+Feast of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church+
Some remarks on last week’s blog regarding obedience to the pope need to be addressed before proceeding to this week’s installment.
With God, with the Holy Father, we are supposed to behave as little children who love their parents and will believe whatever they teach them and do whatever they ask of them. But since the era of the false popes, Catholics have become bitter, antagonistic toward all authority and have even set themselves up as judges of legitimate popes. They believe they can disagree with what the popes say and decide for themselves what to accept or reject. Unquestioning obedience is something totally foreign and repulsive to them, (except when it comes to Traditionalist clergy delivering the goods) because liberalism has warped the framework of their Catholic Faith. When some Traditionalist “priest” tells his followers that that they cannot marry validly unless he marries them, or cannot baptize their newborn themselves because only the priest may baptize him/her, these followers are docile enough, and never question him; they believe him and are eager to obey, while disobeying the Church. For what he is telling them is utterly false.
Pope Benedict XIV taught that Catholics could only receive the Sacraments from tolerated heretics when “(1) A most grave and urgent cause compels a Catholic to do so; (2) The heretics and schismatics who are to administer the Sacraments are validly ordained; (3) No external profession of false doctrine is involved; (4) No scandal is given.” In his Communication in Religious Worship with Non-Catholics (Catholic University of America Press, Sacred Theology Dissertation, 1943), Rev. John Bancroft, C.S.S.R., J.C.B, S.T.L then notes that, “Some theologians have been liberal in applying the constitution Ad Evitanda,” adding, however, that: “All took care not to allow any violation of the divine law.” He quotes Abp. Kenrick as follows: “It is not allowed to communicate in divinis with heretics or schismatics; for although some theologians, interpreting the constitution of Martin V generously, taught it was licit at times, all admit it is wrong whenever it carries with it the profession of a false dogma, or the recognition of a usurped office: which generally happens.” Both apply to Traditionalists, who have, indeed, violated divine law.
All baptisms by Catholic adults when no priest is available are valid as long as the intention to baptize the child into the Catholic Church exists and the proper form is used. This is a matter of Catholic teaching and Canon Law and has been for centuries. According to Bancroft, the approved theologian Lemkuhl believes that heretic, apostate and schismatic priests are the equivalent of vitandi, and Bancroft quotes a decision of the Holy See that seems to indicate that even when there is a question of Baptism by either lay Catholics or even lay non-Catholics versus a non-Catholic priest, the lay Catholics or non-Catholics are to be preferred! He concludes: “What has been said has referred to the administration of Baptism by a [valdily ordained] non-Catholic priest. The doctrine applies a fortiori to a non-Catholic [non-ordained] minister. He has no consecration to act as a minister of the Sacraments [so is] really only a layman.”
As for marriage, today the emergency laws instituted for China apply to us who have no priests, a law that no Traditionalist of any stripe has ever dared mention to the faithful. This despite the Church’s express intent that the faithful be made aware of it in emergency situations. This law was enacted in January 1949 by the Holy Office and it lifted all the previous dispensations needed for marriage: “The faithful are freed not only from the impediments of nonage and disparity of cult, but from all impediments of ecclesiastical law and from all canonical form.” And canonical form means any need of a priest to witness the marriage, (which is primarily a contract between the two parties) as Can. 1098 explains. Only “the impediment of sacred order of the priesthood and the impediment of affinity in the direct line when the marriage was consummated” were retained. The only caution given was that those marrying non-Catholics and pagans had to be morally certain that the children would be raised Catholic. The instruction ended with this caveat: “All these matters should be brought to the attention of the faithful so that they may provide for the validity of marriages and be freed from anxiety of consciences,” (Canon Law Digest, Vol. III; Can. 1067).
The Sacred Congregation clarified the status of this instruction in December 1949, stating the following: “The Decree of the Holy Office of 27 Jan., 1949, has the nature of a declarative interpretation and hence can be applied retroactively and in other territories only to the extent that it deals with prescriptions of positive law [the laws of the popes and the laws of God as applied to certain cases], which, in view of extraordinary circumstances in the territory, cannot be observed…” And Catholics, Pope Pius IX teaches in Tuas Libentur, are bound to obey the Sacred Congregations — NOT Traditionalists with questionably valid orders. In the decree Lamentabili, Pope St. Pius X also condemned this proposition: “They are to be considered free of all blame who consider of no account the reprobations published by the Sacred Congregation of the Index or by other Sacred Roman Congregations,” (DZ 2008; Can. 7). Traditionalists pretend to have unlimited power over their followers, but they cannot and do not possess jurisdiction outside the approval of a canonically elected pope or by any grant of Our Lord, as they claim.
