+Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus+
Sweet Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us and on our erring brethren
Many have attempted to participate in the forums on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, but also website forums, which host disputes regarding matters of faith among Traditionalists. I have rarely viewed or commented in such forums and have attempted only to refute the numerous errors found in these mediums on this website, both in articles and blog posts. Although readers’ motives for refuting these errors are sound — i.e., to defend the faith — the Church forbids disputes of this nature as explained below, while permitting both private refutation of errors by the faithful and formal refutations according to Her own Scholastic method. This of course does not set well with Traditionalists, who are well-versed in the art of ad hominem attacks and sophistic argument. They challenge those they oppose with the cry that the theologians have always engaged in such debates to help clarify truths of faith, and that is correct as far as it goes. But as is always the case with Traditionalists they assume as proven that which is yet to be proven.
First, they assume they are Catholics and can therefore dispute these things among themselves and with others. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Secondly, they falsely assume that the things they discuss are open to discussion and have not been settled by the Roman Pontiffs. This is very often untrue, but Traditionalists, who regularly fail to recognize pronouncements of the ordinary magisterium as binding, hold that such pronouncements do not demand at least a firm internal assent on their part. Thirdly, they ignore the teachings of Canon Law, (on this point and many others), which forbids them to engage in these discussions. Lastly, they fail to reconcile previous laws and teachings with more recent papal teaching and waste much time attempting to prove that which either was decided in the past and misconstrued or misinterpreted by modern theologians or decisions made in the first half of the last century. For these reasons, true Catholics cannot participate in these forums and must not engage them in any public disputation, and this will be elaborated below.
The papacy first, then the Church
In his work The Vatican Decrees in Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance, 1875, Henry Edward Cardinal Manning explains that while Catholics were accustomed to theologians treating the Body of the Church in their works before the Head, the Roman Pontiff, the Vatican Council reversed this order and treated first the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff, a distinct and important change in method. This placed the historical order as preferred to the logical order used previously, following Our Lord’s choosing of St. Peter as pope, and then the appointment of St. Peter as the rock on which the Church was founded and from whom all would take direction regarding the Church.
“To Peter alone first was given the plenitude of jurisdiction and of infallible authority,” Manning writes. “Afterwards the gift of the Holy Ghost was shared with him by all the Apostles. From him and through him therefore, all began… A clear and precise conception of the Primacy is necessary to a clear and precise conception of the Church. Unless it be first distinctly apprehended, the doctrine of the Church will be always proportionately obscure. The doctrine of the Church does not determine the doctrine of the Primacy, but the doctrine of the Primacy does precisely determine the doctrine of the Church. Beginning therefore with the Head, the Council has followed our Lord’s example, both in teaching and in fact.”
THE ABOVE PARAGRAPH MUST BE WHOLLY COMPREHENDED AND DIGESTED BY ANYONE WISHING TO BE COUNTED AS CATHOLIC. It is the definitive explanation of why Traditionalists do not understand Christ’s constitution of the Church, or Her true purpose on earth. Elsewhere in his work, Manning goes into great detail to explain how the proponents of Liberalism had “generated the heresies of Gallicanism, Imperialism, Regalism, and nationalism, the perennial sources of error of, contention and schism,” which is precisely what we see today, both among Traditionalists and in the world in general. Traditionalists are not members of the Catholic Church because they operate either under a false pope or no pope, contrary to papal commands. They therefore are to be regarded as non-Catholics, and there is no help for this. They are part of the problem, NOT the solution.
