Be ye perfect and live in the Spirit!

Be ye perfect and live in the Spirit!

+ St. Robert Bellarmine+

Having laid aside various distractions and phantoms, it is time to regroup and start paying attention to our day-to-day spiritual life. This was the purpose of creating the prayer society — and it needs to be supplemented with material that will help nourish and develop the interior life so long neglected for lack of spiritual directors and reading material appropriate to these times. Yes, I will still call out Trads when necessary, but only briefly and by pointing to previously published works.  The focus however will be self, myself and yourselves. My English ancestors’ motto, in the days before the Reformation, was “Nosce te ipsum” — know thyself. For without self-knowledge there can be no spiritual realization and therefore no advancement.

So where to begin? A Jesuit priest writing in 1953 provides a short and simple evaluation of what to address first; a link to this work and an excellent work on the Holy Ghost by Henry Edward Cardinal Manning will be provided below. The work by the Jesuit priest , Fr. Eiten, emphasizes the need to perfect ourselves, and this is the goal, but first it may be useful to drive home the reasons why we should strive for perfection and the initial step needed to begin that journey.  A fellow pray-at-home blogger has pointed out the importance of realizing the necessity of practicing the presence of God, and this is indeed essential to prayer life (https://catholiceclipsed.com/2022/04/13/on-the-omnipresence-of-god-and-the-self/). But the most compelling reason for this practice is something few of us really comprehend.

As Saint Paul writes, “Live in the spirit!” This is the title of Fr. Bruno Hagspiel S.V.D.’s touching and very instructive work, written in 1957. He lamented that rather than being revived in the 20th century, devotion to the Holy Ghost “has fallen into near oblivion” (p. 2). Hagspiel, a retreat master and an acclaimed author on the spiritual life, very carefully guides his readers around the many pitfalls that prevent them from realizing their commitment to live in the spirit and in so doing renew their spiritual life. While Fr. Hagspiel’s work was written for religious women, it provides a sound foundation that can be used by the laity as well to reawaken their Catholic instincts and arm themselves for the spiritual combat that today so closely resembles the circumstances of the early Christian martyrs.

Fr. Hagspiel tells us: “St. Paul, writing to the various churches and reprimanding the faithful for various vices and abuses that had crept into their congregations used a uniquely sharp tone in reminding them that they are temples of the Holy Ghost: “Know you not that you are the temple of God and the spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16 and Romans 6:19). In other words, how could you ever fall so deeply? How could you ever forget that you are the very temples of the Holy Ghost who is in you? With him in you, you no longer belong to yourselves. This is a truth that you should never forget, for without it how can you practice faithfully the essential Christian virtues?” And Fr, Hagspiel says that those are namely charity, chastity and a childlike trust in God, a trust which the great spiritual master, Fr. Frederick Faber, describes as “…The strength of love… chastised, equable and steadfast. It breaks out into action as if it could not be kept in…It has also the same irresistible tendency to prayer which it has to action… All our spiritual exercises, whatever nature they may be, are so many means of acquiring confidence in God.” Fr. Hagspiel continues:

“In this world of sudden events and sudden changes, in these days of growing unrest and gloom and depression, do we not need such trust and confidence in God more than ever before? what if we, in our own country, should have to face such days of bloodshed and persecution as our brethren have had to face in Russia, Mexico, Austria, Poland, Hungary etc.? How shall we be able to bear such trials bravely and valiantly if we are not strong in our trust and confidence in the indwelling spirit of the living God?”  And here he gives a little prayer Cardinal Mercier wrote called “A Secret to Sanctity.” The cardinal writes: “I am going to reveal to you a secret of sanctity and happiness. If every day, during five minutes, you will keep your imagination quiet shut your eyes to all the things of sense and close your ears to all the sound of earth so as to be able to withdraw unto the sanctuary of your baptized soul, which is the temple of the Holy Ghost, speak there to the Holy Ghost saying:

‘O Holy Ghost, soul of my soul, I adore Thee.

Enlighten, guide, strengthen and console me.

Tell me what I ought to do and command me to do it.

I promise to be submissive in everything that

Thou permittest to happen to me.

Only show me what is Thy will!’

“If you do this your life will pass happily and serenely. Consolation will abound even in the midst of troubles. Grace will be given in proportion to the trial as well as strength to bear it, bringing you to the Gates of Paradise full of merit.” Fr. Hagspiel adds: “We must get back to the spirit of God if we want to prove ourselves staunch Christians and true members of Holy Mother Church. We must again make this devotion to the Holy Ghost the outstanding devotion among all members of the Catholic Church after the example of the Christians of old in order to rid ourselves of the spirit of the world.”

Make no mistake — there is at this very moment a fierce battle being waged for our souls. It is a life and death battle — spiritual life and death — conceived and set in motion by the rulers of this world of perceptible darkness, the masters of evil and deception. It takes little imagination at this point to envision what those in power today eventually have in store for anyone refusing to obey their commands. In order to successfully fight this battle, all Christians must be fitted with the spiritual armor described by Saint Paul that they may be able to overcome “the spirits of wickedness in the high places” (Ephesians, Ch. 6:13). The first piece of that armor is having your loins girt about in truth (Ibid., v. 14). The breastplate of justice (v. 15) and the gospel of peace comes next in verse 16. This order continues with the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation of the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God (verse 17-18). Christians are then instructed to beg the Saints for their intercession by “praying in the spirit” (verse 19).

Having thus armed themselves, the battle lines must be drawn: first in the battle against self — one’s own spiritual life — and second, in a more general manner, to fight together as Catholics against the spirits of wickedness now cast down upon this earth. Truth is the one most elusive piece of this armor so necessary to this spiritual combat and to eternal salvation. Without it no preparedness of any kind can even begin. Many today boast of all the measures they have taken to ensure their physical survival but what have they done, in equal and most necessarily in greater measure, to study the truths of faith and come to a clear understanding of what war it really is they are engaged in?

For every battle fought, battle lines must be drawn and only in the correct estimation of these lines can victory be assured. Catholics today do not know where to draw these lines. Some believe themselves to be Catholic when this is not even the case. Pope Benedict XV wrote in his encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum in 1914: “Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected:This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved (Athanas. Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim Christian is my name and Catholic my surname, only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself.” What IS true Catholicism — who can count themselves as members of this most noble society, the Mystical Body of Christ on earth? How successful the enemy has already been in penetrating the camp of the Saints and how few indeed are fully aware of the destruction he has wrought! Those exploring this topic have offered several explanations and remedies but all of them entirely miss the point, in whole or in part. The type of approach to employ in evaluating the dire situation in the Church today — for those who truly believe there is a major departure in teaching belief and practice over the past 60 plus years — is not to analyze persons and events and dialogue readers to death.

If we truly believe in the words of Holy Scripture; if we are truly willing to prepare ourselves to fight this spiritual battle, then we must be willing also to abandon any preconceived notion of this truth and return to its age-old sources.

