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Church’s Infallibility – II

Church’s Infallibility – II posted in Eleison Comments on February 15, 2014

Much needs to be said about the Church’s infallibility, especially to correct illusions arising (by mistake) from the Definition of Papal infallibility in 1870. Today for instance sedevacantists and liberals think that their positions are wholly opposed, but do they stop for a moment to see how similarly they think?—Major: Popes are infallible. Minor: Conciliar Popes are liberal. Liberal Conclusion: we must become liberal. Sedevacantist Conclusion: they cannot be Popes. The error is neither in the logic, nor in the Minor. It can only be in a misunderstanding on both their parts of infallibility in the Major. Once again, modern men put authority above truth.

Eternal God is Truth itself, absolutely infallible. In created time, through his Incarnate Son, he instituted his Church with a doctrine for the salvation of human souls. Coming from him that doctrine could only be inerrant, but to keep it free from the errors of the human churchmen to whom he would entrust it, his Son promised them the “spirit of truth” to guide them “for ever” (Jn. XIV, 16). For indeed without some such guarantee, how could God require of men, on pain of eternal damnation, to believe in his Son, in his doctrine and in his Church (Mk.XVI, 16)?

Yet even from churchmen God will not take away that free-will to err which he gave them. And he will allow that freedom to go as far as they wish, short of their making his Truth inaccessible to men. That reaches far, and it includes a number of highly defective Popes, but God’s reach is still farther than the wickedness of men (Isaiah LIX, 1,2). At Vatican II for instance, Church error went a long way, without however God’s allowing his Church to be wholly defectible in its presentation to men of the inerrant Truth coming from his own infallibility. Even the Conciliar Popes have told many Catholic truths alongside their Conciliar errors.

But how then can I, a simple soul, tell the difference between their truths and their errors? Firstly, if I am truly looking for God with an upright heart, he will guide me to him, as the Bible says in many places. And secondly, God’s doctrine being as unchangeable as God, it must be the doctrine that I find (nearly) all his churchmen to have taught and handed down in (nearly) all places and at (nearly) all times, best known as Tradition. From the beginning of the Church, that handing down has been the surest test of what Our Lord himself taught. Down the ages inerrant Tradition has been the work of millions of churchmen. It has been that for which God endowed his Church as a whole, and not just the Popes, with the guidance of the infallible Holy Ghost.

Here is, so to speak, the cake of Church infallibility upon which the Popes’ solemn Definitions are merely the icing, precious and necessary, the peak of the Church’s infallibility, but not its mountain bulk. Notice firstly that Definitions by the Popes’ Extraordinary Magisterium existed not only from 1870 but from the beginning of the Church, and they existed not to make Tradition true but merely to make certain what belonged to Tradition and what did not, whenever the erring of men had made that uncertain. Sensing truth, Archbishop Lefebvre rightly preferred inerrant Tradition to gravely erring Popes. Never having understood him, like all modern liberals not sensing truth, his successors are in the process of preferring erring Popes to inerrant Tradition. Underestimating truth and overestimating the Popes, sedevacantists wholly repudiate the erring Popes and can be tempted to quit the Church altogether. Lord, have mercy!

Kyrie eleison.

Conciliarizing Apace

Conciliarizing Apace posted in Eleison Comments on September 14, 2013

A good article arguing that the June 27 Declaration of three Society of St Pius X bishops is not as faithful to Catholic Tradition as it may seem to be, appeared in the August issue of England’s new Catholic monthly magazine, The Recusant, self-described as “An unofficial SSPX newsletter fighting a guerrilla war for the soul of Tradition.” A brief survey can hardly do justice to the article’s seven dense pages, but the main line of thought deserves to be known. Here it is –

At first sight the June 27 Declaration seems to be Traditional, but, as with the documents of Vatican II A, there is usually a loophole, a fatal flaw, which allows the rest of the document to be undone. Let us take a closer look, paragraph by paragraph:—

