Material-Formal Hypothesis Condemned As Heresy
The failure of theologians and bishops, following the close of the Vatican Council in 1870, to properly accept and propagate the true meaning of infallibility as it was defined by the Council left Catholics without a sure guide following the death of Pope Pius XII. Many believed that documents of the Ordinary magisterium were not infallible or were less binding than “ex cathedra” pronouncements. One well-known British priest even openly taught this heresy. Using this reasoning, dissident Catholics then dismissed the Bull of Pope Paul IV and other papal documents that would have led them out of the darkness that was Vatican 2.
Most recently, this erroneous thinking has even been used to dismiss Pope Pius XII’s entirely orthodox teaching on the possible salvation of some of those who die without being members of the Church. It is time the true teachings of the Church on this matter were made known and the source of these errors exposed. Catholics must at some point realize fully and completely that the only reliable source of truth throughout the ages are the decrees of the Roman Pontiffs and the Ecumenical Councils, just as they are written. As Humani Generis itself states, the Teaching Authority of the Church alone can decide what belongs to the Deposit of Faith, and then only in that sense that has always been taught by the Church.
© Copyright 2019, 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.)
- Strojie was an early proponent of the material-formal theory, the belief that the V2 popes never taught heresy ex cathedra, could reform themselves and continue to rule the Church.
- He believed Christ Himself could supply jurisdiction to a false pope, even if he was unquestionably the Antichrist, based on an opinion put forth by St. Robert Bellarmine.
- He denied the applicability of Pope Paul IV’s Bull, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio.
- He did not believe one could claim Paul 6’s election was invalid based on Canon Law.
- He questioned the teaching of Canon Law regarding heresy, at least as it was understood by Traditionalists.
- He tended to prefer the opinions of theologians to the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs.
- He did not believe remaining Catholics could gain much by studying their faith or engaging in Catholic Action, yet he expected them to be able to determine which teachings of Paul 6 were true or false.
- He focused on the problem (the false Vatican 2 council, the errant “popes”) not the solution (mobilizing the faithful to learn and properly defend their faith).
- His understanding of the situation can be attributed to a failure by theologians and bishops, following the close of the Vatican Council in 1870, to properly accept and propagate the true meaning of infallibility as it was defined by the Council
- This theological “trend,” a continuation of the Gallicanist heresy, contributed to the development of Modernism and Americanism.
- It fostered a distrust of the papacy and the demeaning of Scholasticism and Canon Law.
- Those following these theologians and bishops ignored the teaching of the popes who condemned this trend; instead they favored the theologians then perpetuating it.
- This eventually culminated in the election of John 23 and the calling of the false V2 council.
- It has resulted in the false attribution of the beginnings of liturgical “renewal” and ecumenism to Pope Pius XII. This despite the fact that John 23 and Paul 6 were proven to be secretly behind these movements prior to their “elections” and were not favored by this pope.
- This distrust of the papacy and quasi-Modernist outlook spilled over into the ranks of the remnant, (unwittingly) encouraged by Strojie and deliberately promoted by others.
- It prepared them for what is now in the works — the “gathering together” of the various Traditionalist sects to push for the resignation/deposition/conversion (?) of Francis.
- All this in order to return the Church to its previous state in the 1950s without addressing the what destroyed Her in the first place — the arrival of the Great Revolt or Apostasy, admitted by Strojie (the Shepherd struck and the flock scattered); the reign of Antichrist, also admitted by Strojie but with Christ directly supplying him with the necessary power, and the inevitable cessation of the Holy Sacrifice as foretold by the prophet Daniel.
- The following will explain how Catholics were misled in the days following Vatican 2, and how this came about solely because their leaders failed to respect and value Divine Revelation and the infallible teachings of the continual magisterium.
W. Strojie’s ‘Letters’ and the material-formal position, Pt. I
This article is written to address certain discrepancies in William F. Strojie’s “Letters,” still circulating on the Internet, in order to make the necessary connection between what was written then and what has been discovered since Strojie’s passing in the late 1980s. His letters, written in journalistic editorial style, were more of a general assay of what was happening in the 1970s-80s
— not an attempt to approach things from a strictly doctrinal viewpoint. His readers appreciated the “personal” touch, and I was one of those readers. I have quoted Strojie in my articles because he saw much of what was happening then clearly, but on the other hand, he also was an early promoter of the material-formal hypothesis, and did not believe Pope Paul IV’s bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio (hereafter referred to as Cum ex…) was ex cathedra, or should be taken literally regarding the false V2 popes. It was his intention to accurately present the teachings of the Church and provide a plausible eschatological explanation for what happened following Vatican 2, and to the best of his ability for that time period he did. His most notable accomplishment was to warn the faithful that Traditionalists were not the answer and remnant Catholics must avoid them at all costs. But somehow he was caught up in the material-formal trap set by the Thucites, a sect he rightly called illegal and warned against in his publication. All this because of a persistent heresy held even prior to the death of Pope Pius XII regarding the interpretation of the Vatican Council definitions and the obligation of Catholics to learn their faith and act accordingly.
To quickly assess the material-formal hypothesis and the dismissal of Cum ex…, which must almost necessarily accompany it, this baseless theory was hatched by a validly ordained priest and theologian, later turned schismatic “bishop” (the Thucite Gerard des Lauriers). Once the confessor, briefly, for Pope Pius XII, he attempted to bypass the infallible teachings of the Roman Pontiffs on many different subjects by providing an alternative explanation/solution to the reign of the false popes in Rome. This explanation would not be admissible even if formulated by approved theologians writing during the reign of a canonically elected Roman Pontiff, since theologians have been warned by the popes on several occasions that they cannot presume to teach outside the doctrinal boundaries established by the continual magisterium. But today we are not talking about Catholic theologians; in fact, we are not even talking about individuals who can prove the validity of their ordinations and/or consecrations. Instead we are talking about false shepherds and hirelings, who dare to advance these false teachings outside all papal directives and the Scholastic method prescribed by the Church. While Strojie was not a Traditionalist, as he himself pointed out, he fell into Traditionalist errors while maintaining an anti-Traditionalist stance.
Those Catholics just then beginning to realize what had happened to the Church in the early 1970s who didn’t fall into the Traditionalist trap were a particularly vulnerable lot. They were in desperate need of direction and were more or less shell-shocked by what was happening to the Church. Any life preserver thrown to them during this time period would have been eagerly latched onto, but it had to be a sturdy one, since they were so far from shore. During the mid-eighties, shortly before his death, Strojie unfortunately provided them with a mixed bag of explanations, just as the faithful were learning more about how dire their situation really was. As the true import of Cum ex… became more generally known and Traditionalist “clergy” began refining their arguments on jurisdiction, Strojie struck back by exhorting his readers to not become embroiled in the Canon Law and papal decree arguments, styling such involvement as “Gnostic” and detrimental to faith. He even went so far as to describe those espousing Canon Law and “certain” papal teachings as heretics, and this after he condemnned some Traditionalists themselves for becoming too wrapped up in the heresy controversies then making the rounds (Letter #72). Not only were these recommendations confusing, they entirely contradicted what some lay people studying the situation more intensely were just beginning to understand about the necessity of the papacy and the true extent of infallibility as taught by the continual magisterium. It set these individuals off in a direction they might not have taken otherwise, had their findings been treated seriously by older writers, including Strojie. So to separate these errors from the good Strojie tried to do, we offer the following.
Neither Christ nor the Church supply jurisdiction
Strojie was one of the first to quote from St. Robert Bellarmine’s works that Christ Himself could supply jurisdiction to even a notoriously heretical pope until he is deposed from office — or, as this group likes to opine, he remains pope materially until deposed or until he recants and regains his office. But papal teaching on this topic makes this last bit of fantasy an impossibility. As stated in the article Material-Formal Hypothesis Contradicts Papal Teaching (Free Content- Most Recent Articles page at www.betrayedcatholics.com), a man who was a heretic prior to his election, as were the last six antipopes, could scarcely regain something he never obtained in the first place. Nor, according to Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, could he ever regain his office even if he was at one time considered to be pope. The first mention of this “Christ- supplying” theory appeared in Strojie’s Upon this Rock, Letter # 18, (p.12-13, 1976):
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. This is possible and predicted following a Great Apostasy and general spiritual blindness. Many who deny the first possibility in the case of Paul VI refuse even to consider the second. They say it can’t happen here and now, to us and our children. Believing more readily the apocalyptic fantasy writers, they look for an Antichrist with visible horns (William Strojie, Pope, Council and Chaos, p. 14).
According to Canon Law, a known heretic, schismatic or simoniac would be ineligible. (Note the words, “known” or “notorious,” which legally amounts to ‘proved as such.’) But, suppose such a one were elected, would his election be invalid? Quite likely, but the man would nevertheless occupy the Chair of Peter and, as I have pointed out, according to certain theologians, he could exercise jurisdiction for the good of the Church, as already mentioned. In other words, the evil election having been made, his jurisdiction would be sustained to the extent necessary for the maintenance of the juridical order within the Church, which is for the good of the faithful. As I mention in another paper, this is not to deny the teaching of a well-known Bull of Pope Paul IV, but only to give its application, as taught by Cardinal Bellarmine.
