magisterium

Church’s Infallibility – I

Church’s Infallibility – I posted in Eleison Comments on February 8, 2014

Probably sedevacantists’ main problem is the Church’s infallibility (Conciliar Popes are horribly fallible, so how can they be Popes?). However, infallibility needs to be looked at for more than just to alleviate sedevacantism. The modern problem of preferring authority to truth is vast.

“Infallibility” means inability to err, or to fall into error. The First Vatican Council defined in 1870 that the pope cannot err when four conditions are present: he must (1) be speaking as Pope, (2) on a question of Faith or morals, (3) in a definitive fashion, and (4) with the clear intention of binding the whole Church. Any such teaching belongs to what is called his “Extraordinary” Magisterium, because on the one hand Popes rarely engage all four conditions, and on the other hand he teaches many other truths which cannot err or be wrong because they have always been taught by the Church, and therefore they belong to what Vatican I called the Church’s “Ordinary Universal Magisterium,” also infallible. The question is, how does the Pope’s Extraordinary Magisterium relate to the Church’s Ordinary Magisterium?

Mother Church teaches that the Deposit of Faith, or public Revelation, was complete at the death of the last Apostle alive, say, around 105 AD. Since then no further truth has been added, or could be added, to that Deposit, or body of revealed truths. Then no “extraordinary” definition can add one iota of truth to that Deposit, it only adds, for the sake of believers, certainty to some truth already belonging to the Deposit, but whose belonging had not been clear enough beforehand. In a fourfold order comes firstly, an objective REALITY, independent of any human mind, such as the historical fact of the Mother of God’s having been conceived without original sin. Secondly comes TRUTH in any mind conforming itself to that reality. Only thirdly comes an infallible DEFINITION when a Pope engages all four conditions to define that truth. And fourthly arises from that definition CERTAINTY for believers as to that truth. Thus whereas reality generates the truth, a Definition merely creates certainty as to that truth.

But the reality and its truth already belonged to the Ordinary Magisterium, because there is no question of any Pope defining infallibly a truth outside of the Deposit of Faith. Therefore the Ordinary Magisterium is to the Extraordinary Magisterium as dog is to tail, and not as tail to dog! The problem is that the Definitiom of 1870 gave such prestige to the Extraordinary Magisterium that the Ordinary Magisterium began to pale in comparison, to the point that Catholics, even theologians, scratch around to fabricate for it an infallibility like that of the Extraordinary Magisterium. But that is foolishness. The Extraordinary presupposes the Ordinary Magisterium, existing only to give certainty (4) to a truth (2) already taught by the Ordinary Magisterium.

Let the point be illustrated from a snow-capped mountain. The mountain in no way depends on the snow, except for it to be made even more visible than it already is. On the contrary the snow depends completely on the mountain to be where it, the snow, is. Similarly the Extraordinary Magisterium does no more for the Ordinary Magisterium than to make it more clearly or certainly visible. As winter closes in, so the snowline descends. As charity grows cold in modern times, so more definitions of the Extraordinary Magisterium may become necessary, but that does not make them the perfection of the Church’s Magisterium. On the contrary, they signal a weakness of believers’ grasp of the truths of their Faith. The healthier a man is, the fewer pills he needs. Next week, the application both to sedevacantism and to the present crisis of the SSPX.

Kyrie eleison.

Sedevacantist Anxiety – II

Sedevacantist Anxiety – II posted in Eleison Comments on February 1, 2014

1 Either one recognizes the Conciliar Popes all the way (like the liberals – God forbid!), or one refuses them all the way (like the sedevacantists). To recognize them partly, and partly not, is to pick and choose what one will recognize, as did Luther, as do all heretics (in Greek, “choosers”). That is true if one picks and chooses according to one’s own personal choice, but it is not true if, like Archbishop Lefebvre, one judges in accordance with Catholic Tradition, which can be found in 2000 years’ worth of Church documents. In that case one is judging with 260 Popes against a mere six, but that does not prove the invalidity of these six.

