Does the “illicit only” crowd mirror the Old Catholic heresy?

Does the “illicit only” crowd mirror the Old Catholic heresy?

+Third Sunday after Easter+

(St. Anselm, Abp.)

In way of a reminder, or for those who are new to the idea of praying at home, I am going to repeat and highlight a binding Church teaching here that has practically been the foundation stone for this site since it first appeared on the Internet. Long before Pope Pius XII wrote Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, (VAS), negating acts contrary to Canon Law or usurping papal jurisdiction that were attempted during an interregnum, the Council of Trent condemned the idea that those acting without out jurisdiction, who were “neither rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority “ (DZ 967) could ever be considered true ministers of the Church. This concept is best expressed as follows:

“A Christian society whose bishops go back to the apostles only through the power of order, and not also through the power of jurisdiction, cannot claim to be Apostolic, and consequently cannot be the Church of Christ,” Revs. Devivier and Sasia, Christian Apologetics, Vol. II), 1924. The Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Church also  states in part: “Apostolicity of mission consists in the power of holy orders and the power of jurisdiction derived by legitimate transmission from the Apostles. Any religious organization whose ministers do not possess these two powers is not accredited to preach the Gospel of Christ. For ‘How can they preach,’ asks the Apostle, ‘unless they be sent?’ (Rom. 10:15).”

In 1950, Pope Pius XII issued a binding decree (AAS 42-601) on the true interpretation of Can. 147, stating that those never canonically appointed to such offices but who: “’…assume the same upon their own authority, are all to be regarded NOT AS MINISTERS OF THE CHURCH but as thieves and robbers, who have entered not by the door’” (DZ 960). Pius XII then issued three ipso facto excommunications for violating this law, all of them reserved in a special manner to the Holy See, which included anyone assisting such individuals in their efforts. Without the necessary jurisdiction and appointment to an office by competent ecclesiastical authority according to the sacred canons, THEY ARE NOT APOSTOLIC MINISTERS; THEY CANNOT FUNCTION VALIDLY (Can. 147). Their ability to function validlydepends on the possession of an office, regardless of their alleged reception of orders.

One might be considered validly ordained if it could once be proven that the ordaining or consecrating prelate used the proper matter and form and possessed the proper intention. But this can be determined only by the pope, as we have pointed out repeatedly. The presumption, however, also repeatedly stated, What is important to understand here is what is expressed in the following: “Commentary in Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils: “The council [of Chalcedon, 451 A.D.] declared absolute ordinations, that is, sine titulo, invalid. Though it used the words (null, void), it is very probable that it had in mind “void of effect through permanent suspension,” (pg. 96;   See Mansi, VII, 901, 945.) This is the very principle evidenced in Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS) regarding acts not authorized by the Holy See personally or permitted under Canon Law.

As the Holy Office decreed Nov. 18, 1931: “A lapsed Catholic who receives orders from a schismatic bishop can be received back into the Church only on the understanding that such ordinations, even if valid, will be completely disregarded, (Dr. Leslie Rumble, Homiletic and Pastoral Review: “Are Liberal Catholic Orders Valid,” 1958). Lefebvre  and Thuc were schismatics and those they ordained and consecrated were lapsed Catholics, one-time members of the Novus Ordo and Traditionalist organizations who were never validly absolved, abjured by the Holy Office, did not do penance or publicly condemn the schismatic prelate consecrating or ordaining.  This is what Canon Law requires of them. And as  VAS states, during an interregnum, any violation of Canon Law or presumption of papal jurisdiction (abjuration of heresy) is considered null and void.

As related in his Principles of Sacramental Theology, (1955), Rev. Bernard Leeming wrote that Pope Innocent IV, as a private doctor, opined that ”…the Pope could set up diriment impediments in the case of all the sacraments and could take away a bishop’s power to confirm. He supports this by the text,’ Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven,’ and adds that “obedience must be given to the Pope” in all things not contrary to faith or specially forbidden. Rev. J. Tixeront, in his Holy Orders and Ordination, (1928), cites the same opinion by Innocent IV, but quotes Louis Saltet (a Catholic historian who contributed to the Catholic Encyclopedia) to the effect that, “This theory tells volumes about the development given to the idea of pontifical authority.”  We must remember that Pope St. Pius X, in his previous election, law also had declared null, void and invalid all these same acts. All that Pope Pius XII added to this is to declare that part of VAS binding during an interregnum by virtue of  his Supreme Authority. Without a true Roman Pontiff, NOTHING can be presumed to be valid, most especially the conferral of Orders.

Pope Innocent IV wrote in 1254, but what these authors call his opinion or theory was, as Saltet said, the kernel sown which later blossomed into the fullness of the pope’s supreme jurisdiction. The ”development” of the idea of papal authority came full circle with the Vatican Council. Unfortunately those opposing the definition of infallibility not only left the Church but reorganized, to more effectively dismantle and oppose Her. Henry Cardinal Manning believed that this effort began with an actual conspiracy hatched by Gallicanist sympathizers and the Old Catholics. He describes this conspiracy in his work written after the close of the Council, (The Vatican Decrees and Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance, p. 11, 115-116) as the “Old Catholic” conspiracy, which translates today, even in the writer William Strojie’s opinion, to Traditionalists, especially those of the SSPX variety. He also identifies it as “The Protestant church… [which] has become a political agent, a tool of the state…in the hands of Liberals, to fight Catholicism” (p. 115).

He then goes on to explain how this conspiracy was hatched even before the Council convened, writing: “Before the Vatican Council assembled, there was an opposition systematically organized to resist it [by the Old Catholics]…” Stanley Jaki, in his 1996 introduction for the release of an exact reproduction of Manning’s The True Story of the Vatican Council, relates that Cardinal Manning, although he could not include it in his work, believed that circumstances surrounding the Vatican Council amounted to “a plain conspiracy to make Pius IX the [Pope] Honorius of the 19th century.” Today these same tactics are being used by LibTrads and Protestants  to cast Pope Pius XII in the role of Honorius in the 20th century. What we see in the persistent opposition against VAS by those claiming these me to be only illicit , and by their refusal to accept other other papal teaching is only the continuing flow of that same Gallicanist/Old Catholic/Modernist current. Strojie, Peter Anson and  others have warned us of the Old Catholic invasion in our times, but no one is listening.

One of the first LibTrad pseudo-bishops, Francis Schuckhardt, was “consecrated” by an Old Catholic bishop, Daniel Q. Brown. Several of these so-called bishops have been consecrators of certain LibTrads, especially among independents. And one of the men Schuckhardt “ordained” became involved with a rigorist Jansenist sect and went on to become one of the first proponents of the “illicit only” theory now being promoted by himself and others. We have spoken of the Jansenists and their rigorist beliefs in our last several blogs and now we will discover where it is those beliefs originated, how they have filtered down to various sects today and how they have misinterpreted papal teaching to make it appear that the Church still considers those lacking both an office and jurisdiction to be the teaching body of Christ’s Church.

Jansenist/Old Catholic ideology and LibTrads

Many years ago I ran across a very good piece on Old Catholics, entitled The Jansenist Heresy: Old Catholicism is Born.  Its author, listed by way of initials, states: “I am indebted to one of the seminarians of the Society of St. Pius X at Ridgefield, Connecticut whose research made this article possible — A.C.” After offering a summary of anti-papal and other Old Catholic teaching, A.C. comments: “The Old Catholic movement was a liberal and modernist movement. Indeed most contemporary modernists would have little difficulty accepting most of their tenets.” Under the heading Old Catholic Sects: General Observations, he describes the behavior of Old Catholic clergy, sadly failing to see they correspond almost identically with that of the SSPX and LibTrads in general. These are listed as follows:

“1.The first thing one notices when one begins to study these sects is that there are indeed a large number of sects calling themselves Old Catholic. It seems that there are about as many as there are Old Catholic bishops… (T. Benns: Just as with the LibTrads.)

“2. This phenomenon is joined to the fact that the Old Catholics foment what seems to be a never-ending series of schisms among themselves. This is explained by the fact that they began in schism. It is understandable, therefore, that they should have so many schisms among themselves. (T. Benns: The never-ending schisms is the dead giveaway.)

“3. Old Catholic clergy are inclined to excommunicate each otheat the slightest provocation. (At the drop of a miter?) This is borne out by Peter Anson’s book on their forebears, Bishops at Large, and by studying some of their more recent activities. (T. Benns: Their internecine squabbling on these things is almost as never-ending as their schisms and is what foments them.)

“4. A typical fiction which an Old Catholic will try to promote is a denial that his group is schismatic or heretical. Invariably, such a person will point to another group, supposedly distinct from his own, and say that it is schismatic or heretical. For instance, an Old Catholic may tell you “We are not Old Catholics, but Old Roman Catholics. There is a difference. The other group is schismatic and heretical. We are legitimate.” Such talk is nonsense. There are no real differences among all these groups, no matter what name they go by. They all originate, in some tenuous way or another, in the Jansenist heresy and schism. Common sense tells us that if something was hatched from a duck’s egg, if it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, and if it quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck. (T. Benns: Projection is a psychological ploy intended to deflect blame. There are no real differences in these groups as the author says, and all tend to exhibit Jansenist tendencies to one degree or another.)

“5. Most of these groups distort history in an attempt to prove their claims. A quick reading of some of the literature they publish demonstrates this. They distort the Jansenist controversy and avoid giving an honest account of the outrageous activities of Mathew and Vilatte. (T. Benns: One is reminded of all the stories defending Thuc from accusations of dementia and returning to the Novus Ordo; or to the defense of LibTrad pseudo-clergy and “seminarians” accused of homosexual tendencies and sexual abuse, when these accusations were well-documented.)

“7. For the most part, these sects are presided over by clergymen who are ignorant in matters of religion. Some are trained for a short period of time by ignorant superiors, others “study on their own for a while, others grant themselves degrees from non-existent universities, while still others are simply ordained without any pretense of an education at all. (T. Benns: This ignorance is what has cost the faithful so much and has resulted in the denial of so many truths.)

“9. In most casesit is impossible to prove that an ordination or consecration performed by an Old Catholic bishop in this country is unquestionably valid. In Europe, the question is less complicated, since the Jansenist sects enjoy a certain amount of stability. In this country, however, there exists a multitude of different Old Catholic sects. Consequently, no one has a centralized and comprehensive body of certified documentation which keeps track of the lines of the ordinations and consecrations performed in all these splinter groups. This casts some doubt upon the validity of the orders they claim to possess. Since the Catholic Church teaches that one cannot act if there is a positive doubt regarding the validity of a sacrament, one is obliged to treat their clergymen as though they were invalidly ordained. 

