+St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen+
Addressing some concerns
A reader informed me of a Traditionalist piece circulating on the Internet, warning against homealoners who accuse Traditionalist clergy of violating not only canon law, but divine law. The article states that making such accusations requires specialized training in moral theology, canon law, sacramental law, and dogmatic theology, something available only by enrolling in courses at a Catholic seminary or university. It concludes by noting that none of these unnamed homealoners can boast such a background or realize the extent of their vast ignorance regarding these topics. Well please wipe off your shoes, Mr. Traditionalist, because now you have really stepped in it.
Everything on this site comes from the popes themselves and credible and approved theological sources writing before the death of Pope Pius XII. These are the Church’s finest examples of scholarship, men Traditionalists cannot even begin to compete with. The majority of papal decrees available on the Internet are in English and were written by the popes for all the faithful, not just the “illumined” Traditional “hierarchy.” We are assured by Pope St. Pius X that these teachings of the popes on Divine revelation have been “accommodated to the intelligence of all ages and men, even to these times,” (Oath Against the Errors of Modernism, DZ 2145). Not surprisingly, this article did not even bother to list papal sources in its references.
The theological sources these Traditionalists prefer are often taken out of context by their so-called clergy or never brought to the attention of those who follow them. Comically the author lists his “superior sources” at the end of his article, and many of these same sources have been quoted on this website for nearly two decades. He also tries to confuse jurisdiction with “deputation,” a term not even listed in canon law manuals and dictionaries or found in other theological works. As for his “superior knowledge,” imbibed at the knees of St. Pius X Society gurus operating a “seminary” without papal permission, please forgive me while I guffaw into my hanky. Such sophistry is used for one reason only: to confuse and keep in line followers asking serious questions. The author then launches into a pious tirade promoting the devotion of Trad “priests” to their faithful and defending their right to minister to these poor, needy souls.
After falsely accusing homealoners of arguing beside the point in the opening paragraphs, the article proceeds to demonstrate a perfect case of the fallacious argument Petitio principii or begging the question: Assuming as true that which has yet to be proved. Five pages follow that assume all Traditional priests and bishops are validly ordained and consecrated; that they represent the true Church of Christ referred to by the theologians quoted in the article to prove the case and that they possess he jurisdiction necessary to function. This without ever offering one scintilla of proof regarding their validity. Proof of their invalidity has been offered in abundance on this website, papal proofs that cannot be refuted even by pre-V2 theologians. And now the burden of proof rests with them. The proofs presented represent the highest proofs available — those taken from the Roman Pontiffs — establishing a presumption in law. “He who has a presumption of law in his favor is freed from the burden of proof, which is shifted to his opponent; if the latter cannot PROVE that the presumption failed in the case, the judge must render sentence in favor of the one on whose side the presumption stands.” Canon 1812 tells us that acts issuing from the Roman Pontiff and the Roman Curia during the exercise of their office and entered as proof in ecclesiastical courts “prove the facts asserted,” (Can. 1816), and force the judge to pronounce in favor of the party producing the document, (commentary by Revs. Woywod-Smith).
As was made perfectly clear in the blog post on epikeia, Bd. Pope Innocent XI (DZ 1151) forbids the use of probable opinions in the reception of the Sacraments. Rev. Dominic Prummer writes: “A doubtful law has no binding force whenever the doubt concerns the lawfulness of an act AND NOT ITS VALIDITY… All modern theologians are agreed this principle cannot be applied regarding:” the validity of the Sacraments, something which is absolutely necessary for salvation or the established right of a third party. This would include the Sacrament of Orders and Penance. Traditionalists can scarcely range themselves against the unanimous opinion of theologians, quoting them as they do. And should they attempt this, they must deal not with homealoners, but with Pope Pius IX:
“It is not sufficient for learned Catholics to accept and revere the aforesaid dogmas of the Church…It is also necessary to subject themselves to the decisions pertaining to doctrine which are issued by the Pontifical Congregations, and also to those forms of doctrine which are held by the common and constant consent of Catholics as theological truths and conclusions, so certain that opinions opposed to these same forms of doctrine, although they cannot be called heretical, nevertheless deserve some other censure” (Tuas Libentur, 1863: DZ 1684). Having addressed this once again, we now move on to this week’s topic.
Are true bishops out there?
