Monday, July 29, 2019

Feeneyite Follies

 It was October of 1995, and the verdict was announced in what can still be considered the most famous criminal case in United States history; the trial of OJ Simpson. There were strong feelings about the decision, and I was now working as a young lawyer in New York City. You couldn't get away from the Simpson case; it was ubiquitous on the media, and it seemed that's all people wanted to discuss, even almost three weeks later. I grabbed some lunch outside the courthouse at a nearby diner where you could be seated outside as well as inside during nice days, so I sat outside. That was my first mistake. There was a man sitting at the table next to me yelling (literally) about how upset he was that Simpson was acquitted.

 "Can you believe those idiots on the jury?" he screamed to the people sitting at his table (and everyone else within a square block who could hear him). "They declared that [expletives deleted] killer to be innocent!" "Nobody with any intelligence accepts that guy is innocent. Everybody knows he's guilty, right?" The loudmouth turned his (unwanted) attention to me. "Excuse me, sir, in the suit. Yeah, you. You don't agree with the jury finding Simpson innocent, do you?" I looked at him and said, "Simpson wasn't declared innocent of the crime." His expected reaction followed. "What? Do you have your head in the sand? Where have you been? The jury declared him not guilty!" I responded, "Exactly. A decision of not guilty is not the same as saying someone is innocent." He got even more angry. "Let me guess, you're a lawyer, and you're playing word games like a typical bleeding heart liberal!"

I tried to reason with him. That was my second mistake. "I'm not a bleeding heart liberal by a long shot, but I understand the law, and it's painfully obvious you do not. 'Innocent' means you didn't do something. In the law, 'not guilty' means that the prosecution didn't carry their burden of proof. Maybe he is guilty, but you were not on the jury and did not engage in the deliberations. As long as there is reasonable doubt, our system of justice will not send someone to prison, or execute that person, because it is better to let 100 guilty people go free rather than let one truly innocent person be punished. Not guilty is a declaration that guilt was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, not that Simpson is really innocent of the charge."  He started accusing me of making things up because I agreed with the jury. Luckily for me, I had finished my sandwich, wished him a nice day, and headed back to court as he screamed that "lawyers like you are destroying this country." Whatever.

I'm recounting this episode in my life to make a point; never argue with someone who doesn't understand the basics of the discipline in question. A lawyer shouldn't argue the law with non-lawyers. Doctors shouldn't argue about the correct course of medical treatments with a non-physician. Likewise, don't argue theology with non-theologians who don't even grasp the basics--most especially Feeneyites. I don't spend much time on Twitter, but I decided to engage a couple of Feeneyites with the intention of pointing out some glaring errors. That was my first mistake this time out. As I've often stated, I'm not a theologian or a canonist. However, I know enough to realize I need to consult professional theologians from pre-Vatican II, just as I consult a doctor when I'm sick and don't try to "self-diagnose" on Web MD. I was lucky enough to have been taught by a real pre-Vatican II canonist, Fr. Gommar DePauw, founder of the Catholic Traditionalist Movement, and he always taught me to seek out the teachings of the Church by Her approved theologians and canonists.

Feeneyites are those who deny the Catholic teaching on Baptism of Blood (BOB) and Baptism of Desire (BOD), so named for the late Fr. Leonard Feeney (d. 1978). Feeney was excommunicated by Pope Pius XII for heresy, only to be accepted into the Vatican II sect before death by Montini (Paul VI)  without having to abjure his errors. Even Feeney didn't accept his heresy in its current form. That dishonor belongs to the malevolent would be "Benedictine" brothers, Fred and Bobby Dimond of  "Most Holy Family Monastery" (MHFM) in New York. Their followers are, like them, fanatics--people who can't change their mind and won't change the subject. I tried to reason with them. That was my second mistake this time out.

 The Feeneyite Twitter followers all mimic Fred and Bobby by labeling everyone who disagrees with them as "heretics" and "liars." When you point out St Thomas Aquinas and St. Alphonsus Liguori both taught BOD and BOB, they respond that these theological giants and Doctors of the Church made "innocent mistakes," but you are a heretic and a liar since you have something they didn't have--the "truth" as expounded by two men born in the 1970s with no ecclesiastical training or education, and not even a secular degree beyond high school. If that wasn't so pathetic, it would be funny. Ad hominem! the Feeneyite followers of MHFM shout. No, it's not attacking the person to show they are unqualified to speak to the subject. You can impeach an expert witness on the stand in court by showing he lacks the necessary skill and education. When I offered to formally debate a Feeneyite on a neutral forum so I could set forth the necessary background information, he refused and wanted me to "answer his questions." I then refused, since we were speaking past each other. Hence, my decision to write this post. I wish to remind my readers that a folly is "lack of good sense; foolishness." It describes Feeneyite errors perfectly.

The purpose of this post is not to go through all the errors of MHFM and their followers. That would require more posts than I care to think about, and I've written some posts on this topic before. My purpose is to expose their fundamental errors and hopefully God will reach some of them. If not, at least those Traditionalists who read this post will better understand how they get it wrong and will not fall into Feeneyism.I wish to credit Fr.DePauw, and all the approved pre-Vatican II theologians and canonists for setting forth the teaching of the Church. I also wish to thank and credit those who wrote extensively on this topic to the edification of all, especially Fr. Anthony Cekada, the Sisters of the CMRI, Dylan Fellows, Christopher Conlon, John Daly, John Lane, and Steven Speray. To all of them I give full credit for compiling and explaining the the truth about BOD and BOB as taught by the One True Church, and whose works can be used by all in Her defense.

Feeneyite Folly #1: Limiting and Misapplying Infallibility

Feeneyites will limit infallibility to the Extraordinary Magisterium alone. A few terms must be defined:

What is the Magisterium? According to theologian Parente, it is "the power conferred by Christ upon His Church and strengthened with the charism of infallibility, by which the teaching Church (Ecclesia docens) is constituted as the unique depository and authentic interpreter of divine revelation to be proposed authoritatively to men as the object of faith for their eternal salvation." (See Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology, The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, [1951], pg. 170). Therefore, the Church is Divinely appointed to teach all necessary truths of faith to people, free from error, in order that they may attain Heaven. "Magisterium" comes from the Latin magister or "teacher." Christ told His Apostles "Go therefore, teach ye all nations..."(St. Matthew 28:19).

What constitutes the Magisterium? According to theologian Van Noort: "The subject-matter of divine- Catholic faith are all those truths proposed by the Church's Magisterium for our belief as divinely revealed...The principle laid down above is contained almost verbatim in this declaration of the [First] Vatican Council: 'Further, all those things are to be believed with divine and catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment, or by her ordinary and universal Magisterium, proposes for belief as having been Divinely-revealed.' [Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith]" (See Dogmatic Theology, Newman Press 3:220-221[1960]; words in brackets and emphasis are mine).

The Magisterium, therefore, is expressed either solemnly or in an ordinary and universal way. This is clear from both Church history and the dogmatic decree of the First Vatican Council (1870).  The former exercise of the Church's teaching authority is called the Solemn or Extraordinary Magisterium (ex cathedra pronouncements of popes and Ecumenical Councils) and the latter is called the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium ("UOM"). Both are equally infallible.

Feeneyites use the Extraordinary Magisterium to "check" the UOM for "error." Infallibility excludes even the possibility of error, which they don't understand. They refuse to learn from the UOM, so it ceases to be a Magisterium or teaching authority. If you point to the fact that the Catechism of the Council of Trent and the Catechism of  Pope St. Pius X both teach BOD and BOB, they will immediately respond that "catechisms are not infallible." Pure ignorance. As theologian Van Noort explains: "Clearly if a truth is capable of being declared an object of Divine-Catholic faith through the force of this ordinary and universal teaching, there is required such a proposal is unmistakably definitive........The major signs of such a proposal are these: that the truth be taught throughout the world in popular catechisms, or even more importantly, be taught by the universal and constant agreement of theologians as belonging to faith." (Van Noort, Ibid, pg. 222; Emphasis mine).

They reject the infallibility of the UOM as dogmatically defined by the Vatican Council in 1870. If catechisms and the unanimous teachings of the theologians contradict their private interpretation of some ex cathedra pronouncement, the UOM must be discarded--they thereby reject the definition of the Council, making them heretics. Here are some historical examples of the UOM:

 100 A.D. Scripture is officially complete at the death of the last Apostle (St. John). Scripture confirms the Church founded by Christ cannot teach error, and that those who reject it are condemned. The pope and bishops of the Church continue to propagate the infallible Deposit of Faith (Scripture and Tradition) from generation to generation. Again, this teaching is referred to as the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium (UOM) and is infallible. The primary methods of teaching used by the UOM are by preaching and writing.

300 A.D. The first three centuries of Catholics have lived without any teaching from the Extraordinary Magisterium. They have learned their faith solely through the ordinary everyday teaching of the popes and bishops (the infallible UOM). The Deposit of Faith remains completely intact and is infallible.

319 A.D. Arius, a Catholic Priest, is noticed to be preaching a doctrine on the Divinity of Christ that differs from the continuous teaching of the Church handed down (the UOM). The clergy know the Deposit of Faith handed down so far is infallible, so when they notice a departure from it, they immediately know it's heretical. Arius is then corrected by his peers.

326 A.D. The Council of Nicaea, the first use of the Extraordinary Magisterium since the founding of the Catholic Church, is called to order, which condemns Arius and his false doctrine, since he refuses to recant. The doctrine on the Divinity of Christ is already considered infallible through the day to day teaching of the UOM, and now the Church has confirmed it is infallible again through the Extraordinary Magisterium, so there is no confusion about it among the faithful.

