Monday, December 25, 2023

Winning Back The Liturgical Movement


To My Readers: Merry Christmas and a Happy, Holy New Year to you all! The year 2023 will end with this post by Joanna From Poland. It's been awhile since she has done one of her incredible guest posts, and I'm so happy that I get to publish this as 2023 draws to a close. This post is an extremely well-researched look into the Liturgical Movement.  I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as I did. My thanks and gratitude to Joanna From Poland, for having given me the gift of some much needed time off from research and writing during December as the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ approaches.

Feel free to leave comments for Joanna From Poland. If you have a specific comment or question for me, I will respond as always, but it will take me a bit longer to reply this week.

God bless you all, my dear readers---Introibo

Winning Back The Liturgical Movement
By Joanna From Poland

The phrase liturgical movement tends to elicit a knee-jerk reaction among Traditionalists. The Holy Week reform promulgated by Pope Pius XII in 1955 is a bone of contention both among Traditionalist and semi-Traditionalist clergy and laity. Obviously, no question of liturgical discipline can be resolved authoritatively with the Chair of Peter being vacant. Disputes among Catholics (and those who believe themselves to be Catholic) are a sad but inevitable consequence of a lack of a true Pope. Nevertheless, Traditionalist should learn to “agree to disagree” charitably on those issues which do not pertain to the teaching of the Church (which is infallible both in solemn pronouncements as well as in her ordinary universal magisterium). 

No Traditionalist can dispense himself or herself from the duty to educate oneself on the roots of the crisis in the Church. The enemies of the Catholic religion have always benefited from the ignorance and passivity of Catholics. The Liturgical Movement, hijacked by Modernists, which gained impetus in the direction of crass error especially after World War II, is a prime example of a hostile takeover facilitated by the determination of the enemies of Christ and the indifference of those who belonged to His Mystical Body. 

Modernists dare to arrogate to themselves the fully orthodox liturgical work of Dom Prosper Guéranger, presenting him as the founder and his research as the cornerstone of their liturgical subversion that eventually resulted in the abominable Novus Ordo service promulgated by Montini on April 3, 1969. In this post I would like to give you the unadulterated profile of Dom Guéranger and his outlook on the liturgy so you may be better equipped to refute the lies peddled by Modernists – the progeny of the anti-liturgical heresy so fiercely fought by the renowned Benedictine of Solesmes.

True Champion of Liturgical Renewal
Dom Prosper Louis Pascal Guéranger (1805-1875) belonged to the generation of clergymen who found themselves thirsting after liturgical piety in a land ravaged by anti-Catholic and anti-Roman forces. The illustrious founder of the Benedictine Abbey of Solesmes, France and restorer of monastic life under the ancient Rule of St. Benedict in post-Revolutionary France was devoted to instill in his young Benedictine community “an absolute devotion to the Church and the Pope”. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1910) thus characterizes this tireless lover of the liturgy and loyal son of the Church:

Being a devout and ardent servant of the Church, Dom Guéranger wished to re-establish more respectful and more filial relations between France and the See of Rome, and his entire life was spent in endeavoring to effect a closer union between the two. With this end in view he set himself to combat, wherever he thought he found its traces, the separatist spirit that had, of old, allied itself with Gallicanism and Jansenism. With a strategic skill which deserves special recognition, Dom Guéranger worked on the principle that to suppress what is wrong, the thing must be replaced, and he labored hard to supplant everywhere whatever reflected the opinion he was fighting. He fought to have the Roman liturgy substituted for the diocesan liturgies, and he live to see his efforts in this line crowned with complete success. 

On philosophical ground, he struggled with unwavering hope against Naturalism and Liberalism, which he considered a fatal impediment to the constitution of an unreservedly Christian society. He helped, in a measure, to prepare men’s minds for the definition of the papal infallibility, that brilliant triumph which succeeded the struggle against papal authority so bitterly carried on a century previously by many Gallican and Josephite bishops [Joseph II, German emperor from 1765 to 1790, inspired by the so-called Enlightenment, adopted a Gallican-based policy of limiting ecclesial freedom in his land in favor of the intervention of the State in the affairs of the Church]. (…) 

In 1841 [ten years after he embarked on his great work of re-introducing the traditional monastic life to his native France at Solesmes – annotation mine] he began to publish a mystical work by which he hoped to arouse the faithful from their spiritual torpor and to supplant what he deemed the lifeless or erroneous literature that had been produced by the French spiritual writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. L’Année liturgique [French for The Liturgical Year], of which the author was not to finish the long series of fifteen volumes, is probably the one of all Dom Guéranger’s works that best fulfilled the purpose he had in view. Accommodating himself to the development of the liturgical periods of the year, the author labored to familiarize the faithful with the official prayer of the Church by lavishly introducing fragments of the Eastern and Western liturgies, with interpretations and commentaries.

The liturgical landscape in France and other European countries prior to the groundbreaking work begun by Dom Guéranger truly was a spiritual wasteland in which the errors of Jansenism, Gallicanism, and Quietism had wreaked great havoc. 

Fr. Didier Bonneterre SSPX* (died in 2009), author of The Liturgical Movement. From Dom Guéranger to Annibale Bugnini (published originally in French in 1980), one of the first priests to be ordained for the Society by Abp. Lefebvre in 1977, writes:

In the eighteenth century, the liturgy had ceased to be a vital force in Catholicism. The liturgy, so admirably restored by St. Pius V, had suffered the repeated assaults of Jansenism and Quietism. The disciples of Jansenius had led the faithful away from the practice of the sacraments. The Quietists, who had claimed to reach God directly, had turned souls away from the liturgy, which is the intermediary determined by the Church between God and ourselves. This was the period when triumphant Gallicanism was composing its diocesan liturgies, which resembled one another only in their anti-Roman character. In Germany, Febronius, Auxiliary Bishop of Treves, was spreading his ideas; in Italy there was the work of Ricci, Bishop of Pistoia – condemned with his council by Pope Pius VI in the bull Auctorem Fidei on August 28, 1794.

