What the popes teach about the Jews

© Copyright 2014, T. Stanfill Benns (All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)

We would be remiss if we did not add to the first article on the Jews the stated teachings of the Continual Magisterium on this matter, although it cannot and does not change what was said initially. One critic recently alleged that the quote from Pope Pius IX on the synagogue of Satan was taken out of context in the previous site article. Below it is presented in its entirety. It is obvious that the pope here gave a different meaning to this Scripture phrase than that offered by scripture commentators on Apoc. 2:9 and 3:9. For these passages refer to the Jews as they existed after Christ’s death, not as they exist today. Unlike the modern writers and teachers of today, the popes did not speak idle words, nor bandy about Scripture passages as so many handy slogans or catchphrases. The pope indicates that this synagogue is drawn from many different sects — schismatical, heretical, Masonic and otherwise. Yet he credits these machinations primarily to the Masons, not the Jews, although certainly at least the more radical factions of the Jews must be counted among the sects mentioned and no one is questioning their contributions to Freemasonry. The Pope is clear, however, that this is a multi-faceted effort involving ALL those opposed to the Church.

As noted in the previous article, racially the Talmudists are not Jews; this Leon de Poncins, joining David Goldstein, points out in his “Judaism and the Vatican.” Nor are they Jews by religion, because the Old Law ceased to exist with the coming of Christ and destruction of the Temple. As Rev. Heidt relates in his commentary and Pope Pius XI taught, Christians are now Israel or “spiritual Semites.” Today’s Jews are, for the most part, Jews culturally and by nationality. There are those among their enemies who still believe they are Jews by race and oppose them on a racial basis or oppose them for whatever remains of their Jewishness racially and its cultural expression. This is why in Mit Brennender Sorge, Pope Pius XI condemned those championing only the white race as the true race, since Hitler condemned those “tainted” by Jewish blood.

The “bible” of most Traditionalists today who advocate an open opposition of the Jews is The Plot Against the Church, written by “Maurice Pinay,” (Anacleto Gonzalez Flores, presumably with the help of Fr. Joacquin Saenz-Arriaga). I corresponded with him for many years during the 1980s. He was a physician and a long-time Traditionalist, having coursed through the Lefebvre sect and other Traditionalist organizations before becoming sede vacante. He is best known for his article printed in Veritas in the late 1970s “Packet from Mexico,” in defense of Lefebvre. He was a leading member of the Union of Trento, an organization which is now basically defunct. In evaluating his assessment of the crises in the Church here, I in no way intend to discredit his efforts or his work, but I do definitely dispute some of his research findings and the course on which he and others set the remnant Church in the wake of Vatican 2. As I have stated before, had priests involved from the outset and good lay people truly understood the situation and had they really known their faith, Traditionalism as we know it today would never have come into existence. That so many indulged their pet peeves for so long, myself included, accounts for the tragic loss of faith we see today.


Meaning of the term “synagogue of Satan”


In Pinay’s work, the “synagogue of Satan” is referred to repeatedly but misleadingly in reference to the Jews. We say misleadingly, for while the scripture commentators (several commentaries were consulted) interpret this phrase in Apocalypse 2:9 and 3:9 as the more obstinate Jews of Apostolic times, they do not speculate on the specific identity of these false Jews as they might exist in our own time. The Jews of apostolic times were the synagogue of Satan because they rejected Christ and looked for another Messias. Freemasons are false Jews because they embrace the Kabbala, the Jews’ book of magic, yet are not, strictly speaking, of the Jewish faith or race. Some believe pre-Christian gnostics, who were not racial Jews, infiltrated the Jewish religion just as they have the Christian religion; if so, they were not Semites then and cannot be Semites now. They pretended to be Jewish just as they later pretended to be Catholic, gutting the Jewish church prior to Christ’s birth much as they gutted the Church in our day; hence our Lord’s condemnation of the Pharisees. Later in the 740s A.D., the Ashkenazi Jews, largely Russian, would surface who were only converts to the Jewish faith, not RACIAL Jews. This could explain the biblical reference in Apoc. 2:9 to “Those who say they are Jews and are not but are the Synagogue of Satan.”

The papal edicts against the Jews slowed down beginning in the 1600s. Freemasonry in the form of Rosicrucianism surfaced in that century. The popes began issuing their condemnations of Freemasonry in the 1700s; things were becoming much clearer, especially following the American and French Revolutions and the emergence of the Illuminati. By the 1800s they had become clearer still, allowing Pope Pius IX to identify the synagogue of Satan today as mainly Freemasonry, not just the Jews. We see this in the excerpts from his encyclical below.

Etsi multa, (On The Church In Italy, Germany, and Switzerland); Pope Pius IX encyclical, Nov. 21, 1873:

  1. “…Some years past, a most severe war was begun against the Church, its institutions, and the rights of this Apostolic See. If We were to pursue these matters, We would find much to say; since, however, because of the gravity of the situation, they cannot be touched on in passing, We will treat them more thoroughly at another time and place.
  2. “Some of you may perchance wonder that the war against the Catholic Church extends so widely. Indeed each of you knows well the nature, zeal, and intention of sects, whether called Masonic or some other name. When he compares them with the nature, purpose, and amplitude of the conflict waged nearly everywhere against the Church, he cannot doubt but that the present calamity must be attributed to their deceits and machinations for the most part. For from these the synagogue of Satan is formed which draws up its forces, advances its standards, and joins battle against the Church of Christ.”

If the synagogue of Satan already was comprised of just the Jews, as Pinay and others hold, how could it be in the process of formation under the flags of Masonic sects as described above by Pope Pius IX? Catholics are bound to hold the teachings of the popes as binding in conscience, not those of laymen not even writing with approval. That Pinay’s work has been widely read and disseminated by Traditionalists and others, and is now available on CD is common knowledge. Many quote this book and its sources exclusively as proof that Catholics must join them in outspoken opposition to the current “Jewish menace.” But if they really believe the Jews are solely responsible for destroying the Church, why are they on the muscle now when the deed already has been accomplished? They can’t very well lock the barn door after the horse has escaped, not with any hope of recapturing the horse, anyway. And if they really want to drive their point home, why rely almost solely on a book never approved by the Church, written by one or more persons in all probability prejudiced in their views, not only concerning Jewry, but even concerning the papacy?


Crypto-Jews in Mexico


Since Vatican 2, a good number of Mexicanos, previously professing to be Catholic, have confessed that their families, for long generations, were Catholic in name only and secretly were practicing Jews. This may have been the result of Marranos who immigrated to Mexico from Spain (Sephardim Jews). Such articles have appeared in national publications, with one Novus Ordo “priest” in New Mexico even admitting his dual allegiance to both religions. Recently this author received a detailed commentary on Jewish and Masonic infiltration of the Mexican Church, naming names and pointing fingers, even at present-day Traditionalist clergy. Having been victims of this infiltration for some time, and obviously having been aware of this situation for many decades, the authors of The Plot Against the Church could not help but be embittered over the fact, whereas most American Catholics were not even aware of it until recently.

This is especially true since Mexico’s Masonic (Pinay aka Flores would say Jewish) government was the cause of the Cristero revolt, and his (Gonzales-Flores’) father was one of the martyrs of that revolt. Victimized again when the betrayal of the Church became a done deal in the 1960s, those still willing to fight laid their cards on the table. But along with that play came an ingrained distrust of the papacy, not only present but past. Such ill will was nurtured among Traditionalists in general, but especially by Mexicanos, who feel that Pope Pius XI more or less threw the Cristeros under the bus. Traces of this resentment can easily be detected in Pinay’s work, especially in view of the fact that he quotes the provincial and ecumenical councils primarily, not the popes, as the sources of his research. This may be an indication that like so many Traditionalists, Flores entertained Gallicanist tendencies. He blames Jewish influence for the exclusion of conciliar condemnations of the Jews from the 1917 Code of Canon Law, but in this he is mistaken.

Any decrees of ecumenical councils, particularly those canons stigmatized with an anathema still bind, since the pope must approve all such decrees. Why was this not pointed out? Pinay’s main objection is that the bishops and the priests not willing to energetically combat and condemn the Jews were ordered excommunicated by the Third Lateran Council and the Code removed this excommunication. He gives the paragraphs as XXVI and XXVII, but says they condemn heresies and heretics, when strictly speaking, Jews are regarded as apostates, (see pgs. 580-582, Feb. 1967 edition of his work). Quotes below from this very council disprove both the fact that the Code removes such excommunications as well as the fact that the council ordered the faithful to actively combat the Jews. It was not the Jews that the Third Lateran Council ordered both clergy and faithful to battle at all costs but the Cathars; “faithful Christians” are encouraged to “take up arms against them.” It is true that the previous paragraph, 26 addresses abuses by the Jews, but there is no indication that the Jews are included among those mentioned in the succeeding paragraph.

Third Lateran Council — 1179 A.D.
“26. Jews and Saracens are not to be allowed to have Christian servants in their houses, either under pretense of nourishing their children or for service or any other reason. Let those be excommunicated who presume to live with them. We declare that the evidence of Christians is to be accepted against Jews in every case, since Jews employ their own witnesses against Christians, and that those who prefer Jews to Christians in this matter are to lie under anathema, since Jews ought to be subject to Christians and to be supported by them on grounds of humanity alone. If any by the inspiration of God are converted to the Christian faith, they are in no way to be excluded from their possessions, since the condition of converts ought to be better than before their conversion. If this is not done, we enjoin on the princes and rulers of these places, under penalty of excommunication, the duty to restore fully to these converts the share of their inheritance and goods.

“27. As St. Leo says, though the discipline of the church should be satisfied with the judgment of the priest and should not cause the shedding of blood, yet it is helped by the laws of Catholic princes so that people often seek a salutary remedy when they fear that a corporal punishment will overtake them. For this reason, since in Gascony and the regions of Albi and Toulouse and in other places the loathsome heresy of those whom some call the Cathars, others the Patarenes, others the Publicani, and others by different names, has grown so strong that they no longer practise their wickedness in secret, as others do, but proclaim their error publicly and draw the simple and weak to join them, we declare that they and their defenders and those who receive them are under anathema, and we forbid under pain of anathema that anyone should keep or support them in their houses or lands or should trade with them…With regard to the Brabanters, Aragonese, Navarrese, Basques, Coterelli and Triaverdini {17}…they should be subject in every way to the same sentence and penalty as the above-mentioned heretics…On these {18} and on all the faithful we enjoin, for the remission of sins, that they oppose this scourge with all their might and by arms protect the Christian people against them. …”

“We command that those who refuse to obey the exhortation of the bishops in this matter should not be allowed to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord. Meanwhile we receive under the protection of the Church, as we do those who visit the Lord’s Sepulchre, those who fired by their faith have taken upon themselves the task of driving out these heretics, and we decree that they should remain undisturbed from all disquiet both in their property and persons. If any of you presumes to molest them, he shall incur the sentence of excommunication from the bishop of the place, and let the sentence be observed by all until what has been taken away has been restored and suitable satisfaction has been made for the loss inflicted. Bishops and priests who do not resist such wrongs are to be punished by loss of their office until they gain the pardon of the Apostolic See.”

So judging by the last sentence, it seems these bishops and priests lose their office for resisting the molestation of those who drive out the heretics or for failing to drive these heretics out themselves, for the excommunication appears to be levied on those only who fail to prosecute those molesting defenders of the faith.


Penalties for heresy still in effect


From 1215 on, by order of Innocent III, the Jews were made to wear distinctive badges and dress and if not yet in ghettoes, they usually were confined to living in certain areas in the various countries. But even before this order they were more easily identified by their very culture and religious practice and were closely monitored by the local clergy and Rome. The Cathars and others, however, were not so contained and became very open in fomenting their errors. Since this council was held in 1179 and deals with anathema against heretics it was renewed as a penalty by Pope Paul IV in his 1559 bull, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, later confirmed by Pope St. Pius V in his Intermultiplices. So seeing that this council document, only quoted piecemeal by Pinay, calls upon us to actively oppose THESE above-named sects, are we then to assume that we should take up arms against the Freemasons, Novus Ordo followers and Traditionalists? For all these are heretics and apostates just as dangerous as the Cathars! How strange that those using Pinay’s work as gospel truth single out only the Jews from this Council document and ignore, analogously at least, these other dangerous heretics now persecuting the Church!

