+Most Holy Name of Mary+
A few more comments are in order on the subject of visibility and apostolicity. It is a topic that should be treated in far greater depth at some point, but unless and until a sufficient number of Catholics begin to take their faith seriously, there is no need to say more than what has already been written here. Our appeal is the same as that of Pope Pius XII, who wrote in Mystici Corporis Christi, June 29, 1943:
“4. And it is to be hoped that Our instructions and exhortations will bring forth abundant fruit in the souls of the faithful in the present circumstances. For We know that if all the sorrows and calamities of these stormy times, by which countless multitudes are being sorely tried, are accepted from God’s hands with calm submission, they naturally lift souls above the passing things of earth to those of heaven that abide forever, and arouse a certain secret thirst and intense desire for spiritual things. Thus, urged by the Holy Spirit, men are moved, and, as it were, impelled to seek the Kingdom of God with greater diligence; for the more they are detached from the vanities of this world and from inordinate love of temporal things, the more apt they will be to perceive the light of heavenly mysteries. But the vanity and emptiness of earthly things are more manifest today than perhaps at any other period, when Kingdoms and States are crumbling, when enormous quantities of goods and all kinds of wealth are being sunk in the depths of the sea, and cities, towns and fertile fields are strewn with massive ruins and defiled with the blood of brothers.
“5. Moreover, We trust that Our exposition of the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ will be acceptable and useful to those also who are without the fold of the Church… Before their eyes nation rises up against nation, kingdom against kingdom and discord is sown everywhere together with the seeds of envy and hatred. If they turn their gaze to the Church, if they contemplate her divinely-given unity — by which all men of every race are united to Christ in the bond of brotherhood — they will be forced to admire this fellowship in charity, and with the guidance and assistance of divine grace will long to share in the same union and charity.”
This is our message to Traditonalists. The visibility of the Church could increase and the mark of unity could at least be partially realized if only those believing themselves to be Catholic would heed this pope’s words.
(All quotes below are from the theological manuals quoted in our last blog.)
— Material visibility requires a public, not a private profession of faith.
— Members all over the world are united by the profession of a common faith, by participation in a common worship, and by obedience to a common authority.
— The Church’s members are visible, for they are flesh and blood people.
— To insist on the Church’s being visible is not to claim that all its elements are immediately apparent to the senses. THE CHURCH MUST BE ADJUDGED TRULY VISIBLE EVEN IF SOME ELEMENT WHICH IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF ITS MAKEUP CANNOT BE SEEN DIRECTLY, provided that this element be by its very nature joined to and eternally manifested by some visible element.
— Without the profession of the same faith, participation in the same rites and obedience to the same authority by true Catholics, there is simply no Church of Christ. (End of quotes)
So as we observed in our initial blog on this subject, a website which can be seen by anyone in the world is a public profession of the faith. Those subscribing to it, donating to it and commenting on it are part of that public profession. These people are flesh and blood Catholics. They are either members of the Church by actual Baptism or baptism of desire. They profess the same faith, avail themselves of the two remaining Sacraments and of the substitutes for Penance and the Eucharist, recite the Mass of St. John and obey ALL the teachings of the Popes and the Ecumenical Councils, also Canon Law. Even though we have no visible pope and hierarchy, we are yet members of Christ’s Mystical Body. As such we can count ourselves as at least materially visible. Pope Pius XII taught in Mystici Corporisregarding this body, “If we would define and describe this true Church of Jesus Christ — which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church — we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime, or more divine than the expression ‘the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ,’ an expression which springs from and is, as it were, the fair flowering of the repeated teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the holy Fathers.”
And Christ, the invisible Head, rules this body as Supreme Pontiff, so materially we also have a Head of this Church. We are in daily communion with the Church Triumphant in Heaven and the suffering souls in Purgatory. In Heaven Our Lord Himself offers Sacrifice on the heavenly altar, St. Alphonsus Liguori teaches. He tells us that the Sacrifice and priesthood will never cease even during the time the Holy Sacrifice is taken away, since “the Son of God, Eternal Priest, will always continue to offer Himself to God, the Father, in Heaven as an Eternal Sacrifice” (Holy Eucharist). St. Gregory Nazianzan wrote: “What then? Will they forbid us their altars? Even so, I know of another altar, and the altars we see now are but a figure of it… All the activities ’round about that altar are spiritual; one ascends to it by contemplation. At this altar I shall stand, upon it I will make immolations pleasing to God, sacrifices, oblations, holocausts, better than those that are offered now…“(Ibid). St. Thomas of Aquinas writes: “The state of the New Law is intermediate between the state of the Old Law… and the state of glory, in which all truth will be fully and perfectly manifested. Then there will be no more Sacraments; but now, inasmuch as we see only through a glass darkly, we have to enter into spiritual things through sensible signs.”
