+St. Catherine of Siena+
Those who refuse to believe that the catacomb Catholic position could possibly be tenable frequently point to the course of the fulfillment of prophecy regarding the end times as justification for their rejection of this position. The commonly held belief, and we ourselves have not discounted it as possible, is that the papacy will be restored once Antichrist is defeated and the Church will triumph, if only briefly, prior to the Second Coming. But while Traditionalists base this on the totally false premise that we still have valid clergy who can provide the Mass and Sacraments, stay-at-home Catholics struggle to understand how the Church could ever be restored without a miracle directly from God; and, given the facts, they have every right to do so. Do we deserve such a miracle? No, although this does not mean that a merciful God would not grant us one if it was for His own glorification and that of the Church. Is such a thing likely? Certain Scripture passages seem to hint that it could happen, but God has kept the manner in which He intends to deal with these things a secret.
This is such a complicated and splintered subject, covering such a vast expanse of considerations, that any attempt to do it any justice would fail even if it ran to scores of pages. Yet there are some practical and to our mind unaddressed points and views that have not been considered when trying to piece together the entire puzzle of how everything we are seeing now relates to what Scriptural commentators and scholars have predicted for these times. Some would include here the private revelations of various saints and seers, but many of these seem only to further confuse and obscure any real appreciation of eschatology from a scriptural standpoint. The only exception to this is a scant few private revelations which seem to be in closer harmony with what is now occurring and those apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, which consistently recommend, prayer, penance and sacrifice. If we descend into the quagmire of attempting to make everything fit according to the vagaries of even the private revelation of the saints, we would be doing readers a disservice. Instead, while the Scriptures and teachings of certain theologians and commentators will be consulted, we will attempt to rely primarily on the few teachings provided by the popes on this matter, and what we ourselves now see before us.
The secrets of God and Antichrist’s reign
In surveying Holy Scripture alone, are we able to determine if these things have been fulfilled in our day? Well according to the commentators on Holy Scripture themselves, that depends. Rev. Hugh Pope, in his The Catholic Student’s Aids to the Bible, (Vol. 5, 1937) writes: “For the original hearers or pre-Christian readers of the prophecies of Isaias or Jeremias only one thing was certain: namely, that being divinely inspired prophecies, the things foretold would infallibly come to pass. But the time, place and manner of their fulfillment was hidden from them… To Christian readers or to non-Christian enquirers a flood of enlightenment regarding the prophecies was forthcoming in the New Testament fulfillment of the said prophecies… Since, then, the ultimate goal of the Apocalypse is the last things, full light will not be thrown on this prophetical book till those last things have received their ultimate fulfillment.” Rev. P. Huchede concurs, writing, “The events connected with the end of the world will alone remove the mystery in which the sacred text is at present enveloped.” Rev. E. S. Berry believes these prophecies “shall be understood in due time according to the needs of the Church” (The Apocalypse of St. John). But Berry emphasizes that the sealed book spoken of in Daniel 12: 4 and also the sealed book of the seven thunders in Apocalypse symbolizes that these prophecies would only be known when God chooses for them to be known. And it is clear that there is much we cannot and do not yet know about our current situation.
Everyone presumes that Antichrist will reign only three years and a half, and while this is designated as probable by some commentators and certain by others, it is misleading. No one has ever given a numerical value to the full term of Antichrist’s ENTIRE reign. St. Irenaeus teaches that “when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months…” Huchede says that it is not known how long it will take Antichrist to achieve the conquest of the world, although he assumes this will be a rapid process. Still, presumption must yield to fact. Gradualism was applied to good effect for decades prior to and long after Antichrist’s reign and acceptance as a true pope. Clearly the process of bringing about the level of devastation necessary for Antichrist to reign universally — not just in the Church but over the entire world — necessarily required an extended period of time, a process we have all witnessed firsthand.
If the Sacrifice was not to be abolished decades before the system of Antichrist matured sufficiently to assume full power, why did St. Thomas Aquinas envision a time when the world would think it had won because it continued to exist following Antichrist’s death? “Although men be terrified by the signs appearing about the judgment day, yet before those signs begin to appear, the wicked will think themselves to be in peace and security after the death of Antichrist and before the coming of Christ, seeing that the world is not at once destroyed as they thought hitherto,” (Summa Sup., 73:1). He doesn’t set a time limit for this occurrence. He couldn’t have made this statement believing that the Sacrifice could still exist after Antichrist’s death, knowing it was predicted to end at the time of his coming. It seems God would need to allow a relatively lengthy amount of time to elapse in order to put these wicked ones at ease and grant them the necessary time to perpetuate Antichrist’s system.
God’s time is not our time. And not all commentators agree that the three years and a half are to be interpreted literally. Rev. William G. Heidt O.S.B. tells us in his Book of the Apocalypse: “…three and a half years, 1,260 days, 42 months… [is] a proverbial number for a time of misfortune. Because of this proverbial usage the figures in question simply denote a period of distress, a period that may actually be quite short or one that could extend from Pentecost to the Parousia [Second Coming]. The emphasis is on misfortune, suffering, persecution, not on chronological duration.” Rev. Hugh Pope also writes: “St. John is not writing a continuous history of the Church’s future in chronological order…. There is no succession of time…” There is a notable absence of what Pope refers to as the “time note.” And he refers to a work by St. Methodius that was long ago lost which interprets the Apocalypse in purely allegorical (not literal) fashion, which means the three years and a half would be symbolic, not actual. Given what is said above about the exact fulfillment of these things it appears that none of this will really be known until the actual time the event occurs.
Some point out that there are problems with this opinion because it does not take into account the fact that the commentators teach the Mass will only be suspended for the three-and-a-half-year period during which Antichrist and also Enoch and Elias will make their appearance. But this is not really a problem that cannot be explained. Antichrist personally is the one designated to abolish the Sacrifice, no one else. Traditionalists unanimously agree that it was indeed abolished or abrogated by Paul 6 in April 1969. But few will tell you Paul 6 was Antichrist, although the Mass could not have been abrogated by anyone else. Witness the prefiguration of this in the Old Testament with the Jewish Antichrist Antiochus, aided by “the false high priest Menelaus…who obtained his position by usurpation and bribery” (Catholic Bible Dictionary, Rev. Bernard O’Reilly, L.D.). Menelaus was the equivalent of the false prophet in Ch. 13 of Apocalypse. Rev. Haydock says St. Jerome, the ultimate biblical authority, accommodated the person of Antiochus and applied him to Antichrist. Haydock notes Antiochus was “first despised and not received for king… [He] had no title to the crown, which he procured by cunning.” And as seen below, the title of Antichrist could refer to a king who reigns during an interregnum (Catholic Encyclopedia). The distinction must be made between Antichrist and his system and allowance must be given for the fact that while commentators assume the Man of Sin will rise rapidly to power, this has not been true in our case, however true it was in Jewish times. Nor has it ever been made clear by the commentators why they believe that the three and a half years equally applies to both the Jewish Antichrist and the Man of Sin.
Antichrist’s universal reign
Once Antichrist’s system has totally fulfilled its purpose and paved the way for the creation of a world government, then the final three-and-a-half-year period mentioned in the Apocalypse and in Daniel might possibly commence, and that could take place at any time now. It could come at the end of an extended reign of Antichrist, accomplished by those perpetuating his system. How can this be? We know from the article on Antichrist in the Catholic Encyclopedia that “one might interpret antichristos as denoting one resembling Christ in appearance and power,” which would lead us directly to Pope Paul IV’s definition of him as a man appearing to be the vicar of Christ but reigning only as a usurper. The encyclopedia article also says anti could refer to a king reigning during an interregnum or a hostile god and notes some believed Antichrist would overthrow the pope and usurp his see. It wasn’t just Paul 6 who fit this description, but each one of his successors as well. Chapter 13, verse 3 of Apocalypse refers to paganism revived in the opinion of several commentators, but it also could refer to the death and “rebirth” of succeeding usurper pontiffs. We know from Church teaching that each successor of St. Peter possesses exactly the same powers as St. Peter possessed, although they are not identical to St. Peter himself who first received the keys. If Antichrist strives to resemble Christ Himself as closely as possible, having received his keys from his father Satan, then the Father of Lies will likewise make certain that each successor of his appointed satanic pontiff will be vested with precisely the same title and powers as Antichrist himself. Could this transfer of power from Satan have been referred to by St. John?
“And the fifth angel sounded the trumpet, and I saw a star fall from heaven upon the earth, and there was given to him the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit: and the smoke of the pit arose, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke of the pit” (Apocalypse 9: 1-2). It was Paul 6 himself who commented that the “smoke of Satan” had entered the Church. Being who he was, was he simply stating a fact? Berry says the star falling from heaven in this verse could be “any priest or bishop of the Church who becomes a leader of heresy… But in this case the star refers to some particular person whose revolt from the Church will lead directly to the reign of Antichrist.” The false prophet, who we believe to have been Angelo Roncalli (John 23), was most likely this falling star, for his appointment of Montini as cardinal, one of his first acts following his usurpation of the Holy See, led directly to Montini’s “papacy.” This is something that needs to be better understood because many have raised the objection that Roncalli and Montini could not have been the false prophet/Antichrist duo simply because Apocalypse says that these two men will be thrown alive into the lake of fire when Antichrist’s system is defeated. Roncalli and Montini created an entirely new religion over the span of a little over 10 years. This religious system survives until this day. What is destroyed in the end is not just these two men but their entire system, which passes on in all its fullness to each usurper and his personal false prophet (whatever person engineered his election or advancement or acted/acts as his personal assistant or secretary).