Catholic guidelines for discussion
Every established society has rules of discussion and resolution of issues, and the Church is no exception. Unlike civil governments, the method prescribed by the Church, the Scholastic method, is the ONLY method endorsed by the Vicar of Christ. Unless this method is followed and adhered to, those failing to use it can be ignored because they are not obeying the popes. “When a scholastic sets down a thesis, he is expected to offer evidence to show that it should be accepted as a correct explanation of Our Lord’s message” (Msgr. J. C. Fenton, The Concept of Sacred Theology). This has been done, over and over again. They offer no evidence whatsoever, only aimless arguments. Fenton also notes that “Melchior Cano rightly attaches the authority of teachers in canon law to that of the scholastics” (Ibid.). Canon Law is negatively infallible according to the unanimous opinion of theologians, which binds Catholics (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, Discipline); theologians individually do not enjoy such infallibility. That is precisely why they prefer them. Cano lists the Popes, the Councils, the Sacred Congregations and the Fathers as the primary sourcesbefore ever mentioning the canonists and theologians.
But where Canon Law is negatively infallible — and all theologians are in agreement on this — the teachings of individual theologians are not negatively infallible. Only the unanimous opinion of theologians is binding on Catholics. Monsignor Joseph Fenton, in response to a Modernist attack launched by a fellow theologian favoring Vatican 2 progressivism, wrote: “It is quite obvious that the individual opinions of individual authors do not constitute Catholic doctrine and could not be set forth as such. But there is a fund of common teaching (like that which tells us that there are truths which the Church proposes to us as revealed by God, and which are not contained in any way within the inspired books of Holy Scripture), which is the unanimous doctrine of the manuals, and which is the doctrine of the Catholic Church. The unanimous teaching of the scholastic theologians has always been recognized as a norm of Catholic doctrine. It is unfortunate that today there should be some attempt to mislead people into imagining that it has ceased to be such a norm in the twentieth century” (The Doctrinal Authority of the Encyclicals,” Part II, The American Ecclesiastical Review, September 1949). So this error was already spreading among liberal theologians in the 1940s.
Any Traditionalist “objections” to what appears on this site which are not backed up with the teachings of the popes or ecumenical councils, the Sacred Congregations or Canon Law, are not worthy to be considered as an adequate response to any given question and must be dismissed. “Every judgment must be based on evidence. No argument or conclusion contrary to the evident facts is valid…The demand for an infinite series of premises and the rejection of any self-evident premises is unreasonable and skeptical” (Rev. Bernard Wuellner, S.J., Summary of Scholastic Principles). Self-evident premises are those that should need no further explanation because, as St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, “Now, a truth may be self-evident in two ways: (a) in itself and to the human mind; or (b) in itself, but not to the human mind.” (The Existence of God; Summa Theologica). Every effort has been made on this site to provide the necessary scholastic proofs not evident to the human mind. Rev. A.C. Cotter explains in his ABC’s of Scholastic Philosophy that when the known quantity of any given thing is sufficiently evident “…it forces our assent… One can call it into question only under pain of bidding defiance to the accepted dictates of common sense… If such a conviction could be false… we could no longer trust any conviction” (p. 167).
So forget Catholic sense; Traditionalists do not even exhibit common sense! There could be nothing more evident to a real Catholic than the fact that the only true Church on earth is the Catholic Church and this Church is distinguished primarily by Her true Head on earth. As Pope Pius IX who confirmed the Vatican Council teaches, without that head there can BE no Church; all Catholics must know this to retain their Church membership. And that head must also be indisputably Catholic as that term has been understood throughout the centuries, so certainly bowing to pagan religions as the usurpers have done and participating in their ceremonies, a sacrilege even to Protestant minds, is manifest evidence of their break with Catholicism. These truths are SELF-EVIDENT and need no further proofs or explanations. Endless arguments and denial of these truths result in heresy (skepticism, according to Cotter as well) and points to only one thing: Traditionalists are not rational, and they certainly are not Catholic. They point fingers at this author as being “a nut case” for electing and following a false pope, but that at least was reasoned out based on the best information available at the time. What is truly insane is a church calling itself Catholic without a true pope!
