The Episcopal Body Cannot Constitute Christ’s Church Without Peter

The Episcopal Body Cannot Constitute Christ’s Church Without Peter

+St. Peter’s Chair at Rome+

Introduction

The purpose of this blog is to further clarify and address some reprehensible and dangerous teachings still circulating on the Internet, errors that have existed now for quite some time. These false teachings have been addressed in past blogs but not as specifically as they should have been. Therefore, it is my intention here to try and address them all, although this is going to be a pretty lengthy blog.

I have been quite alarmed, as I am sure you all have, at the steady progress made by the powers that be to conclude their plans for the absolute annihilation of Christianity and their final push to introduce a new world order and religion. The only way these monsters will truly conquer us is to destroy our precious faith and they are using every means available to do this. Sadly this includes employing even those who appear to be with us when they are actually against us and who stealthily spread false teaching without us even realizing it. At this time more than any other time in history, true Catholics need to unite in their prayers and hold firmly to the Deposit of Faith, yet it is being attacked in a manner that could split them apart. This can only be a work of the Devil and we must earnestly pray that such efforts be understood for the satanic attacks they truly are.

One of the primary reasons such attacks have been so successful in the past is that people have forgotten how to think properly and use their reasoning abilities in the manner taught by the Church. For this reason, it becomes easy to mislead and confuse them. I am posting here a link that is not specifically Catholic, but which does adequately explain the necessity of using logic (taught by the Church as scholastic philosophy) to avoid the traps laid by those claiming falsely to be true authorities or who are trying to lead others to accept such authorities. I encourage everyone to look through the article and follow the links it provides, especially those regarding incentive and motive — https://effectiviology.com/false-authority/

Below we will list the truths of faith which continue to be attacked both publicly and through email and phone correspondence. It is crucial that all who wish to hold fast to the truths of faith thoroughly understand the nature of these errors and denounce them, if they wish to remain Catholic and weather the frightful storm that is soon to descend upon us.

 An overview of heresies at issue

The link provided above should help readers to better determine the legitimacy of those posing as authorities, but they are still going to face difficulty sorting out whether what such people are saying is actually in agreement with Catholic truth. For either they fail to produce sufficient proofs from the magisterium to support their case or they present such proofs in such a convoluted manner that the reader is overwhelmed. Often these “proofs” proceed from a series of false premises that force the reader to dive down rabbit hole after rabbit hole. It is almost impossible to test their initial assumptions without considerable prior knowledge and study, something many do not have time for and cannot always conduct on their own. This is a major problem among Traditionalists and even certain supporters of the homealone position. Those trying to assist others in better understanding their faith have an obligation to at least attempt to explain things in a way they can be understood, although given the difficulty of the subject matter such explanations often must be long and involved.

But an important distinction must be made between simply inferring that something is true when it actually cannot be proven to be true and in the outright denial of truths of faith. One is the holding of a false and illogical opinion, the other is error or heresy, depending on the classification assigned to it by the Church. The heresies to be dealt with here are the nature and constitution of the Church, which have been used most frequently to discredit those choosing to pray at home. These include: the pope’s primacy of jurisdiction over the entire Church; the necessity of canonical election for papal validity, the nature of the power of jurisdiction held by the bishops and the intent of the Church in teaching that Christ would be with Her until the consummation, the denial of Pope Pius XII’s definition in Mystici Corporis Christi that while bishops do receive their power to rule directly from our Lord, they may validly exercise it only through the Roman Pontiff, and the current role of the laity in the Church.

Before addressing these heresies, we will begin with defining terms to be used.

Definitions

Logic is known to the Catholic as the Scholastic method taught by St. Thomas Aquinas and scholastic debate ordinarily begins with definitions. “Nominal definitions are used chiefly at the beginning of a disputation to indicate what is the subject under dispute. If the word has only one definite meaning, that is to be adhered to… Real definition is an explanation not merely of the term, but the thing signified by it” (A.C. Cotter, S.J.’s ABC of Scholastic Philosophy, 1945).

Church — St. Robert Bellarmine:

“The one and true Church is the assembly of men, bound together by the profession of the same Christian faith, and by the communion of the same sacraments, under the rule of LEGITIMATE pastors, and in particular of the one Vicar of Christ on earth, the Roman Pontiff” (De Controversiis Christianae Fidei, vol. II, Naples, 1857. p. 74).

Pope Pius XII — (Mystici Corporis Christi): “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. Above all, it is absolutely necessary that the Supreme Head, that is, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, be visible to the eyes of all.”

“The faithful, and more precisely the laity are stationed in the front ranks of the life of the Church, and through them the Church is the living principle of society. Consequently, they must have an ever-clearer consciousness, not only of belonging to the Church, but of BEING THE CHURCH, that is, of being the community of the faithful on earth under the guidance of their common leader, the Pope, and the bishops in communion with him. THEY ARE the Church…” (Pope Pius XII, Feb. 20, 1946, to the newly made cardinals).

(See also definition of Mystical Body)

Hierarchy

Addis and Arnold, A Catholic Dictionary: “When the hierarchy is spoken of, what is meant is the organization of ranks and orders in the Christian Church. In a wide and loose sense when the whole Catholic Church is considered as existing in the midst of heretics, schismatics and the heathen even the laity may be considered as a forming a portion of the hierarchy. With this agrees the expression of Saint Peter calling the general body of Christians in the countries to which he is sending his epistle “a kingly priesthood and a holy nation.”… there is a hierarchy of divine right consisting under the primacy of Saint Peter and his successors… of bishops, priests and deacons. There is also a hierarchy by ecclesiastical right or a hierarchy of order… There is also the hierarchy of jurisdiction which consists of the administrative and judicial authorities under the supreme pastorate of the Holy See who are charged with the maintenance of the purity of the faith and union among Christians with the conservation of discipline etc.” (Also found in the work, Cabinet of Catholic Information, 1904, under Hierarchy).

The New Catholic Dictionary — Conde B. Pallen, Ph.D., LL.D. John J. Wynne, S.J., S.T.D.

“Sacred rule or government; hence the totality of sacred ministers in the Church, of distinct and various grades, in which the lower is subordinate to and yields obedience to the higher. Since one is constituted a member of the hierarchy by ordination the sacred ministers of the ecclesiastical hierarchy are by orders and office essentially distinct from the laity. In the Church we distinguish a two-fold hierarchy, one of orders, the other of jurisdiction.”

The Catholic Encyclopediahttps://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07322c.htm

Catechism of the Council of Trent — (Subhead, The Internal Priesthood, under Orders):

“All the faithful are said to be priests once they have been washed in the saving waters of baptism. Especially is this name given to the just who have the spirit of God and who by the help of divine grace had been made living members of the great high priest Jesus Christ. For enlightened by faith which is inflamed by charity, they offer up spiritual sacrifices to God on the altar of their hearts. Among such sacrifices must be reckoned every good and virtuous action done for the glory of God. Hence we read in the Apocalypse 1: 5,6: ‘Christ has washed us from our sins in His own blood and has made us a kingdom and priests to God and His Father.’ In like manner was it said by the Prince of the Apostles: ‘Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ’ (I Peter 2:5); while the apostle exhorts us ‘to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy pleasing unto God, your reasonable service’ (Rom. 12:1). And long before this David had said, ‘A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit a contrite and humble heart O God thou wilt not despise’ (Ps. 1:19). All this clearly regards the internal priesthood.”

They Have Taken Away My Lord — Fr. Demaris — Nothing better explains the quote above from the Trent catechism than this precious work, available at https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/?s=They+Have+Taken+Away+My+Lord

Pope Pius XII — “This initiative of the lay apostolate is perfectly justified even without a prior explicit ‘mission’ from the hierarchy… Personal initiative plays a great role in protecting the faith and Catholic life, especially in countries where contacts with the hierarchy are difficult or practically impossible. In such circumstances, the Christians upon whom this task falls must, with God’s grace, assume all their responsibilities. It is clear however that, even so, nothing can be undertaken against the explicit or implicit will of the Church or contrary in any way to the rules of faith or morals, or to ecclesiastical discipline” (The Mission of the Catholic Woman, Sept. 29, 1957).

Juridical Relating to the administration of the law or the office or function of a judge (in Catholic terms, the pope and bishops; Websters 7th Collegiate)

Mystical Body

Pope Pius XII — (Mystici Corporis Christi: “If we would define and describe this true Church of Jesus Christ — which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church — we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime, or more divine than the expression “the Mystical Body of Christ”an expression which springs from and is, as it were, the fair flowering of the repeated teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the Holy Fathers.”

The Mystical Christ, (Rev. John C. Gruden, S.T.L., 1938) — “Bishop Myers clarifies this difference between the Church and moral bodies in the words: ‘What makes Christ’s Mystical Body so very different from any moral body of men is the character of the union existing between Christ and the members. It is not a mere external union; it is not a mere moral union, it is a union which, as realized in Christ’s Church, is at once external and moral, but also in that primarily internal and supernatural. It is the supernatural union of the sanctified soul with Christ and with all other sanctified souls in Christ. The term Mystical Body is used to convey the idea that the Church is not merely a social organization, but an organism, a communion, a body: the living spiritual or supernatural body of Christ.

“The term mystical or mystic calls attention to the fact that in mere natural or moral bodies the relationship between the members and their head and the relationship between the members one to another is moral only or juridical, whereas the relationship between Christ and the members of the Church, members of His body, is quasi-physical and organic. The bonds that unite Christians to Christ and to one another are organic, physical, sacramental, although supernatural and invisible. The Church is not only ‘a complicated but smoothly functioning administrative machine’ it is more than that; Christians and Christ form a body of a special kind, neither physical nor moral, which lives and grows by a vital force descending from the head Jesus Christ to the members. ‘Christ the head, in His members’ says Bishop Myers ‘constitute a unique entity which is designed by a unique name: the Mystical Body of Christ.’”

Magisterium (Continual)

“This office was communicated to the Church formally by Christ when he said: “Going, therefore teach ye all nations” (Matt., 28). The Church exercises this teaching power infallibly in matters of faith and morals in virtue of the promise of divine assistance given her by Christ: “And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Matt., 28). This command to teach and this promise of special assistance were given to the apostles only. Therefore the actual holders of the teaching office in the Church are the Pope and the bishops as the successors of Saint Peter and the other apostles. The Pope and the bishops constitute the magisterium of the church for the ecclesia doscens, the teaching Church” (The New Catholic Dictionary — Conde B. Pallen, Ph.D., LL.D. John J. Wynne, S.J., S.T.D.)

Fallacies of logic

The numbered items below are taken from Rev. Bernard Wuellner, S. J., Summary of Scholastic Principles, 1956. They prove that the arguments advanced regarding the allegations made against this author are false and that they actually constitute the heresies mentioned above.

  1. Every judgment must be based on evidence. No argument or conclusion contrary to the evident facts is valid.

Comment 1: In articles posted to this website, I have frequently stated that the juridic Church has ceased to exist, composed of actual clerical bodies governing and ministering to the faithful). This statement has been styled as heretical, yet is a proven fact, acknowledged even by some Traditionalists, that the Church no longer exists as She once existed. I have always maintained that She has ceased to exist in every way Catholics once knew Her to exist, including the loss of all jurisdiction and the inability of the Church now to even provide a head for itself. The proofs I present regarding the inability of the Church to posit a papal election now are incontrovertible, resting as they do on infallible papal documents which cannot be contradicted. Consider the following undeniable facts that demonstrate the Church no longer exists juridically on this earth:

  • The papal see is held by a series of usurpers and no man was elected pope to counter their reign; they reign unopposed. This has never happened before in the history of the Church.
  • The usurpers confiscated and desecrated all the churches, took over all Church properties and institutions, changed all the Sacraments, abolished the Latin Mass, changed Canon Laws.
  • They pretended to change infallible Church teaching and succeeded in imposing it on those who were once Catholic.
  • They imposed on the faithful false ministers not possessing apostolic succession.
  • They made it impossible for any of those who were truly Catholic to avail themselves of the Mass or Sacraments or any of the services and emoluments previously available to Catholics without denying the Catholic faith.
  • The laws in existence prior to their usurpation and which yet remain in existence state that no one may be elected pope unless he is a) elected by cardinals who are certainly Catholic; b) who elect a qualified candidate who is certainly Catholic; c) by a 2/3 plus one majority and d) within the allotted time frame.
  • The election of John 23 violated all these laws and deprived the college of cardinals of their right to vote (Can. 2391 §1)
  • Pope Pius XII’s infallible election law Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis forbids anyone to change this law in any way, and if such an attempt is made it is null and void.

Given these established facts demonstrated as truths on this website for years — which have never been refuted nor can be refuted — it would be contrary to right reason to say that that the juridic Church has NOT ceased to exist. If all the Church ever was meant to be was contained in that juridic constitution, then it could be said that She has ceased to exist entirely. But we have the Church’s own teaching that She will never cease to exist and Christ’s promise that He will always be with Her until the very end. As Rev. E. Sylvester Berry writes in his The Church of Christ, “It is evident that the Apostolic Succession cannot fail in the Apostolic See so long as the Church Herself continues to exist.” And Rev. Berry, Henry Cardinal Manning, Cardinal Pie, Hilaire Belloc, St. Victorinus, St. Francis de Sales and others believe that for a time the Church WILL cease to exist, during the reign of Antichrist, but commentators do not agree on the length of his reign. Yet the Church will emerge from these trials triumphant.

And while the Church currently lacks a visible head, She is ruled by Christ from Heaven, She possesses the Deposit of Faith in all the readily available papal documents in book stores and on the Internet and She has access to nearly all the teachings of the Doctors, the Early Fathers and the saints. She is one and apostolic in Her belief in these doctrines and their origin, particularly the Primacy of the Holy See; She is holy in Her doctrines, also in keeping the faith to the best of Her ability and obedience to the laws of God and His Church; She is universal in her existence in most of the nations, scattered as She is. Therefore it can be said She is in material possession, at least, of the marks and attributes. Opponents deny the possibility of this material existence because they deny the fact that the juridic Church can cease to exist, believing it is the only true expression of Christ’s Church. For this reason they attempt to bind pray-at-home Catholics to the belief that their pseudo-bishops are true bishops, or that bishops exist “somewhere.” But while the existence of the Church as the Mystical Body is a dogma, they cannot support this claim regarding the bishops.

Comment 2: Please provide proof that the juridic Church, as She was constituted by Christ, with St. Peter and his successors visibly governing, can exist without the Roman Pontiff. Do these people expect me to believe them over the very bishop who called for the convocation of the Vatican Council defining papal infallibility and supremacy? This bishop, later named a cardinal, Henry Cardinal Manning, wrote in his The Temporal Power of the Vicar of Christ:

“St. Avitus: If the Pope of the City (i.e., Rome) be called into doubt, it is no bishop, but the Episcopate at once which will be seen to waver’ (p. xi). The event may come to pass that… our Divine Lord… may deliver over His Vicar upon earth, as He delivered Himself, and that the providential support of the temporal power of the Holy See may be withdrawn when its work is done… when the whole number of those whom He hath chosen to eternal life is filled up. It may be that when that is done, and when the times of Antichrist are come, that He will give over His Vicar upon earth, and His Mystical Body at large, [for a time]”. Manning goes on to explain that even before the pope is taken away, the Church’s influence in the world would be much diminished. Then he writes, “The Son of God shall permit, for a time, the powers of evil to prevail. That He will permit it for a time stands in the book of prophecy. But the imperishable Church of God… will live on still through the fires of the times of Antichrist,” (pgs. 55-57; 139).

So do these objectors also wish to accuse Cardinal Manning of heresy? They will contradict a very learned and esteemed cardinal and Scriptural prophecy?! Is it not clear from this statement that the Church can exist in her lay members in the absence of the Roman Pontiff since Cardinal Manning tells us that not only will the POPE be taken away, but “…the Mystical Body at large,” which can be seen to mean the hierarchy as well. This agrees with all Cardinal Manning says below regarding the bishops.

In his The Pastoral Office (1883, London) Manning writes: “Bishops who are assumed by the authority of the Vicar of Christ are legitimate and true Bishops, true pastors whom the Holy Ghost has placed to rule the Church of God. This Divine order is expressed in the Preface of the Holy Mass on the Feasts of the Apostles, in which we pray that the Eternal Pastor may not forsake His flock, but keep it always, by His blessed Apostles, with a continual protection that it may be governed by the same rulers whom He had bestowed upon it as pastors and vicars of Himself” (p. 37). (And why would we pray this if it could never happen?!!!)