#1 “Filial gratitude” is expressed towards Archbishop Lefebvre, but only harmless and soft-sounding quotes of his are included in the Declaration, with nothing from his 1988 Consecrations sermon, and none of his hard-hitting reasons for creating bishops to resist the “antichrists” in Rome. #3 It is admitted that the “cause” of the errors devastating the Catholic Church is in the Conciliar documents, but that is not to admit that the errors are there, since cause and effect cannot be identical. Yet most serious errors are themselves in the Council’s texts, e.g. religious liberty. #4 It is recognized that Vatican II changed and vitiated the Church’s manner of teaching, or teaching authority, but the main problem is not authority, but doctrine – see #8. #5 Only relatively soft language is used to evoke the Conciliar Church’s “non-preoccupation” with the “reign of Christ.” In fact the Conciliar Church denies and contradicts the full and true doctrine of the Social Kingship of Christ the King, battle-flag of the Archbishop and true Catholics today. #6 As in #3, it is admitted that the Council text’s teaching on religious liberty leads to the dissolving of Christ, but the text is that dissolving, or putting of man in the place of God. Vatican II is the fruit not just of human weakness or absent-mindedness, but of a diabolical conspiracy. #7 Similarly ecumenism and interreligious dialogue are not just “silencing the truth about the one true Church,” they are denying and contradicting it. Nor are they just “killing the missionary spirit,” they are killing the missions, and with them millions of souls, all over the world. #8 On the other hand the ruin of the Church’s institutions is blamed on the destruction of authority within the Church by the Council’s collegiality and democratic spirit. But the essential problem (as the paragraph’s opening sentence does weakly say) is the loss of faith. Authority is secondary. #9 While pointing to real faults and serious omissions in the Novus Ordo rite of Mass, no mention is made of the worldwide carnage of souls wrought by its falsifying of their worship of God. The Novus Ordo Mass has been the main engine of the Church’s destruction from 1969 until today. #10 In conclusion, timid and deferential language is used to “ask with insistence” that Rome return to Tradition. But of course, in accordance with the SSPX’s “re-branding,” the Newsociety wants no more fighters or fighting talk. #11 The three bishops “mean . . .to follow Providence,” whether Rome returns to Tradition or not. What can that mean other than the eventual acceptance of a deal that will by-pass doctrine? #12 The Declaration concludes piously, with another dovelike quote from the Archbishop.

And The Recusant arrives at the sad but all too probable conclusion that the Declaration is only an apparent step backwards from the Declarations of April 15 and July 14 of last year, which were two clear steps forward in the conciliarizing of the SSPX. Heaven help it!

Kyrie eleison.

Undignified Dignity

Undignified Dignity posted in Eleison Comments on March 16, 2013

A reader has argued in favour of the Vatican II teaching on religious liberty. Even if the subject has often come up in “Eleison Comments,” her arguments are surely worth going through, because it is vital for Catholics today to grasp thoroughly the falsehood of that teaching. What the Council taught in paragraph #2 of its Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis Humanae), is that all men are to be free from all coercion by any other men or group of men when it comes to acting in private or in public in accordance with their beliefs. Moreover every human State must make this natural right into a constitutional or civil right.

On the contrary, all the way up to Vatican II the Catholic Church consistently taught that every State, as embodying God’s civil authority over God’s human creatures, is obliged as such to use that authority to protect and favour God’s one true Church, the Catholic Church of the Incarnate God, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Obviously, non-Catholic States will be condemned rather for their lack of faith than for not giving civil protection to that faith. Likewise Catholic States may refrain from prohibiting the public practice of false religions where such prohibition will do more harm than good for the salvation of the citizens’ souls. But the principle remains intact: God’s States must protect God’s true religion.

In fact the Conciliar teaching implies either that States are not from God, or that there is no one true religion of God. Either way it is implicitly liberating the State from God, and so putting the liberty of man above the rights of God, or, simply, man above God. That is why Archbishop Lefebvre said that the Conciliar teaching was blasphemy. And it is no use saying that the other paragraphs of DH contain good Catholic teaching. One gash by the iceberg was enough to sink the Titanic. DH#2 alone is enough to sink Catholic doctrine. But let us see the arguments in defence of the Council’s teaching.

1 DH is part of the Church’s Ordinary Magisterium, which must be taken seriously. DH came from the Church’s Magisters, or masters, yes, but not from the infallible Ordinary Magisterium, because DH contradicts the Church’s traditional teaching, as shown above. 2 DH merely makes clear human rights that are granted by natural law.Natural law puts the rights of man below, and not above, the rights of God. 3 DH does not negate the Catholic model for Church-State relations.It most certainly does! Paragraph #2 liberates the State from its intrinsic obligation to the one true Church. 4 DH is written in the context of the modern world where everybody believes in human rights. Since when must the Church be adapted to the world, and not the world to the Church? 5 DH does not teach that man has a right to error. If God’s State must grant a civil right to practise, in public, false religions, then God is being made to grant a right to error. 6 DH is a plea to modern governments to grant half a loaf, which is better than no bread.True Catholic doctrine is so logical and so coherent that to give away any of it is to give away all of it. And what sheep saved itself by offering itself to the wolf? 7 Catholics must not retreat from the modern world into a doctrinal ghetto.Catholics must do whatever they have to do, go wherever they have to go, in order not to give away the rights of God or compromise his honour. If that means martyrdom, so be it!

Kyrie eleison.

