+ 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.)
All Souls Day
The following link is posted on a site that has promoted (Peter) Tran Van Khoat as Gregory XVIII, Giuseppe (Cardinal) Siri’s “successor,” for the past two decades: (http://www.tcwblog.com/182861438/6821741/posting/manifest-heretic-khoat-van-tran-in-plush-vn-pad-w-wife). It reveals that Khoat is married (his wife’s name is Nguyen Thi Giang Huong) and has been an international businessman for all these years. Another site lists Khoat as the father of at least two sons (http://ourladysresistance.org/peter-khoat-van-tran.html. (This link is provided only for reader reference; the website creators falsely teach Pope St. Pius X was the last true pope.)
This, of course, is no surprise. Since 1989, I have warned Catholics away from Khoat. Why? His 1967 ordination was never confirmed by Traditionalists and could not be confirmed. He is not listed in the Catholic Directories for 1967 or 1968. He arrived in the U.S. with no proof of his ordination, at least none that has ever been seen or could ever be verified. The NO hierarchy may not have been able to easily confirm his credentials because of the war years (1960s, 1970s). They later declared him excommunicated for functioning without their jurisdiction, initially as a Pius X Society “priest,” but were they sure he was ever qualified to possess it? Only they can answer that question.
A 1975 article in a Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas newspaper quotes the head of a “Catholic Conference of Chaffee” as reporting that Khoat had been “relieved of his duties in Saigon and was no longer a representative of any (emph. mine) religious group.” So did NO church officials sanction him or government officials? The South Viet Nam government was not interfering with the functioning of the NO church at that time; this occurred only after 1975, (see https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/vietnam-catholic-church). Was Khoat dismissed by NO officials because he was married? Was he possibly involved in other non-Catholic religious activities as well? The visuals on this Vietnamese language site might offer readers some clues: (http://hotranvietnam.vn/index.php/home/chitiethodongtrantoc/1. And one reader conducting additional research alleges that Khoat may actually be a Viet Nam Buddhist who belongs to the Tran Dynasty! This seems further supported by information below.
I received correspondence regarding this situation with Khoat and his fatherhood/ business dealings several years ago. Because revealing it would have involved crossing Today’s Catholic World editor David Hobson, and because I had been advised by others to wait until a more opportune time to address it, I did not post it to my website. In 2008, Hobson threatened to sue me for comments posted about Khoat. I did correct a typo he objected to, but that was not enough. He eventually attacked my website, which cost me a good chunk of change to rebuild. I had no desire to tangle with him again and every reason to believe he would respond just as hatefully as he did the first time if I tried to forward the information. I have kept all those emails if anyone is interested in corroborating this.
Catholic theologians teach no one is obliged to correct someone if there is good reason to believe they will not listen. Neither Hobson nor his followers have ever given the slightest indication they are open to any criticism of Khoat or the Siri fantasy. But now Hobson has been forced to admit Khoat has perpetrated a gigantic hoax on those belonging to his papal restoration crowd. And to his credit he has corrected at least some of the record, but only after Khoat self-published his Catholic Manifesto book. He has yet to take down his many pages supporting Khoat and the Siri “papacy.”
The whole tragedy could have been avoided if the laws and teachings of the Church had been followed in the first place. A doubtful cleric is no cleric at all. It is the unanimous opinion of theologians, the theological manuals state, that a doubtful opinion regarding the validity of the Sacraments is not sufficient to justify their reception. And being unanimous, such an opinion must be followed, according to the teaching of Pope Pius IX. We have grave doubt that Khoat received valid ordination — if he received orders at all, it was from an NO bishop who possessed no jurisdiction to ordain him in the first place. Ecumenical councils and the continual magisterium have consistently nullified all the acts of antipopes and their illegitimate hierarchies. We have only Khoat’s say-so that he was ordained in 1967, in the old rite, and there is nothing to back this up. Do we really trust this man to tell anyone the truth?!
The laws governing papal election and clergy functioning without papal approval are deadly serious matters, but no one takes them seriously. Pope Pius XII made obedience to papal and church law a necessity for Church membership, so those not obeying these laws and openly flaunting them cannot be considered Catholic. But who listens to the popes? Who follows their teachings and instructions? Certainly not Traditionalists who would rather receive “Catholic” truths from men Christ considers hirelings and false shepherds. It is total disregard for and outright hatred of both papal laws and Canon Law that has led all these people down this road; that and the refusal to perform due diligence in vetting the “clergy” to whom they entrust the most precious gift of all — their eternal salvation.