“Every reader already well understands that the Bishops, in howsoever great a number they may be assembled, can never form the body, or represent the Episcopal College, if they have not at their head S. Peter in his successor… The episcopal body is not headless (acefalo); but, by the institution of Jesus Christ Himself, has a head in the person of the Roman Pontiff. A body without a head is not that (body) to which Jesus Christ, gave the Episcopate full and sovereign. He conferred it on the College of the Apostles, INCLUDING SAINT PETER, who was made superior to all the Apostles. The Episcopate, which is one and indivisible, is such precisely by reason of the connection of the bishops among themselves, and of their submission to one sole Bishop, who is universal and sovereign. Therefore the full, universal, and sovereign power of governing the Church is the Episcopate, full and sovereign, which exists in the person of S. Peter and of each of his successors, and in the whole Apostolic College united to S. Peterand in the whole body of the Bishops united to the Pope…” (p. 26-27).

In this same work, Manning quotes from the theologians:

 Ballerini

“Peter and his successors possess this twofold plenitude independently of the Apostles and their successors, and can exercise this supreme office alone; but the Apostles could not, and their successors cannot, exercise their office without Peter and his successors.

Jurisdiction as distinct from the power of Order, if it have no subject on whom to unfold itself, is barren, and lacks all use and exercise. Hence the designation and assigning of subjects, or of a region or diocese in which the episcopal right (episcopate jus, or jurisdiction) may be exercised, is necessary for actual jurisdiction: and he who assigns to Bishops their subjects and dioceses-gives also to them the use and exercise of their jurisdiction…”

Devoti, (writing under the supervision of the future Pope Pius VII):

“But if we consider the Bishops singly, as the rulers of particular Churches, they have received no jurisdiction immediately from Christ. All such jurisdiction arises immediately from the Church, which distributes dioceses, in which each Bishop singly is to exercise jurisdiction, and assigns to him certain subjects whom he is to govern. But it may even be granted and conceded that the jurisdiction, not only of the whole College of Bishops, but even of each singly, proceeds immediately from God Himself. For to the fountain we must return.

“A distinction is to be drawn between the jurisdiction itself and the act and use of it in exercise. The jurisdiction, indeed, may be derived immediately from God; but all act and use of it is from the Church, which gives the use of it (i.e. the right of using it) to each Bishop, when it assigns to him his subjects, on whom he may exercise this jurisdiction, which is itself of Divine right; but so long as it has no subjects it remains an otiose jurisdiction.”

Bolgeni

“He shows that there is an influx of the primacy of Peter in the whole Episcopate; for without him no Bishop can be elected, confirmed, or consecrated; and when consecrated, he receives from the successor of Peter the diocese and flock within which to rule the Church. In this sense it is strictly true that all comes through Peter; even the power of Order, which is given immediately by God in the Sacrament of Consecration, comes through Peter as the channel through which the consecration is given. This influx of the head in the members of the Episcopate he abundantly proves by the words of S. Optatus, S. Augustine, S. Leo, and many more.

“A body without a head is not that (body) to which Jesus Christ gave the Episcopate full and sovereign. He conferred it on the College of the Apostles, including S. Peter, who was made superior to all the other Apostles. The Episcopate, which is one and indivisible, is such precisely by reason of the connection of the bishops among themselves, and of their submission to one sole Bishop, who is universal and sovereign. Therefore the full, universal, and sovereign power of governing the Church is the Episcopate, full and sovereign, which exists in the person of S. Peter and of each of his successors, and in the whole Apostolic College united to S. Peter, and in the whole body of the bishops united to the Pope.”

Manning then adds: “I mention again, lest it should seem to be forgotten, that although these powers were given to all the Apostles, yet the supreme pastoral, office or primacy was given to Peter alone; so that even the Apostles were numbered in his flock.”

How is the above any different in content than the teaching of Pope Pius IX that without the pope there can be no Church and no Catholic society? Or the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas that “In order that the Church exist, there must be one person at the head of the whole Christian people” (Summa Contra Gentiles, Vol. IV, pg. 76). Is it not perfectly clear that Manning and Pope Pius IX were professing the same teaching, that they were well acquainted with each other and with St. Thomas? These disingenuous critics are not accusing me of heresy but those who I provide as sources for my conclusions!

The fact that they attest that such bishops must and do exist and can now constitute the Church without Her Supreme Head favors the Gallicanist heresy and also denies the infallible declaration of Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis, which reads: “Bishops must be considered as the more illustrious members of the Universal Church… Yet in exercising this office they are not altogether independent, but are subordinate to the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff, although enjoying the ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly from the same Supreme Pontiff.” Papal and conciliar decrees must be cited stating specifically that the juridic Church can be said to visibly exist in the bishops alone minus her Supreme Head.

Pope John XXII condemned the errors of the heretic Marsilius of Padua for holding that: “St. Peter received no more authority than the other Apostles, …that Christ gave no head to His Church and appointed no one as His vicar here below — all which is contrary to the Apostolic and evangelic truth. These …lying men say that all priests, be they popes, archbishops, or simple priests are possessed of equal authority and equal jurisdiction, by the institution of Christ” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Marsilius of Padua). In saying that these bishops can constitute the Church without one of them being a true pope, isn’t this implicitly stating that they are equal in power and authority to Christ’s vicar? Heresy may be either implicit or explicit, according to Can. 1325. One either believes that the Pope is necessary for the Church to exist or not.

And consider the following, also condemned as a heresy: “The apostles and faithful priests of the Lord strenuously in necessities ruled the Church unto salvation before the office of the pope was introduced; thus they would be doing even to the day of judgment were the pope utterly lacking” (DZ 655, heresy of John Hus condemned by the Council of Constance). Isn’t this uncomfortably close as well to what these critics are maintaining? And moreover, in stating that it is blasphemous or heretical, as they do, to hold that a true pope can no longer be elected, what are we to think of the clear teaching that: “Likewise, whether he believes that the Pope canonically elected who lived for a time after having expressed his own name is the successor of the blessed Peter having supreme authority in the Church of God,” (DZ 570d, in different wording but the same meaning, proposed for belief to the Armenians; as stated here, DZ 674, proposed for belief to the Wycliffe and Hussite heretics at the Council of Constance).

And in Canon 219: “the Roman pontiff legitimately elected obtains from the moment he accepts the election the full power of supreme jurisdiction by divine right.” And in Canon 147, which reads: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical appointment. By canonical appointment is understood the conferring of any ecclesiastical office by the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the sacred canons.” In an authentic interpretation of this canon, the Holy Office decreed that this is a binding precept per the Council of Trent and entered it into the Acta Apostolica Sedis. Papal elections are governed under Can. 160 in the 1917 Code. No bishops unable to be investigated and determined legitimate by the Holy See could ever be considered competent electors! Only faithful bishops consecrated under Pope Pius XII could possibly have elected a pope, and they long ago expired. So where are the PROOFS that all laws and teachings of the popes and councils on the necessity of canonical election can be contravened in our current situation?

  1. In doubt, facts cannot be presumed, but must be proved.

Comment: These accusers are presuming such bishops exist; they cannot and have not proven it. So where are they and what good are they, even if they do exist? According to Can. 331, bishops must be at least 30 years old at the time of their appointment. Even if Pope Pius XII approved the appointment of a number of 30-year-old bishops in 1958, which he did not, those bishops today would now be 94 years old and that was the minimum age for episcopal appointment; the average age was more likely 40 to 50 years old. We are being told we must believe that these 94 to 105-year-old bishops still exist and can, without communion with the Roman Pontiff, constitute the true Church today. We are being asked to believe this not knowing if it could be proven they are who they say they are. We are being asked to believe they would have universal jurisdiction over us which only the cardinals and a true pope possess. We are being asked to assume this even though in 2019, in the whole world, there was just one single bishop — an Archbishop Emeritus — then alive who was appointed by Pius XII. (http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/sordb2.html) and he was a Novus Ordo bishop! We are being asked to believe highly improbable facts that no one can establish to arrive at the truth. But this is logic, this is sanity, this is Catholic teaching? I think not.

So what if there are “secret” bishops ordained as infants who exist behind the Iron Curtain? We have considered just such a possibility. (See https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/uniate-extraordinary-faculties-do-not-provide-jurisdiction/, subhead A Matter of Infallible Teaching, for Cardinal Manning’s explanation of this and a consideration of the known facts). Let us jump through the hoops proposed by the Church to determine if such men could be considered true bishops. If still alive, they would be quite elderly; it was 1939 when Pope Pius XI sent bishops behind the Iron Curtain to perform these consecrations. And even then, Montini is reported to have revealed their identities to the Soviet authorities who later went in and murdered them! Would they be certainly mentally competent at such an advanced age? Can it actually be proven they are the same individuals that they claim to be? Can any documents not suspect of forgery be produced to verify their claims? We certainly could not trust anything coming from Rome! Can they prove their mission with miracles, as St. Francis de Sales requires in his Catholic Controversy?

Enough of this nonsense. Just as the situation we find ourselves in today, we would have serious doubt regarding their validity. No one but a canonically elected pope could ever decide if such men were true bishops. And following the teaching of Bd. Pope Innocent XI and the unanimous opinion of the theologians, as pointed out in the link in the above paragraph, they are doubtful bishops and would have no jurisdiction over us whatsoever. So how would they ever be considered to constitute the true Church of Christ when to be true successors of the Apostles they need to unquestionably possess both orders AND jurisdiction? (See https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/1-what-constitutes-the-papacy/apostolic-succession-are-schismatic-clergy-and-laymen/).

As one reader phrased it: Who cares if they exist? Who would want to trust such puling, cowardly bishops who for decades have thrown the sheep Our Lord commanded them to feed and protect to the wolves?! And PUHLEASE, do not insult the saintly popes, cardinals and bishops who gave their lives for the faith by pretending that just because certain bishops did not attend Vatican 2, they can be considered true bishops. They remained SILENT in this awful betrayal of the Church, and they were our SHEPHERDS. Read Can.1325 and weep. They were commanded by the Church to elect a true pope for us even if it meant endangering their lives and they failed in their duty to lay down their lives for Christ’s sheep. Their duty to have elected is a fact based on the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine, established long ago in my first book.

In Pope Pius XII’s definition of the Church from Mystici Corporis above, there is no mention of the bishops as part of this visibility but there is every indication that we today could still materially, at least, satisfy this description even in the absence of the hierarchy. Otherwise Christ’s promise to His Church — that He would be with Her unto the consummation — is a lie, and the prophecy that for a time we would be without a true pope — when he who withholdeth is taken out of the way — is false. So how else are we to understand the certain fulfillment of His promise except in those of us who remain? As Our Lord warned us: “I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed” (Matt. 26:31). But we question this Divine truth, that as Cardinal Manning believes, the pope would follow the fate of his Divine Master?

Some of those who comment on Holy Scripture interpret sheep as the Apostles and by way of comparison their successors. Is not this exactly what happened when the bishops apostatized in the 1960s? Rev. Leo Haydock comments that this same passage in Zacharias (“Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand to the little ones,” Zach. 13:7) means that, “Christ takes care of his little flock, and always is one with the Father.” In the Matt. 26:31 version, he notes that “I will strike” means that Christ’s death (and in an accommodated sense, the vacancy of the Holy See) are trials and sufferings “directed by God.” He quotes from Luke 12:32 which reads: “Fear not little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you a kingdom.” Citing St. Bede, Haydock writes on this verse: “In order to console us in our labors, he commands us to seek only the kingdom of Heaven and promises that the Father will bestow it as a reward upon us.” Why is that not enough for some people? The answer is because it does not fit their pet idea of how God’s will is to be accomplished in these times.

  1. No inference contrary to the evident facts is true; conjectural opinions are dangerous (and the latter is condemned in Pope Pius XII’s infallible encyclical Humani Generis).

Comment 1: All these objectors can produce is inference regarding my supposed denial that the Church as Christ constituted it yet exists and will last until the consummation. Evident facts show that this is not at all what I have written for many years on my website for those who care to read it. The inference they are asking readers to assume here is that I “teach” that the Church of Christ on earth minus its visible head — the juridic Church — has ceased to exist, and they infer I believe this is all that was ever the Church on earth. But what about the Mystical Body? What about the invisible Head who rules us from Heaven? The interior life of the Church is just as much a living reality as her physical existence, as Bishop Myer states above under definitions and Pope Pius XII taught in Mystici Corporis. And in fact it was the neglect of this interior life that resulted in the false Vatican 2 council and the Traditional movement.

I made it crystal clear in articles written long ago that the Church continues Her existence as the Mystical Body of Christ in the absence of the hierarchy (see the following 2013 articles at https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/2-the-church/the-doctrine-of-the-mystical-body-pt-ii/, https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/7-recent-articles/the-church-has-not-failed-and-cannot-fail/). How can these dishonest people claim that I “teach” that the Church has entirely ceased to exist when I explain it at length from papal and other approved works in these and other articles? All that I have ever done is present what the Church Herself and Her approved theologians teach. What is the purpose of going to the macabre lengths of condemning me in moronic, repeated propositions based on unprovable conjectures that bishops must yet exist, when all this has been available on my website for years? THIS is true insanity, and I might even add, in certain cases, proof of malicious intent.

In Mystici Corporis Christi, Pope Pius XII condemned “popular naturalism, which sees and wills to see in the Church nothing but a juridical and social union… Although the juridical principles, on which the Church rests and is established, derive from the divine constitution given to it by Christ and contribute to the attaining of its supernatural end, nevertheless that which lifts the Society of Christians far above the whole natural order is the Spirit of our Redeemer who penetrates and fills every part of the Church’s being and is active within it until the end of time as the source of every grace and every gift and every miraculous power.” Doesn’t that very last sentence explain precisely how Christ is to be with His Church in these times? Isn’t it exactly what is stated above in the definitions section? Traditionalists and others are so caught up in the existence of the actual physical and external properties of the Church, (which in normal times, of course, must always exist and yet exist in reality in Heaven), they cannot fathom this most necessary and exquisitely tender supernatural union. In other words, they deal Christ right out of His own Mystical Body and the supernatural life, which Pope Pius XII DEFINES as the Church in Mystici Corporis above.

They wish to deny the repeated teaching of Holy Scripture and the Holy Fathers of the Church, as defined by the Popes above?! Wake up, people — we don’t live in normal times; we live in the end times and pretending the Church can now come back and change all that with these supposed bishops is wishful thinking. We must deal with REALITY, which the theologians teach can only be attained by applying the rules of logic. “[Logic] is the collection of rules which guide the mind to think correctly in its attainment of truth… Truth, as here understood, means the attainment of knowledge; that is, conformity or agreement of our thoughts with objective reality” (Logic, Joseph B. Walsh, SJ., Fordham Univ., 1940). The truth is, we cannot know for certain how or when the Church will return. We know only that Christ will be with us to the very end and that the Church will eventually triumph. That is something called faith — belief in things unseen.

Pope Pius XII taught that the Church’s indefectibility, though visible, “…is a matter of experience… it remains, nonetheless, a mystery. For it cannot be explained naturally but only by reason of the fact, which is known to us by Divine revelation, that Christ who founded the Church is with Her through every trial to the end of the world” (Dec. 4, 1943 address to Roman Curia). So if it is a mystery, it is something we must simply believe and accept, not question. And it is not something we can know with any certainty. Christ is with us and will always be with us. How is not our concern. The commentators agree only that the Church will triumph — they are undecided regarding whether or not She will enjoy a revival following the death of Antichrist and his system or whether we may expect the consummation and Final Judgment immediately following his death. The Church has never decided this point, although Pope Pius XII taught it cannot be safely taught that the Church will reign on earth with Christ before the Final Judgment. It is taught by a good number of theologians that the triumph of the Church will be the destruction of Antichrist and his system and the renewal of the earth after the consummation, where the saints will then reign with their physical bodies.