The theologians Strojie cites — who are not named, so cannot be investigated — probably wrote before the issuance of Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis and possibly the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Of course he dismisses Cum ex…, so does not accept the fact that such men who are elected despite their ineligibility never possess the chair in the first place. One cannot obtain jurisdiction if the election is null and void; Pope Pius XII teaches that this will be the case if the election is not conducted according to his constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis and Canon 147 (see below). Christ alone grants jurisdiction and all power to the pope only on the condition he IS validly (canonically) elected, and this is a teaching of faith cited in Denzinger’s Sources of Catholic Dogma (DZ 570d). In Letter #5, Strojie claims that the Vatican Council determined a pope can still become a heretic, even in matters of faith and morals, referring to a limited infallibility he believed was inherent in the Vatican Council decrees. But even if he considered Cum ex… not infallible, why would he suggest Catholics follow the opinion of theologians and ignore the sure teaching of a papal decree that has been proven to be still in effect? And how could Christ possibly supply for something that never took place, since he gave His Vicars the power of binding and loosing and they have dogmatically declared that papal elections be canonical?
What Strojie did not note and probably didn’t even realize is that St. Robert Bellarmine clarified his teaching in his Controversies de Summo Pontifice (lib. iv. cap. 2) regarding what so many Traditionalists have claimed all these years — that Bellarmine teaches the pope, ruling as pope, can be guilty of heresy. This is recorded by Henry Edward Cardinal Manning in his work The Ecumenical Council and the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff, 1859, Spotswoode and Co., London, (p. 58-61):
Bellarmine says: “Both Catholics and heretics agree in two things; first, that the Pontiff, even as Pontiff and with his counsellors, or even with a General Council, may err in controversies as to particular facts, which chiefly depend on the information and testimonies of men; secondly, that the Pontiff, as a private doctor, may err even in questions of faith and morals; and that from ignorance, as at times happens to other doctors. ‘Next, all Catholics agree in two other things, not indeed with heretics, but among themselves. First, that the Pontiff, with a General Council, cannot err in framing decrees of faith, or general precepts of morals. Secondly, that the Pontiff alone, or with his own private Council, whether he may err or not, in deciding anything in a dubious matter is, nevertheless, to be obediently listened to by all the faithful…
“…The Pontiff, whether personally he can be a heretic or no, cannot, in any event, define anything heretical to be believed by the whole Church. This is the most common opinion of nearly all Catholics,” as S. Thomas says. Bellarmine in later years reviewed his ‘Controversies,’ and wrote of this point as follows: “This opinion is more rightly the common judgment of Catholics; for opinion implies uncertainty, and we hold this judgment to be certain.”
Clearly from what St. Bellarmine says above he considered it only an opinion that the pope could fall into heresy as a private person. And with the Vatican Council Bellarmine taught he could never define “anything heretical to be believed by the whole Church.” Bellarmine also taught as a certainty that no man who is not a member of the Church can ever be elected as pope and that a doubtful pope is no pope. The doubtful pope teaching, to the best of this author’s knowledge, has never been attributed to St. Bellarmine as its rightful author by anyone throughout the entire course of the crisis in the Church. And there is no evidence of any conjecture in the Bellarmine teaching regarding the election of a non-Christian. “This principle is most certain: The non-Christian cannot in any way be Pope, as Cajetan himself admits (ib. c. 26). The reason for this is that he cannot be head of what he is not a member…” (De Romano Pontifice, Lib II, Cap. 30). If Strojie and others proved nothing else, they proved that Paul 6 at least was a doubtful pope. Bellarmine taught that “if a papal election is really doubtful for any reason, the one elected should resign so that a new election may be held… But if he refuses to resign, the bishops can and ought to decide who is the legitimate pope…That is what the Council of Constance did” (De Concilio, ii, 19). This teaching holds true because the legitimacy of the Roman Pontiff is a dogmatic fact, which cannot be denied because it is so closely connected to the dogma of unbroken succession to the papacy. This fact must be certainly established and when there is positive doubt regarding a papal election, this is not the case.
Moreover, such a doubtful pope can be assumed to have resigned from his office (Canon 188 no. 4) even when only suspected of heresy. For Bellarmine also wrote, in the case of Pope Liberius, that: “Men are not bound, or able to read hearts, but when they see that someone is a heretic by his external works, they judge him to be a heretic pure and simple [simpliciter], and condemn him as a heretic…” (De Romano Pontifice, Lib II, Cap. 30. Liberius was later absolved of any heresy.) This reasoning now has been enshrined in Canon 2200 of the 1917 Code: “…Given the external violation of the law, the evil will is presumed in the external forum until the contrary is proved.” Strojie would have done much better to follow Bellarmine’s actual teaching and not just a conjecture, as the word “might” above indicates this “Christ supplying” theory really was. Strojie’s “might” resembles the wording employed by SSPX priest Bernard Lucien (a pseudonym used by des Lauriers) to defend the Cassiciacum (material-formal) thesis, which he described as: “something approaching a certitude of the order of Faith.” Well on the other side there definitely is formal certitude regarding the order of faith that dictates otherwise, as explained below on page 10. No source is given for Strojie’s Bellarmine opinion or the theologians favoring the idea of material Yet even secular researchers, and especially Catholic theologians, are required to provide such sources when documenting their conclusions. Later in this work, readers will learn why it is never permitted to use conjectural opinions as the basis for a theological argument.
Strojie, however, did believe Montini was the Antichrist (Letter #80), and his doctrine also is taken mostly from the theologians, versus the popes. That Antichrist could rule even materially from the chair as quasi-legitimate, which some teach today, is truly a heinous perversion of the doctrine that Christ would be with His Church “until the consummation.” For how could anyone believe Christ could cooperate in any way with Antichrist, seeing that the power of the papacy is conveyed by Divine law? On being presented with evidence that John 23 and his successors were the product of invalid elections (Letter #78, 1985), Strojie chose to dismiss this information based on a fear that such proofs would be used to justify the election of some shadowy pretender pope. Later, Traditional conclavists did elect several false popes, but none were ever taken seriously, and all had only a minimal following. At least one of these “elections” was a direct result of the failure of writers such as Strojie to follow papal teaching and undertake serious study to determine the validity (not liciety) of Traditionalists and how to best move forward without a true pope. But what had Strojie’s fears to do with the admissibility of these proofs on invalid elections presented from Church teaching and Canon Law?
Strojie did not believe any knowledge of Canon Law was necessary for the laity to gain a basic understanding of the crisis in the Church and he said so in several issues of his Letters. He calls talk of the Vacant Chair “legalistic…and fantastic” (Letter # 71, p. 5) and says the idea that Paul 6 was a false pope but materially occupied the chair for 15 years “is something which all can understand.” Yet in his booklet Upon this Rock, he tells readers he insists on upholding Canon Law. Really?! I am sure he was not aware of this, but what he was proposing to teach regarding papal invalidity was pragmatism, a system of philosophy condemned by the Church. “Pragmatism is a philosophico-religious system…which can be defined in general as a tendency to consider everything from the practical point of view, i.e., in terms of action, seeking in action itself the reason of truth and certainty, of life and religion.” The proponents of this system teach that “The truth of an idea depends on its practical verification,” (Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology, 1951; Pascal Parente, Piolanti and Garofalo). In other words, of two opposing theories, even if one such theory contains revealed or infallible truth, the one which “works best” is the true one. Strojie’s explanation worked best for his audience.
A bull is the “most solemn and weighty form of papal letter,” (Donald Attwater, A Catholic Dictionary). In their Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology, Parente et al list the following sources from which a declaration of the extraordinary magisterium can issue: “…A solemn declaration of the Pope, through a bull or other document; declaration of an ecumenical council or of a particular council approved by the Pope; symbols and professions of faith emanating from or approved by the Church” (p. 71-72). So a bull is no lightweight document and is perfectly capable of being considered a declaration ex cathedra. Papal infallibility and the Bull of Pope Paul IV on a heretic being unable to be validly elected pope is not difficult to understand, and indeed must be understood in order to be accepted by the faithful. The popes, particularly Pope Pius IX (see page 9 below), teach that what they write can be readily understood by Catholics. Pope St. Pius X states in his Oath against Modernism: “The external arguments of revelation…have been especially accommodated to the intelligence of all ages and men, even of these times.” Canonists agree that private interpretation of the law, even by laypeople, is allowed when a doubt of law exists (https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/canon-law/who- interprets-the-law/), so Catholics are not acting contrary to the faith in making this determination.
As might be expected, the Gallicanists teaching before the Vatican Council definitions especially protested the authority of Bulls because they came directly from the Pontiffs, unlike the decrees of an ecumenical council, and did not require any approval from the bishops. The Gallicanists believed the pope and the bishops must act as one unit because the bishops represent, so to speak, the Catholic faithful worldwide, after the manner of a democracy. Below under the heading Cuthbert Butler it will be explained how two 19th century bishops objected to Cum ex… as non-infallible and where those bishops stood on the infallibility issue.
Who replaces the hierarchy during an interregnum?
Strojie writes elsewhere: “I think the explanation I have given about the visible Church remaining until the end of time is the only possible one in terms of Catholic doctrine,” (Letter #51) Strojie says the (juridical) Church cannot exist without the hierarchy and in this he is correct. But then in another letter, he says the laity comprising Christ’s Mystical Body cannot survive in the end-times as the Church to fulfill Christ’s promise that He will be with us until the consummation. And he references Pope Pius XII’s condemnation of an “invisible” Church in Mystici Corporis Christi to refute those who say the juridical Church no longer exists. (This does not mean they believe themselves to be a part of a universal “invisible” Church; they believe they belong to Christ’s Mystical Body as defined by Pius XII and others.) But the reasoning process Strojie used on which to base his premise (that Paul 6 remains a valid pope) was not the Scholastic method the Church demands Catholics employ to demonstrate the faith; he simply offers an opinion — “I think.” Pope Pius XII taught that “They (the laity) are the Church” (address to newly-made cardinals, 1946). This is a pope teaching us this truth. Catholics cannot follow the advice or opinions of theologians or laymen, even those approved by the Holy See before the death of Pope Pius XII, who are not in agreement with the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs. When Pope Pius XII wrote Mystici Corporis Christi, he taught that the Roman Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. That includes all the laity as well as the hierarchy. Mystici Corporis Christi also made obedience to Canon Law a condition of Church membership. So how can Catholics be expected to obey laws they know nothing about? And how can they be functioning members of the Mystical Body if they do not obey these laws?
