Thursday, July 17, 2014

An Even Greater Sacrilege

 Fr. James Wathen was a pioneer of the Traditionalist Movement. Ordained in 1958, the good Father wrote a book entitled The Great Sacrilege in 1970, denouncing the "Novus Bogus" Vatican II service that poses as a "Mass." Father had done much good, but unfortunately, he failed to embrace sedevacantism, and did succumb to the error of the Feenyites (denying Baptism of Blood --BOB, and Baptism of Desire--BOD).

 I have every hope that the good Father is in Heaven despite his mistakes (he died in 2006). He wanted to be Catholic, and one can hope God would enlighten such a man before his final passage out of this life. I bring this point up, because we Traditionalists must be vigilant against the errors that can plague even the people with best intentions.  Recently, a two-volume, hard-bound collection of his later writings has been published under the title I Know Mine and Mine Know Me. (available at

 While there is much laudable material contained therein, his recognition of the false Vatican II sect "popes" and Feeneyite heresy must be shown false. The serious problem with his final writings is that they contain no citations to any relevant theologians or authoritative pre-Vatican II Papal decrees; and when they do, it is seriously misunderstood.

1. On Sedevacantism. Fr. Wathen writes, "Canon 1556....which means that none of the pope's subjects are allowed to judge the status of him who sits on the Throne of St. Peter.

Wrong. Here is an explanation from a standard canon law manual:

      “Immunity of the Roman Pontiff. ‘The First See is judged by no one.’ (Canon 1556). This concerns the Apostolic See or the Roman Pontiff who by the divine law itself enjoys full and absolute immunity.” (Cappello, Summa Juris Canonici 3:19.)

      The judicial immunity of the pope was disputed in church history by partisans of Gallicanism and Conciliarism, who also maintained that a pope’s decisions could be appealed to a general council.

      The maxim “the First See is judged by no one” is a procedural norm, then.

       Sources: One of canonical sources for the maxim, the Decree of Gratian (ca. 1150), reads as follows: “Whose sins [the pope’s] no mortal man presumes to rebuke, for he shall judge all and is to be judged by no one, unless he is suddenly caught deviating from the faith [nisi deprehendatur a fide devius].” (Decree, I, dist. 60, ch. 6.)

      If anything, one can conclude from this the very opposite of what Fr. Wathen maintains: defection from the faith is the one sin of a pope we are permitted to judge.

       Papal Teaching: In two of his coronation sermons, Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) — considered one of the greatest canonists of his time — explained how a pope who falls into the sin of heresy is “judged.”

      “’Without faith it is impossible to please God.’… And so the faith of the Apostolic See never failed, even in the most trying circumstances [turbatione], but always continued intact and undiminished, so that the privilege of Peter remained constant and unshaken.

      “To this end faith is so necessary for me that, though I have for other sins God alone as my judge, it is alone for a sin committed against faith that I may be judged by the Church. [propter solum peccatum quod in fide commititur possem ab Ecclesia judicari.] For ‘he who does not believe is already judged’.”(Sermo 2: In Consecratione, PL 218:656)

      “You are the salt of the earth…  Still less can the Roman Pontiff boast, for he can be judged by men — or rather he can be shown to be judged, if he manifestly ‘loses his savor’ in heresy. [quia potest ab hominibus judicari, vel potius judicatus ostendi, si videlicet evanescit in haeresim.] For he who does not believe is already judged.” (Sermo 4: In Consecratione, PL 218:670)

      A pope who commits the sin of heresy, then, can indeed be “shown to be judged.”

Fr. Wathen, " The main argument of the sedevacantists is that the pope is excommunicated....As a non-Catholic, it is impossible for him to be be the Head of the Catholic Church....excommunication does not mean is impossible for anyone for any reason to be expelled from the Church."

 Very wrong. Pope Pius XII taught, "Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. "For in one spirit" says the Apostle, "were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free."[17] As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith.[18] And therefore, if a man refuse to hear the Church, let him be considered - so the Lord commands - as a heathen and a publican. [19] It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit." Mystici Corporis Christi June 29, 1943. (Emphasis mine) 

It is clearly taught that to be a member of Christ's Mystical Body, the One True Church, you must (a) be validly baptized, (b) profess the True Faith (not a heretic), (c) Not separated from the unity of the Body (not a schismatic), and (d) not been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults (not excommunicated). 

