Humani generis ends doctrina certa debate

Humani generis ends doctrina certa debate

+St. Clare+

Today we celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the issuance of Humani generis. This infallible papal encyclical addressed many of the errors circulating not long after the end of World War II. Among them were some of those very errors and heresies which still plague us today, several which readers will find familiar. That these teachings yet are contested after seven decades proves that those claiming to continue the true Catholic Church of Pope Pius XII are doing nothing of the sort. Here we will enumerate those errors and in next week’s blog we will explain the nature of the division in the Church that existed long before the false Vatican 2 council. This dichotomy eventually led to the rejection of papal teaching, particularly certain decisions issued by Pope Pius XII.

Errors condemned by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis

  • Eirenicism (i.e., ecumenism, which would allow Catholic doctrine to be distorted or perverted) (paras. 11, 12, 43);
  • Theologians can authentically interpret the Divine deposit, (para. 21);
  • The pope is unable to permanently end theological discussions and disputes, (para. 19, 20);
  • What is taught in official papal documents is not binding, (para. 20);
  • Hypotheses and conjectural notions can be legitimately employed in theological argument, (paras. 35, 37);
  • False teachings on Scholasticism and true certitude (pragmatism, necessity of scholastic method — paras. 3, 17, 18, 31, 32, 34);
  • Ex cathedra pronouncements are rare, (para. 21);
  • Restrictions can be placed by theologians on what constitutes an ex cathedra pronouncement and theologians may dictate a formula for the actual wording of the pronouncement, (para. 21);
  • Encyclicals and other papal documents are not infallible or binding in conscience, (para. 20);
  • The pope binds the faithful in obedience only when condemning teachings or acts as heretical, (para. 18);
  • Ordinary magisterium pronouncements are not binding in conscience, only the extraordinary (ex cathedra) variety, (paras. 18, 20);
  • Minimalism — watering down papal teaching to make it appear it is not applicable or binding (paras. 14, 16, 43);
  • In conclusion, Pope Pius XII commands teachers to accept and observe his teachings, (paras. 42, 43).

This encyclical was issued seven years after Mystici Corporis Christi and reinforces the teaching of that encyclical. In Humani generis, Pope Pius XII admonishes those who do not accept the definition of the Church as synonymous with Christ’s Mystical Body in Mystici Corporis. He also includes in Humani generis the paragraph below, addressing encyclical letters in general and how they are to be accepted by all the faithful as documents of the ordinary magisterium.

“Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their teaching authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say:He who listens to you, listens to me; and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents, purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians.”

In his article “Humani Generis and the Holy Father’s Ordinary Magisterium” (American Ecclesiastical Review, 1951), Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton explains how this paragraph is to be understood by the faithful. He touches on some very important points below which I hope will help readers better understand some of the subject matter discussed recently on this blog.

“Each sentence of this paragraph [from Humani generis above] contains an important theological truth. The first expresses a sometimes obscured fact about the Holy Father’s teaching activity. The second sentence brings out a truth which has not hitherto been set down very frequently in that section of theological writing dealing with the Holy Father’s teaching power. It constitutes a striking contribution to theological literature. The third stands as a necessary inference from the first and the second sentences. It has definite and intensely practical implications for present day theologians.

“The first statement of this paragraph condemns any minimizing of the authority of papal encyclicals which might be based on the subterfuge that the Holy Father does not use the fullness of his doctrinal power in such documents. The teaching of the encyclicals postulates an assensum per se, an acceptance by Catholics precisely because it is the teaching of the supreme doctrinal authority within the universal Church of Jesus Christ on earth. It demands such acceptance even when the Holy Father does not use supremam sui Magisterii potestatem. In other words, Catholics are bound to tender, not merely a courteous acknowledgment, but a genuine and sincere inward acceptance, to teachings which the Holy Father sets forth with a note or qualification LESS than de fide or even doctrina certa…

“Catholics are obliged in conscience to accept these condemnations, and to reject the proscribed propositions inwardly and sincerely. In the last analysis, this process involves the command to adopt an opinion, since the Church, in designating a proposition merely as something rash or ill-sounding (to mention only two of these doctrinal censures inferior to those of heresy and error), has not given a definition or completely definitive judgment on the matter in question. This irrevocable decision is to be found only in the definitions properly so called, THE DESIGNATION OF SOME PROPOSITION AS DE FIDE OR AS CERTAIN.

“It is impossible to see the full meaning of this teaching without having an accurate understanding of what constitutes the suprema magisterii potestas of the Roman Pontiff… It is perfectly certain that this same magisterium ordinarium et universale can also be the vehicle or the organ of a definition within the field of the Church’s secondary object of infallible teaching. The encyclicals of the Holy Father can be and actually are statements of this magisterium. Hence they may be documents in which a dogma is defined or a certain truth of Catholic doctrine (which, however, is not presented precisely as revealed) is brought to the people of God on earth…The Humani generis likewise adverts to the fact that, when a person hearkens to the authoritative teaching of the ecclesia docens, that person is actually hearkening to the voice of Our Lord Himself. Once again, it takes this means to remind us that the Church does not teach in this world other than as the instrument and the body of Jesus Christ. The man who quibbles about the Church’s doctrinal authority is finding fault, in the last analysis, with the means by which Our Lord brings His divine truth to the children of men.

“An example of this procedure is to be found in the treatment of the question about the immediate source of episcopal jurisdiction in the Holy Father’s encyclical Mystici corporis. Prior to the appearance of that document there had been many excellent theologians who had contended that the residential bishops of the Catholic Church receive their jurisdictional authority immediately from Our Lord. A greater number of theologians, (and writers de iure publico ecclesiastico) held, on the contrary, that these men received their powers from Our Lord through the Roman Pontiff, in such a way that they came immediately from the Holy Father. In the Mystici corporis, the Pope spoke of the residential bishops’ ordinary power of jurisdiction as something immediate sibi ab eodem Pontifice Summa impertita. That phrase was rightly taken as an indication that the controversy had been settled, once and for all. Where before the teaching that the bishops received their power of jurisdiction immediately from the Roman Pontiff had been qualified as communis, it now became known as doctrina certa.

The fact that the Sovereign Pontiff had, as it were ‘gone out of his way;’ or ‘taken the trouble;’ to speak out on a question which had hitherto been regarded as controversial, was taken as an indication that he wished to put an end to the discussionThe fact that a question is thus treated by the Roman Pontiff is, according to the Humani generis, an indication that the Holy Father intends that this subject should no longer be considered as a question open to free debate among theologians… If the decision is irrevocable, but only in the sense that the Holy Father has placed this teaching within the category of doctrina certa (but not doctrina de fide) then the theologian is free to argue about the possibility of a de fide or dogmatic definition of this point, BUT HE IS DEFINITELY NOT FREE TO TEACH OR TO HOLD THAT THE DOCTRINE SET FORTH BY THE HOLY FATHER CAN BE REJECTED OR MODIFIED AT ALL. No teaching is set forth as certain unless it has been defined as true, unless there is no possibility, no fear or danger, that the opposite may turn out to be true.”

READERS MUST BE PERFECTLY CLEAR ABOUT THE ABOVE DECISION ON THE BISHOPS, BECAUSE TODAY SO MANY TRADITIONALISTS HAVE CLAIMED THAT THEY POSSESS THEIR EPISCOPAL POWERS DIRECTLY FROM CHRIST, WHEN THIS IS THE CONTRADICTION OF A PAPAL TEACHING THEY MUST HOLD FIRMLY AND IRREVOCABLY. There is no possibility that this decision will ever be reformed. All the above is important to keep in mind to be better able to know when certain teachings of the popes must be obeyed firmly and irrevocably. In teaching theology to the laity at the Catholic University of America, Msgr. Fenton and Rev. Edmund Burke were careful to first educate their students in the different grades of doctrinal certainty to better assist them in knowing not how to practice only the minimal degree of obedience owed to these teachings, but to instruct them in determining “the full significance of the magisterium.” (AER, December 1957). Because we have no true pope, true unity is not possible. The closest we can come to such unity is what Henry Cardinal Manning describes in his The True Story of the Vatican Council:

“Unity of faith generates unity of mind, unity of heart, unity of will. Truth goes before unity. Where truth is divided, unity cannot be. Unity before truth is deception. Unity without truth is indifference or unbelief. Truth before unity is the law and principle and safeguard of unity.” This is why I try to stay as close as possible to all the Roman Pontiffs teach, regardless of what that may be, or the grade of doctrinal certainty attached to it. It is the only guarantee of truth, and the closest thing to unity that we can find. No number of bishops or theologians teaching prior to Vatican 2 could possibly equal or supersede the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs. And those who believe that avoiding the lesser censures for error saves them from sanctions are sadly mistaken.

The consequences of teaching condemned propositions

It is the common teaching and practice of Traditionalists that one may teach anything as long as it is not formally heretical. In fact, in cases of heresy, they often appeal against a decree of a Council or an infallible teaching of a pope, because the actual import of what they are appealing against is unclear to them (when it would be clear to any reasonable person). The Church has condemned numerous errors, not as heretical, but as being false. Are we permitted to teach something which the Church condemns as merely being untrue? Does error have rights, as long as it is not heresy?

Canon 2242, paragraph 1 provides that: “Only offenses which are grave are punished with censures.” A grave offense is a mortal sin. Therefore, only mortal sins are punished with censures. Canon 2257 states: “Excommunication is a censure by which one is excluded from the communion of the faithful with the consequences enumerated in the following Canons, which consequences are inseparable. It is also called anathema especially when inflicted with the solemnities described in the Pontificale Romanum.” For many centuries, before the codification of Canon Law, the censure of excommunication was inflicted ipso facto, whenever one publicly or privately defended or taught a condemned proposition, no matter what type of condemnation may have been attached to the proposition. Therefore, the Church presumed that such is a mortal sin. Because so many today do not understand with what authority the Church condemns propositions, this matter needs to be addressed and it must be understood: we are bound under pain of mortal sin to condemn all that the Holy Catholic Church condemns.