Pope Paul IV renewed the penalties for excommunication against all schismatics, heretics and apostates, also making cooperation with them in any way matter for ipso facto excommunication. But he did not renew the call to oppose these wretched people by taking up arms, at least in the situation he addressed in his bull. In fact he advised the faithful fleeing from heresy to resort instead to the secular arm to have those hierarchy removed who were never truly hierarchy, but had long ago deposed themselves. Anyone with even a smidgen of common sense knows that what was possible in medieval times and the day of the Catholic state is scarcely possible today. In his work, The Vatican Decrees in Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance (1875), Henry Cardinal Manning goes into great detail to demonstrate that the Vatican Council definition has no power whatsoever to command or depose non-Catholic governments. The Church cannot order those outside Her spiritual pale to obey Her rules and laws. And Catholic subjects cannot use the excuse that they must obey only the pope to escape obedience to civil law, which the Church always has held as binding.

“Until a Christian world existed, there was no apta materia for the supreme judicial power of the Church in temporal things,” Manning wrote in his above-mentioned work. “St. Paul laid down as a rule of law that he had nothing to do in judging those that were without the unity of the Church. It is only when nations and kingdoms become socially subject to the supreme doctrinal and judicial authority of the Church that the conditions of its exercise are verified.” And none could be duly subject to a non-existent judicial authority today. So without Catholic secular officials to appeal to in such a crusade against heresy and apostasy — without a true pope and hierarchy to command us and support us — how are we expected to embark on such a foolhardy mission, that of openly engaging the Jews? Civil law in this country forbids persecution of other religions as well as persecution of those of another race and so did Pope Pius XII and his immediate predecessors. If the popes do not command us to take up arms against the Jews or heretics existing today, and clearly they do not, then what in heaven’s name are those who are preaching such a war, at least one comprised of words and civil actions, thinking?

These people are taking entirely out of context a teaching of an ecumenical council, applied to certain heretical sects, but not the Jews, by applying it in the manner they see fit. Why? The only possible conclusion one can reach is that they really do believe that they must eradicate the Jews both as a race and as a religious entity. But what about Freemasonry, which Pope Pius IX says today is the real problem? And what about the Muslims? For from a racial standpoint, many agree, they have more Jewish blood than the Jews themselves. Even though Pinay claims that Canon Law relieves Catholics of obedience to previous laws in this matter, this is not the case as shown above. For those previous laws dealing with faith and morals are just as binding today as they ever were, as we just went to great lengths to explain in the articles posted on Cum ex. Many of the laws the popes set down concerning the Jews still bind us, for disciplinary documents are binding in many cases just as those on faith and morals are binding. But they did not set down any laws commanding us to openly oppose the Jews, or to persecute them. In fact they forbade us to do this. Below is a summary of exactly what the Continual Magisterium has taught over the centuries concerning the Jews.


The Popes on the Jews


Pope Innocent III: “The Jews… against whom the voice of the blood of Christ cries out … are not to be killed [but] they must always be dispersed as wanderers upon the face of the earth… They are admitted to our familiarity only through our mercy; but they are to us dangerous as the insect in the apple, as the serpent in the breast.”

At the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, Jews were forbidden to injure Christians by exercising usury, they were ordered to wear a distinctive badge and dress, Christians were not allowed to work for them as nurses, tutors or servants and Christians were warned not to cohabit with Jews or Jewesses. It also was ordered that while Christians could testify against Jews, Jews could not testify against Christians.

Pope Innocent IV ordered the French King to burn copies of the Talmud owing to the blasphemies contained therein concerning our Lord and His Blessed Mother.

Pope Eugenius IV basically ordered the Jews to be avoided as vitandus. Christians are not to use Jewish lawyers or legal experts in matrimonial cases or use Jewish doctors as obstetricians. Christians cannot bequeath goods to Jews in their wills.

Pope Paul IV forbade them to live in common with the Christians.

Pope Clement VIII: “All the world suffers from the usury of the Jews, their monopolies and deceit. They have brought many unfortunate people into a state of poverty, especially the farmers, working class people and the very poor… Their ethical and moral doctrines as well as their deeds rightly deserve to be exposed to criticism in whatever country they happen to live.”

Pope Benedict XIV: “Furthermore, by means of their particular practice of commerce, they amass a great store of money and then by an exorbitant rate of interest utterly destroy the wealth and inheritance of Christians,” (A Quo Primum).

Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII: Beginning in the 1880s and extending into the 20th century, there are reports that both the papally sanctioned publications L’ Osservatore Romano and Civilta Catolica, also La Croix took the hard line against the Jews.

Pope St. Pius X: “We cannot prevent Jews from going to Jerusalem, but we can never sanction it. Jews have not recognized Our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people. They had ample time to acknowledge Christ’s divinity without pressure, but they didn’t. Should the Jews manage to set foot on the once promised old-new land, the missionaries of the Church would stand prepared to baptize them. Jerusalem cannot be placed in Jewish hands,” (Wikipedia).

Pope Pius XI (Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, March 25, 1928): “The Catholic Church habitually prays for the Jewish people, who were bearers of the Divine revelation up to the time of Christ; this, despite, indeed, on account of their spiritual blindness. Actuated by this love, the Apostolic See has protected this people against unjust oppression and, just as every kind of envy and jealousy among the nations must be disproved of, so in an especial manner must be that hatred which is generally termed anti-Semitism,” (Acta Apostolica Sedis).

Rev. Denis Fahey tells Catholics how they must comport themselves where the Jews are concerned and walk that fine line between anti-Semitism and the championing of the rights of Christ the King. In his The Kingship of Christ and the Conversion of the Jewish Nation, Fahey writes that while addressing Belgian peasants over the radio, Pope Pius XI read a prayer from the Canon of the Mass one day, remarking: “Anti-Semitism is incompatible with the sublime ideas and truths expressed in this text,” (prayer following the Consecration, beginning “And this deign…”) “We Christians can take no part in such a movement… no, it is impossible for Christians to take part in anti-Semitism. We acknowledge that everyone has the right to defend himself, in other words, to take the necessary precautions for his protection against everything that threatens his legitimate interests. But anti- Semitism is inadmissible. Spiritually we are Semites.” According to a cardinal who witnessed the address, the Pope wept as he read the words from the Canon. This was in September 1938, after the Fascist government of Italy issued the anti-Semitic laws stripping Jews of their rights and civil liberties, including rights to inheritance, land ownership, marriage with Aryans and service in teaching posts.

Fahey comments on the passage above: “The Church condemns race hatred in general and the hatred of the Redeemer’s race in particular…Thus we find in this pronouncement of Pope Pius XI the two currents, which, down through the centuries, run through the official declarations of the Holy See concerning the Jews. On the one hand, the Sovereign Pontiffs strive to protect the Jews from physical violence and to secure respect for their family life and worship, as the life and worship of human persons. On the other hand, they aim unceasingly at protecting Christians from the contamination of Jewish Naturalism and try to prevent Jews from gaining control over Christians.” He then mentions the duty of Christians, as explained above, to observe those things concerning the Jews which the popes have forbidden. Generally, yes; Catholics are bound to oppose Naturalism.

Fr. Denis Fahey wrote at a time when a war against this great evil could possibly have been launched. But it wasn’t launched, and Catholics did not realize the true extent of the dangers. Instead many of them willingly embraced Jewish Naturalism in accepting the Novus Ordo church. As might be expected, this action culminated in a reaction — many Traditionalists overcompensated and developed an actual racial hatred for the Jews; some of them even sympathized with neo-Nazi groups and individuals, and still do today. They blamed the Jews for destroying the Church, but that blame rested far more with negligent Catholics than it ever did with the Jews or even the Freemasons.

These are the most notable of the decrees and decisions issued by the popes throughout history, or the private comments they made. In all, some 26 popes issued decrees naming the Jews, but some of these decrees were identical, others confirmed the bulls of previous popes, and still others dealt mainly with neophytes and catechumens. So of all the popes, only about 10 percent spoke out against them formally, assuming that all the main documents have been discovered that mention them. The ecumenical councils echo their teachings. It is clear that the popes treated the Jews sternly and were reluctant to give them much leeway because of the dangers they posed to the faith. But they also protected them and would not allow them to be persecuted. Pope Pius XI tells us in his last (unpublished) encyclical that the “unyielding energy” and alternating “mildness” of the popes should not be interpreted as any lack of disagreement on the subject of the Jews on the part of the Roman Pontiffs, for it mirrors only changes and variations in circumstances and the behavior of the Jews towards the Church at different times.

As noted in the first article on this subject posted Holy Thursday, Popes Pius XI and XII softened their attitude towards the Jews only to prevent/ameliorate their persecution. Pope Pius XII especially gave pristine example concerning treatment even of our greatest enemies when they are being hunted down and murdered by others. There is no use pretending that this persecution did not rise solely from their race and Hitler’s Aryan ideas concerning racial purity, which he borrowed from Theosophy and the mystery religions; it is well-known that he was involved in secret societies. And that such racial prejudice continued even long after World War II and Hitler’s defeat and lives on in a very real way today cannot be denied. That it would ever rear its ugly head among Catholics is unthinkable, but it has; and not just for religious reasons. Otherwise, there would be no attempt by Catholics to justify the excesses of warring openly against the Jews by citing a council decree that does not exist, while ignoring their responsibility to speak out against heretics once Catholic. We are to aid our enemies when they are persecuted or in danger of being persecuted, and for those who have hinted that I am “soft” on the Jews I say only that I follow the instructions of Christ to “do good to those who hate you” and the example set by the popes.

In his A Quo Primum, Pope Benedict XIV also quotes a doctor of the Church, St. Bernard, as defending the Jews against persecutors much as the last two popes did, so here I feel I am in good company. The persecutor at that time was one Radulphus, a French monk, whom Pope Benedict says was “carried away by excessive zeal…inciting the Christians to wipe them out completely. In consequence of his intemperate zeal, a great number of Jews were slaughtered.” One Peter, the abbot of Cluny also wrote against Radulphus to Louis King of France “exhorting the king to not allow the Jews to be slaughtered,” while at the same time asking the king to take severe measures against them for their abuse of Christians through usury.

St. Bernard says of the Jews: “[They] must not be persecuted; they must not be slaughtered or hunted like wild animals…Does not the Church triumph every day over the Jews in nobler fashion by bringing home to them their errors or converting them, than by slaughtering them?…” He then urges Christians to instead pray for them, that, “the veil be lifted from their hearts,” (363rd letter; letter to Henry, Archbishop of Mayence). In the present climate, those urging action against the Jews beyond those age-old sanctions already assigned by the popes run the very real risk of stirring some borderline or unstable individuals into a frenzy that would precipitate just such a massacre as Pope Benedict attributes to Radulphus.

As we have witnessed to our great sorrow, especially recently, there is no shortage of such individuals in the world today, a world gone mad as the prophet Isaias predicted for the latter days. Traditionalists Timothy McVey and John Paul 2’s would-be assassin are cases in point. Yes, the Jews killed Christ; and yes, His blood is upon their children. But do those passing as Catholics today really think that they can successfully oppose the Jews in these times, when the Jews are convinced the Church has conceded and admitted to discriminating against them? Do these people really believe they can possibly make any headway when even the popes could not successfully resolve the problem? If they do, this is sheer egoism.


Obeying the popes today


In the 15th century, the New World was established and with it came the end of the ghettoes, for American Jews at least. Jews have freely intermingled with Christians on this continent for centuries. The popes have never forbidden it in this country and for these circumstances and all true Catholics know they are not free to marry Jews or to keep close company with them. Those who love Christ and are loyal to Him and to His vicars will do the best they can to avoid financial dealings with them, not engage them as doctors, and not use them as attorneys in any matter that might even indirectly involve the faith. Nor will a Catholic knowingly work for a Jew or employ one as a nurse or nanny. They are simply obliged in conscience to choose differently in certain matters, much as Jews and Muslims would choose to avoid buying products from Christian pig farmers. But that being said, Catholics are not bound to shun them and should display the usual signs of courtesy they offer everyone else.

For the Code of Canon Law did change the status of vitandus, so that since 1917 only those may be considered vitandus who are named personally by the pope as such. Always the intent of the Catholic Church was not to ever discriminate against the Jews as a race or even a religion but to prevent contamination of Her children by those who feigned Catholicism, even working their way into the ranks of the clergy and religious. Throughout the ages, the Jews showed themselves erstwhile enemies of the Faith by blaspheming the names of Jesus and Mary and doing what they could in other ways to subvert the clergy and faithful. If the Church took measures against them, these were defensive measures to safeguard the faith of believers, and it was never without provocation and just cause on the part of the Jews. In their own publications and in secular history volumes, Jews have not hesitated to boast that they have lured Catholics from their faith and infiltrated the clergy. But this is still no excuse for disobeying the Church and demanding an eye for an eye.




