2-11-2015: The Church Has Not Failed and Cannot Fail
© Copyright 2013, revised 2015; T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)
It has been a matter of debate since before the convening of the Vatican Council what precisely the Church’s definition of itself would be. Unfortunately, however, the council ended before officially determining many of those things about the Church’s true existence, although a draft on the Constitution of the Church gives a preview of what the council fathers taught on this doctrine at that time. A quick read of this draft will show that it does NOT say what Traditionalists claim it says and does not even address the situation in which we find ourselves today. Nor could it possibly have anticipated all the teachings on the Church that would issue after the council’s closing. Commentators on the draft note that many of the topics it addresses can be found in “later papal pronouncements on the nature and properties of the Church,” (“The Church Teaches,” various editors, 1955, p. 87). What these editors fail to point out is that while the draft is not official Church teaching, the papal pronouncements are binding documents of the ordinary magisterium, and these documents would supersede anything said in the draft. A draft document drawn up by bishops and theologians but never formally debated or approved by the pope and promulgated cannot be considered official Church teaching,
In postponing the definition of the Church and focusing on the primacy, we have from Henry Cardinal Manning the reasoning of the council fathers: “The doctrine of [concerning] the Church does not determine the doctrine of the Primacy, but the doctrine of the Primacy does precisely determine the doctrine of the Church,” (“The Vatican Decrees in Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance,” 1875). In other words, the tail does not get to wag the dog. Christ Himself, not the apostles (with or without the laity, “the Church”), conferred the primacy on St. Peter, who was, personally and in his successors, the Vicar of Christ. The entire purpose of the Vatican Council, according to Manning, was to define infallibility in order to stamp out once and for all the pernicious error of Gallicanism in all its many forms. This was stated in the official document released in 1869 just prior to the convening of the Vatican Council. It begins: “Those who maintain that the time is ripe and that such a definition [of infallibility] is opportune justify their opinions on the following reasons: …15. Because the full and final declaration of the Divine authority of the Head of the Church is needed to exclude from the minds of pastors and faithful the political influences which have generated Gallicanism, Imperialism, Regalism and Nationalism, the perennial sources of error, contention and schism,” (Ibid.) But unfortunately these errors did not die with the Council.
Gallicanism still very much alive
The Catholic Encyclopedia under Gallicanism tells us this error was diametrically opposed to the teaching of the “Ultramontanes,” and Cardinal Manning was the quintessential example of this position. Gallicanist teaching “tended chiefly to a restraint of the pope’s authority in the Church in favour of that of the bishops and the temporal ruler…According to the Gallican theory, then, 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…When the Vatican Council opened, in 1869, it had in France [its point of origin] only timid defenders. When that council declared that the pope has in the Church the plenitude of jurisdiction in matters of faith, morals discipline, and administration that his decisions, ex cathedra, are of themselves, and without the assent of the Church, infallible and irreformable, it dealt Gallicanism a mortal blow.” The Vatican Council clearly taught that “Peter alone” received his jurisdiction directly from Christ, (DZ 1822). And further, it taught, the “unity of faith and communion” can be preserved ONLY when the successor of St. Peter rules the others in Christ’s stead.
“So in the Church, He wished pastors and doctors to be ‘even to the consummation of the world,’ (Matt. 28:20). But that the episcopacy itself might be one and undivided, and that the entire multitude of the faithful through priests closely connected with one another might be preserved in the unity of faith and communion, placing the blessed Peter over the other apostles, he established in him the perpetual principle and visible foundation of both unities upon whose strength the eternal temple might be erected…The apostolic primacy [is] the strength and solidarity in which the whole Church consists,” (DZ 1821). Here is where the tenet held by most Traditionalists — that the Church constituted by Christ with the full complement of its hierarchy, at all times, must last unto the consummation — crumbles to the ground. To promote this teaching they wrench its wording directly from a draft of the Constitution of the Church submitted to the Vatican Council by the Council fathers, but never debated or approved. It reads: “The Church of Christ is an everlasting and indefectible society…Consequently His Church, the only society of salvation, will last until the end of the world ever unchangeable and unchanged in…the constitution it received from Christ, Therefore Christ’s Church can never lose its properties and its qualities, its sacred teaching authority, priestly office and governing body…”
The Catholic Encyclopedia teaching is basically identical, and is most likely taken from this same document: “The Church can never undergo any constitutional change, which will make it, as a social organism, something different from what it was originally. It can never become corrupt in faith or in morals; nor can it ever lose the Apostolic hierarchy, or the Sacraments through which Christ communicates grace to men.” It must be remembered that mere men elect the pope, and mere men can err or can become evil, intent on disobeying God. Man ignores and frustrates God’s will on a daily basis. Why would it not be possible that even though Christ “willed” or “wished” that the “episcopacy be one and undivided” and the primacy the “entire strength and solidarity of the Church,” that evil men might not deliberately frustrate His will or wish? God gave man free will, and He will not withdraw it. The bishops and the cardinals betrayed the Church, and this fact cannot be denied. The Church that Christ intended to last until the consummations was the SAME Church He established on earth, not a cheap imitation. We know the Church cannot change her doctrines, and that they must forever be understood in the same sense as they have always been taught, (Pope St. Pius X’s Oath Against Modernism). The canons of the Church governing papal elections must always be followed in electing a pope, and this did not happen after Pope Pius XII’ death, (see—) And here is the part that foils Traditionalism.
