Archive for the ‘human rights’ Category

from Novus Ordo Watch

Vatican II condemned in 1833…

The ideas of the Vatican II revolution weren’t new in the 1960s. In the post-Reformation period, various errors along the lines of Liberalism and Modernism had already infected sundry innovators who were trying to introduce these novelties into the Church. The errors manifested themselves in revolutionary movements to bring the Church “up to date”, introducing vernacular tongues into the sacred liturgy, changing the Mass to correspond more to the demands of modern man, adapting Church discipline to modernity, etc.

The Holy See, of course, always sternly and competently condemned these errors and defended the Immaculate Bride of Christ from the snares of the innovators. One of the greatest documents defending the Church against the “renewal” proposed by the Liberals of the time is the encyclical Quo Graviora of Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846), published in 1833, which we highly recommend you read in full, but from which we shall provide only a brief excerpt for purposes of this post.

The Holy Father instructed his bishops as follows:

You know, venerable brothers, on what erroneous principles the abovementioned men and their followers depend and where that desire which moves them to begin effecting a revolution in the Church has its origin. We do not think it superfluous to clarify many of those things and to explain them here. A false idea has for a long time grown stronger and spread widely through these regions. This idea is spread by an impious and absurd system of indifference toward religious matters which claims that the Christian religion can become perfect in time. While the patrons of such a false idea are afraid to adapt the shaky possibility of perfection to the truths of faith, they establish it in the external administration and discipline of the Church. Moreover, in order to bring about faith in their error, they wrongfully and deceitfully usurp the authority of Catholic theologians. These theologians propound here and there a distinction between the teaching and the discipline of the Church which underlies this change, that it will always stand firm and never be harmed by any alteration. Once this is established, they state categorically that there are many things in the discipline of the Church in the present day, in its government, and in the form of its external worship which are not suited to the character of our time. These things, they say, should be changed, as they are harmful for the growth and prosperity of the Catholic religion, before the teaching of faith and morals suffers any harm from it. Therefore, showing a zeal for religion and showing themselves as an example of piety, they force reforms, conceive of changes, and pretend to renew the Church.

Truly such reformers use these principles. In addition, they disclose and propose them in many pamphlets…. While these men were shamefully straying in their thoughts, they proposed to fall upon the errors condemned by the Church in proposition 78 of the constitution Auctorem fidei (published by Our predecessor, Pius VI on August 28, 1794). They also attacked the pure doctrine which they say they want to keep safe and sound; either they do not understand the situation or craftily pretend not to understand it. While they contend that the entire exterior form of the Church can be changed indiscriminately, do they not subject to change even those items of discipline which have their basis in divine law and which are linked with the doctrine of faith in a close bond? Does not the law of the believer thus produce the law of the doer? Moreover, do they not try to make the Church human by taking away from the infallible and divine authority, by which divine will it is governed? And does it not produce the same effect to think that the present discipline of the Church rests on failures, obscurities, and other inconveniences of this kind? And to feign that this discipline contains many things which are not useless but which are against the safety of the Catholic religion? Why is it that private individuals appropriate for themselves the right which is proper only for the pope?

(Pope Gregory XVI, Encyclical Quo Graviora, nn. 4-5; underlining added.)

The underlined portions are typical errors spread by the Vatican II religion today and/or adhered to by a great number of people who believe themselves to be Roman Catholics. Yet, Holy Mother Church had long and frequently condemned these things as incompatible with and injurious to the true Faith. So much for that “hermeneutic of continuity”!

For example, in 1907, Pope Saint Pius X, quoting his predecessor Leo XIII, warned: “It is impossible to approve in Catholic publications a style inspired by unsound novelty which seems to deride the piety of the faithful and dwells on the introduction of a new order of Christian life, on new directions of the Church, on new aspirations of the modern soul, on a new social vocation of the clergy, on a new Christian civilization, and many other things of the same kind” (Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi, n. 55; underlining added). Is this not essentially a condemnation of the entire Vatican II religion in its very foundations?

Many people do not realize that a lot of the Church’s disciplines and laws are so closely bound up with divine revelation and the truths of the Faith that to change them would be tantamount to changing the Faith itself. This is why Pope Gregory speaks of the “law of the believer” producing “the law of the doer.” It is natural for a man to act as he believes, and to believe as he acts. Should there temporarily be a difference between the two, resulting in what is today often called “cognitive dissonance”, it will resolve itself before long, either by the person changing what he believes to agree with his actions, or by changing his actions to agree with his beliefs.

This is where the New Church has been so successful in destroying the true Faith in millions upon millions: They have changed the disciplines (for example, and most especially, the Holy Mass) to agree with the New Faith, and by making people act in accordance with the new beliefs, they have ensured that they will, before long, also change what they believe, gradually and without even so much as noticing it.

Perfect cases in point: Mass facing the people. Communion in the hand. Reducing the Holy Mass from the August Sacrifice of the Altar to a communal meal. Talking and dancing in church. Absurd clown liturgies. Using churches for profane events. Marriage “annulments” handed out so lightly and numerously that they are now the de facto “Catholic” equivalent to secular divorce, having harmed thousands of families, esp. children. And so forth. The list is endless.

Who today in the Vatican II Church is still a Catholic in what he believes and professes? The message the changes since Vatican II have been sending is essentially: God is not to be taken seriously; the Catholic Church is not to be taken seriously. Everything changes with the times, including religious things. And that’s precisely the message that people understood, and they imbibed it deeply and acted accordingly.

In short, the Novus Ordo Church has made itself irrelevant, and that is exactly what it is today and why no one in the secular world really takes it seriously. All the crocodile tears now being shed about “abuses” and desired “continuity” with the past and lost influence with the secular governments of the world, are not going to change the fact that this Vatican II Revolution was begun by and imposed from the top. Never forget this. It all began with Angelo Roncalli, “Pope” John XXIII. And it went downhill from there.

All of this was no accident, however; it was by design. It had been planned by those whom the true Popes had always warned us about as conspiring against the very Body of Christ: the Freemasons. Is it any wonder that ever since the beginning of the Vatican II Church, Freemasonry was no longer considered a threat to the church?

For a clearer picture, be sure to read the 1993 essay “Freemasons and the Conciliar Church” (PDF), made available exclusively on this web site with the gracious permission of the author. Also, see our 2013 post “Freemasons Support ‘Pope’ Francis” for additional information.

Other Important Papal Condemnations of Modern Errors

Book Recommendations

from Novus Ordo Watch

Recognize-and-OBEY is the Traditional Catholic Teaching

The sedevacantist blogger Steven Speray has recently released an important blog post we are happy to republish on this web site, with his permission. It concerns the foundational belief of those who try to be traditional Catholics while believing the “Popes” after Pius XII to be valid and true Vicars of Christ — the so-called “recognize-and-resist” position (R&R).