Reversible Declaration

Reversible Declaration posted in Eleison Comments on September 22, 2012

Not everything about the General Chapter of the Society of St Pius X held in Switzerland in July may have been disastrous, but of its two official fruits, the “Six Conditions” were “alarmingly weak” (cf. EC 268, Sept. 1), and its final “Declaration” leaves much to be desired. Here is the briefest of summaries of its ten paragraphs:—

1 We thank God for 42 years of our Society’s existence. 2 We have rediscovered our unity after the recent crisis(really?), 3 in order to profess our faith 4 in the Church, in the Pope, in Christ the King. 5 We hold to the Church’s constant Magisterium, 6 as also to its constant Tradition. 7 We join with all Catholics now being persecuted. 8 We pray for help to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 9 to St. Michael 10 and to St Pius X. This is a Declaration not lacking in piety, which St Paul says is useful for all purposes (I Tim. IV, 8). However, to his two disciples, Timothy and Titus, he is constantly emphasizing the need for doctrine, which is the foundation of true piety. Alas, the Declaration is rather less strong in doctrine. Instead of blasting the Council’s doctrinal errors which have been devastating the Church for the last 50 years, it has in its most doctrinal paragraphs, 5 and 6, only a timid condemnation of those errors, together with a tribute to the unchanging Magisterium (5) and Tradition (6) of the Church, accurate but constituting an argument all too easily reversible by a Conciliarist. See how:—

Paragraph 5 mentions Vatican II novelties being “stained with errors,” whereas the Church’s constant Magisterium is uninterrupted: “By its act of teaching it transmits the revealed deposit in perfect harmony with everything the universal Church has taught in all times and places.” Which of course implies that Rome should take Vatican II to the cleaners to take out the stains. But see how a Roman can reply: “The Chapter’s expression of the continuity of the Magisterium is wholly admirable! But we Romans are that Magisterium, and we say that Vatican II is not stained!”

Similarly with paragraph 6. The Declaration states, “The constant Tradition of the Church transmits and will transmit to the end of time the collection of teachings necessary to keep the Faith and save one’s soul.” So the Church authorities need to return to Tradition. Roman reply: “ The Chapter’s description of how Tradition hands down the Faith is wholly admirable! But we Romans are the guardians of that Tradition, and we say, by the hermeneutic of continuity, that Vatican II does not interrupt it but continues it. So the Chapter is entirely wrong to suggest that we need to return to it.”

Contrast the force of Archbishop Lefebvre’s irreversible attack on the errors of Vatican II in his famous Declaration of November, 1974. He declares that Conciliar Rome is not Catholic Rome because the Conciliar reform is “naturalist, Teilhardian, liberal and Protestant . . . poisoned through and through . . . coming from heresy and leading to heresy,” etc, etc. His conclusion is a categorical refusal to have anything to do with the Newrome because it is absolutely not the true Rome.

Pull up on the Internet both Declarations, and see which is an unmistakeable trumpet-call for the necessary battle (I Cor.XIV, 8)! One has to wonder how many of the 2012 capitulants have ever studied what the Archbishop said, and why.

Kyrie eleison.

“Rebellious, Divisive”

“Rebellious, Divisive” posted in Eleison Comments on September 15, 2012

The seventh chapter of the Gospel of St John has a special lesson for today: who are the real rebels against authority, and who are the merely apparent rebels? Who appears to be dividing the people of God, and who is really dividing them? Things are not always what they appear. It is necessary always to “Judge not according to the appearances, but judge just judgment” (Jn. VII, 24).

John VII is close to the end of Our Lord’s life on earth. The Jews are seeking to kill Jesus (verse 1), but Our Lord nevertheless goes up to Jerusalem and teaches in the Temple (14). The crowd is already divided (12), and so the effect of his teaching is that some people (40) recognize in him the prophet (cf. Deut.XVIII, 15–19), while others (41, 42) refuse him that recognition because he is from Galilee. So there is division and dissension. Now division as such is blameworthy, so who is to blame? Certainly not Our Lord, who is merely preaching the doctrine of his Father in Heaven (16–17). Nor can that part of the crowd be blamed which accepted the divine teaching. Clearly the blame for the dissension lies with the Temple authorities and that part of the crowd that was refusing the Truth.

Similarly in the 1970’s and 1980’s Archbishop Lefebvre divided Catholics by teaching and practising the truth of Catholic Tradition, but what Catholic that now boasts of being Traditional blames him for that division? Clearly the blame for the division of the Church lay neither with the Archbishop nor with those who followed him, but mainly with those Church authorities who were twisting the true religion, like the Temple authorities in Our Lord’s own day. Again and again the Archbishop pleaded with them to “judge just judgment” by confronting the central problem created by their Conciliar adultery with the modern world. To this day they refuse that confrontation. Again and again their only answer has been, “Obedience!,” “Unity!.” Does not their lack of arguments as to the basic questions of truth suggest it is they who are the true rebels and dividers of the Church?