So how can the bishops be one and undivided?
Now, can it possibly be, in light of the infallible teaching of the Vatican Council above, that the Church can be said to exist; to maintain “the Apostolic hierarchy” and “its sacred teaching authority, priestly office and governing body,” without a canonically elected pope?! That was the entire purpose of calling the Vatican Council — to define the very fact that all these properties and qualities, its sacred authority and governing body, first in the Roman Pontiff and only then, through him, in the others. It is not that what the draft constitution on the Church or the Catholic Encyclopedia says is untrue, but that it has been taken out of context and craftily redirected by Traditionalists. The “Apostolic hierarchy” cannot exist without its head bishop, the pope. The “sacred teaching authority …and governing body” exists first and primarily in the Roman Pontiff, NOT in the body of bishops. At the time the Vatican Council was held and the Catholic Encyclopedia was written, Pope Pius XII had not yet issued his encyclicals Mystici Corporis Christi and Ad Sinarum Gentum, which teaches:
“12. By virtue of God’s Will, the faithful are divided into two classes: the clergy and the laity. By virtue of the same Will is established the twofold sacred hierarchy, namely, of orders and jurisdiction. Besides – as has also been divinely established – the power of orders (through which the ecclesiastical hierarchy is composed of Bishops, priests, and ministers) comes from receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders. But 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.” Because they did not observe Pope Pius XII’s election law, the cardinals did not validly elect. This is proven in the link listed above regarding John 23rd. A pope not canonically elected is not valid. And no pope whose electors went on to destroy the Church and allow Her doctrine to be interpreted in a different sense could ever be considered valid.
Once the above-mentioned encyclicals were issued, and they both teach the same doctrine, the bishops could no longer maintain, according to the Gallican contention, that they also rule directly by divine right. No; their authority comes only through the Roman Pontiff, and Pope Pius IX taught that “without the Pope there is no Church, and there is no Catholic Society without the Holy See,” (Allocution to religious superiors, June 24, 1872). This is why Msgr. J. C. Fenton, in his commentary on the definition of epsicopal power in Mystici Coproris wrote: “ [Pius XII’s decision] signifies that any bishop not in union with the Holy Father has no authority over the faithful,” (“Episcopal Jurisdiction and the Roman See, American Ecclesiastical Review, January-June, 1949). All the bishops following the election of John 23 accepted him as pope, did not protest the changes, signed documents from the false Vatican 2 council and thereby abandoned any jurisdiction they once possessed by embracing a new, schismatic sect. It was no different than following Henry VIII versus the true pope of that day. Lefebvre and Thuc were no exceptions to this rule as many pretend; they also followed these false popes and signed Vatican 2 documents. They followed the beast in wonder, just as all the rest.