The following background on Khoat could have been discovered by those who truly value their faith, and the people so zealously promoting these fraudulent characters. Why did they failed to uncover it? That is a question that demands answers.
A little history
President Ngo dinh Diem (a Catholic) was the leader of (South) Vietnam during the 1950s and up to his assassination in 1963. He had several brothers, two of whom were Ngo dinh Nhu and Ngo dinh Thuc, the Traditionalist bishop. In his capacity as bishop, Ngo dinh Thuc helped his brother rule South Vietnam; his assigned area was Cochin, China. He was very ambitious and his brother actively campaigned to have him appointed cardinal.
Cochin China was a hotbed for criminal activity dating back to the 1920s. Chinese criminal organizations infiltrated existing Viet Nam gangs and crime families during this time period and set up camp there. This region was often referred to as the birthplace of the “Vietnamese Mafia.” A young street thug named Bai Vien headed the criminal activities of what was known as the Binh Xuyen in Cochin during this time period. After spending many years in prison, Bay Vien escaped and went back to his old haunts and habits. His organization later evolved into a secret society. In August 1945 the Viet Minh’s chief of Cochin China, Tran Van Giau, formed an alliance with Bay Vien and others against the French.
Competing for power with Bai Vien were two sects, one of which was “the monotheistic, syncretic religion officially established in the city of Tây Ninh in southern Vietnam in 1926 known as Cao Dai, or Caodaism.” The official name of the religion means “The Third Great Universal Religious Amnesty… Caodaism teaches that, throughout human history, God the Father has revealed his truth many times through the mouths of many prophets, but these messages were always either ignored or forgotten due to humanity’s susceptibility to secular desires. Adherents believe that the age has now come when God speaks to humanity directly” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caodaism). The sect has its own “pope” and “hierarchy. (Compare this definition to Khoat’s description of his new book, “A unique book that prepares us for the “true new time” on Earth…Khoat’s next book “will be about ‘God Our Heavenly Father’s “True New Time” on Earth …called the Catholic Revolution” (https://outskirtspress.com/catholicmanifesto; also https://selfpublishingauthor.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/introducing-rev-khoat-van-tran-ph-d-author-of-catholic-manifesto-a-trilogy/). So was Khoat claiming all this time to be a Caodaist pope or a Catholic Pope?! Was he a Caodaist, a Buddhist or both? At this point, only Khoat himself knows, and he isn’t telling.)
Ngo dinh Nhu, brother of Ngo dinh Diem and Ngo dinh Thuc, was married to a Buddhist woman who converted to Catholicism. Madame Nhu’s maiden name was Tran van. Her father, Tran van Chuong was the Vietnamese ambassador to Washington, Canada, Argentina, and Brazil, and his wife was a Vietnam representative to the UN. The historian Hilaire du Berrier (Background to Betrayal, p. 46) wrote that Diem established his political base on his brothers and immediate family, and then, “Beyond them would come the in-laws, and their in-laws, spreading downward through ever widening rings of cousins…Wherever one looked there were only Ngo dinhs and Tran vans…” Du Berrier describes the Ngo dinhs and Tran Vans as Viet Nam royalty. Khoat claims to have met Ngo dinh Thuc only once after coming to the U.S., but we suspect there is far more of a connection there than Khoat was willing to reveal.
The Viet Nam war began in earnest during the Johnson administration, ending in 1975. It was at this time that Khoat emigrated to the U.S., according to court documents later filed in 1996 (https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/1657831/tran-v-fiorenza/). We believe Tran van Khoat may be related to Madame Nhu, which is how he obtained citizenship so quickly, long before the “boat people” he came with were able to do so. In 1977 Khoat bought a Baptist church he used for services to minister to the Vietnamese — Vietnamese Resurrection Church dedicated by Marcel Lefebvre. Eventually these Vietnamese left him to open their own church within the Novus Ordo diocese there. In the mid-1980s, Khoat sold the Baptist church to the Buddhists. Where the money came from originally to purchase this church and where it went when it was sold is not clear.
