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Perpetual Successors in the Primacy

Rev. Fr. Martin Stepanich, O.F.M., S.T.D.

The following letter by Fr. Martin Stepanich, O.F.M., is a response to those who claim that the first Vatican Council’s reference to “perpetual successors in the Primacy” is a proof that the Chair of Peter could not have been vacant for the past forty years and more. Although originally written several years ago, the letter is just as relevent today.


Dear correspondent,

You quote the passage from Vatican Council I, Session IV, which states clearly that St. Peter, the first Pope, has “perpetual successors in the Primacy over the universal Church….”

You, understandably, wonder how it could be that there are still “perpetual successors” of St. Peter if the men who have claimed to be Popes in our times have been in reality public heretics, who therefore could not, as heretics, be the true successors of St. Peter.

The important thing here is to understand just what kind of “perpetual succession” in the Papacy Our Lord established.

Did Our Lord intend that there should be a Pope on the Chair of Peter every single moment of the Church’s existence and every single moment of the Papacy’s existence?

You will immediately realize that, no, Our Lord very obviously did not establish that kind of “perpetual succession” of Popes. You know that, all through the centuries of the Church’s existence, Popes have been dying and that there then followed an interval, after the death of each Pope, when there was no “perpetual successor,” no Pope, occupying the Chair of Peter. That Chair became vacant for a while whenever a Pope died. This has happened more than 260 times since the death of the first Pope.

But you also know that the death of a Pope did not mean the end of the “perpetual succession” of Popes after Peter.

You understand now that “no Pope” did not mean “no Papacy.” A vacant Chair of Peter after the death of a Pope does not mean a permanent vacancy of that Chair. A temporary vacancy of the Chair of Peter does not mean the end of the “perpetual successors in the Primacy over the universal Church.”

Even though Our Lord, had He so willed it, could have seen to it that the moment one Pope died, another man would automatically succeed him as Pope, He nevertheless did not do it that way.

Our Lord did it the way we have always known it to be, that is, He allowed for an interval, or interruption, of undesignated duration, to follow upon the death of each Pope.

That interruption of succession of Popes has, most of the time, lasted several weeks, or a month or so, but there have been times when the interruption lasted longer than that, considerably longer.

Our Lord did not specify just how long that interruption was allowed to last before a new Pope was to be elected, and He did not declare that, if the delay in electing a new Pope lasted too long, the “perpetual succession” was then terminated, so that it would then have to be said that “the Papacy is no more.”

Nor did the Church ever specify the length or duration of the vacancy of the Chair of Peter to be allowed after the death of a Pope.

So it is clear that the present vacancy of the Chair of Peter, brought on by public heresy, despite the fact that it has lasted some 40 years or so, does not mean that the “perpetual succession” of Popes after St. Peter has come to an end.

What we must realize here is that the Papacy, and with it the “perpetual succession” of Popes, is a divine institution, not a human institution. Therefore, man cannot put an end to the Papacy, no matter how long God may allow heresy to prevail at the Papal headquarters in Rome.

Only God could, if He so willed, terminate the Papacy. But He will not do it, because He has made His will known to His Church that there will be “perpetual successors” in the Papal Primacy that was first entrusted to St. Peter.

We naturally feel distressed that the vacancy of the Chair of Peter has lasted so long, and we are unable to see the end of that vacancy in sight. But we do realize that the restoration of the Catholic Faith, and with it the return of a true Catholic Pope to the Papal Chair, will come when God wills it and in the way He wills it.

If it seems to us, as of now, that there are no qualified, genuinely Catholic electors who could elect a new and truly Catholic Pope, God can, for example, bring about the conversion of enough cardinals to the traditional Catholic Faith, who would then proceed to elect a new Catholic Pope.

God can intervene in whatever way it may please Him, in order to restore everything as He originally willed it to be in His Holy Church.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Father Martin Stepanich, O.F.M
11-30-02

On the Vacancy of the Apostolic See

By Bishop Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI

Our conference on the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the sedevacantist position, is most important, for it is a theological position which is very misunderstood, often misrepresented, and emotionally difficult for many groups. But before we proceed on this topic, it is paramount to stress that it is because of our belief in the Papacy and in Papal Infallibility that we necessarily must reject Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI as legitimate Popes. Many accuse us of rejection of the papacy. That is furthermost from the truth.

In our earlier conference, we made reference to the main errors of religious indifferentism, false ecumenism and religious liberty which have infected the Conciliar Church of Vatican II. It is for us to demonstrate that the true Catholic Church—the Pope and the Bishops in union with him—could not promulgate such errors to the universal Church, and that no true Pope could promulgate a defective liturgy (Novus Ordo Missae) and a sacrilegious law (1983 Code of Canon Law 844.3 and 4 Communion to non-Catholics). It is for us to demonstrate that men who promulgate heresy are heretics; and as such, they lose the authority in the Church

Although we can consider many different aspects of our position with the papacy, it will be sufficient for us today to limit our studies to a few main premises upon which our conclusion (the vacancy) rests.

The first premise to consider is the infallibility of the Catholic Church. What is this attribute of the Church? How does it provide clear and compelling evidence against Benedict XVI and the Conciliar Church?

The attribute of infallibility means the inability and impossibility of the Teaching Magisterium to err when teaching the universal Church on matters of faith and morals. As Vatican Council I taught:

“Moreover, by divine and Catholic faith everything must be believed that is contained in the written word of God or in tradition, and that is proposed by the Church as a divinely revealed object of belief either in a solemn decree or in Her ordinary, universal teaching.”

The possessors of infallibility are:

a) the Pope,
(The Pope is infallible when he speaks ex cathedra).

b) the whole Episcopate,
(The totality of the Bishops in union with the Pope is infallible, when they, either assembled in general council or scattered over the earth, propose a teaching of faith or morals as one to be held by all the faithful).

Many are familiar with the concept of infallibility in the “ex cathedra” pronouncements of the Pope and also in the decrees of an Ecumenical Council, but they are not familiar with the concept of the infallibility of “the ordinary, universal magisterium of the Church.”

What is the ordinary, universal magisterium?

For a clear and concise answer, we read in The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Dr. Ludwig Ott:

“The bishops exercise their infallible teaching power in an ordinary manner when they, in their dioceses, in moral unity with the Pope, unanimously promulgate the same teachings on faith and morals. The Vatican Council expressly declared that also the truths of Revelation proposed as such by the ordinary and general teaching office of the Church are to be firmly held with ‘divine and catholic faith’ (D 1792). But the incumbents of the ordinary and general teaching office of the Church are the members of the whole episcopate scattered over the whole earth. The agreement of the Bishops in doctrine may be determined from the catechisms issued by them, from their pastoral letters, from the prayer books approved by them, and from the resolutions of particular synods. A morally general agreement suffices, but in this the express or tacit assent of the Pope, as the supreme Head of the Episcopate, is essential.”

Clearly, the Vatican II church, Benedict XVI (with his predecessors, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II) and the Vatican II bishops have promulgated in their “ordinary and universal magisterium” the errors of religious liberty, false ecumenism and religious indifferentism. This has been the constant theme of the Conciliar Church for the last 40 years!

And in particular, with the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae and the sacrilegious Canon 844, 3 and 4, we find it an impossibility that a true pope could have officially enacted such an erroneous liturgy and legislation. When we consider the area of infallibility, we find the object of the Church’s infallibility is two-fold as described by Ludwig Ott in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma:

a) “The primary object of the Church’s infallibility is the formally revealed truths of Christian Doctrine concerning faith and morals.

b) “The secondary object of the Church’s infallibility is truths of the Christian teaching on faith and morals, which are not formally revealed, but which are closely connected with the teaching of Revelation.”

Included in the secondary object of infallibility are the following:

  1. theological conclusions;
  2. dogmatic facts;
  3. the general discipline of the Church;
  4. approval of religious orders;
  5. canonization of saints.

Why must these areas be objects of the Church’s infallibility?

An excellent explanation is found in Christ’s Church, by Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D.:

“The charism of infallibility was bestowed upon the Church so that She could piously safeguard and confidently explain the deposit of Christian revelation, and thus could be in all ages the teacher of Christian truth and of the Christian way of life.”

“It is evident from Christ’s promises that the magisterium, the teaching office of the Church, was endowed with infallibility so that She might be able to carry out her mission properly, that is, to safeguard reverently, explain confidently, and defend effectively the deposit of faith.”

“The security of the deposit requires the effective warding off or elimination of all error which may be opposed to it, even though only indirectly. This would be simply impossible without infallibility in the matters listed above.”

Here it would be well for us to focus on a further explanation of the secondary object of infallibility, in the area of the general discipline of the Church.

Once again, let us read from Christ’s Church, by Van Noort:

“The Church’s infallibility extends to the general discipline of the Church. This proposition is theologically certain. By the term ‘general discipline of the Church’ are meant those ecclesiastical laws passed for the universal Church for the direction of Christian worship and Christian living.”

“The imposing of commands belongs not directly to the teaching office but to the ruling office; disciplinary laws are only indirectly an object of infallibility, i.e., only by reason of the doctrinal decision implicit in them. When the Church’s rulers sanction a law, they implicitly make a two-fold judgment: 1) ‘This law squares with the Church’s doctrine of faith and morals;’ that is, it imposes nothing that is at odds with sound belief and good morals. This amounts to a doctrinal decree.”

