How Obstacles to Grace Impede the Understanding,  Part 1 of 2

How Obstacles to Grace Impede the Understanding, Part 1 of 2

+Feast of Corpus Christi+

Help for those who feel scholastic teaching “is just too hard”

For those who may be bewildered by all the proofs offered on this site regarding the legitimacy of Traditionalist orders and jurisdiction, there may be an easier way to evaluate the current status of Traditionalist groups and arrive at a common sense estimation of their claims to possess apostolicity, or direct descent from the Apostles. But it will not vary from what has already been written; all Catholic teaching on this subject state that no individual can possess apostolicity unless he can prove that the Orders, he received are unquestionably valid and able to be exercised, and such proof has not been forthcoming. We are bound to accept the teachings of those approved authors who wrote prior to the death of the last true Pope, Pius XII; not those today commenting on what they wrote or interpreting it for readers. The condensed version of this teaching given below, by an approved author writing in 1910, concisely summarizes apostolic succession and apostolicity. But it is not just a more general and less complicated explanation that is required here; there are other considerations that must be taken into account, and these will follow Fr. Berry’s summary.

From Fr. E. S. Berry’s The Church of Christ:

“Apostolicity of origin and of doctrine: “[These] are easily understood without further explanation, but some knowledge of succession is necessary for a proper conception of apostolicity of ministry. Succession, as used in this connection, is the following of one person after another in an official position and may be either legitimate or illegitimate. Theologians call the one formal succession; the other, material. A material successor is one who assumes the official position of another contrary to the laws or constitution of the society in question. He may be called a successor in as much as he actually holds the position, but he has no authority, and his acts have no official value, even though he be ignorant of the illegal tenure of his office. A formal, or legitimate, successor not only succeeds to the place of his predecessor but also receives due authority to exercise the functions of his office with binding force in the society… The power of Orders may be obtained by fraud or conferred against the will of the Church by anyone having valid Orders himself, and therefore does not depend upon legitimate succession.

“Jurisdiction is authority to govern and must be transmitted in the Church as in any other society; it can be conferred only by a lawful superior, according to the constitution and laws of the society, and may be revoked at any time. Consequently, jurisdiction in the Church can neither be obtained nor held against the will of her supreme authority; its transmission depends entirely upon legitimate succession. It is not sufficient, therefore, that a church have valid Orders; it must also have a legitimate succession of ministers, reaching back in an unbroken line to the Apostles, upon whom our Lord conferred all authority to rule His Church… There can be no legitimate successor in the Church of Christ who has not received jurisdiction either directly or indirectly from her supreme authority. Christ has either failed in His promises, or the Church must ever preserve and teach all truths committed to her through the ministry of the Apostles. In other words, the Church must be Apostolic in her DOCTRINE even to the consummation of the world.

“Ministry: It is evident that there can be no authority in the Church save that which comes directly or indirectly from her Divine Founder, Jesus Christ. But there is not the slightest intimation in Scripture or tradition that Christ ever promised to confer authority directly upon the ministers of the Church; consequently, it can only be obtained by lawful succession from those upon whom Christ personally and directly conferred it, i. e., from the Apostles. In other words, the Church must be Apostolic in her ministry by means of a legitimate succession reaching back in an unbroken line to the Apostles. From Tradition. In controversies with the heretics of their age, the early Fathers always appealed to Apostolic succession as a proof for the true Church of Christ, and argued that heretical sects could not be the true Church for the simple reason that they lacked this succession.

“Apostolicity: Most of the Orthodox churches of the East have valid Orders, and to that extent may be called Apostolic; they have Apostolic succession of the powers of Orders. In some cases they may also have a material succession of bishops from Apostolic times, but this avails them nothing, since they lack both unity and Catholicity, two essential marks of the true Church. In no case do they have legitimate succession; there is no transmission of jurisdiction because they have withdrawn from communion with Rome, the centre and source of all jurisdiction.”

Dispositions of the inquirer

The above should be simple enough for the average reader to understand; it is not any more difficult than the instruction found in most high school catechisms. It repeats what has been said on this site over and over again — no pope, no hierarchy; no apostolic succession no valid authority to rule and govern. Many have complained that the scholastic approach is just too hard for them to puzzle out. But if even the above is confusing to certain readers and does not convince them of the truth, then a rational person must assume there is more going on here than meets the eye. The alleged inability to comprehend these things has much to do with the disposition of the reader, as the beloved Irish catechist, Fr. John Kearney, tells us in his Our Greatest Treasure: “The disposition which should be in the inquirer and which is called the disposition of Faith is a disposition of humility and docility, of willingness to submit to God’s word once there is reasonable evidence that God has spoken it… The dispositions of soul from which the Act of Faith proceeds can be attained only by cooperating with God’s special grace.”

When those who have participated in the Traditionalist movement for many years receive the first beginnings of this grace and begin to ask questions, they must keep one thing in mind: they have been members, for however long, of a non-Catholic religion. It may have great resemblance to the Catholic faith, just as Anglicanism and other schismatic sects evidence, but it is not that faith. They need to discover what the Catholic faith really teaches, from the mouths of Her popes, the ecumenical councils and Her laws, not what someone dressed up as a bishop or a priest SAYS She teaches. This point cannot be emphasized enough. So many Traditionalists are absolutely convinced they are wholly Catholic and believe all that the Catholic Church teaches and has ever taught. The problem with this belief is that unless this understanding of faith comes from the successors of those Christ Himself appointed, we have no guarantee whatsoever that this “faith” is pure and unadulterated. This is precisely why apostolic succession is so vitally important for Catholics. Doctrine, above all, must be apostolic and this supersedes any perceived right to participate in the Mass and receive the Sacraments.

There are numerous proofs presented on this site that show God and His Church have indeed spoken the things that are quoted in the available material, and this can be verified by consulting the sources cited. Nevertheless, when investigated, these proofs do not seem to satisfy inquirers, even when they are proofs that have always been taught and believed and demand assent from Catholics. Even after viewing these proofs, many still have difficulty processing and accepting Catholic truth and making the necessary distinctions. And it really has nothing to do with the difficulty of the topic. How many readers spend countless hours learning computer technology and new techniques to enhance performance, combing through technical manuals that seem incomprehensible to a large majority of the population, and manage to make sense of them? It is the WILL to understand that makes this possible, and maybe those who are exploring the “options” to Traditionalism lack this strength of will when it comes to their quest for the truth. This is only one of several reasons why the understanding may be impeded, and we will start with the Catholic reasons provide by Fr. Kearney.

Obstacles to obtaining grace

First of all, Kearney says, those approaching the true faith from a non-Catholic position (and this is how Traditionalists must look at it, as hard as that may seem to them) must be made aware of what could hamper their cooperation with the graces of faith. He separates these obstacles as those occurring in the mind, in the will and in the imagination. Kearney lists obstacles in the mind as:

1) Ignorance: This may be culpable or inculpable. Affected ignorance — which is pretending one cannot learn or understand something or does not know certain things when, in fact, this is not the case — is a form of self-deceit and as such is always culpable. “Affected (pretended) ignorance of either the law or its penalty only does not excuse from any penalties latae sententiae, even though the law contains terms… demanding full knowledge and deliberation…” (Can. 2229 §1 and §2). The canonists Woywod-Smith add that “Affected ignorance is never admitted as an excuse.”

2) A superficial mind: “The constant absence of serious thought makes the grasping of fundamental religious principles very difficult… The seed of the Word never penetrates the soul that is dissipated or superficial.”

Obstacles in the will include want of generosity in facing the sacrifices demanded. One convert explains how difficult it was for him to leave the Anglican Church because it was all he had ever known and all the people and things he had loved his entire life were there. This was a great trial for him, and he confesses that it was only by a miracle of grace on God’s part that he was able to overcome it. The second obstacle in the will is an impure life, which St. Augustine describes in his Confessions. This involves a “continual and deliberate rejection of the Divine Will” and “impedes the consideration of the Divine truths revealed by God.” Pride, especially intellectual pride, is the third obstacle, and this has two unfortunate consequences: 1) “The danger of being unwilling to admit our limitations and, in consequence, finding it hard to bow down the mind by the act of Faith, [which] easily leads to bad faith and 2) The difficulty of admitting that we have made a mistake, that we have been mistaken for years, while the Catholic child was right. A man finds it difficult to admit that he is beaten in an argument; he will not look straight at the adverse reasons.”

This last sentence is most telling because it is so often the reason that causes those who read the truth to reject it. Hear what Fr. Kearney quotes from John Henry Cardinal Newman concerning this particular affliction: “In spite of so much that is good in them, in spite of their sense of duty, their tenderness of conscience on many points, their benevolence, their uprightness, their generosity, they are under the dominion (I must say it) of a proud fiend; they have this stout spirit within them, they determine to be their own masters in matters of thought, about which they know so little; they consider their own reason better than anyone else; they will not admit that anyone comes from God who contradicts their own view of truth (Discourses to Mixed Congregations).” As one convert of old puts it: “In its splendid ideal, Catholicism appealed to my heart, but in its practical results it caused me to shrink from it; the logical coherence of its dogmas appealed to my intellect but its tone of authority caused me to rebel against it (A Modern Pilgrim’s Progress).”

“Pride easily leads to the loss of faith,” Fr. Kearney continues. “The loss of faith through pride appears especially in those who criticize the Church, who criticize Her laws, who criticize the actions and words of those appointed to speak and act in her name. Many lose the faith through this sin of criticizing. They make themselves the judges of the words of the Bride of Christ… It is easy to see that complacence in our own superiority — pride — is at the root of all these sins. The loss of faith through pride follows frequently from positive disregard of the laws of the Church… In all this it is our will that is wrong. We do not want to submit. Submission means accepting our inferiority, our dependence. Our pride resists this.” How dare Traditionalists criticize Pope Pius XII for his changes in the liturgy, or insinuate that Pope Pius IX was a liberal, even a Freemason as pope. Who are they to presume to interpret papal teachings against the mind of the Church and Her laws, which they do on a regular basis?

Father Kearney then moves on to obstacles in the imagination. Among those who are not ignorant and are sincere in their search for the truth, he notes, prejudice often clouds their efforts. “Prejudice, …a foregone judgment, is a disposition which leads to a judgment formed before sufficient attention has been given or references made to existing facts. It acts as an obstacle to the correct action of our mind in forming a judgment on one particular question. It acts like a brake on the movement of our reason… A man of one nation who is prejudiced against the men of another nation is no fair judge of them. Can any good come out of Nazareth?, asked Nathanael. He was prejudiced.  Prejudice is an infirmity, a weakness, and is usually due to false early training which made a deep impression on the memory and imagination… Our mind draws the essential material for its reflections from the storehouse of the memory and the imagination. And when these are filled with untrue impressions, which are numerous and deep regarding a particular point, it is very difficult for the mind to judge correctly on that one question.”