During the speech given by Pope St. Pius X at the Beatification of Joan of Arc, the Pope told the faithful: “In our time more than ever before, the chief strength of the wicked lies in the cowardice and weakness of good men…All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going weakness of Catholics,” (ibid, Fahey). What are we weak in? It is clear from the consequences following Vatican 2 that Catholics did not know their faith. Pope Benedict XIV and the Cure of Ars both told Catholics in their day that this was the cause of many people losing their souls. Since the death of Pius XII, there have been no instructors in the faith. Catholics have been the victims of constant lies, half-truths, misinformation and out-and-out fraud. Some have become so confused about their faith they have abandoned it as impracticable. Traditionalist “clerics” and other self-appointed leaders ceaselessly vie with each other to gift them with their brand of the truth; or engage them in a crusade against their personal pet peeve. Yet they need listen to only one teacher, and that is Christ Himself, who speaks through His vicars. Access to their documents has never been so easy, with the advent of the Internet, and yet these documents are seldom read. Christ speaks to us, He remains with us, and yet no one reads, that they might understand.

Those pushing Catholics to realize the dangers posed by certain Jewish interests controlling politics, money and business in this nation are not wrong in what they are saying, but they assume they are talking to people who can understand what they are conveying from a truly Catholic perspective. This, however, is NOT the case. And as pointed out above, even if educated Catholics were the rule and not the exception, how could they possibly be successful in trying to change a system so totally decimated by naturalism as the American system is today without the active help and protection of the Church and Her hierarchy? Catholics must first be confident that they understand the present situation in the Church from a biblical and papal perspective, then they can leave the Traditional movement and begin learning their faith.

Because the faith was never taught and learned properly in the first place, they must start at the beginning, to learn what was missed or misunderstood and why. This takes time, patience, dedication and discipline. The material must be learned in the order provided by the catechisms the person has chosen to study and then amplified prudently with other material. Once the individual arrives at what they feel is a level of certitude about all they have studied, then perhaps more can be added to their knowledge base, but not too much at one time or too quickly. Basically the drive to combat the ascendancy of Naturalism would come under the heading of advanced studies. It is a project best confined to special Catholic Action and those suited to it, but only if they present it in the above perspective provided by the popes and do not falsely teach that any course of action should involve anything suggesting discrimination against or persecution of the Jews.

This sort of Catholic Action, however, is not something that the popes would wish us to become involved in today; given the general task of bringing most lay people up to speed, it is too risky and time-intensive, although the basic principles must be understood by Catholics. In stating that the laity must take over the duties of the hierarchy when they are absent, Pope Pius XII indicated the laity could engage in the lay apostolate, but also commented that they had to observe the Church’s known wishes in these matters. It was clearly the intent of the last two popes that specialized Catholic Action, in particular, should be overseen by the hierarchy, and we know that is not possible today.

Renegade cardinals, archbishops and bishops are the ones to blame for the demise of the Church, not primarily the Jews. They who professed to love Christ, to defend the Church with their blood (symbolized by the red color of the cardinals’ robes); those who were charged with feeding and guarding His lambs are far more at fault, as Pope Paul IV states in Cum ex…, than the enemies from without. Christ entrusted His Church to the bishops, first among them St. Peter, and even they fled from the Jews following His Passion and death on the Cross. But at least, with the exception of Judas, they did not abandon their faith. We know from lists gathered following Pope Pius XII’s death that many Cardinals and bishops were Freemasons, and they proved their affiliation by remaining in the Novus Ordo Church. They also made concessions to the Jews. But persecuting the Jews will not restore the Church; instead, since the popes have forbidden it, it will only cause us to lose our souls. This Pope Pius XI also pointed out, noting that continued persecution only exacerbates the situation, intensifying the hatred and resentment of the group persecuted against their oppressors.

Repenting for our sins, engaging in the lay apostolate — in however small a way that may be — and working diligently for each other’s salvation alone will save us. As long as true Catholics continue to follow false lay and clerical leaders who feed them stones for bread, lies for truth, there is no hope of saving our souls. When these finally realize that they are bound to accept and follow only the true teachings of the Popes and Councils, and willingly give up their pet theories to embrace this obedience, then perhaps God will see fit to have mercy on mankind and shorten these dreadful times. Pope Pius XI ended his last encyclical by informing Catholics that it is “high time” they made reparation to the Sacred Heart for the sins committed against other peoples, nations and races, to avoid a terrible and just punishment from our Lord. Those who insist on assigning to the Church an attitude concerning the Jews contrary to what this pope and others have taught would do well to take this statement to heart.

Are the Jews to Blame for Dismantling the Church?

Copyright 2006; revised 2014, T. Stanfill Benns (All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)

In these times especially, we must be wary of those who, even though well-intentioned, would overemphasize some aspect of the crisis in the Church to the extent that it takes on larger proportions than it truly possessed throughout history as well as today. One of these subjects is the role the Jews have played in the demise of the Church, a popular topic among Traditionalists for decades. Because some Traditionalists actually nurture a bitter animus towards the Jews, who they feel are responsible for the Church’s current state, they have crossed a line that we as Catholics are not allowed to cross. They could potentially do great damage to the Church and the efforts of those who are trying desperately to make known the true causes of this crisis. In order to understand what the popes require of Catholics regarding their attitude towards the Jews, please read and consider carefully the pages below.

One of the favorite ploys of the secret societies that quickly besmirches any work is the anti-Semitism smear. Many Catholic authors and theologians writing prior to World War II bought into anti-Semitic propaganda circulated by Hitler and others to justify the coming war. While there is no doubt that certain high-placed Jews play a leading role in secret societies’ orientation to world domination and the persecution of the Church, the blame load must be laid on Catholic, not Jewish shoulders. How else do we explain the Catholicity of an Origen, an Arius, a Montanus, Michael Cerularius, Wycliffe, Huss, Martin Luther, King Henry VIII, Weishaupt, priestly founder of the modern-day Illuminati, and even Hitler, a baptized Catholic? The Church’s worst enemies have always been those of Her own household. Without the help of traitors among Catholic ranks, the destruction we behold in the Church would have been impossible. It was Pope Pius IX who first referred to Freemasonry as “the Synagogue of Satan,” officially defining the meaning of Apocalypse 2: 9: “Behold I will bring of the Synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but do lie…I will make them come and adore before thy feet.”

Jewish convert David Goldstein explains anti-Semitism

From this verse we can speculate that Freemasonry wishes to pass under false colors and implicate the Jews or those claiming to be Jews by race and religion following the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Yet such are not Jews by Jesus’ definition. Rev. E. Cahill, S.J. quoting the 14th edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, noted: “Freemasonry is essentially an Anglo-Saxon institution.” Referring to statistics printed in the London Times in October 1928, Cahill informs his readers that “thirteen-fourteenths” of all Masonic members are either American or British. He notes that Masonry doubled its ranks between 1910-1928, although in recent decades Masonic Temples reportedly have experienced a decline in membership. Cahill denied that Masonry was founded by the Jews and observed that the Kabbalistic teaching of the Lodge is embraced by only a certain segment of the Jewish population, not all Jews. But he admitted that the advent of Reform Judaism (Zionism) contributed to increased Jewish membership in Masonic ranks.

David Goldstein, a Catholic convert, did not soft pedal the involvement of Jews in anti-Catholic activities, although he does point out that certain Catholic writers treating the “Jewish problem” have relied too heavily on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for their proofs. In his book Jewish Panorama, Goldstein dismissed the Protocols as “vicious forgeries.” While this strange revelation of clandestine goals may have seemed preposterous in Goldstein’s day, the fact that so much written in the Protocols has come to pass is a sure sign that they were not the forgeries Goldstein believed them to be, but a blueprint for a high-level branch of Freemasonry. They were not the products of Jewish minds, but the product instead of those burrowing ever deeper into the Church from within, “the serpents in Her bosom” referred to by Pope St. Pius X.

Goldstein reported that about two-thirds of all Reform rabbis who espouse the ideals of Darwin and Marx were counted as Masons in a survey conducted by New Age magazine, the official Masonic publication, in 1927. This number changed little, he added, between 1927 and the book’s publication date in 1940. Goldstein also quoted an expert on Russian affairs, Rev. Edmund Walsh, S.J., concerning the predominant role the Jews played in the rise of Bolshevism. “The role played by Jews and the Germans (in the Bolshevik Revolution) was considerable and active,” Walsh commented. “I maintain that Bolshevism is a natural phase in the evolution of a strictly historical process originating in the soil, culture and the politics of Russia itself.”

And this is understandable because in reality, many of those claiming Jewish descent were actually the descendants of white Russian Kazhar converts to Judaism from the eighth century. At that time a large number of Jews from Islam and Greece fled from various persecutions to what is now Russia and converted others there to Judaism. Judaism as their official religion. So while influenced by the Talmudism they converted to, these Russians remained Russian (actually Caucasian) always by race. Eventually the majority of these Jews strictly by religion migrated to Europe, constituting the bulk of the Jewish population there today, (see Arthur Koestler’s The Thirteenth Tribe, 1976).

Goldstein maintained that the lists printed by Rev. Denis Fahey and others proving the Jews were at the heart of the Revolution were the product of Jewish propaganda, first published by a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Goldstein says those Jews participating in the revolution were shown to be only nominally Jewish. And even Fahey quoted St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica IIIa, P. Q. 47, a6 ad1) to the effect that Christ’s words on the Cross, “Forgive them, Father…” were addressed to “the common people, but not the ‘Princes of the Jews,’ whose ignorance was affected and who evidenced hatred for Christ,” (The Kingship of Christ). Rev. Arthur Riley reminded those attending the Good Neighbor Conference in Boston in 1944 that, “The Church never has officially said or stated that the Jews as a race are responsible for the death of Christ,” (pamphlet on Anti-Semitism). In medieval times, St. Bernard of Clairvaux demonstrated great compassion for the Jews, urging Catholics to pray for them rather than resort to the civil authorities to punish them.  And the Church disciplined the monk Radolphus, who agitated the people to retaliate against the Jews for charging interest and injuring Christian rights.

Goldstein also defined proper titles for the Jewish people during various phases of their existence. He denied that the Jews are any longer a racial entity, having long ago been diluted by migration and intermarriage. He explained that the Jews, proper, existed only from about 400 B.C. to Christ’s death on the Cross. Prior to 400 B.C., they are to be called Israelites. Although Christ was descended from the tribe of Juda/jew-da, (meaning just), he cautioned that Christ’s Jewishness must not be confused with that of the Jews living in Israel after the Resurrection. Those who are called Jews today are to be considered as a separate group, professing beliefs added to the Talmud over the centuries since the Temple’s destruction in 70 A.D.

The distinction becomes clear if we consider that Christ’s family kept to the Torah and the old ways of Judaism and was not infected with the Hellenizing element of Greek democracy, like the majority of the Jews in their day. It becomes clearer still when we realize that it was actually the early Romans who first leveled ritual murder charges at the Jews. This is not to say that the malignant among the Jews were not guilty of some of these acts in later centuries, for St. Hugh of Lincoln and Bd. Andreas both are honored by the Church as children murdered by such Jews; also St. Simeon. But in many other cases “The popes courageously, and in face of general popular antagonism, have defended the Jews against calumnious accusations, notably of ritual murder,” (Anti-Semitism, Rev. Riley).

The Muslims, Chinese, Native Americans and the Protestants, also, have murdered martyrs revered as saints and no one has accused them of ritual murder. In explaining the Romans’ charges, H. Daniel-Rops demonstrated only that such charges can be exaggerated and even fabricated to create fear and revulsion for political gain. “A very hostile attitude existed toward the Jews in the Roman world,” Daniel-Rops wrote, (The Church of the Apostles and Martyrs.) Ridiculous stories and malicious absurdities were circulated about the Jews and their religious beliefs and practices, he explained, much as they are about certain Catholics today. This prejudice then engendered animosity and eventually resulted in “real pogroms” that involved bloodshed. “To a large extent, anti- Christian feeling was to be molded on anti-Semitism,” he observed, especially since the Romans very often perceived the Christians as a quasi-Jewish sect.

Pope Pius XI defends the Jews

It would take 1,932 years for anti-Semitism to erupt in all its pent-up fury. But when it did come to the forefront, the Vicar of Christ was at the helm to speak in the very words used by Our Lord Himself: “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” Already, however, the forces of evil were quick to stifle His words. At about the same time Goldstein was writing his work, another pen was laboriously completing what would become the last encyclical written by Pope Pius XI. Bearing the official title, Humani Generis Unitatis, it was called the “lost” encyclical because Pius XI died only days before it could be issued. Although he left explicit instructions to release the encyclical in the event of his death, his Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, who would succeed him as Pius XII, never fulfilled his dying wish.

