Ignorance Among Traditionalists: Both Culpable and Damning

Ignorance Among Traditionalists: Both Culpable and Damning

+Palm Sunday+

It has come to my attention that many Traditionalists are under the impression they are not “allowed” to judge the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs, the Ecumenical Councils or approved theologians and must instead rely solely on whatever is fed to them by their so-called priests and bishops. Some may think these deluded souls can be excused owing to invincible ignorance, but unfortunately it seems most of them will not fall into that category.

Of all the theologians writing on invincible ignorance, the Scottish Bishop George Hay provides one of the best descriptions of this unfortunate state available. Hay is commended by Henry Cardinal Manning as “one of the most energetic and learned…Vicars Apostolic of Scotland in the last century,” (from Manning’s Miscellanies, 1870, “The Bishop of Rome.”). To quote Hay at length is not necessary. He states quite clearly in his The Sincere Christian that no one — not Turks, heathens or Jews; not sincere Protestants living where there are no Catholics and especially not non-Catholics living amongst Catholics (which describes Traditionalists with access to these and other articles, and most importantly, papal encyclicals) can plead invincible ignorance and expect to be saved. The reason is simple: God died for all men although all did not take advantage of the graces He made available to them, (Council of Trent, Sess. 6, Ch. 3). No one who is truly invincibly ignorant will be condemned for his ignorance per se, but the question is more complicated than just this one consideration.

“Although this invincible ignorance will certainly save a man from sin, in wanting that of which he is invincibly ignorant, yet it is plainly impossible and childish to suppose that this invincible ignorance in one point will make up for the want of all the other conditions required,” Hay wrote. Even validly baptized, sincere Protestant adults having no acquaintance with Catholics cannot retain their baptismal innocence without Confession and therefore cannot be saved unless they manage to make a Perfect Act of Contrition or its equivalent before death, Hay explains, (although their children dying before the age of reason can gain heaven). Owing to the absence of the Church today as a visible juridic Body, and the many deliberate obfuscations and misrepresentations of the faith by Her enemies, this author prays that God is more lenient in this regard than in the past, especially in certain cases. Nevertheless, Bp. Hay comments, “For invincible ignorance to exist, three things are necessarily required:

1) “That a person has a real and sincere desire of knowing the truth. For if he be cold and indifferent about an affair of so great concern as his eternal salvation; if he be careless whether he be in the right way or not; if being enslaved to this present life, he takes no care about the next, it is manifest that an ignorance arising from this disposition is a voluntary ignorance and therefore highly culpable in the sight of God…

2) “For one to be in invincible ignorance it is required that he be sincerely resolved to embrace the truth wherever he may find it and whatever it may cost him.  For if he be not fully resolved to follow the will of God, wherever it shall appear to him, in all things necessary to salvation; if on the contrary, he be so disposed that he would rather neglect his duty and hazard his soul than correct an ill custom, or disoblige his friends, or expose himself to some temporal loss or disadvantage…Such a disposition must be highly displeasing to God and an ignorance arising from it can never excuse him before his Creator…(all emphasis in bold throughout this work is the author’s unless stated otherwise).

3) He must sincerely use his best endeavors to know his duty, and particularly that he recommend that matter earnestly to Almighty God, and pray for light and direction.

For whatever desire he may pretend of knowing the truth, if he do not use the proper means for finding it, it is manifest that his ignorance is not invincible but voluntary; for ignorance is only invincible when one has a sincere desire to know the truth with a full resolution to embrace it, but either has no possible means of knowing it or, after using his best endeavors to know it, yet cannot find it.” (Nor does a formal doubt excuse, for all are expected to resolve such doubts.) “A person brought up in a false faith, which the Scripture calls sects of perdition, doctrines of devils, perverse things, lies and hypocrisy; and who has heard of the true Church of Christ, which condemns all these sects, and sees the divisions and dissensions which they constantly have among themselves, has always before his eyes the most cogent reasons to doubt of the way he is in.” And the dissension among Traditionalists who claim the name Catholic but deny truths of the Catholic faith should be a red flag for all.

Bp. Hay goes on to remind his readers that many are called and few are chosen, and that broad is the path to destruction and narrow is the way to salvation. When asked if he is saying that none who are in heresy and invincible ignorance can be saved, he answers, “God forbid that we should say so! All the above reasons only prove that if they live and die in that state they will not be saved…No man knows or can know what may have passed between God and the soul in his last minutes.” Many attempt to appeal to the various exceptions cited in Canon Law to justify their ignorance in matters of faith. But Canon Law does not generally excuse one from observing the law for reasons of ignorance, the general rule being “Ignorance of the law is no excuse…”

Those now in Traditionalists sects should be advised that Can. 16 tells us NO ONE can plead ignorance when it comes to invalidating and incapacitating laws. In other words, followers of Traditionalist “priests,” once the question has been raised concerning their validity or (even their liceity) cannot neglect or refuse to investigate the matter. The law clearly states that a mere doubt regarding sacramental validity or the validity of any given ordination or consecration is sufficient to absent themselves from all contact with Traditionalists. (This will be addressed fully in the next blog on epikeia.) Affected or pretended ignorance “is never admitted as an excuse from latae sentenetiaecensures” (Can. 2229), and this sort of ignorance is often the kind exhibited by Traditionalists.  Referring to this canon, Abp. Amleto Cicognani writes under Can. 16: “In law, affected ignorance is held equivalent to fraud, so much so that it does not excuse from any penalty.” It should be further noted that grave fear does not exempt from latae sententiaepenalties either, whenever a specific act would constitute contempt of faith or of ecclesiastic authority, or public injury to souls (Can. 2229 §3).

Traditionalists are instructed by their “clergy” that they are to obey without question and cannot make any judgments regarding what they are “taught” by these men. They also are warned against even the casual reading of any literature that questions their leaders’ authority or the correctness of what they teach. This might have some traction were these men truly priests and bishops educated in papally approved Catholic seminaries, but we know this is not the case. As bishop Hay warns above, no one can claim even invincible ignorance if they do not make such inquiry and the necessary judgments that inquiry requires! Any sect operating on the premise that such inquiry is forbidden or even strongly discouraged is operating as a cult, not a sect.

Michael de la Bedoyere commented on this tendency to blind obedience in his Christianity in the Marketplace, noting that the training necessary to execute the high standards of Catholic existence was available to Catholics then (the 1940s), and by extension it is still available to Catholics today in all the papal documents online. Bedoyere nailed the real problem to the wall when he wrote:  “What too often is lacking is the interest and training in APPLYING those standards and knowledge to every circumstance in life. The man of the world HAS to think for himself if he wants to act intelligently at all, for there is no one to think for him; THE CHRISTIAN IS IN DANGER OF NEVER THINKING FOR HIMSELF BECAUSE HE EXPECTS ALL HIS THINKING TO BE DONE FOR HIM…” (The ideal of action) “is not to act just BECAUSE someone else tells one to, but to act for oneself BECAUSE ONE SEES FOR ONESELF, in the light of God’s will and the teaching of the Church or one’s lawful superior [who today can only be past popes], that the action IS right…”

Peter Michaels also states, in his work This Perverse Generation (1949): “If all Catholics have a moral duty to understand the faith at their level of secular education, few of us are going to be saved… How much longer are Catholics going to pretend that if our hearts are in the right place, we can safely continue to live in an intellectual void?” Traditionalists may obey their (unlawful) “superiors” and refrain from making the required judgments, but they do not and cannot escape the Church’s latae sententiae, ipso facto censures for heresy, schism, and communicatio in sacris. That is something they will never hear from their erstwhile “clergy,” but it is the absolute reality that constitutes the Catholic Church. And so these unfortunates, who willfully choose not to educate themselves, will go to the end thinking they are members of the Church, only to find at their private judgment they left Her long ago, and God expected them to put forth far more effort to discover the truth than they were willing to expend. It is a terrifying thought, one not many will be willing to entertain. But it is not just a thought or an opinion — it is Church teaching, Church law, and they are bound by it. In fact the Church condemns this practice of Traditionalists under the titles of Fideism and Traditionalism.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states that Fideism teaches there is no need of intellectual assent based on objective evidence and the only thing expected of Catholics is to make an act of faith. The article explains that Fideists falsely teach: “The supreme criterion of certitude is authority…,” noting that, “An act of faith cannot be the primary form of human knowledge. Authority, indeed, in order to be a motive of assent, must be previously acknowledged as being certainly valid; before we believe in a proposition as revealed by God we must first know with certitude that God exists, that He reveals such and such a proposition, and that His teaching is worthy of assent, all of which questions can and must be ultimately decided only by an act of intellectual assent based on objective evidence. Thus, fideism not only denies intellectual knowledge but logically ruins faith itself… As to the opinion of those who maintain that our supernatural assent is prepared for by motives of credibility merely probable, it is evident that it logically destroys the certitude of such an assent. This opinion was condemned by Bd. Innocent XI in the decree of 2 March 1679 (DZ 1171), and by Pope St. Pius X in the Lamentabili sane.”

And here we see mirrored the very assent the followers of these Traditionalists are expected to give contrary to the teachings of these holy popes and the unanimous opinion of theologians: acceptance of the orders and the sacraments these self-appointed “clerics” dispense as valid. Not only are their claims based on the thinnest possible evidence, which cannot even be said to amount to a probable opinion, their teachings and actions have been proven over and over again to be in direct contradiction of the constant teachings of the continual magisterium.

Pascal Parente and other authors define Traditionalism as: “A philosophico-religious system, which depreciates human reason and establishes the tradition of mankind, which is bound up with language, as the criterion of truth and certainty,” (Dictionary of Theology; many Traditionalists experience this as the teachings offered them on the “sensus catholicus”). This error was condemned by Pope Pius IX in Qui pluribus and by the Sacred Congregation in 1855 (DZ 1649) So it must be understood, as explained elsewhere, that the choice of the name Traditionalism was not a random one. Those selecting this name for their sect in the 1970s following the cessation of the Latin Mass, did not necessarily intend for it to reflect the Traditions of faith as most Traditionalists innocently assume. For true Tradition is bound up with the deposit of faith Christ entrusted to His Apostles and the transmission of that same deposit by the Roman Pontiffs, unchanged, throughout the centuries. This is definitely something not transmitted by Traditionalists.

By leading those wishing to be Catholic away from the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs and exerting a false authority they insist must be obeyed, Traditionalist “clergy” falsify the Catholic faith and drag souls with them into hell. Those who prefer lies to truth should be scrambling to discover what it really means to be a Catholic or be prepared to give an accounting to Truth itself when they leave this world.