Why does Strojie refer so seldom to the teachings of the popes and ecumenical councils? The popes and members of the hierarchy had the answers to the questions circulating in the 1970s- 1980s, although they were not always easy to find. Cardinal Manning, Cardinal Pie, Hilaire Belloc and others have indicated that it is very possible that in the end times the laity will be the only ones remaining Catholic. Certainly these sources are far more reliable than just Strojie’s say-so. Strojie assures his readers he is relying on Divine Revelation and “trusted Catholic sources” but he seldom provides chapter and verse for these. Below the popes make it clear what role the laity were actually expected to play in the Church regarding Catholic Action and in emergency situations.
“Catholic Action is the participation of the laity in the apostolate of the hierarchy…All Christians are obliged to be apostles” (Pope Pius XI, Ubi Arcano Dei). “The initiative of the lay apostolate is perfectly justified even without a prior explicit mission from the hierarchy …In countries where contacts with the hierarchy are difficult or practically impossible…the Christians upon whom this task falls must, with God’s grace, assume all their responsibilities. Even so, nothing can be undertaken against the explicit and implicit will of the Church, or contrary in any way to the rules of faith or morals or ecclesiastical discipline, (Pope Pius XII, The Mission of the Catholic Woman, September 29, 1957, “The Pope Speaks”).
So Canon Law does bind the faithful and the faithful are obligated to continue the apostolate of the hierarchy. We know this because Pius XII’S teaching was entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis, so therefore is binding on the faithful. This same teaching was expressed decades earlier in the 1884 A Catholic Dictionary published by William E. Addis and Thomas Arnold, M.A., of the Royal University of Ireland. It also is found in the 1903 work A Cabinet of Catholic Information under Catholic Church History, the hierarchy. These works state the following:
In a wide and loose sense, when the whole Catholic Church is considered as existing in the midst of heretics, schismatics, and the heathen, even the laity may be considered as forming a portion of the hierarchy. With this agrees the expression of St. Peter, calling the general body of Christians in the countries in which he is sending his epistle, “a kingly priesthood” and “a holy nation.”
Pope Paul IV even states in Cum ex… that the Church can employ the laity to eject the papal pretender, and that they owe him no obedience and allegiance because the law has decreed that the office was never obtained. Therefore no one is deposing a pope but only a mere man, who has tacitly resigned whatever offices he might once have possessed and is therefore the equivalent of a layman. Furthermore, Canon 2259 extends the power of the laity to actually being able to prevent Traditional “priests” lacking jurisdiction, (and prior to Pius XII’s death those excommunicated as vitandus or known to be notorious excommunicates), from celebrating Mass and administering the Sacraments. (Canon 2294 §2 regarding infamy of law also orders them to be restrained from receiving Orders, Church offices, and the performance of legal ecclesiastical acts.) This is a powerful weapon delivered to the laity; had anyone truly wished to stop Traditionalists in their tracks it would have provided the ultimate justification. It amounts to the ability of the laity to actually deny the illegal and fruitless exercise of jurisdiction by merely standing up and protesting it. But Strojie and others demeaned appeals to Canon Law for whatever reason and discouraged the laity from consulting it.
Destroy discipline, then change doctrine
Des Lauriers had access to Cum ex Apostolatus Officio and quotes it in his article on the material-formal thesis, dismissing it as having been abrogated by the issuance of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Strojie makes mention of the fact that Hugo Maria Kellner had it translated for The Voice in 1975 (Letter #5). I never saw Kellner’s translation, unless he is referring to the one later produced by Professor Benjamin F. Dryden, available about 1984. (An earlier translation in Latin was produced by Professor Carlos Disandro in 1978.) Had the entire text of this Bull been studied and considered, I don’t see how Strojie could have slipped into the Paul 6 as a material-formal “pope” error. However, the partisans of error in the SSPX were already at work to slander and suppress the Bull. Disandro relates this in his Doctrinal Precisions below.
In spite of these crystal-clear correspondences, the campaign against the Bull of Paul IV is increasing. Fr. Faure, of the LeFebvrist obedience, delegated from Econe to Argentina, in our land as in Mexico, together with other clerics and supposed teachers, uphold the nullity of the consistorial Bull Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, which has been derogated (according to them) by the Code of Canon Law of Benedict XV, since it is not incorporated into that code…[But] the Bull IS DEBTOR OF THAT DOCTRINE (EXPLICITLY IN THE DOCUMENT), and that, then, it is not merely disciplinary, as has been demonstrated in the preceding chapters (1978).
That Cum ex… can be proven as still retained in the Code was documented in an article inspired by Disandro’s research, written in 2007 (https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/pdf/CumExCode.pdf). This essay points out that those laws used as footnotes to the Canons still remain part of the Code. The following canons restate certain teachings from Cum ex… in the Code: 167 §3, 188 no. 4, 2198, 2209 no. 7, 2264, 2314, 2316 and 2317. (A new article, Canonical Proofs Cum Ex… is Retained in the Code, is here attached to demonstrate the actual language incorporated into the Code from Cum ex Apostolatus.) As Disandro goes on to note in his Precisions, those insisting the bull is only disciplinary point to Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS) as proof that even excommunicated cardinals can vote in a papal election, so the election of John 23 was not invalid. Excommunication, however, covers a wide range of activities, and most of these are violations of a more minor nature. Heresy and schism violate faith and therefore excommunication for these two crimes do not fall in the same category (see Canonical proofs Cum Ex… is retained in the Code, p. 3). Then there is the ipso facto loss of the office of cardinal for those who are deposed as declared by the law itself, heresy being listed as one of the reasons for such deposition. And only cardinals can elect the pope. The canon covering this is Canon 188 no. 4, which leads us right back to Cum ex… since it is footnoted as one of the sources for this canon.
Those attacking the bull as not retained in the Code do not even use common sense in holding this belief. Canons 6 no. 4 and 6 no. 6, which they cite to support their case, refer to the old law, or laws previously enforced prior to the 1917 codification. But how does anyone know what the old laws are if they are not in the Fontes? And if included in the Fontes as a source of law, how can this not be an implicit or explicit reference to the previous law as required in Canon 6 no. 6 in order to still be considered as contained in the Code? Reverend Amleto Cicognani wrote on the footnotes in his 1935 work, Canon Law:
Under the canons are placed footnotes or notes…first from the ‘Codicise 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; about 11,200 from the Sacred Congregations and 800 from liturgical Books. 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…”
Strojie was not a Lefebvre supporter, yet he apparently bought the Society’s view of the Bull’s authority or lack thereof. This has been the argument against Cum ex’s infallibility ever since — that it was only a disciplinary decree and therefore was not an ex cathedra pronouncement. The SSPX repeated this attack in 1984 when the Briton’s Catholic Library translation of the bull was published. Disandro published his second edition of the Bull in 1987, providing it again in the original Latin and Spanish. Few in this country were made aware of its existence and among those who did read the bull, fewer still were aware of its significance. These same SSPX naysayers are still working today to dismiss Cum ex…with this false argument. But what they have always based their premise upon is Canon 6 no. 6, which states: “All other disciplinary laws of the old law…neither explicitly nor implicitly contained in the Code have lost all force of law…” Therefore, their teaching is based on a false presumption — 1) that Cum ex… is a disciplinary law only, which they have never proven, so therefore it is in dispute and 2) that it is not retained in the Fontes explicitly or implicitly, when its existence there can be easily proven. The Code instructs canonists that where there is a true positive doubt about any law, (which there shouldn’t be, but the naysayers say otherwise), we move to Canon 6 no. 4: “In case of doubt whether some provisions of the Canons differ from the old law, one must adhere to the old law.” Problem solved, correct?
But not according to Traditionalists, although Hutton Gibson, in publishing several paragraphs from the bull in the early 1980s in his The War Is Now, commented then that Canon 6 no. 4 states in a doubt of law Catholics today would be required to return to the old laws on heresy and the election of a heretic and abide by Pope Paul IV’s bull. This apparently did not phase Traditionalists in general or Strojie, who scolded Gibson for his comments on the Bull and dismissed them. There are two other canons that reflect the Church’s legislation on this subject — Canon 147, which declares automatically invalid anyone not elected by competent authority and Canon 160, citing Pope Pius XII’s VAS as the new papal election law governing all future papal elections. So to be in harmony with the Code, VAS, under Canon 160, would need to be followed TO THE LETTER, to ensure the valid (canonical) election of a true pope. All this is carefully outlined in The Phantom Church in Rome, including the fact that none of the cardinals electing John 23 in 1958 could be considered undoubtedly competent to elect under either Canon 147 or Canon 160 (VAS).
Source of the confusion
The controversy over the Bull, and Strojie’s attempt to provide readers with something not too technical that they could understand regarding Paul 6 is what led to his acceptance of the material-formal hypotheses in its early stages. This also was the same theory advanced by the Society of St. Pius X. Neither the sede vacante NOR the material-formal position was correct, but Traditionalists could not accept the fact that the Mass had ended permanently. No one drew out the obvious consequences of “he who withholdeth” (the Supreme Pontiff) being taken out of the way, even though Henry Cardinal Manning wrote about it at length. Then came the great apostasy, the reign of Antichrist and the cessation of the Continual Sacrifice, all as predicted in Holy Scripture. This Apocalyptic period was separate from and not included in the guarantee that Peter’s faith would never fail, for as long as the juridic Church lasted (possessed a true pope until the death of Pope Pius XII), Peter’s faith never did fail.