Proof:

“—From the purpose of infallibility. The Church was endowed with infallibility that it might safeguard the whole of Christ’s doctrine and be for all men a trustworthy teacher of the Christian way of life. But if the Church could make a mistake in the manner alleged when it legislated for the general discipline, it would no longer be either a loyal guardian of revealed doctrine or a trustworthy teacher of the Christian way of life. It would not be a guardian of revealed doctrine, for the imposition of a vicious law would be, for all practical purposes, tantamount to an erroneous definition of doctrine; everyone would naturally conclude that what the Church had commanded squared with sound doctrine. It would not be a teacher of the Christian way of life, for by its laws it would induce corruption into the practice of religious life.

—From the official statement of the church, which stigmatized as ‘at least erroneous’ the hypothesis that the ‘church could establish discipline which would be dangerous, harmful, and conducive to superstition and materialism.’”

“The well-known axiom,Lex orandi est lex credendi(The law of prayer is the law of belief), is a special application of the doctrine of the Church’s infallibility in disciplinary matters. This axiom says in effect that formulae of prayer approved for public use in the universal Church cannot contain errors against faith or morals.”

How could the Catholic Church continuously renew the unbloody Sacrifice of Calvary in the Holy Mass and then abruptly substitute it with a Lutheran ”memorial of the Last Supper?” How could the Catholic Church so firmly legislate in her laws against interfaith and intercommunion, as fostering religious indifferentism, and then suddenly abrogate these laws and permit these undertakings?

Are we to suppose that the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, has suddenly changed His mind and allowed contradictions in matters of the Faith, the Mass and her universal laws? Are we to suppose that Christ suddenly abandoned His Church and let her fall into error and heresy>

Yet, it is primarily this issue of infallibility that divides those who call themselves traditional Catholics. Some traditional Catholics reject the errors of false ecumenism and religious liberty of the second Vatican Council, the new Protestant memorial of the Last Supper—the Novus Ordo Missae—and the heresies of the New Code of Canon Law (1983) and yet insist that the very authors of these errors are still Christ’s representatives here on earth. In reality, they say that the Living Teaching Magisterium of the Church has erred and has led the majority of Catholics into error, and continues to err. Such a conclusion is nothing less than to deny the infallibility of the Church.

There can be no doubt that the Conciliar Church has erred. Not only in 1965 at the conclusion of Vatican Council II, but also for the past thirty years in its ordinary universal magisterium. How can it be any more clear — this Conciliar Church is not the Catholic Church!

As Pope Leo XIII taught in Satis Cognitum:

“If the living magisterium could be in any way false—an evident contradiction would follow, for then God would be the author of error”.

And also the First Vatican Council (1870), in the Dogmatic Constitution, Pastor Aeternus, infallibly taught:

§213 “For the fathers of the Fourth Council of Constantinople, following closely in the footsteps of their predecessors, made this solemn profession: “The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith. For it is impossible that the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ (Matt. 16:18) would not be verified. And their truth has been proved by the course of history, for in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been kept unsullied, and its teaching kept holy…”

§216 “… For they fully realized that this See of St. Peter always remains untainted by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord and Savior made to the prince of his disciples, ‘I have prayed for thee, that thy faith may not fail; and do thou, when once thou has turned again, strengthen thy brethren’ (Luke 22:32).

“Now this charism of truth and of never-failing faith was conferred upon St. Peter and his successors in this Chair, in order that they might perform their supreme office for the salvation of all; that by them the whole flock of Christ might be kept away from the poison of error and be nourished by the food of heavenly doctrine; that the occasion of schism might be removed, the whole Church preserved as one, and, secure on its foundation, stand firm against the gates of hell.”

Unfortunately, there are some who would falsely claim that popes have officially erred in the past; they refer to Pope Honorius and Pope Liberius. However, this is simply not true. To refute this, we read from the book The Vatican Council and its Definitions by Cardinal Henry Manning (1870):

“I will, nevertheless, here affirm, that the following points in the case of Honorius can be abundantly proved from documents:

  1. That Honorius defined no doctrine whatsoever.
  2. That he forbade the making of any new definition.
  3. That his fault was precisely in this omission of apostolic authority, for which he was justly censured.
  4. That his two epistles are entirely orthodox; though, in the use of language, he wrote as was usual before the condemnation of Monothelitism, and not as it became necessary afterwards. It is an anachronism and an injustice to censure his language, used before that condemnation, as it might be just to censure it after the condemnation had been made.

“To this I add the following excellent passage from the recent Pastoral of the Archbishop of Baltimore:

“That case of Honorius forms no exception; for

1st Honorius expressly says in his letters to Sergius, that he meant to define nothing, and he was condemned precisely because he temporized and would not define;

2nd Because in his letters he clearly taught the sound Catholic doctrine, only enjoining silence as to the use of certain terms, then new in the Church; and

3rd Because his letters were not addressed to a general council of the whole Church, and were rather private, than public and official; at least they were not published, even in the East, until several years later. The first letter was written to Sergius in 633, and eight years afterwards, in 641, the emperor Heraclius, in exculpating himself to Pope John II, Honorius’ successor, for having published his edict — the Ecthesis — which enjoined silence on the disputants, similar to that imposed by Honorius, lays the whole responsibility thereof on Sergius, who he declares, composed the edict. Evidently, Sergius had not communicated the letter to the Emperor, probably because its contents, if published, would not have suited his wily purpose of secretly introducing, under another form, the Eutcyhian heresy. Thus falls to the ground the only case upon which the opponents of Infallibility have continued to insists. This entire subject has been exhausted by many recent learned writers.”

In the case of Pope Liberius, we find in Volume III of Radio Replies by Fr. Leslie Rumble, M.S.C. and Fr. Charles Cortez:

“In their efforts to refute the Catholic Doctrine, enemies of the Church have ransacked history in hope of finding a pope who has taught heretical ideas. They thought they had found such a pope in Pope Liberius, arguing that he subscribed to the Arian heresy condemned by the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. But let’s take the facts:

“Liberius became pope in the year 3 52 A.D. From this outset he fought against the continued efforts of the Arians to corrupt the faith.

“The emporor Constantius, himself an Arian, seized Pope Liberius by force and exiled him to Berea in Thrace.

“It is said that to escape this exile and induced by fraud and threats, Pope Liberius signed a formula dreamed up by the Arians. But historical research has shown that it is doubtful whether he signed the documents at all.”

The second premise to be used to demonstrate the vacancy of the Apostolic See is that heretics who cannot be members of the Church, likewise cannot hold positions in authority within the Church. John Paul II’s repeated acts of false ecumenism with the false religions of the world are, in the words of Pope Pius XI, “tantamount to abandoning the religion revealed by God” — in other words, apostasy!

This particular issue of the loss of the papacy by heresy is supported by many canonists and theologians:

St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Bishop and doctor of the Church said:

“Now when the Pope is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church…”

St. Robert Bellarmine said:

“A Pope who is a manifest heretic automatically ceases to be Pope and head, just as he ceases automatically to be a Christian and a member of the Church. Wherefore, he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the teaching of all the ancient Fathers who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction.”

St. Alphonsus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, said:

“If ever a Pope, as a private person, should fall into heresy, he should at once fall from the Pontificate. If, however, God were to permit a pope to become a notorious and contumacious heretic, he would by such fact cease to be pope, and the apostolic chair would be vacant.”

St. Antoninus said:

“In the case in which the Pope would become a heretic, he would find himself, by that very fact alone and without any other sentence, separated from the Church. A head separated from a body cannot, as long as it remains separated, be head of the same body from which it was cut off.”

At Vatican Council I the question was also raised by a Cardinal, “What is to be done with the Pope if he becomes a heretic?” It was answered that “there has never been such a case; the Council of Bishops could depose him for heresy, for from the moment he becomes a heretic he is not the head or even a member of the Church. The Church would not be, for a moment, obliged to listen to him when he begins to teach a doctrine the Church knows to be a false doctrine, and he would cease to be Pope, being deposed by God Himself. If the Pope, for instance, were to say that the belief in God is false, you would not be obliged to believe him, or if he were to deny the rest of the creed; I believe in Christ, etc. The supposition is injurious to the Holy Father in the very idea, but serves to show you the fullness with which the subject has been considered and the ample thought given to every possibility. If he denies any Dogma of the Church held by every true believer, he is no more Pope than either you or I.” (The Life and Work of Pope Leo XIII by Rev. James J. McGovern, D.D., p. 241).

Canon #188.4 of the Code on Tacit Resignation:

“There are certain causes which effect the tacit resignation of an office, which resignation is accepted in advance by operation of the law, and hence is effective without any declaration. These causes are … (4) if he has publicly fallen away from the faith.”

Wernz-Vidal’s Canon Law, an 8-volume work published in 1943, states: “Through notorious and openly divulged heresy, the Roman Pontiff, should he fall into heresy, by that very fact (ipso facto) is deemed to be deprived of the power of jurisdiction even before any declaratory judgment by the Church… A Pope who falls into public heresy would cease ipso facto to be a member of the Church; therefore, he would also cease to be head of the Church.” And also: “A doubtful pope is no pope.”

In the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia we read:

“The Pope himself, if notoriously guilty of heresy, would cease to be Pope because he would cease to be a member of the Church.”

Pope Innocent III also said:

“The Pope should not flatter himself about his power, nor should he rashly glory in his honour and high estate, because the less he is judged by man, the more he is judged by God. Still the less can the Roman Pontiff glory because he can be judged by men, or rather, can be shown to be already judged, if for example he should wither away into heresy; because he who does not believe is already judged. In such a case it should be said of him: ‘If salt should lose its savor, it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trampled under foot by men.’”

Theologian Caesar Badii (1921):

“Cessation of pontifical power. This power ceases. .. (d) through notorious and openly divulged heresy. A publicly heretical pope would no longer be a member of the Church; for this reason, he could no longer be its head.”