Can valid and licit bishops still be alive who could elect a true pope and restore the Church? It’s possible, but not likely. In some of the early articles on this site, I assumed there were such bishops, but as the years go by it is less and less likely they are still alive, if they ever indeed did exist. Those who insist there must still be valid clergy alive do so on the premise that the Church as it was constituted by Christ must last until the consummation. To deny this, they maintain, is to deny the Church’s indefectibility.
Christ “wished the pastors and Doctors to be ‘even unto the consummation’” (DZ 1821), but He also gave man free will and the hierarchy failed miserably in its duty to the flock. When Pope Pius XII taught that the bishops can receive their jurisdiction only through his hands, and do not possess it as a direct grant from Christ, it appears that he likewise resolved this controversy about whether the bishops could retain their powers “unto the consummation” without being in communion with the pope. For the prior teaching held by the Gallicanists was fashioned after their belief that the bishops were necessary somehow to the pope in declaring infallible pronouncements. (In truth the early Gallicanists believed the bishops were, as a body, the pope’s superiors, since, in democratic fashion, they represented the entire body of the faithful.) And in the final analysis, those who claim Traditionalist bishops are the fulfillment of this teaching are making a laughingstock of themselves, for Christ constituted the Church with Peter as its head and we have no pope!
Those attending the Vatican Council in 1869 expressed this belief (that the Church as Christ constituted it would last unto the consummation) in council documents on the Constitution of the Church which were never discussed or voted upon. It appears that in many works prior to Vatican 2, theologians relied on this unofficial and unadopted teaching of the Church to determine the nature of indefectibility. The unofficial Vatican Council document states that “Christ’s Church can never lose its properties and qualities, its sacred teaching authority, priestly office or governing body…” (The Church Teaches, Jesuits of St. Mary’s College, St. Mary’s Kansas, 1955). Surely Henry Cardinal Manning would not have agreed, since he wrote before the council that St. Paul’s “He who withholdeth” (2 Thess. 2: 6-7) is the Pope, and he would be “taken out of the way” during the time of Antichrist. In defining the true nature of the authority received by the bishops, Pope Pius XII made it clear that without a true pope, they essentially cannot claim to function. To believe otherwise is a Gallicanist heresy. Catholic prophecy suggests there could still be true bishops alive, but Catholic prophecy is not equal to the teaching of the Church.
Even if bishops were ordained as infants in Russia, as some historians have asserted, or were secretly consecrated using extraordinary faculties, how would this ever be able to be proven with the necessary degree of certainty? Those consecrated as infants might not even know it themselves. Even if they had been given perpetual extraordinary faculties — and Pope Pius XII’s infallible papal election constitution, Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS), does not withdraw such faculties during an interregnum — how would one ever prove that those claiming to possess them actually did possess them, when such documents, especially today, could so easily be forged (as it appears was the case with Abp. Thuc)? We must trust in God to provide these proofs and if they surface, He will either see to it that these credentials are undeniably authenticated, or will gift their bearers with miracles, as St. Francis de Sales requires. We cannot assume these hidden clerics even exist, far less supply anything when we cannot verify their certain existence or confirm these facts. As Abp. Cicognani was quoted in a previous post, “Epikeia has no place in invalidating laws, for the common good demands certitude concerning the validity of acts.” The safer course means just that; one does not assume the extraordinary and errs on the side of caution.
What happens in problematic interregna
The hierarchy is a whole, with the pope at its head. Without the pope it cannot do much, as St. Robert Bellarmine teaches. If such bishops and senior priests physically exist, their only function would be to elect a true pope.Concerning the duty of bishops to elect a true pope in such circumstances, Bellarmine writes: “If he [the pope] refuses to resign, it becomes the duty of the bishops to adjust the matter, for although the bishops without the pope cannot define dogmas nor make laws for the universal Church, they can and ought to decide, when occasion demands, who is the legitimate pope; and if the matter be doubtful, they should provide for the Church by having a legitimate and undoubted pastor elected. That is what the Council of Constance rightly did,” (Fr. Berry, The Church of Christ, De concilio, ii, 19). And in another part of his work Bellarmine wrote: “In no case can a true and perfect council be convoked to define matters of faith without the authority of a Sovereign Pontiff. But in both cases (of an heretical or insane pope) an imperfect council can be convened to give the Church a Chief, but without a Chief, many matters cannot possibly be defined,” (De Concilis, L. I., C. 14). The Council of Constance determined that all three popes were doubtful, clearing the way for the cardinals to elect. In our case, there are no cardinals OR known bishops presiding. Only a miracle could make them known to us and secure their apostolicity.