Scholastic method teaches: “In a conflict of law, the higher law prevails. Laws justly declaring an incapacity to act or to receive benefits invalidate the attempted act or reception even if they are inculpably unknown or facts pertaining to their application in a concrete instance are unknown” (Rev. Bernard Wuellner, S.J., Summary of Scholastic Principles). Traditionalist “clerics” did not have to be aware they were receiving questionably valid ordination, or had reasoned out that the popes following Pope Pius XII were usurpers for their “orders” to have been considered invalid. And the laws are just because they guard against a common danger as mentioned in Can. 21 — the risk of sacrilege and fraud. The Roman Pontiff is always the source of the highest law and is the only one who can interpret and decide matters of the Divine and natural law — NOT Traditionalists. That was what was decided at the Vatican Council, once and for all, and is the very dogma Traditionalists refuse to accept.
We are not allowed to engage in disputes with non-Catholics, and Traditionalists are non-Catholics. In these forums and websites they run, Traditionalists attempt to engage those who stay at home in a series of disputations which are conducted entirely contrary to Scholastic and canonical rules approved and enforced by the Roman Pontiff! Canon 1325 states: “The faithful are bound to profess their faith publicly whenever silence, subterfuge or their manner of acting would otherwise entail an implicit denial of their faith, a contempt of religion, an insult to God or scandal to their neighbor… Catholics shall not enter into any disputes or conferences with non-Catholics — especially public ones — without the permission of the Holy See, or in urgent cases, of the local Ordinary (bishop).”
Even though we are obligated under the law to defend the faith in the first part of this canon, and certainly this obligation applies to our circumstances today, the law makes it clear that this does not extend to (debates or) disputes with Traditionalist non-Catholics. In his 1945 papal election law Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, para. 3, (http://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/1-what-constitutes-the-papacy/apostolic-constitution-vacantis-apostolicae-sedis/) Pope Pius XII declares null and void all the actions of anyone who dares to usurp papal jurisdiction during an interregnum such as we now are experiencing. Pius XII is saying that during an interregnum no one can presume his permission to engage in certain acts that he would otherwise need to approve. And there is no Ordinary to determine urgent need.
Papal obedience — a self-evident truth
Pope Pius XII in his allocution Si diligus condemned the idea that the laity could attempt to dabble in sacred theology without strict adherence to the teaching of the continual magisterium.
“There never has been, there is not and there will never be any legitimate teaching activity of the laity in the Church which is exempted by God from the authority, the leadership and the vigilance of the sacredmagisterium… The very denial of submission offers convincing proofs and evidence that laymen who speak and act in this way are not guided by the spirit of God and Christ. There is also the danger that incompetent men may begin to instruct their fellows, men who are deceitful and treacherous, men whom St. Paul described when he said: ‘The time will come when men…always itching to hear something fresh, will provide themselves with a continuous succession of new teachers, as the whim takes them, turning a deaf ear to the truth, bestowing their attention on fables instead.” (And as pointed out before, Traditionalists presenting as clerics are nothing more, according to the teachings of the Catholic Church, than laymen.)
“…It is not sufficient for learned Catholics to accept and revere the aforesaid dogmas of the Church… It is also necessary to subject themselves to the decisions pertaining to doctrine which are issued by the Pontifical Congregations, and also to those forms of doctrine which are held by the common and constant consent of Catholics as theological truths and conclusions, so certain that opinions opposed to these same forms of doctrines, although they cannot be called heretical, nevertheless deserve some theological censure” (DZ 1684).
