Doctrinal conclusions drawn from ‘Cum ex…’
© Copyright 2007, 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. Emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless noted to the contrary.)
In his introduction to “Cum ex…,” Pope Paul IV sets the tenor of his entire document. He tells us that certain enemies of Christ have “corrupted the sense of the Holy Scriptures with cunning inventions.” It is these he intends, by his Bull, to drive away. His very next paragraph, paragraph one, refers to Holy Scripture. Here the Pope states that while it is true that the Pope can be judged by no one, nevertheless he can “be corrected if he is found straying from the faith.” Obviously someone had stated otherwise despite the clear teaching of Holy Scripture, where St. Paul is found correcting St. Peter for something that could be construed as implicitly denying Jesus’ teaching. So this is a matter of professing and safeguarding the truths of Divine Faith, which from the example given by St. Paul clearly teach that heresy or even its appearance cannot be tolerated whatsoever, for what Christ has taught not even a pope can question. Holding that a Pope cannot be corrected for denying the Scriptures, then, is itself a denial of Divine Faith, and Pope Paul IV is telling us that it is heresy of the worst sort and cannot be tolerated. If we place obedience to a man claiming to be Pope as superior to our obedience to Christ Himself, this IS the adoration of the abomination of desolation.
Paragraph two refers to this very phrase — the abomination of desolation — taken from the prophecies of Daniel. Pope Paul IV states that to prevent these evil men who so corrupt Holy Scripture from becoming the abomination of desolation and standing in the Holy Place — the Holy See — he must trap these men and drive them from the sheepfold. Here Paul IV has defined explicitly when a Pope may be corrected and also has explicitly defined the meaning of the term abomination of desolation: a heretic usurping the papal see. He also tells us that it is the duty of the Pope and the Church as well to drive out any who even appear less than orthodox. Prior to his Bull these topics were subject to debate. Now that a Pope has determined how Holy Scripture is to be interpreted in this regard, the matter is forever closed. Thus is Holy Scripture — Divine Faith — proposed to the Church for belief, making these propositions matters of Divine and Catholic faith. To question or to deny them is heresy, (DZ 1792; Canons 1324 and 1325).
What does the abomination of desolation do according to Daniel ?
• He shall confirm some sort of covenant;
• He shall sit in the temple;
• He shall cause the Victim and the Sacrifice to fail, (Dan. 9:27).
What does Christ say about the abomination ?
• “When…you shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel…standing in the holy place, let he who readeth understand.”
Jesus knew, of course, that nearly all men would know how to read in our day. Based on Antiochus and the seizure and destruction of the Jewish Temple, Christ used the abomination as a sign to indicate the end of an era in the Church. He told the Apostles that the abomination should be expected immediately before the consummation, or end of the world itself. How long before is not certain. And whether there is any hope of restoring things once this happens is not certain, either. Only Fatima, and this is a far stretch, allows for any hope. In fact Daniel’s prophecy quoted above tells us that “the desolation shall continue even to the consummation and to the end,” although most commentators say this applies mainly to Old Testament times. Some believe that the balance of Matt. 24 offers hope for a sort of restoration, since preaching, which requires jurisdiction, is mentioned. Commentators and saints alike are divided on this one.
According to Paul IV’s interpretation the abomination is an heretical usurper in Peter’s chair. Paul IV refers to Daniel, and Daniel tells us this usurper will spread heresy, suspend the Holy Sacrifice, changes times and laws, do more than can be believed and in the place of the Eucharist will erect an idol. The evil king Antiochus is likewise described in the footnotes to the Douay-Rheims as a usurper who destroyed the laws and sacrifice of the Israelites and placed the god Jupiter Olympus on the altar of the Jewish temple to be adored. These horrors befell the Jews not long before the coming of Our Lord, just as what we are experiencing today surely must mean that we live in the Latter Days and His Second Coming is increasingly near. This concession to ancient Rome in Antiochus’ time is identical to the state religion described by Will Herberg in his 1950s work Protestant, Catholic, Jew. Before V2 ever convened, Herberg coined a great term for this national religion: “religious narcissism, where the individual and his psycho-spiritual state is made to concentrate on its own navel.” In other words, “It is not man who serves God, but God who is mobilized to serve man.” And faith is only a “sure ﬁre way to get what we want.”