As the court document shows, Khoat represented a number of fishermen from a village in Viet Nam. He said they were distant relatives and acquaintances but one article states none of them even knew him until he began organizing the immigrants in Ft. Chafee, Arkansas in 1975 (see quotes from article above). While he contended with Novus Ordo authorities for years over running Resurrection Church under their auspices, he eventually joined forces with Lefebvre who then dedicated the church. The Novus Ordo declared he had been automatically excommunicated for this action and for not deeding the church over to the diocese, as the court documents demonstrate. If they knew anything about his Saigon separation, they do not indicate it. But transparency on this subject would have gone a long way to clarify the situation and protect others from being duped by Khoat.
A Tran Van Khoat also is connected with a company called Keystone Development Management SA in Switzerland, which could be connected to the Keystone Development Co. in the U.S. Two separate articles in the Stroudburg, Pennsylvania Pocono Record, written in 2001 detail what homeowners describe as the unethical mortgage maneuvers used by this company to acquire real estate and what they suffered as a result of these practices. (Google Unreal Deals: inflated prices spur mortgage mess). In 2010, the Keystone Development Management SA was deleted from the commercial register in Geneva, Switzerland. The firm went bankrupt in June 2005 shortly after a Swiss financial publication reports that Keystone went into “liquidation,” as reported here: (https://www.moneyhouse.ch/en/company/keystone-development-management-sa-en-21474044571. Tran Van Khoat is listed as the contact for liquidation along with a Quang Thach Ngo. In the autobiography for his newly released book, Catholic Manifesto, Khoat mentions his business activities (https://selfpublishingauthor.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/introducing-rev-khoat-van-tran-ph-d-author-of-catholic-manifesto-a-trilogy/), identifying Switzerland as one of his bases of operation.
“Fr.” Khoat and Siri
Later Khoat accepted money sent to Gary Giuffre by Hutton Gibson to visit Siri in Italy, then eventually declared himself to be Siri’s successor. All this was based only on Khoat’s accounts of his trip to Italy. No documentation from Siri was ever presented confirming the fact he was pope, that he discussed his “papacy” with Khoat, that he was a “prisoner,” that Khoat’s “orders” were regularized as he claims on Hobson’s site, etc. Several Traditionalist writers, including Hutton Gibson, eventually abandoned the Siri theory as promoted by Gary Giuffre, who miserably failed to prove his case for Siri as pope. And the funding of that project began in earnest in 1991, following David Bawden’s “election”! They eventually abandoned their efforts because the facts could not and did not prove the case. In his January 2006 newsletter, The War Is Now, Gibson concludes: “Gary was an extremely selective investigator who thought to cover the fact that he covered facts.” Nuff said.
My personal experience with Khoat occurred in March of 1989 when, at the invitation of David Bawden, I attended a religious retreat Khoat hosted in Port Arthur, Texas Bawden had been in contact with Khoat since October of 1988, when he traveled to Texas to speak to him about Khoat’s meeting with Siri that May. He later went to Port Arthur to study under Khoat in February of 1989. When I first entered Khoat’s rectory, I was shocked to find a large picture of Karol Wojtyla hung over the entrance to his office. When I asked Bawden about it, the excuse was given that he used it to lure people in, then would explain the Traditionalist stance. But I wasn’t convinced. The slide presentation I attended given by Giuffre to promote the Siri “papacy” was not convincing either. Something was off, and I would later find out why my radar was sending urgent signals.
During the retreat, Khoat made several outrageous statements, suggestive of what Bawden had already revealed in a letter: his intention to establish a Catholic Secret Society based on the Essenes, an idea favored by Traditionalists Dennis D’Amico (aka Ely Jason) and Spark* editor Christopher Shannon. He was very interested in the Essenes, as were those who were connected with Britons Catholic Library. Towards the end of the retreat, he denied that the documents of the ordinary magisterium could contain infallible statements and limited the incidence of infallibility to rare occasions. He also endorsed the material/formal heresy, as did the Thucites. On hearing these heresies, I stood up during the retreat session, told him he was teaching heresy, left the retreat and returned home a few days later, in time for Easter. (There were several witnesses to this among those also attending the retreat.) Bawden remained in Port Arthur for an indefinite period of time after my departure. He did not leave Texas for Kansas until April 19. From April 5-April 8, 1989, Bawden does not make it clear exactly where he was.
