In Defense of “Home Alone” — Rebutting Ruby’s Rant
© Copyright 2011, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)
Catholics keeping the faith in their homes dates back to the 1970’s, when the Catholic writer Mary LeJeune, among others, first advised those exiting the false Vatican II church to observe Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation at home rather than risk attending Mass offered by priests with questionable credentials. A woman well ahead of her times, Lejeune knew the true extent of the infiltration of the Church and did not hesitate to warn her readers that already it had reached even into Traditionalist ranks.
Traditionalist clergy concerns
In the November-December 1976 edition of her “Sword of Truth” newsletter, Lejeune wrote: “I have been warning my readers for some time now against joining any organization or societies because of the fact that the enemy has infiltrated them. I have always known (and have stated many times) that all our political and spiritual problems have been caused by Freemasons. There has never been any doubt in my mind that “the masks would fall” someday from the faces of the Freemasons who have been posing as “Shepherds” within the ranks of the Hierarchy, and who have attained to the highest and most powerful ranks within said Body – especially in the Vatican itself…Some writers have projected the view that, in times of emergency, “Divine Law supersedes Canon Law.” These writers are not thinking straight. They forget, I suppose that our Canon Laws were given us in order to protect the Divine Law. It would seem to me that those who insist that we can ignore (or even bend) Canon Law today, in order to further our own man-made plans to “save the Mass” and “keep the priesthood from extinction” have some soul-searching to do…Do we ignore or bend these Laws, also – because we find ourselves in “a state of emergency?” I think not! I have in mind those Canon Laws, which cover membership (or any affiliation with) Freemasonry…
“I know that some of my readers are very sure that they will never be able to keep the faith without having the visible means of grace (the Holy Mass and the Sacraments) available to them. But I have many other readers who have been in the so-called “catacombs” for some time now, and their letters to me are proof that they have not only kept their faith, but that this faith of theirs has become stronger than ever. It takes great courage to “come away” from the multitudes while others are engaged in what seems like endless activity – which is referred to from time to time, by those who don’t know any better, as “militancy!” But these quiet and peaceful souls must be those to whom Christ referred when He spoke these consoling words, “Fear not, little flock.”
“As far back as 1972, I sent my readers a “list of instructions” telling them to go into the “catacombs.” Some listened; the majority did not listen. If any of my readers do not have a tape of the Mass in their possession, I advise them to get one as quickly as possible. This tape is all we will have and it will serve to keep the Holy Mass alive in our hearts. We have the Rosary, which, no doubt, was given to us in order to bring us much comfort during these latter days as we experience the suppression of the Mass. We will be very hard-pressed for a priest to hear our Confessions, and so we must make good use of the Confiteor. We must implore God’s Blessed Mother to help us to avoid MORTAL SIN, and we can make perfect Acts of Contrition, and make use of our Spiritual Communion prayers. Holy Mother Church has provided us with a treasury of indulgenced prayers (Raccolta) which can be found in all truly Catholic prayer books, but God will know exactly where we are and what we are doing. The Good Shepherd has said, “I will know Mine, and Mine will know Me,” reassuring words for those who decide to “go it alone” and abandon themselves completely to His care.”
So in light of the above, written nearly 35 years ago — when even then few priests remained who possessed jurisdiction — it is always an exercise in patience and restraint to read unsourced material written by younger Traditionalist types. These well-meaning but misguided individuals, in undertaking such writings, presume to preach a sermon to those whose primary food has been the undiluted truth of Holy Scripture, the papal encyclicals, the general councils, the decisions of the Holy See, the unanimous opinions of the Fathers and the common opinion of approved theologians. In penning their fulminations, they avoid referring to these sure guides to their salvation precisely because deep down they know that they cannot refute them. And yet they really believe that what they write can be an admissible substitute for the truth without ever referencing it.
The temptation here is to immediately embark on a series of quotes that would shame them into realizing that they cannot possibly attain to the stature of those giants of faith who dared not employ their own words, but preached only the words of God and the Vicars whose initial head He appointed. They have no idea how hollow and worthless their self-talk sounds; words that ring false because they contradict the most basic premises of the continual magisterium. And yet they are well aware that others have presented the true refutations to their arguments; they know the papal and conciliar documents these other writers quote and even know where to find them. But apparently they do not consider them relevant, or will not take the time to draw out their meaning in order to make them so.