All those bishops who remained in the Vatican 2 church following Pope Pius XII’s death abandoned their faith and lostall jurisdiction, including Thuc, Lefebvre and any and all other bishops issuing from them or from some other pretended source. For these last two celebrated the Novus Ordo Missae, recognized the false popes and signed Vatican 2 documents, thereby committing schism and communicatio in sacris and forfeiting all jurisdiction. And no, bishops CANNOT act independently of the pope — even in an emergency situation, as will be seen below — precisely because they DO NOT receive their jurisdiction immediately from Christ, but only through the Roman Pontiff. Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton explained the necessity of obedience even to non-infallible decrees for salvation in the last blog post, also previous ones. He addresses the issue of episcopal jurisdiction below.
Pope Pius XII decided the matter, once and for all, regarding how bishops receive their jurisdiction. Msgr. Fenton writes in a 1949 issue of AER that up until the time of the issuance of Pope Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis Christi: “[The] judgment about the … doctrinal status of the thesis that the residential bishops of the Catholic Church receive their power of jurisdiction directly from the Roman Pontiff rather than immediately from Our Lord… [was] considered as more probable and even as a [common opinion].” But in 1947 Msgr. Alfredo Ottaviani published a document which stated that, “From now on it is to be held as entirely certain by reason of the words of the present Holy Father… in the encyclical Mystici Corporis… Msgr. Ottaviani assumes rightly that the authoritative statement of this thesis in the papal letter raised this teaching from the status of a more probable doctrine to that of a perfectly certain proposition.” In other words, Pope Pius XII decided this issue definitively and all debate on it is now closed. Fenton continues: “Where a question of grave moment has been disputed among Catholics and where the Holy Father intervenes to settle this question once and for all, there is clearly a definition, a decision which all Catholics are bound to accept as always true even though no solemn terminology be employed” (American Ecclesiastical Review, September 1949, “The Doctrinal Authority of the Papal Encyclicals, Pt. II”).
The basis for this commentary is found in Pope Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis Christi, written in 1943: “Bishops must be considered as the more illustrious members of the Universal Church, for they are united by a very special bond to the divine Head of the whole Body and so are rightly called ‘principal parts of the members of the Lord’; moreover, as far as his own diocese is concerned, each one as a true Shepherd feeds the flock entrusted to him and rules it in the name of Christ. Yet in exercising this office they are not altogether independent, but are subordinate to the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff, ALTHOUGH ENJOYING THE ORDINARY POWER OF JURISDICTION WHICH THEY RECEIVE DIRECTLY FROM THE SAME SUPREME PONTIFF.” This is reaffirmed in Pope Pius XII’s Ad sinarum gentum, 1954: “The power of jurisdiction, which is conferred upon the Supreme Pontiff directly by divine right, flows to the Bishops by the same right, but only through the Successor of St. Peter, to whom not only the simple faithful, but even all the Bishops must be constantly subject, and to whom they must be bound by obedience and with the bond of unity.” And this clarifies and strengthens the utterance by the Pius XII in Mystici Corporis, for it leaves no doubt whatsoever that whatever jurisdiction bishops possess comes only through the Roman Pontiff.
St. Francis de Sales taught against the Protestants in his Catholic Controversy: “Your party have taken ground elsewhere than in the ordinary mission, and have said that they were sent extraordinarily by God because the ordinary mission has been ruined and abolished, with the true Church itself, under the tyranny of Antichrist. This is their most safe refuge, which since it is common to all sorts of heretics…First I say that no one should allege an extraordinary mission unless he prove it by miracles…Where should we be if this extraordinary mission was to be accepted without proof? Would it not be a cloak for all sorts of reveries? Arius, Marcion, Montanus, Messalius — could they not be received into this dignity of reformers, by swearing the same oath? Never was anyone extraordinarily sent unless he brought this letter of credit from the divine Majesty. “Moses was sent immediately by God to govern the people of Israel…He asked for signs and patents of his commission; God found this request good [and] gave him three sorts of prodigies and marvels…If they then allege extraordinary mission, let them show us some extraordinary works, otherwise we are not obliged to believe them…The mission of St. John the Baptist…was it not authenticated by his conception, his nativity and by that miraculous life of his, to which Our Lord gave such excellent testimony?
