+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).
- 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.)
- “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:
- Every judgment must be based on proof.
- In doubt, facts cannot be presumed, but must be proved.
- When in doubt one must stand by presumption and presumption must yield to truth.
- There is no argument against the evidence.
- 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).
- 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.’”