Religion, then, is not a standard by which Catholics order their allegiance to America, family, the community, their jobs etc…, but vice versa. Civic and social allegiances dictate the role religion will play in most people’s lives. This results in what Herberg described as an incurable “civic idolatry.” This lifestyle, led by those he labels as “other-directed” individuals constitutes an inversion of the natural order that perfectly accommodates the schizophrenic mentality. It also ﬁts the description offered by Church Fathers and Scripture commentators of the conditions that constitute the reign of Antichrist. Catholic scriptural scholar Rev. Bruce Vawter, for all his later divergence from Catholic orthodoxy, identified the “re-emergence” of Americanism in the 1950s as a distinctly new American religion — a synthesis of Judaism, Catholicism and Protestantism characterized by an avid civic involvement. While Herberg already had documented the new religion’s existence, even quoting scholastic theologians’ observance of the phenomenon, Vawter verified its existence among the Catholics of this time period. And here Americanism’s true link to Jansenism can be discerned. For like this parent heresy, Americanism relied primarily on the appearance of holiness — the formalism and hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the Jansenists — rather than true interior mortification and genuine sanctity.
As Vawter rightly defined it, religiosity is the appearance of religion devoid of its substance. Christ warned His Church to judge not by appearances, but by the fruits of those claiming to be holy. It was Vawter who first called this state religiosity — a “caricature of religion” projecting religious practice without religious conviction. (Religiosity, not religion, is probably the noun intended by the Communist, Lenin, in deﬁning “the opiate of the people.”) Identifying Americanism as the national religion of Catholics in his day, Vawter concluded his article with the observation that the Christian religion, when identiﬁed with national values, can only be described as the worship of Antichrist. The clergy should have noted this burgeoning phenomena and warned the faithful, but already the infiltration of enemy agents had penetrated too deeply into the Church. So great are the crimes of heresy, apostasy and schism that Pope Paul IV decrees that those among the hierarchy and secular heads of government, because they are expected to give good example and are less excusable, shall never again be admitted to another office or readmitted to the office they once possessed. In fact they are to be exiled to a monastery, there to do penance for their sins for life. This punishment is retained in the 1917 Code, (Can. 2298§8). As a result, none of those who are clerics can exercise their Orders, for the Bull states that: “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.” In addition to this, they are irregular and infamous. There is no need of a declaration or trial of any kind. Did Christ limit jurisdiction to those who were certainly valid AND licit successors of the Apostles? We see that He did, for He said: “As my Father sent Me, I also send you.” This chain of succession can never be broken if apostolicity is to be preserved.
Paul IV orders those ridding any ecclesiastical ofﬁces of heretics to “avoid the inconveniences of long vacancy and insure that positions so snatched from servitude to heretics shall be granted to suitable persons who will direct the people thereof in the paths of justice.” Thus any among the hierarchy who recognized the heresy of these antipopes were required to take immediate action in order to ﬁll these vacancies in a timely manner to avoid further calamity. Further on in the Bull, in paragraph seven, we read: “It shall be lawful for all and sundry who would have been subject to persons so promoted and elevated, had these not ﬁrst strayed from the Faith or been heretics, or incurred or incited or committed schism — even if obliged and beholden to said promoted or elevated persons by homage, oath or bond — to depart with impunity at any time from obedience and allegiance to said promoted and elevated persons and to shun them as sorcerers, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs…For the greater confusion of persons thus promoted and elevated, if they attempt to continue their government and administration, all may implore the aid of the secular arm against those so advanced and elevated. Nor shall they be liable to reprisal through any censure or penalty, as renders of the Lord’s robe, for departing, for the reasons set forth above, from fealty and obedience to said promoted and elevated persons.”
This grave situation was never intended to last indeﬁnitely. Those departing were expected to do their part to remedy the situation, even if this meant, in effect, to do so by force. According to paragraph ﬁve, once it has become a general certainty among good Catholics that these men and their cohorts are antipopes and apostates, heretics and/or schismatics, to return to them inﬂicts ipso facto excommunication and infamy on those who do so. If they are cardinals they shall be barred from voting in any future conclave. Nor does any other act of voting, testimony, bear any weight, They are barred from both public and private ofﬁces, (in the Church).
And now we arrive at the all-important paragraph six. Here we notice ﬁrst that NO DECLARATION OF HERESY, APOSTASY OR SCHISM NEED BE MADE IN THE CASE OF THOSE USURPING PAPAL, CARDINALATIAL, EPISCOPAL, PRIESTLY OR EVEN MERE CLERICAL AUTHORITY. This is true because Pope Paul IV says only: “ If ever at any time it becomes apparent“ that any of these have strayed from the Catholic Faith or become heretics, “then his promotion or elevation shall be null, invalid and void.” We see covered here both pre-election and post-election heresy, although in the case of the Roman Pontiff it is clearly understood by Paul IV that this heresy, apostasy or schism can occur only pre-election. For the Bull states: “or likewise any Roman Pontiff before his promotion or elevation as a Cardinal or Roman Pontiff.” Here we clearly see upheld the teaching of papal infallibility according to Divine Faith. If one elected Pope is apparently a heretic or worse following his election, then it is assumed he was so prior to his election. This appearance as Pope, “sitting in the Temple of God as if he were God” can only be the “lying signs and wonders” of Antichrist spoken of by St. Paul. Such a supposed election, the Bull afﬁrms, “cannot be declared valid or become valid through his acceptance of the ofﬁce, his consecration, subsequent possession or seeming possession of government and administration, or by the enthronement of or homage paid to the same Roman Pontiff, or by universal obedience accorded him, or by the passage of any time in said circumstances; nor shall it be held as quasi-legitimate. It shall not be considered to have given or to give any power of administration in matters spiritual or temporal, to such persons promoted as Archbishops, Patriarchs or primates or elevated as Cardinals or as Roman Pontiff.”