2 But the Conciliar Popes have poisoned the Faith and endangered the eternal salvation of millions upon millions of Catholics. That is contrary to the Church’s indefectibility. In the Arian crisis of the 4th century, Pope Liberius endangered the Faith by condemning St Athanasius and by backing Arian bishops in the East. For a few moments the Church’s indefectibility went not through the Pope but through his seeming adversary. However that meant neither that Liberius was not Pope nor that Athanasius was Pope. Similarly the indefectibility of the Church today goes through the faithful followers of the line taken by Archbishop Lefebvre, but that need not mean that Paul VI was not Pope.

3 What the bishops of the world teach, in union with the Pope, is the Church’s Ordinary Universal Magisterium, which is infallible. Now for the last 50 years the world’s bishops in union with the Conciliar Popes have taught Conciliar nonsense. Therefore these Popes cannot have been true Popes.If the Church’s Ordinary Magisterium were to go outside Tradition, it would no longer be “Ordinary,” but most extraordinary, because Church doctrine admits of no novelties, the “Universal” being in time as well as space. Now Conciliar doctrine goes way outside Tradition (e.g. religious liberty and ecumenism). Therefore doctrine proper to the Council does not come under the Ordinary Universal Magisterium, and it cannot serve to prove that the Conciliar Popes were not Popes.

4 Modernism is “the synthesis of all heresies”(Pius X). But the Conciliar Popes have all been “public and manifest” modernists, i.e. heretics of such a kind as St Robert Bellarmine declared cannot be members of the Church, let alone its head.See last week’s “Comments.” Things were much more clear, or “public and manifest,” in Bellarmine’s day, than they are amidst today’s confusion of minds and hearts. The objective heresy of the Concilar Popes (i.e. what they say) is public and manifest, but not their subjective or formal heresy (i.e. their conscious and resolute intention to deny what they know to be unchangeable Catholic dogma). And to prove their formal heresy could only be done by a confrontation with the Church’s doctrinal authority, e.g. the Inquisition or the Holy Office, call it what one will (“A rose by any name would smell as sweet,” says Shakespeare). But the Pope is himself the Church’s highest doctrinal authority, above and behind today’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. How then can he be proved to be that kind of heretic that is incapable of being head of the Church?

5 But in that case the Church is in a hopeless mess!Again, see last week’s “Comments.” Men’s minds are today so universally messed up that God alone can straighten out the mess. But this objection may prove rather that he must intervene (and soon!) than that the messed up Popes are not Popes. Patience. God is putting us to the trial, as he has every right to do.

Kyrie eleison.

Doctrinal Declaration – II

Doctrinal Declaration – II posted in Eleison Comments on May 4, 2013

Forgive me, dear readers, if I return to the seventh paragraph of the Doctrinal Declaration of April 15 a year ago. The Declaration was to serve as no less than a basis for all future relations between the Society of St Pius X and Rome. On June 13 (not 11) Rome refused it, so SSPX Headquarters may now have repudiated it, but it serves to show what the present SSPX HQ is capable of. As for the seventh paragraph, it is a masterpiece of confusion. These “Comments” three weeks ago (EC 300, April 13) explained in part with a twofold distinction, but the confusion requires a fourfold distinction to do it justice. Here is the complete paragraph:

Declaration III, 5: “The statements of Vatican II and the post-conciliar Magisterium with regard to the relation between the Catholic Church and non-catholic confessions and to the social duty of religion and the right to religious liberty, (1) the formulation of which it is difficult to reconcile with previous doctrinal statements of the Magisterium, (2) must be understood in the light of Tradition complete and uninterrupted, (3) in a manner coherent with the truths previously taught by the Church’s Magisterium, (4) without accepting any interpretation of these statements which can lead to Catholic doctrine being laid out in opposition to, or breaking with, Tradition and that Magisterium.”