Theologians, writing on the various possibilities that might face the Church, say that when the regular electors are not available, the devolution principle comes into play under Canon 178. This means that the right to election falls on various bodies in descending order. The theologian Sylvester Ferraris believed that in the event of the Cardinals all being dead, the election of a pope would devolve upon a general council. Cardinal Cajetan believed that the task fell to the clergy of the universal Church. The Catholic Encyclopedia says that it could not fall upon a general council, but would fall to the remaining clergy of Rome, agreeing with what St. Bellarmine says above regarding the inability to call a true and perfect council. Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis also teaches that during an interregnum, the cardinals have no authority to change Church laws or teaching, but must refer all matters save a set few governing the election to a future pope.
Rev. Anscar Parsons, in his dissertation, Canonical Elections (Catholic University of America Press, 1939) notes that papal election law is based on the canon laws governing ecclesiastical elections. Whenever there seems to be no law governing a certain matter, Canon 18 refers those seeking answers to parallel passages of the Code and the mind of the lawgiver. Canon 160 governs papal elections. Parallel passages of the Code on ecclesiastical elections, which must be consulted when the law is not clear, require that an election can only be delayed when over half of the electors are impeded from electing, which is the case in this situation, and in such a case: “The election can be indefinitely prolonged… [However] The impediments to action must be extraordinary, such as war, or pestilence” (Parsons). Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis allows only 18 days to complete a papal election following the death of the pope. In ecclesiastical elections, only three months is granted to complete the election, and if those who are obligated to hold the election do not act within that time, then they lose the right to elect. “If the three months expire without action…all right to election is lost and the appointment devolves” Parsons writes. This would apply to the cardinals, but the election could only devolve as far as the bishops of the universal Church, for no one but certainly valid and licit clergy currently have the right under law to elect.
In his The Origins of the Great Western Schism, Walter Ullmann relates that Cardinal Zabarella, writing at the time of the Western Schism proposed that in the event of two claimants to the papal see, only a Council composed of the most capable and senior in position can decide who is truly pope. In trying to resolve the Western Schism, Zabarella deplored the “incalculable damage…inflicted upon the Faith and the Church if the latter were in the hands of an heretical pope,” something we have witnessed in our day. Ullmann reports that Zabarella favored the calling of a Council by the Emperor and presumed that “good clerics and loyal believers and followers of the Church” would support such a council; and they did. Indeed the Emperor Sigismund insisted on the calling of Constance, following Zabarella’s reasoned line of thinking. Cardinal Zabarella further wrote: “It is the people themselves who have to summon the neighboring bishops for special purposes if the properly instituted bishop neglects his duty of summoning his colleagues,” (Ibid. Ullmann; emph. mine). In a case such as ours, Zabarella says, “good clerics and loyal believers and followers of the Church” would need to resolve the situation, and God would have to intervene,since the Church, ‘cannot not be.’”
So it was the bishops who failed the faithful, for how could the people compel them to vote when they refused to even consider the See of Rome vacant?! Some hold that after the death of a pope bishops do not lose jurisdiction, but how is this possible when they follow a false pope? This would constitute schism and schism results in excommunication and loss of jurisdiction. Yes, such a bishop, not compromised in the manner of Lefebvre and Thuc, could validly consecrate priests, but this has already been discussed in previous website articles and blog pieces. Bishops receive jurisdiction directly from the Roman Pontiff prior to their consecration; this is what the papal mandate is based upon. This is called ordinary jurisdiction, exercised from a specific office, and it can be directly exercised only on subjects in a certain area. Bishops following Vatican 2 lost their offices as proven below in Pope Paul IV’s bull. And because bishops following the death of Pope Pius XII acknowledged a false pope, they could not be abjured from their schism nor exercise any jurisdiction once received.
Situation in the 1960s and Cum ex Apostolatus Officio
According to an article in the New York Times Nov. 23, 1970, Paul 6 forbade Cardinals over 80 years of age to participate in the election of a new Pope. The prohibition went into effect Jan. 1, 1971. The article notes: “The reform… increases the chances for the next Pope to be non‐Italian and, possibly, a progressive. A total of 25 cardinals who were 80 years of age by Jan. 1, 1971 were eliminated from the College of Cardinals by the new rule. Eleven of them were Italians, and the article states: “Most of these and of the 14 non‐Italian Cardinals in the group are noted conservatives” (https://www.nytimes.com/1970/11/24/archives/voting-for-popes-is-barred-to-cardinals-over-80-prelates-over-80.html). They remained members of the Sacred College of Cardinals, but generally it was understood they would not be candidates for papal election.