And that is the entire point, although Traditionalists try so very hard to ignore it. They may believe otherwise, but they do not understand their faith. You see the Catholic Faith is very simple; its laws and doctrinal teachings forbid those who would call themselves a member of the Church to become a member of any group or sect whose “priest” or “bishop” is not in communion with Rome, or to receive any of the Sacraments (save Baptism and Matrimony in these times), if there is the slightest suspicion at all that they are invalid, or that by so receiving them we commit sacrilege and thereby break the first and most important commandment. Our sole duty as Catholics is to obey those teachings handed down to us by the Church of all time, incapable of error, not to subject these teachings to our own interpretation or to filter them through the lens of our expectations, desires, sense of entitlement or any pretensions of self-importance. Where the Church and integral truth is concerned, it is all or nothing.
If there is any reason at all for the separation of the many Traditional sects from those who refuse to belong to them, and instead keep their faith quietly in the privacy of their homes, alone or with their families, it is this: they know the scattered sheep who follow the hirelings are grazing on poisonous weeds, not the sweet grass of true spiritual nourishment. And while they do not enjoy even the security the faithless hirelings afford their straggling flocks — who graze together in one place, at least temporarily — they cluster here and there where the occasional patch of sweet grass grows. Then in acts of self-surrender, they entrust themselves to the providence of the Good Shepherd, the invisible Head of the Catholic Church, who will not leave them orphans.
God’s Will for His Church
No one who fails to do God’s will can hope to be saved. And as we learn from the best of the spiritual masters, there are two types of His will: 1) His will of signification, represented by Divine, natural and ecclesiastical law, the evangelical counsels, divine inspiration, (also those duties peculiar to our chosen vocation), and 2) God’s will of good pleasure, or how things fall out in our daily lives. St. Francis de Sales writes: “’Obedience to the Commandments, both divine and ecclesiastical, is of obligation for all, because there is question here of THE ABSOLUTE WILL OF GOD WHO HAS MADE SUBMISSION TO THESE ORDINANCES A CONDITION OF SALVATION,’” (“Holy Abandonment,” by Ailbe J. Luddy, O. Cist., M. H. Gill and Son, 1934). These laws are found primarily in papal teaching, the General Councils and Canon Law, but the plain words of these organs of truth is not sufficient for those who cannot accept and obey them. Their idea of the Church in these perilous times and God’s idea of His Church, stricken, slain and entombed until Her resurrection, are two completely different things.
The church of the Traditionalists has no head, no canonical mission and ergo cannot possess the four marks; like the churches of the Protestants it has splintered into numerous sects, all professing different shades of belief on immutable truths. The Church of those choosing to eschew the Traditionalists and their ministers is led by Christ Himself, and those who belong to it may not have a pope, or bishops and priests, but they adhere to the teachings of past popes, the writings of true bishops and priests from earlier times and they follow God’s signified will. The dividing line between homealoners and Traditionalists is basically adherence to papal teaching as the accomplishment of God’s signified will and to all that it encompasses. Once this is fully digested and understood, homealoners stand vindicated and the Traditionalists’ pretended adherence to all that went before the death of Pope Pius XII falls flat on its face. Homealoners, as a rule, do not buy the idea that B16 or any of his modern-day predecessors is doubtfully pope; they KNOW they were never pope and could never be pope, because the Church has warned of the advent of these antipopes and her infallible teachings condemn them in advance. Nor do they follow the Sedevacantists, who admit the vacancy but inexplicably believe their clergy may function without papal mandate or communion with Rome.
Christ founded a Petrine Church
So Traditionalists — and Sedevcantists most especially — must abandon the ruse that they are the Church of Pope Pius XII or that they follow his teachings to the letter. They either accept the Church’s constant teachings on apostolicity (readily available on the Internet) and the interpretations of approved theologians writing prior to his death concerning this teaching, or they must concede that they do not belong to this Church at all. And this includes the acceptance of the Scholastic method prescribed by the Church as follows: “We command you to follow the doctrine of St. Thomas as the Catholic doctrine, and study to embrace it with all your power,” (Pope Urban V, letter to the Academy of Toulouse). The interpretation of how one is to follow this method, as given to us by approved pre-1959 theologians is clear. One is to use only the teachings of the Church to prove an argument, primarily those teachings of Holy Scripture and its Church-sanctioned commentaries, infallible decrees of popes and Councils, the unanimous teachings of the Fathers and the common teachings of approved theologians, in that order of importance. We are NOT to use circular arguments, ad hominem attacks or the “conjectural opinions” condemned by Pope Pius XII in “Humani Generis.” This includes the inference that a certain group of people is mentally deranged because they do not agree with a false opinion concerning the Church’s firm establishment by Christ on the rock of St. Peter. It would be foolish for any right thinking Catholic to abandon these clear teachings which bind us in conscience to accept the undocumented opinions of self appointed lay or “clerical” publicists who themselves have been confirmed by various groups of lay people. This we know to be in direct contradiction to the teaching of the Council of Trent, (DZ 960, 967).