The whole of Europe therefore was floundering in the “anti-liturgical heresy” when the revolution broke out in France. The cult of Catholicism was forbidden, and replaced by that of the goddess of Reason. The Concordat of 1801 restored hope – but only trials for the liturgy! The people had lost the taste for it, the clergy themselves did not like these ceremonies that they no longer really understood, all the more so as the restoration of Catholicism [in France after the Masonic French Revolution] had brought back the many Gallican liturgies. 

But the hope of a real restoration remained possible. Already Chateaubriand, with his works The Genius of Christianity and The Martyrs, had revealed to the French of that time all the marvels of the liturgy of the Middle Ages. A new generation of young people was incited to pore over the manuscripts of antiquity and to discover there ceremonies of which the fragmented liturgies of the time could give no exact idea.

*Please note that while Fr. Bonneterre is correct in his description of the liturgical climate in Europe some three hundred years ago, his book obviously favors the false R&R theology espoused by the SSPX, ironically Gallican in its principles, as the SSPX have consistently undermined the prerogatives of those whom they recognize as “Popes." I do not endorse this book as a whole nor do I support any of the R&R ideas contained in it. ---Joanna From Poland

Principles of True Liturgical Revival

At a remarkably young age of twenty-five, Dom Guéranger already set forward the aim of his liturgical activity in his Considerations on the Catholic Liturgy: first of all, to equip the clergy with the understanding of and devotion to the liturgy of Rome. Secondly, he sought to “unite the faithful with the hierarchy when it celebrates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, administers the sacraments, and celebrates the Divine Office." To achieve the former, Dom Guéranger published The Liturgical Institutions, “a closely argued attack on the neo-Gallican liturgies and a wonderful demonstration of the antiquity and the beauties of the Roman liturgy." To achieve the latter, he devoted his most famous multi-volume work, The Liturgical Year, addressed specifically to the laity. 

Dom Guéranger and his Benedictine community at Solesmes also managed to restore to its original beauty the inalienable part of the Roman liturgy, namely the Gregorian chant. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1912) writes that the Abbot:

 set himself the task of resuscitating sound liturgical traditions in France at a time when such were at their lowest ebb. He revived the accent and rhythm of plainsong [per Catholic Encyclopedia, plain chant is ‘the church music of the early Middle Ages, before the advent of polyphony (...) which remained the exclusive music of the Church till the ninth century, when polyphony made its first modest appearance’] which had been lost, and in restoring the true text of the chant he laid down the principle, which has since been always strictly adhered to, that when various manuscripts of different periods and places agreed on a version, there existed the most correct text. (…) The labors of the Solesmes fathers received the highest possible recognition in 1904, when Pope Pius X (Motu Proprio, 25 April, 1904) entrusted particularly to the monks of the French Congregation and to the monastery of Solesmes the work of preparing an official Vatican edition of the Church’s Chant (…).

Anti-Liturgical Heresy According to Dom Guéranger
Institutions liturgiques written by Dom Guéranger is probably the most comprehensive exposition of the history of Catholic liturgy by an author of undisputed orthodoxy. Unfortunately, this masterpiece has never been translated into English in its entirety. There is, however, an excerpt of vital importance to Traditionalists today that has been made available on the Internet in English. The excerpt is taken from Vol. 1, Chapter XIV: Anti-liturgical heresy and the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century considered in its relation to the liturgy. The original work in French has been digitalized and is available in a convenient HTML format under this link:

Dom Guéranger lists eleven precepts of what he fittingly calls the anti-liturgical heresy which have been employed throughout centuries by impious innovators rebelling against the authority of Rome:

1. Hatred of Tradition as found in the formulas used in Divine worship, exemplified by Luther and his detestation of everything in the liturgy which does not derive exclusively from Holy Scripture.

2. Substitution of formulas of ecclesiastical origin with scriptural readings.

3. Fabrication and introduction of new formulas to be used in divine worship.

4. Habitual contradiction of the very principles devised by anti-liturgical sectarians, demonstrated in their initial attempt to vindicate the rights of antiquity but leading them to concoct completely novel formulas.

5. Expulsion of all the liturgical ceremonies and formulas expressing mysteries.

6. Suppression of the mystical element in the liturgy which eradicates the spirit of piety among the clergy and lay people.

7. Rejection of the need for intermediaries between God and man (Our Lady and the Saints) under the pretense of giving greater and sole worship due to God.

8. Vindication of the use of the vernacular language in the liturgy (stemming from the abolition of any liturgical actions and formulas favoring the sense of mystery).

9. Abolition of disciplinary rules imposed on the clergy and laity (the Divine Office, fast and abstinence, genuflections, and other external acts of devotion) aiming at diminishing the sum of public and private prayers.

10. Instilling disdain for the Papacy and Rome as the center of authority in the Church into the minds of the faithful.

11. Destruction in fact and in principle of the notion of (sacrificial) priesthood.


The fact that the above-mentioned rules employed by Protestant deformers in the destruction of the lex orandi were at work in the Vatican II sect has been confirmed by none other than a Modernist theologian and a liturgical butcher in one of his candid moments. Louis Bouyer (1913-2004), a Lutheran minister received into the Catholic Church in 1944, co-founder of the “conservative” Modernist theological journal Communio (along with Ratzinger and Urs von Balthasar among others), and one of the key figures in the liturgical mayhem of Vatican II.

Bouyer seems to have earned the reputation of a “good” Modernist among semi-trads due to his criticism of the direction taken by the Vatican II sect in the early post-conciliar years (Bouyer penned The Decompostion of Catholicism [sic!] in 1969). He would also voice his criticism of Annibale Bugnini. Nevertheless, beware of Greeks bearing gifts. A conservative Modernist is still a Modernist. He may lure you with his nostalgic sentiment for “tradition” only to make the new religion palatable enough for us to remain in it.

