Bp. Ngo dinh Thuc possessed no special faculties or ordinary jurisdiction

Bp. Ngo dinh Thuc possessed no special faculties or ordinary jurisdiction

+St. Rose of Lima+

A reader has suggested that I refute a recent attack on my person by a Lefebvre and Thuc defender who suggests that because I promoted and participated in a “papal election” and am a member of the female sex I should maintain perpetual silence and be subject to my male counterparts. (I have heard this many times over the years from male Traditionalists who either are unable or unwilling to do the research necessary to defend their defenseless position.) To begin with, I owe no male any obedience save my husband and then I owe such obedience only as long as it does not contradict anything in way of the faith. Thankfully, my husband has never stood in the way of anything I believed I was required to do regarding my faith, even though he is a convert and has had nothing but horrible examples from Traditionalists regarding what a true male Catholic should be.

Secondly, I have no male counterparts in defending the faith to whom I owe any obedience because none of them are validly or licitly ordained or consecrated, and those laymen pretending to defend the faith under the Traditional banner are nothing more than modern-day Protestant reformers. This has been proven consistently from Church law and teaching so does not need to be reiterated here. I also have repeatedly pointed out on this site that not only am I allowed to defend the faith, I am obligated to do so despite my failings regarding the election of a false pope simply because Pope Pius XII and Church law commands me to do so. This is explained in the article “Where Is Your Imprimatur?” which has been posted on the articles page of my website for many years.

St. Vincent Ferrar did not elect a false pope but he supported one for 22 years, and he was a saint who worked many miracles! No one ever suggested he cease his activities because he made a mistake in good faith and caused others to follow a false pope.  I campaigned only to elect a true pope, never the individual actually elected, who I voted for only as a last resort when no others appeared for the “election.” I have explained all this at https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/introduction/how-i-became-involved-in-a-papal-election-and-supported-a-traditionalist-antipope/ but would like to add the following regarding the election facts that so many can never seem to get straight:

Prior to the election, I promoted an imperfect council which I felt was more in keeping with the Church’s teaching on papal elections. That was before I understood that none of those with valid orders could participate in such a council owing to communicatio in sacris and other issues. Once I realized that, I then promoted a papal election, but I never promoted the person later elected, foolishly believing instead a true bishop would show up at the last minute. The person elected was a last-ditch choice because there were no other options, or so those “electing” him were led to believe at the time.  Six people attended the election, held at a second-hand store in Belvue, Kansas on July 16, 1990: myself, the “pope-elect,” his parents and a couple from Michigan who had known him for many years.  All the original followers eventually departed after I began to expose his errors in 2007, except for his mother.  Any followers he has now have been collected since then.

Of course those who are now renewing the attack on the stay-at-home position by referencing the false papal election are supporters of Bp. Ngo dinh Thuc, a man who resigned his position under Popes Pius XI and Pius XII to accept a new position under the false pope Paul 6 as titular bishop of Bulla Regia. Thuc’s followers hold that he received “special faculties” (privileges) from Pope Pius XI on March 15, 1938 which gave him the necessary jurisdiction to perform episcopal consecrations without a papal mandate. The English translation of the privilege bestowed on Thuc by Pope Pius XI reads: “By virtue of the plenitude of powers of the Holy Apostolic See, we appoint as our legate Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc, titular bishop of Saigon, whom we invest with all the necessary powers for purposes known to us.” No one in Traditional circles ever mention, as far as I’m aware, that these privileges were granted to Thuc in his capacity as a legate to Vietnam for the Apostolic See. Those reporting the existence of these faculties do not cite any canons governing them or note the circumstances that might have a bearing on the nature of the faculties.

Once a legate resigns his office, as Thuc resigned the offices of Vicar Apostolic of Vinh Long (and Titular Bishop of Saesina, Vietnam on November 24,1960, held since January 8,1938), his faculties cease. While he did not resign them to a true Roman Pontiff as Canon 268 stipulates, that really has no bearing on his special faculties. Understanding the types of jurisdiction Thuc held is essential to this case, since neither his powers as a legate or his position as a titular bishop entitle him to any real jurisdiction.

“Titular bishops… cannot perform any episcopal function without the authorization of the diocesan bishop; for as titular bishops they have no ordinary jurisdiction. They can, however, act as auxiliary bishops, i.e. they may be appointed by the pope to assist a diocesan bishop in the exercise of duties arising from the episcopal order but entailing no power of jurisdiction” (Catholic Encyclopedia under bishops). So Thuc could never act to consecrate anyone unless he acted only as a co-consecrator under the bishop of the diocese, if there had been any true bishop under whom he could function. As a titular bishop he did not possess ordinary jurisdiction, or really any jurisdiction of his own at all. As a legate he might have possessed ordinary power, but “The legate goes with ordinary jurisdiction over a whole country or nation,” thereby limiting Thuc’s powers to Vietnam only(see the Catholic Encyclopedia under this topic).  But under the heading regarding legates in Canon Law, Can. 265 states: “…The Roman Pontiff has the right to send legates to any part of the world with or without ecclesiastical jurisdiction.” So without the actual confirmation and itemization of the “necessary powers” granted by Pope Pius XI, no one can be certain that any jurisdiction at all was even granted. While Canon 268 states the office of the legate does not expire with the death of the Roman Pontiff, once again, the faculties granted could only apply to Vietnam. Nowhere does it state in the Canon Laws regarding legates that a legate’s power or jurisdiction, even if granted, is considered universal.

That a wide interpretation of such a privilege is not permissible is found in Can. 67, which explains that: “The extent of a privilege must be judged from the wording of the document, and its scope must not be extended or abridged.” And Can. 79 legislates that where written proof is lacking concerning the nature of a privilege, “no one may cite such a privilege in the external forum… unless he can furnish legal proof that he has received that privilege.”  These special faculties are said by Traditionalists to have been renewed by Pope Pius XII in 1939, but no document that we have ever seen confirms this. No official document issued either by Pope Pius XI or Pope Pius XII appears to exist stating what those powers might be, so no one knows the true nature of these privileges unless it is noted in the Acta Apostolica Sedis. In a doubt of law or fact, the law ceases, anyway (Can. 15), although that axiom only works for Traditionalists when they wish to claim exemptions from laws that they cannot excuse themselves from obeying according to Divine law or the law itself. As explained in our Lenten blog series, however, such doubts do not apply where the Sacraments are concerned for where validity is in question, especially in the case of Holy Orders, — where there is a doubt if some Sacramental act is valid — the act is not to be performed and if performed is null and void.

One cannot speculate about any such other powers he might have held, designated by Pope Pius XI as “necessary faculties,” when the Sacraments are at issue. These faculties would need to be spelled out and, in any case, could not be said to amount to the universal jurisdiction granted only to cardinals as explained above in Can. 67. We have only one very faded and vague document granting Thuc the faculties he did possess, which could not have applied to any territory besides Vietnam.  But all this is really irrelevant given Thuc’s later actions, which really indicate he lost all rights he ever had to exercise any powers he might ever have received.

Canons 429 and 430

Sede impedita is a Latin term used in Canon Law to refer to an impediment to possessing episcopal sees and their vacancy, whether by death of the bishop, resignation, transfer or privation. Rev. Charles Augustine defined sede impedita in Canon 429 as a “quasi-vacancy,” leading into, in the minds of the material/formal crowd, a perpetually impeded see when applied to the See of Rome. This quasi-vacancy, however has its limitations and conditions. It occurs in cases of exile officially declared, captivity, and mental or physical inhabilitas or incapability. This, according to Woywod-Smith’s commentary, can and does encompass a wide range of possibilities. Some of these include physical and mental debility (listed by Augustine), physical impossibility, inability to travel owing to war or natural disaster, etc. As both Canons 429 and 430 stress, the vacancy is to be filled within set time limits and the bishop is expected to actually occupy his see within four months, according to Augustine. Until this is possible, a vicar capitular is appointed to administer the diocese.

This Canon is enlightening because it goes into detail concerning the “privation” of the see owing to excommunication. This Augustine defines as the “canonical” death of a bishop. Although it is mentioned elsewhere in the Code, excommunication for heresy is not included under this Canon specifically. But if it was mentioned it would be considered a “tacit resignation,” incurred by the fact itself, or ipso facto, as Canon 188 no. 4 states. Such resignation would be effective immediately and would require no acceptance, only evidence of the facts in the case.

Thuc resigned his offices in Vietnam in 1960 after being appointed Archbishop of Hue by John 23, a position, of course, which he never actually received. This was three years before the war began in earnest in Vietnam resulting in the death of his brother Ngo dinh Diem.  He and his brother would later be accused of graft, corruption and persecution of Buddhists during the period between 1960-1963, and perhaps even earlier, before the war prevented him from returning to Vietnam. He went from being Archbishop of Hue to titular bishop of Bulla Regia in 1968 under Paul 6. It could easily be the case that he lost any offices he ever possessed in Vietnam owing to exile or war, as stated under Can. 429, or that he forfeited his special privileges owing to abuse and deserved to be deprived of them, as mentioned in Canon 78.

