+St. Hilary, Bishop+
The length of the articles on this site has been objected to from time to time by some who think there can and must be a simple answer to the problems facing us today. This of course does not stop them from reading and quoting from even lengthier articles and works on the Internet, but I digress. Presenting the answers to the crucial questions of our times has taken many years and much study, but over time the answers become much clearer than when the subject was first addressed. Hindsight is always very helpful and newer developments and research finds are the stuff that helps crystallize conclusions and dispel all doubt. As often as possible, the works of the Roman Pontiffs are used on this site, as they most certainly should be, as the final word in matters of faith and morals. And when such teachings specifically address a certain circumstance and can be applied to a particular situation, then there can be no doubt, there must be no doubt, about the answer to that question.
But of course there are always the naysayers, or those who simply will not admit that such answers are conclusive regardless of what the popes might infallibly teach. This seems to be true even when these same people teach that denying one doctrine of faith results in heresy. What is stated below has been repeated numerous times on this site, but as long as these errors continue to circulate then this same teaching will be repeated. When everything began in the 1960s early 1970s, after concerned Catholics had exited Vatican 2, the first thing that should have been done was to discover whether or not there was any kind of papal instruction that covered the situation and gave the faithful any idea of what should be done. As it turns out, there were several of these documents. And yet one, primarily, governs our case.
Four indispensable papal teachings
It took a while for many of these documents to even be uncovered and evaluated thanks to Traditionalists, who didn’t even bother to address them comprehensively or honestly in the early days. Some of them were difficult to find in English, some of them were not easy to understand. Some respected “priests” even openly declared these papal decrees were not authoritative, and therefore could not be binding. But it was the duty of anyone pretending to take the place of the Church on earth to locate and translate these important guiding documents. This would have given us some general idea of how we were to proceed and what we should do. Four documents especially stand out as essential for a basic understanding of how to proceed during the Great Apostasy — Pope Paul IV’s infallible bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio (Cum ex…), 1559; Pope Pius XII’s infallible encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, 1943; Pope Pius XII’s infallible constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS),1945 and Pope Pius XII’s binding constitution Ad apostolorum principis, 1957. It is among these four documents that we find the answers to most of what arose following Vatican 2. These papal decrees will be examined below.
Cum ex Apostolatus Officio told us that no one who sat in the papal seat and professed heresy could possibly have been Catholic or presumed to be validly elected. This is confirmed by the Vatican Council in no uncertain terms. In Cum ex…, Pope Paul IV established the fact that anytime we see someone such as John 23rd and Paul 6 teaching error — which they most certainly did, and most Traditionalists will even acknowledge that — then we know that these men were heretics before their election and were not validly elected. And this is true of both John 23rd and Paul 6. So there was an answer to that question; it should not even have been something discussed early on in Traditional circles because it was readily able to be established. And still we have the arguments going on and on about whether a heretic can become a Pope, which is impossible unless you deny the teachings of the Vatican Council and become a heretic.
Now regarding Mystici Corporis, we have a statement that has been upheld and defended on this site for several years and there really isn’t any getting around it — you either accept what the Pope says as binding or you don’t. And if you don’t then you’re outside the Church. Because at that point in time it doesn’t become a matter of just denying the specific dogma the Pope is teaching. At that time it becomes a matter also of denying his authority to teach and the necessity of obedience to the Pope for salvation, and these are two separate things. In Mystici Corporis Pope Pius XII clearly taught that the Pope alone has power over the bishops and they do not receive their power directly from Christ; Christ alone had the power to establish the order of jurisdiction in the Church and did so establish that order. Anything they do after the fact is in direct violation of the order He established.
VAS is a document originally attributed to Pope St. Pius X and rewritten and appended by Pope Pius XII. Pope St. Pius X codified his election law from all the papal election documents that had existed since the very beginning of the Church. So that’s really a pretty important document, because it represents the entire history of papal elections in the Church. How does one dismiss that history as documented in VAS itself and still try to pretend to be a Catholic? Now one of the things specifically mentioned in this papal election constitution is how the Church is supposed to operate when there is no Roman Pontiff. It is the blueprint for our times, complete in the first four paragraphs of the document. Outside of what exists on this site, there is no open discussion of it on the Internet, but I’m sure those behind the scenes who think they are trying to run the show are well aware of it.