The following excerpt – Bouyer’s own recollection of his involvement in the post-Vatican II liturgical deform – is taken from The Memoirs of Louis Bouyer: From Youth and Conversion to Vatican II, the Liturgical Reform, and After published in 2015 by Angelico Press (pp. 123-124) [emphasis in the text below is mine]:

What shall I say, after that, about my collaboration, at first, in the Consilium for the reform of the liturgical books, which, after the publication of my Eucharistie and called by Paul VI, I could not evade? I would not like to be too hard on that commission. (…) Unfortunately, on the other hand, a fatal error of judgment placed the theoretical direction of this committee in the hands of a generous and courageous but poorly educated man, Cardinal Lercaro. He was completely incapable of standing up to the maneuvers of the smooth-talking villain, the Neapolitan Vincentian Bugnini, who was not long in proving to be as devoid of culture as he was of simple honesty. Even without that, there was no hope of producing anything of much more value than what could be produced when one was claiming to remake comprehensively in a few months an entire liturgy that took twenty centuries to develop gradually. 

Called specifically to the subcommission charged with the Missal, I was petrified, when I arrived, to discover the plans of a preparatory subcommission (…) in the belief that they would thereby obviate the custom coming from Holland of having Eucharists improvised in a total misunderstanding of the liturgical tradition going back to Christian origins. I cannot succeed in understanding by what aberration these excellent gentlemen, rather good historians and generally reasonable minds, could have made the equally disconcerting suggestion that the Roman Canon should be dismembered and reconstructed and formed other plans supposedly ‘inspired’ by Hippolytus of Rome but scarcely less harebrained. (…)

Ultimately the Roman Canon was more or less respected, and we managed to produce three Eucharistic Prayers that, in spite of quite wordy intercessions, retrieve pieces of great antiquity and unrivalled theological and euchological [referring to the Church’s liturgical books] richness, out of use since the disappearance of the ancient Gallican rites. I am thinking of the anamnesis of the third Eucharistic Prayer and also of what we were able to salvage of a rather successful attempt to adapt a series of phrases from the ancient so-called prayer of Saint James to the Roman scheme (…).
But, although there was talk of simplifying the liturgy and of returning it to the primitive models, what can be said of that actus poenitentialis inspired by Father Jungmann (who was an excellent historian of the Roman Missal . . . but who had never celebrated a solemn Mass in his life!)? The worst thing was an incredible offertory in the Catholic Action, sentimental-workerist style, the work of Father Cellier, who manipulated the despicable Bugnini with arguments tailored to his range of understanding so as to get his production passed despite nearly unanimous opposition.

Some idea will be given of the deplorable conditions in which this hasty reform was dispatched when I describe how the second Eucharistic Prayer was strung together. Between the indiscriminately archeologizing fanatics who wanted to banish the Sanctus and the intercessions from the Eucharistic Prayer by taking Hippolytus’ Eucharist at it is and others who did not care at all about his alleged Apostolic Tradition but who wanted only some slipshod Mass, Dom Botte and I were to take charge of piecing together its text so as to work in those elements that were certainly more ancient – for the next day!

By chance I discovered in a text, if not by Hippolytus himself then assuredly in his style, a felicitous phrase on the Holy Spirit that could form a transition of the Vere Sanctus type to the brief epiclesis. Botte, for his part, made up an intercession more worthy of Paul Reboux and his ‘in the manner of’ [Reboux was a French writer and humorist, author of literary pastiches of some of the most famous contemporary authors, published under the title In the manner of… ) than of his own knowledge. But I cannot reread that improbable composition without thinking again of the terrace of the Trastevere café where we put the finishing touches on our chore in order to be able to present ourselves with it at the Bronze Gate at the hour appointed by our schoolmasters!

I prefer to say nothing or virtually nothing about the new calendar, the work of a trio of maniacs, suppressing Septuagesima and the octave of Pentecost without any serious reason and tossing three-quarters of the saints out who knows where, on the basis of their own ideas! Since these three fanatics obstinately refused to change anything in their work and since the pope [Montini] wanted to finish it quickly so as not to let chaos spread, their project was accepted, as outrageous as it was!
The only element not open to criticism in this new Missal was the enrichment provided above all by the resurrection of a good number of magnificent prefaces recovered from ancient sacramentaries and the expansion of the biblical readings (…). I will pass over the number of ancient prayers for penitential seasons . . . that we were obliged to mutilate so as to empty them as much as possible . . . precisely of anything penitential!

The Modernist myth of “restoring the liturgical riches of antiquity” has already been debunked masterfully by Fr. Anthony Cekada (R.I.P.) in The Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of The Mass of Paul VI. Videos chapter overviews made by Fr. Cekada are available for viewing here:

The so-called Eucharistic Prayer II, that “improbable composition” rustled up over some pizza at an Italian diner by two Modernists in a rush, has become the law of praying and, consequently, of believing for those trapped in the Novus Ordo religion for the last fifty years. I can attest to the fact that this horrible concoction was used most of the time I attended the Novus Ordo service and was stuck in my mind to such a degree that when some young “priest” dared to say the Modernist-botched Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I), I felt uneasy, confused, and… bored (and so was the rest of the congregation). 

One of the most favorite stratagems employed by Modernists to justify their glaringly obvious rupture with Catholic doctrine and discipline is to find an apparent precedent to their actions. Their deviousness would surely fail if only Catholics knew enough Church history to expose their thinly-veiled lies. Remember the goals set forward by Dom Guéranger that were to guide the true liturgical movement which he set in motion. Firstly, to give the clergy a thorough knowledge and admiration of the liturgy handed down by centuries of Catholicism, NOT to invent novel forms of worship in the name of going back to uncorrupted primitive Christianity (the alleged corruptive forces being the medieval hierarchy). 

Secondly, to unite the minds and hearts of the lay people to the mind and heart of the priest offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in persona Christi (in the person of Christ) for validity and in persona Ecclesiae (in the person of the Church) for efficacy, NOT to empower the laity with the exaggerated notion of the “priesthood of all believers”, thus instilling in them the false idea that it is the community that celebrates while the priest is reduced to a role of presider/entertainer/commentator/moderator (cross out the redundant word). 