Those cardinals over 80 furloughed by Paul 6 in 1970 could have gathered together, decided he and Roncalli were invalidly elected and elected a true pope, but this did not happen. After three months of having been officially cut loose and supposedly better able to protest the last two “papacies,” the false V2 council and the NOM, they also lost any right to elect. The bishops who did not agree with Vatican 2 and saw what was happening in the Church and that these cardinals, even after being disrespected by Paul 6 refused to act, were then obligated to gather and elect a true pope, but this did not happen either; all of them were corrupt.
In the previous blog on doubtful papal elections, the Bull of Pope Paul IV, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio was quoted to show that there is no time limit for departing from false popes and disavowing their elections. This bull falls under Can. 6 §4, which governs the entire code regarding doubts of law. It reads: “In case of doubt whether some provision of the Canons differs from the old law, one must adhere to the old law.” In this case the doubt regards heresy in one appearing to be pope, a case never encountered since the definition of the Vatican Council on infallibility in 1870. The last anti-pope recorded in Church history reigned in the 15th century. The Vatican Council forever defined that a true pope could never be a heretic and only barely conceded he could possible fall into heresy as a private person (although this has never occurred in Church history). Cum ex… is the only known document that deals with both heresy in general and the case of a pope appearing to be a heretic as pope in particular. It also is the parent law of nearly all the laws regarding heresy that are cited in the Code. Traditionalists and others insist this bull was abrogated by the 1917 Code but this claim was long ago refuted in the site article Cum ex…, Infallible and Retained in the Code.
There is no record anywhere of any abrogation of Cum ex…, most certainly not in the 1917 Code. The Latin version of the Code, Codex Iuris Canonici by Peter Cardinal Gasparri (Newman Press, 1957) makes several references to Cum ex… in the footnotes. He lists not only Can. 188 §4 but also several other Canons, including Can.167 §3, 2198, 2209 no. 7, 2264, 2314, 2316 and 2317 — all of which deal with heresy, apostasy and schism — and there may be others, (actual photographic copies of this listing are available upon request). Rev. Amleto Cicognani comments: “Under the canons are placed footnotes or notes…first from the ‘Codicis Iuris Canonici,’ the Constitutions of Popes, from the Sacred Congregations, and from Liturgical Books…In the Code there are nearly 26,000 citations of the old law. Of these, 8,400 are from Gratian’s Decretum; about 1,200 from Ecumenical Councils; about 4,000 from Papal Constitutions and about 11,200 from the Sacred Congregations and 800 from liturgical books.” Cicognani further notes that Cardinal Gasparri had already prepared some six volumes of the footnotes under the title Codicis Iuris Canonici Fontes and more volumes were in preparation.
“Surely this is a very eloquent reply to those who think that since the Code the old laws of the Church have lost all utility, and the history of their sources is become meaningless …Outside the Code there still remains in force…the old written law, contained (at least implicitly) in the Code,” along with several other laws, customs and privileges listed by Cicognani. He continues: “In a commentary on the Canons the footnotes must never be neglected, lest that occur of which Quintilian spoke: ‘the pediments are viewed, the foundations are hidden,’” (Canon Law, Dolphin Press 1935). Rev. Nicholas Neuberger comments in his Canon 6 dissertation: “When it is doubtful whether the prescription of a Canon disagrees with the old, the latter must be upheld. In doubt, the presumption is in favor of the former legislation. The presumption is merely in favor of a more seasoned (or “certain”) rule of interpretation.” And whether it is the old law, Cum ex…, or the new, the results are the same: the Vatican 2 era bishops cannot escape censure.
Bishops excommunicated under Cum ex… and the 1917 Code
The bishops who failed to fulfill their duties following Vatican 2, conceding to the celebration of the “new mass” and acknowledging John 23rd and Paul 6 as true popes, incurred communicatio in sacris and infamy of law along with the censure for heresy and/or schism under Can. 2314. Canon 2314 reads:
“All apostates from the Christian faith and each and every heretic or schismatic incur the following penalties: (1) ipso facto excommunication; (2) If they have been admonished and do not repent, they shall be deprived of any benefice, dignity, pension, office or other position which they may hold in the Church; they shall be declared infamous and, if they are clerics, they shall, after renewed admonition, be deposed; (3) If they have joined a non-Catholic sect or have publicly adhered to it, they incur INFAMY ipso facto, and, if they are clerics and the admonition to repent has been fruitless, they shall be degraded,” (and here is made reference to Can. 188§4). Lay persons also can incur infamy of law. There is also Can. 2264 to consider, a canon which has Cum ex… as a footnote: “Acts of jurisdiction by an excommunicated person are illicit and if a condemnatory or declaratory sentence has been issued against him, his acts of jurisdiction are invalid, without prejudice to the rule of Can. 2261 §2. Nor Can. 2261 §2 mention notorious heresy, apostasy or schism, which are not considered under this canon. Can. 2265 also says that those who are excommunicated — for any reason, not just apostasy, heresy or schism — cannot be ordained.