Sensible signs, taken to Modernist extremes by Traditionalists, reduce to the fact that they must have the Sacraments at all costs, even if it means receiving them from men who were never ordained or consecrated. This “need” arising from impulses and perceived necessities — but which is actually the product of a deranged sentimentalism — is condemned by Pope St. Pius X in his Pascendi Dominici Gregis, but they cannot and will not admit this applies to them. They refuse to believe that we have a Pope in Christ the Supreme Pontiff; the wealth of pontifical teachingleft to us over the centuries, available on the Internet worldwide; hierarchy in the heavenly host of saintly popes, priests and bishops, and Holy Mass, celebrated at the altar before the throne of God in heaven, which is referred to many times in St. John’s Apocalypse. We also have the Sacraments necessary to salvation, and substitutes for Penance and Holy Communion. They scoff at the assertion that in these times it is at this heavenly altar that we offer ourselves as victims in union with the eternal Sacrifice, attended in Heaven by Popes, bishops, priests, abbots, abbesses, religious and all the angels and saints — joining our prayers to theirs. Let the Jesuit priest Maurice de La Taille, (The Mystery of Faith, Bk. I, pgs. 225-26) quoting from a commentary on the teaching of St. Augustine by Gerhoh of Reichersberg, better explain this great mystery:
“We have seen that St. Augustine calls Christ an altar. He sets apart the earthly altar at which both the just and the unjust assist. Christ is the one priest of the celestial altar, and yet not alone. It is as the whole Christ, Head and members, that He stands there, (In Psalms 25). There is also an altar before the eyes of God; the priest who first offered Himself for us has entered there. He is the heavenly altar. If you betake yourself to this altar you will be taken up in the Holocaust and from being mortal you will be made immortal again…: You have the tabernacle of the present Church, the altar common to the good and the bad… There is another altar, sublime invisible, accessible to the good alone unto which — like the high priest who alone and not without sacrifice enters into the holy of holies — the just man enters once only. He does this when he is taken up to God body and soul as a Holocaust, that his youth in every part of his being may be renewed there. He does not go into that altar in sadness, with any interior affliction derived from the old external trappings of his humanity, but all that he is and with all his being, he cleaves to God who rejoices his youth. I shall go into this altar too, repenting at last of my sins, to God who rejoices my youth,” (In Psalm 42). Introibo ad altare Dei, Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meum.
This time on earth without Mass, Sacraments and the hierarchy is an invitation to draw close to God on His heavenly throne and experience a foretaste of Heaven, to prepare ourselves for departure from this earth and the final fulfillment of all our spiritual hopes and aspirations. But Traditionalists are rejecting it. They choose sensible signs on earth over manna from heaven, as though their probation here is the end all be all. Why do Traditionalists remain blind to this? Because they have allowed themselves to be seduced by a material and Modernist idea of the Church. They have followed false shepherds and hirelings, despite Christ’s warnings regarding the last days. Therefore they cannot profess the same faith or obey the same authority, necessary to visibility. They have forgotten, if they ever knew, what is written in the Apocalypse: That the Church will flee into the desert, accompanied by Our Lady. It is said by some writers that her Rosary is the eighth Sacrament, (for those who bemoan their loss of the Sacraments should they do the right thing and abandon their position), so it as not as though we flee as motherless orphans. The desert in early Christian times was associated with the lack of Mass and Sacraments, according to St. Francis de Sales. In the desert, the early hermits and penitents hid themselves to devote their lives to two things: prayer and contemplation. This is the meaning of the two wings of the great eagle in the opinion of some commentators writing on the Apocalypse.
