+ St. Scholastica, Virgin +
In our last blog, and in the article HERE, we explained why Pope Pius XII’s infallible constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS) must be taken exactly as it stands without any further interpretation. We also presented proofs from Pope Pius IX, the Vatican Council and Henry Cardinal Manning which condemn the arguments of those who dismiss VAS as a non-binding disciplinary decree, the object of “secondary or indirect” infallibility. But as Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton explains below in his American Ecclesiastical Review article “Infallibility in the Encyclicals,” the encyclical Humani Generis made it unquestionably clear what absolutely binds Catholics and what does not. Pope Pius IX likewise made the Church’s position on disciplinary decrees beyond dispute, calling those who refuse to accept such decrees as authoritative and binding “schismatics.”
Now it appears that the actual wording of VAS must be addressed since some have insisted that no papal document can invalidate orders received, only the exercise of jurisdiction. But this is a strawman, (a non sequitur or irrelevant counterargument or conclusion, dismissed by scholastics as an invalid argument) as will be seen below.
As can be seen from Msgr. Fenton’s article, and coursing through the conditions he lists for infallibility, (A-E) — especially regarding a papal constitution — VAS qualifies as infallible on all counts. In VAS, Pope Pius XII:
(A) Speaks to ALL Christians as a ruler and teacher, (for in para. 98 of his constitution he orders the prelates and bishops to instruct the faithful to “perform repeatedly intercessory petitions of suppliant prayers for the swift and happy outcome of so great a matter.” The pope must also:
(B) Use his supreme apostolic authority. In paragraph 1, Pius XII states: “We declare invalid and void any power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff in his lifetime, which the assembly of Cardinals might decide to exercise (while the Church is without a Pope)”, and in paragraph 3, he declares: “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 in para. 108, he states: “We therefore ordain and prescribe these things, decreeing that this present document and whatever is contained in it can by no means be challenged… These same documents are manifestly and will be always and perpetually true, valid, and effective… If anyone should happen to try otherwise relative to these things, by whatever authority, knowingly or unknowingly, the attempt is null and void.” Clearly the will of Pope Pius XII, in virtue of his supreme authority, is that nothing can be changed in this constitution without utterly voiding all the effects of such an act. It is important to note that in the usurpation of papal authority addressed in para. 1, the pope specifically mentions: “We declare invalid and void ANY POWER OR JURISDICTION pertaining to the Roman Pontiff in his lifetime… which the assembly of Cardinals might decide to exercise.”
An attempt to usurp papal jurisdiction is a violation of VAS, this very papal election law which in para. 3 Pius XII forbids to be violated. Does it require papal jurisdiction and power to approve bishops prior to their consecration? It does. And such an attempt also violates canon law, which is proscribed in para. 3. Is it a usurpation of papal jurisdiction to erect a seminary? Canon Law reserves such erection to the pope, and para. 3 nullifies and voids any such erection. So if the consecration ATTEMPT of a bishop occurs without the papal mandate, it never happens; that man is invalidly consecrated and never becomes a bishop. And if such a bishop presumes to erect a seminary and ordain priests, that never happens either; since those men never became bishops and that seminary was never erected, those presenting themselves for ordination never become priests. All of this has been proven in various website treatises.
(C) The doctrine on which he is speaking has to do with faith and morals. Nothing is more essential to Catholic faith than the election of a Roman Pontiff in obedience to Christ’s establishment of the papacy which He intended to be perpetual, since this is the very act of perpetuating it. The definition of a papal constitution is: A papal document that deals with serious doctrinal matters regarding the definition of dogma, changes in canon law or other ecclesiastical matters. Apostolic constitutions are issued as papal bulls because of their solemn, public form. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: “The binding force of pontifical constitutions, even without the acceptance of the Church, is beyond question. The primacy of jurisdiction possessed by the successor of Peter comes immediately and directly from Christ.” This condition seems to be a no-brainer.
(D) A definitive judgment is issued (in this case on interregnums and papal elections). Use of Pope Pius XII’s supreme authority and command that this law can never be challenged or changed should be indisputable proof that this is a definitive judgment.
(E) He wills that this definitive judgment be accepted by the universal Church. The very fact that Pope Pius XII uses his supreme authority to seal this document, and that it is entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis (38-65) should be enough, given all the above, for any rational creature to see that this constitution is indeed infallible, at least in the first three paragraphs governing interregnums.
I think what is stated above is more than sufficient to prove the uncontestable infallibility of VAS. Now the question is: who among those wishing to remain truly Catholic stand ready to obey this infallible decree?
As in Holy Scripture, Fr. Felix Sarda states in his Liberalism is a Sin, so it is also with papal documents; THEY ARE TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY unless indicated otherwise by the very sense of the statement. Paragraph 4 of VAS declares that: “If any doubts should arise concerning the sense of the regulations that are contained in this Our Constitution, or even concerning the means according to which these things should be set forth in practice, or about any other chapter at all of this our Constitution, We ordain and declare that the power of imposing an authoritative decision about these things is only in the hands of the Sacred College of Cardinals.” Therefore NO ONE may even attempt to interpret it, and if they do so, it is null and void. We may only judge this document by those norms provided by Msgr. Fenton and other orthodox and approved theologians, existing when the Church was yet the Church.