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Ignorance Among Traditionalists: Both Culpable and Damning

No Papal Mandate in Episcopal Consecrations = No Apostolicity

+Seven Sorrows of the BVM +

(This article is longer than the others so please bear with me here. Also, as is the case in all my blogs and articles, any emphasis within the texts quoted is my own unless otherwise noted.)

Can. 953: “The episcopal consecration is reserved to the Roman Pontiff in such a manner that NO BISHOP IS ALLOWED TO CONFER EPISCOPAL CONSECRATION ON ANYONE UNLESS HE HAS FIRST ASCERTAINED THAT THERE IS A PAPAL MANDATE TO THAT EFFECT.” A papal mandate is permission issued specifically by the Roman Pontiff to those consecrating any bishop confirming the bishop’s nomination or election and assuring his fitness for consecration. As Abp. Cicognani comments in his Canon Law, according to a rule of law, wherever the Church in Her laws does not differentiate, neither should we. So how do Traditionalists and their pet theologians explain away “NO BISHOP” and ANYONE here? Yet those claiming to be bishops in the Traditional movement have attempted to dismiss these papal decrees forbidding their so-called consecrations using every possible loophole they can find. Necessity and epikeia are the excuse most often used for the consecration of these men they call bishops but as will be seen below and in the later article on epikeia, this will not suffice.

It must be remembered that there can be no apostolic succession without an unquestionably canonically elected pope, (and no, lay people and not even so called Traditionalists “clerics” can pose as electors). Validly and licitly consecrated bishops must be approved and appointed by a canonically elected pope and be fully in communion with him to ordain priests and assign them to parishes. Apostolic succession exists only when orders AND jurisdiction both are present, and neither is the case with Traditionalists whose orders are at best questionably valid (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/1-what-constitutes-the-papacy/apostolic-succession-are-schismatic-clergy-and-laymen/). Jurisdiction cannot be present because it was never received, it CANNOT come directly from Christ Himself as our last blog demonstrated, and without a canonically elected Roman Pontiff it cannot be supplied, even in danger of death.

Traditionalists are robbers and thieves because they have not come through the door. They have not received their jurisdiction through the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the canons as Can. 147 and Pope Pius XII demands. They have not been rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, because even in the case of “priests,” the ordination proceeds without the dimissorial letters. Impediments also are removed in those to be ordained by “bishops” who have no jurisdiction whatsoever and whose acts are made null and void under the terms of Pope Pius XII’s papal election constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.

Pope Pius VI’s Charitas is listed as one of the sources from the old law for Can. 147, which states: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical provision. Canonical provision means the grant of an ecclesiastical office by competent ecclesiastical authority, made according to the sacred canons.” After quoting this teaching from the Council of Trent, (“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,” DZ 960,) the Sacred Congregation of the Council declared under Can. 147:

“In order to preserve more inviolate these same sacred principles and at the same time forestall abuses in a matter of such great importance, His Holiness Pope Pius XII has deigned to provide,” an ipso facto excommunication especially reserved to the Holy See for: “1) those who contrive against legitimate ecclesiastical authorities or attempt in any way to subvert their authority; 2) anyone who without a canonical investiture or provision made according to the sacred canons occupies an ecclesiastical office, benefice or dignity, or allows anyone to be unlawfully intruded into the same, or who retains the same; 3)  those who have any part directly or indirectly in the crimes mentioned in one (1) and  two (2),” (Canon Law Digest, Vol. 3, under Can. 147. And as Pope Pius IX teaches, Catholics are bound in conscience to obey also any decree issued by the Sacred Congregations.) This proves without a doubt that the section of Trent referring to unlawful pastors is not limited to the Protestants. These censures are very similar in nature to the excommunication found in Can. 2345 and Pope Paul IV’s condemnation in Cum ex Apostolatus Officio of those who usurp ecclesiastical offices. The canonists Revs. T. Lincoln Bouscaren and Adam Ellis, editors of the Canon Law Digest, say that Can. 147 applies also to the Holy See.

This excommunication is listed under Can. 2394, which automatically deprives anyone, not just bishops, of an office seized illicitly and recommends them for punishment by the Ordinary. This for taking possession “of an ecclesiastical benefice, office or dignity by his own authority or before he has received the necessary letters of confirmation or institution [from the bodies or individuals electing or nominating clerics for various offices] and has exhibited them to the persons designated by law.” The meaning of offices will be explained below. Pope Pius XII was deadly serious about the confirmation of all offices by the necessary superior; he was guarding here the rights of the hierarchy, i. e. the Church. This is why only a year later he would write Ad Apostolorum Principis. So clearly the mind of the Church in this matter is that expressed here by Pius XII, as well as by the Council of Trent and Pope Pius VI in Charitas.

Offices and those who occupy them

We already know what constitutes canonical appointment; it has to be done by the authority who in the canons is indicated as the one competent to make the appointment and confirm it. In this case those priests and bishops “electing” or choosing candidates for the episcopacy are not certainly even clerics and cannot elect or appoint anyone; they do not constitute competent ecclesiastical authority. In the case of bishops, the Roman Pontiff, even if one existed, could only confirm such an election or appointment if made by competent ecclesiastical authority. The mandate provides proof the appointment has been reviewed and approved and permission given to consecrate, and this would not happen if the electing or appointing body was found to be wanting in any way.

Next must be determined what constitutes an office. By office, according to Can. 145, is meant, “in a broad sense…any employment which is legitimately practiced for a spiritual purpose. In the strict sense, an ecclesiastical office means a stable position created either by the divine or ecclesiastical law, conferred according to the rules of the sacred canons and entailing some participation at least in ecclesiastical power, whether of orders or jurisdiction. In law, the term ecclesiastical office is used in its strict sense…” unless a specific law indicates otherwise. If Traditionalists were qualified to assume an office, they would have to call it an office, but they are not qualified to assume anything.

No matter what kind of bishop is intended here, when they are appointed or elected, they are assigned to a specific office according to this definition. These Trad clerics cannot claim jurisdiction of any kind, because jurisdiction is a grant of authority made by a competent superior in communion with the Roman Pontiff to be exercised over specific subjects. Nor can they claim certainly valid orders. Lefebvre and Thuc may have been validly appointed, but without the papal appointment of the bishops they consecrated, these bishops were never validly created for ANY position. Both Lefebvre and Thuc have huge clouds hanging over their heads where intention, their own validity and fitness are concerned. This cloud would need to be lifted before any question of the validity of their ordinations and consecrations could be decided by a true Roman Pontiff. They certainly could not give to others what they did not receive themselves, (please see website link on Apostolic Succession above).

Those they created, whether priests or bishops, are only doubtfully valid AT BEST; and according to Pope Pius VI in Charitas, the whole affair is null and void. They possess no jurisdiction and cannot use any assumed power of Orders for any purpose. This because we cannot resort to doubtfully valid ministers according to Pope Innocent XI’s declaration that it is not safe to receive sacraments from such persons, (DZ 1151). Furthermore, Can. 154 declares that, “Offices which entail the care of souls cannot be validly conferred upon clerics who are not ordained priests.” Like it or not, Trads all have assumed an office they are not qualified to possess. And if the office of bishop is not validly held, how can such men possibly call and create priests?

The canons say they cannot. A priest cannot create a priest, and in most cases these “bishops” are not even priests themselves! In the consecration rite, these men are specifically called to the office of bishop. If they cannot accept such an office because papal appointment was never made, how can they receive it?! As Rev. Patrick Madgett S. J. teaches in Vol. II of his work Christian Origins (1943) under bishops: “A successor in any office or task is one who is lawfully substituted in place of another to perform the same duties, with the same powers.” And Trad “bishops” present as successors of the Apostles with all the same duties and powers but are not lawful and are at the very least doubtfully valid.

Can. 148 defines appointments as any of the following: (1) free appointment by the legitimate superior; (2) by the so-called “institution” in cases where a patron has the right to nominate or present to the ecclesiastical superior the person who is to obtain the office; (3) confirmation by a superior in the case of elections and (4) In the case of postulation in religious officers, when voters appoint a certain candidate for office the superior accepting the determination of the voters is said to grant admission and (5) an office may be obtained simply by election and acceptance of the elected, but only if the law does not require confirmation of the elected.  Canon 110 states:

“Though the Holy See gives some of the clergy the title of prelate without jurisdiction as a mere honorary title, the term ‘prelates’ properly denotes in law clerics, either secular or religious, who have ordinary jurisdiction in the external forum.” Under Canons 147 and 148, Rev. Augustine comments that: “The competent authority in conferring major ecclesiastical offices (prelacies) is the Roman Pontiff.” A prelate is one who “rules over the clergy and people of a district that is separated from every other diocese,” (Revs. Woywod-Smith, Can. 319). Donald Attwater defines a prelate as, “A dignitary having jurisdiction in the external forum. The principal prelates are the bishops; others are vicars and prefects apostolic.” So regardless of whether Traditionalists claim to be “residential bishops” or not, they are bound to be confirmed by the Roman Pontiff for consecration regardless.

This is demonstrated by what Pope Pius IX taught regarding the Old Catholics in Germany:

Etsi Multa, Pope Pius IX, Nov. 21, 1873

“24. But these men, having progressed more boldly in the ways of wickedness and destruction, as happens to heretical sects from God’s just judgment, have wished to create a hierarchy also for themselves, as we have intimated. They have chosen and set up a pseudo-bishop, a certain notorious apostate from the Catholic faith,Joseph Humbert Reinkens. So that nothing be lacking in their impudence, for his consecration they have had refuge to those very Jansenists of Utrecht, whom they themselves, before they separated from the Church, considered as heretics and schismatics, as do all other Catholics. However, this Joseph Humbert dares to say that he is a bishop, and, what passes belief, he is recognized and named in an explicit decree by the most serene Emperor of Germany and is proposed to all his subjects as a lawful bishop. But as even the rudiments of Catholic faith declare, no one can be considered a bishop who is not linked in communion of faith and love with Peter, upon whom is built the Church of Christ; who does not adhere to the supreme Pastor to whom the sheep of Christ are committed to be pastured; and who is not bound to the confirmer of fraternity which is in the world.