Prior to his death, the Reformation martyr St. Thomas More told his Anglican interrogators:

       “For I doubt not, but of the learned and virtuous men now alive — I do not speak only of this Realm, but of all Christendom — there are ten to one of my mind in this matter; but if I should take notice of those learned Doctors and virtuous Fathers that are already dead, many of whom are Saints in Heaven, I am sure there are far more, who all the while they lived thought in this Cause as I do now. And therefore, my Lord, I do not think myself bound to conform my conscience to the counsel of one Kingdom, against the general consent of all Christendom” (From The Trial of Sir Thomas More, May 7, 1535 in A Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceeding Upon Impeachments for High Treason, etc. (London, 1719), http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/more/moretrialreport.html).

How many Catholics or those calling themselves Catholics today really know what the Catholics in St. Thomas More’s time and before his death thought and believed? Do they really think that today they could say they believe the same as those Catholics believed, or even those who Fr. Hagspiel wrote for during the time of Pope Pius XII? Do they simply look at what exists today and believe what they are told is Catholic by those who never even saw the inside of a Catholic college or seminary, or do they study their faith and really know for a fact it is Catholic, from approved pre-1959 sources? Because between the death of Saint Thomas More and the death of Pope Pius XII, none of those beliefs changed; none of them. Nor did or could Christ’s very words in the liturgy change or any of the beliefs that Catholics have always held because truth never changes. It may become better defined, clearer, and made more available, but it forever remains the same because God is its ultimate author and is Himself incapable of change. Doctrine develops; it does not and cannot evolve. That is Modernism.

The solution for the lack of Catholicity in the world today begins by learning once again to “live in the spirit.” The following book by Robert B. Eiten, S.J.  provides some general guidelines for the lay person wishing to lead a more perfect life:

https://curate.nd.edu/show/8049g448904 

See also Cardinal Manning’s work on the Holy Ghost at:

https://ia800309.us.archive.org/14/items/TheHolyGhostTheSanctifier/TheHolyGhostTheSanctifier.pdf

May we all learn together to become once again the Catholic Christians Our Lord always intended us to be.

What in the World…

A good summary of the decline of the Church? Really?

I recently viewed an older video made by a Traditionalist “bishop” that reportedly gave a good summary of what happened to the Church that brought us to where we are today. The omissions found were not surprising but the fact that someone thought this a good summary of what had happened to the Church was disappointing to say the least. The history given was a truncated one, which in it itself is always prone to oversimplifying issues that should be explained more carefully. But the three major omissions, predictable though they were, is what was concerning. The reason they are concerning is that an entirely skewed and incomplete picture of what led to the infiltration of the Church results, one that does NOT give Catholics any meaningful idea of what really happened. This is not just an opinion but is based on incontrovertible facts. In rendering this history, the topics of Gallicanism, Freemasonry and the primary causes of Modernism are ignored. Look for a new article on this topic on the Articles page under The Churchfollowing the completion of the site rebuild.

A pope cannot become a heretic

A Traditionalist site has provided the partial translation of a work by the theologian and canonist Felix Cappello that categorically states the pope cannot become a heretic. This teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine has been presented on this site for decades. While what Cappello says is very instructive, given the claims by Novus Ordo and other so-called Traditionalist clergy and lay writers to the contrary, it does not address the problem of what happened following the death of Pope Pius XII. This site has never maintained that John 23 was not a pope because he became a heretic while in office, as others have claimed regarding the usurpers. It has been demonstrated repeatedly that John 23 was suspect of heresy PRIOR to his election, can be judged as a heretic based on his statements and behavior pre-election, and in the end was doubtfully elected on several different counts. So ergo, per St. Robert Bellarmine, Roncalli could never have been pope. All this is based on the teachings of Pope Paul IV’s 1559 infallible bull, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio.

Follow this up with Canon 2391 §1, which states “A college which knowingly elects an unworthy person is automatically deprived for that particular election of the right to hold a new election.” The conduct of the cardinals at the false Vatican 2 council alone proves they knowingly elected Roncalli for they willingly went along with everything he proposed. So bingo, we can kill two birds with one stone and be rid of both Roncalli and Montini thanks to Can. 2391. But now we have Novus Ordo conservatives alleging that Francis was invalidly elected (ya think?!) and Benedict 16, the known Modernist, is still pope. What is it with these folks that makes it so impossible for them to extend their thinking processes to Roncalli? Is it the thought of all the tithes wasted, the errors learned, the sacraments never received?  Well join the club, people, and start making amends. We cannot control our past but we can and must repent and take charge of our future. If we are really serious about saving our souls, we cannot waste time lamenting over the fact we were duped. For none of us ever know when our time is up.

Further notes on Fatima

Having said my last about Fatima, relatively speaking, I want to sum everything up with this. Marian apparitions all have the same message: Pray, do penance, make sacrifices for sinners, perform your daily duties and if the world does not convert, expect a terrible, twofold chastisement, one spiritual (which we have already seen) and the other physical, which we may soon expect. We don’t need any more particulars. Had Catholics studied doctrine and obeyed the popes, had they concentrated less on Fatima and Rosary crusades, anti-Commie rallies and other popular devotions and learned their faith, we would not be where we are today. The rally mentality and profit mongering created around Fatima was likely intended to distract the laity from the infiltration of the Church. “My people have been silent, because they had no knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will reject thee, that thou shalt not do the office of priesthood to me” (speaking to the Jewish priests — Hosea 4:6). Prophecy fulfilled.

We are not required to believe in any given apparition; but we must accept every truth of faith that is taught by the Church and obey the Roman Pontiffs. We have to recognize that the Fatima messages most likely were falsified to an unknown degree and are now being used as a propaganda vehicle. (Francis recently embraced the Russian Orthodox Patriarch as part of the church in Rome, as anticipated.) Therefore we must reject the falsification of those messages and all that comes from it. Beyond that, nothing more is necessary. For those wishing to hear more on this topic, see our most recent video at:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6Gltn_ZdfGo

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Happy Mother’s day, Blessed Mother, and all you Catholic moms out there

Happy Mother’s day, Blessed Mother, and all you Catholic moms out there

+Third Sunday after Easter+

The following was sent to me by my daughter, Aimee, mother of five and a fervent pro-life activist. Like me she loved being pregnant and always felt there was a special, mysterious symbiosis between mother and child that she could never quite explain. Finally, she found research that provided the perfect explanation for it, as expressed below.

“When pregnant, the cells of the baby migrate into the mothers bloodstream and then circle back into the baby, it’s called ‘fetal-maternal microchimerism.’⁠

“For 41 weeks, the cells circulate and merge backwards and forwards, and after the baby is born, many of these cells stay in the mother’s body, leaving a permanent imprint in the mothers tissues, bones, brain, and skin, and often stay there for decades.

“Every single child a mother has afterwards will leave a similar imprint on her body, too. Even if a pregnancy doesn’t go to full term or if you have an abortion, these cells still migrate into your bloodstream.

“Research has shown that if a mother’s heart is injured, fetal cells will rush to the site of the injury and change into different types of cells that specialize in mending the heart. The baby helps repair the mother, while the mother builds the baby.