Think of it this way. If we said that the papacy itself was to be thrown alive into this same fire, as some Protestants believe, we would not limit that deliverance just to St. Peter and St. Paul, for example, for these are the men which it appears the false prophet and Antichrist are aping. We would include all popes from beginning to end, for this would be necessary to abolish the entire line of popes. It is no different with the system of Antichrist and the Satanic pontiffs. Whoever is reigning in Antichrist’s “see” at that time is the representative of the system he and the false prophet founded; they are all clones of the original — one and the same. They have continued the same teaching and furthered it, they have maintained and amplified the connections it takes to build this system and these connections go deep into the slimy underbelly of politics and high finance. Antichrist’s diabolical system financially influences world political interests in ways not completely known or understood. Various Vatican financial scandals, the dealings revealed by exposés regarding the Knights of Malta and other works, give us some idea of these connections. Vatican political dealings have been clearly leftist since the 1960s.
Doctrinal points regarding the Man of Sin
If we approach the problem from a doctrinal standpoint, Henry Cardinal Manning states that it was the unanimous opinion of the Fathers that the Holy Sacrifice would cease, and when the early Fathers speak on a subject regarding Holy Scripture, the Vatican Council teaches that this is to be considered a rule of faith. It also is certain according to nearly all Scripture scholars that Antichrist will be a specific individual. And Holy Scripture says he will cause the Sacrifice to cease. The infallible Scripture interpretation of Pope Paul IV in Cum ex Apostolatus Officio regarding the abomination of desolation has already been mentioned but bears repeating: Antichrist, which commentators equate with the abomination, will be a heretic invalidly elected pope and can be removed at any time. The pages on this website have been devoted to demonstrating that while Traditionalists may argue the Sacrifice has not ceased it most certainly cannot be said to continue at the hands of men whose orders are questionably valid and who therefore lack apostolic succession. They are simply the false prophets and false christs foretold in Holy Scripture. It is hard to see how the current situation is not the very one spoken of in Apocalypse 17, where the Babylonish whore rules from Rome, counterfeiting the sacrifice and sacraments as well as all of the rest of her operations; Antichrist continues to rule by proxy, spreading massive delusion with the aid of the operation of error; those keeping the faith have retired to the desert in the company of the Holy Ghost and Our Lady, which symbolizes a place of contemplation and the inability to receive the Sacraments.
Meanwhile, things continue to deteriorate at a rapid pace on the world stage, but lovers of solitude sheltered by Our Lady are not disturbed by this. For they know all this was preceded by what St. Paul prophesied — the mass exodus of bishops and priests from the Church, the Great Apostasy, at the time of the false Vatican 2 council, precisely when the Man of Sin was revealed to the world. We have seen these prophecies play out; what we cannot do is fit all of it to St. John’s vision of the Apocalypse. And this is not surprising, since God did not intend for us to know all the details of these things in advance. The important parts — the Great Apostasy, the cessation of the Sacrifice and the identification of the Man of Sin — he has given to us because we must know such things to save our souls. If there is to be a literal three-and a-half-year period and a reign of terror by those directing world government, in conjunction with a new world religion (a false pope playing out the role of high priest, while some political figure is set up, who, aided and abetted financially by Rome acts out the role of Antichrist) it will necessarily be accompanied by the coming of Enoch and Elias. This is another controversial point in question, and many have been asking for some time now, where are these two witnesses?
Where are Enoch and Elias?
Here we have a problem that has not been satisfactorily addressed, in this author’s estimation. We have a wide range of opinions on their appearance. St. Robert Bellarmine’s comments on this subject are important for many reasons.
“For it must be known that in the divine letters the Holy Ghost to have given as six sure signs concerning the coming of the antichrist: two which precede himself, namely: 1) the preaching of the gospel in the whole world and 2) the devastation of the Roman Empire; 3) the contemporaneous men (two witnesses) which it is to be seen prophesied Enoch (also called Henoch) and Elias (also called Elijah); 4) the greatest and last persecution and 5) that the public sacrifice (of the mass) shall completely cease; the two following signs 6) surely the death of the antichrist after three and a half years (after his rise to power) and the end of the world, none of which signs have we seen at this time. “The third demonstration arises from the coming of Enoch and Elias who live even now and shall live until they come to oppose Antichrist himself and to preserve the elect in the faith of Christ, and in the end shall convert the Jews and it is certain that this has not yet been fulfilled. But it is easily seen that… this is not a childish fantasy but a most true concept that Enoch and Elias shall personally return and it is also seen that the contrary concept (that they will not personally return) is either absolutely heretical or a serious error very close to heretical. The sixth demonstration arises from the last sign, that follows antichrist which shall be the consummation of the world. After antichrist at once comes the last Judgement … the future reign of antichrist shall be 1,290 days duration. Matthew 24: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to the whole world and then shall come the consummation.” (Liber Tertius, p. 434-435). So according to St. Bellarmine, there will be no peace.
To summarize the above, the Gospel must be preached throughout the entire world, which, given the Church’s missionary efforts in her final days seems to have been achieved. However, Enoch and Elias renew this effort. Some would disagree, but commentators who were writing in the late 1800s or early 1900s could not have anticipated radio and television or increased access to remote areas. Next, it appears, comes the destruction of Rome. This must follow her already accomplished spiritual destruction. We will forgive St. Bellarmine for placing the cessation of the Mass before Enoch and Elias’ coming, for he does not indicate that these signs will take place in the order given. The order that seems to make sense for us is the following: 1) the preaching of the gospel in the whole world and 2) the devastation of the Roman Empire; 3) the greatest and last persecution 4) that the public sacrifice (of the mass) shall completely cease; the two following signs 5) the contemporaneous men (two witnesses) which it is to be seen prophesied Enoch (also called Henoch) and Elias (also called Elijah); and 6) the death of the antichrist after three and a half years (after his rise to power).”
So if we fit this to our own times, it is possible these two prophets could appear in the near future. At least according to Bellarmine, St. Ephraem, St. Hippolytus and others. One commentator (Ratton) claims they have already come, (before the destruction of the Jewish Temple in A.D. 70). Rev Leo Haydock comments that “…Allowing it a received opinion that Henoch and Elias are again to come before the day of judgment, yet it is not the constant doctrine of the ancient fathers, that by these two witnesses in this place of the Apocalypse, must be understood Henoch and Elias. St. Cyprian expounds it of two sorts of martyrs for the Catholic faith; to wit, they who suffer death, and others who only suffered imprisonment, loss of goods, and the like. Others expound it of the testimonies concerning Christ and his Church, of which some are in the Old Testament, some in the New. To these we must join all those interpreters who expound all the visions and predictions in the Apocalypse, till the 20th chapter, of the persecutions raised by the Jews: or by the heathens against the Church, which have already happened …Two witnesses. It is commonly understood of Henoch and Elias. (Challoner).” Another commentator suggests that the witnesses were Pope Pius IX and Pope St. Pius X, who warned in one of his first encyclicals that Antichrist already had been born in 1903. So no one is united in their views on this interpretation
A brief peace, or the consummation?
Given the current political situation both here and abroad, it would seem that we are closer to the realization of a worldwide government and religion than at any other time in history. The times are approaching when everything may utterly collapse. As out there as this may sound, the only hope of the peace everyone seems to expect could be the arrival of Enoch and Elias, designated to battle Antichrist and his system. We cannot discount Fatima, La Salette and other indicators of this peace, but they certainly cannot be considered in the same light as the theologians, the popes and Holy Scripture itself. Holy Scripture tells us these two prophets will be two candlesticks and olive trees in Apoc. 11: 4, possessing the gift of miracles, and the symbolism used in Apocalypse to describe them indicates they could possibly be vested with episcopal orders. Rev. James L. Meagher, D.D. (How Christ Said the First Mass, 1906) explains that the removal of the candlesticks in Apoc. 2: 5, refers to the Jewish Holy of Holies, “emblematic of Christ the Light of His Church…[and] also foretold the bishop, light of his diocese… The Son of God told John, His beloved Apostle to write to the seven churches of Asia that if they did not do penance he would remove their candlesticks — that is, their bishops.” Commenting on this same verse, Rev. E. S. Berry also mentions a candlestick and its removal, which he says refers to a particular Church. According to Berry, bishops are referred to as stars or angels in Apocalypse, but by extension the removal of an entire church would also mean removal of its bishop.
Since olive oil is used to consecrate bishops, one must wonder if this has any significance regarding their episcopal status. Miracles alone would prove their jurisdiction. Berry calls them “apostles” and Rev. Robert Eaton says in his The Apocalypse of St. John (1930) that the “olive trees and candlesticks (verse 4) speak of the priesthood and kingship of Our Lord.” In his The Book of Destiny, Rev. H.B. Kramer notes: “The olive tree is the symbol of God’s mercy and the oil is the threefold office of prophet, priest and king.” These two men may appear when Antichrist’s system begins its complete and universal reign which could then last for three years and a half. The commentators say these two witnesses will “restore all things.” Kramer refers Apoc.11:3 to the prophecy of Zacharias 4:14, making Jesus son of Josedech and Zorababel types of the two witnesses. Following the Babylon Captivity, “these two restored the theocracy.” During the Babylonian Captivity, the Jews were held captive anywhere form 48-70 years. In October of 2021, the Church will have been held captive by the Roman usurpers for 63 years.