Canons 2314 and 188 no. 4

But most importantly, Thuc tacitly resigned his office under Can. 188 no. 4, as Canon Law states, when he received his appointments as Archbishop of Hue and titular Bishop of Bulla Regia from the usurper Paul 6. Traditionalists cannot on the one hand condemn everything the Novus Ordo does as heretical and hold its ministers innocent of heresy. Canon 2314 on heresy states: “All apostates from the Christian faith and each and every heretic or schismatic incur the following penalties: (1) ipso facto excommunication; …(3) If they have joined a non-Catholic sect or have publicly adhered to it, they incur infamy ipso facto, and if they are clerics and the admonition to repent has been fruitless, they shall be degraded. Canon 188 no. 4 provides, moreover, that the cleric who publicly abandons the Catholic faith loses every ecclesiastical office ipso facto and without any declaration.”  

Communicatio in sacris differs from simple heresy

Rev. Charles Augustine in his Canon Law commentary defines the non-Catholic sects referred to in regard to Can. 2314 as “Any religious society established in opposition to the Catholic Church, whether it consists of infidels, pagans, Jews, Moslems, non-Catholics, or schismatics.” In this case, it is schismatics. Formal membership is required for the delict to occur, according to the law, and no more formal membership exists than to be a minister in such a sect. The heretical act is expressed by either joining the sect or expounding its beliefs. In his dissertation The Delict of Heresy (1932), Rev. Eric MacKenzie, A.M., S.T.L., J.C.L. states: “In either case, the delinquent incurs first the basic excommunication inflicted on simple heresy. In addition, as a penalty for his aggravated delict, he incurs juridical infamy ipso facto, whether or no there is further official action by the Church.” Attwater’s Catholic Dictionary defines infamy as “A stigma attached in canon law to the character of a person…” Juridical infamy or infamy of law is a special punitive penance or vindicative penalty attached to certain grave offenses. It includes “repulsion from any ministry in sacred functions and disqualification for legitimate ecclesiastical acts.” (Under Can. 2294, Revs. Woywod-Smith qualify these acts as invalid.) Also, under Can. 188 no. 4, one who has engaged in non-Catholic worship “no longer has any rights or powers deriving from [an ecclesiastical] position,” (Ibid).

Concerning the exception made by Can. 2261 §2 MacKenzie relates: “If a priest has incurred more than a simple excommunication — [if he has] resigned his office by joining a non-Catholic sect,” he cannot even assist at marriages. And of course with the penalty for infamy of law comes loss of jurisdiction, if it was ever granted, so neither can he hear confessions or preach, even at the request of the faithful, because such acts would be null and void. And regardless of any existing censures, MacKenzie explains that to make use of Can. 2261 §2 requires that “the power of jurisdiction [be] already possessed.”

If these individuals attacking this site would actually do the research the Church demands that they do to present the truth to those who are seeking it, they would know that the powers they assign to Thuc are bogus. The only reason this site exists is that they fail to do their due diligence. Helping those desperate to maintain the status quo in a world devoid of all spirituality is a fruitless task. The status quo long ago vanished, and we find ourselves in the midst of the time following the death of Antichrist that St. Thomas Aquinas anticipated. Those who cannot accept that would have ranged themselves on the side of the Jews following the destruction of their temple in 70 A.D., as Christ prophesied. We too have seen the destruction of our temples of worship. But nothing, as St. Paul says, can keep those of us who choose to follow only Him from the love of Christ.

Those who think so little of the heresies of communicatio in sacris committed by Lefebvre, Thuc and other Traditionalists who once embraced the Novus Ordo and celebrated its false mass should consider the words below written by Fr. Frederick Faber:

“If we hated sin as we ought to hate it, purely, keenly, manfully, we should do more penance, we should inflict more self-punishment, we should sorrow for our sins more abidingly. Then, again, the crowning disloyalty to God is heresy. It is the sin of sins, the very loathsomest of things which God looks down upon in this malignant world. Yet how little do we understand of its excessive hatefulness! It is the polluting of God’s truth, which is the worst of all impurities.

“Yet how light we make of it! We look at it, and are calm. We touch it and do not shudder. We mix with it, and have no fear. We see it touch holy things, and we have no sense of sacrilege. We breathe its odor, and show no signs of detestation or disgust. Some of us affect its friendship; and some even extenuate its guilt. We do not love God enough to be angry for His glory. We do not love men enough to be charitably truthful for their souls.

“Having lost the touch, the taste, the sight, and all the senses of heavenly-mindedness, we can dwell amidst this odious plague, in imperturbable tranquility, reconciled to its foulness, not without some boastful professions of liberal admiration, perhaps even with a solicitous show of tolerant sympathies.

“Why are we so far below the old saints, and even the modern apostles of these latter times, in the abundance of our conversations? Because we have not the antique sternness? We want the old Church-spirit, the old ecclesiastical genius. Our charity is untruthful, because it is not severe; and it is unpersuasive, because it is untruthful.

“We lack devotion to truth as truth, as God’s truth. Our zeal for souls is puny, because we have no zeal for God’s honor. We act as if God were complimented by conversions, instead of trembling souls rescued by a stretch of mercy.

We tell men half the truth, the half that best suits our own pusillanimity and their conceit; and then we wonder that so few are converted, and that of those few so many apostatize.

“We are so weak as to be surprised that our half-truth has not succeeded so well as God’s whole truth. Where there is no hatred of heresy, there is no holiness.

“A man, who might be an apostle, becomes a fester in the Church for the want of this righteous indignation,” (emphases added).

(The Precious Blood, published in 1860)




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Bp. Ngo dinh Thuc possessed no special faculties or ordinary jurisdiction

Reply to a Thuc “bishop,” and Vacantis Apostolica Sedis is not just for cardinals

+ Quinguagesima Sunday +

Dear Readers,

Please pray for the brave people in the Ukraine who have endured so much and now seem to be the targets of more persecution.

Recently I received an email from a man who says he received “consecration” from Bishop Thuc, although some deny this. While many are willing to admit is that he became a “bishop,” by whose hand this was done is not certain. The email was all in French. From what little I could make out, he is discussing whether or not Thuc was mental, if he was a member of the Novus Ordo church, the arguments for or against his orders/consecrations being valid, etc…  Of course it is assumed that having been made a priest by Thuc, he is defending him in order to protect his own “validity.” In other words, he has a prejudice in that his own validity is being questioned.

While all the arguments against Thuc being able to rightly consecrate or ordain are relevant and confirmed by several different sources, including Thuc himself, they are not enough in themselves to prove his ecclesiastical ministrations invalid. We are not saying he was not initially a Catholic bishop, only that he could not validly convey his powers to others. He later ceased to remain a Catholic bishop because he signed Vatican 2 documents and failed to denounce the false church in Rome for teaching heresy and apostasy. Therefore he lost his initial office as a bishop from Vietnam and the jurisdiction that went with it, being deposed as a bishop for heresy under Can. 188 no. 4.  He committed communicatio in sacris by accepting a titular bishopric (that of Bulla Regiae) from Paul 6 and participating in Novus Ordo services, which he did nearly up to the day he made his “declaration.” For this he incurred infamy of law, and that prevents him from valid ecclesiastical acts, (Can. 2294).

By acting outside the parameters of his authority to consecrate bishops he also usurped papal jurisdiction. According to Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, his acts were null and void from the moment he attempted them and this by infallible decree. Some will say he had special faculties from Pope Pius XI, but these have never been verified, and even if they had it would not matter today. During an interregnum, bishops cannot be consecrated by the infallible order of Pope Pius XII, period, because this is a usurpation of papal jurisdiction. It is not because even if excommunicated, such men could not validly convey the mark of the order; it is because the pope, who holds the supremacy of jurisdiction, says that during an interregnum they are forbidden to do so without the necessary papal mandate.

Another reader also states that Traditionalists are claiming that Vacantis Apostolica Sedis (VAS) was only addressed to the College of Cardinals, implying that it is not addressed to the universal Church and was not infallible. Nice try, but it is entered in the Acta Apostolica Sedis (A.A.S., vol. XXXVIII, 1946, n. 3; pp. 65-99), which according to “Humani generis,” another infallible encyclical, means it is “normative,” or binding as ordinary teaching on everyone, so must be accepted with a firm and irrevocable assent. The election of a pope scarcely involves JUST the College of Cardinals; the faithful are asked to pray for the election in this constitution and are excluded from any participation in it. They would have to read it or know of it to observe this law. Pius XII writes in the preamble to no. 2 of his constitution: “We desire that the College ought to watch over and defend these rights during the contention of all influential forces.” Indeed the cardinals, in taking their oaths on becoming cardinals, vow to show themselves  “fearless, even to the shedding of blood, in making our holy Faith respected, in securing peace for the Christian people and in promoting the welfare of the Roman Church…” How was the welfare of the Church promoted by violating the provisions contained in VAS, which they took a specific oath to uphold? Certainly Pope Pius XII did not expect the entire college to abandon their faith as they did; he assumed that at least some of the cardinals would protect the Church from the very fate She suffered. But in this he was mistaken, even though he foresaw that something would be attempted.

