Archive for July, 2018

Our Mother of Perpetual Help

July 31st, 2018 by Vigilo

History of the Miraculous Icon

By Sister Mary Agatha, CMRI

icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help

The icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is one of the most well-known and loved images of the Blessed Virgin known to Catholics. For many years, a weekly holy hour or novena in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help was common in many parish churches all over the world, and indeed, the custom continues in many places to this day.

The history of the original icon, which is now enshrined in the Redemptorist Church of St. Alphonsus in Rome, can be traced back to the year 1495, when the image, already considered ancient, was enshrined in a church on the island of Crete. When the island was threatened by Turks, the icon was carried off — possibly stolen — by a merchant who took it with him to Rome. Shortly after arriving there, the man became grievously ill. Before his death he begged a friend to take the icon to one of the churches in Rome so that it could be publicly venerated.

Upon his death, however, the friend’s wife persuaded her husband to allow her to keep the painting in their home, where it remained for several months. One night the Blessed Virgin appeared to the man in a dream, warning him not to keep the picture. Twice she appeared to him with this message, and both times he disregarded her warning. The third time she told him that if he continued to disobey her, he would die a miserable death. This time the man tried to persuade his wife to give up the painting, but she refused. Our Lady appeared to the man again to tell him of his impending death; within a short time, he became sick and died.

Our Lady then appeared to the man’s 6-year-old daughter, telling her to tell her mother, “Holy Mother of Perpetual Help commands you to take her out of your house!” The mother, who had seen a similar vision, was terrified and was about to give the picture to a church when a neighbor woman persuaded her that it was just a dream and that she should pay no attention to it. That night the neighbor became violently ill, and recognizing her fault, made a solemn promise to the Lady of the picture, whereupon she was immediately cured. Again the Blessed Virgin appeared to the young girl, this time commanding her to tell her mother to place her picture in a certain church between St. Mary Major’s and St. John Lateran’s. That very day, March 27, 1499, the picture was taken in solemn procession to the church of St. Matthew the Apostle, where it was placed above the exquisite white-marble altar. The church itself was very small — only about 75 feet long and 35 feet wide. Nevertheless, the shower of miraculous graces began even before the image entered its walls, with a paralyzed man being cured as the procession passed by his house.

The history of the image up to this point was written in both Latin and Italian on a large piece of parchment, which for many years was hung next to the icon in St. Matthew’s Church. Copies of the parchment are now kept in the Vatican Library.

For the next three hundred years, this humble church was one of the most popular pilgrimage places in Rome because of the miraculous picture. Then in 1798, the Church of St. Matthew was levelled to the ground by Napoleon’s forces. The Augustinian monks who were caretakers of the church took the picture with them, but for 64 years it was lost to the rest of the world. Eventually even the monks forgot that the image had once been regarded as miraculous.

One of the monks, Brother Augustine, who had had a great devotion to the miraculous image as a young religious, later recognized it in the monastery of Santa Maria in Posterula when he was transferred there in 1840. He would often tell Michael Marchi, one of the altar boys he was training, “Do you see that picture, Michael? It is a very old picture. Know Michael, the Madonna from St. Matthew’s is the one that hangs here in the chapel… Always remember this.”

And he did remember, even well after he entered the Redemptorists in 1855. As a young priest Fr. Marchi lived at the generalate of the order, which, along with the Church of St. Alphonsus, was built on the same piece of land on which the Church of St. Matthew once stood. One day while the community was at recreation, he had the opportunity of sharing this recollection from his youth with his fellow religious. One of the priests mentioned that he had learned that a miraculous image of the Blessed Virgin had once been venerated in the Church of St. Matthew which once stood there, but that it had been lost many years earlier. At this Fr. Marchi broke in: “But it is not lost! I know that picture — it is called Our Mother of Perpetual Help. I saw it often during the years of 1850 and 1851 when I was a young student. It is in the chapel of the Augustinian monastery of Santa Maria in Posterula.” Father went on to explain what Brother Augustine had often told him about the image and its origin.

The Redemptorists now knew where the miraculous picture could be found, but they did not know about Our Lady’s command. The time had not come for the icon to come out of obscurity. It was several years later, because of a sermon given by a Jesuit priest in one of the churches of Rome, that the icon was finally returned to the place where Our Lady wished it to be honored. On February 7, 1863, Fr. Francis Blosi gave a sermon about several of the famous pictures enshrined in the churches of Rome. Among them he described the miraculous painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help that was once enshrined in the Church of St. Matthew. He appealed to his listeners that anyone there who might know its whereabouts should remind its possessor that the Blessed Virgin had commanded that it be honored between the Basilicas of St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. When the Redemptorists heard this, they went to their superior general, Fr. Nicolas Mauron, begging him to procure the picture from the Augustinians for their church, which stood on the site of the old Church of St. Matthew.

On December 11, 1865, Fr. Mauron obtained an audience with Pope Pius IX and laid the matter before him. After hearing the story, the Pope was convinced that it was God’s Will that the icon again be given public veneration in the location specified by the Blessed Virgin. According to tradition, this was when Pope Pius IX told the Redemptorist Superior General: “Make her known throughout the world!” Taking the written account of Fr. Marchi, which Fr. Mauron had brought with him, the Pope turned it over and wrote:

December 11, 1865
The Cardinal prefect will call the Superior of the little community of Santa Maria in Posterula and will tell him it is Our will that the Image of the most holy Mary, of which this petition treats, be returned between St. John’s and St. Mary Major’s. However, the Superior of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer is obliged to substitute another suitable picture.
Pope Pius IX

The Augustinians were stunned to see the note from the Holy Father, for they had no idea that what a treasure they had had in their possession. Although they were sad to see the picture leave their monastery, they rejoiced to see it returned to the place where the Blessed Virgin desired it to be honored. In place of the original picture, they were given an exact replica within a short time.
The Redemptorists were thrilled to receive the miraculous image, but wishing to give it a fitting welcome, delayed its installation in the church until it could be cleaned and repaired, and other suitable preparations could be made. Finally, on April 26, 1866, the solemn procession and the formal enthronement of the icon took place. Along the procession route the buildings and the roadsides were decorated with flowers, vines and banners. Once again Our Lady showed her pleasure at the love shown her by her children by an outpouring of grace, for several miraculous cures took place that day. When the procession returned to the church, the icon was enshrined over the main altar amid much rejoicing.

For three days the celebration continued, with beautiful High Masses, Benediction, special devotions and sermons each day. As the word of the miracles spread, people came by the hundreds to see the picture and honor the Blessed Virgin. Soon the whole front of the church was filled with abandoned crutches and canes and other ex votos, tokens left in thanksgiving for cures. Not even two weeks had passed when Pope Pius IX himself came and spent many long moments praying before the image. “How beautiful she is!” he said, after gazing at the picture. Later, when the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was formed, the Pope insisted that his would be the first name on the list of members.

On May 12, 1867, the Vatican ordered that the icon should be crowned. On June 23 of that year, after a Solemn High Mass, amid joyful hymns, two golden, jewel-encrusted crowns were blessed, with one crown being placed on the head of the Blessed Virgin and the other on the head of the Infant Jesus. The icon’s popularity among Eastern Rite Catholics was emphasized by the presence of the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, who presided at the ceremony.

Devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help spread quickly to the United States. When the Redemptorists established a mission church near Boston, they dedicated it to Our Lady under this title and were privileged to receive from Rome the first copy of the icon which had been touched to the original and blessed.1 On Pentecost Sunday, May 28, 1871, the icon was carried in a magnificent procession to the church, where it was enshrined above the main altar. As with the original image in Rome, no sooner had the painting been displayed for public veneration than the miracles began. Soon the small wooden church was thronged with so many devotees of Our Mother of Perpetual Help that it soon became necessary to begin construction of a new, larger church. But even the large beautiful new church which was dedicated in 1878 could not hold the thousands who flocked to the miraculous image in those early years — and rightly so!

Between the years of 1871 and 1884, according to Fr. John Byrne, C.SS.R., “no less than 331 well-authenticated cures had been reported, some of which had been wrought in favor of people living so far away as West Virginia and Texas.”2 In 1886 alone, from January 1 to May 31, he continues, “thirty-one cures, apparently beyond the power of nature to effect, were reported.” A few years later, seven cures were reported to have taken place on a single day, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1891.

The weekly devotions in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is a custom that was introduced in 1922 at St. Alphonsus Church in St. Louis, Missouri, which at one point drew as many as eighteen thousand people every week. The devotion spread quickly from church to church until eventually, in St. Louis as in New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago, and Boston, it became necessary to schedule eight to ten services a day to accommodate all the people who wanted to honor Our Lady under this title. Before long the custom of weekly devotions in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help had spread worldwide.

The Symbolism of the Icon

The icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is an example of the Western influence on Eastern art. Especially in the 12th and 13th centuries, as Franciscans traveled through the eastern Mediterranean, this influence became evident in a new class of icons called Cardiotissa, from the Greek word kardia, which means heart. Cardiotissa, then, refers to a type of icon which shows tenderness, compassion, and mercy. Our Lady’s face, though serene and dignified, shows great sorrow in contemplating the sufferings of her Son.

Still, for those who are accustomed to Western art, it isn’t always easy to appreciate the beauty of an icon without understanding more about this form of art. To a Catholic of an Eastern rite, an icon is not simply an artistic representation. Once it is blessed, it becomes a window to heaven, a point of contact, “so that in praying before it, one is in the spiritual presence of the person represented. Reverently kissing the icon, one kisses the personage; bowing before it, one bows before the personage” (Robert Lane, “Russia and the Icon,” The Reign of Mary #117, p. 5).

An artist about to paint an icon prepares himself spiritually by prayer, confession, Holy Communion and sometimes fasting. He prays even while painting, for he sees himself as an instrument of the Holy Ghost, the principal artist, Who will use the icon as an instrument to channel graces to those who reverence it and pray before it. In most cases, the artist does not even sign his name to his work.

In Western art, there is little difference in the styles used in sacred art as compared to secular art; only the subject matter is different. Icons, however, are not meant to be realistic as far as physical representations, but rather to portray eternal truths in a way that immediately transports the viewer to a spiritual plane. Perhaps the simplest way to describe it is as theology in line and color. The images are rendered in an extremely stylized, non-naturalistic way. The folds of garments appear as simple geometric forms, while faces and bodies show portray human nature transformed by grace into the divine.

In the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the Child Jesus is not portrayed with the physical proportions of an infant, but appears almost as an adult in miniature form. This has been interpreted to indicate that He is God, having infinite knowledge. Yet He is human as well, for He clings to His Mother’s hand in fear, while gazing up toward the angel over His shoulder. One of His sandals has come loose, indicating the haste with which He had run to her.

Why is the Child Jesus so frightened? The angels in the picture are holding instruments of His Passion and death, with the angel on the left bearing the gall, the lance and the reed, while the angel on the right holds the cross and nails. Their hands are covered with a cloth or veil, much like the humeral veil that the priest holds when blessing with the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance at Benediction.

The face of Our Lady is grave and sorrowful, with her large eyes directed not at Jesus, but at us. One feels that she is pleading with us to avoid sin, which has caused her Son to suffer so much for us. Her gaze makes us a part of the picture and the pain it portrays. “Will you not love my Son, Who has loved you so much?” she seems to say.

Our Lady is clothed in the colors of royalty; her tunic is of dark red and her mantle is dark blue with a green lining. (According to another interpretation, the dark red is said to be the color worn by virgins at the time of Christ, while blue was the color worn by mothers in Palestine.) The Child Jesus also wears the colors of royalty. Both Jesus and Mary have golden halos, but Christ’s halo is decorated with a cross as a sign of His Divinity. Jeweled crowns were placed on the heads of both Mother and Child of the original icon by order of the Vatican in 1867. (The crowns were removed when the icon underwent restoration in the 1990’s.)

The Greek initials next to the head of Our Lady identify her as “Mother of God,” while those next to the Child are the abbreviation for “Jesus Christ.” The letters over the angels’ heads indicate the one on the left as St. Michael and the one on the right as St. Gabriel.

The 8-pointed star on Our Lady’s veil tells us that she is the Star of the Sea, the Star that leads us to Jesus. The small ornate cross to the left of the star reinforces this concept.

Mary’s mouth is small to indicate her spirit of silence and prayer. Her eyes are large, for they see all of our troubles and needs, and are always turned toward us.

Christ’s hands, turned palms down into His Mother’s, indicate that He has placed the graces of the Redemption in her keeping. Our Lady’s hand does not clasp those of her Son, but remains open, inviting us to put our hands in hers along with those of Jesus.

As in other icons, the background of the painting is gold to symbolize Heaven, where Jesus and Mary now reign in glory. This light of Heaven shines through their clothing, illuminating not only the picture itself, but those who behold it. This radiance speaks to us of God’s light and grace, strengthening and consoling us as we journey through life to our heavenly goal.

Finally, it is of no small significance that Our Blessed Mother herself referred to the icon by the title of “Holy Mary of Perpetual Help.” Surely this, along with the symbolism we see in the picture, should assure us of the loving concern and tenderness our Blessed Mother has for us, and her ardent desire to be a source of perpetual help to all who call upon her.


1In answer to Pope Pius IX’s injunction to “make her known,” the Redemptorists commissioned several artists to paint copies of the original icon. More than 2,300 such copies, similarly touched to the original, have been sent to other houses of the order around the world. Pope Pius IX also received a copy, which he enshrined in his private chapel and was often seen kneeling before it in prayer.

2The Glories of Mary in Boston, 1921.

By Bishop Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
September 8, 1994

Dearly Beloved in Christ,

Among the various characteristics which prove the Catholic Church to be the one, true Church of Christ (the fours marks of the Church — one, holy, catholic, apostolic), there is also a particular characteristic which is manifestly based on Holy Scripture and which is unique to Catholicism — the honor and devotion of the Catholic Church to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ. There is not a single month in the year without several feasts in her honor. Consider the months of August and September, for example, in which there are seven feasts on the ecclesiastical calendar dedicated to her.

This honor and devotion to Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, is one of the many things rejected by Protestants. Protestants claim that the Catholic Church’s devotion to Mary is not based on Sacred Scripture, that it is an offense to Christ, that no one should pray to Mary because “there is only one Mediator with the Father,” that Mary did not always remain a virgin, etc. How important it is for Catholics to know Sacred Scripture and to respond to these attacks on the Mother of Jesus Christ, especially in these times, when there has been such a surge of non-Catholic sects who zealously proselytize their heretical teachings.

Let us begin our defense of the Catholic Church and its devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary by the consideration of the similarities between the Fall of Man and the Redemption of Man.