Three scenarios are possible here if these two witnesses are to come at this time. First, Enoch and Elias will come to restore the papacy and convert the Jews. Physical Rome will probably be destroyed, having already been decimated spiritually, and Antichrist will proceed to Jerusalem. Antichrist and his system win a monumental battle in Jerusalem, seizes the two witnesses and puts them to death. The witnesses rise after three days and finally enter heaven. Eventually Antichrist and his entire army are destroyed by the Archangel St. Michael or some other entity and are literally thrown into a lake of fire. A literal three days of darkness might ensue and the brief period of peace and restoration of the Church would follow. Or, after Antichrist’s system is defeated, the end could come immediately. Commentators simply do not agree. If those commentators who believe that the two witnesses will not come in person are correct, and this does not seem to be the case, the end could come at any time. But given the fact that there is no other valid way to restore the papacy other than by a true bishop(s) who would create other bishops to canonically elect a true pope, only the arrival of Enoch and Elias could result in the peace so many are anticipating.
What are Catholics to believe?
First of all, it seems only logical to conclude that we are to pray and watch; to read and understand. These are the repeated messages for the end times in Apocalypse and the Gospels and Epistles regarding the Last Days. The focus should be on our own spiritual lives and the preparation we must all make to remain Catholic in a world gone mad. Prayer and penance are the only remedies for what we face today. We will know Enoch and Elias when they come for as champions of the law, they will be no friends of the Traditionalists and will preach consistent with those dogmas of faith that existed prior to the death of Pope Pius XII. They will also likely cast some reproaches at the lukewarm among stay-at-home Catholics. No one can be certain how these prophecies of the Apocalypse will be fulfilled; it is God’s secret alone. That is why we are told to pray and watch, for He did give us certain indicators of the more significant events, enumerated above by St. Bellarmine. Before leaving this subject, we add a few pages written by one commentator about the two witnesses and what it means to really be a witness. These excerpts are taken from The Apocalypse Explained, written by H.M. Feret in 1958. They are a reminder that when these two great men arrive, they will necessarily create a following and will expect to be joined by those who keep the true faith of Christ. We are not meant to be led by them, but to lead with them. Catholics who for years have been awaiting a savior on a white horse may be surprised to learn here that they were intended all along to be the army that leads that charge to victory.
+ St. Paul, First Hermit+
As the spiral downward inexorably continues, those now belatedly understanding where all this is heading are beginning to panic. In the face of the inescapable they are forgetting that Holy Scripture encourages us to avoid this very reaction and to remain calm and trust in God; to distrust the false Christs and prophets, political and clerical alike, and to refuse to give in to the terror they are attempting to instill in us. In the process even Catholics who should know better have forgotten how we are to measure and interpret these times and the traps we must avoiding order to assure our eternal salvation.
One of these traps is the tendency to assign to passages of the Apocalypse an interpretation that is not seated in the spiritual realm but is more suggestive, instead, of the literal opinion of that book common to Protestants. Rev. Hugh Pope, O.P., S.T.M, D.S.S.cr, (a one-time professor of New Testament exegesis at the Collegio Angelico in Rome) made some very astute observations on the various methods used by commentators to interpret the Apocalypse. In his The Catholic Student’s Aids to the Bible, Vol. 5, he writes:
“The Apocalypse must be judged from the standpoint of prophecy…The interpretation, then, of the Apocalypse must be governed by the rules which hold good in the interpretation of all prophecy. For the original hearers…of the prophecies of Isaias or Jeremias, only one thing was certain, namely that, being divinely inspired prophecies, the things foretold would infallibly come to pass… Since, then, the ultimate goal of the Apocalypse is the last things, full light will not be thrown on this prophetic book till those last things have received their ultimate fulfillment.” Pope explained that the attitudes of commentators “has led to much harmful interpretation of the Apocalypse.” And indeed it has, even among Catholic commentators. Rev. R. Gerald Culleton says much the same: “All true prophecy is from God, for His glory and the sake of the ‘elect.’ As it becomes fulfilled it establishes its own divine origin and the reliability of the documents which convey it,” (The Reign of Antichrist, 1951). And nearly all Catholic commentators agree that the Apocalypse is to be taken in the spiritual, not the literal sense. The literal sense is not entirely excluded, but the spiritual sense must be primary. As Pope Leo XIII cautions in Providentissimus Deus:
“The sacred writings are wrapped in a certain religious obscurity and no one can enter into their interior without a guide.” He goes on to quote from the Vatican Council which reminds Catholics that “the true sense of Holy Scripture is that held by our Holy Mother the Church, whose place it is to judge the true sense and interpretation of the Scriptures… no one is permitted to interpret Holy Scripture against such sense or also against the unanimous agreement of the Fathers.” While some may believe this author has done this in holding Paul 6 as Antichrist, read the disclaimer on the opening page of this website: all written here is subject to the judgment of a future Pope, should we ever be fortunate enough to see one. I have done my best to align everything written on these topics with the comments of approved Scripture scholars and theologians, also any available papal documents. We are given a certain leeway in these times because we have no true pontiff or hierarchy to appeal to.
Can we deny that apocalyptic prophecy has been fulfilled in our day? Many do; the only thing we are saying here is that wherever we observe that several approved Church authors have opined on a Scriptural passage, unless it is directly contradicted by what we see before us, we must follow their opinions rather than holding our own as Protestants are wont to do. I will give an example of one such opinion circulating on the Internet which some true Catholics now hold. It reads like this: The current COVID-19 vaccines, because at least some of them have been developed using aborted fetal material, are the mark of the beast. Now of course if Catholics know or even suspect certain vaccines have been developed using aborted fetal material, they are bound not to receive them on moral grounds, and there is a basis for this supposition. On the other hand, if it could be shown to be relatively certain that other vaccines were not developed in this manner and there is a serious reason for receiving one, there would be no sin in doing so.
The problem with the vaccine from aborted tissue and the claim that it is the mark of the beast is that many now living today as Catholics probably received vaccines decades ago, either as young adults or children, that already were contaminated with fetal tissue (see https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-ingredients/fetal-tissues). At that time no one knew of this contamination. So if this line of thinking is followed and such a vaccination is the mark, those receiving it would merit eternal damnation. But how could such people merit damnation if they did not know the vaccine contained fetal tissue? Of course if one received a vaccination knowing the tissue was there and intending to do so for material and social gain, then that would merit damnation as a serious sin unless they truly repented and made amendment. And while the suspect vaccines are certainly one of many tools in the arsenal maintained by those operating under Antichrist’s remaining system, and so indirectly are a product of that system, they cannot be said to correspond with the spiritual meaning of the mark of the beast.
The commentators tell us the true nature of the mark, although all do not comment on its actual components or meaning. Fr. E. S. Berry (The Apocalypse of St. John) and H. B. Kramer (The Book of Destiny) indicate the mark is a hellish form of Baptism and intimate the mark on the hand could be false Holy Orders. Fathers Berry, Arminjon (The End of the Present World and Mysteries of the Future Life), Huchede (History of Antichrist) also Abp. Sheen describe an entire counterfeit church or religion in opposition to the true Church, which means that church would have its own rites. Catholics receive Baptism on their foreheads and most Catholics know that during the ordination ceremony, priests are anointed on their hands (thumbs and index fingers) which touch the Sacred Host, giving the power to transform the bread and wine into Christ’s Body and Blood. But it is the bishops who are the primary pastors of the Church, not the priests, and the only valid episcopal rite of the Church below shows what relevance this reference to hands and forehead really holds regarding apostolic succession.
Laying on of the Hands
“Then the Consecrator and the assistant bishops (all wearing mitres) touch with both hands the head of the one to be consecrated (who is still kneeling) saying: “Receive the Holy Ghost.” (In the NO rite, this action is done in silence.) He makes the Sign of the Cross on the cloth crown of the mitre, and then anoints the rest of the crown while saying: “May thy head be anointed and consecrated by heavenly benediction in the pontifical order. “May thy head be anointed and consecrated by heavenly benediction in the pontifical order. And making with his right hand, the sign of the cross three times over the head of the Elect, he says:
“In the name of the + Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy + Ghost. R. Amen. V. Peace be with thee. R. And with thy spirit.” [From the above wording it is clear that the Bishop-elect’s head is actually being anointed now and that the Consecrator is actually blessing him in this moment using the Pontifical blessing of a bishop.]
“While Ps. 132 is being sung, the Bishop-elect has one long strip of cloth placed on his neck. The Consecrator sits down and wearing his mitre anoints the hands of the Bishop-elect who is kneeling before the Consecrator. The hands are anointed in the form of a cross. The Consecrator dips his thumb in the oil and draws two lines from the thumb of the right hand to the
index finger of the left hand and from the thumb of the left hand to the index finger of the right hand. (See https://www.hrcac.org.uk/Comparison-of-Old-and-New-Consecration-Rites-2.pdf).