Also, in para. 109, summarizing what he has written, the pope again stresses: “Moved by the examples of Our Predecessors, We therefore ordain and prescribe these things, decreeing that this present document and whatever is contained in it can by no means be challenged… We command those individuals to whom it pertains and will pertain for the time being to vote, that the ordinances must be respectively and inviolably observed by them, and if ANYONE should happen to try otherwise relative to these things, by whatever authority, knowingly or unknowingly, the attempt is null and void.”  Here we find the word “anyone,” even though in all respects it is only a reiteration of para. 3 of the preamble; so this directive is NOT just limited to the cardinals.  And if only the cardinals’ authority were intended here, it would not read, “by whatever authority.” Traditionalists forget that after all, cardinals are only bishops, priests (and in times past deacons) who have added to their rank an additional honorary title. They are expected to be the bishops and priests extraordinaire during an interregnum, guarding the Church from any and every danger that threatens Her until a true successor of St. Peter is elected. If even the head honchos as bishops and priests are forbidden to exercise these powers when they have universal jurisdiction by virtue of their office (Can. 239), then how can anyone argue that those not granted these privileges could possibly claim: ”But this doesn’t apply to me…”

The basis for the contention bishops can act on their own and do as they please is that held by the late Louis Vezelis, that bishops receive their jurisdiction directly from Christ in virtue of their valid consecration. But the bishops cannot proceed on their own unless they first receive their office and jurisdiction from the Roman Pontiff as taught in Mystici Corpus and Ad Sinarum Gentum; so what Vezelis held is heresy. If the cardinal-bishops and priests are forbidden to act, how can the others presume to do so?! We are talking here of men (Traditionalist bishops) who never received valid tonsure from their bishops (Old Catholics, Orthodox or Lefebvre or Thuc), who lacked jurisdiction to administer tonsure, because they forfeited it as heretics under Can. 188 no. 4. Since tonsure is an act of jurisdiction, no tonsure was conveyed. No priests could be created without tonsure and no bishops could be created if the ones consecrated were not certainly priests. As such they could never be ordained clerics under Canons 108, 118. We also are forgetting Ad Apostolorum Principis, which forbids consecrating without papal mandate and levies excommunications for doing so. Such consecrations might be held as valid but not licit during an interregnum, when the pope could supply, but without a pope to supply could only be null and void for want of supplied jurisdiction as Vacantis Apostolica Sedis teaches.

In any event, the circumstances rendering tonsure and ordination null and void have nothing to do with Vacantis Apostolica Sedis and everything to do with excommunication for heresy. If even the cardinals are forbidden to supply jurisdiction during an interregnum, than certainly no one else can supply it. Any of these men, following the death of Pius XII, could have resolved the situation by electing a true pope, but they did not. They alone had the power to resolve this crisis.

God cannot and will not deprive man of free will. He wished/willed (DZ 1821) that the bishops and among them St. Peter and his successors would continue in their positions to the end of time, but since when have His laws been obeyed? All God’s laws are an indication of His will, but evil men have no qualms about ignoring this salient fact. The cardinals chose to reject the truths of faith and violate their oaths. They all became collective Judas in betraying Christ and His Church. Hence this blog and this site.


T. Benns

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Bp. Ngo dinh Thuc possessed no special faculties or ordinary jurisdiction

“Bp.” Pivarunas and Bp. Thuc’s heretical orientation

Notes on “Bp.” Pivarunas and Bp. Thuc’s heretical orientation

© Copyright 2014, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.

  1. Pivarunas is arguing beside the point. He has yet to prove that he is a member of the sacred hierarchy. He repeatedly insists that the Church’s mission — the salvation of souls — must continue forward, and he and his fellow priests and bishops must be intended to perpetuate this mission. But Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey states in his Manual of Dogmatic Theology, Vol. II that only the sacred hierarchy is entrusted with this mission, (p. 350, A. 1). By definition, Pivarunus is not a member of this hierarchy, for only those made bishops by appointment of the Holy See, and only those bishops in communion with the Roman Pontiff, can be considered members of the sacred hierarchy. Certainly those who are outside the Church cannot be considered members of the hierarchy. Only those possessing the mission to preach may do so (see DZ 967). Only those with the office and power to receive converts may so receive them. These men could continue this mission as laymen if they repented of their sins and made amends, but not as clerics. By all the definitions of the Canons they are working to the destruction, not the salvation of souls.
  2. There is no benign interpretation of excommunication where heresy is concerned. This is the practice of the Church. (Mahoney, Billot, Woywod-Smith, et al; see below). One suspect of heresy incurs the excommunication if they do not remove the suspicion within six months, (Can. 2315). Thuc did not do so; in fact he accepted the Bulla Regia appointment from Paul 6 after that and confirmed his excommunication. This is proven by his use of the title even in his declaration. Other documents state that like Lefebvre, whom Thuc was seen in the company of at Vatican 2, Thuc signed V2 documents.
  3. To remove such excommunication, Thuc would need to have been abjured by a valid and licit bishop so designated by the Pope, or by the offices of the pope or the pope himself, and to have made the profession of faith. He also would need to have been absolved in the confessional and to have made amends, insofar as possible, for the damage done by his heresy and schism. In addition, he would have needed to be dispensed from infamy of law by a true pope; and all the same could be said of Lefebvre. Obviously none of this happened. As long as these men were under infamy of law, the acts they performed are considered by the Church as though they never took place.(see Trad Acts Null).
  4. Under Can. 188 n. 4 Thuc lost his office as Bishop; he was effectively reduced to the lay state. When in doubt as to whether a law applies, one returns to the old law, (Can. 6 §4). The old law governing excommunications under Canons 188 n. 4 and 2314 is “Cum ex…,” as a footnote to both of these canons proves. There is no doubt under this law that Thuc incurred the ipso facto excommunication. The law simply states that those who receive those so excommunicated “knowingly” also are excommunicated. It does NOT excuse the “Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates, Cardinals, Legates, Counts, Barons, Marquis, Dukes, Kings and Emperors” from incurring the censure, as “Cum ex…” states below:

“Now therefore, having thoroughly discussed these matters with Our venerable brothers the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, upon their advice and with their unanimous consent, We approve and renew, by Our Apostolic authority, each and every sentence, censure or penalty of excommunication, suspension and interdict, and removal, and any others whatever in any way given and promulgated against heretics and schismatics by any Roman Pontiffs Our Predecessors…All and sundry Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates, Cardinals, Legates, Counts, Barons, Marquis, Dukes, Kings and Emperors who in the past have, as mentioned above, have strayed or fallen into heresy or have been apprehended, have confessed or been convicted of incurring, inciting or committing schism or who, in the future, shall stray or fall into heresy or shall incur, incite or commit schism or shall be apprehended, confess or be convicted of straying or falling into heresy or of incurring, inciting or committing schism, being less excusable than others in such matters, in addition to the sentences, censures and penalties mentioned above, (all these persons) are also automatically and without any recourse to law or action, completely and entirely, forever deprived of, and furthermore disqualified from and incapacitated for their rank…” Please note the infallible hallmark of this Bull, “by Our Apostolic Authority…”

  1. It is not the practice of the Church, in receiving bishops from heresy, to automatically reappoint them as bishops. “Cum ex…” in fact teaches that such men are “completely and entirely, forever deprived of, and furthermore disqualified from and incapacitated for their rank…” St. Robert Bellarmine confirms this on CMRI’s own site at http://www.cmri.org/02-bellarmine-roman-pontiff.html
  2. Pope Paul IV also states: “Further, whoever knowingly presumes in any way to receive anew the persons so apprehended, confessed or convicted, or to favor them, believe them, or teach their doctrines shall ipso facto incur excommunication, and, become infamous. They shall not and cannot be admitted orally, in person, in writing, through any spokesman or pro-curator to offices public or private…” Only the Roman Pontiff can dispense from the impediment of infamy. Revs. Woywod-Smith explain the effects of infamy of law under Can. 2294 §1: “A person who has incurred infamy of law is not only irregular, [from defect] as declared by Can. 984 n. 5, but in addition, he is incapacitated from obtaining ecclesiastical benefices, pensions, offices and dignities, from performing legal ecclesiastical acts, from discharging any ecclesiastical right or duty, and must be restrained from the exercise of sacred functions of the ministry.” The authors continue: “The person who has incurred…an infamy of law…cannot validly obtain ecclesiastical benefices, pensions, offices and dignities, nor can he validly exercise the rights connected with the same, nor perform a valid, legal ecclesiastical act,”  (emph. mine).

