+St. Rita of Cascia+
The uppermost question at issue in this entire series has been who and what constitutes Christ’s Church on earth, who is to be believed and obeyed, why they must be believed and obeyed and the consequences of not believing and obeying. In stepping back to try and determine what it is that distinguishes the Catholic Church as an institution from all others claiming to likewise possess the truth, we must never forget that the primary factor setting the Church apart is Her establishment by Our Lord on that Rock St. Peter, whose successors safeguarded the Deposit of Faith for nearly 20 centuries. It is the Apostolic College, the bishops in union with their head bishop; the ecumenical councils and the Supreme Pontiff acting on his own that have guided the Church safely over rough waters throughout time.
During the course of this series, mention has been made of fallacies in argument — begging the question, arguing beside the point, ad hominem attacks and so on. These arguments are opposed to the system of logic formulated by St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas’ venerable system, Scholasticism, was adopted by the Church to teach her doctors and theologians, so it is key to the right understanding of Her doctrines. The popes have never ceased to laud the benefits of this philosophical system and urge that it be taught to those engaging in theological studies. Whenever there is an error in making use of the principles taught by this system, then those committing these errors are not obeying the Church and their teaching cannot be trusted. Below is a brief outline of scholasticism and its importance to those studying the Catholic faith.
SCHOLASTIC METHOD AND THE VERACITY OF TRADITIONAL STATEMENTS
The Popes on St. Thomas Aquinas:
“The doctrine of this Doctor, beyond all others, has fitness of words, manner of expression, and truth of opinions; so that he who holds it will never swerve from the path of truth; and, on the contrary, he who attacks it must always be suspected” (Pope Innocent V).
Pope St. Pius V called St. Thomas “the most certain rule of Christian doctrine by which he enlightened the Apostolic Church in answering conclusively numberless errors.”
“[Theology professors] should also take particular care that their students develop a deep affection for the Summa … In this way and no other will theology be restored to its pristine dignity, and the proper order and value will be restored to all sacred studies…” (Pope St. Pius X).
“The manifold honors paid by the Holy See to St. Thomas Aquinas exclude forever any doubt from the mind of Catholics with regard to his being raised up by God as the Master of Doctrine to be followed by the Church through all ages” (Pope Benedict XV, from His Papal Brief Approving the Catechism Of The “Summa Theologica” of Saint Thomas Aquinas For the Use of the Faithful, Feb. 5, 1919).
“We believe Thomas should be called not only Angelic but Common or Universal Doctor of the Church. As innumerable documents of every kind attest, the Church has adopted his doctrine for her own…” (Pope Pius XI)
“To follow [St. Thomas’] leadership is praiseworthy: on the contrary, to depart foolishly and rashly from the wisdom of the angelic Doctor is something far from Our mind and fraught with peril … For those who apply themselves to the teaching and study of Theology and Philosophy should consider it their capital duty…” (Pope Pius XII).
The Church has but one system of philosophy uniquely Her own, and all other systems have been condemned over the centuries as erroneous. This is testified to above by the popes. Numerous condemnations of those who stray from St. Thomas Aquinas’ scholastic method can be found in Denzinger’s The Sources of Catholic Dogma.
St. Thomas’s definition of logic runs as follows: “Logic is the science and art which directs the act of the reason, by which a man in the exercise of his reason is enabled to proceed without error, confusion, or unnecessary difficulty… St. Thomas and his contemporaries looked upon logic as an instrument for the discovery and exposition of natural truth. They considered, moreover, that it is the instrument by which the theologian is enabled to expound, systematize, and defend revealed truth” (Catholic Encyclopedia, under Logic). The articles explain that it was Pope John XXI Who gave the Church the “Catholic” version of Aristotelean logic.
In his work Logic, Joseph Walsh, S.J. writes: “Logic is the science which directs the operations of the intellect in the attainment of truth… Truth as applied to the intellect is the agreement of our knowledge with objective reality. When our thoughts conform to things as they really are, when our judgment agrees with the objective facts, we are said to have true knowledge” (pgs. 7-8). Logic, therefore, is an ancient science adapted for use by the Church and endorsed by St. Thomas Aquinas for the study of theology. And the goal of this site is to provide those sincerely seeking the truth with objective facts.
Sacred Theology and all other related theologies are to be understood as the practice of this science. Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton, in his work The Concept of Sacred Theology, relates that the writers of theological textbooks refer to this science as “the science of faith.” Others, among them Tanquerey and Herve, define it as “the science which treats of God, and of creatures insofar as they are referred to God, by way of revelation and of reason.” Theology in general he defines as “a body of knowledge deduced from divinely revealed truth.” All scientific investigation and exposition must be governed by specific rules; the Scholasticism of St. Thomas Aquinas provides us with these rules.
