+St. Peter’s Chair at Rome+

Today the Church celebrates the Chair of St. Peter at Rome, and faithful Catholics have hopefully begun the much-needed Unity Octave (https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/that-all-may-be-onepray-for-counterfeit-catholics/)

But alas, there are those who do not even recognize the popes as Supreme Head of the Church, for they would place them secondary to theologians, denying the Divine assistance promised them by Christ. And they continue to perpetuate the dissonance and DISUNITY so inimical to all who strive to be Catholic, and long to be included in the sheepfold of Christ. Even though we have no pope, we have the priceless treasury of the Deposit of Faith they left us, if only Catholics would accept and obey the contents of that Divine Deposit.

We have published lengthy comments to our last blog; this most recent comment will be answered here. Once again, it is from a “John Lewis,” who asks the following questions.

Q. “If I’m understanding you correctly you believe there are no valid sacraments during a papal interregnum?”

A. Have you read the opening paragraphs of Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis? We must ALL believe that Pope Pius XII has INFALLIBLY TAUGHT that:

  1. No bishops can validly be consecrated during THIS interregnum without the examination/papal mandate. Never before in the Church’s history did all the cardinals and bishops fall into heresy, schism and apostasy during an interregnum and lose all jurisdiction, making it impossible to elect a true pope.
  2. No one, neither the cardinals far less the bishops, can usurp papal jurisdiction during an interregnum.
  3. No one can change papal law or Canon Law during an interregnum.
  4. Any attempt to do any of the above, as infallibly defined by Pope Pius XII in Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, is null, void and invalid.

Q. There have been interregnums in the history of the Church other than the present one. Can you cite any theologians or theological manuals that support your conclusion?

A. What theologians teach or think is entirely irrelevant; they have no right to interpret infallible papal decrees. This has been taught repeatedly by the popes themselves. It does not matter what happened with the Church in the past; Pope Pius XII’s infallible definition did not exist at that time. It exists today. We find in Pope Pius XII’s Mediator Dei, Nov. 9, 1947, also determined to be binding on the faithful:

“Clearly no sincere Catholic can refuse to accept the formulation of Christian doctrine more recently elaborated and proclaimed as dogmas by the Church, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit with abundant fruit for souls, because it pleases him to hark back to the old formulas. NO MORE CAN ANY CATHOLIC IN HIS RIGHT SENSES REPUDIATE EXISTING LEGISLATION OF THE CHURCH TO REVERT TO PRESCRIPTIONS BASED ON THE EARLIEST SOURCES OF CANON LAW. Just as obviously unwise and mistaken is the zeal of one who in matters liturgical would go back to the rites and usage of antiquity, discarding the new patterns introduced by disposition of divine Providence to meet the changes of circumstances and situation.

“This way of acting bids fair to revive the exaggerated and senseless antiquarianism to which the illegal Council of Pistoia gave rise. It likewise attempts to reinstate a series of errors which were responsible for the calling of that meeting as well as for those resulting from it, with grievous harm to souls, and which the Church, the ever-watchful guardian of the “deposit of faith” committed to her charge by her divine Founder, had every right and reason to condemn.”

And this is repeated in Ad apostolorum principis:

“We are aware that those who belittle obedience in order to justify themselves with regard to those functions which they have unrighteously assumed defend their position by recalling a usage which prevailed in ages past. Yet everyone sees that all ecclesiastical discipline is overthrown if it is in any way lawful for one to restore arrangements which are no longer VALID because the supreme authority of the Church long ago decreed otherwise. In no sense do they excuse their way of acting by appealing to another custom, and they indisputably prove that they follow this line deliberately in order to escape from the discipline which now prevails and which they ought to be obeying…

“…The faithful are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience not only in matters which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church.” 

“From what We have said, it follows that no authority whatsoever, save that which is proper to the Supreme Pastor, can render void the canonical appointment granted to any bishop; that no person or group, whether of priests or of laymen, can claim the right of nominating bishops; that no one can lawfully confer episcopal consecration unless he has received the mandate of the Apostolic See.”

Q. For such a radical proposition to have even been considered a possibility, would this not have been discussed amongst Church theologians and widely debated?

A. See below.

“For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth do hold until he be taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7). This restraining power, Henry Edward Cardinal Manning says — this “he who withholdeth” — is none other than: “Christendom and its head; the Vicar of Jesus Christ.” For in that twofold authority, temporal and spiritual, the Supreme Pontiff:

“…is the direct antagonist to the principle of disorder …It was the will of God; it was the concession of the Father that Pilate had power over His Incarnate Son… In like manner with His Church. Until the hour has come when the barrier, by the Divine will, be taken out of the way, no one has power to lay a hand upon it. The gates of Hell may war against [the Church]; they may strive and wrestle, as they struggle now, with the Vicar of Our Lord; but no one has the power to move Him one step until the hour shall come when the Son of God shall permit, for a time, the powers of evil to prevail. That He will permit it for a time stands in the book of prophecy. But the imperishable Church of God…will live on still through the fires of the times of Antichrist….” (Henry Cardinal Manning, The Temporal Power of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, Burns and Lambert, 1862, London).