In an article for The American Ecclesiastical Review, (November 1947) Rev. Francis J. Connell, C.S.S.R. wrote: “Besides the infallible teachings of the Church on matters contained in Revelation or connected with it, there also are pronouncements of Her official teachers which are authoritative though not infallible. Such are decisions of the Roman Congregations or Commissions, and also doctrines taught by the pope officially, but without the intention of using the fullness of his authority and of giving a definitive decision. The statements of the Sovereign Pontiff are usually in this category, [but note that Connell wrote before Humani Generis was written]. The faithful are obliged in conscience to accept such decisions internally, for even though their correctness is not guaranteed by the charism of infallibility, those who formulate and promulgate them are undoubtedly aided by the Holy Ghost. Furthermore, every natural precaution is taken before such declarations are published, particularly the meticulous supervision of men who are specialists in the matters involved” [see also DZ 2008]. The acceptance of these decisions is not an act of Divine faith, but is rather an act of obedience, known as religious assent…The general rule is that all Catholics, learned and unlearned, clergy and laity, must acquiesce wholeheartedly to these authoritative (though not infallible) decisions of the Church…”
AND IT IS A SELF-EVIDENT AND INFALLIBLE TRUTH, taught by Pope Boniface VIII, that “EVERY HUMAN CREATURE… BY NECESSITY FOR SALVATION [MUST BE] ENTIRELY SUBJECT TO THE ROMAN PONTIFF” (DZ 469).
Etienne Gilson, in his The Church Speaks to the Modern World: Social Teachings, Pope Leo XIII, 1954, writes: “The Encyclical letters are the usual means by which the Popes exercise this definite teaching function. These letters are the highest expression of the ordinary teaching of the Church. To the extent that they restate the infallible teachings of the Church, the pronouncements of the encyclical letters are themselves infallible. Moreover, while explaining and developing such infallible teachings, or while using them as a sure criterion in the condemnation of errors, or even while striving to solve the social, economic, and political problems of the day in the light of these infallible teachings, the Popes enjoy the special assistance of the Holy Ghost, a higher guidance in which the supernatural gift of prudence plays a decisive part. The teachings of the Popes, as found in their Encyclical Letters, can by no means be considered as expressing mere opinions which anyone is free to hold or to reject at will. Even though they may not be binding as to faith in ALL their parts, the teachings of an encyclical are all directly related to Faith by the Supreme Teaching Authority of the Church with the special assistance of the Holy Ghost. There is always grave temerity in not accepting a teaching of an encyclical on any one of the points it touches.” This of course was later confirmed by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis.
Pius XII taught in Humani Generis that, “The Magisterium must be the proximate and universal criterion of truth for all theologians, since to it has been entrusted by Our Lord the whole deposit of Faith — Sacred Scripture and Divine Tradition — to be preserved, guarded and interpreted.” As Msgr. J. C. Fenton stated in the December 1946 issue of The American Ecclesiastical Review, “Every dogmatic definition is the statement of a truth given to the Church before the death of the last Apostle. The expressed acceptance of the body of truth within which the defined doctrine belongs constitutes the profession of faith necessary for membership in the true Church of Jesus Christ,” (“The Necessity for the Definition of Papal Infallibility…”). As Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey has pointed out, “We must submit ourselves with childlike docility to the teachings of faith…We submit our judgment not only to the truths of faith, but to the directions of the Holy See…We must study before all else not what is pleasing but what is profitable…In order to discipline the mind we must study what is most necessary, with the desire to know and love the truth and to live by it…As St. Augustine tells us, knowledge should be put to the service of love: ‘Let knowledge be used in order to erect the structure of charity,’” (The Spiritual Life).
The necessity of true knowledge
In his work, The Life of the World to Come, Abbot Dom Anscar Vonier, O.S.B. explains how true knowledge is the reality that lies behind the symbolism of the Scriptures regarding our existence in Heaven. And yet, if we do not even bother to strive to taste this knowledge while on earth, consigning our blessed heritage instead to the unworthy, we debase and rob ourselves of a portion of our spiritual inheritance, even of Heaven itself.
“The much exhausted student of theology is told that… his intellect one day, if he but die in the grace of God, will practically become omniscient; the whole mighty universe will one day be reflected in his mind, as in a mirror, and he himself will find it possible to express that universe to himself and to other minds. Many a student has been tempted to look upon his present labors as upon idle and wasted efforts, being mindful that such an inheritance of knowledge would be his one day without any such effort… [But] mental slothfulness would be for him the surest road to the loss of that heavenly wealth of knowledge and light which is the reward of all mortal struggles.