Pope Pius XI Squashes the Recognize-and-Resist Position

by Steve Speray (Aug. 27, 2019)

Can the faithful recognize and resist the pope? I dealt with this question in a 2015 article. However, I recently stumbled upon some teachings from Pope Pius XI that castigate the recognize-and-resist theology. I’ve highlighted the relevant parts within the context that contradicts R&R-ism.

In Mortalium Animos – On Religious Unity, Jan. 6, 1928, Pope Pius XI declared:

#5 Admonished, therefore, by the consciousness of Our Apostolic office that We should not permit the flock of the Lord to be cheated by dangerous fallacies, We invoke, Venerable Brethren, your zeal in avoiding this evil; for We are confident that by the writings and words of each one of you the people will more easily get to know and understand those principles and arguments which We are about to set forth, and from which Catholics will learn how they are to think and act when there is question of those undertakings which have for their end the union in one body, whatsoever be the manner, of all who call themselves Christians…

#7…There are some, indeed, who recognize and affirm that Protestantism, as they call it, has rejected, with a great lack of consideration, certain articles of faith and some external ceremonies, which are, in fact, pleasing and useful, and which the Roman Church still retains. They soon, however, go on to say that that Church also has erred, and corrupted the original religion by adding and proposing for belief certain doctrines which are not only alien to the Gospel, but even repugnant to it.

#11…Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls?

The words “recognize and obey” are exactly opposite to “recognize and resist.”  The R&R crowd doesn’t obey those they call the legitimate successors of Peter. They ignore them, resist them, and reject their teachings. They are most certainly trying to stand in the way of the Vatican II popes and implementing Vatican II and the Novus Ordo. Of course, the R&R crowd is correct in rejecting the Modernism of the Vatican II “popes”, but their justification for doing so in opposition to what is recognized as the papal authority, is heretical, blasphemous, and just plain stupid.

The underlying principle of Mortalium Animos is rejected by the R&R crowd. But then again, every papal document is an instance of the Roman Pontiff putting forth his papal authority for the faithful to obey, not to resist.

On Dec. 31, 1929, Pope Pius XI declared in Divini Illius Magistri – On Christian Education:

18. Hence it is that in this proper object of her mission, that is, “in faith and morals, God Himself has made the Church sharer in the divine magisterium and, by a special privilege, granted her immunity from error; hence she is the mistress of men, supreme and absolutely sure, and she has inherent in herself an inviolable right to freedom in teaching.’…

20.The Church does not say that morality belongs purely, in the sense of exclusively, to her; but that it belongs wholly to her.…

25. The extent of the Church’s mission in the field of education is such as to embrace every nation, without exception, according to the command of Christ: “Teach ye all nations;” and there is no power on earth that may lawfully oppose her or stand in her way. In the first place, it extends over all the Faithful, of whom she has anxious care as a tender mother.

The whole document is about the importance of getting a good, holy, and true Christian education, which can only come about by following and obeying the teachings of the Roman Pontiff and following his rules for this education. What’s the point if the Catholic Church is propagating error like every other religion, as the R&R proponents essentially claim?

The position of the R&R crowd makes the Catholic Church out to be the biggest hypocritical organization in the world. It would mean that the Catholic Church is more or less permitted to lead people astray with error, while all other religions are condemned by the Catholic Church for doing the same thing. It would mean only the Catholic Church gets to be heretical, while Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy are condemned by the Catholic Church as false religions when they do so.

That’s why the R&R position is heretical, blasphemous, and stupid.

On Dec. 31, 1930, Pope Pius XI promulgated Casti Connubii – On Christian Marriage. Once again, the pope emphasizes his authority over all the faithful. He declares in #104:

Wherefore, let the faithful also be on their guard against the overrated independence of private judgment and that false autonomy of human reason. For it is quite foreign to everyone bearing the name of a Christian to trust his own mental powers with such pride as to agree only with those things which he can examine from their inner nature, and to imagine that the Church, sent by God to teach and guide all nations, is not conversant with present affairs and circumstances; or even that they must obey only in those matters which she has decreed by solemn definition as though her other decisions might be presumed to be false or putting forward insufficient motive for truth and honesty. Quite to the contrary, a characteristic of all true followers of Christ, lettered or unlettered, is to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor the Roman Pontiff, who is himself guided by Jesus Christ Our Lord.

The approach of the R&R crowd is to resist, dismiss, and disdain every papal teaching that they think comes short of proclaiming in an extraordinary manner dogmas protected by infallibility. In principle, the R&R crowd is really no different than the liberals who reject the teaching of Casti Connubii on the authority of the Roman Pontiff as much as they do — they just apply it to a different issue (that of contraception; see #54).

The pick-and-choose mentality of the R&R crowd is what makes them the worst of hypocrites. They profess to be obedient and faithful Catholics but are neither.

Jesus told us where hypocrites go in Matt. 24:51 — and it’s not paradise.


Minor edits have been made to this post to enhance readability and consistency, with the author’s permission. The original can be found here.


Image source: Wikimedia Commons (cropped)
License: public domain

from Novus Ordo Watch

[UPDATED 02-AUG-2019 — see below]

First convened by the “Theology of the Body” mastermind “Pope Saint” John Paul II in 1985, the Novus Ordo phenomenon of World Youth Day has long been dubbed the “Catholic Woodstock” on account of the rampant occasions of carnal sin it offers due to the free mixing of large groups of young men and women, most of whom are dressed in shockingly immodest ways.

It may just be, however, that there is an even more sinister side to World Youth Day.

The most recent such event took place in Panama in January of this year. Frequent visitors to this site may recall the horrendous prayer and adoration vigil “Pope” Francis presided over, which featured a grotesque-looking hollow metal monstrance in the form of the Blessed Mother:

So far, so bad.

But now some people on Twitter have claimed that during that ceremony Francis used a humeral veil with a trim pattern that displays a logo used by pedophiles and pederasts to identify themselves to kindred spirits. Thus we decided to investigate, and what we found was shocking.

First, regarding the symbol itself. On Jan. 31, 2007, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) internally published an unclassified but law-enforcement-sensitive intelligence bulletin entitled “Symbols and Logos Used by Pedophiles to Identify Sexual Preferences.” This document was made available to the public on Nov. 22, 2007 by Wikileaks and can be accessed in full here.

The logo the FBI identifies as “BLogo aka ‘Boy Lover’” is this one:

The FBI intelligence bulletin describes and explains the symbol, and also shows an alternate logo that is intended to convey perverted attraction specifically to little boys and is called, accordingly, “LBLogo”:

This sickening stuff isn’t made up, and the threat is real. The following two mainstream news sites have published articles warning people of these (and other) symbols and what they really stand for. But be careful, as these two sites are very secular and tend to have immodest photos and lewd advertisements on them:

Anyone who has, has the care of, or cares about children and their safety ought to be familiar with these logos and what they represent.

Now let’s have a look at the liturgical vestments used by Francis and other Novus Ordo clergy during World Youth Day 2019. We’ll begin with the prayer vigil for young people on January 26. The trim on Francis’ humeral veil features triangles that are practically indistinguishable from the sordid “Boy Lover” logo. Only the additional bottom bar is missing — perhaps for deniability’s sake? [UPDATE: A reader kindly pointed out that the two logos are truly 100% identical, as proved here.]