“How cool is that? This is often why certain illnesses vanish while pregnant.

“It’s incredible how mothers bodies protect the baby at all costs, and the baby protects and rebuilds the mother back – so that the baby can develop safely and survive.

“Think about crazy cravings for a moment. What was the mother deficient in that the baby made them crave?

“Studies have also shown cells from a fetus in a mother’s brain 18 years after she gave birth. How amazing is that?”

If you’re a mom you know how you can intuitively feel your child even when they are not there… Well, now there is scientific proof that moms carry them for years and years even after they have given birth to them.”

I find this to be so very beautiful.

Prayer Intention and checklist

My apologies for not posting this sooner! Website revision has kept me very busy. Here is the intention for this month, in Honor of Our Lady’s Queenship May 31:

“Queen and Mother of Christendom hear our prayers, and by thy peace make happy a world shaken by hate.” (Pope Pius XII, Ad caeli reginam, 1954)

Month of May

8 Sunday 3rd Sunday after Easter

Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

9 Monday

St. Gregory Nazianzen

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

10 Tuesday

St. Antoninus; Sts. Gordian & Epimachus

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

11 Wednesday

Octave Day of St. Joseph

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

12 Thursday

St. Nereus & Comp.

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

 

13 Friday

St. Robert Bellarmine

🔲 Abstinence

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

🔲 Spiritual Mass and Mortification for the intentions of the Society

🔲 Renew consecrations to SH and SIH to promote their interests and intentions

14 Saturday dedicated to Our Lady

St. Boniface

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Berthe Petit’s Consecration

🔲 Devotion to the SIH with the intention to renew oneself in the spirit of the Society

🔲 Holy Rosary

15 Sunday 4th Sunday after Easter

St. John Baptist de la Salle

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

16 Monday

St. Ubaldus

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

17 Tuesday

St. Paschal Baylon

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

18 Wednesday

St. Venantius

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

19 Thursday

St. Peter Celestine, St. Pudentiana

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

20 Friday

St. Bernardine of Siena

🔲 Abstinence

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

🔲 Spiritual Mass and Mortification for the intentions of the Society

🔲 Renew consecrations to SH and SIH to promote their interests and intentions

 

21 Saturday dedicated to Our Lady

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Berthe Petit’s Consecration

🔲 Devotion to the SIH with the intention to renew oneself in the spirit of the Society

🔲 Holy Rosary

22 Sunday 5th Sunday after Easter

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

23 Monday Ferial Day

Rogation Day

Lesser Litanies

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

24 Tuesday Ferial Day

Rogation Day

Lesser Litanies

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

25 Wednesday

St. Gregory VII, St. Urban I

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

26 Thursday ASCENSION THURSDAY

HOLY DAY

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

27 Friday

St. Bede, the Venerable, St. John I

🔲 Abstinence

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

🔲 Spiritual Mass and Mortification for the intentions of the Society

🔲 Renew consecrations to SH and SIH to promote their interests and intentions

28 Saturday dedicated to Our Lady

St. Augustine of Canterbury

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Berthe Petit’s Consecration

🔲 Devotion to the SIH with the intention to renew oneself in the spirit of the Society

🔲 Holy Rosary

29 Sunday within Octave of Ascension

St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

30 Monday

Within the Octave

St. Felix I

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

31 Tuesday

QUEENSHIP OF THE BVM

Within the Octave

St. Petronilla

🔲 Morning Offering in reparation for sins

🔲 Consecration by Pope Pius XII

🔲 Devotion to the SIH

🔲 Holy Rosary

Prayers to be Practiced in Common

▪︎Spiritual Mass in union with all of the Sacrifices of the Mass ever offered throughout the world, preceded by the Perfect Act of Contrition and followed by Spiritual Communion.

▪︎Devotion to the Agonizing Heart of Jesus, in favor of the many thousands of persons who die every day.

▪︎Devotion to the souls in Purgatory.

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The Church infallibly teaches true bishops no longer exist

The Church infallibly teaches true bishops no longer exist

+St. Catherine of Siena+

I thought the controversy regarding the need for bishops to exist in order to fulfill Christ’s promises to be with His Church “unto the consummation” had been resolved, but I was mistaken. Silly me, thinking I could cite the popes and councils and that would be enough to convince anyone. Or that I could point out errors in logic and that would negate the argument. Now the objection is that I taught in my 1990 book (the one I have advised people not to read because it contains errors related to conclavism) that bishops and priests would always exist. Well then they still did exist as I understood it, because I believed then that if a true pope could be elected there could be true bishops again. WRONG! Never mind that the one who is now claiming such bishops still exist was invalidly ordained by a Traditionalist “bishop” who believed himself to be pope and was later accused of pederasty and drug abuse; but let’s just ignore those inconvenient facts. Perhaps it is time to take off the gloves and bare-knuckle this.

I wouldn’t bother to address this matter again if it weren’t for the fact that it could be linked to collusion with a frightening plan by those working behind the scenes with the Roman usurpers to make it appear they can create a new world church and fulfill Catholic prophecy. This I quoted as follows in a blog published last month. According to a Wikipedia article brought to my attention by a loyal reader, a 19th century group known as the Hieron du Val d’Or revealed the existence even then of a hidden pope and his entourage, which of course would include bishops, waiting in the wings to act either as a replacement for or an alternative to the current church in Rome:

“The Hiéron’s agenda was the creation of a new Habsburg and Catholic Holy Roman Empire with a French temporal and spiritual head in the manner of the Grand Monarch, an association of Europeans bound by common law and dedicated to advancing the mission of Christ the King.” (Here they cite sources linked to the “Catholic” secret society Marcel Lefebvre reportedly belonged to, the Priory of Sion.) “They [the Hieron] claim the existence of a secret parallel Catholic tradition called l’Eglise d’Avignon (Church of Avignon), which they trace to the medieval Papacy installed in Avignon from 1309 to 1378. The claim is that it continued in secret with a Pope who represents the esoteric aspects of the Catholic Church. L’Eglise d’Avignon is said to serve as an intermediary between the Roman Church and the Eastern Orthodox tradition.”

Does the individual insisting that bishops still exist buy into this? It is not likely we would ever know if this was the case. All the more reason to be oh so very cautious when someone makes claims which contradict papal teaching, and this claim that such bishops exist definitely does. What is described above is nothing less than the existence of an underground Gallicanist church, with ties to the very Masonic organization linked to Lefebvre. So it is no surprise that Gallicanism is the heresy that established Traditionalism. This is why we have insisted for decades that all who pretend that bishops not issuing from Pope Pius XII could ever constitute the true Church are not Catholic. It is a pretended Catholicity based on a rejection of infallibility. It would admit a pope, but only as a figurehead. It would champion the “old mass,” restore more traditional medieval-style practices and generally would appeal to all believing the Church can be restored. But it is a condemned heresy; a lie based on gnosticism.

