+Feast of the Holy Rosary+
I would like to announce a new page on the website for spiritual reflection entitled, The Healing Pool (see front page under the Prayer Society logo). In these stressful times it is important to take a moment to refresh ourselves with spiritual nourishment, even if only briefly. It can change our entire outlook and give us the strength we need to carry on. These reflections will be posted as often as possible, so bookmark the link. A great translation of a very consoling spiritual work, courtesy of a reader in Spain, will be available soon. I also hope to begin to offer some spiritual perspective here regarding situations we might easily find ourselves experiencing some day, with so many already suffering in different parts of the world from various disasters and persecutions.
In the past few months, several key articles (see the three recent articles on the site’s home page) have been posted explaining why Traditionalists cannot and do not constitute the continuation of Christ’s Church on earth. These articles are the culmination of decades of study regarding the Church’s teachings and laws prior to the death of Pope Pius XII. They represent the final demonstration of serious positive doubt that all must use as the basis for developing certitude necessary to adjudge our present situation. These articles prove that Traditionalist operations must be avoided under penalty of mortal sin because the Church — not this author — teaches they are not members of the Catholic Church and that their Orders are apparently invalid. This according to Canon Law and the teaching of approved theologians.
The conclusions of these articles are further strengthened by the following information, made available by a reader below, on the ability of the pope to make certain conditions necessary to sacramental validity:
“Others say that if the pope forbids a bishop to chrism, then chrism does not confer character. For although the pope cannot take away the sacrament of confirmation, he can, nevertheless, determine, as to the form, persons, and days, by whom, in what form, and on what days, it is to be conferred, as is said below concerning baptism. C. 1. And if it can establish anything about the persons conferring the Sacrament, then it can also take away from a certain person, the power of chrismation, even though he be a bishop. And they say the same thing about baptism. However, if the pope were to do such things without the knowledge of others, and without grave cause, he should not be supported, for he would be acting against the general good of the Church.
“But… if the bishop were to forbid someone to baptize, baptism would be no less valid for that reason. For the bishop has no power to establish anything about this, as the pope has…. So, they say that the pope can do this because of the privilege given to him: All that you bind on earth, etc. Which makes him have this power by [divine] institution and command Wherefore he is to be obeyed in all spiritual things and in things concerning the soul, unless they are contrary to the faith or specially forbidden to him…
“And it certainly seems right to say what they say of the pope, that THE SUPREME PONTIFF CAN ESTABLISH IN THEORY AND IN FACT, THAT IF THE SACRAMENTS CONFERRED BY SUCH PERSONS ARE NOT VALID, THEY WILL INDEED BE INVALID. We also admit that he can prevent bishops from chrism and priests from baptizing. But in this case the prohibition does not apply without there being a constitution establishing when the collation of the sacrament is valid, even if it is done against the command of the bishop” (Pope Innocent IV; https://archive.org/details…). Protecting the Church against wolves and hirelings during an interregnum in an infallible document entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis, and therefore available to all the public, definitely constitutes grave cause. It also satisfies the requirement of being issued in the form of a constitution (Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis).
We obey even the opinions of the popes. But this is something Traditionalists refuse to do.
Obligation to inform
Before proceeding with what follows below, it is necessary to remind readers of betrayed-catholics’ longstanding position regarding Traditionalist works on doctrinal matters. First of all, any papal document, whether binding or not, that is signed by the Roman Pontiff is considered under Canon Law as incontrovertible evidence; also the decisions of the Rota and the Sacred Congregations. As Abp. Amleto Cicognani notes in his Canon Law, the Roman Pontiffs and the Holy See are “…the primary, ordinary and abiding source of law.” This would include the teachings of the ecumenical councils, and Trent, especially, is a source of Canon Law. In addition, any pre-October 1958 work by an approved theologian or canonist — and especially, where Canon Law is concerned, those dissertations which assay and summarize the various scholastic and canonical works — are to be taken as superior to anything taught by Traditionalists. But these works cannot and must not be the “go to” sources for what the Church legislates and teaches, only secondary sources.