The immediate commencement of World War II only months after Pius XI left this earth made fulfilling his predecessor’s wish problematic for Pope Pius XII, for reasons Pius XI himself states in his encyclical. Still, no official explanation was ever offered concerning its suppression. Pius XII did eventually issue an encyclical entitled Humani Generis, reflecting some of the ideas in his predecessor’s encyclical. But even after the war’s end removed any danger connected with its release, the encyclical remained hidden from view. In this last encyclical, Pope Pius XI addressed the evils of modern technology and established the Church’s official attitude in regards to anti-Semitism. Anticipating the tidal wave inexorably headed for Europe during those dark days prior to his death, the Pope’s words would have done much to establish battle lines for Catholics inundated with Nazi racial propaganda, unsure where to draw the lines according to Catholic dogma. A summary of the anti-Semitism section of his encyclical is given here with quotes where applicable.

  1. The Church upholds and defends Her right to warn Her children against those actively hostile to the Christian religion, especially, “misguided souls, whether of the Jewish people or other origin, who ally themselves with or promote” revolutionary movements aimed at the destruction of society and the Catholic Church.
  2. Alternating mildness and zeal on the part of the popes over the centuries in addressing this anti-Catholic attitude does not reflect “any interior change in the Church’s policy,” which is easily found confirmed in “the conduct of bishops…and Her ecumenical councils,” and especially the conduct of the Holy See.
  3. Under the specific heading “Anti-Semitism,” Pope Pius XI states: “Such persecutory methods are totally at variance with the true spirit of the Catholic Church.” Quoting a decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office dated March 5, 1928, the pope points to the Church’s professed love for the Jews and desire for their salvation. The decree contains a resolution on the part of the papacy to continue to protect the Jews against unjust oppression and open anti-Semitism.
  4. From a psychological standpoint, Pius XI explains that such persecutions only entrench any group in their initial tendencies, doing injury to any hope of conversion.
  5. Pius XI urges those unjustly oppressed not to repay evil with evil. He cautions that they must hate the sin and love the sinner where anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic activity is concerned. The pope warns the world that hatred for the Jews readily provides a ruse for attacking Christ and His Church, since Jesus was a Hebrew Himself.
  6. The pope explains why anti-Semitism is a double-edged sword for the Church, an explosive issue that can cause Her acute embarrassment and pave the way for accusations that the Church has chosen sides politically. At that time to oppose anti-Semitism would have aligned the Vatican with the Allies, precluding any hope of negotiating an early end to the hostilities. An attempt to defend the Jews would only have succeeded “in attributing earthly and political motives to Her legitimate defense of Christian principles.” On the other hand, the least insinuation from the Vatican that joining the anti- Semites in their vilification of everything Jewish has at least some small justification would be even more disastrous.
  7. The pope reminds the faithful that Church teaching is “unequivocal and unchanging.” The Church has no interest in political intrigues but wishes only to uphold the laws of justice and charity. She desires only to preserve the truths of faith entrusted to Her and pray for the eventual conversion of the Jews. She yet holds the Jews responsible for their attitudes toward Christianity and does not fail to teach that the Jews, especially those allied with “the highest tribunal in the Jewish nation,” in collusion with the pagan authorities, were responsible for Christ’s crucifixion. Generally, however, the Church blames the Jewish priests and lay leaders, not the Jewish people themselves, for Christ’s arrest and death.
  8. Pope Pius XI decries the ravages of racism in general, and persecution of the Jews in particular. “As a result of this persecution, millions of persons are deprived of the most elementary rights and privileges of citizens in the very land of their birth. Denied legal protection…exposed to every form of insult and public degradation, innocent persons are treated as criminals although they have scrupulously obeyed the laws of their native land. The struggle for racial purity ends by being uniquely the struggle against the Jews…no different in true motives and methods from persecution carried out against the Jews since antiquity. These persecutions have been censored by the Holy See on more than one occasion but especially when they have worn the mantle of Christianity.”
  9. Pius XI concludes this section by soliciting prayers for the conversion of the Jews, sternly warning Catholics that no force or promise of material gain ever is to be employed in such conversions, since it would only result in hypocrisy. His final words encourage Catholics to be merciful to the persecuted and defend their rights, demanding from all “a vigorous condemnation of anti-Semitism and racism wherever these doctrines raise their heads.”

Attempts to portray Pope Pius XII as an anti-Semite

Such is the official position of the Catholic Church concerning the Jews and we see no need here, despite any “politically correct” stance demanded by the liberal press to depart from Pius XI’s assessment of the situation. Recent attempts to indict Pope Pius XII for failing to do all he could do for the Jews has been ably refuted by competent historians. The proofs cited in such works as A Question of Judgment: Pius XII and the Jews, a booklet written by the Director for the International Affairs Department of the Anti- Defamation League and distributed in 1963 disproves the accusation that Pope Pius XII was an anti-Semite. The author demonstrates, rather, that the Pope did all he could to assist the Jews in their hour of need, just as Pius XI promised and the papacy has done historically. As for the case against anti-Semitism from a Jewish point of view, if the Jewish people themselves absolve us from blame, how can others accuse us?

In the course of his sympathetic and meticulously thorough best-selling book, Jews, God and History, Max I. Dumont was careful to distinguish between true and false anti- Semitism, attributing the confusion to semantic difficulties. He pointed out that there must be an illogical and irrational element to true anti-Semitism, stemming entirely from unconscious motivation. He separated what many historians have judged to be medieval Catholic, anti-Semitic prejudice from true anti-Semitism by explaining that Catholics, at least, had a very rational, logical reason for their attitude toward the Jews. Dumont also stated that the true anti-Semite does not offer Jews an alternative to being Jewish, hope of redemption, or a solution to their Jewish “problem.”

In contrast, the Church was always careful to hold out the promise of eternal salvation in exchange for conversion in dealing with the Jewish people. Clearly Dumont would not include the Church or Catholics who oppose Jews on religious grounds in the category of true anti-Semites. He did not agree with other historians who took the Popes to task for creating Jewish ghettoes, explaining that in reality, this was only an enforced sort of segregation, not a prison-type experience. True anti-Semites, he emphasized, hate the Jew merely for his race. They hate him to the exclusion of all others, and would not hesitate to exterminate him simply on the basis of race alone. If Mr. Dumont, himself a Jew, can hold such a balanced view, it would seem that others could follow his lead.


Accusations of anti-Semitism against the Church are inspired, Rev. Riley said, by “opponents of organized religion… seeking violence to attain a mass movement against religion.” He explained that the real purpose of the false anti-Semitism charge was “either to eliminate Catholics, because their Church is considered to be the precipitating factor, or eliminate the question of the Messianic mission from controversy… Religiously (this) is suicidal.” The world must realize that the Church, as She was constituted and has always existed, is not composed of Jew haters. Her teachings and Her Supreme Pontiffs forbade it, and until recently Catholics were loyal to Church teaching. As Dimont stressed, for every Jew the Inquisition questioned and released, it executed 1,000 Christians.

The Church’s worst enemies were always those of Her own household. If Catholics wish to know why they lost the papacy and the Latin Tridentine Mass, they need look no further than Daniel 8:12. In this passage he speaks of the cessation of the continual sacrifice, a verse initially applied to the cessation of the Jewish sacrifice and destruction of the Temple under Antiochus but also to a future cessation and destruction, which can only be our own. Antichrist will abolish the continual sacrifice “because of sins,” Daniel wrote. And the “sacrifices” offered by Traditionalists today do not qualify as a continuation of those offered by priests certainly validly ordained and sent by competent authority.

The sins Daniel mentions encompass both the sins of the Chosen People in the Old Covenant and ours in the New. It especially points the finger at Traditionalist pseudo-clerics who by belonging to secret societies themselves and exercising orders they never validly received have done far more damage to Catholics than the Jews could have ever hoped to do. Today we should be wearing sackcloth and ashes and beating our breasts with mean culpas, all the while reciting the prayer addressed to God in Daniel 9:4-19 for mercy and forgiveness. If, when He comes to chastise us, Jesus cannot find a “few good Catholics” among us who realize the necessity of repentance, how else will the world escape the wrath of God?

No pope no Church; no bishop no priest

Traditionalists today forget that the Catholic Church cannot exist without a true pope. This also is the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Catechism of the Council of Trent, the Popes themselves and the theologians.

Pope Pius IX teaches this fact from his own mouth: “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, whose work was personally endorsed by Pope St. Pius X, wrote: “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,” (Christian Apologetics, Vol. II, p. 111).

Traditionalists today may call themselves priests and bishops, but they are doubtfully valid at best, are usurping the powers of the papacy and pretending to perpetuate the Church without a pope contrary to all Church teaching. It is the popes — NOT the bishops and priests, so-called — to whom we must listen. Men not certainly lawful pastors have no power over us whatsoever. The rights of priests are dependent on the bishop, the bishops’ rights and duties are dependent on the pope, and we have no true pope OR bishops. This is evident from what is stated below.

What are the rights and duties of a priest?

“Consequently, it is not easy to say in a way applicable to all cases what are the duties and rights of a priest; both vary considerably in individual cases. By his ordination a priest is invested with powers rather than with rights, the exercise of these powers (to celebrate Mass, remit sins, preach, administer the sacraments, direct and minister to the Christian people) being regulated by the common laws of the church, the jurisdiction of the bishop, and the office or charge of each priest,” (http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/p/priest.html). Canon 108: “Those who have been assigned to the ministry, at least by the first tonsure, are called clerics.” Canon 118: “Only clerics can obtain the power of either orders or ecclesiastical jurisdiction…”

Apostolicity means possessing both orders AND jurisdiction.

“Apostolicity of mission consists in the power of holy orders and the power of jurisdiction derived by legitimate transmission from the Apostles. Any religious organization whose ministers do not possess these two powers is not accredited to preach the Gospel of Christ. For ‘How can they preach,’ asks the Apostle, ‘unless they be sent?’ (Rom. 10:15). It is Apostolicity of mission which is reckoned as a note of the Church.” (http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/c/church.html see “apostolicity” header).

From the Catechism

What does Father Thomas Kinkead tell American Catholics on lawful pastors in the catechism used in Catholic schools in the 1940s and 1950s, before the decline of the Church? In his An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism, #4, Fr. Kinkead writes in Q. 115: “What is the Church? A. The Church is the congregation of all those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same sacraments, and are governed by their lawful pastors under one visible head.” The Baltimore Council’s approved catechism (#3) for adults also written by Rev. Kinkead tells us in the answer to question # 494 that lawful pastors are “those in the Church who have been appointed by lawful authority and who have therefore a right to rule us.” Note that this says nothing of the supposedly “validly” consecrated bishops who have created these priests; it mentions only lawful authority. Valid consecration is not sufficient; if a bishop has not been approved by the pope and consecrated with the papal mandate he cannot function validly, (see Etsi multa and Charitas below).

“Even if valid orders exist, where jurisdiction is lacking there is no real apostolicity. Schism, as well as heresy, destroys apostolic succession,” (Rev. Thomas Cox, Pillar and Ground of Truth, 1900).  In his Manual of Christian Doctrine, written for religious congregations and Catholic institutions of higher learning, seminary professor Rev. John Joseph McVey wrote in 1926:

Q. 60: Who after the pope are lawful pastors of the Church?

A. The bishops who have been canonically instituted, i.e., who have received from the Sovereign Pontiff a diocese to govern.

Q. 73: Why is it not sufficient to be a bishop or priest in order to be a lawful pastor?

A. Because a bishop must also be sent into a diocese by the Pope, and a priest must be sent into a parish by the bishop. In other words, a pastor must have not only the power of order, but also THE POWER OF JURISDICTION, (emph. McVey’s).

Q. 77: How is the power of jurisdiction communicated?

A. Priests receive their jurisdiction from the bishop of the diocese; bishops receive theirs from the pope; and the Pope holds jurisdiction from Jesus Christ. A bishop who did not have his spiritual powers from the Pope, a pastor who did not have his from the lawful bishop, would be AN INTRUDER OR SCHISMATIC,” (emph. McVey’s). So not only are Traditionalist “priests” and “bishops” illicitly ordained and consecrated, without a true pope they possess NO jurisdiction whatsoever.