“And indeed “the Lord spoke to Peter; to one person therefore, so that He might found unity from one”; to Peter, “the divine dignity granted a great and wonderful consortium of his power, and if He wished anything to be common with him and the rest of the princes, He never gave, except through him, what He did not deny to the others.” Hence it is from this Apostolic See, where blessed Peterlives and presides and grants the truth of faith to those seeking it, that the rights of venerable communion flow to all; and this same See ‘for the Churches spread throughout the whole world is certainly the head, as it were, of their members, from which if one cuts himself off, he becomes an exile from the Christian religion, as soon as he begins not to belong to its structure.

“25. Therefore the holy martyr Cyprian, writing about schism, denied to the pseudo-bishop Novatian even the title of Christian, on the grounds that he was cut off and separated from the Church of Christ. ‘Whoever he is,’ he says, ‘and whatever sort he is, he is not a Christian who is not in the Church of Christ. Let him boast and preach his philosophy and eloquence with a proud voice; he who does not have fraternal charity and does not retain ecclesiastical unity, loses also what he previously had. Since by Christ one Church was founded divided into many members throughout the world, so likewise one episcopate, diffused in the harmonious multiplicity of many bishops. Subsequent to the teaching of God and the conjoined unity of the Catholic Church, he attempts to build a human church. Therefore, he who does not retain unity of spirit nor communion of peace and thus separates himself from the bond of the Church and the college of the priesthood cannot have the power nor the honor of a bishop because he kept the unity or the peace of the episcopacy.’”


“26. We have been undeservingly placed on this supreme seat of Peter to preserve the Catholic faith and the unity of the universal Church. Therefore following the custom and example of Our Predecessors and of holy legislation, by the power granted to Us from heaven, We declare the election of the said Joseph Humbert Reinkens,performed against the sanctions of the holy canons to be illicit, null, and void. We furthermore declare his consecration sacrilegious. Therefore, by the authority of Almighty God, We excommunicate and hold as anathema Joseph Humbert himself and all those who attempted to choose him, and who aided in his sacrilegious consecration. We additionally excommunicate whoever has adhered to them and belonging to their party has furnished help, favor, aid, or consent. We declare, proclaim, and command that they are separated from the communion of the Church. They are to be considered among those with whom all faithful Christians are forbidden by the Apostle to associate and have social exchange to such an extent that, as he plainly states, they may not even be greeted.”

Does this even give Traditionalists any pause whatsoever, that something so similar to their own elections and consecrations of bishops results in a sacrilegious act and VITANDUS excommunication for those following said bishop?! And here we see Pope Pius IX holds Reinkens’ election null and void, and this following “custom, the example of Our predecessors and holy legislation.” Likewise Pope Pius VI’s Charitas held France’s appointment of constitutional bishops null and void, so surely Pope Pius IX was referring to Charitas as well as other decrees in Etsi Multa. When such consecrations are performed during an interregnum outside the laws of the Church, Pope Pius XII has decreed they are null and void altogether.

Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, Pope Pius XII, 1945 (paras.1- 3, Ch. 1)

  1. While the Apostolic Seat is vacant, let the Sacred College of Cardinals have no power or jurisdiction at all in those things which pertain to the Pope while he was alive…but let everything be held, reserved for the future Pope. And thus we decree that whatever power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff, while he is alive (unless in as far as it is expressly permitted in this, Our Constitution) the meeting of Cardinals itself may have taken for exercising, is null and void.
  2. “Likewise we order that the Sacred College of Cardinals is not able to dispose of the laws of the Apostolic Seat and the Roman Church in any manner it wishes, nor may it attempt to detract wheresoever from the laws of the same, either directly or indirectly through a species of connivance, or through dissimulation of crimes perpetrated against the same laws, either after the death of the Pontiff or in time of vacancy, [however] it may seem to be attempted. Indeed, we will that it ought to guard and defend against the same contention of all men.
  3. “Laws given by the Roman Pontiffs are in no way able to be corrected or changed through the meeting of the cardinals of the Roman Church [the See] being vacant; nor is anything able to be taken away or added, nor is there able to be made any dispensation in any manner concerning the laws themselves or some part of them. This is very evident from pontifical Constitutions [on]…the election of the Roman Pontiff. But if anything contrary to this prescript occurs or is by chance attempted, we declare it by Our Supreme authority to be null and void(private translation commissioned by Irene Keast).

In the above papal paragraphs, we find the phrase “null and void” just as it is found as follows in Charitas: “We therefore severely forbid the said Expilly and the other wickedly elected and illicitly consecrated men, under this punishment of suspension, to assume episcopal jurisdiction or any other authority for the guidance of souls since they have never received it. They must not grant dimissorial letters for ordinations. Nor must they appoint, depute, or confirm pastors, vicars, missionaries, helpers, functionaries, ministers, or others, whatever their title, for the care of souls and the administration of the Sacraments under any pretext of necessity whatsoever. Nor may they otherwise act, decree, or decide, whether separately or united as a council, on matters which relate to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. For We declare and proclaim publicly that all their dimissorial letters and deputations or confirmations, past and future, as well as all their rash proceedings and their consequences, are utterly void and without force…”

And in Ad Apsotolorum Principis: “Bishops who have been neither named nor confirmed by the Apostolic See, but who, on the contrary, have been elected and consecrated in defiance of its express orders, enjoy no powers of teaching or of jurisdiction since jurisdiction passes to bishops only through the Roman Pontiff as We admonished in the Encyclical Letter Mystici Corporis.” This key phrase referencing jurisdiction and teaching is what Traditionalists consistently ignore, which is why they must pretend to receive their jurisdiction directly from Christ.

In Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, no change in the law is allowed even to the cardinals, most of whom were bishops. There can be absolutely no usurpation of papal jurisdiction; all must be left to the future pope. Even any attempt at such things is null and void and this is infallibly decreed in Etsi Multa, Charitas, and is clearly stated in equivalent terms in Ad Apostolorum Principis. And the cardinalate is directed by Pope Pius XII to prevent any such crimes from occurring. We live in an interregnum. Traditionalists have created their own “hierarchy” and yet all is an illusion; their acts were null and void. They will say the law does not apply to them, that they are allowed to function and call the law itself into question. They say this about all these laws and infallible decrees except those they feel serve their purpose. They offer no proofs whatsoever giving them direct permission to proceed; all the proofs are against them. Yet still they continue to offend God, violate the law and refuse to do His will.

And there is something else that to date no one seems to have pointed out. In the episcopal consecration ceremony, any and ALL bishops, whether being consecrated as ordinaries or for other positions are asked to present the “Mandate or Apostolic Letter from the Pope,” which is read aloud. The Bishop-elect then kneels before the consecrator and solemnly swears an oath to submit himself to the Holy See, an oath which in the case of Traditionalists, if indeed it is even made, is as barren and worthless as the episcopal ceremony itself. As we have seen above, all such candidates for the episcopacy must be approved by the Roman Pontiff and present themselves for consecration within three months of such approval. In his Ad Apostolorum Principis as well as in Charitas, no distinction is made between residential bishops, titular bishops, missionary bishops, etc.

In the episcopal rite of consecration, the one being consecrated is consecrated for the OFFICE of bishop. The one being consecrated makes this solemn oath to submit to the Holy See as follows: “I shall render to our Holy Father, Pope N., and to his aforesaid successors an account of my whole pastoral office, and of all things pertaining in any manner whatsoever to the state of my Church, to the discipline of the clergy and the people, and finally to the salvation of the souls which are entrusted to me: and in turn I shall receive humbly the apostolic mandates and execute them as diligently as possible.” (Some Trad bishops have removed all reference to the papal mandate from the rite, something that is strictly forbidden by the Church. Only the pope can attenuate the rites of the Sacraments.) Later in the rite, the consecrator says to the one being consecrated: “Will you teach the people for whom you are ordained, both by words and by example, the things you understand from the divine Scriptures? Will you receive, keep and teach with reverence the traditions of the orthodox fathers and the decretal constitutions of the Holy and Apostolic See?“ If these so-called bishops are not teaching obedience to the Roman Pontiffs and the continual magisterium — and they are not — then this oath is worthless. (See the two rites compared at https://www.academia.edu/646882/Comparison_of_Old_and_New_Catholic_Rites_of_Ordination_to_the_Priesthood).“Bishop” Anthony Cekada and others pretend that only ordinaries or residential bishops can hold an office, but the rite itself contradicts him. As seen above, even a priest or religious can hold an office by appointment of the superior.

The Catholic Encyclopedia under “bishop” elaborates further on the above. In the case of those allowed to make recommendations for candidates to the episcopacy, “this does not juridically bind the sovereign pontiff, who has the power to choose the new bishop from persons not included in the list of recommendations.” In certain countries where bishops are elected, the votes are sent to the Holy See for approval along with a list of “useful information” about each of the candidates. “Whatever the manner of his nomination, the bishop has no power until his nomination has been confirmed by the Holy See…” The request to receive the papal mandate, which is to be read aloud, followed by the oath of the one consecrated, is the first and most important part of the entire rite. This should be obvious to any rational person, because in the wording of the rite, it is implied that without the papal mandate, the man seeking consecration has no right to be consecrated.

Nullity according to Pope Leo XIII’s constitution on Anglican Orders

Then we have yet another problem to address, that of those who challenge the true meaning of null and void in all the above decrees. One person claims it need not be interpreted to mean exactly what it says, according to canonists and theologians, and does not mean that all the acts so declared are invalidly or even illicitly performed before or after the fact. Unfortunately, this is not the teaching of the Holy See and does not provide the out these “bishops” are so desperately seeking. In fact it strengthens the case for invalidity — something surely unintentional in raising this issue on our opponents’ part — but providential for those who believe the Roman Pontiffs enjoy the primacy of jurisdiction and supreme power in the Church and are to be obeyed when defining terms over theologians and canonists. From Pope Leo XIII in Apostolicae Curae:

“For to obtain orders nulliter means the same as by act null and void, that is invalid, as the very meaning of the word and as common parlance requires. This is especially clear when the word is used in the same way about Orders as aboutecclesiastical benefices. These, by the undoubted teaching of the sacred canons, were clearly null if given with any vitiating defect. Moreover, when some doubted as to who, according to the mind of the pontiff, could be called and considered bishops validly and lawfully ordained, the said Pope (Pope Paul IV) shortly after, on October 30, issued a further letter in the form of a brief and said:

We, desiring to wholly remove such doubt, and to opportunely provide for the peace of conscience of those who during the aforementioned schism were promoted to Holy Orders, by clearly stating the meaning and intention which we had in our said letters, declare that it is only those bishops and archbishops who were not ordained and consecrated in the form of the Church that cannot be said to be duly and rightly ordained’” Pope Leo XIII continues:

“The authority of Julius III, and of Paul IV, which we have quoted, clearly shows the origin of that practice which has been observed without interruption for more than three centuries, that Ordinations conferred according to the Edwardine rite should be considered null and void. This practice is fully proved by the numerous cases of absolute re-ordination according to the Catholic rite even in Rome.

“Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this matter, to the decrees of the pontiffs, our predecessors, and confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by our authority, of our own initiative and certain knowledge, we pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void” (end of Pope Leo XIII quote).

Commenting on Canon 11 (invalidating and disqualifying laws), Abp. Cicognani wrote: “Invalidating and disqualifying laws certainly bind in conscience… Certain acts are not to be upheld as valid, nor are they considered to be a source of rights or emoluments. However, it should be noted that if the laws forbid and at the same time nullify an act…they oblige in conscience to omit the act…” Hence what is stated in Canon 11: “Laws only are to be considered invalidating or disqualifying which explicitly or equivalently state that an act is null and void or that a person is incapable of acting” (Canon Law, 1935). But the real key to everything Traditionalists have attempted to do is found under Can. 15, and will be examined in the article on epikeia.

This clarifies the true definition of null and void, and it was likewise made clear by Pope Paul IV in his Bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, where he states: ”If ever at any time it becomes clear that any Bishop…Archbishop, Patriarch, or primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church…or likewise if any Roman Pontiff before his promotion or elevation as a Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, [has strayed from the Catholic Faith or] fallen into some heresy, [or has incurred schism], then his promotion or elevation shall be null, invalid and void.” But it raises yet another issue: If the presentation of the papal mandate is omitted from the form quoted above, is not this an alteration of the form calling it into question, just as the Anglican form was called into question and declared null and void?

Pope Leo XIII in his constitution on Anglican Orders quotes this from Pope Paul IV’s Praeclara carissima as follows: ‘“Those who have been promoted to Ecclesiastical Orders by anyone but a bishop validly and lawfully ordained [see the Council of Trent, DZ 960, 967] are bound to receive those orders again.’” And those bishops not validly and lawfully ordained were, Leo XIII continues, those promoted to the episcopate and other orders not according to the accustomed form of the Church… the form and intention of the Church.” Was Lefebvre validly and lawfully ordained and consecrated? We have grave doubts. Thuc was apparently validly and lawfully ordained and consecrated, but neither he nor Lefebvre could ordain and consecrate “priests and bishops” without the jurisdiction they lost by affiliating with the Novus Ordo church and minus the papal mandate. At that point they were outside the Church and their actions were nullified by Pius XII’s law governing interregnums.

Here several things must be addressed. Despite any alleged validity of the consecrators, the papal mandate is an essential part of the consecration ceremony. Secondly, no one whatsoever may tamper with the rite of consecration in its essentials. According to Pope Pius XII in the first paragraph of Sacramentum Ordinis: “As the Council of Trent teaches, … the seven Sacraments of the New Law were all instituted by Jesus Christ Our Lord, and the Church has no power over the substance of the Sacraments…” The omission of this part of the consecration ceremony is essential to its validity, since the bishop receives no power without it as the Catholic Encyclopedia observes above.

It also is essential to the profession of the one consecrated that he is in communion with the Roman Pontiff, also his predecessors, and recognizes him as the supreme head of the Church. The Chinese bishops were not denying Pope Pius XII was their pope, they were simply disobeying him; pertinaciously continuing in such disobedience after a rebuke would constitute rejecting papal authority, which automatically results in incurring the censure for heresy. So to omit this ceremony also calls into question the orthodoxy of the subject seeking to be consecrated as well as the intention of the one consecrating. Do they intend to carry on the mission of the Church as it was constituted by Christ? Obviously not, or they would have recourse to a true pope for the mandate, and in his absence would abide by his laws. Without the mandate, all their machinations are null and void for want of the proper form and intention.

CMRI attempts to justify their consecrations by stating on their website: “The strict observance of Pope Pius XII’s decree on the prohibition of the consecration of bishops without papal mandate would become injurious to the salvation of souls.” This is the same rationalization used by conclavists to justify various attempts at election: “The Church has to have a pope because she cannot exist without one.” But the danger of a lay election and even one posited by doubtful clergy is actually a greater danger, given the possibility of electing an unfit candidate, as was later proven in all these cases. Moreover, lay elections are condemned by papal election law and other binding papal and conciliar documents. Pope Pius VI’s Charitas would have Catholics stay at home rather than resort to the Constitutional bishops; Etsi Multa issues similar warnings and declares null and void the old Catholic bishop(s) and Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis forbids anyone to act outside papal laws during an interregnum under the pain of nullity (invalidity). These and all other papal teachings are what the faithful are bound to obey.

The proofs provided above demonstrate the collective minds of the Roman Pontiffs regarding the function of bishops who are not approved by him or his canonically elected successors and declare those so proceeding excommunicated. Traditionalists posing as clergy falsely claim that even though they may be excommunicated they still possess jurisdiction, supplied or provided by Christ, demonstrated earlier to be A COMPLETE LIE. There is NO Church teaching to support this conjecture, forbidden by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, that in this emergency Christ would supply such jurisdiction. Nor would the pope supply it to doubtful clergy in any event. To possess true apostolicity, one must possess both valid and licit Holy Orders AND jurisdiction (see the Catholic Encyclopedia article on this topic), something none of these pretenders can lay claim to. And what of the oaths they took in their phony consecration ceremonies to uphold the teachings of the Holy See? Such oaths, if they were even taken, were as phony as the consecrations themselves, invalidated by the lack of the indispensable papal mandate and the (at least implicit) denial by Traditionalists of the necessity of the papacy.

There is no shame or blame in keeping the faith at home in light of such compelling evidence that these men are not providing true Mass and Sacraments and are involving their followers instead in sacrilege and cooperation in sin, both mortal sins. In fact, as we will see in the blog on epikeia, Catholics are bound to avoid these pretenders and their “sacraments” whenever such serious doubt becomes known to them. The real issue at stake is your immortal soul and whether Our Lord will acquire an accounting from you for choosing to follow these men and ignoring the Vicars He sent to speak for Him. Are you willing to take that risk? Are you willing to continue to cooperate in sin and incur communicatio in sacris for participating in false worship, placing you outside the Church and unable to save your soul?



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Ignorance Among Traditionalists: Both Culpable and Damning

Infallible teaching on the error of Antiquarianism

+St. John Damascene+

 Antiquarianism, condemned by Pope Pius VI in Auctorem Fidei, (DZ 1533) originated at the Jansenistic Council of Pistoia in the 1700s. It resurfaced again in the late 1800s. Pope Pius XII officially condemned this resurgent heresy, the teaching that ancient practices can be reverted to despite later teachings of the Roman Pontiffs. This error was condemned in Mediator Dei (1947), regarding the liturgy, after the liberals once again began promoting it in the name of liturgical renewal. In his work The Vatican Council Decrees and their Bearing on Civil Allegiance, Henry Cardinal Manning tells us that the Vatican Council retroactively made Auctorem Fidei infallible, hence the condemnation of this error then was as infallible as it is today. Since the Novus Ordo Missae under the guise of Catholic liturgy incarnated this error, it certainly must be considered an even more dangerous heresy. Traditionalists have revived this heresy in claiming they have no need for a papal mandate since there is no pope and can proceed on their own since their bishops have jurisdiction directly from Christ, (a notion discounted by Pope Pius XII).

They base their claims to be able to proceed without papal approval on the “precedents” of the consecrations performed during a three-year interregnum between the death of Pope Clement IV (November 29, 1268) and the election of Pope Gregory X (September 1, 1271); also jurisdiction as it was exercised during the Western Schism. Precedents, however, are operating principles in common law, not Canon Law, and can be traced back to the heresy of Gallicanism. Traditionalists are not even remaining within the Church’s own legal system to try and justify their actions. Canon Law is primarily based on the laws of Popes and Councils, not just any law. Follow the trail of Traditionalists — they will circumvent the continual magisterium and attempt to misinterpret and manipulate Canon Law to accomplish this every time. Understanding the reasons why these precedents will not hold water and what really happened during these two time periods is important to understanding what follows.

“To some, the system followed by the Catholic Church seems antiquated and secretive. However, the real difficulty from a common law perspective may be the lack of understanding of the Church’s law and the lack of understanding of how canon law is applied. “While both common law and canon law have their roots in the ancient law systems of the world, they developed along different lines. Common law developed more along the lines of Germanic and English law while canon law developed more along the lines of Roman law. The common law system is generally based on a judge applying precedent while the canon law system is generally based on an individual judge applying the law to the specific case. In common law, most interpretation of law is provided by the judicial system. In canon law, interpretation is provided by the legislator. Both systems work, or do not work, based on how well they are applied,” (Canon Law and Common Law,” www.canonlawprofessionals.com/).

This common law system of precedents is referred to as “stare decisis.” According to the U.S. History Encyclopedia: “Stare Decisis is the principle of deciding judicial controversies on the basis of precedent. It is a principle of the common-law legal systems that distinguishes them from civil-law systems. Adherence to precedent, following the decision rules and reasoning set out in earlier similar cases, is frequently cited as an attribute that gives consistency and predictability to the law and that ensures political stability. However, assumptions concerning the significance and impact of adherence to stare decisis have been subjected to serious logical and empirical challenges…” The use of precedents can be traced to another source, and this is where we find the true identity of Traditionalists advocating their use. Those so advocating betray their Gallicanist mindset, for as A. Degert notes in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Gallicanism was based on: “a revival of the most ancient traditions of Christianity; a persistence of the common law,” made up of early councils, canons of general and local councils and the decretals, ancient and modern.

Then we have the case of the Western Schism, which also has been presented as a precedent but is really used by Traditionalists more in the way of an analogy. They try to compare it to our own time, but the circumstances existing today are not the same as those existing in the 14th and early 15th centuries. What results, then, is a false analogy which is rejected by scholastic theologians as an illogical and invalid argument. In his work Logic (1940), Rev. Joseph Walsh identifies such analogies as “drawn from another subject which only in appearance resembles the subject in question.” During the Western Schism, a true pope reigned all along but those living then did not know which of the three popes was the true pope. (For a complete history, see the Catholic Encyclopedia online under Western Schism.) Today NO true pope has reigned for over 60 years and no Catholic cardinals or bishops exist to elect a true pope. Ergo, the two situations are not analogous. Because only the scholastic method of determination is to be used according to Church teaching, those things determined to be fallacies under this system cannot be used as the basis for any argument hoping to arrive at the truth.