Proof from Reason: It is a dogma that the Church is Indefectible. She is to teach us the way to Heaven and cannot give that which is evil or erroneous. What kind of teaching authority can't teach? Feeneyites would have us restrict infallibility to those few, rare ex cathedra decisions, while everything else is liable to be erroneous, heretical, and/or evil. You could never be certain what to believe or do outside of those few definitions--and be prepared to use private judgement to discern with a checklist what UOM teachings you think "do not contradict" the Extraordinary Magisterium! It is blasphemous to even think the Church's teachings could be self-contradictory! That's the exact reason I'm a sedevacantist.

Feeneyite Folly #2: We Don't Need Theologians Because of the Plain Meaning of the Texts

 Feeneyites, despise the teachings of the theologians, insisting that anyone can read "the plain meaning" of the words. In a similar fashion, Protestants reject the Magisterium on the grounds that they can "read the Bible for themselves." A Feeneyite will say, "Then we need theologians to interpret those interpretations, and so on," contending an infinite regress. Here's what the Church actually teaches from the Vatican Council (1870): 

3. If anyone shall assert it to be possible that sometimes, according to the progress of science, a sense is to be given to doctrines propounded by the Church different from that which the Church has understood and understands; let him be anathema. (Emphasis mine)

Notice that doctrines must always be understood in the same sense as the Church understood.  That doesn't mean "read with plain meaning." To go back to the example of the Simpson trail, "not guilty" has always been understood as meaning the prosecution did not carry the burden of proof against the defendant in a criminal trial. It does not mean that the "plain meaning of the words not guilty are the same as innocent." The bishops are highly trained and educated men who use scholastic terminology not readily accessible to the average layman. That's why the Church orders catechisms for adults, such as the Catechism of the Council of Trent, to explain in layman's terms the technical decisions. If the "plain meaning rule" were true, it would render adult catechisms superfluous, you would just read the Council documents. 

Feeneyite Folly #3: The Church Never Infallibly Defined BOD and BOB

 Ironically, the Extraordinary Magisterium did define BOD and BOB at the Council of Trent. On the "Sacraments in General:" 

CANON IV.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema. (Emphasis mine)

From the Decree on Justification: 

By which words, a description of the Justification of the impious is indicated,-as being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. (Emphasis mine)

How do we know what these passages mean? The unanimous consent of all theologians and the Catechism of the Council of Trent tell us so. You think this ends it? For a reasonable person, it would. However, Fred and Bobby know best! 

Feeneyite Folly #4: "The Desire Thereof" REALLY MEANS "Intent to Receive"

 In Trent's Decree on Penance and Extreme Unction, we read:

The Synod [Trent] teaches moreover, that, although it sometimes happen that this contrition is perfect through charity, and reconciles man with God before this sacrament [Penance] be actually received, the said reconciliation, nevertheless, is not to be ascribed to that contrition, independently of the desire of the sacrament which is included therein. (Emphasis mine)

We have a teaching on "Penance by desire." Later, the Decree states,

This Sacrament of Penance is, for those who have fallen after baptism, necessary unto salvation; as baptism itself is for those who have not as yet been regenerated.

The Council of Trent says here that the sacrament of penance is necessary for the salvation of those who have fallen after baptism, as baptism itself is for those who have not as yet been regenerated. However, it is very clear that Trent admits that a man can receive the effect of the sacrament of Penance by desire, before actually receiving the sacrament itself.

Thus, if one wishes to hold that baptism by water is necessary in such a way that the effect of baptism cannot be received before the sacrament itself, one must also hold that the same thing is true of Penance. Otherwise, it would not be true that the sacrament of penance is necessary after sinning just as the sacrament of baptism before being baptized.

Feeneyite Folly #5--The Numbers Game
If you inform a Feeneyite that there was unanimous consent of the theologians and Fathers regarding the reception of the effects/grace of Baptism apart from the sacrament (BOD/BOB), you will get two standard responses from Fred and Bobby's script: (1) Not ALL the Fathers agreed, and (2) theologians are not infallible. They usually throw in Aquinas not accepting the Immaculate Conception as further "proof" that theologians and Doctors of the Church can be wrong. 

First, they don't understand that it's not  NUMERICAL unanimity but MORAL unanimity that counts. According to the Maryknoll Catholic Dictionary (1957):

When the Fathers of the Church are morally unanimous in their teaching that a certain doctrine is a part of revelation, or is received by the universal Church, or that the opposite of a doctrine is heretical, then their united testimony is a certain criterion of divine revelation. As the Fathers are not personally infallible, the counter testimony of one or two would not be destructive of the value of the collective testimony; so a moral unanimity only is required.

According to theologian Scheeben, The Criteria, or means of knowing Catholic truth may be easily gathered from the principles...nearly all set forth in the Brief Tuas Libenter, addressed by Pius IX to the Archbishop of Munich." (See A Manual of Catholic Theology 1:89). Pope Pius IX wrote, ""For even if it were a matter concerning that subjection which is to be manifested by an act of divine faith, nevertheless, it would not have to be limited to those matters which have been defined by express decrees of the ecumenical Councils, or of the Roman Pontiffs and of this See, but would have to be extended also to those matters which are handed down as divinely revealed by the ordinary teaching power of the whole Church spread throughout the world, and therefore, by universal and common consent are held by Catholic theologians to belong to faith. Pope Pius IX, Tuas Libenter (1863),DZ 1683 (Emphasis mine)

So moral unanimity is the criteria for Fathers and theologians. As to the fact that theologians and even Doctors of the Church are not infallible, again, I turn to theologian Scheeben:

Although the assistance of the Holy Ghost is not directly promised to theologians, nevertheless the assistance promised to the Church requires that He should prevent them as a body from falling into error; otherwise the Faithful who follow them would all be lead astray. The consent of the theologians implies the consent of the Episcopate, according to St. Augustine's dictum, "Not to resist an error is to approve of it---not to defend a truth is to reject it.'" (Scheeben, Ibid, pg. 83; Emphasis mine). As to Aquinas, the matter of the Immaculate Conception was not settled but open to debate among the theologians. His main problem was how to reconcile Mary's Immaculate Conception with the fact she (like all humans) needed to be redeemed. Pope Pius IX addressed this concern in his Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus when he defined that Mary was preserved free from Original Sin "in view of the merits of Jesus Christ." Hence, she was redeemed by Christ in a unique manner. 

The Extraordinary Magisterium is used to (a) settle disputed theological matters where there was no consensus of the UOM for some time and (b) to state emphatically a dogma under attack which was already of the Faith as I explained above (e.g., the Divinity of Christ). It is not a "check list" against which we accept or deny what the UOM has taught. 

Feeneyite Folly #6--The Canons of Trent "Prove" Only Water Baptism Saves

The Feeneyites will cite Trent's second canon on Baptism:

CANON II.-If any one saith, that true and natural water is not of necessity for baptism, and, on that account, wrests, to some sort of metaphor, those words of our Lord Jesus Christ; Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost; let him be anathema. (Emphasis mine). 

Yes, but context is everything. This canon was formulated by the theologians at Trent to condemn the heresy of the so-called Reformers (principally Martin Luther) who taught that since faith alone saves, if someone doesn't have water to baptize you can substitute it with milk or beer. Trent was defining the matter of the Sacrament of Baptism, not condemning BOD or BOB. 

Next, they cite Trent's fifth canon on Baptism:

CANON V.-If any one saith, that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation; let him be anathema.

Trent uses the exact same wording in regards to Penance:

CANON VI.--If any one denieth, either that sacramental confession was instituted, or is necessary to salvation, of divine right;...let him be anathema.

Does that mean one who has just been baptized and dies right away will be damned because Penance is "necessary to salvation"? What about baptized babies? What about those who have been baptized, fall into mortal sin, and have never before confessed--can't they be saved by an Act of Perfect Contrition, or "Penance by desire"? Baptism is the instrumental cause of salvation, to use Scholastic terminology. It is that through which we are saved, just as a pen is the instrumental cause of someone writing something down on paper. The principal efficient cause of salvation is Faith and sanctifying grace; the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.

Therefore, just as a writer can substitute a pencil for a pen (for he is the one who produces the words as principal efficient cause), so too can God substitute another instrumental cause (BOD/BOB) for the Sacrament of Baptism.

Finally, they quote from Trent that Baptism is the "Sacrament of Faith" and no one can be saved without Faith. From Trent's Decree on Justification:

"...the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith, without which (faith) no man was ever justified;..."

So why is Baptism the "Sacrament of Faith"? The Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches, "The holy Fathers designate [Baptism] also by other names. St. Augustine informs us that it was sometimes called the Sacrament of Faith because by receiving it we profess our faith in all the doctrines of Christianity. (pg. 110) Nowhere in the Council, its Catechism, or in the teaching of any approved theologian/canonist is it held that Baptism is called "the Sacrament of Faith" because it is the only way one can first receive Faith.

Feeneyite Folly #7--Canon Law Is Not Infallible
There are two deadly Canons in the (1917) Code that destroy the Feeneyite position. 

Canon 737 states, "Baptism, the gateway and foundation of the Sacraments, actually or at least in desire, is necessary for all for salvation..."

This should end any doubt as to how the Church understands Trent's Canon IV on Baptism. However, Canon 1239, section 2 delivers another crushing blow:

Catechumens who, through no fault of their own, die without Baptism, are to be treated as Baptized.
Canonists Abbo and Hannon comment, "The reason for this rule is that they are justly supposed to have met death united to Christ through Baptism of Desire." (See The Sacred Canons, [1951], pg. 493). 