Dom Guéranger sought to restore the liturgical treasures of the Middle Ages; the Modernists see in that glorious era of Christendom a corruption of the purity of primitive Christianity brought about by the marriage of the altar and the throne and the rise of clericalism in the form of Catholic hierarchy. The liturgical movement infiltrated by Modernists, culminating in Vatican II and the Novus Ordo service of Montini is the actual antithesis of the true liturgical movement begun by Dom Guéranger.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Pope Pius XII And Technology


I hold Pope Pius XII to have been one of the greatest popes of the Church, and unfortunately, he has had no successor for just over 65 years. His Holiness was (and remains) the object of scorn and derision by those who claim he was "soft on Modernism," and "enabled" the Modernists, leading to the creation of the Vatican II sect. He has been accused of aiding and abetting Hitler, and introducing liturgical changes that "became harmful." I had written a post defending him: (See 

The pope is the Vicar of Christ on Earth, and is protected by the Holy Ghost from teaching heresy and giving anything evil to the Church. This is true of all popes; the great ones, the good ones, and even the bad ones. However, I have noticed that what separates great popes from the merely good or the (unfortunately) bad ones, is seen in their apparent prescience.  This can be detected in popes such as St. Pius V, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, and Pius XII. 

When Pope Pius XII went to Judgement on October 9, 1958, the world was a very different place. Not merely religiously, but technologically. No one was talking about the dangers of AI, the Internet was nonexistent, the phone was attached to the wall, television was pretty new on the scene, and a tablet was medicine you ingested. Most people don't realize that Pope Pius gave many papal addresses on technology during his reign which lasted 19 years,7 months, and seven days. 

There are some Traditionalists who spurn all technology as evil and to be avoided. They have a Luddite mentality one would expect from the heretical Amish, and not Catholics. On the other end of the spectrum, you have Traditionalists who embrace all technology without regard for the real dangers presented. Pope Pius XII spoke as if God granted him a glimpse into the technological world of today, and what he said demonstrated that he understood both the benefits and dangers technology poses, and he approached it with the right attitude, avoiding both total condemnation as well as unrestrained advocacy.

This post will show the wisdom of Pope Pius XII in approaching technology. It is a wisdom we all should embrace. 

Television can be a tool for great good or great evil. Unfortunately, many can't seem to distinguish between the content and the television itself. Fr. DePauw, my spiritual father, was an approved canonist from pre-Vatican II. From 1955 to 1962 he was Professor of Canon Law, Moral Theology, and Latin at Mount Saint Mary's Seminary for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The Ave Maria Chapel (where Fr. offered the True Mass and sacraments from June 23,1968 until his passing on May 6, 2005) was located in Westbury, Long Island, not too far from an SSPX chapel. 

Fr. DePauw would watch a half-hour of the evening news after reciting his Breviary and other prayers, and before retiring for the night. The resident priest of the SSPX chapel in the mid-1990s gave a sermon claiming that the mere possession of a TV set was an occasion of sin, and that watching television (regardless of content) was mortal sin. He also made the mistake of accusing Fr. DePauw of mortal sin for watching the evening news, and causing scandal by owning one. Word of this got back to Fr. DePauw, and he was visibly angry as he responded the following Sunday in his sermon to those unfounded charges.

"Perhaps Fr. (name withheld by me---Introibo) would like to explain to me how an invention which he claims to be intrinsically evil was given a Patron Saint, St. Clare of Assisi, by Pope Pius XII. Popes don't give patron saints to that which is intrinsically evil, like abortion clinics that murder innocent babies. Not only is he incapable of making necessary and proper distinctions between content and the medium through which it comes, he would never be able to pass my Moral Theology course in a real pre-Vatican II seminary. If this is the kind of so-called guidance he gives his parishioners, he should refrain from ever giving any advice again. A priest should only give guidance when he knows what he's talking about; in the case of Fr. and all the SSPX priests I've ever known, this would require perpetual silence." The priest in question never retracted his incorrect statements, nor did he apologize to Fr. DePauw (quote written from notes I made after the sermon). 

Fr. DePauw knew his theology, as did the great Pope Pius XII. In the pontiff's address to delegates of the European Radio Union on October 20, 1955, he said the following:

Television has already appeared in many sectors and will appear in even more places, in public as well as in the privacy of the home, so that it is possible for all to enjoy it in peace and recollection. The good and evil which can result at the moment of broadcast or after it are incalculable and unforeseen. Make absolutely sure, therefore, that television does not serve to spread error and evil. On the contrary, make it an instrument of information, formation, and transformation...

Television can above all be of aid to schools and make teaching more efficacious by becoming a complementary element in the formation of pupils...The history teacher, for example, would be greatly helped by the projection of documentary films concerning the places which were the stage of important events. The teaching of the history of art would profit by placing before the pupils' eyes the masterpieces of painting, sculpture, the beauties of a picture gallery and in general the marvels of a city, with a lifelike presentation no book could guarantee...

Beyond the influence on school teaching we must consider that television can become an efficacious means of helping family unity in the home...[television] can reunite the whole family around the set... program directors must always concern themselves with more than artistic levels, in the respect that is due, obviously, to just standards of human and Christian morality.

Television also can become a providential instrument for a larger participation in the manifestations of religious life for all those who would be prevented from being actually present at them. The televising of liturgical ceremonies, the illustration of the truths of faith, the presentation of masterpieces of sacred art and many other things will carry the Word of God to homes, hospitals, prisons, and the most remote centers of population. God grant that the day may soon come when the pagan masses will themselves receive the Gospel more easily, thanks to this remarkable instrument. (Emphasis mine).   

In 1958, Pope Pius XII declared St Clare of Assisi the Patron Saint of Television, just as televisions were becoming universal in homes across most of the world. She was chosen because the virtuous nun had a miraculous event in her life. She was once too sick to attend Mass on Christmas, and she wept bitterly at not being able to attend and receive her Lord in Holy Communion. Suddenly, the Mass that was going on was projected onto the wall of her room where she could see and hear everything as if she were present. As the priest was giving out Communion, an angel appeared in St. Clare's room, and gave her Holy Communion while on her sick bed. God had "produced the first television" so to speak, in order to show His love to His beloved saint! 

The False Spirituality of Those Who Overemphasize (and Those Who Devalue) Technology
As I wrote above, there are those who condemn all technology and those who embrace it with no concern for the attendant dangers. In his Christmas Message of 1955, Pope Pius exposes and eschews the false spirituality the underlies both attitudes. The holy Pontiff lives by the old aphorism In medio stat veritas---In the middle lies the truth. 