Theologian Udalricus Beste (1946):

“Not a few canonists teach that, outside of death and abdication, the pontifical dignity can also be lost by falling into certain insanity, which is legally equivalent to death, as well as through manifest and notorious heresy. In the latter case, a pope would automatically fall from his power, and this indeed without the issuance of any sentence, for the first See (i.e., the See of Peter) is judged by no one . . . The reason is that, by falling into heresy, the pope ceases to be a member of the church. He who is not a member of a society, obviously, cannot be its head.”

The Rev. Matthew Ramstein, D.D. in the Manual of Canon Law states:

“By divine law the Pope, once elected, holds office for life. But in addition to the death of the incumbent, the papal office may become vacant if the pope should resign, or fall into heresy, or lose the use of reason … If the Pope should happen to fall into heresy, he is no longer a member of the Church, must less its head. It is understood that the Pope cannot be guilty of heresy when he speaks infallibly ex cathedra. The supposition is only possible should the Pope teach heretical doctrine in a private capacity.”

In the Defense of the Catholic Church, Rev. Francis X. Doyle, S.J., states in Paragraph 402, The Loss of the Primacy:

“The Supreme Pontiff can lose the Primacy in these ways: 1. By voluntary resignation, as in the case of Celestine V. 2. By open heresy, by which he ceases to be a member of Christ’s Church. This, however, while not contradictory to reason, is hardly conceivable. 3. By Insanity. 4. By death.”

Matthaeus Conte a Coronata (1950) states:

“If indeed such a situation would happen, he (the Roman Pontiff) would, by divine law, fall from office without any sentence, indeed, without even a declaratory one. He who openly professes heresy places himself outside the Church, and it is not likely that Christ would preserve the Primacy of His Church in one so unworthy. Wherefore, if the Roman Pontiff were to profess heresy, before any condemnatory sentence (which would be impossible anyway) he would lose his authority.” (Institutiones luris Canonici, Rome: Marietti 1950 1:312,316).

A. Vermeersch, I. Creusen (1949) writes:

“At least according to the more common teaching, the Roman Pontiff as a private teacher can fall into manifest heresy. Then, without any declaratory sentence (for the supreme See is judged by no one), he would automatically (ipso facto) fall from a power which he who is no longer a member of the Church is unable to possess” (Epitome luris Canonici, Rome: Dessain 1949.340).

Eduardus F. Regatillo (1956) states:

“‘The pope loses office ipso facto because of public heresy.’ This is the more common teaching, because a pope would not be a member of the Church, and hence far less could he be its head” (Institutiones luris Canonici, 5th ed. Santander: Sal Terrae, 1956.1:396).

Pope Paul IV (1559):

“Further, if ever it should appear that any bishop (even one acting as an archbishop, patriarch or primate), or a cardinal of the Roman Church, or a legate (as mentioned above), or even the Roman Pontiff (whether prior to his promotion to cardinal, or prior to his election as Roman Pontiff), has beforehand deviated from the Catholic faith or fallen into any heresy, We enact, decree, determine and define:

— “Such promotion or election in and of itself, even with the agreement and unanimous consent of all the cardinals, shall be null, legally invalid and void.

— “It shall not be possible for such a promotion or election to be deemed valid or to be valid, neither through reception of office, consecration, subsequent administration, or possession, nor even through the putative enthronement of a Roman Pontiff himself, together with the veneration and obedience accorded him by all.

— “Such promotion or election, shall not through any lapse of time in the foregoing situation, be considered even partially legitimate in any way…

— “Each and all of the words, as acts, laws, appointments of those so promoted or elected — and indeed, whatsoever flows therefrom — shall be lacking in force, and shall grant no stability and legal power to anyone whatsoever.

— “Those so promoted or elected, by that very fact and without the need to make any further declaration, shall be deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and power” (Bull Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio,16 February 1559.

One objection raised against our position of the vacancy of the Apostolic See is that heresy is principally a crime (“delictum”) against canon law — and a pope, as supreme legislator for canon law, is not himself subject to it.

However, the case of a heretical pope, rather, pertains to heresy as a sin against divine law — for the canonists clearly state that it is divine law that precludes a heretic from obtaining or retaining papal authority:

“Heretics and schismatics are barred from the Supreme Pontificate by the Divine Law itself, because, although by divine law they are not considered incapable of participating in a certain type of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, nevertheless, they must certainly be regarded as excluded from occupying the throne of the Apostolic See, which is the infallible teacher of the truth of the faith and the center of ecclesiastical unity” (Marato, Institutiones luris Canonici [1921] 2:184).

“Appointment to the Office of the Primacy. 1. What is required by divine law for this appointment… Also required for validity is that the one elected be a member of the Church; hence, heretics and apostates (at least public ones) are excluded….”

“If indeed such a situation would happen, he [the Roman Pontiff] would, by divine law, fall from office without any sentence, indeed, without even a declaratory one. He who openly professes heresy places himself outside the Church, and it is not likely that Christ would preserve the Primacy of His Church in one so unworthy. Wherefore, if the Roman Pontiff were to profess heresy, before any condemnatory sentence (which would be impossible anyway) he would lose his authority” (Coronata, Institutiones Iuris Canonici [1950] 1:312,316).

Given the hypothesis of a heretical pope, says Cardinal Billot, such a pope would automatically lose his power because he would be cast outside the body of the Church “by his own will” (De Ecclesia Christi, 5th ed., [1927] 1:632).

It is not a crime against canon law that deposes a heretical pope, but his public sin against divine law.

Furthermore, among the theological motives that are presented by the Society of St. Pius X to maintain their nominal recognition of Benedict XVI against the sedevacantist position, we find a quote from Fr. Peter Scott:

“Nevertheless, it is preposterous to say, as the sedevacantists do, that there has not been any Pope for more than 40 years, for this would destroy the visibility of the Church, and the very possibility of a canonical election of a future Pope.”

The answer to their first “difficulty” as to a lengthy interregnum (a vacancy in the Papal office) is found in the history of the Church during the Great Western Schism which occurred between the years 1378 and 1417. From 1378 to 1409 there were two claimants (one in Rome and one in Avignon) to the Papal office; then in 1409, a third claimant (from Pisa) came on the scene.

In regard to this confused state of affairs in the Church during the Great Western Schism, there is a most interesting theological point found among the teachings of Fr. Edmund James O’Reilly, S.J., He was one of the leading theologians of his time, having been theologian to Cardinal Cullen of Armagh at the Synod of Thurles; theologian to Bishop Brown at the Synod of Shrewsbury; theologian to Bishop Furlong at the synod of Maynooth; and having been named professor of the Catholic University in Dublin. In 1882, Fr. O’Reilly published a book entitled The Relations of the Church to Society in which he asserted that a vacancy of the Holy See lasting for an extended period of time cannot be considered incompatible with the promises of Christ and the doctrine of the indefectibility of the Church:

“We may here stop to inquire what is to be said of the position, at that time, of the three claimants, and their rights with regard to the Papacy. In the first place, there was all throughout, from the death of Gregory XI in 1378, a Pope — with the exception, of course, of the intervals between deaths and elections to fill up the vacancies thereby created. There was, I say, at every given time a Pope, really invested with the dignity of vicar of Christ and Head of the Church, whatever opinions might exist among many as to his genuineness; not that an interregnum covering the whole period would have been impossible or inconsistent with the promises of Christ, for this is by no means manifest, but that, as a matter of fact, there was not such an interregnum.”

During these difficult times in which the Novus Ordo has replaced the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in which false religions have been invited by the Conciliar Church to render false worship to their gods in the churches of Assisi, are we not witnessing nothing less than the Great Apostasy foretold by St. Paul in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians (II Thessalonians 2:3-8)?

As for the second “difficulty” proposed by the Society of St. Pius X against the sedevacantist position, that there would be an impossibility of a future Papal election if the See of Peter were vacant since Vatican II, we read in The Church of the Incarnate Word by Monsignor Charles Journet:

“During a vacancy of the Apostolic See, neither the Church nor the Council can contravene the provisions already laid down to determine the valid mode of election (Cardinal Cajetan, O.P., in De Comparata, cap. xiii, no. 202). However, in case of permission (for example if the Pope has provided nothing against it), or in case of ambiguity (for example, if it is unknown who the true Cardinals are or who the true Pope is, as was the case at the time of the Great Schism), the power ‘of applying the Papacy to such and such a person’ devolves on the universal Church, the Church of God” (Ibid., no. 204).

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

From the Lectures of Father Messias D. Coelho
on the Message of Fatima (August, 1967)

Editor’s note (CMRI): Fr. Messias D. Coelho, an outstanding authority on the message of Our Lady, was the editor of the Portuguese religious newspaper, The Message of Fatima, as well as professor in the seminary at Fundao, Portugal. Although his English is not the most fluid, his words are an important historical commentary on the Fatima Message. This article is the eleventh in this series of lectures, transcribed by Howard Earp from audio recordings. We believe that this is their first appearance in a periodical.

 


Those of us who have made a consecration to Our Lady belong to her in a special way, more than others who have not consecrated themselves to her. If Our Lady came to Fatima to ask us to accomplish our own daily duties, she herself is always giving us proof that she too is accomplishing her own duties towards those who are consecrated to her. Let me give you some examples.

The day before yesterday we saw some slides on the shrines of Our Lady, one of which was the shrine of Pontmain. Pontmain was a small village which had been consecrated to Our Lady. There were thirty-nine men of Pontmain who were soldiers in the French-Prussian war. This was a terrible war in which the Prussians took a third of France, expelled French people from the country, and captured the emperor. Many people were killed. When we go on our pilgrimage to these sanctuaries, we will see a monument in every town to those who were killed during the course of three wars: the French-Prussian war, World War I, and World War II.