“But as to the Apostles — who does not know the miracles they did and the great number of them? Never must an extraordinary mission be received when disowned by the ordinary authority which is in the Church of Our Lord. For (1) we are obliged to obey our ordinary pastors under pain of being heathens and publicans, (Matt. 18:17); how then can we place ourselves under other discipline than theirs? Extraordinaries would come in vain, since we should be obliged to refuse to listen to them, in the case that they were, as I have said, disowned by the ordinaries. (2) God is not the author of dissension, but of union and peace, (1Cor. 14:33), principally among His disciples and Church ministers, as Our Lord clearly shows in the holy prayer He made to His Father in the last days of His mortal life, (John 17). “How then should he authorize two sorts of pastors, the one extraordinary the other ordinary? …There would then be two different churches, which is contrary to the most pure word of Our Lord, who has but one spouse, one sole dove …Therefore to try and make in the Church this division of ordinary and extraordinary is to ruin and destroy it…An extraordinary vocation is never legitimate where it is disproved of by the ordinary…Where will you ever show me a legitimate extraordinary vocation which has not been received by the ordinary authority? …The vocation of pastors and Church rulers must be made visibly” (end of St. Francis de Sales quote). And there is no visible Roman Pontiff at this time to make them.
Pope Leo XIII taught in Satis Cognitum: “Holy Writ teaches that the keys to the kingdom of Heaven were given to Peter alone. There is nothing to show that the Apostles received Supreme jurisdiction without Peter and against Peter. Such power they certainly did not receive from Jesus Christ.” Rev. E. S. Berry reiterates Pope Leo’s teaching on page 19 of his The Church of Christ: “THERE IS NOT THE SLIGHTEST INTIMATION IN SCRIPTURE OR TRADITION THAT CHRIST EVER PROMISED TO CONFER AUTHORITY DIRECTLY UPON THE MINISTERS OF THE CHURCH…” and Berry’s work was written in the early 20th century, before Pope Pius XII even reigned.
In his Christ’s Kingdom on Earth (1891), Rev. Joseph Meagher wrote: “While any bishop can administer Holy Orders, only the head of the Church can allow the exercise of these orders…The orders given by the bishops of the schismatic Greeks and Orientals, who reject the authority of the Pope, are valid but forbidden…Those bishops not in union with the Vicar of Christ are not the right bishops. Even if they have received valid episcopal consecration, the people must not receive the sacraments from their hands, for they do not belong to the body of Christ. Only in the regular way, and according to the laws, Christ saves souls, for as the soul works only by and through the organs of the body, thus Christ saves only by the organs of the Church in his mystic body. At the consecration of a bishop, the letters of the Bishop of Rome are read before the bishops impose their hands on the candidate.”
To this author’s knowledge, there has never been an attempt by any so-called Traditionalist “bishops” or their apologists to explain their functions under any purported jurisdiction granted them directly by Christ Himself. The reason for this is that in light of the above they cannot in any way justify functioning independent of the Roman Pontiff and still recognize Pope Pius XII as a true pope. They quote as proofs for their stance De Ecclesia Christi, by Rev. Timothy Zapelena, S.J., who teaches that even if all the Western Schism popes had been antipopes, God would have supplied directly as much as was necessary, but this is only a baseless conjecture on Zapalena’s part; he fails to supply any proofs for his statement. The date for his work is also not listed anywhere on the Internet, so it is not known if he wrote before the issuance of Mystici Corporis Christi. Likewise William Strojie, writing in the 1980s stated as follows: “Certainly those acts of a pope which deviate from Catholic traditional teachings and liturgy cannot be validated. But St. Robert Bellarmine, writing not long after Pope Paul IV issued his Bull on this subject, taught that Christ, the invisible head of the Church, might supply for the jurisdiction of even a notorious heretical pope until deposed from office — this to maintain the juridical order necessary for the Church’s existence. I do not see how it could be otherwise, unless we have come near the end of the Church’s existence.”
No source for the quote is given and no papal proofs were ever offered to support it. Strojie fails to explain how one could grant a man never elected pope in the first place, according to Pope Paul IV’s teaching, and who, Paul IV says, has no power to appoint offices or possesses even quasi legitimacy, such jurisdiction. Paul IV’s bull, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio further states regarding such a man never elected to office: “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.” And certainly Pope Paul IV’s bull is above and beyond anything Bellarmine later taught. So Strojie believes Our Lord is going to supply jurisdiction to such a man and thereby override the teaching of Pope Paul IV, to whom He gave the power to bind and loose?! Pope Pius XII forbade the use of such conjectures mentioned by Zapalena and Strojie in his infallible encyclical Humani Generis. Their writings are now a moot point, given his papal decision.