Christ’s promise to St. Peter
It is necessary to explore the source of the confusion on the power of the bishops. First, many do not understand that Christ promised the power of the papacy to St. Peter when He said “Thou are Peter…,” but that the actual grant of this power would not come until after His Resurrection, when the Ascension was near. The Church could not have two heads; Peter could become head only after Christ’s death, even though He was yet with His Apostles in glorified form. Christ predicted that Peter would fall from this promised dignity by denying Him three times (Luke 22: 31-32) and also predicted his restoration. The verse reads: “And the Lord said: ‘Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and thou being once converted, confirm they brethren.’” Rev. Leo Haydock comments: “That the disciple might not lose courage, He promises him pardon before he has committed the crime, and restores him again to his apostolic dignity, saying ‘confirm thy brethren.’” As St. Thomas Aquinas teaches in his catechism, what Christ prays for is always granted; Christ’s promise to Peter alone, that his faith would never failed, must ever be seen as unfailing itself. By virtue of this promise and pardon when he received the keys, following the Resurrection, Peter then was to confirm his brethren, the Apostles. He was to grant them a share in the jurisdiction imparted to him by Christ. Thus must the very words of Christ be seen to confirm pope Pius XII’s decision on the bishops.
Traditionalists are saying, by the very fact that they maintain it to be so, that the Church can indeed exist as promised without Peter, but in this they deny the very faith they pretend to profess. In saying that the governing body of the Church could never cease to exist, they excluded the pope when it is Catholic doctrine that the Church cannot exist without HIM, not the bishops. Whatever bishops exist cannot possess any authority unless they are in union with him and were created in union with him. What Traditionalists must realize, especially sedevacantists, is that by claiming the See is vacant they are admitting that at present the Church cannot function hierarchically. They hesitate to mention the arrival of Antichrist, even though clearly the Antichrist has most likely come and gone in Paul 6, although the system of the beast remains. But the end of the world has not been reached yet, and Holy Scripture tells us that there will definitely be a disastrous disruption in the Church at the time of Antichrist.
Antichrist will crush the saints
“The event may come to pass that as our Divine Lord, after His three years of public ministry were ended, delivered Himself of His own free will into the hands of men, and thereby permitted them to do that which before was impossible, so in His inscrutable wisdom He may deliver over His Vicar upon earth, as He delivered Himself, and that the providential support of the temporal power of the Holy See may be withdrawn when its work is done…when the whole number of those whom He hath chosen to eternal life is filled up. It may be that when that is done, and when the times of Antichrist are come, that He will give over His Vicar upon earth, and His Mystical Body at large, [for a time]…The Church would, as in the beginning, again be made up of members voluntarily uniting themselves together throughout the whole world, having indeed a legal recognition here and there, but wandering up and down the earth, without any contact with the nations of the world as such. The state of the world before Constantine would be reproduced; the Church would descend again, if I may say so, into the Catacombs, and would be hidden from society; it would cease to take its place with the powers of the world, having an existence beside and above them. It would cease to be seen in the council of princes, in the legislatures of states, to have a status in the world; it would no place in the public legislature except to be prohibited,” (p. 55-57).
“The gates of Hell may war against [the Church]; they may strive and wrestle, as they struggle now, with the Vicar of Our Lord; but no one has the power to move Him one step until the hour shall come when the Son of God shall permit, for a time, the powers of evil to prevail. That He will permit it for a time stands in the book of prophecy. But the imperishable Church of God…will live on still through the fires of the times of Antichrist,” (p. 139; Henry Cardinal Manning, “The Temporal Power of the Vicar of Jesus Christ,” 1861).
Louis-Edouard Cardinal Pie of Poitiers, a contemporary of Cardinal Manning’s and a crafter of the Vatican Council proclamation on infallibility wrote: “The Church, though of course still a visible society, will be increasingly reduced to individual and domestic proportions. She who in Her young days cried out: “the place is strait: give me room wherein to dwell,” will see every inch of Her territory under attack. Surrounded on all sides, as the other centuries have made Her great, so the last will strive to crush Her. And finally the Church on earth will undergo a true defeat: ‘…and it was given unto him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.’” (Apocalypse 13:7) The insolence of evil will be at its peak.”
Hilaire Belloc says the same in his, “The Great Heresies”: “The Church will not disappear, for the Church is not of mortal stuff; it is the only institution among men not subject to the universal law of mortality. Therefore we say, not that the Church may be wiped out, but that it may be reduced to a small band almost forgotten amid the vast numbers of its opponents and their contempt of the defeated thing. One of the most intelligent of French Catholics, a converted Jew, has written a work to prove (or suggest) that the first of these two possible issues will be our fate. He envisages the last years of the Church on this earth as lived apart. He sees a Church of the future reduced to very few in numbers and left on one side in the general current of the new Paganism,” (Pope Pius XII calls this resurgence of former errors “the current of Black Paganism”). “He sees a Church of the future within which there will be intensity of devotion, indeed, but that devotion practised by one small body, isolated and forgotten in the midst of its fellowmen.”