Not only do we find references to antiquarianism in Mediator Dei; we find them also in Ad Apostolorum Principis as well. There Pope Pius XII condemned antiquarianism because the Chinese bishops had used it to justify deviation from the very form of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. They had done this by allowing themselves to be elected bishops by the clergy and laity and receiving consecration without papal mandate, a requirement written into the Catholic episcopal rite itself. This is precisely what Traditionalist bishops do today, some being elected by fellow “clergy,” others simply materializing onto the Traditionalist stage. All lack the papal mandate. They excuse the need for this by pointing to customs and practices allowed hundreds of years ago, and as seen below this is the very thing condemned by Pope Pius XII in two separate papal documents. We must note that this involves two errors. One, it uses the excuse of previous usage to justify the action. Two, it then involves the actual deviation from the sacramental form in omitting the papal mandate, something Pope Pius XII tells the faithful is defined by the Vatican Council as belonging to the powers of the Roman Pontiff alone.

So read what is said by Pius XII below with this in mind.

 Mediator Dei, Pope Pius XII, Nov. 9, 1947:

“Clearly no sincere Catholic can refuse to accept the formulation of Christian doctrine more recently elaborated and proclaimed as dogmas by the Church, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit with abundant fruit for souls, because it pleases him to hark back to the old formulas. NO MORE CAN ANY CATHOLIC IN HIS RIGHT SENSES REPUDIATE EXISTING LEGISLATION OF THE CHURCH TO REVERT TO PRESCRIPTIONS BASED ON THE EARLIEST SOURCES OF CANON LAW. Just as obviously unwise and mistaken is the zeal of one who in matters liturgical would go back to the rites and usage of antiquity, discarding the new patterns introduced by disposition of divine Providence to meet the changes of circumstances and situation.

“This way of acting bids fair to revive the exaggerated and senseless antiquarianism to which the illegal Council of Pistoia gave rise. It likewise attempts to reinstate a series of errors which were responsible for the calling of that meeting as well as for those resulting from it, with grievous harm to souls, and which the Church, the ever watchful guardian of the “deposit of faith” committed to her charge by her divine Founder, had every right and reason to condemn. For perverse designs and ventures of this sort tend to paralyze and weaken that process of sanctification by which the sacred liturgy directs the sons of adoption to their Heavenly Father of their souls’ salvation.”

Ad Apostolorum Principis, Pope Pius XII, June 29, 1958:

“… For those who profess themselves most interested in the welfare of their country have for some considerable time been striving to disseminate among the people the position, devoid of all truth, that Catholics have the power of directly electing their bishops. To excuse this kind of election they allege a need to look after the good souls with all possible speed

“For it has been clearly and expressly laid down in the canons that it pertains to the one Apostolic See to judge whether a person is fit for the dignity and burden of the episcopacy and that complete freedom in the nomination of bishops is the right of the Roman Pontiff. But if, as happens at times, some persons or groups are permitted to participate in the selection of an episcopal candidate, this is lawful only if the Apostolic See has allowed it in express terms and in each particular case for clearly defined persons or groups, the conditions and circumstances being very plainly determined.

“Granted this exception, it follows that bishops who have been neither named nor confirmed by the Apostolic See, but who, on the contrary, have been elected and consecrated in defiance of its express orders, enjoy no powers of teaching or of jurisdiction since jurisdiction passes to bishops only through the Roman Pontiff as We admonished in the Encyclical Letter Mystici Corporis in the following words: ‘. . . As far as his own diocese is concerned each (bishop) feeds the flock entrusted to him as a true shepherd and rules it in the name of Christ. Yet in exercising this office they are not altogether independent but are subordinate to the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff, although enjoying ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly from the same Supreme Pontiff.’

“And when We later addressed to you the letter Ad Sinarum Gentem, We again referred to this teaching in these words: ‘The power of jurisdiction which is conferred directly by divine right on the Supreme Pontiff comes to bishops by that same right, but only through the successor of Peter, to whom not only the faithful but also all bishops are bound to be constantly subject and to adhere both by the reverence of obedience and by the bond of unity.’

“Acts requiring the power of Holy Orders which are performed by ecclesiastics of this kind, though they are valid AS LONG AS THE CONSECRATION CONFERRED ON THEM WAS VALID, are yet gravely illicit, that is, criminal and sacrilegious.

“To such conduct the warning words of the Divine Teacher fittingly apply: ‘He who enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up another way, is a thief and a robber.” The sheep indeed know the true shepherd’s voice. ‘But a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.’

“We are aware that those who belittle obedience in order to justify themselves with regard to those functions which they have unrighteously assumed defend their position by recalling a usage which prevailed in ages past. Yet everyone sees that all ecclesiastical discipline is overthrown if it is in any way lawful for one to restore arrangements which are no longer valid because the supreme authority of the Church long ago decreed otherwise. In no sense do they excuse their way of acting by appealing to another custom, and they indisputably prove that they follow this line deliberately in order to escape from the discipline which now prevails and which they ought to be obeying…

“…The faithful are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience not only in matters which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church.” 

“From what We have said, it follows that no authority whatsoever, save that which is proper to the Supreme Pastor, can render void the canonical appointment granted to any bishop; that no person or group, whether of priests or of laymen, can claim the right of nominating bishops; that no one can lawfully confer episcopal consecration unless he has received the mandate of the Apostolic See.

“Consequently, if consecration of this kind is being done contrary to all right and law, and by this crime the unity of the Church is being seriously attacked, an excommunication reserved specialissimo modo to the Apostolic See has been established which is automatically incurred by the consecrator and by anyone who has received consecration irresponsibly conferred.”

And so Traditionalists, believing themselves to be validly ordained and consecrated when they are not, argue, “Well the pope didn’t say not invalid, only unlawful, so we can still function, and our acts will be valid.” Note, however, that Pope Pius XII also says that those consecrating must have been validly consecrated themselves in order for such lawfulness to be presumed, and we have every reason to believe these Traditional consecrations were all, at the very least, doubtfully valid. And even the lawfulness of such consecrations and ordinations is refuted by the Council of Trent: “In the ordination of bishops, priests and of other orders …those who by their own temerity take these offices upon themselves are not ministers of the Church, but are to be regarded as ‘thieves, robbers who have not entered by the door’” (The Council of Trent, Sess. 23, July 15, 1563; DZ 960). Notice that Pope Pius XII repeats this very language in paragraph 42 of his constitution above. (One conclavist contended that Trent was written only for the Protestants. However, the same teaching is cited by Pope Pius XII under Can. 147, which will be treated in the next blog post). Also from the Council of Trent:

“If anyone says that … those who have neither been rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical authority, but come from a different source, are the lawful ministers of the Word and of the Sacraments, let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Sess. 23, July 15, 1563; DZ 967, Can. 7; also DZ 424). By their actions, these Traditionalists present both as lawful and valid ministers; yet in reality, they most likely are only laymen; and as such, Pius XII’s excommunication reserved only to clerics does not apply. What does apply, however, are the excommunications reserved in a special manner to the Apostolic See for “pretending to say Mass or hear Sacramental Confessions by one who is not an ordained priest (Can. 2322 §1) and “for the usurpation and retention of goods and rights of the papacy” (Can. 2345). The sending power here, the grantor of jurisdiction necessary to possess apostolic succession, is the Roman Pontiff himself. He would never approve those men seeking ordination and consecration today from doubtfully consecrated bishops who were ordained themselves by notoriously schismatic bishops (Lefebvre, Thuc, et al). As will be explained in the article on epikeia, even being only doubtfully (not certainly) valid prevents any of these men from dispensing the Sacraments and their followers from receiving them.

Auctorem Fidei, Pope Pius VI, Aug. 28, 1791

The following is condemned in Pope Pius VI’s Auctorem Fidei, referenced above: (Errors regarding the proper order of the liturgy) “by recalling it to a greater simplicity of rites, by expressing it in the vernacular language, by uttering it in a loud voice” (DZ 1533). Also, The proposition which states ‘that power has been given by God to the Church, that it might be communicated to the pastors who are its ministers for the salvation of souls’; if thus understood that the power of ecclesiastical ministry and of rule is derived from the COMMUNITY of the faithful to the pastors, — heretical” (DZ 1502). And so how can Traditional “priests”— with at least the implicit approval of the Traditional community (the “faithful”) — elect or appoint Traditional “bishops” without a papal mandate and not become heretics?!

Charitas, Pope Pius VI, April 13, 1791

And from Charitas, by Pope Pius VI, written in reference to those who were appointed as constitutional bishops by the state in France, not the Pope, and were therefore acting outside the Pope’s jurisdiction:

“Love, which is patient and kindly, as the Apostle Paul says, supports and endures all things as long as a hope remains that mildness will prevent the growth of incipient errors. But if errors increase daily and reach the point of creating schism, the laws of love itself, together with Our duty, demand that We reveal to the erring their horrible sin and the heavy canonical penalties which they have incurred. For this sternness will lead those who are wandering from the way of truth to recover their senses, reject their errors, and come back to the Church, which opens its arms like a kind mother and embraces them on their return. The rest of the faithful in this way will be quickly delivered from the deceits of false pastors who enter the fold by ways other than the door, and whose only aim is theft, slaughter, and destruction

“We therefore severely forbid the said Expilly and the other wickedly elected and illicitly consecrated men, under this punishment of suspension, to assume episcopal jurisdiction or any other authority for the guidance of souls since they have never received it. They must not grant dimissorial letters for ordinations. Nor must they appoint, depute, or confirm pastors, vicars, missionaries, helpers, functionaries, ministers, or others, whatever their title, for the care of souls and the administration of the Sacraments under any pretext of necessity whatsoever. Nor may they otherwise act, decree, or decide, whether separately or united as a council, on matters which relate to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. For We declare and proclaim publicly that all their dimissorial letters and deputations or confirmations, past and future, as well as all their rash proceedings and their consequences, are utterly void and without force…”

“At length We beseech you all, beloved Catholic children, in the kingdom of France; as you recall the religion and faith of your fathers, We urge you lovingly not to abandon it. For it is the one true religion which both confers eternal life and makes safe and thriving civil societies. Carefully beware of lending your ears to the treacherous speech of the philosophy of this age which leads to death. Keep away from all intruders, whether called archbishops, bishops, or parish priests; do not hold communion with them especially in divine worship. Listen carefully to the message of your lawful pastors who are still living, and who will be put in charge of you later, according to the canons. Finally, in one word, stay close to Us. For no one can be in the Church of Christ without being in unity with its visible head and founded on the See of Peter.”