The underlinings are my own, to highlight the trickery of the paragraph. Notice (1) how it is not the statements of Vatican II that are problematic, but only their “formulation.” We are already moving away from words meaning what they objectively say. Words float around, according to how they are subjectively “understood” (2), or “interpreted” (4). Our minds are being made to slip anchor from a spade being called a spade. There is suggested no objective impossibility of reconciling Conciliar nonsense with Catholic sense, they are merely “difficult” to reconcile subjectively (that is to say, in the darkened minds of backward Traditional Catholics).

Notice above all in (2) and (3) the subtle but crucial slide from “in the light of” to “in a manner coherent with.” Truly understanding the Vatican II novelties “in the light of” Tradition is to understand that they are wholly irreconcilable. Understanding them “in a manner coherent with” Tradition is to understand them as though they are reconcilable. Our minds are being made to slide again, because “in the light of” and “in a manner coherent with” do not mean the same thing. Sure enough, (4) any subjective understanding of the novelties that makes them clash with Tradition and the age-old Magisterium is absolutely to be rejected.

Thus clause (2) may tip the hat to “Tradition complete and uninterrupted,” and so (2) could be aligned with Catholic sense, but (3) suggests modernist nonsense, and (4) drives home the nonsense. Thus the paragraph as a whole constitutes a most clever step-wise movement from a shadow of truth to the outright error of the “hermeneutic of continuity,” which is pure Alice in Wonderland – “Words mean what I say they mean,” thunders Humpty Dumpty.

Whoever wrote this paragraph, God knows. It may not have been the Superior General of the SSPX. But can anybody who studies it carefully deny that, as it stands, it is designed to lead minds from Catholic Truth into Conciliar error? It makes words dance like heretics make them dance, and heretics that make words dance make souls lose their faith and fall into Hell. Whoever was responsible for this seventh paragraph, let him be anathema!

Kyrie eleison.

Doctrinal Declaration – II

Doctrinal Declaration – II posted in Eleison Comments on April 13, 2013

The Doctrinal Declaration of April 15 of last year, drawn up by the Superior General (SG) of the Society of St Pius X as a basis for the Society’s reintegration into the mainstream Church, has emerged nearly one year later into public view. It was designed by the SG to please both the Conciliar Romans and Traditionalists (“It can be read with dark or rose-coloured glasses,” he said in public). It did please the Romans who declared that it represented an “advance” in their direction. It did not please Traditionalists who saw in it (what they knew of it) such ambiguity as to represent a betrayal of Archbishop Lefebvre’s stand for the Catholic Faith, to the point that they considered that the Romans need only have accepted it to destroy his Society.

In fact when the SG met the Romans on June 11 in Rome to receive their decision, he fully expected they would accept it. Numerous observers speculate that if they did not accept it, it was only because the intervening publication of the April 7 Letter of the Three Bishops to the SG warned the Romans that he would not be able to bring the whole Society with him into the bosom of their Conciliar Rome, as he may have given them to understand he would do, and as they wanted him to do. They did and do not want another split to start Tradition all over again.

Be all that as it may, space remains here for nothing but one major argument that the proposal of the Doctrinal Declaration, had it been accepted by Rome, would have destroyed the SSPX. Archbishop Lefebvre declared, and proved, that Vatican II was a break or rupture with previous Church teaching. On that premise arose, and rests, the Traditional Catholic movement. So, confronted by the on-going resistance of that movement to his beloved Vatican II, Benedict XVI proclaimed at the outset of his pontificate in 2005 the “hermeneutic of continuity,” whereby the Council (objectively) contradicting Tradition was to be (subjectively) so interpreted as not to contradict it. Thus there would be no break or rupture between it and Catholic Tradition!

Now see the seventh paragraph (III, 5) of the Doctrinal Declaration. It declares that Vatican II statements difficult to reconcile with all previous Church teaching, (1) “must be understood in the light of Tradition entire and uninterrupted, in line with the truths taught by the Church’s preceding Magisterium, (2) not accepting any interpretation of those statements which can lead Catholic doctrine to be exposed in opposition or rupture with Tradition and that Magisterium.”