(T. Benns: WHY must Catholics consider them invalid? Because Pope Pius XII teaches that during an interregnum, they cannot be considered valid. This for two reasons: 1) Because consecrations and ordinations without the mandate usurp papal authority and violate the canons and 2) Until declared valid and their cases resolved, there can be no presumption of such validity. I know the LibTrads quote Leeming to the effect that “The minister of a sacrament is presumed to intend what the rite means…” [even in cases where the minister is wicked or a heretic]. “This principle is affirmed as certain theological doctrine, taught by the Church, to deny which would be at least theologically rash.” Principles of Sacramental Theology, 476, 482.) What they will not tell you is that reflex principles cited by moral theologians also declare that presumption must yield to truth. That truth is it must yield to an infallible papal ruling that regardless of the intention or the state of the minister, during an interregnum, all must be considered invalid, void of effect. For only a true pope canonically elected could settle the case. The Old Catholic commentator ends with Pope St. Pius X’s excommunication of the Old Catholic “bishop” Arnold Harris Mathew and those he attempted to consecrate below.

Pope St. Pius X’s condemns the pseudo-bishops

“We have learned that priests of your country, namely Herbert Ignatius Beale and Arthur William Howarth, of the clergy of Nottingham, seeking their own glory rather than that of Jesus Christ, and being carried away by the fire of ambition, having attempted on various occasions to be elevated to the episcopal dignity by non-Catholics, have recently proceeded with such temerity that, having obtained their wish, they have arrogantly announced unto Us that they have procured episcopal consecration. Nor does their announcement lack authentic testimony; for he who was the principal author of this sacrilegious crime, the pseudo-bishop Arnold Harris Mathew, has not feared openly to confirm this deed, having transmitted to Us letters swollen with pride. And, moreover, he has not hesitated to arrogate unto himself the title of “Anglo-Catholic Archbishop of London.”

“Turning Our thoughts and Our solicitude first of all to you, Beloved Sons, of whose constant and devoted good will we have ever received such illustrious testimony, We vigorously exhort you to guard zealously against their frauds and snares.

“Furthermore, lest We should appear to betray Our office, being faithful to the examples of Our Predecessors, We hereby proclaim the aforesaid consecration to have been illegitimate and sacrilegious, and to have been performed in a manner wholly contrary to the mandates of this Holy See and the sanction of the Sacred Canons.

“The above-named priests, therefore, namely Arnold Harris Mathew, Herbert Ignatius Beale, and Arthur William Howarth, and all others who lent aid, counsel or consent to this nefarious crime, by the authority of Almighty God, we hereby excommunicate, anathematize, and solemnly command and declare to be separated from the communion of the Church and to be held for schismatics, and to be avoided by all Catholics and especially by yourselves.

“Given at Rome, at Saint Peter’s, under the Ring of the Fisherman, the eleventh day of February 1911, in the eighth year of Our Pontificate.” (The foregoing was translated by Father William Jenkins (SSPX) from the official Latin edition of Acta Apostolicae Sedis, year III, vol. III, no. 2, February 15, 1911.)

Meaning of the prefix ”pseudo”

Thuc and Lefebvre were not Catholics at the time they ATTEMPTED (note this wording appears in Pope Pius XII’s VAS) to ordain and consecrate men of the various LibTrad sects. Pseudo is defined online as meaning sham; false; spurious; pretended; counterfeit. (Merriam-Webster). It corresponds to Can. 104 which states that “error annuls an action” whenever a certain condition is required for its proper fulfillment. The canonists Bouscaren-Ellis write: “Error of law or a fact, if it is substantial, renders an act null and void. The same is true if the error, though not substantial by nature, is made so by a condition.”  It was always a condition, from the time of the Council of Trent, that bishops could receive an office or approval for an office only from the pope. It is a condition, based on ancient practice and dating to the time of the Gallicanist heresy, that during an interregnum nothing can be decided involving the rights usually exercised by the pope or against canon law or papal law.  We see the word spurious, or false, used by Pope Pius VI in Charitas below:

“Furthermore, We declare specifically that the elections of the said Expilly… [et al], are unlawful, sacrilegious, and utterly void. We rescind, efface, and abrogate them, as well as the recent creation of the so-called dioceses of Moulins, Chateauroux, and others. We similarly declare and decree that their consecrations were sinful, and are illicit, unlawful, sacrilegious, and at variance with the regulations of the sacred canons; since they were rashly and wrongfully elected, they lack all ecclesiastical and spiritual jurisdiction for the guidance of souls and have been suspended from all exercise of the episcopal office.

“We prohibit severely both those who have been or are to be elected as bishops from rashly accepting episcopal consecration from any metropolitan or bishop as well as the SPURIOUS bishops and their sacrilegious consecrators and all other archbishops and bishops from daring to consecrate on any pretext those who have been or are to be wrongfully elected. Furthermore, We command those who have been or are to be elected, to behave in no way as archbishops, bishops, parish priests, or vicars nor to call themselves by the name of any cathedral or parochial church, nor to assume any jurisdiction, authority, or faculty for the care of souls under the penalty of suspension and invalidity.”

Pseudo-bishop is also found in refence to an Old Catholic bishop in Pope Pius IX ‘s Etsi Multa: “[The Old Catholics] have chosen and set up a PSEUDO-BISHOP, a certain notorious apostate from the Catholic faith, Joseph Hubert Reinkens. So that nothing be lacking in their impudence, for his consecration they have had refuge to those very Jansenists of Utrecht, whom they themselves, before they separated from the Church, considered as heretics and schismatics, as do all other Catholics. However, this Joseph Hubert dares to say that he is a bishop, and, what passes belief, he is recognized… [by]  all his subjects as a lawful bishop… The holy martyr Cyprian, writing about schism, denied to the pseudo-bishop Novatian even the title of Christian, on the grounds that he was cut off and separated from the Church of Christ… We declare the election of the said Joseph Hubert Reinkens, performed against the sanctions of the holy canons to be illicit, null, and void.

And as we noted in a previous blog, Pope Pius XII taught: “Acts requiring the power of Holy Orders which are performed by ecclesiastics of this kind, though they are valid as long as the consecration conferred on them was valid, are yet gravely illicit, that is, criminal and sacrilegious” (Ad Apostolorum Principis).I believe that it was St. Robert Bellarmine who taught that a man who was not even a Catholic could not validly be elected pope. Likewise one cannot consider men consecrated by schismatics, specifically to head schismatic sects, to be valid, either.

And for proof of this we can return to Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, which clearly states that: “Further, if ever at any time it becomes clear that any Bishop, even one conducting himself as an Archbishop, Patriarch, or primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church… or likewise any Roman Pontiff before his promotion or elevation as a Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has strayed from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy, then his promotion or elevation shall be NULL, INVALID AND VOID.” Those claiming that these men are “only illicit” who dare to quote this bull need to draw out is FULL implications.

As the Old Catholic commentator notes above, “One is obliged to treat their clergymen as though they were invalidly ordained.” The Church Herself declares that their promotions could never be valid, even when a reigning pontiff existed! The commentator indicates that the validity of the Old Catholics cannot be presumed, just as no one can presume LibTrads were validly ordained by Lefebvre and Thuc. This cannot be the case with US, however, because of Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS);  the pope clearly declares their ATTEMPTED acts of no effect, reflecting the private teaching of Pope Innocent IV and later Clement II. Pope Pius XII cites Clement II in VAS as stating that no one may exercise the power belonging solely to the pope during an interregnum. The Council of Chalcedon was held in 451, so the principle “void of effect “was already at work in the early days of the Church. No one can claim it was a novelty that was introduced by Pope Pius XII.


Since the establishment of Traditionalism, these men calling themselves bishops and priests have resorted to Canon Law to try and prove their legitimacy. This is truly absurd when one considers that, as Pope Pius VI taught in Charitas, no trumped up “necessity” could justify their activities. Since canon law (Can. 147) pointedly declares they are not valid unless they are appointed by legitimate authority according to the sacred canons, these laws do not even apply to them in the clerical realm. They apply to them only as (lay) heretics and schismatics simulating the Sacraments. That is the true meaning of “pseudo” and “spurious” here. The term “illicit only” presumes their Orders and sacraments to be valid when this is clearly contrary to the Council of Trent and papal teaching. But most importantly it is a denial of the only law now governing us, VAS, and the Church’s right to determine who are members of the hierarchy. TRUE bishops no longer exist because the Church proclaims that not only were these men considered false bishops when a true pontiff reigned, there can be no valid conveying of Orders at all during an interregnum!

Interregnums were intended to last at the most for only less than a month according to VAS. The longest interregnum in the Church’s history lasted less than three years. So VAS, and prior to its issuance Pope St. Pius X’s election law, was intended as a stopgap measure only, to make certain nothing was done to usurp papal jurisdiction or violate canon law during the vacancy of the Holy See. LibTrads often point to the “colored title” theory, pretending that their “orders” alone are sufficient to claim that they possess rights and privileges in the Church. They quote Rev. Francis Miaskiewicz’s  work on Can. 209 (supplied jurisdiction) and the canonists Wernz-Vidal as follows: “There is no jurisdiction without a title. And where, by mandate of the Church or her rightful representatives, jurisdiction is required for the validity of a certain act, there, if the minister acts without the proper jurisdiction, he acts fruitlessly because invalidly.” They thus ASSUME there is a validly ordained and/or consecrated minister who COULD possess the title, a sophism called “presuming that which is yet to be proven.” This when the Council of Trent and Pope Pius XII commenting on Trent’s anathema both teach infallibly that they are “not to be regarded AS MINISTERS OF THE CHURCH (see above).

This is so very confusing for readers because at the same time they admit that “None of the faithful believe the illicit bishops have a papal mandate to do what they are doing.” But it has nothing to do with what the faithful believe, only with what the Church teaches — for as just stated in our last blog: THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE BOUND TO BELIEVE. How about the FACT that they cannot possibly possess the mandate because there was no pope to issue one?! And that the Church says during an interregnum, no valid ordinations and consecrations can even take place if they usurp papal rights and violate canon law, which they most certainly do?

I consider myself an Ultramontane as did St. Anthony Mary Claret, Henry Cardinal Manning, Fr. Frederick Faber, Wilfred Ward, Louis Veuillot, William Peter Allies, Donoso Cortes and Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton. The Vatican Council should have resolved all the questions regarding the pope’s supremacy of jurisdiction, but sadly, as can be easily seen from the above, it did not. Ranged on the opposite side, following John Henry Cardinal Newman, Bp. Ullathorne, Dom Cuthburt Butler and a host of others who believed the definition of infallibility would only harm reunion efforts with schismatics.  Newman, especially, was quite cozy with the Anglicans and Old Catholics. He and his followers gave lip service to the definition but continued to travel the road to Modernism and ecumenism. That is where ignoring the integral teachings of the popes leads.

We see all the indicators here of Old Catholic influence:

— The attempt to “foment a schism” among those who pray at home;

— The “excommunication” of those who point out to others that “illicit only” is not Catholic;

— The tendency to Jansenistic rigorism, Liberal charity, quietism, Americanism, anti-Semitism;

— Their denial of the Vatican Council teaching on the pope’s supreme jurisdiction;

— Considering as “valid” men educated in heresy by heretics and schismatics;

— Their distortion of self-evident truths and dogmatic facts to shore up their claims, and

— Since the Catholic Church teaches that one cannot act if there is a positive doubt regarding the validity of a sacrament, [LibTrad ordinations and consecrations], one is obliged to treat their clergymen as though they were invalidly ordained.