Canonical mission is the conveying of the actual office by the Pope (to bishops) or the bishop (to priests), or the superior (to religious). (Delegated) jurisdiction, the power to execute the duties of that office, is granted to priests only by a validly ordained and consecrated bishop whose consecration was approved by a canonically elected pope (meaning his election was held without any doubts whatsoever about its legitimacy as prescribe by Canon Law and Pope Pius XII’s papal election constitution governing papal elections.) This means only bishops consecrated prior to Pope Pius XII’s death on Oct. 9, 1958 are considered validly consecrated.

Heretics and schismatics lose all jurisdiction

St. Robert Bellarmine says. “There is no basis for that which some respond to this: that these Fathers based themselves on ancient law, while nowadays, by decree of the Council of Constance, they alone lose their jurisdiction who are excommunicated by name or who assault clerics. This argument, I say, has no value at all, for those Fathers, in affirming that heretics lose jurisdiction, did not cite any human law, which furthermore perhaps did not exist in relation to the matter, but argued on the basis of the very nature of heresy. The Council of Constance only deals with the excommunicated, that is, those who have lost jurisdiction by sentence of the Church, while heretics already before being excommunicated are outside the Church and deprived of all jurisdiction.

For they have already been condemned by their own sentence, as the Apostle teaches (Tit. 3:10-11), that is, they have been cut off from the body of the Church without excommunication, as St. Jerome affirms… All the ancient Fathers…teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction, and outstandingly that of St. Cyprian (lib. 4, epist. 2) who speaks as follows of Novatian, who was Pope [i.e. antipope] in the schism which occurred during the pontificate of St. Cornelius: “He would not be able to retain the episcopate [i.e. of Rome], and, if he was made bishop before, he separated himself from the body of those who were, like him, bishops, and from the unity of the Church.’” (An Extract from St. Robert Bellarmine’s De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30, (http://www.cmri.org/02-bellarmine-roman-pontiff.html. This link is placed merely for purposes of attribution; no endorsement of this site is hereby intended.)

St. Robert Bellarmine, (de Romano Pontifice, Bk. 2, Chapter 40) also teaches: “The Holy Fathers teach unanimously not only that heretics are outside of the Church, but also that they are ipso facto deprived of all ecclesiastical jurisdiction and dignity …Saint Nicholas I (epist. Ad Michael) repeats and confirms the same. Finally, Saint Thomas also teaches (II-II, Q39, A3) that schismatics immediately lose all jurisdiction, and that anything they try to do on the basis of any jurisdiction will be null…” Further, St. Robert Bellarmine cites the unanimous teaching of the Fathers in his work “de Romano Pontifice,” where he states: “Heretics who return to the Church must be received as laymen, even though they have been formerly priests or bishops in the Church. St. Optatus (lib. 1 cont. Parmen.).”

Without such jurisdiction priests cannot act validly (confession, marriage, etc.), unless the Church supplies it, (in “emergency” situations). Priests must be assigned an office by a valid bishop in communion with the pope. A valid bishop can only convey an office if he possesses jurisdiction (Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, 1559, still retained in the 1917 code) and no one who has committed heresy possesses jurisdiction. Without this office and valid assignment to it by a valid bishop, priests cannot say Mass publicly.

Revs. Woywod-Smith, A Practical Commentary on Canon Law, (under Can. 804) write:

“699. A priest who desires to say Holy Mass in a church other than that to which he is attached must show authentic and still valid letters of recommendation (commonly called ‘Celebret’) to the priest in charge of the church. A secular priest must obtain these letters from his Ordinary, a religious priest from his superior, and a priest of an Oriental Rite from the Sacred Congregation of the Oriental Church. A priest who has a proper ‘‘Celebret’’ shall be admitted to say Mass, unless it is known that in the meantime he has done something for reason of which he must be kept from saying Holy Mass

“If the priest has no ‘Celebret,’ but the rector of the church knows well that he is a priest in good standing, he may be allowed to say Mass. If, however, he is unknown to the rector, he may nevertheless be permitted to say Mass once or twice,” provided he fulfill certain conditions.

“700. The Council of Chalcedon (451) ruled that no strange cleric or lector should be permitted to minister outside his own town without letters of recommendation from his own bishop. Pope Innocent III issued the same prohibition but said that the priest who did not have his letters of recommendation might be admitted to say Mass if he desired to do so out of devotion: he might not, however, say Mass before the people, but privately. The Council of Trent again made the rule absolute—as the Council of Chalcedon had it—that no priest should be permitted to celebrate Mass and administer the Sacraments without letters of recommendation from his own bishop.”

As St. Pius X taught in Acerbo nimis (1905): “Pastors…are obliged by the precept of Christ to know and to nourish the sheep confided to them; now to nourish is first of all to teach… (a) And so the Apostle said, ‘Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the Gospel, (b) indicating thus that the first office of those who are set up in any way for the government of the Church is to instruct the faithful in sacred doctrine.” So how is it that Traditionalists violate this teaching by rushing to provide Mass and Sacraments and failing entirely to instruct the faithful in sacred doctrine?   How is it that despite Pope Boniface VIII’s teaching that unless all the faithful are subject to the Roman Pontiff, they cannot save their souls, Traditionalists fail to require strict obedience to papal law and teaching?

Canon 147 teaches: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical appointment. By canonical appointment is understood the conferring of an ecclesiastical office by the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the sacred canons,” and this canon has been officially interpreted by Pope Pius XII to mean exactly what Pope Pius IX taught in the paragraph from Graves diurturnae quoted below, and the Council of Trent taught in the 1500s.

“This Holy Synod teaches that, in the ordination of bishops, priests and other orders…those who are called and instituted only by the people, or by the civil power…and proceed to exercise these offices, and…those who take these offices upon themselves, are not ministers of the Church, but are to be regarded as ‘thieves, robbers and those who have not entered by the door,’” (DZ 960; Canons 108-109; Can. 147.) “”If anyone says that … those who have neither been rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical authority, but come from a different source, are the lawful ministers of the Word and of the Sacraments, let him be anathema.” (The Council of Trent, Sess. 23, July 15, 1563; DZ 967, 424). Having taught this infallibly, would “the Church” really be willing to supply jurisdiction for them?

When Can. 209 says the “Church” supplies, that term is interpreted to mean the Roman Pontiff, who is the only one throughout history who has EVER supplied jurisdiction. The Pope is the ONLY one who holds primacy of jurisdiction in the Church. All this is according to the Vatican Council decrees and is further explained in Rev. Francis Miaskiewicz’s Canon Law dissertation Supplied Jurisdiction According to Canon 209, (1948, Catholic University of America). And when Canon 2261 §2 says priests may act in emergency situations to administer the Sacraments, it is assumed that the Church (the Pope) will supply jurisdiction. But we have no true pope to supply it, so priests cannot now receive this jurisdiction. Without it they cannot act, as NO ONE may usurp papal jurisdiction during an interregnum. This Pope Pius XII infallibly teaches in his papal election constitution, (Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, 1945):

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.”  And if even the cardinals (some of whom are also bishops) cannot exercise it, and they are superior in rank to bishops, certainly bishops could not presume to do so. Only the pope can supply the papal mandate; this is an act of papal jurisdiction.

Validly consecrated bishops such as Lefebvre and Thuc long ago incurred heresy and communicatio in sacris by celebrating the Novus Ordo Missae. They publicly admitted they celebrated this false liturgy in communion with a false church and Lefebvre never left that church. (Thuc vacillated back and forth between Traditionalism and the Novus Ordo throughout his life.) Therefore they incurred the penalty for notorious heresy, (Can. 2314 §1). Canon 2314 §3 further provides that if they commit communicatio in sacris (Can. 1258) they also incur a vindicative penalty, which only the pope is able to lift, (Can. 2295). Canon 2294 (Revs. Woywod-Smith commentary) classifies any act performed under the imposition of a vindicative penalty invalid. Furthermore, in his papal election law, Pius XII declares any act usurping papal jurisdiction during an interregnum null and void. One cannot presume to act validly and licitly without a papal dispensation from this penalty while the Church is without Her head.

So first of all, Lefebvre and Thuc are notorious heretics and schismatics (notorious by fact, meaning Catholics know what they did was an act of treason against the Church, they know that they did it because they have confessed it or otherwise confirmed it publicly and they know what they did was wrong; Can. 2197 no. 3). These two men automatically lost their offices and all jurisdiction. They cannot plead ignorance; for as Pope Celestine I taught: “No priest may be ignorant of the canons,” far less a bishop! These men were forbidden to function by papal decree, interregnum or no, (see Etsi multa and Charitas below). So even when not operating during an interregnum, past papal laws have declared the operations of such schismatics/heretics null and void in similar cases. During an interregnum, the acts of those who violate papal laws or usurp papal jurisdiction are infallibly declared null and void by Pius XII above.

Schismatic bishops can validly consecrate when a canonically elected pope is reigning, because then the reigning pope can judge and rectify such consecrations. But during an interregnum, such consecrations are null ab initio, (from the outset) because the pope infallibly forbids it. All affairs are to be referred to the future pope in advance of their accomplishment. Any attempted these consecrations are considered as though they never happened. Traditionalists cannot presume to consecrate bishops without a papal mandate, as Pope Pius IX unequivocally demonstrates in Etsi Multa. If a priest is not consecrated a bishop, he cannot validly ordain priests because technically he is still a priest himself. And since Traditionalist consecrations of bishops never happen, ordinations cannot happen either.

All comes back to Can. 147, explained above. In order to function as a valid and lawful pastor, one must be assigned an office. All must be done in accordance with the canons. All offices are lost on the commission of heresy, (Can. 188 no. 4 and Can. 2314 §2; also St. Bellarmine above).

Pope Pius IX, Etsi Multa (November 1873)

“24. But these men [the Old Catholics], 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…

“25. 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.

26. 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,” [Vitandus!] (http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9etsimu.htm).

Pope Pius IX, Graves Diurturnae (March 1875):

“We have already reproved and condemned this deplorable sect [the Old Catholics] which has produced from the old store of the heretics so many errors opposed to the principal tenets of the Catholic faith. This sect overthrows the foundations of the Catholic religion, shamelessly rejects the dogmatic definitions of the Ecumenical Vatican Council, and devotes itself to the ruin of souls in so many ways… [The faithful] should totally shun their religious celebrations, their buildings, and their chairs of pestilence, which they have with impunity established to transmit the sacred teachings. They should shun their writings and all contact with them. They should not have any dealings or meetings with usurping priests and apostates from the faith who dare to exercise the duties of an ecclesiastical minister without possessing a legitimate mission or any jurisdiction. They should avoid them as strangers and thieves who come only to steal, slay, and destroy.” ‪


Pope Pius IX, Quartus Supra (January 1873)

“As Our predecessor Pius VI warned in his Apostolic letter condemning the civil constitution of the clergy in France, discipline is often so closely related to doctrine and has such a great influence on its preservation and its purity, that the sacred councils have not hesitated to cut off from the Church by their anathema those who have infringed its discipline.www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9quartu.htm

Pope Pius VI, Charitas (April, 1791)

“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 whatsoeverFor 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…” www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius06/p6charit.htm

It is a sin of presumption to think Christ would supply jurisdiction in the pope’s absence as some teach today. There is no law in the Church anywhere that says in the present “emergency” situation Our Lord would supply jurisdiction; Charitas above says no “pretext of necessity” would justify such a belief. Pope Pius XII’s infallible papal election constitution says it does not/cannot occur. Even Our Lord cannot supersede a pope’s infallible decree, for He promises to bind in Heaven whatever His Vicar binds on earth, and He is ever true to His promises. The Church’s teachings must be taken as a whole, as a flawless composite of integral truth. One truth cannot contradict the other. If the Traditionalist scenario is true then the popes quoted above are liars. We are to obey God not men, and God speaks to us only through his VICARS and those in communion with them. The choice is and has always been our own. The Church infallibly commands us to be subject to the Roman Pontiff if we wish to be saved (Boniface VIII). And we cannot be subject to them by following men who refuse to observe the teachings of the continual magisterium and insist on functioning outside communion with a canonically elected pope.



Vatican Council: Pope is sole interpreter of Divine Truth

Vatican Council: Pope is sole interpreter of Divine Truth

+Feast of the  Purification+

 Month of February, Dedicated to the Holy Family

Prayer Society Intention

Oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we humbly beseech Thee to protect our families in these tempestuous times fraught with so many evils. Please keep us ever faithful and always pure in body, mind and soul. Amen.