Additional papal proofs Traditionalist Orders not valid
As far as orders actually received goes, I think it is quite clear from the above that Pope Pius XII, in all his many pronouncements on the papal oversight of bishops and the excommunications levied for consecration without the papal mandate for ALL rites, has sufficiently established his mind and intent in these matters. He states in VAS that should the cardinals or anyone else (para. 2) even attempt to violate any of the provisions of his constitution, that attempt is null and void. And by his specific referral in paragraph one to the invalidity of any “power or jurisdiction” which some might attempt to exercise in the pontiff’s absence, he does not, as some claim, refer only to jurisdictional matters, but to the very power — and how can this reference refer to any other power? — granted to those who possess Orders. For already in 1943 he had defined as “certain” in his encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, that the bishops are dependent on the Roman Pontiff and subordinate to his authority, an authority plainly exercised to its fullest in VAS.
This too is an infallible definition since it clarifies matters under discussion for many centuries that are related to the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff, and this we have explained at length in previous blogs. Grammatically the word “or” indicates a distinction or separation, and the only alternate to that distinction is the exercise of Orders or some other power specifically granted to an individual by the Pope himself as VAS indicates. Now in any doubt that Orders have been received — and certainly there is grave doubt regarding all Traditionalist ordinations and consecrations — a pope may determine, as did Pope Leo XIII in Apostolica Curae in the case of the Anglicans, that they indeed have not received Orders. In VAS Pope Pius XII prohibits the exercise, during an interregnum, of Orders unquestionably received; but we are talking here of putative Orders no pope has never determined as valid in the case of Traditionalists, and that is an entirely different matter.
It is no secret that the Orders received by Lefebvre would need to be determined as valid by a true pope, and those conveyed by Thuc have even been questioned by certain Traditionalists who admit a papal decision would be necessary to judge their validity. If even validly consecrated and ordained men have no power or jurisdiction and cannot usurp papal jurisdiction during an interregnum or change Church laws, how much more so those whose validity has not even yet been officially determined!! Even so, VAS is sufficiently precise in its wording to be absolutely certain that such men never become priests or bishops. Yet another document kindly forwarded to us by our Spanish readers confirms what Pope Pius VI already taught infallibly in his Charitas: priests ordained by schismatic bishops cannot and do not receive Holy Orders.
This ancient decree issued by Pope St. Leo I, the Great, proves that from the earliest times, the Church refused to recognize those ordained by bishops who were ordained without the approval of a bishop in communion with the Roman Pontiff. The Catholic Encyclopedia says of Pope St. Leo I: “[Pope St. Leo I, the Great] died 10 November, 461. Leo’s pontificate, next to that of St. Gregory I, is the most significant and important in Christian antiquity.” Pope St. Leo the Great is quoted below, and the author quoting him notes that other popes, not just Pope St. Leo I, taught as he did.
“To Anastasius of Thessalonica, apostolic vicar in Illyria, the pontiff Saint Leo the Great told him: «Let no bishop be ordained in those churches without your approval: in this way he will take care, to make the choice with maturity, knowing that they have to pass your examination. The metropolitan who, disregarding our mandates, will be ordained without your notice, let him know that WE WILL NOT CONSIDER HIS ORDINATION AS VALID; and he will be responsible before us for the USURPATION HE PRESUMED TO MAKE OF THE HOLY MINISTRY. If each metropolitan is entrusted with the power to ordain the bishops of his province, only to you do we reserve the ordination of metropolitans, provided, however, that a mature and thoughtful examination precede this; for although no bishop should be consecrated who is not tested and pleasing to the Lord, we want the one who is to preside over the others to excel all (73)». Pope Saint Zosimus explained himself in almost the same terms when he created Protoclus of Arles his vicar in France: Similar were the phrases with which Gregory II delegated the power to institute archbishops and bishops to the evangelical workers he sent to Bavaria, France and Germany (74)”.
- (73 . S. Leo M. Ep. 1. ad Anast. Thessalon).
- (74 . En Tomasin part. 1 , lib . 1 , c . 42 , n . 3 y 5).