Canon 2314 §1, n. 3, declares that by adhering to a non-Catholic sect, one incurs infamy of law. Canon 985 states that by the commission of heresy, apostasy or schism the offender is also irregular by virtue of a crime, and Can. 2314 likewise attaches infamy of law to this irregularity, which is incurred ipso facto. When imposed in the form of a penalty attached to law, this sentence takes place immediately. Revs. Woywod-Smith state that it seems both irregularities apply, whenever subjects openly express a non-Catholic creed. By a non-Catholic creed is included all those who believe the Church can exist indefinitely with out a Roman Pontiff and violate the laws of the Church he and his predecessor laid down and hold as remaining inviolate during an interregnum. Ignoring excommunications and censures issued by the Church as meaningless and choosing to function despite these disciplinary decrees is itself a heresy, as is seen below.

  1. The same comments on Can. 2294 §1 also are provided by Rev. Augustine: “Legal infamy involves irregularity [from defect] according to Can. 984 n. 5, and therefore no layman affected by it can receive the tonsure or any other order without an apostolic dispensation…Legal infamy entails disability, or disqualification for any ecclesiastical benefice, pension, office, dignity; if conferred the act is invalid,” (emph. mine). Here Rev. Augustine refers us to Can. 2391 and a discussion of the word dignus, or dignities and explains that this refers to fitness. (Canon 2391 disqualifies unworthy candidates from election.) Dignities refer to one “who possesses the necessary qualifications, Revs. Woywod-Smith speak of the dignity of the priesthood or the ministry under Can. 968 where the “positive qualifications are required by law for ordination…The irregularities and impediments are not penalties, although some are incurred by the commission of crimes, but they are conditions imposed to safeguard the dignity of the ministry. For this reason the Code states that not only ordination but also the exercise of the orders actually received is forbidden if, even without his own fault, the person incurs an irregularity or impediment.” Rev. Tanquerey tells us that in general order signifies: “A certain grade or dignity, or an assemblage of men adorned with this dignity…Order is the grade or dignity, of itself permanent, resulting from the actual ordination.” Order here is considered synonymous with dignity. If infamy makes invalid the dignities received then these men are not, nor could they ever be, clerics.
  2. The theologian Jean-Marie Herve, writing in the last century, described as unworthy those who are able to receive the Sacraments validly yet cannot profit from them. He refers this definition to public sinners who have been denied the sacraments and those under various censures including penalties for heresy and schism.  He also stresses that it is the strict duty of the minister to ascertain worthiness in order to protect the Sacraments from sacrilege and avoid scandal. While certain exceptions can be made in the case of the other Sacraments concerning their administration despite the unworthiness of the recipient, and reasons can be advanced that would allow their administration for a very serious reason, Herve points out in his “Sacraments,” (Dogmatic Theology, Vol. I) that this cannot be the case with Holy Orders. “In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the public good demands that the unworthy applicant even if he be secret, be repelled even though his offense cannot be juridically proved. In this case the reception of the Sacrament is considered inferior in worth to the worthy exercise of the sacred functions and the public good of the Church. According to Pesch: ‘He who trenches on a public good thereby loses his right to a private good if the public good cannot effectively be defended without injury to the latter.’” He goes on to quote Can. 731 #2 concerning the conferring of the Sacraments on heretics and schismatics: “It is forbidden to administer the Sacraments of the Church to heretics or schismatics even if they err in good faith…unless they first reject their errors and are reconciled with the Church.” Here it appears he is referring to juridical infamy.
  3. Candidates to become CMRI bishops are “elected,” and it is election and appointment that Can. 2391 is concerned with. As Rev. Augustine notes under this Canon, “he is worthy who possesses all the qualities positively prescribed for an office by law and is without the negative qualities that render one unworthy of holding a benefice.” He notes that infamy is one of these negative qualities that render one unworthy. In the case of infamy of law, the Traditionalists in general do not deny that they all have belonged to the Novus Ordo, SSPX or other schismatic/heretical organizations at one time; otherwise they would not be invoking Can. 2261 §2 and Can. 209 for their right to operate. Nor would they have been conditionally reordained if they did not believe they had been ordained by heretics and/or schismatics. Therefore they admit their irregularities and impediments openly. And these affiliations with non-Catholic sects cannot help but bring with them infamy of law under Canons 984 n. 5, 2294 §1 and 2314 §1.

Having said this, we return to Can. 2294 §1 and the canonists, who clearly agree that no layman can receive tonsure who suffers from infamy of law. To receive tonsure, one must definitely produce positive proofs of fitness. All candidates for Traditionalist orders are selected from among the various Trad sects. They are “called” by a bishop who himself suffers from the impediment of infamy of law, and who cannot validly or legally make one capable of acquiring benefices. Any attempts to do so are null and void, and were most likely also null and void concerning their own tonsures and training. If one has never been validly admitted to the clerical state and become a cleric; if he has not been called by the proper bishop; if he has not received the proper and required training at an approved and supervised seminary; if he has received orders from a heretic or a schismatic; if he has not presented dimissorial letters; if a bishop has been consecrated without the papal mandate and if no one has attempted to prevent these delinquents from perpetrating all these acts, then no greater evidence of unworthiness for the priesthood and episcopacy could possibly be presented.

Pivarunas says that the situation in China referred to in “Ad Apostolorum Principis” was that bishops were being intruded into sees whose rightful occupants were in prison or in exile, where our situation is that they are vacant. He is right; the situation is different. By all accounts the Chinese bishops intruded were validly and licitly ordained and their consecrations were valid all except for the mandate. If not, the Pope would have mentioned this. Also they were not consecrated during an interregnum.

The CMRI and others believe that they receive jurisdiction directly from God. This is called extraordinary jurisdiction, condemned by the Church. It is implicit in the beliefs of all the Protestants. St. Francis de Sales and Van Noort both advance good arguments against this teaching, condemned by the Church at the Council of Trent.

Did sedevacantists knowingly resort to Thuc? Could they and should they have known and understood that he was suspect of heresy? Did they ask if he had signed Vatican 2 documents? Rev. Joaquin Saenz-Arriaga, whose teachings undeniably were known to the Mexican bishops, certainly should have known and understood the laws and teaching of the Church. Carmona was the rector of a Mexican seminary, and should have understood the implications of heresy, apostasy schism and irregularity. Guerard des Lauriers, who had benefit of pre-Vatican 2 training, certainly should have been aware of these teachings. If nothing else, he should have known that if Thuc still laid claim to the Bulla Regiae title, by that very fact, he was admitting his acceptance of Paul 6. What happened to the claim, known at least to the Mexican bishops, that Thuc was consecrating those men only to provide electors (candidates?) for a papal election? There is no doubt that this is exactly what was going on. I was an eyewitness to the discussion of this eventuality by Fr. Dan Jones and others, later writing an article about it for Jones’ newsletter in 1982. Did the Mexican bishops agree to consecration only on the contingency that a papal election would follow? Both are dead now, and people can and do say what they want on the matter. But if Carmona was so certain of what was said in the Pontificale, why did he express doubts that he was actually consecrated once he returned to Mexico?

Ignored entirely in all this is the fact that Rev. Saenz before his death in the early 1970s, and Dr. Carlos Disandro in 1978, three years before the Thuc consecrations of des Lauriers, Carmona and Zamora printed the full text of Pope Paul IV’s 1559 Bull, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio.  Several Traditionalist publications ran excerpts, mostly of para. 6, from the Bull.  Such an important document, it seems, would have been read front to back and studied at length before proceeding with anything like what would later occur. Instead, many seemed intent on minimizing the mention of schismatic alongside heretics in the bull; of relating it positively to Canons 188 n. 4 and 2314. To this day there are those who insist that despite its infallible earmarks, testified to by Henry Cardinal Manning and the definition of infallible marks given at the Vatican Council, the Bull is not infallible. Those who quote Cum ex are denigrated as almost unCatholic. Despite its clear terms, they are accused of interpreting it and interpreting it wrongly. Their critics insist that the Bull is not retained in the Code, although the evidence proving that the Bull is indeed contained in several footnotes to the Code has been available for many years on this site. Taken in its entirety, Cum Ex could have successfully been used to find answers to many controversies about the crisis in the Church. But there are reasons why some prefer that its true status as a solution to this crisis not be brought to light.

The consideration of schism as equivalent to heresy in the Bull and its incontestable relation to the Code as the old law is what gave Traditionalist clerics pause. Prior to the Bull’s discovery and subsequent English translation, laity at least and to some extent priests ignorant of Rev. Saenz’s works could claim ignorance of the indisputable nature of the penalties. But once the Bull was “promulgated,” this immunity ceased, especially in the case of clerics. Pivarunas and others claim that the penalties concerning heresy and schism may be interpreted benignly, but this is not what Canon Law or Pope Paul IV’s Bull says.