And in our case, the absolute necessity of acknowledging the infallible truth that they could not have been ordained and consecrated during an interregnum. Instead they treat these men as valid and insist that others do the same. We cannot and will not let these errors stand. Readers deserve to know when they are being misled and to be able to fully access the truth, and we are obligated to provide it. This according to today’s epistle:  “For such is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2).

Lay passive infallibility is key to the Church’s very existence

Lay passive infallibility is key to the Church’s very existence

+St. Hermenegild, Martyr+

Read HERE of how St. Hermenegild. chose martyrdom rather than receive the Sacraments from the hands of heretics!

Well the solar eclipse has come and gone and here we all are, waiting for the media to exploit the next celestial event on the horizon. Christ told us we could expect signs — in the sun, the moon, and the stars — and we have seen them. He told us that one of these would be given to an evil and adulterous generation, and it would be only a sign, (not a notable event), involving Jonah and the whale. This of course points to Nineveh; in other words, one last chance to repent. If some expected His second coming based on this sign, they have forgotten that He will come as a thief. We continue to pray and watch, do penance for our sins, and pray for the conversion of sinners.

Below we will address a subject that has received little attention in these times in order to explain why it is so important for all to understand the necessity of obeying the teaching of the Continual Magisterium, the popes and ecumenical councils — not those who break the laws of the Church and question the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiffs by demanding belief in absurd propositions.

The necessity of passive infallibility

1911 Catholic Encyclopedia, Infallibility — “When we speak of the Church’s infallibility we mean, at least primarily and principally, what is sometimes called active as distinguished from passive infallibility. We mean in other words that the Church is infallible in her objective, definitive teaching regarding faith and morals, not that believers are infallible in their subjective interpretation of her teaching. This is obvious in the case of individuals, any one of whom may err in his understanding of the Church’s teaching; nor is the general or even unanimous consent of the faithful in believing a distinct and independent organ of infallibility. Such consent indeed, WHEN IT CAN BE VERIFIED AS APART, is of the highest value as a proof of what has been, or may be, defined by the teaching authority, but, except in so far as it is thus the subjective counterpart and complement of objective authoritative teaching, it cannot be said to possess an absolutely decisive dogmatic value.”

Fr. E. Sylvester Berry, The Church of Christ, 1927 — “Thesis: The body of the faithful infallibly accept the truths of revelation proposed to them by the teaching authority of the Church. The Church is infallible in believing, i.e., the faithful, as a body, are preserved from error in accepting and professing the doctrines taught by the Church. Individuals may err; whole provinces, and even nations may fall away from the faith, as history testifies; but those professing the true faith must always remain sufficient in number and in distribution throughout the world to preserve the Church truly Catholic in the unity of faith and worship.

“PROOFS. I. From Reason. Passive infallibility, in the sense just explained, IS A NECESSARY CONSEQUENCE OF THE INDEFECTIBLE UNITY OF FAITH and the perpetual Catholicity of the Church. Since the Church is immutably one in the profession of faith, the faithful as a body must be free from error, otherwise the faith would not be one, but many. Moreover, the profession of a false faith constitutes manifest heresy and excludes one from membership in the Church. Consequently, if the faithful as a body could fall into error in the profession of faith, the Church would immediately cease to be Catholic and would therefore cease to be the Church of Christ. It is evident, then, that the faithful as a body must be infallible or free from error, at least in the profession of faith.

“Passive infallibility, bestowed upon the Church primarily for the purpose of preserving unity of faith, also furnishes a rule of faith, since any doctrine professed by the whole Church must be a revealed truth. Practically, however, such a rule of faith is not sufficient for the needs of the faithful, because it requires long and diligent research to discover whether any particular doctrine is held by the universal Church, and also whether it is held as a revealed truth or merely as a pious belief.

“The value of Tradition as proof for revealed doctrine rests principally upon the active and passive infallibility of the Church. Whenever there are sufficient witnesses to prove that a certain doctrine is accepted by the whole Church as a revealed truth, or that it is taught as such by a majority of the bishops, it is immediately evident that the doctrine is infallibly true and could be defined as a dogma of faith, IF NOT ALREADY SO DEFINED. When appealing to tradition in this sense, it matters not what age of the Church be selected, since truth does not change with the centuries. The truth of a doctrine is established just as securely by proving its universal acceptance today, as by showing that it was universally accepted in any past age of the Church. 

Henry Cardinal Manning, Petri Privilegium, Three Pastoral Letters to the Clergy of the Diocese, 1870 — “Passive infallibility… is, the Divine security which sustains the whole Church in its faith: so that it is impossible for the whole Church to err in believing, because the pastors of the Church, WITH THEIR HEAD, cannot err in teaching.But it is manifest that, according to this doctrine, the fountain of infallible teaching is the Divine Head in heaven, through the organ of the visible head of the Church on earth… It is also a matter of faith that not only no separation of communion, but even no disunion of doctrine and faith between the Head and the Body, that is, between the ecclesia docens and the ecclesia discens can ever exist. Both are infallible, the one actively, in teaching, the other passively, in believing; and both are therefore inseparable, because necessarily united in one faith.

“And lastly, that though the consent of the Episcopate or the Church be not required, as a condition, to the intrinsic value of the infallible definitions of the Roman Pontiff, nevertheless, it cannot without heresy be said or conceived that the consent of the Episcopate and of the Church can ever be absent. For if the Pontiff be divinely assisted, both the active and the passive infallibility of the Church exclude such a supposition as heretical. To deny such infallible assistance now after the definition, is heresy. And even before the definition, to deny it was proximate to heresy, because it was a revealed truth, and a Divine fact, on which the unity of the Church has depended upon from the beginning…

“Now, before the definition of the Vatican Council, the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff was a doctrine revealed by God, delivered by the universal and constant tradition of the Church, recognised in (Ecumenical Councils, pre-supposed in the acts of the Pontiffs in all ages, taught by all the Saints, defended by every religious Order, and by every theological school except one, and in that one disputed only by a minority in number, and during one period of its history; believed, at least implicitly, by all the faithful, and therefore attested by the passive infallibility of the Church in all ages and lands, with the partial and transient limitations already expressed. The doctrine was therefore already objectively de fide, and also subjectively binding in conscience upon all who knew it to be revealed.”

Phantom bishops and other fantasies

All the quotes above are not obscure passages taken at random from certain works, but the common teaching of the Church as found expressed in the same exact way in both catechisms and other works of theology. We bring this topic to the attention of readers today because we are engaged in an ongoing war with those who falsely hold that passive infallibility is not important. They presume to continue to inform those praying at home that LibTrad bishops are only “illicit,” not invalid,  even after incontestable proof has been carefully researched and presented clearly showing that Pope Pius XII teaches it is impossible, during an interregnum, for such men to ever become priests or bishops.

According to the heretical teaching of certain LibTrads rejecting Pope Pius XII‘s teaching in VAS,  the indefectibility of the Church depends on the existence of mysterious bishops still in hiding or incognito “somewhere,” even without the Roman Pontiff ruling as one of these phantom bishops. Those insisting on this theological absurdity never so much as mention the necessity of the pope to their existence. Why is such a teaching heretical? Because, as the Church has always taught and Pope Pius XII later officially confirmed, unless they are under the direction of the Roman Pontiff and in communion with him, bishops may have orders (if consecrated prior to Pope Pius XII’s death) but they have no power; their jurisdiction comes not directly from Christ but only through his Vicar (Mystici Corporis Christi, Ad Sinarum Gentum). The contention of those insisting there must always be bishops is that “the episcopal order of the hierarchy consisting of Catholic bishops with the power of Orders and the power of jurisdiction” can never cease to exist. They claim that to state otherwise is to commit heresy.

The absurdity of such a statement lies in the denial of the necessity of a HEAD BISHOP, the pope, who alone can grant the necessary approval for consecration of those priests selected to be promoted as bishops. Unless this approval is granted, episcopal consecration cannot be validly received during an interregnum because the papal approval/mandate is lacking. This is no interpretation of a papal document; it is the clear, unmistakable and infallible teaching of Pope Pius XII in Vacantis Apostiolicae Sedis. In Pope Pius XII’s Ad Apostolorum Principis  the pope taught: “No authority whatsoever, save that which is proper to the Supreme Pastor, can render void the canonical appointment granted to any bishop…” And in VAS, during an interregnum. Pope Pius XII does so use his supreme authority to declare that the consecrations of any men as bishops, performed without papal approval, are a usurpation of papal jurisdiction and such consecrations are to be considered null, void, and invalid.

What Pope Innocent III tells us in his profession of faith proposed to the Waldenses (DZ 424) about the consecration of the Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass also pertains to this topic. He taught that the Eucharist is not validly consecrated by just any priest, “…however honest, religious, holy and prudent [he] may be…Unless he be a priest, regularly ordained by a visible and perceptible bishop.” Pope Innocent III defines such a priest as one who is “established by a bishop for that office…And so we firmly believe and declare that whosever without the preceding episcopal ordination believes and contends that he can offer the Sacrifice of the Eucharist is a heretic and is a participant and companion of the perdition of Core and his followers and he must be segregated from the entire holy Roman Church.” What is of interest here is that we are talking about a “visible and perceptible bishop” and priests established by such a bishop to function as priests. So where are these visible and perceptible bishops? Do these people now believe in an “invisible Church,” a heresy condemned by Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis Christi?  Do they also believe in fairies and leprechauns?!

It is interesting to note that in attempting to sidestep the invalidity issue those claiming these pseudo-clerics are only illicit resort to the same defense used by the late Daniel Dolan (CMRI) to defend his validity. Dolan also cites Ad apostolorum principis as declaring illicit but valid orders conferred by those not possessing the mandate, quoting the following from Pius XII’s encyclical: Acts requiring the power of Holy Orders which are performed by ecclesiastics of this kind, though they are valid AS LONG AS THE CONSECRATION CONFERRED ON THEM WAS VALID, are yet gravely illicit, that is, criminal and sacrilegious.”  But here Dolan commits a fallacy in logic known as “begging the question,” assuming as true that which has yet to be proved. Did Lefebvre or Thuc validly consecrate? Not without the mandate! Did the pope refer to consecrations performed during an interregnum in Ad apostolorum principis? Obviously not, since he was still alive.


Those pushing the “bishops must yet exist” heresy claim they do so to counter the “heresy” held by this author and those who frequent this site — that the laity can effectively constitute the hierarchy, that the Church as Christ constituted it is not indefectible and that five of the seven Sacraments no longer exist. No one has ever said that these five Sacraments (excluding Baptism and Marriage) have ceased to exist; being instituted by Christ they will always exist. We simply no longer have access to them thanks to the wholesale apostasy of the hierarchy and the commands of Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, which we must accept with a firm and irrevocable assent. This is God’s will for us, and these deniers of papal supremacy would be more honest if they simply proved Pope Pius XII was a heretic and VAS was therefore a non-binding decision. As for the indefectibility of the Church, Rev. E. S. Berry and Henry Edward Cardinal Manning are quite clear in what is quoted above:

Passive infallibility, in the sense just explained, IS A NECESSARY CONSEQUENCE OF THE INDEFECTIBLE UNITY OF FAITH and the perpetual Catholicity of the Church. Since the Church is immutably one in the profession of faith, the faithful as a body must be free from error, otherwise the faith would not be one, but many. Moreover, the profession of a false faith constitutes manifest heresy and excludes one from membership in the Church.” (Rev. Berry) And from Cardinal Manning: “It is also a MATTER OF FAITH that not only no separation of communion, but even no disunion of doctrine and faith between the Head and the Body, that is, between the ecclesia docens and the ecclesia discens can ever exist. Both are infallible, the one actively, in teaching, the other passively, in believing; and both are therefore inseparable, because necessarily united in one faith.”