Thirty-nine men from Pontmain went to war. On the day they left Pontmain the parish priest invited them to Mass. He celebrated a special Mass for them, and then made a consecration of them to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At the end of the ceremonies he told them, “You may go out with joy because I assure you that every one of you will come back safe.” That is just what happened: all of them came back alive and safe. If you go to Pontmain and visit that church, you will find there a marble stone with the inscription that thirty-nine soldiers of Pontmain are grateful to Our Lady because all of them came back alive and safe from the war.

Why were these men so much protected by Our Lady? Because they belonged to her more than the others. They were in the worst battles, where most of the French soldiers were killed. What was it that protected those soldiers? Our Lady. She had a special right to defend them. They were more hers than the others because they had made a special consecration.

Let us look at an example showing the protection of Our Lady over something that is consecrated to her. The last apparition of Our Lady approved by the Church was, as you know, in Banneux. In this town there is a miraculous fountain Our Lady reserved for those who suffer. Banneux has now a big name — Banneux Notre Dame — which means Banneux of Our Lady. Do you know why? Because in the beginning of this century, the parish priest, along with the mayor of Banneux, consecrated this village to Our Lady. To remind everyone of this consecration they added, with the approval of the authorities, the name of Our Lady to this village, which is now called Banneux of Our Lady.

Then came the Second World War. As you know, Belgium was invaded first by the Germans, who destroyed many towns as they went across the country, even in the southern part called Arlon near Liege. Liege was almost completely destroyed by the Germans. Then Belgium was invaded again by American and British soldiers when they defeated the German army. Many other towns were almost completely destroyed.

In the small town of Banneux, however, no one was killed. Not even a window pane was broken by a bomb. It was not harmed at all, even though it was in the middle of the invasions. Why? This was due to the protection of Our Lady. She has the right to use us as she wants, and she has a special duty to protect us, just as others have of defending their children from every danger. She uses all her power to defend us after our consecration because we completely belong to her, just as we use all our power to defend our homes from our enemies. If enemies attack our home we call the police; we do all we can to protect our homes because they are ours. This is our obligation. Our Lady feels that she is obliged to defend us.

Who can be consecrated to Our Lady? What is the effect of consecration in ourselves? We have only seen the effect in Our Lady; let us now see it in ourselves. There are three things. First of all, according to this precept that we have seen, once we have been given to Our Lady, we should rely on her; we should trust in her. The second effect, now that she has a right over us, is that we should live this consecration. And what does that mean?

The most essential requirement is that we should desire everything that she wishes. Here at Fatima she revealed her will. “Why do you come to this earth?” Lucia asked. And she revealed why she came. “What do you want from us?” And she told us what she wanted. What she wants is the living of her Fatima message. So let us see what makes up the essential parts of the message of Fatima. We can sum them up in three points, prayer, penance, and the Eucharist.

Prayer. Our Lady made many requests for prayer. There is vocal prayer and there is mental prayer. She asked for fifteen minutes meditation, as you know. She made a demand for a prayer that is both mental and vocal — the Rosary. In the Fatima message we should distinguish between what is essential and what is not essential, what Our Lady demands and what she invites us to do. Her message has some invitations and some orders. The order here is the Rosary, “I want you to say the Rosary every day.” She does not say, “I ask you” — she says “I want.” The Portuguese word that she used is quero, which means “I want” you to say the Rosary every day. So say the Rosary. This is the most essential part of her order: the DAILY ROSARY. So only those who are willing to say the Rosary every day can be consecrated to Our Lady — only those who are willing. It may be that some do not say the Rosary every day because they have difficulties that excuse them. But they should always want to do so if possible; otherwise they will be against her wish. This is what she wants, “I want you to say the Rosary every day.”

The Eucharist. There are many things about the Eucharist in the Fatima message. The Eucharist was carried in the hands of the Angel, as you know. The priest offers the Eucharist in the Sacrifice of the Mass. In the Mass we offer Christ to God. We have Christ in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, in all-night vigils, and so forth. What is the most essential point regarding the Eucharist upon which Our Lady insisted? The Communion of Reparation on First Saturdays.

Before going on, let me tell you that this Communion is different from the devotion of the First Five Saturdays, which is only for five months. When you have completed five months, you have finished the devotion. Of course, you can repeat it, but to receive the grace that Our Lady promised, you need only five months. The Communion of reparation on First Saturdays, however, is for your entire life. You are to receive Holy Communion in reparation on First Saturdays every month you are able to go to Holy Communion. The confession of reparation, the rosary of reparation, the meditation of reparation — these belong to the other devotion, the devotion of the Five First Saturdays. The latter devotion is to attract the grace of salvation for yourself: “For those who do this, I promise to be present at the hour of their death with all the graces they need.” That is different. Our Lady asked for this to give peace to the world, to stop war. By this act of reparation, we offer her the Body and Blood of Christ — which, as you know, is infinite — and she in turn offers It to God. This is what reparation means: we give everything to her and then she gives it to God.

Those of you who have difficulties in going on the First Saturday can do so on the following day, Sunday. To do this we should have two things: first of all, a just reason — not any reason, but a just reason; and second, a priest to approve this reason. You may have to do this if your schedule does not fit into the parish schedule. You are allowed to change this for yourself, for your children and your relatives. Of course, you may go to Communion every day.

Penance. There are many aspects of penance in the Fatima message: the penance Our Lady ordered, and the penance she asked for, inviting us. The children were doing penance when they found the rope and tied it around their waists to suffer, and when they ate things that only beasts eat, and drank dirty water from the lake. They did many things like this.

What is the penance that Our Lady orders from us? It is only this: first of all, to accept every suffering coming from God with submission. Let us consider another point which will make this more clear: to accomplish our daily duty as perfectly as possible, as Christians always should do. This is the penance Our Lady ordered.

How can we know when our suffering comes from God? Very easily. Everything that does not come from your own will comes from God, even when it comes through someone who is a pagan, because there are only three origins of pain and suffering:

1) The natural law. We suffer because of the natural law. We are cold in winter and hot in summer. Because of the law of gravity, a stone may roll down a mountain as we pass by and hit us and kill us. All these laws were made for our good, although sometimes the result is suffering. Where does this suffering come from? It comes from Him Who made the law — God.

2) Our own limitations. Sometimes we wish to know everything — about medicine, architecture, art. We may wish we knew all languages. We may wish to visit every country. But it is impossible. We want to know everything, but we cannot. We may want to love everyone, to help everyone who is suffering. We should like to give them money, to comfort them and give them joy. But it is not possible. We may have not the money; we may have not the time. We have limitations. Who gave limitations to our knowledge, to the possibilities of what we can do? God. Therefore every suffering coming from our limitations comes from God.

3) The last point, the third origin of our suffering is the abuse or misuse of our human liberty, our freedom. I will tell you why. There is, for example, a man who marries a woman and has children. But instead of being a good father he spends his time playing and spending all his money. His wife is hungry and children are hungry. They have no money, no bread. His children are innocent; they have no fault. They suffer because this man abused his freedom, his free will. It was God Who gave us our liberty, and the power of using and abusing our liberty. He values so much our freedom that He prefers that we have this power even if it is abused by some. Therefore suffering from others’ abuse of their freedom comes from God.

Every suffering, therefore, that does not come from our own will comes from God: whether through the natural law, our own limitations, or the misuse of human freedom. Our Lady asks us to accept these sufferings, to accept every suffering that God sends us with submission.

Quotes from Theologians Supporting the Sedevacantist Position

Bull of Pope Paul IV — Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, 1559

“Further, if ever it should appear that any bishop (even one acting as an archbishop, patriarch or primate), or a cardinal of the Roman Church, or a legate (as mentioned above), or even the Roman Pontiff (whether prior to his promotion to cardinal, or prior to his election as Roman Pontiff), has beforehand deviated from the Catholic faith or fallen into any heresy, We enact, decree, determine and define:

— “Such promotion or election in and of itself, even with the agreement and unanimous consent of all the cardinals, shall be null, legally invalid and void.

— “It shall not be possible for such a promotion or election to be deemed valid or to be valid, neither through reception of office, consecration, subsequent administration, or possession, nor even through the putative enthronement of a Roman Pontiff himself, together with the veneration and obedience accorded him by all.

— “Such promotion or election, shall not through any lapse of time in the foregoing situation, be considered even partially legitimate in any way . . .

— “Each and all of the words, as acts, laws, appointments of those so promoted or elected —and indeed, whatsoever flows therefrom — shall be lacking in force, and shall grant no stability and legal power to anyone whatsoever.

— “Those so promoted or elected, by that very fact and without the need to make any further declaration, shall be deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and power.”

Coronata — Institutions Juris Canonici, 1950

Appointment to the Office of the Primacy.

1. What is required by divine law for this appointment . . . Also required for validity is that the one elected be a member of the Church; hence, heretics and apostates (at least public ones) are excluded. . . ”

“It cannot be proven however that the Roman Pontiff, as a private teacher, cannot become a heretic — if, for example, he would contumaciously deny a previously defined dogma. Such impeccability was never promised by God. Indeed, Pope Innocent III expressly admits such a case is possible.

“If indeed such a situation would happen, he [the Roman Pontiff] would, by divine law, fall from office without any sentence, indeed, without even a declaratory one. He who openly professes heresy places himself outside the Church, and it is not likely that Christ would preserve the Primacy of His Church in one so unworthy. Wherefore, if the Roman Pontiff were to profess heresy, before any condemnatory sentence (which would be impossible anyway) he would lose his authority.”

