+St. John Eudes+
Site revision nearly complete!
The website revision begun a few months ago is nearing completion and hopefully readers are better able to navigate the site and find the articles they are looking for. Please note that we have three new “position paper” articles on the front page that express the results of further research into Traditionalist claims to possess valid orders and to be able to invoke epikeia to serve as a substitute for jurisdiction. This research easily demonstrates that according to the teachings of the Church, there is NO substitute for jurisdiction during an interregnum. It also examines the types of intention required to validly administer and receive episcopal orders and reveals a fatal flaw among those receiving them from Traditional pseudo-bishops without the papal mandate. This effectively puts an end to all Traditionalist pretensions to possess any connection whatsoever with the Church as She existed under Pope Pius XII.
As promised last week, we will now explain how the doctrinal minimalism that downplayed the authority of encyclicals and other papal documents for decades first took shape in the Church. This malaise, which first developed between the end of the Vatican Council and the death of Pope Pius XII, is explained below.
From the top
If readers wonder why Traditionalist pseudo-clergy pretend to be the continuation of Christ’s Church minus Her head and how such an outrageous imposture could ever be foisted on those calling themselves Catholics, there is an answer. This divergence in the Church began long ago with the Gallicanists, beginning in the 14th century during the Western Schism. This group, advocating for “reform,” attempted to reduce the pope to an equal member of the apostolic college, acting as only a ministerial head, and teaching that an ecumenical council of bishops was superior to the pope. Other heretics during the same time period (the Western Schism) advocated for a democratic Church (John of Paris), and Hus and Wycliffe also were condemned by the Church for anti-papal heresies. This later resulted in a broader-based Conciliar theory, which held the cardinals superior to the Pope during a doubtful election and, according to some more radical Conciliarists, that the Church could even exist without him.
According to one work published by Sheed and Ward in 1963, based on an Anglican work printed in 1913: “Anglicans have claimed that their own ecclesiology… lies fully in the tradition of the Conciliar movement, ‘…[on] the principles set out in the 15th century at Constance and at Basle… Roughly speaking, the ideas of [the Catholic theologian Jean] Gerson and his congeners were those of a reformed Episcopal communion’ (Figgis).” (Adrian Hastings, One and Apostolic, p. 187-88). One modern Protestant author has also written that “…Luther was familiar with the writings of the conciliarists (Gallicanists) Pierre d’Ailly, Jean Gerson, and Wessel Gansfort, and …Luther takes up some of the major themes of these writers into his own theology,” (Tim Enloe, Martin Luther and the Quest for Conciliar Reform of the Church). D’Ailly and Gerson were the ones who held that the bishops receive their jurisdiction immediately from Our Lord, and all bishops, therefore, are equal in power to the Roman Pontiff.
Henry Cardinal Manning in his The True Story of the Vatican Council, lists as one of the reasons for calling the council as the clarification of the decrees of the Council of Florence on the papacy, which were then being “…Misinterpreted by Gallicans and by Anglicans.” So if anyone really wishes to know the history of Gallicanism as “a Protestant heresy,” there it is. For Cardinal Manning’s summary of Gallicanism up to the time of the Vatican Council, read my previous blog here https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/gallicanism-protestantism-and-immediate-jurisdiction/. Its development after the Vatican Council, however, is what is interesting. Below I have excerpted pages from a longer article to provide some background.
Gallicanism and the Vatican Council
The current that fed the beliefs predominating after Vatican 2 issued directly from the one and only Vatican Council which ended in 1870. Henry Cardinal Manning believed that “current” began with an actual conspiracy hatched by Gallicanist sympathizers and the Old Catholics. He describes this conspiracy in his work written after the close of the Council, (The Vatican Decrees and Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance, p. 11, 115-116) as the “Old Catholic” conspiracy, clearly seen today among Traditionalists. He also identifies it as “The Protestant church… [which] has become a political agent, a tool of the state…in the hands of Liberals, to fight Catholicism” (p. 115). He then goes on to explain how this conspiracy was planned out, even before the Council convened. “Before the Vatican Council assembled, there was an opposition systematically organized to resist it [by the Old Catholics]…” Stanley Jaki, in his 1996 introduction for the release of an exact reproduction of Manning’s The True Story of the Vatican Council, relates that Cardinal Manning, although he could not include it in his work, believed that circumstances surrounding the Vatican Council amounted to “a plain conspiracy to make Pius IX the [Pope] Honorius of the 19th century.” Today these same tactics are used to cast Pope Pius XII in the role of Honorius in the 20th century.