All of the above must be taken in the spiritual sense in which it is intended. The reference to this mark of the beast in Apocalypse is spiritual. The sea beast in Apocalypse Chap. 13 institutes new sacraments to “replace” the old. This is the Man of Sin, Antichrist in person. There is nothing that says that the successors of Antichrist might not also promote some identification sign that must be received on the hand or forehead that would mark citizens in a way that could determine whether they buy or sell, but this is only a material extenuation of the spiritual reality. Christ teaches us in Matthew 10:28: “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.” We should fear only that which will certainly kill our souls — the falsification of the Church established by Christ and the Sacraments He instituted. The political remnants of Antichrist’s system can definitely kill our bodies, but we cannot lose sight of the true spiritual meaning of this mark and hope to save our souls. It is the key to everything we must believe and all we must do to persevere unto the end.
Antichrist did not come to destroy political empires, although in the course of his mission these also were destroyed. His sole target was the Church. Rome was the location of his throne and his successors yet rule there to carry out his agenda. This is the Lawless One and his system; there are two entities. Spiritual meanings cannot propose new doctrine, only illuminate doctrines already existing. Everyone knows that the pope was considered by the world to be the enemy of everything Protestant, pagan and especially Masonic. That Satan, and ultimately his “son,” Antichrist, would consider him his foremost enemy and covet his throne has been demonstrated time and time again throughout history, beginning with Simon Magus and antipopes classified by the Church as antichrists throughout history. That in consequence he would set out to also destroy any possibility that the papacy could revive itself is only a given. Hence we have the NO sacraments and the mark.
Much more could be said on this topic, and God willing, will be said in the weeks to come. For those who seek them out, the texts of Holy Scripture comfort God’s people consumed with fear in these times. Christ has never abandoned us; He is with us now more surely than ever before. No one knows what might happen over the next several days, weeks or months, but we all should pray for each other, put our spiritual affairs in order and thank God for the many blessings He has granted us in being able to live in this country and freely practice our faith all these years. Pray, watch, and make reparation for the many evils that have been perpetrated under the guise of good. Place your trust in Jesus’ Sacred Heart alone.
+The Most Holy Name of Jesus+
The following presidential document was forwarded to me by a reader, and while the feast day of the saint the proclamation honors has passed, the sentiments in the proclamation below speak for the man who for the past four years has been the victim of countless ad hominem attacks. Donald Trump is no saint and has never pretended to be. But he loves his country and the document below is something all Catholics should consider well.
Proclamation on the 850th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket
Today is the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket on December 29, 1170. Thomas Becket was a statesman, a scholar, a chancellor, a priest, an archbishop, and a lion of religious liberty.
Before the Magna Carta was drafted, before the right to free exercise of religion was enshrined as America’s first freedom in our glorious Constitution, Thomas gave his life so that, as he said, “the Church will attain liberty and peace.”
The son of a London sheriff and once described as “a low‑born clerk” by the King who had him killed, Thomas Becket rose to become the leader of the church in England. When the crown attempted to encroach upon the affairs of the house of God through the Constitutions of Clarendon, Thomas refused to sign the offending document. When the furious King Henry II threatened to hold him in contempt of royal authority and questioned why this “poor and humble” priest would dare defy him, Archbishop Becket responded “God is the supreme ruler, above Kings” and “we ought to obey God rather than men.”
Because Thomas would not assent to rendering the church subservient to the state, he was forced to forfeit all his property and flee his own country. Years later, after the intervention of the Pope, Becket was allowed to return — and continued to resist the King’s oppressive interferences into the life of the church. Finally, the King had enough of Thomas Becket’s stalwart defense of religious faith and reportedly exclaimed in consternation: “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”
The King’s knights responded and rode to Canterbury Cathedral to deliver Thomas Becket an ultimatum: give in to the King’s demands or die. Thomas’s reply echoes around the world and across the ages. His last words on this earth were these: “For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church, I am ready to embrace death.” Dressed in holy robes, Thomas was cut down where he stood inside the walls of his own church.
Thomas Becket’s martyrdom changed the course of history. It eventually brought about numerous constitutional limitations on the power of the state over the Church across the West. In England, Becket’s murder led to the Magna Carta’s declaration 45 years later that: “[T]he English church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished and its liberties unimpaired.”
When the Archbishop refused to allow the King to interfere in the affairs of the Church, Thomas Becket stood at the intersection of church and state. That stand, after centuries of state-sponsored religious oppression and religious wars throughout Europe, eventually led to the establishment of religious liberty in the New World. It is because of great men like Thomas Becket that the first American President George Washington could proclaim more than 600 years later that, in the United States, “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship” and that “it is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.”
Thomas Becket’s death serves as a powerful and timeless reminder to every American that our freedom from religious persecution is not a mere luxury or accident of history, but rather an essential element of our liberty. It is our priceless treasure and inheritance. And it was bought with the blood of martyrs.
As Americans, we were first united by our belief that “rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God” and that defending liberty is more important than life itself. If we are to continue to be the land of the free, no government official, no governor, no bureaucrat, no judge, and no legislator must be allowed to decree what is orthodox in matters of religion or to require religious believers to violate their consciences. No right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous, and virtuous society than the right to follow one’s religious convictions. As I declared in Krasiński Square in Warsaw, Poland on July 6, 2017, the people of America and the people of the world still cry out: “We want God.”
On this day, we celebrate and revere Thomas Becket’s courageous stand for religious liberty and we reaffirm our call to end religious persecution worldwide. In my historic address to the United Nations last year, I made clear that America stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts. I also stated that global bureaucrats have absolutely no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that wish to protect innocent life, reflecting the belief held by the United States and many other countries that every child — born and unborn — is a sacred gift from God. Earlier this year, I signed an Executive Order to prioritize religious freedom as a core dimension of United States foreign policy. We have directed every Ambassador — and the over 13,000 United States Foreign Service officers and specialists — in more than 195 countries to promote, defend, and support religious freedom as a central pillar of American diplomacy.
We pray for religious believers everywhere who suffer persecution for their faith. We especially pray for their brave and inspiring shepherds — like Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong and Pastor Wang Yi of Chengdu — who are tireless witnesses to hope.
To honor Thomas Becket’s memory, the crimes against people of faith must stop, prisoners of conscience must be released, laws restricting freedom of religion and belief must be repealed, and the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed must be protected. The tyranny and murder that shocked the conscience of the Middle Ages must never be allowed to happen again. As long as America stands, we will always defend religious liberty.
A society without religion cannot prosper. A nation without faith cannot endure — because justice, goodness, and peace cannot prevail without the grace of God.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 29, 2020, as the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket. I invite the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches and customary places of meeting with appropriate ceremonies in commemoration of the life and legacy of Thomas Becket.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.
A few comments are in order here. First of all, aside from the mention of Novus Ordo Chinese bishops (who while not Catholic are still clergy being persecuted in China), this proclamation appears to be sincere and entirely orthodox. Secondly, it emphasizes the obligation of all those who truly believe in God to obey Him, and not government officials who, as happened in pagan times and even in St. Thomas Becket’s day, would order Christians to disobey God’s laws. The proclamation is delivered in respectful even reverential tones, and most importantly, it used the life of a Catholic archbishop to illustrate the necessity of placing God first if this country is to expect to live in peace and be worthy of God’s grace.
We are facing a week that will decide the fate of all Christians of every stripe in this country, and indirectly, in the entire world. Trump knows this, and he is reminding us of his commitment to defend our right as Catholics to profess our faith. I have limited knowledge of presidential proclamations, but I think it is safe to say that no modern president has made such a statement of faith in reference to the Catholic Church. He appears to be appealing to us to stand firm in the event that he loses any option to serve another term, which he may. Pray God his words will stand as a warning heeded, and not become a prophecy of future persecution of Christians under Biden’s socialist regime.
+St. Eusebius, Bishop and Martyr of the Arian heresy+
I have no intention of endlessly repeating myself on the Siri matter in these posts. Now those pushing this ridiculous hypothesis are regurgitating the Ad Evitanda Scandala justification, misusing Pope Martin V’s constitution to claim that practically no one can be a heretic or schismatic and all are free to communicate with this farcical body of Traditional clerics to “save” themselves. As if… They continue to paint the position of those adhering to Church law and teaching as Pharasaical rigorists who deny God’s mercy and goodness and condemn their “fellow” Catholics, contrary to Church law and teaching. And they ignore Canon Law and the many papal documents presented on this site which demonstrate the Church’s true teaching.
Incredibly they even ignore the final part of Ad Evitanda Scandala itself, which clearly states that notorious heretics and schismatics are excluded from Martin V’s constitution. Further, Pope Pius VI removes the ability of those ordained and consecrated by schismatics and heretics to convey these orders in his Charitas. Because these orders were never received with papal approval, he declares them null and void. Pope Pius VII later upheld Charitas as absolutely binding. And the Siri bunch knew all this in 2012, following a tangle with this author that resulted in a pages-long article explaining communicatio in sacris. I have the back and forth emails to prove this, and they are not pretty.