This is devastating to the cause of Fred and Bobby, so they must deny that Canon Law is infallible. First, it is established that the Church is infallible in Her universal disciplinary laws such as the 1917 Code of Canon Law. 

Proof: According to theologian Van Noort, "The Church's infallibility extends to the general discipline of the Church...By the term "general discipline of the Church" are meant those ecclesiastical laws passed for the direction of Christian worship and Christian living." (See Dogmatic Theology, 2: 114-115; Emphasis mine). 

According to theologian Herrmann:
"The Church is infallible in her general discipline. By the term general discipline is understood the laws and practices which belong to the external ordering of the whole Church. Such things would be those which concern either external worship, such as liturgy and rubrics, or the administration of the sacraments…. If she [the Church] were able to prescribe or command or tolerate in her discipline something against faith and morals, or something which tended to the detriment of the Church or to the harm of the faithful, she would turn away from her divine mission, which would be impossible."
(Institutiones Theologiae Dogmaticae, Vol. 1, p. 258)

Pope Gregory XVI teaches: "[T]he discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or be branded as contrary to certain principles of natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority. In this discipline the administration of sacred rites, standards of morality, and the reckoning of the rights of the Church and her ministers are embraced." (See Mirari Vos, para. #9).

Feeneyites will make two objections: (1) The Code is not universal since it only applies to the Latin Rite and not the Eastern Rites, and (2) Canon 1 "proves" it's not universal.

In response to the first objection, it is sheer ignorance of Canon Law. According to the eminent canonist Buscaren: "A general [universal] law is one which is not limited to a particular territory; it is a universal law of the Church. This does not mean it is binding on all Catholics. It may be enacted for a special class of persons, or for certain particular circumstances." (See Canon Law: A Text and Commentary [1951], pg. 27). Therefore, "universality" means "pertaining to all members of a Rite throughout the world," and not just in a particular territory. The 1917 Code is therefore universal.

In response to the second objection, Canon 1 does state that the Code as a general rule does not affect the Oriental Church (i.e., Eastern Rites). However, as Buscaren explains, there are some matters in which it [the 1917 Code] affects also the Oriental Church and Oriental Catholics. He enumerates three categories that apply to all Rites: (1) Canons which express dogmatic truths; (2) Canons which declare Divine Law; and (3) Canons which expressly and explicitly mention the Oriental Rites. (See Ibid, pg. 16).

To summarize:

  • Universal disciplinary laws are infallible
  • the 1917 Code of Canon Law is a universal disciplinary law by the Church's own definition
  • It also applies to all Rites when it expresses a Divine Truth and/or declares something is Divine Law
  • Canon 737 teaches a Divine truth as to what is necessary to salvation
  • Canon 1239 is an extension of Canon 737 in declaring a dogmatic/Divine truth
  • BOB and BOD are therefore infallibly taught by the 1917 Code of Canon Law
In addition, all Eastern (Oriental) Rites have their own Canons which mirror both 737 and 1239, making the definitive case that it is a universal disciplinary law no matter how you approach it.

Feeneyite Folly #8--The Approved Theologians and Doctors of the Church Are Mentally Imbalanced

 While those of us who believe in the teaching of the Church on BOD and BOB are "liars" and "heretics," the great theologians and Doctors of the Church make "innocent mistakes, " despite the fact that they are approved by the Church precisely because of the excellence of their teachings and orthodoxy. No pope, no bishop, no one for hundreds of years caught and condemned these heretical teachings. They were even published in approved Catechisms distributed to the faithful worldwide without objection. Only Fr. Leonard Feeney picked up on it in the 20th century, and only Fred and Bobby Dimond were able to "perfect his discovery" and find all these errors in the last 25 years or so. 

St. Alphonsus Liguori, a canonized saint and Doctor of the Church wrote in Moral Theology, Book 6, Section II (About Baptism and Confirmation), Chapter 1 (On Baptism), page 310, no. 96: "Baptism of desire is perfect conversion to God by contrition or love of God above all things accompanied by an explicit or implicit desire for true baptism of water, the place of which it takes as to the remission of guilt, but not as to the impression of the [baptismal] character or as to the removal of all debt of punishment. It is called "of wind" ["flaminis"] because it takes place by the impulse of the Holy Ghost who is called a wind ["flamen"]. Now it is "de fide" that men are also saved by Baptism of desire, by virtue of the Canon Apostolicam, "de presbytero non baptizato" and of the Council of Trent, session 6, Chapter 4 where it is said that no one can be saved 'without the laver of regeneration or the desire for it.'"

When Pope Gregory XVI canonized St. Alphonsus on May 26, 1839, the Bull of Canonization declared his works could be read "without the least fear of finding the smallest error." Yet Fred and Bobby Dimond have found him in "innocent error."  They know better than Pope Gregory. Furthermore, all theologians and canonists since Trent teach that the grace of Baptism can be received outside the actual sacrament. Yes, every single one that wasn't censured. They also teach the absolute necessity of sacramental Baptism in the same theological manuals they wrote--of course including the aforementioned St. Alphonsus.  Therefore, we must conclude that either there is no contradiction in the two doctrines, or these intellectual and spiritual giants were schizophrenic, not realizing their work was internally inconsistent.

Here are but two examples:
Theologian Ott: "Baptism by water is, since the promulgation of the Gospel, necessary for all men without exception for salvation" (See Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, [1955], pg. 356).
On the same page:"In case of emergency Baptism by water can be replaced by Baptism of desire or Baptism by blood."

Theologian Tanquerey: "Baptism of water is necessary for all by necessity of Divine precept." (See A Manual of Dogmatic Theology, [1959], 2:226). On pg. 228, "Contrition, or perfect charity, along with at least an implicit desire for Baptism, supplies for the forces of Baptism of water as to remission of sins."

How could these be "innocent mistakes" of theological giants? They would be heretics--and crazy ones--who don't see intrinsic contradictions in their own writings.

This post has been but a partial refutation of the numerous errors of the Feeneyites which have led them into heresy. It's amazing how the Twitter followers of MHFM all send pictures of the Dimond's website with Church decrees twisted out of the background context needed to understand them. They reject the UOM and drone on and on about "infallible statements"--which means the Extraordinary Magisterium only. "We only need to believe infallible teachings of the popes and Ecumenical Councils," they say.

The Church has condemned this very idea. 
  • Condemned proposition #22 of the Syllabus of Errors, addressed to the whole Church teaches, "22. The obligation by which Catholic teachers and writers are absolutely bound is restricted to those matters only which are proposed by the infallible judgement of the Church, to be believed by all as dogmas of the faith."
  • Pope Pius XII condemns the idea popes need not be given assent in their teachings that are not ex cathedra: "It is not to be thought that what is set down in Encyclical Letters does not demand assent in itself, because in these the popes do not exercise the supreme powers of their Magisterium. For these matters are taught by the ordinary Magisterium, regarding which the following is pertinent ‘He who heareth you, heareth me.’; and usually what is set forth and inculcated in Encyclical Letters, already pertains to Catholic doctrine." (See Humani Generis [1950]).

When you understand how the Church teaches us, the case against Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire simply does not hold water. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

When Apparitions Become Dogma

 For decades now, I've been warning people against exalting private revelations (even when approved by legitimate Church authority), to the status of authoritative Church teaching. (I’ve called such people “apparitionists”). Think of the late "Fr." Nicholas Gruner. He made solving everything that is wrong in the world dependent upon the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Vatican II wasn't even a blip on his radar. All would be wonderful if the "Collegial Consecration" of Russia to Mary's Immaculate Heart were carried out according to the instruction given by Our Lady to the three children at Fatima. Of course, somehow only Mr. Gruner had the authentic interpretation and knew what needed to be done. His Fatima Crusader magazine in the 1980s would warn of immanent nuclear annihilation by the Soviet Union unless you helped him "petition the pope and bishops" with the largest donation you could afford. Even after the 1980s, constant warnings of disaster continued unless the Consecration was carried out.

Mr. Gruner would not even consider sedevacantism or the evils inherent in Vatican II. How could he when his entire raison d'etre was getting the pope and bishops to Consecrate Russia. If there's no pope, there goes his entire thesis and claim to hold the "true meaning" of Fatima. Notice too, that his interpretation of the message was a "Collegial" Consecration, the pope alone isn't good enough, he "needs" the bishops. Collegiality was a big heresy pushed at Vatican II and is part of the Vatican II sect. In this post, I will show the dangers of such exaltation of apparitions/visions (even before Vatican II) and how the Church discerns the true from the false when someone is claiming an apparition or vision is taking place.

What You See Isn't Always What You Get
A good example of apparition-exaltation gone awry is the Mariavites. The name comes from Latin phrase qui Mariae vitam imitantur--- "[those]who imitate the life of Mary." They were founded by Feliksa Magdalena Kozlowska (d.1921) of Poland, known by the religious name Sr. Maria Franciszka. In 1887 she and five other women entered into communal living in the town of Plock. They followed a Franciscan spirituality. They supported themselves doing embroidery, and followed a relatively strict regimen, abstaining from all meat and fish.

Beginning in 1893, Kozlowska claimed that she experienced religious visions. The first vision allegedly instructed her to form a new clerical order with the primary goal of propagating the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to the "Mother of God of the Eternal Help." All of this seems most laudable, but Satan will introduce 99.9% goodness, if he can get 0.1% evil accepted. In April of 1904, the Polish nun, with the help of  Father Jan Maria Michał Kowalski, tried to get canonical recognition from their bishop and Rome. The bishop rejected the visions, and the Holy Office declared her visions "mere hallucinations." Pope St. Pius X outlined the strange beginnings of this sect, when he promulgated Tribus Circiter which reads:

Venerable Brethren, Health and the Apostolic Benediction.