Regardless of any mitigating circumstances, a heresy is a heresy and results in ipso facto excommunication. One can be absolved and other punishments also connected to the crime may be softened, but the heresy will still remain a heresy. Can it be adjudged as material and not formal heresy? Not unless very plausible and convincing evidence can be produced. Generally heresy is considered material only when the following three conditions are fulfilled: a) The offender is a baptized non-Catholic raised among Protestants who is following his own religion, as in the case above; b) nevertheless, this person is sincerely seeking the truth, and c) is fully prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church as soon as the heresy is discovered. There also is such a thing as aggravating circumstances in such cases, which make the delict (crime) more grave. Canon 2207 says offenses are aggravated owing to the dignity of the offender’s [perceived, in this case] position and the abuse of his office. Canon 2234 states that a person who has committed several offenses “shall not only be punished more severely, but shall also be subjected to surveillance…,” although such surveillance by superiors is no longer possible. These factors would offset any mitigating circumstances.

“One who is well versed in the law, or one who holds an office in regard to the things pertaining to the office,” is presumed to be unable to claim ignorance of the law or its penalty or ignorance of some fact concerning the delict, (Ignorance in Relation to the Imputability of Delicts, Rev. Innocent Swoboda, O.F.M., J.C.L.) Swoboda explains that in a pastor, priest or judge, a knowledge of the law is so strongly presumed that even if ignorance is claimed, it would most likely be considered crass by an ecclesiastical court, or culpable, (meaning the offender is at fault). Crass ignorance is subjectively defined by Swoboda as “a complete lack of diligence when it is known that the truth could be easily discovered….a complete and total failure to use any effort to fulfil the obligation of knowing the law or the pertinent facts surrounding the law. The failure itself may arise from mere sloth or from a sinful habit of acting without due consideration of the results of one’s own conduct…Only the ignorance of those things which can be easily learned can be considered crass or supine,” (and Swoboda combines both error and ignorance for the purposes of his dissertation).

Canon E. J. Mahoney writes, in his questions and answers: “The liberal view [is that] baptized non-Catholics in good faith are members of the body of the Church precisely because they are not excommunicated…The view diametrically opposed to this is [that] the excommunication of heretics applies to material as well as formal heretics…

If a choice had to be made between theses two views…, there is no question that the second fits in best with Catholic discipline, and, in particular, with our practice in reconciling converts…The solution which I think is the correct one consists in perceiving a distinction which the Code itself supplies. The Sacraments are to be denied both to material and formal heretics but for different reasons; to formal heretics because they merit punishment, the censure of Can. 2314 §1; to material heretics because they are excluded by Can. 731 §2, which is a necessary deduction from the concept of the Church: [basically, the Church is a society of men professing the same Christian faith, participating in the same worship, receiving the same Sacraments, from lawful pastors in communion with the Pope, etc…] Those who reject the rule of faith proposed by the Church are not members of the Church, and may not lawfully share in the privileges of members, as, for example, the reception of the Sacraments.”

Mahoney then cites Billot, who explains that formal heresy and schism cannot be excluded as a possibility in these cases. “…In reconciling converts…it is difficult in the first place to say with certainty that a given convert has not incurred the censure. It is not amongst those which crass ignorance excuses, and it is not unlikely that, during a given period previous to his submission, there was sufficient knowledge for incurring a censure. Therefore absolution from censure is given at least ad cautelam…Moreover, the important distinction between the internal and the external forum must always be remembered. The external government of the Church regards the external actions of people…It is open to the authority of the external government of the Church to regard the members of heretical sects as excommunicated, even though, in the internal forum of conscience, they may be guiltless of any act meriting punishment. We say it is “open to them” to do so, but whether they do, as matter of fact, must depend on their own avowal, explicit or implicit. Even though there is no express direction from the competent authority that all converts are reckoned to be excommunicated, the absolution from censure, should, in my opinion, always be given…It is at least a liturgical law…In the “Ordo Administrandi,” [England] …rubric two takes it for granted that absolution from censure will be given to all who have reached the age of puberty. Nothing is said about omitting the absolution in cases where it is said not to have been incurred…Lastly, and the most important point of all…the license of the Ordinary is always necessary before reconciling a convert with the Church.”

Can. E. J. Mahoney’s words are only strengthened by the commentary of Revs. Woywod-Smith on Can. 731: “All canonists and moralists agree that those who are heretics or schismatics and know they are wrong cannot be given the Sacraments of the Church unless they renounce their errors and are reconciled with the Church. Numerous decrees of the Holy Office put this point beyond controversy.” As Mahoney observes above, “Those who reject the rule of faith proposed by the Church are not members of the Church, and may not lawfully share in the privileges of members…”

Identifying heresy

To condemn a person as a heretic you must produce the specific doctrine doubted or denied, explicitly or implicitly. The article denied by the one in question must directly correspond to a doctrine condemned by the Church as heretical. In his “Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology,” Rev. Pascal Parente states that in order to judge something truly heretical, it must be opposed to a truth revealed by God, and also declared infallibly by the Church to be revealed by God. Rev. Garrigou-Lagrange expounds further on the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas concerning heresy. Aquinas defines heresy as “obstinately [embracing] a false opinion concerning truths that belong to the faith, either directly or principally…or indirectly and secondarily, like revealed verities of less importance…A heretic is one who refuses ‘to choose whatever Christ has truly taught,’” (“The Theological Virtues”). A heretic must be pertinacious, Rev. Garrigou-Lagrange tells us, meaning that “The sin of heresy consists in an obstinate upholding of a personal view, recognizable as being against the faith, after the opposite truth or truths of faith have knowingly become sufficiently manifiest. (…Once [heresy] becomes commonly known, especially on a large scale, it passes as manifest heresy…) Such a position cannot be ascribed to ignorance. It is the product of ill-will…[Pertinacity] can be instantaneous, a sudden seizure of ill-will against the faith after it has been sufficiently propounded by the Church.” For formal heresy to exist, “It is not necessary that the individual believer realizes that the truth in jeopardy has been revealed.” So what is needed from the outset is proof that a false opinion concerning truths of faith was actually expressed publicly and denied directly or indirectly.

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A Traditionalist “bishop” sanctioned the homealone position 25 years ago

A Traditionalist “bishop” sanctioned the homealone position 25 years ago

+Feast of the Most Holy Rosary+

Will wonders never cease. Often in the course of busily getting on with life we overlook things that could very much be used to our advantage, if we only knew they existed. I say this because I recently came across a Traditionalist work that seemingly refers to my own original research on the topic of following the safer course. And the author actually admits it is now the only option open to those who have doubt about the validity of the Thuc-line orders. What follows is a brief analysis of this work and its commentators. It has spawned a much more comprehensive and timely analysis now in progress that will eventually be made available to readers. After all these decades, this analysis will finally reveal the true source of error driving Traditional sects since their inception and will concisely and effectively demonstrate why and how they are forbidden by the Church to operate.

The book mentioned above, The Sacred and the Profane written by “Bp.” Clarence Kelly, cites all the same sources referenced in my first self-published work, Will the Catholic Church Survive…, released in 1990, (David Bawden contributed to this work). That work also stated that the Thuc line of bishops was at least illicit, and evidence was later published to this website proving they were questionably valid at best. Kelly’s work was not something I had reason to refer to, and to be honest I am not likely to do much more than briefly glance at works written by Traditionalists except to confirm sources, unless I am refuting their claims. I had no reason to refute this work because Kelly was right in his assumptions — Thuc was demonstrably mentally incompetent. He also was a member of the Novus Ordo church all along, right up until the consecrations of Guerard des Lauriers (ordained in 1931) and the Mexican priests Zamora and Carmona, (ordained in 1939).

In explaining what to do in a practical doubt of law or fact, Kelly cites several different moral theologians. But the main quote offered as proof was taken from the Jesuit Henry Davis’ Moral and Pastoral Theology, cited in my 1990 work, (along with Prummer, Jone and others; see pg. 26 of Will the Catholic Church Survive…). He also mentions Bernard Wuellner, S.J., often quoted on this site, as well as a few other theologians whose works I do not have. And in the conclusion to his book, he covers the simulation of the sacraments, a topic I covered beginning in 2007. So Kelly knew, and the hypocrisy of his continuation as a Traditionalist is astounding.  (And here I will not even mention heresy, since he had already adhered to a non-Catholic sect re his “ordination” by Lefebvre) What is even more astounding is the continuing flow of those believing themselves to be Catholic into the arms of these false shepherds, despite the fact they have repeatedly been warned regarding their non-Catholic status.

Kelly, having taken this position on the safer course — and he documents it well — now needs to just as carefully document his explanation of WHY it cannot and does not apply to those who are pray-at-home Catholics. This means re-examining the evidence he himself advances as well as refuting what is presented on this website that compels those of us adhering to this position to practice it. He and the likes of all the others ridiculing this clear teaching of the Church all these years owe all of us an apology. But that is the least of it. These counterfeit clerics owe the TRUTH to their followers before they meet their Maker, and as we all know, that could be at any time. For they can confess and attempt to make amends on this earth or burn eternally, and hopefully they will not be joined in Hell by the thousands they have deceived. In the meantime, we will continue to keep the faith at home, and it is a blessing, not a curse, as they portray. We have peace of mind regarding our decision, which arises from formalcertitude; a clear conscience. And we can offer to God all our sadness at having lost the Church in satisfaction for our sins, praising His holy will and begging Him to open the eyes of those who so desperately need to see.