Having essentially usurped the papacy and ignored the teaching of the continual magisterium all these years, Traditionalists have a true antipathy for Canon Law because it issues directly from the papacy. This is the real reason why the shills they employ go out of their way to defame and discredit anyone who works from a Canon Law perspective. And these attacks become increasingly more vituperative in proportion to the force of the truths which must be presented For Can. 999 states: “All the faithful are bound by obligation to make known to the ordinary or to the pastor before the ordination any impediment to sacred orders of which they have knowledge.” Well there definitely is knowledge to be had of impediments and disqualifications to both ordination and consecration and even worse. And in lieu of valid clergy not pointing them out, it would be a serious sin of omission not to make these deficiencies public.
The pray-at-home position would unquestionably stand on its own regardless of any proofs that Traditionalist Orders are most likely invalid, since serious doubt alone about such Orders suffices to withdraw oneself from all Traditionalist sects. If nothing else, even stronger evidence would help those wishing to attain certitude to better achieve it. But Catholics are not allowed to remain in a state of doubt if such doubt can possibly be resolved. “Anxieties arising from a doubtful law should be removed; peace of conscience should not be disturbed by a doubtful fact,” Abp. Amleto Cicognani states in his Canon Law, referring those with such doubts to ecclesiastical authorities. We have no authorities to consult except those who have written about these topics when we still had a true pontiff. And God’s honor and glory is at stake, as well as the good of souls. Again, not to act would be a grave sin, because our neighbor is in spiritual peril. But this is not something that Traditionalist pseudo-clergy, or their followers for that matter, seem to be very concerned about. Once the matter has been made public and and the danger exposed, nothing further is required from those offering the information. The Holy Ghost must act on souls with His graces, which no human can provide.
Canon Law and interpretation
The studies of Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton and those authors he cites and recommends in his works, as well as other reliable sources, have been used to document what is written on this site. Approved canonists generally referred to by those bothering to apply Canon Law to this situation include Revs. Woywod-Smith, Revs. Bouscaren-Ellis, Rev. Ramstein, Abp. Amleto Cicognani, Rev. Charles Augustine and others. Under Can. 17, Abp. Cicognani states that no one is able to authentically interpret the law for himself; only the legislator, his successor and those to whom the lawmaker has committed the power to interpret the law may interpret the law authoritatively. When a skilled canonist acting under the proper authority interprets the law, it is called doctrinal, and this is what the dissertations quoted on this site are considered. No one after October 9, 1958 has the right or the authorization to evaluate these works and arrive at conclusions contrary to them. This is why no works of our own, per se, exist on these matters. We simply cite the works of approved authors and their commentary, although explanations are offered to help the reader relate them to the current situation.
All works here are based on the conclusions of others applied to the situation today. Accusations Canon Law has actually been interpreted on this site are simply false. Laypersons can certainly cite Canon Law and challenge Traditionalist interpretation of the laws, pointing out that the laws are not being followed. This, however, cannot be confused with actual interpretation. Interpretation means an explanation or opinion of what something means(Cambridge Dictionary) or the extent of its application. Or it can be defined as the act of reframing, or otherwise showing your own understanding of something. If some issue is explained based on my own understanding and opinion, that is my explanation. If instead documents are presented that offer these explanations from approved sources, that is not MY interpretation, but the interpretation of those who are quoted.
In providing these sources, the rules of Canon Law under Can. 17 must be followed, (an act of obedience, not interpretation). Documents from the magisterium or the ecumenical councils or Sacred Congregations are used to demonstrate the origins of the law and the mind of the lawgiver. And if parallel passages of the Code are mentioned, this is referencing, not interpreting them. What they state and what the pre-1959 commentators say they state stands for itself. Merely citing canons and pointing out that they apparently have not been followed according to their previous understanding by approved theologians does not constitute private interpretation. Traditionalists make no attempt whatsoever to follow these rules, and this speaks volumes regarding their supposed superiority in being able to interpret the law. In their Canon Law Digest commentary on Can. 17, Vol. 5 (1963), the canonists Bouscaren and O’Connor wrote the following:
“His eminence, the president of the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Canons of the Code, Maximus Cardinal Massimi, declared shortly before his death… that it was his personal opinion he no longer preferred to give authentic replies since all the canons were already sufficiently clear in their obvious meaning. It is interesting to observe that no officially promulgated replies have since been given for the Code of the Latin church since his death [in 1954].” So this very experienced cardinal, the last of his kind, believed that the Code should be taken exactly as it stood, supplemented by the authentic interpretations already given for over 35 years. And pointing to the canons themselves, exactly as they stand — also the authentic interpretations found in the Canon Law Digest — is all I have ever tried to do. Pope Pius XII, after all, had already said this. For he infallibly declared in his 1945 election law Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS) that during an interregnum, Canon Law cannot be corrected, changed or dispensed from, and he invalidated any future attempts to do so.