It is the ones promoting the necessary existence of bishops who deny indefectibility and the supremacy of the Roman Pontiff, not only in his ability to declare such bishops could never be appointed and consecrated without him, but in his grant to the faithful of the responsibility to carry on in their absence. This is treated below.

1911 Catholic Encyclopedia, Laity — “The laity… may be appointed to give doctrinal instruction more or less officially, or may even become the defenders of Catholic truth. Thus they give excellent help to the clergy in teaching catechism, the lay masters in our schools give religious instruction, and some laymen have received a missio canonica, or due ecclesiastical authorization, to teach the religious sciences in universities and seminaries; the important point in this, as in other matters, is for them to be submissive to the legitimate teaching authority… The principle is that the laity as such have no share in the spiritual jurisdiction and government of the Church; but they may be commissioned or delegated by ecclesiastical authority to exercise certain rights, especially when there is no question of strictly spiritual jurisdiction…”

And this is what we have received from Pope Pius XII, a missio canonica which is devoid of any spiritual (sacramental or other) jurisdiction; it must be strictly confined to the preservation of all the Church taught prior to Pope Pius XII’s death.  For as Pope Pius XII instructed, Catholics must take up all the responsibilities of the hierarchy in their absence, but only if it involves nothing opposed to faith and morals, the implicit or explicit will of the Church or anything contrary to ecclesiastical discipline (Mission of the Catholic Woman, September 29, 1957; entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis). Faith and morals demand that we accept the teaching of Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis. The will of the Church is clearly expressed by Pius XII in this infallible constitution. And in that constitution, he declares null, void, and invalid anything that violates papal law or Canon Law.

It is the most ludicrous of all contentions to hold that bishops could still exist on this earth minus their head bishop, a canonically elected pope, as the identical hierarchy established by Christ with all the rights He acceded to the Apostolic College. THAT is the denial of the Roman Pontiff’s supremacy of jurisdiction; THAT is the Gallicanist heresy. And worse than that: it is the occult Gnosticism that still prevails among the LibTrads generally, as explained HERE. One of the main proponents of this Gnostic “catholicism” once wrote to me:  “It is heretical to state that the Catholic Church can be in existence without the episcopal order of the hierarchy consisting of Catholic bishops with the power of Orders and the power of jurisdiction… You deny the dogma that there is a perpetual, living, and infallible magisterium in the Catholic Church.”

The above statement is pathetically devoid of any true understanding of integral Catholic truth. And what is most alarming is that it is cunningly phrased to appear to those not well-instructed in the faith to be a legitimate statement. For the “episcopal order of the hierarchy” MUST include the head bishop, the Pope — Peter is the Rock on which Christ established His entire Church, not the bishops. His faith alone is indefectible, as Rev. Berry notes. And that it is a lie to say that I deny the “perpetual, living, and infallible magisterium” when all I do is insist it be upheld should be apparent to anyone reading what is presented on this site.

The perpetual, living and infallible magisterium is found in all the infallible writings of the popes. Exclude belief in one and you are done. If the pope says bishops can no longer exist during an interregnum, then they do not exist. If the laws of the Church tell us they become heretics and can no longer elect a true pope if they violate the terms of a papal law or Canon Law, then they are unable to do so. And if said cardinals and bishops lose their offices by joining a false sect — as ALL did at Vatican 2 — they are no longer cardinals and bishops!!! WHAT bishops??? Please tell me, if you, dear friends, truly believe in the perpetual, living, and infallible magisterium, which lives on in the Deposit of Faith even without the presence of the Roman Pontiff, how true bishops could ever exist without him?

There cannot be two Catholic churches, one believing LibTrad pseudo-clergy are only illicit and others believing they are invalid. This cannot be when the Roman Pontiff has infallibly taught otherwise. The Catholic Church either lasts until the consummation teaching ALL that Christ’s Vicars have taught, as they have taught it and in its entirety, or it does not exist at all. Those reading this have a choice to make: they can be numbered among the members of the invisible Gnostic “catholic” church praying at home or they can choose to obey ALL the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs. It is as simple as that. What they cannot do is pretend that given the infallible nature of Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, they are members of the Catholic Church if they believe LibTrad pseudo-clergy to be only illicit.

Urgent solar eclipse warning and recusant site regurg

Urgent solar eclipse warning and recusant site regurg


+St. Vincent Ferrer, Confessor+

Solar eclipse April 8: America’s last chance for repentance?

Prayer Society Intention for April, Month of the Holy Ghost

“O Holy Ghost… by Thy love and grace, renew the spirit of Thy servants whom Thus has anointed that they might glorify  the Father and His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.” (Raccolta)

+First Friday and Saturday+

(The following was submitted by a reader for consideration and provides much food for thought. It will be interesting to see if anything unusual results from this event. My thanks to the author for collecting these observations.)

— Matthew 12:39: “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but THE SIGN OF JONAS THE PROPHET.”

— The eclipse begins off the coast of Mexico, on islands named Maria Madre, Maria Magdalena, and San Juan: Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and St. John at the foot of the Cross. The North American path of the eclipse ends over the island of St. Pierre (Peter) and Newfoundland’s capital, St. Johns.,-106.59289,10z/data=!5m1!1e4?hl=en-US&entry=ttu;

— When it enters the United States, the eclipse passes through the city of Jonah, and then passes over all seven towns called Nineveh in the United States, and the only city called Nineveh in Canada.

— Monday, April 8, the day of the eclipse, is the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord.

— Jonah said that 40 days more and Nineveh would be destroyed.

— Forty days from April 8 is Saturday, May 18, the Vigil of Pentecost, when fire from Heaven descended upon man.

— When Jonah preached in 700 BC and when he came out of the whale, there was a total eclipse over the city of Nineveh.

— Some interesting aspects on the eclipse:

— Jonah, Nineveh, and the Solar Eclipse Over North America

Sensus Fidelium, March 16, 2024

— “A rare green ‘devil’ comet, matching wormwood in the Bible in the end times prophecy, is about to crash into the sun during a rare ‘666’ eclipse.”

— Jews just announced the first red heifer in 2000 years has been found and will be sacrificed this month. This in preparation for the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple. (WARNING: THIS IS A MORMON VIDEO and while much of the information is accurate, there are inappropriate images and false interpretations of Scripture. (For a Catholic explanation of the Temple rebuild, see the article at, pg. 19)

— The San Gabriel River runs through Jonah, Texas.

— The eclipse passes through Temple, Texas.

— The eclipse of 8-21-2017 went from east to west, and the eclipse of 4-8-2024 goes from south to north. It creates a great cross over the United States. In the center of that cross is a town called Palestine.

— Also in that center area is the largest cross in North America at 198 feet tall, along with a large station of the 10 Commandments:

— CERN is reactivating their collider on April 8. (WARNING: this site is loaded with bad images and text)

The unnamed threat almost NO ONE is talking about

T. Benns Comment on reader’s post

What may well be the real concern of states activating Homeland Security and National Guard troops for this event is not the eclipse itself but something that could be truly devastating and might possibly be activated or exacerbated by CERN. The New Madrid fault line matches almost exactly the path the eclipse will take. And it has been experiencing an unusual spate of activity since November of last year. An eclipse can trigger earthquakes as explained below, and this is a total eclipse:;

Since Nov. 13, 2023, there has been a significant increase in earthquake activity being reported along the New Madrid Fault. “While there is no immediate cause for alarm, the pattern of these quakes is being closely monitored. In geological terms, such swarms of small earthquakes can sometimes act as precursors to larger seismic events. However, they more frequently result in a gradual dissipation of energy along fault lines, eventually settling without leading to a major quake.”

In the past month, there have been 11 instances of seismic activity along the New Madrid fault, ranging from a 1.5 temblor to a 2.5 quake, reported April 2, and now a 1.9 quake, reported just today, April 5: Also, just this morning, (April 5), a 4.8 earthquake hit the New York/New Jersey/Boston area: This is significant if one considers that in December, 1812, when the New Madrid earthquake occurred following three months of seismic activity, “The effects of these earthquakes were felt as far away as New York City and Boston, Massachusetts, causing church bells to ring” Four major earthquakes over 6.0 have occurred this week alone in Japan, Taiwan and near Saipan. So prospects overall are not looking good for April 8 if the ring of fire is already flaming.

See here for a summary of all the above: These events are not just a series of unrelated coincidences. This eclipse is a pointed message from God and we’d better not ignore it. But then the book of Apocalypse says in three separate places that men will blame God for these punishments and will not repent. Nevertheless, pray that America becomes another Nineveh as God obviously desires for her by sending this sign, and repents of her many sins, before it is too late. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of America, pray for us! St. Americus, pray for us! Lord save us, we perish!

Recusant site taken down, then reposted

People keep trying to reinvent the wheel by dumbing down information available in essays, books and on the web for over 50 years. We are all well aware of the various organizations and their many offshoots that have dominated the American Traditionalist scene since Vatican 2. The claims made by the pseudo-clerics belonging to these organizations — that they possessed a direct or supplied jurisdiction — remained largely unchallenged until the early 1980s, although Catholic writers such as William Strojie and Mary Lejeune did warn Catholics they were better off praying at home. Beginning in 1977-78, all the necessary information needed to determine with certitude that the Papal See was indeed vacant and these men were conferring illicit sacraments was presented.

We have demonstrated before that LibTrads KNEW that proofs existed showing these men were illicit and ignored them. This was a matter of published record all Traditionalists had access to beginning in the late 1970s. Hugo Maria Kellner first published this assessment of Traditionalists in his Letter 72, Lefebvre — the Final Unmasking. A Latin edition of Pope Paul IV’s 1559 bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio was published in1978 by Carlos Disandro and was later translated by Prof. Benjamin Dryden into English. David Bawden released one article on LibTrads’ lack of jurisdiction in 1983, and then in 1985 issued Jurisdiction During the Great Apostasy, showing these men were all functioning illicitly outside the laws of the Catholic Church. This was followed on 1990 by the Benns-Bawden book Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century?,  sent (often gratis) to Traditionalist pseudo-clergy all over the world. The book went to great lengths explaining the invalidity of Traditionalist sacraments, citing extensive quotes from Rev. Francis Miaskiewicz’s Canon Law dissertation Supplied Jurisdiction According to Canon 209 and other related pre-Vatican 2 dissertations then generally unknown. It also went to great lengths to explain the various canons on this issue.