Marato — Institutions Juris Canonici, 1921

“Heretics and schismatics are barred from the Supreme Pontificate by the Divine Law itself, because, although by divine law they are not considered incapable of participating in a certain type of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, nevertheless, they must certainly be regarded as excluded from occupying the throne of the Apostolic See, which is the infallible teacher of the truth of the faith and the center of ecclesiastical unity.”

Billot — De Ecclesia, 1927

“Given, therefore, the hypothesis of a pope who would become notoriously heretical, one must concede without hesitation that he would by that very fact lose the pontifical power, insofar as, having become an unbeliever, he would by his own will be cast outside the body of the Church.”

CANON 6.6

All former disciplinary laws which were in force until now, and are neither explicitly nor implicitly contained in the Code, shall be regarded as having lost all force, unless they are found in the approved liturgical books, or they are laws derived from the natural and the positive divine law.

A. Dorsch — Institutions Theologiae Fundamentalis, 1928

“The Church therefore is a society that is essentially monarchical. But this does not prevent the Church, for a short time after the death of a pope, or even for many years, from remaining deprived of her head. [vel etiam per plures annos capite suo destituta manet]. Her monarchical form also remains intact in this state . . .

“Thus the Church is then indeed a headless body . . . Her monarchical form of government remains, though then in a different way —that is, it remains incomplete and to be completed. The ordering of the whole to submission to her Primate is present, even though actual submission is not . . .

“For this reason, the See of Rome is rightly said to remain after the person sitting in it has died —for the See of Rome consists essentially in the rights of the Primate.

“These rights are an essential and necessary element of the Church. With them, moreover, the Primacy then continues, at least morally. The perennial physical presence of the person of the head, however, [perennitas autem physica personis principis] is not so strictly necessary” (De Ecclesia 2:196-7).

Fr. Edward J. O’Reilly, S.J. — The Relations of the Church to Society, 1882

“We may here stop to inquire what is to be said of the position, at that time, of the three claimants, and their rights with regard to the Papacy. In the first place, there was all throughout, from the death of Gregory XI in 1378, a Pope —with the exception, of course, of the intervals between deaths and elections to fill up the vacancies thereby created. There was, I say, at every given time a Pope, really invested with the dignity of vicar of Christ and Head of the Church, whatever opinions might exist among many as to his genuineness; not that an interregnum covering the whole period would have been impossible or inconsistent with the promises of Christ, for this is by no means manifest, but that, as a matter of fact, there was not such an interregnum.”

Msgr. Charles Journet, The Church of the Incarnate Word

B. The Church During a Vacancy of the Holy See

We must not think of the church, when the Pope is dead, as possessing the papal power in act, in a state of diffusion, so that she herself can delegate it to the next Pope in whom it will be recondensed and made definite. When the Pope dies the Church is widowed, and, in respect of the visible universal jurisdiction, she is truly acephalous.* ‘But she is not acephalous as are the schismatic Churches, nor like a body on the way to decomposition. Christ directs her from heaven .. . But, though slowed down, the pulse of life has not left the Church; she possesses the power of the Papacy in potency, in the sense that Christ, who has willed her always to depend on a visible pastor, has given her power to designate the man to who He will Himself commit the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, as once He committed them to Peter.

*During a vacancy of the Apostolic See, says Cajetan, the universal Church is in an imperfect state; she is like an amputated body, not an integral body. “The Church is acephalous, deprived of her highest part and power.”

Msgr. Journet — The Church of the Incarnate Word

“During a vacancy of the Apostolic See, neither the Church nor the Council can contravene the provisions already laid down to determine the valid mode of election (Cardinal Cajetan, O.P., in De Comparata, cap. xiii, no. 202). However, in case of permission (for example if the Pope has provided nothing against it), or in case of ambiguity (for example, if it is unknown who the true Cardinals are or who the true Pope is, as was the case at the time of the Great Schism), the power ‘of applying the Papacy to such and such a person’ devolves on the universal Church, the Church of God.”

Cajetan, O. P. — De Comparatione Autoritatis Papae et Concilii

“. . . by exception and by suppletory manner this power (that of electing a pope), corresponds to the Church and to the Council, either by the inexistence of Cardinal Electors, or because they are doubtful, or the election itself is uncertain, as it happens at the time of a schism.”

Billot — De Ecclesia Christi

“When it would be necessary to proceed with the election, if it is impossible to follow the regulations of papal law, as was the case during the Great Western Schism, one can accept, without difficulty, that the power of election could be transferred to a General Council.”

“Because ‘natural law prescribes that, in such cases, the power of a Superior is passed to the immediate inferior, because this is absolutely necessary for the survival of the society and to avoid the tribulations of extreme need.”

Vitoria — De Potestate Ecclesiae

“Even if St. Peter would have not determined anything, once he was dead, the Church had the power to substitute him and appoint a successor to him… If by any calamity, war or plague, all Cardinals would be lacking, we cannot doubt that the Church could provide for herself a Holy Father.

“Hence such an election; ‘a tota Ecclesia debet provideri et non ab aliqua partuculari Ecclesia.’ (“It should be carried by all the Church and not by any particular Church.”) And this is because “Ilia potestas est communis et spectat ad totam Ecclesiam. Ergo a tata Ecclesia debet provideri.’” (“That power is common and it concerns the whole Church. So it must be the duty of the whole Church.”)

Cajetan:

“Immediately, one ought to resists in facie, a pope who is publicly destroying the Church; for example, to want to give ecclesiastical benefits for money or charge of services. And one ought to refuse, with all obedience and respect, and not to give possession of these benefits to those who bought them.”

Silvestra:

“What is there to do when the pope wishes without reason to abrogate the positive right order? To this he responds, ‘He certainly sins; one ought not to permit him to proceed thus, nor ought one to obey him in what is bad; one ought to resist him with a polite reprehension. In consequence, if he wished to deliver all the treasures of the Church and the patrimony of St. Peter to his parents; if he was left to destroy the Church or in similar works, one ought not to permit him to work in this form, having the obligation of giving him resistance. And the reason for this is, in these matters he has no right to destroy. Immediately evident of what he is doing, it is licit to resist him. Of all this it results that, if the pope, by his order or his acts, destroys the Church, one can resist and impede the execution of his commands.’”

Suarez:

“If the pope gave an order contrary to the good customs, one should not obey him; if his intent is to do something manifestly opposed to justice and the common good, it is lawful and valid to resist; if attacked by force, one shall be able to resist with force, with the moderation appropriate to a just defense.”

St. Robert Bellarmine:

“Just as it is licit to resist a Pontiff that attacks the body, it is also licit to resist (him) who attacks the soul, or who disturbs the civil order, or, above all, he who intends to destroy the Church. I say it is licit to resist by not doing what he orders and by impeding the execution of that which he wills. It is not licit, with everything, to judge him impose a punishment, or depose him, for these actions are accorded to one superior to the pope.”

St. Francis de Sales:

“Now when the Pope is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church . . . ”

St. Robert Bellarmine:

“A Pope who is a manifest heretic automatically ceases to be a Pope and head, just as he ceases automatically to be a Christian and a member of the Church. Wherefore, he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the teaching of all the ancient Fathers who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction.”

St. Alphonsus Liguori:

“If ever a Pope, as a private person, should fall into heresy, he should at once fall from the Pontificate. If, however, God were to permit a pope to become a notorious and contumacious heretic, he would by such fact cease to be pope, and the apostolic chair would be vacant.”

St. Antoninus:

“In the case in which the Pope would become a heretic, he would find himself, by that very fact alone and without any other sentence, separated from the Church. A head separated from a body cannot, as long as it remains separated, be head of the same body from which it was cut off.”

Wernz-Vidal — Canon Law, 1943

“Through notorious and openly divulged heresy, the Roman Pontiff, should he fall into heresy, by that very fact (ipso facto) is deemed to be deprived of the power of jurisdiction even before any declaratory judgment by the Church… A Pope who falls into public heresy would cease ipso facto to be a member of the Church; therefore, he would also cease to be head of the Church.” And also: “A doubtful pope is no pope.”

Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913

“The Pope himself, if notoriously guilty of heresy, would cease to be Pope because he would cease to be a member of the Church.”

Pope Innocent III:

“The Pope should not flatter himself about his power nor should he rashly glory in his honor and high estate, because the less he is judged by man, the more he is judged by God. Still the less can the Roman Pontiff glory because he can be judged by men, or rather, can be shown to be already judged, if for example he should wither away into heresy; because he who does not believe is already judged, In such a case it should be said of him: ‘If salt should lose its savor, it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trampled under foot by men.’”

Matthaeus Conte a Coronata — Institutiones Iuris Canonici, 1950

“If indeed such a situation would happen, he (the Roman Pontiff) would, by divine law, fall from office without any sentence, indeed, without even a declaratory one. He who openly professes heresy places himself outside the Church, and it is not likely that Christ would preserve the Primacy of His Church in one so unworthy. Wherefore, if the Roman Pontiff were to profess heresy, before any condemnatory sentence (which would be impossible anyway) he would lose his authority.”

A. Vermeersch — Epitome Iuris Canonici, 1949

“At least according to the more common teaching; the Roman Pontiff as a private teacher can fall into manifest heresy. Then, without any declaratory sentence (for the Supreme See is judged by no one), he would automatically (ipso facto) fall from power which he who is no longer a member of the Church is unable to possess.”

Edward F. Regatillo — Institutiones Iuris Canonici, 1956

“‘The pope loses office ipso facto because of public heresy.’ This is the more common teaching, because a pope would not be a member of the Church, and hence far less could he be its head.”

by CMRI

New Book defending Baptism of Desire and Blood: “Contra Crawford”

from Novus Ordo Watch

Compelling, orthodox, easy to read!