Fortunately I also have the application of Ad Evitanda Scandala clarified by none other than St. Robert Bellarmine. So if those following this topic wish to champion Siri advocates over St. Bellarmine, whose works Trads rightly and wrongly cite in their arguments on various issues, fine. They only prove they are unable to conduct reliable research and value their own opinion over that of a distinguished Doctor of the Church. In his work de Romano Pontifice, lib II, Cap. 30, Bellarmine writes:
“There is no basis [for the argument] that, by Decree of the Council of Constance, they alone lose their jurisdiction who are excommunicated by name or who assault clerics. This argument, I say, has no value at all, for those Fathers… argued on the basis of the very nature of heresy. The Council of Constance only deals with the excommunicated, that is, those who have lost jurisdiction by sentence of the Church, while heretics already before being excommunicated are outside the Church and deprived of all jurisdiction. All the ancient Fathers teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction” (see Archives, jurisdiction for full quote in article on
Ad Evitanda Scandala).
The teaching of the Church above is based at least in part on Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio
, that dreaded bull detested and discredited by Traditionalists. It also destroys their contention that their “clerics” can invoke Can. 2261§2 to receive supplied jurisdiction from the law itself. For to receive such jurisdiction one must at least be a member of the Church as well as a provably legitimate pastor, and neither is the case where Traditionalists are concerned. This, once again, has been demonstrated repeatedly on this site from papal and conciliar teaching, as well as authors approved by the Church prior to 1958. But those who contest them either cannot read or refuse to accept Church teaching, as is required to maintain their membership in the Mystical Body. And once faith is lost, as Rev. John Kearney the Irish catechist warns, only a rare miracle of grace, begged for from Our Lord, can restore it, (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/?s=Communicatio+in+Sacris
for the necessary background on the refutation written to the Siri supporters in 2012).
And sadly, there is more
We have gone to great lengths, in several articles, to demonstrate the heretical nature of the material-formal pope heresy. This is best summarized in the most recent article posted to the Recent Articles page (see Articles page, bottom listing). It also is verified by what is written here and in our last blog post regarding St. Robert Bellarmine. The results of following such false teaching will now become all too clear. If anyone would like to know the true position of ISOC, and those supporting Giuffre, including Tradition In Action (TIA), this was stated in TIA’s response to British newspapers in 2017, regarding their true stand concerning the heretical pope heresy. We would love to give you the link for Catholic Info where this article and others were first posted, but their site is currently unavailable. In a letter to those accusing TIA of heading the movement to unseat Francis, it’s founder stated the organization’s position as follows:
“A pope can be an apostate and even a heretic and not lose his pontificate, i.e., he is still a valid pope. In this case Catholics should resist his bad teaching and obey him while he continues to rule the Church. This position of resistance is the one TIA adopts.” No wonder they are unconcerned that Siri participated in the NO and endorsed its popes — they never left the Counterchurch, just as their friends the Lefebvrites and others of the Remnant persuasion never left it. And so TIA sums up the material-formal papacy heresy in a nutshell, for themselves and their collaborators.”
In a DVD advertised on the site, they also unveil their plan for “papal restoration” — attend Mass and receive the Sacraments! It doesn’t seem to matter where, how, or from whom, as their suggestions indicate. While TIA assured the British publishers they are not backing anyone for Francis’ replacement, here they are pounding the Siri drum. And while ISOC runs a disclaimer that the views and opinions of those they interview are not necessarily their own (possibly to shield them from their critics), this is a lame excuse when what is presented is passed off as Catholic truth. It explains why no one respects approved theologians, past popes or truths of faith. If Catholics are expected to pick and choose their own “truths” from among the dishes of flyspeck served up by Francis, what can anyone expect???!
In the 1980s, a former member of the St. Pius X Society informed me that the hidden agenda of the organization was to eventually redirect its members back into the Novus Ordo. It appears that this is exactly what is happening with the ISOC and its affiliates, regardless of any disclaimers. The determination of who is a canonically elected pope and whether any given election is valid is a matter of infallible Church teaching, not the adoption of opinions and views. Who is and was pope is a dogmatic fact and cannot be subject to debate or speculation, but must be judged by papal decrees and Canon Law. That is another Church teaching that has been treated exhaustively here. No proofs of any kind rising to this level have ever been submitted by Giuffre.
There is but one conclusion possible from all that has been cited above. Those promoting ISOC in any way are a species of Novus Ordo non-Catholics at best. They have denied the existence of papal infallibility and the necessity of a certainly valid Pope to head the Catholic Church. Even worse, they have portrayed the Vicar of Christ Himself as capable of leading the Church astray, even in his public capacity as teacher, voiding the promises He made to His Church regarding the gates of hell. Christ did not invest the faithful with infallibility, to determine which lies of the usurpers are capable of belief. This is the Christ who warned us through St. Paul that the devil could present even as an angel of light, and not to accept any other Gospel from any man, or even from such an angel. Certainly this is another Gospel, presented without even a scintilla of authority, and reject and denounce it we must.
We wish that we could end this discussion here. But there is yet another sinister side to these collected groups that must be revealed. And this will be left for our next post.
+ The Immaculate Conception+
There has been much confusion among Traditionalists regarding exactly what St. Robert Bellarmine taught on whether a true pope could ever become a heretic. We have known for years St. Bellarmine taught that a non-Christian can never be elected as pope. He also taught that a doubtful pope is no pope; but the doubtful pope teaching, to the best of this author’s knowledge, has never been attributed to St. Bellarmine as its rightful author by anyone throughout the entire course of the crisis in the Church. Those pretending Bellarmine did not agree with the Pope Paul IV on the finer points of Cum ex Apostolatus Officio did not examine all his teachings as a comprehensive whole.
- Bellarmine taught non-Catholics cannot be elected pope: “This principle is most certain: The non-Christian cannot in any way be Pope, as Cajetan himself admits (ib. c. 26). The reason for this is that he cannot be head of what he is not a member…” (De Romano Pontifice, Lib II, Cap. 30). This confirms paragraph 6 of Cum ex…
- Bellarmine also taught that “if a papal election is really doubtful for any reason, the one elected should resign so that a new election may be held… But if he refuses to resign, the bishops can and ought to decide who is the legitimate pope…That is what the Council of Constance did” (De Concilio, ii, 19). (This teaching holds true because the legitimacy of the Roman Pontiff is a dogmatic fact, which cannot be denied because it is so closely connected to the dogma of unbroken succession to the papacy. This fact must be certainly established and when there is positive doubt regarding a papal election, this is not the case.)
- St. Bellarmine himself also solved the case of Liberius below, in his De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30, et al:
“Then two years later came the lapse of Liberius, of which we have spoken above. Then indeed the Roman clergy, stripping Liberius of his pontifical dignity, went over to Felix, whom they knew [then] to be a Catholic. From that time, Felix began to be the true Pontiff. For although Liberius was not a heretic, nevertheless he was considered one, on account of the peace he made with the Arians, and by that presumption the pontificate could rightly [merito] be taken from him: for men are not bound, or able to read hearts; but when they see that someone is a heretic by his external works, they judge him to be a heretic pure and simple [simpliciter], and condemn him as a heretic.”
This speaks to the old rule of law (concerning the law itself) that a doubtful law is no law, meaning that if there is doubt that it was legitimately made, or that it was properly promulgated, it may be ignored. From this comes the like axiom, “a doubtful pope is no pope” used as a reflex principle in requiring the resignation of all papal claimants at the Council of Constance during the Western Schism. The presumption that St. Robert speaks of above is that stated in Can. 2200: “The evil will spoken of in Can. 2199 means a deliberate will to violate the law and presupposes on the part of the mind a knowledge of the law and on the part of the will freedom of action. Given the external violation of the law, the evil will is presumed in the external forum until the contrary is proven.” Revs. Woywod-Smith comment on this canon: “The rule here stated is evidently necessary for the public welfare.” Canon 1825 declares that a presumption of law is stated in the law itself, as is the case in Can. 2200. And we find in Can. 1827: “He who has a presumption of law in his favor is freed from the burden of proof, which is thus shifted to his opponent. If the latter cannot prove that the presumption failed in the case, the judge must render sentence in favor of the one on whose side the presumption stands.”
In other words, one who is even suspected of being a heretic cannot, in Church practice, be tolerated as a true pope, even if there is a danger that these suspicions are not correct. One who is certainly Catholic must be elected, as was Pope Felix. Thus it is absurd and a great slander against St. Bellarmine to maintain that he believed a true pope could become a heretic, when he had such a horror of it that even a man suspected of this crime could be “stripped of the papacy.” This could never have happened if these clergy had not firmly believed that this pope was a heretic, as Bellarmine indicates above. For as the Church teaches, “… the Roman Pontiff, who is Vicar of God and of Jesus Christ on earth, holds fullness of power over peoples and.kingdoms, and judges all, but can be judged by no one in this world… (yet even he) may be corrected if he is apprehended straying from the Faith.” Bellarmine did believe that the pope might be able to become a heretic in his private capacity. And regardless of speculation by Traditionalists that he taught the pope could fall into error in his official capacity, Bellarmine later clarified his true position.