The juridic Church as Christ constituted it is likely not coming back, not without an outright miracle anyway. The belief of many regarding this revival after Antichrist’s defeat is fueled primarily by private prophecy, and while Catholics can privately choose to believe this, they cannot beat people over the head with accusations of heresy for not believing it. If certain objectors believe that the laity in these times cannot possibly constitute what is left of the Church since clergy must also exist, they are refusing to accept reality. We did not place ourselves in this position or elevate ourselves to it; we were unlucky enough to find ourselves in it. They are the ones denying that the Church currently exists. The visible bishops they insist on and cannot produce would need to necessarily include a pope, for in order for the Church to exist as Christ’s Mystical Body on earth, as Pope Pius XII states above, “…it is absolutely necessary that the Supreme Head, that is, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, be visible to the eyes of all.”  

As we also stated years ago on this website and have restated recently: Canon 1812 tells us that acts issuing from the Roman Pontiff and the Roman Curia during the exercise of their office and entered as proof in ecclesiastical courts “prove the facts asserted,” (Can. 1816), and force the judge to pronounce in favor of the party producing the document, (commentary by Revs. Woywod-Smith). “Proof to the contrary is not admitted against Letters of the Roman Pontiff bearing his signature,” (Abp. Amleto Cicognani, Canon Law, p. 626, ft. note). Documents entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis do not need to be submitted in the original or be an authenticated copy, (Can. 1819). Produce the signed papal statements that the Church can indeed exist with only bishops at Her head minus the pope and that bishops, not regularized or approved by Her, possess the jurisdiction necessary to apostolicity.

Refute the infallible papal election law of Pope Pius XII which teaches that during an interregnum, all is held in abeyance until the election of a true pope. Only the cardinals may make emergency decisions and we have none. Such decisions would have devolved on those faithful bishops consecrated under Pius XII who could have done only one thing: elect a true pope. But that did not happen, and no bishops today presenting some 64 years after the fact are able to resolve this situation without receiving a decision regarding the status of their consecrations from a true pope. The previous election law of Pope St. Pius X that Pius XII rewrote and updated in 1945 changed very little. Why? Because it reflected all the laws of the Church regarding papal elections throughout the centuries. So who is really violating the constant teaching of the Church here?

Comment 2: There also is inference involved concerning the absurd accusation that I “teach” we have only two Sacraments left to us. Again, stick to the facts. It is a proven fact that we cannot avail ourselves of five of the Sacraments today because our Church has ceased to exist juridically. I have carefully gone into all of this on my website. For two of these, Confession and Communion, we have spiritual substitutes. While ignoring the fact that I have repeatedly documented why we cannot receive the five Sacraments in question, some opponents jump to the entirely false and unsubstantiated conclusion that I have denied the existence of the other Sacraments. This is the best demonstration of their inability to reason properly so far. If I tell you that I have seven equally valuable and beautiful classic cars in my oversized garage but that I have a clear title to only two of them, and therefore cannot drive the other five because I cannot register them, does this mean that I am denying the existence of the other five or diminishing their beauty and value? Hardly. After all, someday I might be able to clear all those titles! I think this point alone sufficiently illustrates the irrational thread running through all these accusations.

  1. The common good demands certitude concerning the validity of acts (Cicognani).

Comment: Can we be certain such bishops exist? No, as explained above. Are we to believe it on a mere conjecture? Pope Pius XII forbids it. I have pointed this out before regarding the Siri “election.” The evident facts from papal decrees and the teachings of the Holy Office, also binding, are proofs that cannot be refuted. If such bishops are to be considered as the hierarchy, it is assumed that at some point those promoting them as the hierarchy would expect them to act as such. But they cannot so act in the absence of the Roman Pontiff; they are not able to elect a pope when their validity and competency is in question. We are facing the same situation with these fictitious bishops that we face at present, and we must behave the same: regarding anything involving eternal salvation and the validity of the sacraments we must take the safer course.

It is outrageous to follow the conclusions proposed in the fallacious reasoning advanced in this matter because it leads us to the very “heresy” I am accused of “teaching.” These so-called Catholics are asking the laity to judge the validity of these bishops and accept them as hierarchy — a usurpation of papal authority condemned in Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, by the Council of Trent and forbidden by Canon Law! So who is really promoting a lay church here? These people clearly have an agenda, they may already have these men waiting in the wings and they may even be prepared to receive orders from them. What else could account for the viciousness of these attacks and the strident denial of such a self-evident truth? For as Cardinal Manning stated above: EVERY READER already well understands that the bishops, in howsoever great a number they may be assembled, can never form the body, or represent the Episcopal College, if they have not at their head S. Peter in his successor…

Unless one wishes to accept the Traditionalists or the Novus Ordo as the true Church, there is no argument or conclusion that can contradict the evident facts, as stated above in no. 1: we no longer have a valid hierarchy, the Mass or the Sacraments. However you wish to look at it, the juridic Church is gone. At least one of the early Fathers, St. Victorinus, saw this and commented on Apocalypse Ch. 6:14 as follows: “And the heaven withdrew as a scroll that is rolled up.” For the heaven to be rolled away, that is, that the Church shall be taken away.” And Ch. 15:1: “And I saw another great and wonderful sign, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is completed the indignation of God.” For the wrath of God always strikes the obstinate people with seven plagues, that is, perfectly, as it is said in Leviticus; and these shall be in the last time, when the Church shall have gone out of the midst.” http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0712.htm

A final note: Paul 6 as Antichrist

Finally we must address the subject of Paul 6 as Antichrist, an opinion I set forth in my first self-published work in 1990 and have taken considerable heat for ever since. But all that has been said above applies to this topic as well, only in mirror reverse. Opponents present claims they insist must be taken as fact without the required proofs and evidence. In the matter of Antichrist, they attempt to force their readers to believe those things that are only opinions of the Scripture commentators as facts that are written in stone. Granted, some of these are the opinions of the early Fathers, but by no means are they unanimous, meaning that we are not obliged to accept them as certain. Very little at all is certain regarding Antichrist as the commentators all agree. And those things that ARE certain are the very things these objectors reject out of hand. They take completely out of context what has been said on this topic and offer no alternative explanation whatsoever to refute meticulously well-documented facts and events presented on this site about the Man of Sin.

Whatever is not certain in this matter does not bind us to belief; we are free to believe or not. In fact the Scripture commentators, even St. Robert Bellarmine, leave to those living in the time of Antichrist to determine what is meant by the texts which remain obscure: Antichrist’s name, number and mark, as well as other details. (Ryan Grant’s translation of St. Bellarmine on Antichrist, p. 100). Rev. Huchede tells us in his work on Antichrist that “The events connected with the end of the world will alone remove the mystery on which the sacred text is at present enveloped… I leave what is mysterious to be explained by the event.” He even admits that regarding the explanation of these mysteries, even “the greatest theologians and some of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church have failed.” Regarding the teachings of the Fathers, Huchede tells us we may “abandon their opinion with deference,” when it fails to conform to the truth, while accepting what they teach that is not fulfilled as probable. In very little are the Fathers unanimous regarding Holy Scripture, as Pope Pius XII notes in his encyclical on Scripture studies, Divini Afflante Spiritu.

But in my preliminary evaluation, I proceeded not on the opinions of commentators, not even primarily on the Fathers, but on the predictions of the popes. These are three: Pope Paul IV, who remarkably defined the very Scripture verse on the abomination of desolation that fits Antichrist’s advent to a “T”; the long St. Michael’s prayer written by Pope Leo XIII, warning that the abomination had already appeared in the holy place and Pope St. Pius X’s 1903 announcement that he believed Antichrist was already born (Montini was six years old at the time). Then of course there is the unanimous opinion of the Fathers which must be accepted as a rule of faith (DZ 1788) — that Antichrist will cause the Holy Sacrifice to cease. How anyone can deny the fact that Paul 6 caused the Holy Sacrifice to cease is beyond me. That is probably the most telling prophetical fulfillment of all since it is an actual fact that even Traditionalists acknowledge. But these objectors are no respecters of facts. They try to make it appear that just because the Mass ceases it does not mean the hierarchy does not exist. And so they return to their endless circular arguments regarding the non-cessation of the juridical Church.

St. Robert Bellarmine writes in his work on Antichrist that, “In the times of Antichrist ALL PUBLIC OFFICES and divine sacrifices will cease on account of the vehemence of the persecution” (p.134). But we will still have the hierarchy? Once again, I think I will take the opinion of a notable Doctor over that of my opponents. Bishops without an office are not apostolic; they are bishops in name only. Those objecting to my opinion on Antichrist do so because it conflicts with their own ideas of what is to come, or what they have planned. They may not agree with my opinion on Paul 6, but I challenge anyone to be able, at this point in time, to find the conditions necessary to support the fulfillment of the prophecies today. How can the Sacrifice now cease publicly since it no longer exists? Who would be those constituting the Great Revolt (defection of the cardinals and bishops even before Paul 6 reigned)? What large body of Catholics today are left to apostatize? Who and/or what is withholding today when we are without a true pope, and everything is in ruins?

Conclusion

As I stated above, it has occurred to me that all this may be a prelude to some attempt to introduce “true bishops” and satisfy the longing of many catacomb Catholics for a restoration of what they might be led to believe is the Church. I pray with all my heart this is not the case. We live in very dangerous and perilous times that I believe could soon culminate in the final realization of all the end times prophecies. Rather than destroy what unity exists among us, we need to huddle together to survive the horrific storm about to descend on us all if we wish to keep our faith intact. It is God’s will that at this present time the Sacrifice has ceased, and we have no hierarchy to guide us. Why are we questioning His will? Why are we not accepting all this as a penance for our sins? If and when God decides to send us a true pope and bishops we will know it and there will be no doubt they are who they say they are. Yes, in the past I have said I believed they exist somewhere, but these hopes can no longer be realized after all these years, as explained above, without an outright miracle. Please excuse me if I dismiss all these pestiferous Pharisees in favor of the prophetic words of a truly holy man, Cardinal Louis Pie of Poiters, France:

“The Church, though of course still a visible society, will be increasingly reduced to individual and domestic proportions.  She who in Her young days cried out: “The place is strait: give me room wherein to dwell,” will see every inch of Her territory under attack.  Surrounded on all sides, as the other centuries have made Her great, so the last will strive to crush HerAnd finally the Church on earth will undergo a true defeat: “…and it was given unto him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.” (Apocalypse 13:7). The insolence of evil will be at its peak.Now, in this extremity, what will be the remaining duty of all true Christians, of all men of faith and courage?

The answer is this: Spurred on to ever greater vigour by the apparent hopelessness of their predicament, they will redouble their ardour in prayer, their energy in works, and their courage in combat so that their every word and work cries out together:

“Oh God, Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name, on earth as it is in Heaven,Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven,Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven, Sicut in coelo…et in terra!”

And they shall still be murmuring these words as the earth is snatched from beneath their feet.  And just as of old, after a comparable calamity, the Roman Senate and every rank of the state once went forth to greet the conquered consul Varro on his return and to honour him for not despairing of the Republic (“…quod de re publica non desperasset…”), so shall the celestial senate, all the choirs of angels and all the ranks of the Blessed come out to welcome the generous athletes who have continued the combat to the end, hoping against hope itself, “…contra spem in spem…” (Romans 4:17). COME, LORD JESUS!

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The Episcopal Body Cannot Constitute Christ’s Church Without Peter

Apostolicity of doctrine must always be preserved

+St. William+

 For many years, opponents of what is written here have pointed to Can. 1385 as prohibiting anyone from publishing without an imprimatur and nihil obstat. I long ago satisfied my conscience in this regard with the necessary investigation but perhaps the conclusions I reached need to be presented here to answer these objections once and for all.

We know that at present there are no true clergy able to teach or administer the Sacraments. That leaves everything to the laity. I have many times mentioned the quote from Pope Pius XII which states that in the absence of the hierarchy the laity must assume all their responsibilities as long as there is no violation of faith, morals or ecclesiastical discipline (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/3494-2/). Since the time of the Vatican Council in 1869, the popes have urged the laity to engage in Catholic Action. The Church requested the laity’s assistance because there were not enough priests to effectively minister to the faithful. Prior to Pope Pius XII’s death, lay people were to do so under the supervision of the hierarchy, but this is no longer possible. And Pius XII says in the above-mentioned address that an explicit mission to engage in the apostolate is not necessary. This one address and a few others are enough for me, but obviously not for others. So it will be useful to trace this out and demonstrate that there is a desperate need, there are grave obligations and there is no violation of the law involved in publishing Catholic teaching on this site or anywhere else.

Catholics were woefully ignorant of their faith over 100 years ago

Pope St. Pius X taught in Acerbo Nimis: “It is a common complaint, unfortunately too well founded, that there are large numbers of Christians in our own time who are entirely ignorant of those truths necessary for salvation… Now we must inquire who has the duty to safeguard minds from this pernicious ignorance and impart to them the necessary knowledge. On this point, Venerable Brothers, there can be no doubt this very grave obligation is incumbent on all those who are pastors of souls. They are certainly obliged by the precept of Christ to know and to nourish the sheep confided to them. Now to nourish is first of all to teach. “I will give you,” God promises by the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah, “pastors according to my own heart and they shall feed you with knowledge and doctrine.” And so the apostle said: “Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the gospel,” indicating that thus the first office of those who are set up in any way for the government of the Church is to instruct the faithful in sacred doctrine,” (and this is labeled in the Monks of Solesmes Papal Teaching book as a doctrinal teaching, binding on the faithful). Moreover, it is an interpretation of Holy Scripture and  should be recognized as such.

So this is what Traditionalists presenting as priests and bishops SHOULD have been doing, not pretending to ordain and consecrate men to simulate the Sacraments at their various mass centers. There was a longstanding plea from the popes to educate the faithful and to help them establish their own Catholic Action cells and apostolates. Those truly wishing to preserve the faith were obligated to obey these commands to help the faithful understand what happened after Pope Pius XII’s death and why it happened. But they couldn’t afford to do this because eventually it would have become clear that once the jurisdiction of those validly ordained during Pius XII’s reign expired, there was no certainty that it could be supplied given the doubtful pope situation. It is interesting to note that Sedevacantists often cited the “a doubtful law is no law” and “a doubtful pope is no pope” yet never provided the source for this latter teaching. That source would have given far more weight to this statement than they wished, since it was the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine, so the ridiculous and heretical materialiter/formaliter hypothesis was introduced.

In short, Traditionalists did not want those following them to do any thinking on their own. Rather than offer them any real spiritual sustenance in exploring and explaining the truths of faith, they basically stuck a pacifier in their collective mouths — their contrived mass and sacraments — to shut them up. They had to make it appear that the Church’s mark of apostolicity yet existed in order to justify this, since this is the primary proof of this mark. And yet it is not the only proof.

Apostolicity of doctrine and the marks

Traditionalists could not address this however because to do so would have required them to acknowledge the times in which we live. To follow the clear signs — the apostasy of the bishops at Vatican 2, the abolition of the true Latin Mass, the desolation of the Church — would have indicated that Antichrist, the Man of Sin, had come and the Mass had ceased. The means to determine how it happened and what really needed to be done were already available in Pope Paul IV’s 1559 bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio in the mid-1970s, but this bull was attacked the minute it appeared and was successfully relegated to the rubbish pile of laws no longer in effect, even though it was proven beyond doubt that this law is still very much in effect. Is Antichrist still with us? Yes, he lives on in the usurpers in Rome just as Peter’s successors lived after him, Satan’s crude attempt to replicate the papacy. He is the whore of Babylon in league with all the principalities and powers that be, now ruling the world.

“Apostolicity… is the surest indication of the true Church of Christ, it is most easily examined and it virtually contains the other three marks… Apostolicity of doctrine and mission is necessary. Apostolicity of doctrine requires that the DEPOSIT OF FAITH committed to the Apostles shall remain unchanged. Since the Church is infallible in its teaching, it follows that if the Church of Christ still exists, it must be teaching His doctrine. Hence apostolicity of mission is a guarantee of apostolicity of doctrine… Billot emphasizes the idea that the Church, which is Apostolic, must be presided over by bishops, who derive their ministry and their governing power from the Apostles. Apostolicity, then, is that Apostolic succession by which the Church of today is one with the Church of the Apostles in origin, doctrine, and missionIt is apostolicity of mission which is reckoned as a note of the Church(Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912). All this is true, however, ONLY if these bishops and the cardinals remain in communion with the Roman Pontiff. The only time we would not have this note is the time of Antichrist, when “he who withholdeth” is taken out of the way (the pope) and the bishops, beginning with the cardinals, would all apostatize. It is not “our” teaching, but conclusions drawn from the teaching of Henry Cardinal Manning and others.