Safely within the parameters of an unchanging Church, doctrine most certainly can never change, and the rules governing these doctrines likewise will not, cannot change. The key phrase here is within the Church. For there are many false systems of philosophy condemned by the Church and there can be no Church or Catholic society without the pope, as the Council of Trent, Pope Pius IX and St. Thomas Aquinas himself teach. (For further study, read https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/scholasticism/rules-of-scholastic-theology/;https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/scholasticism/antischolasticism-and-traditional-philosophy/).
Those wishing to bring forth arguments and proofs refuting what has been presented here must follow this system and its rules, dictated for use by the Church, or they cannot hope to successfully present their case. If this is not done, no one is bound to consider what they say, since they violate the laws of the Church in saying it. The following points would need to be disproven from the strongest form of proof available according to Canon Law — documents of the Roman Pontiff (especially those entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis), the Sacred Congregations and authentic interpretations of Canon Law.
QUALIFYING “SALVATION OF SOULS IS THE HIGHEST LAW”
The definition of what indeed saves souls needs to be specified before the sweeping claim is made that Traditionalists have the necessary power and jurisdiction to validly administer the Sacraments and offer the Holy Sacrifice. Those attending masses simulated by Traditionalists are exposed to sacrilege and idolatry as has been demonstrated repeatedly in other articles on this site and this will damn — not save — their souls. Before they can present as instruments capable of saving souls, Traditionalists must first prove irrefutably they have been validly and licitly ordained and are able to validly and licitly administer the Sacraments.
As to the claim they must obey the divine law above ecclesiastical law, Pope Leo XIII teaches in Sedes Sapientiae, regarding obedience to the Roman Pontiff: “The guidance of both belief and action by divine right belongs to the… Chief Pontiff. Hence the Pontiff must have the power authoritatively to judge the meaning of Holy Scripture… and what is to be done and what is to be avoided in the work of salvation.” No one but the Roman Pontiff can pretend to interpret and apply a maxim of Holy Scripture, divine law; in doing this, Traditionalists usurp the rights of Christ’s Vicar.
The two Sacraments necessary for salvation are still available to the faithful — Baptism and Marriage. These are the only two Sacraments that validly and licitly ordained priests are obligated to administer under the Canon. In their absence, the Church has made provisions for the laity to baptize and contract marriage validly under the law, (Canons 742 and1098). Special emergency provisions have been made by the Holy Office lifting all impediments save those of consanguinity and the marriage of clerics. Canon 682 explains that the clergy only have the strict obligation to supply those Sacraments necessary for salvation, (Baptism, Matrimony) under the Divine law, all others being governed by ecclesiastical law, (Woywod-Smith).
It is important to note the following as stated in Woywod-Smith’s Canon Law commentary under Can. 742: “A Catholic lay person is to be preferred [in administering Baptism] to a priest who is suspended, personally interdicted or excommunicated when these censures have been imposed by a declaratory or condemnatory sentence, for Can. 2261 desires that the people do not request them to administer the Sacraments if there is anyone else who can do so.” So even if the possessed jurisdiction, Can. 2261 would not cover them just as has been maintained in the series of articles running these past two months. In addition to the provisions for Baptism and Marriage, when it is not possible to receive absolution in the Sacrament of Penance or Holy Communion, a perfect Act of Contrition and Spiritual Communion will suffice for forgiveness of sins and the graces received in actual reception of the Sacraments.
This overriding principle used to justify Traditionalist operations once again presupposes the existence of valid and licit orders, when this has not been proven by any means. Moreover, it presumes to interpret the Divine Law, when this privilege belongs solely to the Roman Pontiff.
NO JURISDICTION WITHOUT VALID ORDINATION
The real issue here is NOT jurisdiction, but validity. It is highly unlikely that these Traditionalists representing as priests and bishops are validly ordained or consecrated, and we have very serious reasons indeed to believe they are not (see https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/the-traditionalist-movement-was-never-catholic/). Thuc and Lefebvre were schismatics under Can. 2314, which says if they participated in a non-Catholic religion they also were unable to validly ordain or consecrate anyone, being guilty of communicatio in sacris (false worship, Novus Ordo). The censure levied in Can. 2314 §1, no. 3 results in an additional penalty called infamy of law (Can. 2294) and this penalty can be lifted only by a true pope. There is no doubt about the schism or the penalty. So why is anyone even talking about jurisdiction when there is no way they can even prove their validity?!
In order to even begin to function as clerics, those ordained or consecrated by schismatics — and Lefebvre and Thuc have been proven to be members of the Novus Ordo church, which all Traditionalists consider a non-Catholic church — are required to have their orders scrutinized and regularized, if possible, by the Roman Pontiff and the vindicative penalty lifted. They could function only if they were able to present VERIFIABLE PROOFS they were unquestionably validly and licitly ordained a priest and/or consecrated a bishop by a bishop approved by Pope Pius XII to ordain and consecrate (who has not been ipso facto excommunicated for heresy or schism). In the meantime, they are forbidden to function.