Some propositions are condemned with a censure attached. For instance, the Church might have said that anyone who teaches a certain proposition is excommunicated. Now, Can. 6, para. 5 provides that no censure of excommunication suspension, or interdict exists, unless it is restated in the Code of Canon Law. This law is to simplify matters and refer people to one list of censures, which Woywod-Smith provide in the back of their commentary. However, Canon 2317 provides that: “Persons who stubbornly teach or defend, either publicly or privately, a doctrine which has been condemned by the Apostolic See or by an Ecumenical Council not, however, as formally heretical, shall be barred from the ministry of preaching the Word of God and of hearing sacramental confessions, and from every other office of teaching, without prejudice to other penalties which the sentence of condemnation of the doctrine may perhaps have decreed….”

And this is a restatement of a papal law written some 350 years before the issuance of the 1917 Code, listed in the Fontesto this canon.

“Further, whoever knowingly presumes in any way to receive anew [heretics, apostates or schismatics] so apprehended, confessed [and this includes notorious heresy or schism under canon law] or convicted, or to favor them, believe them, or teach their doctrines shall ipso facto incur excommunication, and, become infamous.” This is taken from Pope Paul IV’s 1559 bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. So Canon 2317 apparently revokes the general provision of Canon 6, paragraph 5 in virtue of this older law and retains in force each and every penalty attached to a particular condemned proposition in the bull of condemnation. Therefore, a censure may very well be attached to a condemned proposition, and as such, may be inflicted ipso facto, by the teaching of the proposition. And when in doubt about the application of this law to the laity, one is instructed under Can. 6 no. 4 to abide by the old law (Pipe Paul IV’s bull) which states “…Both they and laymen appointed as aforesaid…”

In comparing Canon 2317 and the Constitution Apostolica Sedis of Pius IX, Rev. Leech, J.C.L., writes: “The new law (Can. 2317) has a wider extension in this case than the Constitution. By the latter, it was forbidden under penalty to defend or teach not every condemned proposition, but only those condemned under pain of excommunication; the new law comprehends in the present instance every condemned proposition that is not formally heretical, without regard to penalties attached to the condemnation.” (Teaching a heretical proposition is already covered under Canon 2314, which provides for an ipso facto excommunication). “It must be noted that those penalties, even of excommunication, which the Holy See or a General Council, when condemning a proposition attached to the teaching of such propositions, are still in force and are incurred according to the conditions set down in the particular sentence of condemnation.”

Reverend Charles Augustine, in his A Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, lists the following decrees, found in Denzinger’s Enchiridion Symbolorum, which come under the provision of Canon 2317:

  1. Errors of Wycliff and Hus, censured in Inter cunctas, by Martin V;
  2. Errors of Luther, which are not heretical, condemned in Exsurge Domine, by Leo X;
  3. The proposition condemned by Clement VIII, stating that confession and absolution can be made by letter or message;
  4. The 45 propositions condemned by the Holy Office in decrees dated September 24, 1665 and March 18, 1666;
  5. The 65 propositions condemned by the Holy Office on March 4, 1679;
  6. The 68 propositions of Michael de Molinos, condemned in Coelestis Pater, by Innocent XI. (Quietism);
  7. The 32 propositions condemned by Alexander VIII on August 24 and December 7, 1690. (Jansenism)
  8. The 101 propositions of Quesnel, condemned in the Bull Unigenitus and Pastoralis Official, by Clement XI. (Jansenism);Five proposition condemned in Destestabilem, by Benedict XIV
  9. Eighty-five propositions condemned in Auctorem Fidei, by Pius VI. (These are the propositions of the Jansenist Synod of Pistoia, which have raised their ugly head at Vatican II and among Traditionalists.
  10. Finally, the errors of the Modernists, which are not formally heretical (although Pope St. Pius X called this system “the synthesis of ALL heresies”); and
  11. The censures contained in Lamentabili and Pius X’s Syllabus of Errors, if the specific proposition is to be censured.

Rev. Augustine explains that “The penalties attached to the transgression of this law, for clergymen, consists in the withdrawal of their faculties. Laymen guilty of this delinquency must be removed from [any] teaching office.” Remember that those propositions condemned as formally heretical are covered under Canon 2314. The balance in the above decrees, if taught, render the teacher excommunicated by the act of teaching them. This applies even if the delinquent is in good faith, as Can. 2200 states. And it also applies to any layperson teaching such doctrines on the behalf of others. Those who wish to retain their membership in the Church and avoid the shipwreck of their faith need to fully familiarize themselves with the strict obligation to accept even the opinions of the Roman Pontiffs as binding. If all believe he speaks for Christ on earth, and this is a de fide truth of faith, they cannot fail to hearken to everything that he teaches.

Ludwig Ott warning and jurisdiction claims refuted again

Ludwig Ott warning and jurisdiction claims refuted again

+Feast of the Transfiguration+

Twice in one week now we have seen certain bloggers, presenting themselves as reliable sources of Catholic information, promoting the work of Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, as the end all, be all of theological sources. But this is far from the truth, which is why you will not find him quoted on this site. Ott is not a trustworthy source of theology and should not be used, certainly, in defending truths of faith. In the January 1956 issue of the American Ecclesiastical Review, we find a book review on Dr. Ott’s work written by John J. King, O.M.I. He states:

“The publication of this volume by Dr. Ott should bolster the argumentation of those who protested the use of thedigest approach to the study of sacred theology. Dr. Ott has attempted to compress the entire field of dogmatic theology (including fundamental, special and Sacramental dogma) into a single volume of 519 pages. The editor of the English edition calls this bookthe most remarkable work of compression of its kind that I have encountered.’ This may well be; but for all its remarkable qualities, it is not without serious defect. In the process of condensation great care must be taken to avoid all distortion. The formidable task of a work of this sort is to affect not only brevity but also clarity. Dr. Ott has had remarkable success in attaining the first; he has experienced something less than success in his quest for the second. Very often in the scientific exposition of the dogmas of the Church conciseness can be attained only at the expense of clarity and accuracy…

“This has been the case in several sections of Dr. Ott’s book and this despite the obvious scholarship which he brings to his work. The author tells us that his work is intended primarily to meet the needs of students; indeed to be used as a textbook for seminarians. As such it is clearly inadequate. For it is merely a conspectus of theology. Its treatment is positive throughout with only an occasional brief elaboration of the speculative aspect of dogma. Frequent references are given to Denzinger, Sacred Scripture and Journel, but there are few direct quotations from the statements of the magisterium, Scripture and Tradition. Because of its brevity this volume could readily confuse and mislead seminarians. They may well gather enough information to pass an examination, but they certainly would not be schooled in theology according to the mind of the Church. Doctor Ott’s book may be useful on occasion as a quick reference, provided that the inquirer does not expect to receive a complete treatment of any given point; and provided also that he later seeks clarification and amplification in a more detailed source.” (Copies of this review are available on request.)

So it seems that those who are trying to shoot down what is written on this site need to substantially step up their game if they want to be considered credible writers. And what is more important, they need to stop telling people that they can rely on the opinions of theologians versus those of the magisterium, which is exactly what King criticizes Ott for doing. Now you see why so much is quoted from the magisterium here, and from Holy Scripture. And oh, by the way, if you’re going to take my writings out of context, try to properly attribute the quote about this very subject to its proper source (Msgr. Fenton and the theologians Pohle and Preuss), instead of making it appear it is my personal opinion:

“The private theologian is obligated and privileged to study these documents, to arrive at an understanding of what the Holy Father actually teaches, and then to aid in the task of bringing this body of truth to the people. The Holy Father, however, not the private theologian, remains the doctrinal authority. The theologian is expected to bring out the content of the Pope’s actual teaching, not to subject that teaching to the type of criticism he would have a right to impose on the writings of another private theologian” (Msgr. J.C. Fenton,“The Doctrinal Authority of Papal Encyclicals, Pt. II” Sept. 1949, AER). As Revs. Pohle-Preuss write in 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.” Why would anyone choose to believe theologians over the Roman Pontiff, Christ’s voice on earth? Do they not believe that “He who hears you, hears Me”?

Cardinal Ottaviani and Msgr. Fenton no match for Ott

Msgr. Fenton’s diaries reveal that he and Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani were good friends; he knew the man fairly well. When the decision in Mystici Corporis Christi on the jurisdiction of the bishops proceeding not from God directly but from the Roman Pontiffs was issued, Cardinal Ottaviani later published an important address about it. (Msgr. Fenton reports this in his article just quoted above.) Since Cardinal Ottaviani certainly had the pope’s ear, and was doubtless aware of his intent, we surely can trust what he said in his Institutiones iuris publici ecclesiastici in 1947, as reported by Fenton. Msgr. Fenton notes in his article: “[Ottaviani] tells us [that] up until the present time this thesis had been considered as more probable and even as sententia communis [common opinion of theologians] but that from now on it is to be held as entirely certain by reason of the words of the present Holy Father…

 “Monsignor Ottaviani assumes rightly that the authoritative statement of this thesis in the papal letter raises this teaching from the status of a more probable doctrine to that of a perfectly certain proposition. This observation on the part of Monsignor Ottaviani constitutes a valuable, practical corrective to a certain tendency towards oversimplification and MINIMALISM which had begun to invade some recent judgments on the doctrinal authority of the… encyclical letters.”

Yet in Ott’s work, we find it still listed as only a more probable opinion “(Sent. probabilior).” Already in the late 1800s, Henry Cardinal Manning, in his The Pastoral Office, demonstrated that it was then a common opinion, as Msgr. Fenton notes above.