The end of the juridic Church and the beginning of the counterfeit church was unmistakable. The dividing line was clear for all to see who yet had the faith. Once the usurpers stepped in, Peter’s faith only appeared to fail. We now live in the era following the reign of Antichrist of which St. Thomas Aquinas spoke, although the other antichrist beasts continue to reign as kings in Rome. We are still members of the Church and the Church still exists, because Christ is the Head of His Mystical Body and will be with us until the consummation, as explained above. If Strojie had his way, however, Peter’s faith DID fail, since Christ Himself supplied the jurisdiction which allowed that to happen. Strojie was misled concerning the use of opinions on such a crucial determination regarding faith. He was mistaken about the required ex cathedra teaching lacking in Montini and Roncalli, because he did not understand the true meaning of ex cathedra. They did speak heresy formally from the chair and spoke it long before they were considered “popes.” But such manifest heresy as expressed by a “pope” was only an indication they had defected from the faith prior to their “elections.” The true source of this error will be revealed below.
So what arguments set forth by some unknown “advisors,” (or selected material on the teachings of the Church provided by them), would have convinced Strojie and others writing in that time period to minimize the importance of Canon Law and papal teachings from both the ordinary and extraordinary magisterium? Could it have been (perhaps “former”) members of the SSPX who were the first to claim Montini was a bad pope but had to be obeyed because he bodily occupied the chair? Whatever its source, it appears to be the same material put forth following the 19th century Vatican Council by certain theologians who, without actually endorsing Gallicanism and those who did not support the definition of infallibility, nevertheless made it appear that there were still questions on the definition that remained unanswered by the Council. They asserted that these questions were a matter of opinion that could be freely discussed until the pope defined otherwise. Above, certain topics are underlined that will be further analyzed below to demonstrate that while this claim to free discussion was made, it was silenced by Pope Pius IX shortly after the Council ended, or by the popes who reigned during the 20th century. Follow closely to observe how these false representations of the Vatican Council teachings wormed their way into the writings of those who were informing the Remnant following Vatican 2.
It started with the Vatican Council definition
The true meaning of Christ’s teaching on the papacy as defined by the Vatican Council were generally neglected by Strojie and other writers. These writers became caught up in the drama of Vatican 2 and its onerous decrees, warring Traditionalist factions and their publications, the antics of the false popes and the degenerating process then going on in the world, and now being completed today. In some ways Strojie’s belief that Paul 6 remained a validly elected pope contributed to a growing distrust and antipathy among the laity for whatever came out of Rome, including the teachings of previous true popes. This especially applied to Pope Pius XII, who is and was maligned by certain Traditionalists for allowing the “slide” into ecumenism, when this was never Pius XII’s intention. A thorough study of Pius XII’s numerous encyclicals, constitutions and addresses prove just the opposite — while he did everything to avoid the onslaught of ecumenism and liturgical abuses by relaxing the laws as far as he was able, he never acted outside his papal powers. In fact, he did everything possible to prevent the very types of errors that would later surface long before they occurred, as will be proven below. And he fought the already existing neo-Modernists undermining authority and especially the papacy, expanding on the resurgence of the same errors Pope St. Pius X condemned in Pascendi and Lamentabili.
A complete assay of what happened to bring about the events following the Vatican Council in 1869-70 which contributed to the false doctrines peddled by Traditionalists would be too difficult to present here, but much of this information can be found in The Phantom Church in Rome, available at www.betrayedcatholics.com. A general summary, using the underlined keywords above, will provide the gist of why what Strojie wrote was not correct. And it will demonstrate further that whatever may have been left in question by the Vatican Council definitions were made perfectly clear by later, authoritative pronouncements of Popes Pius IX and Pius XII.
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, which translates today, even in Strojie’s opinion, to Traditionalists, especially those of the SSPX variety. He also identifies it as “The Protestant church… [which] has become a political agent, a tool of the state…in the hands of Liberals, to fight Catholicism” (p. 115). He then goes on to explain how this conspiracy was 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 definition supposedly left unanswered. The rest would be revealed 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.” 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). 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
- 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
- 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 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 Canon 188 no. 4). 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 VAS. 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. 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). 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 heresy was committed here, as Pope Pius XII did not end the controversy until the 1940s, when he infallibly 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 this teaching was defined, many theologians seemed to believe that the bishops possessed ordinary jurisdiction directly from Our Lord. Why else would Pope Pius XII have addressed it? 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.
Now the underlined sections of this document as well as Ward’s statements can be examined to see whether further papal definitions shed any light on what Catholics today must believe. Please consult the attached copy of Pope Pius XII’s Humani Generis which will be needed to reference the condemnation of the following errors, using encyclical paragraphs:
Errors condemned by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis
- Eirenicism (e., ecumenism, which would allow Catholic doctrine to be distorted or perverted) paras. 11, 12, 43
- Theologians can authentically interpret the Divine deposit, para. 21
- The pope is unable to permanently end theological discussions and disputes, para. 19, 20
- What is taught in official papal documents is not binding, para. 20
- Hypotheses and conjectural notions can be legitimately employed in theological argument, paras. 35, 37
- False teachings on Scholasticism and true certitude (pragmatism, necessity of scholastic method) paras. 3, 17, 18, 31, 32, 34
- Ex cathedra pronouncements are rare, para. 21
- Restrictions can be placed by theologians on what constitutes an ex cathedra pronouncement and theologians may dictate a formula for the actual wording of the pronouncement, para. 21
- Encyclicals and other papal documents are not infallible or binding in conscience, 20
- The pope binds the faithful in obedience only when condemning teachings or acts as heretical, para. 18
- Ordinary magisterium pronouncements are not binding in conscience, only the extraordinary (ex cathedra) variety, paras. 18, 20
- Minimalism, paras. 14, 16, 43
- In conclusion, Pope Pius XII commands teachers to accept and observe his teachings, paras. 42, 43
Certainly it cannot be disputed that this encyclical is anything but an infallible document, as Monsignor J.C. Fenton and the majority of theologians writing at the time it was issued attest. And this by the very standards necessary for infallibility Butler himself lays out in his work. Monsignor Fenton addresses those questioning the binding nature of documents entered in the Acta Apostolica Sedis as follows:
If… the Holy Father, using this supreme apostolic authority, does not propose his teaching as a dogma, but merely as completely certain, then the faithful are bound to accept his teaching as absolutely certain. They are …obliged in conscience to give an unconditional and absolutely irrevocable assent to any proposition defined in this way… The Holy Father is empowered, not only to obligate the disciples of Jesus Christ to accept, on faith or as certain, statements within the sphere of the Church’s doctrinal competence, but also to impose the duty of accepting other propositions within the same sphere as opinions.
…Humani Generis reasserts the right of the Roman Pontiff to demand an opinionative assent. When, in his encyclicals or in any other documents or utterances of his doctrinal office, he imposes a teaching upon the members of the universal Church militant with anything less than his suprema magisterii potestas, he is calling for such an opinionative judgment…The theologians of the Catholic Church have always recognized the fact that an intention on the part of the Holy Father is requisite if the faithful are to be bound by the teaching contained in his official Acta. Hitherto, however, there has been too much of a tendency to consider that such an intention would have to be manifested by some sort of formula, as for instance, the use of such terms as ‘define’ or ‘declare.’ The Humani Generis has put an end to this dangerous minimism (“Infallibility in the Encyclicals,” (American Ecclesiastical Review, March 1953).
Monsignor Fenton also states that all that is required for the Roman Pontiff to render a definitive decision on any given matter is that the pontifical document:
…put forward a judgment on a question which has hitherto been considered as undecided, that it should make a definite statement (sententiam ferre) which would be contradictory to or incompatible with some of the opinions previously expressed on this question by theologians… Nothing is said [in Humani Generis] about the necessity of any particular formulae. The intention of the Pontiff to settle the question (either finally and irrevocably by a declaration that the truth is de fide, or at least that it is doctrina certa, or by an interpretively conditional and opinionative judgment, according to which the contradictory of the teaching would be qualified as temeria) is established by the very fact that the Pontiff, in one of his official documents or declarations, takes the trouble to make a pronouncement on the subject. Nothing more is needed. (“Humani Generis and the Holy Father’s Ordinary Magisterium,” American Ecclesiastical Review, 1951).
No matter how much Traditionalists might like to play their doubtful law and epikeia cards, they cannot escape the known facts in the case, documented by approved theologians writing before they were ever born. For as Rev. Bernard Wuellner, S. J. states in his Summary of Scholastic Principles (1956): “No argument or conclusion contrary to the evident facts is valid.”
Material-formal hypothesis advocated by the Gallicanists
But what of the material-formal theory, not theologically developed as even tentative until the 1980s? The answer can be found in Butler’s writings. For as he relates, it was Fenelon and Bossuet, both Gallicanist sympathizers, who held:
…the infallibility of the Roman See, but not of its occupant (sedis non sedentis): individual popes might err in teaching, as Honorius, but the papacy would recover itself, and other popes would put right the error that had been made. One of the solicitudes of the Infallibilists was to kill this distinction between the Roman See, i.e., the line of popes and the individual popes (p.101).