The book condemned the use of epikeia, quoting St. Thomas Aquinas. The need to arrive at certitude on jurisdiction matters was discussed at length. A full history of Cum ex Apostolatus Officio was given and proofs provided showing it was still in force, something disputed by LibTrads even today. (See the link HERE.)  Pope Leo XIII’s vision was covered and the long St. Michael’s Prayer cited to show the incursions of the infiltrators into the Vatican. For the first time, proofs necessary to show that Angelo Roncalli could never have been validly elected and that those electing him were disqualified to hold any further election (under canon law) were presented. Because Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis was then thought to be “only an ecclesiastical law,” the actual invalidity of these pseudo-clerics was not yet realized. Further research over the years proved, however, that this constitution was indeed an infallible document treating of Divine — not ecclesiastical —  law, which clearly made it impossible for anyone to function validly during an interregnum if usurping papal jurisdiction or violating Canon Law.

Nothing exists without a foundation

The material provided by certain others on jurisdiction, after the release of Will the Catholic Church Survive…  was primarily based on the research provided in the book, later posted by Bawden and myself on the Internet. To the best of my knowledge, no other detailed assay of these subjects existed at that time, with the exception of an article printed by one British publication (which more clearly stated the same principles. If one examines the early works of those currently “teaching” on these topics via internet, podcasts, and videos it can be easily verified by dating the material presented on these other sites, nearly always articles or essays written and posted after 1990. These authors cite the conclusions arrived at by those who went before them without ever crediting the source, as we have noted before. And not only have they used these conclusions on which to base their own work, they have added falsehoods to them to make it appear as though Church teaching is not clear on various issues, or they pretend it can be viewed in a different way.

Citing the conclusions of others without ever crediting them and then presenting these conclusions as coming from upstanding Catholics, with years dedicated to educating and helping people find and preserve the faith, is not only dishonest — it is a lie. A true Catholic does not present material not entirely his or her own, without crediting the source. If you say that John 23 and all who followed him are not true popes, you must prove it, or point to someone who hasproven it inconclusively because it is such a serious accusation. If it is a self-evident fact now, it is only because others have exhaustively researched it for years to confirm this! The scholastic method of the Church demands that certitude must be acquired in these matters using logic, and sacred theology insists that the scholastics cite the popes and councils in determining the meaning and sources of sacred theology. The popes demand the use of the scholastic method in presenting the faith.

Although those behaving this way consider themselves true Catholics, free of any blame, they are not following the popes, even though they quote their teachings when it suits them. They do not give their readers the privilege of checking the actual facts uncovered and sources for themselves to better arrive at the necessary certitude. They don’t even inform them they NEED to arrive at certitude. They do not proceed, as is required in all scholastic disputation, in the form of defender and objector, as scholastic form requires. (And Rev. A.C. Cotter, in his ABC of Scholastic Philosophy carefully differentiates such disputation from debate, commenting: “The thesis assigned is not debatable.”)

Fallacies of logic and misquoting the popes

These latecomers are simply objectors, and the defender is never named or allowed to answer their “objections.” They simply say, “I disagree” (with the defender) and pretend that this suffices to dismiss even infallible papal commands. By not naming the defender or even at times clearly identifying the disagreements between the two parties, just simply presenting what readers will perceive as an acceptable alternative view, they are never required to prove the truth of their assertions or objections as the Church intended. In addition, they constantly resort to the “cherry-picking” fallacy (a logical fallacy that occurs when someone focuses only on evidence that supports their stance, while ignoring evidence that contradicts it). The Church forbids this type of disputation among Catholics, which entirely discredits the argument of the person resorting to this deceptive practice. We have tagged members of this same group before here for this and other fallacies.

Examples of this error in logic  are the admission of papal or other teachings on a subject which is in favor of their “view”, while omitting anything from the same papal or other document that supports the defender’s position. This is a favorite ploy of LibTrads and their Liberal, later Modernist forerunners, and when seen among those claiming to hold the pray-at-home position, it can only indicate they are still contaminated by Traditionalist errors. We recently witnessed this deceptive practice regarding the discussion on modesty. We are now seeing it again in the reposted recusant site material. It states as fact, without any reference to a fully sufficient explanation or proof, that LibTrad pseudo-clerics are illicit. It also states that: “They may or may not have valid orders (but are at the least very dubious since they came from the modernists Thuc, Lefebvre, and Mendez), but they are certainly illicit since they have no jurisdiction or mission from God or His pope” (emphasis mine). This tell readers there is no way to prove they are invalidly ordained and consecrated or develop certitude regarding this fact.

So while admitting papal documents prove these fakers are schismatic and illicit, they omit the one papal document proving them invalid on all counts Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS). And they give readers no indication this infallible constitution even exists. They do the same sort of thing in quoting Pope Pius VI’s Charitas, cited for over 15 years on this site. For they quote the part that says these men are illicit (the bishops) but fail to quote the following: “24. We therefore severely forbid the said Expilly and the other wickedly elected and illicitly consecrated men, under this punishment of suspension, to assume episcopal jurisdiction or any other authority for the guidance of souls since they have never received it. They must not grant dimissorial letters for ordinations. Nor must they appoint, depute, or confirm pastors, vicars, missionaries, helpers, functionaries, ministers, or others, whatever their title, for the care of souls and the administration of the Sacraments under any pretext of necessity whatsoeverFor We declare and proclaim publicly that all their dimissorial letters and deputations or confirmations, past and future, as well as all their rash proceedings and their consequences, are utterly void and without force. Furthermore, We command those who have been or are to be elected, to behave in no way as archbishops, bishops, parish priests, or vicars nor to call themselves by the name of any cathedral or parochial church, nor to assume any jurisdiction, authority, or faculty for the care of souls under the penalty of suspension and invalidity.

Lefebvre and Thuc, Mendez, et al all lost their jurisdiction by accepting positions under the usurpers and celebrating the Novus Ordo Missae. They not only could not assume or resume it, they simply no longer possessed it. These men in Pope Pius VI’s time were only suspended from their episcopal office as Charitas also states; they did not tacitly resigntheir office. And none of this happened during an interregnum.  But the recusant site is telling you that you can consider some of these men valid if illicit when the pope, whom they refuse to quote in full, is telling us that even their dimissorial letters — far less any ordinations — are null and void! You cannot be ordained without dimissorial letters guaranteeing you are a fit candidate for the priesthood just as you cannot be validly consecrated without the papal mandate. The language is much the same as in VAS.

Could a pope and bishops still exist?

“So, do we have a pope? No, not to our knowledge” which once again, could easily be answered by Cum ex… and VAS, as could the following: “None of the faithful believe the illicit bishops have a papal mandate to do what they are doing… these illicit clergy have no right of leading God’s people astray with their illicit sacraments and orders.” Well they would have absolutely NO STANDING WHATSOEVER if it ever was once conceded that Vacantis Apostolicae Sedisdismisses them all and they are only excommunicated laity! While trying to convince one LibTrad that the validity issue had to be resolved because the moral theologians state we cannot remain in doubt about such things, I was told it was impossible to do because I could not overcome the fact that even Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis had to yield to epikeia  because it was “only an ecclesiastical law.” And yet VAS is undeniably infallible and is unquestionably treating of the Divine law regarding papal jurisdiction. How, then, can it be an ecclesiastical law, particularly in its first three paragraphs, written with the pope’s Supreme Apostolic authority?!

The recusant site is frequented by those who believe there could still be true bishops and they would allow that a pope could just “pop up” from somewhere after all these years of utter chaos and be considered credible. Just as we have shown through numerous articles on VAS and the impossibility that true bishops still exist, so too these objectors must come clean and produce CREDIBLE evidence that VAS does not exclude all possibility of any certainly validly consecrated bishops still existing and hence of any election of a true pope. Yes, a layman could be elected pope, but a true bishop or bishops would need to ordain and consecrate him after determining he is fit for ordination in order for him to be Bishop of Rome. The refusal to admit the invalidity of these LibTrad pseudo-clergy is a clever way to leave open the door to a future claimant to the papacy and/or mysterious bishops who suddenly appear on the horizon.


Just as Lefebvre led all through the back door of Traditionalism only to remain aligned with the Novus Ordo usurpers in the end, so too this seems a clandestine way to leave the door cracked open just wide enough to admit a bishop and a priest or two eventually, possibly after some sort of catastrophic event or upheaval, to “restore all things” and “carry on.” And those who think they are working in the dark to bring this about are far more transparent than they realize; their actions have been noted and followed for many years whether they choose to believe this or not. No certainty could ever be had in this matter unless confirmed by miracles. An evil and adulterous generation has asked for a sign, and they may well soon receive it. But it will not be the “miracle” they are planning for. To write as a Catholic, to truly defend and uphold the faith one must follow ALL the rules laid down by approved theologians and in Canon Law. Therefore, the gauntlet is here thrown down on this matter:

Publicly demonstrate with the same level of proofs used to vindicate Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis HERE that this infallible constitution does not declare that, DURING AN INTERREGNUM, ALL THESE MEN MUST BE CONSIDERED INVALID, NOT JUST ILLICIT.  You owe this to all faithful Catholics and to Pope Pius XII himself. 

If they truly wish to make praying at home more acceptable to their readers and easier to understand, VAS is the best way to accomplish that. Once Cum ex… is fully applied and VAS is understood as infallible, there is no need to explain supplied jurisdiction, epikeia, or necessity. All we need to know is that during an interregnum, none of these things can exist. Only the canonical election of a true Roman Pontiff, now made impossible by the apostasy of all cardinals and bishops, would clarify this situation. And that the hierarchy cannot and does not exist tells us we have entered the last days of Antichrist’s reign by decree of the pope himself. All we can do is obey the Pope, who has dictated to us God’s signified will in this matter.

Unity, not diversity of belief, is what is required of all members of the Mystical Body. Only by honestly addressing the issues that arise and are posed to divide us can we ever hope to obtain as much unity as is possible today without the pope. And only by obeying all the Roman Pontiffs have commanded can we hope to achieve that unity. Prideful aloofness and refusal to acknowledge or address the truth cannot accomplish that unity. As Henry Cardinal Manning wrote: “Truth goes before unity.  Where truth is divided, unity cannot be. Unity before truth is deception; unity without truth is indifference or unbelief. Truth before unity is the law and principle and safeguard of unity. Unity of communion is the effect of unity of faith” (The True Story of the Vatican Council, 1870). And as St. Paul wrote: “One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:4).

A  peaceful and joyous Easter Season to all our readers

A peaceful and joyous Easter Season to all our readers

He is Risen — Alleluia!

“AND in the end of the sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre. And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid. And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen: and behold he will go before you into Galilee; there you shall see him. Lo, I have foretold it to you” (Matt. 28: 1-7).

The sanctuary of God alone and filling up what is wanting

The sanctuary of God alone and filling up what is wanting

+Good Friday+

Many have had questions about the “recusant Catholics” presenting as “homealone” because it seems this group has no intention of accepting papal teaching on a number of topics. I have attempted to answer most of these questions here over the past several weeks but must now move on to more spiritually productive conversations. In summary, however, the following points need to be firmly taken away from this troubling experience.