Invalid, null and void
Now one of the first things VAS addresses has to do directly with what Pius XII taught in Mystici corporis — that without the Pope as head Bishop the other bishops have no real power. And this is restated in the first paragraph, first chapter of VAS. This teaching is not new, although Pope Pius XII was the first to state this decisively. It was commonly held by theologians even before he wrote Mystici Corporis. What that paragraph says is that during an interregnum not even the Cardinals have the right to usurp the jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff. “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). This teaching that the cardinals can do nothing without the pope during an interregnum is not new; the footnotes to VAS list it as dating back to the 1100’s and Pope Clement III.
This also is upheld in Ad Apostolorum principis, where Pope Pius XII taught: “For it has been clearly and expressly laid down in the canons that it pertains to the one Apostolic See to judge whether a person is fit for the dignity and burden of the episcopacy, and that complete freedom in the nomination of bishops is the right of the Roman Pontiff.” So clearly that right is violated whenever the Roman Pontiff is unable to nominate such bishops. This decree falls within the pope’s ordinary magisterium; it is entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis.
The Cardinals are basically just bishops, and Mystici corporis says that without the Pope the bishops have no power; the Cardinals have no right to do anything that would require papal jurisdiction during an interregnum. That covers a pretty wide field. And next VAS states that during an interregnum these same Cardinals cannot in any way violate the rights of the Church or laws made by the Roman Pontiff; the very right just mentioned above in the papal law laid down in Ad apostolorum principis. Because if the bishops cannot act without the Roman Pontiff, then he alone can dictate what could be done in the emergency the Church faces today. And finally it exhorts the Cardinals to defend the papacy in the event of a situation arising such as it has and did, and of course, cowards that they were, the majority violated their cardinalitial oaths, fled the scene and threw the flock to the wolves. They later commenced to invoke powers they no longer possessed and gathered to convene Vatican 2 and destroy the Sacraments.
Finally we come to the third paragraph of VAS. “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.” And this especially pertains to the election constitution itself which is quite lengthy and goes into the conclave process. (This is of no concern to us now because a true Pope at this time cannot be elected.) So then we come to the final and most crucial part of this whole document which states: “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.” Now all accept Pope Pius XII as a valid Pope, correct? And therefore if he infallibly declares that something is invalid, null and void, we must believe it is, correct? So if we deny that he has the power to infallibly declare something we deny infallibility and are excluded from Church membership.
Because in paragraph one we were already seeing that papal jurisdiction cannot be usurped during an interregnum. And if it is, then such acts are null and void. This means that nobody — not the Cardinals, far less the bishops — can claim to possess jurisdiction during an interregnum; they must elect a pope. Traditionalists usurped that jurisdiction specifically in violation of this constitution. Lefebvre, Thuc, et al, first violated Canon Law (which is predominantly papal or conciliar law) by ordaining unqualified men as priests without possessing the necessary jurisdiction. This jurisdiction they lost when founding their various schismatic sects; ergo, their acts were null and void. So no priests were ever created to consecrate as bishops, and even if they had been created, such consecration was a usurpation of papal jurisdiction. Because papal approval of episcopal candidates and the issuance of the papal mandate are required per the episcopal ordination rite itself, such usurpation rendered their consecrations null, void and invalid. All any remaining validly consecrated bishops could rightly do following Pope Pius XII’s death was to elect a true pope. And we’ve gone to great lengths to show that epikeia invoked to supposedly cover all of this mess is prohibited by VAS and cannot possibly supply for anything that these Traditionalists have done. Please read the articles here and here.