Of course, the Vatican Council determined that Honorius had not been guilty of heresy. Manning explains that historically the case was always doubtful and therefore could not be used as the basis for condemning Honorius; that in the documents referenced Honorius announced he never meant to define anything and actually forbade the making of any new definition; that he wrote prior to the condemnation of Monothelitism and that his Epistles, also questioned, were entirely orthodox (The Vatican Council and its Definitions: A Pastoral Letter to the Clergy, 1887, Appendix). This reasoning on Manning’s part, which prevailed at the Council and cleared the way for the definition of infallibility, is seen as commended above by Pope Pius XII in condemning the use of conjectural opinions by theologians.
In his The True Story of the Vatican Council, Manning notes it was the Western Schism and the rise of Gallicanism that first brought up the question of infallibility. It was during this time period the Gallicanists began to distinguish between the infallibility of the person occupying the See and the See itself. Manning then goes into greater depth regarding the line of popes versus the individual occupant of the See, writing as follows:
They distinguished between …the See and him that sat in it…[They] denied the infallibility of the person while they affirmed the infallibility of the See…The doctrine affirmed by the schools and by the Holy See was that infallibility attaches to the office, and that the office is held not by many, as if in commission, but by one… Peter’s office, with all its prerogatives, is perpetual and his office is borne by the person who succeeds to his place (p. 59-61).
This concept is explained by Reverend E. Sylvester Berry in his The Church of Christ, where he describes formal and legitimate appointment to an office as necessary to the unbroken line of apostolic succession. The Code had not yet been formulated when Berry wrote but he styles one illegitimately (materially) holding office as without any authority whatsoever, just as Cum ex… teaches. Canonists Bouscaren-Ellis, under Canon 145, define ecclesiastical office as: “something “permanently established…by law, divine or ecclesiastical. The papacy is an office established by divine law; as is also the episcopate in general.” That canon tells us that an ecclesiastical office can only be obtained validly when it is conferred by “competent ecclesiastical authority in harmony with the Sacred Canons (Canon 147; laws in this section of the Code refer to ecclesiastical elections).” Canon 147 is one of only a handful of canons on which the popes issued a decision, assigning ipso facto excommunications reserved to the Holy See for those who assume office outside the canons governing elections and appointments. Pope Pius XII’s interpretation of this Canon, listed in the Canon Law Digest, is binding on the faithful because it constitutes a canonical decision, listed in the Acta Apostolica Sedis (AAS 42-601). The faithful must believe that anyone elected by those not competent to elect is not valid and any actions of such a person are null and void. This is reiterated by Pope Pius XII in VAS in relation to interregnums.
So ecclesiastical offices are defined by law. In the case of Canon 147 and VAS, they are defined by law infallibly. Any attempt by the cardinals to contravene the laws of the Church is declared null and void in VAS. Any election without a two-thirds plus one majority is invalid (VAS), and even Strojie said in Letter 9 that several of the cardinals who elected John 23 were heretics, (also deprived of office by Cum ex…). The material-formal theorists cite certain theologians to the effect that once elected and accepted by the Church, it is practically impossible for a pope to be challenged as doubtful or removed from office. They fail, however, to reference papal documents or Canon Law. This, of course is to their benefit. By dismissing Cum ex… they believe they are home free. Without explaining the real basis for their material-formal hypothesis, those espousing it actually adhere to the opinion advanced in the latter part of the 1500s by the Jesuit theologian Thomas Sanchez, a contemporary of Bellarmine’s.
According to Reverend Raymond Kearney, A.B., S.T.D., J.C.L. (Doctor of Canon Law; Catholic University of America thesis, 1929), Sanchez taught that “If a baptized male should invalidly be elected pope, the Church could supply jurisdiction…since divine law requires no more than that the subject of ecclesiastical jurisdiction be a baptized male” (p. 121). Kearney identifies the foundation for Canon 209 as the case of Barbarius, which appears to be the basis for Sanchez’s statement. Barbarius was a slave who concealed his lowly origins and succeeded in being elected to the position of Roman Praetor. When his former status as a slave became known, rather than remove him from office, the Roman people decided to ratify his acts. Later, Kearney notes, “Pope Lucius III ordained that defects in ecclesiastical law could be supplied by the provisions of civil law [and] Innocent III [later] made use of this principle” (p. 119).
The law of Barbarius actually contributed to the false reasoning that led to the 1990 “election” of Michael in Kansas; but the laity have never participated in papal elections other than a few exceptions in the early ages, when they, with the Roman clergy, approved the election by acclamation. Nor, under Pope Pius XII’s papal election law, could they now do so without such actions being null and void. The faithful might be able to claim their right to invoke this principle as the so-called “suppliers” of jurisdiction in nearly any other situation where the law is defective, but not a papal election. This because they are not competent electors; the popes obtain their jurisdiction by Divine right, in a continuous and unbroken line. Only cardinals, (or in their absence, bishops) validly and licitly ordained, consecrated (and in the case of cardinals, appointed by a true pope) may elect them, to continue that unbroken line.
Des Lauriers advanced the material-formal theory sometime between 1981-1985, so it seems that Strojie, figuring des Lauriers was a theologian and a validly ordained priest, found this to be the most practical theory for his readers. How he missed the part that des Lauriers also had excommunicated himself by resorting to Bishop Thuc for consecration is a mystery; however, Strojie claimed he was not a fan of Traditionalist “theories” based on Canon Law which were then being advanced regarding heresy. At any rate, he did not explain where, exactly, he came up with the material-formal theory and for good reason — it came from Traditionalists. It is pretty difficult to tell people to stay away from Traditionalists while advising them to accept their theological “reasoning” at the same time.
But the ecclesiastical laws in the case of a heretic ruling as pope were never defective — they were simply discredited and dismissed. Des Lauriers teaches Cum ex… was abrogated with the issuance of the 1917 Code, but nothing could be further from the truth. What is forgotten is that the Church has required election of its popes solely by cardinals for centuries; this the popes have determined as the “competent ecclesiastical authority” for papal elections. Those electing Roncalli were questionably competent on many counts; and Cum ex… applies to them as well as the pope, whether heretics prior to their appointment as cardinals or as cardinals in office (para. 6). Their guilt was conclusively proven by accepting Roncalli as pope (and that goes for ALL the cardinals) and later by celebrating the Novus Ordo Missae (Canons 1258 and 2314). According to both Cum ex… and Pius XII’s VAS, they were ipso facto deposed as cardinals for their heresy prior to Roncalli’s election and therefore their votes to elect him were null and void.
Material-formal is untenable for many other reasons, as explained in articles at www.betrayedcatholics.com. But from the Strojie perspective the material-formal position is seen for what it truly is — a contradiction of papal teaching and the sacred canons; a return to the Gallicanist heresy denying succession of infallible popes from Peter to Pius XII and all that the Vatican Council defined. Pope Pius XII indicated Montini was not papal material in declining to appoint him to the cardinalate. Roncalli’s ineligibility for office is documented at length in The Phantom Church in Rome. Several canons come into play here and all of them were violated in electing Roncalli. It is not as though Roncalli’s election was illicit but valid or capable of being validated; VAS teaches any departure from the canons or papal laws themselves clearly invalidates even attempts to elect a pope outside the law.
The laws issued by Roman Pontiffs in no way can be corrected or changed by the assembly of Cardinals of the Roman Church while it is without a Pope, nor can anything be subtracted from them or added or dispensed in any way whatsoever with respect to said laws or any part of them. This prohibition is especially applicable in the case of Pontifical Constitutions issued to regulate the business of the election of the Roman Pontiff. In truth, if anything adverse to this command should by chance happen to come about or be attempted, We declare it, by Our Supreme Authority, to be null and void.
And the last sentence of the above paragraph, making this and other paragraphs in VAS infallible, was added to Pope Pius XII’s revision of Pope St. Pius X’s previous papal election law. We know, then, that Pius XII was drawing attention to the fact that his teaching in this matter was to be taken as incontrovertible.
It was papal discipline being attacked in order to change doctrine, as Professor Disandro explained; discipline which Pope Pius IX decreed was to be considered infallible in addition to matters of faith and morals (DZ 1831; Quartus Supra and Quae in patriarchatu above). Material- formal adherents, just as their Gallicanist progenitors, are denying that a pope could infallibly determine who is canonically (validly) elected pope; who sits in the papal chair as the perpetual successor of St. Peter. Furthermore, they deny that the Divine assistance, the guarantee of infallibility the Vatican Council defined, could prevent a pope from becoming a heretic AS POPE. Their solution, according to the Gallicanists, would be for an erring pope to recant the heresy (which they openly teach in their published works) or for future popes to declare they were heretics, contrary to Divine Revelation and consistent with heretical Gallicanist teaching. What was believed prior to the definition of infallibility is not important. What is important is that the Vatican Council teaches as a matter of Divine Revelation that no pope could ever fall into heresy owing to the Divine assistance granted to the office of the papacy. This when, in defining matters that involve his duties as “the pastor and teacher of all Christians…he explains a doctrine of faith and morals to be held by the universal Church” (DZ 1839), and this includes a wide, not restricted, range of papal documents according to Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis.
Part II of this work will examine exactly where the material-formal crowd is now headed regarding the implementation of their plans to kick Francis down the road and, possibly, reintroduce a “reformed” Benedict 16 — or some other contrite member of the NO hierarchy — to the ranks of the imposter popes.