“Hence,” Kearney continues, “if these numerous and deep impressions kept in the memory and imagination are hostile to the [true] Catholic Church we can easily understand the great obstacles that they put in the way of the graces of conversion, which enlighten the mind and incline the will.” Of the three different obstacles, “[Prejudice] is the hardest to overcome,” Kearney observes. “That warp of the imagination is extremely difficult and involves great suffering. To cast it off seems like a martyrdom which wins the kingdom of Heaven. Some give way and never get the Faith. Hence the necessity of a very strong grace” [emph. Kearney’s]. All of what Fr. Kearney says is true of Novus Ordo “catholics” as well as Traditionalists, and each have a special additional obstacle to overcome.

Novus Ordo believers find it difficult to reconcile their idea of the modern world with the stark reality of a world where so many of the liberal ideas they have imbibed were previously condemned by the Church. They have great difficulty in giving up the idea of their church as a political and social force in the world, albeit an evil one; all the ancient churches spread throughout the world including the Vatican, and also all the pomp and splendor the Church exhibited in previous ages. They feel as though they are heirs who suddenly find themselves disinherited, left without even the bare necessities of the spiritual life. They are forced to forge an entirely new and bewildering conception of the true faith, one that often frightens them because it seems devoid of what they have been led to believe is God’s overriding mercy and love. Making the leap from their church to stay-at-home is especially trying because they must, in many cases, abandon all their social and even business contacts, not to mention giving up many family relationships. And in the spiritual wilderness where stay-at-home Catholics live there are no replacements for these social and familial amenities.

This is why most Novus Ordo members spend at least some time in the Traditional movement: they sense that they need what they feel is a rational transition between old and new. But if they are sincere in their search for the truth, it soon becomes clear that the Traditionalists are very much like the Protestants. Their constant divisions and the internal strife and drama among each of the many Traditionalist groups soon wears thin and the search begins again. Traditionalists have their own brand of prejudices to overcome, and this mainly applies to their disrespect for and indifference to the papacy. The papacy is a given for the Novus Ordo crowd, even if they left because of Francis’ unCatholic behavior and teaching. Not so for Traditionalists, who often seem to resent the idea of a Supreme Head and see it as an impediment to their Traditionalist outlook. Unaware they have espoused the heresies of the Gallicanists and Old Catholics, many believe that infallibility is a charism exercised only infrequently and obedience to papal directives is optional.

Even though many Traditionalists home-school their children, they deplore the self-educated among those who try to point out Traditionalists errors, dismissing them only as lay know-it-alls who have no authority. It never strikes them that they need to at least consider points raised regarding the authority of their so-called clerics, who in reality are only laymen themselves. These men never possessed such authority either, and even were the Church restored tomorrow, they would never be allowed to function as clerics.

Traditionalist sect leaders actively warn their members of the dangers of “homealone” and wave Mass and Sacraments over their head like a magic wand, pretending grace can be received only through their auspices. As a result, their followers develop an ingrained bias against the idea. They also genuinely fear they will lose the means of grace and like those in the Novus Ordo, their social and family contacts hold them back from making this commitment. A simple subjective study of the Church’s true teachings on this topic would ease their minds, but they are taught they are not capable of making any determinations themselves because they must accept only the interpretations of their leaders. The majority of Traditionalists also foster anti-Semitic prejudice, and this is a very big stumbling block for them. For if they can no longer blame the Jews for their predicament, they might have to consider the fact they are looking at the entire situation in a false light, and they are loathe to do this.

A very strong prejudice toward women who write against Traditionalism also exists, and this bias is fueled by the “priestly caste” and their defenders who are terrified they will be bested on some score by a mere woman. This has nothing to do with anti-feminism as they pretend, but with the entrenched belief among Traditionalists in general that the Church really does believe women are inferior to men and should not be allowed to study or write about theology. Of course if there were real Catholic men and valid clergy out there doing this there would be no need, but they choose to ignore this salient fact. (For the substantial intellectual and theological contributions rendered by Catholic women, see

There is yet another major obstacle hampering Catholic understanding of the faith, but this will be left for our next installment. The above is enough to give food for thought and perhaps will shed light for some on the real causes of those who just don’t seem to “get it.” Readers are encouraged to study Fr. Kearney’s entire work, available at:

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How Obstacles to Grace Impede the Understanding,  Part 1 of 2

End Times Teaching and Traditionalists

+St. Clotilda, Queen+

Before delving into this article, I would like to recommend that readers review a new blog site now featuring a comprehensive analysis of recent findings confirming that indeed, there was a false Sr. Lucy of Fatima and now there is concrete evidence to prove this. This blog explores unanswered questions concerning the evidence and addresses new questions that have arisen as a result of this new information. To review these posts and learn about the author go to:

Divine Revelation and the demise of the Church

Even after ad hominem attacks fail because they have no scholastic arguments to defend themselves,Traditionalists continue to point fingers at members of the laity who dare question the credentials of Traditionalist “clergy.”  But there is a notable difference between these purported clerics calling themselves Traditionalists and those who rightfully challenge their authority, as pointed out recently by a reader in Australia.

Lay critics of the Traditionalist movement didn’t go out and pretend to become priests and bishops, appropriate false credentials and pose as authorities who must be listened to and obeyed, then present themselves as the channels through which Christ transmits HIS Sacraments and renews HIS sacrifice. They never used this false authority as a tool to solicit money from people, involve themselves in their marriages and the lives of their children or become privy to their innermost secrets in “confession.” All they have done is study the papal encyclicals, ecumenical councils and Canon Law  then warned  others of the wolves in sheep’s clothing who are stalking them, something they are obliged to do in these times in order to defend the faith. They have presented the teachings of the one, true Church prior to Pope Pius XII’s death and for this they are demonized and ridiculed.

Little do Traditionalists know how different things might have been if these men had truly intended to follow God’s will and obey His laws. They had the necessary information, but they failed to provide it to their followers in accordance with the laws and teachings of the Church. So what did they know and when did they know it? That is the question that so many people fail to ask themselves regarding the origin and operations over the years of Traditionalist “clergy.” If these men truly wished to save the souls of their followers, they would have assayed the situation at hand and done their due diligence before seeking ordination or running after a mitre, even if it meant admitting they had been wrong before. They would have valued the truth above all else and set out to learn it and accept it at any cost. It was right before their very eyes; they even acknowledge that they knew many of its aspects. But they did not love the truth, because it interfered with their plans. They wanted to put it together in a way that fit into their agenda, and that is exactly what they did. But this haphazard mess of pottage they fed to their followers was not in keeping with Holy Scripture and the teachings of the continual magisterium, no matter how much they would like it to be.

All the signs were there in the 1970s, for the most part. There already were questions about Paul 6 being the Antichrist. In 1970, a Fatima publication which went into several printings published the fact that the Fathers unanimously taught the Mass would cease, and according to the Vatican Council, this must be accepted as a rule of faith. A devout study of Holy Scripture would have revealed nearly all the rest, had it been used to gauge what was happening within the Church and in the world. The gist of these prophecies is presented below, but many more could be cited. And scriptural commentary can be used to figure out the rest.

  • The shepherd shall be struck and the sheep scattered — Zach. 13:7; Matt 26: 31.
  • He who withholdeth shall be taken out of the way — 2 Thess. 2: 6-7. (Henry Cardinal Manning teaches that this means the Roman Pontiff.)
  • The Temple shall be utterly destroyed (also the Church in Rome, eventually, according to the common opinion of scriptural commentators and theologians) — Matt. 24: 2.
  • This time shall be like no other, but it will resemble the time of Noe — Matt. 24: 21; 37-39.
  • Many false prophets shall rise and seduce many (Protestant Reformation and what followed) — Matt. 24: 24.
  • When the abomination of desolation foretold by the prophet Daniel shall stand in the Holy Place, he who readeth let him understand. (This is interpreted by Pope Paul IV in Cum ex Apostolatus Officio as a heretic obtaining the see by fraud, not canonically) — Matt. 24: 15.
  • The abomination of desolation is also interpreted as the substitution of a false sacrifice or idols to whom one must render adoration (Haydock Commentary, Matt. 24:15).
  • False christs (false popes) and false prophets shall show great signs and wonders to deceive if possible even the elect. Behold, I have told it to you beforehand (in other words, you’ve been forewarned!) — Matt. 24: 24-25.
  • First will come the revolt, then the Man of Sin is revealed. — 2 Thess. 2: 3.
  • He shall sit in the temple of God, showing himself as God, (some think the temple in Jerusalem, others the Church. But it is clear from Pope Paul IV’s Bull that he will be a usurper reigning as a true pope, and this interpretation is binding on the faithful) — 2 Thess. 2: 4.
  • The coming of Antichrist will be “according to the working of Satan,” exercising Satan’s power, signs and lying wonders — 2 Thess. 2: 9.
  • Because those who succumb to Antichrist will not love the truth, they shall be seduced by the operation of error, and will be judged — 2 Thess. 2: 10-11.

Especially intended as abominable in the Scripture texts is any unclean or unworthy sacrifice, or any sacrifice offered before idols.  St. Jerome wrote as follows on this topic: “It is possible to apply this text easily to either the Antichrist, to the statue of Caesar which Pilate placed in the Temple or even to the equestrian statue of Hadrian, which down to this present day stands on the very site of the holy of holies. In the Old Testament, however, the term abomination is applied deliberately to idols. To identify it further, ‘of desolation,’ is added to indicate that the idol was placed in a desolate or ruined temple. The abomination of desolation can be taken to mean as well every perverted doctrine. When we see such a thing stand in the holy place, that is in the Church and pretend it is God, we must flee…,” (Breviary Lesson for the 24th and Last Sunday after Pentecost).

Why would St. Paul specifically state the Man of Sin could not come unless and until the withholding power was first removed? And why would Pope Paul IV refer to this advent of the abomination of desolation in a papal bull dealing nearly exclusively with heresy reigning even in the highest ranks of the Church, including the papacy, if this was not the interpretation the Church had always held regarding the abomination? St. Bernard, last Father of the Church, demonstrates this was the case with Innocent II. The very reason Pope Paul IV made this important distinction was to refute the Protestant error that legitimate popes had reigned as antichrists throughout history, clarifying that if such a thing appeared to happen, such a man could never be a true pope. In fact, he further clarified that if such a man ever did succeed in this, he would be the Antichrist. But no Traditionalist clergy ever connected this Scripture passage with the papacy, for they couldn’t admit the Mass had been taken away and still serve their self-assigned purpose.