In 1870, 533 bishops voted to approve the definition of infallibility; only two opposed it, and they later accepted the definition following the vote at the feet of Pope Pius IX. Earlier, 60 left to avoid voting on the definition at all. Many of them would later accept the definition. A total of 1,000 bishops had been summoned but only about 686 bishops attended at one time or another during the council. Another 56 participating in the voting included cardinals and superiors of religious orders. However, doubts were raised following the council on the actual meaning of the interpretation and application of the terms surrounding the definition. This occurred because both sides emerged from the convocation claiming vindication, according to Jaki. On one side ranged the inopportunists opposed to the definition (Gallicanists and others), and on the other the opportunists (Ultramontanes) led by Manning, who favored it. One of the council’s primary goals was to extinguish the last vestiges of Gallicanism, which continued to be taught, particularly at the Old Sorbonne in Paris, even after Pope Alexander VIII voided the four Gallican Articles in 1690 (DZ 1322-1326).
A good number of bishops still holding this error or sympathizing with it came to the council. The main fear among both churchmen and those in government positions was that the definition would not be politically expedient and would spark fears the pope’s infallibility would extend to the temporal power. Opponents of the definition pretended the papal prerogative could then be used to depose government officials. Cardinal Manning’s work Civil Allegiance… actually was a response to Prime Minister Gladstone of Great Britain on this very issue. The cardinal handily demonstrated that there was no possibility Pope Pius IX or any of his successors could use the pope’s temporal claims in this way, unless the world would once again convert to Catholicism.
Manning quoted the following from Pope Pius IX’s discourse of July 20, 1871 to a literary society in Rome to quell his opponents:
“Among all other errors, that is malicious above all which would attribute (to the infallibility of the pope) the right of deposing sovereigns, and of absolving people from the obligation of allegiance… But altogether different are the conditions of the present time from the conditions of those ages; and malice alone can confound things so diverse, that is to say, the infallible judgement in respect to truths of Divine Revelation with the right which the Popes exercised in virtue of their common authority when the common good demanded it….Some would have me interpret and explain even more fully the definition of the Council. I will not do it. It is clear in itself and has no need of other comments and explanations. Whosoever reads that Decree with a dispassionate mind has its true sense easily and obviously before him.”
But that was only one of several “doubts” the Council definition supposedly left unanswered. The rest would be revealed in a work by a Benedictine writing a history of the Vatican Council 60 years later.
In his work The Vatican Council, Dom Cuthburt Butler, writing in 1930, raises several other “doubts” regarding the Council definitions First, he acknowledges Ultramontanism officially became “Catholic” with the definition of infallibility. But then he differentiates from the Ultramontane doctrine of Bellarmine, which he says was upheld by the definition, and the “new Ultramontanism,” advocated by the English convert Wilfrid Ward, Henry Cardinal Manning, Louis Veuillot, Father Frederick Faber, and also Monsignor J.C. Fenton and Father Ronald Knox (in the 20th century), as well as others. Secondly, he proceeds to paint Manning’s party as going “…far beyond the positions laid down by Bellarmine, which had become the accepted theses of the Ultramontane theological schools as to what were to be accepted as infallible pronouncements of the pope or infallible writings of the Church” (p. 73, Vol. I). He also writes that Ward, though a “man of great intellectual power and a profound thinker,” was “prone to adopt positions of extreme intransigence” (p. 72-73, 75). He had little use for Veuillot, styling him as “a journalist without theological training [who] strained the idea of the pope’s infallibility beyond all theological bounds” (p. 75). So the enemy’s tactics have not changed one iota; they are still trying to discredit journalists to this day!
But what was the difference between the two Ultramontanist schools? Namely this, that Bellarmine wrote long before the council convened, and the dogma of infallibility had developed considerably during that time. According to Butler, Bellarmine’s teaching on infallibility ran as follows:
- The government of the Church is not a democracy or an aristocracy, but a monarchy.
- Christ made St. Peter the monarchical head of the Church and the Roman Bishop has succeeded not only to the See, but to the primacy and prerogatives of Peter, and this by divine ordinance — iure divino, not merely iure ecclesiastico.
- Christ is the Supreme Head of the Church; the Roman Pontiff the ministerial Head under Him on earth.
- The Keys signify supreme power over the whole Church, so the Pope has absolute power to rule the Church and can promulgate laws binding in conscience.
Butler also lists the teachings of Bellarmine on calling a General Council stating that a pope is above the council, the council is not authoritative unless the pope approves its acts, and no one including a general council can preside as judge over the pope. This could easily have been demonstrated merely by publishing Pope Pius II’s Execrabili, superior in every way to Bellarmine’s observations. But Butler’s sympathies “lay with those…who sided very much with the inopportunists” (Jaki’s introduction to the 1996 reprint of Manning’s True Story…, p. xi). And Jaki identifies these mainly as the British aristocracy and Henry Cardinal Newman, who felt the definition was ill-advised and ill-timed. Butler also quotes Bellarmine’s teaching that should a pope become a formal heretic he would, by that very fact, cease to be Pope and could be judged and declared deposed by the Church, (since he automatically resigns from any and all offices per Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, the Fontes for Canon 188 no. 4).