And in Artaud de Montor’s The Lives and Times of the Popes, Vol. VIII, Catholic Publication Society 1911, we find 266 pages devoted to Pope Pius VII, including several of Cardinal Consalvi’s verbatim communications to Napoleon on behalf of the pope. One of these addressed Napoleon’s nomination of 15 constitutional bishops for the pope’s approval to take possession of the newly created sees, a right guaranteed to him in the concordance signed with Pope Pius VII. Cardinal Consalvi wrote to the emperor on behalf of Pope Pius VII as follows:

  1. The case of the constitutional bishops is already decided by the Apostolic See, in the dogmatic brief of Pius VI beginning ‘Charitas.’ THAT DOGMATIC DEFINITION CANNOT BE REFORMED. His Holiness may mitigate the penalties therein inflicted on the said bishops, but the judgment of his predecessor is irrefragable.
  2. “The Catholic Church and the whole episcopal body has received and respected this judgment of the Holy See… The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was condemned by the same dogmatic judgment of Pius VI, as containing errors against the deposit of faith… His Holiness observes that, as his predecessor found it impossible to yield to the request made… it is equally impossible for him to admit to his communion and invest with canonical constitution the constitutionals, who, contrary to the dogmatic decision contained in said briefs, persist in maintaining the error condemned in them, refuse to acknowledge their illegitimate character, and to adhere and submit to the judgment pronounced by the Holy See.
  3. “A matter of faith is in question. His Holiness observes that, according to the rules of faith, it belongs to him, and to no other, to judge what the constitutional bishops have done… by pronouncing the profession of faith and the oath, and to confer institution if they are nominated… The rules and constant practice of the Church have always required that none should be received into its bosom, much less assigned as pastors, who have left any heresy or schism, unless they avow expressly that they condemn especially their errors.

Thus is ended the contention of certain Traditionalists who hold Charitas was never a dogmatic decree, or was later qualified or rescinded. Please note above that Pope Pius VI says nothing about a lack of validity on the part of these bishops but addresses only jurisdiction, just as Pope Pius XII does in Ad Apostolorum Principis. On this basis he declares that without said jurisdiction, which only he could grant, all the future acts of these bishops are null and void. And they cannot use the pretext of necessity to justify their actions. This is all very interesting, because in the last paragraph he tells the faithful to listen to their true bishops in exile and warns them not to resort to the ministrations of the constitutional bishops lacking jurisdiction. This resulted in a “home alone” like situation where these Catholics were without Sacraments and Mass for quite some time, yet the pope did not see this as justification in any way to allow them to seek out the bishops he sanctioned.

We have the popes, clearly telling us over and over, that these men have no jurisdiction and precisely why they have no jurisdiction. Pope Pius XII, in deciding that the bishops receive their power from the Roman Pontiff, not directly from Our Lord, squashes every possibility such jurisdiction could ever be granted by Christ. And to those Traditionalists who attempt to quote previous arrangements and canons in support of their consecrations without the papal mandate, we quote the following from Pope Pius IX’s Quartus Supra:

“28. However, some resent and bemoan both Our declaration that this Apostolic See has the right and power to elect a bishop either from the three names recommended or apart from them and Our prohibition against the enthronement of an elected Patriarch without Our prior confirmation. They call Our attention to the customs and canons of their churches as if We had abandoned the provisions of the sacred canons. We might respond to these men in the same way Our predecessor St. Gelasius did when the Acacian schismatics brought the same false accusation against him: They cite the canons against Us without knowing what they are saying since they show that they are themselves in opposition to the canons by the very fact that they deny obedience to the first See although its advice is sound and correct. For these are the very canons which recognize the full, divine authority of blessed Peter over the whole Church. Indeed, they proclaim that he lives and exercises judgment in his successors to the present time and forever, as the Council of Ephesus affirmed.”

And forever means even now, even though he who withholdeth, who Henry Cardinal Manning tells us is the Roman Pontiff,  has been taken out of the way for a time.




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Ignorance Among Traditionalists: Both Culpable and Damning

Now that everyone’s staying at home…

+St. Benedict, Abbot+

Now that everyone, for the time being, is forced to say their Sunday prayers at home, those with time on their hands can perhaps study their faith and re-evaluate their reason for remaining with the Traditionalist sect. Catholics who have practiced their faith at home all these years have developed a set routine of prayers and Sunday devotions and for them, nothing will change. But it may be difficult for those used to depending on others to direct and regulate their spirituality. Whether they like the comparison or not, it is much like a co-dependency situation, where Traditionalists feel lost and abandoned when they cannot interact with Traditionalist clergy and receive their sacraments. Over time, all of us learned to adapt, but only because we were determined to obey the Church and cease displeasing God. If you have been following this latest series of articles, you will notice that all the reasons why Traditionalist “clergy” cannot function are being treated in each post. But before the remaining installments are posted, some distinctions must be made to clarify the following questions raised by readers.

There has been a keen interest among readers to know what teachings of the Roman Pontiffs in their encyclicals are declared as infallible and what teachings must be accepted only as certain, or as pontifical opinion. It is not always clear which is which, but in the long run, it does not matter. In the first case, that of infallibility, Catholics are bound to accept what is taught with a firm and absolutely irrevocable assent. In the second place, Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton says those things which are taught non-infallibly must be given a “definite internal religious assent.” The theologian Lercher notes that this assent is due “until the Church might choose to modify the teaching previously presented or until a proportionately serious reason for abandoning the non-infallible teaching contained in a pontifical document might appear” (“The Doctrinal Authority of Papal Encyclicals,” Pt. 1; The American Ecclesiastical Review, August, 1949). Fenton explains that “Any reason which would justify the relinquishing of a position taken in a pontifical statement would have to be very serious indeed.” Rev. Francis Connell, also on the staff of The American Ecclesiastical Review, agrees with Msgr. Fenton on this point in a separate article.

In the present situation, Catholics today are in no position to quibble with what the popes have taught, or even to try and sort out what degree of obedience is owed to any given proposition. Certainly those things infallibly taught are to be held with an irrevocable assent and should be known, but these are usually presented as such by the theologians or designated as heretical propositions in Denzingers. We are to accept these non-infallible teachings as a matter of obedience, and to fail to do so, Msgr. Fenton states in another article, would be considered worthy of a censure at least temerarious, which one scholastic defines as “a proposition stating as certain something that cannot be effectively demonstrated either by reason or from authority” (“The Religious Assent Due to the Papal Encyclicals,” The American Ecclesiastical Review, July, 1950).

While this may seem a mild censure compared to that for heresy, there are some misunderstandings here regarding what such a censure really entails. Msgr. Fenton explains in this article:

“Contradiction of a doctrinal statement contained in a papal encyclical in a non-infallible manner, but asserted authoritatively only in an encyclical, is something that could be qualified with at least the censure of error. Obviously this applies to doctrinal statements alone.” When some topic in an encyclical is deals with things dogmatic “it is perfectly clear that these statements deal at least with matters connected with the faith, and that the authority by which they are proposed is at least on a par with that of the common consent of the Fathers or of the scholastics. By reason of these characteristics, all doctrinal statements contained in the encyclicals must be accepted with a firm and sincere inward assent. For this same reason a denial of these doctrinal propositions may be qualified or censured as at least temerarious.”

“At least in an indirect manner, every rejection of an authoritative doctrinal pronouncement contained in a papal encyclical is opposed to the theological virtue of faith itself. That virtue empowers a man to accept with complete certitude and on God’s own authority the body of truth which the Church proposes as having been revealed by God as his public communication to mankind… We lay ourselves open to very serious misunderstandings when we fail to appreciate the fact that the teaching of the Church must be taken as a unit.” And here Msgr. Fenton references integral truth, so sadly lacking in Traditionalist’s neo-Modernist version of theology. Msgr. Fenton notes that those who fail to accept these teachings once they are censured, even as only erroneous, or temerarious, and pertinaciously adhere to them regardless of the censure, have been condemned in the past for heresy. This is what those holding onto such teachings while claiming they are not infallible fail to understand.

The true violation here is the denial of the Roman Pontiff’s ability to censure them at all, or to forbid them to teach what has been proscribed by the Apostolic See. In the end they excommunicate themselves for the denial of the Vatican Council teachings, that the pope is supreme in jurisdiction and authority and is to be obeyed in all things, even those things which only approach “heretical wickedness.” Msgr. Fenton quotes Carmelite theologians who hold the temerarious classification as an offense against the rule of studiousness, a part of the virtue of ecclesiastical modesty. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that men who seek to know the truth beyond their own range of competences are guilty of this infraction (Summa II-II, q. 160, art. 1). Fenton comments:

“Those who on their own initiative presume to question or contradict a doctrinal statement proposed authoritatively in a papal encyclical, even in cases where the Holy Father does not make a definitive decision, may well be said to be striving for something manifestly beyond their competence. No individual, and for that matter, no group of individuals within the ecclesia discins, (those taught by the Church), can be said to have the competence to dispute with the visible head of the Church militant on a matter connected with the Church’s deposit of Divine Revelation. At least in an indirect manner, however, every rejection of an authoritative doctrinal pronouncement contained in a papal encyclical is opposed to the theological virtue of faith itself…

“When an individual or group of individuals presume on their own initiative to deny or to ignore the authoritative doctrinal statements of papal encyclicals, they are at least placed in the position of rejecting divinely authorized guidance in the direction of the purity and well-being of the faith.” Both infallible and non-infallible statements, he continues, “enter in to the effective carrying out of the Petrine mission to confirm the faith of the brethren.”  This is why the author of betrayedcatholics insists on strict adherence to all papal decrees, which are our only guarantee of safe guidance in matters of faith. It is why those wishing to remain faithful Catholics must be urged repeatedly to depart from the Traditionalists, all of whom violate these papal teachings. These men have consistently denied the Church’s teaching regarding the nature of jurisdiction for at least four decades and have multiplied into dozens of sects and independent operators who hold the same fateful error.