I remember the debates about who the withholding power was, and only Sedevacantists thought it might be the papacy. There was never sufficient interest to even continue the discussion. But the Scripture prophecies stand. The Church has been completely destroyed as a spiritual organization, the times began to become what they are today in the 1960s, the usurpers have reigned, abrogating the Latin Mass and sending out their false ministers to seduce the faithful. The abomination (the NOM) was set up by Antichrist, and many left the Church. Traditionalist clergy pointed to the new mass itself and Vatican 2, but not to the men pretending to be Christ’s Vicars as the linchpin to explain what had really happened to the Church. The elect were deceived but some later regained their senses and began questioning the legitimacy of the papacy and even the Traditionalist movement itself. But they did not go far enough. They failed to draw the logical conclusions from what Our Lord and St. Paul said, or perhaps they simply could not bring themselves to acknowledge it.

The juridical Church ceased to exist, (although Christ’s Mystical Body will exist until the consummation). This very event was prophesied in Holy Scripture, despite the ridiculous Traditionalist claims that to deny the Church could ever disappear is to deny Her indefectibility. Many point to the fact that Christ promised He would be with His Church, as it was constituted, until the consummation, so this means that the hierarchy would exist until the very end. This can be true only if there is a brief peace and the papacy is miraculously restored. For already the Church as Christ constituted it no longer exists, since its most important constituent element — the Roman Pontiff — is absent. This false Traditionalist claim must be dismissed, once and for all. Either we accept Francis as a true pope (an impossibility; even necessity cannot demand we commit ourselves to anything evil) or we accept the reality that, as is prophesied in Apoc. 13:7, Antichrist has overcome the saints, the Mass has ceased and we live in those times following the death of Antichrist, although we are still chafing under the Satanic succession to the papacy established in his  successors.

If we look at it from the perspective that we can measure the end by the Church’s non-existence and Antichrist’s arrival, then it corresponds to this statement by Rev. E.S. Berry in his The Church of Christ: “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.” But without the necessary means to canonically elect an unquestionably valid successor (valid cardinals and bishops), how can the ends be achieved without the means?!  Only by a miracle, as stated above, could the situation we find ourselves in today be remedied. And while Scripture commentators and holy seers hint at such an event, we cannot be so certain they are correct that we exclude the possibility that the Final Judgment may be the conclusion of all this, which many scriptural commentators also teach.

Meditate, for just one moment, on these words of Pope Pius IX: “May God give you the grace necessary to defend the rights of the Sovereign Pontiff and the Holy See; for WITHOUT THE POPE THERE IS NO CHURCH, and there is no Catholic Society without the Holy See.” — (Allocution to religious superiors, June 1872). Do you truly believe that the successors of St. Peter are the Vicars of Christ, speaking in His name, and that Pope Pius IX, teaching on the very issue of the necessity of the papacy, was telling us the absolute truth? Do you believe without a doubt that Pope Pius XII was the last true pope, which even most Traditionalists teach? Since the answers to all these questions must be yes, then WHY IS ANYONE DOUBTING THE CHURCH NO LONGER EXISTS? And if the Church no longer exists, how can there possibly be true and valid bishops and priests functioning in Her name?! Obviously not enough religious or members of the hierarchy prayed for or received the graces necessary to defend the rights of the Sovereign Pontiff and the Holy See as Pope Pius IX requested. Pope Pius XII also commanded in his 1945 election constitution Vacantis Apotolicae Sedis that these rights be defended by the cardinals.

Also, in Vol. I, The Catholic Encyclopedia defines Antichrist as (a) one directly opposed to Christ (b) “one resembling Christ in appearance and power” and finally (c) “a king who reigns during an interregnum” (!) Neither Roncalli nor Montini ever ascended the papacy, as “Cum ex…” demonstrates, yet they reigned supreme over Rome and the world. This is clearly a revival of pagan Rome and the powers of the ancient Caesars.

The mystical body of Satan

Christianity was still in its infancy when the early councils began anathematizing heretical sects. The Gnostics were among the first to be condemned and many others would follow over the centuries. Always the mystery of iniquity existed in that irresistible force that draws men to embrace evil and abandon that which is good. It was of course Satan and his fallen angels who enticed men to abandon truth and nothing has changed in two millennia. What has changed, however, is the definition of Christianity, defined and redefined numerous times since the Reformation in the 1500s split what was intended to be Christ’s indivisible Church into a thousand splintered factions. What was willed by God to be one Mystical Body united to its head, Christ, was effectively dismembered and reduced to thousands of pieces despite what many believe. All call themselves Christian, yet none can find one set of truths on which they all agree. It would be, in analogy, as if the liver was rejecting the very blood it filtered, or the heart, not agreeing with the blood vessels, refused to pump its life-giving force throughout the body.

It is interesting to note that the Latin word for six is “sex,” symbolizing division or differentiation. If we thus interpret 666 as “divide-divide-divide,” we must come to the conclusion that this number of which Giovanni Montini, Paul 6, was so fond must truly symbolize the destruction that was so blatant during his reign as “pope,” including what has been reported as his sexual deviancy. For what is more precisely opposed to unity than fragmentation? How more perfectly could the enemies of the Church have opposed all that Our Lord ever meant to establish in Peter than by scattering the very lambs and sheep He told Peter and the Apostles to gather? While Christians believe they possess a certain species of unity, it is only of the negative sort — unity in diversity. Isn’t that what we keep hearing day and night on television? The great wonders and advantages of our country’s diversity? But it has nothing to do with the unity Christ prescribed for His Mystical Body. Diversity is even in evidence among the numerous Traditionalist factions today, who pretend they can “unite the clans” without obedience to a canonically elected pope, the ONLY center of all true unity in the Church.

It was St. Thomas Aquinas who best described the nature of this negative unity:

“There are two mystical bodies in this world: The Mystical Body of Christ and the mystical body of the Devil or of the Antichrist. To one or another every man belongs. The Mystical Body of Christ is the Holy Church, His pure and faithful Spouse …The mystical body of the Devil is the ensemble of impious men. Like an adulterous wet nurse, it nourishes this ensemble. The Devil is its head, and the evil persons are its members … “The body of the Devil,” says St. Gregory, “is composed by all the impious men.”

“Just as Christ, in Himself and through His disciples, always seeks to cut off the members of the Devil and incorporate them to Himself …. so also does the Devil. By his efforts and those of his cohorts, the Devil aims to amputate the members of Christ to unite them to the sordid members of his prostitute. ‘Know you not, that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I, then, taking the members of Christ, make them the members of a harlot?’ (1Cor 6:15). And St. Paul answers: ‘God forbid.’ St. Augustine writes: ‘They cannot be at the same time members of Christ and members of a prostitute. Many receive the Body of Christ in the Sacrament, but not in their souls. By failing to receive Christ spiritually and leading bad lives, they reduce the members of Christ, making themselves members of the Devil, so they greatly diminish the Body of Christ.’” (, Feb. 10, 2007; St. Thomas Aquinas, De venerabile Sacramenti Altaris, Marietti, 1931, 114 (This attribution in no way indicates support for the content of this website.)

Reverend Paul Furfey, in his Mystery of Iniquity, wrote: “It is not too much even to speak of a mystical body of Satan, united to the devil in a most intimate union.” This diabolical entity, Furfey explained, reverses the order of all truths in the Church, works to destroy Her and constitutes a negative sort of unity actively serving the forces of Antichrist. Furfey warns that true to its perfect opposition to Christ’s Mystical Body, the mystical body of Satan in action is not easily discernable. Unlike the Church, known by Her attributes and four marks, Furfey observed:

“It is useless to expect to find the Kingdom of Satan, the world, embodied in an organization as definite and as clearly outlined as the Church…What will be found is a group of forces which, at first glance, appear separate and independent but which on closer examination prove to be interlocking, so that in spite of their seeming separateness, they actually cooperate surprisingly well together” (The Mystery of Iniquity, Bruce Publishing Co., Milwaukee, Wis., 1945, p. 24).

The coming of Satan’s “son” — Antichrist

Satan was cast from the heights of Heaven because of his disobedience, which proceeded from his all-consuming jealousy of God. He most envied God’s ability to create, a power he did not possess. After his fall he determined to pervert everything good God had created for the attainment of salvation in order to secure man’s eternal damnation. To best imitate that which he hates and cannot have, Satan as “father” devised his own trinity, consisting in his son, Antichrist, and the false prophet who precedes him, disseminating the evil spirit of his diabolical system.

One Protestant site depicts Satan’s trinity as the devil [the unholy, diabolical spirit], the sea beast [Antichrist], and the land beast [the false prophet] — (Apoc.16:13) — and his church as, “the synagogue of Satan” (Apoc. 2:9). He also has his own ministers, “ministers of Satan” (2 Corinthians 11:4-5); his own system of theology “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1); his own sacrificial system; “The Gentiles…sacrifice to demons” (1 Corinthians 10:20) and his own communion service, “the cup of demons…and the table of demons” (1 Corinthians 10:21). These ministers proclaim the gospel of Antichrist “a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you” (Galatians 1:7-8). He has established a throne for himself in opposition to that of Christ and His Vicar (Apoc. 13:2) and boasts own worshipers (Apoc. 13:4).

Thus he has established a counterfeit church featuring false christs and self-constituted messiahs (Matthew 24:4-5). False teachers present as specialists in Antichrist’s “theology,” to introduce “destructive heresies, even denying the Master who brought them” (2 Peter 2:1). They are experts at the art of diluting truth with error, attenuating truth just enough to make error palatable. They carry on their teaching surreptitiously and often anonymously. He sends out false prophets [even among those who pretend to oppose him]. “And many false prophets will arise and will mislead many” (Matthew 24:11). He introduces false brethren into the church, who “had sneaked in to spy out our liberty…in order to bring us into bondage” (Galatians 2:4); false apostles who imitate the true (2 Corinthians 11:13).” One could also add that he is attempting to create his own imitation of man by cloning, artificial intelligence, robots, drones and by other means, with science as the new theology.

Above can be seen all too clearly the exact modus operandi of the Novus Ordo and Traditional sects, described in this Scriptural word picture of the end times by no less than a Protestant. Catholics should be ashamed. But this event in history was foretold in detail by Bp. Fulton Sheen shortly before the death of Pope Pius XII:

“[Satan] will set up a counterchurch which will be the ape of the [Catholic] Church … It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. We are living in the days of the Apocalypse, the last days of our era. The two great forces – the Mystical Body of Christ and the Mystical Body of the anti-Christ – are beginning to draw battle lines for the catastrophic contest. The ‘false prophet’ will have a religion without a cross. A religion without a world to come. A religion to destroy religions…or a politics which is a religion, one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s…There will be a counterfeit ‘Church.’ Christ’s Church, the Catholic Church, will be One; and the false ‘prophet’ will create the other.