The “new” Ultramontanism
But infallibility was not yet defined when Bellarmine made this statement; he would need to have explained that his application of formal heresy could apply only to one who was a heretic prior to election and therefore was never validly elected. Such a heresy would be already present in some identifiable form but would only become manifest following ascension to the papal throne. Pope Paul IV upholds papal infallibility as understood today in his Cum ex Apostolatus Officio when he mentions the heresy as being incurred prior to election, even though it “becomes clear” only following said election. The necessity of canonical election as expressed in Denzinger’s (DZ 674) is an infallible teaching, as is Pope Pius XII’s papal election constitution, Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis. This can mean only that without such canonical process, no true pontiff can presume to be validly elected.
Of what does Butler’s “new” Ultramontanism consist? It is mainly taken from Wilfred Ward, who held that:
- encyclicals and other papal documents can be considered infallible and are binding in conscience;
- documents of the pontifical congregations, if published on papal authority, are likewise binding; • ex cathedra pronouncements are not rare but are frequent;
- no restrictions should be placed by theologians on what constitutes an ex cathedra pronouncement;
- that such a pronouncement need not comply with any formula dictated by theologians and any man of good will and ordinary intelligence can discern when a teaching of the popes’ is infallible.
And every one of these points above was confirmed as doctrinal teaching by Pope Pius XII in Humani generis.
By the time the council adjourned, a host of other questions remained unanswered, including the question of discipline listed as infallible along with faith and morals in the council documents (DZ 1831). Following the Council, Pope Pius IX left no doubt regarding the infallibility of disciplinary decrees. This came in a letter addressed to the universal Church and amounted to a decision regarding the questions surrounding disciplinary acts; so there can be no doubt that it was to be taken as an infallible pronouncement, despite the restricted view of the Vatican Council definition held by Butler and his friends.
And some of those friends included the Secretary General of the Council, Bishop Josef Fessler of Austria, (favored by Butler’s friend Bishop Ullathorne, an inopportunist, p. 91, Vol. I); also Council consultant, Professor Joseph Hergenrother, later named a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. Fessler held Bellarmine-style Ultramontane “tendencies” according to Butler. Hergenrother was an Ultramontane of the Bellarmine school, not a “new” Ultramontane such as Manning. It would be these two men who initially declared Cum ex… only a disciplinary decree, denying the infallibility of past bulls and decrees of the popes. (More about Fessler and Hergenrother below.) Pope Pius IX and his successors may have exercised their infallibility to strike down the errors surrounding the Vatican Council definitions, but that would not deter those wishing to carry Gallicanism and Liberalism into the 20th century.
Butler’s objections countered by the popes
Quartus Supra, dealing with the Armenians:
“As Our predecessor Pius VI warned in his Apostolic letter condemning the civil constitution of the clergy in France, discipline is often so closely related to doctrine and has such a great influence on its preservation and its purity, that the sacred councils have not hesitated to cut off from the Church by their anathema those who have infringed its discipline… But the neo-schismatics have gone further, since ‘every schism fabricates a heresy for itself to justify its withdrawal from the Church.’ Indeed, they have even accused this Apostolic See as well, as if We had exceeded the limits of Our power in commanding that certain points of discipline were to be observed…Nor can the Eastern Churches preserve communion and unity of faith with Us without being subject to the Apostolic power in matters of discipline. Now such teaching is not only heretical after the definitions and declarations of the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican on the nature and reasons for the primacy of the Sovereign Pontiff, but it has always been considered to be such and has been abhorred by the Catholic Church. It is for this reason that the bishops of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, openly declared the supreme authority of the Apostolic See in their proceedings; then they humbly requested Our predecessor, St. Leo, to sanction and confirm their decrees, even those which concerned discipline.”
Three years after writing Quartus Supra, we also hear the following from Pope Pius IX in Quae in patriarchatu: “In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema.
Already in 1863, six years prior to the council, Pope Pius IX had resolved the issue of the pontifical congregations, writing in Tuas Libentur that Catholics must: “…subject themselves to the decisions pertaining to doctrine which are issued by the Pontifical Congregations and also 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 theological censure, (DZ 1684, Canon 1324).