And why do such people presume they may judge others in a way condemned by the Church and contrary to Scholastic method with any hope of being believed? They base their hope entirely on the “might makes right theory,” condemned by the Church on several occasions, (DZ 1691, 1760). And they do so because, especially in this country but increasingly throughout the world, the principles of a Rousseauist-Masonic democracy, as Fr. Fahey styles it, has seduced the masses. They really do believe that if a greater number of people accept and/or practice any given thing, then it must be true. There are more Traditionalists who believe in their skewed conception of the Church than there are homealoners who believe otherwise, so therefore, they argue, Traditionalists automatically possess the truth. But this does not follow syllogistically, since such reasoning is based on a premise infallibly proscribed by the Church. (There are many lessons to be learned from Pope St. Pius X’s condemnation of the Sillon here.) In other words, the opinions of those who do not ground their beliefs in the teachings of the Church and base them instead on political theories She has condemned, in order to appeal to a common misconception held by their hearers, are not worthy of consideration by a Catholic, far less publication.
Scholasticism and reality
Any mental aberration can basically be traced to a departure from reality. And how does the Church view such a departure? Rev. Michael Mahony S. J. defines reality as: “Scholasticism [based on logic]…which accounts for these laws of thought…Because we discover through experience that reality which, independent of the mind, is constituted according to those laws…antecedent of our knowing them…Scholasticism admits these laws are in the mind but not of the mind. They are engendered in the mind by objective reality [and] put us therefore in touch with reality,” (“Formal Logic,” The Encyclopedia Press, 1918). In his infallible encyclical “Humani Generis.” Pope Pius XII, speaking of the scholastic system and its connection to reality, states: “This philosophy acknowledged and accepted by the Church, safeguards the genuine validity of human knowledge…the mind’s ability to attain certain and unchangeable truth…Whatever new truth the human mind is able to find cannot be opposed to truth already acquired, since GOD, THE HIGHEST TRUTH, HAS CREATED AND GUIDES THE HUMAN INTELLECT, NOT THAT IT MAY DAILY OPPOSE NEW TRUTHS TO RIGHTLY ESTABLISHED ONES, BUT RATHER THAT, HAVING ELIMINATED ERRORS WHICH MAY HAVE CREPT IN, IT MAY BUILD TRUTH UPON TRUTH IN THE SAME ORDER AND STRUCTURE THAT EXIST IN REALITY, THE SOURCE OF TRUTH.”
And so, if Traditionalists rely on human opinion and secular teaching and belief to define their reality rather then the Church’s definition offered from Scholastic theology, they depart from reality and the art of right thinking as Pope Pius XII and the Scholastic theologian Mahony prove above. By the Church’s own definition they cannot do God’s will on earth and they are not thinking or acting in their right mind — the mind of the Church — if they say they are obeying Her laws but are breaking them instead. The basis for the demonization of homealoners by Traditionalists is that their stance assumes the Church has ceased to exist. But this is not true of those known to this author who hold that position. The Church has been prophesied from the beginning, in the Book of Daniel and in St. John’s Apocalypse, to be obscured during the time of Antichrist and homealoners generally believe that time is now. And they further believe that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will cease to exist and that this means the other Sacraments, save Baptism and Matrimony, will be unavailable as well. This is the unanimous opinion of the Fathers.