Quoting Bellarmine’s Controversies de Summo Pontifice (lib. iv. cap. 2), Henry Edward Cardinal Manning in his work The Ecumenical Council and the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff, 1859, Spotswoode and Co., London, (p. 58-61), writes:
Bellarmine says: “Both Catholics and heretics agree in two things; first, that the Pontiff, even as Pontiff and with his counsellors, or even with a General Council, may err in controversies as to particular facts, which chiefly depend on the information and testimonies of men; secondly, that the Pontiff, as a private doctor, may err even in questions of faith and morals; and that from ignorance, as at times happens to other doctors. ‘Next, all Catholics agree in two other things, not indeed with heretics, but among themselves. First, that the Pontiff, with a General Council, cannot err in framing decrees of faith, or general precepts of morals. Secondly, that the Pontiff alone, or with his own private Council, whether he may err or not, in deciding anything in a dubious matter is, nevertheless, to be obediently listened to by all the faithful…
“…The Pontiff, whether personally he can be a heretic or no, ‘cannot, in any event, define anything heretical to be believed by the whole Church.’ This is the most common opinion ofnearly all Catholics,” as S. Thomas says. Bellarmine in later years reviewed his ‘Controversies,’ and wrote of this point as follows: “This ‘opinion’ is more rightly the common judgment of Catholics; for opinion implies uncertainty, and we hold this judgment to be certain.”
Clearly from what St. Bellarmine says above he considered it only a matter of opinion that the pope could fall into heresy as a private person. And he accepted as a matter of certainty that in his official capacity, the Pope could never define anything heretical to be believed by the whole Church. Monsignor Fenton confirms that St. Bellarmine supported as “probable” the opinion of Pighius in his day, that the pope could not err in matters of faith and morals even as a private person; and unlike modern works lacking Church approval, Monsignor Fenton’s works are entirely reliable. He comments on this topic as follows:
“St. Robert Bellarmine (died 1621), who contributed more than any other individual theologian to the formation of the thesis on papal infallibility, characterized the teaching of Gerson and Allemain [proponents of what was later condemned as the Gallicanist heresy, which taught the pope is fallible and could be judged — Ed.] as ‘entirely erroneous and proximate to heresy’ (De Romano Pontifice, Lib. IV, cap. 2, “De controversiis christianae fidei adversus huius temporis haereticos,” Ingolstadt, 1586, I, col. 975). On the other hand, he accepted the opinion of Pighius [that the pope could not err even as a private doctor] as ‘probable,’ and defended it, (Ibid., Cap. 5, col. 988). His essential teaching on infallibility is summed up in three propositions.
“I. Under no circumstances can the Supreme Pontiff be in error when he teaches the entire Church on matters of faith and morals.
“II. The Roman Church [the pope and bishops together, the Holy Office speaking with the pope’s express consent] as well as the Roman Pontiff is exempt from the possibility of error in faith (Ibid., cap. 3, col. 975).
“III. The Roman Pontiff is incapable of error, not only in decrees of faith, but also in precepts of morals which are prescribed for the whole Church and which deal with matters necessary for salvation or with matters good and evil in themselves (Ibid., cap. 5, Col. 987).”
So if St. Bellarmine did not even believe the pope could err in his private capacity, how could he ever have taught he could become a heretic in his official capacity?!
Here is the end, finally, to the fallacious and irresponsible assertions by certain Traditionalists claiming St. Robert Bellarmine taught that a canonically elected pope could fall into heresy. Theologians attending the Vatican Council would later specify that the privilege of infallibility does not reside in the pope personally and exists only transiently when he speaks publicly on matters of dogma. In other words, he lacks the charisma of infallibility when speaking privately, for then he is not speaking to the whole Church and any heresy that he might hold either would not be broadcast publicly or could be corrected prior to the release of a written document.
The fact is, it appears this remains a matter of opinion yet today that has not been totally resolved. For as S. B. Smith relates in his Elements of Ecclesiastical Law (Vol. I; Benziger Bros., 1891), written after the Vatican Council: “According to the more probable opinion, that the pope may fall into heresy and err as a private person, yet it is also universally admitted that no pope ever did fall into heresy, even as a private doctor (Ferraris)” (p. 240).
It is important to remember that despite all the claims to the contrary, John 23 and Paul 6 uttered heresy from the chair. Publicly. This is only proof of their pre-election heresies, which according to Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, the old law now in effect, nullified their respective “elections.” The Vatican Council held in 1869-70 left the question of the pope committing heresy as a private doctor open. In his The True Story of the Vatican Council, Cardinal Manning wrote: “The doctrine affirmed by the schools and by the Holy See was that infallibility attaches to the office…[it] is personal, therefore, only in the sense that the office is borne by a person.” But the heresies of John 23 and Paul 6 in question were never private, either before or after their elections. The case against the Roman usurpers today can be easily proven without ever referring to this open question.
Application to current circumstances, given the above
It has long been known that no one can become pope who has previously been a heretic; this is addressed in Cum ex Apostolatus Officio where Paul IV proclaims that those who are guilty of heresy may not be readmitted to their function as clerics. This is the part of Cum ex… expressed in Can. 188 no. 4. Canon 2200 mentioned above assumes those who have publicly expressed adherence to a non-Catholic sect or stated something heretical are schismatics or heretics until the contrary is proven. Those promoting Giuseppe Cardinal Siri as a hidden pope, “elected” in 1958, believe that these censures do not apply to him because he was elected before there was any evidence he would accept the Vatican 2 reforms and pledge allegiance to Roncalli and Montini. But this is a classic case of failing to prove the point at issue.
The point at issue is there is no definitive way to prove that Siri was ever elected OR that even if he received the vote, he actually accepted election. Accepting election is necessary for the election’s validity, per the election law of Pope Pius XII, Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis. And there is a mountain of evidence demonstrating that he not only accepted John 23 and Paul 6 as valid popes, something impossible to do if he was pope himself, but also celebrated the Novus Ordo and to all appearances followed the V2 reforms. The way that Pope Paul IV wrote Cum ex… explains to us how it could be that a man elected pope might later be found to be either a heretic or schismatic before his election. If no one realized that this was the case, evidence would have to be discovered that would verify his condition as a non-Catholic. This could be done in two ways: by someone discovering writings (or today recordings) containing such statements that would leave no doubt he had either left his faith for another sect or denied some truth of faith or by behavior publicly demonstrating the same.
Pope Paul IV gave even the cardinals an unlimited amount of time before these things could be determined. In fact, he wrote in his Bull that “It shall be lawful for all and sundry…even for those who participated in the election of one straying from the Faith, or of a heretic or schismatic to the Papacy, or who otherwise presented and pledged him obedience and paid him homage… to depart with impunity at any time from obedience and allegiance to said promoted and elevated persons and to shun them as sorcerers, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs…” (para. 7). No clear-cut guidelines are given for exactly when the heresy, apostasy or schism must manifest itself. All the Bull says is: “If ever at any time it becomes clear” that such a breach has happened (para. 6). In the case of both John 23 and Paul 6, the heresies SHOULD have been clear prior to their elections. But regardless, with John 23 the election was not canonically conducted, on the testimony of several individuals, and that automatically negated the election of Montini. Even if it was only doubtfully canonical, the longstanding practice of the Church, recommended by St. Bellarmine, is to elect a new pope.
Commenting on St. Bellarmine’s teaching regarding a doubtful pope, Rev. E.S. Berry comments in his The Church of Christ: “When there is a prudent doubt about the validity of an election to any official position, there also is a similar doubt whether the person so elected really has authority or not. In such a case, no one is bound to obey him… But a superior whom no one is bound to obey is in reality no superior at all… An authority that may be justly doubted at all times is no authority; it commands neither obedience nor respect as is evident in churches that reject the claim to indefectibility… One who intrudes himself into the ministry against the laws of the Church receives no authority, and consequently can transmit none to his successors” (p. 402). This is why St. Bellarmine, writing in his De conciliis after the Western Schism, limits the calling of an imperfect council, when the Church has no pope, to the cardinals, or “bishops [who] of their own accord come together in one place.” In his The Origins of the Great Western Schism, Walter Ullmann relates that Cardinal Zabarella, writing at the time of the Western Schism proposed that in the event of two claimants to the papal see, only a Council composed of the most capable and senior in position can decide who is truly pope.
Reasoning from the standpoint of the cardinals as electors, Canonist Baldis de Ubaldis, Zabarella’s student, observes that, “Canon Law lays down the dictum that in a doubtful situation, the man elected has to be held as Pope,” (Ullmann). His teaching was later struck down by St. Robert Bellarmine, who based on the history of the Western Schism could see how such a teaching undermined authority. In trying to resolve the Western Schism, Zabarella deplored the “incalculable damage…inflicted upon the Faith and the Church if the latter were in the hands of an heretical pope,” something we have witnessed in our day. Ullmann reports that Zabarella favored the calling of a Council by the Emperor, and presumed that “good clerics and loyal believers and followers of the Church” would support such a council; and they did. Indeed the Emperor Sigismund insisted on the calling of Constance, following Zabarella’s reasoned line of thinking.