1. About three years ago this Apostolic See was duly informed that some priests, especially among the junior clergy of your dioceses, had founded, without permission from their lawful Superiors, a kind of pseudo-monastic society, known as the Mariavites or Mystic Priests, the members of which, little by little, turned aside from the right road and from the obedience they owe the Bishops "whom the Holy Ghost has placed to rule the Church of God," and became vain in their thoughts.

2. To a certain woman, whom they proclaimed to be most holy, marvelously endowed with heavenly gifts, divinely enlightened about many things, and providentially given for the salvation of a world about to perish, they did not hesitate to entrust themselves without reserve, and to obey her every wish.

3. Relying on an alleged mandate from God, they set themselves to promote without discrimination and of their own initiative among the people frequent exercises of piety (highly commendable when rightly carried out,) especially the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament and the practice of frequent communion; but at the same time they made the gravest charges against all priests and bishops who ventured to express any doubt about the sanctity and divine election of the woman, or showed any hostility to the society of the Mariavites. Such a pass did matters reach that there was reason to fear that many of the faithful in their delusion were about to abandon their lawful pastors.

4. Hence, on the advice of Our Venerable Brethren the Cardinals of the General Inquisition, We had a decree issued, as you are aware, under date of September 4, 1904, suppressing the above-named society of priests, and commanding them to break off absolutely all relations with the woman. (Emphasis mine)

They did not listen to the order of Pope St. Pius X, and in December of that same year, he solemnly excommunicated them. The disintegration of faith and morals rapidly began. Fr. Kowalski received episcopal consecration by the Old Catholic sect. Koslowska's "visions" were turned into a book called The Work of Great Mercy. It was considered "second only to the Bible" in authority. Clerical celibacy was abolished. Women were "ordained priests," and the common priesthood of believers (a purely Protestant concept) was introduced. They split off into two groups in 1935, and small numbers remain today. (See, e.g.,

Everything sounded good and noble. However, even frequent works of piety are highly commendable "when rightly carried out" as per Pope St. Pius X; this clearly shows even approved works of piety can be carried out incorrectly and to the detriment of all involved. There are numerous red flags that their followers ignored, and un-Catholic responses given to these "visions." First, they assumed  supernatural private revelation by their own authority. Next, they made the "seer" into some "living saint." Finally, the messages of the alleged visions took the place of the Church's authority. The supposed messages were to be obeyed over the pope and bishops. Authentic Church teaching took an inferior role to the "direct messages of Mary from God." Once you believe God is speaking to you directly (or through His Mother, etc.) who needs a Magisterium? This is a danger private revelations pose (approved or not), and Traditionalists must keep them in their rightful place.

Brief History of Approving Private Revelations
As established in the Council of Trent (1545-63), the local bishop is the first and main authority in apparition cases, which can be defined as instances of private revelation.

From the 25th session of the Council of Trent:
And that these things may be the more faithfully observed, the holy Synod ordains, that no one be allowed to place, or cause to be placed, any unusual image, in any place, or church, howsoever exempted, except that image have been approved of by the bishop: also, that no new miracles are to be acknowledged, or new relics recognized, unless the said bishop has taken cognizance and approved thereof; who, as soon as he has obtained some certain information in regard to these matters, shall, after having taken the advice of theologians, and of other pious men, act therein as he shall judge to be consonant with truth and piety. But if any doubtful, or difficult abuse has to be extirpated; or, in fine, if any more grave question shall arise touching these matters, the bishop, before deciding the controversy, shall await the sentence of the metropolitan and of the bishops of the province, in a provincial Council; yet so, that nothing new, or that previously has not been usual in the Church, shall be resolved on, without having first consulted the most holy Roman Pontiff.

Prior to this, the Fifth Lateran Council (1512-17) reserved the approval of new visions,  prophecies, and revelations to the Holy See. Prospero Lambertini (1675-1758), the future Pope Benedict XIV, provided several rules for discernment of private revelations and the miracles needed with the canonization of saints in De Servorum Dei Beatificatione et de Beatorum Canonizatione  in 1840. Such events must present themselves to human reason as being truly extraordinary and beyond the scope of natural causes. The Code of Canon Law (1917), Canon 1399, forbade the publication of anything about "new apparitions, revelations, visions, prophecies, and miracles" without the local bishop's approbation. Interestingly, Montini (Paul VI) abolished this requirement allowing every person with a "vision" or claiming an "apparition" to publish what they want, and in many cases sounding as if these private revelations were approved, such as the phony "Our Lady of the Roses" in Queens county, New York City.

Rules for Discernment
Since there is no pope, and no local Ordinary one can approach to make decisions regarding allegedly supernatural private revelations, what can a Traditionalist do? First, there can be no apparition or vision declared "worthy of belief" in this time of the Great Apostasy. In my opinion, you should steer clear of ALL of them. Concentrate on learning the faith from approved theologians and canonists. Use approved devotions, of which there are many (Rosary, Sacred Heart, etc.), and use them under the guidance of a spiritual director. If you are still curious about a claimed vision or apparition, remember to ask yourself the following questions:

1. Are facts in the case free of obvious errors? If a vision reports wrong dates, incorrect citations, promotes ecumenism, states blatant heresy (e.g., Mary is equal to God), or urges you to stay in the Vatican II sect, it cannot be of God.

2. Is the person or people receiving the alleged messages psychologically balanced, honest, and moral? If they exhibit odd behavior, claim to be "special," or belong to the Vatican II sect and see nothing wrong with it, it cannot be of God. If the "seers" are children, are they mature, or do they seem manipulated by their parents?

3. Is God or the Church accused of "making errors"? For example, "The Church needs to change Her stance on clerical celibacy. It is not good for the clergy to abstain from marriage."

4.Are there monetary considerations? ("Give us the largest contribution you can because God [or Mary] wants this message spread."). 

5. Are approved devotions supplanted by new ones? Are the new devotions strange? (Pray to the "Holy Hands of Jesus"--or some other bizarre devotion).  Are Traditional devotions made mandatory or excessive? (You must pray all 15 decades of the Rosary every day under pain of eternal damnation). 

These are some basic questions that need serious answers.

What About Apparitions or Visions Claiming Miraculous Happenings?

It is very easy for someone to claim some malady was "miraculously cured" because they saw a vision or did something an apparition allegedly said to do. I've written about miracles before, and there is one point of Church teaching I'd like to stress:

 Miracles cannot be used to help give credibility to that which is false. Any "miracle" that does so is either (a) naturally explained, and therefore not a miracle, or (b) of demonic origin.

Proof: A miracle is a deed that is sensible, extraordinary, and of divine origin. Hence, since transubstantiation is not sensible, it cannot be considered a miracle in the strict sense. Miracles can only be used to support that which is true and good. It is impossible for God to deceive. Moreover, God would equivalently be producing falsehood if He were performing some miracles in order to demonstrate that some false doctrines or a doctrine that is altogether human has been revealed by Himself. We should recognize that God allows extraordinary things to be performed by the devil. (See theologian Tanquerey, A Manual of Dogmatic Theology,Desclee Company, [1959], 1:40-45; Emphasis mine)

In Exodus 7: 8-13, we read:

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "When Pharaoh says to you, 'Perform a miracle,' then say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,' and it will become a snake." So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said." (Emphasis mine).

Since "miracles" cannot be currently affirmed or rejected by the pope, we cannot determine what alleged miracles are true. Any "miracle" that gives credence to V2 or Francis, or in any way promotes such cannot be true.

Traditionalists must not exalt private revelations as superior to (or even on par with) Church teaching. Seek to understand the teachings of the Church as well as you can by reading the approved theologians and canonists. It will be of enormous help during this time of the Great Apostasy. The best advice comes from St. Louis de Monfort's classic True Devotion to Mary

"It is all the more necessary to make the right choice of the true devotion to our Blessed Lady, for now more than ever there are false devotions to her which can easily be mistaken for true ones. The devil, like a counterfeiter and crafty, experienced deceiver, has already misled and ruined many Christians by means of fraudulent devotions to Our Lady.

Day by day he uses his diabolical experience to lead many more to their doom, fooling them, lulling them to sleep in sin and assuring them that a few prayers, even badly said, and a few exterior practices inspired by himself, are authentic devotions.

A counterfeiter usually makes coins only of gold or silver, rarely of other metals, because the latter would not be worth the trouble. Similarly, the devil leaves other devotions alone and counterfeits mostly those directed to Jesus and Mary ... It is therefore very important, first to recognize false devotions to our Blessed Lady so as to avoid them, and to recognize true devotion in order to practice it." (See pgs. 90-91).

Monday, July 15, 2019

Rationality And The Church

The Catholic Church, for centuries, has wrongly been accused of being "irrational" and going "contrary to science." Worn out canards about Galileo being persecuted, and clerics stifling scientific progress continue to abound. The truth is so often quite different from popular portrayals. The Catholic Church has been the very bastion of rationality. It is the Protestants and Modernists who exalt emotion over reason. The Vatican II sect is all about "feeling good about yourself," and Protestants like to have so-called "revival meetings" whipped up into a frenzy, so people can cry as they scream out to be "saved by faith alone."