The same logo appears on the trim of Francis’ cope, both in the back and in the front:

For verification purposes, you can view all the photos released by the Vatican here, of which some of the above screenshots have been taken. In addition, we present here the entire video of the ceremony, made available by Vatican Media:

The following day, January 27, Francis presided over the event’s closing “Mass” wearing a chasuble with the same curious trim pattern:

Many of his concelebrants did as well:

Here too we share the full video and a link to the photo gallery:

Conclusion: Although the symbol on the liturgical vestments is not perfectly identical [CORRECTION: they are!] to the logo the FBI has identified as conveying pedophilia or pederasty, nevertheless it is almost so and certainly similar enough to where an untrained eye could not tell the difference. This accomplishes two things: Anyone who is an insider can tell what it is meant to signify and therefore “gets” it; and yet, should the need ever arise, pedophiliac symbolism can be denied since the logo is not perfectly identical.

Which brings us to a related case: Remember the curious logo for the World Meeting of Families last year in Dublin, Ireland, and the entirely coincidental resemblance with a symbol used in the sodomite underworld? No wonder Francis wore a “Baphomet miter” for the occasion!

Ladies and gentlemen, draw your own conclusions.

Just remember that it’s called World Youth Day for a reason.

Image sources: own composite with screenshot elements from wikileaks.org and vatican.va / wikileaks.org (screenshot) / wikileaks.org (screenshot) / vatican.va (screenshot) / vatican.va (screenshot) / youtube.com (screenshot) / vatican.va (screenshot) / vatican.va (screenshot) / youtube.com (screenshot) / youtube.com (screenshot)
Licenses: fair use

The Recent Abortion Laws

March 5th, 2019 by Vigilo

from In Veritate

There has been a good deal of outrage recently about the very liberalized abortion laws which were passed in New York and Virginia, permitting the child to be murdered even as it is in the process of being born. In Virginia the governor said that, even if the child survived the abortion, the parents and the abortionist “would have a discussion,” implying very clearly that if the parents did not want the child, the abortionist would kill it.

I do not understand the outrage, since all of the logic for performing the heinous crime has been with us since Roe vs. Wade in 1973. In fact, it has been with us since the legalization of artificial contraception.

The Catholic doctrine is that sexual intercourse has a single purpose, which is the procreation of a human being. Notice that the word is procreation and not creation, since the prefix pro means that the parents are accomplishing the creation of a child for God. This means that the parents are given a role in the production of a human being, in which they provide the flesh, whereas God provides the immortal soul. The result is a human being, who has, on the one hand, a body, like that of the animals, but on the other hand, an immaterial and immortal soul, like the angels. This soul is what makes human beings different from animals, possessing as it does an intellect and will. These faculties enable the soul to know immaterial things, and to freely choose to do good things. Animals choose their good things by being programmed by God through instinct, and their choices are not free.

Hence the Catholic doctrine sees the child as primarily and essentially the work of God the Creator, and as something which is rightfully God’s. The parents have a merely vicarious role in the order of creation, permitted as they are to provide the material part of the child. Consequently, the entire reproductive process is under God’s direct control, and must be ordered according to God’s law, which is the natural law.

God the Creator has attached pleasure to the reproductive act in order that human beings be motivated to propagate the human race. The pleasure is therefore something entirely subject to the use of sexual activity according to the rules of nature.

Pope Pius XI

Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical Casti Connubii, said that the parents act “as ministers, as it were, of the Divine Omnipotence.”

Listen to the same pope in the same encyclical:

Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: 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 offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.

To sum up: (1) Sexual intercourse is is essentially ordered to reproduction; (2) the pleasure associated with it is essentially ordered to reproduction, and exists only to promote reproduction; (3) the entire reproductive act, from conception to birth, is completely under the control of God, and must be carried out in accordance with the natural law; (4) the child, from conception to birth, is God’s child primarily, and continues to be God’s child forever; (5) The parents have a merely vicarious role in the creation of a child inasmuch as God permits them to partake in His creative process; (6) it is therefore the role of the parents to conceive according to nature, and to protect the unborn child until birth, and thereafter to rear the child both in regard to his or her spiritual needs and temporal needs.

The atheistic/materialistic/secularistic/evolutionistic view is the complete opposite. Human beings are essentially animals, having evolved from gorillas or gorilla-like animals. They have no immaterial or immortal souls. Their intellects and free wills are functions of their material brains. There is no judgment after death, no reward for virtue, and no punishment for moral depravity. Like animals, human beings exist to have pleasure, and the most pleasurable thing is sex. Reproduction is a side effect of the pleasurable sex act. The conception and bearing of children is completely under the control of the woman, who bears a child as a part of her own body. It is entirely her possession and she makes all the decisions concerning its conception, and its survival after conception.

So it is evident that contraception is at bottom the cause of abortion. If reproduction is entirely under the control of the woman, and if we are merely animals, then what is the harm in terminating the life of the child, either through contraception or by abortion? Why should there be any limit on the time of abortion? Indeed, what stops a mother, in this macabre logic, from ordering the death of her child even when it has exited the womb, and has become physically independent from her? How would it differ from putting a litter of unwanted puppies to death?

The only reason why some are horrified by these new abortion laws in New York and Virginia is that a late term abortion seems more grotesque and monstrous. The steely liberal logic, however, puts its blessing upon it.

from Novus Ordo Watch

Do Catholics have to Assent to Non-Infallible Church Teaching?

On Dec. 31, 1930, Pope Pius XI issued his landmark encyclical Casti Connubii on Christian marriage. In it, the Holy Father reminded Catholics that it is not permissible to prefer one’s own judgment over that of the Church on matters of Faith and morals. A Catholic is not allowed to accept from the Church only what seems correct to him, nor can he decide to withhold his assent from teaching that is not presented infallibly:

Wherefore, let the faithful also be on their guard against the overrated independence of private judgment and that false autonomy of human reason. For it is quite foreign to everyone bearing the name of a Christian to trust his own mental powers with such pride as to agree only with those things which he can examine from their inner nature, and to imagine that the Church, sent by God to teach and guide all nations, is not conversant with present affairs and circumstances; or even that they must obey only in those matters which she has decreed by solemn definition as though her other decisions might be presumed to be false or putting forward insufficient motive for truth and honesty. Quite to the contrary, a characteristic of all true followers of Christ, lettered or unlettered, is to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor the Roman Pontiff, who is himself guided by Jesus Christ Our Lord.

(Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Casti Connubii, n. 104)

In our recent post refuting Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, we pointed out that

the papal office was instituted as the sure norm of orthodoxy at every point in time in Church history, guaranteed by Christ Himself. This does not mean that every papal magisterial act is infallible, but it does mean that every papal magisterial act is authoritative, thus binding on consciences and, by the providence of Almighty God, always safe to follow. This means that souls cannot be led astray by any pernicious error if they follow the teaching of the Pope. That safety is guaranteed and caused by Christ Himself.