For this reason, Pope Paul IV, in Cum ex… taught that those persons among the hierarchy “thus promoted and elevated, if they attempt to continue their government and administration, all may implore the aid of the secular arm against those so advanced and elevated.” But that was in the day of Catholic emperors. The popes of the Western Schism were not publicly heretical; also cardinals originally appointed by a true pope elected these claimants, so they had some claim to valid election. Nevertheless, those senior in position worked to either obtain their resignation, or in the end deposed them. Among them was St. Vincent Ferrar, who abandoned Benedict XIII when he refused to resign in order to advance the resolution of the schism. The Church thereby recognizes that whenever several papal claimants exist, the best plan is abdication and the only other recourse is declaration that such men were never popes. As Cardinal Zabarella wrote: “It is the people themselves who have to summon the neighboring bishops for special purposes if the properly instituted bishop neglects his duty of summoning his colleagues,” (Ibid. Ullmann; emph. mine). In a case such as ours, Zabarella says, “good clerics and loyal believers and followers of the Church” would need to resolve the situation, and God would have to intervene, since the Church, ‘cannot not be.’”
Well where were the faithful required to command the bishops to elect a true Pope in 1958? And where were the bishops? It is amazing that a cardinal actually thought that the faithful would be sufficiently educated and righteously indignant to actually demand such a resolution. Those favored by the Siri crowd trotted off to Rome to peddle a book (The Plot Against the Church) that did not at all suggest rounding up said bishops to elect a real pope, which was the only possible solution to the crisis. Instead this work, ghost-written for Rev. Saenz of Mexico, exacerbated the problem, rather than focusing on the solution, and this even though Saenz at least suspected that Roncalli was not a true pope. Given the climate in Rome at the time, the book indisputably left a bad taste in the mouths of any remaining bishops who might have been willing to work toward addressing the situation. For it unnecessarily put them in a position of defending the book against the rising Novus Ordo tide of correcting so-called injustices to the Jews over the centuries, when conservative-minded bishops were already in the minority.
Having successfully neutralized any remaining faithful bishops, Saenz went on to establish Traditionalism when he should have been lobbying for a papal election. The bishops should have gathered together regardless, but they didn’t. They voted in the Vatican 2 reforms and sent the faithful packing. And those exiting the Church following Vatican 2 laid down and let themselves be used as the paving stones Saenz and other collected “priests” trod upon to resurrect the Old Catholic movement. Rather than assuming their stance as the Church Militant they became the Church Pathetic, victims whining they wanted their Mass and Sacraments back. Even after the official introduction of the NO by Paul 6, Catholics could have risen up, collected at least a small number of bishops and forced one of them to be elected pope. But they were too focused on their losses and perceived spiritual needs. As Pope St. Pius X warned, they perished for a lack of knowledge. Had they risen to the occasion God would have helped them, but that was not the case.
Cardinal Siri could have organized them all, but that didn’t happen. He could have collected cardinal-bishops objecting to John 23rd’s election and, following historical precedent, denounced the election of Roncalli. Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis makes exceptions owing to circumstances for different types of elections within a conclave setting. As few as three cardinals could elect a pope under this method, and as many as seven, delegated by the others. But where impossibility excuses, and no delegation can be made, the law could have been followed as closely as possible but without the delegation, since it could not be validly given. This is according to principles governing Canon Law.
All law and teaching on papal elections is being cast aside by Traditionalists who are championing Siri. The Church’s centuries old traditions on papal lection were codified into the papal election law of Pope St. Pius X, and this law was simply updated and reorganized by Pope Pius XII. Traditionalists, whose name would make one believe they revere Tradition of all kinds, hypocritically betray their own self-adopted moniker. If they push forward with their effort, they will succeed only in accomplishing what they have condemned in others who have supported and participated in illegal papal elections for in the past, producing yet another pretender to the papal see.
It has crossed our mind that they are waiting for the very comments stated above to falsify yet forthcoming “facts” regarding Siri’s behavior and purported election to better disguise the real fact they are acting outside Church law and teaching, not to mention the dictates of even civil law. But no matter. They forged forward to demand their mass and sacraments, so they will now do the same with their “pope.” As with the Jews, they may well have their earthly king, but if they persist they will not have access to the Kingdom of Heaven.
+Four Holy Crowned Martyrs+
Traditionalist sects and their baseless theories continue to be exposed on this site for what they truly are: a contradiction of Church law and teaching. This lack of response or interest from those calling themselves Catholic reveals a frightening indifference regarding their eternal salvation. In fact, their rationalizations, arguments and objections continue even as the evidence against them mounts. In theological terms, their indifference has another definition: resisting the known truth, a sin against the Holy Ghost that is rarely pardoned.
This week an Anglican cleric submitted a comment for approval that will not be posted, but which resulted in some fascinating and fruitful research. In his commentary, the Anglican submitting the comment likened Home Aloners to “the priestless (Безпоповцы) Old Believers and the French Petite Eglise,” (a Gallicanist sect, some of whose members also embraced Jansenism).
Fortunately, we possess an entire volume on the Old Believers (The Old Believers and the World of Antichrist, Robert O. Crummey, University of Wisconsin Press, 1970). The book chronicles the history of members of the Russian Orthodox Church who broke away from this schismatic sect following the implementation of certain liturgical reforms. Their then-reigning Patriarch, Nikon, reformed the Psalter, ordered the members of the Russian Church to make the Sign of the Cross with three fingers instead of two and instituted some other minor changes the author of the book calls “miniscule.” Rejecting the reforms, several Orthodox bishops and clergy separated themselves from the church and set up their own religious communities. Eventually their clergy members passed away and they were left priestless, yet continued as a sect in Russia even after the 1917 Communist takeover.
The Anglican comments: “The Old Believers have happily gone back into communion with the Russian Orthodox Church, and they are allowed to keep their liturgical particularities.” This is what the absorption by Rome of the SSPX is all about: compromise. It will be repeated when remaining Traditionalists are allowed to celebrate their liturgy under the all-inclusive one-world church umbrella offered by the Novus Ordo. The Anglican sums it up nicely: “The way ahead is accepting a via media between tradition and organic change whilst resisting rupture and contradiction.” Really. This is the same broken record titled “Reunion” played by the Anglicans since the Reformation. (Read Liberalism’s Shameful Legacy and the Rise of Socialism on this website.)
Since this schismatic sect was never Catholic to begin with, it is difficult to see where the comparison with Home Aloners comes in. For stay-at-home Catholics stand solely on the dogmas of faith and do not base their separation from the current Novus Ordo church primarily on the falsification of the liturgy. A better comparison here would be to Traditionalists in general, particularly those who question Pope Pius XII’s validity as pope based on the Holy Week changes introduced in the 1950s. The main focus of all these Traditionalist sects is the loss of the Latin Tridentine Mass; the focus of those who avoid Traditionalist sects and keep their faith at home is the loss of the Church as a whole, embodied in the papacy.
In conclusion the Anglican asks: “How long will a person persevere in such conditions before lapsing into modern life like the rest of his family and friends?” Maybe this man should ask those in the countries behind the Iron Curtain, who the Communists forced to live without priests for an entire lifetime (except, perhaps, in rare instances). True Catholics call it white martyrdom and the practice of final perseverance.
Petit Eglise defined
Now to the comment on the Petit Eglise, or little church, which came into being as a result of the French Revolution. The 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia describes this sect as follows: “A schism of another nature and of less importance was that of the so-called Petite Église or the Incommunicants, formed at the beginning of the nineteenth century by groups who were dissatisfied with the Concordat and the concordatory clergy. In the provinces of the west of France the party acquired a certain stability from 1801 to 1815; at the latter date it had become a distinct sect. It languished on till about 1830, and eventually became extinct for lack of priests to perpetuate it” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13529a.htm).
1802 French Concordat
What exactly was the Concordat? The French Concordat between Pope Pius VII and Napoleon Bonaparte was an agreement that restored Catholic order to France in the wake of the French Revolution. The Catholic Encyclopedia under this title states: “The concordat, notwithstanding the addition of the Organic Article [unfavorable commentary made by the French government-Ed.], must be credited with having restored peace to the consciences of the French people on the very morrow of the Revolution. To it also was due the reorganization of Catholicism in France, under the protection of the Holy See. It was also of great moment in the history of the Church. Only a few years after Josephinism and Febronianism had disputed the pope’s rights to govern the Church, the Papacy and the Revolution, in the persons of Pius VII and Napoleon, came to an understanding which gave France a new episcopate and marked the final defeat of Gallicanism.”
The article further explains the newly-established French episcopate was established following the abolition of “the 136 sees of ancient France, a certain number [of which] had lost their titulars by death; the titulars of many others had been forced to emigrate. In Paris the Cathedral of Notre-Dame and the church of St-Sulpice were in the possession of ‘constitutional’ clergy,” removed from their offices by the edict of Pope Pius VI (Charitas). Different reports about the number of new bishops established under the concordat make it difficult to determine the true number. We have 83, 60 and 50, respectively. Regardless of the number, the pope believed the situation prior to the concordat justified such a drastic change.
The churches in France were taken over by hostile forces or left in ruins by the revolutionaries. The lawful clergy had been banished or were in hiding. Seminaries in the country no longer existed. Catholics were sore pressed to know where to go or how to resume a normal Catholic life. Even Napoleon saw the benefits of remedying this situation, although only on his own terms. He controlled the negotiations and caused the Holy See much grief, eventually kidnapping Pope Pius VII. The pope was later allowed to return to Rome.