The so-called New Atheists and secular humanists never fail to harp on how allegedly "superstitious" all things Christian are, and how religion (Christianity in particular) must be eradicated. This post will show how the Church is in perfect accord with science and is supremely rational. The scientific method is actually demonstrated in the Bible.  Once, during a conversation with an atheist who considered faith "irrational," I was suddenly called to leave regarding an urgent matter. Rather than continue the debate regarding the Church and how dogmas are grounded in reason, I simply and suddenly told him he was entitled to his beliefs. "I have no beliefs, " was the (expected) reply. "Sure you do. You believe atheism is true, don't you?" There was only silence and a dumbfounded look as I left.

Defining "Science"

I have a love of science (and good knowledge of it), having been a science teacher for five years in New York City before going to law school. Before the 1800s, what we call science today was known as natural philosophy. The term literally means "the love of wisdom about nature." Therefore, science is a way of thinking about the natural world. When we were in school, we all learned that science is associated with making observations, looking for possible explanations (an hypothesis), and doing experiments to test your hypothesis. Arguably, one of the first scientists could be the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle (for whose wisdom St. Thomas Aquinas had the greatest respect; calling him "The Philosopher"--always capitalized). Aristotle (born circa 384 B.C.) was famous for his observations of living things, and many consider him "The Father of Biology." (See, e.g. Armand Leroi, The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science (Bloomsbury Press, 2014).

Aristotle sometimes would reason from philosophical principles rather than from empirical observation, much to his detriment. One such example is that he believed that heavier objects would fall to the ground more quickly than lighter objects. Galileo devised an experiment proving Aristotle wrong. He rolled spheres down a ramp and discovered that the distance traveled was proportional only to the square of the time taken, and not at all to their masses. The experiment refuted the hypothesis that objects fall at different speeds if they are of different masses. This is how science works; it is a progressive human endeavor. Due to the dramatic increase in scientific technology where what was science fiction only fifty years ago is now commonplace scientific achievement, it has lead to the (dangerous) rise in what is called scientism, the belief that all knowledge comes to us exclusively through science. Since science is concerned with the measurable, visible world, it leads to the belief that talk of the supernatural is "untrue" and/or "unscientific." 

The Scientific Method in the Bible
Being rational is extolled in the Bible. When Our Lord  was asked what the greatest Commandments were, He said the first was to " the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." (St. Mark 12:30; Emphasis mine). Notice the inclusion of "mind" in the list. It is an absurd contention that God is anti-reason. He gives us the highest-level of encouragement to use our minds to think about Him and the natural world in which we live. By such observations, we can come to know the existence of God by reason alone. Hence, Scripture tells us, "The fool hath said in his heart: There is no God..." (Psalm 13:1; Emphasis mine).

The Vatican Council in 1870 dogmatically defined:
The same Holy Mother Church holds and teaches that God, the source and end of all things, can be known with certainty from the consideration of created things, by the natural power of human reason : ever since the creation of the world, His invisible nature has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. It was, however, pleasing to His wisdom and goodness to reveal Himself and the eternal laws of His will to the human race by another, and that a supernatural, way. This is how the Apostle puts it : In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son. 

Canon 1 on Revelation: If anyone saith that the one, true God, our Creator and Lord, cannot be known with certainty from the things that have been made, by the natural light of human reason: let him be anathema.

From the Anti-Modernist Oath of Pope St. Pius X (1910):
...And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:19), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, His existence can also be demonstrated...

How different from the Protestants and Modernists! Modernists hold  faith as "an encounter," or a "blind sense of religion which comes forth from the secret places of the subconscious, morally formed under an impulse of the heart.." (as condemned in the Anti-Modernist Oath). The Protestants denigrate faith as blind confidence in the Divine mercy. The enemies of the Church are also the real enemies of reason.

In the Book of job, God challenges Job regarding his knowledge of science:

Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said:
Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words?
Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me.
Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding.
Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
Upon what are its bases grounded? or who laid the corner stone thereof,
When the morning stars praised me together, and all the sons of God made a joyful melody?
Who shut up the sea with doors, when it broke forth as issuing out of the womb:
When I made a cloud the garment thereof, and wrapped it in a mist as in swaddling bands?
I set my bounds around it, and made it bars and doors:
And I said: Hitherto thou shalt come, and shalt go no further, and here thou shalt break thy swelling waves.
(Job 38:1-11).
The answers involve observations of the natural world and the realization it points to the Supreme Being.

People involved in science (medical research in particular) are familiar with the "controlled trial." We are told by the American Medical Association, or the Food and Drug Administration, that drug X has been shown effective in trials to combat disease Y. The Book of Daniel, chapter one, records one of the first (perhaps even the very first) such trial. Put simply, Daniel and his friends were captured by the evil pagan King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, during a siege of Jerusalem around the sixth century B.C. The four young men were enrolled in what today's world would be considered a state University, all expenses paid, to be the king's advisors.

They were to be fed from the King's table. Daniel did not want to defile himself with food and drink that had in all likelihood been offered to pagan "gods." He asked the Babylonian in charge to give them vegetarian food instead. The man told Daniel that if the King saw the four young men deteriorate in health and fitness, he--the one in charge--would be executed. Daniel proposed that he test them in secret for ten days and make a judgement based upon what he saw; he wanted to give him scientific evidence. The official agreed, and after the trial, the four looked much healthier than the other students. He therefore kept the arrangement. Even today, there is substantial evidence that plant based diets are healthier than those with large amounts of meat.

The Universe, the Church, and the Big Bang
Many people would be surprised that one of the greatest discoveries in modern science comes to us from a Catholic priest in Belgium. Fr. Georges Lemaitre (1894-1966), was ordained a priest in 1923. Absolutely brilliant, Fr. Lemaitre was also a mathematician and astronomer.  He was the first to suggest (in 1927) that there had been an absolute beginning to the universe, including space and time itself. He based his theory on Einstein's theories, calling it The Primeval Atom Theory. Einstein said that his mathematics was sound, but his physics was horrible, and dismissed the theory. Astronomer Fred Hoyle referred to it as the "Big Bang Theory" while mocking Father in a 1949 radio broadcast.

At the time of Fr. Lemaitre's theory, the prevailing model in science was known as the "Steady State Theory," meaning that the observable universe is basically the same at any time as well as at any place. There was no beginning to the universe, it always existed. On the theological front, those who didn't understand the Faith (as well as fundamentalist Protestants) objected to the idea, inherent in the Big Bang, that the universe was billions of years old based on their private interpretation of the Bible. The universe was only about 6,000 to 10,000 years old, and God made the world in six days of twenty-four hours each, and it must be true because "the Bible says so."

Fr. Lemaitre was never censured, warned, or condemned by Pope Pius XI or Pope Pius XII. Pope Pius XII actually praised his work, but Father asked the pope to please not "mix" science with religion by linking his discovery to the truths of Faith. Fr. Lemaitre rightly considered science and Catholicism not to be in any conflict (since God is Creator of Nature and Founder of the Church) and he wanted science and faith to be considered two separate and different (but equally valid) ways of looking at the universe. (See Simon Singh,  Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe, HarperCollins, [2010], p. 362). Even though it was exceptionally bold for a priest to so speak to the pope, the Supreme Pontiff nevertheless agreed to his request and gave him a papal blessing. 

He was never censured for good cause: the Church does not teach that you must believe in a literal six days of creation.  On June 30, 1909, the Pontifical Biblical Commission issued a decree answering eight (8) questions about the Book of Genesis. The decree was approved by His Holiness, Pope St. Pius X, Foe of Modernism. The answers to the first three questions upholds the overall historical character of the first three chapters of Genesis, however the last two questions are instructive as to the mind of the Church in Biblical exegesis ("interpretation").  

Question # 7: "Whether, since it was not the intention of the sacred author, when writing the first chapter of Genesis, to teach us in a scientific manner the innermost nature of visible things, and to present the complete order of creation but rather to furnish his people with a popular account, such as the common parlance of that age allowed, one, namely, adopted to the senses and to man's intelligence, we are strictly and always bound, when interpreting these chapters to seek for scientific exactitude of expression?"

Answer: In the negative.

Question # 8: "Whether the word yom ('day'), which is used in the first chapter of Genesis to describe and distinguish the six days, may be taken in its strict sense as the natural day, or in a less strict sense as signifying a certain space of time; and whether free discussion of this question is permitted to interpreters?"

Answer: In the affirmative.

We see that in the response to question # 7, we are not bound to treat Genesis as some sort of science textbook. Question # 8 clearly shows that we are not bound to believe in six literal days of 24 hours each in the creation account. God created the universe in six yom, or time periods, the exact duration of which may be much more than 24 hours. The word "day" is an inexact translation of the word "yom", which was the word actually inspired by God and used by Moses. Nor is it necessary to believe in a 6,000 year old Earth. Modern science and Genesis do not contradict each other.

In the scientific realm, the joke would soon be on Einstein and Hoyle. The scientific evidence of a beginning steadily increased, such as red-shift in the light coming from the galaxies, the expanding universe, and the discovery of the microwave background, have all contributed to our current understanding that the universe burst into existence at a single point.The Big Bang theory has near universal acceptance by scientists. Despite Fr. Lemaitre's reluctance to "mix" science and faith, he has given scientific validation to another form of a cosmological argument (such arguments were employed by the great Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas) as rational proof of the existence of God. The Communist countries refused to allow the Big Bang to be taught because they realized the theological implications set forth:

Major premise: Whatever begins to exist has a cause
Minor premise: The universe began to exist (Big Bang)
Conclusion: The universe has a cause.

Moreover, this cause must be immaterial (there was no matter), timeless (there was no time), without boundaries (there was no space), and of enormous power. God has just been described.