The doubt Kelly refuses to resolve

Kelly’s book is available on Amazon (and also at https://congregationofstpiusv.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/SacredandProfane.pdf). It was written in 1997 and published by Seminary Press in New York. But the pray-at-home position had been known and recognized by various conservative Catholic authors beginning in the late 1970s. Below is a snapshot of the contents page of his book.

Now Kelly does not explicitly endorse homealone; only implicitly. But the implications of his conclusions could not have eluded him entirely since he obviously at some time had read my book and checked out the sources for his own purposes, so he knew we advocated the homelaone position. This was nearly 25 years ago, and how many sins have multiplied regarding Traditionalist “orders” and simulated mass and sacraments since then?! These people knew we were not mistaken in our conclusions; the LEAST they could have done was to have left us alone and concede that we were following our consciences, since the moral theologians teach we have every right to do so in such cases without sinning. But they could not afford to do that because it might adversely impact their cash flow and carefully cultivated prestige.

Below is a summary from Kelly’s book regarding principles governing the safer course, taken from the theologians:

“The principles are:
1.) “. . . facts are not presumed (as certain) but must be proved.”

2.) ” . . . the burden of proof rests upon him who makes the assertion.”

3.) “In a practical doubt about the lawfulness of an action one may never act.”

4.) “In conferring the Sacraments (as also in [the] Consecration in Mass) it is never allowed to adopt a probable course of action as to validity and to abandon the safer course.”

“Notorious facts are facts which “are so obvious and well substantiated that they need no further legal proof.” (Lyddon) Such facts are notorious either by a notoriety of law or a notoriety of fact.

These are “matters that are presumed by the law itself and hence need no proof.”

“Similarly, “presumptions of law need not be proved… ” The one in whose favor the presumption stands do not bear the “burden of proof.” As Fr. Lyddon puts it: “A person in whose favor there is a legal presumption is free from the onus probandi [burden of proving]; it falls on his opponent.” [T. Benns comment — However, As the canonists Woywod-Smith point out in their Canon Law commentary, there are presumptions of law and presumptions of fact. Absolute (legal) presumptions in the Canons of the Code itself are extremely rare and a judge must decide regarding the value of simple presumptions of both law and fact.]

“Fr. Doheny says: “One of the oldest legal maxims is that the burden of proof rests upon him who makes the assertion.”

“As Fr. Eugene Sullivan says in his Proof of The Reception of The Sacraments: “The form of proof which he must present will not be that which is most convenient for him to secure, but the particular one stipulated by official precept.” The form of proof that is “stipulated by official precept” for ordination to the priesthood and for episcopal consecration is documentary proof.

“The only means explicitly provided for in the Code of Canon Law for proving the reception of Holy Orders is authentic documentary evidence. Fr. Sullivan says: “Under the law of the Code provision is made for authentic documentary evidence of the reception of the sacrament of Holy Orders… There is no canon in the Code which makes provision for substantiating the reception of holy orders in any way other than by the evidence of documents.”

And finally, in his conclusion, Kelly writes: “To resolve the prudent doubts about the Thuc consecrations it would be necessary to submit the case to the competent ecclesiastical tribunal which in this case would be the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments. The S. Congregation of the Sacraments would have the power to issue a binding decree because it would have the competence to determine the status of the Thuc consecrations in a definitive way. But, since we do not have access to such a competent tribunal, because of the situation in the Church, we must apply the principles that tell us facts are not presumed as certain but must be proved; that the burden of proof rests with the one who makes the assertion; that we cannot act in the face of a practical doubt; AND, THAT WE MUST FOLLOW THE SAFER COURSE.” (End of Kelly quotes — all emph. mine)

The case was successfully made by Kelly regarding Thuc’s orders, even if his arguments beg the question by ignoring a universal proposition (the pope alone can issue the papal mandate and approve bishops; the Holy Office alone can determine the validity of orders already received). Moral principles taught unanimously by Catholic theologians cannot lie, even though they be misapplied in some case. But Kelly needs to use this same standard for his own ordaining bishop, Lefebvre, for it also will prove that his ordinations and consecrations were just as doubtfully valid, hence subject to review by the Sacred Congregation before they can be validly exercised. All the parameters Kelly lays out for judging these matters apply equally to Lefebvre, and on more than one count.  This is not about invalidity per se, although I believe that the evidence proves it exists. WE ARE ONLY REQUIRED TO PROVE DOUBTFUL VALIDITY to avoid Traditionalists and that is another thing entirely. But we do not even have to use the method proposed in my first book and elaborated upon by Kelly to assume doubtful validity in this case, as mentioned above. The doubt is resolved if the infallible election law of Pope Pius XII is understood and obeyed.

Conclusions drawn from the above

A doubt must be based on solid motives; it cannot be a hunch or a gut feeling. Such a doubt is called a negative doubt. A practical doubt must be positive and objective. It must be supported by strong evidence from reliable sources to be positive and the motive for believing such sources must be valid. The rules in Canon Law governing evidence are mentioned by Kelly in his work but not all of them are quoted, probably because his focus was on testimonial evidence and proofs regarding ordination/consecration provided by witnesses and other documents, (this constitutes over 200 pages of his book). The proofs primarily cited in our own works also originate from this section of the Code, but they come from the highest possible source, not testimonial evidence. These canons, cited in our own works, state:

1.Those decisions concerning the law entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis are considered authentic, (Can. 9; “Humani Generis”). They are binding in conscience and are to be held with at least a firm assent, (Can. 9; Msgr. J.C. Fenton, J.C.L., Rev. Billot and Rev. Connell as well as others).

  1. Canon 1812 tells us that acts issuing from the Roman Pontiff and the Roman Curia during the exercise of their office and entered as proof in ecclesiastical courts “prove the facts asserted,” (Can. 1816), and force the judge to pronounce in favor of the party producing the document, (commentary by Revs. Woywod-Smith. The Roman Curia, strictly speaking, is the ensemble of departments or ministries which assist the sovereign pontiff in the government of the Universal Church. These are the Roman Congregations, the tribunals, and the offices of the Roman Curia.)
  2. “Proof to the contrary is not admitted against Letters of the Roman Pontiff bearing his signature,” (Rev. Amleto Cicognani, Canon Law, 1935; p. 626, ft. note. This is irrefutable evidence, superior to an absolute presumption.) Documents entered into the Acta Apostolic Sedis do not need to be submitted in the original or be an authenticated copy, (Can. 1819). 

Kelly also quotes Rev. Wuellner, who teaches:

  1. Every judgment must be based on proof.
  2. In doubt, facts cannot be presumed, but must be proved.
  3. When in doubt one must stand by presumption and presumption must yield to truth.
  4. There is no argument against the evidence.
  5. No argument or conclusion contrary to the evident facts is valid, (#s 5-9 taken from Rev. Bernard Wuellner, S. J., Summary of Scholastic Principles, 1956).
  6. No inference contrary to the evident facts is true; conjectural opinions are dangerous, (Pope Pius XII; Humani Generis).

It is a solidly established fact that an infallible decree of the Roman Pontiff, specific to our times, teaches the following: ”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)… Likewise we command that the Sacred College of Cardinals shall not have the power to make a determination in any way it pleases concerning the rights of the Apostolic See and of the Roman Church… The laws issued by Roman Pontiffs in no way can be corrected or changed by the assembly of Cardinals of the Roman Church while it is without a Pope, nor can anything be subtracted from them or added or dispensed in any way whatsoever with respect to said laws or any part of them. This prohibition is especially applicable in the case of Pontifical Constitutions issued to regulate the business of the election of the Roman Pontiff. In truth, if anything adverse to this command should by chance happen to come about or be attempted, We declare it, by Our Supreme Authority, to be null and void” (Pope Pius XII, Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, 1945; entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis).

Cardinals primarily are bishops or archbishops (a few were deacons or archpriests, according to the 1950 Catholic Almanac).  So while these men held the honorary title of cardinal, they in fact also possessed episcopal orders and titles to various sees. So here Pope Pius XII was speaking primarily to bishops and a few priests. He was telling them they had no power whatsoever to change anything during an interregnum. These men were all validly consecrated and ordained, and during an interregnum they had no power; all was to be referred to a future pontiff. They had one task they needed to complete, and that was the election of a Roman Pontiff. In the event that the cardinals are not able to elect, St. Bellarmine provides the means for such action, teaching it is possible to convene an imperfect (not a general) council where the only business would be to elect a true pope; nothing doctrinal could be discussed. This was explained in Will the Catholic Church Survive…?