(“Would God permit a Non-Catholic Pope? Response to Peter Kwasniewski”Novus Ordo Watch, Feb. 28, 2019; italics given.)

This thesis has raised some eyebrows and triggered confusion among people not familiar with it. To prove that this is indeed the position of the Catholic Church that was believed and taught before Vatican II, we produced a quote from Cardinal John Franzelin‘s manual Tractatus de Divina Traditione et Scriptura (available in English as On Divine Tradition).

In this post, in addition to the brief excerpt from Casti Connubii presented above, we will offer another, much more elaborate piece of evidence: a pre-Vatican II essay that explains at length what kind of assent a Catholic must render to the Church’s teachings, even to those that are not infallible.

The essay in question comes from Canon George Duncan Smith of St. Edmund’s College in Ware, England, and was published in the theological periodical Clergy Review in 1935. It is a refreshingly clear, readable, and thorough exposition of how the Church teaches and what a Catholic’s obligation is with regard to that teaching.


“Must I Believe It?”

by Canon George Smith Ph.D., D.D.

The doctrinal power of the Catholic Church is apt to provoke two contrary reactions in those who are outside the fold. Some it attracts, others it repels. The earnest seeker after truth, the man who seriously wants an answer to the riddle of his life and purpose, and is either mentally dazed by the contradictory solutions offered or else baffled by the bland scepticism which so often greets his anxious questionings, may perhaps turn with relief to a Church which teaches with authority, there to find rest from his intellectual wanderings. On the other hand, there is the seeker whose enjoyment, one is inclined to suspect, lies chiefly in the pursuit of truth and who cares little whether he ever tracks it down. To think things out for himself or, like the Athenians, to be telling or hearing some new thing is the very breath of his intellectual life, and to him any infallible pronouncement is anathema. A definitive statement of truth is not for him a happy end to a weary search; it is a barrier which closes an avenue to his adventurous quest. An infallible teacher is not a welcome guide who leads him home; he is a monster who would deprive him of the freedom which is his right.

To these two opposite attitudes on the part of the seeker there correspond two different methods on the part of the apologist. For the apologist is in some respects like a salesman: he likes to give the inquirer what he wants, and he puts in the forefront the wares which are most likely to attract. To the non-Catholic who is weary of doubt and uncertainty he holds out the alluring prospect of a Teacher who will lead him to the goal which he is restlessly seeking, who with infallible authority will give him the final answer to any problem that may perplex him. To the non-Catholic who is jealous of his intellectual freedom he says: Do not imagine that by submitting to the Church you will be forfeiting your freedom of thought. The matters upon which the Church teaches with infallible authority are relatively few; with regard to the rest you are free to believe as you like.

Admittedly these are bald statements which no apologist of repute would permit himself to make without considerable qualifications. Nevertheless they will serve by their very baldness to illustrate two very different standpoints from which even Catholics themselves may be inclined to view the teaching authority of the Church. It may be regarded as guidance or it may be regarded as thraldom; and according as guidance is desired or thraldom feared the sphere of obligation in the matter of belief will be extended or restricted. There are those who would have the Pope pronounce authoritatively on the rights or wrongs of every war, on vivisection and performing animals, on evolution and psycho-analysis, and are somewhat aggrieved because he defines a dogma so rarely. But there are also those who seem almost to dread the pronouncements of authority, who “hope that the Church will not commit herself” on this subject or that, who before accepting any doctrine ask whether the Pope has defined it or, if he has defined it, whether it was by an infallible and irrevocable utterance. Either attitude has its dangers, either attitude mistakes the function of the divinely-appointed Teacher. It may even be debated which excess is more greatly to be deplored. However that may be, the title of this article should be taken as indicating that the writer has in view the over-cautious believer, whose unfounded fears he hopes to allay, reserving for another occasion – or leaving to another hand – the task of restraining his over-ardent brother. In considering, therefore, the general principles which should guide Catholics in their attitude towards doctrinal authority we shall have in mind especially the Catholic who approaches every doctrine with the wary question: “Must I believe it?”I.Let us be clear about our terms, for the ground is littered with ambiguities. When the Catholic inquires concerning his obligation to believe he understands by belief, not a mere opinion, but an act of the mind whereby he adheres definitely to a religious doctrine without any doubt, without any suspension of assent. When he says that he believes a thing he means that he holds it as certain, the motive or ground of his certainty being the authority of the Church which teaches him that this is so. And this rough-and-ready conception of belief, or “faith,” may be considered for practical purposes and in the majority of cases to suffice. But in the delicate matter of defining the Catholic obligation a greater degree of accuracy is reasonably demanded. It is not exact to say that the ground of belief is always the authority of the Church. Ultimately in a divinely revealed religion that ground is the authority of God Himself, on whose veracity and omniscience the believer relies whenever he makes an act of faith. Absolutely speaking an act of divine faith is possible without the intervention of the Church. It is sufficient to have discovered, from whatever source, that a truth has been revealed by God for the acceptance of mankind, in order to incur the obligation of believing it by an act of divine faith, technically so called because its motive is the authority of God Himself.

However, “that we may be able to satisfy the obligation of embracing the true faith and of constantly persevering therein, God has instituted the Church through His only-begotten Son, and has bestowed on it manifest marks of that institution, that it may be recognised by all men as the guardian and teacher of the revealed word.”1 Accordingly the main truths of divine revelation are proposed explicitly by the divinely instituted Church for the belief of the faithful, and in accepting such truths the believer adds to his faith in God’s word an act of homage to the Church as the authentic and infallible exponent of revelation. The doctrines of faith thus proposed by the Church are called dogmas, the act by which the faithful accept them is called Catholic faith, or divine-Catholic faith, and the act by which they reject them – should they unhappily do so – is called heresy.

But there are other truths in the Catholic religion which are not formally revealed by God but which nevertheless are so connected with revealed truth that their denial would lead to the rejection of God’s word, and concerning these the Church, the guardian as well as the teacher of the revealed word, exercises an infallible teaching authority. “Dogmatic facts,”2 theological conclusions, doctrines – whether of faith or morals – involved in the legislation of the Church, in the condemnation of books or persons, in the canonisation of saints, in the approbation of religious orders – all these are matters coming within the infallible competence of the Church, all these are things which every Catholic is bound to believe when the Church pronounces upon them in the exercise of her supreme and infallible teaching office. He accepts them not by divine-Catholic faith, for God has not revealed them, but by ecclesiastical faith, by an assent which is based upon the infallible authority of the divinely appointed Church. Theologians, however, point out that even ecclesiastical faith is at least mediately divine, since it is God who has revealed that His Church is to be believed: “He that heareth you heareth me.”