Cardinal Manning tells us in his work on Civil Allegiance… that the entire purpose of the Vatican Council was to end the scourge of Gallicanism once and for all. And yet it managed to survive by hiding behind a denial of the ordinary magisterium as able to issue binding decrees and the minimalization of the term ex cathedra to extraordinary pronouncements only. Nor was this false teaching addressed and corrected as it should have been following the release of Humani Generis. Traditionalists cannot accept the true import of the Vatican Council definition or the later teachings of Pope Pius XII on the meaning of that definition and the subordination of bishops to the Holy See. Monsignor Joseph Fenton, in his commentary on Humani Generis (Daughters of St. Paul Edition), cites para. 42 of this encyclical as a command and a warning: “Catholic teachers…cannot teach with good conscience unless they sincerely receive and obey the standards given in this document.” Unfortunately the role of teacher has fallen to members of the laity able to convey the teachings of the Church in this day to others. It is a command that must be taken very seriously, which is why these teachings had to be drawn out and explained for the benefit of those who may still be deceived by the works of early Catholic resistance writers such as Strojie. Strojie himself was bound to obey Pius XII’s teachings, but he obviously did not know they prohibited him from misinforming others as he did. It is not surprising, since many living in the 1950s themselves did not know the real import of these teachings, thanks to the failure of their bishops to relate the condemnation of these errors to the false teachings described above. And many writers, this writer included, had to re-evaluate what was written and correct and clarify those parts not properly understood or expressed. Had Strojie continued longer in his writing career he may well have done this, since he states in his letters he is open to correction. If only Catholics would make an effort to read papal encyclicals and other binding documents rather than rely on theological opinion, this confusion would not exist.
For we are truly safe only with St. Peter and his successors, who alone were granted immunity from error in their teaching by Christ Himself. Had those exiting from Vatican 2 truly known their faith they would have rushed to gather up every papal document they could find to discover what they were bound to do and believe. But the love and respect for the popes as Christ’s earthly mouthpiece had slowly been eroded over the centuries beginning with the Protestant “Reformation.” Strojie’s Letters are only one example of why the faithful remained focused on the Latin Mass, turned to lay leaders and men they believed to be priests (but who in most cases were never validly ordained) and thereby abandoned the teachings of Christ and His Vicars. Strojie never mentioned Catholic Action or the duties of the faithful to actually learn their faith from the most reliable sources, then use this knowledge to actively defend what they are commanded to believe. Therefore it is no wonder that the attempt by Strojie and others to retain the V2 “popes” as quasi-legitimate emboldened the enemy by keeping even those among the laity who were not involved with Traditionalists in a semi-quietistic mode. For this is what successfully prevented them from engaging in Catholic Action and compelling yet-faithful bishops to elect a true pope.
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 (see pg. 13 above). 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 they represented the entire body of the faithful.)
Those attending the Vatican Council in 1869 even expressed this belief in council documents on the Constitution of the Church which were never 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. For that 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). And yet, 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. Many stay-at-home Catholics insist there must be true bishops out there somewhere. This could be true, as I have mentioned elsewhere. Catholic prophecy suggests it, but Catholic prophecy is not equal to the teaching of the Church. Even if bishops were ordained as infants in Russia, as some maintain, how would this ever be able to be proven with the necessary degree of certainty? They might not even know it themselves. Even if they had been given perpetual faculties, not even these are able to be exercised in the absence of a true pope. The hierarchy is a whole, with the pope at its head. Without the pope it cannot do much, as St. Bellarmine teaches. In the sense that such bishops and priests physically exist, perhaps they do. But their only function would be to elect a true pope. Unless and until they perform this essential duty, they cannot validly or licitly posit any ecclesiastical acts.
In truth, it is only remotely possible we will ever see the restoration of the papacy. It would require a miracle and while this is always possible, we are not to expect miracles simply because humans failed to fulfill God’s express will. The remaining faithful were obligated to take over the duties of the hierarchy in their absence. Had they been properly informed decades ago, they could have made provisions for such a solution to the so-called crisis in the Church by relying on Cum ex… — but they failed to act. Only God’s mercy will save us now.
Material-formal Attempts to Paint Pius XII an Ecumenist, Pt. II
I have been asked many times why I do not cover the false teachings of the Vatican 2 Council imposters and the errors of Vatican 2 itself. There is a very simple answer to this question, and it should be bookmarked by all for future reference: The Vatican 2 imposters, beginning with John 23, were/are not true popes and the Vatican 2 council was a false council. Our time in this vale of tears is short. I see no reason whatsoever to waste my precious time (nor the time of my readers) detailing the teachings and activities of men whose only intent is/was to ruin the Church and a council which could never have been convened by a false pope in the first place. I also am questioned on why I write so little about the Latin Mass and once again, the answer is not complicated. The Latin Mass was taken away in part in 1959 and 1962 and only formally in 1969. The sacramental forms were obliterated in 1968, meaning there is no longer any Mass and Sacraments to write about. These conclusions and those demonstrating the invalidity of those claiming to be pope following the death of Pope Pius XII were made on the basis of clear teaching from the continual magisterium. It has been demonstrated from papal documents and the 1917 Code of Canon Law for several decades now that both Angelo Roncalli and Giovanni Battista Montini were heretics prior to their “elections” and therefore were disqualified for election. Those reading the articles at www.betrayedcatholics.com are well aware of this. These observations originally appeared in 1990 in my first self-published work, Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century?
The thrust of that first co-authored work (I wrote approximately two-thirds of the book and edited the rest) was to elect a true pope, which I later realized was not possible from a dogmatic standpoint. I spent two years exposing the book’s errors online and advised people not to read the book. Nevertheless, much of the research in that work stands on its own merits and is as true today as it was at the time it was written. The parts of the book that were not in error (largely eschatological comments and quotes from pre-1959 works) were later excerpted and posted to my website. Papal election aside, the real intent of that work was to stress the necessity of the papacy for the Church’s existence and to make Traditionalists aware they could not continue their activities in the absence of a true pope without placing themselves outside the Church. It also was written to document the heresies of Roncalli, Montini and Karol Wojtyla prior to their “elections” and the ineligibility of these three men, under the 1917 Code of Canon Law, to be elected. For the past almost 30 years since the release of that book, all Traditionalists have managed to do is to throw up impregnable walls to barricade themselves against the true import of the jurisdiction and other dogmatic information presented in that work and many other e-books and articles posted to the betrayedcatholics site over the years.
The name Traditionalist can be traced to a condemned heresy, and it is interesting to note that their objections to the true interpretation of the Vatican Council definition of the papacy are posed as a way of remaining loyal to the traditions of faith.
Filled with ideas of ecclesiastical Liberalism and rejecting the Christian spirit of submission to the teachings of the Church, nearly 1400 Germans issued, in September, 1870, a declaration in which they repudiated the dogma of Infallibility ‘as an innovation contrary to the traditional faith of the Church.’ They were encouraged by large numbers of scholars, politicians, and statesmen, and were acclaimed by the Liberal press of the whole world. The break with the Church began with this declaration, which was put forth notwithstanding the fact that the majority of the German bishops issued, at Fulda on 30 August, a common pastoral letter in support of the dogma… (The Vatican Decrees and Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance, Henry Cardinal Manning, 1875).
As mentioned above, Traditionalists are, at heart, Gallicanists and Old Catholics. They believe that they, in and of themselves — without a true pope (sedes), or with their mutilated explanation of a “pope” reigning from Rome who must be obeyed in all things not heretical — are the repository of Tradition. This is nothing less than the Gallicanist belief that the faithful with their priests and bishops are the true expression of the infallible Church, not the pope. This is the actual expression of Traditionalism itself, as seen below.
According to traditionalism, human reason is of itself radically unable to know with certainty any truth or, at least, the fundamental truths of the metaphysical, moral, and religious order. Hence our first act of knowledge must be an act of faith, based on the authority of revelation. This revelation is transmitted to us through society, and its truth is guaranteed by tradition or the general consent of mankind. Such is the philosophical system maintained chiefly, in its absolute form, by the Vicomte de Bonald and F. de Lamennais in their respective works and, with some mitigation, by Bautain, Bonetty, Ventura, Ubaghs, and the school of Louvain.” (1911 Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15013a.htm; condemned by Pope Pius IX, DZ 1649).
As Reverend Patrick Madgett wrote: “The complete and ultimate rule of faith is the living voice of the living Church, …sometimes referred to as active Tradition, i.e., the teaching and handing on to successive generations, by authoritative teachers, of all Christ’s doctrine.” And from The Catholic Encyclopedia: “The organ of tradition…must be an official organ, a magisterium, or teaching authority.” Traditionalists, by their very name, should know this and reflect it, but do not. Instead, “Traditionalists” are all about the Sacraments and external rituals, which can only legitimately proceed from those in communion with a true Pope. They take their name instead from the heresy of Traditionalism, described above. Catholic truth, to the Traditionalist, is not what is defined by the Roman Pontiff but what they agree is meant by his teachings. Seduced by the heresy of Americanism, they truly believe they possess the right to sit in judgment on Catholic truth despite the infallible teaching of the continual magisterium. They will not serve, but must decide for themselves, which constitutes the sin of Lucifer and Adam and Eve in the Garden.
Obedience is the sticking point
The real problem in the material-formal camp, the actual crux of the matter, is Traditionalists’ refusal to obey the binding decrees of the Roman Pontiffs. If the pope had not first been removed as St. Paul predicted (he who withholdeth taken out of the way), the Latin Mass could never have ceased and they absolutely refuse to admit this salient fact. They place the liturgy and the Mass above the primacy, when Mediator Dei teaches that the pope alone has the power to adjust elements of the liturgy. Strojie encouraged this attitude by endorsing the material-formal hypothesis and insisting the V2 popes were innocent of formal heresy. This only further fueled the anti-papal attitudes that flourished following Vatican 2 and resulted in minimizing the dogma of the primacy and obedience to papal decrees. It has culminated in the actual condemnation of popes as heretics (mainly by Feeneyites and other fringe groups).