What Christ taught regarding His commission to the Apostles

When we refer to the apostles in this post, please note that we include Peter in this group as their head. I am not going to repeat here the lengthy and authoritative sources that prove beyond doubt that that the juridic (earthly) Church cannot exist without the pope. This has been explained at length in previous blogs. Pope Pius XII in his Mystici Corporis Christi made it clear that all the bishops are subject to the pope and receive their jurisdiction from our Lord, yes, but only through His Vicar on earth. This should be enough to convince anyone that without their head bishop, there is little they can do, save elect a new pope.

Before proceeding to the Scripture quote from Matt. 28:20 and Christ’s commission to His Apostles, we wish to point out the following quote, taken from the pages of the person upholding the view that valid bishops still exist:

“According to Catholic doctrine, therefore, Holy Scripture and Tradition are only the remote rule of faith, while the proximate rule is the living magisterium of the Church, which resides in the Roman Pontiff and in the bishops, inasmuch as they are subject to and united with him. The Vatican Council (sess. 4, c. 4, DB, 1832) has sealed this truth by defining that the primacy of Peter and his successors is included in the supreme power of teaching, which is veritatis et fidei numquam deficientis charisma (“the chrism of never-failing truth and faith”).” Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology by Pietro Parente, Antonio Piolanti, and Salvatore Garofalo. Imprimatur, May 1, 1951, pages 170 and 171).

Keep the above in mind, for below we provide quotes from the commentators on the Scripture phrase in question supposedly guaranteeing that the hierarchy and Sacraments will be with us to the very end. Yet in fact, none of them specifically refer to this. And several commentators consulted do not even offer an opinion on this verse. From Matt. 28:20: “And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And seeing him they adored: but some doubted. And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”

St. John Chrysostom

“…For plainly the apostles were not to remain here unto the end of the world; but he speaks to the believers as to one body.”

Theophylact, (Greek Patriarch appointed by Pope John XI)

“But since He has received authority over all, and has sanctified all human nature in Himself, it is right that He sends them to all the nations, commanding the disciples to baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit… For by saying that it is necessary to baptize in the name of the Trinity, He handed down to us theology. And by saying that it is also necessary to teach the keeping of the commandments, He guides us in the way of active virtue. Since He is sending them out among the Gentiles to face death and danger, He gives them courage by saying, “Fear not, for I will be with you until the end of the age.” … For of course the apostles would not live unto the end. He makes this promise even to us, and to those after us, not that He would be with us until the end, and then after the end He would depart from us — far from it! For it is rather from that moment on that He will be with us ever more clearly and distinctly. For the word “until,” wherever it occurs in Scripture, does not exclude the things that come after.”

St. Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea

JEROME: He then who promises that He will be with His DISCIPLES to the end of the world, shews both that they shall live forever, and that He will never depart from those that believe.

LEO, Serm., 72, 3: For by ascending into heaven He does not desert His adopted; but from above strengthens to endurance, those whom He invites upwards to glory. Of which glory may Christ make us partakers, Who is the King of glory, “God blessed forever,” AMEN.

The Original and True Rheims New Testament, 1582, Wm. G. Von Peters, editor

“Matt. 28:20:” …with you all days: Here Christ doth promise his concurrence with His apostles and their successors as well in preaching and ministering the sacraments and His protection of the Church, never to cease till The World’s End…”

The Four Gospels, Francis Patrick Kenrick, Archbishop of Philadelphia, 1849

“The perpetuity of the commission without any interruption is most fully expressed. The AUTHORITY to teach and baptize with all the functions consequent thereon remains forever. The Apostolic ministry continues to the end of the Christian dispensation which is to last till time shall merge in eternity.”

Commentary on the New Testament, Rev. Leo Haydock, 1859

Behold I am with you all days, even to the end of the world, embraces two points necessary for the Church; viz. integrity of doctrine, and sanctity of life; for, if either of these should be wanting to the Church, it might then be justly said, that she had been left and abandoned by Christ, her Spouse. (Estius) — Jesus Christ will make good his promise: 1. by always dwelling in the hearts of the faithful; 2. by His sacramental presence in the Holy Eucharist; 3. by his providential care, and constant protection to his holy Catholic Church. These last six lines of St. Matthew’s gospel, says the bright luminary of France, Bossuet, most clearly demonstrate the infallibility and indefectibility of the one, holy, Catholic Church, which all are commanded to hear and obey.”

Catholic Scripture Manuals, Book of Matthew (commentary, Madame Cecilia, 1906)

(Commenting on Matt. 28-20): “Until the end of the world there must exist an authorized teaching body to carry on the work of the apostlesUnity of doctrine must therefore be a mark of the true Church. The doctrines taught by the successors of the apostles must be the same as those which the apostles themselves taught; hence the true faith must be Apostolic.”

The Church of Christ, Rev. E. Sylvester Berry, D.D., 1927

“If the bishops of the Church are not the successors of the Apostles, then there are no successors, for no one else has even claimed this distinction; in that case the power and authority committed to the Apostles have lapsed, and cannot be renewed, except by a direct intervention of Christ in conferring them anew and reestablishing His Church. Such an act on the part of Christ would have to be confirmed by the performance of miracles as the ONLY MEANS by which we could be assured of its REALITY” (p. 276).

And on page 57, Berry writes: “The Apostolic succession cannot fail in the Apostolic See so long as the Church Herself continues to exist. For although the see be vacant for many years, the CHURCH always retains the right to elect a legitimate successor, who then obtains supreme authority according to the institution of Christ.”

Christ’s Church, Msgr. G. Van Noort, 1959

“’I am with you at all times as long as the world will last.’ The phrase “as long as the world will last “is a clear reference to the end of the world (Matt. 13: 40; 24:3). And so until that day comes, Christ will be at the side of the apostles as they teach, sanctify and rule. He will be at the side not only of the apostles personally for they were soon to die but at the side of those who will take up the work of the apostles throughout the centuries and will thus form with them one moral person… Therefore the VISIBLE CHURCH will last forever and in an incorrupt state. It will go on forever safeguarding the doctrine of Christ, administering His sacraments and instructing all peoples in His precepts.” (End of quotes from the commentators)

To better understand what is said above, we pose the following questions.

Who is Christ speaking to in Matt. 28: 20 above? He is not just speaking to His Apostles, but to all the faithful. We are obliged to believe the saintly commentators, not those pretending to reinterpret Holy Scripture. Where the word disciples is found in Holy Scripture the Catholic Encyclopedia tells us the following:

“In the Four Gospels it is most especially applied to the Apostles, sometimes styled the “twelve disciples” (Matthew 10:1; 11:1; 20:17; 26:20; 28:16… Occasionally the Evangelists give the word a broader sense and make it a synonym for believer (Matthew 10:42; 27:57; John 4:1; 9:27, 28; etc.). … In the Acts of the Apostles the name disciple is exclusively used to designate the converts, the believers, both men and women (6:1, 2, 7; 9:1, 10, 19; etc.; in reference to the latter connotation see in particular 9:36) even such as were only imperfectly instructed, like those found by St. Paul at Ephesus (Acts 19:1-5).”

So the Apostles themselves considered us disciples. And as we read in the New Testament – “…You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people God has purchased.” (I Peter 2:9.)