Already it is apparent that the question: “Must I believe it?” is equivocal. It may mean: “Is this a dogma of faith which I must believe under pain of heresy?” or it may mean: “Is it a doctrine which I must believe by ecclesiastical faith, under pain of being branded as temerarious or proximate to heresy?” But in either case the answer is: “You must believe it.” The only difference lies between the precise motive of assent in either case, or the precise censure which may attach to disbelief. The question thus resolves itself into an investigation whether the doctrine under discussion belongs to either of these categories. And here again there is the possibility of undue restriction.

The Vatican Council has defined that “all those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgement or by her ordinary and universal teaching, proposes for belief as having been divinely revealed.”3 What is liable to be overlooked is the ordinary and universal teaching of the Church. It is by no means uncommon to find the option, if not expressed at least entertained, that no doctrine is to be regarded as a dogma of faith unless it has been solemnly defined by an oecumenical Council or by the Sovereign Pontiff himself. This is by no means necessary. It is sufficient that the Church teaches it by her ordinary magisterium, exercised through the Pastors of the faithful, the Bishops whose unanimous teaching throughout the Catholic world, whether conveyed expressly through pastoral letters, catechisms issued by episcopal authority, provincial synods, or implicitly through prayers and religious practices allowed or encouraged, or through the teaching of approved theologians, is no less infallible than a solemn definition issued by a Pope or a general Council. If, then, a doctrine appears in these organs of divine Tradition as belonging directly or indirectly to the depositum fidei committed by Christ to His Church, it is to be believed by Catholics with divine-Catholic or ecclesiastical faith, even though it may never have formed the subject of a solemn definition in an oecumenical Council or of an ex cathedra pronouncement by the Sovereign Pontiff.4

But, satisfied that the doctrine has been authoritatively and infallibly proposed for belief by the Church, our questioner still waits to be informed whether it is a doctrine which has been formally revealed by God and is therefore to be believed under pain of heresy, or whether it is one of those matters which belong only indirectly to the depositum fidei and therefore to be believed by ecclesiastical faith. In the majority of cases this is not difficult to decide: dogmatic facts, canonizations, legislation – these evidently are not revealed by God and belong to the secondary object of the infallible magisterium. But the line of demarcation between dogmas and theological conclusions is not always so clear. There are some doctrines concerning which it may be doubted whether they are formally revealed by God or whether they are merely conclusions which are deduced from revealed truth, and it is part of the theologian’s congenial task to endeavour to determine this. The doctrine of the Assumption is a case in point. But so far as Catholics generally are concerned it is not a matter of great importance, for if the Church – as we are supposing – teaches such doctrines in the exercise of her infallible office the faithful are bound sub gravi to believe them; in practice it is a question of determining whether he who denies them is very near to heresy or whether he has actually fallen into it. In either case he has committed a grave sin against faith.II.It is time now to turn our attention more particularly to the first word in our question, and to bring our inquiry to bear precisely upon the moral obligation of the Catholic in the matter of belief. For the Catholic not only believes, he mustbelieve. To the question: “Why do you believe?” I may answer by indicating the motive or ground of my assent. But to the question: “Why must you believe?” I can only answer by pointing to the authority which imposes the obligation.

It is important, I think, to distinguish two aspects of teaching authority. It may be regarded as an authority in dicendo or an authority in jubendo, that is, as an authority which commands intellectual assent or as a power which demands obedience; and the two aspects are by no means inseparable. I can imagine an authority which constitutes a sufficient motive to command assent, without however being able to impose belief as a moral obligation. A professor learned in some subject upon which I am ignorant (let me confess – astronomy) – may tell me wonderful things about the stars. He may be to my knowledge the leading authority – virtually infallible – on his own subject; but I am not bound to believe him. I may be foolish, I may be sceptical; but the professor does not possess that authority over me which makes it my bounden duty to accept his word. On the other hand the school-boy who dissents, even internally, from what his teacher tells him, is insufferably conceited, and if he disagrees openly he is insubordinate and deserves to be punished. By virtue of his position as authoritative teacher the schoolmaster has a right to demand the obedient assent of his pupils; not merely because he is likely to know more about the subject than those over whom he is set – he may be incompetent – but because he is deputed by a legitimate authority to teach them.

However, let us not exaggerate. Ad impossibile nemo tenetur. The human mind cannot accept statements which are absurd, nor can it be obliged to do so. A statement can be accepted by the mind only on condition that it is credible: that it involves no evident contradiction, and that the person who vouches for its truth is known to possess the knowledge and veracity which make it worthy of credence; and in the absence of such conditions the obligation of acceptance ceases. On the other hand, where a legitimately constituted teaching authority exists their absence will not lightly be presumed. On the contrary, obedience to authority (considered as authority in jubendo) will predispose to the assumption that they are present.

Turning now to the Church, and with this distinction still in mind, we are confronted by an institution to which Christ, the Word Incarnate, has entrusted the office of teaching all men: “Going therefore teach ye all nations…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Herein lies the source of the obligation to believe what the Church teaches. The Church possesses the divine commission to teach, and hence there arises in the faithful a moral obligation to believe, which is founded ultimately, not upon the infallibility of the Church, but upon God’s sovereign right to the submission and intellectual allegiance (rationabile obsequium) of His creatures: “He that believeth…shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” It is the God-given right of the Church to teach, and therefore it is the bounden duty of the faithful to believe.

But belief, however obligatory, is possible only on condition that the teaching proposed is guaranteed as credible. And therefore Christ added to His commission to teach the promise of the divine assistance: “Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.” This divine assistance implies that, at any rate within a certain sphere, the Church teaches infallibly; and consequently, at least within those limits, the credibility of her teaching is beyond question. When the Church teaches infallibly the faithful know that what she teaches belongs, either directly or indirectly, to the depositum fidei committed to her by Christ; and their faith thus becomes grounded, immediately or mediately, upon the divine authority. But the infallibility of the Church does not, precisely as such, render belief obligatory. It renders her teaching divinely credible. What makes belief obligatory is her divine commission to teach.

The importance of this distinction becomes apparent when we consider that the Church does not always teach infallibly, even on those matters which are within the sphere of her infallible competence. That the charisma is limited in its exercise as well as in its sphere may be gathered from the words of the Vatican Council, which defines that the Roman Pontiff5 enjoys infallibility “when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when, exercising his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, according to his supreme apostolic authority he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.” Hence infallibility is exercised only when the supreme teaching authority, in the use of its full prerogatives, determines in an irrevocable manner6 a doctrine on faith or morals to be held, either by divine Catholic faith or by ecclesiastical faith,7 by all the faithful. If, therefore, at any time a pronouncement is issued by the Ecclesia docens which is shown not to be an exercise of the supreme authority in all its fullness, or is not addressed to the whole Church as binding on all the faithful, or is not intended to determine a doctrine in an irrevocable manner, then such pronouncement is not infallible.