To our readers

Owing to formatting problems resulting from a WordPress glitch, readers attempting to access site articles may have been unable to decipher some of the site content and for this we apologize. Please know that these errors, with a few exceptions, have now been corrected. Next, we will be working to update links in site articles, but this will be a slow process; please be patient. Non-working links or other issues may be reported at answers@betrayedcatholics.com

The article featured on the homepage addressing epikeia has been updated to include a part two on “necessity knows no law,” since Traditionalists continue to use this legal principle to justify their operations. It comes at the end of the epikeia article and is only five pages long. See https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/epikeia-negates-the-churchs-divine-constitution/ . This is further proof that Traditionalists, from the outset, have tried to make their followers believe that legal principles are superior to revealed truth and can rightfully replace what has been infallibly taught by the Roman Pontiffs.

The Vatican Council on interpretation of papal decrees

The headline above may seem self-evident. But if it truly was understood, there would be no need for many of the articles posted to this website. Nor any need to repeatedly refute the allegations lobbied against these articles/this author. Unfortunately, the misrepresentation and misunderstanding of this most essential dogma is so deeply rooted that it seems a special effort should be made to better explain and demystify it. The entire thrust of the Vatican Council held in 1869 was to define the primacy and the divine nature of jurisdiction entrusted by Christ to Saint Peter and his successors, to rule the Church in His name: “He who hears you, hears me.” For those so enamored of the episcopal power, close to 700 bishops and heads of religious orders, at one time or another, attended the Vatican Council, the largest gathering in Church history. A total of 533 affirmed these dogmas, with only a scant few dissenters. Sixty of those who left to avoid the final vote later accepted the definition. The infallible decrees of this council declared the following, which will be followed by my comments.

Probably the most important of these infallible Vatican Council decisions for us today is the following: “God cannot deny Himself… but a vain appearance of such a contradiction arises chiefly from this: that either the dogmas of faith have not been understood and interpreted according to the mind of the Church or deceitful opinions are considered as the determinations of reason, therefore ‘Every assertion contrary to the truth illuminated by faith we define to be altogether false’” [Lateran Council V, no. 738.]; (DZ 1797).

Comment: Since God cannot deny Himself, this means that the Vatican Council decisions regarding the dogmas of faith must issue directly from God through His Son and to His Vicars on earth, but that is not how they are received today by Traditionalists. As noted earlier on this blogspot, some wishing to oust Francis even have suggested there should be changes to the Vatican Council decisions. Yes, changes, to what God has issued through the mouths of the Apostolic College His Son established to rule in His name! Why has this happened? Because “the dogmas of faith have not been understood and INTERPRETED according to the mind of the Church.”  How would this occur?Only by ignoring the laws and teachings of the Roman Pontiff, both past and prior to Pope Pius XII’s death, regarding the doctrines in question. The lawgiver himself, that is the Roman Pontiff and his predecessors, are the only ones Canon Law designates as able to determine the nature of his own laws and pronouncements. Approved theologians pre-1959 may explain them but they cannot interpret them.

Numerous “deceitful opinions… considered as the determinations of reason” have been advanced by those who are not valid clerics, and therefore unable to even explain various points, far less speculate on the intent of the lawgiver. They may appear to be reasonable, but their reasoning has been time and time again shown as consisting in logical fallacies and theological errors. Their actual deceit has been demonstrated in recent blogs on this site, a deceit that under Canons 103 and 104, nullifies and invalidates their actions. “For the doctrine of faith which God revealed has not been handed down as a philosophic invention to the human mind to be perfected.”

Comment: And that is exactly what Traditionalists have done by resorting to mere legal principles such as necessity and epikeia, which they pretend can override the Holy Ghost inspiring the pope and Christ speaking through him.

And then there is also this: “For the doctrine of faith …has been entrusted as a divine deposit to the spouse of Christ TO BE FAITHFULLY GUARDED AND INFALLIBLY INTERPRETED. Hence also that understanding of the sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained which Holy Mother Church has once declared and there must never be recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deep deeper understanding.”

Comment: God’s revelations are not to be interpreted by men. They are entrusted only to the Roman Pontiff who alone is guided by the Holy Ghost in his determinations. Anyone who dares to attempt to interpret papal documents, when the popes are quite clear in what they mean and what they teach, are usurping the papacy. This is especially true during an interregnum, when all such attempts are declared null, void, and invalid in Pope Pius XII’s 1945 election constitution, Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS).  And how does one faithfully guard what God has revealed as presented in an infallible document? Certainly not by ignoring it, minimizing it, dismissing it, and disputing it!! As recently emphasized in various blogposts, those who do such things are not just disposing of the necessity of the papacy — they are denying that Christ founded His Church on Peter the Rock and that the Holy Ghost speaks through the Roman Pontiffs to us.

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. And since the gates of hell to overthrow the Church, if this were possible, arise from all sides with ever greater hatred against this divinely established foundation,We judge it to be necessary for the protection, safety and increase of the Catholic flock, with the approbation of the council, to set forth the doctrine on the institution, perpetuity and nature of the sacred Apostolic primacy in which the strength and solidarity of the whole Church consist…” (DZ 1821).

Comment: So the pretend episcopacy of Traditionalists is one and undivided without a pope? And the unity of faith is preserved? This would be a laugh-out-loud moment if it wasn’t such a sad and serious matter. Exactly how many Traditionalist sects are there today — hundreds, maybe even thousands? Certainly neither both unities, the episcopacy nor the entire multitude of the faithful, could ever be said to be one. The Vatican Council states that the definition of infallibility was declared specifically to prevent the overthrow of the Church and for the protection and safety of the faithful. And yet that is the one thing Traditionalists failed to secure for the faithful — a true pope; and having failed at that, they do not even uphold infallibility or obey papal decrees. So can we doubt that there has indeed been an overthrow of the Church, one they helped orchestrate and perpetuate? The Vatican Council decrees that the primacy is the strength and solidarity of the whole Church, but we must fend off attacks for Pius IX’s statement that “without the pope there is no Church”? Clearly Pope Pius IX as well as the bishops was of one mind in this matter.

So this gift of truth and never-failing faith was divinely conferred upon Peter and his successors in this chair… that with the occasion of schism removed the whole Church might be saved as one and relying on her foundation, might stay firm against the gates of hell” (DZ 1837).

Comment: So we see that without the foundation of the primacy, the Church cannot stay firm against the gates of hell. Once again, Traditionalists failed to lobby for a papal election but they have the best interests of the Church at heart? They are indeed working for “the salvation of souls” as they have claimed for decades when Pope Boniface VIII proclaimed that in order to be saved, all must obey the Roman Pontiff? Schism everywhere we look is all the proof we need that we have no true pope. What the Vatican Council tried to protect us against is exactly what happened. And now the only protection we can claim is strict adherence to everything issuing from the continual magisterium and the censuring of any and all who presume to interpret papal teachings or speak in his name. If we cannot have Christ’s Vicar at our side, we can at least gather around his throne and pray, promising to honor all the popes have ever taught and obey their commands.

Papal documents bind infallibly even when a censure is not heretical

 In his Tuas libentur, addressed to German theologians, Pope Pius IX stated; “Perfect adhesion to revealed truth [cannot] be obtained if faith and obedience were given only to the dogmas expressly defined by the Church. Or even if it were a matter concerning that subjection which is to be manifested by an act of divine faith, nevertheless it would not have to be limited to those matters which have been defined by express decrees of the ecumenical councils or of the Roman Pontiffs and of the See, but would have to be extended also to those matters which are handed down as divinely revealed by the ordinary teaching power of the whole Church spread throughout the world and therefore by universal and common consent are held by Catholic theologians to belong to faith” (DZ 1683)… “[For] it is not sufficient to shun heretical iniquity unless these errors also are shunned which come more or less close to it…” (DZ 1820; Can. 1324).

Comment: So where is the obedience to those things not condemned as heretical? Certainly this belief that we owe no obedience to such things is not limited to Traditionalists. And yet it is stated by the popes in many other places as well. Why would any sincere Catholic prefer the opinion of a theologian, or even several theologians, over the teachings of a pope, especially in these uncertain times? As Revs. Pohle-Preuss write in The Sacraments, Vol. IV (1931): “It matters not what the private opinions of…theologians [are]. It is not the private opinions of theologians but the official decisions of the Church by which we must be guided.” And as Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton wrote in one of his articles for the American Ecclesiastical Review: “It is, I believe, to be presumed that the Vicar of Christ speaks to the faithful in a way they are able to understand.” Henry Cardinal Manning wrote in his work The Vatican Council and its Definitions (1887):

To deny the infallibility of the Church in the censures less than for heresy, is held to be heretical” (and here he lists 11 approved theologians including Ferraris, De Lugo and others). “All, therefore, affirm the Church in passing such censures to be infallible. The infallibility of the Church in all censures less than heresy may be proved from the Acts of the Council of Constance. In the eleventh article of the Interrogatory proposed to the followers of Huss are included condemnations of all kinds. “In like manner, again, in the Bull Auctorem Fidei, the propositions condemned as heretical are very few, but the propositions condemned as erroneous, scandalous, offensive, schismatical, injurious, are very numerous.

“During the last three hundred years, the Pontiffs have condemned a multitude of propositions of which perhaps not twenty were censured with the note of heresy. Now in every censure the Church proposes to us some truth relating to faith or morals; and whether the matter of such truths be revealed or not revealed, it nevertheless so pertains to faith and morals that the deposit could not be guarded if the Church in such judgments were liable to error… In like manner all censures, whether for heresy or with a note less than heresy, are doctrinal definitions in faith and morals, and are included in the words in doctrina de fide vel moribus definienda

“…The infallibility of the Church extends, as we have seen, directly to the whole matter of revealed truth, and indirectly to all truths which though not revealed are in such contact with revelation that the deposit of faith and morals cannot be guarded, expounded, and defended without an infallible discernment of such unrevealed truths, that this extension of the infallibility of the Church is, by the unanimous teaching of all theologians, at least theologically certain; and, in the judgment of the majority of theologians, certain by the certainty of faith.” He then quotes Pope Pius IX:

Wherefore the Church, by the power committed to it by its Divine Author, has not only the right but above all the duty, of not tolerating but of proscribing and of condemning all errors, if the integrity of the faith and the salvation of souls should so require. On all philosophers who desire to remain sons of the Church, and on all philosophy, this duty lies, to assert nothing contrary to the teachings of the Church, and to retract all such things when the Church shall so admonish. The opinion which teaches contrary to this we pronounce and declare altogether erroneous, and in the highest degree injurious to the faith of the Church, and to its authority.” (Papal Letter Gravissimas Inter, Dec. 1862)

Objections by John Lewis addressed

So it is infallibility itself that is denied by those who hold that propositions not labeled as heretical may be held without incurring the penalty for heresy because there has been no “final determination,” refusing to render obedience to papal teaching. And if anyone is to be believed among the theologians, surely Henry Cardinal Manning, who took a vow before Pope Pius IX to bring the Vatican Council and its definition to fruition, is to be trusted far and away before any other theologian, especially when he quotes so many other approved theologians. Furthermore, there is an abundance of proof that what Cardinal Manning states is straight from the mouth of Pope Pius IX as seen below. To address more recent claims by John Lewis I state the following:

  • As to the assertion that no one ignores VAS, this is ridiculous. Traditionalists are ignoring VAS by the simple fact that they continue to function and hold themselves validly ordained and consecrated. This is why generally no individual names are mentioned when writing these articles: all are ignoring it.
  • An apostolic constitution is a papal document that deals with serious doctrinal matters regarding the definition of dogma, changes in canon law or other ecclesiastical matters (https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/vacantis-apostolicae-sedis-vindicated/).  Apostolic constitutions are issued as papal bulls because of their solemn, public form. That the manner of electing a true pope would need to be modified in the present situation, were this possible (and it is not possible without unquestionably valid bishops to elect) I affirm. That the first four paragraphs of this constitution dealing with both dogmatic and canon law matters is not a matter of the primary, but the secondary object of infallibility, I deny. Even were such a thing only the secondary object of infallibility involving a disciplinary matter, Pope Pius IX teaches:

“…Discipline is often so closely related to doctrine and has such a great influence on its preservation and its purity, that the sacred councils have not hesitated to cut off from the Church by their anathema those who have infringed its discipline… Nor can the Eastern Churches preserve communion and unity of faith with Us without being subject to the Apostolic power in matters of disciplineTeaching of this kind is HERETICAL, and not just since the definition of the power and nature of the papal primacy was determined by the ecumenical Vatican Council (DZ 1827)

“… But the neo-schismatics say that it was not a case of doctrine but of discipline, so the name and prerogatives of Catholics cannot be denied to those who object. Our Constitution Reversurus, published on July 12, 1867, answers this objection. We do not doubt that you know well how vain and worthless this evasion is. For the Catholic Church has always regarded as schismatic those who obstinately oppose the lawful prelates of the Church and in particular, the chief shepherd of all. Schismatics avoid carrying out their orders and even deny their very rank. [These] are schismatics even if they had not yet been condemned as such by Apostolic authority” (Pope Pius IX, Quartus Supra, 1873).