This law goes back to ancient times and is only a reiteration of Pope St. Pius X’s papal election law, a codification of all previous election law which Pope Pius XII rewrote. The 14th century canonist Baldus de Ubaldis refers to a commentary of Clem. I.iii.2, which passage expressly lays down that during a vacancy the Sacred College cannot exercise papal jurisdiction, nor can the cardinals change the constitution of the Church” (Walter Ullmann, The Origins of the Great Schism, 1948, p. 157. Ullmann further comments in a footnote that “This was the view generally entertained.”) Baldus also taught that the cardinals can clear the pope elected of all irregularities “except one, and that is persistent heresy.”  So these changes were forbidden long ago and are not just a product of modern legislation as some have insinuated. A very learned cardinal living during the Great Schism, Cardinal Zabarella, taught that when the majority of the cardinals all defect regarding the election of the Roman Pontiff, the priests and the faithful must pressure remaining cardinals and any true bishops to convene a papal election. Traditionalists fiddled until Rome burned to the ground and no true clerics were left to posit an election.

Absolute proofs and doubtful validity

Forget the theologians and the safer course when it comes to the papacy, which is the most glaring doubt Traditionalists were obligated to resolve but never did. Kelly ignored absolute proofs and adopted the safer course only because he dared not address the doubtful pope issue and blow up his boat. It is a matter of fact and law, as seen above, that no one may change the laws of the Church or trample on Her rights during an interregnum. If they do, any such act is automatically nullified. The pope said this infallibly and absolutely. There IS no appeal from this statement. No episcopal consecrations can be valid without a papal mandate under this law because this is a usurpation of papal jurisdiction. No one can presume to violate the laws of the Church, having received no diocese or office from a certainly canonically elected pope necessary to validly ordain priests, such as Lefebvre and Thuc proceeded to do (See Can. 147). All such acts are declared absolutely null and void. Wherever serious, positive doubts have been raised, and they have been documented for decades, even with heretical statements made “from the chair,” they must first be resolved before any validity is ever presumed. Traditionalists refuse to admit these doubts have been settled for decades, and no, the doubts raised have scarcely been negative doubts.

What form of proof is “the particular one stipulated by official precept” regarding the election of a Roman Pontiff? It is publication of any act or attempted act on the part of Traditionalists which violates the teaching in Pope Pius XII’s papal election law, or any act specified as schismatic, heretical or suspect of heresy in the one other law governing such situations – Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. This satisfies the requirements of Canon Law and in turn refers us to Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis under Can. 160 and Can. 6 no. 4, which requires us to follow the old law in a doubt of law — whether a man who has committed manifest heresy ever became a pope in the first place. And remember, in the case of Cum ex Apostolatus Officio such papal documents need only be signed to be considered absolute proof; they need not be infallible, (although contrary to the claims of the Traditionalists, Cum ex… is indeed infallible). When there is a doubt of law, Can. 18 also directs us to consult parallel passages of the Code, pointing us to laws governing ecclesiastical elections. Rev. Anscar Parsons, in his work, Canonical Elections, (Catholic University of America Canon Law dissertation, 1939) tells us: “The election of the Holy Father has been the prototype for the election of inferior prelates.” So here we have all we need to satisfy the necessary proofs.

Traditionalists are the ones who must meet the burden of proof, given the absolute nature of the documents presented, and they cannot do it. How does one overcome infallible pronouncements, absolute proofs? There is no appeal from the Roman Pontiff! As Pope Pius VI wrote in Charitas, regarding a similar situation in France, “We therefore severely forbid the said Expilly and the other wickedly elected and illicitly consecrated men, under this punishment of suspension, to assume episcopal jurisdiction or any other authority for the guidance of souls since they have never received it. They must not grant dimissorial letters for ordinations. Nor must they appoint, depute, or confirm pastors, vicars, missionaries, helpers, functionaries, ministers, or others, whatever their title, for the care of souls and the administration of the Sacraments under any pretext of necessity whatsoever. Nor may they otherwise act, decree, or decide, whether separately or united as a council, on matters which relate to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. For We declare and proclaim publicly that all their dimissorial letters and deputations or confirmations, past and future, as well as all their rash proceedings and their consequences, are utterly void and without force.” Sounds like the constant teaching of the Church to me.

The information regarding the doubtful validity of Traditionalists has been available from this author since 1990 and was available in part even before then. It has been roundly ridiculed and ignored by Traditionalists. But this case need NOT be submitted to higher authority for review, precisely because its resolution comes from the highest authority itself and therefore cannot be questioned. No one may judge the Roman Pontiff and there is no appeal from his statements and decisions. The pathetic efforts of pseudo-clerics such as Kelly and others to justify their actions and condemn their opponents from a strictly theological standpoint won’t pass muster. Why? Because as Revs. Pohle-Preuss write in their The Sacraments, Vol. IV: “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.” It is the papacy that determines everything from the top; and it is the papacy and the rights of Holy Mother Church these Traditionalists have consistently disregarded, disdained and trampled upon.

Outing Cekada and Sanborn

Kelly’s work is valuable in one respect — he ably exposes the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of homealone critic “Fr.” Cekada (now deceased) and “Bp.” Sanborn. This fact was only further strengthened by reports regarding Cekada and “Bp.” Dolan’s alleged mistreatment of their followers. This and other scandalous behavior at St. Gertrude the Great in Ohio in 2009 is said to have been witnessed by several Traditionalists. The rationalizations they used to establish their own positions and organizations is mind-blowing, for it is clear from Kelly’s work that all they needed to know regarding whether Ngo dinh Thuc was mentally capable of ordaining or consecrating was readily available to them, including the fact he was not even a member of the true Church! These two men at first were not in favor of the validity of the Thuc consecrations – until they realized they could acquire a bishop for their own operations in Mark Pivarunas and Danny Dolan if they did a 180-degree turn in their thinking. They also had to make a quick exit from Kelly because he had made public a line of thought dangerous to the Traditionalist movement, one that they could not afford to align themselves with.

It is now completely understandable why Cekada, Sanborn and their associates continued to denounce homealoners — they needed to distance themselves from their enemy Kelly, not just homealone per se. Kelly’s theologically correct demonstration of the safer course posed a threat. They were crafty and forward-looking enough to appreciate the fact that it could be used against them regarding their own ordinations and anticipated future consecrations — Dolan’s “consecration” by the Thucite Pivarunas, sponsored by Cekada at St. Gertrude’s in Ohio, and Sanborn’s “episcopal consecration” by the Thucite Robert Mckenna. It’s the gravy train they were trying to protect here, one that according to information published in 2009, was quite lucrative indeed, and was built on the backs of their followers. Truly the treachery of nearly all Traditionalist sect leaders is revealed in Kelly’s work.

Dirksen’s disingenuous letter

Mario Dirksen of NovusOrdoWatch wrote a letter to Kelly in 2011 contesting the doubtful validity of the Thuc consecrations as stated in his book and challenging the citations regarding use of the safer course. It is always instructive to read such things simply because they so glaringly omit any reference to what the POPES and the Sacred Congregations — not the warring sedevacantists, not the theologians — have to say about the validity of these kinds of consecrations. And no, Mario, it does not matter that we are in an “emergency situation” — read what Pope Pius VI has to say above about that particular point. And his Charitas was an infallible document, cited as such by one of the leading cardinals in his retinue. Theologians have their place; I cite them as well. But in these most serious matters regarding eternal salvation and sacramental validity we must reach for the highest form of certitude possible, and the Holy See is the only sure guarantee of what the Church truly teaches. Theologians have only opinions; many of these were bordering on the liberal side long before Pope Pius XII’s death. Even Traditionalists admit this.

Dirksen maintains that “Accepting the Thuc consecrations [as] a morally certain course of action has been amply demonstrated in the main parts of this [his] letter.”  He quotes Henry Davis, cited by Kelly, to back up his statement, noting that Davis endorses the morally certain avenue, (safe but not the safest course). He does not mention, however, that Davis only advises this course in matters of urgent necessity, such as baptizing a dying child when the matter used is only probably valid. Once again, such necessity does not suffice according to Pope Pius VI when it comes to Holy Orders. Dirksen then quotes the following from a document written by Pope Pius XII and entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis, an allocution given to the Roman Rota. In that document he quotes the parts pertinent to his own case and neglects to mention that Pope Pius XII admits that “This moral certainty… does not exist if there are, on the other side — in favor of the reality of the contrary — motives which a sound, serious and competent judgment pronounces to be at least in some way worthy of attention and which consequently make it necessary to admit the contrary as not only possible but also in a certain sense probable…. [The judge should] not require a higher degree of certainty, EXCEPT WHERE THE LAW PRESCRIBES IT ESPECIALLY IN VIEW OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CASE.” Is there any case more important than the Church’s continued existence?