Invalid and illicit are NOT the same
Now that being the case, and given the wording of VAS, how is it that we keep finding on various blogs and websites statements to the effect that “Traditional sacraments are only illicit; no one can prove they are invalid.” Really? I thought we just read in the first paragraph of an infallible constitution written by an incontestably and unquestionably true Pope that the actions of anyone usurping papal jurisdiction or violating the law during an interregnum are null, void and invalid. Pope Leo XIII declared in Apostolica curae that “…to obtain orders nulliter means the same as by act null and void, that is invalid, as the very meaning of the word and as common parlance require.” Pope Alexander VIII, in condemning the Gallican articles, declared them “…null and void, invalid, useless” (DZ 1326). The word illicit here is nowhere mentioned in Pius XII’s constitution. In his A Catholic Dictionary, Donald Attwater wrote: “[Illicit means] Unlawful, forbidden. Illicit must be distinguished from invalid,” and invalid is here defined by the popes. A sacrament or sacramental may have its effect if illicit, as all know. However, its reception and administration is sinful, as St. Thomas Aquinas teaches. In certain cases it may have the possibility of becoming licit, but that is not what we are talking about here.
Despite the above, those who should know better insist, for some strange reason, on referring to Traditionalist sacraments as only illicit. And they are even bold enough to use it in the same context with the definition of infallibility and the nature of heresy, explaining that denying one truth of faith is enough to cast you outside the Church. What could possibly motivate this strange refusal to recognize an infallible document issued by a man Traditionalists recognize as a true pope? Several things come to mind. First, they could still believe, despite infallible teaching, that bishops receive their power directly from Christ. Secondly, they might believe that true bishops possessing certain jurisdiction still exist on this earth, something that has been shown on this blog to be impossible given our current situation. Third, they could anticipate, at some future date, that a true pope will be elected and Pope Pius XII will be declared a false pope, a collaborator with the Modernists, which has been falsely claimed by various Traditionalists. In that case they could claim VAS no longer existed, and illicit could then be declared licit. What else could it be that would prompt them to deny an infallible decree?
Why “melding” is so dangerous
This fully illustrates the problems outlined in the last blog written here, which explained why the melding of all the views of one group together indiscriminately and presenting the authors of these views as in agreement with each other is misleading, unCatholic and therefore outright dangerous from a faith standpoint. Welcome to a demonstration of The Delphi Technique, which employs the HEGELIAN dialectic, not the scholastic dialectic of St. Thomas Aquinas. For where Catholic teaching is concerned, unless each, particular term has been defined and explained sufficiently and documented as a Catholic truth, no one is going to be able to discern Catholic truth even if it exists in part in such a document. This is because premises are being built on things that have not yet been defined and proven to exist, things essential to Catholic belief. This is the fallacy of arguing beside the point also known as begging the question — assuming to be true that which has yet to be proven.
Those assuming these men are illicit would have us automatically believe them to be validly ordained and consecrated, when Pope Pius XII clearly teaches their actions during an interregnum are invalid. For no man can proceed illicitly if he is not already a validly ordained priest or validly consecrated bishop. One of the errors mentioned by Rev. Joseph B. Walsh S.J. in his 1940 work Logic under the begging the question fallacy is “…assuming a proposition implicitly contained in the one to be proved.” Failure to identify that missing presumption — that validity is required before liceity can even be considered a possibility — invalidates the argument. That is something that cannot be done and will not stand in scholastic theology.
What these authors citing a lack of liceity are trying to prove is that the faithful should not frequent the sacraments of Traditionalists because it is against the law and is mortally sinful; also because it violates the teaching of the Council of Trent which is de fide, of faith. This is something we have proven ourselves for decades, alongside the invalidity issue, but only as it pertained to priests validly ordained before the death of Pope Pius XII. However, this particular question is beside the point today as all these priests are dead. The only pseudo-clergy remaining are those issuing from Lefebvre, Thuc and a few others, ordained and consecrated during an interregnum and hence falling under the infallible provisions of VAS.