Louis-Edouard Cardinal Pie of Poitiers, a contemporary of Cardinal Manning’s and a drafter of the Vatican Council proclamation on infallibility, wrote:

The Church, though of course still a visible society, will be increasingly reduced to individual and domestic proportions.  She who in Her young days cried out: ‘the place is strait: give me room wherein to dwell,’ will see every inch of Her territory under attack.  Surrounded on all sides, as the other centuries have made Her great, so the last will strive to crush Her.  And finally the Church on earth will undergo a true defeat: ‘…and it was given unto him to make war with the saints and to overcome them,’ (Apocalypse 13:7).  The insolence of evil will be at its peak.

Hilaire Belloc says the same in his The Great Heresies:

The Church will not disappear, for the Church is not of mortal stuff; it is the only institution among men not subject to the universal law of mortality. Therefore we say, not that the Church may be wiped out, but that it may be reduced to asmall band almost forgotten amid the vast numbers of its opponents and their contempt of the defeated thing. One of the most intelligent of French Catholics, a converted Jew, has written a work to prove (or suggest) that the first of these two possible issues will be our fate. He envisages the last years of the Church on this earth as lived apart. He sees a Church of the future reduced to very few in numbers and left on one side in the general current of the new Paganism. [Pope Pius XII calls this resurgence of former errors “the current of Black Paganism” – Ed.] He sees a Church of the future within which there will be intensity of devotion, indeed, but that devotion practised by one small body, isolated and forgotten in the midst of its fellowmen.”

And there also is this: “We must not be too ready to pronounce on what God may permit. But we, or our successors in future generations of Christians, shall perhaps see stranger evils than have yet been experienced, even before the immediate approach of that great winding up of all things on earth that will precede the day of judgment. I am not setting up for a prophet, nor pretending to see unhappy wonders, of which I have no knowledge whatever. All I mean to convey is that contingencies regarding the Church, not excluded by the Divine promises, cannot be regarded as practically impossible, just because they would be terrible and distressing in a very high degree” (The Relations of the Church to Society — Theological Essays, Rev. Edmund James O’Reilly, S.J.).

Victorinus — (Source: Translated by Robert Ernest Wallis. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co.,1886) http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0712.htm

“Ch. 6:14. “And the heaven withdrew as a scroll that is rolled up.” For the heaven to be rolled away, that is, that the Church shall be taken away.

“Ch. 15:1 And I saw another great and wonderful sign, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is completed the indignation of God. For the wrath of God always strikes the obstinate people with seven plagues, that is, perfectly, as it is said in Leviticus; and these shall be in the last time, when the Church shall have gone out of the midst.”

The esteemed Catholic journalist, Juan Donoso Cortes, writing in the mid-1800s, makes this chilling prediction:

“…Christianity, humanly speaking, must necessarily succumb: It must succumb first, because it was the truth; secondly, because it had in its support marvelous miracles, eloquent testimonies and irrefragable proofs… [i] Without the Church, nothing is possible except chaos. Without the pope, there is no Church. The world will not allow…Roman demagogy to confiscate the infallibility promised to the bishop of Rome for its own benefit, or that demagogic oracles replace the oracles of the papacy. No, this cannot be. This will not be unless we have come to those frightful days of the Apocalypse in which a mammoth anti-Christian empire extends from the center to the poles of the earth. The Church of Jesus Christ will suffer a dreadful eclipse in which the Holy Sacrifice will, for the only time, be suspended, and in which, after unheard of catastrophes, to save His Church, the direct intervention of God will be required to pull down pride and hurl down the impious” (Juan Donoso Cortes, Essays on Catholicism, Liberalism and Socialism, translated from the Spanish by Rev. William McDonald, M. H. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1879, 66)

In his prefatory letter to Reverend Denis Fahey’s excellent work, The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World, Bishop J. Kinane, D.D., J.C.L., of Waterford and Lismore (Ireland), wrote the following:

“We know, indeed, that the divine order will survive these attacks, that the Church is indefectible and will emerge triumphant from this struggle as she has done from former ones. We have, however, no guarantee that she will not be wounded in the fight, and whether her wounds are to be serious or light will depend, under God, almost entirely on the number, zeal, and preparedness of her defenders. Now, an essential prerequisite for a proper preparation is a knowledge of the nature and extent of the menace, of the organization of the forces behind it, and of the diabolical hatred of Christianity and of everything behind it, and of the diabolical hatred of Christianity and of everything supernatural with which these forces are imbued.”