The phrase, "Once Catholic, Always Catholic" means the indelible mark of Baptism remains, and if you happily return, no repetition of baptism is necessary as you have been so marked. Fr. Wathen's interpretation turns into Wotyla's heresy that all the baptized are united in the Church (See Ut Unam Sint #42)

2. On Baptism of Desire

 Fr. Wathen: While he explicitly acknowledges that BOD has been taught in catechisms for centuries, many saints taught/held it, and it was the universal consensus of the theologians, he rejects BOD for six (6) reasons:

"1. Several de fide definitions of the Church condemn it"
False. The theologians approved by the Church pre-Vatican II, knew the definitions (such as Unam Sanctum--he supplies no citations) AND accepted BOD. These theologians had their manuals approved for the use in seminaries by the highest Magisterial authority for orthodoxy. Father also fails to mention the teachings of Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius XII affirming BOD. If what Father THINKS those definitions say is true, then Pius IX and XII were heretics!

"2. Two Canons of the Council of Trent contradict and censure it"
An old canard. St. Alphonsus Ligori after specifically naming those two canons, goes on to teach BOD! 

St. Alphonsus Liguori defines baptism of desire (flaminis) as: “Perfect conversion to God through contrition or love of God above all things, with the explicit or implicit desire [voto] for true Baptism of water, in whose place it may supply, according to the Council of Trent.” He cites Session 14, on Penance, ch. 4.

      St. Alphonsus further states: “It is de fide that men may be also be saved through baptism of desire — from the chapter Apostolicam, de presb. non bapt. and from the Council of Trent, where it is said that no one can be saved ‘without the washing of regeneration or the desire for it’.” (Theologia Moralis, ed. nova. [Rome: Vatican 1909] 3:96-7.)

      The first citation is to an Epistle of Pope Innocent II (1130–43), who stated that a priest who “had died without the water of baptism, because he had persevered in the faith of Holy Mother the Church and in the confession of the name of Christ, was freed from original sin and attained the joy of the heavenly fatherland.” (Dz 388)

      Other theologians also cite Trent and Innocent II for these definitions.      They also cite Pope Innocent III’s decree in 1206 concerning a Jew who desired baptism but was not able to be validly baptized: “If, however, such a man had died immediately, he would have flown to his heavenly home at once, because of the faith of the sacrament, although not because of the sacrament of faith.” (Dz 413)

      Some add Pope St. Pius V’s condemnation of the following proposition of Baius: “Perfect and sincere charity… can exist both in catechumens and in penitents without the remission of sins.” This is cited because: “The contradictory of this proposition is true. Therefore, charity cannot exist in unbaptized catechumens without the remission of their sins.” (McAuliffe, Sacramental Theology, 84.)

"3. There is no foundation in Scripture for the idea of "baptism of desire"
 On Fr. Wathen's private interpretation perhaps. Revelation comes from Sacred Tradition as well as Scripture. And let us not forget the Good Thief who was promised Heaven by Christ on his desire and belief to follow Him.(St. Luke 23:43).

"4. "None of those that promote the idea (of BOD)....can explain how it can have the same effect in the soul as the sacrament has; that is, how it can dispose one for Heaven."

 Answered easily enough:
Here is an explanation of baptism of desire from the pre-Vatican II theologian, Father Felix Cappello:

“The term baptism of the spirit or of desire [flaminis seu desiderii] means an act of perfect charity or contrition, with at least an implicit wish for the sacrament. ‘For the heart of a man,’ says St. Thomas, ‘is moved by the Holy Ghost to believe and love God, and repent of its sins.’

“Thus, baptism of desire serves to justify a man in place of baptism properly speaking, for (as our treatise On Penance says) outside of the sacrament actually received, perfect contrition is in itself [per se] an immediate disposition for justification…

“… baptism of desire [in voto] takes place when at least the implicit intention to receive it [the sacrament of baptism] is present; this intention is contained in the act of charity or contrition, insofar as it is a general will to fulfill all divine commandments and to employ all means divinely instituted as necessary for salvation.” (Tractatus Canonico-Moralis de Sacramentis, 4th ed. [Rome: 1945] 1:110, 112.)