Rev. Devivier writes in his Christian Apologetics: “In saying that the true Church is necessarily apostolic, we mean that she must profess the doctrine taught by the apostles: this is apostolicity of doctrine; then, that she must be able to trace her descent from the apostles through the succession of her lawful heads: this is apostolicity of ministry or government. Apostolicity of doctrine is the logical and indispensable consequence of the unity required in the true Church. The necessity of this characteristic is rarely disputed, but it is of little service as a note, as a positive means of discerning the true Church. Hence we shall dwell more particularly on the apostolicity of ministry. We have shown above, pp. 303 f., 318 f., that all authority in the Church has been really bestowed upon the apostles. This authority must, as we shall prove, pass to their successors…The Church, moreover, possesses a principle which necessarily sustains unity of belief: she professes as an essential dogma that all must accept every doctrine which she proclaims to be of faith, under pain, if they persist in error, of being ejected from her bosom.” This explains why there is no true unity in the Church today — apostolicity of doctrine as it existed prior to the death of Pope Pius XII is not taught as an integral whole.

Devivier then explains the Church’s end. “The Church of Rome is holy in her final end, which is the sanctification and the salvation of the faithful. She is holy in the means she employs; in her dogmaswhich are attacked only because of their sublimity and because many of them transcend, as to their essence, the limit of human reason; in her moral teaching, to which even her adversaries pay homage, which proscribes all vices, inculcates all virtues, and culminates in the perfection of the evangelical counsels; in her sacraments, fruitful sources of grace and holiness; in her worship, the most spiritual which ever existed, the purest and freest from immoral or superstitious practices. She is holy, finally, in the members who faithfully follow her precepts; only those who refuse to conform to her teaching, and thus incur her condemnation, fail to witness to her sanctity.” So unless we have apostolicity of doctrine, holiness in the Church cannot exist.

Rev. E. S. Berry, in his The Church of Christ, emphasizes the importance of apostolicity of doctrine but only if it is taught by legitimate pastors. “Christ has either failed in His promises, or the Church must ever preserve and teach all truths committed to her through the ministry of the Apostles. In other words, the Church must be Apostolic in her doctrine even to the consummation of the world… It is evident that there can be no authority in the Church save that which comes directly or indirectly from her Divine Founder, Jesus Christ. But there is not the slightest intimation in Scripture or tradition that Christ ever promised to confer authority directly upon the ministers of the Church; consequently it can only be obtained by lawful succession from those upon whom Christ personally and directly conferred it, e., from the Apostles. In other words, the Church must be Apostolic in her ministry by means of a legitimate succession reaching back in an unbroken line to the Apostles…

The very purpose for which the Church was instituted, [is], namely, the GLORY OF GOD and the salvation of souls…. The Church is eminently fitted to give glory to God by its wonderful manifestation of His power, wisdom and goodness in providing such efficacious means of salvation for all men at all times, whatever be their condition or state in life. Christ proclaimed His doctrines, gave His precepts, and instituted the Sacraments to enable all men to participate in the fruits of the Redemption. He then instituted the Apostolic ministry to perpetuate this work in the world. He sent forth the Apostles with authority to teach and govern all men and to administer to them the means of salvation. But, as already shown, Christ instituted His Church by instituting the Apostolic ministry. It follows, then, that the Church was established to perpetuate the work of the Redemption by applying it to the souls of men.

“In a word, the Church was instituted to save all men, or, as St. Paul expresses it: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ until we all meet into the unity of faith and of the knowledge, of the Son of God, unto a perfect man.” … As Christ Himself admonishes: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice.” Since the Church was instituted to save mankind by bringing souls to eternal life, the ultimate end to be attained must be that which Christ enjoined upon all men and which the Apostles demanded of those who entered the Church, i. e., to submit to the authority of the Church, to be instructed by her in all revealed truths, to receive the Sacraments, and to offer true worship to God — in a word, to practice the Christian religion and thus prepare for eternal life.”

“The unity of faith and of knowledge:” If we fail to present the truths of faith contained in the Deposit as it existed on the death of Pope Pius XII, we are sabotaging our own unity and refusing to glorify God and fulfill the real meaning of “the salvation of souls” which Pope St. Pius X so clearly illustrated in Acerbo Nimis: knowledge of the true faith. Souls cannot be saved by (at best) questionably ordained priests created by bishops who were never given papal approval or permission (jurisdiction) to function as bishops. Christ is the Head of the Mystical Body in these terrible times — His Church has not ceased to exist. We can and must obey all that He commanded through His canonically elected Vicars whose teachings remain available to us; these must be learned and understood if we wish to remain Catholic.

The case of impossibility in observing the law

This is not a case of a doubtful law requiring the invocation of epikeia. This is a matter of both physical and moral impossibility in observing the law, treated under the rules governing Canon Law and moral theology. Traditionalist pseudo-clergy wishing to justify their own operations triumphantly claim that in violating Can.1385 — which requires permission to publish anything treating of theology, the Catholic faith, prayers and religious images — those so doing are appealing to epikeia and so cannot chastise them for doing the same. But this is not true in this case because Traditionalists, who also justify their operations by pointing to Can. 15 and the cessation of a doubtful law, cannot apply it to their situation. The laws that apply to them are invalidating and incapacitating laws, which forbid them from acting unless they possess the necessary jurisdiction. And these are excluded from consideration under Can. 15. Both canonists and moral theologians also unanimously agree that regarding the validity of the Sacraments, they cannot be administered or received whenever doubt exists.

Rev. Dominic Prummer says in his Manual of Moral Theology that if a person finds it completely impossible to observe a law, then absolute impossibility excuses from the observance of the law.  Moral impossibility does not excuse from the observance of natural law, but it usually excuses from positive law with the exception of invalidating laws. Moral impossibility makes an act so difficult that the majority of men would never or only rarely perform such an act… [When] the law becomes detrimental to the common good and thus ceases to be law this is embodied in the well-known principle ‘no positive law obliges when there is grave inconvenience’ and applies also to divine positive law” (no. 107, 108). The canonist Rev. P.J. Lyddon, in his Ready Answers in Canon Law (1937) says that when doubtful Church laws (Can. 15) “do not bind, we act as if they did not exist until the legislator explains them.”

But more to the point are the principles laid down in matters governing conscience and the positive law. These are enumerated by Bernard Wuellner, S.J. below in his Summary of Scholastic Principles (1956) where no other author is cited.

Conscience

  • “As in all other concerns of education, so in the training of conscience we must use the several means. As a check on individual caprice, especially in youth, we must consult the best living authorities and the best traditions of the past. At the same time that we are recipient our own active faculties must exert themselves in the pursuit with a keen outlook for the chances of error. Really unavoidable mistakes will not count against us; but many errors are remotely, when not proximately, preventable” (Catholic Encyclopedia under conscience).
  • “In order that a man tend to his last end, it is not sufficient that the way be pointed out in a general manner” (McHugh and Callan). “The natural and positive laws “must be applied to each act in particular by the practical reason or conscience, as it passes judgment on the right or wrong of an action in the light of all the circumstances.
  • No one may act until a doubt of conscience is resolved
  • A doubtful law is not binding, (and Cicognani includes doubts regarding cessation under his commentary on Canon 15).
  • In doubt a minimum certain obligation only is to be exacted. (In the matter of Can. 1385 and its obvious cessation, the minimum certain obligation has been fulfilled: Recourse primarily to the teachings and laws of the Church Herself and when helpful for purposes of explanation, recourse also to those authors already approved by the Church.)
  • Guilt must be proven.
  • Facts must be proven.
  • Invalidity must be proven.
  • A valid positive law is not binding when there are extreme difficulties in observing it.

Positive Law

  • Henry Cardinal Manning writes in his The Vatican Decrees and Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance that according to the laws of morality, “If [the exercise of them] is physically impossible, [they] would be morally impossible [and] repugnant to equity,” (p. 80).
  • Positive law is true only when it is physically and morally possible of observance.
  • No law can bind the subject to do the impossible or anything morally evil.
  • In a conflict of law, the higher law prevails.
  • “In a conflict of law… the more important law prevails. A precept of the natural law takes precedence over the positive law, a divine precept over a human precept, laws pertain[ing] to justice over those pertaining to charity” (Abp. Amleto Cicognani, Canon Law, 1935)

Natural law

  • The natural law is superior to positive law (“The 10 Commandments follow directly from the most general precepts of the natural law” — McHugh and Callan).
  • The law of charity, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, (Summa Theologicae, II-II, q. 44, McHugh and Callan), is implicitly contained in all the commandments of other virtues, for charity is the end of every commandment (1Tim. 1:5)… A good conscience is had by the observance of the affirmative commandments of the natural law. Charity is also a precept of Divine law.
  • Charity owed to our neighbor demands that in extreme spiritual necessity one give up even his life to assist him (McHugh and Callan, Prummer, theologians in general). The first, seventh and eighth commandments are violated by Traditionalist pseudo-clergy who cause the faithful to cooperate in non-Catholic services, contribute money to their mass centers, and who rely on the power of deception and withholding of Catholic truth to continue their “ministry.”
  • “Obligations of justice have precedence over obligations of charity” (McHugh and Callan). The laws of justice demand that rights be upheld: “Render justice or his rights to each” (Wuellner).
  • Catholics have both the obligation under Divine law to learn doctrine and the strict right to every possible means of learning and understanding it. “Persons and societies have the natural right to defend perfect rights against unjust assailants in proportion to both a) the necessity of the measures necessary for effective defense and b) the comparative importance of the right or good attacked. Whoever has a right to an end also has the right to the necessary just means to accomplish that end” (Wuellner).
  • Furthermore, Catholics are bound under Can. 1325 to profess their faith whenever “…silence, subterfuge ormanner of acting would otherwise entail an implicit denial of their faith, a contempt of religion, an insult to God or scandal to their neighbor.”

Observance of Can. 1385 contrary to faith

We are fighting for our spiritual lives here, the survival of what is left of the Church and the right to practice our religion without molestation and to defend the Deposit of Faith. Those who insist that Canon Law forbids us to write in these times must necessarily deny the following:

  • The necessity of apostolicity of doctrine
  • The authority of the popes to define how this doctrine will be perpetuated in the absence of the hierarchy
  • The principles of law regarding moral and physical impossibility as explained by the canonists and moral theologians
  • The right to the necessary just means to accomplish our salvation and defend against unjust assailants.
  • The strict obligation to inform our conscience and follow it according to “the best living authorities and the best traditions” available.
  • In order to diligently form a right conscience, one must be able to ascertain facts, prove guilt in a given case and prove invalidity when validity is questioned.
  • All the circumstances must be considered in each case.
  • One is forbidden to remain silent in the face of a denial of faith, contempt for religion and scandal to the neighbor, particularly when such a wholesale denial is presenting as Catholic and suppresses the knowledge of truth.
  • Silence gives consent. “It is a vice, by keeping quiet, to allow someone unworthy or unfit to be chosen for promotions and honors, or permit someone worthy to lose his dignity, goods or honor… The same can be said if, in meetings of the council, you keep quiet out of ignorance or malice and thus withhold the truth from the other advisers. Likewise, during a court hearing, if you see someone make a fraudulent accusation or be unjustly condemned, you will sin. And if you fail to reprehend the detractors in conversations defaming others by neither excusing nor praising the person defamed, you will sin by remaining silent. Likewise, when you perceive that a word to edify, instruct, exhort or correct someone is necessary, you commit a sin if you withhold that wholesome advice. Hence Isaiah exclaimed: ‘Woe is me, because I have held my peace’ (6:5). The same is said in Ecclesiasticus: ‘And refrain not to speak in the time of salvation’ (4:28)” (Vincent of Beauvais,13th century Dominican theologian, Speculum Majus).
  • The obligation to aid our neighbor in extreme spiritual necessity.
  • The longstanding papal command to supply for the absence of the hierarchy by engaging in Catholic Action and the catechetical apostolate.
  • The duty to defend the Church according to one’s talents and abilities.
  • The duty to avoid the heresy of quietism, which teaches: “…the desire to do anything actively is offensive to God and hence one must abandon oneself entirely to Godand thereafter remain as a lifeless body” (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912).

But what about Can. 21?

Canon 21 reads: “Laws enacted for the purpose of guarding against a common danger bind even though in a particular case there is no danger.” Cicognani states that “…the reason and purpose for which the law was made can change… and it ought to be revoked if it becomes useless, harmful or unreasonable. And if it has not actually been revoked, it is to be reasonably presumed to be revoked.” He then explains when this canon applies to the law. “A law ceases adequately when all its purposes cease, inadequately when only some particular purpose ceases.” Now all the purposes of this law ceased because there is no competent authority to administer the law. Cicognani continues: “The purpose of the law ceases contrariwise when an injurious law becomes either unjust or impossible of observance or negatively when the law becomes useless; universally when the purpose of the law ceases with respect to all subjects… If the purpose of the law ceases adequately and contrariwise for the whole community, the law ceases for the entire community. If it ceases adequately and negatively, in practice we can hold that the law ceases, according to the majority of canonists.”  So either way, despite this cautionary canon, the law has ceased.

The right use of reason

As seen above, the right use of reason must be employed even in determining right and wrong when forming a right conscience. This involves arriving at conclusions and making the proper deductions. To claim we are not allowed to do this regarding the presentation of truths of faith is to actually embrace teachings condemned by the Catholic Church. The first of these were proposed by Nicholas of Autrecourt and condemned by Pope Clement VI: “Through natural appearances, no certainty [can] be had regarding things” (DZ 553). And “From evidence from one matter, another matter cannot be inferred or concluded…” Also condemned are the errors of Traditionalism and Fideism, described in the Catholic Encyclopedia as follows: “[Traditionalism is] a philosophical system which makes TRADITION the supreme criterion and rule of certitude.” Fideism is a bit more complicated but is very similar in its tenets. “Fideism (Lat. fides, faith), [is] a philosophical term meaning a system of philosophy or an attitude of mind, which, denying the power of unaided human reason to reach certitude, affirms that the fundamental act of human knowledge consists in an act of faith, and the supreme criterion of certitude is authority.”

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia article on certitude, “Many truths, indeed, have to be accepted on authority; but then it has to be made evident that such authority is legitimate, is capable of knowing the truth, and is qualified to teach in the particular department in which it is accepted.” As Rev. A.C. Cotter S.J. teaches in his The ABC of Scholastic Philosophy, (p. 284): “Authority clothed with the necessary conditions is true authority. False authority makes the same claims although it lacks these conditions.” Cotter comments that those following self-styled teachers of any philosophic system have the “duty to investigate for themselves. Authority is not the last criterion of truth or motive of certitude.” This duty is precisely what would be violated were the provisions of Can. 1385 followed. The Church has always taught that instruction be tailored to the times and circumstances and the understanding of the learner. If Catholics have no one to help them in this regard, how are they to fulfill their obligations and obey the Roman Pontiffs?

Conclusion

According to the laws of the Church (which are negatively infallible), in a conflict of law, the higher laws of justice and charity, found in the natural law, prevail. The laws of conscience cannot be violated; we cannot and must not embrace error of any kind and we must follow the rules laid out in the Canons for determining when a law ceases to bind. This is following Pope Pius XII’s admonition in his address on the mission of Catholic women not to violate ecclesiastical law. But the highest law, the salvation of souls which is the very reason for the Church’s existence, is supreme. No one is ever required to do the impossible. It has been proven that no authorities in Rome now exist to grant theimprimatur and review works to guarantee them free from error. Yet the obligation to strive for the salvation of souls, defend the faith and assist the neighbor remain.

And this obligation is not, as some have suggested, limited to our family, friends and acquaintances; everyone is to be considered our neighbor. Particularly in this time period when so many are scattered among the heathen in various lands without even any Catholics nearby, as several of our correspondents have communicated, with no way of accessing reliable Catholic resources, this work is necessary. Of course one must restrict any written presentation to those authors already approved by the Church and to the teachings and laws of the Church Herself, particularly Sacred Scripture, the Roman Pontiffs, the Fathers and the Councils. Where explanation is required, approved authors faithful to the magisterium must be used. This is all we have tried to do here, although we are aware that many take issue with what we present. But we cannot ignore the higher law without answering for it to God, and we are bound to obey our conscience if we wish to save our souls.