In 2007 or 2008, Bawden posted on his website that Khoat officiated at a Buddhist wedding on April 8 but does not say whether this ceremony was held or how he knew about the ceremony. (I left Bawden in March 2007.) Bawden states on his site that Khoat’s family had recently converted from Buddhism and notes that under Canon Law, by marrying the Buddhist couple, Khoat was more or less guilty of communicatio in sacris. Bawden also lists some of Khoat’s questionable business dealings. In March of 2008, David Hobson posted documents on his website that prove Bawden had completely accepted the Siri “fact,” as Hobson called it and had even approached a “Siri bishop” for ordination while in Texas with Khoat. This is documented with Bawden’s own letters at http://www.todayscatholicworld.com/mar08tcw.htm#kook-in-kan. I have signed letters from Bawden which show I never realized he accepted the Siri theory and did not approve of his studies with Khoat. This even before I journeyed to Texas for the retreat.
In attempting to counter Bawden’s claims regarding Khoat’s business practices, Hobson wrote on his site: “Fr. Khoat did no wrong here. I have gone through hundreds of documents concerning his life and business dealings — what is the point, here?” Well the point is that where there is smoke a fire often exists, and a meticulous investigation needs to be conducted. I am sure Mr. Hobson is beginning to understand this, now that he has been badly burned and his followers blinded by the dense smoke this fire created for so many years. But if he isn’t aware of all the background information above, he cannot possibly come completely clean with his readers. And he still has yet to admit that those who divested themselves of Giuffre, for failing to prove Siri was really the pope elected following John 23, were right all along. He also claims that the “sacraments” Khoat administered to the papal restoration group were valid until only recently, when he “suddenly” became a heretic. But there was nothing sudden about Khoat’s change of heart; no one can be certain he was ever a priest in the first place.
As documented in The Phantom Church in Rome and elsewhere, Siri was not a Catholic cardinal going into the conclave to begin with. He proved this beyond a reasonable doubt by remaining a prominent member of the Novus Ordo hierarchy, excommunicating himself by accepting John 23 as a true pope and participating in succeeding conclaves. What “prisoner pope” elects a new “pope”? Following such theories down the proverbial rabbit hole and trying to make sense of anything only leads to a condition approaching total insanity. We decided a long time ago we were not going there. Who needs drama and make-believe when we have1,958 years of Catholic teaching to guide us!
St. Raphael, Archangel
A recent comment on the site board needs to be addressed on a broader scale and some misconceptions about the mission of this site clarified. Recently “Paul” wrote: “I’m sure the Dimonds feel vindicated. Even if you are a critic of the Dimonds, you’re going to have a tough time defending against what they have been saying for the past 10 years. Rome is in total disarray. First off, their refutation of Protestantism is like no other…” etc. Well, Paul, I am not sure what all they are saying because I long ago realized they have no right to say it and therefore, I cannot read it. I don’t waste my time, as a rule, reading Traditionalist articles, or critiquing their websites unless what they are saying is particularly egregious. They are part of the problem, not the solution.
We are not to listen to those who are disobeying the laws of the Church and using their so-called stature as monks to launch a website ministry when they are not authorized to do so by the Church, as they imply. For proof this is indeed the case, see my blog post three years ago at: https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/canon-law-the-dimond-brothers-are-not-monks-and-their-monastery-is-no-monastery-9-29-16/ St. Robert Bellarmine’s definition of the Church, used by theologians for centuries, runs as follows: [The Church is] “the assemblage (coetus) of men, bound together (colligatus) by the profession of the same Christian faith and by the communion of the same sacraments, under the rule of legitimate pastors, and especially of the one Vicar of Christ on earth, the Roman Pontiff.” In his infallible encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, Pope Pius XII expanded on this definition as follows:
“Now since its Founder willed this social body of Christ to be visible, the cooperation of all its members must also be externally manifest through their profession of the same faith and their sharing the same sacred rites, through participation in the same Sacrifice, and the practical observance of the same laws.” Pope Pius XII also says in this same encyclical that, “These sacred laws are imposed on all… We are commanded to obey her laws and her moral precepts, even if at times they are difficult to our fallen nature; to bring our rebellious body into subjection through voluntary mortification; and at times we are warned to abstain even from harmless pleasures.”
The Dimonds are not legitimate pastors, as they claim. Monks were religious, some of them priests and some lay brothers, but none were ever pastors. We owe the Dimonds no obedience or attention whatsoever and indeed must avoid them, as explained in the Oct. 17. 2019 blogpost on this site. Even the slightest tendency to embrace the Traditionalist “solution,” — which is, all at once, sacrilegious, schismatic and heretical — must be recognized for what it is: participation in a non-Catholic religion. This is defined by the Church as communicatio in sacris, which automatically excommunicates one as a member of the Church. Paul’s comments demonstrate a total lack of understanding about what this site is intended to be and why it even exists. It seems necessary then to explain why it does exit, and what those reading it should expect to come away with.