Even Pope Pius XII said that, “History gives clear evidence of one thing: the gates of Hell will not prevail,” (Matt. 16: 18). But there is some evidence on the other side too; the gates of hell have had partial successes,” (“Preaching the Word of God,” address given during the Sixth National Week on New Pastoral Methods, Sept. 14, 1956). In an allocution to the cardinals given Dec. 4, 1943, he reminded Catholics that it is true “the Church’s indefectibility is visible, inasmuch as it is demonstrable;” and that this indefectibility evidenced from the past is “the gauge of Her future.” Nevertheless, he cautions, “But if this indefectibility is a matter of experience, it remains, nonetheless, a mystery (emph. the Pope’s); for it cannot be explained naturally, but only by reason of the fact, which is known to us by divine revelation, that Christ who founded the Church is with Her in every trial until the end of the world.” Now if the pope was supposed to exist till the end of time, why did Pius XII not indicate this? And if indefectibility is a mystery, doesn’t this leave some room for its interpretation that we mere mortals cannot fathom?
“The Marian Church remains inviolable and indestructible till the very end of time, for the gates of hell shall not prevail against HER [Mother of Christ and her spouse, the Holy Ghost, united to His Mystical Body, the Church]. God will intervene to sustain her, both with angelic assistance and divine judgments on the Satanic hordes. In her special place prepared by God [in the wilderness] Satan will not enter, nor shall he overcome her…In the greatest sufferings, the Mother of Christ is most fruitful in Christ. It was in the wilderness that Israel as a nation first became the people of God, (Ex. 19: 6). Here in the wilderness, perhaps, Israel shall be readmitted to the people of God and born anew in Christ, to be sustained in life miraculously by God,” (Bernard J. Le Frois, S.V.D., in his “The Woman Clothed with the Sun,” 1954).
“Again, the infallibility of the Church is proved from the necessity of divine faith for salvation. “He that believeth not shall be condemned.” An act of faith is a supernatural act; its certainty is absolute and unconditional. Faith precludes doubt. You may have an opinion, an inclination, a disposition, but can have no faith unless you have absolute certainty. Has God given us any authority upon which to base our belief as certain? If He has, we have an infallible Church. If He has not, we have no saving faith. How could we become perfect, if the Church were liable to teach us untruth, and if we were bound to believe it? How could our Lord say, as He does, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church, if it could be conquered by error? If the Church could teach the world a lie, if it could teach us error, the Devil would laugh: for then he would have gotten God’s instrument of salvation to do his work of damnation. The Church is infallible because the Spirit of truth is with it,” (Father Thomas E. Cox: The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, 1900).
“Belief in the Holy Catholic Church is a solemnly-defined article of the Creed, without which no one can be saved. One, holy, universal, and apostolic, the Church is indefectible because she is the Mystical Body of Christ, against whom the gates of hell have no power whatever to prevail. Her soul is the Spirit of Christ, which is the Holy
Ghost. For the Church to defect, God himself would have to defect,” (Solange Hertz, The Wanderer. This is no endorsement of Hertz or the Wanderer, but her words are true.)
St. Francis de Sales wrote: “That which was written in the Apocalypse, (12:6) that the woman fled into solitude…prove and certify, loudly and clearly, that the Church shall never be in the desert thus hidden until that extremity and for that short time; that she will be seen to flee thither and be seen thence to come forth,” (“The Catholic Controversy,” p. 63-64). And the ante-Nicene Fathers taught in their commentary on Apoc. 6: 14: “…the Church shall be taken away;” and also, on Apoc 15: 1: “…when the Church shall have gone out of the midst.” Only at this time will the Church seem to have disappeared; to be overcome by the enemy. Yet in reality she can never be overcome as we well know, and we believe with the common opinion of theologians and holy people that She will rise again more gloriously than before. This is one of the most onerous of the false miracles performed by Antichrist; that the Church as she always existed should seem to have been destroyed. Yet it is not whether the Church remains alive and visible, but how. It is otherwise than many believe.