  1. We have never said that the Church teaches invincible ignorance alone will suffice to secure eternal salvation. Several articles on this site have definitely stated this is not the case and those articles were published nearly a decade ago. Maybe people should do their research before falsely accusing someone of heresy.
  1. No matter how educated someone pretends to be, they are not equipped nor approved by the Church to engage in debate or public discourse regarding the faith. We have devoted two blogs to explaining the Church’s teaching on this so there should be no further questions. It is forbidden entirely to the laity and clerics can engage in it only with permission from the Holy See.
  1. The word forum itself is defined as “open discussion; expression of ideas.” We do not discuss truths of faith or express our ideas concerning them. We accept them with a firm and sincere assent, whether we fully understand them or not, or we cannot call ourselves Catholic. The definition of dialogue, a distinctly Novus Ordo method of dogmatic perversion, is “an exchange of ideas and opinions… aimed at resolution.” This clearly shows the intent of some LibTrads to use discussion forums to compromise the faith — what such ”discussion” is intended to accomplish.
  1. As lay Catholics surviving without the hierarchy, there are certain things we can and must do and certain things we are forbidden to do. One of those things is public teaching on Holy Scripture, whether done vocally or by means of videos. The bishops alone, as successors of the Apostles, are commissioned to teach about Holy Scripture or they may delegate priests subject to them to teach. And such priests must be educated in teaching Holy Scripture in “seminaries and colleges of religious” by professors “who are, in all respects, qualified to teach properly on this subject, which is holy and sublime above all others… He should be equipped with the requisite knowledge of biblical matters which is acquired by serious study and must be conserved and augmented” (Biblical Commission Instruction, 1950; AAS 42-495).

Holy Scripture is the word of God and only the Church has the right and the necessary power to determine who is fit to expound on it. No one qualified today exists to conduct such instruction. Only those validly ordained to the priesthood are allowed to teach the faithful the meaning of Holy Scripture, for this teaching is an act of jurisdiction. NO lay person could ever be permitted to substitute for the clergy in this undertaking.

  1. The modesty issue has been discussed at length in the blogs and in the comments section. No papal directive exists that forbids the wearing of pants that are not immodest in themselves, although there is no doubt that the Church favors women wearing long skirts and dresses. Pope Pius XII, quoting St. Thomas Aquinas, taught in his address to the Young Women of Catholic Action, May 22, 1941: “Feminine adornment may be a meritorious act of virtue when it is in conformity with custom, with a woman’s place in the world and chosen with good intention and when women wear ornaments in keeping with their station and dignity and are moderate in adapting themselves to current fashion.” This is all we need to know.
  1. Concerning the secrecy resorted to by Freemasons to evade detection as enemies of the Faith, Pope Pius IX taught: “A society which thus avoids the light of day must surely be impious and criminal. ‘He who does ill,’ says the apostle, ‘hates the light.’ How different from such an association are the pious societies of the faithful which flourish in the Catholic Church! With them there is no reticence, no obscurity. The law which governs them is clear to all, also, are the works of charity practiced according to the gospel doctrine” (Sept. 25, 1865, condemnation of Freemasonry).

Groups which conduct their discussions in semi-secrecy, bind others to rules which may or may not be Catholic and expel those at will who dare to disagree with them come dangerously close to fitting the description provided by Pope Pius IX above. Catholics should view membership in such associations as a danger to their faith.

  1. The accusation of slander has been levied against certain parties but the use of this term is based on a misunderstanding of what those who present as genuinely Catholic owe to those they are presenting to. Those praying at home who believe that what they are hearing and seeing is truly Catholic have the inherent right to know whether those informing them are faithful Catholics themselves and whether they are abiding by the teachings of the Church.

“Calumny (slander) injures reputation by stories that are untrue Detraction is the revealing of real faults or defects of another. Revealing what is known privately is necessary if otherwise an individual would be seriously injured, spiritually or physically, or honor is attacked; or if a third party would be so injured were the information not revealedSo revealing what is public record is not sinful if done to prevent spiritual harm. (Summarized from McHugh and Callan’s work on Moral Theology.)

I wish no one any ill will. But we all have the duty in fraternal charity to correct those in error, lest they mislead others and for their own sake. It is very sad to see people so eager to associate with other pray-at-home Catholics only to find they are not loyal to the papacy, but this is the havoc the Traditionalists have wrought. I pray that all involved in such groups will reconsider and realize that without obedience to the Roman Pontiffs and what they have taught we will drown in this flood of impiety now engulfing us. I know many are lonely and long to be in touch with other like-minded Catholics who pray at home. But God has provided us helps to endure in these times, which amount to martyrdom of the spirit, and the words of Fr. Frederick Faber from his Foot of the Cross, or the Sorrows of Mary, (1857) below will tell us much about grief and loneliness and how we can best use it for our spiritual benefit.

The sanctuary of “God alone”

“There is no darkness like the darkness of a world without Jesus such as Mary’s world was on that fearful night [following Christ’s death on the Cross.] It is darker than the darkness of Calvary, for that is a darkness which cheers, refreshes and inspires. Jesus is there. He is the very heart of that darkness. He is felt more plainly than if he were seen. He is heard more distinctly because all is so dark about him and other sounds are hushed by the gloom. It is like being in the cloud with God as tried souls often are. It is truly a darkness and brings with it the pain of darkness; yet there is hardly a loving soul on earth to whom such darkness would not be more welcome for than light. But the darkness of the absence of Jesus is, as it were, a participation in the most grievous pain of hell.

“If it is by our own fault then it is the greatest of sorrows. If it is a trial from God, then it is the greatest of sufferings. In either case, we must not let the light of the world tempt us out of the darkness. In such a gloom it is indeed dreadful to abide, but the consequences of leaving it by our own self-will are more dreadful still. it is not safe there to think of creatures. We must think of God only. It is the sanctuary of ‘God alone,’ the motto of the Saints and of the saintly. We must deal only with the supernatural and leave Him who brought us there, whether for chastisement or fervour, to take us out when it shall be His will. Meanwhile we should unite ourselves to the disposition in which Mary endured her seventh dolor, and this will bring us into closer union with God. She did her work in the world as it were with all her heart and yet her heart was not there, but in the tomb with Jesus.

“This is the grand work which sorrow does for all of us. It entombs us in the will of God. It buries our love together with our sorrow. Sorrow is, as it were, the missionary of the divine will. It is the Prince of the apostles; the Church is built upon it. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Our Lord is with us always to the end. It is sorrow that digs the grave of itself and blesses it, and burns incense in it, and buries self therein, and fills it up, and makes the flowers grow upon the tomb. The great secret of holiness is never to have our hearts in our own breasts but living and beating in the heart of Jesus and this can rarely be accomplished except through the operation of sanctified sorrow. Happy therefore is he who has a sorrow at all hours to sanctify.

“Mary’s dolors are Mary’s self. Her last 15 years commencing with the descent of the Holy Ghost were the maturity of her dolors. During them her sea of sorrow settled till it became a clear, profound, translucent depth of commingled love, whose last act of taking the tranquil plenitude of possession of its glorious victim was the dislodging of her soul from her body by the most marvelous and beautiful death which creature ever could ever die. Such an edifice of sorrow as the Divine Motherhood was to bring along with it could not rest on foundations less broad and deep than the immeasurable graces of her first 15 years. What then must have been the grandeur of the graces which came upon that edifice when it was completed and were its domes and towers and pinnacles?

“We have often wondered what could be done to Mary in the way of sanctification at the descent of the Holy Ghost. What was left to do and what direction was she to grow? The mere fact of the delaying of the Assumption meant something and what could it have meant — the increase of holiness and multiplication of graces? If she was kept on earth to nurse the Infant Church as she had nursed the Infant Saviour, to be herself a living Bethlehem, with the Blessed Sacrament forever in her and her queenship of the apostles and external ministry of Bethlehem to the childhood of the Church, still, untold and incalculable, augmentation of grace and merit are implied in the very office, as well as in the fact that it was God’s mother who fulfilled the office.

“It was her dolors which opened out in her soul fresh abysses for eager grace to fill. It was the dolors which rendered her capable of that other new creation of grace and the descent of the Holy Ghost. His graces are absolutely inexhaustible; her capacities of grace are practically inexhaustible, to or limited comprehension. The grace which prepared her for the Divine Maternity prepared her also for her singular and lifelong martyrdom. The martyrdom prepared her for those ineffable augmentations of grace and merit which were compressed into her last 15 years. Thus her dolors are, as it were, the center of her holiness. They reveal Mary to us as she was in herself more than any other of her mysteries. Indeed they are hardly to be called mysteries. They are more than that: they are her life, herself, her maternity. They enable us to understand her holiness.

Sorrow is a sanctuary so long as self is kept outside. Self is the desecrating principle. If a time of sorrow is not the harvest time of grace, it is sure to be the harvest time of self. Hence when we find people indulging in the sentimentality of their sorrow, we are almost certain to find them inconsiderate towards others. They are the centers around which everything is to move… But a Christian mourner smiles through his tears, takes the sorrow carefully out of the tone of his voice and makes others almost gay while his own heart is broken. A saint’s sorrow is never in the way. To others it is softness, a sweetness, a gentleness, a beauty. It is a cross only to himself. We must be careful also not to demand sympathy from others and if possible, not even to crave it for ourselves. What is it worth if it comes when we have demanded it?

“Surely the preciousness of sympathy is in its being spontaneous. There is no balm in it when it is paid as a tax. Not that it is wrong to hunger for sympathy when we are in sorrow. We are not speaking so much of right and wrong… The more consolation from creatures, the less from God. This is the invariable rule. God is shy; He loves to come to lonely hearts which other loves do not fill. This is why bereaved hearts outraged hearts, hearts misunderstood, hearts that have broken with kith and kin and native place, on the grave of father and mother, are the hearts of His predilection. Human sympathy is a dear bargain let it cost us ever so little. God waits outside till our company is gone. Perhaps he cannot wait so long for visits to mourners are apt to be very long and he goes away not angrily but sadly and then how much we have missed.

“The whole theology of sorrow may be compressed into a kind of syllogism: Everything is given for sanctification and sorrow above all other things; but selfish sorrow is sorrow unsanctified, therefore unselfishness is grace’s product out of sorrow. There must be in our grief a total absence of realizing the unkindness or neglect of human agents. Nobody is in fault but God and God cannot be in fault therefore there is no fault at all there is only the divine will. Faith must see nothing else. It must ignore secondary causes. It takes its crosses only from Jesus and straight from him. It sees, hears, feels, recognizes no one but God. All these are hard lessons and sorrow, if it is not peculiarly teachable, is the most unteachable of all things. Yet we could hardly expect Mary’s lessons to be easy ones, least of all when she gives them from the top of Calvary. Let us gaze at her once more as she swathes the Body in the winding sheet how like a priest she seems! How like a mother! And are not all mothers priests? For lightly considered all maternities are priesthoods. Ah, Mary! thy maternity was such a priesthood as the world had never seen before!” (End of Fr. Faber quotes)


Christ lays in his tomb, and like His Blessed Mother, we are lonely and sorrowful. If we would read Chapter 12 of the Apocalypase, we would know that, as Rev. H.B. Kramer writes in his The Book of Destiny: “The meaning of the word wilderness is probably contained in the prophets…The prophets by these poetic figures named the gentiles the wilderness for they are devoid of God’s benefits and are a spiritual desert. Osee calls the captivity among the heathen Babylonians a dwelling in the wilderness: “Behold I will allure her and will lead her into the wilderness and will speak to her heart” (Ch.2, v. 4). Ezekiel speaks of the captivity in the same figurative language: “And I will bring you into the wilderness of people and there will I plead with you face to face” (Ch.20 v. 35).  Rev. Haydock tells us of Apoc. 12:6: “The Christians we’re accustomed to fly during the times of persecution into the deserts to avoid the fury of the pagans. This was done by the greatest saints. Saint Jerome remarks that it was this which gave rise to the hermetical state of life.