The false ‘Church’ will be worldly, ecumenical, and global. It will be a loose federation of ‘churches’ and religions, forming some type of global association. A world parliament of ‘churches.’ It will be emptied of all Divine content; it will be the mystical body of the Antichrist. The Mystical Body on Earth today will have its Judas Iscariot, and he will be the false ‘prophet.’ Satan will recruit him from our bishops. The Antichrist will not be so called; otherwise he would have no followers. He will not wear red tights, nor vomit sulphur, nor carry a trident nor wave an arrowed tail as Mephistopheles in Faust. This masquerade has helped the devil convince men that he does not exist. When no man recognizes, the more power he exercises. God has defined Himself as ‘I Am Who I Am,’ and the Devil as ‘I am who I am not.’

“In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity, and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret, which he will tell to no one. He will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counterchurch… a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the Mystical Body of Christ.”

Anyone with even a basic idea of what happened following Vatican 2 will be able to recognize the establishment of this counterfeit church in Rome beginning with the reign of the usurper “pope” John 23rd, the false prophet. Then we have his successor the false Christ — Paul 6 the Antichrist — made “cardinal” by John 23rd against the wishes of Pope Pius XII. And lastly we have Antichrist’s system and successors, in diametric opposition to the divine establishment of the papacy and its perpetual succession unto the end of time (which may well have been post-1958, in regards to the Church’s existence on earth.)

This is the only possible way Satan could imitate in most perfect fashion Christ’s Church on earth and appear to destroy it by Antichrist’s usurpation of the papacy. It is the only plan that could ever satisfy his aspiration to the Divine heights, allowing as it were the closest possible resemblance of Satan to God the Father and Antichrist to His Son, perversely replacing creation with destruction. As The Catholic Encyclopedia author of the article on Antichrist observes: “Since Antichrist simulates Christ, and the Pope is an image of Christ, Antichrist must have some similarity to the Pope, if the latter be the true Vicar of Christ.”

For only after he who withholdeth was taken out of the way could the Continual Sacrifice itself be abolished and replaced — the abomination of desolation, prophesied in Daniel. It was the Roman Pontiffs who were ever the guardians of the Deposit of Faith. Once that guardianship was removed, the truths of faith were without any protection and fell into the hands of devils. Theologians are divided on whether the consummation and Final Judgment will come immediately after the destruction of Antichrist or whether there will be a brief period of peace and restoration of the Church before the very end. The latter is the more common opinion, but this does not mean it will actually transpire.

This period is spoken of by St. Thomas Aquinas as follows: “Although men be terrified by the signs appearing about the judgment day yet before those signs begin to appear the wicked will think themselves to be in peace and security after the death of Antichrist and before the coming of Christ, seeing that the world is not at once destroyed as they thought hitherto.”

Either Paul 6 was the most perfect incarnation of a prelude to Antichrist that could possibly be imagined, or he was Antichrist himself. All evidence points to the latter. There can be no explanation for why the papacy was destroyed and no one took notice until the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice was abrogated. And there is no excuse, especially on the part of any remaining clergy, why the alarm was not sounded once the Novus Ordo Missae, with its heretical consecration of the wine, replaced the Latin Mass. No true pope could have allowed Christ’s words to be falsified and instinctively those who left the Novus Ordo knew this. Until they became Traditionalists, that is. Then it was either implicit or explicit recognize and resist, accompanied by the material formal hypothesis, a false teaching that a man can legitimately occupy the papal see even while teaching error. This teaching is in direct contradiction to Pope Paul IV’s bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. These tactics have been successful in destroying the idea of the reverence owed the papacy and papal infallibility.

Traditionalists behaved as though the Mass had not been taken away and had never ceased. Refusing to admit that this had actually happened despite clear evidence and the fulfillment of all St. Paul’s prophecies regarding the Great Apostasy and Antichrist’s coming, they denied then and to this day continue to deny Divine Revelation regarding the cessation of the Sacrifice while pretending to champion it in regards to their “right” to minister to their followers — “the salvation of souls is the supreme law.” Do they not substitute damnation for salvation? Are they not part of Satan’s plan to deceive the elect by offering them those things most sacred to all Catholics — Mass and Sacraments — when God’s signified will tells us His gifts are not available to us in these times? If Holy Scripture and papal teaching is not enough to convince those believing themselves to be Catholic that they must choose Divine Revelation over the teachings of men, then the operation of error has triumphed and Apocalypse 13:7 has been fulfilled. “Watch ye therefore, for you know not what hour your Lord will come” (Matt. 24: 42).








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Does Canon 20 Provide for Traditionalist Operations?

+St. Bede the Venerable+

Articles from long ago justifying the function of Traditionalists all these years keep resurfacing, and readers are taking note. Incredibly this latest example provides the fodder for an even more weighty indictment of their operations. This most recent justification, proposed by a “priest” in the 1980s who later became a “bishop,” is the application of Can. 20 to the Traditionalist situation (the text of Canon 20 below is taken from Dom Charles Augustine’s A Commentary on Canon Law):

If a general or a particular law contains no definite prescription concerning a case, unless there is a question of applying a penalty, the rule for deciding such a case must be taken from laws given in similar cases, from the general principles of Canon Law based on equity, from the methods and practices of the Roman Court [Curia] or from the common and constant teaching of approved canonists.” The canonists Bouscaren-Ellis remark in their commentary that where there is a question of applying penalties, no further action is needed because the law already has been stated. Below, each rule for deciding the new law will be examined.

  1. In his work Canon Law, Abp. Amleto Cicognani states: “If there is a law covering the case, this rule [Can. 20] is not to be applied according to the meaning of Can. 18…” (p. 621). In a case of doubt, Canon 18 requires that Traditionalists first resort to parallel passages of the Code, if any; to the end and circumstances of the law and to the mind of the legislator. In this particular case, the mind of the legislator, Pope Pius XII, is clear. The 1945 election constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, hereafter abbreviated as VAS; also the authentic interpretation of Can. 147 sealed with censures by Pope Pius XII, (both entered into the AAS), provide a definite prescription (or express provision of law) for our circumstances. VAS specifically governs interregnums and it makes null and void any attempt to contravene a papal law during the vacancy of the Holy See. So Can. 20 cannot be applied because an infallible papal law and an authentic canonical interpretation already exists.
  2. Regarding the application of penalties, they are many and multiplied in the case of Traditionalists. These include penalties for schism, heresy and communicatio in sacris; penalties attached to Canon 147; penalties for conferring and receiving episcopal consecration; penalties for receiving ordination without dimmissorial letters; penalties for receiving ordination and/or consecration from schismatics and penalties for simulating mass and sacraments. Nearly all these penalties are specially reserved to the Holy See, meaning they cannot now be resolved because we have no pope. And until they ARE resolved, no one can function because this alone — outside of any papal determination of the validity of their ordersraises questions regarding the validity of all their ecclesiastical acts. The excommunication for schism and communicatio in sacris, resulting in a vindicative penalty, voids all their ecclesiastical acts (see Can. 2294).
  3. In considering laws in similar matters (referring to decisions rendered by the Sacred Congregations, Rev. Augustine’s Canon Law commentary) these decisions show that in times of necessity even (validly ordained) schismatic clergy are forbidden to confer the sacraments. These decisions cited by the Sacred Congregations are mentioned in this article ( regarding reception of the Sacraments from schismatics; however, the validity of the ordination and consecration of those in question is not addressed, only the fact of their schism. This is a separate issue that precedes all others and must be resolved first before considering Can. 20. The questionable validity of Traditionalists’ orders is further discussed in the following articles: and in these links: also

Rev. Augustine does say that while decisions of the Sacred Congregations must be received respectfully, strong reasons could override them. But this would not extend to making certainly valid what was probably never valid at all, a decision only the Roman Pontiff can execute. Here we are not talking just decisions of the Sacred Congregations, but an infallible decision of the Roman Pontiff (VAS) which cannot be dismissed.

  1. In the case of ordination and episcopal consecration, involving the administration of the Sacraments, equity or epikeia is not able to be used as a mitigating factor because the Sacraments are of Divine law and Can. 20 comes under the heading of ecclesiastical laws. Also, “EPIKEIA HAS NO PLACE IN INVALIDATING LAWS, for the common good demands certitude concerning the validity of acts” (Abp. Amleto Cicognani, Canon Law). See .
  2. Methods and practices of the Roman Curia would not be something possible for us to emulate today because that process is not readily known or available for scrutiny. Even if it was available, those once familiar with it cannot now be consulted.
  3. The common and constant opinion of approved canonists regarding papal elections is that bishops could elect a pope from among their number in an imperfect (not a general) council, according to St. Robert Bellarmine, or an election could be posited by the “universal Church” after the manner employed at the Council of Constance. Six opinions constituting the necessary probable opinion in this matter are available on this subject. But let us remember we have no certainly valid and licit bishops to accomplish such an act. If this refers to opinions for providing Mass and Sacraments where the validity of the Sacraments has been questioned, and without communion with the Roman Pontiff, it is not only the common opinion but the unanimous opinion of modern theologians that such Sacraments can neither be conferred or received. (See epikeia link in no. 2 above.)

Important Can. 20 article omitted

Touting Can. 20 is only an excuse to write into the law whatever those acting as priests and bishops see fit to propose. As Abp. Amleto Cicognani warns in his Canon Law under Can. 20: “It does not appear that we should admit a too facile liberty devoid of arguments and conclusive reasons for exceeding those limits [set by the Code] since this seems to be fraught with dangers of excess… Beware of unfounded conclusions… that lead to liberty or imaginary equity” (pgs. 624-625). And Rev. Augustine notes, leading into his commentary on Can. 21: “Applying these rules, and especially that of equity, one may persuade himself that a certain law does not apply to himself under given circumstances. This may be true. However, since the law is intended for the common welfare, it is necessary to consider the rule laid down in Can. 21: Laws given in order to guard against a common danger must be observed,” even when there is no danger. And this includes laws guarding the faithful from false christs who mislead the flock to fleece them for their own benefit.

So if this Traditionalist in question here had researched a bit further, he would easily have seen that there is danger in the use of epikeia listed under this canon, and those dangers are acknowledged by canonists and theologians (see Every author quoted in these articles, and there are more than six as required to arrive at probability, warns of these dangers. The article the Traditionalist refers to and says he contributed to (although his name is not on the article), is one I am very familiar with. It has been sitting in my files for over 35 years!  And another more pertinent article by the same author, (Prof.) B. F. Dryden, was written at about the same time.

This second article, entitled For New Problems, a New Canon, was used as part of a series advocating the holding of an imperfect council with myself as one of the contributors. It was first published in the August 1988 issue of the Francinta Messenger, a Traditionalist newsletter edited by John Beauclair of Boise, Idaho.  Dryden’s part of the series appeared in the April 1989 edition. This series, written to help determine what could be done to re-establish the papacy, ran nearly a full year before my ill-fated book promoting a papal election was released.