We are to follow only those pastors, and these include theologians, who were known to be certainly legitimate. This would be all those prior to Pope Pius XII’s death who adhered to the teachings of the continual magisterium in their writings and were not members of the “new theology” crowd that began emerging in the decade or more preceding Vatican 2. In the case of theologians, those officially approved by the Church are the most reliable, and according to Rev. Nicholas Neuberger, such theologians are those used and quoted by the Roman Curia. Neuberger wrote in 1927, and at that time his list included such familiar names as St. Thomas, Suarez, Ferraris, D’Annibale, Sanchez, Gasparri, W. Smith, Wernz and many others, ranging all the way back into the 1700s. Many modern theologians would doubtlessly be included on this list if the Church was still functioning today.
Monsignor Joseph Fenton, in his article “The Teaching of the Theological Manuals” (The American Ecclesiastical Review, April 1963, pp. 254-270), wrote: “The unanimous teaching of the scholastic theologians in any area relating to faith or morals is the teaching of the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Church… There is a fund of common teaching (like that which tells us that there are truths which the Church proposes to us as revealed by God, and which are not contained in any way within the inspired books of Holy Scripture), which is the unanimous doctrine of the manuals, and which is the doctrine of the Catholic Church. The unanimous teaching of the scholastic theologians has always been recognized as a norm of Catholic doctrine.”
Monsignor Fenton goes on to mention in his article several authors who made notable contributions in the last century to this common teaching. Among them are Reverends Tanquerey, Billot, Van Noort, Garrigou-Lagrange, Herve, Devivier and Sasia, E.S. Berry, Parente, Lahitton — all of whose works I have quoted often. It is this “fund of common teaching” I appeal to on this site, as well as those approved authors mentioned above. Pius XII being the last true pope, with serious doubts having been cast on all those who were “elected” after his death, nothing except what went before Oct. 9, 1958 can be trusted. Nearly all the truths necessary for salvation were questioned after this date, thanks to Vatican 2. And according to the modern teachings of theologians, which Monsignor Fenton describes above as “the teaching of the ordinary and universal magisterium,” those failing to uphold the Deposit of Faith are doubtful and their “papacies” are null and void.
Those not acting as legitimate pastors — since no true pope or bishops approved by him exist — are not only forbidden to teach; all the sacraments they pretend to administer and the masses they appear to offer are also null and void and of no effect. This has been gone into in great detail in articles posted to this site and readers are urged to refer to these articles. (See Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, other relevant articles on the Free Content page of the site.) “Paul” praises the Dimonds for their condemnation of Protestantism, but who could possibly best St. Francis de Sales’ The Catholic Controversy or St. Alphonsus Liguori’s Exposition and Defence of Faith, both unparalleled for their exposition of the Protestant heresies? Not to mention the Council of Trent documents and the Catechism of the Council of Trent.
Mission of Betrayed Catholics
At one time the mission of this site was to expose Freemasonry, and that has not changed. It is the duty of every Catholic to denounce that and other heresies whenever and wherever they see them, and today they are everywhere. As for the audience I hope to reach or what this site expects to accomplish, that is really something out of my control. God alone can grant the grace to those wishing to know the truth in these times and that is what I do my best to present here – the truth. I have no power to convince anyone and no desire to engage in protracted arguments with those who will not accept what the Popes and the Ecumenical Councils over the ages have taught as Catholic truth. I am not here to collect “followers” a la Facebook or to make a name for myself, (as if that was even possible today, given the climate both in the Traddie and secular forums). I am only a messenger, a chronicler of what the Church taught for 1,958 years prior to Pope Pius XII’s death. The site’s primary mission today is to defend the papacy as it existed and taught within that time frame. The teachings of the Roman Pontiffs themselves are the only guide we may use in these times and is superior by far to anything taught by the theologians spoken of by Monsignor Fenton. These theologians are referred to only as a reflection of papal teaching, to better explain that teaching.