If the old law, Cum ex…, is referenced regarding whether these declarations must be made in order to “activate” the excommunications, Pope Paul IV teaches: “…Each and every one of their statements, deeds, enactments, and administrative acts, of any kind, and any result thereof whatsoever, shall be without force and shall confer no legality or right on anyone. The persons themselves so promoted and elevated shall, ipso facto and without need for any further declaration, be deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and power…” The old law is now the law governing their actions, because there is no other law that adequately covers this complicated situation. Canon 6 §4 states “in doubt… one must adhere to the old law.” Revs. Woywod-Smith lay out the effects of infamy of law under Can. 2294 §1:
“A person who has incurred infamy of law is not only irregular, as declared by Can. 984 n. 5, but in addition, he is incapacitated from obtaining ecclesiastical benefices, pensions, offices and dignities, from performing legal ecclesiastical acts, from discharging any ecclesiastical right or duty, and must be restrained from the exercise of sacred functions of the ministry.” The authors continue: “The person who has incurred…an infamy of law…cannot validly obtain ecclesiastical benefices, pensions, offices and dignities, nor can he validly exercise the rights connected with the same, nor perform a valid, legal ecclesiastical act,” (all emph. within quotes in this article is the author’s). When imposed in the form of a penalty attached to law, this sentence takes place immediately. Infamy is an additional penalty separate from excommunication.
As explained in Rev. Eric Mackenzie’s’ The Delict of Heresy (Catholic University of America,1932 ; pgs. 69 and 72): “The joining of the non-Catholic sect may follow after the externalization of heretical error as a consequence, or may itself be the first internal act which manifests the internal sin of heresy…As a penalty for his aggravated delict, he incurs juridical infamy ipso facto. This is quite independent of infamy of fact and may be incurred without the loss of reputation in the judgment of the general public.” Revs. Woywod-Smith comment on Can. 731: “All canonists and moralists agree that those who are heretics or schismatics and know they are wrong cannot be given the Sacraments of the Church unless they renounce their errors and are reconciled with the Church. Numerous decrees of the Holy Office put this point beyond controversy.”
So did these bishops KNOW they were wrong? Ignorance of the laws (and teachings) of the Church is no excuse for those expected to be the successors of the apostles. If say only five bishops, or 10 worldwide had gathered at an incomplete or imperfect council together with a few senior priests, after seeing the default of the cardinals, an election could have been held. All were summoned by some of the faithful in 1989-90 and none responded. Many of them by that time were dead, but surely some were still alive. The vast majority of the bishops at Vatican 2, including Lefebvre and Thuc, signed all the false council documents. Only a handful were left who could have credibly separated themselves and held such an election. This is confirmed by the vote tally obtained from the Vatican Secret Archives, although those providing this tally admit it may not be accurate. Still, even if the opposing votes are reduced to one-third of what was reported, plenty of bishops remained who could have posited such an election.
If the same bishops consistently voted against the V2 propositions, how could it be said they didn’t know the council was wrong or at the very least, fatally flawed? If lay people with limited resources could discover the alternative in such a case, what excuse could they possibly offer that would justify their actions? Cum ex Apostolatus Officio was first unearthed in the mid-1970s but was roundly ignored and is still demonized as an archaic, non-infallible document to this day; had it been acknowledged and followed it would have resolved everything. How have these bishops answered to God for betraying the sheep entrusted to them? We cannot fool ourselves into thinking there were bishops who opposed V2 and fulfilled their obligations when these same men turned around and, in the end, remained within the V2 church. Force or fear could not excuse them, nor could ignorance of Church law and teaching excuse them. If they were so cowardly as to desert the flock entrusted to them they were nothing but wolves posing as shepherds. They had one duty to perform and they failed to carry it out: the canonical election of a Roman Pontiff.