It seems to be a very clear choice to believe the words of Cardinal Ottaviani, confidante of Pope Pius XII, and Ottaviani’s friend, Msgr. Fenton, over anything a theologian such as Ott, who obviously exhibits minimalist tendencies, might claim. Pope Pius XII’s decision is sententia certa (theologically certain) — implicit in Scripture and Tradition, as this teaching truly is — not probabilior. To deny this is censured as a theological error and constitutes a mortal sin against ecclesiastical faith (Cartechini’s Theological Notes, 1951). Pope Pius XII settled a matter that had been disputed for centuries, and when Rome speaks, the case is closed. Here is an example of Sententia Probabilis, taken from the Internet:

Sententia Probabilis – probable teaching – a teaching that is well founded on good authority yet is open to question. Pious beliefs and tolerated opinions also fall under this note and have the lowest degree of certainty.

  1. Example: Judas received Holy Communion at the last supper
  2. Denial of any of these teachings is licit provided piety is given to legitimate authority.

Dr. Ludwig Ott’s continued reference to Pope Pius XII’s decision on the bishops’ reception of jurisdiction as only probable clearly reveals his minimalist orientation. On pg. 9-10 of his work we read: “A teaching which is theologically certain is a doctrine on which the teaching authority of the Church has not yet finally pronounced but whose truth is guaranteed by its intrinsic connection with the doctrine of revelation.” But this could be true only when it is not a decision on a controverted matter that settles the question, as Pope Pius XII did with the bishops. Ott’s work was written years after the release of Humani generis and Pope Pius XII’s teaching on the ordinary magisterium and the possibility of infallible statements in encyclicals. Yet still Ott taught in his work that: “Only those …doctrinal teachings of the Church… which emanate from general councils representing the whole episcopate and the papal decisions ex cathedra [are infallible]. The ordinary and usual form of the papal teaching activity is not infallible.”  This contradicts papal teaching.

No wonder Rev. King above warns Catholics that his work has serious defects and cannot be trusted. And now we know why Traditionalists venerate him as their theologian extraordinaire! When a pope has gone to the trouble of making a decision on a certain matter, how can it then still be considered as a probable opinion?

According to Rev. Francis J. Connell, this would be the case only if the subject at issue is expressed by the pope or the Holy Office as something that “…cannot be safely taught… There are many doctrines not contained in the Deposit of Faith but so intimately connected with it that the authority to teach revealed truth infallibly would be rendered in great measure ineffective unless the infallible magisterium extended to them also. On this account it is held as certain by theologians that such doctrines constitute a genuine object of infallibility though indirect or secondary. And when there has been a definitive and official pronouncement on such a doctrine by the infallible magisterium THIS DOCTRINE TOO IS UNCHANGEABLE FOR ALL TIME” (“Does Catholic Doctrine Change,” November, 1947, AER). And here Rev. Connell refers to Pope Leo XIII’s decision on Anglican Orders (DZ 1966) where the pope pronounces that he declares them “invalid and entirely void: in light of the teachings of his predecessors and on Our authority, Our own inspiration and certain knowledge…”

Msgr. Fenton writes in yet another article: “Those who on their own initiative presume to question or to contradict a doctrinal statement proposed authoritatively in a papal encyclical, even in cases where the Holy Father does not make a definitive decision, may well be said to be striving for something MANIFESTLY BEYOND THEIR COMPETENCE. No individual and for that matter no group of individuals within the ecclesia discens can be said to have the competence to dispute with the visible head of the Church militant on a matter connected with the Church’s deposit of divine revelation. At least in an indirect manner, however, every rejection of an authoritative doctrinal pronouncement contained in a papal encyclical is opposed to the theological virtue of faith” (“The Religious Assent Due to the Teaching of Papal Encyclicals,” July, 1950, AER). This tells us who is TRULY competent in presenting the teachings of the Church and who is not.

We would like to close this section with a quote from Pope St. Pius X:

When we love the Pope we do not dispute whether he commands or requires a thing or seek to know where the strict obligation of obedience lies or in what matter we must obey; when we love the Pope we do not say that he has not yet spoken clearly — as if he were required to speak his will in every man’s ear and to utter it not only by word of mouth but in letters and other public documents as well. Nor do we cast doubt on his orders, alleging the pretext which comes easily to the man who does not want to obey, that it is not the Pope who is commanding but someone in his entourage. We do not limit the field in which he can and ought to exercise his authority; we do not oppose to the Pope’s authority that of other persons — no matter how learned — who differ from the Pope. For whatever may be their learning, they are not holy, for where there is holiness there cannot be disagreement with the Pope” (Allocution, to the members of the Apostolic Union on their 50th anniversary, Nov. 18, 1912).So who loves the pope? Sadly, it would seem that very few at all truly love him today, for very few obey him without question.

What follows is directly connected to the Divine constitution continuum established in the papacy which was meant to be perpetuated in an unbroken chain for the Church to exist.

Jurisdiction, supplied and otherwise

The Vatican Council has defined that the pope possesses the fullness of jurisdiction in the Church, yet it seems that we always find those who quibble with what the pope teaches also in the company of those who question the Church’s teaching on jurisdiction. Accept the faith as it has always been taught and there are no worries; but no one seems able to do that. What we are supposed to believe regarding the Church’s mission on earth and jurisdiction is very clear. It is a de fide teaching of the Church Traditionalists refuse to accept. One of their favorite theologians, Louis Cardinal Billot has summed it up quite nicely:

For authority [in the Church] comes directly from God through Christ, and from Christ to his Vicar, and from the Vicar of Christ it descends to the remaining prelates WITHOUT THE INTERVENTION OF ANY OTHER PHYSICAL OR MORAL PERSON” (Louis Cardinal Billot, S.J., Tractatus De Ecclesia Christi (Rome: Aedes Universitatis Gregorianae, 1927, Vol. 1. p. 524). This quote comes directly from Cardinal Billot, not some other source; it doesn’t get any simpler than that. Interrupt that chain and all contact with the divine is lost. This Church is a Divine, not a human institution and any meddling with its Divine constitution reduces it to just one more non-Catholic Church, as Rev. Joseph Riley notes below:

“The Church as it was constituted by Christ (Pope, bishops, priests) was established forever as a hierarchico-monarchical society… to remain unchanged until the end of time… NOWHERE IN REVELATION IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE OF ANY INTENTIONS TO PERMIT EXCEPTIONS TO — OR CHANGES IN — THIS CONSTITUTION IN FUTURE HISTORY BY THE USE OF EPIKEIA OR ON ANY OTHER BASIS. MEN ARE FREE OF COURSE TO FOUND OTHER CHURCHES, DIFFERING IN CONSTITUTION AND NATURE… BUT SUCH CHURCHES ARE NOT CHRIST’S… To maintain that Christ had some intention for the future, contrary to that made manifest in the actual establishment of His Church is a refusal to believe in the efficacy of the divine promise that Christ would be with the Church unto the consummation of the world; it is a denial of the [four marks] and indefectibility of this divinely established institution” (The History, Nature and Use of EPIKEIA in Moral Theology, Rev. Lawrence Joseph Riley, A.B., S.T.L., a dissertation submitted to the faculty of the School of Sacred Theology of the Catholic University of America, 1948, p. 330-31).

It is true that the Church must remain unchanged, but it was changed the day Pope Pius XII died and all the cardinals elected a heretic to office, accepted by all the bishops who later formally apostatized from the faith at the false Vatican 2 Council. THAT was the great apostasy, the stars (bishops) falling from heaven (the Church) in the Apocalypse. Without the election of a true pope the Church as Christ constituted it ceased to exist. Because everyone focused on the lack of Mass and Sacraments and refused to address the one element most necessary to the preservation of unity and stability in the Church, the window of time to elect a true pope slowly closed and now cannot be reopened; only a miracle can restore the papacy. This is the truth Traditionalists deny: the necessity of the papacy for the Church to exist at all.

What does Holy Scripture have to say about supplied jurisdiction? A reader recently checked this out and found the following commentary on St. Paul which led to further commentary on the same topic.

Rev. Leo Haydock’s Douay-Rheims Bible commentary

Romans 10:15: “And how can they preach, unless they be sent?” Haydock: Unless they be sent. Here is an evident proof against all new teachers, who have all usurped to themselves the ministry, without any lawful mission, derived by succession from the apostles, to whom Christ said, (John xx. 21.) As my Father hath sent me, I also send you. (Challoner) — The Almighty sends people to preach two different ways. The one is extraordinary by internal inspiration, as was that of John the Baptist, and all the other prophets; in which case, however, extraordinary proofs must be given that they are sent by God; and the other is ordinary, which is derived from Christ, and from the apostles and their successors, whom he has appointed to be his vicegerents on earth. (Estius).

John 10: 1 — “He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber.  But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep…” Haydock: In this parable the fold is the Church: the Good Shepherd, and also the door is Christ: the thieves and robbers are false guides; the hirelings, such ministers as seek their own profit and gain, and a good living, as they call it; the wolves, heretics…

John 10: 7-8 — “I am the door of the sheep. All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers: and the sheep heard them not.” Haydock:  All they who came are thieves, meaning those who came of their own accord, without being sent: not so the prophets, who had their mission from God.”

 The Council of Trent, Sess. 23, Ch. 4:

”In the ordination of bishops, priests and of other orders… the consent or call or authority of the people or of any secular power or magistrate is not so required for the validity of the ordination but rather [this Holy Synod] decrees that those who are called and instituted only by the people or by the civil power or magistrate and proceed to exercise these offices and that those who by their own temerity take these offices upon themselves are not ministers of the Church but are to be regarded as ‘thieves and robbers who have not entered by the door’ (Jn. !0:1)” (DZ 960).

“If anyone says that the bishops are not superior to priests… or that orders conferred by them without the consent or call of the people or of the secular power are invalid; or that those who have been neither rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority but come from a different source are lawful ministers of the Word and of the Sacraments, let him be anathema (DZ 967).