"5.There is no solid evidence that anyone has been saved by "baptism of desire."

See Dz 388, quoted above under his point # 2

"6. If one can baptize oneself with water, why can not one baptize oneself with water?"

Answer: Baptism by water is a sacrament, BOD is not. One can not be both the recipient and administer of any of the sacraments except the Holy Eucharist which the priest confects and then self-Communicates. Likewise, does Fr. Wathen wish to deny he can have his sins remitted by an Act of Perfect Contrition with the desire for confession, even if he can't pronounce himself absolved sacramentally?

 Fr. Wathen laments that those who oppose him are not properly trained. Tell that to Fr. Cekada, from whose works I often cite and refer to often --including this post! (Thanks for much info Fr. C!)  Fr. Wathen also claims that Quo Primum allows him to offer the True Mass because no pope has the authority to rescind it.

As Quo Primum was a disciplinary constitution, another pope can change it. If it was infallible, some theologian would have said so, yet not one pre-Vatican II canonist or theologian does so.  The language was simply a standard formula in church legislation that referred to one of the qualities a law is supposed to have: stability.

Frequent changes in laws harm the common good because people do not know how to act — hence, laws are supposed to be relatively stable. But a human legislator (unlike God) cannot foresee all future circumstances, so his successor has the power to change existing laws if he decides the circumstances warrant it.

This reflects a general principle in law: An equal does not have power over another equal. No pope who used “perpetuity” in his disciplinary decrees understood the term to mean that no future pope could ever amend or replace his legislation.

And popes did in fact change some of the provisions of Quo Primum, even before Vatican II. In 1604, for instance, Pope Clement VIII issued new regulations for the Blessing at Mass, and in 1634 Pope Urban VIII changed the wording of the Missal’s rubrics and hymn texts.Traditionalists should stop using the Quo primum argument to reject the Novus Bogus.

 It's my hope that the very desire to be Catholic, saved Fr. Wathen--which desire he claimed had no power to save!  Traditionalists must truly KNOW their Faith. Fr. Wathen recognized the Novus Bogus as the "great sacrilege," but ironically failed to perceive the greatest sacrilege which foisted it upon us---Vatican II and its false "popes."


  1. BOD is a classic case of sophistical reasoning. A thousand pieces of 'evidence' can be conjured up that seem to prove it, but upon serious examination it's shown to be demonstrably false and absurd, because it contradicts the infallible teachings of the popes. We ought to have unshakable faith only in that which is unshakable, not in the fallible opinions of saints and theologians. Nor should we naively belief that if the popes allow something to be believed and taught, it, therefore, must be true.

    But, hey, if your champions, Fr. Cekada, Bishop Dolan, et al., are so confident of their stance on this issue, why don't we see them challenging, say, the Dimond brothers (who are the top exponents of the anti-BOD position) to a debate, in order that the latter might be prevented from leading traditional Catholics astray? The reason we don't see this, and the reason we see them, rather, avoiding debate challenges from the Dimond brothers is pretty obvious: they're afraid they wouldn't be able to defend their position.

  2. Anyone who reads my blog knows that I have no "Champions" but I adhere as best I can to the integral Catholic Faith in this time of near universal apostasy. I have disagreed with Fr. Cekada and Bp. Dolan on several issues on this blog. Debates don't receive as much attention as articles, and Fr. Cekada has written several responding quite well to the heart of the problem with Feeneyites; they reject the authority of the Church for their own interpretations of dogma. In this sense they are on par with the Modernists. Indeed, many Feenyites embrace the Vatican II sect.
    As for the Dimond brothers, I too, would not want to give any credibility to a couple of pseudo-educated men who like to dress up and play "Benedictine Brothers" (they are self-proclaimed) and peddle materials rife with errors and chock full of wacko conspiracy theories replete with UFOs.
    Nevertheless, I will dedicate my next post to defending BOD, and if anyone wants an online debate, if be happy to oblige!

  3. Introibo,
    I should explain. I didn’t say they were “your champions” because you consider them to be your personal heroes or something. I just meant that they were the top guys (in my opinion) promoting the BOD position that you share. By the same token, the Dimond brothers are my champions with respect to this issue -- but I assure you, they are NOT my personal heroes.