The papacy, Canon Law and God’s will
Pope Pius IX, in dealing with schismatics in Armenia who were resisting papal discipline wrote:
“They call Our attention to the customs and canons of their churches as if We had abandoned the provisions of the sacred canons. We might respond to these men in the same way Our predecessor St. Gelasius did when the Acacian schismatics brought the same false accusation against him: ‘They cite the canons against Us without knowing what they are saying since they show that they are themselves in opposition to the canons by the very fact that they deny obedience to the first See although its advice is sound and correct.’ For these are the very canons which recognize the full, divine authority of blessed Peter over the whole Church. Indeed, they proclaim that he lives and exercises judgment in his successors to the present time and forever, as the Council of Ephesus affirmed.” (Quartus Supra).
If Catholics sincerely believe that Pope Pius XII was the last true pope, then all that he taught and decided during his reign, everything written and approved by institutions known to be loyal to the Holy See prior to his death must be carefully adhered to and followed, not interpreted or piecemealed to suit what others style as an “emergency.” No one now leading Traditionalists, even if they received an education in “conservative” institutions in the 1960s, 1970s were instructed by those approved by the Holy See; already Liberals and Modernists had infiltrated even conservative universities and colleges. And certainly those attending Traditional “seminaries” were mis-instructed, at best. Most of the detailed works on various canons and other topics are one-of-a-kind and cannot be duplicated. Because they provide these invaluable detailed histories of law and practice that today could not even be accomplished owing to a lack of access to materials, they must be considered the governing sources for any credible work.
According to Volume IX (iii) of the Catholic Encyclopedia concerning Canon Law’s constitution, Rev. Francis J. Schaeffer writes in this volume: “The ultimate source of Canon Law is God, whose will is manifested either by the very nature of things (natural Divine law) or by Revelation (positive Divine law) …To attain its sublime end, the Church, endowed by its Founder with legislative power, makes laws in conformity with natural and Divine law. They are, properly speaking, the active sources of Canon Law. Their activity is exercised in its most solemn form by the ecumenical councils…(these) councils, especially…Trent, hold an exceptional place in ecclesiastical law… The sovereign pontiff is the most fruitful source of Canon Law: …From the earliest ages the letters of the Roman Pontiffs constitute, with the canons of the Councils, the principal element of Canon Law; … they are everywhere relied upon and collected, and the ancient canonical compilations contain a large number of these precious decretals.” If we wish to know the will of God, and the mind of the Church as it has been consistently expressed throughout the ages, we need only look as far as Canon Law.
St. Francis writes: “Obedience to the Commandments, both divine and ecclesiastical, is of obligation for all, because THERE IS QUESTION HERE OF THE ABSOLUTE WILL OF GOD WHO HAS MADE SUBMISSION TO THESE ORDINANCES A CONDITION OF SALVATION.” (Holy Abandonment, Rt. Rev. Dom Vital Lehody O.C.R., page 9). Commenting on St. Francis’ observations, Rev. Lehody writes: “… Rules are ordinarily the chief means at our disposal for the purification of our souls. Obedience detaches and purifies us continually by the thousand renunciations it imposes, and still more by its demand for the mortification of our judgement and self-will… The signified will must be considered the fixed and regular path amidst the accidental and variable events of life, the tasks of our days and of every instant.” (Holy Abandonment, pages 18 and 22). And Holy Scripture tells us we must obey God, in His signified will, not men who are not even lawful pastors.
Likewise we read in the Vatican Council documents: ‘…the faithful…are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in those things which pertain to faith and morals, but also those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church, so that the Church of Christ, protected not only by the Roman Pontiff, but by the unity of communion as well as the profession of the same faith, is one flock under one highest shepherd. This is the doctrine of Catholic truth from which no one can deviate and keep his faith and salvation,’” (DZ 1827). Here, then, is the final answer to all those who dare to assail Canon Law. They cannot understand that it is not inequitable LAWS that bind us, but the failure to obey these laws and make them known to those who are in ignorance concerning them. Obeying the law is nothing more than the will of God; and all canon laws are presumed still binding under the very laws governing the canons unless certainly proven to have ceased altogether. Since the laws governing discipline cannot work to the detriment of the faithful or the destruction of the Church, we know that “He who walks with the law walks safely.”