What I am trying to do here is the same thing I have always done as a journalist — create a record. As Reverend E. S. Berry teaches in his The Church of Christ, Vol. I: “If the Church should lose any of these necessary qualifications [the four marks and also the attributes of perpetuity, indefectibility, visibility, and infallibility], it would be incapable of doing what Christ intended it to do; in fact it would cease to be the Church instituted by Him… If the Church could fail in any of its essentials, even for a time, it would lose all authority to teach and to govern, because the faithful could never be certain at any time that it had not failed — that it had not ceased to be the Church of Christ, thereby losing all authority. But an authority that may be justly doubted at all times is no authority. It commands neither obedience nor respect.”
So the salvation of souls that Traditionalist clergy have long claimed as the reason for their existence is a sham. As Berry states elsewhere, only the Apostolic See is truly indefectible: “The Church, as it exists in particular places may fail; even the Church as a whole nation may fall away, as history abundantly proves. The Apostolic See of Rome is the only particular church to which the promise of perpetual indefectibility has been made” (p. 57, Vol. 1). Unity of government, faith, doctrine and worship is a necessary part of the four marks, not a pretended moral union of those preferring the Latin Mass and old rites of the Sacraments. Berry teaches that unity of government primarily means that the pope must be at the head of the Church, and all must be subject to him. He pointedly asks: ”Does a chimerical Church composed of innumerable warring sects fulfill this prayer of Christ’s for perfect unity?” (see John 17: 20). Berry notes that only non-Catholic sects maintain that “unity of faith in the Catholic sense” is not necessary for salvation. And how can there be unity of faith without unity of government? For Pope St. Pius IX taught: “There is no other Catholic Church save that built upon the one Peter and united into one compact body by the unity of faith and charity” (DZ 1686).
In DZ 1821, the Vatican Council infallibly teaches: “But that the episcopacy itself might be one and undivided, and that the entire multitude of the faithful through priests closely connected with one another might be preserved in the unity of faith and communion, placing Blessed Peter over the other apostles, He established in him the perpetual principle and visible foundation of both unities.” So can we wonder today that Traditionalist and Novus Ordo “episcopacies” are divided and no one can agree on what articles of the faith are necessary for salvation? If they proceed without the papacy they are lost, for “the strength and solidarity of the whole Church” rest on Peter (DZ 1821). Regarding unity in doctrine, Reverend Berry emphasizes that according to Matt. 28: 19-20, the apostles and their legitimate successors must teach ALL things that Christ has commanded them to teach, not just a select few. Berry writes: “The Church must teach… all the doctrines of Christ, to all people, at all times, in all places. She cannot teach contradictory doctrines in different places at different times.” So to teach that the Church can now exist without a true pope, contradicting all Church teaching set out from the beginning, is to deviate from the faith. Nor can there be any unity of worship, without unity of government under one head.
Given all the above, Traditionalists and conservative Novus Ordo types are fooling themselves if they think they can thumb their noses at Francis and still claim any sort of unity. Having lost that unity and all guarantee of any real authority, they no longer constitute Christ’s Church as He established it on earth. Let them meet, eat and retreat all they like, it will accomplish nothing. For as Reverend Berry also says, the Church will not be restored until Christ comes to destroy Antichrist, and the accomplishment of that restoration will require a miracle.
One more note regarding for whom this site is intended. In Rom. 11: 5-8, St. Paul speaks of “…a remnant saved according to the election of grace… That which Israel sought, he hath not obtained, but the election hath obtained it, and the rest have been blinded, … God hath given them the spirit of insensibility,” or as St. Paul says elsewhere “The operation of error to believe a lie.” As Reverend Leo Haydock explains, this means, “They will be led away with illusions, by signs, and by lying prodigies, which the devil shall work by Antichrist. God shall suffer them to be deceived by lying wonders and false miracles,” and all this for rejecting the known truth, a terrible sin against the Holy Ghost. First there was the illusion of a pope in Rome, when only a usurper reigned, Then there was the illusion of a resurrected Church, but no pope, a dogmatic impossibility. Finally some realized there was no true pope, yet continued to frequent mass and sacraments without him, denying his necessity for their liciety/validity.