The first part here (1) is perfectly true, so long as it means that any Conciliar novelty “difficult to reconcile” will be flatly rejected if it objectively contradicts previous Church teaching. But (1) is directly contradicted by (2) when (2) says that no Conciliar novelty may be “interpreted” as being in rupture with Tradition. It is as though one said that all football teams must wear blue shirts, but football team shirts of any other colour are all to be interpreted as being nothing other than blue! What nonsense! But it is pure “hermeneutic of continuity.”

Now, do the soldiers holding the last fortress of the Faith that is organised worldwide realize what their Commander is thinking? Do they realize that his solemn declaration of SSPX doctrine shows him to be thinking like an enemy leader? Are they happy that they are being led to think like the enemies of the Faith? All ideas must be Catholic, while non-Catholic ideas will be “interpreted” as Catholic. Wake up, comrades! Enemy thinking is in Headquarters.

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.

Di Noia, Annoyer

Di Noia, Annoyer posted in Eleison Comments on February 16, 2013

Two months ago the Vice-president of Rome’s Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei addressed to the Superior General of the Society of St Pius X and to all its priests a letter of several pages, accessible on the Internet, which Fr. Lombardi as spokesman for the Holy See called a “personal appeal.” The letter has been raising comments ever since. It is clearly the latest move in Rome’s campaign to bring the SSPX to heel, and put an end to its 40-year resistance to the Conciliar Revolution. As Bishop de Galarreta said in October of 2011, even if the SSPX turns down Rome’s offers, still Rome will keep coming back. Sure enough. But let us see briefly what Archbishop Di Noia has to say to “Your Excellency and dear Priestly Brothers of the Society of St Pius X”:—

He begins by admonishing Society leaders, notably Fr Schmidberger, Fr Pfluger and Bishop Fellay (in that order) for giving interviews so critical of Rome as to call in question whether the SSPX really wants reconciliation with Rome. Moreover, doctrinal differences are as intractable as ever between the SSPX and Rome. So he calls for a new approach, focusing on unity instead.

Church unity is hindered by four vices and promoted by the four opposing virtues of humility, mildness, patience and charity. Dividers of the Church are enemies of God. All we need is love. Away then with “harsh and unproductive rhetoric.” Let the SSPX fulfil its charism of forming priests, but priests who will be docile to the official Magisterium, who will preach the Faith and not polemics, and who will treat theological problems not in front of untrained layfolk but with the competent authorities in Rome. The Pope is the supreme judge of such difficult questions. In conclusion, Benedict XVI does want reconciliation. Bitterness must be healed. In Our Lord’s words, “Let them be one.” (End of the Archbishop’s letter.)

Notice in passing how, typically for modern man and for modernists, the Archbishop brackets out the essential question of doctrine, but this letter’s main interest lies elsewhere: how could the Archbishop have dared to address it to all SSPX priests without prior collusion with SSPX HQ? It served him by forwarding the letter to all SSPX priests! Here is one indication amongst many others that there are contacts between Rome and SSPX HQ that are kept from public view. But the question then arises, what motive can SSPX HQ have had to give to the modernist Archbishop such privileged and dangerous access to all SSPX priests? Does it want them to become modernists also? Surely not! But it may well want to help Rome towards “reconciliation.”

By transmitting the Archbishop’s loving appeal, SSPX HQ gets the sweet message through to all SSPX priests without anybody being able to accuse HQ itself of going soft. On the contrary, the Roman letter makes them all see how nice the Romans are. True, there is a gentle rebuke to the SSPX leaders for not being nice, but that will serve to show how these are standing firm in defence of the Faith! Above all, the letter will have served as a trial balloon, to test the priests’ reactions. What are they thinking? Both Rome and Menzingen need to calculate at what point to go ahead with a “reconciliation” such as will carry with it a large majority of the priests, and not alienate so many that organized resistance to the New World Order religion will continue.

Dear SSPX priests, if you do not want to be swallowed alive by New Order Rome, I gently advise you to react. Let your Superiors know, as discretely as you like but in no uncertainterms, that you want nothing, but nothing, to do with Conciliar Rome, until it clearly abandons the Council.

Kyrie eleison.