A New Book defending Baptism of Desire and Blood:

Contra Crawford: A Defense of Baptism of Desire & Periodic Continence

by Dylan Fellows and Christopher Conlon

The sedevacantist laymen Dylan Fellows and Christopher Conlon are the authors of a new book defending the Catholic position on baptism of desire and baptism of blood as capable of supplying the sanctifying grace of the sacrament of baptism. This Church doctrine has been denied by a number of confused souls both inside and outside of Sedevacantism, especially in the United States, in the last few decades.

The name that is commonly (although not quite correctly) given to this erroneous denial is “Feeneyism”, because the first major figure to hold that those who die with the baptism of desire or blood will nevertheless go to hell was the Jesuit Fr. Leonard Feeney (1897-1978) in the 1940s. On Feb. 12, 1953, Pope Pius XII excommunicated Fr. Feeney for grave disobedience, after Feeney had persistently refused to obey the order to travel to Rome (all expenses paid) to appear before the Holy Office to explain his doctrine (see Acta Apostolicae Sedis 45 [1953], p. 100).

The title of Fellows’ and Conlon’s book is Contra Crawford because what occasioned it was a new controversy about baptism of blood and desire stoked by the Rev. Mr. Dominic Crawford (pictured left as a seminarian in 2012), to whom it is a direct rejoinder. Crawford was an ordained transitional deacon in the sedevacantist Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI) before leaving the order in late 2016 or early 2017. The Superior General, Bp. Mark Pivarunas, had challenged the deacon on his errors, giving him 18 direct questions to answer. This he did, first, in a 14-page response, and later, in a more comprehensive booklet of 57 pages. Complete scans of all three of these documents — His Excellency’s challenge and Crawford’s two sets of replies — are included as appendices in Fellows’ and Conlon’s Contra Crawford. This gives the reader the full picture and ensures that everyone can see objections and replies in their full and original context.

The book, which was first released in August of this year, is available for free in electronic format or for a modest price in paperback:

What makes Contra Crawford particularly powerful is that at the outset it provides an overview of howthe Church teaches the faithful, what Catholics have an obligation to accept, and what infallibility is and when it enters into the picture. This is crucial to understand because the Feeneyite error begins as an error in method, one that tragically distorts how the Church was commissioned by Christ to teach her children.

Incidentally, some additional good resources on the topic of baptism of blood and desire are:

Another error promoted by the Rev. Crawford (one that is likewise shared by some other sedevacantists and non-sedevacantists) is the idea that periodic continence (aka the rhythm method) among married couples is intrinsically evil and therefore never permitted. Yet the truth is that ever since the question first came up in the nineteenth century, the Church has consistently permitted its use under certain restrictive circumstances. Contra Crawford traces the history of the Church’s magisterial response to the question, explains the moral principles behind it, and shows that arguments against it are unsound and are based on an incomplete and distorted view of Catholic teaching on the subject. The authors also make clear that the licit practice of periodic continence is not the same thing as the common Novus Ordo practice of “Natural Family Planning”, which they point out “is in violent contradiction to Pope Pius XII’s guidelines” (p. 86).

Overall, Contra Crawford makes for a very pleasant and easy read. The authors explain for the average layman the necessary theological concepts sufficiently but without dwelling on them more than is necessary. This ensures that the book is neither overly complex nor woefully superficial; it is neither simplistic nor insufferably dry. More difficult-to-understand concepts are illustrated by means of examples the reader can relate to. Each chapter ends with a brief bullet-point summary to allow for a quick review of the material presented, and a bibliography at the end provides information for further reading.

It is thus with great pleasure and excitement that Novus Ordo Watch joins Bp. Mark Pivarunas in highly recommending Contra Crawford. The Catholic world owes a debt of gratitude to Dylan Fellows and Chris Conlon for this excellent work!


Please note: There will be no combox for this post. Since the issues discussed in Contra Crawford are somewhat peripheral to the overall mission of Novus Ordo Watch, and since we do not want to have to invest in the time and resources needed to moderate the endless debate this post is sure to trigger, there will be no comments at all permitted for this post.

Image source: archive.org (screenshot) / cmri.org
License: Fair use / fair use

Chaos Frank explains the Sixth Commandment

from Novus Ordo Watch

It is customary for the false popes of the Novus Ordo Sect to offer a catechism lesson during their weekly General Audience. This is the place where “St.” John Paul II, for example, made known his notorious sexology known as the “Theology of the Body” over a span of several years in the early 1980s. Naturally, Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) has retained this custom, as he loves nothing better than spewing his Modernist ideas in front of a large audience.

The series of catechetical instructions Francis is currently offering is on the Ten Commandments. This is a precarious move, considering that since his exhortation Amoris Laetitia in 2016, the Ten Commandments have been effectively reduced to the status of Ten Ideal Situations or, more bluntly, the Ten Suggestions. Since the main focus of Amoris Laetitia is that pesky Sixth Commandment — “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex 20:14) — it was clear that Francis’ catechesis on that point was going to be of particular interest to us.

Bergoglio gave his intructions in two separate audiences, held on Oct. 24 and 31. The full transcripts of both, translated into English, can be found here:

We will now take a critical look at some of what he said in these audiences.

Francis begins as follows:

In our itinerary of catecheses on the Commandments we come today to the Sixth Word, which has to do with the affective and sexual dimension, and states: “Do not commit adultery.” The immediate call is to fidelity and, in fact, no human relationship is authentic without fidelity and loyalty.

(Oct. 24, 2018)

Notice that right after quoting what the commandment actually says, the Argentinian Jesuit immediately shifts the focus away from that and onto human relationships in general. While one may perhaps talk about “fidelity” in a wider sense eventually in such a catechism lesson, that is not at all what should receive the primary attention.

Bergoglio then proceeds to talk about love, fidelity, friendship, surrogates to true love, and maturity — all not unrelated to adultery but certainly not the primary focus. When he finally gets around to talking about marital fidelity, he dishes out the vague idea that the engaged parties “are in need of basing themselves on the solid ground of the faithful Love of God”. Precisely what this is supposed to mean, he does not explain. After stating that “the fidelity of God must enter our existence and infect us”, he points out that only in Christ “there is love without reservations and afterthoughts, complete donation without parenthesis and the tenacity of acceptance to the end.” Again, one is left to supply one’s own interpretation. His claim that “[t]he human being has need of being loved unconditionally” is likewise bound to be misunderstood by most hearers.

As is typical for a Modernist, Francis is trying to distract from what the commandment is primarily about by extending it to so many rather peripheral things that eventually the original meaning is lost, diluted in an ocean of concepts and phrases introduced by the so-called Nouvelle Theologie, the “New Theology” condemned by Pope Pius XII in 1946 (Allocution Quamvis Inquieti) and 1950 (encyclicalHumani Generis).

Aside from the quotes of the actual commandment, a cognate of the word “adultery” appears exactlyonce in his Oct. 24 catechesis, when he says: “This Sixth Commandment calls us to turn our gaze to Christ, who with His fidelity can remove from us an adulterous heart and give us a faithful heart.”

The Ten Commandments, Francis Edition

In his second installment, that of Oct. 31, the Jesuit antipope returns to the topic and teaches:

Ever on the path of love, we can ask ourselves: to whom is this command of fidelity addressed — only to spouses? In reality, this command is for all; it’s a paternal Word of God addressed to every man and woman.

(Oct. 31, 2018)

There we go again: The “Pope” deals with what the commandment directly forbids — the breaking of the marriage vow — only in a very peripheral way. His main focus is elsewhere.

Francis continues:

Let us recall that the way of human maturation is the course of love itself, which goes from receiving care to the capacity of offering care, from receiving life to the capacity of giving life.

To become adult men and women means to be able to live the spousal and parental attitude, which manifests itself in the various situations of life, such as the capacity to take on oneself the burden of another and to love him without ambiguity. Therefore, it’s a global attitude of the person that is able to assume the reality and is able to enter into a profound relationship with others.

(Oct. 31, 2018; italics given.)

At this point, most of his hearers will have tuned him out. No matter how “profound” the Modernist elite may think they’re being here, this kind of catechesis has the (intended) effect of communicating nothing of substance. It’s all fluff. This becomes even clearer in what he says next:

Who, then, is the adulterer, the lustful, the unfaithful one? It is an immature person, who has his life for himself and interprets situations on the basis of his own wellbeing and his own contentment. Therefore, to get married, it’s not enough to celebrate the marriage! One must undertake a journey from the “I” to the “We,” from thinking of oneself to thinking of two, from living alone to living in two: it’s a good journey; it’s a beautiful journey. When we succeed in de-centering ourselves, then every act is spousal: we work, we talk, we decide, we encounter others with a welcoming and oblative attitude.

(Oct. 31, 2018; italics given.)

Masterful! Bergoglio has managed to turn the simple-enough-to-understand command “Thou shalt not commit adultery” into a hodgepodge of phenomenological musings about immaturity, journeys, encounter, oblation, assuming realities, global attitudes, and who knows what else.

So, according to Club Francis, does “an immature person, who has his life for himself and interprets situations on the basis of his own wellbeing and his own contentment” now have to confess the sin of adultery? Or is the Jesuit pretend-pope simply trying to say that adultery is a sin of immaturity? The former is absurd; the latter is trivialization on steroids. In fact, here it is appropriate to recall Francis’ teaching that given certain circumstances, those who are guilty of real, literal adultery — that is, those unfaithful to their marriage vows by engaging in relations with someone other than their lawful spouse — can sit back and relax and “recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that [their habitual adultery] is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal” (Francis, Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, n. 303)!