...In truth modern man , precisely because he is in possession of all that the mind and labor of man have produced, ought to recognize even more the infinite distance between what he can do and what proceeds from the limitless power of God. But the reality is quite different... Not a few indeed permit themselves to be dazzled by the limited splendor deriving from these works, refusing to follow that internal prompting to seek their source and end, outside of and above the world of science and technology... Others on the contrary, in the opposite way... hope that man may renounce all this feverish external and, above all, technological dynamism, that he may enter within himself where he will find the richness of an interior life, all his, exclusively human, such as will satisfy every possible exigency. And yet, rather a withdrawing from life prompted by arrogance, almost despair, by the fear and incapacity to give oneself to the external order and has nothing in common with a genuine interior life which is complete, dynamic, and fruitful...(Emphasis mine). 

Youth and Technology
Millennials, and more so Gen Z, are the product of a technological age. My generation, Gen  X, is the last to remember growing up in a world devoid of personal computers and cell phones/iPhones. It is not unusual for me to see a family sitting in a restaurant and saying nothing to each other throughout the meal with eyes on their phones. It is the age of "antisocial media." It is a world of "cyberbullying," and where every form of evil and error can spread. The truth can also be given a boost as websites like Novus Ordo Watch prove. Here's what His Holiness had to say about youth and technology in an Address to Catholic Action on September 12, 1948:

It is no wonder then that technology too often dazzles the mind, especially of youth, which, entirely overcome by its fascination, runs the danger of losing the sight and the sense of what is spiritual, supersensible, and interior, of what is religious, supernatural, and eternal. Yet, it is precisely the men of the century of technology who have more need than ever before of the protective and steadying forces of religion. Take fire as an example. Restrained and guided, it is a good and indispensable help to man. Once out of control, it carries death and destruction, in annihilating flame, through city and countryside. 

The same is true of technology. A gift of God by its very nature, today's ultrapowerful technology becomes in the hands of violent men, of parties ruling with the brutality of force, of omnipotent and oppressor states, a terrible instrument of injustice, slavery, and cruelty. In modern warfare, technology intensifies---to an intolerable degree---the sufferings and torments of the populations. 

On the other hand, restrained and directed by a society which fears God, which obeys His precepts and esteems spiritual, moral, and eternal things incomparably more than the material; technology can bring us those blessings for which it was ordained according to the Creator's design. ...To the young of this generation: it is up to you to bring to your life and the State an energy of true religious faith so great that the scale of values established by God, the Creator and Redeemer, in which matter does not rule but serves, will be contentiously observed, and technology will be subordinated, according to the Divine Will, to man's dignity and liberty, to his peace and happiness, both earthly, and above all else eternal...(Emphasis mine). 

Will the Traditionalist youth of today take up the pope's call to action? Hopefully, it's not too late. 

Ultimate Value to be Found in Love of God Not Technology  
Humanity, in its arrogance, must never think more highly of itself as technology allows for greater domination over the world. People have always thought highly of themselves, lacking humility, until God brings them down to reality, as in the time of the Tower of Babel. Science and technology have become "gods" to many. Pope Pius XII warned of this in his Address to Gynecologists given on January 8, 1956.

Although the Christian applauds new scientific discoveries and makes use of them, he rejects all of materialism's exaggerated glorification of science and culture. He knows these occupy a place on the scale of objective values, but that, while they are not the lowest, neither are they the highest. In their regard too, he repeats today as ever and always: "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Justice." (St. Matthew 6:33)...The highest, the ultimate value for man is to be found, not in science or its technical capabilities, but in the love of God and devotion to His service...(Emphasis mine). 


Never before has there been such dangers, or such opportunities for true advancement, as technology gives to us today. Pope Pius XII was able to see what was  awaiting us over 80 years ago when his reign began. Before we make any decisions regarding technology, we would all do well to heed the sage advice of this true Vicar of Christ. 

Monday, December 11, 2023

The First Of The Four Marks


To My Readers: This week my guest poster Lee has a great topic which I'm sure you will find as interesting as I did. I can't thank Lee enough for his always great content, and for giving me a much needed respite from research and writing. Please feel free to leave comments for Lee. If anyone has a specific comment or question for me, I will respond as usual, but it may take me a bit longer to reply this week. 

God bless you all, my dear readers---Introibo

The First of the Four Marks
By Lee
Recently, there has been a disagreement among a couple traditional Catholic (Sedevacantist) bishops on whether or not candidates for the episcopacy are worthy of consecration. As a result, one of them publicly cut his relationship off from the other due to what one will do and the other refuses to take part in. Not surprisingly, those united to Jorge Bergoglio (A.K.A. "Pope" Francis I) have been using this example to suggest that there is no unity among Sedevacantists as a consequence of being divided with no pope for such a long period and like the Protestants will splinter off continuously as time passes. Many seem to be amused by this. 

It's a fair argument, but the irony behind this example is that those united to Francis I aren't even one in faith with him, nor his bishops throughout the world. Fr. Anthony Cekada once coined the phrase "Recognize and Resist" (R&R) and for the most part that doesn't just come out of those in the SSPX but also those in the Latin Mass societies (those granted an indult or Motu Proprio by John Paul II and Benedict XVI) such as the Fraternity of St. Peter's or the Institute of Christ the King etc. Many in these organizations have recently complained heavily about the removal of "Bp." Strickland, as if his removal was unjust, as if their pope didn't have the authority to do that, and so on. They constantly worry about whether their pope or their local bishop is going to add further restrictions as to the removal of the Tridentine Mass. When Joe Biden was told by Francis I that he was a good Catholic worthy to receive Holy Communion, even though a priest in America had previously denied him Communion, many so called conservatives including those who love the Novus Ordo liturgy (who typically don't resist) were up in arms bad mouthing him for such an outrage. 

Surveys have shown that many who call themselves Catholic since the time of Vatican II, whether lay folk or even clergy, do not believe in simple dogmas or doctrines taught by the Catholic Church such as Transubstantiation, the immorality of same sex marriage, or whether the devil actually exists (Fr. McBrian d.2015). Who is responsible for this? Is it not the hierarchy? If people do not believe in basic Catholic teachings why are they tolerated? What are they being taught or why are they allowed to teach? So I revert the question back to the accusers of traditional Catholic bishops (sedevacantists), where is unity of faith in your entire church? Why all the division amongst each other, even though you do have what you call a pope?