Three years after writing Quartus Supra, we also hear the following from Pope Pius IX, in Quae in patriarchatu: “In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a HERETIC; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey IS WORTHY OF ANATHEMA,” (Pope Pius IX, September 1, 1876, to the clergy and faithful of the Chaldean Rite.) See also Manning above.

  • I have never said bishops do not have ordinary jurisdiction and could not function during an interregnum IF they had kept the faith. In a previous response to your objections, I pointed out that I am speaking here only of this PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCE AND SITUATION, not the normal course of things, since it no longer exists. I have said and continue to say no valid bishops exist and that all the valid bishops attending the false Vatican 2 council became heretics, as well as most of those those not attending the false council, since they failed to rally and elect a true pope: this was the command and intention of Pope Pius XII and all those preceding him. They are now all deceased, as noted previously.
  • I am well aware that there are cardinal-priests and cardinal-bishops; I wrote a book stating this in 1990, remember? But the majority of those cardinals electing John 23 were consecrated bishops, and whether cardinals or not, they hardly lost their episcopal powers just by being appointed cardinals. This is what the Apostolic College is all about. The point I was attempting to make is that they lost their office as cardinals in bowing to secular governments and determining, prior to Roncalli’s election, that he would indeed be the one elected. This invalidated the election, as VAS decrees, and these cardinals were reduced to (infamous, excommunicated) bishops; this is verified in Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, the (old) law which serves as the fontes for Can. 188 no. 4, cited in VAS. You are the one who does not seem to be logically following here.
  • You are arguing beside the point, (hence your argument is invalid), when you state that I falsely claim Mystici Corporis teaches “without the Pope the bishops have no power.” Bishops referred to above who defected from the Church have no power ; had any bishops remained faithful, they would have retained their power. Bishops excommunicated for heresy lose all jurisdiction and incur infamy of law. Traditional pseudo-bishops and those upholding their purported power by their actions deny that the pope alone has the power to direct and supervise all they do, and that this power can come from no other source; hence they deny infallibility as explained above. (See https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/?s=Ott). The canon law defining heresy declares that it is committed by “manner of acting” (Can. 1325), among other things.
  • It is obviously the will of God that we no longer have valid bishops to elect a pope, or valid priests for that matter. The failure of Traditionalists to demand that such an election be held and try to rally remaining valid bishops and senior clergy to do this is proof they never intended to obey the pope in the first place. Some will say that this effort was made; I have yet to see any proof that this was ever the case and have pointed out in several articles that such an attempt to elect someone was actually circumvented.
  • You state: “Neither of these groups (Cardinals or bishops) can cease to exist in the Church.” And yet they have physically ceased to exist, because we live in the one time exempted from their existence in Holy Scripture, when “he who withholdeth will be taken out of the way” and the flock will be scattered — the time of Antichrist. If Traditionalists don’t accept this, it is not my problem. Even Protestants look around at this world and seem to think that the Second Coming is imminent. And if it is indeed imminent, it could not happen unless Antichrist proper, the Man of Sin, had already come, although his system remains.
  • As to your advice on how to argue with others, I quote from the link you provided to Vermeersch: “If we were to summarise what is needed in our interactions with other Catholics in one word, it would not be “charity”. Rather, it would be the very title of the book from which this extract is taken: “Tolerance… It often is not right for us to conclude that someone is a heretic or schismatic unless we are really compelled to do so.” I wish that I could say that I consider those I am dealing with as Catholic. Sadly, I cannot. Most of the pseudo-clergy I even consider as pertinacious heretics. I prefer Rev. Felix Sarda-Salvany’s approach in Liberalism is a Sin on this subject, whose work was approved by the Holy Office. And I am obligated in these evil times to warn people against men whose practices lead them into mortal sin and eternal damnation, not to mention the obligation I owe Our Lord to defend His Church.

Fr. Sarda states: Sovereign Catholic inflexibility is sovereign Catholic charity. This charity is practiced in relation to our neighbor when in his own interests he is crossed, humiliated, and chastised. It is practiced in relation to a third party, when he is defended from the unjust aggression of another, as when he is protected from the contagion of error by unmasking its authors and abettors and showing them in their true light as iniquitous and pervert, by holding them up to the contempt, horror and execration of allThe love due to a man inasmuch as he is our neighbor ought always to be subordinated to that which is due to our common Lord. For His love and in His service we must not hesitate to offend men. The degree of our offense toward men can only be measured by the degree of our obligation to Him. Charity is primarily the love of God, secondarily the love of our neighbor for God’s sake. Therefore to offend our neighbor for the love of God is a true act of charity. Not to offend our neighbor for the love of God is a sin.

And on that note I will end this, with one more observation. Several years ago I wrote an article explaining the true motive and intent of this minimization of the infallibility of the Roman Pontiffs.  This in a time when the only right thing we can do is defend and uphold the Deposit of Faith and condemn the actions of those who impugn it. I suggest that those who would seek a better understanding of why this is happening should read or reread this article at https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/material-formal-hypothesis-condemned-as-heresy/ . If people objecting to what is written here would pay closer attention to what has already been said for nearly 20 years — both in the books and articles on this site — there would be none of these superfluous questions.

As the Vatican Council teaches, truths of faith presented from reason are not sufficient to facilitate conversion. What is needed is grace. This we fervently beseech God to grant all those today who wander in this vast wilderness of unbelief.

Church teaching on marriage woes: Can. 2319 and more

Church teaching on marriage woes: Can. 2319 and more

+Feast of All Saints+

Prayer Intention for November

That each day of this month all prayer associates recite a prayer of  their choice for the Poor Souls

Marriage is a very complex subject requiring careful study and the clarification of many fine distinctions. Those critiquing this difficult canonical work would do well to let the author complete the explanation of the current situation before arriving prematurely at any conclusions. Those involved in serious research, especially, should know that one proceeds from the general to the particular. What is presented below will not answer all questions but should serve to help readers better understand points mentioned in the previous two blog posts. Because of the confusion created by our critics, we must make certain the following is understood.

  • We speak here only of marriage between two certainly baptized Catholics.
  • In cases of marriage, doubtful baptisms are presumed to be valid until proven otherwise.
  • The Church teaches that the marriages of those not Catholic are valid, but not fruitful regarding grace and not recognized by the Church as valid Catholic marriages. This would include Traditionalist and Novus Ordo marriages since these sects are schismatic.
  • The marriage of two Catholics acting in a time period when no Catholic priest is available appear to be invalid if held as a religious ceremony before a non-Catholic minister in a non-Catholic church.
  • It cannot be admitted that an after-the-fact invocation of Can. 1098 as a kind of “supplied jurisdiction” or application of epikeia can be said to validate Novus Ordo or Traditionalist marriages given the implications of Can. 2319.
  • The only situation anticipated in these discussions is that of a Traditionalist or Novus Ordo person who decides to become a pray-at-home Catholic, renounces his/her previous errors, makes a Profession of Faith, arrives at moral certainty that the marriage was not valid and now wishes to rectify matters.

Excommunication for marriage by a non-Catholic minister

In an article on Can. 1098 for The Jurist,” pgs. 168-69, 1954, we read: “Nothing prevents an action that complies with the requirements of the law from being validThey may also marry before a non-Catholic minister, not as a minister of religion but as an official empowered by civil law to witness marriages; he must not be allowed to use any religious ceremony, as is seen in Canon 1063” (The History and Application of Canon 1098, John De Reeper, MHF). Can. 1063 was officially interpreted by Pope Pius XII as will be seen below.

Traditionalists do not comply with the requirements of the law; they marry in a religious ceremony before their “priests” as ministers of religion. They marry before them believing they are priests when they are not, which alone invalidates the act, (Can. 104): “Error annuls an action, when the error concerns the substance of the action or amounts to a conditio sine qua non — that is to say, if the action would not have been done except for the error [in this case that the minister was a valid Catholic priest authorized to witness marriages]; otherwise the action is valid, unless the law states otherwise…” (Can. 104). “Error of law or a fact, if it is substantial, renders an act null and void. The same is true if the error, though not substantial by nature, is made so by a condition sine qua non. Any other error leaves the act valid unless the law provides otherwise” (Revs. Bouscaren-Ellis, Canon Law, a Text and Commentary, 1946).

If it had been possible for Traditionalists to understand that the men officiating at their marriage could not be official witnesses as the Church requires for validity; or (validly) or licitly celebrate a nuptial mass; or validly hear their confession before the wedding; if this had been explained to them and understood, would they really have gone through with it? The condition sine qua non here is a valid priest actually delegated for the ceremony by a valid bishop. Can. 1094 makes this a condition of validity for the marriage. Traditionalists believed themselves married before a certainly valid priest, but this was not the case; it was an error, amounting to fraud. Furthermore, the canonists Woywod-Smith, under the heading: Mixed Marriages Before Non-Catholic Minister…,” (Can. 2319 ° 2167) state that: “Many commentators restrict the penalty to Catholics who marry a non-Catholic, but some commentators (Cappello, others) assert that the penalty is incurred also by two Catholics who give or renew the marriage consent before a non-Catholic minister as minister of religion. Two Catholics who marry before a non-Catholic minister are guilty of the offence of Can. 2316…” [IF, in fulfilling Can. 1098, they avail themselves of a non-Catholic religious ceremony when they could merely have gone to a justice of the peace].

“The Third Plenary Council of Baltimore punished with ipso facto excommunication reserved to the local ordinary Catholics who contracted or attempted to contract marriage before the minister of any non-Catholic sect. The law of the Code has superseded the particular law of the Council of Baltimore insofar as the marriage of a Catholic with a non-Catholic before a non-Catholic minister is concerned. But the law of that Council remains, we believe, WITH REFERENCE TO THE MARRIAGE, OR RATHER ATTEMPTED MARRIAGE, of two Catholics before a non-Catholic minister, for the Code does not punish the offense of two Catholics with a latae sententiae censure [Can. 2316 is considered to be a ferendae sententiae censure]. Canon 2221 empowers the legislators to enforce both the divine and ecclesiastical laws with penalties or to increase the penalty decreed by law (Canon 2244,°2085).” Rev. Ignatius Szal writes in his Communication of Catholics with Schismatics (1948) that the Council of Baltimore excommunication additionally applies because it is a particular law considered as still in effect under Can. 6 no. 5 of the Code. Since this excommunication is mentioned under Can. 1063, it is considered to be retained in the Code.

Under Can. 1098, Woywod comments regarding the use of a non-Catholic minister: “The parties are justified in going to a justice of the peace or any other official of the government who is entitled to witness marriages so that their marriage may have the recognition of the civil law. They can also marry before a non-Catholic minister, not as a minister of religion but as an official entitled by civil law to witness marriages. They must not allow him to use any religious ceremony If they can without great difficulty approach a civil official entitled to witness marriages, there is no reason to go to the non-Catholic minister.”

Woywod-Smith seem to be explaining above that because no latae sententiae sentence is prescribed for two Catholics marrying in a religious ceremony before a non-Catholic minister, this is only an attempted marriage; otherwise the two parties would only be subject to the one excommunication under Can. 1063. Under Can. 2316, both parties also are guilty of an act of communicatio in sacris and incur ipso facto the censure for suspicion of heresyAfter six months, if the parties have become aware of their delict and its consequences but have not amended, they are considered formal heretics (Can. 2315). The two citations below mention both marriages actually contracted (mixed marriage, which according to a 1925 private decision of the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments is valid but illicit) and attempted marriage (between two Catholics).

To approach a non-Catholic minister as such for marriage is to communicate formally with him in sacred things. Such action is a manifest participation in the sacred things of non-Catholics, and a recognition of their cult. All those who formally co-operate in the non-Catholic marriage ceremony of a Catholic are likewise guilty of the sin of religious communication. Some co-operators can incur the excommunication which is incurred by Catholics contracting or attempting such a marriage. Those who command, and all others who so induce the consummation of a delict, or so concur in it in any way, that the delict would not have been perpetrated without the command or concurrence are bound by the censure.'” (Rev. John R. Bancroft, C.SS.R., J.C.B., S.T.L., Communication. in Religious Worship with Non-Catholics, 1946). 