We read also in the Apocalypse that the man-child brought forth by the woman, who was to rule with a rod of iron, is taken up to God and his throne in Heaven. Some commentators identify this child as the pope to be elected during the time of Antichrist. God Himself, then, has taken away our pope, whether by martyrdom in some unknown circumstance or simply by allowing a false election to take place owing to the sinful will of the electors. Christ tells us in Matt. 26: “For it is written, I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed.” And then Judas betrayed Him and all the apostles abandoned Him, just as all the cardinals and bishops did likewise during the election following the death of Pope Pius XII and at the false Vatican 2 council. But Traditionalists cannot accept this. And they forget the most important part of apostolicity: apostolicity of doctrine, without which there can be no apostolic succession.
(All quotes below are from the theological manuals quoted in our last blog.)
— Apostolicity of doctrine and mission is necessary.
— If the Church of Christ still exists it must be teaching His doctrine. Hence Apostolicity of mission is a guarantee of Apostolicity of doctrine.
— Jurisdiction is essential to the Apostolicity of mission… One who intrudes himself into the ministry against the laws of the Church receives no authority, and consequently can transmit none to his successors. There is not the slightest intimation in Scripture or tradition that Christ ever promised to confer authority directly upon the ministers of the Church.
— All legitimate succession, or Apostolicity of ministry in the Church, depends upon communion with the chair of Peter and is lost the moment that communion is severed. Hence no particular part of the Church is indefectibly Apostolic, save the See of Peter.
— Christ has either failed in His promises, or the Church must ever preserve and teach all truths committed to her through the ministry of the Apostles.
— Apostolicity of doctrine is the logical and indispensable consequence of the unity required in the true Church. (End of quotes)
All we have ever said is that the Church is not visible as a juridic body, that some of Her essential elements cannot be seen directly; that She now lacks the hierarchy and a true pope ruling from Rome. We have always claimed to possess access to Her apostolicity of doctrine, as presented on these pages for the past 14 years. And we have always acknowledged Christ as the origin of that doctrine. We have taught against the manifold errors regarding jurisdiction for over 36 years. We have championed the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, the necessity of the papacy, also the importance of adherence to all the teachings of the magisterium, for 40 years. And we have emphasized repeatedly that without legitimate succession and communion with Rome, Traditionalists cannot possibly possess any pretension to the four marks.
So given this fact and the length of time this information has been available, how Traditionalists can continue to maintain they are truly Catholic while denying the necessity of the papacy and ignoring the absence of jurisdiction is truly mind-boggling. That they selfishly continue to insist — despite long-existing, irrefutable evidence of their heresies — that they must have the “Mass and Sacraments” leads one to wonder whether they are either secretly working for the other side or are intellectually incapable of understanding the written word which expounds the teachings of Christ. Locked in the high-school mentality of defending their hero-leaders and rooting against members of the Novus Ordo led by the heresiarch Francis, they treat the faith as either a political contest or a drive to win the Superbowl. All is geared to the secular idea of enjoying the Church as She existed in the 1950s, but without the necessity of the interior life or any commitment to learning Catholic doctrine and engaging in Catholic Action. All is superficial and consists of nothing but the external elements of religion, as previously noted.
Traditionalist “clergy” pretend to be the sources of Catholic truth and teaching, but this is a betrayal of Christ, because no one has ever sent them; they are not clerics and possess no mission. As quoted above, the Church must ever preserve and teach all truths committed to her through the ministry of the Apostles or Christ has failed in His promises. So they today are testifying by their very existence that Christ’s promises have failed! For the one truth they deny most blatantly is the necessity of true apostolic succession, both of doctrine and of mission, in addition to the necessity of the papacy. They seem to care nothing that the consequences of this for their followers could be the loss of their souls, for engaging in false worship and failing to follow all the teachings of the continual magisterium up to the reign of Pope Pius XII. We must tell the truth here but we wish them no ill; we wish only that they abandon their errors and help unite the faithful in a true effort to restore the Church. The Church can finally triumph on earth if all accept Her teaching on Apostolic succession and the necessity of the papacy. A mighty force, united in belief, could finally confront the evils of this world, if only they would admit their errors, do penance and embrace the truth. We eagerly seek their conversion but must remember that the remnant consists of only a few, selected out of grace. How many would constitute that few has not been revealed to the Church.
It is that grace we continue to pray for and to which we direct all our works. “Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word. That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may also be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me” (John 17: 20-21).