 Authentic interpretation of Can. 147

An ecclesiastical office is not validly obtained without canonical appointment. By canonical appointment is understood the conferring of an ecclesiastical office by the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the sacred canons.” Traditionalists never received an office, for neither Marcel Lefebvre or Bp. Ngo dinh Thuc themselves possessed or could possess an office after resigning their offices from Pope Pius XII and participating in communicatio in sacris with the Novus Ordo church. Certainly heretics are not competent ecclesiastical authorities and the sacred canons requiring the papal mandate and assignment of dioceses for the erection of seminaries all were ignored. The decision of the Sacred Congregation issued June 29, 1950 gives an authentic interpretation of this law, citing the text of DZ 967 above and yet another version of DZ 960, varying slightly from the Denzinger translation:

“Those who undertake to exercise these offices merely at the behest of and upon appointment by the people or secular power and authority, and those who assume the same upon their own authority, are all to be regarded not as ministers of the Church but as thieves and robbers who have entered not by the door…His holiness Pope Pius XII…in order to preserve more inviolate these same sacred principles and at the same time forestall abuses in a matter of such great importance…deigned to provide as follows…” (Canon Law Digest, Vol. 3, T. Lincoln Bouscaren, S.J., 1953; AAS 42-601) And here censures are levied against those who violate this law, reserved in a special manner to the Holy See. So in promoting the heresy of jurisdiction outside the proper ecclesiastical channels, Traditionalists deny the teachings of St. Paul and our Lord in Holy Scripture, the de fide teaching of the Council of Trent, and Pope Pius XII’s teaching on Canon 147, entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis and binding on all Catholics. (And no, the usurper Francis in Rome and his false and frequent entries into this source do not diminish the weight it enjoyed under Pius XII.)

All Canon Laws remain in force

The wording in all these documents is the same; they all refer to those illicitly (most likely invalidly) ordained and consecrated by those not possessing papal authority to execute these actions, and therefore incapable of obtaining jurisdiction. How many Traditionalists daring to call themselves clergy sin gravely in ignoring the censures for heresy and other censures attached to the various canons, forbidding them to exercise any orders received, if indeed they even received them! And no, Canon Law does not “develop” during an interregnum to exclude these censures, when no true pope or the Sacred Congregations of the Holy Office are able to address questions regarding the law. In their Canon Law Digest commentary on Can. 17, Vol. 5 (1963), the canonists Bouscaren and O’Connor write the following:

“His eminence, the president of the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Canons of the Code, Maximus Cardinal Massimi, declared shortly before his death… that it was his personal opinion he no longer preferred to give authentic replies since all the canons were already sufficiently clear in their obvious meaning.  It is interesting to observe that no officially promulgated replies have since been given for the Code of the Latin church since his death [in 1954].” So this very experienced cardinal, the last of his kind, believed that the Code should be taken exactly as it stood, supplemented by the authentic interpretations already given for over 35 years. In an eerie way it almost anticipates the death of Pope Pius XII four years later and seems to echo the very language both he and his predecessor, Pope St. Pius X, employed in their nearly identical papal election constitutions:

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” (Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis). The canonists Woywod-Smith and Bouscaren- Ellis all confirm that this means the cardinals “…cannot make any changes in the laws of the Church or dispense from them.” This is based on an ancient law dating back to the 13th century, according to the footnotes of Pius XII’s constitution. So who do we believe, Pope Pius XII or the bloggers who tell us that such laws no longer apply, or can be ignored or minimalized? Pope St. Pius X’s election law was a codification of ALL papal election law, so are objectors also going to nullify the laws governing papal elections throughout history?


Documents in this author’s possession show that Sedevacantists, at least, knew they should elect a pope and were actually discussing it just before the Thuc consecrations. Plans by Thuc bishops and their supporters to hold an “incomplete council” were in the works as late as 1989. They decided instead to remain a headless band of mini-popes, continually dividing and subdividing over financial and doctrinal issues. These men are not just individuals who might be able to convey the Sacraments during an extended interregnum and therefore can be resorted to safely; they are men who regardless of their true status, must be considered outside the Church and therefore as non-Catholics until a true pope decides otherwise (Canon 2200).

There has not been one scintilla of evidence from a true pope or an ecumenical council that has ever been produced by Traditionalists proving that (a) The pope teaches jurisdiction comes directly from God Himself: (b) It can be supplied to them by anyone other than the pope and (c) They can operate outside the Divine constitution Christ established for His Church during an interregnum. Their few entirely inadequate attempts to justify their use of epikeiaand appeal to supplied jurisdiction, also to discredit papal teaching, will be addressed in position papers currently in progress and soon to be posted to the website.

As shown above, all these teachings are in direct contradiction of papal decrees and the de fide teaching of the Council of Trent. So no, thank you, we will not join you, but will follow St. Thomas Aquinas, who wrote on this topic:

“Such persons as are separated from the Church by heresy, schism, or excommunication, can indeed consecrate the Eucharist..; but they act wrongly, and sin by doing so; and in consequence they do not receive the fruit of the sacrifice, which is a spiritual sacrifice” (Article 7). And further, “But because he is severed from the unity of the Church, HIS PRAYERS HAVE NO EFFICACY” (reply to objection 3 of article 7). “And therefore whoever hears their mass or receives the sacraments from them, commits sin… By refusing to hear the masses of such priests, or to receive Communion from them, WE ARE NOT SHUNNING GOD’S SACRAMENTS; ON THE CONTRARY, BY SO DOING WE ARE GIVING THEM HONOR: BUT WHAT WE SHUN IS THE SIN OF UNWORTHY MINISTERS (reply, objection 1). That says it all and should be sufficient in silencing these people; but of course it won’t.

Finally we leave you with one more quote on the authority of bishops from Pope Pius VI, Post tibi factum addressed to the Archbishop of Trier in 1782:

“Even in the case where the episcopal authority would come directly from God, as certain doctors claim, nevertheless it must be held for certain and firmly maintained that this authority does not extend of its own right to the faculty of dispensing from the general laws of the Church without the express or at least tacit permission of the superior power which has established these laws. IT IS IN FACT A DOGMA OF FAITH THAT the authority of the bishops, even admitting that it stems directly from Christ, remains dependent on the authority of the Roman Pontiff. Whence it follows that the bishops must ever remain subject to the decrees of the Apostolic See and to the venerable prescriptions of the canons under penalty, if it should happen, that one of them infringed these prescriptions and canons, of being refused the concession in the future. For the same reason it is not less certain that the authority of the bishops can itself be restricted and reduced within certain limits as to its exercise and its use by the superior hierarchical authority.


Please join us here in praying for our enemies:

Canonical mission granted to the laity

Canonical mission granted to the laity

+St. Peter in Chains+

Prayer Society Intention for the Month of August

May God instill in us a true love of the papacy and may the Holy Ghost grant us the graces needed to appreciate and understand papal teachings.

In every era of Catholic history, the laity has been forced to adapt itself to the conditions and circumstances of the times in which they live, according to the Church’s own direction and teaching regarding the errors and needs of that specific time. There can be no doubt that the time in which we presently live is the most difficult time in the history of the Church. The popes knew these times were approaching and for this reason encouraged Catholics, beginning at the Vatican Council, to assist the hierarchy in spreading the faith. This eventually led to the founding of Catholic Action and the development of the lay apostolate, which while related are actually two separate entities, as Pope Pius XII explains. Since Catholic Action is mainly conducted under the direction of the hierarchy, which no longer exists today, it is the lay apostolate which will be addressed in this article. Pope Pius XII tells us: “This initiative of the lay apostolate is perfectly justified even without a prior explicit mission from the hierarchy” (The Mission of the Catholic Woman, Sept. 29, 1957).

Pope Pius XII speaks further on the apostolate below:

The lay apostle must always remain within the limits of ORTHODOXY and must not oppose itself to the LEGITIMATE prescriptions of COMPETENT ecclesiastical authorities…The rule which applies to the lay apostolate in general [hierarchical approval], which We have just recalled, is naturally valid, and even more so for “lay theologian[s].” But if he wishes to publish writings on theological matters, the layman also needs the explicit approval of the ecclesiastical authority. The activity of the Catholic layman is especially necessary in the fields in which theological research borders on that of the secular sciences… On the other hand, to acquire the necessary competence, it is obviously necessary to make the effort demanded by serious training.” The Pope continues:

“Such training, whose necessity for teachers no one doubts, is just as necessary for every lay apostle… The Catholic newspaperman who exercises his profession in a spirit of faith is quite naturally a lay apostle… In certain countries where Communism is in power, it has been reported that religious life was able to continue underground thanks to the work of lay apostles, even after the arrest of the priests” (Guiding Principles of the Lay Apostolate, Six ans se sont, Oct. 5, 1957, In a summary made by those attending this Congress of the Lay Apostolate, the following observations were made regarding what is needed to undertake such work:

  • “Greater knowledge of the faith. In this respect, laymen are too often illiterate. There is danger of a lack of balance between a temporal culture which is ever more highly developed and a religious culture which would remain childish.
  • “A knowledge of the world and of its needs. This means that we must have religious surveys, study centers and research institutes. Good will alone is not enough. It must be supported by real technical competence, professional, civic and social. 

But already the pope had said earlier that year to the 14th Congress of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations, in an address given the week before: “Personal initiative plays a great part in protecting the faith in Catholic life especially in countries where contacts with the hierarchy are difficult or practically impossible. In such circumstances the Christians upon whom this task falls MUST, with God’s grace, assume all their responsibilities. It is clear however that — even so — nothing can be undertaken against the explicit and implicit will of the Church or contrary in any way to the rules of faith or morals or to ecclesiastical discipline” (Sept. 29, 1957; both of these addresses to the laity were entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis.). We have quoted this many times, calling it our marching orders, our canonical mission. Now we will comment on the points made above by Pope Pius XII and how they apply to the present situation in which we find ourselves.