“He has …made us a royal race of priests, to serve God, his Father.” (Apoc. 1:5-6.)

“…they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (Apoc. 20:6.)

St. Augustine comments on the above as follows: “Now this is not meant only of those whom the Church specifically calls bishops and priests, but as we are all called Christians because of our mystical chrism, our unction, so are we all priests in being the members of one priest.” (I St. Peter 2:9, City of God, Book 20, Chapter 10.)

We are visible members of the Mystical Body, the Church. Pope Pius XII infallibly designated the Church on earth as Christ’s Mystical Body in His encyclical Mystici Corpus Christi.     

 What is Christ telling the Apostles to do? To go to all nations teaching, baptizing and faithfully preserving the doctrines and Traditions they have received from Him. The emphasis here by the commentators is on the existence of the doctrines and their unity, integrity and apostolicity, not just on the physical existence of the apostles themselves. It is Christ’s TEACHINGS AND EXAMPLE as defined by the Church, the Deposit of Faith, which must be safeguarded and perpetuated.

How long is Christ telling the Apostles to do this?  As we can see from the above, He assigns this mission to them personally and to all their successors, until the end of time; the consummation. Christ will be with us all to the very end, something no one who is truly Catholic has ever doubted. That does not mean that those He appointed to teach us will also be with us physically, for this seems to be precluded by other scriptural prophecy and is disputed by the commentators. The consummation is necessarily preceded by the great apostasy and coming of Antichrist, as the Catholic Encyclopedia article on eschatology explains.

Who are the successors of the Apostles? Here is where the quote cited at the beginning of this article enters in. The popes and councils are the proximate rule of faith; the Scripture verse in consideration is only a remote rule and has never been officially defined by the Church to the best of our knowledge. The Roman Pontiffs are the ones who determine who become bishops, and whether they are to be judged worthy of consecration. Only those who, according to the laws and teachings of the Church, have certainly received consecration from a validly consecrated bishop in communion with a canonically elected pope receives the necessary jurisdiction in the Church to teach and rule a diocese, and the pope alone can grant that jurisdiction (approval or papal mandate). Without this jurisdiction, they cannot be considered legitimate successors of the apostles, for this requires both orders and jurisdiction. Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS) is the primary governing document for Catholics today because it deals with interregnums, and we have experienced a prolonged interregnum since Pope Pius XII died in 1958. VAS bears all the marks of infallibility and is entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis. According to this constitution, no bishops could be validly consecrated during an interregnum without the papal mandate. This would be a usurpation of papal privilege, forbidden in VAS.

  1. All the bishops consecrated with papal mandates by Pope Pius XII have passed away. The minimum age of consecration is 35; if consecrated in September 1958, that would make the youngest bishops over 100 years old! In order to retain apostolicity, such bishops must have been approved by Pius XII and consecrated during his reign.
  2. If any of those bishops consecrated under Pius XII attempted to consecrate even validly ordained priests bishops during this interregnum, their acts were null and void. No younger bishops could exist.
  3. Any bishops failing to come to the aid of the Church to elect a true pope in Her extreme need committed heresy as described in Canons 1325 and 2314. They lost all offices and jurisdiction and cannot regain them. (This according to Pope Paul IV’s 1559 bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, another infallible papal bull that is the source listed in the Fontes for Can. 2314).
  4. Because qualified electors no longer exist, infallibly determined by Pope Pius XII, the Church therefore has lost the ability to provide Herself with a true pontiff, (although at least de jure she always retains that right.) As Rev. Berry explains above, this can be resolved only by the miraculous intervention of Christ Himself.

GIVEN THE ABOVE, THE CHURCH, NOT THIS AUTHOR, HAS DETERMINED BY HER INFALLIBLE TEACHINGS THAT THE HIERARCHY HAS CEASED TO EXIST. According to Catholic doctrine, therefore, Holy Scripture and Tradition are only the remote rule of faith, while the proximate rule is the living magisterium of the Church, which resides in the Roman Pontiff and in the bishops, inasmuch as they are subject to and united with him. The Vatican Council (sess. 4, c. 4, DB, 1832) has sealed this truth by defining that the primacy of Peter and his successors is included in the supreme power of teaching…” (see full quote above).

You said it first brother; time to live by it. I don’t pretend to know what you are up to but if you don’t even live by the words of your own accusations, what are they worth?

Could anyone else be counted as successors of the apostles today?

“In a wide and loose sense, when the whole Catholic Church is considered as existing in the midst of heretics, schismatics, and the heathen, even the laity may be considered as forming a portion of the hierarchy. With this agrees the expression of St. Peter, calling the general body of Christians in the countries to which he is sending his epistle “a kingly priesthood” and “a holy nation” (1Peter 2: 9). Saint Ignatius, writing to the Smyrnaeans, salutes “…the Bishop worthy of God and the most religious presbytery, my fellow servants the deacons and all of you individually and in common.” So at the Mass, the priest turning to the people bids them pray that his and their sacrifice may be acceptable to God and at the incensing before the Sanctus the acolyte, after the rite has been performed to all the orders of the clergy within the sanctuary, turns toward and bows to the laity and incenses them also.” Addis and Arnold, A Catholic Dictionary, 1884; Catholic Cabinet of Information, 1904, various authors, p. 131).

Was Christ commanding only the apostles to teach and baptize?

In Matt. 28:20, Christ is telling His apostles to preach and to baptize (and as was said by Abp. Kenrick above, this also encompassed administering the other Sacraments as necessary consequences). But it is interesting because as Abp. Kenrick also observes, he grants them the AUTHORITY to teach and baptize, which is basically what those who pray at home are doing today. Was Christ speaking to just the apostles here or in a sense to all believers?  Doesn’t the Church Herself permit the laity to baptize in emergencies and to catechize, and in fact even tasks parents as the primary catechists of their own children? Would not Christ have foreseen this? Don’t we live today in an emergency situation and are we not yet commanded to catechize our own family members?

Have the popes, Christ’s voice on earth, clarified who may teach and baptize?

Beginning with the Vatican Council, there issued a general call to the laity to defend the Church against Her enemies by spreading the faith:

“ALL FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS, but those chiefly who are in a prominent position, or engaged in teaching, we entreat, by the compassion of Christ and enjoin BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE SAME GOD AND SAVIOR, that they bring aid to ward off and eliminate these errors from Holy Church, and contribute their ZEALOUS HELP in spreading abroad the light of undefiled faith,” (from Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council Constitution Dei Filius).

 Sounds like a commission in keeping with Christ’s command to “teach all nations” to me. How could Christ not have known that His Vicars would command the laity to assist the hierarchy in the lay apostolate? How could He not have known that the Shepherd would be struck and the sheep scattered in our day, as He Himself foretold?!

Has the Church offered any further clarifications?

I have aways called the following my marching orders. Given just a year before his death, Pius XII, who is quoted as saying, “After me there will be a flood,” surely expressed this explicit permission knowing what was in store for us. I have quoted it unabashedly and unceasingly for over 30 years.