    Furthermore, arguing that most Feeneyites are wrong on other issues is not really effective. It would be nice if all the people who were right about certain important issues were also right about everything else, and all the people who were wrong were wrong about everything else too. That would make things really easy for us. Unfortunately, reality is a lot messier. The same man is often brilliantly correct with respect to issue A and inexplicably stupid with respect to issue B. That’s why each position has to be judged on it’s own merits and not according to who holds it.

    1. Point well taken. I was not resorting to an ad hominem attack---which is fallacious---but pointing out certain facts that do work against them.

      For example, if someone claimed to be a doctor, and he had no formal medical training, but rather declared he understood medicine better than conventional doctors because he read medical texts in his house with better understanding than all others, would you want this person treating you? True, he might be right in diagnosing you, but I think that would be more of a fluke than anything else.

      Your point that arguments must be evaluated as valid and sound without reference to the one proposing them is a veridical statement. However, it must be tempered by another truth; there are three occasions when it is relevant and not fallacious to attack the person making an argument:
      1. If the person claims expertise. In the doctor scenario above, lack of medical training is relevant as to whether or not the person is competent to understand medical premises. Likewise, two men who hold themselves out as Benedictine Brothers(who are self-proclaimed as such), and have no formal theological training, bears greatly on their ability to understand that which they expound.

      2. Candidates for positions of public trust.
      It is OK to call into question a man's integrity to a position of trust if he's caught in lies such as, "I never had sex with that woman Miss Lewinski," or "If you like your doctor and your insurance plan, you can keep them." Likewise, two men who hold themselves out to be something they are not, have LIED. They use this position of being "Benedictines" to add an aura of public trust and respectability where it doesn't belong.

      3. Cases of Credibility. As a lawyer, I have a right to impeach a witness on past instances of perjury; even if they might be truthful this time. Again, two men who lie about their state in life and then tell others how to avoid sin and damnation would actually be funny if it weren't so pathetic.

      George, you are correct in your contention that arguments must be evaluated on the merits, and I thank you for reminding my readers and me of this truth. I will be posting on BOD using the arguments. Please realize there are times when not merely being wrong on other issues, but being DISHONEST and UNQUALIFIED are relevant to a discussion/argument.

  4. BOD and BOB denial are not tenable. "Pope Michael" weighs in and agrees, supporting BOD in this video:

    I'm sedevacantist but incline towards recognizing or getting a conclave going. Did sedevacantists "stumble at the finish line" by failing to take this next step, as sedev's might claim SSPXers do ( But then the SSPX claims the indulteers have likewise stumbled, and indulteers claim that of the novus ordites. We definitely need a pope. Maybe we have or can get one? Prayer is our perfect tool to figure this out. Abp. Lefebvre and others had talks about electing a pope. No reason why it couldn't have or can't still happen.

    My prediction as to how this is going to go down after some prayer and following "traditionalism" over 2 years now:
    *We figure out how to elect pope or which conclave is valid
    *Sedeprivationism is rejected
    *Feeneyism is laid to rest
    *Vatican 2 definitively declared schismatic and heretical
    *Unified Catholic Church network under clear true pope basically unites something like a souped-up Traditio network
    *Battles against novus ordo, more on the offensive whereas today is more defense of "traditionalism"
    *From today's smoke and mirrors emerges clarity, the battle completely switches from arguing against ambiguity to out in the open clash between clear black and white
    *Fruitless railing against the novus ordo ceases as it is recognized as another protestant sect (rather than the current ambiguity of being the Catholic Church in most people's minds)

    ^Please keep your mind and prayers focused on some variant of this vision and work to develop it to what it needs to be, and not get lost in the quagmire of the present confusion! I've had so many dreams deferred and shattered about becoming a priest or having a Catholic family (when all the girls I know are feminists), at times I have forgotten the end goal result, which is still very attainable, but which is being significantly marred, in my opinion, by getting too caught up in present circumstances, feuds, egos, etc. and not enough prayer, perhaps! Satan wants us confused; God wants us organized under one pope.

    God bless, thank you for your blogging!

    1. I share in your hope of a restored papacy. However, let's remain true to the pre-Vatican II theologians, and not sully our Catholic Faith by associating it with deluded people like "pope" Michael. You're in my prayers.