The dilemma facing lay Catholics today

What we have been tasked to determine today is whether or not those presenting themselves as hierarchy and the actual continuation of the Catholic Church are truly successors of the Apostles, duly sent by Our Lord through His Vicar. For if this is not the case, they have no right to teach and command us, being unable to issue legitimate prescriptions which can only be enforced by competent ecclesiastical authority. Such a determination must be made before any other activity can be commenced upon, for otherwise we cannot be certain that we are able to invoke the canonical mission granted to us by Pius XII, since this can be done only when there IS no hierarchy. Logic has an order, and this order must be observed.

Evidence to prove that Traditionalists, whether posing as clergy or officious laity, do not have the right to command our obedience and teach us must be presented if we are to be able to arrive at anything in way of certitude about the matter. We are ordered to remain within the limits of orthodoxy as Pope Pius XII recognized them in his time, so we can only use the teachings of the Church Herself and those of the pre-October 1958 approved theologians. Even then, given the already advanced infiltration in the Church, only those most loyal to the papacy and most conservative among these men should be consulted, if orthodoxy is to be maintained as the pope commands. The Church orders us to make such determinations using only the method of philosophy taught by St. Thomas Aquinas, Scholasticism. And Scholastic philosophy teaches that: “Every judgment must be based on proof. In doubt, facts cannot be presumed, but must be proved” (Bernard Wuellner, S.J., Summary of Scholastic Principles,1956).

Lay theologians can teach, but only under the direction of the hierarchy. However, moral theology teaches that when something becomes impossible to obtain or observe, the obligation to obey the law ceases. “No law can bind a subject to do the impossible or anything morally evil,” (Wuellner; also Revs. McHugh and Callan). “In a conflict of law, the higher law prevails” (Wuellner). Now the faithful are bound under pain of heresy to profess their faith “…whenever silence, subterfuge or manner of acting” could be interpreted as a denial of faith (Can. 1325). Not to defend the faith in these times when it is assailed on every side by the enemy would be an evil which no law can command us to commit. Defending the faith is the higher law, and fulfilling a canonical mission in the absence of the hierarchy, assigned to us by Christ’s Vicar, is a law one is bound to obey. The very survival of the Church Christ founded depends on it.

I have been accused by some of functioning in the exercise of my canonical mission without the necessary competence. Yet not only do I have a wealth of experience most of these critics lack, learning firsthand the evils of Traditionalism, I also have the benefit of receiving the last of what passed for a Catholic education in the late 1950s, early 1960s, something most of them, sadly, were unable to enjoy. Furthermore, I was baptized by a domestic prelate, Msgr. Daniel M. Reidy, and confirmed in 1961 by Bishop Leo C. Byrne, ordained a bishop in 1954 during the reign of Pope Pius XII. Was it valid? Since it happened before the false V2 council convened and not long after Pius XII’s death, it was valid if illicit, and within that timeframe it could have been licit; but only a true pope could determine this. Cardinal Gracias told the Lay Apostolate Congress: “The duty (of the Lay Apostolate) arises from the fact of Baptism and Confirmation, according to the inspiration of grace and state of life and exterior circumstances” (Catherine Buehler, delegate to the first Lay Apostolate Congress, 1954).

I have my own theological library sporting some 3,000 plus volumes, culled mainly from a seminary library, and have studied some of the best theological works available from it since 1981, often clocking in hours of study per day for decades. My friends and family can testify to this, and I don’t believe that is something most can claim to have done. This is not a boast; the fruits of study can only be judged by God. But I have done my best to “make the effortdemanded by serious training” as best I could, since there were no Catholic teachers. I also worked for 25 years as a community newspaper reporter for publications owned by (older) Novus Ordo “Catholics,” who thankfully gave me free rein to include religious articles and points of view as well as a fact-based, conservative presentation of the news. This could be easily confirmed by consulting the archived articles I have written or by speaking to my publishers. And as Pius XII says above, “The Catholic newspaperman who exercises his profession in a spirit of faith is quite naturally a lay apostle.  Of course reference to myself as competent will be interpreted as further proofs of “pride.” But as St. Teresa of Avila said, “Humility is truth.” I cannot very well lie about who I am. Readers have a right to know my credentials and critics  are obligated to document and prove their assertions. Not to do so is a sin.

Those exiting the Novus Ordo and Traditionalist sects should spend at least three years doing penance and re-educating themselves in the truths of Faith before attempting to defend the faith publicly according to Canon Law. I did my “time” between 1985-1989. (I did write a few things for publication, though, since I wasn’t aware of this law until 1988-89). They then should proceed cautiously, which I failed to do; I have been catching up ever since. But as my own experience proves, not proceeding cautiously usually ends in disaster, since false zeal so easily misleads. As those attending the Congress noted above, a greater knowledge of the faith is required to undertake this mission and Catholics are too often illiterate in these matters.

Canonical mission explained

In his The Role of the Laity in the Church, (written in 1954 by the Chair of dogmatic theology at Louvain University), Msgr. Gerard Philips, S.T.D., et M., has this to say about such a mission. “The Code of Canon Law clearly admits acanonical mission for laymen in the field of religious instruction (Can. 1333). The concept is not therefore contrary to juridic principle… The bishops’ conference held at Paris in 1946 declared the mandate of Catholic Action” is conferred on the faithful by the virtue of their baptism. “The mandate itself is a designation for the apostolate, it is a very serious matter. It is not a privilege but a call to duty… Fr. Koester is of the opinion that a mission can only be granted to laymen in necessity, when no one else is available” (pgs. 128-29). And Pope Pius XII has confirmed this, specifying how it must be carried out.

Msgr. Philips continues: “To a certain extent, …bishops can share their role as ‘witness’ and ‘one sent’ with those who have received only the initial consecration of Baptism and Confirmation… Laymen…can also receive a special mission, a canonical designation or mandate that is a type of official recognition for a more determined ecclesiastical task” (pg. 171). And this we have received not from just any bishop, but from the Roman Pontiff himself, head bishop and Christ’s Vicar on earth. But that is not good enough or sufficiently compelling for some people. Msgr. Philips emphasizes that: “Anyone who would have a vital and victorious faith must pay the required price of effort and study. No sincere intellectual will be content with a grammar school acquaintance of the vital questions nor will anyone expect encyclopedic knowledge from him. The intelligence of a truly adult Christian is all that is required. It is impossible for him to solve problems of the moral order without the dogmatic premises on which they depend. To suppose otherwise is blind pragmatism.” And pragmatism is an error condemned by the Church.

And in another work from 1957, A Call to the Laity, Abp. Richard Cushing writes: “The hour has come for us to cease to expect a child’s study of a child’s catechism to give adults an appreciation of an essentially intellectual religion. The effort to attain the intellectual vision, the clear thinking and the moral integrity for which the Holy Father calls can be based only on a systematic study by the laity of the principles of justice and charity as they apply to modern problems of life and thought “(pg. 28). In other words, you don’t take a knife to a gunfight, and this is a battle of major proportions, not High Noon.

There are good reasons why study of the faith should not be limited to the Kinkead Baltimore Catechism, generally preferred by Traditionalists. Written in the 1880s. this catechism cannot possibly cover the major doctrinal issues addressed by Pope Leo XIII and his successors. It especially omits the many addresses by the popes on the importance of the lay apostolate and how to deal with the modern-day heresies of our times, particularly Modernism and its various offshoots. This is true even of the Catechism of the Council of Trent, which for all its importance is still incomplete. Those who believe the Church can be run by questionably valid bishops only might be fine with this, since these bishops despise the teachings of Pope Pius XII on the necessity of an office for valid jurisdiction and the decision that bishops do not receive their powers directly from Our Lord by Divine right. But those who accept and exercise their canonical mission from Pope Pius XII know how crucial to their understanding of the faith papal teaching in its entirety truly is.\

Authority and canonical mission

In the absence of the hierarchy, people have been confused about who they should obey and what is most authoritative. It is only common sense to rely on the documents and organs approved by the magisterium, and these include the lesser catechisms, to instruct ourselves. However, as noted above, the catechism simply will not suffice. Had Traditionalists opened catechetical centers and refrained from what they could not do, fulfilling the canonical mission already available to them, we would not be in this predicament. But pride, lust for power and greed entered in — how profitable could such centers, run with help from laity properly trained, have been? And how could they exercise any power by reducing themselves to the state of the laity? There would be no need to go to great lengths to present and defend the truth if they had simply done what God willed them to do. But no; they could not lower themselves to do that. And so those obligated to expose their errors had to go higher – to the Roman Pontiffs themselves, the General Councils, the Sacred Congregations, to warn others they were not authorized to do what they pretended to do.

These sources cannot be contradicted, which is exactly why they must be consulted; once a document of the Roman Pontiff is presented in ecclesiastical court by the faithful — who are allowed to object to Traditionalists’ claims under Canon Law — the judge must rule in favor of the one presenting the document. But these are laws Traditionalists curl their lips at and consistently ignore. Having been given a canonical mission by a true pope, NO ONE can prevent those receiving it from exercising such a mission. And that includes rank newbies on the scene who think they have all the answers, can’t be certain they were validly baptized and have never been validly confirmed. This is not to say that lack of Confirmation prevents anyone of good will from engaging in the apostolate, but first they must prove they are truly Catholic and serve their three years of probation. And too often that proof of Catholicity is woefully lacking.

The laity are encouraged to study the encyclicals

Some insist we cannot understand the encyclicals; only the bishops could understand them and explain them to us. We are not smart enough wah, wah, wah. So read up on them from the theologians and learn, okay? That was their job, as Msgr. Fenton tells us: to explain them, and he does. And the fact that they are written in Latin does not matter; if translations to English are somehow inaccurate, then I am sure that God will forgive us if we happen to err.

That is why we rely on trustworthy theologians. It is entirely untrue that the faithful were not expected to read and even study them; examine the picture on page one and the one below, taken from two different works, and you will see that they came with Discussion Club outlines. Notice that the page here on Mediator Dei gives printed instructions on exactly how to conduct such discussions, indicating that a priest was not required to lead them.