In his work Liberal Illusions, Louis Veuillot wrote in the 1800s:

“Cicero wrote: ‘A state cannot exist anymore than can a household unless the good are rewarded and the evil punished.’ This duty to uphold justice and consequently to profess the truth is of the very essence of government independently of all constitutions and political structures. God threatened his rebellious people saying: ‘I will give you a king in my fury and in my fury I will take him from you’ (Osee 13:11). All Holy Scripture is full of this wisdom but what can divine and human reason do when ignorance reigns? From the depths of the multitude comes up a strange fog which darkens even the best of minds and the wise men are legion who will only see clearly by the light of everything going up in flames. When one studies this phenomenon, it appears so strange and so terrible that one cannot help recognizing the hand of God at work. It is the wrath of God bursting forth. It bursts forth, it triumphs and it is punishing whoever persists in scorning the truth.

In line with the faith, reason cries out to us to unite and strengthen ourselves through obedience: ‘To whom shall we go?’ Liberals and non-Liberals alike, all of us struck by the dreadful unrest of these times know only one thing for certain: that the only man who knows anything at all is that man to whom God is always present; the man who is the mind of God. We must rally together around the Supreme Pontiff, follow his directives without faltering and proclaim with him those truths that will alone save our souls and the world. We must refrain from all endeavor to make his words fit our own mindset. “When the Supreme Pontiff has made known a pastoral decision, no one has the right to add or take away the smallest letter — non addere, non minuere. What he affirms is true forever’ (Most Reverend Bericaud, Bishop of Tulle).  Any other course of action will only end by dividing us further until we break up. That would be the greatest misfortune of all.”

And there you have it; Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis in a nutshell. What Veuillot urged us to do is the very thing that has been ignored, and what we are dealing with today can only be the wrath of God. For there is nothing but contempt for the papacy and disunity even among those calling themselves “homealone” Catholics. In truth they are the very same Liberals of Veuillot’s day who have led us to this intolerable impasse in the first place, and who continue to attempt to widen the gap among true Catholics. May God help us all.

Addendum on the authority of theologians

Strict doctrinal accuracy is the primary responsibility of the theologian

Revs. Pohle-Preuss write in The Sacraments, Vol. IV: “It matters not what the private opinions of…theologians [are]. It is not the private opinions of theologians but the official decisions of the Church by which we must be guided.

“A man is a competent theologian only to the extent that his teaching, written or oral, is an accurate statement of divine public revelation…the actual teaching of the ecclesiastical magisterium,” (J.C. Fenton, J.C.L. American Ecclesiastical Review, “What are the sources available to the sacred theologian? In his “Sacred Theology,” Fenton lists these sources from the theologian Melchior Cano as follows:

  1. Holy Scripture, contained in the canonical books;
  2. The oral Traditions of Christ and the Apostles, rightly called oracles of the living voice;
  3. The Catholic Church, (continual magisterium);
  4. The General Councils specifically, but also the regional councils;
  5. The Roman Church, called by divine privilege Apostolic (Holy See, Sacred Congregations);
  6. The authority of the ancient Fathers;
  7. The authority of scholastic theologians, to whom the teachers of Canon Law are joined;
  8. Natural reason, contained in all the naturally acquired sciences.
  9. The authority of philosophers following the natural light of human reason and the masters of the civil law;
  10. The authority of human history written by trustworthy authors or expressed in serious, national tradition.

“According to Catholic doctrine, therefore, Holy Scripture and Tradition are only the remote rule of faith, while the proximate rule is the living magisterium of the Church, which resides in the Roman Pontiff and in the bishops, inasmuch as they are subject to and united with him. The Vatican Council (sess. 4, c. 4, DB, 1832) has sealed this truth by defining that the primacy of Peter and his successors is included in the supreme power of teaching, which is veritatis et fidei numquam deficientis charisma (“the chrism of never-failing truth and faith”).” Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology by Pietro Parente, Antonio Piolanti, and Salvatore Garofalo. Imprimatur, May 1, 1951, pages 170 and 171). Under loci theologici  (theological sources) in this same work, Parente et al ranks the various sources as follows:

It is clear, then, that theologians, on the theological scale, are low on the list of authorities as all should know, and the Popes, the Councils, and the Church are at the top of the list. To ask anyone to prove the infallible teachings of the Roman Pontiffs by resorting to the interpretation or opinions of the theologians is totally reversing this trusted, centuries-old order employed by scholastic theologians. And to subject papal decisions and definitions to human reason, which is what is done when those in these online Traditional discussion groups dissect these teachings, is the work of human reason. This application of human reason is judged in the above diagram as “not proper;” the work of theologians is determined to be only “probably” declarative, while the magisterium in all its manifestations is efficaciously declarative, efficacious  meaning it “produces the desired or intended result.” So would those truly desiring to know the truth and save their souls prefer to rely on something only probably declarative and improper or would they rather trust what is most efficacious and productive of formal certitude? Obviously many prefer the former.

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