“There is no surer sign of decadence than an aversion for knowledge. Not to want to know is the beginning of brutalisation in man. A passion for knowledge is the surest sign of a healthy mental constitution, whilst listlessness and indifference for the bright things of the intellect argues more than mental paralysis: it is a positive depravity of the heart; the heart has become heavy through the things of the senses, and it loathes the effort which is implied in all true knowledge. Judged by this standard, our present generation may appear to some of us as being very near unto salvation. Was there ever a greater effort in the field of knowledge than in our own days? Did men ever attach more value to knowledge than they do now? It is happily not my mission to sit in judgement on my fellow men. Nothing would please me more than the discovery that a great thirst for knowledge is truly discernible amongst the men and women of the present generation.
“With such a thirst none of them can be far from the kingdom of God, and the harvest of souls is sure to be a record crop. There are, however, some alarming signs that this thirst is not a healthy desire for the waters of the spirit, but only the fevered craving of a sick man. Was there ever a greater and more outspoken dislike of doctrine than in our own days? This is a question to be asked in conjunction with the rather complacent questions I put a moment ago into the mouth of an unseen interlocutor. If our society is conspicuous for its appreciation of knowledge, it is not less remarkable for its dislike of doctrine or dogma… When doctrine becomes to his diseased mind a kind of bugbear, [man] clutches all the more tenaciously at what he calls science, which, after all, is merely doctrine on a small and limited scale. Like a bird frightened by some empty sound, man flies away from the cedars of doctrine and hides under the hyssop of science.
“Perhaps an apologist of modern life has a ready answer: he will say that aversion for doctrine is the very thing you will find in a man who thirsts for knowledge. Doctrine fetters the mind and cramps the flight of the intellect towards the regions of pure knowledge. If dislike of doctrine and dogma — and I do not here exclude Catholic doctrine and dogma — were accompanied in our moderns by an intense eagerness to find out things high and divine, by an effort to meet with truth as great as is their energy in driving out doctrine and dogma, one would not be greatly alarmed… [But] there is nowhere noticeable that compensating effort I have just described. The effort to drive out dogma leaves no energy behind to find out things divine. It is not a passion for knowledge, but a positive dislike of knowledge that is at the root of all aversion for doctrine.”
So intent are Traditionalists on establishing and enjoying their manmade Church on earth that they have forgotten their true destination should be Heaven. In the work Towards Vatican III, edited by David Tracy, Hans Kung and Johan B. Metz (1978), a Luis Maldonado notes the “importance and positive value of ritual…” and urges a future council to recognize and address the resurrection of the old rite alongside that of the NOM. Other authors contributing to this work also stress the need for “liturgical pluralism.” No longer do they need a council, however; Traditionalists have done all their work for them. This was the plan all along, as gradual concessions to “tradition” have been made by the usurpers. There is no discernible Catholic knowledge factored into any of this; visuals and externals are all that is necessary to satisfy those mesmerized by the sensual gratification — flashy ritual display minus any content — they mistake for devotion and Catholic practice. And this makes perfect sense: to merge with the Modernist church one must possess a Modernist outlook.
The Modernist tenets of Traditionalism
Just how Modernist Traditionalists truly are is explained in great detail in Pope St. Pius X’s Pascendi Dominici Gregis. Put into question and answer form by the Rev. J.B. Lemius, O.S.I, (A Catechism of Modernism), this encyclical is packed full of references to the very attitudes and beliefs exhibited by Traditionalists, but of course this orientation, like all else “Traditional,” will be ignored. It is, however, a perfect example of how knowledge and a true understanding of the faith has disintegrated into a mockery of the Catholic religion. The most intelligible way to explain this is to enumerate the common points shared by Modernism and Traditionalism. Pope St. Pius X condemns the following Modernist errors, taken from the answers to questions in Lemius’ work.