We end with this from Saint Alphonsus de Liguori’s sermon for the Sunday after the Ascension:

“Such should be your answer to all those satellites of Satan: you must despise all their maxims and reproaches. And when it is necessary to reprove those who make little of God’s law, you must take courage and correct them publicly. Them that sin, reprove before all (1 Timothy 5:20). And when there is question of the divine honor, we should not be frightened by the dignity of the man who offends God; let us say to him openly: This is sinful; it cannot be done. Let us imitate the Baptist, who reproved King Herod for living with his brother’s wife and say to him: It is not lawful for thee to have her (Matthew 14:4). Men indeed shall regard us as fools and turn us into derision; but on the day of judgment, they shall acknowledge that they have been foolish, and we shall have the glory of being numbered among the saints. They shall say: These are they whom we held sometime in derision. … We fools esteemed their life madness, and their end without honor. Behold how they are numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the saints (Wisdom 5:3).”

© Copyright 2022, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)

 

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The Episcopal Body Cannot Constitute Christ’s Church Without Peter

Traditionalists are aiders and abettors of Antichrist and his system: Henry Cardinal Manning

+St. Sylvester, Pope +

As the New Year dawns, we must repeat what we have said all these years, regardless of the heading to this blog. We wish all those who love the Catholic faith and desire only to keep it the full freedom to know and exercise that faith, a freedom we believe Traditionalists do not enjoy today. This owing to the many errors Traditionalist pseudo-clergy have propagated for decades, errors that enslave their followers and obscure the truth. A reader, frustrated with trying to explain these errors, reminded us of Henry Cardinal Manning’s evaluation of the times of Antichrist. Sadly, his explanation fits only too well all of what we see today.

Traditionalists, as a general rule, reject the notion that we are living in the times of Antichrist and that the spiritual destruction wrought in Rome over the past 64 years can be associated with either the person of Antichrist proper or his system. They expect instead a savior on a white horse, be he pope, king or both, to come rushing in to save them and usher in the era of peace promised at La Salette and by Our Lady at Fatima. They do not take into account that both these messages were warnings to which were attached conditions, and that those conditions were not only never met, but both messages were suppressed, perverted and ignored. Just as the Jews in Christ’s time expected a powerful Messiah to come sweep them away and deliver to them earthly power and prosperity, so the Traditionalists expect a restoration of the Church on earth, Her glorious triumph, and a return to all that went before. And yet the prophet Daniel prophesied in Ch. 9, v. 27 that the desolation we see in Rome and abroad “…shall continue even to the consummation, and to the end.” Holy Scripture commentators tell us that this applies to Antichrist proper as well as the Jewish antichrist, Antiochus Epiphanes.

This is precisely what Henry Cardinal Manning anticipates in his Temporal Power of the Vicar of Christ: “We are fond of imagining triumphs and glories for the Church on earth — that the gospel is to be preached to all nations and the world to be converted and all enemies subdued and I know not what — until some ears are impatient of hearing that there is in store for the Church a time of terrible trial. And so we do as the Jews of old who look for a conqueror, a king, and for prosperity; and when their Messias came in humility and passion they did not know Him. So I am afraid many among us intoxicate their minds with the visions of success and victory and cannot endure the thought that there is a time of persecution yet to come for the Church of God. I will therefore point out as briefly as I can what appears in the events now around us to be leading on to this result.” And here he goes on to relate that the first sign he saw in his day (the late 1800s) was indifference to the truth. He then predicted the second sign or mark was persecution of the truth and finally, he concludes, the third sign leads plainly to the persecutions of the last days. These consist of the abomination which maketh desolate standing in the Holy Place, the cessation of the continual sacrifice and the strength and the stars being cast down (pgs.148, 151,157).

Marks of perdition

It apparently has never occurred to Traditionalists that by failing to recognize the truly dire nature of our situation and the depth and breadth of this apostasy of all the hierarchy — which occurred before our very eyes — that they could actually be part of Antichrist’s system on earth. After going to great lengths to explain that St. Paul’s “He who withholdeth” is most likely the pope who will be “taken out of the way,” in order that Antichrist may reign and return Rome to the paganism of pre-Christian times, Manning writes: “Antichrist and the antichristian movement has these marks: first, schism from the Church of God; second, denial of its Divine and infallible voice; and thirdly, denial of the Incarnation.” On pgs. 85-86, Manning describes schism as “revolt from authority… the one and universal Church.” Denial of infallibility he characterizes as “the rejection of the office and presence of the Holy Ghost… This necessarily involves the heretical principle of human opinion as opposed to Divine faith; of the private spirit as opposed to the infallible voice of the Holy Spirit speaking through the Church of God” (p. 166). As for denial of the Incarnation, Manning notes on page 161:

“Rome and the Roman states are the inheritance of the Incarnation. The world is resolved to drive the Incarnation off the earth… This is the true interpretation of the anticatholic movement… The dethronement of the Vicar of Christ is the dethronement of the hierarchy of the universal Church and the public rejection of the Presence and Reign of Jesus…” And on page 91: “If heresy in the individual dissolves the unity of the Incarnation, heresy in the nation dissolves the unity of the Church, which is built on the Incarnation.” So let all of the above sink in very slowly. It has been proven time and again on this website that Traditionalists are in schism, because they accept men as their “pastors” who were not trained and authorized by a certainly valid bishop approved by the Roman Pontiff. These men were never “…rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority,” (Council of Trent, DZ 960, 967; Can. 147) and therefore are hirelings and intruders, as Pope Pius XII and the theologians explain. “The bishop… invested with the episcopal dignity by the clergy or even by a chapter, contrary to the laws of the Church… is an intruder. All who support a priest, bishop, or diocesan administrator who has not lawfully received his mission from the pope, and all who hold intercourse with him in spiritual matters, are, like him whom they support, treated by the Church as schismatics, because by such action they separate themselves from the Church’s unity” (W. Wilmers, S.J., Handbook of the Christian Religion, pgs.112-113, 371).

Secondly, it also has been proven here at length that Traditionalists deny the authority of the Roman Pontiff by accepting the teachings of these “pastors” in direct contradiction to the laws and infallible teachings of the Catholic Church, for every schism eventually leads to heresy, as all theologians agree. And heresy dissolves the Incarnation, as Manning points out above. So then we arrive at Manning’s third point, denial of the Incarnation. This should be something quite obvious to the average Catholic as a logical consequence of Manning’s first two points, but unfortunately it is not. For “rejection of the office and presence of the Holy Ghost” is a denial of the Third person of the Blessed Trinity, and the Trinity is one and undivided; deny one of its Members and you deny all. Christ’s Vicars speak in His name; they are His living voice on earth. Ignore and demean that voice and every bit of the light of sanctifying grace Traditionalists so wrongly prize as issuing from their “sacraments” is extinguished in the soul. Resisting the known truth is not able to be forgiven if one dies in such a state; rather than the Heaven Traditionalists believe they are assured of they will suffer the torments of Hell.

Papal teaching dismissed in favor of human opinion

Note how Manning describes those rejecting the papacy; he speaks of their reliance on human opinion and the “private” spirit” rather than the clear teachings of Christ’s Vicars, and this is precisely what Traditionalists engage in. Everyone assumes a “position” which reduces to nothing more than an opinion, when only one voice speaking in Christ’s name can dictate what that “position” must be. Truly this is a denial of the Incarnation, for Christ, who invested St. Peter with pontifical power, need scarcely have come to suffer and die for us if we could use our human reason to decide these things for ourselves! Those theologians most faithful to the papacy have written at length on the binding nature of papal documents, and those writings have been often quoted on this site (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/1-what-constitutes-the-papacy/judging-their-infallible-nature-and-the-assent-they-are-due/). Those considering themselves Catholics may find it hard to swallow, but they are bound even to accept a pope’s opinion on any given matter in preference to their own, because that opinion issues from the person Christ Himself invested with the power to lead us. As Msgr. J. C. Fenton explains: “There is “no such thing as a teaching issued by the Holy Father in his capacity as the spiritual ruler and teacher of all the followers of Jesus Christ which is other than authoritative.” But don’t tell Traditionalists that.

Rev. Leo Haydock comments on Matt. 16:18-19: “All the apostles and their successors partake also of this power of binding and loosing, but with a due subordination to [the] one head invested with supreme power….Although Peter and his successors are mortal, they are nevertheless endowed with heavenly power, says St. Chrysostom; nor is the sentence of life or death passed by Peter to be attempted to be reversed; but what he declares is to be considered a divine answer from heaven, and what he decrees a decree of God Himself. He that heareth you, heareth me…” And this reverence for the papacy is what we find in nearly every work written by approved theologians up to the 20th century, with few exceptions, (those being mainly the works of authors tending to Modernism).

But reverence for the papacy began to wane considerably in the 1900s and following the false Vatican 2 council, those heading Traditional movements made certain that any remaining respect for papal authority was eradicated. The popes were suspect, to be judged, not to be trusted. After all, look at what had happened and the men that continued to be “elected” to fill what everyone still considers, more or less, to be the “Holy See.” In order to bolster their own authority, Traditional pseudo-clergy first had to make certain it would not be challenged by either true popes past or those presenting as such since 1958. Papal teaching was mentioned only when it served their purposes; no one actually taught that it must be accepted and obeyed. If a papal document was used to challenge their ministry, it was immediately labeled as a disciplinary decree, or not applicable in times of emergency. And thus the Incarnation sank with Peter’s Barque to the bottom of the sea, symbolized by the teeming mass of humanity found in Apocalypse 13:1 from which Antichrist and his system would rise.

Sin and ignorance

How has this scourge of Traditionalism, this rejection of papal authority come to be? Manning tells us: “‘Some of the learned shall fall’ (Dan. 11:35) from their fidelity to God. And how shall this come to pass? Partly by fear, partly by deception, partly by cowardice; partly because they cannot stand for unpopular truth in the face of popular falsehood; partly because the overruling contemptuous public opinion, subdues and frightens Catholics…” (p. 163). And here I must add, partly from spiritual sloth. For so many individuals who are capable of reading and understanding have failed to truly study their faith from trustworthy sources, or have allowed these dratted Traditionalist “clergy” to guide them and interpret the fruits of their studies. In the end, perhaps this can be laid up to fear — fear of discovering the truth and being obligated to finally do something about it. But that they have such an obligation cannot be denied. Canon 1322 reads: “Christ our Lord confided to the Church the deposit of faith in order that She, with the perpetual assistance of the Holy Ghost, might faithfully preserve and expound the revealed doctrine. Independently of any civil power whatsoever, the Church has the right and duty to teach all nations the evangelical doctrine and all are bound by the DIVINE LAW to acquire a proper knowledge of this doctrine and to embrace the true Church of God.”

Two things are at work here: Sin and ignorance and much of the latter can be classified as willful or affected ignorance, which the Church will not readily excuse. The prophet Daniel relates that the Holy Sacrifice will be taken away “because of sins, and truth shall be cast down onto the ground” (Ch. 8:12). We have seen this happen; we should know why it happened. That we don’t is because no one obeys Canon 1322 and the command of the popes to defend the faith by engaging in Catholic Action. Who studies doctrine? Where are the schools erected that Catholics might study their faith in the absence of the clergy? If these Traditional pseudo-clerics really were pastors of the flock, they would have set up commissions to study the laws and teachings of the Church and catechetical classes for adults as well as children, not Mass centers. For the one thing that was lacking was the necessary knowledge of faith, far superior to the comforts of external religion. If Traditionalist clergy were true successors of the Apostles, they would have heeded the words of St. Pius X in Acerbo Nimis concerning the ignorance of the laity:

“Now we must inquire who has the duty to safeguard minds from this pernicious ignorance and impart to them the necessary knowledge. On this point, Venerable Brothers, there can be no doubt this very grave obligation is incumbent on all those who are pastors of souls. They are certainly obliged by the precept of Christ to know and to nourish the sheep confided to them. Now to nourish is first of all to teach. “I will give you,” God promises by the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah, “pastors according to my own heart and they shall feed you with knowledge and doctrine.” And so the apostle said: “Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the gospel,” indicating that thus the first office of those who are set up in any way for the government of the church is to instruct the faithful in sacred doctrine,” (and this is labeled in the Monks of Solesmes Papal Teaching book as a doctrinal teaching, binding on the faithful). Pope St. Pius X then goes on to describe the plight of the faithful in his day as follows:

“It is a common complaint, unfortunately too well founded, that there are large numbers of Christians in our own time who are entirely ignorant of those truths necessary for salvation. And when we mention Christians, We refer not only to the masses or to those in the lower walks of life – for these find some excuse for their ignorance in the fact that the demands of their harsh employers hardly leave them time to take care of themselves or of their dear ones – but We refer to those especially who do not lack culture or talents and, indeed, are possessed of abundant knowledge regarding things of the world but live rashly and imprudently with regard to religion. It is hard to find words to describe how profound is the darkness in which they are engulfed and, what is most deplorable of all, how tranquilly they repose there. They rarely give thought to God, the Supreme Author and Ruler of all things, or to the teachings of the faith of Christ. They know nothing of the Incarnation of the Word of God, nothing of the perfect restoration of the human race which He accomplished.

“….They have no conception of the malice and baseness of sin; hence they show no anxiety to avoid sin or to renounce it. And so they arrive at life’s end in such a condition that, lest all hope of salvation be lost, the priest is obliged to give in the last few moments of life a summary teaching of religion, a time which should be devoted to stimulating the soul to greater love for God. And even this as too often happens only when the dying man is not so sinfully ignorant as to look upon the ministration of the priest as useless, and then calmly faces the fearful passage to eternity without making his peace with God. And so Our Predecessor, Benedict XIV, had just cause to write: “We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect.”

And this is where those following the false shepherds of Traditionalism find themselves today.

Impugning the Deposit of Faith

The divine Deposit was given to the Church by Christ and His Apostles to safeguard inviolate. Rev. Peter Finlay S.J.,professor at the National University of Ireland, explains the Deposit in his 1917 work Divine Faith: “God from the beginning, has made revelations to mankind… And this whole body of revelation is spoken of as the Deposit of Faith… All the truths contained in it are to be accepted and believed by members of the Church… (p. 1-2). Every truth set forth distinctly, in Holy Scripture, every article of the Catholic Creeds, every solemn, dogmatic definition of a pope or a General Council, is included in the Deposit of Faith (p. 51).” Embracing the truths of both Scripture and Tradition as well as the dogmas of faith, Christian morals, the Sacraments and the hierarchical constitution of the Church (Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology, Revs. Pietro Parente, Antonio Piolanti and Salvatore Garofalo, 1951), this term is explained by the Vatican Council as follows: “And the doctrine of faith which God revealed is proposed not as a mere philosophical discovery to be elaborated by human minds but as the divine Deposit delivered by Christ to His spouse to be by Her faithfully guarded and infallibly declared” (Sess. 3, Ch. 4).”

In explaining the docility with which papal teaching is to be received by the faithful, the Monks of Solesmes, in their work Papal Teachings: The Church (1962) write: “Even when the question does not concern a revealed truth that has its object some truth of the natural order, this docility will make him prefer out of deference the teaching of the master who speaks in the name of God to opinions which are purely human. Finally, this docility will subject him to the guidance of the Church for the work of clarification which is the ordinary line of progress and doctrinal development. For the magisterium of the church is not simply, like Scripture and Tradition a locus theologicus or theological source where is to be found the Deposit of revealed truth; it is a living teacher charged with safeguarding this Deposit, with revealing it and interpreting it as the needs and the crises of each epoch demand.”