The inference here is that it is not really important whether they are valid or not, while the infallible decree of a true pope requires us to believe that they are much worse than illicit; they are not even possible pretenders to the throne but absolute interlopers who must be repelled. One can receive something illicitly and still validly receive the sacrament or sacramental. But where there is invalidity, nothing is conveyed nor can anything be conveyed. Invalidity, when specifically laid out in the terms as it is in VAS, can be nothing more and nothing less than an indicator that there is an element of fraud involved (and I’m not talking fraud in a civil, criminal aspect here; I’m talking fraud only as it is covered in Canon 103 and 104 in the Code of Canon Law). Call it spiritual fraud, if you will, but invalidity — especially when it’s so easily shown to be the case — can’t help but suggest fraud.
What has been going on for the past 64 years had to happen so that Scripture could be fulfilled. The Church had to be betrayed just as Her Divine Lord was betrayed; the Passion of the Church had to play out. But that doesn’t excuse those who did not insist that the laws and infallible teachings of the Church be known and observed. It has been emphasized here, over and over again, that it doesn’t matter what errant website authors or blogsters have to say regarding the teachings of the Church, the status of Traditionalists or the meaning and application of Canon Law. The popes and ecumenical councils alone must be believed, and these brazen sophists cannot gainsay them.
There is a cunning form of deception going on here and that deception is based on a shameful suppression and total dismissal of Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis. It would have us admit that failure to avoid Traditionalists owing to a lack of liceity is a heresy, while leaving Trad clerical egos intact and yet admitting their validity. It is nothing more than a disgusting form of human respect, and it is bought at the cost of denying an infallible teaching every bit as worthy of our obedience and irrevocable acceptance. VAS is the bull elephant in the Traditionalist living room, as we have said before. Those who continue to ignore this decree and its infallible consequences dare not count themselves as Catholics.
Baltimore Catechism #531 “That the Pope may speak infallibly, or ex-cathedra, 1) He must speak on a subject of faith and morals; 2) He must speak as the Vicar of Christ and to the whole Church; 3) He must indicate by certain words, such as, We define, We proclaim, etc., that he intends to speak infallibly.” We know the Holy Ghost makes the Pope infallible “only in matters of faith and morals for the whole Church.” BC#532
By operating against BC#550, that is, without a pope, yet claiming to adhere to former Papal teaching, the disregard of the infallible authority of the Holy Ghost by these “pastors” is on full display for those with “eyes to see and ears to hear” (Proverbs 20. 12). BC# “The Church derives its undying life and infallible authority from the Holy Ghost, the spirit of truth, who abides with it forever.”
Quote from Pope Pius XII VAS:
“Since the entire business has been seriously considered, and moved by the examples of Our Predecessors, We therefore ordain and prescribe these things, decreeing that this present document and whatever is contained in it can by no means be challenged, even from the fact that any persons having a right or interest in things said beforehand, or pretending to have an interest in any way whatsoever, do not agree to them, and are not called upon or heard relative to these things, or from whatever other reasons; but rather that these same documents are manifestly and will be always and perpetually true, valid, and effective, and acquire and obtain their own full and undiminished results; and we command those individuals to whom it pertains and will pertain for the time being to vote, that the ordinances must be respectively and inviolably observed by them, and if anyone should happen to try otherwise relative to these things, by whatever authority, knowingly or unknowingly, the attempt is null and void.
We desire also that this document of Ours be read in the presence of all in the first Congregations usually held after the death of the Pontiff, as above (no. 12 a); again after entry into the Conclave, as above (no. 51); likewise when anyone is raised to the dignity of the purple, after having pledged a solemn oath to scrupulously preserve the things that have been decreed in the present Constitution.
Notwithstanding any whatsoever Apostolic Constitutions and Orders to the contrary issued by Our Predecessor Roman Pontiffs, which, to the extent it is necessary, We declare each and every one to be abrogated, as above, and even other matters worthy of individual and special mention and derogation.