- (S. Leo M. Ep. 1 ad metropol. Illyriæ ap . Labbé)
The balance between the two powers: that is, The rights of the Church vindicated against the attacks of Dr. D.F. de P.G. Vigil. by Reverend Fray Pedro Gual, Vol.3, p. 202 https://books.google.es/books?id=tcOjv14YMKQC&pg=PA488&dq=equilibrio+2+potestades+tomo+tercero&hl=es&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwij5cWv9of9AhUITcAKHVd0D9gQ6wF6BAgEEAE#v=snippet&q=202&f=false
It has taken 64 years to realize the full import of VAS, and certainly now there is nothing that can be done to rectify the situation in the Church unless and until a true pope declares Traditionalist Orders certainly valid, and that we shall ever see such a true pope now is highly unlikely. This is primarily due to the anti-Catholic teachings, distractions and disinformation peddled by Traditionalists for nearly six decades which prevented the See from ever being occupied again — a conspiracy against the papacy. Although it was God’s express will that this should happen, that fact excuses no one for their failure to act. Next, we shall see what happens when Catholics fail to obey the popes.What in the World…
What in the World…
In a Fox News report HERE, whistleblowers have revealed from a leaked document that the FBI considers “radical” Latin Mass Traditionalist Catholics as at least suspected domestic terrorists/white supremacists. (see also the articles in Newsweek and the Catholic News Agency.) The FBI later said it will remove the document from the Bureau’s system because it is not consistent with its standards. Warnings against affiliating with these white supremacy/Christian Identity (British Israel) sects have existed on this site for over a decade. Particularly emphasized in these articles have been the dangers of reading and promoting the book written by Maurice Pinay (pseudonym for Anacleto Gonzales-Flores), The Plot Against the Church. Pinay’s work blames the Jews for destroying Tradition, the infiltration of the clergy and the Vatican 2 changes.
Concerns regarding these sects did not originate with the FBI but came from more conservative Traditionalist groups and newChurch organizations, including Fidelity magazine, decades ago. The anti-Semitic orientation of many Traditionalist sects can be traced back to the founding of so-called “Catholic Freemasonry” (Knights of St. John Jerusalem, or OSJ aka the Shickshinny Knights, other sects) in the 1950s-1960s. These sported ties to Marcel Lefebvre and other shady actors. (See the article HERE for a full explanation).
The Catholic News Agency reports that “The organizations identified in the document as adhering to “radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology” include Tradition in Action, The Remnant, Culture Wars Magazine, and the Fatima Crusader… Both the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) and the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) are listed as potential points of contact for outreach.”
While several news commentators have denounced the investigation of the radical segment of the Traditional movement as a violation of the First Amendment, Traditionalists have left themselves wide open for these allegations by frequenting these extremist groups, which often have been charged by law enforcement and the FBI as openly plotting anarchy. Sadly, many who are innocent of such charges will be pulled in behind those who are/were involved in these activities. We by no means believe that the majority of Traditionalists are/were members of this or any other secret society or white supremacy group promoting racial hatred and anti-Semitism. But unfortunately some of them were, especially in the 1970s-1990s. And as Americans discovered with those involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol protest, the ones who were arrested or who are now under suspicion are not just those who entered the Capitol building or were on the Capitol grounds. Guilt by association was once a rejected basis for arrest, but apparently no more.
Yet the danger of being apprehended and punished is not the reason why Catholics must oppose anti-Semitism; they must oppose anti-Semitism because it is intrinsically wrong and because the Church forbids us to engage in it. We explain this in the articles HERE and HERE.
Just as our parents so often warned us as children not to do certain things or frequent certain places without explaining in any great detail why, so the Church warns her children in the same way. Membership in Traditionalist sects is forbidden because they are schismatic, and schismatic sects are dangerous for many reasons, not just reasons dealing directly with the Mass and Sacraments. They are dangerous because they lack a pope who can rule without error in doctrinal matters, and direct the faithful. The popes have been consistent over the centuries in their teaching regarding how we are to treat the Jews, and especially Pope Pius XI and XII, given the Nazi persecution, were adamant that no one injure them or their property and that Catholics were to help them and protect them when the need arose.
We have explained over and over again how destructive of the faith disobedience to the popes and implicit denial of their infallibility, through membership in these schismatic Traditionalist sects, has been all these years. Yet all falls on deaf ears. So since Traditionalists appear to esteem Louis Cardinal Billot, perhaps they will hearken to what he says below if not our own words. Speaking of schismatic sects he writes:
“Hence, if perchance true sacraments be found in the sects, they are not in them except as goods belonging to another, which cannot profit to the salvation of anyone who receives them in full awareness of the facts as long as the error of separation or schism remains uncorrected. Moreover, the sects as such are called THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN [Apoc. 3: 9], whose heads are ANTICHRISTS, as is stated in I John 2, 18 et seq. So it is impossible that they should legitimately hold goods entrusted by Christ to the Church” (On Sacraments and Mission, De Membris Ecclesiae, Fr. Fraghi).
Why, why do these people cling to these fraudulent pseudo-clerics and groups when they can keep their faith at home without fear of offending our Lord? Are they really willing to give up their families and perhaps even their lives for them?!
Cult expert Thomas Case with Fidelity magazine wrote the following articles referencing the anti-Semitism rife among the SSPX; also the dangers to the faith posed by the OSJ and various Traditional groups:
Anthony Cekada wrote an article warning Traditionalists against the OSJ in 1981, but failed to mention several prominent Traditional clergy as known members of the organization: (http://www.traditionalmass.org/articles/article.php?id=56&catname=1).