I have several encyclicals of every kind, all with these Discussion Club outlines provided for the laity. Fr. Charles Hugo Doyle, in his little work Let Us Know the Pope, mentions that: “Every effort on the part of the laity must be made to pass on to others, in the discussion clubs and in the home, the life and work of the Vicar of Christ on earth.” He concluded his pamphlet by pleading that “… a definite course of study on the life and work of the pope be systematically taught in our Catholic institutions of learning.” We have a job to do, and that job demands more of us than some are able to give. Let them be satisfied then with the catechism. But no one is free from sin who misrepresents the practice of the Church prior to Pope Pius XII’s death as a pretext to discredit others who desire to render a higher level of service. Truly their motives are suspect. And given the presence of a papal mission, it could even be styled as contradicting papal teaching.


Today is the feast of St. Peter in Chains. Tragically, he is still in chains in our century, imprisoned by men who have usurped his authority and banished him from the earth, and here I mean both the Novus Ordo usurpers and Traditionalist pseudo-bishops, who falsely claim to continue the true Church without him. Then there are others as well, who while professing to accept and follow him, reduce the magisterium to an unintelligible oracle of yesteryear, dictating to others that they are incapable of comprehending Christ’s very own voice on earth. To all of them I repeat the warning of Henry Cardinal Manning: “The faithful read in the ruin of all who lay hands on the Vicar of Christ the warning of the Psalmist, ‘Nolite tangere Christos meos ‘; and of our Lord Himself, Whosoever shall fall on this stone, shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder’ (Matt. 21:44).” (The Vatican Council Decrees, 1887)

 What in the world

A word here about the growing number of nasty little traddie trolls. Whether they call themselves Traditionalists, sedevacantists or some other variation of “Catholic” — their names are legion — the Church instructs us that we are not allowed to wrangle with non-Catholics (Can. 1325). Once their real agenda becomes apparent, regardless of any self-righteous invective delivered under the guise of piety, we are to simply ignore them since they thrive on attention. What they are speaks so loudly we cannot hear what they are saying anyway. People who are truly Catholic will avoid them. It is a sad fact that today they seem to be multiplying and adding to the chaos and insanity spreading worldwide. We should neither be disturbed nor surprised. We must pray that God will somehow bring them to their knees, regardless of what that might cost them. And we must also pray that we ourselves do not fall into the pit but may persevere in the faith until the very end.

To read up on troll behavior, see hater trolls at  We must remember that it was the very ones meant to be members of Christ’s kingdom on earth who hated the truth so much they nailed Him to the Cross. And then their precious Temple, emptied of the Holy Ghost, the Shekinah, was destroyed…

Despite these irksome interruptions, the show must go on

Despite these irksome interruptions, the show must go on

+St. Anne+

I constantly field the accusation that what is presented on this site is only my opinion on what has happened to the Church. But facts, and especially the laws and teachings of the Church, are not opinions, and I try my best to base everything here on those laws and teachings. I have an OBLIGATION to do this work to the best of my ability; it is not an option. I am creating a record that will be archived and will stand as the presentation of truths taught by the Church Herself, right up to the end, so that the Deposit of Faith will be defended on this earth for as long as I live. That is what I believe my mission to be and what God requires from me. It is not the business of others to tell me how to conduct my spiritual life or fulfill what I perceive to be my mission and vocation.

On exposes and treatises

As one dear friend summed it up, I am only a presenter and facilitator of the teachings of the Church as they existed before the death of Pope Pius XII. I make available the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs, the Holy Office and Sacred Congregations, the ecumenical councils, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, also the teachings of approved theologians and Canon Law, which itself is negatively infallible. These are not opinions. They constitute, in varying degrees, truths of faith Catholics must believe to be saved. Once these truths have been presented, I then proceed to facilitate, meaning I try to make it possible or easier for those reading what I present to relate what they are reading to what exists today. I bridge this gap using the Church’s own methods and laws to try to explain how the Church views the situation we find ourselves in today, and what we must do to remain members of Christ’s Mystical Body and preserve the faith.

Since I began writing for the Church in 1979, various Traditionalists have tried to steer me into the field of devotional articles only, or into a more neutral field where all is presented as potentially true, and readers would be allowed to sort things out for themselves, (modern-day journalism). Some would like people to stop reading what I write altogether, because it is “too hard to understand” or “too lengthy to devote any time to.” Guess it depends on what your priorities are. How much time do you spend on the Internet browsing Trad and other websites, or watching videos on various topics? But you don’t have time to read something about the faith that would at most take up an hour of your time?

All I have tried to do is provide what answers I know here, taken from the pre-1959 works I possess. No one has to read what I write; I don’t collect followers and since what I try to present are usually truths of faith they are not up for debate.  I don’t know everything, I am not the last word or even a degreed professional, but it does not take a degreed professional to accurately quote the teachings of others. I can tell you I have devoted my life to studying the truths of faith, but I leave it to God to determine the value of that study.

Am I here to convert people? As St. Bernadette of Soubirous said: “My job is to inform, not to convince.” Nearly all of what I have written has been to defend the faith against the errors of Traditionalists and other enemies of the faith, because that is what the Church orders me to do. I can try to do my best, but God alone can provide the graces necessary for true conversion. Owing to the strength of the delusions predominating in these times and the knowledge that the remnant will be a scant few and Christ will scarcely find faith on earth when He returns, few will probably save their souls in these days; the Bible clearly teaches that people will not repent. Rev. Leo Haydock tells us that those remaining faithful in the end times will be so diminished that they will be able to fill only one church or temple (Apoc. 11: 1 commentary). I can only hope that I will be one of those few in that church and that others will join me there.

Pride and correction

Several have accused me of pride, of not knowing my place, of overstepping my bounds. Anyone can fall into this sin, and I am no exception. But those writing on the spiritual life explain that it is false humility to hide one’s light under a bushel, and not pleasing to God. We are commanded by God to shine our light and to use our talents, whatever those talents may be. To give undue consideration to what others think of us for doing this is to fall victim to human respect. We must obey God and serve Him, not bow before the criticism and disapproval of men. As far as accepting correction from others goes, regarding the immediate jurisdiction business and the pride issue, the following is recommended by theologians:

“One should not attempt to correct a fault, unless one is morally sure that a fault has been committed… Slight sins or transgressions of rules should… be corrected, when they are the occasion of grave scandal or disorder in a community. Slight sins or transgressions should not be corrected in ordinary cases, for these faults are so numerous that, if one had to correct them, an intolerable burden would be laid on everyone, Persons who scold and lecture over every trifling misdeed are regarded as pests and do more harm than good… One should enlist the services of one or two others to assist in making the brotherly correction… [This] should arouse the culprit to the need of correcting himself, before his case is brought before the superior [in this case the public] for correction. Since fraternal correction is given for the purpose of converting a sinner from the evil of his ways, it is not called for when one’s neighbor is not a sinner, strictly speaking, or has already reformed.” (McHugh and Callan’s Moral Theology; it obviously takes more than the catechism to figure this one out.)

  • Stating a known and provable fact is not a fault, far less a sin. Stating it without sufficient explanation would be a fault if not corrected.
  • If a fault is slight, and the only ones objecting to it are those in the Traditionalist camp or harboring Traditionalist sympathies, these do not count as objectors but only as instigators. It is scandal taken, not given.
  • No one else objected to the supposed sin; only one person claimed it existed.
  • An attempt was made on this site to clarify the statement in question but was rejected by some as insufficient.

Catholic self defense 

Some believe the basic catechism is an adequate defense against what we are battling today. But to maintain it is all that is needed to save our souls and that someone else supporting and promoting higher studies is expecting too much and is overstepping their bounds is unreasonable. Yet this is something I have heard from the more hateful type of Traditionalists for years. I am criticized for citing Canon Law and theology but all I do is take it from those well-trained in it prior to 1958 and apply it to what we are experiencing today. Why is that objectionable? If we draw out all the consequences of such a stance, we surrender any rights to defend ourselves. Are we really supposed to let the enemy teach error and not fight back? Is that what saving our souls is really all about?? Rev. Sarda wrote in his book on Liberalism that we are allowed to ridicule the enemies of Christ, discredit their person, drag their names into the mire, poke fun at them and even wound or kill them, if they threaten our own person. And it is all considered to be charity, because it is done in defense of the faith.

Even a civilian who is not properly “trained” in combat techniques can defend himself from an enemy when attacked or jump into action when other citizens are being maimed or gunned down. Armed citizens often patrol their own neighborhoods, especially in these times, but I guess because they aren’t trained, they should go home and let the thugs attack their families and their neighbors. It is the liberals who advise you to curl up in a ball and not defend yourself, as they once did my nephew who was being bullied at a public school. And certainly one may defend oneself in court versus hiring an attorney, and special concessions must be given to such defendants by the judge, even to the extent, sometimes, of detriment to the plaintiff. As a reporter I sat in on several of these court cases. But we should not use common sense when it comes to defending the faith?

Traditionalist pseudo-clerics today only think they are trained in theology and Canon Law; no one authorized by the continual magisterium has ever taught them, no one with any kind of jurisdiction necessary for their validity even approved them as candidates for the priesthood. They are the perfect example of false authority, and no one owes them any respect or obedience whatsoever. They are/were taught by men who deny the necessity of the papacy and either ignore Canon Law, or twist it to suit their own purposes; God only knows what they do with theology. Canon Law is quoted whole and entire here, as are the theologians and the Roman Pontiffs. The necessity of the papacy, papal jurisdiction and the full weight of papal decisions all are upheld here. Given the heresies taught by Traditionalists, if a true pope ever reigned again he would most likely either reduce these men to the laity or totally disregard their putative orders. This was the practice of the Holy See prior to the death of Pope Pius XII in similar cases; these decisions are presented in articles on this site.