Pope Pius XII clarifies the application of Can. 2319 §1 as follows:

Qualifying Clause of Canon 2319 §1 no. 1 Expunged

Pope Pius XII, Motu proprio, 25 December 1953 AAS 46-88

“The good of the Church demands that we take all possible care that the stability of Canon Law be not endangered by the uncertain opinions and conjectures of private parties regarding the true sense of the canons and that interpretations which rest on subtleties and cavils against the clear will of the of the legislator do not result in undue indulgence toward violators of the law, a thing which disrupts the nerve of ecclesiastical discipline. But certain interpreters of the sacred canons, paying too little attention to these considerations, have extenuated the force of canon 2319 §1, no. 1 and, relying too much on the prescription of Canon 1063 §1 to which it makes reference, have taught that not every marriage contracted or attempted by Catholics before a non-Catholic minister is punished by excommunication reserved to the Ordinary.

Accordingly, lest the faithful, no longer fearing the penalty, might dare to commit such crime We, after consulting the most eminent and most reverend fathers of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, of Our own motion and in the plenitude of Our Apostolic authority, decreed and ordained that the words “Contra praescriptum canonis 1063 §1” be expunged from Canon 2319 §1 no. 1. We order also that this Apostolic letter, given of Our own motion, be published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.”

This seems to indicate that both those contracting mixed marriage AND those attempting marriage do incur the excommunication. The separate treatment of those who have contracted marriage and attempted marriage indicates that here Pope Pius XII is considering two distinct situations. The question asked in the 1925 decision on mixed marriage was: “Is mixed marriage before a Protestant minister valid if conditions of Canon 1098 for marriage before witnesses only are verified?”  Reply: if all the conditions which are required by Canon 1098 for the validity of marriages before witnesses only are verified, the circumstances that such marriages were blessed in a non-Catholic church is an argument not against validity but against licitness.” (Canon Law Digest, Vol. IV, Can. 1098). This does not indicate that these marriages, however, were celebrated in a Protestant or schismatic ceremony; only that they were celebrated before a Protestant minister without the proper dispensation required before marrying a non-Catholic at that time. Yet according to what Woywod-Smith state above, this same application of Can. 1098 would not apply to the marriage of two Catholics.

But Can. 1014 states marriage is always presumed to be valid

Yes it does, but presumption must yield to truth. The truth here seems to be that two baptized Catholics presenting before a non-Catholic minister and engaging in a religious ceremony only attempt marriage; there IS no presumption that it ever existed. Novus Ordo adherents and Traditionalists almost always solemnize marriage in a flashy religious ceremony. Yet they are not commissioned to be, nor could they ever be so commissioned, as official witnesses for the true Church under Can. 1094. They are non-Catholic sects claiming to be Catholic, just as the Anglicans long claimed to be. It would be ridiculous to think that two baptized Catholics could expect to be joined in a valid Catholic union outside their own Church that results in an excommunication excluding them from Church membership and reception of the sacraments.

Renewal of consent

This is covered under Canons 1136 and 1137. Canon 1136 states: “A marriage which is invalid through lack of consent is validated if the party who did not consent now gives his consent provided the consent of the other party continues. If the lack of consent was merely internal it suffices that the party who did not consent now gives consent by an internal act. If the lack of consent was manifested also outwardly, it is necessary to renew the consent outwardly, either in the form prescribed by law, when the absence of consent was public, or in some private and secret but external manner if the lack of consent was occult.” Woywod-Smith comment:” In the chapter dealing with matrimonial consent, (Canons 1081-93), the Code treats of the various forms of defective consent: consent vitiated by ignorance, by error, by fear and force and by a condition attached.” This is where Can. 104 enters in, regarding error but also indirectly a condition.

One who marries believing the minister consulted is a witness acting in the official capacity of the Church when this is not the case has made an error that nullifies the act performed; that of giving consent according to the laws of the Church. Were it not for the fact that these attempted marriages involved a participation in a non-Catholic ceremony, they might be said to be valid; but almost always an actual ceremony is involved. The condition sine qua non for the validity of a Catholic marriage is a true priest possessing the proper delegation by the Church to officiate at the marriage. Technically these marriages are invalid for lack of form: they are only attempted marriages. But one is not aware of this unless it is first realized that the Novus Ordo and Traditionalist sects are not able to validly witness marriages followed by a religious ceremony. And this is not to mention that in the external forum one incurs an excommunication and suspicion of heresy. As Woywod-Smith note under Can. 1098 °1120: “The Church does not dispense in cases of necessity from invalidating laws,” and resorting to a religious ceremony in a non-Catholic Church invalidates the attempted marriage.

Canon 1137 reads: “To validate a marriage which was nullified by a defect in the form it must be contracted again in the legitimate form.” Woywod-Smith comment: “If the parties were married outside the Church, if the priest who witnessed the marriage was not properly qualified, or if two qualified witnesses were not present, the marriage is null and void, and such a marriage can be validated in no other way then by the observance of the prescribed form of marriage. The rule here stated is now general application for all marriages in which at least one of the parties is subject to the law of the Code on the form of marriage. If one of the parties cannot be persuaded to validate the marriage before the authorized priest and witnesses, as happens quite frequently in mixed marriages contracted outside the Church, nothing remains but to get the sanatio in radice to validate the marriage.” And this is available first from the bishop, then the pope, which sadly are not available to us. This covers marriages before Novus Ordo and Traditionalist ministers who were not qualified witnesses and whose ceremonies are not Catholic.

Some canonists have opined that Can.1098 and the China exemptions automatically legitimate all these marriages or prove them able to be legitimated. This may have been true when we still had a true pope and bishops, in a sort of supplied jurisdiction manner, but it is not true today. Can. 1098 is an exception to the law and is to be interpreted strictly. Canon 19 states: “Laws which… establish an exception to the law must be interpreted in a strict sense.” Woywod-Smith comment: “These classes of laws are considered odious. It may seem strange that a law which contains an exception from the general law is called odious whereas in fact it may be very acceptable. However, it is a recognized principle of legislation to favor the universal or common law and to discourage exceptions. Archbishop Cicognani writes in his Canon Law that: “Things deviating from the common law are in no respect to be drawn into precedent. That which is granted gratuitously to one person ought not to be drawn into precedent by others; for whatever is granted to a person contrary to the common law is odious even though the exception be established by law.”

Of course today, Can. 1098 is the only law Catholics can observe, where, as a general rule, while the Church still existed, it was resorted to only occasionally. But it could never be used to “cover” those marriages which the Church holds to be only attempted, not actual. And as we will show below in the appendix, the China exemptions only apply to us today to a certain extent. For they too are exceptions to the law permitted under certain circumstances and cannot be stretched beyond the intended will of the legislator. Next, we will see where all the above leaves us in regard to marriage today.


We are not worried here about those who will remain in the Novus Ordo or Traditionalist sects and believe themselves to be married in the Catholic Church. They marry validly in their own sects but are not Catholic; they are not members of the Church, nor are they married in the Catholic Church. If both parties, baptized in the Catholic Church and married in a solemn ceremony by a Novus Ordo or a Traditionalist minister should leave one of these sects or another non-Catholic sect to pray at home, they would need to observe the following order, adapted from Pastoral Companion, Fr. Honoratus Bonzelet, O.F.M., 1939:

  1. If there are serious doubts concerning Baptism in a particular case, conditional baptism may be given. Otherwise, a renewal of baptismal vows.
  2. A profession of faith must be made.
  3. This must be followed by an examination of conscience and a Perfect Act of Contrition, then Spiritual Communion.
  4. The couple must publicly renew their consent under Can. 1098, before two (preferably Catholic) witnesses and keep a record of the ceremony. In a Can. 1098 ceremony, any civil official or judge, even a ship’s captain, could witness the marriage. But ideally a Catholic male friend can officiate and witness the recital of the vows. The marriage can then be registered with the state. It can be a marriage (or renewal of vows) just as lovely as any other marriage ceremony.
  5. A three-year period of penance and amendment should begin, to satisfiy canonical requirements regarding return from heresy and schism.

Should one party wish not to renew consent but promises not to molest the faith of the one staying at home and agree that the children are to be raised outside these sects, the consent of the Catholic party wishing to pray at home is sufficient. If this is not possible, then the one converting may proceed as though there was never a marriage to begin with, because this is what Canon Law teaches. All cases would need to be submitted to the Holy See for examination and rectification should a true pope ever be elected, but that is highly unlikely. Catholics must abide by the marriage laws of the Church, not cater to the feelings or perceived needs of those involved in non-Catholic sects, offering them assurances that all is well when this is far from the case. Pope Pius XII says we must obey the laws of the Church if we wish to be counted as members of the Mystical Body (Mystici Corporis).

There are concerns about the motives of certain individuals calling themselves pray-at-home Catholics, and they are justified. Fr. Bonzelet writes: “Converts should be received with great care, especially if they are strangers to the pastor. The pastor should above all try to ascertain their motives. If material considerations (intended marriage) are compelling motives, he should apprise them that such motives are not sufficient. He should not, however, for that reason refuse to instruct them, since grace often builds up on extrinsic and natural motives.” There is no longer anyone to “vet” those who seemingly wish to leave these non-Catholic sects.  There are deep concerns about those claiming to be newly converted given the fact that some might simply pretend to convert, then leave and publicly denounce those praying at home to shame them; or simulate conversion solely to justify leaving a spouse. All of this must rest solely on the consciences of those reading what is written here – no one is demanding that anyone do anything. Each person must decide for themselves what is true for their own situation. This was made clear from the beginning. Free will is just that — we answer to God for all our choices. This is why it is suggested that anyone wishing to become a pray-at-home Catholic spend three years on probation so to speak, but all of this must be on the honor system. The Internet is no guarantee of anything. We can only tell readers what the Church teaches and after that, we are at the mercy of the good will and honesty of others.


Marriage decision of the Holy Office issued for China During Communist Rule

We do not (yet) live in a Communist country and are still free to follow many of the Church’s laws that did not and could not apply to the Chinese. The Church was especially concerned that the cautiones or promise that the children be baptized and educated as Catholics be at least given sincerely at the time of the marriage, even if they could not later be fulfilled.

Can the China law be applied to marriages taking place today, now that its existence is known? Only very cautiously and to the extent that is necessary. This is because the reply to the original decree explains that the positive law must be observed whenever it is able to be observed. The need for canonical form and even the witnesses is lifted in rare cases where Communist oppression was at its worst, according to one Spanish canonist, but we can easily use the correct form under Can. 1098 and find witnesses, even if they are non-Catholics. The lifting of the impediments is what mainly applies here, because there is no one to determine when or if they may be lifted and no appeal to Rome is now possible. Can the decree “retroactively” apply to past cases? Only if there is a question of impediments and whether or not they applied at the time of the marriage. This seems to be in harmony with the decree.

Here the distinction must be made between a declaratory decision or decree by the Holy See and an authentic interpretation. On Dec. 21, 1949, the Holy Office explained that the decree on China given in January of that year: “…has the nature of a declarative interpretation and hence can be applied retroactively and in other territories only to the extent that it deals with prescriptions of positive law which in view of extraordinary circumstances in the territory cannot be observed as to other matters it has the character of a positive provision which is not retroactive nor applicable in territories not mentioned in the decree” (Canon Law Digest, Vol. IV, p. 330).

Abp. Amleto Cicognani in his Canon Law explains that: “Interpretation is authoritative if it is given by a superior who possesses public authority. Laws are authoritatively interpreted by the lawmaker and his successor and by those to whom the lawmaker has committed the power to interpret the laws (Can. 17 §1). Cicognani goes on to explain that interpretation is merely declarative when it explains “terms of the law which are in themselves certain; declaratory properly so-called when it explains really doubtful and obscure terms of law,” which it does in this case. An authentic interpretation of the Code can be given only by the commission set up by Pope Benedict XV for the authentic interpretation of canon law. Can. 17 §2 reads further: “The authoritative interpretation of the law, given in the form of law, has the same force as the law itself; if it merely declares the meaning of the words of the law that were certain in themselves the interpretation need not be promulgated, and it has retroactive effect; if the interpretation restricts or extends the original law or explains a doubtful law, such interpretation does not have retroactive effect and must be promulgated.” The China decree is the latter.

This Dec. 21, 1949 reply was private and appears never to have been officially promulgated, as it is not appended to the Code, nor is it listed as being entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis. Therefore it does not actually have the force of law accorded to the canons. The canons must apply first, whenever they can be obeyed and only in emergency circumstances beyond the lifting of impediments would the China decree be able to be extended to cover marital situations. And while these impediments can be said to have been retroactively lifted in all cases, this does not change the fact that two Catholics marrying before a non-Catholic minister in a religious ceremony only attempt marriage and additionally incur suspicion of heresy under Can. 2316, in addition to excommunication under 2319 §1.