In the Book of Genesis, we read how our first parents, Adam and Eve, fell into original sin. Satan, in the form of a serpent, first tempted Eve. When Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, she then offered it to Adam, who also partook. Adam, as Head of the Human Race, brought about the Fall of Mankind; it was, however, through the cooperation of Eve.

When Adam and Eve had fallen, Almighty God not only punished them and their progeny for this original sin, but He also promised to send a Redeemer.

“And the Lord God said to the serpent… I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel” (Genesis 3:13-15).

Who is the “woman” in the text of Holy Scripture of whom Almighty God set enmities against Satan? Who is “her seed”? What is meant by the words “and she shall crush thy head”?

In the Old Testament, Adam brought about the Fall of Mankind with the cooperation of Eve. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ, the God-Man, brought about our Redemption with the cooperation of the Virgin Mary. Eve, our first parent, was tempted by a fallen angel to disobey the command of God, and she subsequently led Adam into sin. In the New Testament, another angel, the Angel Gabriel, announced the will of God to the Virgin Mary and she, unlike Eve, humbly submitted.

In the Gospel of St. Luke, we read:

“The Angel Gabriel was sent to a Virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the House of David; and the Virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:27).

How did the Angel Gabriel then address her? The Gospel of St. Luke continues:

“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women!”

“Fear not, Mary, for thou has found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His Name, Jesus… The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy One which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

Who can deny the dignity of the Virgin Mary — chosen to be the Mother of Jesus Christ? The Angel Gabriel, who was sent by God Himself, honored and praised her.

Furthermore, when the Virgin Mary visited her cousin, St. Elizabeth

“was filled with the Holy Ghost, and she cried out with a loud voice and said: ‘Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?’”

Once again, honor and praise is rendered to the Virgin Mary by St. Elizabeth, “who was filled with the Holy Ghost”

Then during this same visitation, the Virgin Mary responded to her cousin’s praise of her by the prayer so full of humility and of praise to God:

“My soul doth magnify the Lord… because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done great things to me.”

As Catholics, members of the one, true Church of Christ, we honor the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ. We call her the Mother of God, because she indeed is the Mother of the one Divine Person, Jesus Christ, Who has both the nature of God and the nature of Man. By this title of “Mother of God,” we simply refer to the Virgin Mary as St. Elizabeth did when “filled with the Holy Ghost she cried out… Whence is this to me that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?”

Catholics do not, as Protestants falsely believe, worship the Blessed Virgin Mary. We honor her who was so intimately connected with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Yes, there is only one Mediator with the Father — Jesus Christ. Only the God-Man Jesus Christ could have redeemed mankind. Nevertheless, we pray to Mary that she may intercede for us with her Divine Son. How often we request the assistance of prayers from our fellow men — how much more powerful are the prayers and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary! In the Old Testament, we read how Moses prayed with arms outstretched and interceded with God to procure the victory of the Israelites over their enemies in a crucial battle. As long as he prayed, they were victorious. When he ceased his prayers, the Israelites began to lose. Because of this, it was necessary for two men to hold up Moses’ arms in prayer until the battle was won. Also, we read in the Old Testament how Josue prayed to God to have the day prolonged in order to win another crucial battle. If Moses and Josue could have such intercession before God, how much more powerful are the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

The Gospel of St. John relates two significant accounts which relate to Mary — the wedding feast of Cana and the Crucifixion. Of the first account we read:

“There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the Mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and His disciples, to the marriage. And the wine failing, the Mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what is it to Me and to thee? My hour is not yet come.’ His Mother said to the waiters, ‘Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye’” (John 2:1-5).

Jesus Christ then proceeded to work His first public miracle at His Mother’s request. Everything related in the Gospels is inspired by God, and there is a reason for it. Does not this narrative of the wedding feast manifest the intercessory power of Mary with Jesus Christ, her Divine Son?

In the second account, also take from the Gospel of St. John, we read:

“There stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother… When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His Mother: ‘Woman, behold thy son…’” (John 19:25-27).

Just as Eve cooperated with Adam in the Fall of mankind, the Blessed Virgin Mary cooperated with Jesus Christ in our redemption. She “stood by the Cross of Jesus.” What anguish, what sorrow did the Mother of Jesus experience at the foot of the Cross as she witnessed the sufferings and death of her Divine Son!

In both accounts, Jesus addressed Mary by the term woman. In Hebrew the word used by Jesus was a term which would be addressed to a queen or a woman of high rank. It was a term of great respect.

But why did Jesus Christ address His Mother by the term woman at these two significant moments in His life — at His first public miracle, and at His Crucifixion on the Cross?

Our Divine Lord wanted to clearly indicate that His Mother was the Woman spoken of in the Book of Genesis:

“I will put enmities between thee (Satan) and the Woman, between thy seed and her seed, and she shall crush thy head.”

Lastly, Catholics firmly believe that Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, was “ever Virgin.” That Mary was a virgin before and after the miraculous birth of Jesus can be demonstrated from the passage of the Prophet Isaias:

“The Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel.”

Note well that the virgin is the subject of the verbs conceive and bear.

As for after the birth of Jesus, Protestants reject that Mary remained a virgin by their false interpretation of Holy Scripture. To summarize briefly their arguments, they claim that in the Gospel of St. Matthew, we read:

“He (St. Joseph) knew her not till she brought forth her first-born son” (Matthew 1:25).

It is falsely argued on two points — “knew her not till” and “her first-born.” In Scriptural usage, until expresses what has occurred up to a certain point and leaves the future aside. Thus for example, God says in the book of Isaias, “I am till you grow old” (Is. 46:4). From this are we to infer that God would then cease to be? Of course not! Again in the Book of Psalms, God the Father said to His Divine Son: “Sit Thou at My Right Hand, until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool” (Ps. 109). Will the Messias, once His enemies are subdued, relinquish His place of honor? Of course not! So when St. Matthew records, “He knew her not till she brought forth her first-born Son,” his principal aim was to tell his readers that Christ’s birth was miraculous and that St. Joseph had not part in the conception of Mary’s Child. As for the term, “first-born,” this was a legal term and did not imply that Mary had other children. The child is called first-born from the fact of its opening the womb and not to contra-distinguish it from subsequent issue.

Protestants also make reference to various passages in the Gospels which refer to “the brethren of the Lord,” and from this, they infer that Mary had other children. Once again they falsely interpret the Scriptures. The Hebrew words ahh, which is the word for “the brethren,” is applicable not only to a brother in the strictest sense, but also to a nephew (see Genesis 14:16); a cousin (see Numbers 16:10); a husband (see Canticles 4:9; Esther 16:12); members of the same race (see Numbers 20:14); an ally (see Amos 1:9); and a friend (see Job 6:15). There are no Scriptural references which refer to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as having other children. Why did Jesus, when dying on the Cross, give the care of His Mother to His Apostle St. John? This would not have been necessary if there were brothers in the strict sense.

The constant tradition of the Church of Christ from the earliest ages of Christianity has always upheld this prerogative of Mary. This is amply proven by the writings of the early Popes, early Councils of the Church, and early Fathers and Doctors of the Church. In conclusion, let us, as members of Christ’s one, true Church, fulfill the prophecy made by the Blessed Virgin Mary during her visit to St. Elizabeth — “Behold henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”

In Christo Jesu et Maria Immaculata,
Most Rev. Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI

from Novus Ordo Watch

Old wine, new wineskin…

Subjective Morality: The Error of Amoris Laetitia Condemned and Refuted before Vatican II

“Nothing under the sun is new”, King Solomon writes in Sacred Scripture, “neither is any man able to say: Behold this is new: for it hath already gone before in the ages that were before us” (Eccl 1:10).