This is nothing less than a revival of the Gallicanist and Old Catholic heresies. The 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia states that according to the Gallicanists, “…the papal primacy was limited, first, by the temporal power of princes, which, by the Divine will, was inviolable; secondly by the authority of the general council and that of the bishops, who alone could, by their assent, give to his decrees that infallible authority which, of themselves, they lacked; lastly, by the canons and customs of particular Churches, which the pope was bound to take into account when he exercised his authority.” One of the proponents of the Gallicanist heresy, Marsilius of Padua wrote the following:
“As to the Church, it has no visible head. St. Peter, he goes on, received no more power or authority than the other Apostles, and it is uncertain that he ever came to Rome. The pope has only the power of convoking an ecumenical council which is superior to him. His decrees are not binding; he can impose on the people only what the general council has decided and interpreted… This is clearly the crudest concept of the pagan empire, an heretical assault on the Church’s constitution, and a shameless denial of the rights of the sovereign pontiff” (Catholic Encyclopedia under Marsilius of Padua). Here we clearly see the power of the bishops held as supreme over that of the Roman Pontiff. While Traditionalists may not teach outright that their bishops are superior to the pope, their manner of acting speaks so loudly there is no need for them to actually teach it. They hold his decrees binding only in certain rare ex cathedra pronouncements, or when it suits them. They behave as though no visible head is necessary for the Church and proceed without him.
The Old Catholic heresy was born when bishops who voted against the Vatican Council definition on infallibility refused to accept it and accepted authority instead from their German rulers. This was exposed and condemned by Pope Pius IX in Graves ac diurtunae and Etsi Multa, and by his predecessors Pope Pius VI and Pope Pius VII during a similar period in France. Henry Cardinal Manning in his work The Vatican Decrees and Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance describes a situation in Germany very much like that we experienced in this country following Vatican 2. There it was the government (here it was Masonic forces aided by the government) who imported foreign priests and recruited apostates and those expelled from the priesthood to replace the true priests they forced from their dioceses. In one region, the Bernese Jura, more than 60,0000 Catholics were deprived of “all religious help,” Manning reported. “The Catholics of Jura, being deprived of their pastors, met in farms or outhouses [outbuildings] for common worship and yet even this liberty is not always conceded to them. It is only in profound secret they can receive the Sacraments or hear Mass, and they even bury their own dead without the assistance of a priest.”
The fact that many of those early Traditional “priests” could not be found in the Official Catholic Directory should have warned Catholics that their origins were other than what they presented to their followers. And it is very telling that Traditionalists will not mention these previous episodes of a similar nature, such as those in Germany and other countries where Catholics refused to follow so-called Catholic clergy, not sent by the Pope, in explaining our current situation. Not even in the face of papal decisions to the contrary will they desist from posing as true clergy able to validly offer Mass and Sacraments. It therefore falls on Catholics to ask themselves: “Am I endangering my salvation by following these priests and bishops in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs? Do I really wish to save my soul? Is it possible we are beginning to see the plagues and other heavenly punishments predicted for the end of days, and might I not perish suddenly? Am I really certain that what I believe today is what the Church has always taught, and that if I should die, I will die within the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church?!
The answer to this question is yes, you are endangering your salvation, for none of these men teach in the name of Jesus Christ if they do not follow the teachings of the successors of St. Peter, Christ’s Vicar on earth. These Trad priests and bishops maintain they must function to guarantee the salvation of souls, but instead they are guaranteeing only their damnation! One cannot obey both the popes of the past and Traditionalists, who invalidly function outside of the required communion with a true Roman Pontiff. What do Catholics think is meant when the Popes use the term “We” in their documents? They are speaking in the name of Christ, hence the capitalization! The continual function of Traditionalists outside the direction of a true Pontiff and the total lack of respect and reverence for even true popes that has come into play over the past 75 years has destroyed any inclination Catholics ever had to obey and not question. Read the above-mentioned documents of Pope Pius IX. Obey Divine Revelation, Christ’s true vicars, the ecumenical councils approved by the popes, the decisions handed down by the Sacred Congregations and the Holy Office, also Canon Law. Because nothing is as important as your salvation and those who do not do God’s signified will shall perish.
In our next installment we shall see how another Gallicanist trait is exhibited by Traditionalists in their preference of ancient customs over the decrees of the Roman Pontiffs.