Some end the line of true popes at Pope St. Pius V; others at Pope St. Pius X or Pope Pius IX. The trend today among material-formal adherents is to increase attacks on Pope Pius XII as a true pope in order to make him complicit in ushering in the Novus Ordo Missae (NOM). A long series of articles presented on one Traditionalist site, (which in themselves constitute a useful historical evaluation of the changes to the rites of Holy Week, if the character of Pope Pius XII was not impugned) portrays Pius XII as the culprit in actually introducing the changes in the liturgy which later led to the NOM. While the changes were, in retrospect, regrettable, (in that they appear to have been made at the behest of those who had ulterior motives and who, in other matters, are known to have been dishonest in dealing with Pope Pius XII), they in no way indicate that Pius XII would ever have been in agreement with the institution of the NOM. Although the following recommendation does not indicate any support whatsoever for the author’s position as a Traditionalist “bishop,” his comprehensive refutation of the arguments for rejecting Pius XII’s Holy Week are very commendable and concisely refute the contentions of Traditionalists (see http://bishopjosephmarie.org/doctrine/liturgicaldisobedience.html).
For the promoters of the material-formal heresy must first classify Pope Pius XII alongside the Vatican 2 reformers before they can proceed with their plans to unite the various Traditional factions, elect their own “pope” and eventually un-pope Pius XII to return to their “traditions.” These traditions will be, among others, the one elected pope as a ministerial head only and the elimination of Pope Pius XII’s infallible decrees as those of a non-pope. In this way they can return to the Gallicanist conception of the Church and realize the dreams of the Old Catholics. The only reason any of these Traditionalists even bother to consider Francis a true pope (in those few things he hasn’t managed to interfere with yet) is to appear NOT to renounce the papacy. Many claim they don’t know whether Francis and the others are true popes or not, when moral theologians forbid those in doubt to act in any capacity until the doubt is resolved.
Not mentioned on the above link are several points which prove that despite his Holy Week rite changes, Pope Pius XII had no intention of ever revising the Latin Mass to include the vernacular, omit the opening prayers and especially omit anything even remotely annexed to the actual Consecration formulas. The Holy Week series mentioned reports on the closing address Pope Pius XII delivered at the 1956 Assisi International Congress of Pastoral Liturgy as practically rubber stamping the idea of unlimited liturgical change. But it minimizes the remarks Pope Pius XII made concerning his future intent regarding liturgical change, and highlights only those comments made encouraging such change. Several errors and tendencies to error are mentioned in the address, and these have been noted as follows:
- Liturgists applied themselves to their tasks with zeal…although, at times, certain deviations had to be corrected by the Church’s authority.
- The hierarchy …extends its care to all that helps increase the beauty and dignity of liturgical ceremonies: the places of worship, their furnishing, the liturgical vestments, sacred music and sacred art …It pertains to the bishops to watch carefully that the prescriptions of Canon Law with regard to Divine worship are observed.”
- Our encyclical Mediator Dei has already corrected certain erroneous statements…
- “‘The offering of one Mass, at which 100 priests assist with religious devotion, is the same as 100 Masses celebrated by 100 priests.’ …This must be rejected as an erroneous opinion.”
- “Likewise for the Sacraments, it is not a question of knowing the fruit produced by them, but whether the essential elements” [the priest’s performance of the sign and pronouncement of the words] “have been validly performed”
- “We would like, however, to point out certain limits and insist on a fundamental principal of interpretation whose neglect causes us some anxiety… The Lord said, ‘This is my Body! ‘This is my Blood!’ He did not say ‘This is something apparent to the senses which signifies the presence of My Body and Blood.’” The pope then goes on to cite several canons from the Council of Trent regarding the worship of Christ in the Eucharist.
- “’The Blessed Eucharist must be placed in the most distinguished and honorable place in the Church, hence, as a rule, at the main altar.’ The person of Our Lord must hold the central place of worship… To separate tabernacle from altar is to separate two things which by their origin and nature should remain united.” (This in response to the removal of the tabernacle by some from the main altar of parish churches)
- “The Church has grave motives for firmly insisting that in the Latin rite, the priest celebrating Mass has an absolute obligation to use Latin” [and that Gregorian Chant] be done in the Church’s tounge”
- “We sincerely desire the progress of the Liturgical Movement and wish to help it, but it is also our duty to forestall whatever might be a source of error or danger ”
Does this really sound like a wholehearted approval of the Liturgical Movement?! Here we return once again to disciplinary matters, which already have been addressed above. Traditionalists quote numerous theologians on this subject but never point to the works of Pope Pius IX or the Vatican Council itself. Pope Pius XII had the power, according to the infallibility granted to St. Peter and his successors by Our Lord Himself, to change the rite of Holy Week. Deny this and you deny the dogma of the Primacy. The faithful do not have to like it or agree with him, but they are bound to obey it, observe it and accept it with an irrevocable assent. They may not judge his prudence in issuing it or accuse him of complicity with the enemy, for no one may judge a true pope, as Pope Paul IV states in para. 1 of Cum ex… As the Supreme Pontiff, defining a point of doctrine on the liturgy, Pope St. Pius V decreed the following in his De Defectibus (defects in the celebration of the Mass) printed in the front of the Roman Missal
The words of consecration which are the form of this sacrament are these: “For this is My Body,” and “For this is the Chalice of my Blood, of the new and eternal testament; the mystery of faith which will be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins.” If anyone were to omit or change ANYTHING in the form of the consecration of the Body and Blood, and in this change of words, the words do not mean the same thing, he would not produce the Sacrament. If he were to add anything which did not change the meaning, he would indeed consecrate but he would sin most grievously.
Certainly Traditionalists accepted and obeyed this definition when insisting the Latin Mass was the only true Mass following the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae. It is clear from other official papal documents that Pope Pius XII had absolutely no intention of going where Roncalli and Montini later went. Nevertheless, those criticizing the Holy Week changes fail to cite the proof, repeating Pope St. Pius V’s warning about the Consecration, which was published in the Canon Law Digest, Vol. 5, dated July 24, 1958:
Note that this decision was entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis and therefore was binding on the clergy and faithful. It is no coincidence that the dialogue mass booklets in English for the laity were not printed and distributed until after Pope Pius XII’s death (January 1959). These booklets listed as the very words of Consecration “for all men” rather than “for many.” Had Pope Pius XII been alive, this would have resulted in another decision by the Congregation for the very same reasons. Because the omission of the words Mysterium Fidei from the consecration of the wine did not appear until years later (they are seen omitted in the 1974 St. Joseph’s Daily Missal), this demonstrates that the architects of the NOM were fully aware of Pope Pius XII’s limits regarding liturgical changes. The following statement by John Henry Cardinal Newman expresses the exact attitude Catholics should hold regarding the Holy Week changes:
I say with Cardinal Bellarmine, whether the pope be infallible or not in any pronouncement, anyhow he is to be obeyed. No good can come from disobedience. His facts and his warnings may be all wrong; his deliberations may have been biased. He may have been misled. Imperiousness and craft, tyranny and cruelty may be patent in the conduct of his advisors and instruments. But when he speaks formally and authoritatively, he speaks as Our Lord would have him speak, and all those imperfections and sins of individuals are overruled for that result which Our Lord intends (Wilfred Ward, The Life of John Henry Cardinal Newman, Longmans, Green and Co., New York, N.Y., 1912, Vol. II, p. 240).
For those who in their ignorance believe Pope Pius XII could be banished from the papal rolls for revising the Holy Week rites we have this historical fact to offer. Tito Casini relates in his The Torn Tunic (Christian Book Club of America, Hawthorne, Calif., 1967, p. 15):
In the ninth century Pope John VIII over-indulgently allowed the Slavs their own tongue in the celebration of the liturgy. But on reading a later letter of the Pontiff’s, the 95th, one hardly wonders at his admission of the many drawbacks of such a dispensation. In fact Gregory VII revoked it — but too late — too late to save the Russians — with what ultimate results only became evident in the course of time…
So why is John VIII still found in the list of popes?
The objection will be made that if we absolve Pope Pius XII for promulgating the new rite of Holy Week we also must absolve Paul 6 from any guilt regarding the institution of the NOM; but that is truly absurd. Canon Law and infallible papal teaching tell us that Paul 6 never became pope. These proofs have been available for decades. A non-pope could not confirm the teachings of a council nor could he approve a new liturgy. But there is yet another reason why the NOM was never valid from the start. In the Catechism of the Council of Trent we find: “In our Sacraments, the Form is so definite that any, even a casual deviation from it, renders the Sacrament NULL.” This same catechism gives the form for the consecration of the wine as follows: “THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL TESTAMENT, THE MYSTERY OF FAITH, WHICH SHALL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY UNTO THE REMISSION OF SINS.” The omission of “for many” and insertion of “for all (men);” also the omission of the words “the Mystery of Faith” substantially alter the form.
In his letter Ex Quo, Nono, December 26, 1910, Pope St. Pius X declared: “It is well known that to the Church there belongs no right whatsoever to innovate anything touching on the substance of the Sacraments.” And Pope Pius XII taught in his Apostolic Constitution Sacramentum Ordinis, November 30, 1947: “As the Council of Trent teaches, the seven sacraments of the New Law have all been instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord, and the Church has no power over the ‘substance of the Sacraments.” What Pope Pius XII changed had nothing to do with the Sacraments. Not only did Paul 6 change the wording of the Consecration, in 1968 he altered the form of every sacrament Christ Himself instituted. So much for Strojie’s assertion that Paul 6 never proposed heresy ex cathedra, to be adopted by the universal Church.