So no one is supposed to point out the fact that these men are pretending to possess authority in the Church they do not possess? No one is justified in providing detailed information based on Church teaching, proving they are imposters and not the true pastors Christ sent to guide the flock, but hirelings who will starve and mislead the sheep? They are to be allowed to spread error unchecked and crucify Christ anew? To desecrate the Sacraments, tear apart families, scandalize the little ones, drive those caught in their snares to despair, all while living high on the hog and passing themselves off as celebrities? Most of the people who come to this site are tired of their lies and being treated like dirt; they are in great spiritual pain and only want the truth. They may not know exactly how to explain what has happened to their Church, but they want answers, and they want peace. This is something that can never be found in Traditionalist sects because they deliberately suppress the truth and silence those who dare to question them.

Praying at home helps them find that peace; knowing the truth sets them free. Telling them that the catechism will provide the answers to the many questions they feel they must resolve is an insult to their intelligence, as one reader recently noted. Moreover, it is the equivalent to dismissing all that they have learned from hard experience about the lack of true Catholicity in these sects and the sufferings they have endured. Many of those exiting from cults experience the same angst — fear, sense of loss, depression, alienation, scrupulosity, confusion, anger, guilt and much more. It takes a long time to heal from these wounds, and re-education is key to helping make sense of it all. That is why there is information on this site about cults. I have had my own experiences with them; I was in the thick of the Traditionalist movement and its many grotesque manifestations in the 1980s, early 1990s. I know how that pain feels and the damage done by these sects. That is why I am trying to alleviate it.

Final thoughts

If people would like to study upper grades catechisms, by all means do so; they are fairly self-explanatory. But this cannot replace the obligation to advise oneself of papal teaching and obey papal directives. I think we know why this site is so objectionable to others — somewhere out there a nerve has been struck and they are trying their best to do damage control by discrediting what is written here. Maybe more people are beginning to ask questions and are not satisfied with the answers. One can only hope. But whatever it is, the attacks on this site that began many years ago have not stopped and will not stop. These latest attacks are not the first and certainly won’t be the last. We weather them as best we can, knowing that God often withdraws those from us that are not of good will, then allows them to attack us so that we may suffer for His honor and glory. As He wills, for as long as He wills.

A heartfelt thanks to all of you who have supported me through this and allowed me to explain myself. May God reward you with many blessings.


Some of the statements made in the initial post above have been expanded upon and rephrased. I am posting nothing more on this topic as the answers to most of the accusations made by my opponents can be found on my website. I will be happy to direct readers to specific articles if they have any questions.

To assure readers that papal teaching and documents are indeed intended for the faithful, I offer the excerpt below from Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton (Infallibility in the Encyclicals, AER, March 1953). Msgr. Fenton and his colleague Rev. Francis J. Connell  received commendations from Pope Pius XII for defending the papacy in the American Ecclesiastical Review. Msgr. Fenton received the papal medal, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in 1954, was appointed a papal chamberlain, and also belonged to the Pontifical Roman Theological Academy.  Msgr. Fenton and Rev. Connell openly opposed Vatican 2 until their respective deaths in 1969 and 1967. I am privileged to quote them often in my writings.

In his last will and testament, Pope Pius XII left all the writings generated during his pontificate, without exception, “…to all who wish to become acquainted with them” (His Humble Servant, Sr. Pasqualina Lehnert). Sadly, there are few who value this inestimable legacy.


Scaring up ghosts and calling them errors

Scaring up ghosts and calling them errors

+St. Lawrence of Brindisi+

I am not willing to devote any more time to these baseless allegations that are floating around about my last blog on immediate jurisdiction. Nor do I believe any of my readers are really interested in hearing more about them either, since several of them say they fully understand the point I was trying to make. However, there is an issue that does need to be addressed and it is no trifling matter. It is something very difficult to pin down but yet it is essential for all to understand it in order to protect themselves from its stealthy penetration into their thought processes. Because it is so subtle, it is an error many will deny they advance, and that is why it must be nipped in the bud if at all possible.

In the 19th century an error was condemned by Pope Pius IX in his Syllabus; its name was liberalism. It took many forms and wore various masks. One of these was the mask of the liberal Catholic, which in its extreme form manifested in the 20th century as the Novus Ordo church. In its most diluted variation, it presented as a seemingly attractive and Catholic attempt to practice charity, but the reality was far different. For this variety of Liberals excused the inexcusable, gave the benefit of the doubt where it was not due, tolerated the intolerable, questioned the unquestionable, and essentially made it possible to live comfortably and in peace with its very enemies. That this is something the Church not only condemned as a heresy but looked at in horror was explained by Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany, in a little book written in 1886, Liberalism is a Sin. This book was specifically approved and recommended by the Sacred Congregation of the Index. We will comment from this book at length and recommend that all purchase a copy.

The appearance of good can be deceiving

In his opening pages, Fr. Sarda explains how “…Appearances may be fair and the devil may present himself as an angel of light. The danger is the greater as the outward show is more seductive. Heresy has never been so insidious as under its present form of liberalism. Its most fatal shaft is its plea for liberality of mind. This in its own eyes is its cardinal virtue. Intellectual freedom from dogmatism is its boast, a boast in reality the mask of IGNORANCE AND PRIDE Foes in the midst of battle cannot well be friends. Where the pressure of conflicting forces is most intense, there is little opportunity of reconciliation. Yet this absurdity and contradiction we find in the odious and repulsive attempt to unite liberalism with Catholicism.” And here attention must be paid especially to the word seductive. Because Liberalism can present itself as a tendency or a simple “difference of opinion” in matters where no such thing is allowed to the Catholic. And this is especially true when it comes to accepting the decrees of the Roman Pontiffs precisely for what they are.

Before continuing with Rev. Sarda’s comments, it needs to be pointed out that the entire purpose of praying at home is not to create yet another sect, but to honor the Sacraments by abstaining from them and diametrically oppose Traditionalism in all its many forms. We pray at home to escape the evil of mortal sin, the mortal sin committed by those daring to offer the Latin Mass and confer the Sacraments despite excommunications for schism, heresy, communicatio in sacris and infamy of law; excommunications that render Traditionalist pseudo-clergy the equivalent of vitandus. We are not simply “sheltering in place,” resigning ourselves to the Quietistic existence Traditionalists would love to assign us so they may continue their mission of deceiving souls — not saving them — undisturbed. No; we are not allowed to stand by idly and watch while those we love and who should be our brethren labor under such an intolerable deception. Nor are we allowed, in this day and age where such deception continues to present daily in new forms, to fail to condemn it every time it opens its mouth.

Some would have us believe that if there could just be a little bit of compromise and a little more respect for the enemy; a little less insistence on absolute obedience to papal decrees and a  little more cooperation; also the abandonment of the idea that we need to study hard to know our faith which discourages so many, souls could be won over to the pray-at-home position. Well that is all fine and good, but this attitude was condemned by Pope Leo XIII in his dogmatic letter to Cardinal Gibbons and Americans in general, Testem Benevolentiae. There he wrote:

“On account of our apostolic office, having to guard the integrity of the faith and the security of the faithful, [We] are desirous of writing to you … [regarding the errors of Isaac Hecker]. The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them.

“It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind. The Vatican Council says concerning this point:For the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention to be perfected by human ingenuity, but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared. Hence that meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our Holy Mother, the Church, has once declared, nor is that meaning ever to be departed from under the pretense or pretext of a deeper comprehension of them.’” (end of Pope Leo quote). This is clearly the condemnation of all the Novus Ordo ever was and is, so it is undeniably dogmatic. Msgr. J.C. Fenton notes that Pope Pius XII condemned it as doctrinal minimism in Humani Generis. But it doesn’t apply to us today? Listen to what Rev. Sarda has to tell us on this topic:

“The liberal subjects God’s authority to the scrutiny of his reason and not his reason to God’s authority. He accepts revelation not on account of the infallible revealer but because of the infallible receiver. With him the individual judgment is the rule of faith; he believes in the independence of reason. It is true he accepts the magisterium of the Church, but he does not accept it as the sole authorized expounder of divine truth. He reserves as a coefficient factor in the determination of that truth his own private judgment. The true sense of revealed doctrine is not always certain, he thinks, and human reason has something to say in the matter, as for instance the limits of the Church’s infallibility, which may be determined by human science. He is intellectually free to accept or reject, but he is intellectually bound to no one. Liberal Catholics are deluded into the notion that incredulity is a virtue rather than a vice. Any chastisement of errors shocks their tender susceptibilities, and they detest any Catholic legislation in the direction of what they are pleased to call intolerance. The Ultramontane interpretation is violent and extreme and does much more harm than good by driving back the well-disposed at such a show of ill-liberality. Thus they erect into a dogma what is called the principle of toleration.” So if these shoes fit on certain feet, then wear them.

All the above succinctly describes Traditionalists and all who sympathize with them. They may be considered ultra-conservatives politically, but they are Catholic liberals of the moderate and tainted variety, as Rev. Sarda describes them. An Ultramontane my entire life, a totally unabashed defender of the papacy, of course I can expect only attacks from such people. But try as they might, they cannot change the FACT that when Pope Pius XII defined as certain that bishops can only receive their jurisdiction through the pope, those dissenting from that decision discreetly began to organize. Following the false Vatican 2 council, these men established a series of groups called Traditionalists who claimed, through various subterfuges, that they received jurisdiction directly from Christ. So from the release of Mystici Corporis in 1943 to the first establishment of these groups, the only ones claiming and practicing immediate jurisdiction were the Protestants, an undeniable fact.

 What is stated above is the conclusion Traditionalists wish no one to fully understand, and will go to any lengths to suppress. So much so that Anthony Cekada even misstated the wording of the Council of Trent to deny this was the case. I don’t think it is too outrageous to claim that they do not want anyone to connect the dots and especially want to keep any possible affiliations with Gallicanism under wraps. This at least until it is time for their “great king and holy pope” of prophecy fame to appear and “unite the clans.” But try as they might, they cannot hide the fact that what they are doing contradicts Church teaching on so many levels.