This is true also for “Pope” Francis’ allegedly new approach regarding sexual morality that he proposes in his infernal exhortation Amoris Laetitia, by which he slyly undermines all of Catholic morality by redefining the nature of sin and finding elements of virtue in vice, all under the guise of “mercy” and “accompaniment.” Yes, it turns out that this oh-so new “solution” from the “god of surprises” isn’t so new after all, doesn’t solve anything, and of course the only surprise you will get is one at the Last Judgment.

In May of last year, we had already published a post on this very topic:

Yes, the Pope himself has condemned and refuted the very principles and ideas slyly put forth today by the Argentinian Jesuit who goes by the stage name of “Pope Francis.” What was then called the “new morality”, “situation ethics”, or “ethical existentialism”, has now reappeared in slightly modified form and is being sold to the unsuspecting sheeple as a new “pastoral” approach to morality, away from “rigid rules” and on towards “mercy.”

In this post, we would like to share with our readers an essay found on this very topic that is more accessible to the average reader than a document from the Holy Office or a papal address might be. The article in question was published in one of the most eminent Catholic theological journals in the United States before the Second Vatican Council, the American Ecclesiastical Review. From 1943-1963, its very competent editor was Mgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, who was theological advisor to Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani during Vatican II. Stunned by the theological incompetence, indifference, and Modernism he had to witness behind the council’s scenes, Fenton once remarked in his personal diary: “If I did not believe God, I would be convinced that the Catholic Church was about to end” (entry of Nov. 23, 1962; source).

Entitled “A New Conjugal Morality?”, the essay was written by Fathers Edouard Gagnon and Aidan Carr and was published in the September 1952 edition of the review mentioned. In it, the authors expose and refute a dangerous sophistical error in moral theology that was beginning to introduce itself into the minds of clergy and laity around the world: the idea that although something be objectively immoral and thus a sin, certain circumstances can nevertheless justify its commission in individual cases. Fr. Gagnon and Fr. Carr condemn this “principle of subjectivity” as “novel, provocative, and probably heretical.” The article concerns itself mainly with one particular sin of impurity, but of course the essential ideas involved are just as applicable to any other sexual sin, such as adultery — in fact, they are applicable to any intrinsic wrong whatsoever.

For the sake of clarity, we must point out that the sin of “onanism” referred to in the article is understood to mean “the marriage act performed with positive frustration of conception” (Dictionary of Moral Theology, s.v. “Onanism”) — in other words, contraceptive marital relations. Although this definition differs from how the expression is more commonly used today, it is the proper meaning of the term, because that is the sin Onan committed (see Gen 38:8-10).

We have sourced this article and are making it available for our readers in two ways: (1) the original essay scanned and made available as a PDF download; (2) the text of the essay retyped and published below as part of this blog post.

To download the scanned text as it appeared in the American Ecclesiastical Review in 1952, please click the title:

“A New Conjugal Morality?” (PDF)

American Ecclesiastical Review 127 (Sep. 1952): pp. 173-181
by Rev. Edouard Gagnon, S.S. and Rev. Aidan Carr, O.F.M.Conv.

The text appears retyped just below, with all footnotes given at the end. We have retained all formatting as it is found in the original, though we have added some links to the papal documents mentioned in the text, to assist the reader in retrieving them for his own perusal.


The upsurges of theological opinion within the bosom of the Church are an irrefragable testimony to the driving vitality of Catholic thought, but to pretend that all Catholic-inspired innovations constitute evidence of an easy adaptability to current trends is to belie reality. Truth is no chameleon. The beauty of Catholic doctrine lies chiefly in this: it is essentially an immutable deposit of truth, divinely prepared for man’s salvation. It is a safe-conduct guarantee through a hazardous terrain. While taking full account of human weakness, it has none of that soft, humanistic sentimentality that is ever ready to do business with intrinsic evil.

The allurements of false “irenicism” condemned by Pope Pius XII in Humani generis of August, 1950, do not limit their charms to the realms of dogma, scripture and philosophy. Moral theology — as a conclusion from dogma — is peculiarly fitted to assume attractive but false fronts, simply because practical life at times makes immediate demands upon human activity far beyond the obvious content of speculative truth. The vagaries of costume that error dons are legion. As Humani generis points out, some modern writers advance their opinions cautiously and in a way that conceals their real meaning. Behind a façade of overly subtle distinctions, Birnam Wood-like, the errors move on the Dunsinane hill of orthodoxy.

May we respectfully call the attention of the clergy to a case in point? A very recent, quite appealing, but extremely dangerous doctrine has been spawned in France, and it is but recently commencing to insinuate itself into Catholic thought on our own continent [1]. Briefly, it is an attempt to justify onanism by an appeal to a principle of subjectivity. It is actually a moral booby-trap for the unwary, deceptively wrapped in a bewitching package.

Last November Pope Pius XII spoke to the Congress of Italian Catholic Midwives. Among other things, the Pontiff declared that the prescription against onanism holds good today just as much as it did yesterday. It will hold tomorrow and always, for it is not a mere precept of human reason but is the expression of a natural and divine law. It seems providential that the Holy Father’s clear and forceful reiteration of the prohibition of the natural law against the intrinsic evil of contraception in any form should come on the heels of a novel, provocative, and probably heretical doctrine. That this unacceptable opinion has not yet been particularly noted in American circles is simply because it is only now starting to assert itself here.


The proponents of this new doctrine — of course no error is ever entirely new — seem convinced that the changing circumstances of our times must be taken account of, and to this extent, that traditional conjugal morality should be modified. What until now has remained a rather vague feeling among some extremists, has now been expressed with open frankness and considerable éclat. At least this much can be said for the novelty: it would make the confessor’s task a hundredfold easier in his dealing with onanists. But as daily experience shows one, what is easy and what is right are often at variance. Over-simplification is at best a hazardous shift in moral matters. One logical conclusion flowing from an acceptance of the proposed doctrine would be to allow a confessor to absolve persons who, under traditional moral teaching, would have seriously to promise amendment before being validly absolved. An “Open Sesame” would be handily provided to married partners who happen to find classic but “outmoded” conjugal morality too constricting. The heralds of this movement solemnly proclaim liberation from an unbearable burden to those who are too weak or else are victims of circumstances. But this is an illusory freedom. One’s awakening is rude where morality is flouted. Or even where it is simply “adapted” to the exigencies of the moment.

The reasoning advanced by the exponents of this changed perspective is subtle enough, and is prefaced by the disarming assurance that there is no intention of contravening traditional conjugal morality. And to dissipate any fear one might have that “something is rotten in Denmark,” the confessor is reminded that he must use the greatest prudence in employing the principles formulated by the new doctrine. [2] But what seems forgotten or conveniently ignored is that strictures imposed on a doctrine’s application can hardly transform a doctrine’s essential character.