Material-formal proponents announce plan to unite Traditionalists
The Traditionalist site mentioned above which features the series on the Holy Week changes is operated by individuals vowing to carry on the work of the controversial group Tradition, Family and Property. They are involved with several other conservative “Catholic” and Traditionalist groups who are organizing a conference geared to “unite” diverse Traditionalist sects worldwide. It is sponsored by The Remnant publication and PrayLatin.com, with other sponsors yet to be named. They call this conference “the world’s last chance” at Catholic restoration. Thus they will be able to create their own democratic church after the teachings of the Gallicanists and will pick and choose what and who they wish to believe, regardless of what the Church has always taught. This, they hope, will help move them forward to making material-formal a reality.
Many believe Francis will resign and a contrite imposter will gather Traditionalists under his papal cape and legitimize their institutions and beliefs. There are NO “cardinals” and moneyed American Catholics working toward this very end. The dream they entertain for such a renewal runs as follows: The Tridentine liturgy and rites of the Sacraments will be restored in full. The faithful will be ordered to return to things as they existed in the 1940s, but great latitude will be granted to those who show reluctance in this regard. Sedevacantists among Traditionalists will be promised validation of their “orders” and/or confirmation of their status as religious, thereby securing the approbation of the “reformed” Church. The case of Father Leonard Feeney will be reopened and re-evaluated. It will seem like a dream come true.
Those refusing to heed persistent pleas to achieve (the illusion of) unity will be formally excommunicated over time. The false pope recanting his previous heresies may align with some political leader who champions this church. Whoever he is, this false pope will be portrayed as a great holy man, yet he will be only the creature of those who recruited him. Should it happen, this church will bring in seven devils worse than the first. Pray God it never succeeds, and indeed the likelihood it will is slim. Traditionalists have never been known to agree on anything. They love to argue and all these splinter groups seem to have their own take on things that once were common Catholic practice and belief everywhere. This is a sure sign they have lost their unity, which can only be guaranteed by a true pope. Surely the refusals to obey this and that directive under their new “pope” would eventually start trickling in, if another pretender is elected. For there would be no true pope, hence no real unity could ever be achieved! Benedict 16 brought the correct consecration language back into the Canon of the (otherwise mutilated) NO liturgy, but this did not mean the consecration could ever be valid. Given that priestly and episcopal rites instituted by Paul 6 could not create valid priests and bishops, these men had no power to consecrate anything; for a false pope could never have validly changed those rites to begin with.
Nor could Traditionalists have retained and exercised the old rite to create their own bishops and priests without a true pope, as Pope Pius XII’s VAS teaches. Their status is precisely that of the Old Catholics condemned in the 19th century by Pope Pius IX, as quoted above. All their acts are null and void until a TRUE pope can be elected by competent authority, not the poisoned pool of “contrite” cardinals and others issuing from the Novus Ordo, or any pseudo-bishops among Traditionalists. This has been the entire thrust of the betrayedcatholics website since its inception
— that none of these men are or can ever be lawful pastors, according to the constant teaching of the Church. All that Catholics faithful to the continual magisterium need to know regarding the invalidity of Traditional and Novus Ordo clergy is available on this site. (That none of these men are lawful pastors was also the premise on which the book Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century? was based in 1990.) Many of those fearing that this truly is their “last chance” may gather under the banner of this conference and believe that by expelling Francis, they have accomplished a great feat. But all they will succeed in doing is erecting yet another Phantom Church — this time, possibly, in the U.S.
And this all because infallible papal decrees and disciplinary laws cannot bind Traditionalists. The Holy Week rite cannot bind them, the disciplinary constitutions of Pope Pius VI and Pope Pius IX cannot bind them, THE Vatican Council cannot bind them and most importantly of all, Cum ex… cannot bind them. Gallicanist-Old Catholics through and through, papal obedience is simply not their cup of tea. Those now planning this “restoration” are acting outside infallible papal teaching and Canon Law to rehabilitate a man never validly ordained or consecrated — or who lost any right to exercise orders received through heresy or communicatio in sacris — and present him to the world as a true pope, just as the current usurper in Rome is perceived to be the successor of St. Peter. They are no better than those they viciously continue to condemn for positing a papal election in the last century. The only advantage they might claim over them is that they have the “majority” of Catholics on their side, but then Pope Pius IX condemned the notion that might makes right in his Syllabus. Sadly, therefore, they are embarking on a voyage doomed to end in the complete destruction of any remaining invincible ignorance and the shipwreck of their faith.
Whether intended or not, the trends that began with W.F. Strojie and other early writers of a Traditional bent who advocated the material-formal position are now coming full circle. Desperate Traditionalists will be tempted to join in the drive to be recognized as “true” Catholics, expunging Francis, setting up a new church, role-playing as Catholics of old when nothing could be further from the truth. Conditioned by years of public schooling and social engineering advocating the herd mentality, they will accept the condemned proposition that numbers and material strengths constitute authority (DZ 1760). They will forget — and indeed many of them never knew or understood — that only “authority clothed with the necessary conditions is true authority. False authority makes the same claims, although it lacks these conditions …Authority is not the last criterion of truth” (Reverend A.C. Cotter, S.J., the ABC of Scholastic Theology, 1949, p. 284). Cotter goes onto explain how the followers of the pagan Pythagorus, as described by Cicero, could not provide a reason for their philosophical assertions. When asked for proofs to support their beliefs they would simply reply “’ipse dixit;’ that is “Pythagorus, their teacher, said so,” when it was “their duty to investigate for themselves.”
This is the plight of most Traditionalists today who believe themselves, per the heresy of Traditionalism (see above) incapable of understanding the teachings of faith. A host of Pythagorean-style clerics, publicists and teachers will attend this conference and their followers will believe — because the modern world has granted these individuals some title from a secular or Novus Ordo university, or some Traditionalist seminary has trained them and ordained them as “priests” — that they are superior in authority and knowledge to even the wealth of teaching bequeathed to us in the Deposit of Faith. Yet they will lack the necessary conditions laid down by the popes, the conditions for validity which alone can make who they are and what they do truly Catholic. One quote, peculiarly suited to our circumstances, will suffice to explain how and why what they are attempting to do could not even amount to the faintest shadow of reality.
Apostolicity of membership follows as an inescapable consequence of apostolicity of government. A moral body, despite the fact that it constantly undergoes change and renovation in its personnel, remains numerically the same moral body so long as it retains THE SAME SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND THE SAME AUTHORITY. This should
be clear from the fact that corporations like General Motors, or RCA Victor, or nations like the United States, France, or Switzerland, remain the same corporate or political entities, and are represented before national or international tribunals as the same moral body even though there is vast fluctuation in their personnel. Please note the word, “numerically;” the same society. A mere specific likeness would never satisfy the requirement of apostolicity.
Just for the sake of argument — even though it cannot actually happen — let us conjure up some church which would bear a merely specific likeness to Christ’s Church; a church which would be like it in all respects except numerical identity. Imagine, now, that the Church planted by the apostles has perished utterly. Imagine whether you make it the year 600, 1,500, or 3,000, that all its members have deserted. Imagine, furthermore, that out of this totally crumpled society a fresh and vigorous society springs up and then, after a time, is remodeled perfectly to meet the blueprints of the ancient but now perished apostolic structure. Such a process would never yield a church that was genuinely apostolic, that is, numerically one and the same society which actually existed under the apostles’ personal rule. There would be a brand-new society, studiously copied from a model long since extinct. The new church might be a decent imitation. It might be a caricature. One thing it definitely would not be is apostolic. (Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D., Christ’s Church, Volume II, Apostolicity, Newman Press, 1957).
Most theologians writing before 1959 believed that the Church could never suffer the devastation we have seen in our lifetime. Yet a few envisioned it, reminding us one could not underestimate the powers of evil during the time of Antichrist.
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. Edmund James O’Reilly, S.J., The Relations of the Church to Society — Theological Essays,” John Hodges, 1892).
Reverend E. Sylvester Berry, D.D., in a text written for seminarians, predicted exactly how the crisis in the Church would come about; how the Novus Ordo was set up to imitate the true Church of Christ. And according to Reverend O’Reilly, there is nothing that says this cannot happen a second time.
The prophecies of the Apocalypse show that Satan will imitate the Church of Christ to deceive mankind; he will set up a church of Satan in opposition to the Church of Christ. Antichrist will assume the role of Messias; his prophet will act the part of Pope, and there will be imitations of the Sacraments of the Church. There will also be lying wonders in imitation of the miracles wrought in the Church …There seems to be no reason why a false Church might not become universal, even more universal than the true one, at least for a time” (pgs.119, 155, The Church of Christ, An Apologetic and Dogmatic Treatise, Herder, St. Louis and London, 1927 and 1941).
If we are truly the apostolic Church of the ages, we will recognize the same authority. That authority was established in an unbroken line from St. Peter to the last true pope, Pius XII. Any deviation from the teaching and the succession to that line tells us it is not apostolic; that it cannot and does not issue from Christ to his Apostles and their successors. It is a terrible realization that we live in the reign of Antichrist, and the juridic Church no longer exists. But Christ has promised to not leave us orphans; we are yet the members of his Mystical Body on earth. It is up to us to find our way, as Pope Pius XII commanded, and assume the duties of the hierarchy in the manner he instructed. We may not have priests and bishops, we may have lost our pope, but we are still the Church — true authority has declared that to us — and therefore no one wielding a false authority can pretend to rob us of our true Catholic identity.