This site, then, is written only for the remnant, whoever they may be; not the “Catholic” masses, who have been blinded and without a rare miracle of grace will never see. God alone knows who they are and will either lead them to this site or instruct them in other ways suitable to their level of intelligence and circumstances. To read a bit more, see the article at https://mises.org/library/isaiahs-job written almost 100 years ago, which comments on the book of Isaias. It is a good secular summary of why it is useless to appeal to the masses, but should not be considered a reliable commentary on the book of Isaias. One thing is certain: God was not pleased with the Israelites then and He has definitely turned His back on the world today, and who can blame Him. Nevertheless, he is still in charge. The Eternal Shepherd knows His lambs and sheep and will not forsake them.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
The question often comes up — why isn’t anything ever posted on this blog about Francis’ errors and the many heresies issuing from the Vatican during his “papacy”? I can find numerous Traditional/conservative Novus Ordo websites and blogs that deal with these issues and some even say outright that Francis is not a true pope. They operate much like cable news networks dealing with the current political situation, reacting to every word out of Francis’ mouth or the mouths of his close associates, every untoward event, any and all reports of sexual misconduct or abuse, ad nauseum. In many respects these sites are little more than gossip mills and stages on which to play out the daily drama of someone or something that no one should even be interested in. Why?
Because Francis is not a true pope. He is not even a bishop. He was excommunicated long ago for his involvement with the Novus Ordo for a censure known as communicatio in sacris, which means communication in sacred matters (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/3-the-latin-mass/jurisdiction-lawful-pastors-and-communicatio-in-sacris/). In other words, whenever any Catholic participates in services that are not Catholic, even though they may appear to be (as in the case of schismatics), they incur ipso facto excommunication for such acts. This applies doubly to (validly ordained) clerics who are presumed to know the laws of the Church and abide by them. Celebration of the Novus Ordo automatically knocks them out of commission — as does celebration even of the Latin Mass by Traditionalists — who are doubtfully ordained/and or consecrated and possess no permission of any kind, canonical or otherwise.
Why this chasing of heretics and the monotonous chronicling of all they do? Because it makes good copy and puts people “in the (secularist) know.” Yes, there is good and even necessary information on many of these sites. I sometimes quote them myself with the proper disclaimers. It is not up to me to act as the moral police and make the judgment that such and such a person is not strong enough in their faith to visit such sites without injury to their convictions. But in between the lines of this good information lies the assumption that Traditionalists or Vatican 2 “Catholics” are the continuation of Christ’s true Church on earth, and this is consumed along with any otherwise valuable information that is imparted by the authors of these sites. Like a little poison in a glass of wine as regards the body, one never knows the danger to the intellect that insidiously enters and remains lurking in the subconscious, undetected, until one begins to doubt the faith.
Many report they often read the works of people who come so close to the truth it is painful to witness, yet however gifted or knowledgeable these writers may be, they never quite make it across the finish line. There can only be three reasons for this: 1) Vincible ignorance, which in one eager to seek and adhere to the truth can be overcome and of which such writers should be so informed; 2) Invincible ignorance, which of its very nature is generally inculpable but impossible to overcome without a miracle of grace (Rev. John Kearney); or 3) affected ignorance, which does not excuse from penalties of excommunication unless the law states that its violation requires full knowledge and deliberation on the part of the violator (Can. 2229, Secs. 1, 2 and Sec. 3, #1). But even inculpable ignorance will not excuse from the imputability of the delict or violation of the law, although it does diminish it. Actual inculpable inadvertence or error in regard to the law has the same effect as inculpable ignorance (Can. 2202, at al). Inculpable ignorance is determined by age, circumstance, the sex of the person, the dignity or state of life of the person in question, whether the act was committed owing to force, fear, or passion, etc.
The above is taken from the Revs. John A. McHugh and Charles J. Callan’s Moral Theology — A Complete Course, based on St. Thomas Aquinas and the best modern authorities (1958). What they write on this topic is important for Catholics to know. Many remain confused regarding what follows. And so it is necessary to include below the entire teaching of these well-respected moral theologians, whose works were considered the standard of their day.
Revs. McHugh and Callan
854. The kinds of printed matter forbidden by the Code (Canon 1399) are as follows: (a) the prohibition extends to books, to other published matter (such as magazines and newspapers), and to illustrations that attack religion and what are called “holy pictures” (i.e., images of
our Lord and the Saints), if opposed to the mind of the Church; (b) the prohibition extends to published matter dangerous to faith, and therefore to the following; to writings or caricatures that attack the existence of God, miracles or other foundations of natural or revealed
religion, Catholic dogma, worship or discipline, the ecclesiastical hierarchy as such, or the clerical or religious state; to those that defend heresy, schism, superstition, condemned errors, subversive societies, or suicide, duelling, divorce; to non-Catholic publications of the Bible and to non-Catholic works on religion that are not clearly free from opposition to Catholic faith; to liturgical works that do not agree with the authentic texts; to books that publish apocryphal
indulgences and to printed images of holy persons that would be the occasion of error (e.g., the representation of the Holy Ghost in human form).