PROVE A CANONICALLY ELECTED POPE EXISTS
If it could be proven they possessed valid and licit orders, only then could Traditionalists bring up the subject of obtaining supplied jurisdiction. But here there is also a major problem — where are the IRREFUTABLE PROOFS that a canonically elected pope exists or has existed since the death of Pope Pius XII to supply such jurisdiction? For as Rev. Francis Miaskiewicz writes in his Supplied Jurisdiction According to Canon 209, CUA 1940, “The Supreme Pontiff, from whom all jurisdiction emanates and from whom all common law has its origin, supplies the necessary jurisdiction… When the Church, or more specifically the Roman Pontiff is said to supply jurisdiction in any case whatsoever, be it in common error or in doubt, it is readily understood that the Pope acts in virtue of the plenitude of the jurisdictional power Christ entrusted to his person” (pgs. 28, 194).
NO POPE, NO VERIFIED VALIDITY: HENCE NO JURISDICTION IS POSSIBLE
The entire situation is summed up in the heading. There is no pope to examine the orders of these men claiming to be clerics, hence no possibility they can function as clerics until such a determination is made. There is no use in even discussing jurisdiction unless it is first proven that certainly valid orders were conveyed by Lefebvre and Thuc, for lay persons cannot celebrate Mass or administer the Sacraments. Any assumption by Traditionalists that such jurisdiction exists in the absence of a true pope is a usurpation of papal jurisdiction. Supplied jurisdiction can begranted only by the Roman Pontiff, who alone possesses the fullness of jurisdiction. Such pretensions to possess it are clearly a usurpation of papal powers and such acts are made null and void by Pope Pius XII’s election constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis governing interregnums.
The conclusions from the series running this past two months are clear:
1) The Church is a Divine Society founded by Christ on St. Peter the Rock (Vatican Council); without St. Peter to direct and guide the successors of the Apostles, the bishops, the Church cannot exist, (Pope Pius XII, Pope Pius IX, St. Thomas Aquinas, others). We are obligated to adhere to even the opinions of the popes as the truth (https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/1-what-constitutes-the-papacy/judging-their-infallible-nature-and-the-assent-they-are-due/), not the ruminations of Traditionalists. Only canonically elected popes, not Traditionalists, may determine the definition and application of Divine Law in any given situation.
2) The bishops are subordinate to the Roman Pontiff and receive their jurisdiction from him, NOT directly from Christ (Pope Pius XII). “Bishops must be considered as the more illustrious members of the Universal Church, for they are united by a very special bond to the divine Head of the whole Body and so are rightly called ‘principal parts of the members of the Lord’ … 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” (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis; see also https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/does-christ-himself-supply-jurisdiction-to-traditionalists/).
3) Only those men granted offices by the competent authority in harmony with the sacred canons are to be considered bishops and priests (DZ 960, 967, Council of Trent; Can. 147 and authentic interpretation endorsed by Pope Pius XII). This canon rules that those who have not received their orders in this manner cannot possess either valid orders or jurisdiction (https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/the-traditionalist-movement-was-never-catholic/).
4) The Supreme Pontiff holds the primacy of jurisdiction in the Church and he alone can determine who does and does not possess valid orders or episcopal jurisdiction (Vatican Council). In the absence of a true Roman Pontiff, no jurisdiction can be conveyed or supplied, even to those possessing unquestionably valid orders (Pope Pius XII in VAS, https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/1-what-constitutes-the-papacy/apostolic-constitution-vacantis-apostolicae-sedis/ ).
5) Epikeia cannot be used to relax the laws governing the administration of the Sacraments even if Traditionalists could prove they are certainly validly ordained/consecrated. The Sacraments were instituted by Divine law and cannot fall under ecclesiastical law, which is all epikeia may be used to regulate (https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/canon-law-doubts-of-law-and-epikeia/).
6) Lefebvre and Thuc were formally members of the Novus Ordo sect at the time they ordained and consecrated Traditionalists and their “successors.” As such, they were not members of the Catholic Church, but schismatics who were infamous and unable to transmit valid orders (Pope Pius XII, Can. 2314, 2294 §2, numerous decisions of the Holy Office; see the heading Holy Office at https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/additional-proofs-traditional-clergy-cannot-function/). Instead of refusing to listen to them and repelling them as Canon Law prescribes, Traditionalists welcomed them with open arms and communicated with them, receiving their sacraments and attending their masses. According to decisions of the Holy See, this also involved them in schism and communicatio in sacris.