The Church has unjustly been attacked as "irrational" and "unscientific," when She is actually the greatest proponent of reason and science. In matters of Faith, the Church does not promote ridiculous "emotionalism" like Modernists and Protestants. She sets forth Her doctrines with intellectual rigor. In science, the scientific method is demonstrated in the Bible itself, and a Catholic priest gave us the Big Bang Theory, which in accord with the dogmatic degrees of the Church, proves the existence of God by the use of reason. I might add that an Augustinian friar, Gregor Mendel, is the Father of Genetics. We should be grateful that Our Lord has given us a Church that urges us to think upon His creation rationally. In so doing we refute unbelievers. In the words of St. Paul to the Romans, "For the invisible things of Him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; His eternal power also, and Divinity: so that they [i.e., unbelievers] are inexcusable." (Romans 1:20). 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Combating Cooties

There are Traditionalists that have nothing better to do than needlessly attack other Traditionalists. Truly, "when the shepherd is struck the sheep are scattered." I don't enjoy getting into squabbles that take our efforts off fighting Bergoglio, but there are times I must. On July 4th, Fr. Anthony Cekada wrote an article entitled Spiritual Cooties: The SSPV Sacramental Penalties After Thirty Years. It marks Fr. Cekada's 30 year departure from the SSPV, and it can be found here: Fr. Cekada is to be commended for his contributions in promoting sedevacantism and exposing the Vatican II sect. However, when he writes screeds like this he does a great disservice to all, especially himself.

The article (correctly) deplores the Society of St. Pius V (SSPV) for refusing to give the sacraments to those who are ordained/affiliated with Thuc line bishops. Fr. Cekada likens this to the children's game "cooties," whereby you "catch" a spiritual cootie infestation (i.e., made up penalty) by receiving sacraments from a Traditionalist priest who the SSPV declared "cootie contaminated" (afflicted by that made up penalty). If you affiliate with Thuc line clergy, even if not ordained by them, you "catch" the alleged scandal. I'll pass over the fact that the SSPV thinks they are protecting people from dubious sacraments (even though the arguments against Thuc hold no water).  Fr. Cekada then goes on to claim that Bishop Clarence Kelly is like cult leader L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology. He accuses Fr. William Jenkins of:
classic cult manipulation techniques: long, rambling sermons and speeches (obviously unprepared) delivered in his trance-inducing basso profundo voice; public complaints about his supposed health problems that aimed at winning pity and sympathy; late-night phone calls to check up on the loyalty of supporters; heavy doses of empty bluster and indignation (“Can you imagine? Can you really imagine?”); not-so-subtle appeals for pats on the head (“I’ll leave the school if the people want me to!” “Oh, no, Father, please, not that!”), and habitual late starts for Masses and other public activities (because poor Father is just so busy or so sick).
(Those who have seen Fr. Jenkins in action even recently will recognize that his methods have not changed.)

Fr. Cekada seems incapable of disagreeing without ascribing the worst motives to his opponents, and resorts to puerile name-calling. I'd also like to know, for example, how Fr Cekada is certain Fr. Jenkins does not have any health problems. Was he there every time Fr. Jenkins was diagnosed by a physician? Did he obtain his medical records in violation of HIPAA law?  These attacks on good Traditionalist clergymen are deplorable. Is the SSPV wrong on their position? Yes. Are they a "cult"? Not in the least. I know most of the SSPV clergy, and they are pious Traditionalist Catholics.

Ironically, if the SSPV is a "cult" then so is Bp.Dolan's and Fr. Cekada's St. Gertrude the Great Church. They deny Communion to those who attend "Una Cum" Masses of, e.g., Society of St Pius X (SSPX), which Fr. Cekada defends--since he invented that "cootie." I've written about this issue before, but this time I will approach it differently. I will assume, ad arguendo, that a Traditionalist priest (validly ordained, not in actual union with the Vatican II sect, rejecting Modernism and V2 errors, and using the Traditional Catholic Mass) becomes "in union with" Bergoglio and all his heresies by adding the name "Francis" to the Canon of the Mass. I will even concede, ad arguendo, that this priest himself becomes a heretic for doing so. Is the Mass Una Cum off limits? In a word: NO.

Undeclared Heretics

 In Fr. Cekada's own article he cites Canon 2261 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law which allows a Catholic to receive a sacrament from even an excommunicated priest "for any just cause." Yet Fr. Cekada assures us in his anti-Una writings that an Una Cum Mass offered by a Traditionalist priest, as I just described above, is so horrible:

1) It's wrong to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament in his chapel/church while such a Mass is being offered.

2) You can't receive Holy Viaticum from such a priest since It were consecrated during such a Mass.

3) It's OK to go to Confession to that priest where the Una Cum Mass is offered, provided it would not create a scandal.

That's pretty bad--and very infectious! Yet I credit Mr. John Daly for his insightful analysis of Cardinal De Lugo, one of the greatest approved theologians of the twentieth century. This work and its analysis appear below in red. It shows that Fr. Cekada's opinion (which he enforces like dogma), is far from certain (to say the least).

On Communication in Religious Rites with Heretics--Cardinal De Lugo
Tractatus de Virtute Fidei Divinae: Disputatio XXII, Sectio 1.
The second chief doubt is whether we may communicate with an undeclared heretic only in civil and human affairs, or even in sacred and spiritual things. It is certain that we cannot communicate with heretics in the rites proper to a heretical sect, because this would be contrary to the precept of confessing the faith and would contain an implicit profession of error. But the question relates to sacred matters containing no error, e.g. whether it is lawful to hear Mass with a heretic, or to celebrate in his presence, or to be present while he celebrates in a Catholic rite, etc.
This is denied by Basil. Pont. […] where he says, “one may not celebrate in the presence of a heretic on any grounds, not even by virtue of very grave fear,” and he takes this for granted and offers no proof of his claim. I am astonished that such a learned man should have failed to notice that the authority of all the Doctors is against him, and that they are followed by Sanchez […], Suarez […], Azor […] and others, followed by Hurtado […], and this [sc. the opposing view] is certain from what has been said, because an undeclared excommunicate who is not notoriously guilty of striking a cleric, need not be avoided even in sacred rites, as is established by the said litterae extravagantes (2), and the fact that he is a heretic is not a special reason why it should be unlawful unless on some other grounds there be scandal or irreverence against the faith, or some other such factor, all of which are extrinsic and not always found.
Thirdly however an object of greater doubt is whether Catholics may receive the sacraments from heretics who have not been declared to be such. This is denied by Azor. […], though he is scarcely consistent as to his grounds, for in the first place he says that this is due not only to the excommunication, but also to the heresy; but in the second place he says that it is on account not of the heresy but of the excommunication, inasmuch as every excommunicate, even occult, lacks jurisdiction. Soto agrees with him […], though on different grounds, since he thinks that all heretics and schismatics are deemed to have been excommunicated by name and to be vitandi.
But the opposite view is generally held [communis] and is the true one, unless it should be illicit in a given case for some other reason such as scandal or implicit denial of the faith, or because charity obliges one to impede the sin of the heretical minister administering unworthily where necessity does not urge. This is the teaching of Navarro and Sanchez […], Suarez […], Hurtado […] and is what I have said in speaking of the sacrament of penance […] and of matrimony and the other sacraments […]. It is also certain by virtue of the said litterae extravagantes(3) in which communication with excommunicati tolerati is conceded to the faithful in the reception and administration of the sacraments.
So as these heretics are not declared excommunicates or notoriously guilty of striking a cleric, there is no reason why we should be prevented from receiving the sacraments from them because of their excommunication, although on other grounds it may often be illicit to do so unless necessity should excuse as I have explained in the said places.
Cardinal de Lugo holds that the law forbidding Catholics to participate in worship together with heretics or schismatics does not apply unless those in question have been declared to be such by the Church (or belong to a condemned sect). And de Lugo also shows that the majority of theologians hold his view on this subject, against a minority who disagree.

This teaching is supported by Pope Martin V's Ad Evitanda Scandala which expressly allows communion with excommunicates until they have been condemned by the Church. Naturally this does not apply to what is certainly forbidden by divine law – as would be participation in a rite which itself contained heresy or which exposed oneself or others to grave scandal.

It should be noted that there has been no noteworthy change in ecclesiastical law on communication in sacris since de Lugo wrote. The law forbidding communicatio in sacris with non-Catholics remains in force (Canon 1258). And the law authorizing the reception of the sacraments from uncondemned excommunicates (Canon 2261) remains in force also.

The purpose of drawing attention to this text is not to encourage Catholics to frequent uncondemned heretics or schismatics for the sacraments.

It is to show those who have written on this topic without even discussing this distinction are insufficiently well informed about the matter and are unworthy of trust. The whole issue needs to be re-examined.

It seems very hard to avoid the conclusion that in our days de Lugo would have considered it not intrinsically illicit to assist at Mass offered una cum the Vatican II pseudo-popes, since he allows what is in fact a greater departure from the principle of assisting only at a fully Catholic Mass.

A Contemporary Theologian Weighs In

Fr. Martin Stepanich (1915-2012), an approved pre-Vatican II theologian and sedevacantist had much to say in response to the non-Una Cum position. From Fr. Stepanich:
 We naturally had to wonder if there is some kind of teaching of popes and theologians of pre-Vatican II times that would help clear up things for us on that thorny una cum Benedicto issue.(Ratzinger/Benedict was false pope when Fr Stepanich wrote this letter--Introibo). A determined and well-meaning attempt to settle things on that issue has indeed been made, although the purpose was decidedly one-sided, inasmuch as the idea was to prove that in no way could traditional Catholics ever lawfully attend una cum Benedicto Masses. Research, described as "exhaustive research," has come with the statement that "various popes and pre-Vatican II theologians taught that the laity who assist actively at mass, in so doing manifest their consent and moral cooperation with the priest as he offers the Sacrifice," but also to his adding of the name of B16 to the Canon of the Mass.