855. (Condemned matter in a writing)
(b) …Works are not forbidden, unless they contain not only agreement with error, but also argument in defense of error. Thus, books in favor of heresy, schism, suicide, duelling, divorce,
Freemasonry, etc., are forbidden when they champion wrong causes by disputing in their behalf.
(c) Other works are forbidden, not because they state, but because they approve of error. Such are books that attack or ridicule the foundations of religion or the dogmas of faith, those that disparage worship, those that are subversive of discipline, those that defend proscribed propositions, those that teach and favor superstition, etc.
858. How is one to know in a particular case whether a book falls under one of the foregoing classes forbidden by the Code? (a) If the Holy See has made a declaration, the matter is of course clear; (b) if no declaration has been made, and one is competent to judge for oneself,
one may read as much as is necessary to decide whether the book is one of those proscribed by the Code; but if a person has not received the education that would fit him for judging, he should consult some person more skilled than himself, such as his parish priest or confessor.
859. Is it lawful to read newspapers, magazines, or reference works (such as encyclopedias), which contain some articles contrary to faith, and others that are good or indifferent, if these papers or books have not been condemned? (a) If the reading or consultation, on account of
one’s individual character, will subject one to grave temptations, then according to natural law it should be avoided. (b) If there is no serious danger or temptation, but the policy of the works or journals in question is anti-religious or anti-Catholic, as appears from the space given to hostile attack, their frequency or bitterness of spirit, then, according to the law of the Code just mentioned, one should avoid such reading matter. Examples of this kind of literature are papers
devoted to atheistic or Bolshevistic propaganda, anti-Catholic sheets, etc. (c) If there is no danger to the individual, and the editorial policy is not hostile, one may use such matter as is good and useful, while passing over any elaborate or systematic attack on truth or
defense of error. (End of McHugh and Callan material)
Without a true pope or hierarchy, such decisions are difficult to make. But as repeatedly stressed in the website articles, when there is any possibility that any action whatsoever would endanger eternal salvation, any doubt, then the safer course must be taken. This is the unanimous opinion of theologians and as such is binding on Catholics. Being honest with oneself is not always easy and recognizing and banishing prejudices is a difficult task. It should be clear to those reading these Traditionalist and NO websites that their authors support and promote schism, at the very least, and flaunt condemned errors. How else could they possibly refer readers to various Traditionalist organizations and encourage attendance at “mass” and the reception of “the sacraments”?
In all their works, these non-Catholics implicitly deny the necessity of the papacy by refusing to address the laws of the Church governing papal validity and the necessity of the papacy for the Church’s very existence. Do they not insist they possess the four marks, in direct contradiction of Church teaching that the Pope and lawful pastors only are to be considered the One, True Church of Christ, and only that Church is endowed with the necessary marks and attributes? Do they not at least implicitly contend that bishops are superior to or at least the equals of the Roman Pontiff and therefore can lead the Church in his absence (the heresy of Gallicanism)? Do they not flout Church law and discipline at every turn by ignoring (especially) the canons governing jurisdiction, papal election and heresy, apostasy and schism? Why would stay-at-home Catholics wish to boost their readership numbers when they obviously cannot be members of Christ’s Church?
How many Catholic conservatives refuse to purchase products they believe are tainted with ingredients obtained from abortions, or even GMO material for that matter, and yet think nothing of imbibing Catholic disinformation and errors against the faith on the web?! The Church has always insisted Catholics read only approved authors which is why so many of those writing prior to the death of Pope Pius XII are repeatedly quoted on this site; many books written by these theologians are now available as free downloads. But far superior to these writings are the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs, and there is no dearth of pre-October 9, 1958 encyclicals, constitutions and papal allocutions posted to the Internet.
If Catholics would make these binding documents their primary reading material, there would be fewer and fewer questions and doubts and a much better understanding and appreciation of the Catholic faith. And the popes have assured us that their teachings are capable of being understood by all men of good will who pray for Divine guidance.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, have mercy on us! Holy Ghost, grant that by Thy light we may be always truly wise!