The Mark of ONENESS

Those of us who suffer backwardness as a result of a nostalgic disease (words from none other than Francis) believe in what the Catechism of Trent teaches:


The first mark of the true Church is described in the Nicene Creed, and consists in unity: My dove is one, my beautiful one is one. So vast a multitude, scattered far and wide, is called one for the reasons mentioned by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians: One Lord, one faith, one baptism.

"Unity In Government"

The Church has but one ruler and one governor, the invisible one, Christ, whom the eternal Father hath made head over all the Church, which is his body; the visible one, the Pope, who, as legitimate successor of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, fills the Apostolic chair.

It is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers that this visible head is necessary to establish and preserve unity in the Church. This St. Jerome clearly perceived and as clearly expressed when, in his work against Jovinian, he wrote: One is elected that, by the appointment of a head, all occasion of schism may be removed. In his letter to Pope Damasus the same holy Doctor writes: Away with envy, let the ambition of Roman grandeur cease! I speak to the successor of the fisherman, and to the disciple of the cross. Following no chief but Christ, I am united in communion with your Holiness, that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that on that rock is built the Church. Whoever will eat the lamb outside this house is profane; whoever is not in the ark of Noah shall perish in the flood.

The same doctrine was long before established by Saints Irenaeus and Cyprian. The latter, speaking of the unity of the Church observes: The Lord said to Peter, I say to thee, Peter! thou art Peter: and upon this rock I will build my Church. He builds His Church on one. And although after His Resurrection He gave equal power to all His Apostles, saying: As the Father hath sent me, I also send you, receive ye the Holy Ghost; yet to make unity more manifest, He decided by His own authority that it should be derived from one alone, etc.

Again, Optatus of Milevi says: You cannot be excused on the score of ignorance, knowing as you do that in the city of Rome the Episcopal chair was first conferred on Peter, who occupied it as head of the Apostles; in order that in that one chair the unity of the Church might be preserved by all, and that the other Apostles might not claim each a chair for himself; so that now he who erects another in opposition to this single chair is a schismatic and a prevaricator.

Later on St. Basil wrote: Peter is made the foundation, because he says: Thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God; and hears in reply that he is a rock. But although a rock, he is not such a rock as Christ; for Christ is truly an immovable rock, but Peter, only by virtue of that rock. For Jesus bestows His dignities on others; He is a priest, and He makes priests; a rock, and He makes a rock; what belongs to Himself, He bestows on His servants.

Lastly, St. Ambrose says: Because he alone of all of them professed (Christ) he was placed above all. 

Should anyone object that the Church is content with one Head and one Spouse, Jesus Christ, and requires no other, the answer is obvious. For as we deem Christ not only the author of all the Sacraments, but also their invisible minister -- He it is who baptizes, He it is who absolves, although men are appointed by Him the external ministers of the Sacraments -- so has He placed over His Church, which He governs by His invisible Spirit, a man to be His vicar and the minister of His power. A visible Church requires a visible head; therefore the Saviour appointed Peter head and pastor of all the faithful, when He committed to his care the feeding of all His sheep, in such ample terms that He willed the very same power of ruling and governing the entire Church to descend to Peter's successors.

"Unity In Spirit, Hope And Faith"

Moreover, the Apostle, writing to the Corinthians, tells them that there is but one and the same Spirit who imparts grace to the faithful, as the soul communicates life to the members of the body. Exhorting the Ephesians to preserve this unity, he says: Be careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; one body and one Spirit. As the human body consists of many members, animated by one soul, which gives sight to the eves, hearing to the ears, and to the other senses the power of discharging their respective functions; so the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church, is composed of many faithful. The hope, to which we are called, is also one, as the Apostle tells us in the same place; for we all hope for the same consummation, eternal and happy life. Finally, the faith which all are bound to believe and to profess is one: Let there be no schisms amongst you, says the Apostle. And Baptism, which is the seal of our Christian faith, is also one.

The above teaching leaves us either with two conclusions. Either Francis I is pope and it is he who removes all schism, preserves all unity, and it is he who feeds the sheep with the same doctrine from the time of Christ as his visible head on earth---or it is he who is an imposter, who is cut off by his own schism/heresy, a wolf in sheep's clothing who sows discord, and is devouring the sheep with poisonous doctrine, and therefore not a true shepherd who acts in the name of the Catholic Church.

It doesn't just stop with Francis I. It would also extend to the bishops in union with him in the world if he were in fact the pope because Pope St. Pius X taught in his encyclical on the Mariavites:

"But their profession of fidelity to the Vicar of Christ is vain in those who, in fact, do not cease to violate the authority of their Bishops. For “by far the most august part of the Church consists of the Bishops, (as Our Predecessor Leo XIII of holy memory wrote in his letter of December 17, 1888, to the Archbishop), inasmuch as this part by divine right teaches and rules men; hence, whoever resists them or pertinaciously refuses obedience to them puts himself apart from the Church. . . On the other hand, to pass judgment upon or to rebuke the acts of Bishops does not at all belong to private individuals — that comes within the province only of those higher than they in authority and especially of the Sovereign Pontiff, for to him Christ entrusted the charge of feeding not only His lambs, but His sheep throughout the world. At most, it is allowed in matters of grave complaint to refer the whole case to the Roman Pontiff, and this with prudence and moderation as zeal for the common good requires, not clamorously or abusively, for in this way dissensions and hostilities are bred, or certainly increased.” (Tribus Circiter #9). 