To formulate and to discuss the criteria by which an infallible utterance may be diagnosed as such is another task for the theologian, and in any case is beyond the scope of this paper. For our purpose it is sufficient to register the fact that much of the authoritative teaching of the Church, whether in the form of Papal encyclicals, decisions, condemnations, replies from Roman Congregations – such as the Holy office – or from the Biblical Commission, is not an exercise of the infallible magisterium. And here once again our cautious believer raises his voice: “Must I believe it?”III.The answer is implicit in the principles already established. We have seen that the source of the obligation to believe is not the infallibility of the Church but her divine commission to teach. Therefore, whether her teaching is guaranteed by infallibility or not, the Church is always the divinely appointed teacher and guardian of revealed truth, and consequently the supreme authority of the Church, even when it does not intervene to make an infallible and definitive decision on matters of faith or morals, has the right, in virtue of the divine commission, to command the obedient assent of the faithful. In the absence of infallibility the assent thus demanded cannot be that of faith, whether Catholic or ecclesiastical; it will be an assent of a lower order proportioned to its ground or motive. But whatever name be given to it – for the present we may call it belief – it is obligatory; obligatory not because the teaching is infallible – it is not – but because it is the teaching of the divinely appointed Church. It is the duty of the Church, as Franzelin has pointed out,8 not only to teach revealed doctrine but also to protect it, and therefore the Holy See “may prescribe as to be followed or proscribe as to be avoided theological opinions or opinions connected with theology, not only with the intention of infallibly deciding the truth by a definitive pronouncement, but also – without any such intention – merely for the purpose of safeguarding the security of Catholic doctrine.” If it is the duty of the Church, even though non-infallibly, to “prescribe or proscribe” doctrines to this end, then it is evidently also the duty of the faithful to accept them or reject them accordingly.

Nor is this obligation of submission to the non-infallible utterances of authority satisfied by the so-called silentium obsequiosum. The security of Catholic doctrine, which is the purpose of these decisions, would not be safeguarded if the faithful were free to withhold their assent. It is not enough that they should listen in respectful silence, refraining from open opposition. They are bound in conscience to submit to them,9 and conscientious submission to a doctrinal decree does not mean only to abstain from publicly rejecting it; it means the submission of one’s own judgment to the more competent judgment of authority.

But, as we have already remarked, ad impossibile nemo tenetur, and without an intellectual motive of some sort no intellectual assent, however obligatory, is possible. On what intellectual ground, therefore, do the faithful base the assent which they are obliged to render to these non-infallible decisions of authority? On what Cardinal Franzelin10 somewhat cumbrously but accurately describes as auctoritas universalis providentiae ecclesiasticae. The faithful rightly consider that, even where there is no exercise of the infallible magisterium, divine Providence has a special care for the Church of Christ; that therefore the Sovereign Pontiff in view of his sacred office is endowed by God with the graces necessary for the proper fulfilment of it; that therefore his doctrinal utterances, even when not guaranteed by infallibility, enjoy the highest competence; that in a proportionate degree this is true also of the Roman Congregations and of the Biblical Commission, composed of men of great learning and experience, who are fully alive to the needs and doctrinal tendencies of the day, and who, in view of the care and the (proverbial) caution with which they carry out the duties committed to them by the Sovereign Pontiff, inspire full confidence in the wisdom and prudence of their decisions. Based as it is upon these considerations of a religious order, the assent in question is called a “religious assent.”

But these decisions are not infallible, and therefore religious assent lacks that perfect certainty which belongs to divine Catholic faith and ecclesiastical faith. On the other hand belief in the Providence which governs the Church in all its activities, and especially in all the manifestations of the supreme ecclesiastical authority, forbids us to doubt or to suspend assent. The Catholic will not allow his thought to wander into channels where he is assured by authority that danger threatens his faith; he will – indeed he must – suffer it to be guided by what he is bound to regard as the competent custodian of revealed truth. In the cases which we are now contemplating, he is not told how to adhere with the fullness of certainty to a doctrine which is divinely guaranteed by infallibility; but he is told that this particular proposition may be maintained with perfect safety, while its contradictory is fraught with danger to the faith; that in the circumstances and in the present state of our knowledge this or that interpretation of Scripture may not safely be forsaken; that a particular philosophical tenet may lead to serious errors in a matter of faith. And the Catholic must shun the danger of which he is authoritatively warned by bowing to the judgment of authority. He must not doubt, he must assent.

Logically implied in these precautionary decisions is a truth of the speculative order, whether ethical or dogmatic. But upon that speculative truth as such the decree does not pronounce; it envisages merely the question of security.11 Thus, for example, the answer of the Holy Office to the question about craniotomy12 is based upon a moral principle which is a part of Catholic ethical doctrine. But the Congregation did not define that principle as a truth, although it is a truth. It merely stated that it is unsafe to teach that such an operation is licit; that Catholic ethical doctrine would be endangered by such teaching. Therefore the Catholic is bound to reject the suggestion that the operation may be permissible; he must believe that it is not allowed. Otherwise he would put himself in the danger of denying an ethical doctrine of the Catholic Church. On June 5th, 1918, the Holy Office in reply to a question decreed: “non posse tuto doceri…certam non posse dici sententiam quae statuit animam Christi nihil ignoravisse.”13 Implied in this decision is the (speculative) truth that in Christ there was no ignorance. But the Holy Office did not define that truth. It merely stated that it is unsafe to cast any doubt upon the opinion that the soul of Christ was free from ignorance. Therefore the Catholic must hold it as certain that Christ was ignorant of nothing; otherwise he would endanger the integrity of Catholic doctrine.

But in the absence of infallibility there is the possibility of error, and hence the stickler for philosophical accuracy may refuse to religious assent the attribute of certainty. Without quoting the homily on certainty which the judge reads to the jury at the beginning of his summing-up, we may none the less recall it to memory, and add to it the consideration that in the case before us the presumption in favour of truth, resting as it does upon the auctoritas universalis providentiae ecclesiasticae, renders the possibility of error so remote as to engender a high degree of what is known as “moral certainty.” The generality of the faithful are not troubled by difficulties in these matters, and no fear of error assails them. The learned, however, are not always so fortunate; their studies may tempt them sometimes to question the non-infallible decisions of authority. Obedience to that authority, while it does not forbid the private and respectful submission of such difficulties for official consideration, none the less demands that all Catholics, learned and unlearned alike, yield their judgment to the guidance of those whom Providence has set to guard the deposit of faith.14

To sum up, Catholics are bound to believe what the Church teaches. To refuse the assent of divine-Catholic faith to a dogma is to be a heretic; to refuse the assent of ecclesiastical faith to a doctrine which the Church teaches as belonging indirectly to the deposit of faith is to be more or less near to heresy; to refuse internal religious assent to the non-infallible doctrinal decisions of the Holy See is to fail in that submission which Catholics are strictly bound to render to the teaching authority of the Church.

Are there, then, no fields of thought in which the Catholic may wander fancy-free? There are indeed; and they are the happy hunting-ground of the theologian. But he speculates more freely when he is free from the danger of error. His investigations are more fruitful, pursued within the limits of God’s truth. There he is free, with the freedom with which Christ has made him free.