The initiative of the lay apostolate is perfectly justified even without a prior explicit ‘mission’ from the hierarchy… Personal initiative plays a great part in protecting the faith and Catholic life, especially in countries where these 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, (emph. mine). 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, morals or ecclesiastical discipline,” (Address to the 14th Congress of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations, Sept. 29, 1957; AAS 49: 906-922). Catholics are bound under pain of sin to believe that everything found in the Acta Apostolica Sedis (AAS) is the authoritative teaching of the Church and is owed at the very least a firm assent.

In another address this same pope wrote:

“The faithful, and more precisely the laity are stationed in the front ranks of the life of the Church, and through them the Church is the living principle of society. Consequently, they must have an ever-clearer consciousness, not only of belonging to the Church, but of BEING THE CHURCH… They are the Church…” (The Catholic Church in Action by Michael Williams; quoted from an address delivered by Pope Pius XII Feb. 20, 1946, to the newly made cardinals).

Christ, speaking through His Vicars, has delegated the laity as the successors of the hierarchy in their absence. Christ gave us the basics, knowing that by the time we received our commission, all that the Church had developed for nearly 2,000 years could simply be passed on without any further ado.  We were to teach only what His Vicars had left us, the words of the Saints they canonized, and the approved commentaries by members of the hierarchy faithful to the popes. We were to understand that while the Church had ceased to exist in Her juridical, fully hierarchal aspects, the Mystical Body of Christ could never cease to exist since Christ is its Head and we are His members. As such we possess the material marks of the Church and retain our visibility, as Pope Pius XII explains in Mystici Corporis and Rev. Van Noort, also Rev. E. S. Berry confirm. We were to honor all of the Seven Sacraments and accept them as instituted by Him, even if we had only those necessary for salvation left and used Church-approved substitutes for the others. We were to observe Canon Law, unless it is absolutely certain such observance is physically and/or morally impossible. We were to pray, and to watch.

Given all the above, most carefully drawn out, I am going to say the following one more time

  • I refuse to allow anyone to dictate to me anything based on false reasoning, forbidden by the Church in Her insistence on following the scholastic method of St. Thomas Aquinas. The Church has always discredited such false arguments. The arguments in question have previously been proven to be false.
  • I refuse to answer endless moronic questions as proof of my Catholicity when this in itself amounts to the “loaded question” fallacy — questions actually based on accusations. Those reading these questions posed to me on the Internet should be advised that the Church forbids this type of argumentation among Catholics.
  • I obey only the Roman Pontiffs, the Councils and the decisions of the Roman Congregations, also the Church’s approved theologians obedient to the magisterium. I do not countenance those who cannot and will not at least try to explain why their position is opposed to papal decrees. When advised of their errors, they are required to present the necessary proofs that what they are maintaining is entirely in keeping with the teachings of the continual magisterium or retract them.

Something is wrong here; it may be a thinking disorder, a firmly entrenched prejudice or a covert attempt to disturb the peace of those who pray at home and direct them to a false church. But whatever it is, it cannot be allowed to stand.

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The Church infallibly teaches true bishops no longer exist

Final conclusions regarding the Fatima apparitions controversy

+St. Agnes of Monte Pulciano+

 What in the World…

Before delving into the issues raised regarding certain questions about Fatima, we would like to mention a few useful nuggets passed on by friends.

During Holy Week, we received the following instructive video from Patrick Henry, proving what those praying at home have known all along: Traditionalists are in reality only occult members of the Novus Order church awaiting further instructions, and they consider themselves all one, big, happy family: http://www.jmjsite.com/v/We-belong-to-the-same-church.mp4 Yes, they all plan to “unite the clans!” Please do spend some time on the JMJ site which is full of useful resources and read the PDF https://jmjsite.com/no.pdf. This PDF is necessary especially for many who are new to praying at home and even those who have previously been unaware of the need to adjure the heresies held while members of Traditionalist or other non-Catholic sects.

Pedro also has forwarded more information, this time from Pope Clement IV, regarding the absolute prohibition to consecrate bishops without papal approval. This find will need to be translated, but even in rough translation it further indicts Traditionalist bishops pretending to claim the episcopacy without papal approval. Pope Clement the IV declares such consecrations null and void.

Also, over the next several weeks the website may be up and down while routine maintenance and upkeep work is done. Downtime should be minimal and hopefully the work can be completed without too many interruptions.

The Fatima controversy and its sources

First we present the following commentaries on the credibility of the books containing some of the quotes cited by Fatima opponents as somehow “suppressed” or doctored by the Church in Her official reports. The true nature and origin of these quotes are discussed at length by an individual appearing to be a Traditionalist writer and researcher, using the same documents in question. He raises some very pertinent points regarding sources and the dishonesty of anti-Catholic authors who employ unethical research practices (even by modern journalistic standards, far less those much higher standards demanded by the Church). His comments can be read here: https://www.amazon.com/Fatima-Shock-Truth-Future-Apparitions/product-reviews/0984087176/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_paging_btm_next_2?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews&pageNumber=2  (Sources for this review can be accessed below, but no approval of the site itself and its contents is intended; it is listed here merely as a probable contrary opinion.)

Fatima Shock: https://www.traditioninaction.org/bkreviews/A_040_Shook_1.htmCelestial Secrets https://www.traditioninaction.org/bkreviews/A_041_Celestial.htm

The reviewer above cites “cherry-picking” as the main flaw in the arguments used to discredit the apparition. Cherry-picking, also known as mal-observation or non-observation in scholastic philosophy, is a false scholastic argument consisting in “…suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence. [It] is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position while ignoring a significant portion of related and similar cases or data that may contradict that position” (Wikipedia). As Rev. Joseph Walsh points out in his 1940 work Logic, non-observation often is found in publications that are the result of prejudice, which is so often the case in those anti-Catholic works in general, pretending to contest not only Marian apparitions, but Marian devotion in its entirety.

The real issues here are not Fatima per se, but the criteria Catholics are relying upon to try and make sense today of the massive amounts of information available on the Internet and how to judge whether or not they can be trusted. This includes the lengthy videos on secular topics that many freely view, then circulate. Many of them are benign, but others are questionable. And how are we to judge these things without a Church to guide us? This is another topic we hope to cover soon in a video presentation. But The Fatima question we are trying to answer today concerns whether we must believe in the apparitions at all or may reject them entirely.

Regarding the apparition itself, it seems clear that the Church found it worthy of belief and treated it as such. Several mentions of Fatima can be found in the Acta Apostolica Sedis and this alone indicates the Church at least implicitly acknowledged the validity of the apparitions. But the same cannot be said of the actual messages and their content. It appears that Pope Pius XII at least suspected that something was suspicious about Fatima after 1952. (If certain reports can be trusted, it is possible the pope suspected the person claiming to be Lucia dos Santos was an actual impersonator, which several researching her life believe was the case at this time.) Even the 1952 consecration itself is somewhat vague. And Fatima is conspicuously absent in his addresses and other papal documents after this date.

Below we quote two different popes, Pope Benedict XIV and then Pope St. Pius X. speaking on this matter, also some of the theologians. This will provide readers with at least some background on how the Church views these matters.