However, it is as plain as could be that there is no indication whatsoever, in the above quote, that the popes and pre-Vatican II theologians referred to gave any thought at all to Masses with the name of a false pope in the una cum phrase of the Canon. They undoubtedly had in mind the kind of Mass they knew, that is, the traditional Latin Mass of the ages, not anything like the una cum Benedicto Masses that we know today.

The unquestionable fact is that the popes and theologians of pre-Vatican II times did not see with their own eyes the Modernist popes promoting a plainly new un-Catholic religion, the way we have been doing, nor did they hear with their own ears the false teaching of modernist popes and theologians, nor did they ever get to read their modernist un-Catholic writings. So they did not have occasion to warn against, and condemn, Masses like the una cum Benedicto Masses that today’s traditional theologians, as well as informed lay Catholics, have been obliged to condemn repeatedly in these Vatican II times. Pre-Vatican II popes and theologians did not address the una cum Benedicto Mass issue, of which they knew nothing first hand the way we have known it.

If we try to use the words of popes and pre-Vatican II theologians, as already quoted above, and make them say that attendance at una cum Benedicto Masses is always absolutely forbidden under any and all circumstances, it is we who are really doing that kind of forbidding, not the popes and the pre-Vatican II theologians. Just try to find anything in the popes and pre-Vatican II theologians that totally and absolutely forbids any and all attendance at una cum Benedicto Masses by traditional sedevacantist Catholics. It just isn’t there! (Emphasis mine---Introibo)

Historical Examples that Weigh Against The Una Cum Cootie

1. On December 20, 1949, The Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office promulgated the decree Instructio ad locorum Ordinarios, “De Motione Ecumenica” which declared that the recitation in common by a mixed group of Catholics and non-Catholics of the Our Father or of a prayer approved by the Church does not constitute a forbidden act of communicatio in sacris (loosly, "communication in sacred things" or worship/sacraments in common with non-Catholics). Divine Law does forbid communicatio in sacris if the minister is not validly ordained, if the rite used is not wholly Catholic or if the circumstances are such that sacramental communion is equivalent to a profession of heresy — or on grounds of scandal. In regards to "scandal" it must be noted that it does not mean people would be "shocked" ("oh, my goodness!"), nor does it mean "shocking to the senses" as in civil law ("how dare someone do that"!). In theology, it means something that provokes others to commit sin.

2. The example of Blessed Noel Pinot in Revolutionary France speaks volumes. When the clergy were summoned by the Revolutionary Government to subscribe to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, this parish priest observed three essential facts: (a) it was clear to him that the document was heretical and schismatic; (b) it had not yet been condemned as such by the Holy See, and (c) not all priests shared his severe judgement. Hence, he steadfastly refused to sign the text himself, come what may, but he continued to share the ministry of the church of which he was pastor with his curate, Fr. Garanger, who, despite Pinot’s remonstrances, did sign.

“In any event,” writes Blessed Noel’s biographer, “as the Pope had not yet pronounced on the subject of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, Fr. Garanger had not incurred any censure as a result of taking the oath of fidelity to it. Fr. Pinot trusted that the instructions Rome was expected soon to issue on the subject would open his eyes and meanwhile he allowed him to continue his activities in the parish as before…” (See Mgr Francis Trochu, Vie du Bienheureux Noël Pinot, p. 65). [Once more I give full credit to Mr. John Daly for the historical examples---Introibo]

Why is it not possible to give the same benefit to those R&R clergy who seem sincerely to intend to adhere to the Catholic faith and wrongly imagine that Vatican II and Bergoglio are in some way compatible with that faith?  

Fr. Cekada attacks the good clerics of the SSPV as a "cult" because of wrongly held theological opinions, and derides these opinions they enforce as "spiritual cooties." Yet Fr. Cekada himself has become the very "follow me or die" cleric he once abhored. Here is a list of his cooties:

  • Attending the Revised Holy Week Rites of Pope Pius XII gives you the "Masonic-BUGnini" Cootie 
  • Receiving Holy Viaticum from an SSPX priest is wrong because the Sacred Host was consecrated during an Una Cum Mass. 
  • You can't make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament where the Una Cum Mass is offered. 
  • You can deny Holy Communion to a member of the SSPX or who attend Mass with another R&R priest.
  • You can't go to Confession to a Traditionalist priest where the Una Cum is offered if it causes "scandal"
 That Una Cum is one powerful spiritual cootie!! I also wonder how he reconciles only being able to confess to an SSPX or R&R priest if there is "no danger of  scandal," yet he told one of my readers it was OK to confess to a Vatican II sect priest, outside the danger of death and in the V2 sect church, as long as the priest was validly ordained pre-Vatican II. The Novus Bogus "mass" is said there. That's not scandalous? That's not being in union with an priest who broke his Anti-Modernist Oath to join the Vatican II sect?

Fr. Cekada longs for the day the SSPV stops the nonsense they created. So do I. Furthermore, I also long for the day all Traditionalists are sedevacantists. Until then, I hope Fr. Cekada stops doing the very thing he accuses the SSPV of doing; enforcing made-up rules.I'm not R&R, but to tell people who have no where else to go it's mortal sin to attend Una Cum (thereby depriving themselves of many graces staying away) when there is no Magisterium to decide the issue is wrong. I have seen Fr. Cekada attack the clergy of the SSPV with much vitriol.  To their credit, they don't give it back to him. They act with the decorum one would expect of a Traditionalist priest or bishop. I hope Fr. Cekada will start behaving as a priest should, and he can look to Bishop Santay and Fr. Baumberger as examples.

The "spiritual cooties" do have a cure: Stop enforcing theological issues upon which there can be honest disagreement, and there is no Magisterial authority to decide. "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity."

Monday, July 1, 2019

Singing For Satan---Part 24

This week I continue my once-per-month series of posts regarding an informal study I undertook in the early 1990s regarding rock and pop music. The purpose of my study (and the background to it) can be read in the first installment of August 7, 2017. If you have not read that post, I strongly encourage you to do so before reading this installment. I will only repeat here the seven (7) evil elements that pervade today's music:

1. Violence/Murder/Suicide
2. Nihilism/Despair
3. Drug and alcohol glorification
4. Adultery/ Fornication and sexual perversion
5. The occult
6. Rebellion against lawful superiors
7. Blasphemy against God, Jesus Christ in particular, and the Church

 The exposing of the bands/artists continues.

Led Zeppelin

Zed Zeppelin was an English rock band formed in 1968. Only The Beatles and Elvis Presley had a greater impact on rock music, and I dare say that they, just like Satanist Aleister Crowley whom they emulated, were "the wickedest men" in music. Their music is demon-inspired, and they wished to lead souls, like a Satanic Pied-Piper, to the depths of Hell. If you think this is all hyperbole, and I'm exaggerating to make a point, guess again. The amount of material I have on this group is enormous; so much so I could easily have written four posts on this band. I left Led Zeppelin until near the end of this series of posts, because I kept going back to parse down the information. Nevertheless, I wanted to retain enough to make the inherent evil of their songs evident. I hope I've succeeded in this endeavor. 

The group consisted of Robert Plant (b. 1948) lyric-writer and lead singer, Jimmy Page (b. 1944) on lead guitar, John Paul Jones (b. John Richard Baldwin in 1946) on keyboards/bass, and John Bonham (d. 1980) on drums. The band is cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal music. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia and folk music. Originally calling themselves The New Yardbirds, they changed their name when a music critic told them their music "would sink like a lead balloon." Hence, they changed the spelling of "lead," and "Balloon" became "Zeppelin," as they wanted to prove him wrong. The four united by chance when Jimmy Page wanted to form a "rock and roll super-group." Of those who applied, Plant, Jones, and Bonham were chosen. 

Zeppelin released eight studio albums, after signing with Atlantic Records. They were generally disliked by the music critics, but unexpectedly became wildly popular. Their untitled album (commonly called Led Zeppelin IV), contained the song Stairway to Heaven, which to this day is considered one of the greatest rock songs of all time. (See According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, as of 2000, the song had been broadcast on radio over three million times. The sheet music sells approximately 15,000 copies per year, and over one million copies have been sold since 1971, making it the the best selling single piece of sheet music in history. It remains the #1 most requested song on rock radio stations.

The band was known for absolute debauchery, as they became the most successful and popular band of the 1970s. In 1980, drummer John Bonham (ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as number one in their list of the "100 Greatest Drummers of All Time") consumed over 47 ounces of Vodka on September 24th, beginning with his "breakfast." He passed out later in the day, and was placed in his bed. He choked on his own vomit while he slept, a condition known medically as pulmonary aspiration.  The band announced that they would not replace him, but disband because "the sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were"--the letter was singed "Led Zeppelin." The band sold approximately 200 million albums, and in 1995, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

A Deal with the Devil
In 2018, author Lance Gilbert came out with a book entitled The Led Zeppelin Curse: Jimmy Page and the Boleskine House, which ties together (with decent sources) all the rumors and writings in the past which claim that three of the four members made a pact with Satan to sell their souls in return for fame and fortune. It is undisputed that in 1969, Jimmy Page became deeply involved with the teachings of Satanist Aleister Crowley. He couldn't get enough of his books on Satanism and the occult. Eventually, Page would buy Crowley's house (known as the Boleskine House) in 1970. Although he didn't live there, he would go there to get his "inspiration for songs." He hired one Malcolm Dent as caretaker. Dent reported he awoke one night to hear what sounded like a wild animal snorting and banging outside his bedroom door. It went on for some time and it wasn't until morning that Dent dared open the door, and there was nothing there. Dent added "whatever was there was pure evil."