- Modernists exhibit a “need for the divine,” which in individuals inclined to religion excites a certain sentiment. This need operates “according to the principles of Fideism” which Modernists confuse with the faith. It leads to a sentiment that must be “sanctioned by the heart” (p. 25-26; 38); and it is this experiential “intuition of the heart” that makes the individual a believer and provides the necessary certitude (pgs. 40-41).
- “The Sacraments are a resultant of a double need — everything in their system is explained by inner impulses and NECESSITIES” (p. 59). The first of these is described as “some [external] manifestation for religion;” the second, “is that of propagating it, which could not be done without some sensible form and consecrating acts, and these are called Sacraments.” Pope St. Pius X points out that Modernists really teach the Sacraments were created “solely to foster the faith,” a heresy condemned by the Council of Trent, (DZ 848).
- Traditionalists disregard dogma and believed it should be adaptable to the circumstances (p. 38-39) because they are imbued with the false idea of being able to choose what to believe from among these dogmas, (p. 64-65). This is the democratic idea of governance by the people, versus accepting without question what the Supreme Pontiff teaches as Christ’s Vicar on earth. It totally excludes obedience to Christ’s Vicar.
- They believe they may choose democratically what to believe or not believe in way of dogma and may even critique it; they externally profess obedience to doctrine and acceptance of papal authority while withholding internal assent, (p. 69-70).
- They have no use for logic or scholasticism, (pgs. 123-25).
- Modernists attempt to take away the guidance of intelligence and replace it with religious sentiment and experience (p. 114). “The vast majority of mankind holds and always will hold firmly that sentiment and experience alone, when not enlightened and guided by reason, do not lead to the knowledge of God” (Pope St. Pius X).
- Traditionalists identify Tradition as whatever Catholics hold in way of a “common mind” or collective experience of what went before (false “sensus catholicus,” and “uniting the clans” p. 63-76). In other words, their common need for and common experience of Mass and Sacraments, the Traditionalist experience, is the glue that seals their unity and dictates their faith, NOT the papacy. We read in the Catholic Encyclopedia under Tradition: “Tradition, in the double meaning of the word… is Divine truth coming down to us in the mind of the Church and it is the guardianship and transmission of this Divine truth by the organ of the living magisterium, by ecclesiastical preaching, by the profession of it made by all in the Christian life.” Faith to Traditionalists is only sentiment and common experience.
- Modernists use Traditionalists’ perceived need for the Mass and Sacraments to make it appear they are conserving Tradition while paying lip service to authority, (p. 75).
- The laity must advocate for progress (or conservation) as their consciences dictate and a compromise must be reached with authority, (p. 75). This will accomplish the desired synthesis (as in Toward Vatican III, quoted above).
- The Modernists ignore the condemnations of the Church, (p. 103). They come to each other’s aid when attacked and vent their fury on those who defend Catholic dogma, (pgs. 128-29). They are incorrigible and refuse to desist from their heresy, (pgs. 15, 17).
- “When an adversary rises up against them with an erudition and force that render him redoubtable, they try to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attack,” (p. 128-29).
Summing things up, Pope St. Pius X teaches that the Modernists, (as well as Traditionalists): “are indeed well calculated to deceive souls… This almost destroys all hope of a cure: their very doctrines have given such a bent to their minds that they disdain all authority and brook no restraint. Relying on a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that which in reality is the result of pride and obstinacy… We first of all showed them kindness, then We treated them with severity, and at last We have had recourse… to public reproof,” and this last sentence describes the steps we ourselves have taken over the decades. In his Pascendi, Pope St. Pius X warns us as follows: “The Church’s… injury is certain the more intimate their knowledge of Her,” and to this can be added the more they appear to possess such knowledge, the more likely it is those attracted to them believe they do possess it. St. John tells us to run from the bathhouse before the roof collapses, not stand inside and try to convince the bathers there is a heretic in their midst (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.3.4).