 The type of assent one must give to revelations according to the popes and theologians

From Heroic Virtue — Treatise of Benedict XIV on the Beatification and Canonization of the Servants of God, Vol. III, 1850:

“The fourth question is, what is to be said of those private revelations which the Apostolic See has approved of, those of the Blessed Hildegard, of S. Bridget, and of S. Catherine of Sienna. We have already said that those revelations, although approved of, ought not to, and cannot receive from us any assent of Catholic, but only of human faith, ACCORDING TO THE RULES OF PRUDENCE, according to which the aforesaid revelations ARE PROBABLE, and piously to be believed.

“So also the fathers of Salamanca. From this, then, it follows that anyone may, without injury to the Catholic faith, give no heed to these revelations, and differ from them, provided he does so modestly, not without reason, and without contempt.

“Hurtado, after reciting the approbation of the revelations of S. Bridget, by the sovereign pontiffs, speaks as follows; ‘It is not the meaning of these supreme pontiffs that we may not dissent from these revelations; for Cardinal Torquernada, the vigorous defender of these revelations, and who recites the aforesaid words of the popes, dissented from the revelation made to S. Bridget, that the Blessed Virgin was conceived without original sin, and wrote a whole treatise to prove that she was conceived in original sin.

Gerson, in his Treatise on the examination of doctrines, relates that Gregory XI, when on thepoint of death, holding the sacred body of Christ in his hands, protested before all, and warned them to beware both of men and women, “who under the guise of religion, speak visions of their own head” for that he, seduced by such, had neglected the reasonable counsel of his friends, and had dragged himself and the Church to the hazard of imminent schism, if her merciful spouse Jesus had not provided against it.”

Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi dominici gregis (on Modernism):

“The Councils (of Vigilance) must not neglect the books treating of the pious traditions of different places or of sacred relics. Let them not permit such questions to be discussed in periodicals destined to stimulate piety, neither with expressions savoring of mockery or contempt, nor by dogmatic pronouncements, especially when, as is often the case, what is stated as a certainty either does not pass the limits of probability or is merely based on prejudiced opinion. Concerning sacred relics, let this be the rule: When Bishops, who alone are judges in such matters, know for certain a relic is not genuine, let them remove it at once from the veneration of the faithful; if the authentications of a relic happen to have been lost through civil disturbances, or in any other way, let it not be exposed for public veneration until the Bishop has verified it. The argument of prescription or well-founded presumption is to have weight only when devotion to a relic is commendable by reason of its antiquity, according to the sense of the Decree issued in 1896 by the Congregation of Indulgences and Sacred Relics:

Ancient relics are to retain the veneration they have always enjoyed except when in individual instances there are CLEAR ARGUMENTS that they are false or suppositious. In passing judgment on pious traditions be it always borne in mind that in this matter the Church uses the greatest prudence, and that she does not allow traditions of this kind to be narrated in books except with the utmost caution and with the insertion of the declaration imposed by Urban VIII, and even then she does not guarantee the truth of the fact narrated; she simply does but forbid belief in things for which human arguments are not wanting.

“On this matter the Sacred Congregation of Rites, thirty years ago, decreed as follows: ‘These apparitions and revelations have neither been approved nor condemned by the Holy See, which has simply allowed that they be believed on purely human faith, on the tradition which they relate, corroborated by testimonies and documents worthy of credence’ (Decree, May 2, 1877). Anybody who follows this rule has no cause for fear. For the devotion based on any apparition, in as far as it regards the fact itself, that is to say in as far as it is relative, always implies the hypothesis of the truth of the fact; while in as far as it is absolute, it must always be based on the truth, seeing that its object is the persons of the saints who are honored.”

If the Holy See has once determined that such testimonies and documents are worthy of belief, and has announced even unofficially from these that an apparition is credible and not injurious to faith, it seems to be imprudent to gainsay the Church. It is highly inappropriate for anyone to later claim, based solely on only partially verifiable, cherry-picked information reported by non-Catholics over 100 years later, that these same apparitions could have originated from the Evil One, for this would appear to make the Church a liar. This is yet one more matter that would need to be referred to the Holy See before anything definitive could be decided, and given the long list of crucial dogmatic matters already pending, it would seem to be low priority.

Further explanation on this subject is provided below from The Casuist, a well-respected work issued in 1906 treating cases in moral and pastoral theology.

“1. There are many persons, especially women endeavoring to lead a holy life, who occupy themselves a great deal with so-called revelations made to pious persons, even to the exclusion of all other spiritual reading matter. Sometimes such persons study the revelations made to some particular saint, drawing all their spiritual nourishment from them; then having their appetite whetted by the perusal of one book of this kind, they eagerly devour anything of the same nature that they are able to lay hold of. They believe in these revelations as firmly as they believe in the Gospels and are strongly disposed to brand as heretics, or at least as suspects, all who do not put the same faith in them as they do themselves. This disposition alone is sufficient to prove that the perusal of these private revelations is not a healthy, spiritual exercise for all indiscriminately, and it becomes necessary from time to time to instruct the faithful on this head.

“2. That there may be, that there have been, and that there are at present revelations made to private individuals is beyond question. We are speaking, of course, of revelations made to holy and devout persons, which have been investigated by the Church and declared to contain nothing against faith or good morals. No positive ecclesiastical approbation is ever given to such revelations.

“3. When the Church revises and approves revelations and visions in this sense, all she does is to certify that these visions and revelations contain nothing against the “rule of faith,” the “regula fidei,” so that the faithful may believe them without injury to their faith (pie creditur) and use them as a guide to conduct without fear of believing or doing anything unauthorized by the Church. Where the Church has thus given Her approval to any particular private revelation, it is no longer permitted to ridicule or to despise it. Fas non est, says Card. Franzelin, talesrevelationes contemnere (de div. trad. 22). To do so were to fail in the respect due to the Church. But not to believe the revelation is no sin against the obedience we owe the Church. For the Church, by her approval or quasi-approval of these revelations, has no intention of obliging the faithful to believe them. Whoever believes in them, does so fide humana, and not fide divina, at least not fide divina Catholica. ‘In spiritual things,’ says Catherine Emmerich, ‘I never believed anything except what was revealed by God and proposed for my belief by the Catholic Church. What I saw in visions I never believed in this way.’

“4. The body of revealed truth, necessary to salvation and bearing the seal of infallibility, was completed and closed, once for all, by the teachings of Christ and the apostles. When the Church defines a new dogma, she simply declares authoritatively that it is contained in the teachings of Our Lord and the apostles. Just as private revelations do not bear the seal of infallibility, so neither do they bear the mark of inerrancy. There is no divine inspiration guaranteeing the correct recording of private revelations, as is the case with the Holy Scriptures, even though the fact of the revelations has been established. Private revelations are exposed to a threefold danger. The understanding may err in receiving the revelation. The memory may fail in recording orally or in writing the contents of the revelation. The tongue may err in its effort to clothe the revelation in human words. Moreover, as Benedict XIV remarks, notions and ideas acquired previous to the revelation may be confounded by the person receiving the revelation with the things learned in the revelation, and thus the saints have sometimes considered things to have been revealed to them which were in nowise revealed. Hence the contradictions in different revelations.