Only by presuming Pope Pius XII would not wish his law to apply during an extended interregnum can they appear to justify their position. But the fact that this is definitely not his mind as the lawgiver is expressed in several papal documents, and cannot be ignored. The very scholastic principles Traditionalists pretend to use to their advantage actually uphold the right of the lawgiver to invalidate their acts. “Laws justly declaring an incapacity to act or to receive benefits invalidate the attempted act or reception even if they [the laws] are inculpably unknown or facts pertaining to their application is unknown” (Rev. Bernard Wuellner, S.J., Summary of Scholastic Principles, 1956). This applies to the laws enacted by the Roman Pontiffs declaring that the acts of those men who present themselves as bishops without first receiving papal approval are null and void, (Pius VI, Charitas: Pope Pius IX, Etsi multa and Graves ac diuturnae; Pope Pius XII in Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis). As we have just seen above, no one may question these papal determinations as having ceased to apply or as unjust without incurring some form of censure.

It is the heighth of hypocrisy to hold that the Church as Christ constituted it must last unto the consummation, carried on by Traditional “bishops,” when Christ appointed Peter as head of the Church, there is no successor to St. Peter today, and his Vicars teach the Church cannot exist without him. The Church’s stated mission is the salvation of souls. In Acerbo Nimis, Pope St. Pius X states the first duty of the bishops and priests are to teach the people and only then to baptize and convey the other Sacraments. In this same encyclical, Pope Pius X lamented that:

“It is a common complaint, unfortunately too well founded, that there are large numbers of Christians in our own time who are entirely ignorant of those truths necessary for salvation. And when we mention Christians, We refer not only to the masses or to those in the lower walks of life — for these find some excuse for their ignorance in the fact that the demands of their harsh employers hardly leave them time to take care of themselves or of their dear ones — but We refer to those especially who do not lack culture or talents and, indeed, are possessed of abundant knowledge regarding things of the world but live rashly and imprudently with regard to religion… Our Predecessor, Benedict XIV, had just cause to write: “We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect.”

So these Traditionalists cannot claim they had no obligation to educate, if things were already this bad in Pope St. Pius X’s times. Especially given the confusion arising from Vatican 2, they had an even greater obligation to do so. It was unquestionably the mission of those lawful pastors validly ordained under Pope Pius XII to teach the faithful those means necessary to salvation following Vatican 2, but the faithful kept demanding the Mass and Sacraments and insisting on their right to receive them. Out of human respect, and a desire, in many cases, to see to their own support, these pastors gave into their demands. This even though their jurisdiction, in most cases, had expired and they were ipso facto excommunicated and declared infamous for celebrating the Novus Ordo Missae, when the penalty of infamy forbids them to posit valid acts, (Can. 2294, §1 and § 2). No such mission, however, existed for those who were consecrated without papal approval and/or ordained by such pseudo-bishops, as Pope Pius IX calls them, who subsequently consecrated priests. Such Traditionalists in the same circumstances might be able to educate, but only as laymen; and then only if they had ceased functioning as clerics, renounced their errors, and publicly retracted them. To the best of this author’s knowledge, no Traditionalist cleric has ever broken ranks and done this.

The necessity of the papacy and obedience to the Roman Pontiff are definitely truths those following Traditionalists do not understand and accept. Traditionalists who maintain they are providing their followers the necessary means of salvation are actually placing those in their care at risk of losing the very thing they treasure most. To repent and do penance for this loathsome sin and lead their people into the desert of prayer and contemplation of eternal truths is not something these clerics so-called would even consider. Only those who beg God for the grace to see the truth and save their souls will have hope of receiving these graces. Now that many people are forced to stay at home rather than attend Traditionalist services, they would be wise to use this time allotted them to study their faith and reassess their understanding of what is required to attain eternal salvation. A novena to the Holy Ghost for the light of truth would be a good way to begin.



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Ignorance Among Traditionalists: Both Culpable and Damning

Does Christ Himself supply jurisdiction to Traditionalists?

+Feast of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church+

Some remarks on last week’s blog regarding obedience to the pope need to be addressed before proceeding to this week’s installment.

With God, with the Holy Father, we are supposed to behave as little children who love their parents and will believe whatever they teach them and do whatever they ask of them. But since the era of the false popes, Catholics have become bitter, antagonistic toward all authority and have even set themselves up as judges of legitimate popes. They believe they can disagree with what the popes say and decide for themselves what to accept or reject. Unquestioning obedience is something totally foreign and repulsive to them, (except when it comes to Traditionalist clergy delivering the goods) because liberalism has warped the framework of their Catholic Faith. When some Traditionalist “priest” tells his followers that that they cannot marry validly unless he marries them, or cannot baptize their newborn themselves because only the priest may baptize him/her, these followers are docile enough, and never question him; they believe him and are eager to obey, while disobeying the Church. For what he is telling them is utterly false.

Pope Benedict XIV taught that Catholics could only receive the Sacraments from tolerated heretics when “(1) A most grave and urgent cause compels a Catholic to do so; (2) The heretics and schismatics who are to administer the Sacraments are validly ordained; (3) No external profession of false doctrine is involved; (4) No scandal is given.” In his Communication in Religious Worship with Non-Catholics (Catholic University of America Press, Sacred Theology Dissertation, 1943), Rev. John Bancroft, C.S.S.R., J.C.B, S.T.L then notes that, “Some theologians have been liberal in applying the constitution Ad Evitanda,” adding, however, that: “All took care not to allow any violation of the divine law.”  He quotes Abp. Kenrick as follows: “It is not allowed to communicate in divinis with heretics or schismatics; for although some theologians, interpreting the constitution of Martin V generously, taught it was licit at times, all admit it is wrong whenever it carries with it the profession of a false dogma, or the recognition of a usurped office: which generally happens.” Both apply to Traditionalists, who have, indeed, violated divine law.

All baptisms by Catholic adults when no priest is available are valid as long as the intention to baptize the child into the Catholic Church exists and the proper form is used.  This is a matter of Catholic teaching and Canon Law and has been for centuries. According to Bancroft, the approved theologian Lemkuhl believes that heretic, apostate and schismatic priests are the equivalent of vitandi, and Bancroft quotes a decision of the Holy See that seems to indicate that even when there is a question of Baptism by either lay Catholics or even lay non-Catholics versus a non-Catholic priest, the lay Catholics or non-Catholics are to be preferred! He concludes: “What has been said has referred to the administration of Baptism by a [valdily ordained] non-Catholic priest. The doctrine applies a fortiori to a non-Catholic [non-ordained] minister. He has no consecration to act as a minister of the Sacraments [so is] really only a layman.”

As for marriage, today the emergency laws instituted for China apply to us who have no priests, a law that no Traditionalist of any stripe has ever dared mention to the faithful. This despite the Church’s express intent that the faithful be made aware of it in emergency situations. This law was enacted in January 1949 by the Holy Office and it lifted all the previous dispensations needed for marriage: “The faithful are freed not only from the impediments of nonage and disparity of cult, but from all impediments of ecclesiastical law and from all canonical form.And canonical form means any need of a priest to witness the marriage, (which is primarily a contract between the two parties) as Can. 1098 explains. Only “the impediment of sacred order of the priesthood and the impediment of affinity in the direct line when the marriage was consummated” were retained. The only caution given was that those marrying non-Catholics and pagans had to be morally certain that the children would be raised Catholic. The instruction ended with this caveat: “All these matters should be brought to the attention of the faithful so that they may provide for the validity of marriages and be freed from anxiety of consciences,” (Canon Law Digest, Vol. III; Can. 1067).

The Sacred Congregation clarified the status of this instruction in December 1949, stating the following: “The Decree of the Holy Office of 27 Jan., 1949, has the nature of a declarative interpretation and hence can be applied retroactively and in other territories only to the extent that it deals with prescriptions of positive law [the laws of the popes and the laws of God as applied to certain cases], which, in view of extraordinary circumstances in the territory, cannot be observed…” And Catholics, Pope Pius IX teaches in Tuas Libentur, are bound to obey the Sacred Congregations — NOT Traditionalists with questionably valid orders. In the decree Lamentabili, Pope St. Pius X also condemned this proposition: “They are to be considered free of all blame who consider of no account the reprobations published by the Sacred Congregation of the Index or by other Sacred Roman Congregations,” (DZ 2008; Can. 7). Traditionalists pretend to have unlimited power over their followers, but they cannot and do not possess jurisdiction outside the approval of a canonically elected pope or by any grant of Our Lord, as they claim.

All those bishops who remained in the Vatican 2 church following Pope Pius XII’s death abandoned their faith and lostall jurisdiction, including Thuc, Lefebvre and any and all other bishops issuing from them or from some other pretended source. For these last two celebrated the Novus Ordo Missae, recognized the false popes and signed Vatican 2 documents, thereby committing schism and communicatio in sacris and forfeiting all jurisdiction. And no, bishops CANNOT act independently of the pope — even in an emergency situation, as will be seen below — precisely because they DO NOT receive their jurisdiction immediately from Christ, but only through the Roman Pontiff. Msgr. Joseph C.  Fenton explained the necessity of obedience even to non-infallible decrees for salvation in the last blog post, also previous ones. He addresses the issue of episcopal jurisdiction below.

Pope Pius XII decided the matter, once and for all, regarding how bishops receive their jurisdiction. Msgr. Fenton writes in a 1949 issue of AER that up until the time of the issuance of Pope Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis Christi: “[The] judgment about the … doctrinal status of the thesis that the residential bishops of the Catholic Church receive their power of jurisdiction directly from the Roman Pontiff rather than immediately from Our Lord… [was] considered as more probable and even as a [common opinion].” But in 1947 Msgr. Alfredo Ottaviani published a document which stated that, “From now on it is to be held as entirely certain by reason of the words of the present Holy Father… in the encyclical Mystici Corporis…  Msgr. Ottaviani assumes rightly that the authoritative statement of this thesis in the papal letter raised this teaching from the status of a more probable doctrine to that of a perfectly certain proposition.” In other words, Pope Pius XII decided this issue definitively and all debate on it is now closed. Fenton continues: “Where a question of grave moment has been disputed among Catholics and where the Holy Father intervenes to settle this question once and for all, there is clearly a definition, a decision which all Catholics are bound to accept as always true even though no solemn terminology be employed” (American Ecclesiastical Review, September 1949, “The Doctrinal Authority of the Papal Encyclicals, Pt. II”).

The basis for this commentary is found in Pope Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis Christi, written in 1943: “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’; moreover, as far as his own diocese is concerned, each one as a true Shepherd feeds the flock entrusted to him and rules it in the name of Christ. 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.” This is reaffirmed in Pope Pius XII’s Ad sinarum gentum, 1954: “The power of jurisdiction, which is conferred upon the Supreme Pontiff directly by divine right, flows to the Bishops by the same right, but only through the Successor of St. Peter, to whom not only the simple faithful, but even all the Bishops must be constantly subject, and to whom they must be bound by obedience and with the bond of unity.” And this clarifies and strengthens the utterance by the Pius XII in Mystici Corporis, for it leaves no doubt whatsoever that whatever jurisdiction bishops possess comes only through the Roman Pontiff.