It is not known whether the Traditionalist collaborated on writing this particular article on Canon 20 or not, but it would seem strange if he at least did not know about it and had read it. The opening paragraph of this article asks: “What do you think of the 1981 consecration of [Thuc] bishops? And how can a legitimate pope ever again be elected? No satisfactory answer can be given to either question without an understanding of Can. 20.” Dryden then goes on to summarize the teaching of the Belgian canonist, Capuchin Gommarus Michiels, who authored Normae Generalis Juris Canonici, (General Norms of Canon Law), 1929, Lublin Poland. Some quotes provided from this article below will be quite illuminating.

Application to the New Bishops — In the light of Fr. Michiels’ commentary, does Canon 20 make licit the consecration of Bishops Carmona and Zamora in October, 1981? Certainly not unless it first be shown that Canons 953 and 2370, forbidding and penalizing such consecrations without papal authorization, are null and void under present circumstances. Fr. Michiels shows… that any change in penal and other “odious” laws must be made by express legislation, not by Canon 20.

“Further, it is often stated that the consecrating bishop, Msgr. Ngo Dinh Thuc, was a member of the non-Catholic Conciliar sect at the time of the consecrations. lf this allegation is true, the consecrations were illicit for that reason, and could not be made licit by the very clear profession of adherence to the Catholic Church which Msgr. Thuc made some two months later. The allegation is supported by biographical data published by the staff of Einsicht magazine, friends and backers of the Vietnamese prelate, and by a published letter from the new Mexican bishops asking Msgr. Thuc why he concelebrated with a Modernist bishop. By way of refutation, nothing at all has come to our notice but a statement made by Rene Rouquette in his ‘Lettre Non-Conformiste that Msgr. Thuc had privately and satisfactorily apologized to the Mexicans.

“These new bishops would therefore be wiser to rely, not immediately on Canon 20, but first of all on the theological principle that the letter of a law is not to be observed when its observance no longer produces good but rather harm to the Church [i.e., epikeia], and is therefore unjust and immoral. Bishop Carmona does so argue, but in a rather summary and unimpressive fashion. Some not only may, but do doubt that deprivation of priests and valid sacraments until a pope is elected is sufficient harm to render observance of Canons 953 and 2373 unjust and immoral.

“As to that Apostolic succession which is a mark of the true Church, its chief element is the succession of mission, i.e., of jurisdiction, handed down from one legitimate pope to another, from St. Peter to the present, when the office stands vacant. This succession can be assured only by election of a pope, successor to Pius XII, not by the consecration, licit or illicit, of any number of bishops. For such consecrations are performed also in some schismatical churches, in an unbroken chain going back to the Apostles, without conferring any succession of mission. [!!!]

Canons 20 and Papal Election — The election of a pope, on the other hand, does clearly cry out for the use of Canon 20. The need for a pope is evident from Christ’s institution of the papacy, from the need for a single unifying authority in faith and discipline, and from the catastrophic ills the Catholic remnant suffers for lack of this papal authority. Yet apart from Canon 20, election of a pope is impossible without cardinals, and there are no cardinals and none can be appointed except by a pope. Since no rule for such a situation exists elsewhere, a rule of electoral procedure must be devised from the sources listed in Canon 20.

“The work of devising this rule, far from being completed, has hardly been begun, hardly thought of. Yet we may expect our ills and misfortunes to grow apace until it is begun, accomplished, and used effectively in the election of a pope “[end of Can. 20 article excerpt).

This article just quoted was written in the mid-1980s or shortly before. There is no date on the original. Prior to the “papal election” in 1990 which I helped promote then participated in, there first was an attempt made to interest Traditionalists in an imperfect council, and there was discussion of this at length, even after the “election.” But nothing ever came of it. When the election was being planned people were asked to weigh in on it and to offer opinions and proofs pro and con. No one ever offered sufficient theological proofs it couldn’t be done or volunteered to help do the research. But everyone certainly condemned and ridiculed those who followed through with it once the “election” was held, even though the my ONLY intention was to champion the papacy (and no, I did NOT campaign for the election of the one who later ruled as “pope” and this can be proven).

And yet this Traditionalist’s connection to the writer of the Can. 20 article (a connection unknown to me at the time) proves that these concerns were known and even understood in their proper light; it was understood that a true pope should be elected. Excluding the erroneous part of the article about the legitimate use of epikeia in this case and the bishops consecrated being only “illicit” versus questionably valid and incapacitated to act, it was relatively on point considering the time frame in which it was written. This further reveals the true intention of Traditionalists to rule uncontested and do absolutely nothing.

Some questions need to be posed based on the above and Traditionalists are obligated to answer them.

  1. Where is the positive proof that Lefebvre and Thuc could validly ordain or consecrate anyone given the current penal laws of the 1917 Code and Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis?
  2. If the proof for no. 1 could ever be provided (and it cannot), where is the definitive document demonstrating that in the absence of a reigning pontiff, bishops can be validly consecrated without the papal mandate?
  3. Arguments against the use of epikeia for sacramental purposes have circulated since the 1980s; the article on epikeia showing it cannot apply to Divine law has existed on this site since 2009. (A more recent blog piece is provided as a link above.) Why has no one thoroughly researched this principle and discovered it cannot and does not apply to doubts regarding the validity of the Sacraments?!
  4. If the need for a true pope was realized so very long ago, why didn’t these so-called true bishops elect one? Could it be that they suspected their own orders were not valid or licit, and electing a pope on that basis was a step even they hesitated to take? Or was it because the idea of a pope they would then have to obey was repugnant to them? Or are they flying under false colors perhaps and never intended to even consider restoring the papacy?

Traditionalist clerics are quick to cite those canons they believe will keep them in business but refuse to address the most crucial issue: their doubtful validity.  Canon 18 cannot solve their problem because there are no parallel passages of the Code that remedy invalidity, the end and circumstances of the law show only that the faithful must be protected from invalid sacraments and the mind of the legislator shows all their acts are void. It is a scholastic principle that “Laws justly declaring an incapacity to act or to receive benefits invalidate the attempted act or reception even if they are inculpably known or facts pertaining to their application in a concrete instance are unknown” (Summary of Scholastic Principles, Rev. Bernard Wuellner, S.J., # 341). This is the very principle infallibly enshrined in Pope Pius XII’s VAS. Traditionalists either ignore VAS or declare it is unjust because it deprives the faithful of the means to salvation, but this is a false claim. Baptism and Matrimony are still available to them as well as Spiritual Communion and the Perfect Act of Contrition.

Rather than seeking ordination or episcopal consecration they should instead have searched out retired and worthy bishops (not Thuc or Lefebvre) who reportedly were still alive at that time and insist they elect a true pope. That would have eventually granted them the status they long to possess today. Unfortunately, a true pope can no longer be elected because there are no verifiably valid and licit bishops left to elect him. There are many who insist such bishops still exist but as explained in the blog series article at, the chances of confirming such individuals as truly valid is nearly non-existent. This crisis could possibly be resolved satisfactorily, but not until Traditionalist clerical pretenders abandon their claims, which they were long ago obligated under the law to do. Their followers must also refuse to attend their masses and receive their sacraments under Canons 2259 and 2294 §1. This also binds under penalty of Can. 1325 which orders them to defend the faith. Christ will not be mocked forever.





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The series ends, but the debate continues

+St. Rita of Cascia+

The uppermost question at issue in this entire series has been who and what constitutes Christ’s Church on earth, who is to be believed and obeyed, why they must be believed and obeyed and the consequences of not believing and obeying. In stepping back to try and determine what it is that distinguishes the Catholic Church as an institution from all others claiming to likewise possess the truth, we must never forget that the primary factor setting the Church apart is Her establishment by Our Lord on that Rock St. Peter, whose successors safeguarded the Deposit of Faith for nearly 20 centuries. It is the Apostolic College, the bishops in union with their head bishop; the ecumenical councils and the Supreme Pontiff acting on his own that have guided the Church safely over rough waters throughout time.

During the course of this series, mention has been made of fallacies in argument — begging the question, arguing beside the point, ad hominem attacks and so on. These arguments are opposed to the system of logic formulated by St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas’ venerable system, Scholasticism, was adopted by the Church to teach her doctors and theologians, so it is key to the right understanding of Her doctrines. The popes have never ceased to laud the benefits of this philosophical system and urge that it be taught to those engaging in theological studies. Whenever there is an error in making use of the principles taught by this system, then those committing these errors are not obeying the Church and their teaching cannot be trusted. Below is a brief outline of scholasticism and its importance to those studying the Catholic faith.


 The Popes on St. Thomas Aquinas:

“The doctrine of this Doctor, beyond all others, has fitness of words, manner of expression, and truth of opinions; so that he who holds it will never swerve from the path of truth; and, on the contrary, he who attacks it must always be suspected” (Pope Innocent V).

Pope St. Pius V called St. Thomas “the most certain rule of Christian doctrine by which he enlightened the Apostolic Church in answering conclusively numberless errors.”

“[Theology professors] should also take particular care that their students develop a deep affection for the Summa … In this way and no other will theology be restored to its pristine dignity, and the proper order and value will be restored to all sacred studies…” (Pope St. Pius X).

The manifold honors paid by the Holy See to St. Thomas Aquinas exclude forever any doubt from the mind of Catholics with regard to his being raised up by God as the Master of Doctrine to be followed by the Church through all ages(Pope Benedict XV, from His Papal Brief Approving the Catechism Of The “Summa Theologica” of Saint Thomas Aquinas For the Use of the Faithful, Feb. 5, 1919).

“We believe Thomas should be called not only Angelic but Common or Universal Doctor of the Church. As innumerable documents of every kind attest, the Church has adopted his doctrine for her own…” (Pope Pius XI)

“To follow [St. Thomas’] leadership is praiseworthy: on the contrary, to depart foolishly and rashly from the wisdom of the angelic Doctor is something far from Our mind and fraught with peril … For those who apply themselves to the teaching and study of Theology and Philosophy should consider it their capital duty…” (Pope Pius XII).

The Church has but one system of philosophy uniquely Her own, and all other systems have been condemned over the centuries as erroneous. This is testified to above by the popes.  Numerous condemnations of those who stray from St. Thomas Aquinas’ scholastic method can be found in Denzinger’s The Sources of Catholic Dogma.