Traditionalists and obedience
Below is a summary from an article that has been available on this site for many years (https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/4-heresy/what-constiutes-material-heresy-and-schism/).This will provide readers with a better idea of the status Church membership wise of Catholics exiting Vatican 2. Please do read the entire article for a better understanding of this subject.
The theologian Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey writes: “All theologians teach that publicly known heretics, that those who belong to a heterodox sect through public profession, or those who refuse the infallible teaching of the AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH, are excluded from the body of the Church, even if their heresy is only material heresy,” (Manual of Dogmatic Theology, Vol. II). And as Msgr. J. C. Fenton notes in his “The Teaching of the Theological Manuals,” (The American Ecclesiastical Review, April 1963): “If the theses taught by Tanquerey were opposed to those of ‘the most authentic Catholic tradition of all ages,’ then thousands of priests, educated during the first part of the twentieth century were being led into error.”
Canon Mahoney states in his work: “The liberal view [is that] baptized non-Catholics in good faith are members of the body of the Church precisely because they are not excommunicated…The view diametrically opposed to this is [that] the excommunication of heretics applies to material as well as formal heretics…If a choice had to be made between these two views…, there is no question that the second fits in best with Catholic discipline …” (Questions and Answers, “All canonists and moralists agree that those who are heretics or schismatics and know they are wrong cannot be given the Sacraments of the Church unless they renounce their errors and are reconciled with the Church. Numerous decrees of the Holy Office put this point beyond controversy” (commentary on Can. 731, A Practical Commentary on Canon Law, Revs. Woywod-Smith).
Surely those leaving the Novus Ordo or various Traditionalist sects knew that they were wrong, or why else would they have left? Even if they had not yet reached adulthood, doesn’t Canon 2314 and 2294 require that they renounce their errors and be absolved and abjured by certainly valid bishops in communion with the Roman Pontiff, also be released from heresy and infamy of law by the Holy See? A pre-1958 article from The Jurist further notes that no young man aspiring to become a priest could even be considered for ordination unless he had been dispensed from any irregularity by the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments and also dispensed from infamy of law by the Holy See. Furthermore, the person under consideration here had been raised in a Methodist sect whose baptisms are considered valid by the Church but was still considered under censure because he had not converted before the Church’s required age of discretion (14). So where does that leave those of us baptized into the Church and raised with at least some Catholic teaching? The young man here is adjudged to be in good faith only because he was raised in a Protestant sect.
The Jurist article notes further that “To insist that one 14 and older cannot be held guilty of censures is to deny the Church’s right to establish and enforce censures. This teaching of the Jansenist heretics is condemned by Pope Pius VI” (in Auctorem Fidei). And while Pope Pius VI did not condemn the proposition of the inability of the Church to pronounce ipso facto excommunication as heresy per se, after the conclusion of the Vatican Council in 1870, such denial of the Church’s right to establish and enforce censures amounts to a denial of the supreme jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff. This was the teaching of the Church on heresy prior to Pope Pius XII’s death, but Traditionalists have ignored it and disputed it. They cannot and will not accept it as God’s written will. And they continue to believe they are practicing Catholics while in reality they are not even members of the Church.
This means then that those of us accepting and participating in the Novus Ordo after the age of 14 were at least material heretics, like it or not. And we had no one to absolve us and no Holy Office to dispense us. We were unable to request the Sacraments from anyone because we were no longer members of the Church. Under Can. 682, yes, the laity has the right to receive from the clergy the spiritual goods and necessary means to salvation. HOWEVER, excommunicates cannot receive the Sacraments even if there were certainly valid priests not excommunicated for heresy and schism to administer them. And certainly valid priests would be obligated to refuse them the Sacraments when not “legitimately” requested (Can. 467). The entire Traditionalist movement was founded on an error, as explained in last week’s blog. For pseudo-bishops, as Pope Pius IX characterized them, could never perpetuate Christ’s true Church on earth and the misinterpretation of Canon Law, dispensed from and ignored in order to accomplish their imposture, was null and void from the beginning.