For always, as Fr. Le Frois says above, She will be with the Virgin Mary and the Holy Ghost, as foretold by St. John in his Apocalypse, comprising the Mystical Body. This was foreshadowed by Jesus turning over the care of His Mother to St. John on Calvary. It was the Beloved Disciple who would chronicle Our Lady’s flight to the desert, accompanied by the Holy Ghost. Remnant Catholics today are left to cling blindly to the very essence of faith itself; the belief in things unseen, spoken of by St. Paul. Christ consoles them, however, with the words spoken to the apostle St. Thomas the Doubter, who He told following His Resurrection: “Because thou hast seen me Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen and have believed,” (John 20:29).
The Church will be restored
As Rev. Edmund O’Reilly S. J. pointed out in his, “The Relations of the Church to Society — Theological Essays,” there is no assigned theological limit to the length of an interregnum. “That the Church should remain thirty or forty years without a thoroughly ascertained Head and representative of Christ on earth, this would not be [Catholics reason]. Yet it has been, and we have no guarantee that it will not be again…We must not be too ready to pronounce on what God will permit…We, or our successors in future generations, may see stranger evils than have yet been experienced…contingencies regarding the Church, not excluded by the Divine promises, cannot be regarded as practically impossible, just because they would be terrible and distressing.”
Rev. E. S. Berry says the same in his “The Church of Christ”: “It is evident that the Apostolic Succession cannot fail in the Apostolic See so long as the Church Herself continues to exist. For although the See be vacant for many years the Church always retains the right to elect a legitimate successor, who then obtains supreme authority according to the institution of Christ.”
“The pious and learned author, [Fr.] Edward Healy Thompson, says: ‘In respect to the great calamities which [Bd]. Anna Maria Taigi announced as impending over mankind, as well as the splendid triumph which will follow for the Pope and the Church, together with the renovation of the entire world, one may say that such is the general object and the common end of all the prophecies, whether ancient or modern, which bear upon these latter times. Each seer, it is true, has added or dwelt more at large on some special circumstances, but they all agree in two leading features.
‘I. First, they all point to some terrible convulsion, to a revolution springing from most deep-rooted impiety, consisting in a formal opposition to God and His truth, and resulting in the most formidable persecution to which the Church has ever been subject.
‘II. Secondly, they all promise for the same Church a victory more splendid and complete than she has ever achieved here below.
“III. We may add another point in which there is a remarkable agreement in the catena of modern prophecies, and that is the peculiar connection between the fortunes of France and those of the Church and Holy See, and also the large part which that country has still to play in the history of the Church and of the world, and will continue to play to the end of time.’” (“The Christian Trumpet,” compiled by Pellegrino [Gaudentius Rossi], 1800s).
And Mother Mary Potter, in her “To Jesus Through Mary,” (1952) writes: “It is the general opinion of saintly people that after the Church has passed a time of trial and persecutions, there will be a glorious time when infidelity, schism, errors, etc., will have passed away, when ‘all will be good.’ As, unknown to one another, so many holy people concur in this prophetic view of the future, it is useful to think about it and likewise to ask ourselves, is it not probable that this happy time will be in ‘that great age of the Church which is to be the age of Mary’?…Since Mary was the instrument God used to begin His regeneration of the world, it is by the same means He will complete it.” Mother Potter was a nursing sister born in London who died in Rome in 1913. Her cause for Beatification was pending at the death of Pope Pius XII.
We have saints, saintly seers, a pope, the Church Fathers, saintly cardinals and Catholic theologians approved by the Church telling us this. The Church will appear to have been overcome, just as our Lord died on the cross. Then the period in the tomb, roughly corresponding to the present time, followed by the glorious Resurrection. It is the Mystical Body of Christ living out the passion of its Savior, filling up in sufferings what is wanting to Christ’s own Passion. Even if it requires a miracle, Christ will be true to His promises. Either true bishops and priests exist in hiding and He will see that they are released, or Christ will supply them Himself to elect a pope. It is not for us to puzzle out HOW He will fulfill His promises; it is only for us to believe He will do so. This is our dark night of faith: “My God, My God, why has thou forsaken Me?” If the Mass is predicted to cease, as it is by none other than the unanimous opinion of the Church Fathers, then how else was this to occur than that the priests offering it were either all killed and/or imprisoned or fell from grace? Most have assumed the former but why, when the latter is every bit as possible and even predicted by Our Lady, at La Salette and elsewhere?