Therefore, let it be permitted to no man to weaken this page of Our constitution, ordinance, abrogation, commandment, binding order, warning, prohibition, precept, and will, or to go against it by a rash undertaking. Moreover, if any one presumes to attempt this, let him know that he will incur for it the anger of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter’s, a.d. 1945, on the eighth day of December, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the seventh year of Our Pontificate.”
The wording is such to make VAS infallible. To deny this, is to reject the 3rd person of the Holy Trinity, by believing he wasn’t able to foresee this destruction and preserve the Faith through this document of the Pope. God operates lawfully within the structure he has created. BC#528 “I know that the Church cannot err because Christ promised that the Holy Ghost would remain with it forever and save it from error. If, therefore, the Church has erred, the Holy Ghost must have abandoned it and Christ has failed to keep His promise, which is a thing impossible.”
“Hold the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me in faith, and in the love which is in Christ Jesus. Keep the good thing committed to thy trust by the Holy Ghost, who dwelleth in us.” 2Tim 1.13-14
“For, lo, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17. 21
“For God is not the God of dissension, but of peace.” 1Cor. 14. 33 (dissensionis – “quarrel, dissension”)
Difference of opinion; disagreement. synonym: conflict.
Disagreement in opinion; especially, violent disagreement which produces warm debate or angry words; contention in words; strife; discord; quarrel; breach of friendship or union.
Synonyms -Difference, dispute, variance.
Thank you, Josie. That all may be one…
“Dear Ms. Benns,
Your blog seems to show a lack of understanding of sacramental theology. No-one claims that the schismatic orthodox or the old Catholics have invalid sacraments, so I’m lost as to why you’re trying to argue that the sacraments of the priests of the various anti-Vatican II groups are invalid. . . If you are so concerned about priests and bishops without a formal mission from the Church consider finding an Eastern Rite church where they still have the Catholic faith. You need only attend once a year during lent, but at least you will be doing your duty.
This individual’s comments have been edited and are summarized below. He provides links to Trad sources that will not be included here because they tend to obfuscate and confuse the question. In any case, they must not be intended to include this site because one of the links directs comments to those using “absolutely no Catholic sources,” something relied upon heavily here.
Those who are familiar with this site will see that the following comments surely cannot be serious. Lewis’ objections follow the dash and my answer is presented in the comments below.
— You explicitly contradict this teaching and imply that heretics (the gates of hell) have in fact defeated the Church.
COMMENT: This promise was made to the pope alone, not the Church as a whole. In Henry Cardinal Manning’s “The Vatican Council and Its Definitions: A Pastoral Letter to the Clergy” (1871) we read: “The promises “Ego rogavi pro te,” [I have prayed for thee …] and “Non praevalebunt [the gates of hell shall not prevail],” were spoken to Peter alone. The promises, ‘He shall lead you into all truth,’ and, ‘Behold, I am with you all days,’ were spoken to Peter with all the Apostles. The infallibility of Peter was, therefore, not dependent on his union with them in exercising it; but, their infallibility was evidently dependent on their union with him. In like manner the whole Episcopate gathered in Council is not infallible without its head,” (p. 96) Manning then proceeds to cite the various doctors who are in agreement on this, demonstrating the truth of what he is saying by scholastic means. “Bzovius, the continuator of the Annals of Baronius, says, “To Peter alone, and after him to all the Roman Pontiffs legitimately succeeding, the privilege of infallibility, as it is called, was conceded…; Dominicus Marchese writes: “This privilege was conceded to the successors of Peter alone without the assistance of the College of Cardinals…” Theologians Vincentius Ferre and the Dominican F. Gatti also are quoted.