The fabric of the teaching we here contest is woven of these threads:

  1. A Christian morality necessarily believes in the Redemption, and it does so in such wise that it advocates a steady perspective of optimism relative to salvation, particularly in view of contemporary society’s insistent anxiety to free itself of a morality it judges impossible to observe and therefore unjust. And in consequence of its impracticality, the inflexible moral rule becomes — as far as the great mass of modern people are concerned — non-existent. [3]
  2. On the other hand, Faith, as right reason itself, does not permit one to deny objective morality, which is an ideal clearly corresponding to the demands of our human nature. Observance of this ideal, when possible, undoubtedly leads one to perfection. [4]
  3. Face to face with this ideal, and conscious of his deficiency, man admits to himself that he is at grips with something bigger than himself, and so a double reaction is possible, depending on one’s character. If one is proud, he molds morality to his own likeness, with a false subjectivism that assures him that what he does can not be wrong because he does it, and must do it. But, if one is blessed with a sense of Christian humility he will readily admit that “objectively he is a sinner” [5]. While aware of his unworthiness, still he is not unduly cast down nor does he despair. He remembers that God loves him and so all his objective faults are engulfed in the infinity of that divine love. [6]

This latter is not, we are reassured, the “faith without works” preached by Luther. It is rather salvation by one’s good will coupled to faith in God’s mercy. This confidence in divine mercy finds a happy support, humanly speaking, in this distinction between objective and subjective morality: what is of itself contrary to morality and the divine law, ceases to be subjectively imputable if the law becomes practically-speaking impossible for one to observe, as if he were no longer master of his acts. [7]


The principles above explained are applied by their sponsors to the question of contraceptive marital relations in this way:

Suppose there arises a conflict between the objectively established requirements of conjugal chastity and the need of preserving domestic peace and understanding. This conflict may be rooted in the inability of spouses to have any (or any more) children without compromising the mother’s life, or perhaps without dangerously jeopardizing the already precarious financial status of the family. They maintain that they can not practice perfect continence and — for them at least — Rhythm is no solution. Surely, the argument continues, no one is bound to the impossible!

Even if the impossibility to abstain is attributable to the weakness of the husband or wife, isn’t it best and even needful to solve the case by excusing them of all subjective fault, or at least of all grave wrong? For who can judge what is impossible for another? Who (besides God) can determine the limits of one’s individual possibility? The passions of the flesh vary from one person to another. One meets people, the argument goes on to add, who are otherwise thoroughly obedient to all the demands of morality, but who flatly assert that marital chastity is simply an unrealizable ideal so far as they are concerned. They feel they can have no more offspring, at the same time they can not refrain from marital intercourse.

Caught on the horns of this dilemma, to what degree are the spouses accountable if they do have onanistic relations? One who commits an objective fault, it is replied, because one is unable actually to be in command of his situation, is excused of blame. It is not, the proponents of the new morality hastily allow, that the rule of morality ceases to exist. One ought indeed remain devoted to the rule, regret that he himself can not observe it, and meanwhile fervently hope that the day will soon come when he can personally abide by it. [8]

The fautores of this system play upon one’s heartstrings. They tell us of cases where the husband has become embittered and nervously unstrung by enforced continence, with the result that the home becomes a veritable hell. Or else one’s wife turns into an object of hatred because she is a continual but unsatisfying source of temptation. Is not, we are asked, the duty of maintaining a happy home a primordial marital duty? And does not this harmony in turn depend upon a mutually satisfying sex life? And further, if another pregnancy would perhaps prove fatal to the wife, would not the husband commit a grave sin in making her pregnant?

To sum up this argument: Since conjugal intimacies are a requisite condition for an affectionate and full marital life and since the proximate occasion of sin for the parties in question consists precisely in these necessary intimacies, therefore they are not guilty of sin if they perform the almost inevitable marital act in an onanistic manner. The proviso is added that they must not want the sin as such, would be happier if their situation were otherwise, and truly hope that circumstances will in time alter for the better in order that they may avoid this unfortunate difficulty. [9]

This merciful (!) solution is thus applied to a very carefully described case, but from it are deduced some “simple rules” enabling vexed confessors to judge similar cases, and thus to remove any subjectively grave culpability from practices hitherto considered evil. These “simple rules” are:

  1. The first sign of due orientation of one’s will is due orientation of one’s life viewed in its entirety. One who manifests a desire to serve God in everything else, but “sins” in the matter under discussion because of circumstances independent of his will, can not be presumed to have sinned mortally.
  2. The sign that the “sins” are caused by circumstances independent of one’s will appears in this: if in the past, when these unfavorable circumstances were not present, one observed habitually and with ease the moral law on this point. And because of this previous fidelity he feels sorrow now that he can no longer himself respect that same moral law. [10]


What judgment may properly be formulated on the evidence adduced in support of the novel doctrine? A judgment, first of all, that prescinds from any merely external authority and disregards the accidental reasons of convenience to which it so urgently appeals. A solution to a complex problem of morality does not become correct and acceptable simply because it happens to be pleasing and seems to answer genuine difficulties. Our scrutiny must go to the heart of the matter.

The promoters of the changed perspective argue that married people often are not prepared to accept traditional morality in this connection; that confessors achieve nothing by their “brutal providentialist attitude” [11]; that present economic and social conditions impose a need for prudence in determining the number of offspring [12]; that conjugal spirituality does not admit of an absolute continence which may well strain the bonds of love and even shatter the harmony of the home [13].

Such a point of view eschews the hope offered by supernatural faith; it ignores the evidence developed in favor of a large family by sociology, psychology and medicine. And even granting — for the sake of the argument — the truth of the opposition thesis — has one therefore the right to countenance contraceptive practices? May a confessor absolve a penitent without more ado, once he discovers a vague good will? All other reasoning is peripheral compared with this central point: the intrinsic and unnatural quality of any use of the generative faculty by which the spouses perform the act destined to beget offspring, and yet endeavor to remove from that act its natural efficacy. [14]

In view of the objective malice of a penitent’s actions, can a confessor excuse him by agreeing that he is not at all fully responsible? The opposition writes: “The classical treatises on moral theology appear to be especially occupied with Christians of bad will, or at least more or less badly disposed. Besides, these treatises have been too prone to judge men habitually responsible for their acts” [15]. Is this not a generalization injurious both to the penitent and to the moralist, to suppose that men are not habitually responsible for their acts, or that moralists have over-stressed the negative aspects of human volitional activity?

And if this alleged irresponsibility is a reality, whence comes it? From some habitual incapacity to act in a human manner? But surely moral theology has always excused the faults of the mentally ill. Does it stem from invincible ignorance about the sinful character of onanism? That is hardly likely considering the publicity accorded the matter in Catholic circles, in parochial missions, in sermons, in instruction classes.

The new doctrine is prepared to excuse many onanists of grave fault because no one is held to the impossible. A risky sort of moral optimism, that! Like the optimism of the ostrich supposing itself snugly safe from danger when its head is cozily buried in the sand. To acknowledge oneself objectively a sinner, and to take refuge in the divine mercy can easily become a Quietistic doctrine and therefore an exceedingly dangerous one. Such an appeal to God’s mercy comes with ill grace from a camp unwilling, a priori, to examine the problem of conjugal chastity in terms of God’s supernatural Providence. A confessor who absolves a penitent pleading incapability to observe the commandments of God in married life makes short shrift of the words of the Holy Spirit: ”And God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it” (I Cor., X, 13).

Even if one admits the hypothetical possibility of there being an impossibility to observe conjugal chastity, that “impossibility” can be nothing else, in the final analysis, except a moral weakness. A weakness due in part perhaps to external circumstances, but due particularly and formally to a defective control of the sexual appetite. In his November address to Italian Midwives, the Holy Father excoriated this very teaching when he said that God does not oblige people to do the impossible, and so if for certain reasons some married couples must abstain from marital union, in such cases abstinence is possible.