But docility is not found in the Traditionalists’ vocabulary, unless it is the slavish “obedience” so many feel they owe these pseudo-clerics. And this even though such obedience is rarely related in any way to the binding teachings of the Deposit of Faith. Who today is guarding and declaring this Deposit which can never perish from the face of the earth? As Parente et al. explain in their work, “The Deposit of Faith has come from God and is entrusted to those to whom a special assistance of the Holy Ghost is assured (2 Tim. 1:14), i.e., to those who succeed the Apostles in their magisterium and in their ministry. Christ has transmitted the deposit whose content cannot be subjected to alterations.” But this cannot apply to Traditionalists, who possess not one iota of apostolicity. And is it not an alteration of the hierarchical structure of the Church to defy this Deposit by pretending the Church can exist outside that hierarchical structure minus Her Supreme Head?! So once again, as Cardinal Manning demonstrates, the Incarnation is denied in denying and demeaning the Deposit. Who are these charlatans who have done this? They are nothing more than confirmed Modernists, whose attitude toward dogma Parente describes as follows in his Dictionary… under dogma:

“The Modernists, having reduced dogma to a symbolic expression of religious sentiment in continual development (see symbolism), or to a practical rule or norm of religious consciousness (see pragmatism) have admitted an intrinsic evolution of dogma which must correspond to the indefinite phases of that sentiment and of that consciousness. These errors were condemned by Pope St Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis and Lamentabili (DZ 2022, 2026 and 2079). According to Catholic doctrine, a dogma cannot undergo intrinsic and substantial changes; [but] there is an evolution… on the part of the faithful as to understanding and expressing a dogma.” Please explain how what Traditionalists teach regarding their now headless Church, and their authority to act as ministers of that Church, (which they cannot and do not possess), is not exactly what is described above? For pragmatism is the heresy of action based not on belief and religious conviction, but on human opinion. Traditionalists tell their followers they have a “duty” under Divine law to administer the Sacraments, and are acting in their best interests. But this is merely an opinion on their part, condemned by the Church  numerous times during the course of Her history. This we have demonstrated repeatedly here.

Symbolism, Parente explains, “…depreciates and eliminates the entire doctrine of faith determined by the Church in its dogmatic formulas… Every dogma expresses primarily a truth to be believed and, as a consequence, a rule of action.” In other words, dogma does not bind the Modernist; it is only a guideline they are free to interpret and/or disregard. Exterior acts that can be seen and are visible to satisfy the senses alone are the expression of faith and this also was condemned by Pope St. Pius X in his Pascendi: “For them the Sacraments are a resultant of a double need, for as we have seen: everything in their system is explained by impulses and necessities. The first need is that of giving some manifestation to religion; the second is that of propagating it, which could not be done without some sensible form and consecrating acts, and these are called Sacraments.”

Here Pope St. Pius X has just described how Modernists set up a false church to honor their beliefs. They first ignore dogma and Canon Law, since necessity knows no law; the obligation to be validly trained, ordained and consecrated, since acting like bishops and priests is more important than actually being validly ordained or consecrated. This is a perversion of St. Thomas Aquinas’ principle that in order to act, one first must “be” (the intellect must first determine by reasoned consideration that such an action is good and is not prohibited by the natural, divine or positive law; this also refutes the error of pragmatism). These men next appeal to the needs of followers asking for their services by providing what appears to be the Sacraments. They also foster and encourage their followers’ impulses to champion the Mass and fight to keep it available and to accept the heresy that bishops can constitute Christ’s Church on earth without being in communion with the Roman Pontiff. Anything rather than adhere to and defend the Deposit of Faith and its guardian, the Roman Pontiff, which would mean separating themselves from Traditionalism.

Traditionalists went to wage a war and fought on the wrong side. Had these men been real priests they would have been careful to educate them regarding the Church’s true status quo, not rush to provide Mass and Sacraments. They especially should have advised them of their precarious position regarding jurisdiction, which expired shortly after the death of Pope Pius XII. Canon 200 clearly states that anyone claiming to possess jurisdiction has the burden of proving it. Catholics exiting Vatican 2 had no understanding of Canon Law, and to be honest, even priests ordained in the 1940s-1950s were woefully ignorant both of Canon law and the true nature of infallibility. But Traditionalists are not interested in Canon Law or magisterial teaching because they are not Catholic.

He who hears you hears Me

Christ’s words as the author of the Divine Deposit and the Man of Sorrows who opposeth those antichrists standing in the temple of God, showing themselves as if they were God, are sufficient for us. The gods Traditionalists worship now standing in the place of Christ’s vicar, whether it be the false pope Francis or the numerous Traditionalist mini-popes, usurp the place of Christ. They are the abomination standing in what should be the holy place, for the Catholic Encyclopedia (Vol. 1) reports that this term can be taken in a concrete form as well, “…referring to a person, a ‘ravager,’ or even as a participal noun, (he) ‘that maketh desolate.’” Both the Old and New Testament treat of this great dishonor to God, applying the word abomination to several different types of serious sin. Proud, deceitful men; wicked shepherds, liars, detractors, idolaters; and those engaging in forbidden sexual relations are referred to as abominations. Especially intended as abominable in the Scripture texts is any unclean or unworthy sacrifice, or an acceptable sacrifice offered before idols. And Traditionalist pseudo-clergy have all the above. They have set up in the name of the true Church the very evil those following them thought they were escaping in exiting the Novus Ordo.

It should be remembered, as another reader reminded me recently, that Moses, who led his people into the desert from captivity, was long delayed while receiving the Ten Commandments. His people thought he would not return. They became bored and wanted to worship something, anything really. So gathering against Aaron, selected for the priesthood by God, they prevailed upon him to fashion the golden calf for them. When Moses returned with the Ten Commandments, he found them paying tribute to the calf, dancing and carrying on, and he ground it to powder. He then summoned all those who wished to remain faithful to God and ordered them to slay the others, some 23,000.

Some believe Aaron only meant for the people to worship the calf as a symbol of God, but that did not satisfy Moses, or God for that matter. Moses had to plead with God to spare even the few who remained (Exodus 32: 7-35). How similar this is to Traditionalists who, after leaving the Novus Ordo, first prevailed upon (then validly ordained) priests to offer the Mass for them when they had no power or permission to do so, simply to satisfy their perceived needs. The bread and priestly idols sacrilegiously worshipped in these so-called masses were no different than the adoration of the golden calf in Moses’ time. And sadly the fate of those who refuse to educate themselves in matters of faith will be no different than that of the Chosen People before them.

That the precious body of the Deposit should be cast aside by those calling themselves Catholics and bread idols and pseudo-priests worshipped in its stead is a sacrilege. It is a denial of the Incarnation, a denial of Christ’s establishment on earth of a hierarchical Church, a denial of all He came to earth to suffer and die for. Traditionalists are not just members of a false church — they are deniers of the very Christ they believe they receive from the hands of their antichrists. The words of the Apocalypse call out to them, the angels of the Lord entreating them in pathetic tones, crying: “Fear the Lord and give Him honor, because the hour of His judgment has come” (Ch. 14:7). “Go out from [Babylon] my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and the Lord hath remembered her iniquities” (Ch. 18: 4-5).

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Mary ChristMass and a Blessed New Year

Mary ChristMass and a Blessed New Year

+ChristMass Eve+

The following is a true story from my Catholic grade school days. Three grades in one room adjacent to a tiny clapboard church served our rural parish very well. A better education could not have been hoped for from the Sisters of St. Joseph and their helpers. A version of this story first appeared in a Traditional publication in December 1979.

Thank you to everyone who has supported this site and for all the much- appreciated donations. You are always in my prayers. Every penny is used for site and computer maintenance.

Wishing you all a peaceful and blessed ChristMass and a holy New Year.

 A ChristMass Story

 Only children can endow the celebration of Our Lord’s birth with the spirit of wonder and awe that the shepherds must have experienced when they first viewed the star and followed it to the stable. But since the advent of television, the Internet and cell phones Christmas has become less a religious feast day and more and more akin to the Druid holiday of Solstice it was intended to replace. This was true when I was a child, and one Christmas especially comes to mind . . .

I must have been eight or nine that year, old enough to have discarded my notions of how toys made it to our house on Christmas morning, yet still young enough to be hypnotized by the glamour and the glitter of it all. Construction paper chains hung in the hall, aluminum foil stars twinkled from the tops of evergreen and pine trees in each classroom, and Nativity artwork hung everywhere. My best friend Mary Lee and I exchanged snowflake cutouts when Sister wasn’t looking. Mary Lee’s Christmas list was very short and to the point. Coming from a large farm family, she took a realistic point of view, gearing her expectations to the meager family budget. I was sorry for her, but happy for me. My parents weren’t rich, in fact it was a struggle for them just to make ends meet. But somehow, quite magically, our Christmases were always bountiful, even though I had four brothers and sisters. But that year Mary Lee was more excited about giving than getting.

Shortly after Thanksgiving Father Hogan announced that that there would be a special contest held for grades three through eight. We would each try to build a Nativity scene, with no help from our parents, and using materials available in the home whenever possible. It had been three weeks since Father had announced the contest, and Mary Lee gave daily reports on the nightly after chores progress made on the stable construction by an older brother and sister from the upper grades and herself. The prize was a lovely statue of Our Lady, and Mary Lee had her heart set on winning it for her mother. I had similar designs on that statue, and I was determined that my manger scene would be the finest entry of all.

I had seen some brightly-colored plastic statues in the town department store, and I knew that if I could just buy them somehow, my nativity scene would look almost as professional as the ones in the mail order catalogue Mother kept hidden on the closet shelf. So I managed to talk my parents into an advance on my Christmas money, and away I flew to the department store. Besides the Holy Family, I needed animals for the stable, at least two shepherds, and an angel for the rooftop. Once the statues were bought, I needed to concentrate on building the stable itself. After a few clumsy attempts with a hammer and some masonite, my father suggested I use glue and masking tape rather than nails.

It worked like a charm, and in no time at all the little building was ready for its occupants. With the statues glued in place, and my angel with glad tidings pinned securely to the roof, I made a quick trip across the street to a vacant lot for the finishing touch. When all the work was completed, I viewed the finished product. I was excited. It did look like the catalogue pictures; the hay stubble from the vacant lot that I had strewn on the stable floor and the roof had lent just the right look to it all. I carried it proudly to school the next day, and Sister placed it in the empty storeroom next door to pass the time, unseen, until all the entries could be judged. But before Sister had wrested it from my grimy little hands, I had quickly shown it to Mary Lee. She dutifully admired it and wished me luck, but I couldn’t help notice her crestfallen look.

The last week of school before Christmas vacation seemed like months to me. But finally all the carols were sung, all the Christmas cookies eaten, and the class gift exchange accomplished. Carefully tucking gilt-edged holy cards from Sister into our prayer books, the last day finally came to a close, and with shouts of “Merry Christmas” we made our separate ways home. I wore my best dress that night, and my party shoes. My parents had to repeatedly remind me to calm down, but finally dinner was over and our family in the car and on its way to what I felt certain would be a victory celebration.

I fidgeted during the upper grades play, and all through the carols sung by the first and second graders. I couldn’t even bring myself to eat any of the refreshments served afterwards. My eyes were riveted to Father who was slowly making his way through the throng bestowing Christmas blessings. At long last, I spotted him making his way to the stage. He instructed parents and children to follow him to the school where he would judge the nativity scene contest. I walked to the small school with my parents, my heart pounding. The little storeroom was tidy, and resplendent with decorations placed carefully around each contest entry.

Father solemnly examined each one, murmuring compliments from time to time. Finally he picked up a manger scene and presented it to the crowd. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Father had chosen the least attractive entry of all. The stable was made from plain gray cardboard, the figures from homemade clay. Remnants of material served for clothes, and excelsior was spread patchily over the whole affair. Suddenly I saw Mary Lee’s family speaking to Father. Their faces shone as Father congratulated them. Resentment roiled up in me for Mary Lee. Father stepped forward and motioned to the crowd for silence.

“I have chosen this entry,” he began, “because to me it best illustrates the spirit of Christmas. Our Lord was born in mean and humble circumstances. His parents were not well dressed; they wore simple quiet-colored clothing. Their Child was swaddled in coarse linen, bedded in rough straw. Lowly shepherds, clothed in animal skins came to worship Him. To rightly celebrate His birth, I believe Our Lord would have us cast off the outer man and rejoice in His birth from our hearts. Our bodies can be swathed in the latest and gayest of fashions, while our souls lie in rags. May God bless you this Christmas and always.”

I was ashamed. The pleasing colors of the plastic statues had attracted me. Their shining perfection had helped me to forget that the state of a man’s soul and what is in his heart; the honest work from his own hands and not the fit of his clothes are the things that commend him to God. I had bought the statues, not formed them by hand as Mary Lee had helped to do. I had sought the smooth masonite for my stable, forgetting that the first stable had not been polished and comely, but only a crude shelter for animals. I remembered hearing how the Chosen People had expected a Messiah of noble birth, a bejeweled king come to deliver them from their Roman oppressors. And it was then that I realized I had forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.

I looked around to see Mary Lee standing shyly by my side. “I’m sorry I won and you didn’t,” she whispered. Sympathy shone in her eyes. Impulsively, I hugged her. “I’m just glad you won,” I told her. And I really meant it.

 

 

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The Episcopal Body Cannot Constitute Christ’s Church Without Peter

The “human law” trap laid by Traditionalists to ensnare the unwary

+Fourth Sunday in Advent+

In the previous blog, we discussed the inability of Lefebvre, Thuc, Mendez, de Castro-Mayer and others to validly tonsure subjects owing to a lack of jurisdiction. Despite this very clear demonstration, which removes all other arguments such as supplied jurisdiction, common error, a colored title, necessity and epikeia, we are continually referred to dated and even incomplete articles by sedevacantists and others claiming validity for their ordinations and consecrations performed without the papal mandate. If these men were really Catholic clergy, they would present arguments from the continual magisterium, not the opinions of theologians, historical summaries and their own worthless opinions. The Church approves only the use of scholastic argument in presenting Her truths, and this they avoid at all costs, in true Modernist fashion. How dare I call these pretenders Modernists? I don’t; Pope St. Pius X does: “Certain it is that the passion for novelty is always united in them with hatred of scholasticism, and there is no surer sign that a man is tending to Modernism than when he begins to show his dislike for the scholastic method” (Pascendi Dominici Gregis, 1908).

These dishonest men do not and will not address the issue at hand and refute it with arguments taken from the canons and Church teaching because they cannot. If a man is not a cleric, he cannot become a priest; and if he is not a priest, then Divine law forbids him to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice and administer the Sacraments, period (Can. 802). In response to the massive smokescreen erected by deceitful Traditionalist pseudo-clergy on this subject and the absolute refusal of those following them to see the truth, despite the clear teachings of the Church and the percepts of Canon Law, we are obligated to reiterate the following.

The facts about Epikeia

St. Thomas Aquinas tells us: “It is evident that epikeia is a virtue, [however]epikeia does not set aside that which is just in itself, but that which is just as by law establishedIt must be noted, that if observance of the law according to the letter does not involve any sudden risk needing immediate remedy, it is not competent for everyone to expound what is useful and what is not usefulThose alone can do this who are in authority and who, on account of such like cases, have the power to dispense from the laws. If however, the peril be so sudden as not to allow of the delay involved by referring the matter to authority, the mere necessity brings with it a dispensation, since necessity knows no law…[But] if it be a matter of doubt, HE MUST ACT ACCORDING TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW, or consult those in power,” (Summa Theologica Pt. II-II, Q. 120, Art. 1; Pt. I-II, Q. 96, Art. 6). And since there is no one to consult, how dare they act outside the letter of the law!

The canonists Abp. Amleto Cicoganni, Revs. Bouscaren-Ellis and Woywod-Smith, Rev. Francis Miaskiewicz, Rev. Raymond Kearney and the moral theologians McHugh and Callan with Rev. H. J. Davis — all these approved authors, following St. Thomas above, warn of the great caution that must be used in applying epikeia, and the many dangers of abuse in attempting this application. So why is no one quoting them? Note the reference by St. Thomas to doubt, and when it arises, the need to act according to the letter of the law. This is not Pharisaical, a horror these cretins have carefully instilled in their ignorant followers. It is rather adherence to scholastic truth and the author thereof. Likewise, they ignore Thomistic teaching regarding the fact that only those in authority can determine what is useful and what is not, i.e., they would need a decision from a valid and licit ordinary, the Sacred Congregations or the Roman Pontiff. Note the use of the words “those alone.” These pseudo-clerics have no powers, no authority and no right to act as valid clerics and lawful pastors, which they are not.