— the College of Bishops (Bishops with ordinary jurisdiction) must always actually exist, in any time and in any circumstances
COMMENT: “The College of Bishops must necessarily include its canonically elected head, St. Peter; otherwise it does not exist. We are not Anglicans. Bishops are shepherds for portions of the flock that was committed in its entirety to the pastoral care of St. Peter and his successors; but no one becomes a shepherd of any portion of a flock unless he be made such by the chief pastor of the whole flock. It is also evident that the chief purpose of the primacy — the preservation of unity — could not be realized if the bishops of the Church were not subject in all things to her supreme pastor” (Rev. E. S. Berry, “The Church of Christ,” (p. 399)
Pope Pius IX: “No one can be considered a bishop who is not linked in communion of faith and love with Peter, upon whom is built the Church of Christ…” (“Etsi multa,” Nov. 21, 1873) See also https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/necessary-intention-in-traditionalist-orders-lacking-2/
Catholic Encyclopedia: “As the Church has to endure to the end of time, so has the unifying and preserving office of St. Peter. Without a head, the body of the Bride of Christ would be no better than a disjointed congeries of members, unworthy of the Divine Bridegroom. In fact the connection of the Church with Christ and the Apostles would be loosened and weakened to the breaking point.”
— The Eastern rites retain valid orders and sacramental rites.
COMMENT: A Holy Office excommunication issued April 9, 1951, AAS 43-217, listed under Can. 2245 decrees: “A Bishop OF WHATSOEVER RITE OR DIGNITY who consecrates to the episcopacy anyone who is neither appointed nor expressly confirmed by the Holy See and the person who receives the consecration, even though they were coerced by great fear, Can. 2229 §3, no. 3), incur ipso facto an excommunication most specially reserved to the Holy See” (“Canon Law Digest 3”, T. Lincoln Bouscaren, S.J.). And just like all the others mentioned in this blog, during an interregnum VAS declares usurpation of this papal jurisdiction null and void.
— The acts of antipopes have been upheld and supplied with jurisdiction from the Church when they were for the good of the Church in the past.
COMMENT: Simply false. Read the article in the website archives on the Western Schism.
“If, indeed, God the Holy Ghost be in the midst of us, and if it be God the Holy Ghost that speaks to us through the one holy Catholic and Roman Church, then it imposes its doctrines on the consciences of men under pain of eternal death. It is under pain of eternal death to disbelieve that which God the Holy Ghost has revealed. To disbelieve what the Holy Ghost, through the Church of God, has taught, incurs the pain of eternal death for those who with their eyes open reject it.”
Henry Edward Manning, D.D., from his sermon, “The Church, The Spirit, and the Word”
When we consider the atrocities going on in the world, it becomes incumbent upon us, to face not only the reality of what happened to the Church, but to our current reality relating to ALL life on earth, in what appears to be, the final hour.
Even Protestants expect the Second Coming, but not Traditionalists!
Dear Ms Benns,
The resources that I linked were with the exception of one were very well referenced.
Your article is being refuted point by point at [removed]. A good intellectual discussion can only the refinement of your arguments or the abandonment of false ideas. I would encourage you to participate in the discussion. You will find other high-profile home aloners… there also.
The truth has never been, nor will ever be, up for debate.
The intellectuals you refer to cannot possibly debate, far less refute, the popes, the councils and the decisions of the Holy See/Sacred Congregations, nor can they attempt to interpret them. These same people have repeated these same specious arguments for decades, and I have answered nearly every one of them on this site with the sources I just mentioned.
So it is not me you are arguing with, and I am not going to subject my readers to lesser intellects than those inspired by the Holy Ghost Himself. Those who are sincere about praying at home avoid the pejorative “homealoners” originated by Cekada and do not frequent Trad sites. You are wasting your time here — and there.
Dear Ms Stanfill Benns,
Please explain why the Church considers the sacraments of the schismatic Orthodox and Old Catholics to be valid given they are in no way united to the Pope or the mystical body of Christ. They are condemned heretics and formally separated from the Church and thus in a significantly worse position than most traditional clergy who do not sit under any such formal condemnation and have retained the Catholic Faith in large part.
The Church recognises that the sacraments are morally necessary for those who have attained the use of reason and provides the faithful with every opportunity to access them during crises as per Pope Martin Vth’s constitution Ed Evitanda Scandala. Catholics are under no requirement to avoid undeclared schismatics and heretics unless they have joined a condemned schismatic or heretical sect. Even if they have, in danger of death (which includes the possibility of never seeing a priest again) Catholics are permitted to approach them for the sacraments.