St. Thomas’s definition of logic runs as follows: “Logic is the science and art which directs the act of the reason, by which a man in the exercise of his reason is enabled to proceed without error, confusion, or unnecessary difficulty… St. Thomas and his contemporaries looked upon logic as an instrument for the discovery and exposition of natural truth. They considered, moreover, that it is the instrument by which the theologian is enabled to expound, systematize, and defend revealed truth” (Catholic Encyclopedia, under Logic). The articles explain that it was Pope John XXI Who gave the Church the “Catholic” version of Aristotelean logic.

In his work Logic, Joseph Walsh, S.J. writes: “Logic is the science which directs the operations of the intellect in the attainment of truth… Truth as applied to the intellect is the agreement of our knowledge with objective reality. When our thoughts conform to things as they really are, when our judgment agrees with the objective facts, we are said to have true knowledge” (pgs. 7-8). Logic, therefore, is an ancient science adapted for use by the Church and endorsed by St. Thomas Aquinas for the study of theology. And the goal of this site is to provide those sincerely seeking the truth with objective facts.

Sacred Theology and all other related theologies are to be understood as the practice of this science. Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton, in his work The Concept of Sacred Theology, relates that the writers of theological textbooks refer to this science as “the science of faith.” Others, among them Tanquerey and Herve, define it as “the science which treats of God, and of creatures insofar as they are referred to God, by way of revelation and of reason.” Theology in general he defines as “a body of knowledge deduced from divinely revealed truth.” All scientific investigation and exposition must be governed by specific rules; the Scholasticism of St. Thomas Aquinas provides us with these rules.

Safely within the parameters of an unchanging Church, doctrine most certainly can never change, and the rules governing these doctrines likewise will not, cannot change. The key phrase here is within the Church. For there are many false systems of philosophy condemned by the Church and there can be no Church or Catholic society without the pope, as the Council of Trent, Pope Pius IX and St. Thomas Aquinas himself teach. (For further study, read;

Those wishing to bring forth arguments and proofs refuting what has been presented here must follow this system and its rules, dictated for use by the Church, or they cannot hope to successfully present their case. If this is not done, no one is bound to consider what they say, since they violate the laws of the Church in saying it. The following points would need to be disproven from the strongest form of proof available according to Canon Law — documents of the Roman Pontiff (especially those entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis), the Sacred Congregations and authentic interpretations of Canon Law.


The definition of what indeed saves souls needs to be specified before the sweeping claim is made that Traditionalists have the necessary power and jurisdiction to validly administer the Sacraments and offer the Holy Sacrifice. Those attending masses simulated by Traditionalists are exposed to sacrilege and idolatry as has been demonstrated repeatedly in other articles on this site and this will damn — not save — their souls. Before they can present as instruments capable of saving souls, Traditionalists must first prove irrefutably they have been validly and licitly ordained and are able to validly and licitly administer the Sacraments.

As to the claim they must obey the divine law above ecclesiastical law, Pope Leo XIII teaches in Sedes Sapientiae, regarding obedience to the Roman Pontiff: “The guidance of both belief and action by divine right belongs to the… Chief Pontiff. Hence the Pontiff must have the power authoritatively to judge the meaning of Holy Scripture… and what is to be done and what is to be avoided in the work of salvation.” No one but the Roman Pontiff can pretend to interpret and apply a maxim of Holy Scripture, divine law; in doing this, Traditionalists usurp the rights of Christ’s Vicar.

The two Sacraments necessary for salvation are still available to the faithful — Baptism and Marriage. These are the only two Sacraments that validly and licitly ordained priests are obligated to administer under the Canon. In their absence, the Church has made provisions for the laity to baptize and contract marriage validly under the law, (Canons 742 and1098). Special emergency provisions have been made by the Holy Office lifting all impediments save those of consanguinity and the marriage of clerics. Canon 682 explains that the clergy only have the strict obligation to supply those Sacraments necessary for salvation, (Baptism, Matrimony) under the Divine law, all others being governed by ecclesiastical law, (Woywod-Smith).

It is important to note the following as stated in Woywod-Smith’s Canon Law commentary under Can. 742: “A Catholic lay person is to be preferred [in administering Baptism] to a priest who is suspended, personally interdicted or excommunicated when these censures have been imposed by a declaratory or condemnatory sentence, for Can. 2261 desires that the people do not request them to administer the Sacraments if there is anyone else who can do so.” So even if the possessed jurisdiction, Can. 2261 would not cover them just as has been maintained in the series of articles running these past two months. In addition to the provisions for Baptism and Marriage, when it is not possible to receive absolution in the Sacrament of Penance or Holy Communion, a perfect Act of Contrition and Spiritual Communion will suffice for forgiveness of sins and the graces received in actual reception of the Sacraments.

This overriding principle used to justify Traditionalist operations once again presupposes the existence of valid and licit orders, when this has not been proven by any means. Moreover, it presumes to interpret the Divine Law, when this privilege belongs solely to the Roman Pontiff.


The real issue here is NOT jurisdiction, but validity. It is highly unlikely that these Traditionalists representing as priests and bishops are validly ordained or consecrated, and we have very serious reasons indeed to believe they are not (see Thuc and Lefebvre were schismatics under Can. 2314, which says if they participated in a non-Catholic religion they also were unable to validly ordain or consecrate anyone, being guilty of communicatio in sacris (false worship, Novus Ordo). The censure levied in Can. 2314 §1, no. 3 results in an additional penalty called infamy of law (Can. 2294) and this penalty can be lifted only by a true pope. There is no doubt about the schism or the penalty. So why is anyone even talking about jurisdiction when there is no way they can even prove their validity?!

In order to even begin to function as clerics, those ordained or consecrated by schismatics — and Lefebvre and Thuc have been proven to be members of the Novus Ordo church, which all Traditionalists consider a non-Catholic church — are required to have their orders scrutinized and regularized, if possible, by the Roman Pontiff and the vindicative penalty lifted. They could function only if they were able to present VERIFIABLE PROOFS they were unquestionably validly and licitly ordained a priest and/or consecrated a bishop by a bishop approved by Pope Pius XII to ordain and consecrate (who has not been ipso facto excommunicated for heresy or schism). In the meantime, they are forbidden to function.


If it could be proven they possessed valid and licit orders, only then could Traditionalists bring up the subject of obtaining supplied jurisdiction. But here there is also a major problem — where are the IRREFUTABLE PROOFS that a canonically elected pope exists or has existed since the death of Pope Pius XII to supply such jurisdiction?  For as Rev. Francis Miaskiewicz writes in his Supplied Jurisdiction According to Canon 209, CUA 1940, “The Supreme Pontiff, from whom all jurisdiction emanates and from whom all common law has its origin, supplies the necessary jurisdiction… When the Church, or more specifically the Roman Pontiff is said to supply jurisdiction in any case whatsoever, be it in common error or in doubt, it is readily understood that the Pope acts in virtue of the plenitude of the jurisdictional power Christ entrusted to his person” (pgs. 28, 194).


The entire situation is summed up in the heading. There is no pope to examine the orders of these men claiming to be clerics, hence no possibility they can function as clerics until such a determination is made. There is no use in even discussing jurisdiction unless it is first proven that certainly valid orders were conveyed by Lefebvre and Thuc, for lay persons cannot celebrate Mass or administer the Sacraments. Any assumption by Traditionalists that such jurisdiction exists in the absence of a true pope is a usurpation of papal jurisdiction. Supplied jurisdiction can begranted only by the Roman Pontiff, who alone possesses the fullness of jurisdiction. Such pretensions to possess it are clearly a usurpation of papal powers and such acts are made null and void by Pope Pius XII’s election constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis governing interregnums.

Series Summary

The conclusions from the series running this past two months are clear:

1) The Church is a Divine Society founded by Christ on St. Peter the Rock (Vatican Council); without St. Peter to direct and guide the successors of the Apostles, the bishops, the Church cannot exist, (Pope Pius XII, Pope Pius IX, St. Thomas Aquinas, others). We are obligated to adhere to even the opinions of the popes as the truth (, not the ruminations of Traditionalists. Only canonically elected popes, not Traditionalists, may determine the definition and application of Divine Law in any given situation.

2) The bishops are subordinate to the Roman Pontiff and receive their jurisdiction from him, NOT directly from Christ (Pope Pius XII). “Bishops must be considered as the more illustrious members of the Universal Church, for they are united by a very special bond to the divine Head of the whole Body and so are rightly called ‘principal parts of the members of the Lord’ … Yet in exercising this office they are not altogether independent, but are subordinate to the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff, although enjoying the ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly from the same Supreme Pontiff” (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis; see also

3) Only those men granted offices by the competent authority in harmony with the sacred canons are to be considered bishops and priests (DZ 960, 967, Council of Trent; Can. 147 and authentic interpretation endorsed by Pope Pius XII). This canon rules that those who have not received their orders in this manner cannot possess either valid orders or jurisdiction (

4) The Supreme Pontiff holds the primacy of jurisdiction in the Church and he alone can determine who does and does not possess valid orders or episcopal jurisdiction (Vatican Council). In the absence of a true Roman Pontiff, no jurisdiction can be conveyed or supplied, even to those possessing unquestionably valid orders (Pope Pius XII in VAS, ).

5) Epikeia cannot be used to relax the laws governing the administration of the Sacraments even if Traditionalists could prove they are certainly validly ordained/consecrated. The Sacraments were instituted by Divine law and cannot fall under ecclesiastical law, which is all epikeia may be used to regulate (

6) Lefebvre and Thuc were formally members of the Novus Ordo sect at the time they ordained and consecrated Traditionalists and their “successors.” As such, they were not members of the Catholic Church, but schismatics who were infamous and unable to transmit valid orders (Pope Pius XII, Can. 2314, 2294 §2, numerous decisions of the Holy Office; see the heading Holy Office at Instead of refusing to listen to them and repelling them as Canon Law prescribes, Traditionalists welcomed them with open arms and communicated with them, receiving their sacraments and attending their masses. According to decisions of the Holy See, this also involved them in schism and communicatio in sacris.

7) At present, “recognize and resist” Traditionalists implicitly endorse the Roman usurpers because they refuse to renounce and separate from them and the clergy created under their auspices as required by Can. 1325. If they wish to die in the Church bequeathed to us by Pope Pius XII, they must accept all the papal teachings and laws of that Church as they existed at the time of Pope Pius XII’s death. Sedevacantist Traditionalists are no better, contenting themselves with their “bishops” who usurp papal jurisdiction and rule as Gallicanist mini-popes.

8) Canon 1812 tells us that acts issuing from the Roman Pontiff and the Roman Curia during the exercise of their office and entered as proof in ecclesiastical courts “prove the facts asserted,” (Can. 1816), and force the judge to pronounce in favor of the party producing the document, (commentary by Revs. Woywod-Smith). “Proof to the contrary is not admitted against Letters of the Roman Pontiff bearing his signature,” (Abp. Amleto Cicognani, Canon Law, 1935, p. 626, ft. note). Documents entered into the Acta Apostolic Sedis do not need to be submitted in the original or be an authenticated copy, (Can. 1819). If Traditionalists want to prove their case, they must produce the papal documents permitting them to act during an interregnum and declaring orders from a schismatic and irregular bishop to be certainly valid and capable of being exercised.