This is further illustrated in Father Lawrence Joseph Riley’s canon law dissertation The History, Nature, and Use of Epikeia in Moral Theology, 1948, (Catholic University of America Press, Inc.  Imprimatur: + Richardus Jacobus Cushing.  D.D., 7 May, 1948). Rev. Riley observes on pages 344, 347, 387: “At most, epikeia can excuse the individual from the precept, but it can never confer the capacity to act. Epikeia cannot bestow upon him the power which he does not now possess, nor can epikeia restore the power which the law has withdrawn. For such bestowal or restoration of power, a positive act is required… In short, it may be concluded that in regard to matters which touch the essence of the Sacraments, the use of epikeia is always excluded…”

Human law and epikeia

As shown above, it DOES NOT make “perfect sense” to “choose” to obey a human law over a Divine precept in an ongoing (not short-term, as St. Thomas Aquinas anticipated) “emergency,” when someone not even certainly a cleric, far less a priest or bishop, determines that it is somehow detrimental to the Divine Law. It violates instead every rule governing common sense. You keep repeating the mantra “The strict letter of the (human) law does not apply in our situation,” without having the slightest idea of the laws that are being violated or whether or not they are of human or Divine origin. These men are deceivers who are using you to pump up their egos and fund their very comfortable existence. Like the Hare Krishnas and Moonies of yesteryear, Traditionalists faithfully mouth all that they are told and cling to their keepers as the perceived guarantors of the supposed graces they need to reach Heaven; this even though it means stepping over the body of the Divine Deposit of Faith and the Roman Pontiffs who safeguarded it for over 1900 years.

In his Canon Law, 1935 edition, Abp. Amleto Cicognani, a one-time professor of Canon Law at the Pontifical Institute in Rome, provides a few examples of Canons which are dogmatic or doctrinal in character, reminding his readers that all the canons of the Code are “based on doctrine that is immutable and eternal,” reflecting the fact that Canon Law itself is negatively infallible. These canons cannot be considered mere “human law,” as their very wording attests. And they apply to the very issues that we have been addressing over the past several months. Cicognani notes that in the opening pages of the Code appears the Profession of Faith, and all those engaging in an official teaching or governing capacity in the Church are bound to make this profession along with the Oath against Modernism:

“’All power is from God and he that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God.’ (Rom. 13:7). Truly the force of any legislation is to be sought in a higher sphere than that of human power, namely God. If this is to be maintained of any legislation a fortiori, it is true of the Code: for the Code treats of the Church’s hierarchy, of the Sacraments, of divine worship of ecclesiastical discipline and the like; accordingly, the formula which sets forth the changeless constitution of the ecclesiastical society for these is to be considered its firm base [and here he is talking about the profession of faith]. Since moreover in the Catholic Church faith is of all things the beginning and the foundation, the ecclesia doscens as well as the ecclesia discens should begin by faith, continue by faith and do all by faith. By faith first of all do we please God and discipline must rest on faith. They who hold the office of instructing others are especially bound to believe explicitly the truths of faith and their faith must be firm and enlightened since theirs it is to direct themselves and others to the paths of justice” (pgs. 429-431).

First and foremost among the canons on Cicognani’s list is Canon 1322, (all canons below are quoted from A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law by Stanislas Woywod and Callistus Smith):

“Christ our Lord confided to the Church the deposit of faith in order that she, with the perpetual assistance of the Holy Ghost, might faithfully preserve and expound the revealed doctrine. Independently of any civil power whatsoever, the Church has the right and duty to teach all nations the evangelical doctrine and all are bound by the divine law to acquire a proper knowledge of this doctrine and to embrace the true Church of God.”

So, this canon tells us that the divine law binds us to “acquire a proper knowledge of this doctrine and to embrace the true Church of God.” Divine law commands it, but who is obeying this law? What Traditional sect makes the slightest effort to educate the faithful concerning the truths they must know to save their souls, including that very specific truth to obey the Roman Pontiffs (Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam). Those following these supposed clerics will excuse them for handing them stones rather than bread?! We are to acquire a PROPER knowledge of the faith, not just a vague opinion presented by someone not even certainly a cleric, quoting theologians not even named or known to be approved, who wrote prior to the Codification of Canon Law and the pontificates of the last four popes of the 20thcentury. The specific article we mention here, posted to the CMRI website on consecrations without the papal mandate, was never even completed and has remained incomplete for years. It pretends to interpret and attenuate Canon 329 on the basis of texts written centuries ago, when Canon 329, included in Cicognani’s list, is clearly dogmatic.

Canon 329:

“The bishops are the successors of the apostles and are placed by divine institution over the individual churches which they govern with ordinary power under the authority of the Roman Pontiff. They are freely appointed by the Pope…”

Woywod-Smith comment on this Canon: “In this Canon the Church repeats the dogmatic teaching on the nature of the office of bishops. They are the successors of the apostles and as the latter had St. Peter as their head, so have the bishops the Roman Pontiff, the successor of St. Peter, as their head. Thus there is perfect unity of government. There is but one supreme head, the Roman Pontiff, who appoints the bishops to the various places, for to St. Peter and his successors was committed the care of the whole Church. The power, however, which the bishops exercise they have in virtue of their office which was instituted by Christ Himself. The extent of the power which the bishops possess was not defined by Christ; it is left to the supreme head of the Church to determine the government of the Church.”

Does this sound like a description of any Traditional pseudo-bishops pontificating today? Do they possess churches assigned to them by the Roman Pontiff? Have they been assigned an office by the Roman Pontiff? Are they subject to the authority of the Roman Pontiff? No to all of these, and therefore they are in direct violation of the DIVINE LAW!  So for those who are saying, “Papal mandate is not a divine law; it’s not dogma, it’s a disciplinary law,” start believing what your CHURCH teaches and has ALWAYS taught and not what these shysters are peddling to keep you in the closet with your fellow mushrooms. This Canon lists as its sources the Council of Trent, the Vatican Council, Pope Pius VI’s Auctorem Fidei, Leo XIII’s Satis Cognitum and Pope St. Pius X’s Lamentabili, to name only a few.This, then, is not a human law but one described by The Catholic Encyclopedia as follows:

“…A distinction is made between Divine and human laws according as they are issued directly by God Himself or by men in virtue of the power granted them by God. If man in issuing a law is simply the herald or messenger of God, the law is not human but Divine. Thus the laws which Moses received from God on Mount Sinai and proclaimed to the people of Israel were not human but Divine laws” (see the article on the law). The popes describe themselves as Christ on earth; Christ gave them all power to bind and loose. If anyone in the Traditionalist camp truly believes they can accept the explanation of the above law as a human law and thus deny the teachings of two ecumenical councils and several popes, they were never Catholic in the first place, only members of a non-Catholic sect.

Canon 22 teaches: “A more recent law given by competent authority abrogates a former law if it expressly orders abrogation or if it is directly contrary to the former law.” The laws and circumstances Traditionalists cite in support of violating the laws governing the papal mandate were long ago superseded by subsequent papal teaching. Cicognani comments: “Revocation is tacit when a new law is issued directly contrary to the former law, or when a new law takes up and readjusts the entire subject matter of the former law. The laws Traditionalists so desperately attempt to escape are those that have been tacitly revoked, such as the one regarding the consecration of bishops. As Revs. Pohle-Preuss write in The Sacraments, Vol. IV: “It matters not what the private opinions of…theologians [are]. It is not the private opinions of theologians but the official decisions of the Church by which we must be guided.” For those claiming there are precedents in church history of consecrations performed without papal mandate during an interregnum, and this because they are only disciplinary laws, we have this quote from Pope Pius XII’s Ad Apostolorum Principis, entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis and therefore, as Pope Pius XII’s Humani Generis teaches, it is binding on all Catholics:

“We are aware that those who belittle obedience in order to justify themselves with regard to those functions which they have unrighteously assumed defend their position by recalling a usage which prevailed in ages past. Yet everyone sees that all ecclesiastical discipline is overthrown if it is in any way lawful for one to restore arrangements which are no longer valid because the supreme authority of the Church long ago decreed otherwise. In no sense do they excuse their way of acting by appealing to another custom, and they indisputably prove that they follow this line deliberately in order to escape from the discipline which now prevails and which they ought to be obeyingThe faithful are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience not only in matters which pertain to faith and morals, BUT ALSO IN THOSE WHICH CONCERN THE DISCIPLINE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH.”

This excerpt from Pope Pius XII’s constitution does not apply just to China, but the the entire universal Church; otherwise it would not be binding on all Catholics. That its application is limited is merely a pretext these Traditionalist devils use to do precisely what Pope Pius XII is describing above. it was already condemned by Pope Pius IX in Quartus Supra in 1873:

Nor can the Eastern Churches preserve communion and unity of faith with Us without being subject to the Apostolic power in matters of discipline. Now such teaching is not only heretical after the definitions and declarations of the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican on the nature and reasons for the primacy of the Sovereign Pontiff, but it has always been considered to be such and has been abhorred by the Catholic Church. It is for this reason that the bishops of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, openly declared the supreme authority of the Apostolic See in their proceedings; then they humbly requested Our predecessor, St. Leo, to sanction and confirm their decrees, even those which concerned discipline.”

And in this same pope’s Quae in patriarchatu, September 1, 1876 we read:

“In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema,” (to the clergy and faithful of the Chaldean Rite).

And then we also have this from Pope Pius XII:

Clearly no sincere Catholic can refuse to accept the formulation of Christian doctrine more recently elaborated and proclaimed as DOGMAS by the Church, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit with abundant fruit for souls, because it pleases him to hark back to the old formulas. NO MORE CAN ANY CATHOLIC IN HIS RIGHT SENSES REPUDIATE EXISTING LEGISLATION OF THE CHURCH TO REVERT TO PRESCRIPTIONS BASED ON THE EARLIEST SOURCES OF CANON LAW(Mediator Dei, Nov. 9, 1947; also entered into the Acta Apostolicae Sedis and therefore blinding).

And lo and behold, we find this same teaching on discipline and human authority expressed in one of the canons listed as dogmatic by Abp. Cicognani:

Canon 218:

“As the successor to the primacy of St. Peter, the Roman Pontiff has not only the primacy of honor but also supreme and full power of jurisdiction over the universal Church in matters of faith and morals as well as in those pertaining to the discipline and government of the Church throughout the whole world. This power is episcopal, ordinary and immediate and extends over each and every church and over each and every pastor as well as over the faithful and is independent of all human authority.”

This is taken directly from the Vatican Council. The Pope is supreme in jurisdiction in matters concerning the discipline and government of the Church. If we fail to believe the ecumenical councils and their thundering anathemas; if we refuse obedience to the Roman Pontiffs necessary to our salvation to believe the hirelings entered in by the door, who have no claim to our allegiance, how can we save our souls? They lie when they say they exist to assure the salus animarum, suprema lex — the supreme law; the eternal salvation of those who follow them, for they refuse to obey the popes and demand obedience to them. Those woefully ignorant of their own faith in violation of Divine law not only have the duty to rightly inform themselves, the have the obligation to eject these imposters from their midst for the sake of their own souls and the souls of these pseudo-clerics as well. This in accordance with Canons 2259, 2294 and other canons.

Epikeia again

Can they invoke epikeia in light of the above as they so basely claim? Rev. Lawrence Joseph Riley, quoted above on epikeia, writes in his dissertation: “The Church as it was constituted by Christ (Pope, bishops, priests) “was established forever as a hierarchico-monarchical society… to remain unchanged until the end of time… Nowhere in revelation is there any evidence of any intention to permit exceptions to — or changes in — this constitution in future history by the use of epikeia or on any other basis. Men are free of course to found other churches, differing in constitution and nature… but such churches are not Christ’s… To maintain that Christ had some intention for the future, contrary to that made manifest in the actual establishment of His Church, is a refusal to believe in the efficacy of the divine promise that Christ would be with the Church unto the consummation of the world; it is a denial of the [four marks] and indefectibility of this divinely established institution” (p. 330-31).

And that Traditionalists have definitely founded their own Church outside the one, true Church of Christ cannot be denied. So if there are those who still believe that they are not committing HERESY by denying that they must obey papal disciplinary laws, or that epikeia can excuse them from obedience to the binding decrees of the Roman Pontiff, given the above, they had better think again.

 I am sure there are those who will accuse me of acting as Scrooge and destroying the ChristMass spirit by posting this blog. Let them think what they will. But whatever they may think, let them also remember that Truth was born on ChristMass Day, and as we kneel at the manger offering our gifts we lie to Jesus and to ourselves if we pretend to adore Him while honoring and “obeying” those who do not and could never speak in His name. Truth is one, error is many and it can be found only by the same arduous journey the Wise Men undertook to bring their gifts to Him. This ChristMass, promise our Lord you will make that journey. That is all I ask; truth is the only gift worth giving. It is my gift to you, if you have ears to hear and love Christ Himself enough to seek it.

 

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The Episcopal Body Cannot Constitute Christ’s Church Without Peter

Why Traditionalist “Clerics” Never Received Valid Orders

+Feast of the Immaculate Conception+

This topic has been addressed before, but recent comments by an inquirer required a more detailed examination of the available proofs. What is presented here constitutes the most damning and convincing case yet for the invalidity of ALL Traditionalists claiming to possess orders. It should cause even the most blasé members of that sect to reconsider their current position and contentions, daily placing them in danger of eternal damnation.

Supplied jurisdiction, for all intents and purposes has ceased to be an issue regarding the so-called administration of the Sacraments by Traditionalists. This is true because it has been proven from papal documents and the works of approved theologians that the suppletory source no longer exists. Only a canonically elected pope possesses the power to supply jurisdiction because he is the supreme holder of jurisdiction and has always been the only source of the supplying power in the past, (Pope Pius XII was the last of these popes). Once it was made clear that no one can supply jurisdiction during an interregnum, and Pope Pius XII’s infallible constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis(https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/VASannot.pdf) leaves no room for doubt, all the claims to possess such jurisdiction became groundless. The task left to those who wish to puzzle out the full consequences of the jurisdiction muddle is to determine what acts trace back to jurisdiction and who possessed it following the election of Angelo Roncalli. The easiest way to do this is to study the conferral of Orders, because bishops cannot validly function unless they receive their jurisdiction (an office, confirmed and conferred by papal mandate) from a canonically elected pope. They cannot delegate jurisdiction unless they have received this mandate. Ordinary jurisdiction comes with the office and if there is no office there is no jurisdiction.

A layman presenting as a priest for many years (now deceased) must have realized that supplied jurisdiction couldn’t cover Traditional operations. For he wrote over a decade ago that Christ Himself delegates jurisdiction to priests. This article is still posted on CMRI websites to justify their claims to jurisdiction. Ironically, this is a tacit admission that the bishop(s) ordaining these priests did not have it to delegate to them in the first place. And it is a patent lie, held by Protestant clerics during the Reformation and condemned by the Council of Trent. This same pseudo-cleric was so desperate to refute the jurisdictional arguments on this site that he even resorted to falsifying Council of Trent documents as proven in an earlier blog posted last year (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/traditionalist-mistranslates-council-of-trent-to-condemn-home-alone/; also, https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/false-sedevacantist-bishop-claims-refuted/). Pope Pius XII infallibly settled the Scriptural and doctrinal question that only the pope can delegate power to bishops and approve them, (see Mystici Corporis Christi and Ad Sinarum Gentum). As has been explained many times before, only those heretics known as  Gallicanists and their successors, the Old Catholics, held that bishops are equal to the pope, rejecting papal supremacy as defined at the Vatican Council, called specifically to crush the Gallicanist heresy once and for all.

Traditionalist “clerics” are not the pope; they have no power whatsoever and no authority to make decisions regarding the teachings of Holy Scripture (divine law), the popes, the councils and Canon Law. Such power resides only in the Roman Pontiff and the Sacred Congregations. The Church and Her doctrines will last as Christ constituted them until the consummation, but all must stand firm in the belief that this Church was founded on St. Peter the Rock who alone has the power to infallibly teach and define. This means that all Catholics must adhere to the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs as they are contained in the Deposit of Faith, and taught by the Continual Magisterium, for the Church to exist until the very end. Because there is no Pope, the only way that there can be any continuation of the papacy is for Catholics to strictly follow everything that was taught from Peter to Pius XII. One of these many teachings is the nature and the definition of an office and how it is conveyed. For without an office in the Church, no one can even be considered a cleric.