I look forward to your attempt to reconcile official Church teaching on this topic with your blog post above.
If I am quoting the Roman Pontiffs, I am not “attempting” to prove something; they themselves are proving it. All that is lacking is obedience. The following links provide proofs from the popes and the Holy See that the eastern schismatics — and Traditionalists alike — have no claim to jurisdiction OR validity during an interregnum.
https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/catacomb-catholics/traditionalist/ (This one is specifically on the Orthodox)
I think there’s one thing the Traditionalists, including the (f)lying bishops and independent chapels get wrong here. They seem to think, like many people I knew in Novus Ordo, that 1) membership in whatever they think is the Church will save them, but 2) in addition to this you will go back and forth between hope and despair as days go by. So the purpose of the sacraments is to supply (sentimental) hope.
I think this attitude has been described in different ways 1) on this site, 2) by Mr. Sanborn in a sermon against the Protestants and 3) by Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange in The Three Conversions. So in effect the independent chapels and flying bishops can and do preach against what they actually are doing all the time, probably to make the listener think they are somehow different.
Given that the purpose of all existence is by definition and by necessity to glorify God, the purpose of man’s salvation (or damnation) and the sacraments is also to primarily glorify God and then secondarily aid in man’s salvation. Turn this on its head and you suddenly have man and his salvation as a higher end than God’s glory.
Ergo, the sacraments can a) primarily glorify God while secondarily aiding in man’s salvation or b) primarily aid in man’s salvation while secondarily glorifying God. You pick the second option and you will get sacraments at all costs. You pick the first option and you will readily see why questionable sacraments are necessarily and essentially, not by fiat or law, inimical to man’s salvation.
A thousand people can receive the sacraments while only one of them loves God with his heart, soul, strength and mind. That one is saved, the rest are damned. A thousand people can live their lives without the sacraments. One of them loves God, the rest do not. He is saved, the rest are damned.
I’m just an uneducated layman, so if this makes sense to someone then good. If someone else knows better then you should listen to them rather than me. But one thing I am sure about is that some things just are what they are. Only things that are purely human inventions can be lawyered about and every flying bishop is always first a flying lawyer.
What you are describing here is Modernism and Fideism, as Pope St. Pius X teaches in his Pascendi Dominici Gregis. This Pope condemns the Modernists for teaching that: “Faith, which is the foundation and basis for all religion, consists in a sentiment which originates from a need of the Divine… The first need is that of giving some manifestation to religion. The second need is that of propagating it, which could not be done without some sensible form and consecrating acts, and these are called Sacraments… certain ideas which strike the public mind. What the phrases are to the ideas, that the Sacraments are to the religious sentiment — that and nothing more.”
This explains the substance of Traditionalist “sacraments” and the sentimental aspect you speak of quite well, I think. And as far as the inversion of the order of the honor and glory due to God is concerned, this is exactly what I have been emphasizing and will continue to emphasize. But it is not just an inversion, but an actual replacement. Whenever we remove the pope speaking for Christ on earth, the Divine principle of Church government, and the Holy Ghost inspiring him, we deny the Blessed Trinity and embrace the religion of man.
And it is not legalistic to demand that all the laws of the Church and teachings of the popes be obeyed. On the contrary, Christ told the Apostles to teach all that He commanded them to teach and also said that if we love Him we will keep His commandments. This includes all papal teaching and all Canon Law as defined in Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis. That is the entire purpose of praying at home — to express our love, obedience and faithfulness by observing ALL that the Church teaches.
I pray that John Lewis will finally understand the machinations of those (whoever they are) who are refuting your article point by point.
He will see them for what they are as they turn and run, unable to stand against the wisdom of the popes, the councils and the decisions of the Holy See/Sacred Congregations.
St. Paul, please help the scales fall from John’s eyes.
Thank you Irene and Joseph. I pray for all of them every day as well. May the Holy Ghost grant them the light to see; “Let he who reads understand.” Matt. 24:15