Employing a condemned error to condemn an “error”

The irony is that what these critics are peddling as erroneous involves an error itself. The real objection to the original statement made by this author, that immediate jurisdiction is a Protestant heresy, is that it could not be said to proceed as a logical conclusion from the other facts provided. Yet the only way this statement could be true is if it is somehow believed that Pope Pius XII’s decision was not binding, (and that observation was made by a reader, not me). Yet it certainly IS binding, since Mystici Corporis is entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis. Actually the implication that such a conclusion cannot be made is a philosophical error condemned by the Church. ‘Ah, but it is only an error, not a heresy, so that is OK; we still remain within the Church.’ And that is exactly what liberals, the anti-infallbilists and the Modernists who followed them were condemned for teaching.

The errors advanced by Nicholas d’Autrecourt regarding conclusions and evidence, condemned by Pope Clement VI, reads: “…From one matter another matter cannot be inferred or concluded; or from the non-existence of one, the non-existence of another” (DZ 554).; “That the certainty of evidence does not have degrees” (DZ 556);  “That it cannot be shown clearly that in truth all things which are apparent are true” (DZ 567). These teachings were condemned as erroneous, false and presumptuous. Now the interesting part here is that if one looks up Nicholas of Autrecourt on the Internet, it refers you to a Catholic Encyclopedia article on Fideism, a topic we have touched on many times in various articles. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains under this head:

“It is not surprising, therefore, that the Church has condemned such doctrines. In 1348, the Holy See proscribed certain fideistic propositions of Nicholas d’Autrecourt (cf. Denzinger, Enchiridion, 10th ed., nn. 553-570). In his two Encyclicals, one of September, 1832, and the other of July, 1834, Gregory XVI condemned the political and philosophical ideas of Lamenais. On 8 September, 1840, Bautain was required to subscribe to several propositions directly opposed to Fideism, the first and the fifth of which read as follows: “Human reason is able to prove with certitude the existence of God; faith, a heavenly gift, is posterior to revelation, and therefore cannot be properly used against the atheist to prove the existence of God”; and “The use of reason precedes faith and, with the help of revelation and grace, leads to it.” The same proposition were subscribed to by Bonnetty on 11 June, 1855.”

Lammenais and de Bonald were the main propagators of Fideism’s sister system Traditionalism. Their errors were condemned by Pope Gregory XVI in 1832 and 1834. This pope also condemned Bautain, who was made to correct one of his errors by stating: “We do not have the right to expect from an unbeliever that he admit the resurrection of our divine Savior before we shall have proposed definite proofs to him and these proofs are deduced by reason from the same tradition” (DZ 1623). So in other words, proofs from Revelation, also Christ’s vicars, must be presented before one can expect anyone to believe. (Lammenais is mentioned repeatedly by Rev. Sarda in his work on Liberalism.)

The Catholic Encyclopedia defines Traditionalism as: “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 certitude, “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.” And surrounded on all sides as we are today, only the Roman Pontiffs and those approved pre-1959 theologians respectfully commenting on what they teach can be trusted. 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 themselvesAuthority is not the last criterion of truth or motive of certitude.

In other words, faith or intuition in itself is some kind of proof or evidence without any need for external evidence; it is in fact even superior to external evidence. It is no coincidence that these errors emphasize Tradition in a non-Catholic sense. And it is no coincidence, either, that what passes as the continuation of the Church following the death of Pope Pius XII calls itself Traditionalist. Material-formal alone teaches that arriving at formal certitude is an impossibility because human reason cannot fully know the truth; “Catholics are not to seek things above themselves,” and on whose all-knowing judgment is this statement made? But these are words we have heard for decades. They want us to believe evidence is useless in attempting to arrive at the true; truths cannot be deduced by resorting to the reasoning process but by obedience to “authority,” legitimate or not. Isn’t that what has kept Traditionalists in business all these years?

Rules of Engagement: Give the enemy no quarter

My mentor, teacher and father, God rest his soul, instilled in me the operating principle that you never insult your readers by talking down to them, or fail to challenge them with things they can test for themselves. I have always tried to follow his advice. While the Baltimore Catechism is a starting point intended for children and teens and should be studied by all of us for starters, Pope St. Pius X expected priests and bishops to instruct the faithful from the Catechism of the Council of Trent, a much more advanced work (see Acerbo Nimis). And Catholics today will find much in these lesser catechisms dedicated to Mass and Sacraments, taking up fully half of the 1943 Baltimore memorial edition of the Kinkead version I consulted. Baptism and Marriage, of course, should be studied, and one should have a general knowledge of the Mass and all the other Sacraments. But we are ADULTS here, at least I hope so, and capable of learning so much more. Consider what one author had to say about this:

“Good will is not held in a vacuum and ignorance is often culpably sinful. If all Catholics have a moral duty to understand their faith AT THEIR LEVEL OF SECULAR EDUCATION, few of us are going to be saved… Pope Pius XI said: In our day and age, unenlightened heroism is not enough.’ How much longer are we Catholics going to pretend that if our hearts are in the right place, we can safely continue to live in an intellectual void?” Peter Michaels, This Perverse Generation, (Sheed and Ward, 1949).

And from Pope St. Pius X: “I admit and recognize the external arguments of revelation that is divine facts and especially miracles and prophecies as very certain signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that the same arguments have been especially accommodated to the intelligence of all ages and men, even of these times” (Oath Against Modernism, DZ 2145). This same pope also wrote: “A Christian… should humbly seek the reason, insofar as he can, of how [what the Church teaches] is so. If he can understand, let him give thanks to God; if he cannot, let him not push his horns to the struggle but submit in all veneration” (1 Mach. 7:4-6; DZ 2120). In other words, some must simply believe and obey whatever they cannot understand.

I have subtitled this section the rules of engagement because Rev. Sarda very pointedly lays out these rules. I have always cited them and adhered to them. First of all, this entire issue really arose when I denied the actual validity of Traditionalist orders; then the objections began. Secondly, it was insinuated that it would not be possible to prove such invalidity and until then Trads retain the title to it because no one can disprove they cannot use epikeia to claim it, but that is a falsehood. Thirdly, the infallibility of Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis has been challenged on the basis that “null and void” in this constitution should not be taken literally. And on whose venerated authority is this advanced? We can believe only the pre-October 1958 Church, Her popes and councils and Her approved theologians. Rev. Sarda explains that:

“It is a rule of sound exegesis that any passage in Holy Scripture should always be interpreted according to the letter unless such meaning be in opposition to the context. We can only have recourse to a free or figurative interpretation when this opposition is obvious. This rule applies also to the interpretation of Pontifical documents.” Please demonstrate, then, why Pope Pius XII’s infallible document nullifying Traditionalist acts should not be taken literally. And do not speciously object that null and void does not mean invalid when Pope Leo XIII and Pope Clement VI both teach that these words mean just that. Every excuse is being made to regard these Traditionalist pseudo-clerics in a more sympathetic light and give them the benefit of the doubt. Rev. Sarda puts the kabosh to that.

“To treat as a liar the man who propagates false ideas, in the eyes of the [liberal theologian], is to sin against the Holy Ghost. To him the falsifier is simply misguided; it is not the poor fellow’s fault. He has, simple soul, been misled. We ought neither to resist nor combat him. We must strive, [instead], to attract him by soft words and pretty compliments. How the devil must chuckle over the mushy charity held out as bait to abet his own cause!” And there we have it all. I owe NOTHING to traditore Traditionalists; no use of “Fr.” before their name, no publicly expressed RIP when they pass (although we may pray for them privately); no “respect” for the garbage they spew out as theological discourse and weekly tales about their cats. And most emphatically, no lip service to their great work for the “salvation of souls” when such work can truly be termed only the damnation of souls. They are the sworn enemies of my Lord Jesus Christ, my Church and my beloved popes and here they will always be treated as such. “Give the enemy no quarter!” Rev. Sarda shouts, and this I have always practiced.

Traditionalist followers deceived by these men I leave for God to sort out, but many of them fall into the category of tainted Liberals as well, and that is heresy. I cannot fail to say what the Congregation of the Sacred Index has confirmed. I pray for them to see the truth and try to provide it for them, but only God can grant them the grace to accept it. God alone knows the consciences of men and tainted liberals may not realize that their approach is the administration of a deadly poison offensive to God. That unfortunately cannot be taken into consideration when the error is disseminated publicly, no matter what personal feelings may dictate.

I end with more of Fr. Sarda’s pithy statements, which I adopt for my own.

“By use of their reason the faithful are enabled to suspect and measure the orthodoxy of any new doctrine presented to them by comparing it with a doctrine already defined. If it be not in accord they can combat it as bad and justly stigmatize as bad the book or journal which sustains it. They cannot of course define it as ex cathedra but they can lawfully hold it as perverse and declare it such, warn others against it, raise the cry of alarm and strike the first blow against it. The faithful layman can do all this and has done it at all times with the applause of the Church; it behooves watch dogs to bark. Faith possesses a power of its own which it communicates to its friends and defenders. It is not they who give the truth power, but truth which charges them with its own vigor. This on the condition that they use that power in its defense…

“Instead of augmenting our forces, it would paralyze and nullify the vigor of those who would be able, if alone, to do something for the defense of the truth… The kind of soldiers we need go into the deadly breach and never flinch. No compromising, no minimizing with them. They plant their banner on the topmost height and form a solid, invincible phalanx around it that not all the legions of earth and hell combined can budge a single inch. They make no alliance, no compromise with a foe whose single aim, disguised or open, is the destruction of the truth. They know the enemy by nature is implacable, and his flag of truce but a cunning device of treachery… There is then no sin against charity in calling evil, EVIL, its authors, abettors and disciples, BAD; all its acts, words and writings INIQUITOUS, WICKED, MALICIOUS. In short, the wolf has always been called the wolf, and in so calling it no one ever believed that wrong was done to the flock and to the shepherd.

“Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church’s enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.” ~ St. Peter Canisius