And Cardinal Manning reports in his True Story… that in signing the petition to call the council, the bishops had asked that it be determined whether past acts were infallible as well (p. 113). And he affirms in his Civil Allegiance… that these were indeed so affirmed. So we can discount Butler’s allegations they had no intention of determining past acts infallible. Fortunately, Pope Pius XII cleared away the seeds of dissension sown by Butler and others dissatisfied with the definition. This occurred first in his encyclicals Mystici Coproris and Ad sinarum gentum. There he laid to rest a long-running controversy about the nature of the jurisdiction of bishops. The Gallicanists taught, as related by Butler, quoting the Maurist Benedictine Dom Jamin who wrote in 1768 (p. 30-31), that:
“Infallibility in dogmatic judgments has been given only to the body of bishops. No particular bishop, even the bishop of Rome, may attribute to himself this glorious privilege. Jesus Christ spoke to all the Apostles in common, and in their persons to all the bishops, the promise “I am with you all days, even to the consummation…” To maintain that the right of judging causes which concern the faith appertains only to the Pope or to the Holy See, and that they ought to be carried there in the first instance, is a pretension unknown to all antiquity and contrary to the practice of the Church. Six years after the close of the Vatican Council Hergenrother wrote, in his The Catholic Church and Christian State (1876):
“The doctrine of the power of the bishops needed no definition, being previously doubted by no one,” (p. 32). And yet Henry Cardinal Manning, Hergenrother’s contemporary, had already written his work The Pastoral Office, very carefully examining, from the best theological minds of the times, the arguments pro, for bishops as subject to the pope, and con, as possessing ordinary jurisdiction directly from Christ, with the former winning out even then. Bishop Joseph Fessler in his work The True and False Infallibility of the Popes (1875) likewise defends the rights of bishops against the assertions of the Old Catholic Dr. Schulte. Their beliefs even then were contrary to the Vatican Council teaching, which clearly states that “to Peter alone, before the other Apostles, whether individually or all together, was confided the true and proper primacy of jurisdiction by Christ” (DZ 1822). Of course no papal decision was denied here, as Pope Pius XII did not end the controversy until the 1940s, when he taught:
“Bishops must be considered as the more illustrious members of the Universal Church …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 (Mystici Corporis Christi, 1943). And in Ad sinarum gentum (1954): “But the power of jurisdiction, which is conferred upon the Supreme Pontiff directly by divine rights, 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.”
Nevertheless, until a decision was made on this teaching, many theologians seemed to believe that the bishops possessed ordinary jurisdiction directly from Our Lord. Why else would Pope Pius XII have addressed it? And even after the definition on the bishops, Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton notes that the tendency of such theologians was to behave as though the definition could be revised in the future. He describes this error as doctrinal minimalism, condemned in Humani Generis. So clearly Gallicanism survived even the Vatican Council, intended from its inception to stomp out its traces forever. And in 1950, Humani generis would firmly establish as Catholic doctrine the “neo-Ultramontane” stance denigrated by Butler. But Traditionalists, the new Gallicanists, pointedly ignore Humani generis and papal teaching in general, just as their predecessors once did.
Where we are today
So where is all of this today? Well it appears we are seeing the survival of the Old Catholic heresy expressed in Traditionalism, (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/traditionalisms-true-orientation-explained/). Butler’s “old” Ultramontanes put the reform principles of the Gallicanists to work and founded Modernism, setting up a figurehead “pope” in the Vatican we know to be the Antichrist. The collegiality articles approved at the false Vatican 2 council were the work of Yves Congar, who actively lobbied for increased lay involvement on the Church long before Roncalli threw open the council windows. The following information comes from a reader who found it on a Traditionalist website:
“Many progressivist theologians [believe] the very essence of the Papacy is collegial, that is, not coming from only one man as the successor of Peter, but rather from the College of Bishops as a successor of the College of Apostles. Following the council, Congar wrote a book in which he states: “There is the thesis that affirms the power in the Church, even the power of the Pope, would always be collegial. The Pope would always act as ‘head of the College.’ He could not act by his own power as ‘Vicar of Christ’ (I place the last words between quotation marks because I am not comfortable with this expression, which I personally avoid using)…” !!!
An English Novus Ordo author, Paul Lash, observes: “Only 37 years after the promulgation of Lumen gentium, the Church would be far more rigorously and monolithically controlled by Pope and Curia than at any time in its history. The Church has paid a heavy price for John Paul II’s lack of interest in administration.” In noting this he suggests that collegiality be expanded. A Novus Ordo bishop, BC Butler relates that the false pope Francis is considering a greater collegiality and expanded role for NO bishops. So the reign of the bishops over the pope has been a long time aborning. Soon even the idea that the false church needs a pope will disappear into the mist of history with the advent of the coming world church.
In the meantime, this poor contingent of pray-at-home Catholics supporting Cardinal Manning’s version of Ultramontanism, the only genuine brand which received the blessing of Pope Pius IX, will continue to promote obedience and reverence for the Roman Pontiffs placed over Christ’s Church as the sole possessor of the primacy and all jurisdiction, honoring their teachings and decrees until the very end.