9) According to the unanimous opinion of theologians and canonists, whenever there is a doubt regarding the validity of the Sacraments or the (ordinary) means necessary to eternal salvation, one must take the safer course and not receive the sacraments as Bd. Innocent XI teaches in DZ 1151 ( When in doubt, the person cannot act before resolving the doubt without committing grave sin. Traditionalists can continue their campaign to shame stay-at-home Catholics into accepting their position, but they are staying at home in order to follow the laws and teachings of the Church, And no amount of shaming will convince them that Traditionalists are right, and the Church is wrong.

10) All the above, representing the proofs provided over the past two months in this blog series, is taken almost exclusively from papal and conciliar documents, Canon Law, and other reliable sources approved before the death of Pope Pius XII. The system of Scholasticism is followed to the best of the author’s ability. The method for following Canon Law is employed. The proofs presented demonstrate the mind of the Church on these matters but is met with silence from Traditionalists.


Disobedience to the Roman Pontiffs, the continual magisterium, typifies the behavior of Traditionalists in general, and St. Thomas Aquinas identifies the root of this sin: “…Disobedience arises from vainglory,” which is a type of pride. “The first sin of our first parents, which sin was transmitted to all men was not disobedience as such but pride, from which the man proceeded to disobey…It is a greater duty to obey a higher than a lower authority, in sign of which the command of a lower authority is set aside if it be contrary to the command of a higher authority…The higher the person who commands, the more grievous it is to disobey him,” (Summa, Pt. II-II, Q. 105, Art.1 and 2, Rep. Obj. 3).

“Indirectly and accidently…pride makes a man despise the Divine law which hinders him from sinning, (Jeremias 2:20; Summa, Pt. II-II, Q. 162, Art.2). “Knowledge of truth is two-fold. One is purely speculative and pride hinders this indirectly by removing its cause. For the proud man subjects not his intellect to God, that he may receive the knowledge of truth from Him, according to Matt. 11:25,” which verse, St. Thomas explains, means that God hides things from the proud and reveals them to the humble. “Furthermore, proud men will listen to nothing from other men as they should, (Ecclus. 6:34).”

St. Thomas continues, “The other knowledge of truth is affective, and this is indirectly hindered by pride, because the proud, through delighting in their own excellence, disdain the excellence of truth. Thus Gregory says, (Moral xxiii, loc cit.) that ‘the proud, although certain hidden truths be conveyed to their understanding, cannot realize their sweetness: and if they know of them they cannot relish them.’ Hence it is written (Prov. 11:2), ‘Where humility is, there also is wisdom,’” (Summa, Pt. II-II, Q. 162, Art.3). Ingratitude and excusing oneself from any wrongdoing are indicators of pride, according to St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and St. Bernard, all quoted by St. Thomas, (Summa, Pt. II-II, Q. 162, Art.4). St. Bernard also lists rebelliousness, along with arrogance and presumption, as three of the twelve degrees of pride.

Sadly, this explains why it is so unlikely that those belonging to the various Traditionalists sects will ever admit they have lived in error all these years: pride prevents them from accepting the truth, which, St. Thomas says, is hidden from them. In reading what is presented throughout this site, the reader is asked to keep in mind the following passage from Thomas á Kempis’ Imitation of Christ, Ch. 5: “Let not the authority of the writer offend thee, whether he was of little or great learning, but let the love of pure truth lead thee to read. Inquire not who said this but attend to what is said. Men pass away, but the truth of the Lord remaineth forever” (Psalm 116).



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Traditionalist mistranslates Council of Trent to condemn “home-alone”

Traditionalist mistranslates Council of Trent to condemn “home-alone”

+St. Venantius+

It is hard to believe that a man presenting as a Traditional priest or bishop would falsify the words of the Council of Trent. Think it couldn’t happen? Well it did, many years ago, on the pretext of proving the meaning of the Council’s words was misrepresented by home-aloners based on a faulty translation. And that article is still circulating today, forwarded to us recently for comment by a reader. This so-called cleric points to the home-aloner in question at that time as ignorant of Latin and therefore unable to present the true context of the quote. (Because the cleric claims there has been “a mistranslation,” this commonly used source he faults will not be considered here.) The Trent text in question refers to the inability of clerics, who are neither rightly ordained nor sent, to function as legitimate priests. The teaching cited can be found in Sess. 23 of Trent, Can. 7.

Below is the Traditional cleric’s rendering of the Trent canon, allegedly taken from the Latin text. He refers to this as a “correct translation,” adding his comments on that canon:

“’If anyone says… that orders conferred by [bishops] without the consent or call of the people or of the secular power are invalid; or, that those who have been neither ordained by ecclesiastical and canonical power with the proper ceremonies nor sent, but come from elsewhere, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments: let him be anathema.’ …The Latin expression rite ordinati does not mean something like ‘rightly ordained canon-law-wise.’

“Another favorite home-aloner phrase in the canon, sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, is likewise a mistranslation. For starters, the part of the phrase beginning with ‘by’ has been misplaced in the translation. In Latin it modifies ‘ordained,’ not ‘sent.’ ‘Authority,’ moreover, is an incorrect translation here for potestas, which means ‘power.’ The specific kind of power is the Church’s sacramental power, here referred to as ‘ecclesiastical and canonical power’ (ecclesiastica et canonica potestate)… Put simply, Canon 7 in Latin doesn’t say what the home-aloners thought it said. Rather, the canon condemns sacramental ministry without true sacramental ordination.” Well the reception of Traditional orders has been demonstrated as doubtful in this blog series on several different grounds, and unfortunately jurisdiction must also exist in order for any priest or bishop to possess apostolicity. And Mr. Traditionalist here misplaces and pointedly ignores the word ‘sent.’

To compare the rendition of the Traditionalist’s translation above with authentic translations, made from the Latin, during the reign of a true pope and with the proper supervision and approval, the following is presented from the Council of Trent documents themselves.

CANON VII — “If any one saith, that bishops are not superior to priests; or, that they have not the power of confirming and ordaining; or, that the power which they possess is common to them and to priests; or, that orders, conferred by them, without the consent, or vocation of the people, or of the secular power, are invalid; or, that those who have neither been rightly ordained, nor sent, by ecclesiastical and canonical power, but come from elsewhere, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments; let him be anathema” (see this text at

The above online translation is identical to that found in The Canons and Decrees of the Sacred and Ecumenical Council of Trent translated by Rev. J. Waterworth, Newark, N.J., in 1848, “…from Le Plat’s copy (1779) of the authentic edition, published at Rome in 1564… a verbatim representation of the words of the Council.” The English translation of this same canon by Rev. H.J. Schroeder, O.P., 1940, (TAN Books), varies little, reading:

“If anyone say that bishops are not superior to priests; or, that they have not the power to confirm and ordain; or, that the power which they have is common to them and 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 neither been rightly ordained, nor sent, by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but come from elsewhere, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments; let him be anathema.” As can be seen from these sources, there is nothing even remotely referencing “with the proper ceremonies” found in these texts. Nor is the order he points to as falsely represented from the Latin reflected in the three translations quoted above, so three translators (and actually four, as will be seen below) disagree with him.

So let us examine the truth of these accusations one by one, beginning with the claim that the power referred to in this canon is not at all related to Canon Law.

“Rite-ly ordained” and Canon Law

To place what has been said above into its proper perspective, readers must note what Abp. Amleto Cicognani writes in his Canon Law: “Pope Pius IV, in the Bull of Confirmation [for Trent], forbade under severest penalties all men, ecclesiastics as well as laymen,to publish in any form, any commentaries, glosses, annotations, scholia, or any kind of interpretation whatsoever of the decrees of the said Council; or to settle anything in regard thereto under any plea whatsoever, even under the pretext of greater corroboration of the decrees or the more perfect execution thereof or under every other color whatsoever.’ He ordered where aught seemed obscure and in need of interpretation and decision that recourse be had to the Apostolic See” (pgs. 303-304). There is no doubt that the Traditional cleric in question here attempts to assign new verbiage to this Trent canon as well as an entirely new meaning. This is not only misinterpretation but falsification of an infallible document, which carries with it a censure for such acts (Can. 2360). On the other hand, “home-aloners,” did not attempt to “interpret” this canon, taking it exactly as it was written.

And concerning the Council of Trent’s relation to Canon Law, in the preface to his translation, Rev. Waterworth writes: “The decrees of discipline and reformation published by [Trent] embody the leading principles of Canon Law, by which the government and polity of the Church are, in great measure, now regulated.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, under Canon Law states: “The sources of law later than the Corpus Juris’ [early canons] are: the decisions of councils, especially of the Council of Trent (1545-1563), which are so varied and important that by themselves they form a short code, though without much order…” So what is this Traditionalist talking about? Further, Abp. Amleto Cicognani writes in his Canon Law: “The standard and chief norm of framing the Code was obviously the cure and salvation of souls” (emph. his). “Hence the wise diffusion of ecclesiastical power, the increase in the rights and attributes of bishops… the more accurate formation of clerical piety and learning, greater liberty for the Church, …etc.” (p. 427).

Pope Pius XII warns of the dangers of deliberately misinterpreting the canons as follows:

“The good of the Church demands that we take all possible care that the stability of Canon Law be not endangered by the uncertain opinions and conjectures of private parties regarding the true sense of the canons, and that interpretations which rest on subtleties and cavils against the clear will of the legislator do not result in undue indulgence toward violators of the law, a thing which disrupts the nerve of ecclesiastical discipline,” (decision concerning Can. 2319 § 1,1; Pope Pius XII Motu Proprio 1953). And this is what the Traditional cleric providing his false translation all these years has attempted to do.

As has been noted in various articles published to this site for the past 13 years, the authoritative canonical interpretation of Trent’s Sess. 23, Can. 7 is actually contained in Canon Law itself. It can be found under Can. 147 in the Canon Law Digest, Vol. III, T. Lincoln Bouscaren, S.J., 1942-1953. Canon 17 reminds us that “The authoritative interpretation of the law given in the form of law has the same force as the law itself.” The text of Trent’s Canon 7 in this translation varies only in one word, but that one word destroys the arguments of the Traditionalist cleric.

“If anyone says… that those who are neither duly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but who come from elsewhere, are legitimate ministers of the word and of the Sacraments, let him be anathema.” The Canon Law Digest page is provided below.