By proclaiming such nonsense as, “[w]hen we succeed in de-centering ourselves, then every act is spousal”, Francis is introducing a most dangerous theological time-bomb that is just waiting to explode. If every unselfish act is “spousal”, and if sodomites can act unselfishly, then it follows that sodomites can engage at least in some spousal acts (remember, “positive elements”!). From there it is not far to concluding that sodomites can have a quasi-spousal relationship and therefore ought to be extended certain privileges, benefits, and blessings, precisely in accordance with their “spousal” actions. This, it will eventually be argued, must be recognized because it is the “lived experience” of certain people, against whom unjust discrimination must be avoided.

See how this works? All it would take now is another “apostolic exhortation” that draws the necessary conclusions, add a little more talk about the authentic dynamism of mutual self-communication, and the mess would be complete.

Francis keeps going at full throttle:

In this sense, every Christian vocation — now we can extend the perspective somewhat, and say that every Christian vocation is, in this sense, spousal. The priesthood is so because it is the call, in Christ and in the Church, to serve a community with all the affection, concrete care and wisdom that the Lord gives. Aspirants to the role of the priest are of no use to the Church — no, they are of no use; it’s best that they stay at home –, but men are useful whose heart the Holy Spirit touches with a love without reservations for the Bride of Christ. In the priesthood, the People of God are loved with all the paternity, the tenderness and the strength of a husband and a father. Thus consecrated virginity in Christ is also lived with fidelity and joy as a spousal and fecund relationship of maternity and paternity.

I repeat: every Christian vocation is spousal because it is a fruit of the bond of love in which we are all regenerated, the bond of love with Christ, as the passage of Saint Paul, read at the beginning, reminds us. From its fidelity, from its tenderness, from its generosity we look with faith at marriage and at every vocation, and we understand the full meaning of sexuality.

(Oct. 31, 2018; italics given.)

So… Precisely what does all this have to do with adultery? Oh yes, that was the topic Francis was supposed to teach on, wasn’t it!?

The (not unintended) effect of such a travesty of a catechesis is, of course, the utter confusion and bewilderment of the hearer. This is one of the main reasons why Novus Ordos have virtually no grasp of their religious doctrines. Who could fault them? What they are offered in the name of Catholicism are elusive and ephemeral concepts that have their origin in 20th-century philosophy, and such cannot nourish the soul.

It is no accident that the Church has enshrined in her canon law that the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas must be taught in schools and seminaries (Canon 1366 §2), and that “the Church has adopted his philosophy for her own” (Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Studiorum Ducem, n. 11). Moreover, Pope Pius XII has explicitly condemned the idea that any other philosophy could be substituted for it, as though it were a matter of expressing the same truths by simply using concepts and ideas more familiar to modern man (Encyclical Humani Generis, nn. 14-18).

The fateful effects of the New Theology are even more visible when its Modernist gobbledygook is contrasted with genuine Catholic teaching. For example, concerning the Sixth Commandment, the traditional Roman Catechism, promulgated by Pope St. Pius V in the 16th century, teaches with great simplicity and clarity:

The bond between man and wife is one of the closest, and nothing can be more gratifying to both than to know that they are objects of mutual and special affection. On the other hand, nothing inflicts deeper anguish than to feel that the legitimate love which one owes the other has been transferred elsewhere. Rightly, then, and in its natural order, is the Commandment which protects human life against the hand of the murderer, followed by that which forbids adultery and which aims to prevent anyone from injuring or destroying by such a crime the holy and honourable union of marriage ­­a union which is generally the source of ardent affection and love.

Two Parts Of This Commandment

This Commandment, then, resolves itself into two heads; the one expressed, which prohibits adultery; the other implied, which inculcates purity of mind and body.

What this Commandment Prohibits

Adultery Forbidden

To begin with the prohibitory part (of the Commandment), adultery is the defilement of the marriage bed, whether it be one’s own or another’s. If a married man have intercourse with an unmarried woman, he violates the integrity of his marriage bed; and if an unmarried man have intercourse with a married woman, he defiles the sanctity of the marriage bed of another.

Other Sins Against Chastity Are Forbidden

But that every species of immodesty and impurity are included in this prohibition of adultery, is proved by the testimonies of St. Augustine and St. Ambrose; and that such is the meaning of the Commandment is borne out by the Old, as well as the New Testament. In the writings of Moses, besides adultery, other sins against chastity are said to have been punished. Thus the book of Genesis records the judgment of Judah against his daughter-in-law. In Deuteronomy is found the excellent law of Moses, that there should be no harlot amongst the daughters of Israel[Deut 23:17]. Take heed to keep thyself, my son, from all fornication [Tob 4:13], is the exhortation of Tobias to his son; and in Ecclesiasticus we read: Be ashamed of looking upon a harlot [Eccl. 41:35].

In the Gospel, too, Christ the Lord says: From the heart come forth adulteries and fornications, which defile a man [Mt 15:19]. The Apostle Paul expresses his detestation of this crime frequently, and in the strongest terms: This is the will of God, your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication [1 Thess 4:3]; Fly fornication [1 Cor 6:18]; Keep not company with fornicators [1 Cor 5:9]; Fornication, and an uncleanness and covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you [Eph 5:3]; Neither fornicators nor adulterers, nor the effeminate nor sodomites shall possess the kingdom of God [1 Cor 6:9].

Why Adultery Is Expressly Mentioned

But the reason why adultery is expressly forbidden is­ because in addition to the turpitude which it shares with other kinds of incontinence, it adds the sin of injustice, not only against our neighbour, but also against civil society.

Again it is certain that he who abstains not from other sins against chastity, will easily fall into the crime of adultery. By the prohibition of adultery, therefore, we at once see that every sort of immodesty and impurity by which the body is defiled is prohibited. Nay, that every inward thought against chastity is forbidden by this Commandment is clear, as well from the very force of the law, which is evidently spiritual, as also from these words of Christ the Lord: You have heard that it was said to them of old: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart. [Mt 5:27-28]

What this Commandment Prescribes

Purity Enjoined

We now come to explain the positive part of the precept. The faithful are to be taught and earnestly exhorted to cultivate continence and chastity with all care, to cleanse themselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting sanctification in the fear of God [2 Cor 8:1].

First of all they should be taught that although the virtue of chastity shines with a brighter lustre in those who make the holy and religious vow of virginity, nevertheless it is a virtue which belongs also to those who lead a life of celibacy; or who, in the married state, preserve themselves pure and undefiled from unlawful desire.

Reflections which Help one to Practice Purity

Impurity Excludes From Heaven

The first kind consists chiefly in our forming a just conception of the filthiness and evil of this sin; for such knowledge will lead one more easily to detest it. Now the evil of this crime we may learn from the fact that, on account of it, man is banished and excluded from the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all evils.

Impurity Is A Filthy Sin

The above­mentioned calamity is indeed common to every mortal sin. But what is peculiar to this sin is that fornicators are said to sin against their own bodies, according to the words of the Apostle: Fly fornication. Every­ sin that a man doth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body [1 Cor 6:18]. The reason is that such a one does an injury to his own body violating its sanctity. Hence St. Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, says: This is the will of God, your sanctification; that you should abstain from fornication, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles that know not God. [1 Thess 4:3-5]

Furthermore, what is still more criminal, the Christian who shamefully sins with a harlot makes the members of Christ the members of an harlot, according to these words of St. Paul: Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid. Or know you not, that he who is joined to a harlot is made one body? [1 Cor 6:15-16] Moreover, a Christian, as St. Paul testifies is the temple of the Holy Ghost [1 Cor 6:19]; and to violate this temple is nothing else than to expel the Holy Ghost.

Adultery Is A Grave Injustice

But the crime of adultery involves that of grievous injustice. If, as the Apostle says, they who are joined in wedlock are so subject to each other that neither has power or right over his or her body, but both are bound, as it were, by a mutual bond of subjection, the husband to accommodate himself to the will of the wife, the wife to the will of the husband; most certainly if either dissociate his or her person, which is the right of the other, from him or her to whom it is bound, the offender is guilty of an act of great injustice and wickedness [1 Cor 7:4].

Adultery Is Disgraceful

As dread of disgrace strongly stimulates to the performance of duty and deters from the commission of crime, the pastor should also teach that adultery brands its guilty perpetrators with an unusual stigma. He that is an adulterer, says Scripture, for the folly of his heart shall destroy his own soul: he gathereth to himself shame and dishonour, and his reproach shall not be blotted out [Prov 6:32].

Impurity Severely Punished

The grievousness of the sin of adultery may be easily inferred from the severity of its punishment. According to the law promulgated by God in the Old Testament, the adulterer was stoned to death [Lev 20:10; Jn 8:5]. Nay more, because of the criminal passion of one man, not only the perpetrator of the crime, but a whole city was destroyed, as we read with regard to the Sichemites [Gen 34:25]. The Sacred Scriptures abound with examples of the divine vengeance, such as the destruction of Sodom and of the neighbouring cities [Gen 19:24], the punishment of the Israelites who committed fornication in the wilderness with the daughters of Moab [Num 25:4], and the slaughter of the Benjamites [Judg 20]. These examples the pastor can easily make use of to deter men from shameful lust.

Impurity Blinds The Mind And Hardens The Heart

But even though the adulterer may escape the punishment of death, he does not escape the great pains and torments that often overtake such sins as his. He becomes afflicted with blindness of mind a most severe punishment; he is lost to all regard for God, for reputation, for honour, for family, and even for life; and thus, utterly abandoned and worthless, he is undeserving of confidence in any matter of moment, and becomes unfitted to discharge any kind of duty.