One who would hold for the blameless character of any acts of onanism on the claim that it can not be otherwise, would by the same token have to exculpate: an adolescent whose solitary sins would no longer be chargeable to him since personal purity is for him an “impossibility” — an engaged person who anticipates married rights because marriage is not here and now possible — an unfaithful husband whose heart is helplessly given to his mistress — an unjustly deserted wife who seeks “compensation” with one not her husband. Indeed, in very many instances, the observance of the moral order demands heroism. But, as the Pope declared in his address to the Italian Midwives already referred to, it is wronging men and women of our times to deem them incapable of continuous heroism, a heroism that need not stop at the borders established by the passions and the inclinations of nature. Obviously, one who does not want to dominate himself is incapable of so doing. [16]


One must not only engage in a sustained effort to avoid sin; one must struggle also against the very conditions that make sin so likely. This is to demand sanctity of souls. No one can say that he is powerless in the face of temptation unless and until he has exhausted the possibilities of recourse to God and of mortification of self. And that is never. The “impossibility,” introduced by this novelty to shore up its facile solution to real difficulties, does not lift the force of obligation from the divine law. It does not excuse the blame of those who succumb to sin. In certain regrettable circumstances of contemporary life it is extraordinarily hard to work out one’s salvation. But worked out it must be, or all is lost. Even though grave inconvenience sometimes excuses from positive law, still it never excuses from natural law.

One who would tolerate weakness of the flesh among the young whose marriage is retarded by the unfavorable economic organization of society, or who would countenance unchastity among the married, renders them no service either here or hereafter. God is wise and good. His law is clear and practicable. In the full observance of it alone can man find happiness. The profound and dreadfully real difficulties experienced by some married couples in their efforts to reconcile Christian virtue and personal gratification should remind them that mediocrity is not their lot.

They must choose between Christ crucified and their own sinful pleasure; between the gracious acceptance of sacrifice and a life of sensual pleasure that offends their God and opens the floodgates of remorse and unhappiness. The priest who would seek the glory of God will not look for an easy solution to the problem. He will look for a true one, albeit a hard saying. He will bring the troubled penitent to understand God as a loving Father Who aids His children to perfect themselves and to save their immortal souls.

To offer as a plausible hypothesis the doctrine that the moral law is ever unobservable — even if all men transgressed it by their sins — is to deny divine wisdom. And man can not do that without ceasing to be a man.


[1] A clear expression of this doctrine first appeared in an article written by Canon Jacques Leclercq for the French pastoral review Le prêtre et la famille (Paris, 1950, pp. 7 et sqq.), published by the “Association de Mariage Chrétien.” The doctrine there expounded has since passed over to the American continent in an article “Changements de perspectives en morale conjugale” in the Revue Eucharistique du Clergé (Montreal, Sept.-Oct., 1950, pp. 454 et sqq.). The footnotes to the present article refer to the Canadian publication.

[2] “Changements de perspectives en morale conjugale” in the Revue Eucharistique du Clergé (Montreal, 1950), p. 457.

[3] Cf. op. cit., p. 460.

[4] Cf. op. cit., pp. 458-60.

[5] Op. cit., pp. 460-61.

[6] Op. cit., p. 459. The exact wording of this text, of capital importance, is as follows: “Le chrétien porte constamment en soi la conscience de son indignité, mais celle-ci ne peut, ni le troubler, ni l’abattre, ni diminuer son potentiel vital, parce qu’en même temps, il se sait aimé et sait que toutes ses fautes disparaitront dans l’infini de l’amour, du moment qu’il se reconnaît pour ce qu’il est, qu’il ne s’attribue pas ce qui n’est qu’à Dieu es s’abandonne à l’amour. Ce n’est pas le salut par la foi sans les oeuvres, comme le voulait Luther, mais le salut par la bonne volonté humaine et la foi en la Miséricorde.”

[7] Cf. op. cit., pp. 464-66.

[8] Cf. op. cit., p. 465: “Si vraiment ces époux ne peuvent se contenir, dans quelle mesure sont-ils responsables? Celui qui commet une faute objective, parce qu’il n’est pas capable de se dominer, est excusé de sa faute. . . . Il n’en résulte pas que la règle morale tombe. Il doit y rester attaché, regretter d’être incapable de la respecter et souhaiter d’y arriver. . . .”

[9] Cf. op. cit., pp. 466-67.

[10] Cf. op. cit., p. 472.

[11] Op. cit., p. 473.

[12] Cf. op. cit., p. 549.

[13] Cf. op. cit., p. 462.

[14] Cf. Casti connubii (N.C.W.C. translation, p. 20) : “. . . any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offence against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.”

[15] Op. cit., p. 470.

[16] Cf. the address as reported verbatim in the Brooklyn Tablet (New York, Nov. 10, 1951), p. 6.

Those familiar with the Amoris Laetitia controversy will immediately see the parallels between the false morality that is proposed there and the errors condemned in the text above. In fact, the similarity is so stunning that one might almost say that Frs. Gagnon and Carr wrote their essay precisely to condemn Amoris Laetitia. Although Francis’ exhortation aims directly at justifying adulterous relatonships rather than onanistic sex, the principles involved are the same.

It is clear, then, that there is nothing really new in Francis’ “pastoral solution” to the problem of “divorced-and-remarried” couples. The only thing new about it is that it now comes from the purported (but not genuine) Roman Catholic Magisterium, leading countless souls to hell. “…Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity” (2 Thess 2:10-11).

Lord, have mercy!

Photo Credit: “Catholic Church (England and Wales) General Audience with Pope Francis” via photopin (license)

from Novus Ordo Watch

Heretics worship at St. Paul’s-Outside-the-Walls in Rome…

Vatican permits Coptic Orthodox Mass in Catholic Basilica

Heretical-schismatic bishop Tawadros II enthroned in a Catholic basilica
(click image to enlarge)

[UPDATE 21-JUL-2018 06:37 UTC: Some say that the Copts have renounced their Monophysitism, pointing to an alleged1988 common declaration with the Novus Ordo Sect. Apparently they claim to be “Miaphysites” instead. We apologize if we have unwittingly distorted precisely what Copts believe, but the main point of this article remains valid: The Vatican has permitted a heretical-schismatic sect to conduct its public worship in a Catholic basilica, and that is a grave affront to Almighty God and a scandal to souls. Whether or not the Copts are still Monophysites, they are definitely not Catholic, as they deny the dogma of papal primacy, for example.]

The apostasy of the post-Catholic Vatican is becoming more and more obvious by the day. Although the Modernists have long defiled our Catholic churches with their dreadful Novus Ordo worship service, they have always done so under the label of “Catholic.” But now the time has come when even worship that explicitly calls itself something other than Catholic (namely, “Coptic Orthodox”) is being permitted in (formerly) Catholic churches.

This past July 8, with the full permission of the Vatican under “Pope” Francis, the head of the so-called Coptic Orthodox Church, “Pope” Tawadros II of Alexandria, offered Holy Mass in the historic Basilica of St. Paul’s-Outside-the-Walls in Rome. This had been announced beforehand but apparently didn’t raise a single eyebrow.

