our said letters, declare that it is only those bishops and archbishops who were not ordained and consecrated in the form of the Church that cannot be said to be duly and rightly ordained’” Pope Leo XIII continues:

“The authority of Julius III, and of Paul IV, which we have quoted, clearly shows the origin of that practice which has been observed without interruption for more than three centuries, that Ordinations conferred according to the Edwardine rite should be considered null and void. This practice is fully proved by the numerous cases of absolute re-ordination according to the Catholic rite even in Rome.

“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” (end of Pope Leo XIII quote).

Commenting on Canon 11 (invalidating and disqualifying laws), Abp. Cicognani wrote: “Invalidating and disqualifying laws certainly bind in conscience… Certain acts are not to be upheld as valid, nor are they considered to be a source of rights or emoluments. However, it should be noted that if the laws forbid and at the same time nullify an act…they oblige in conscience to omit the act…” Hence what is stated in Canon 11: “Laws only are to be considered invalidating or disqualifying which explicitly or equivalently state that an act is null and void or that a person is incapable of acting” (Canon Law, 1935). But the real key to everything Traditionalists have attempted to do is found under Can. 15, and will be examined in the article on epikeia.

This clarifies the true definition of null and void, and it was likewise made clear by Pope Paul IV in his Bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, where he states: ”If ever at any time it becomes clear that any Bishop…Archbishop, Patriarch, or primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church…or likewise if any Roman Pontiff before his promotion or elevation as a Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, [has strayed from the Catholic Faith or] fallen into some heresy, [or has incurred schism], then his promotion or elevation shall be null, invalid and void.” But it raises yet another issue: If the presentation of the papal mandate is omitted from the form quoted above, is not this an alteration of the form calling it into question, just as the Anglican form was called into question and declared null and void?

Pope Leo XIII in his constitution on Anglican Orders quotes this from Pope Paul IV’s Praeclara carissima as follows: ‘“Those who have been promoted to Ecclesiastical Orders by anyone but a bishop validly and lawfully ordained [see the Council of Trent, DZ 960, 967] are bound to receive those orders again.’” And those bishops not validly and lawfully ordained were, Leo XIII continues, those promoted to the episcopate and other orders not according to the accustomed form of the Church… the form and intention of the Church.” Was Lefebvre validly and lawfully ordained and consecrated? We have grave doubts. Thuc was apparently validly and lawfully ordained and consecrated, but neither he nor Lefebvre could ordain and consecrate “priests and bishops” without the jurisdiction they lost by affiliating with the Novus Ordo church and minus the papal mandate. At that point they were outside the Church and their actions were nullified by Pius XII’s law governing interregnums.

Here several things must be addressed. Despite any alleged validity of the consecrators, the papal mandate is an essential part of the consecration ceremony. Secondly, no one whatsoever may tamper with the rite of consecration in its essentials. According to Pope Pius XII in the first paragraph of Sacramentum Ordinis: “As the Council of Trent teaches, … the seven Sacraments of the New Law were all instituted by Jesus Christ Our Lord, and the Church has no power over the substance of the Sacraments…” The omission of this part of the consecration ceremony is essential to its validity, since the bishop receives no power without it as the Catholic Encyclopedia observes above.

It also is essential to the profession of the one consecrated that he is in communion with the Roman Pontiff, also his predecessors, and recognizes him as the supreme head of the Church. The Chinese bishops were not denying Pope Pius XII was their pope, they were simply disobeying him; pertinaciously continuing in such disobedience after a rebuke would constitute rejecting papal authority, which automatically results in incurring the censure for heresy. So to omit this ceremony also calls into question the orthodoxy of the subject seeking to be consecrated as well as the intention of the one consecrating. Do they intend to carry on the mission of the Church as it was constituted by Christ? Obviously not, or they would have recourse to a true pope for the mandate, and in his absence would abide by his laws. Without the mandate, all their machinations are null and void for want of the proper form and intention.

CMRI attempts to justify their consecrations by stating on their website: “The strict observance of Pope Pius XII’s decree on the prohibition of the consecration of bishops without papal mandate would become injurious to the salvation of souls.” This is the same rationalization used by conclavists to justify various attempts at election: “The Church has to have a pope because she cannot exist without one.” But the danger of a lay election and even one posited by doubtful clergy is actually a greater danger, given the possibility of electing an unfit candidate, as was later proven in all these cases. Moreover, lay elections are condemned by papal election law and other binding papal and conciliar documents. Pope Pius VI’s Charitas would have Catholics stay at home rather than resort to the Constitutional bishops; Etsi Multa issues similar warnings and declares null and void the old Catholic bishop(s) and Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis forbids anyone to act outside papal laws during an interregnum under the pain of nullity (invalidity). These and all other papal teachings are what the faithful are bound to obey.

The proofs provided above demonstrate the collective minds of the Roman Pontiffs regarding the function of bishops who are not approved by him or his canonically elected successors and declare those so proceeding excommunicated. Traditionalists posing as clergy falsely claim that even though they may be excommunicated they still possess jurisdiction, supplied or provided by Christ, demonstrated earlier to be A COMPLETE LIE. There is NO Church teaching to support this conjecture, forbidden by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, that in this emergency Christ would supply such jurisdiction. Nor would the pope supply it to doubtful clergy in any event. To possess true apostolicity, one must possess both valid and licit Holy Orders AND jurisdiction (see the Catholic Encyclopedia article on this topic), something none of these pretenders can lay claim to. And what of the oaths they took in their phony consecration ceremonies to uphold the teachings of the Holy See? Such oaths, if they were even taken, were as phony as the consecrations themselves, invalidated by the lack of the indispensable papal mandate and the (at least implicit) denial by Traditionalists of the necessity of the papacy.

There is no shame or blame in keeping the faith at home in light of such compelling evidence that these men are not providing true Mass and Sacraments and are involving their followers instead in sacrilege and cooperation in sin, both mortal sins. In fact, as we will see in the blog on epikeia, Catholics are bound to avoid these pretenders and their “sacraments” whenever such serious doubt becomes known to them. The real issue at stake is your immortal soul and whether Our Lord will acquire an accounting from you for choosing to follow these men and ignoring the Vicars He sent to speak for Him. Are you willing to take that risk? Are you willing to continue to cooperate in sin and incur communicatio in sacris for participating in false worship, placing you outside the Church and unable to save your soul?



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