Pius VI’s ‘Charitas’ and the extent of papal power
In order to rectify the sad situation in France, Pope Pius VII demanded that all those holding episcopal sees in the country resign. Initially, 14 bishops residing in London refused to relinquish their sees. Later, five of these same bishops tendered their resignations, leaving nine. Pope Pius VII’s secretary, Cardinal Consalvi, who was conducting the negotiations with Napoleon on behalf of Pope Pius VII, reported Nov. 30, 1801 that a total of 27 bishops had resigned and others would follow. He noted that the reorganization of the episcopal sees would result in “the annihilation of all jurisdiction in the incumbents, (a necessary sequel to the suppression of old sees and the creation of new ones) ones).” This will later be applied to what is said below. These comments are recorded in Artaud de Montor’s The Lives and Times of the Popes, Vol. VIII, Catholic Publication Society, 1911. There we find 266 pages devoted to Pope Pius VII, including several of Cardinal Consalvi’s verbatim communications to Napoleon. One of these addressed Napoleon’s nomination of 15 constitutional bishops to take possession of the newly created sees, a right guaranteed to him in the concordance. Cardinal Consalvi wrote to the emperor 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.”
Pope Pius IX, in his condemnation of the Old Catholic Bishop Joseph Hubert Reinken, likewise taught in his encyclical Etsi Multa: “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… 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 Hubert 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…
“We declare the election of the said Joseph Hubert 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 Hubert 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.” This is in complete accord with everything decreed by Pope Pius VI.
Certain Traditionalists have insisted that the rigors of Pope Pius VI’s condemnation of the constitutionalists later was relaxed, and that therefore Pius VI’s Charitas was not dogmatic, but the pope states the exact opposite here. Let them present proofs of such relaxation or close their mouths. Below is produced the exact content of Charitas as applies to this matter:
“For the right of ordaining bishops belongs only to the Apostolic See, as the Council of Trent declares; it cannot be assumed by any bishop or metropolitan without obliging Us to declare as schismatic both those who ordain and those who are ordained thus invalidating their future actions.” (see Can. 2265 §1 [2-3]. This means the future actions of any bishops as well as any priests ordained by such men are null and void.)
Pope Pius VI continues: “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… 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.”
Hear ye, hear ye Traditionalists. All your actions are voided not only by these popes above, but also by Pope Pius XII, who nullified all acts contrary to papal laws, particularly those stated in his infallible 1945 election law Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.
Origin and function of the Petit Eglise
With all the above in mind, we now go back to address the previous reference to the Petit Eglise. More on this sect is found in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Editor James Hastings and others, Vol. IX, 1917, Charles Scribner and Sons, New York; by Georges Volet. Here we find some amazing facts. This work relates that after Pope Pius VII issued his bull, Qui Christi Domini, those possessing episcopal sees in exile from France by the revolutionary government had 10 days to turn in their resignations. (Cardinal Consalvi said in de Montor’s work Pope Pius VII later lengthened this time period in case they did not receive the request.) When the 14 bishops in London received the pope’s orders, they mailed Pope Pius VII a refusal, accompanied by a letter explaining why they had the right to retain their episcopal sees.
The reasons they listed were that they are bishops by Divine right (a statement later qualified by Pope Pius XII to read that while this is the case, they still are subject to the Roman Pontiff). They then state they can be separated from their sees only by death and a valid resignation which they have no intention of giving, although later five of them did relent. They professed that the pope’s primacy derived from St. Peter, but did not acknowledge his ultimate power over them, an article of faith later defined by the Vatican Council. They also claimed the concordat was destructive of religion, earning them the name of anti-concordataires. On receiving the letter, de Montor records, Pope Pius VII told Cardinal Consalvi: “’We are entering on a sea of affliction.” Consalvi replied: “Those who write to us are banished by law and kept out of France by another authority than that which they honor… But France contains so many Catholics who have no pastors.”
In 1803, the article says, 38 London bishops addressed a “canonical remonstrance” to Pope Pius VII. At least nine of these bishops continued to administer their dioceses through the priests sharing their Gallicanist and anti-concordataires views and refused to resign. Thus was the Petit Eglise born. The encyclopedia article calls it “remarkable” that during this time period, the bishops in London did not see fit to ordain any priests, saying that “perhaps” they believed that the concordat [or Pope Pius VII-Ed.] would be short-lived. Or was it possible that these bishops knew they would be exposing their followers to sacrilegious Sacraments if they ordained priests, since Pope Pius VI nullified any acts performed by such French clergy in his Charitas? Over time, the group was eventually reduced to just one bishop. But even given the prospective situation of retaining no priests to carry on ministering to the faithful, he refused to ordain candidates presented to him for such work, objecting that they held Jansenist opinions. He thus demonstrated a restraint not exercised by Traditionalists.
A question was posed sometime after 1830, [most likely to Rome, or perhaps to one of the newly-appointed bishops; the article does not make this clear], by some of the remaining Petit Eglise priests that since “the pre-concordat bishops were dead, the bishops of the concordat ought not to be considered as lawful.” The answer they received and the quote that arrived with it should settle the Home Alone question for good and forever, but of course it will not. The secular encyclopedia states: “A negative answer was arrived at, on the principle that the apostolic succession having been broken, the effects of the rupture were enduring.” (Remember the words of Cardinal Consalvi above regarding Pope Pius VII’s intention to remove jurisdiction from those bishops who previously held the episcopal sees.) “The decisions of ancient councils were also appealed to. One of these, held in Benevento in 1087 by (Bl.) Pope Victor III, had decreed as follows:
‘The Sacraments of Penance and Communion are to be received only at the hands of a Catholic priest; if none such is to be found, it is better to remain without communion and to receive it invisibly from Our Lord.’“ And a doubtfully Catholic priest is no priest. De Montor records that Victor III forbade Catholics to receive penance or the Eucharist “at the hands of heretics or simoniacs.” According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, it was during the 1087 Council at Benevento, one of several held there over a 30-year timespan, that “Victor III excommunicated Guibert, the antipope.” (In excommunicating Guibert, who had reigned in Rome for three years, it would appear that Pope Victor was warning Catholics not to receive the Sacraments from any of those clerics created by this antipope.)
This judgment approved by Pope Victor III was deduced from what he had experienced at the hands of an antipope during his brief reign. The Catholic Encyclopedia states that “ Victor III …was compelled, eight days after his coronation in St. Peter’s (3 May, 1087), to fly from Rome before the partisans of Guibert …of Ravenna, antipope Clement II.I” (Bl.) Pope Victor III, known as the Benedictine abbot Desiderius before his election, “was the greatest of all the abbots of Monte Cassino, with the exception of the monastery’s founder, St. Benedict. As such he won for himself ‘imperishable fame’ (Gregorovius).” Reluctant to become pope in the first place, he agreed to return to Rome only if he could retain his position as abbot of Monte Cassino.
When the Petit Eglise bishops and priests finally passed on, members of this sect — who refused to recognize the bishops appointed by Pope Pius VII and so were in schism — were left on their own. Some of them were heretics as well, as their own bishop acknowledged. The article reports they kept the faith in their homes, and most had a private chapel there. They read the offices of the Church and the ancient liturgy of Lyons. They engaged in the reading of Holy Scripture and works of piety. Their children were instructed from the diocesan catechism and made their First (spiritual) Communion. They appointed one of their own to conduct liturgical prayers, funerals and baptisms, the only sacrament they administered. This is what the Japanese also did during their persecution in the 1600s.
Some of the Petit Eglise communities were quite large, the article reports, one being that of Lyons and the other located in Deux-Sevres (Courlay) and La Vendee. One sported some 3,000 members. According to the encyclopedia article by Voltes, “In 1869, when the Vatican Council was sitting, these two congregations petitioned Rome for the recognition of the pre-concordat bishops, as the condition of their own return to the Roman obedience. But the attempt failed, and the Council, by declaring the pope to be immediately the bishop of each diocese, laid down a principle the direct contrary of that by which the opponents of the Concordat had been guided.” Therefore, Rome has spoken and the case is closed. The Anglican cleric comments that the Petit Eglise has now been almost entirely absorbed by the Novus Ordo Church and other sects.
And so the Anglican commentator’s analogy fails in this case as well. Stay-at-home — Catacomb — Catholics are all about obeying everything taught by the continual magisterium. They live in a timeframe where there IS no true pope, and this was not the case with the Petit Eglise. Catacomb Catholics rest their entire case on the fact that John 23 and subsequently all his “successors,” (according to Canon Law) were not and never could have been elected to the papacy for the very reasons stated above by Pope Pius VII — their very Catholicity and the Catholicity of their electors was in question. The case for this has been presented in very great detail and from the most trustworthy sources. It is the unanimous opinion of theologians that when there are very serious reasons for doubting a pope was not validly elected, then there is no schism and no sin in refusing to recognize him. If there is positive doubt about such validity, St. Robert Bellarmine teaches, this successfully disqualifies such a man as pope and a new election must be held. But the Petit Eglise never questioned the pope’s validity, only his authority over their bishops.
The answers to these questions regarding validity have been examined and explained for well over a decade on this site. Like the followers of “Gregory XVIII,” no one will listen. As we read in the book of Apocalypse, Ch. 16, despite the plagues God sends in the end times, they will not depart from their evil ways and do penance. Doing penance and making reparation, Catacomb Catholics know, is the only way to keep company with Our Lord’s Sorrowful Mother, and St. John, the beloved Apostle, at the Foot of the Cross. Considering what Christ suffered for us, it is the least we can do.
(All emphasis within quotes was added by the author.)