Due to the harsh criticisms of their music, Page suggested that the band participate in a "magick" ritual (Magick, spelled with a "k" at the end, is the attempt of causing change to occur through the calling up of supernatural forces, as opposed to "magic" which is harmless sleight of hand parlor tricks). This ritual was taken from Crowley's work and was meant to bring fame and fortune. All agreed except John Paul Jones who wanted no part of it. It was right after the ritual that their albums skyrocketed in sales and they became a sensation. The unnamed album (unofficially called Led Zeppelin IV) was a tribute to the occult and released in 1971. 

Led Zepplin IV contained the mega-hit Stairway to Heaven. According to Led Zeppelin biographer Stephen Davis, the song was the result of automatic writing, i.e., writing that is said to be produced by a spiritual entity rather than the conscious intention of the writer. 

". . . Robert [Plant] described the 'automatic' nature of the lyric: 'I was just sitting there with Pagey [nickname for Jimmy Page] in front of a fire at Headley Grange. Pagey had written the chords and played them for me. I was holding a paper and pencil, and for some reason, I was in a very bad mood. Then all of a sudden my hand was writing out words. 'There's a lady who's sure, all that glitters is gold, and she's buying a stairway to heaven.' I just sat there and looked at the words and then I almost leaped out of my seat.'" (See Hammer of the Gods, [2008], p. 164; Emphasis mine)

"He [Robert Plant] often remarked that he could feel his pen being pushed by some higher authority." (Ibid, p. 262; Emphasis mine)

Problems for the group began in 1972, when Page agreed to do the soundtrack for Lucifer Rising, a short movie being created by Satanist/occultist Kenneth Anger, who was another ritual magick practitioner. Page didn't deliver on the music, which led to Anger denouncing Page in the media. Anger reportedly told people in private (circa 1975)  that he placed a curse on Page and Led Zeppelin (after all, they were supposed to be in Satan's service). The next five years were non-stop tragedy. First, Robert Plant and his family were nearly killed when their car went off a cliff in Greece. The accident forced the band to cancel the rest of their Physical Graffiti tour and delayed the recording of their next album.

Plant got laryngitis when the band arrived in the U.S. to tour, leaving fans disappointed in the quality of the music, and they got ripped in the media. In 1977, Plant's five year old son, Karac, died from a simple stomach virus. The group had just finished a performance where a mini-riot had broken out, and Plant received a call from his wife informing him that their son got suddenly ill and died. He was totally healthy up to that point. Page and Jones didn’t attend the child's funeral, prompting Plant to consider leaving the band. He wrote the song All of My Love in honor of Karac. Then in 1980, Bonham died, and that's when the band called it quits. The speculation is that the break-up was due to the "Led Zeppelin Curse" and not the stated "undivided harmony." Interestingly, the only band member who was left unscathed by tragedy dring 1975-1980, was John Paul Jones--the solitary member who refused to have anything to do with the Satanic magick ritual performed by the others in the band.

Houses of the Unholy
The Occult Symbols of Led Zeppelin: (from RIGHT to LEFT because Crowley wanted things done backwards):
Robert Plant, John Bonham, John Paul Jones, and Jimmy Page

Zeppelin's songs are full of the occult. The infamous Stairway to Heaven was exposed in April of 1982 for having "backward masked messages" on it. I was listening live when WPLJ-FM played the vinyl backwards, and I could clearly hear the words "My sweet Satan."  There were other words allegedly spoken, but those were unmistakable. The band denied doing it, and basically said it was just random sounds and active imaginations. Yet it was Page who said of Satanist Crowley, "...I've employed his system [of the occult] in my day to day life." (See Paul Kendall Led Zeppelin: In Their Own Words, pg. 109). You can hear a recording of the song backwards here: 

For a time, Page even owned an occult bookstore and publishing house called The Equinox. Containing rare, expensive occult books, it was a source of knowledge for serious initiates only. The album Led Zeppelin III  had on the first pressings the words "So mote be it" and "Do what thou wilt," a line coming from Crowley's guiding philosophy: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." It's interesting to wonder what Page imagined he might accomplish, sending this wicked teaching spinning over turntables around the world. 

Led Zeppelin IV got more elaborate with its occult promotion. The hermit on the cover was a Tarot symbol ("The Hermit") with whom Page often identified. Those strange symbols shown above are taken from Rudolf Koch's 1955 Book of Signs, which collected occult images from around the world. Robert Plant is represented by the feather in the circle. John Bonham is represented by the three interlocking rings. John Paul Jones is represented by the circle with three flower-petal-like shapes. "ZoSo," meanwhile, belongs to Page. (The band always describes them backwards from right to left, as Crowley always said to do things backwards to honor Satan)

As to Plant's symbol, it is specifically the feather of Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of justice. The feather is the same one referred to in Egyptian belief when the heart of the deceased is weighed against a feather by Anubis, the Jackal-headed guardian of the underworld. A heart heavy with sin would preclude the individual from joining Osiris in the underworld. It is pagan and shows Plant as "full of sin." Bonham's symbol is taken from the "Heriophant Tarot card of the Thoth deck"  representing Isis, Osiris and Horus in a blasphemous mockery of the Christian Trinity.

Jones' symbol is a circle with three intersecting Vesica Pisces and is known as the Triquetra. This symbol has been found on early Germanic coins and Northern European Rune Stones. It was used by Christians and "baptized," so to speak, in order to represent the True Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. It is best known in modern times as a Pagan or Wiccan symbol for the trinity of Maiden, Woman, and Hag. The popular television series Charmed, about three Pagan sisters, uses this symbol as its logo and is seen upon the Book of Shadows used in the show. Finally, Page's symbol does not show up in Koch's book, but contains "666" hidden both in its regular appearance and upside down--a sign of the Antichrist. 

Do We Even Need the Lyrics?
With all the occult influences, the lyrics to the songs are almost superfluous; we know they can't be any good. Played forward or backwards, the messages are evil. Two songs will suffice. The best and most accurate description, in my opinion, of the meaning behind Stairway to Heaven, comes from an anonymous gentleman who left it on the Internet, and it comports with my research. I take no credit for the interpretation.

There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven. (Occult alchemy.  Some people like shiny things and think they have value. Some believe they can buy, with money or sex, whatever they want.)

There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
In a tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings,
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven. (Two meanings: the occult use of certain words and symbols to mean something sinister)

Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it makes me wonder.

There's a feeling I get when I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees, (Ritual sex or sacrifice with incantations by the fire outdoors)
And the voices of those who stand looking. (In ancient times, the west, the direction of the sunset, was the direction of hell - children of darkness long to return home to their master where death and destruction awaits them--Christ is said to return from the East and all altars face east. The sun (Son) also rises in the East).

Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it really makes me wonder.

And it's whispered that soon, if we all call the tune,
Then the piper will lead us to reason.
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long,
And the forests will echo with laughter. (The New Age Anti-Christ is the piper that will lead all who will follow the tune of Satanic music into hell - the new day is the New Age )

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,
It's just a spring clean for the May queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on.
And it makes me wonder.

Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know,
The piper's calling you to join him,
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul.
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold. (Wind down the road like a snake or like the devil; the shadow is evil; the the devil who appears as an angel of light or even the Queen of Heaven [false apparitions in our times]-occult alchemy turning metals into gold)

And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last.
When all are one and one is all (Trying to convince you to listen to the evil spirits and hear the tune of the devil, The Antichrist, when the one-world government and one world religion where "all are one")
To be a rock and not to roll.

And she's buying a stairway to heaven.

In Houses of the Holy the lyrics are pure evil once more:

Let me take you to the movies.
Can I take you to the show?
Let me be yours ever truly.
Can I make your garden grow? (This verse is a reference to a man asking a woman to go out with him and have sex)

From the houses of the holy
We can watch the white doves go. (The man is introducing her to Satanism. As Satan's influence increases, the "white doves" [symbol of the Holy Ghost and His Grace in the souls of the just] will "go" as He does not abide in the souls of the unjust)
From the door comes Satan's daughter.(A blasphemous parody of Christ--The Son of God)
And it only goes to show.
And you know. (It only goes to show gullibility on the part of many)

There's an angel on my shoulder. (A fallen angel)
In my hand a sword of gold.
Let me wander in your garden.
And the seeds of love I'll sow. (More sexual reference)
You know.

So the world is spinning faster.
Are you dizzy when you stall?
Let the music be your master.
Will you heed the master's call?

Satan and man. (Does this even require interpretation?!?)

Said there ain't no use in crying
'Cause it will only, only drive you mad.
Does it hurt to hear them lying?
Was this the only world you had?

So let me take you, take you to the movie.
Can I take you, baby, to the show?
Why don't you let me be yours ever truly?
Can I make your garden grow?
You know that's right.

Led Zeppelin is a band who sold their souls to sing for Satan. One of the wickedest groups of all time, the facts speak for themselves. There used to be a segment every night on WPLJ-FM here in NYC back in the 1970s, called "Get The Led Out;" a half-hour of only Led Zeppelin songs. I agree that anyone who ever listened to them should get (and keep) the music of Led Zeppelin out of their lives.