Here, duly is substituted by the Sacred Congregation of the Council for “rightly” in the other translations, (or “rite-ly” as the Traditionalist alleges). This seems to indicate that the interpretation is to be taken according to the meaning as it is explained in the instruction, which is exactly as it has been understood by this author all along. Under law, (and here we are speaking of legal matters) the Cambridge Dictionary defines duly as: “The way that is correct or expected according to the law or rules.” And in Black’s Law Dictionary: “In due or proper form or manner; according to legal requirements.  Regularly; upon a proper foundation, as distinguished from mere form.” Canon 18 instructs those studying the law that ecclesiastical laws are to be “interpreted according to the meaning proper to the text and context.”

As has been documented on this site for nearly two decades, and especially in ordaining priests and consecrating bishops, Traditionalists have repeatedly violated both papal teaching and Canon Law. Matter and form is not enough in ordination; proper intention also is necessary, as Pope Leo XIII affirms in his constitution Apostolica Curae on Anglican orders. There can be no certainty regarding the reception of Traditional orders owing to questionable intention and the inability to receive jurisdiction. This has been covered over and over again on this site from numerous angles, and still Traditionalists assume they can validly exercise any orders they might have received, which they are forbidden to do. They are not legitimate pastors by decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Council and Pope Pius XII.

No office, no power

Given the tenor of this authentic interpretation of Can. 147, (which is listed in the A.A.S. and is therefore binding on Catholics) and the fact that Pope Pius XII lists several excommunications incurred for violating this law, it can scarcely be brushed off as inconsequential. In fact, it is the very decision of the Holy See on this matter mentioned by Pope Pius IV in confirming the Council of Trent. From the beginning of the Sacred Council’s instruction, it is clear the Pope is not speaking here of ordination only, but of jurisdiction and the right to fill an office (para. 1). Canonical investiture is the act of putting one in possession of an office, benefice or dignity (Catholic Encyclopedia). This has not only to do with orders, but jurisdiction; for ordination does not confer the office (or dignity) and its accompanying external jurisdiction (the act of the bishop delegating the jurisdiction to exercise that office). The meaning of Can. 147 is clear: “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.”

But today no canonical appointment is possible because there are no certainly valid (Traditional) bishops or heads of religious communities (competent ecclesiastical authority) in communion with a true pope to make such appointments. And certainly very little Traditionalists do, particularly regarding obedience to the laws on jurisdiction and Holy Orders, is in harmony with the sacred canons. It is the ecclesiastical office which conveys ecclesiastical power, whether of orders or jurisdiction. This Rev. Charles Augustine notes in his A Commentary on Canon Law: “Every ecclesiastical office involves some jurisdiction, though its real and full nature appears only when exercised in foro externo. The term ecclesiastical office is generally to be taken in its proper sense as denoting ecclesiastical power” (see Rev. Augustine, Vol. II under canons 145-146). And if such jurisdiction cannot be conveyed by Holy Orders, since the Council of Chalcedon forbids it, it has to come from somewhere. As has been demonstrated on numerous occasions, it cannot and does not issue directly from Christ.

Thuc, Lefebvre et al resigned their ecclesiastical offices under Pope Pius XII. They then took up offices under a false pope. In other words, they gave away all their power and could not validly convey that power to those they ordained. Bishops in a diocese assign the priests they ordain to specific parishes. Thuc and Lefebvre had no power to assign their “priests” to any given office or parish or delegate any jurisdiction they may have possessed. This is the sending, not the ordaining power. And how can they go, unless they be sent? A future canonically elected pope may decide their ordinations were valid, but this has yet to be determined.  Each case would need to be examined by the pope based on its own merits, as has been the Church’s practice in the past. This priest keeps referring to the “sacramental power” Traditionalists received in ordination, but this power is not conveyed without an actual office because the permission of the diocesan bishop to exercise it is never given.

For the record, Traditionalists insist they do not possess offices at all, just “sacramental power,” (which may or may not have been received but is not ACTIVATED without appointment to an office!). Therefore they cannot lay claim to any type of jurisdiction, for this can come only through a bishop in communion with the Roman Pontiff who possesses an actual office himself. This is what the Sacred Congregation of the Council and Pope Pius XII decided in their authentic interpretation of Can. 147. If those claiming to be priests do not possess an office or some dignity as required by the canons and cannot present letters of recommendation from a certainly valid bishop, they cannot even celebrate Mass publicly. This from Revs. Woywod-Smith, A Practical Commentary on Canon Law, (Can. 804):

“700. The Council of Chalcedon (451) ruled that no strange cleric or lector should be permitted to minister outside his own town without letters of recommendation from his own bishop. Pope Innocent III issued the same prohibition but said that the priest who did not have his letters of recommendation might be admitted to say Mass if he desired to do so out of devotion: he might not, however, say Mass before the people, but privately. The Council of Trent again made the rule absolute — as the Council of Chalcedon had it — that no priest should be permitted to celebrate Mass and administer the Sacraments without letters of recommendation from his own bishop.” (This condemns the error of absolute ordination, referred to above — the belief that jurisdiction is received with ordination. Canon 111 also states: “Every cleric must belong to some diocese or some religious organization. No recognition may be extended to vagrant clerics,” and no one can be considered a cleric in such a diocese without valid first tonsure, which Rev. Augustine says is a jurisdictional act.)

Traditionalists do not obey Canon Law — instituted for the cure and salvation of souls — if they have neither an office nor a decision made by a canonically elected pope, authorizing them as validly ordained. The question remains then, who has called them to embark on this valiant crusade to “save souls” if not a duly authorized bishop or the Supreme Pontiff?

The call of the people

So if Traditionalists have no office, and therefore no power to exercise the orders they have purportedly received, from whom do they derive their “power”? In surveying the Internet on these various issues, there is no Traditional site to be found that does not base their raison D’être to operate on the “Divine” law of procuring the “salvation of souls,” something only those validly and licitly ordained are commissioned to do. According to them, this divine call supersedes even the decrees of popes and Canon Law. But this is truly a diabolical artifice disguised as a supreme good, enabling these men to do exactly what the Novus Ordo church does: place the service and interests of the people, not God, first. The popes have the power to bind and loose, and Christ told St. Peter that what he and his successors bind on earth will be bound in Heaven.

In previous decisions of the Holy Office, as well as in Pope Pius VI’s Charitas, the Church has already implicitly determined what this phrase “salvation of souls” in times of necessity means. Pope Pius XII in his Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis has also infallibly declared that the acts of those violating papal laws during an interregnum are null and void, and thus is speaking with the Divine assistance in so declaring. They cannot pretend to bypass the very head Christ established for His Church on earth to appeal to Him directly when that head alone is infallible. The popes have already indicated their mind in such matters and this is only a specious dissimulation intended to convince their followers they are above the law. In actuality, they are usurping papal power by interpreting Divine law in this situation without the charism of infallibility. Another black mark against them, to join the many others.

Following the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae in 1969, those exiting the church in Rome began searching for priests who could provide them with Mass and Sacraments. Instead of searching for priests, however, they should instead have studied the teachings of the Church regarding similar circumstances. Had they done so, they would soon have realized it wasn’t just a matter of “finding” a priest willing to provide the services they were requesting.  Canon 467 tells us that, “The pastor [a man possessing an office lawfully and enjoying certainly valid and licit ordination] must hold the divine services, [and] administer the Sacraments to the faithful whenever they legitimately request it…” Under Can. 682, legitimate pastors are required only to administer the necessary Sacraments when requested, (Baptism and Matrimony), but only “according to the rules of ecclesiastical discipline.” No one in this current situation is allowed to approach pastors who are not legitimate.

Seminary Professor John Joseph McVey, who wrote his Manual of Christian Doctrine in 1926, teaches in Q. 77 of his work, on the power of jurisdiction: “A bishop who did not have his spiritual powers from the Pope, a pastor who did not have his from the lawful bishop, would be an intruder or schismatic” (emph. McVey’s) In Q. 78 in answer to the question: ”Is it lawful to receive the sacraments from an intruded pastor?” McVey responds: “Only in case of mortal illness, when it is impossible to have a worthy minister, is it lawful to receive absolution from an intruded pastor…” (see Canons 882, 2252 and 2261 §3). Of course, McVey assumed such a pastor would possess unquestionably valid orders and that there would be a reigning pontiff to supply the necessary jurisdiction, definitely lacking in a vitandus; but neither of these conditions exist today.

Because no other call to administer these sacraments is discernible in the case of Traditionalists, it must be assumed that the only call their “clergy” are answering is the perceived “need” and assumed right of their followers to receive the Sacraments, regardless of the teachings of the Church and the canons of the code forbidding such administration and reception. But as explained in a previous blog at, true doubt has been established regarding both the validity of orders and the non-existence of the supplying power among Traditional clergy. And whenever there is doubt regarding a Sacrament, according to the rules of ecclesiastical discipline (Canon Law), both canonists and all moral theologians agree that the safer course must be taken; the faithful must forego receiving the sacraments and attending their masses.

This was expected of those behind the Iron Curtain who were without priests, of those in France during the French Revolution, and at other times in history. It is reflected in the decisions of the Holy See presented in the last blog, Additional Proofs Traditionalist Clergy Cannot Function.  It was expected that those having to make this sacrifice would accept it as God’s will for them and offer it up as a sort of martyrdom of spirit, which many of them did, some of them only until they became martyrs for the faith in actuality.

But no one today is willing to make these sacrifices in union with Our Lord’s death on the Cross during this time, when we are enduring the Passion of Christ’s Church. They wish to be deprived of nothing, (or as little as possible), and suffer nothing for His sake. That was fine for those others asked to make this sacrifice, but not for them; God would never be so cruel. Forget the fact He was “cruel” to others, something they refuse to consider. This attitude disrupts the individual Catholic’s interior life and nullifies the very principles on which the Catholic Church was founded. Duly ordained and sent clergy who truly cared for their salvation would have explained to them they could not satisfy their requests for Mass and Sacraments and would have helped them to cultivate the virtues they needed to accept and resign themselves to the situation, but this did not happen.

How many years have those believing they are true Catholics been deceived by these very men pretending to be their saviors? Have they forgotten that even if these men were legitimate pastors they would only be acting as intermediaries for Christ, who Himself provides their Mass and Sacraments? Have they also forgotten, if they ever knew, that, as Pope Pius XII taught: “The Roman Pontiff… is the head and ruler of the Church, the living Christ on earth”? (address closing the Ignatian Year, July 31, 1956). It is incomprehensible that anyone would stoop to distort a conciliar document confirmed by several different popes, speaking in Christ’s own name, but this is what has occurred. If those who follow these Traditional pretenders and their associates can live with such a deception, they are no longer Catholic.

(Copies of Rev. Waterworth’s Council of Trent documents and any other corroborating evidence are available on request.)

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