  5. >implying Feeneyites like Most Holy Family Monastery are not controlled opposition, i.e. trolls or infiltrators into the "traditionalist movement" to distract people from the truth.

    I first saw MHFM off an ad link from Infowars I now know is controlled opposition - Alex Jones has a Jewish wife and NEVER mentions the Jews (see More likely they're just unaware of these issues. But beware - why couldn't there be commie infiltrators among sede priests, etc.? If AA-1025 was about commie infiltrators in pre-v2 Catholic Church, surely would that explain the chaos of the SSPX and why it has stalled out into a "recognize and resist" position in no man's land? Or could such sede priests exist to undermine sedes? Think outside the box...

    1. Normally, I don't publish comments if they are uncharitable--like attacking people based on race or ascribing every evil in the world to the Jews. However, I don't think you're being uncharitable.

      I would like you to rethink seeing conspiracies behind every door, but you make a valid point. There DO exist those who conspire to infiltrate and destroy the Church--Masons and Communists. Is it possible they are infiltrating what's left of Christ's One True Church? In the abstract, yes, although I have seen no concrete proof of such. I am open to the evidence should it ever be presented.

    2. MHFM has since renounced Alex Jones for producing that anti-Catholic documentary! Also they are not,as some would have you believe,a fake Benedictine community.They received orders from an Eastern Catholic Bishop.Plus,the recent verdict in their court case verified they are a legitimate catholic monastery.

    3. I'm not sure what you mean by "received orders from an Eastern Catholic Bishop." "Orders" implies the priesthood, and I have never heard them refer to themselves as priests, only "brothers." Furthermore, Eastern Rites are under Antipope Francis. If they were recognized by a "bishop" (Eastern or Latin Rite) in the Vatican II sect, they are in communion with the very antipope they condemn. It's as stupid as their assertion that "you can go to a Traditionalist Chapel as long as you don't contribute." If BOD is heresy, it's OK to receive the sacraments from a formal heretic as long as you don't support them monetarily? Why not go to the Greek Orthodox, they are heretical (denying the decrees of Vatican Council I on the primacy and infallibility of the pope), just don't give them money?

      As to the court case, I'd need to read the holding. If they are in union with Francis, they are both heretical and hypocritical. If not, they are recognized (perhaps) in the civil law as having some right to the title "Catholic" or Benedictine," but this has nothing to do with Divine and/or ecclesiastical law.

  6. According to them,they received rites to be "Brothers" from a traditional eastern rite Bishop.The court case that verified their benedictine order was based upon canon law.Please take time and read about the case.I don't understand why you think they would be in league with vatican 2?Like them or hate them but they do more than most for spreading the true catholic faith.I like this blog and respect your thoughts, articles, and intelligence.We need to be pray for unity in the traditional movement.Dominus Vobiscum.

  7. Point well taken. I will find the court case and read it when I get the chance. Only then will I make any further comments. God bless

  8. You too my friend

  9. The fact is that over the years, i.e. from the heretic Tertullian until our time, many conflicting concepts regarding salvation evolved. Both history and logic itself teach us that baptism of blood is an older concept than baptism of desire and that BOB contradicts BOD and vice versa. Even the terms "batism of blood" and "baptism of desire" have had various conflicting meanings over the time. Today all regard "baptism of blood" as the concept of an alternative to true sacramental baptism, while it used to be unterstood as a "second washing" (in addition to the first one with water which is baptism). Same thing with baptism of desire which today means potential salvation for all heretics and infidels, contrary what it used to mean in the late middle ages. But the dogmatic definition seems to be quite steady in simply aknowleding the necessity of the sacrament of baptism and membership in the catholic church.

    1. My problem with Baptism of Desire is John 3:5

  10. I am fairly new to your informative website. I am trying to learn my way around the site and have been looking for articles on Invincible Ignorance. Would you be so kind as to help me locate the articles? Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Joann,
      Many times my readers give me ideas for posts---and you did just that! I have many posts on the Feeneyite heresy (denial of BOD and BOB), but nothing on invincible ignorance per se. I think I will write a post on that topic during next month (August 2016). Thanks and your topic will come up in the next 5 weeks!


    2. Will be looking forward to your post on Invincible Ignorance. Thanks very much!