Now is it perfectly clear to all why so many, for nearly 30 years, have ﬁrmly suppressed and minimalized Cum ex Apostolatus Ofﬁcio? ! Given the mountain of evidence against Angelo Roncalli, the self-styled John 23rd (and the ﬁrst antipope by this name also was accused of heresy), what could be more apparent than his pre-election deviation from the Faith? Despite all recent claims to the contrary, there is no way possible that this man could ever have been considered pope, even given the “peaceful and universal acceptance” of his election, which is speciﬁcally mentioned above and dismissed. Unless, that is, we wish to contradict the teaching of Paul IV, teaching that is based on the interpretation of Holy Scripture itself and is thereby a part of the Divine Deposit of Faith. Such teaching is not up for debate; it must be accepted only with an unhesitating assent. And even if it was up for debate, only those approved by ecclesiastical authority could offer any believable commentary on such things, meaning we must trust only those writing before the death of Pope Pius XII for any theological opinions. Self-appointed Trad leaders cannot on any pretext usurp that authority which belongs to the Roman Pontiff alone by Divine right. And by so doing they place themselves as heretics, apostates and/or schismatics, alongside the very ones they dare to defend, by virtue of this same Bull.
How sad to see those who blindly follow them hanging on their every word, and despite initial and rightly held doubts, accepting their pronouncement on holy things. But then we were warned that false christs and prophets would be our lot, and that if possible, (and it has proven most possible indeed), even the elect would be deceived. Finally, it must be noted that simultaneous with the appearance of the abomination is the abolishment of the Continual Sacriﬁce. Now Daniel tells us concerning the Sacriﬁce that both “the victim and the sacriﬁce shall fail,” when the abomination appears in the Temple, (Dan. 9: 27). Now how can Christ, who is the only Victim in our unbloody Sacriﬁce, be said to fail? The only possible way that this could happen is if the one offering the sacriﬁce was not a priest according to the order divinely established by Christ for His priesthood. For in this case their would be no Victim — no valid consecration — hence no Sacriﬁce.
Now this could be accomplished in three ways: By falsifying the matter to be consecrated, that is by using anything other than wine naturally fermented from grapes and wheaten ﬂour that is not leavened nor adulterated with additives for the manufacture of unconsecrated hosts; By using an invalid form for any part of the consecration, or by using a form of the Canon expressly forbidden by the Church as contrary to revealed Tradition and By altering the intention of the celebrant and/or those who offer the Sacriﬁce with him, or by the invalid consecration made by one not a priest. Already long before Roncalli’s reign, there were violations noted concerning the use of invalid matter. Elsewhere it has been noted that the faithful, if not the priest, were intoning their intention in the consecration as “for all men,” not “for many,” as early as 1959, which clearly perverts Our Savior’s words. It also was demonstrated that in violation of Quo Primum and all other prescriptions of the Church, St. Joseph’s name was added to the Canon, untouched for nearly 1400 years. And the new rites, void of any idea of true Sacriﬁce as demanded by Pope Leo XIII in his Apostolicae Curae, provided numerous invalid ministers to celebrate the NOM, and the Tridentine, in the case of those ordained after 1967 who became “Traditionalists.”
So Roncalli began the cessation, and Montini ﬁnished it with his revised rite of ordination. Because we have seen the abomination in our day, and many have not ﬂed to the mountains as Christ commanded. Rather they have followed the beast in wonder, for who is like unto the beast? Cum ex is far-reaching in its teaching concerning the abomination. And according to Daniel, also as taught unanimously by the Fathers (hence contained in the Deposit of Faith), the abomination will occasion the cessation, and so is a directly related doctrine, mentioned in the same breath by the prophet. When this occurs, we are all to recognize it for what it is and ﬂee, Christ says. If we return to our vomit we are no longer members of the Church. We must declare the ofﬁces of the usurpers to be vacant, and in no way can we ever contradict Pope Paul’s teaching in Cum ex without incurring frightful consequences.
Greeting to you in Jesus name.