If certain bishops still had extraordinary faculties to consecrate other bishops without the papal mandate they could have done this, but only in order to create just enough bishops to accomplish a papal election. The fact is, none of them with such faculties stepped up to fulfill their obligations and declare the See vacant after the false V2 council ended. Some will say Thuc did this, but then he signed himself in his declaration as the Bishop of Bulla Regiae and this was a title granted him by Paul 6! It easily demonstrates he did not understand the dynamics of the crisis in the Church or the consequences of what he was declaring. These bishops with extraordinary faculties would not have been justified in trying to operate on their own without electing a true pope because this is an explicit denial of the necessity of the papacy and constitutes heresy. As St. Robert Bellarmine and Cardinal Zabarella explained above, an imperfect council could have been convened by valid bishops and domestic prelates (monsignors) to elect a true pope; it was not. The faithful should have risen up and demanded action; they did not. Instead they made excuses for the very pastors who deserted them, and some maintain these men can be excused on the grounds of force and fear. This will be treated below.
Force and fear in the commission of delicts
In 1944, Rev. Alan McCoy O.F.M., J.C.L. wrote a dissertation, “Force and Fear in Relation to Delictual Imputability and Penal Responsibility,” (Catholic University of America). Under the general heading of “Delictual Acts Interdicted by Divine Authority,” he writes: “When an act is intrinsically evil, or involves contempt of the faith or of ecclesiastical authority, or works to the detriment of souls…imputability is not taken away in such cases since in these instances the observance of the law still urges under the pain of sin, even though the most severe personal hardship or danger, or also the greatest private harm might come from such observance. And the reason for this is that some spiritual good, either of God or of the Church or of individual souls is involved…There is consequently always grave guilt in the deliberate transgression of such a law.”
As Rev. William Conway also notes in his Problems in Canon Law, grave inconvenience which excuses from the observance of a law applies only to ecclesiastical laws; McCoy speaks here of violations of Divine law. And McCoy duly notes that not even the gravest personal hardship or greatest private harm excuses from observing the law. Here we find ourselves back at the absolute obligation to follow the safer course where Divine law is concerned. In the violation of the Divine law, positive or natural, only grave fear externally manifested to witnesses would excuse from incurring the censure attached to the violation of such laws, (1937 decision by the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code). Most authors agree it does not excuse from the sin, however, and in our case there is no indication that there was ever a question of grave fear in these cases; so the censure still binds. While it applies to delictual acts that are intrinsically evil, it does not excuse from those acts which, “involve contempt of the Faith or work to the public harm of souls,” (Ibid).
On page 92 McCoy discusses what the Code considers to be acts involving contempt of the faith. He identifies the titles in the Code containing these acts as XI and XII of the fifth book, concerning “Delicts Against the Faith and Unity of the Church and Delicts Against Religion.” These include heresy, apostasy and schism; communication in sacred rites with heretics; usurpation of priestly functions and sacrilege, also any recourse to the civil power from the acts of the Apostolic See and interference with the liberty and rights of the Church, among others. These last two offenses must be considered because both Pope Pius XII’s papal election law and the Church’s rights have been ignored. As mentioned elsewhere, Catholics are bound by Can. 1325 to profess their faith in the face of persecution, and this means they are never to resort to silence, subterfuge or indicate by their manner of acting that they are denying their faith. The above acts in bold outline precisely the delicts committed by Vatican 2 bishops. These acts show a particular contempt for the laws and rights of the papacy as well as the faithful. This undeniably works to the public harm of every soul on earth.
On page 97, under the heading “Acts that Work to the Detriment of Souls,” McCoy writes: “These are all acts which draw people away from the faith or from the practice of Christian morals and thus expose them to the danger of eternal damnation…Those acts which, by their nature, work to the detriment of souls are listed particularly in Titles XVI and XVII of the fifth book of the Code…bearing the headings: ‘Offenses Committed in the Administration or Reception of Orders or the Other Sacraments’ and ‘Offenses Against the Obligations Proper to the Clerical and Religious State.’” Among the offenses McCoy lists that work TO THE DETRIMENT OF SOULS are: “…the administration of Sacraments to those who are forbidden to receive them…the consecration of a bishop without a papal mandate…the reception of Orders from unworthy prelates…the negligence of a pastor in the care of souls.” So in these last two paragraphs we have covered both the excommunications of Vatican 2 bishops and all Traditionalist wannabe clerics. So much for Traditionalists’ solicitous concern for souls.