Holy Scripture tells us: “Strike the shepherd, and the flock will be dispersed.” This prophecy appears in Zach. 13:7 and Matt. 24. The shepherd has been struck and we see the results. The remaining clergy who wished a different outcome should have obeyed Canon Law and Church teaching and rushed to elect a pope as soon as they realized we did not have one, although only bishops could have done this. Where were the shepherds? All abandoned the flock. If any remain they are prevented from acting by their failure to defend the Church and in signing the heretical documents of the false V2 council. If the Church is left during Antichrist’s reign with only the assistance of Our Lady and the Holy Ghost, as indicated in Apoc. 12, then how is it that She still has Traditionalist “priests and bishops”? If you read this ENTIRE site, and I realize that is a difficult task, it becomes clear that these “clergy” have no connection whatsoever to the true Church, and actually deny the necessity of the papacy. They violate many Canon Laws of Divine institution, namely jurisdiction. They are doubtfully valid at best and as such can never be approached for the Sacraments. They are hirelings and wolves in sheep’s clothing, however “holy” they may appear to be. For as Cardinal Pie notes, holiness consists in orthodoxy, not a pious exterior. Orthodox they are not and probably will never be.
As long as the hierarchy is restored to the Church after these terrible times, and immediately proceeds to elect a pope, or a pope comes with the hierarchy, the Church has not failed; the gates of hell have not prevailed. There are prophecies that predict a holy pope in the latter days after a great upheaval. As Christ and His apostles warned us, false christs and antichrists would abound in these days, and they do. As Scripture tells us, the Church will undergo a true defeat; Antichrist will overcome the saints. The fact that sedevacantists refuse to accept this is proof that they have succumbed to the operation of error and believe lies. How did the faithful Jews survive their captivity during the Babylonian exile without the Temple and the Ark? How did they keep their faith? Was their priesthood destroyed? As we read from Scripture: “You are in error because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God,” (Matt. 22:29). The Old Testament prefigured our own time.
The laws are clear concerning the jurisdiction and validity of Traditionalist priests. They do not possess apostolicity because they do not come from the same apostolic line, but from schismatic lines declared by Pope Pius VI and other popes unable to produce priests and bishops who could validly confer the Sacraments. Even if their orders were certainly valid, which they are not, they could not claim apostolicity without jurisdiction. And without a true pope there is no one to supply this jurisdiction. If they claim Christ supplies it they are no better than Protestants, for this was their contention. St. Francis de Sales (The Catholic Controversy) says that only if they proved their mission with miracles could Catholics accept them.
God will not leave us orphans but will restore His Church. In the meantime She remains under the protection of Our Lady and the Holy Ghost; the Mystical Body can never perish. As Pope Pius XII taught in Mystici Corporis Christi: “Our Lord is the Head, the Founder, the Support and the Savior of this Mystical Body….” Christ rules His Church visibly through the Pope, but no one can say he abandons it during an interregnum. Nor can they say that he operates outside the normal channels without the hierarchy to sustain His Church. Pius XII continues: “No act conducive to salvation can be performed unless it proceeds from Him as from its supernatural source. ‘Without Me,”’ He says, ‘you can do nothing.’…When the Sacraments of the Church are administered by external rite, it is He who produces their effect in souls. He nourishes the redeemed with His own flesh and blood…gives increase of grace and prepares future glory for souls and bodies…For in virtue of the juridical mission by which our Divine Redeemer sent His Apostles into the world, as He had been sent by His Father, it is He who through the Church baptizes, teaches, rules looses, binds, offers, sacrifices.” Traditionalists pretend that Christ cannot act without them, when in truth He will not act among those not descended from His Apostles. He has established jurisdiction and tells us through the Vatican Council He will not act outside of it. Instead He will nourish us Himself but only during this short time of persecution until a true Pope rules again, when, for that space of time, “he who withholdeth” is taken out of the way, as St. Paul predicted.
Christ and the pope are one head, but just because the visible body of the Church is temporarily missing does not mean Her soul, the Holy Ghost and Christ Her invisible Head, have departed. This IS denying the teaching that the gates of hell will not prevail, and in essence Traditionalists are asking us to deny it by accepting them as true priests and bishops when all that the Church Christ established on earth teaches says they are not. Mystici Corporis condemns many of their errors. It is up to us to pray for the gift of discernment in order to avoid their contagion and save our souls.