I am an ardent follower of your website as I have contacted you in the past concerning the positive influence you research has made in my life as a Catholic. My ambition lately has been to read all and everything you have put and will put out on your website God help me.
In my local group we are currently debating on the issue of the validity of priests that emanate from Lefebvre because of the free masonic membership of Lienart.How does “Cum ex…” apply to this since Lienart became a mason before his “consecration” as a bishop.Can it be defended that all his acts as a bishop is null and void?
The defenders of Lefebvre priests cite several past Church practices that seem to regard orders that emanate from known masons as valid without conditional ordinations.Why was “Cum ex…” not invoked during this periods to nullify all their ecclesiastical acts? NB -I am familiar with the arguments of “Bishop” Josephmarie (which you linked somewhere on your website) on this issue and so I am wondering why no mention was made of the bull in all of his presentations?
One pro Lefebvre order validity supporter argued against Josephmarie on this issue by noting:
“Finally, Joe speaks of Talleyrand. I will disregard that, for he has never refuted the fact I wrote in my last post about Bp. Saurine. Jean-Baptiste Saurine, was the schismatically consecrated “constitutional” bishop of Landes in August 1791. Of all the Masonic lodges in the world, the Grand Orient of Paris to which Saurine belonged and was a top-ranking member, has always been considered the most evil and the most anti-Catholic. Despite this, Pope Pius VII appointed Saurine as Bishop of Strasbourg in 1802, a post that this Masonic bishop held until he died in 1813. Note well, Saurine never wrote about having the requisite intention, yet the Church considers him a bishop without reconsecration, and the orders and sacraments that derive from him to be valid, even though he belonged to the most Catholic-hating Masonic Lodge in Europe.”
So from this it seems the Church in past did not invoke the provisions of canon law and ‘Cum ex…’ to nullify the acts of free masonic prelates.How do you explain this?Your opinion on this will be highly appreciated as you stand as one the most thorough and solid commentator and researcher on catholic contemporary issues.You are a gift to our generation.
Yours in J.M.J.
How does “Cum ex…” apply to Lienart who became a mason before his “consecration” as a bishop. Can it be defended that all his acts as a bishop is null and void?
It is the unanimous opinion of theologians, according to several of the more notable ones, that one cannot use a probable opinion regarding the validity of the Sacraments. Now ordination and episcopal consecration pertain to the Sacrament of Orders. Therefore, whenever there is a positive doubt that such Sacraments were received, it is to be presumed that they were not received because probability does not reach the level of certitude. Basically, the principle is that just as a doubtful law is no law, a doubtful Sacrament is no Sacrament. Prummer writes in his Handbook of Moral Theology:
“A doubtful law has no binding force whenever the doubt concerns the lawfulness of an act and not its validity. Whatever may be said about the truth of this principle, which is fiercely attacked by some theologians, all modern theologians are agreed that it cannot be applied in the following cases:
“a) When the doubt concerns the validity of the Sacraments;
“b) When the doubt concerns something which is absolutely necessary for salvation; so, for example, when there is a risk of losing eternal life, the safer opinion must be followed;
“c) When the question involves the established right of a third party.
Pope Pius IX teaches the unanimous opinion of theologians is binding on the faithful. Because we have no way of inquiring into this matter and cannot dispel the doubt, the Sacraments received by these men cannot be considered valid. It is for the Church to make the final decision on this, if and when God sees fit to restore the hierarchy.
Bp. Jean-Baptiste Saurine was the schismatically consecrated “constitutional” bishop of Landes in August 1791. Of all the Masonic lodges in the world, the Grand Orient of Paris to which Saurine belonged and was a top-ranking member, has always been considered the most evil and the most anti-Catholic. Despite this, Pope Pius VII appointed Saurine as Bishop of Strasbourg in 1802, a post that this Masonic bishop held until he died in 1813. Note well, Saurine never wrote about having the requisite intention, yet the Church considers him a bishop without reconsecration, and the orders and sacraments that derive from him to be valid, even though he belonged to the most Catholic-hating Masonic Lodge in Europe.”
Please see the blog post on this site at https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/a-pope-and-council-endorse-home-alone/ If Pope Pius VII reinstated this bishop it was only on the condition that he completely abjure his errors and make the Profession of Faith, which a few of them did. Did Pope Pius VII know he was a Freemason? It seems he would have so known, given the situation in the French church at that time. If not, one cannot blame him for what he did not know, and God will sort it out. What is clear in this post is that orders received from anyone suspected of heresy or schism may be received validly, but if the recipients try to exercise these acts of Order, those attempts are null and void. Please read Etsi multa and Charitas, available on the web. It is clear that Pope Pius VII held Pope Pius VI’s decree on this as dogmatic, thus confirming Charitas.
Thanks Frank, and hope this helps.