Perpetuity of the Mass and the Rule of Faith
Now such a unanimous opinion may not mean much to Traditionalists who do not know its value; who do not understand that it is to be considered a rule of faith alongside infallibility according to The Council of Trent and confirmed by the Vatican Council, (DZ 1788). These Councils teach that when the Fathers unanimously agree on a point of Holy Scripture, they cannot be mistaken. Rev. J.C. Fenton, a professor of dogmatic theology at the Catholic University in the 1950’s, commented: “The Council of Trent (DZ 786) identified the unanimous teaching of the Fathers with the interpretation of the Church itself as the standard for correct interpretation of Holy Scripture,”(“The Concept of Sacred Theology,” Bruce Milwaukee, 1941). Both Fenton and Henry Cardinal Manning explained that for such opinions to be unanimous, the consent of every Father is not necessary. Fenton further stated that such an opinion constitutes “a rule of faith,” and cannot be questioned. And yet it is the consistent and unwavering stance of Traditionalists that this Mass will perpetually be available to them. For decades they have either been unaware of this fact or have obstinately ignored the teachings of the Fathers and other Doctors to guarantee their right to indulge their desires; this despite the unmistakable signs of the times and their solemn obligation to adhere to the Church Fathers’ interpretation of Scripture.
Traditionalists could have known about this interpretation from the 1970s on, had they read and believed Robert Bergin’s “These Apocalyptic Times,” published by Fatima International. In this work, Bergin quotes Henry Cardinal Manning as follows: “The Holy Fathers who have written upon the subject of Antichrist and the prophecies of Daniel — all of them unanimously — say that in the latter end of the world, during the reign of Antichrist, the Holy Sacrifice of the altar will cease.” A few years ago, we rediscovered Cardinal Manning’s words in Rev. Trinchard’s “New Age, New Mass.” St. Francis de Sales also believed the Sacrifice would cease in the latter days. So too, did St. Alphonsus Liguori in his work “The Holy Eucharist,” where he explains that in reality, the Sacrifice and priesthood never will cease since “the Son of God, Eternal Priest, will always continue to offer Himself to God, the Father, in Heaven as an Eternal Sacrifice.” So let me get this straight: Many Traditionalists also believe that we are living in the end times and Antichrist already has come. The Fathers of the Church tell us that during the reign of Antichrist the Mass will cease and St. Alphonsus tells us that in reality, the priesthood and sacrifice will never cease because it exists still in Heaven. So Traditionalists condemn homealoners for obeying the command to follow the Fathers and St. Thomas and for refusing to accept clergy sent by the people, not the Pope — another clear teaching of Trent.
But more than this, homealoners are castigated for uniting their prayers with that Heavenly altar described by St. Alphonsus; something the ancient Fathers also recommended when unable to participate in the Holy Sacrifice. Rev. de la Taille, in his “The Mystery of Faith, Bk. I,” (Sheed and Ward, 1940) explains St. Alphonsus’ statement, reminding us that in Heaven, the Sacrifice is not renewed, for there the resurrected Christ stands as Altar, Victim and Priest. “The altar of Holocausts is the Body of Christ…The Lord says to Moses (Lev. 6:13): ‘This is the perpetual fire which shall never go out on the altar. For God is a spirit, and they that adore Him must adore Him in spirit and in truth.’” St. Gregory Nazianzus, after being expelled unjustly from his office of bishop, bids us to approach this divine altar. He writes, in the fourth century: “I know of another altar…All activities about that altar are spiritual and one ascends to it by contemplation. At this altar I will stand, upon it I shall make immolations to God — sacrifices, oblations and holocausts BETTER THAN ARE OFFERED NOW, just as truth is better than the shadow of truth…Let us immolate ourselves to God in every action of ours, every day of our lives. Let us accept all things for the sake of the Word. Let us eagerly ascend to the Cross itself.” And this from a bishop who made many converts and regularly offered the Holy Sacrifice, but understood the inestimable value of the contemplative life.
Likewise St. Cyprian wrote in the early centuries, commenting on the condition of those condemned to the mines: “Neither in this can any loss of religion or of faith be sustained, that amongst you liberty is not now granted to the priests of God to offer and celebrate the Divine sacrifice. Yea, do ye celebrate and offer to God both precious and glorious, and which will avail you exceedingly towards obtaining the recompense of the heavenly rewards, seeing that…Scripture declares, “A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit; a contrite and humble heart God will not despise.’” Rev. de la Taille queries, “Who is that sinless priest, offerer of a sinless Victim, but the man who firmly professes his faith and attains to a perfect martyrdom? For by martyrdom we are brothers and kinsfolk of the Lamb St. John saw lying on the altar. We are worthy in consequence to stand thereat…The holy martyrs who shed their blood are, with good reason, seen by John standing at the celestial altar. For there, under the altar of God, the souls of the martyrs are said to abide…In this abode they assist at the Divine sacrifices.”