________________________
Footnotes

1. Vatican Council, De fide catholica, cap. iii. [Denzinger, 1793.]
2. E.g.: that a certain book contains errors in matters of faith; that a particular Council is oecumenical, etc.
3. Loc.cit.
4. Thus various events in the life of Christ (e.g., the raising of Lazarus from the dead) are certainly revealed by God and, though never defined solemnly, are taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium. Many theological conclusions concerning Christ (with regard to His knowledge, His sanctifying grace) are universally taught by theologians as proximate to faith, though they may never have been defined either by the Pope or by a general Council. It may be remarked, however, that in common practice a person is not regarded as a heretic unless he has denied a revealed truth which has been solemnly defined. (Vacant: Etudes théologiques sur les Constitutiones du Concile [t.II, pp.117 sq.).
5. What is said of the Pope alone is true also of the corpus episcoporum, for the Council states that “the Roman Pontiff enjoys that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed.”
6. “Definit.”
7. The word “tenendam” was used instead of “credendam” in order not to restrict infallibility to the definition of dogmas (Acta Conc. Vat., Coll. Lac., t.VII, ed. 1704 seq.).
8. De Scriptura et Traditione (1870), p.116.
9. Letter of Pius IX to the Archbishop of Munich, 1861; cf. Denzinger, 1684.
10. Loc.cit.
11. Hence it may be understood why such decrees are not of themselves irreformable. It may happen, for example, that the rejection of the authenticity of a Scriptural passage is unsafe at a particular time, but becomes safe at another in consequence of progress in Biblical studies.
12. Denzinger, 1889.
13. Denzinger, 2184.
14. On the subject of religious assent see especially L. Choupin: Valeur des Décisions doctrinales et disciplinaires du Saint-Siège (Beauchesne, 1913), pp. 82 ff.


Source: Canon George Smith, “Must I Believe It?”, The Clergy Review, vol. 9 [April, 1935], pp. 296-309. The electronic version has been copied from http://www.sedevacantist.com/believe.html. All italics and bold print given.

from Novus Ordo Watch

Ark of Apostasy

The apostate Jesuit Jorge Bergoglio — more commonly known by his stage name “Pope Francis” — caused a ruckus last week when he co-signed a document on “human fraternity” with Sunni Muslim Imam Ahamad Al-Tayyib declaring that God wills there to be a plurality and diversity of religions. We covered this in our post “Apostasy in Abu Dhabi: Francis says God wills Diversity of Religions”.

Just before the signing of the joint declaration, Francis gave a lengthy speech in which he called all participants of the interreligious conference he was attending to “enter together as one family into an ark which can sail the stormy seas of the world: the ark of fraternity.” In a separate article, we dismantled Francis’ sophistry and demonstrated how his address contradicts the traditional and immemorial Catholic teachings left and right. Please see our post “No Ark of Salvation: A Critical Look at Francis’ ‘Ark of Fraternity’ Speech”.

Meanwhile, and quite predictably, some Novus Ordo pundits and apologists have weighed in with the aim of defending Francis from charges of heresy and apostasy — to no avail, as we will see shortly. First, we must look again at the passage that is at the heart of all the controversy. Francis and his imam friend both signed a declaration that includes the following contention:

Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives.

(Antipope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyib, “A Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”Vatican.va, Feb. 4, 2019; underlining added.)

This is blasphemy and apostasy so bold and clear that one must wonder in amazement that God did not strike Bergoglio dead on the spot when he signed this. There can be no excuse for and no defense of such an outrage and abomination, especially when it comes from someone who purports to be the Pope of the Catholic Church!

Alas, this doesn’t mean that people haven’t tried. The so-called Catholic News Agency wasted no time to try to spin Francis’ words into something approaching orthodoxy. To this end, they consulted Dr. Chad Pecknold of the Modernist den known as the Catholic University of America:

This statement must be read in the proper context and perspective, said Dr. Chad Pecknold, associate professor of systematic theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

“In sensitive inter-religious contexts, it is fitting for the Holy See to acknowledge that despite serious theological disagreements, Catholics and Muslims have much in common, such as a common belief that human beings are ‘willed by God in his wisdom,’” Pecknold told CNA.

“The idea that God wills the diversity of color, sex, race and language is easily understood, but some may find it puzzling to hear the Vicar of Christ talk about God willing the diversity of religions,” he noted.

“It is puzzling, and potentially problematic, but in the context of the document, the Holy Father is clearly referring not to the evil of many false religions, but positively refers to the diversity of religions only in the sense that they are evidence of our natural desire to know God.”

“God wills that all men come to know Him through the free choice of their will, and so it follows that a diversity of religions can be spoken about as permissively willed by God without denying the supernatural good of one true religion,” he added.

(Mary Rezac, “Pope Francis signs peace declaration on ‘Human Fraternity’ with Grand Imam”Catholic News Agency, Feb. 5, 2019)

Pecknold used the only possible excuse available to him: that Francis and the imam were referring to God’s permissive Will, meaning that God wills the diversity of religions in a manner of toleration. In other words, according to such an interpretation, God would not desire but merely tolerate or permit the evil of false religions, for the sake of a greater good. Such a claim regarding God’s Will would be orthodox. Thus Pecknold is convinced he has saved Francis from having defected from the Faith, and he points to the context of the statement as vindicating this reading.

The problem is, Pecknold is wrong. The context confirms that Francis and his fellow non-Christian co-signer did not mean God’s permissive Will but His positive and active Will, and this is fairly easy to demonstrate. Look at the actual wording of the document: “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.” Francis mentions pluralism and diversity of religions alongside “color, sex, race and language.” But these latter are not willed by God merely permissively; that is, they are not an evil that God simply tolerates. Rather, they are part and parcel of God’s original and positive creation (in the case of sex, race, and color; see Gen 1:27; cf. Lk 3:38) or of His active institution afterwards (in the case of a plurality of languages; see Gen 11:7), even though He introduced them as a punishment.

Just as it would be obviously absurd to say that Francis and Al-Tayyib meant that God merely permits different sexes, races, and languages, so the two non-Catholics could not have meant that God merely permits different religions, either. No, indeed, they dare to affirm that the different creeds are the design of God’s “wisdom, through which He created human beings.” Aside from that, it is to be doubted that the Sunni Muslim cleric would have been willing to sign a document which Bergoglio understands to be saying that Islam is an evil that God merely tolerates.

We sedevacantists are by no means the only ones who have found Pecknold’s argumentation wanting. The conservative Novus Ordo news site Life Site consulted a Dominican theologian who stated flat out that the obvious sense of the passage in question is heretical, and he called Pecknold’s reading “a strained and unnatural interpretation,” which is exactly what it is. The Novus Ordo Dominican added: “You might as well say that someone who said that gassing Jews was good only meant that it is good that we have the chemical and physiological knowledge that makes it possible.” Touché!

Thus it turns out that Pecknold did not come up with a genuine interpretation of the text. Rather, he engaged in spin with the sole aim of getting Francis off the hook.