What do we see today? We see total contempt by a great multitude of those who call themselves either "conservative" or "traditional" Catholics for certain bishops, many of whom were appointed by Francis himself, such as Herman Glettler of Innsbruck, Austria, or John Stowe of Lexington, KY, USA. Yet Francis praises and encourages their ministries. Who among those who wag their tongues at Traditional Catholic (Sedevacantist) bishops cannot in some way say worse things about the new head of the Dicastery of the Doctrine (destruction) of the Faith named "Cardinal" Fernandez? Was it not he who answered the opposing bishops dubia when he said that Transsexuals can receive Baptism (so long as no scandal is in involved, whatever that means) as well as be Godparents and witnesses to weddings? Do not the opposing bishops disagree? Does not Francis approve of "Cardinal" Fernandez's answers? Did not Francis invite a multitude of Transgenders to a luncheon, not to proselytize them, but rather to "dialogue" about nothing beneficial for their salvation? So where is the unity of faith in the new religion? Those who dare attack traditional Catholic bishops should take a good look in the mirror. This counterfeit religion can't agree with its pope's doctrine, how he governs, nor figure out which bishop is orthodox in faith. How can Francis be pope? Where is the unity?

What then can be said of the traditional Catholic bishops? Are they truly ONE without a pope? In faith they are one, because they recognize the same last pope (Pius XII), his authority as well as his predecessors and, consequently, teach the same traditional Catholic doctrines handed down by the Church. They have also received the traditional rites of the priesthood and episcopacy that were not affected by the new changes occurring in 1968. They may be divided in so far as how they operate. They may be divided in what isn't settled in the Church. It may be true that even some among them have fallen away into heresy and should be avoided. Without a pope there is no way for them to be unified as we shall see below. Once the shepherd is struck, the sheep are scattered, but that doesn't mean the scattered sheep are no longer Catholic without a pope. That's because every time a pope dies, the Church doesn't die for good. It just means the Church is suffering like it has never suffered before. Do sedevacantist bishops want a pope? Sure. Do they want unity? Of course, but they know it cannot be done without a pope. Is it beyond their control to do more than what they are already doing for the salvation of souls? Absolutely.  

Consider Pope Leo XIII

Any serious minded Catholic ought to read Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Satis Cognitum and ponder whether this still holds true today within what is called the Catholic Church. He states,

But the mission of Christ is to save that which had perished: that is to say, not some nations or peoples, but the whole human race, without distinction of time or place. “The Son of Man came that the world might be saved by Him” (John iii., 17). “For there is no other name under Heaven given to men whereby we must be saved” (Acts iv., 12). The Church, therefore, is bound to communicate without stint to all men, and to transmit through all ages, the salvation effected by Jesus Christ, and the blessings flowing there from. Wherefore, by the will of its Founder, it is necessary that this Church should be one in all lands and at all times to justify the existence of more than one Church it would be necessary to go outside this world, and to create a new and unheard – of race of men...

Another head like to Christ must be invented – that is, another Christ if besides the one Church, which is His body, men wish to set up another. “See what you must beware of – see what you must avoid – see what you must dread. It happens that, as in the human body, some member may be cut off a hand, a finger, a foot. Does the soul follow the amputated member? As long as it was in the body, it lived; separated, it forfeits its life. So the Christian is a Catholic as long as he lives in the body: cut off from it he becomes a heretic – the life of the spirit follows not the amputated member” (S. Augustinus, Sermo cclxvii., n. 4)...

The Church of Christ, therefore, is one and the same for ever; those who leave it depart from the will and command of Christ, the Lord – leaving the path of salvation they enter on that of perdition. “Whosoever is separated from the Church is united to an adulteress. He has cut himself off from the promises of the Church, and he who leaves the Church of Christ cannot arrive at the rewards of Christ….He who observes not this unity observes not the law of God, holds not the faith of the Father and the Son, clings not to life and salvation” (S. Cyprianus, De Cath. Eccl. Unitate, n. 6)...

But He, indeed, Who made this one Church, also gave it unity, that is, He made it such that all who are to belong to it must be united by the closest bonds, so as to form one society, one kingdom, one body – “one body and one spirit as you are called in one hope of your calling (Eph. iv., 4). Jesus Christ, when His death was nigh at hand, declared His will in this matter, and solemnly offered it up, thus addressing His Father: “Not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in Me…that they also may be one in Us…that they may be made perfect in one” John xvii., 20-21 23). Yea, He commanded that this unity should be so closely knit and so perfect amongst His followers that it might, in some measure, shadow forth the union between Himself and His Father: “I pray that they all may be one as Thou Father in Me and I in Thee” (Ibid. 21).

Agreement and union of minds is the necessary foundation of this perfect concord amongst men, from which concurrence of wills and similarity of action are the natural results. Wherefore, in His divine wisdom, He ordained in His Church Unity of Faith; a virtue which is the first of those bonds which unite man to God, and whence we receive the name of the faithful – “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. iv., 5). That is, as there is one Lord and one baptism, so should all Christians, without exception, have but one faith. And so the Apostle St. Paul not merely begs, but entreats and implores Christians to be all of the same mind, and to avoid difference of opinions: “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms amongst you, and that you be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Cor. i., 10)... Besides, all who profess Christianity allow that there can be but one faith. It is of the greatest importance and indeed of absolute necessity, as to which many are deceived, that the nature and character of this unity should be recognized. And, as We have already stated, this is not to be ascertained by conjecture, but by the certain knowledge of what was done; that is by seeking for and ascertaining what kind of unity in faith has been commanded by Jesus Christ...

The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavor than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence She regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from Her own. The Arians, the Montanists, the Novatians, the Quartodecimans, the Eutychians, did not certainly reject all Catholic doctrine: they abandoned only a certain portion of it. Still who does not know that they were declared heretics and banished from the bosom of the Church? In like manner were condemned all authors of heretical tenets who followed them in subsequent ages. “There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition” (Auctor Tract. de Fide Orthodoxa contra Arianos).

The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodore:, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. “No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic” (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88).

The need of this divinely instituted means for the preservation of unity, about which we speak is urged by St. Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians. In this he first admonishes them to preserve with every care concord of minds: “Solicitous to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. iv., 3, et seq.). And as souls cannot be perfectly united in charity unless minds agree in faith, he wishes all to hold the same faith: “One Lord, one faith,” and this so perfectly one as to prevent all danger of error: “that henceforth we be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. iv., 14): and this he teaches is to be observed, not for a time only – “but until we all meet in the unity of faith…unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ." But, in what has Christ placed the primary principle, and the means of preserving this unity? In that – “He gave some Apostles – and other some pastors and doctors, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (11-12)...