Of this we find examples in the persons of David and of Solomon. David had no sooner fallen into the crime of adultery than he degenerated into a character the very reverse of what he had been before; from the mildest of men he became so cruel as to consign to death Urias, one of his most deserving subjects [2 Kgs (2 Sam) 11-12]. Solomon, having abandoned himself to the lust of women, gave up the true religion to follow strange gods [3 Kgs (1 Kgs) 11]. This sin, therefore, as Osee observes, takes away man’s heart and often blinds his understanding [Os 4:11].

(The Catechism of the Council of Trent, trans. by Fr. John A. McHugh and Fr. Charles J. Callan [Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1982], pp. 431-436; some formatting changed. This chapter is also available online here.)

It’s important to quote this at some length because such simple, clear, and forceful teaching is absent from all the Modernist junk Novus Ordos are subjected to in our day. We encourage every reader to click on the source link and read the entire chapter because we had to cut it short. The Catechismcontinues to talk about the means of safeguarding oneself from falling into this terrible vice of impurity and how to practice the opposite virtue.

After reading the above lines from the Roman Catechism, every adult understands what the Sixth Commandment forbids and what it prescribes. It’s not hard to understand. And did you notice? There’s nothing in there about encounter, journey, maturity, authenticity, self-gift, or anything else that sounds impressive at first but ultimately leaves one only with theological heartburn.

What Francis offered at his General Audiences on Oct. 24 and 31 was perhaps a poetic-phenomenological reflection on human relationships, but it was most certainly not a catechesis on the Sixth Commandment.

For those who would like to read more real Catholic catecheses on the Sixth Commandment, we suggest the following (both can be read for free online):

Back in August, Francis spoke to youths off-the-cuff about what it means for husband and wife to be “one flesh” (see Gen 2:24; Mk 10:8). The subject is simple enough, one would think, although whether it is appropriate to talk about before a large audience of adolescents is another matter. In any case, this is what he said: “A man cannot grow, in marriage, if his wife does not grow. And the woman cannot grow, in marriage, if her husband does not grow. And this is unity. This is the meaning of ‘one flesh.’ They become ‘one’ because one makes the other grow.” Just how that idea might square with what St. Paul said on the topic will have to remain a mystery:

Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. Or know you not, that he who is joined to a harlot, is made one body? For they shall be, saith he, two in one flesh.

(1 Cor 6:15-16)

So much for the New Theologians’ claim that they are going back to the sources of theology — the official name is ressourcement theology — for their ideas.

If the meaning of being “one flesh” is essentially that the one spouse helps the other to grow, there is no reason why sodomites should not be able to marry one another. Aren’t they, too, capable of helping each other grow? Here we see, once again, how Francis’ theology is tacitly laying the groundwork for the perversion of Holy Matrimony, under the guise of offering a more profound explanation of its essence.

It is perhaps important to make clear that of course not everything Francis says in his catechesis on the Sixth Commandment is false or bad. If that were the case, he would never be successful in misleading so many people. It is the half-truth that is the worst kind of lie, precisely because it contains enough truth to attract listeners in the first place. A drink that is obviously poisoned would never seduce anyone to consume it; but if the poison is offered as part of a pleasant-tasting fruit juice or strong cocktail, many will unwittingly want to drink it.

Keep in mind that what makes Novus Ordo catecheses so dangerous is not necessarily only what is actually said but also (and sometimes, primarily):

  • what is not said
  • where the emphasis is placed
  • what is said in a vagueambiguous, or confusing way

The good thing is that probably most Novus Ordos who read Francis’ catechesis will have no idea what he actually said and thus not be able to even so much as summarize — much less retain — it.

Another example of the dangerous New Theology may help. Fr. Joseph Ratzinger (“Pope Emeritus” Benedict XVI) is a main proponent of it, and it really shows.

Whereas Pope Pius XI gave a very simple and straightforward definition of original sin as “the hereditary but impersonal fault of Adam’s descendants, who have sinned in him (Rom. v. 12). It is the loss of grace, and therefore of eternal life, together with a propensity to evil…” (Encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge, n. 25), Ratzinger had a slightly different take on this fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion:

It must … be stressed that no human being is closed in upon himself or herself and that no one can live of or for himself or herself alone. We receive our life not only at the moment of birth but every day from without – from others who are not ourselves but who nonetheless somehow pertain to us. Human beings have their selves not only in themselves but also outside of themselves: they live in those whom they love and in those who love them and to whom they are ‘present.’ Human beings are relational, and they possess their lives – themselves – only by way of relationship. I alone am not myself, but only in and with you am I myself. To be truly a human being means to be related in love, to be of and for. But sin means the damaging or the destruction of relationality. Sin is a rejection of relationality because it wants to make the human being a god. Sin is loss of relationship, disturbance of relationship, and therefore it is not restricted to the individual. When I destroy a relationship, then this event – sin – touches the other person involved in the relationship. Consequently sin is always an offense that touches others, that alters the world and damages it. To the extent that this is true, when the network of human relationships is damaged from the very beginning, then every human being enters into a world that is marked by relational damage. At the very moment that a person begins human existence, which is a good, he or she is confronted by a sin-damaged world. Each of us enters into a situation in which relationality has been hurt. Consequently each person is, from the very start, damaged in relationships and does not engage in them as he or she ought. Sin pursues the human being, and he or she capitulates to it.

(Joseph Ratzinger, ‘In the Beginning…’: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, trans. Boniface Ramsey, OP [Eerdmans, 1995], pp. 72-73; view scan here.)

Got it?!

Didn’t think so. The Neo-Modernist way is to drown the audience in so much verbiage about relationships, coherence, authenticity, horizons, etc. — all under the pretext of offering a more profound theology, of course — that in the end the hearer has no idea what is actually being said.

In the above passage, Ratzinger denies Catholic teaching on original sin. For him, original sin does not consist in a deprivation of sanctifying grace but in a damage in human relationships encountered by every human being. Inasmuch as this denies that original sin is transmitted through natural generation, his error rises to the level of heresy (see Denz. 790).

But this is not our topic now. We have dismantled Ratzinger’s gobbledygook about original sin at greater length and in more depth at this page:

More gibberish by another major New Theologian can be found in “Cardinal” Gerhard Ludwig Muller’s heretical ideas about the Holy Eucharist. Supposedly describing the Last Supper, the German “master theologian” writes:

Jesus takes the gifts of bread and wine into his hands. In this way he unites them directly with his bodily presence. His words of institution make them into signs in which he himself becomes communicable in his entire historical and bodily presence as the Son of the Father. Jesus prays to the Father the prayer of thanksgiving, the Eucharistia. In this grateful abandonment of the eternal and the incarnate Son, he takes bread and wine into his obedience and his love for the Father. He now hands the bread and wine to the disciples. In this offertory gesture his devoted love for us shows itself, as does his willingness to make the offering of his life a sign of the love of God for men, which [love] asserts itself in history. At the same time, however, he allows the disciples to participate in his act of abandonment to the Father for us. Whoever, therefore, consumes these gifts of bread and wine, partakes in a real way of the humanity of Jesus and his entire destiny, that is to say, of his body and blood. He enters thus into the reality of the New Covenant, that is, [into] loving fellowship with God, which has become communicable in the revelation of the unity of love of Father and Son. Thus bread and wine are not, of course, representational symbols but reality-symbols, because they share in the reality-content of the human and bodily self-giving of Jesus and, on account of the words of institution, make this reality present.

(Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Mit der Kirche denken, 2nd ed. [Würzburg: Johann Wilhelm Naumann, 2002], p. 47; our translation.)

More about Muller’s defection from the Faith can be found in this post:

You get the idea. The New Theology is the vehicle which the Novus Ordo Sect uses to destroy the Faith, exactly as the great Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange (1877-1964) warned, who was an implacable foe of this false theological system.

Before we conclude this post, let’s take a moment to consider what Francis could have said to his audience about the Sixth Commandment. We already saw how traditional Catholic sources explain this subject. To illustrate the matter further, it may help to simply list a few specific things the “Pope” could have said instead:

Francis could have…

  • instructed people on the nature of the marriage bond and how it arises
  • emphasized that the marriage bond is intrinsically indissoluble and lasts until the death of one of the spouses
  • pointed out that sometimes heroic sacrifice may be required of the married under pain of mortal sin
  • contrasted valid natural marriages (in which at least one person is not baptized) with the sacrament of matrimony (between the baptized)
  • warned about the dangers of mixed marriages (in which one party is not Catholic)
  • reminded people that the only primary end of matrimony, to which all other ends are subordinate, is the procreation and education of children, wherefore it is never licit to engage in an act that frustrates this end
  • denounced the terrible epidemic of divorce (esp. in conjunction with “remarriage”) and condemned how man continually tries to put himself above the law of God in this regard
  • criticized various excuses that are commonly made to justify various sins against chastity
  • used the opportunity to explain how to guard oneself against temptations to purity
  • denounced the porn industry and pointed out how, in accordance with Christ’s teaching, adultery begins in the heart (see Mt 5:28)
  • reminded people that more souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason
  • reminded people that guarding one’s eyes and dressing modestly is necessary to preserve purity

Yes, Francis could have talked about all of these things, but instead he decided to drone on about the coherence of authentic relationships and the “spousal actions” of those who are not married.

It is incredible what utter theological garbage is being foisted on the unsuspecting masses at “papal” audiences in our day. It is truly tragic because so many of the attendees are surely sincere people who simply mean to be good Catholics. And look at what they are fed!

The good news is that the Vatican II Sect is its own undoing. This kind of pseudo-theology cannot sustain itself long-term. It has made itself irrelevant precisely in its desperate desire to appear relevant to modern man, with the end result that now it is relevant to no one.

The false Vatican II Church is doomed to collapse from the consequences of its own apostasy.