Canon 2229 §3, (3) states: “Grave fear does not exempt from penalties latae sententiae if the offense entails contempt of the faith, or of ecclesiastical authority, or public injury to souls.” Both NO and Traditionalist “bishops” are guilty of this contempt as well as detriment to the souls they involve in sacrilege and cooperation in sin. How can these times in which we live be anything but the Great Apostasy foretold by St. Paul? Strike the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered,” (Zach. 13:7). Without the pope, there IS no Church.
More information on bishops with extraordinary faculties
In the series of blogs published over the past few months, we have presented proofs to dispel any doubts remaining regarding the validity of so-called Traditionalist clergy, as well as the inability of any bishops emerging from the false Vatican 2 council to function validly. We have provided not only solid motives but irrefutable proofs for doubting the validity of these men. We believe that every possible argument offered by Traditionalists has been addressed and soundly dismissed by presenting papal and/or conciliar teaching or other binding proofs. Eager to believe that somehow, without our knowledge, the Church has survived somewhere, Catacomb Catholics are clinging to the hope that they do indeed exist and will eventually surface. They base this on belief in the Church’s indefectibility – that the hierarchy must exist until the very end. While the Church has unofficially taught (that the Church as She was constituted by Christ will last until the consummation) in Vatican Council documents, this proposition was never defined as infallible. And it fails to apply to these times, for if the Church as it was constituted was intended to last until the consummation, where is the pope? As Pope Pius IX and others teach, there can be no Church without the pope.
Then there is the matter of doubt. Many define doubt as going back and forth. Doubts are defined from theological sources as follows:
“Doubt can be positive or negative… Doubt is envisaged from the aspect of motive. Doubt is negative when the mind is practically bereft of reasons to support either of two contradictory propositions. It is positive when motives for doubting are present. Thus, positive doubt implies fairly equal reasons for affirming and for denying assent to either proposition, or, as St. Thomas remarked: ‘There is an apparent equality of motives moving the mind to either consideration.’ In such a situation, the mind is incapable of forming a judgment, as the motives more or less mutually destroy their respective persuasive force” (Doubt in Canon Law, Roger Viau, S.T.L, J.C.L, Catholic University of America Press, 1954; p. 5). So Catholics who believe they are in doubt should ask themselves if such doubt cannot be finally resolved, if one set of arguments for any given situation are much stronger than those for the other side and appear to remove the doubt.
Doubt as described here pretty much applies to everything we see before us today, at least regarding Traditionalists. It is assumed that most Traditionalists hold the papal see vacant at this point anyway, or if they don’t then they should. Holding the See vacant, according to infallible papal teaching, excludes anyone from acting until a true pope is elected, and this has been true for several centuries. Why would anyone believe bishops could function independently then, contrary to the constant teaching of the continual magisterium? This is where the question of bishops with extraordinary faculties emerges, and more needs to be said about this subject.
The following is taken from an article first published to Catacomb Catholics on this site:
“An account of one consecration printed in the magazine Greek Catholic Tradition (February 2008) explains the ordination/consecration circumstances during the years of persecution. “In those times it was established as follows: after being ordained the priest swore on the Bible not to tell anyone who ordained him, when and where. (Note: Ordination or consecration was secret and there were no documents issued for reasons of safety.) “Special faculties had been given to Czech bishop Stepan Trochta of Litomerice by the Vatican in 1949 to allow the creation of one secret episcopal successor for each diocese in case of the arrest of the bishops. According to the most probable version of events, before his expulsion from Czechoslovakia in 1949 the Vatican’s charge d’affaires in Prague, Msgr. Gennaro Verolino, was actively engaged in passing on these faculties. ‘Naturally it did not escape the secret police’s attention’, Stehle reports, ‘that Monsignor Verolino, a peripatetic Neapolitan, was travelling around the country visiting the bishops and vesting them with those powers to establish a substitute and underground hierarchy,’” (this was relayed to the magazine article’s author by an underground bishop).
“It seems that with their consecration the new secret bishops received personal
episcopal status, which would become effective for diocesan functions only on the arrest of the incumbent bishop. Although solid documentation on this permission is not available, it seems that each bishop could consecrate one secret bishop, and these bishops in turn could ordain priests without notifying the state or the Vatican, although this second generation of bishops was not empowered to consecrate further bishops. Church spokesmen claim that these special faculties, given by Pope Pius XII, expired in the mid-1950s, and definitely by the time of Pius XII’s death in October 1958. Supporters of the later secret consecrations claim that these faculties were never revoked.”