Commenting on verse 14, Rev. Haydock notes that by the two wings of the great eagle taking the woman to the desert some understand “…the love of God and the fear of offending Him; others piety, prudence etcetera. The Church, on account of the severe pressure of the persecution obtained from the almighty a special protection and assistance.” Still others see in the wings of the eagle the assistance of the Holy Ghost. Well the Church has gone into the desert but she enters that desert  in the arms of the Blessed Mother; She isn’t there alone. Who better to comfort us in our sorrows than the Mother of Sorrows herself. Who better to help us learn of Her Son and listen to His voice.

I’ve noted before that many who leave the Traditionalist movement and other sects go through a period of grieving, and psychologists teach there are five to seven stages of grief. These stages of grief are described above by Fr. Faber in a way that makes us understand that we’re grieving because we’ve lost our Church; we’re grieving intensely because we are sorry for our sins. And we are also grieving because we are alone. But all of this is the will of God, and we can’t benefit from it if we don’t accept it as His will and if we don’t stop pretending that we can still re-create the Church in some way in our lives without Him and without His Vicar. The only thing that we can do is to accept what He has sent us and keep Him company by turning FROM creatures, not TO creatures; by asking our Blessed Mother to intercede for us and to join with her in filling up what is wanting to the Passion of Christ — to carry our Cross with Him and for Him.

You can’t do that by constantly running around visiting with fellow Catholics, spending hours on the Internet watching videos or arguing with others on forbidden “discussion forums” (see above). The best way you can comfort our Lord and commune with Him is to simply do what Fr. Faber is describing. In our grief we have to continue performing our daily duties, make the best of this great trial and try not to worry or seek sympathy from others; we must bury our sorrow in Christ. Of course we’re going to have friends and associate with like-minded Catholics, but all in moderation. We are here for a reason — to expiate our sins and to fill up the cup of His Passion, and if we are preoccupied with creatures, that can’t happen.

So this little excerpt from Fr. Faber is my Lenten offering to you.  May God grant you all a holy Good Friday and a joyous Easter.

The Jansenist heresy and false teaching on female attire

The Jansenist heresy and false teaching on female attire

+ Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary+

Offering to Appease the Divine Justice

In order to appease Thy divine justice we offer Thee, O Lord, the merits acquired by Mary, Thy mother and ours, when she stood at the foot of the Cross. If Thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities, Lord who can stand?


There has been much confusion regarding the issue of modesty recently among various LibTrads, who are condemning those who dare to dress in slacks as violating the teachings of the Church. They do this even though there is not one papal pronouncement they can point to that specifically condemns the wearing of pants by women, and as quoted here before, there is even a papal statement that reads: “We consider what you asked about pants (femoralia) to be irrelevant; for we do not wish the exterior style of your clothing to be changed, but rather the behavior of the inner man within you, nor do we desire to know what you are wearing except Christ… For whether you or your women wear or do not wear pants (femoralia) neither impedes your salvation nor leads to any increase of your virtue” (Pope St. Nicholas I, who reigned from 858-867). This pope  addressed 115 questions posed to him by the Bulgarians, one of which was the wearing of pants by women in the 9th century! And even then, he declared that WHATEVER these people wore (long dresses, pants or gunnysacks) it would not hinder salvation or increase virtue.

The most recent decision on this matter came from the Sacred Congregation of the Council, Aug. 15, 1954, and its wording clearly indicates the type of clothing the Council was referring to.

“An unworthy and immodest style of dress has come into vogue not only at the seaside and in vacation camps but nearly everywhere, even in the streets of city and village, in private and public places and not infrequently in the very House of God. This exposes especially the souls of young people who are easily tempted to evil to the gravest danger of losing that innocence which is the greatest and loveliest ornament of mind and body. Womanly adornment, if it can be called such, and women’s clothing, if that can be called clothing which offers nothing by way of protection for the body or of safeguard for modesty, are sometimes of such a nature as to seem to favor immodesty rather than modesty… Most appropriately did a very ancient poet say on this subject: ‘To bare the body in public is the starting point of shameful crime…” (Pius XII, Jan. 1, 1954 — AAS 46-548, Canon Law Digest IV, Revs. O’Connor and Bouscaren).

Nowhere are women in pants mentioned. At least pants cover the entire lower body. Certainly it cannot be said women ever wore pants to church in that era. Rather what is obviously meant is bathing apparel, shorts, scanty, sleeveless tops, halters, shorts, backless sundresses, etc. Even Pope Pius XI, in another address on modesty, tells us: “It is possible to dress with ladylike decorum without imitating monastic severity” (Sex Education and Training in Chastity, Rev. Felix. M. Kirsch, 1930).

Also what was intended, — and is mentioned by Rev. Francis J. Connell in his work, Fr. Connell Answers Moral Questions (1959) — are girls scantily clad in costumes for participating in sports, band majorettes and those participating in beauty contests. Fr. Connell writes: “I would not hesitate to tell a girl who is planning to enter a bathing beauty contest that if she does so she will be guilty of mortal sin. Nor can I see how an easier judgment can be passed on a majorette… the case of a girl in a short skirt who marches before a band, twirling baton and exhibiting a considerable amount of her anatomy, with gyrations and high-stepping for its main purpose, is unquestionably to call to the physical attractiveness of the girl, at least when the band [and audience] is composed of men or boys.” More from the theologians follows.

What moral theology teaches

Below we will visit the theologians McHugh and Callan, in their Moral Theology, a Complete Course (based on St. Thomas Aquinas and the best modern authors; 1958).

  1. It is not always easy to determine in particular cases when a thing is obscene from its very nature, but the following general rules can be given:

(b) Female dress or adornment is lascivious when there is a notable display of the person through abbreviated skirts, necks, and sleeves; or a suggestiveness expressed in transparency of material or a closeness of fit that brings out the lines and curves of the figure; or in an extremity of fashion whose striking color or design will make the wearer conspicuous and direct special attention to her physical charms.

  1. (b) The obscenity of dress is largely dependent on its novelty, for things that are usual cease to excite special attention. This we can see from the fact that styles that are conservative today would have been extreme ten years ago. And so the scanty attire of hot countries, the dress of the bathing beach, and the moderate decollete tolerated in private gatherings are not obscene in their own proper times and places.

1458. Modesty should control not only the internal passions for excellence and learning, but also the external movements of the body (modesty of bearing) and the external use of corporal things (modesty of living).

(a) Thus, modesty of bearing moderates the bodily actions, both in serious things (modest behavior) and in things playful (modest relaxation).

(b) Modesty of living makes one temperate in the use of the externals that serve life (modesty in style) and of the clothing one wears (modesty in dress).

  1. Modest Behavior or Decorum

(a) The Virtue.–The movements and gestures of the body should be regulated by reason, both because they are indications of one’s own character and disposition, and because they express one’s disposition towards those with whom one lives. Hence, they are not a matter of indifference, but reason demands that they be suitable both to oneself (i.e., to one’s sex, age, position, etc.) and to one’s neighbor (i.e., to the requirements of good social usage in each business or affair of life). Thus, virtuous decorum employs both sincerity, which makes one honestly respectful in act (2403), and affability, which makes one agreeable in the company of others (2421). That this is an important virtue for individuals and society is declared both by sacred and human authority. Ecclesiasticus (xix. 26, 27) calls attention to the importance for himself of a man’s looks, laughter and gait; St. Augustine says that there should be nothing offensive to others in one’s movements; and Aristotle mentions among the qualities of the high-minded man that he is sedate and dignified in demeanor.

(c) The Sin of Defect.–This is committed when one’s mode of life is not up to the reasonable standard of one’s community, especially if this is due to negligence or itch for notoriety or disregard for decency. Examples are those who through carelessness go about unwashed or unshaven, who keep their quarters in a filthy and disorderly state, or who wear their clothing untidily; also females who dress in male attire, nudists who appear undressed in public places, etc.

  1. Morality of Self-Beautification.–Is it wrong to beautify oneself in order to improve one’s looks or to win admiration?

(a) In itself there is no harm, especially for females, in using means to improve one’s looks, such as remedies for deformities, facial paints, powders and cosmetics, hair waves and dyes, and the like. But accidentally there could be sin (e.g., deception). A poor man would be a deceiver if he lived in great style to make a woman believe he was wealthy, and likewise a woman would be a deceiver if she used an artificial beauty to deceive a man about her age (see 2404).

(b) In itself also it is not sinful to desire that others approve one’s appearance and dress. Thus, a wife should strive to be attractive to her husband (I Cor., vii. 34), and modest ornamentation may be used to win a suitor (I Tim., ii. 9). It is mortally sinful, however, to attire oneself with the purpose or in a manner to arouse carnal temptation or to awaken sinful desire in others–for example, if one wishes to capture the sex love of others without marriage (Prov., vii. 10); it is venially sinful to groom oneself well from mere vanity, that is, from a silly ambition to be regarded as handsome and fashionable.

Comments on McHugh and Callan

The Church’s view of modesty has developed over time according to custom and circumstances. And as the authors note above, Catholic modesty is not just expressed by what we wear. Catholic modesty is the humility to admit one has erred and correct the error; this corresponds with honesty and sincerity. It is the regulation of the senses, to not listen to those who teach error but only to the popes and the approved theologians following them; custody of the eyes, in not watching or reading things not approved by the Church in way of books, articles, videos and movies; of the extremities, in not touching those things we are forbidden to touch. It is regulated speech and proper comportment; modulated movements and reactions. It is so much more than just our attire.

As to females who dress in male attire, mentioned above, let’s use some common sense in determining exactly what this means for us today. Please point me to a male, even a cross-dresser, who decks himself out in a frilly or flowered top or sweater set, loose-fitting tailored slacks, shoes with heels and jewelry to match. Seen any of those lately? No; cross-dressers generally present in dresses, usually of the lascivious type above, and sometimes even long dresses. Normal men would never think of dressing in women’s slacks and feminine-style tops. So by wearing slacks and outfits as just described here, how can Catholic women possibly be violating the Church’s teachings on modesty?! Nowhere is there any obscenity of dress in what has just been described. A woman dressing as a man is readily understood today of those identifying as other than heterosexual who wear men’s hairstyles, pants, tops and outerwear. Or the business type who wears a woman’s pantsuit complete with tie as a man would wear one.