…As did the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, and he was not ashamed to admit it: “We must seek a way to understand this without it sounding like heresy”, the popular blogger prefaced his “explanation” of Bergoglio’s latest affront to sound doctrine and right reason. But must we?

No, Mr. Zuhlsdorf — not only are we not required to understand Francis’ words in an orthodox sense, we are not reasonably able and therefore not even permitted to. It should go without saying that before anything else we must seek to understand the text as it was intended by the authors. The intention is grasped by examining what is said, how it is said, in what context it is said, and by whom it is said — and the only possible conclusion one can reasonably come to is that Francis intended heresy — in fact, apostasy. Zuhlsdorf’s spin of Francis’ words was essentially the same as Pecknold’s and hence is equally untenable.

Naturally, the Rev. John Hunwicke heaped praise on “Fr.” Z’s attempt and called it a “characteristically fine and intelligent interpretation of Pope Francis’ words.” Curiously enough, however, just a few lines later he added: “But I do think it is outrageous that pastors and academics should have to waste their time dreaming up these ‘interpretations’ of yet another P[ope] F[rancis] disaster.” We’re glad to see “Fr.” Hunwicke admit that what Zuhlsdorf did is not a correct interpretation at all but simply time-consuming and dreamed-up bovine manure. Why at the same time he calls Mr. Z’s spin a “characteristically fine and intelligent interpretation”, is anyone’s guess.

Other semi-traditionalist commentators did not bother trying to defend Francis or spin his words. Among them are Christopher A. Ferrara, John Lamont, and Roberto de Mattei. We will say a few words about each of them.

Chris Ferrara, one of the false traditionalists’ rhetoricians-in-chief, offered an analysis that was rightly critical of Francis but surprisingly subdued in tone. Instead of rending his cyber garments over a blatant and inexcusable “papal” act of apostasy, Ferrara wrote a critique of Bergoglio’s latest spiritual crime that was noticeably restrained in terms of emotion and rhetoric. For Ferrara, one more ho-hum act of abandoning what God has revealed on the part of his “Pope” must not be all that much to get upset about anymore.

Why should it faze him? After all, he has long decided that Francis, whom he has denounced as an “anti-Catholic Pope”“undertaker Pope” , and a “Pelagian Lutheran” in the past, definitely is the Pope no matter what, because otherwise the sedevacantists would be right, and we just can’t have that. Besides, if push comes to shove, he is happy to declare that “it doesn’t matter” if Francis is a real Pope or not (see here, beginning at 6:46 and 15:24 min marks). Only someone who has abandoned belief in the Papacy can state such dangerous nonsense.

Then there was the contribution of Dr. John Lamont. He admits that what Francis signed “is directly contrary to the Catholic faith.” That means it is heretical. Lamont acknowledges that some have tried to argue that where the text speaks of God willing a plurality of religions, what is meant is His permissive Will, but he rightly rejects such an explanation as unjustifiable. He concludes: “This statement by Pope Francis is thus a clear, public repudiation of the Catholic faith. It follows a series of other more or less clear and public repudiations of this kind.”

Unfortunately, however, Lamont still does not draw any conclusion from this clear departure of the Faith on the part of Bergoglio. Instead, he complains that no one is taking any action: “Enough has been said about this rejection of the faith; it is time that something was done about it.” We invite him to make a start by publicly denouncing Francis as an apostate, as a papal impostor and most dangerous spiritual criminal who leads countless souls to hell by his public repudiation of and continual attacks on the Catholic Faith. This is crucial because to go on acknowledging him as the Pope of the Catholic Church makes one complicit in the damage he inflicts on souls, because being recognized as Pope is what gives him all his de facto spiritual and doctrinal power over so many people.

Lastly, we must not fail to mention the piece written by the semi-trad historian Prof. Roberto de Mattei. To his credit, he too made no effort to explain Francis’ heresy away. Instead, he rightly accused him of promoting Freemasonic ideas. But he concluded with this unintentionally amusing comment: “In reality Freemasonry continues to be condemned by the Church, even if the men of the Church, at the highest levels, seem to embrace its ideas.”

Such a plain absurdity is the result of desperately trying to reconcile the irreconcilable: that people who are manifest heretics or apostates can nevertheless be legitimate Catholic hierarchs. Think about it: De Mattei is essentially saying that the Church condemns something that her Pope and bishops endorse. Does this make any sense? Who is the governing and teaching authority in the Church if not the Pope and the bishops in communion with him?

It is truly tragic to see what kind of pretzel argumentation intelligent people are willing to come up with in order to avoid the sedevacantist conclusion. They do not seem to realize just how much damage they are doing to the Catholic Faith and to souls by their stubborn refusal to acknowledge the facts.

By the way, this past Friday, Feb. 8, we released an 18-minute podcast exposing Francis’ apostasy in the Abu Dhabi fraternity document and commenting on various reactions to it. You may want to listen to it and share it with friends and family:

One of the biggest problems that keeps people entrapped in the Vatican II Church is the fact that there are too many theological shysters out there who constantly try to get Francis or his Modernist predecessors off the hook because they don’t want to have to deal with the consequences of a heretical “pope”. A prime example can be seen in Zuhlsdorf’s clear admission that he’s not interested in finding out what Francis said or meant, but only in spinning the passage in such a way as to save him from the accusation of heresy.

But what does such maneuvering ever accomplish? All it does is keep alive and viable Francis’ claim to being the Pope — but then again, that’s all it’s ultimately meant to do. If that means that the Faith has to go out the window, then that just’s too bad for the Faith.

Ironically, such people are willing to sacrifice the Papacy in order to have a Pope. It’s like doing away with the concept of fatherhood in order to have a father — it’s a Pyrrhic victory at best. Just today, Rorate Caeli tweeted: “Liberal Catholics, in general, do not believe in God at all” (source). And yet, they call them “Catholics” nonetheless and even identify the chief “Liberal Catholic” of all, Jorge Bergoglio, as their Pope! As though nothing followed from possessing the papal primacy. None are so blind as those who refuse to see.

The semi-trad bloggers, professors, journalists, etc. appear oblivious to the fact that Sacred Theology is not their personal playground, where they can affirm just about anything they please. Yet, this seems to be exactly what they think, with one supposed safety precaution: They will never affirm that Francis isn’t actually a true Pope or that the See of Peter is vacant. Because that would be just crazy, schismatic, and heretical, wouldn’t it!?

We have called this the “Anything but Sedevacantism” phenomenon, and it is as popular as ever. It is not without reason that we have asked in the past: Why is there such an unreasonable fear of Sedevacantism? How will we ever be soldiers of Christ, ready to die a martyr’s death if need be, if we cannot even man up and face the facts about what has happened to the Catholic Church?

Ignorance can be quite culpable, and rejecting the truth can have eternal consequences. St. Paul gave a warning to the Thessalonians that clearly pertains to our times:

And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 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 Thessalonians 2:8-11)

Alas, with each day that passes, this world is making itself more and more deserving of the arrival of the Antichrist.