In 2010, a year before Dirksen’s letter appeared, I wrote an article on this very issue, detailing the various grades of certitude and Pope Pius XII’s teaching on moral certainty. It remains on my site today (https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/1-what-constitutes-the-papacy/objective-truth-is-one-error-is-manifold-part-i/ ). It must be understood that while papal documents provide absolute proof in ecclesiastical trials, those printed in the Acta Apostolica Sedis are binding on Catholics — they are to be accepted as irrefutable evidence. It is interesting to note that Dirksen has no problem posting lengthy citations from papal teaching to counter the Recognize and Resist bunch while ignoring their import in the question at hand. But then this has always been the problem with everything that is “Traditional” — “rules for thee, but not for me.” Sound familiar? That is because the entire mindset now existing in the political sphere first existed in the theological twilight land of religious Progressivism that emerged following Vatican 2. Such twisted thinking was spawned long ago and is only reaching its climax today. It won’t be long now before the entire skein of yarn consisting of damnable lies and deceit unravels and modern society is entirely undone.

The awful truth

The bull elephant chained for so long in the backwoods of Traddie land is about to go on the rampage and the villagers are clueless. Everywhere, despite the illusion Traditionalists can offer a true Mass and validly dispense the Sacraments, we see the world imploding and that tells us everything we need to know about the times in which we live. Traditionalists desperately need to assess the unprecedented state of the world today and relate that to the real purpose of the Holy Sacrifice. For we would not be in this current world situation if the Mass truly was being offered on Catholic altars! The reason Traditionalists refuse to resolve the doubt regarding the election of John 23rdis precisely because it will then lead to the realization that if none of these priests and bishops were valid, if all their acts were rendered null and void, then we have been without the Mass for several decades. It is the unanimous teaching of the early Fathers that this is predicted by the prophet Daniel, and we know from Holy Scripture itself who will cause its cessation. So there is no choice but to accept the fact that it can only be the Antichrist, the Man of Sin, the abomination of desolation, who has done this. And if anyone was being honest with themselves, this fact would be a foregone conclusion.

Reverend Martin Cochem, writing in the late 1800s, explained the consequences of the prophesied loss of the Continual Sacrifice. He answers the question “What restrains God from withdrawing His presence and delivering the world to Satan?” as follows:

“Most decidedly it is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which averts this calamity. For although the divine majesty is continually blasphemed by ungodly men, on the other hand it is continually honored by priests in thousands of Masses, worthily blessed by Christ Himself. This tribute of praise far outweighs the blasphemies of the reprobate and makes amends to God for the indignities shown to Him. We have indeed reason enough, and it is our bounden duty to give heartfelt thanks to Christ for having, of His pure mercy, instituted the Sacrifice of the Mass whereby the world, despite its iniquities is preserved from destruction.” Cochem relates that Peter of Clugny, a learned religious, aptly predicted: “If Christians were to abolish the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass… God would no longer be worshipped upon earth.”

And Reverend Doctor Nicholas Gihr, in his work on the Holy Sacrifice, wrote likewise in 1897: “It is by Christ’s Blood in the Mass that the anger of God is daily placated, the vengeance of the Divine judgment disarmed, that He no more curses the earth on account of man, whose mind and thoughts are prone to evil from his youth (Gen. 8:21). When this “Sacrifice for sins” shall be no longer celebrated, then “there remains but a certain dreadful expectation of judgment and the rage of a fire which shall consume the adversaries’” (Heb. 10: 26-27). And that expectation is rampant today, even among Protestants. Almost immediately following the death of Pope Pius XII, serial murders, assassinations, horrific, unheard of sex crimes, the legalization of abortions, the drug plague, a sharp increase in the divorce rate, campus unrest, an uptick in suicides, reports of demonic possession, Satanic activity, pornography everywhere, the cult explosion, the Manson and Bundy murders — all became commonplace and were concurrent with the advent of Vatican 2. Those who were students or young parents in those days will remember it well.

Fideism and Traditionalism are the real culprits

Is it not clear that God has withdrawn His presence and delivered the world to Satan? Didn’t Our Lady warn us of this at La Salette? How then can you still believe you have the true Sacrifice on your altars when all this evil has come upon the entire world?! Traditionalists have been seduced by the errors of Fideism and Traditionalism, both condemned by the Church. These errors are explained online in the Catholic Encyclopedia as follows: Traditionalism is: “A philosophical system which makes TRADITION the supreme criterion and rule of certitude.” Fideism is a bit more complicated but is very similar in its tenets. “Fideism (Lat. fides, faith), [is] a philosophical term meaning a system of philosophy or an attitude of mind, which, denying the power of unaided human reason to reach certitude, affirms that the fundamental act of human knowledge consists in an act of faith, and the supreme criterion of certitude is authority.”  And it is precisely erroneous thinking regarding the understanding of certitude that Traditionalists have spread all these years.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia article on certiude, “Many truths, indeed, have to be accepted on authority; but then it has to be made evident that such authority is legitimate, is capable of knowing the truth, and is qualified to teach in the particular department in which it is accepted.” As Rev. A.C. Cotter S.J. teaches in his The ABC of Scholastic Philosophy, (p. 284): “Authority clothed with the necessary conditions is true authority. False authority makes the same claims although it lacks these conditions.” Cotter comments that those following self-styled teachers of any philosophic system have the “duty to investigate for themselves. Authority is not the last criterion of truth or motive of certitude.” Kelly rightly avers that Catholics must arrive at certitude. But he so lowers the bar that he excludes absolute or formal certitude, then by using a fallacy of argument directs it to false authority — his and other Traditional sects rejecting the Thucites. The teachings of the Roman Pontiffs and the necessity of the papacy are entirely left out of the equation. It is the Old Catholic heresy and essentially Gallicanism at its very worst.

The apocalyptic clock is ticking, folks; the seconds hand ever closer to midnight. To conclude, we once again quote Henry Cardinal Manning on the moral obligation to seek the truth in such matters: “Whensoever the light comes within the reach of our sight, or the voice within the reach of our ear, we are bound to follow it, to inquire and to learn; for we are answerable, not only for what we can do, by absolute power now, but for what we might do if we used all the means we have; and therefore, whensoever the Church of God comes into the midst of us, it lays all men under responsibility; and woe to that man who says, ‘ I will not read; I will not hear; I will not listen; I will not learn; ‘ and woe to those teachers who shall say, ‘ Don’t listen, don’t read, don’t hear; and therefore, don’t learn.’”



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Bp. Ngo dinh Thuc possessed no special faculties or ordinary jurisdiction

Cardinal Manning clarifies the relation of bishops to the Roman Pontiff

+St. Anthony Mary Claret+

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

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

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

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

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

So why would the Church insert this prayer into Her liturgy if it was impossible by virtue of Divine Faith for this order of rulers to ever cease to exist?  Reading the first chapter presented in the web article linked above, it is as Manning explains and the Vatican Council teaches: the Church “was not intended to die with Peter and the Apostles, but to pass onward to the successors of Peter and of the Apostles, and to reside immediately in them, and to continue until the consummation of the world as also the Church is intended to continue until the consummation of the world; for government of which this jurisdiction was instituted by Christ” (p. 3). And the Vatican Council reflects this teaching in stating that “In His Church He wished the pastor and Doctors to be even unto the consummation of the world” (DZ 1821). For immediately following that quote, the Council mentions that Christ wished this to be so in order that the episcopacy “might be one and undivided.” Manning himself later wrote that the Vicar of Christ, like his Master, would be taken away for a time, according to St. Paul’s teaching on “he who withholdeth.” This is confirmed by approved authors mentioned in previous blog posts, cited by Manning.

In his work, Manning presents the teaching of the approved theologians regarding the true origins and constitution of the episcopacy. He makes it clear that “a distinction is to be drawn between the jurisdiction itself and the act and use of it in exercise. The jurisdiction, indeed, may be derived immediately from God; but all act and use of it is from the Church, which gives the use of it (i.e. the right of using it) to each Bishop, when it assigns to him his subjects, on whom he may exercise this jurisdiction, which is itself of Divine right; but so long as it has no subjects it remains an otiose jurisdiction. So in ordination a priest receives the power of forgiving sins; but unless he have subjects assigned to him by the Church, he cannot use it…

“No Bishop by himself, nor many Bishops united together, possess the privilege of infallibility in matters of dogma, nor can make laws in matters of discipline, which oblige out of their own dioceses. And yet when the Bishops meet legitimately in a body representing the whole Episcopal College, that is, in a General Council, the dogmatic decisions which emanate from this body are infallible, and the laws of discipline bind the whole Church. In this body there is to be clearly seen the full, sovereign, sole, and indivisible Episcopate, “of which a part is possessed fully by each.” But every reader already well understands that the Bishops, in howsoever great a number they may be assembled, can never form the body, or represent the Episcopal College, if they have not at their head S. Peter in his successor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did those quoting from this encyclical even read it in its entirety?! Everyone should read it completely through before trying to expound on it. It can be found at https://www.papalencyclicals.net/leo13/l13satis.htm. The Pope himself writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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











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