St. Francis de Sales taught against the Protestants in his Catholic Controversy: “Your party have taken ground elsewhere than in the ordinary mission, and have said that they were sent extraordinarily by God because the ordinary mission has been ruined and abolished, with the true Church itself, under the tyranny of Antichrist. This is their most safe refuge, which since it is common to all sorts of heretics…First I say that no one should allege an extraordinary mission unless he prove it by miracles…Where should we be if this extraordinary mission was to be accepted without proof? Would it not be a cloak for all sorts of reveries?  Arius, Marcion, Montanus, Messalius — could they not be received into this dignity of reformers, by swearing the same oath? Never was anyone extraordinarily sent unless he brought this letter of credit from the divine Majesty. “Moses was sent immediately by God to govern the people of Israel…He asked for signs and patents of his commission; God found this request good [and] gave him three sorts of prodigies and marvelsIf they then allege extraordinary mission, let them show us some extraordinary works, otherwise we are not obliged to believe them…The mission of St. John the Baptist…was it not authenticated by his conception, his nativity and by that miraculous life of his, to which Our Lord gave such excellent testimony?

“But as to the Apostles — who does not know the miracles they did and the great number of them? Never must an extraordinary mission be received when disowned by the ordinary authority which is in the Church of Our Lord. For (1) we are obliged to obey our ordinary pastors under pain of being heathens and publicans, (Matt. 18:17); how then can we place ourselves under other discipline than theirs? Extraordinaries would come in vain, since we should be obliged to refuse to listen to them, in the case that they were, as I have said, disowned by the ordinaries. (2) God is not the author of dissension, but of union and peace, (1Cor. 14:33), principally among His disciples and Church ministers, as Our Lord clearly shows in the holy prayer He made to His Father in the last days of His mortal life, (John 17). How then should he authorize two sorts of pastors, the one extraordinary the other ordinary? …There would then be two different churches, which is contrary to the most pure word of Our Lord, who has but one spouse, one sole dove …Therefore to try and make in the Church this division of ordinary and extraordinary is to ruin and destroy it…An extraordinary vocation is never legitimate where it is disproved of by the ordinary…Where will you ever show me a legitimate extraordinary vocation which has not been received by the ordinary authority? …The vocation of pastors and Church rulers must be made visibly” (end of St. Francis de Sales quote). And there is no visible Roman Pontiff at this time to make them.

Pope Leo XIII taught in Satis Cognitum: “Holy Writ teaches that the keys to the kingdom of Heaven were given to Peter alone. There is nothing to show that the Apostles received Supreme jurisdiction without Peter and against Peter. Such power they certainly did not receive from Jesus Christ.” Rev. E. S. Berry reiterates Pope Leo’s teaching on page 19 of his The Church of Christ: “THERE IS NOT THE SLIGHTEST INTIMATION IN SCRIPTURE OR TRADITION THAT CHRIST EVER PROMISED TO CONFER AUTHORITY DIRECTLY UPON THE MINISTERS OF THE CHURCH…” and Berry’s work was written in the early 20th century, before Pope Pius XII even reigned.

In his Christ’s Kingdom on Earth (1891), Rev. Joseph Meagher wrote: “While any bishop can administer Holy Orders, only the head of the Church can allow the exercise of these orders…The orders given by the bishops of the schismatic Greeks and Orientals, who reject the authority of the Pope, are valid but forbidden…Those bishops not in union with the Vicar of Christ are not the right bishops. Even if they have received valid episcopal consecration, the people must not receive the sacraments from their hands, for they do not belong to the body of Christ. Only in the regular way, and according to the laws, Christ saves souls, for as the soul works only by and through the organs of the body, thus Christ saves only by the organs of the Church in his mystic body. At the consecration of a bishop, the letters of the Bishop of Rome are read before the bishops impose their hands on the candidate.”

To this author’s knowledge, there has never been an attempt by any so-called Traditionalist “bishops” or their apologists to explain their functions under any purported jurisdiction granted them directly by Christ Himself. The reason for this is that in light of the above they cannot in any way justify functioning independent of the Roman Pontiff and still recognize Pope Pius XII as a true pope. They quote as proofs for their stance De Ecclesia Christi, by Rev. Timothy Zapelena, S.J., who teaches that even if all the Western Schism popes had been antipopes, God would have supplied directly as much as was necessary, but this is only a baseless conjecture on Zapalena’s part; he fails to supply any proofs for his statement. The date for his work is also not listed anywhere on the Internet, so it is not known if he wrote before the issuance of Mystici Corporis Christi. Likewise William Strojie, writing in the 1980s stated as follows: “Certainly those acts of a pope which deviate from Catholic traditional teachings and liturgy cannot be validated. But St. Robert Bellarmine, writing not long after Pope Paul IV issued his Bull on this subject, taught that Christ, the invisible head of the Church, might supply for the jurisdiction of even a notorious heretical pope until deposed from office — this to maintain the juridical order necessary for the Church’s existence. I do not see how it could be otherwise, unless we have come near the end of the Church’s existence.”

No source for the quote is given and no papal proofs were ever offered to support it. Strojie fails to explain how one could grant a man never elected pope in the first place, according to Pope Paul IV’s teaching, and who, Paul IV says, has no power to appoint offices or possesses even quasi legitimacy, such jurisdiction. Paul IV’s bull, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio further states regarding such a man never elected to office:  “Each and every one of their statements, deeds, enactments, and administrative acts, of any kind, and any result thereof whatsoever, shall be without force and shall confer no legality or right on anyone.” And certainly Pope Paul IV’s bull is above and beyond anything Bellarmine later taught. So Strojie believes Our Lord is going to supply jurisdiction to such a man and thereby override the teaching of Pope Paul IV, to whom He gave the power to bind and loose?! Pope Pius XII forbade the use of such conjectures mentioned by Zapalena and Strojie in his infallible encyclical Humani Generis. Their writings are now a moot point, given his papal decision.

This is nothing less than a revival of the Gallicanist and Old Catholic heresies. The 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia states that according to the Gallicanists, “…the papal primacy was limited, first, by the temporal power of princes, which, by the Divine will, was inviolable; secondly by the authority of the general council and that of the bishops, who alone could, by their assent, give to his decrees that infallible authority which, of themselves, they lacked; lastly, by the canons and customs of particular Churches, which the pope was bound to take into account when he exercised his authority.” One of the proponents of the Gallicanist heresy, Marsilius of Padua wrote the following:

“As to the Church, it has no visible head. St. Peter, he goes on, received no more power or authority than the other Apostles, and it is uncertain that he ever came to Rome. The pope has only the power of convoking an ecumenical council which is superior to him. His decrees are not binding; he can impose on the people only what the general council has decided and interpreted… This is clearly the crudest concept of the pagan empire, an heretical assault on the Church’s constitution, and a shameless denial of the rights of the sovereign pontiff” (Catholic Encyclopedia under Marsilius of Padua). Here we clearly see the power of the bishops held as supreme over that of the Roman Pontiff. While Traditionalists may not teach outright that their bishops are superior to the pope, their manner of acting speaks so loudly there is no need for them to actually teach it. They hold his decrees binding only in certain rare ex cathedra pronouncements, or when it suits them. They behave as though no visible head is necessary for the Church and proceed without him.

The Old Catholic heresy was born when bishops who voted against the Vatican Council definition on infallibility refused to accept it and accepted authority instead from their German rulers. This was exposed and condemned by Pope Pius IX in Graves ac diurtunae and Etsi Multa, and by his predecessors Pope Pius VI and Pope Pius VII during a similar period in France. Henry Cardinal Manning in his work The Vatican Decrees and Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance describes a situation in Germany very much like that we experienced in this country following Vatican 2. There it was the government (here it was Masonic forces aided by the government) who imported foreign priests and recruited apostates and those expelled from the priesthood to replace the true priests they forced from their dioceses. In one region, the Bernese Jura, more than 60,0000 Catholics were deprived of “all religious help,” Manning reported. “The Catholics of Jura, being deprived of their pastors, met in farms or outhouses [outbuildings] for common worship and yet even this liberty is not always conceded to them. It is only in profound secret they can receive the Sacraments or hear Mass, and they even bury their own dead without the assistance of a priest.”

The fact that many of those early Traditional “priests” could not be found in the Official Catholic Directory should have warned Catholics that their origins were other than what they presented to their followers. And it is very telling that Traditionalists will not mention these previous episodes of a similar nature, such as those in Germany and other countries where Catholics refused to follow so-called Catholic clergy, not sent by the Pope, in explaining our current situation. Not even in the face of papal decisions to the contrary will they desist from posing as true clergy able to validly offer Mass and Sacraments. It therefore falls on Catholics to ask themselves: “Am I endangering my salvation by following these priests and bishops in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs? Do I really wish to save my soul? Is it possible we are beginning to see the plagues and other heavenly punishments predicted for the end of days, and might I not perish suddenly? Am I really certain that what I believe today is what the Church has always taught, and that if I should die, I will die within the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church?!

The answer to this question is yes, you are endangering your salvation, for none of these men teach in the name of Jesus Christ if they do not follow the teachings of the successors of St. Peter, Christ’s Vicar on earth. These Trad priests and bishops maintain they must function to guarantee the salvation of souls, but instead they are guaranteeing only their damnation! One cannot obey both the popes of the past and Traditionalists, who invalidly function outside of the required communion with a true Roman Pontiff. What do Catholics think is meant when the Popes use the term “We” in their documents? They are speaking in the name of Christ, hence the capitalization! The continual function of Traditionalists outside the direction of a true Pontiff and the total lack of respect and reverence for even true popes that has come into play over the past 75 years has destroyed any inclination Catholics ever had to obey and not question. Read the above-mentioned documents of Pope Pius IX. Obey Divine Revelation, Christ’s true vicars, the ecumenical councils approved by the popes, the decisions handed down by the Sacred Congregations and the Holy Office, also Canon Law. Because nothing is as important as your salvation and those who do not do God’s signified will shall perish.

In our next installment we shall see how another Gallicanist trait is exhibited by Traditionalists in their preference of ancient customs over the decrees of the Roman Pontiffs.


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