Most importantly, what all this ultimately means for those following Traditionalist sect leaders is that under Canon Law they are obligated to observe the penalties for heresy and schism (Can. 2232) owing to the notoriety of their offenses. There is no substitute for the absolution from censures and infamy of law that must accompany the Profession of Faith, (Can. 2250, §1-3; 2294-2295). And all those who have not received such absolution cannot posit legal ecclesiastical acts according to Can. 2315, nor can laity receive the Sacraments, (Can. 2241), if there were valid Sacraments to receive. According to Revs. Woywod-Smith, “The Holy See insists that converts from heretical or schismatic sects be not received into the Church until they have first abjured the heresy or schism and been absolved from the censure,” (Instruction of the Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda, July 20, 1859). And under Canon Law, there is no one to validly absolve from these censures.
Also, whether it involves simulation of the Sacraments or the possibility of a valid Eucharistic consecration, inducing a man to say mass and communicate himself, as well as communicate others, is a mortal sin of sacrilege and cooperation in sin. Grave sin abounds in these sect affiliations. And there is no one to absolve from them.
Those continuing after all these years to remain with Traditionalists despite information available to them explaining that they are living outside the Church in mortal sin will most likely never leave these groups. They simply cannot internalize the fact that they exist outside the Church’s divine structure, trapped in a web of hypotheses and theories — based almost entirely on the opinions of theologians — concerning Her constitution and continuation. And it is a web that has been intricately woven by Traditionalists leaders and their operatives wishing only to engage in constant turf wars to enhance their positions of power, retain their Internet presence and secure their financial future. This has all been pointed out before.
When he left this earth, Pope Pius XII bequeathed everything he had ever written to the faithful — his last will and testament. Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis was the first document before the eyes of the faithful, the cardinals and bishops included among them, following his death. Not only does it bind us as an infallible document but as a testimony to how this Pontiff and all his predecessors wished the Church to conduct itself during an interregnum. He was telling us how to preserve the Church, speaking with Christ’s voice. No one listened. The laws were not to be changed, corrected or dispensed from, especially his papal election law, and any changes or dispensations were made null and void. So the laws regarding the commission of heresy, (even material heresy) apostasy and schism (Canons 2200 and 2314), and the practices of the Church regarding those laws, were to remain in full force.
God has given man free will. It was the will of Traditionalists to have their mass and sacraments at any and all costs, regardless of God’s signified will expressed in His laws. Even when made aware that Traditionalist pseudo-clergy lacked jurisdiction in the 1980s, they failed to correct themselves because these Traditionalists convinced them they had jurisdiction through other channels. They did not check this out, in most cases; they did not read the encyclicals of Pope Pius XII and previous popes with a truly docile and submissive attitude, minus the interpolations of Traditionalists. Nor did they study the Catechism of the Council of Trent or the Vatican Council decrees or even their Baltimore Catechism, for that matter. And they failed the one test that any true Catholic should easily pass — there can be no claim to authority and no Catholic Church without a certainly legitimate pope.
Most Traditionalists would agree that we are suffering the passion of Christ’s Mystical Body on earth. Did they think this would be any less painful than Christ’s own Passion? Did they really believe that they would be required to suffer nothing? Do they not remember Christ’s agonized cry from the cross, “Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabacthani?” They should not be surprised then when even those who claim to love and serve God come in the guise of St. Peter ,who would soon betray Him, and urge them to escape their sufferings. When Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant, did not Our Lord restore the ear and tell him to put his sword away, saying to him, “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father hast given Me?” And in Col. 1: 24: “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for His body, which is the Church.”
As Rev. Lehody wrote above: “… Rules are ordinarily the chief means at our disposal for the purification of our souls. Obedience detaches and purifies us continually by the thousand renunciations it imposes, and still more by its demand for the mortification of our judgment and self-will…” Our wills must be sublimated to the Divine, through His signified will and will of good pleasure. If it is not in perfect agreement with that will, if we are not refusing to cooperate in the sins of Traditionalists and the Novus Ordo by avoiding all their services; if we are not observing the censures imposed on us, renouncing our errors and doing penance for our sins, we are defying God’s will and will not save our souls. That almost no one would do penance for their sins in the end times, regardless of the many punishments God would send, is predicted in several places in the Apocalypse. Time is running out. “Go out from her, my people; that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and the Lord hath remembered her iniquities” (Apoc. 18: 4-5).