7) At present, “recognize and resist” Traditionalists implicitly endorse the Roman usurpers because they refuse to renounce and separate from them and the clergy created under their auspices as required by Can. 1325. If they wish to die in the Church bequeathed to us by Pope Pius XII, they must accept all the papal teachings and laws of that Church as they existed at the time of Pope Pius XII’s death. Sedevacantist Traditionalists are no better, contenting themselves with their “bishops” who usurp papal jurisdiction and rule as Gallicanist mini-popes.
8) Canon 1812 tells us that acts issuing from the Roman Pontiff and the Roman Curia during the exercise of their office and entered as proof in ecclesiastical courts “prove the facts asserted,” (Can. 1816), and force the judge to pronounce in favor of the party producing the document, (commentary by Revs. Woywod-Smith). “Proof to the contrary is not admitted against Letters of the Roman Pontiff bearing his signature,” (Abp. Amleto Cicognani, Canon Law, 1935, p. 626, ft. note). Documents entered into the Acta Apostolic Sedis do not need to be submitted in the original or be an authenticated copy, (Can. 1819). If Traditionalists want to prove their case, they must produce the papal documents permitting them to act during an interregnum and declaring orders from a schismatic and irregular bishop to be certainly valid and capable of being exercised.
9) According to the unanimous opinion of theologians and canonists, whenever there is a doubt regarding the validity of the Sacraments or the (ordinary) means necessary to eternal salvation, one must take the safer course and not receive the sacraments as Bd. Innocent XI teaches in DZ 1151 (https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/canon-law-doubts-of-law-and-epikeia/). When in doubt, the person cannot act before resolving the doubt without committing grave sin. Traditionalists can continue their campaign to shame stay-at-home Catholics into accepting their position, but they are staying at home in order to follow the laws and teachings of the Church, And no amount of shaming will convince them that Traditionalists are right, and the Church is wrong.
10) All the above, representing the proofs provided over the past two months in this blog series, is taken almost exclusively from papal and conciliar documents, Canon Law, and other reliable sources approved before the death of Pope Pius XII. The system of Scholasticism is followed to the best of the author’s ability. The method for following Canon Law is employed. The proofs presented demonstrate the mind of the Church on these matters but is met with silence from Traditionalists.
Disobedience to the Roman Pontiffs, the continual magisterium, typifies the behavior of Traditionalists in general, and St. Thomas Aquinas identifies the root of this sin: “…Disobedience arises from vainglory,” which is a type of pride. “The first sin of our first parents, which sin was transmitted to all men was not disobedience as such but pride, from which the man proceeded to disobey…It is a greater duty to obey a higher than a lower authority, in sign of which the command of a lower authority is set aside if it be contrary to the command of a higher authority…The higher the person who commands, the more grievous it is to disobey him,” (Summa, Pt. II-II, Q. 105, Art.1 and 2, Rep. Obj. 3).
“Indirectly and accidently…pride makes a man despise the Divine law which hinders him from sinning, (Jeremias 2:20; Summa, Pt. II-II, Q. 162, Art.2). “Knowledge of truth is two-fold. One is purely speculative and pride hinders this indirectly by removing its cause. For the proud man subjects not his intellect to God, that he may receive the knowledge of truth from Him, according to Matt. 11:25,” which verse, St. Thomas explains, means that God hides things from the proud and reveals them to the humble. “Furthermore, proud men will listen to nothing from other men as they should, (Ecclus. 6:34).”
St. Thomas continues, “The other knowledge of truth is affective, and this is indirectly hindered by pride, because the proud, through delighting in their own excellence, disdain the excellence of truth. Thus Gregory says, (Moral xxiii, loc cit.) that ‘the proud, although certain hidden truths be conveyed to their understanding, cannot realize their sweetness: and if they know of them they cannot relish them.’ Hence it is written (Prov. 11:2), ‘Where humility is, there also is wisdom,’” (Summa, Pt. II-II, Q. 162, Art.3). Ingratitude and excusing oneself from any wrongdoing are indicators of pride, according to St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and St. Bernard, all quoted by St. Thomas, (Summa, Pt. II-II, Q. 162, Art.4). St. Bernard also lists rebelliousness, along with arrogance and presumption, as three of the twelve degrees of pride.
Sadly, this explains why it is so unlikely that those belonging to the various Traditionalists sects will ever admit they have lived in error all these years: pride prevents them from accepting the truth, which, St. Thomas says, is hidden from them. In reading what is presented throughout this site, the reader is asked to keep in mind the following passage from Thomas á Kempis’ Imitation of Christ, Ch. 5: “Let not the authority of the writer offend thee, whether he was of little or great learning, but let the love of pure truth lead thee to read. Inquire not who said this but attend to what is said. ‘Men pass away, but the truth of the Lord remaineth forever’” (Psalm 116).