And why should it, after Francis ordered an Evangelical-Episcopal layman buried as a Catholic bishop? Why should it, after the “Pope” said Catholics could go to Anglican “Masses” whenever no Catholic Masses are available? Why should it, after Anglicans were permitted to have a Vespers service (“Evensong”) in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City last year?

Reports of the Coptic Mass at St. Paul’s Basilica have been sparse to non-existent. Perhaps it is because many Vatican journalists are on vacation, finally trying to get some rest from the nonstop Bergoglian news cycle. In any case, the Vatican’s official newspaper, Osservatore Romano, did publish a blurb on it (see p. 6).

(click image to enlarge)

Sundry photos of the event, such as the ones above, were posted on the Facebook page of the US-International Coptic Media Center. As far as video footage goes, the following poor-quality recording of the 4-hour celebration seems to be the only one available online thus far:

As is evident from the photos and video, this heretical worship did indeed take place at the beautiful Basilica of St. Paul’s in Rome (of which you can take a photo tour here).

Yes, we may assume the Mass was a valid (in the East, Mass is typically called “Divine Liturgy”, by the way). Even the rite used may not have contained anything doctrinally objectionable. The problem is: It was offered by people who are heretics and schismatics; it was the worship of non-Catholics. Francis gave permission for a Catholic basilica to be profaned by the public liturgy of a heretico-schismatic church.

The Coptic Orthodox religion adheres to the heresy of Monophysitism, which is sometimes called Eutychianism. Monophysitism comes with different nuances but essentially holds that there is only one nature in Christ, a divine one, and that His human nature was entirely absorbed in the divine one. The truth that God has revealed, however, is that there are two natures in the one divine Person of Jesus, namely, one human and one divine. This means, in other words, that Monophysites believe that Christ was not truly man.

In 451, the Council of Chalcedon condemned the Monophysite heresy and declared:

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all teach that with one accord we confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in human nature, truly God and the same with a rational soul and a body truly man, consubstantial with the Father according to divinity, and consubstantial with us according to human nature, like unto us in all things except sin, [cf. Heb. 4:15]; indeed born of the Father before the ages according to divine nature, but in the last days the same born of the virgin Mary, Mother of God according to human nature; for us and for our deliverance, one and the same Christ only begotten Son, our Lord, acknowledged in two natures,’ without mingling, without change, indivisibly, undividedly, the distinction of the natures nowhere removed on account of the union but rather the peculiarity of each nature being kept, and uniting in one person and substance, not divided or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son only begotten God Word, Lord Jesus Christ, just as from the beginning the prophets taught about Him and the Lord Jesus Himself taught us, and the creed of our fathers has handed down to us.

(Council of Chalcedon, Definition of the Faith; Denz. 148)

The logical consequences of Monophysitism are too frightful and numerous to contemplate. Not only does this heresy denying the Sacred Humanity of Christ destroy the doctrine of the Atonement, it also has repercussions, for example, for the nature of the Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ:

The Church is not something dead: it is the body of Christ endowed with supernatural life. As Christ, the Head and Exemplar, is not wholly in His visible human nature, which Photinians and Nestorians assert, nor wholly in the invisible divine nature, as the Monophysites hold, but is one, from and in both natures, visible and invisible; so the mystical body of Christ is the true Church, only because its visible parts draw life and power from the supernatural gifts and other things whence spring their very nature and essence. But since the Church is such by divine will and constitution, such it must uniformly remain to the end of time. If it did not, then it would not have been founded as perpetual, and the end set before it would have been limited to some certain place and to some certain period of time; both of which are contrary to the truth. The union consequently of visible and invisible elements because it harmonizes with the natural order and by God’s will belongs to the very essence of the Church, must necessarily remain so long as the Church itself shall endure.

(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum, n. 3)

So now the Vatican has officially permitted Coptic Monophysites to offer their public worship in a Catholic church. It is a monstrous scandal!

That a good number of Coptic heretics in our day are probably in good faith about their false religion — meaning, they adhere to it innocently, being sincerely convinced that it is the true religion — may very well be true, but it is simply not relevant to the issue at hand. The fact remains that the public worship of Monophysites in a Catholic church is an objective sacrilege and a great scandal.

It is also clear that the impression being given is one of Indifferentism, that it doesn’t really matter what religion one belongs to, at least as long as it’s a “Christian” one. This too is false, and very dangerously so: “Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn 9). Pope Gregory XVI also condemned this error in his landmark encyclical against Liberalism:

Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that “there is one God, one faith, one baptism” [Eph 4:5] may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that “those who are not with Christ are against Him” [Lk 11:23], and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate” [Symbol of St. Athanasius]. Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: “He who is for the See of Peter is for me” [St. Jerome, Epistle 57]. A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: “The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?” [St. Augustine, in psalm. contra part. Donat.]

(Pope Gregory XVI, Encyclical Mirari Vos, n. 13)

Objectively speaking, only Catholic worship is pleasing to God because only it has been authorized by Him; and what God thinks of unauthorized worship contrary to His prescriptions or the order He has established, can be vividly seen in Num 16:1-40 (cf. Jn 4:23-24). Indeed, God can be worshipped truly only in the Church He Himself established:

Omitting other appropriate passages which are almost numberless in the writings of the Fathers, We shall praise St. Gregory the Great who expressly testifies that this indeed is the teaching of the Catholic Church. He says: “The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved.”

…Therefore, they must instruct them in the true worship of God, which is unique to the Catholic religion.

(Pope Gregory XVI, Encyclical Summo Iugiter Studio, nn. 5-6)

Since the Coptic sect is not the Church established by God, the worship performed in that Coptic liturgy on July 8 in the Roman basilica was, objectively speaking, an abomination before God, a horrendous sacrilege and profanation of the house of God, and a grave scandal to souls. If this doesn’t sound very ecumenical, let this be another sign that ecumenism is a most dangerous and utterly false novelty; it is a theological invention of recent times.

In the same work of St. Gregory the Great from which Pope Gregory XVI quotes above, is found this passage:

For it is she [the Catholic Church] alone through whom God willingly accepts a sacrifice, she alone who intercedes with confidence for those who are in error. Whence also the Lord commanded concerning the sacrifice of the lamb, saying; In one house it shall be eaten, neither shall ye carry forth of the flesh thereof out of the house. [Ex. 12, 46] For the lamb is eaten in one house, because the true Sacrifice of the Redeemer is immolated in the one Catholic Church. And the Divine law orders its flesh not to he carried forth abroad, because it forbids that which is holy to be given to dogs. [Matt. 7, 6]

(Pope St. Gregory I, Morals on the Book of Job, bk. XXXV, ch. VIII, n. 13; underlining added; italics given.)

Although true Catholic teaching is not ecumenical, this does not mean, of course, that we can or should be unkind to those people who are unhappily caught up in heretical or schismatic sects:

But God forbid that the sons of the Catholic Church ever in any way be hostile to those who are not joined with us in the same bonds of faith and love; but rather they should always be zealous to seek them out and aid them, whether poor, or sick, or afflicted with any other burdens, with all the offices of Christian charity; and they should especially endeavor to snatch them from the darkness of error in which they unhappily lie, and lead them back to Catholic truth and to the most loving Mother the Church, who never ceases to stretch out her maternal hands lovingly to them, and to call them back to her bosom so that, established and firm in faith, hope, and charity, and “being fruitful in every good work” [Col 1:10], they may attain eternal salvation.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, n. 9)

Since the defection of the Monophysite Copts, which occurred so early on in Church history, the Popes have attempted again and again to bring them back to the fold of Christ, but never with any (lasting) success.