“5. The supernatural communication, therefore, as well in its reception as in its transmission, MAY BE UNWITTINGLY FALSIFIED. The Holy Scriptures alone are preserved from such falsifications. And thus it happens that the private revelations of different holy persons contradict one another openly, and in many things.

“6. All that the Church says, therefore, when she lends her approval to the private revelations of the saints or other holy persons, is that these revelations may be believed “fide humana” [human faith], and that they are adapted and may be used for the edification of the faithful. The declaration of Benedict XIV does not contradict this: “When the Church has examined and approved these visions, no one may any longer doubt their supernatural and divine origin.” THE POPE SPEAKS ONLY OF THEIR ORIGIN, AND NOT AT ALL OF THEIR CONTENTS, NOR OF THEIR CORRECT REPRODUCTION. And even a refusal to believe in their divine origin would not be a sin against Catholic faith.

“7. After these theoretical remarks let us add a few words of a practical nature. The reading of these visions and private revelations is in nowise adapted to the needs of ordinary people, even though they may have correct notions about the credibility of private revelations. Many of these revelations are beyond the needs and the intelligence even of persons already far advanced in the spiritual life and are often clothed in language quite unintelligible. And herein precisely lies a new source of anxiety, BECAUSE A NEW DANGER, NAMELY, THE DANGER OF UNDERSTANDING THE REVELATION IN A WRONG SENSE, WHICH MAY EASILY LEAD TO POSITIVE ERROR AND SIN AGAINST THE “RULE OF FAITH.”

Summary

In reviewing all of the above, the following conclusions can be made:

  1. Apparitions and messages must be received with prudence owing to the Church’s investigation and judgment regarding these communications. Even so, they may be questioned and even rejected, according to Pope Benedict XIV.
  2. While Fatima was investigated and approved by the bishops there, Pope Pius XII never gave actual approval to the full import of the messages received by the seers during the apparition. Everything points to the fact that he eventually had grave doubts specifically concerning the mention of Russia.
  3. As Pope St. Pius X says regarding relics: “Ancient relics are to retain the veneration they have always enjoyed except when in individual instances there are clear arguments that they are false or suppositious.If this is true of relics, then this principle also could be applied to revelations when truly credible doubts arise regarding their authenticity, but not those doubts which can be proven to be flawed. As Pope Benedict XIV instructs, one may reject these revelations with modesty, NOT WITHOUT GOOD REASON and may not treat them with contempt. Pope St. Pius X forbids publishing commentary on relics (and it seems this also would apply to revelations) which reflect mockery or contempt.
  4. Regarding prudence, then, if we are to avoid even the appearance of such mockery and contempt, it seems to be more in keeping with Church teaching to at least accept the actual apparitions as having taken place. Then any discrepancies to the perceptions of the seers and the messages received should be dispassionately and objectively discussed in private.
  5. While even the divine origin of such apparitions may be rejected, it is not clear whether this is a venial sin or not. Therefore it seems more prudent to at least accept the apparition as of divine origin, out of respect for Our Lady and to avoid scandalizing others, while questioning the rest.
  6. Before absolutely rejecting such apparitions individuals do have the obligation to resolve any serious doubts as best they can from unquestionably approved sources, according to rules governing moral theology. Anti-Catholic sources have never been approved for conducting trustworthy research and Catholics are warned to avoid such works.
  7. Given the teachings of Pope Benedict XIV above, no one may condemn those rejecting even the apparition itself because the Church allows it. The responsibility for such a rejection lies fully within the realm of individual conscience, which all must respect. Nor can those believing in the apparitions express disapproval or warn others to avoid them, if the Church Herself permits this. For: even a refusal to believe in their divine origin would not be a sin against Catholic faith (although it could be a sin against prudence)And those rejecting the apparitions cannot condemn those accepting them, either, for respect of another’s conscience works both ways: we are free to believe or not believe according to the Church. However, publication of anything reflecting mockery and contempt is forbidden.

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An Easter Message from Pope Pius XII

An Easter Message from Pope Pius XII

 

 

He Is Risen, Alleluia!

(Excerpts from Pope Pius XII’s 1941 Easter message)

Here below we are all exiles and wanderers; our true citizenship, which is limitless, is in Heaven, in eternity, in God. If worldly hopes have bitterly deluded you, remember that hope in God never fails or deceives. You must make one resolve-not to allow yourself to be induced, either by your sad lot or by the malice of men to waver in your allegiance to Christ.

Prosperity and adversity are part and parcel of man’s earthly existence; but what is of the utmost importance, and We say it with St. Augustine, is the use that is made of what is called prosperity or adversity. For the virtuous man is neither exalted by worldly well-being nor humbled by temporal misfortune; the evil man on the other hand, being corrupted in prosperity, is made to suffer in adversity.

To all of you who are walking so sadly along this way… who are called upon to bear the burden of these merciless and bitter days-whatever be your origin, language, race, social condition or profession-all you upon whom the seal of suffering for Christ is stamped so clearly, a sign no less of suffering than of glory, as it was to the great Apostle Paul; you are numbered among those privileged intimates who are nearest to the Cross of Calvary and by this very fact nearest also to the pierced Heart of Christ and to Our own.

Oh that We were able to make you appreciate how profoundly Our heart has been pierced by the cry of the Apostle of the Gentiles “Who is weak, and I am not weak?” (Second Corinthians 11:29). The sacrifices you are called upon to make, your suffering in mind and body, your concern for your own faith and still more for the faith of your children, We are aware of them, We share them with you, We lament them before God.

And yet withal, on this day We greet you with joyful Alleluia; for it is the day of Christ’s triumph over His crucifiers, open and secret, ancient and modern. We convey that greeting to you with the voice and confidence with which, even in the days of the persecution, the early Christians exultantly sang that Alleluia. Perhaps you do not recall the words of Our Lord to Martha: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me shall not die forever” (John II: 25:26).

The certainty they were assuring themselves of resurrection made of martyrs heroes of Christ and faithful unto death. You enjoy that same certainty. Imitate them and with the greatest Prophet of the New and Eternal Testament raise your eyes to that Heavenly Jerusalem where Christ gloriously reigns and rules and while rewarding His good and faithful servants proclaims the mystery and splendor of their triumph in the shining whiteness of their garments, in the indelible inscription of their names in the Book of Life and decreeing that they be exalted before His Father and the Heavenly Court, with admirable words which you in your perilous trials must never forget: “He that shall overcome shall thus be clothed in white garments and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Apocalypse 3: 5).

Beloved sons and daughters! Jesus Christ, “Prince of Kings on earth, Who hath loved us and washed us from our sin in His Own blood” (Apocalypse 1:5), raise your eyes while, as pledge of that heavenly peace which He alone can give to us and which We implore of Him in super-abundant measure for all humanity, May Christ protect and keep you in His grace and love.

Wishing a blessed Easter to all of our readers !

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