We don’t have to worry about going to the beach today because of the scandal involved. Obviously some leeway in dress was given to those living in very hot climes. And it does not appear that women were forbidden to wear Bermuda shorts at home, while gardening for example, as long as they didn’t scandalize anyone, according to other literature on this topic. So if this was the case, then why do some consider it sinful to wear pants in public? One answer would be that scandal would be given, but to whom? Even those who know of a person’s status as a pray-at-home Catholic do not expect to see them in long skirts, or would ever think it inappropriate for them to dress in modest slacks and a feminine blouse. The only ones taking scandal, if they even knew of any “violations,” would be those at a distance who truly believe that not wearing long skirts is a sin. Rev. Connell calls this “pharisaic” scandal, “arising from the malicious will of those scandalized” (Ibid.). But even here we are talking about an act that could be termed truly scandalous — scandal as it normally interpreted — when the Church has never condemned women wearing pants. More on this below.

Jansenism and probabilism

As one “Traditional” website author noted in 2019: “Dressing in such a radical manner that instead of drawing people to Christ, you garner attention for being a spectacle is immodest, scrupulous and a vice of singularity, which is rooted in pride [as McHugh and Callan also note]. One is free to believe whatever one likes, but one is not free to believe whatever one likes and call it Catholicism. While you are free to dress however you like, you are not free to dress however you like and call it Catholic or Christian modesty. So you are free to dress like a Muslim if you like. Or like an Orthodox Jewish woman, a Fundamental Mormon, or like an Amish woman. But dressing in these manners and claiming [them] to be Catholic is a sin of hypocrisy and simulation.”

Why is this true? Because scrupulous persons see sin where the Church says sin does not exist, or it may not exist in certain cases. Insisting that it is sinful for women to wear slacks when the popes have never condemned it, and theologians were allowed to profess varying opinions on it, is Jansenistic rigorism. And Jansenism of course is a heresy. In Rev. Sabetti and Barrett’s 1940s adaptation of Rev. Pierre Gury S.J.’s Compendium of Moral Theology (1890) we read: “St. Gregory Nazianus said to an opponent regarding doubtful matters: ‘What evidence have you to prove this? Either show that this is the fact or if you cannot, do not condemn. But if the fact is doubtful, let gentleness and kindness prevail’… [The theologian] Dominic Soto taught, ‘When there are probable opinions among authoritative doctors, whichever one you follow your conscience will be safe.’”

Rev. Gury continues: “In case of doubt, favors are to be extended and burdens restricted. This is rule 15 of canon law in Sexto and means that in doubt the milder course should be preferred [except when it involves eternal salvation or the validity of the Sacraments]. A favor or that which is favorable is considered to be anything that permits freedom or grants a favor without detriment to private parties or the community or the law itself. When the true meaning of a law or statute is not certain and after inquiry it cannot be determined, either by the nature of the thing or by the context of the words or BY THE CUSTOM OF THE PLACE or any other circumstance, the less onerous interpretation or the one more lenient to liberty must be admitted. The reason for this is that the legislator is not deemed to be willing to bind any beyond that which is clearly expressed in the law. Absolute tutiorism requires absolute certitude that a law either never existed or has already fully ceased before it will allow anything to liberty and therefore, even if the most probable opinion be adduced in favor of liberty, one is bound to follow the law… But this system must be clearly rejected, for it was condemned by Pope Alexander VIII (DZ 1293, the errors of the Jansenists).

What does Canon Law say about custom?

This concurs with what the Traditionalist site explains above. Here again, we are referring to development of doctrine. It is true that St. Thomas Aquinas taught: “It is in itself sinful for a woman to wear man’s clothes, or vice-versa; especially since this may be the cause of sensuous pleasure; and it is expressly forbidden in the Law (Deut. 22) …. Nevertheless, this may be done at times on account of some necessity, either in order to hide oneself from enemies, or through lack of other clothes, or for some other such reason” (Summa Theologiae II, II, question 169, article 2, reply to objection 3). And Rev. Gury above cites custom as a reason. So even the Angelic Doctor does not condemn this out of hand, and he wrote long before the manner of women’s dress changed over the centuries. It should also be noted, as one reader long ago pointed out, that Deuteronomy 22:5 does not forbid women from wearing pants, because  what pertained to a man at the time this verse was written didn’t refer to pants. Men in the Middle East through the history of both the Old and the New Testaments generally wore long robes, such as Christ and the Apostles wore. So what was really forbidden in this verse was transvestism and cross-dressing.

The following canons state regarding custom: (Can. 26): “A community which is capable of receiving a law can introduce a custom which can obtain the force of law;” (Can. 27): “In order that a custom may have the power to change an ecclesiastical law, it must be reasonable and lawfully prescribed by a continuous and uninterrupted usage of 40 years;” (Can. 28): “A custom outside the law which has been knowingly introduced by a community with the intention of binding itself obtains the force of law if it is reasonable and legitimately prescribed by having been observed for a full 40 successive years;” (Can. 29): “Custom is the best interpreter of the law;” (Can. 30): “Customs against law and customs outside of law are revoked by contrary custom or by a contrary law. The ordinary universal custom of 40 years standing is considered to have the same force as a common law and it can be revoked in the same manner as common laws are revoked, by contrary custom or by a contrary law.” The canonists Woywod- Smith comment:  “The Supreme Authority of the Church… has granted that under certain conditions it will give its consent to the customs introduced by the people and it is by this consent that the customs obtain the force of law.”

But there is no set ecclesiastical law that is being changed here, no ecclesiastical authorities to consult as required in Can. 25. And women wearing pants in this country dates back much further than 40 years. As Pope Nicholas I taught over 1200 years ago, the question is really irrelevant. It is the inner man that we must struggle to change; we must put on Christ, develop the interior life, and that change will then be reflected in our modest actions and attire.


We have noted before that there is a definite tendency to the errors of Jansenism among LibTrads. This especially manifests itself in their beliefs regarding grace (particularly the Feeney crowd), their rejection of papal authority and adherence to the Gallicanist heresy, the rejection by some of the Church’s teaching on the efficacy of the Perfect Act of Contrition, their tendency to Quietism, their belief that the fewness of the saved is a Catholic fact rather than an unsettled question and their insistence that the practice of external religion is the ultimate yardstick to judge Catholicity. The Jansenists taught, as M.L. Cozens notes in his work A Handbook of Heresies,(1928), that “God, the All-Merciful, condemns men for sins which it was impossible for them to avoid, lacking grace which it was impossible for them to obtain. Many a soul, meanwhile, wholly unable to appreciate the theological subtleties involved, was discouraged and driven back by the rigorism which those harsh views engendered in preachers and directors” before the popes formally condemned this heresy. The Jesuits saved the day by spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart, emphasizing Jesus’ great compassion for humanity.

Rigorist sects pervaded the Traditional movement from its inception. Feeneyism is only one example of the type of despair concerning eternal salvation that such sects spread today, when we are without the hierarchy and must fend for ourselves. The most severe view, i. e., the supposed prohibition against pants, is not even stated in the law and yet these new Jansenists insist on it. This even though we can determine with certitude that there is no specific law against it and a custom exists in the civil community allowing the wearing of pants by women. In way of an ecclesiastical law, Woywod-Smith’s commentary on Can. 1262 cites only the 1930 instruction (AAS 46-18) delivered by Pope Pius XI, which states only that: “A dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers breadth under the pit of the throat; which does not cover the arms at least to the elbows; and scarcely reaches a bit beyond the knees. Furthermore, dresses of transparent materials are improper.” If applied to feminine tops worn with pants, the papal directive is satisfied. These new Jansenists are reading an actual law into a papal directive where it doesn’t exist.

Given the above, LibTrads cannot forbid Catholic women to wear pants unless they wish to defy the teaching of Pope Alexander VIII. Nor should those who dress modestly in slacks and feminine tops complying with the directives of Pope Pius XI, criticize those who choose to dress in skirts and dresses (which those who sometimes wear slacks also wear on any religious occasion!). We no longer can attend the Holy Sacrifice, where we would be bound to wear long dresses or skirts, as well as three-quarter length sleeves and our mantillas. So why are some still pretending these laws, set mainly for Church and school attendance when the Church yet existed, still apply to us? Those advocating this position have presented no proofs whatsoever, as St. Gregory and others advise, to justify this false assumption, an assumption which is actually a rash judgment on their part. “If the fact is doubtful, let gentleness and kindness prevail.” Then why is this gentleness and kindness so noticeably absent even among those praying at home?

The answer lies in the rigoristic mean-spiritedness and harshness that governs Jansenistic sects/cults. Fear is a powerful motivator and an effective slave master. For many years, while trapped in a conclavist sect, I doubted that the man elected was truly Pope. I remained in that sect only because I feared that if I left and was somehow mistaken, I would lose my soul. God was merciful and helped me find the information I needed to arrive at certitude in that matter and escape. Rigorous sects instill fear in their members by fostering scrupulosity — fear of sin where there is none. Using classic cult techniques, they attempt to isolate members and keep them from outside influences, frightening them with the prospect of sinning mortally if they leave or being branded and shunned as pariahs. The Jansenists returned to the discipline and teaching of the early Church to frighten their members into submission, when the Church had long ago softened her position regarding the necessary means to salvation. By doing this they effectively divided Catholics, making it appear that those who were actually devout were lax in their beliefs and headed to hell.

The Enemy’s methods never change. After Vatican 2, Gnostics and Old Catholic heretics, many linked to Jansenist and Gallicanist sects, gathered like vultures to prey on those exiting the Novus Ordo church in order to populate their own ranks. Fear of losing the Mass and Sacraments, of losing the graces they transmit (so typical of Jansenism), keeps most Trads in these sects, and they will not even consider that the Mass and the hierarchy no longer exists because of this pervading fear. Now fear of being “home alone” after leaving Trad sects — isolated and disconnected from other true Catholics — is what currently attracts some who are praying at home to the commune idea and inclusion in a private, elitist forum that censors any who disagree with their “Catholic” beliefs. The leaders of these groups succeed in presenting what they teach as Catholic because they know their members are “wholly unable to appreciate the theological subtleties involved,” just like the Jansenists. That is why I have tried for nearly 35 years to present the true teaching of the Church on these subtleties, taken from the best possible sources available.

Our membership in the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church militant, suffering and triumphant — made possible only by rejecting all heresies and desiring with all of our might and effort to be members — is the only membership that will ever save our souls. No human simulation of that membership could ever suffice. “Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world… Dearly beloved, let us love one another, for charity is of God… Fear is not in charity: but perfect charity casteth out fear, because fear hath pain. And he that feareth, is not perfected in charity. Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us. If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother; he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not? And this commandment we have from God, that he, who loveth God, love also his brother. (1 John 4, vs. 1, 7, 18-21). Condemning others for sins they never committed is not charity. Try the spirits and discern the truth, then love for truth — the only true charity — will cast out fear and allow us to love each other as God intended.

“In things essential, unity; in doubtful, liberty; in all things, charity.”  Thomas a’ Kempis