In 1951, on the occasion of the 1500th anniversary of the Council of Chalcedon, Pope Pius XII pleaded that the erring Copts would finally return to communion with the Holy See:

Would it not be holy, salutary and in accordance with the will of God that at last all these should return to the one sheepfold of Christ?

For our part we desire that they should always bear in mind that Our thoughts are thoughts of peace and not of affliction (cf. Jer. xxix, 11). It is well known, moreover, that we have demonstrated this by our actions. If, under the pressure we boast of this, then we boast in the Lord, who is the giver of every goodwill. For we have followed in the path of our predecessors and worked diligently to facilitate the return of the Oriental peoples to the Catholic Church. We have guarded their legitimate rites. We have promoted the study of their affairs. We have promulgated beneficent laws for them. We have shown deep solicitude in our dealings with the sacred council of the Roman curia for oriental affairs. We have bestowed the Roman purple on the patriarch of the Armenians.

When the recent war was waging and producing its fruits of famine, want and disease, we made no distinction between them and those who are accustomed to call us Father, but sought everywhere to relieve the increasing misery; we strove to help widows, children, old people and the sick. We would have been happier truly had our means been equal to our desires! Let those then who, through the calamities of time, have been cut off, not be slow to pay due respect to this divinely erected and unbroken rock, this Apostolic See for whom to rule is to serve. Let them bear in mind and imitate Flavian, that second John Chrysostom, in his sufferings for justice; and the fathers of Chalcedon, those most worthy members of the Mystical Body of Christ; and Marcian, that strong, gentle and wise ruler; and Pulcheria, that resplendent lily of inviolate royal beauty. From such a return to the unity of the Church we foresee that there would flow a rich fountain of blessings unto the common good of the whole Christian world.

Our hope for the return of these brothers and sons separated from the Apostolic See is made stronger by this harsh crucifixion and these bloody martyrdoms of so many other brothers and sons. Let no one neglect or impede the saving work of God. To the blessings and joys of this return we exhort and urge all those who follow the erroneous doctrines of the Nestorians and the Monophysites. Let them be sure that we should think it the brightest gem in the crown of our apostolate if the opportunity were given us of treating with honor and charity those who are the more dear to us because the long period of their withdrawal has excited in us the greater desire [for their return].

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Sempiternus Rex, nn. 37-39,43)

Where Antipope Francis preaches a heretical “ecumenism of blood”, Pope Pius XII taught that the martyrdom of Catholics (“so many other brothers and sons”) strengthens the hope that heretics and schismatics will at last return to the one true Church, the Roman Catholic Church, under the visible head of the Church, the Vicar of Christ.

This alone must be the ultimate goal of any and all outreach to non-Catholics; there can be no other. Yet even this noble supernatural end does not justify evil, heretical, or sacrilegious means:

Even on the plea of promoting unity it is not allowed to dissemble one single dogma; for, as the Patriarch of Alexandria warns us, “although the desire of peace is a noble and excellent thing, yet we must not for its sake neglect the virtue of loyalty in Christ.” Consequently, the much desired return of erring sons to true and genuine unity in Christ will not be furthered by exclusive concentration on those doctrines which all, or most, communities glorying in the Christian name accept in common. The only successful method will be that which bases harmony and agreement among Christ’s faithful ones upon all the truths, and the whole of the truths, which God has revealed.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Orientalis Ecclesiae, n. 16)

The difference between the traditional Catholic teaching on the reunion of dissidents to the one true Church and the Novus Ordo ecumenical program could not be clearer. In early 2017, the Vatican’s chief ecumenist admitted that the different ecumenical dialogue partners cannot even agree on so much as the purpose of ecumenism.

See, then, the stark contrast between the immaculate Roman Catholic Church of all true Popes through Pius XII (d. 1958), which is currently eclipsed by the “operation of error” (2 Thess 2:10); and the heretical Novus Ordo Sect, “which corrupted the earth with her fornication” (Apoc 19:2), started by Antipope John XXIII in 1958.

Only one of these two can be the true Church of Jesus Christ, “the one Church, not of heretics but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic [Church] outside which we believe that no one is saved” (Pope Innocent III, Apostolic Letter Eius ExemploDenz. 423).

Images source: Facebook (@CopticUS)
License: Fair use

A public heretic can lose his office in the Catholic Church, as a formal heretic cuts himself off from the Church. Here, we will look at what the Church teaches on the matter.

Below is no.9 from Satis Cognitum by PopeLeo XIII:

9. The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavour than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own. The Arians, the Montanists, the Novatians, the Quartodecimans, the Eutychians, did not certainly reject all Catholic doctrine: they abandoned only a certain portion of it. Still who does not know that they were declared heretics and banished from the bosom of the Church? In like manner were condemned all authors of heretical tenets who followed them in subsequent ages. “There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition” (Auctor Tract. de Fide Orthodoxa contra Arianos).

The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodore :, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. “No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic” (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88).


How can a cardinal or bishop lose his office in the Catholic Church? In the 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law, we can see Canon 188. “Any office becomes vacant upon the fact…if a cleric: Publicly defects from the faith.”


There is much more Church teaching that affirms these results. But for now, the point is to understand that the Church teaches that any office CAN become vacant, as now you have the theology supporting such a claim.

Next, keeping with the understanding that any office can become vacant, let’s give a simple examination of the errors of the Second Vatican Council and beyond. Below, is a side-by-side comparison of Catholic teaching vs that of the Vatican 2/Novus Ordo church. Keep in mind that these documents are all public. As you will see, the Vatican II theology is contrary to Catholic theology. These must qualify as public defections & sins against the First Commandment of God, right?

Catholics are required to believe that the Church is indefectible. Catholics also have full faith that the Holy Ghost is guiding the Church. Being infallible, it is impossible for the Church to err through the Teaching Magisterium on matters of faith and morals.

Therefore, the teachings of the Vatican II church and that of the Catholic Church are irreconcilable. If one believes the popes from St. Peter through Pius XII were valid, then they must reject the false claimants who brought forth contradiction and error since 1958.

What is blockchain?

July 18th, 2018 by Vigilo

Being a proponent of cryptocurrencies, it is obvious that mass adoption is still a long way off.

The price of 1 bitcoin topped at nearly $20,000 in late 2017. While that generated some interest, most people still have no idea what that means, or what they can do with it.

Bitcoin is a decentralized distributed cryptocurrency (digital currency) without a central bank. It has a fixed supply, so no government or administrator can create coins out of thin air, like the Federal Reserve.

Bitcoin is the most popular crypto, but there are thousands of other cryptocurrencies and tokens which address literally all aspects of human life. People are working to improve not only payment systems on the blockchain, but also healthcare, insurance, real estate transactions, information, voting, etc.

Improvement is good right? But before we get into learning all the different coins, what they do, and how to trade them…we all start at this first question. What is the Blockchain?

What is the Blockchain?

Instead of typing out how blockchain works, it may be easier to absorb through some tutorial videos. In about 40 mins, you can see all of the videos, and have a better understanding of what is blockchain. In the final video, you can actually see blockchain in practice.


If you are ready for more information beyond “What is Blockchain”, and want to learn how to trade cryptocurrencies, let me know.  I can recommend a full paid course that is not my own. Also, I can personally give you some tips, and if you want some more coaching beyond that, I can do so for a nominal fee.

Any questions or comments, fell free to do so below.