But Traditionalists would impudently gainsay the testimony of these Fathers, the infallible teachings of the Church and ecclesiastical law. They would strip these elegant commentaries of all meaning and effect to drag down to earth from Heaven itself those simple souls who recite the entire Mass or the truncated Mass of St. John as recommended by Fr. Crawley-Bovey; make an Act of Contrition and Spiritual Communion and say their Rosary on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation. These generally inoffensive Catholics, who scarcely make their voices heard, willingly subject themselves to the lashes of Traditionalist wrath and forego all contact with those who should be their brethren in order to obey God’s Holy Will. But no, that cannot be tolerated; for homealoners must be humiliated into violating their convictions in order to relieve Trad sects from the uncomfortable reproach of their very existence. These sects cannot even concede that since homealoners legitimately believe Traditionalist clergy are not lawful, they have the God-given right to follow their consciences, even though Holy Scripture teaches, “ALL THAT IS NOT FROM CONSCIENCE IS SIN,” (Rom. 14:23).
“He who is not with Me is against Me”
Traditionalists would not go to such lengths to repudiate homealoners if this group was not making some inroads among their ranks. But this certainly is no reason to attack this inconsequential group for merely following their consciences and obeying the laws and teachings of the Church. If they wish to continue to defend their claim to represent the Catholic Church precisely as it existed prior to the death of Pope Pius XII, Traditionalists should familiarize themselves with all the necessary implications of this claim. Because if they truly want to convince the world that they believe every truth the popes of the Catholic Church — from St. Peter to Pope Pius XII — have taught, whether in their ordinary or extraordinary magisterium, they cannot fail to assent, firmly and irrevocably, to each and every one of these documents. This assent must include the infallible conditions Pope Pius XII laid down in his “Vacantis Apostolica Sedis,” a constitution governing the future elections of the Roman Pontiff. In that constitution, Pius XII told us in no uncertain terms what the Church has always taught concerning interregnums and how the Church is to conduct Herself for as long as such an interregnum may last. His words cannot be taken for anything other than what they are. And the marks accompanying these words, coming as they do from the ordinary magisterium, cannot be challenged as non-binding.
“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.” — Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, paras.1- 3, Ch. 1; Pope Pius XII, 1945; translated from the Latin taken from Revs. Woywod and Smith’s “A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law,” Joseph Wagner, 1957).
And so, rather than blame homealoners for throwing a monkey wrench into plans to perpetuate their look-alike, although headless church, Traditionalists should blame instead Pope Pius XII, who saw what was headed for us and gave us the answer to all the questions still being debated today. Effectively he has tied everyone’s hands behind their backs, and God, who foreknew it and saw it all, likewise bound his decree in Heaven. During an interregnum, without the pope, nothing can be done, and even if it is attempted it is null and void. Questions about Can. 209, 2261§2 or any of the rest must be resolved with what already exists, and the commentaries on these canons do NOT support their use during an interregnum. No body but the Authentic Commission for the Interpretation of the Code, under the direction of a true pope can decide authoritatively on how these canons might be applied in this emergency, and so they cannot be applied until a true pope reigns. There were things Traditionalists could have done and should have done in the early days to organize a papal election but they were too deeply into their mantra — “It is the Mass that matters.” Funny thing about that old saying, Adrian Fortescue tells us in the Catholic Encyclopedia. It was the chant of the Anglicans, not the Catholics; and now we know why. Having thrown out the papacy, their bastard liturgy and clergy were all that remained.
English, French, Irish, Japanese and even early American Catholics were home alone, at different times in history, as were those behind the Iron Curtain. And while tbe Western world has not openly persecuted those not embracing the church presently ruling from Rome, they have shrouded them in a cloak of silence, refused to grant them a voice and those who do speak out are relegated to the extremist file. When America goes the way of her enemies, and she will, homealoners will be way ahead of the game. They will not be forced to deal with a disabling spiritual crisis while coping also with a financial meltdown, food shortages, rioting, etc… Having long practiced “spiritual survival,” without reliance on the so-called guidance of others, the interior devotion they have always cultivated will see them safely through the storm. When others around them despair and gnash their teeth, having realized that even all pretense of Mass and Sacraments has vanished, homealoners will be picking up the pieces and comforting their enemies. After enduring derision and ridicule from the self-righteous elements of Traditionalism all these years, they will know how to face adversity and keep the faith.