(Comment: But why would Pope Pius XII grant only temporary faculties to those in a relatively permanent situation? Also, in the Ukraine the situation was much worse than other places, making it almost impossible for the Church to function. But indications that this jurisdiction was not assumed to have ceased later, once bishops emerged from the underground is reflected in a comment made by Felix Corley: “In addition, parallel consecrations [by both underground bishops and the NO] at a time when the church was able to exist legally, albeit under strict state control, caused confusion and doubt among believers. In the case of completely illegal churches, such as the Eastern Rite Church in Ukraine and Romania, for example, or the Vatican-loyal church in China, secret ordinations and consecrations were a necessity and continued much later, although ¬— from the1970s at least — with closer control from the Vatican.”)
“As a result of these faculties, two bishops were consecrated in Slovakia in 1951,
Pavol Hnilica SJ and Jan Korec SJY. ‘In Bratislava on 24 August 1951, recalled
Korec, ‘I was consecrated as a clandestine bishop. Bishop Hnilica had to leave the country and I took up my duties …The police had known since 1951 that I had been secretly consecrated and that, along with other activities, I was ordaining priests. I had already received the instruction direct from Rome that there should always be two bishops – uno nascosto, uno attivo’ [one hidden, one active].” (Religion, State and Society Vol. 21, No. 2, 1993, The Secret Clergy in Communist Czechoslovakia by Felix Corley). And then there is this most recent article at https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2017/05/19/catholics-in-communist-czechoslovakia-a-story-of-persecution-and-perseverance/ from April 24:
CWR: What was the relationship between the underground Church and the above-ground Church [in Czechoslovakia] during communism – and then after 1989?
Dr. Radomír Malý: During the communist era, both structures largely intertwined and cooperated. Before being imprisoned, the bishops gained from the Vatican in 1949 the so-called Mexican faculty, allowing for the secret consecration of bishops without the consent of the Holy See. This was called the “underground” church, these newly consecrated bishops, and other holy priests and bishops, some of whom worked officially as priests at parishes and concealed their episcopal consecrations. Because of a lack of sufficient oversight, some men who lacked proper spiritual maturity penetrated into these “underground” structures. Because it was not certain whether Holy Orders had been properly conferred, after 1989 the bishops, in accordance with the Vatican, demanded these secretly ordained priests to undergo “Ordination sub conditione,” i.e. a new celebration of priestly ordination, in case the ordination under communism had been done improperly. Most of them accepted this and many of them still abound in pastoral work, but some refused and to the present day carry out pastoral work “guerrilla-style.”
Dr. Malý: It is very disconcerting that the Vatican now recognizes the government’s favored bishops of the schismatic, so-called “Patriotic Catholic Church,” who were consecrated without the consent of the Holy See. This is a blow below the belt to the clandestine Catholic Church which is loyal to Rome – the bishops, priests and believers who are victims in communist prisons. Note well, for about 20 years this so-called “Patriotic Catholic Church,” despite Catholic doctrine, has supported the “one child policy” of the Chinese government, which established mandatory abortion during the second pregnancy. The current flirtation by the Vatican with Chinese communism is a scandal.
In the first set of quotes from Greek Catholic Tradition, it is clear that a) No solid documentation exists regarding the nature of these consecrations or those receiving them. b) Ordination or consecration was secret and there were no documents issued for reasons of safety. c) It is not known whether the second generation of bishops was ever activated. d) If activated, it is not known who they are, or if they are still alive and e) even if still alive, this second generation was not allowed to create additional bishops. Pope Pius XII is clear, however, in Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, that such faculties, if they still existed, did not expire on the death of the pope. Here we see how a plethora of doubts would prevent any rational person from seeking such bishops. And these doubts are only multiplied in the Catholic World Report article. There Dr. Maly indicates that the priestly and episcopal ranks were somehow compromised by unfit candidates who may never have become priests; and that even Novus Ordo officials requested they be ordained sub conditione (conditionally).
As mentioned before, it will require a miracle to resolve this matter of the hierarchy and whether it yet exists or not. Even during a lengthy interregnum, the potential to elect a true pope always remains and can always be exercised, providing the rules of papal election are followed as closely as possible, given the circumstances, and clergy still exist to elect. If the clergy are not identifiable, only a miracle will make them known to the faithful. We should pray for that miracle, if it be God’s holy will.