Yet dissension as such is not a good thing, and both Our Lord and Archbishop Lefebvre knew ahead that dissension would follow on their teaching. Why then did they still go ahead? Because souls can be saved with dissension (cf. Lk.XII, 51–53), but they cannot be saved without Truth. If the religious authorities are misleading the people – and the Devil works especially hard on them because of their power to lead many other souls astray – then the Truth must be told to bring people back on the path to Heaven, even if dissension will be the result. In this respect Truth is above authority or unity.

And where is that truth in 2012? Vatican II was a disaster for the Church – true or false? The Church authorities who brought about Assisi III and John-Paul II’s “beatification” are clinging to Vatican II – true or false? And so if the Society of Pius X puts itself under those same authorities, they will use all their prestige, and the power over the SSPX that it will have given them, to dissolve its resistance to Vatican II – true or false? So the SSPX runs a grave risk of losing steadily whatever will it still has to resist that prestige and power – true or false? As Romans say, “Rome can wait”!

Then in the SSPX today, if one “judges not according to the appearance but just judgment,” who is it that is being truly “divisive”? Who are the real “rebels against authority”? Those who criticize such a risk of blending Catholic Truth with Conciliar error, or those who are promoting it?

Kyrie eleison.

Doctrine Again

Doctrine Again posted in Eleison Comments on August 18, 2012

The scorn of “doctrine” is an immense problem today. The “best” of Catholics in our 21st century pay lip-service to the importance of “doctrine,” but in their modern bones they feel instinctively that even Catholic doctrine is some kind of prison for their minds, and minds must not be imprisoned. In Washington, D.C., around the interior dome of the Jefferson Memorial, that quasi-religious temple of the United States’ champion of liberty, runs his quasi-religious quotation: I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. Surely he had Catholic doctrine in mind, amongst others. Modern man’s quasi-religion excludes having any fixed doctrine.

However, a sentence from the “Eleison Comments” of two weeks ago (EC 263, July 28) gives a different angle on the nature and importance of “doctrine.” It ran: So long as Rome believes in its Conciliar doctrine, it is bound to use any such(“non-doctrinal”) agreement to pull the SSPX in the direction of the(Second Vatican) Council.In other words what drives Rome supposedly to discount “doctrine” and at all costs to conciliarize the SSPX is their own belief in their own Conciliar doctrine. As Traditional Catholic doctrine is – one hopes – the driving force of the SSPX, so Conciliar doctrine is the driving force of Rome. The two doctrines clash, but each of them is a driving force.

In other words, “doctrine” is not just a set of ideas in a man’s head, or a mental prison. Whatever ideas a man chooses to hold in his head, his real doctrine is that set of ideas that drives his life. Now a man may change that set of ideas, but he cannot not have one. Here is how Aristotle put it: “If you want to philosophize, then you have to philosophize. If you don’t want to philosophize, you still have to philosophize. In any case a man has to philosophize.” Similarly, liberals may scorn any set of ideas as a tyranny, but to hold any set of ideas to be a tyranny is still a major idea, and it is the one idea that drives the lives of zillions of liberals today, and of all too many Catholics. These should know better, but all of us moderns have the worship of liberty in our bloodstream.

Thus doctrine in its real sense is not just an imprisoning set of ideas, but that central notion of God, man and life that directs the life of every man alive. Even if a man is committing suicide, he is being driven by the idea that life is too miserable to be worth continuing. A notion of life centred on money may drive a man to become rich; on pleasure to become a rake; on recognition to become famous, and so on. But however a man centrally conceives life, that concept is his real doctrine.

Thus conciliar Romans are driven by Vatican II as being their central notion to undo the SSPX that rejects Vatican II, and until they either succeed or change that central notion, they will continue to be driven to dissolve Archbishop Lefebvre’s SSPX. On the contrary the central drive of clergy and laity of the SSPX should be to get to Heaven, the idea being that Heaven and Hell exist, and Jesus Christ and his true Church provide the one and only sure way of getting to Heaven. This driving doctrine they know to be no fanciful invention of their own, and that is why they do not want it to be undermined or subverted or corrupted by the wretched neo-modernists of the Newchurch, driven by their false conciliar notion of God, man and life. The clash is total.

Nor can it be avoided, as liberals dream it can. If falsehoods win, eventually even the stones of the street will cry out (Lk.XIX, 40). If Truth wins, still Satan will go on raising error after error, until the world ends. But “He that perseveres to the end will be saved,” says Our Lord (Mt.XXIV, 13).

Kyrie eleison.