St. Thomas Aquinas’ teaching on tonsure

The Church possesses jurisdiction “by Divine institution,” according to Can. 196. Ordinaries and other bishops are responsible not only for delegating jurisdiction to priests but also for selecting candidates for the priesthood and conferring first tonsure, thereby designating them as clerics. “Those who have been assigned to the divine ministry at least by the first tonsure are called clerics,” (Can. 108). Can. 118: “Only clerics can obtain the power of either orders or ecclesiastical jurisdiction…” And following it, Can. 147: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical provision. Canonical provision means the grant of an ecclesiastical office by competent ecclesiastical authority, made according to the sacred canons,” (Can. 147). St. Thomas Aquinas indicates below that the nature of first tonsure involves appointment to an office, a jurisdictional act made possible by the granting to ordinaries of said jurisdiction over a diocese by the Pope. According to Can. 950, tonsure is implied in law in the terms ordain, ordination, sacred ordination and order by necessity. For unless tonsure is first received, one cannot become a cleric, and the clergy must be distinguished from the laity by Divine law, according to Can. 948.

 (From the Summa):

“No Order is given except during the celebration of Mass. But tonsure is given even outside the office of the Mass therefore it is not an Order. Further, in the confirming of every Order, mention is made of some power granted but not in the conferring of tonsure. Therefore, it is not an Order.

“I answer that: The ministers of the Church are severed from the people in order that they may give themselves entirely to the divine worship. Now on the divine worship are certain actions that have to be exercised by virtue of certain definite powers and for this purpose the spiritual power of order is given while other actions are performed by the whole body of ministers in common, for instance the recital of the divine praises. For such things it is not necessary to have the power of Order but only to be deputed to such an office, and this is done by the tonsure. Consequently, it is not an Order but a preamble to Orders.”

“Reply Obj. 1: I answer that: Some spiritual thing inwardly corresponding to it as signate corresponds to sign, but this is not a spiritual power. Wherefore a character is not imprinted in tonsure as in an Order.

“Reply Obj. 2: Although a man does not receive a character in the tonsure, nevertheless he is appointed to the divine worship; hence the appointment should be made by the supreme minister, namely the bishop.” (Summa Theologica, Vol III, Q. 40, Art. 2, Suppl.; end of St. Thomas Aquinas quotes) And all the following agree with St. Thomas:

“The tonsure or cutting of the hair which precedes the conferring of minor orders is not an order. It is an ecclesiastical ceremony which places a man in the clerical state. It confers no power whatever” (Sacramental Theology, Bk. I, Rev. Clarence McAuliffe).

Rev. J. Tixeront states in his Holy Orders and Ordination: “Tonsure is not an order. It confers no power in the liturgical order: it simply distinguishes him who receives it from the laity” (p. 133).

Revs. Stanislaus Woywod and Callistus Smith, (A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, 1957) explain in their history of ordination that, “Tonsure is not an order but a sacred ceremony by which young men are enlisted in the ranks of the clergy before they receive any orders.”

Rev. Charles Augustine, A Commentary on Canon Law: “Tonsure is not enumerated among the minor orders nor is it considered an order at all.” In a footnote to Can. 118, he comments that it is now the common opinion of theologians that tonsure is not an order.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “Tonsure itself is not an ordination properly so called, nor a true order. It is rather a simple ascription of a person to the Divine service in such things as are common to all clerics … In the Latin Church it began as a separate ceremony about the end of the seventh century…”

“By reception of first tonsure a cleric is ascribed to…the diocese for the service of which he was promoted,” (Can. 111; also the Council of Trent, Sess. 23, Ch. 16). “Only clerics can obtain the power of either orders or ecclesiastical jurisdiction…” (Can. 118). Tonsure or some valid order is, by ecclesiastical law, a prerequisite for the VALIDITY of any office” (Canon Law: A Text and Commentary, Revs. T. Lincoln-Bouscaren and Adam Ellis, (Can. I09, 118).

The canons teach that without the bishop’s call, a vocation cannot exist. But first one must prove that a VALID AND LICIT bishop (Ordinary) in communion with a canonically elected Roman Pontiff who has appointed him to head a specific diocese and establish a seminary for that diocese has called a man to the priesthood. Can. 147: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical provision. Canonical provision means the grant of an ecclesiastical office by competent ecclesiastical authority, made according to the sacred canons,” (Can. 147). St. Thomas Aquinas above indicates that the nature of first tonsure arises from the Ordinary’s office as an act issuing from his jurisdictional faculties granted by the Pope and not specifically the power of Orders. It should be noted that while Lefebvre, Thuc and others receiving their episcopate from Pope Pius XII could (theoretically) validly ordain IF they had possessed the jurisdiction to first administer tonsure, those who have since been foisted on gullible Catholics as ordained and “consecrated” by them or others without the papal mandate received nothing at all. Whether touted as priests or bishops, having never received tonsure, they could never even have become priests!

As proven elsewhere, Lefebvre, Castro de Mayer, Thuc, Mendez et al — all lost any jurisdiction they once possessed by joining the Novus Ordo sect, celebrating the Novus Ordo Missae, signing Vatican 2 documents and accepting offices from a false pope. This according to Canons 188 no. 4, 2314 and 1258, with Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio being the fontes for both Canons 188 no. 4 and 2314. They therefore could not exercise any jurisdiction they did not possess and could not and did not assign any men as clerics to be ordained as priests. There is absolutely nothing in way of proofs these men can present that even so much as hints they possess or ever possessed such jurisdiction. As the canonists all teach, without receiving tonsure defining one as a cleric one cannot become a priest; this is a matter of Divine Law, as explained in Can. 948. Even if it could be said that such men did indeed become priests, which is highly unlikely and can never be established with any certainty without a decision from the Holy See, Canon Law forbids them to exercise their orders for seeking them from a schismatic, even, Pope Pius VI teaches in Charitas, “under any pretext of necessity whatsoever.” During an interregnum any acts usurping papal jurisdiction (presuming the approval of a true pope to administer a diocese and create priests) are declared null and void by Pope Pius XII in his Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis.

For those who believe they are receiving valid Sacraments from validly ordained priests, this information is of the utmost importance. Because these (unwitting?) imposters never became priests for lack of valid tonsure, as simple laymen they are not (a) bound to keep the Seal of the Confessional, since it involves no Sacrament; (b) able to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice because they cannot validly or licitly consecrate the Body of Christ and (c) fit to administer any of the other Sacraments. If they baptize it is illicit at best and they baptize only as laymen. Their actions are termed simulation of the Sacraments, punishable under Can. 2322 by ipso facto excommunication specially reserved to the Holy See. And those adoring Christ in what they believe to be the consecrated host, once they hear of their status, or could or should have learned of it, are guilty of idolatry as well as communicatio in sacris. Moreover, such men also may be  guilty of simony for collecting money basically donated to them to procure what their followers believed to be the Sacraments. This is punished by an ipso facto excommunication simply reserved to the Holy See.

The Church’s teaching on offices

A quick look at the canons governing this case in the order they are listed will provide a better understanding of what the Church teaches regarding offices. Canon 145 tells us that an ecclesiastical office is a position permanently created by the divine or ecclesiastical law which, in its strict sense, carries with it either the power of orders or of jurisdiction. Remotely, therefore, tonsure is the preparation for Orders. In a broad sense, any task undertaken in the Church may be called an ecclesiastical office. In law, the Code states, the term ecclesiastical office is used in its strict sense unless the context clearly indicates the contrary. And it appears that the term office in this instance must be taken in the broad context, since tonsure is not an actual order and there is no transference of power. Tonsure is enough to qualify the cleric to validly hold an office, as Bouscaren-Ellis state above.

However, the promise of a perpetual benefice is bestowed, since the diocese, should the candidate proceed to ordination, takes on the education, care and support of the cleric. This is confirmed by Can. 979, which states: “The canonical title for the secular clergy is the title of a benefice, of a patrimony or pension. This title should be really secure for the whole life of the cleric and truly sufficient for the proper maintenance of the cleric…” The Code states that Canons 147 and 148 apply to those who receive a benefice. Now Canon 147 tells us that: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical appointment. By canonical appointment is understood the confirming of an ecclesiastical office by the competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the sacred canons.” Lefebvre and Thuc were not competent ecclesiastical authorities. Having acknowledged and accepted offices from John 23 and Paul 6, they neither possessed nor could they validly convey offices and they did not act according to the Canons. They lost their offices and all jurisdiction under Can. 188 no. 4 by committing schism and communicatio in sacris. Pope Pius XII, on June 29, 1950, citing the Council of Trent, ordered that anyone violating Can. 147 was ipso facto excommunicated with the excommunication specially reserved to the Holy See.

 Requisites qualifying candidates for an office

Rev. Matthew Ramstein, S.T. Mag., J.U.D., in his A Manual of Canon Law, (1947) wrote: “Most vacant offices are filled by free appointment. This is the act by which the competent superior confers an office upon the candidate of his choice…. The clerical candidate must possess those qualifications which the law demands for the office in question. These qualifications are found under the various headings of the Code which treat of the different ecclesiastical offices in detail. (Can. 152)

The following requirements for tonsure are outlined in The Popes and the Priesthood, A Symposium of Sacred Documents on the Priesthood, Meinrad, Indiana, 1944.

Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments, M. Cardinal Lega, (Dec. 27, 1930)

  1. “It is of the greatest importance to eliminate from the beginning, even before Tonsure and Minor Orders have been received, all those who are unfit for the office of priesthood or who lack Divine vocation…
  2. “Before Tonsure, a petition signed by the candidate for orders together with personal information as to the fitness of the candidate is to be submitted to the bishop.
  3. “The bishop then asks the rector of the seminary to verify the qualifications of the candidate as manifested during his seminary stay.
  4. “The rector then consults the candidate’s teachers, director, and the alumni prefects to report to him, both in private and in a group, on the qualifications and fitness of the candidate.
  5. “Based on this the rector then submits his own judgment to the bishop. The bishop also orders the pastor of the candidate and his family to make careful inquiries into the student’s signs of a vocation, his virtues and his piety, also habits of life both past and present. Such questions as whether the candidate is fond of strong drink, is charitable and whether he is proper and truthful in speech are put to those in a position to know. The reputation of the candidate’s family, also whether family members have exercised any undue influence on the student, are to be investigated.
  6. “The Bishop must duly investigate any suspicions that the candidate has inherited some vice or abnormality from his parents, whether physical or psychical.
  7. “The Bishop shall interview the rector and vice-rector of the candidate’s seminary to determine sincerity of faith.
  8. “When advisable, other persons of outstanding character, either clerical or lay, who may be able to give special information, should also be interviewed; especially when a slight doubt remains concerning the moral character and canonical fitness of the candidate.
  9. “The whole frame of mind in particular of each candidate is to be investigated by the candidate’s own bishop who must determine whether the candidate fully understands the nature of the burdens he is assuming and whether they feel themselves able to shoulder all these burdens.
  10. “If admitted to Tonsure, the documents of these investigations are to be consulted once again when the candidate receives the order of subdeacon. At that time, the entire method, omitting, however, inquiries made to the family, must be updated and repeated before the subdeaconship is conferred.” (This Instruction was reviewed by the Cardinals and personally ratified and confirmed by Pope Pius XI.)

If Traditionalist candidates were vetted according to the criteria above, would ANY of them have qualified as candidates worthy of tonsure? Who, exactly, considered of “outstanding character” in the eyes of the Church today would the bishop interview? What rectors of legitimately established seminaries were there to interview? The appointment of candidates to the clerical state satisfies all the requirements for appointment to an office upon reception of the various orders whenever the necessary qualifications are satisfied. We have no assurance whatsoever that these qualifications were met and every right to believe they were not met. As Canon 153 states, “The candidate for promotion to an office must be a cleric,” and tonsure is the first step in promotion to that office, filling the actual need of the diocese for additional clerics.

But no true bishop was ever approved for appointment to a diocese, so no need could be determined. No candidates were qualified to even be considered for tonsure and no jurisdiction existed to validly convey it. Ergo, it was never received in a manner that satisfies the requirements of Can. 147 for validity; every canon law regarding the administration of tonsure was violated. According to Rev. Charles Augustine in his above-mentioned Canon Law commentary, “Ordination according to the Code includes the conferring of the tonsure…” (Can. 950). The tonsure is renewed at different times during the progression of the cleric through the various orders. But it cannot be validly received unless the bishop administering it qualifies the candidates and possesses jurisdiction.

No mandate, no diocese, no tonsure

Traditionalists have tried to slip out from the noose around their necks by various subterfuges, primarily:

  • assuming as true what is yet to be proved: that they actually received valid orders and can validly exercise those orders, when infallible decisions and decrees forbid and nullify this;
  • the assumption that tonsure is an actual order arising from the power of Orders, when it is actually an act of jurisdiction;
  • refusal to recognize Pope Pius XII’s decision regarding episcopal orders and jurisdiction, i.e., that such powers are subject to the Roman Pontiff and do not issue directly from Christ Himself when Pope Leo XIII states in Satis Cognitum: “Holy Writ teaches that the keys to the kingdom of Heaven were given to Peter alone. There is nothing to show that the Apostles received Supreme jurisdiction without Peter and against Peter. Such power they certainly did not receive from Jesus Christ;”
  • their absolute denial of the teaching of Bd. Pope Innocent XI (DZ 1151), upheld unanimously by the theologians, that probable opinions cannot be used in receiving or administering the Sacraments (Rev. Dominic Prummer’s Handbook of Moral Theology);
  • their claim that laws regarding jurisdiction have lost all force because they are only ecclesiastical laws, when Can. 196 clearly states jurisdiction is a matter of “Divine institution.” St. Alphonsus Liguori teaches: “…The presumption is for the continuance of the law, since it was certainly made, and there is no probability for its non-continuance,” (Revs. McHugh and Callan, rules of conscience, Moral Theology: A Complete Course).
  • attempts to discredit Pius XII as pope and Mediator Dei as ambiguous;
  • obfuscation of the meaning and issuing of the papal mandate;
  • the fact that Traditionalists have never claimed to possess an office;
  • arguments that bishops were allowed to function during interregnums in the past.

Pope Pius XII on more than one occasion warns of harking back to previous discipline to justify one’s actions. This pope teaches, in Mediator Dei, (Nov. 9, 1947): “Clearly no sincere Catholic can refuse to accept the formulation of Christian doctrine more recently elaborated and proclaimed as dogmas by the Church, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit with abundant fruit for souls, because it pleases him to hark back to the old formulas. NO MORE CAN ANY CATHOLIC IN HIS RIGHT SENSES REPUDIATE EXISTING LEGISLATION OF THE CHURCH TO REVERT TO PRESCRIPTIONS BASED ON THE EARLIEST SOURCES OF CANON LAW.” And in any case, his papal election law specifically addressing interregnums is the most decisive factor, for no other law is tailored so closely as this one to the current situation. Consecrating without a papal mandate i.e., approval by the pope, is a usurpation of papal jurisdiction. Exercising the privileges of an ordinary as though one has been assigned to a diocese in the process of that approval also is a usurpation of papal jurisdiction. The bishop alone who is validly vested with the power of jurisdiction by the pope has the authority and power to choose men to tonsure and ordain for a given territory, and no assignment of any territory was ever received by Traditionalists.

Under Can. 188 no. 4, all bishops who recognized the counter-Church as the Catholic Church and engaged in communicatio in sacris by celebrating the John 23 “mass” and the Novus Ordo Missae became guilty of schism and lost all jurisdiction. This could have been avoided had they refused to participate in the false Vatican 2 council and sign its documents and withdrawn their obedience to and cooperation with the false popes as heretics and schismatics. Lefebvre, Thuc and others schismatic bishops like them who established Traditionalism, thereby misleading the faithful, were far worse than those bishops who abandoned them by remaining in the Novus Ordo church. For rather than leave them to their own devices, as those abandoning them did, they led those of good will among the faithful into error, when all they desired was to remain truly Catholic. Traditionalists and their followers can deny it and attempt to smear and discredit those who publish the facts proving their decades-long imposture all they like, but papal and conciliar teaching and Canon Law cannot lie.

 

 

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