For this reason the Fathers of the Vatican Council laid down nothing new, but followed divine revelation and the acknowledged and invariable teaching of the Church as to the very nature of faith, when they decreed as follows: “All those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written or unwritten word of God, and which are pro posed by the Church as divinely revealed, either by a solemn definition or in the exercise of its ordinary and universal Magisterium (Sess. iii., cap. 3). Hence, as it is clear that God absolutely willed that there should be unity in His Church, and as it is evident what kind of unity He willed, and by means of what principle He ordained that this unity should be maintained, we may address the following words of St. Augustine to all who have not deliberately closed their minds to the truth: “When we see the great help of God, such manifest progress and such abundant fruit, shall we hesitate to take refuge in the bosom of that Church, which, as is evident to all, possesses the supreme authority of the Apostolic See through the Episcopal succession? In vain do heretics rage round it; they are condemned partly by the judgment of the people themselves, partly by the weight of councils, partly by the splendid evidence of miracles. To refuse to the Church the primacy is most impious and above measure arrogant. And if all learning, no matter how easy and common it may be, in order to be fully understood requires a teacher and master, what can be greater evidence of pride and rashness than to be unwilling to learn about the books of the divine mysteries from the proper interpreter, and to wish to condemn them unknown?” (De Unitate Credendi, cap. xvii., n. 35).

It is then undoubtedly the office of the church to guard Christian doctrine and to propagate it in its integrity and purity. But this is not all: the object for which the Church has been instituted is not wholly attained by the performance of this duty... There must needs be also the fitting and devout worship of God, which is to be found chiefly in the divine Sacrifice and in the dispensation of the Sacraments, as well as salutary laws and discipline. All these must be found in the Church, since it continues the mission of the Saviour for ever. The Church alone offers to the human race that religion – that state of absolute perfection – which He wished, as it were, to be incorporated in it. And it alone supplies those means of salvation which accord with the ordinary counsels of Providence...

But the Episcopal order is rightly judged to be in communion with Peter, as Christ commanded, if it be subject to and obeys Peter; otherwise it necessarily becomes a lawless and disorderly crowd. It is not sufficient for the due preservation of the unity of the faith that the head should merely have been charged with the office of superintendent, or should have been invested solely with a power of direction. But it is absolutely necessary that he should have received real and sovereign authority which the whole community is bound to obey. What had the Son of God in view when he promised the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to Peter alone? Biblical usage and the unanimous teaching of the Fathers clearly show that supreme authority is designated in the passage by the word keys. Nor is it lawful to interpret in a different sense what was given to Peter alone, and what was given to the other Apostles conjointly with him. If the power of binding, loosening, and feeding confers upon each and every one of the Bishops the successors of the Apostles a real authority to rule the people committed to him, certainly the same power must have the same effect in his case to whom the duty of feeding the lambs and sheep has been assigned by God. “Christ constituted [Peter] not only pastor, but pastor of pastors; Peter therefore feeds the lambs and feeds the sheep, feeds the children and feeds the mothers, governs the subjects and rules the prelates, because the lambs and the sheep form the whole of the Church” (S. Bruonis Episcopi Signiensis Comment. in Joan., part iii., cap. 21, n. 55).

Hence those remarkable expressions of the ancients concerning St. Peter, which most clearly set forth the fact that he was placed n the highest degree of dignity and authority. They frequently call him “the Prince of the College of the Disciples; the Prince of the holy Apostles; the leader of that choir; the mouthpiece of all the Apostles; the head of that family; the ruler of the whole world; the first of the Apostles; the safeguard of the Church.” In this sense St. Bernard writes as follows to Pope Eugenius: “Who art thou? The great priest – the high priest. Thou art the Prince of Bishops and the heir of the Apostles…. Thou art he to whom the keys were given. There are, it is true, other gatekeepers of heaven and to pastors of flocks, but thou are so much the more glorious as thou hast inherited a different and more glorious name than all the rest. They have flocks consigned to them, one to each; to thee all the flocks are confided as one flock to one shepherd, and not alone the sheep, but the shepherds. You ask how I prove this? From the words of the Lord. To which – I do not say – of the Bishops, but even of the Apostles have all the sheep been so absolutely and unreservedly committed? If thou lovest me, Peter, feed my sheep. Which sheep? Of this or that country, or kingdom? My sheep, He says: to whom therefore is it not evident that he does not designate some, but all? We can make no exception where no distinction is made” (De Consideratione, lib. ii., cap. 8).

But it is opposed to the truth, and in evident contradiction with the divine constitution of the Church, to hold that while each Bishop is individually bound to obey the authority of the Roman Pontiffs, taken collectively the Bishops are not so bound. For it is the nature and object of a foundation to support the unity of the whole edifice and to give stability to it, rather than to each component part; and in the present case this is much more applicable, since Christ the Lord wished that by the strength and solidity of the foundation the gates of hell should be prevented from prevailing against the Church. All are agreed that the divine promise must be understood of the Church as a whole, and not of any certain portions of it. These can indeed be overcome by the assaults of the powers of hell, as in point of fact has befallen some of them. Moreover, he who is set over the whole flock must have authority, not only over the sheep dispersed throughout the Church, but also when they are assembled together. Do the sheep when they are all assembled together rule and guide the shepherd? Do the successors of the Apostles assembled together constitute the foundation on which the successor of St. Peter rests in order to derive therefrom strength and stability? Surely jurisdiction and authority belong to him in whose power have been placed the keys of the Kingdom taken collectively. And as the Bishops, each in his own district, command with real power not only individuals but the whole community, so the Roman pontiffs, whose jurisdiction extends to the whole Christian commonwealth, must have all its parts, even taken collectively, subject and obedient to their authority. Christ the Lord, as we have quite sufficiently shown, made Peter and his successors His vicars, to exercise for ever in the Church the power which He exercised during His mortal life. Can the Apostolic College be said to have been above its master in authority? (Emphasis mine). 

Is Francis or the "Church" since Vatican II continuing the mission of Christ to save souls by converting all nations to be in the one fold; the Catholic Church and Her alone? Is Francis or the Church since Vatican II keeping the Church one in faith by guarding its integrity from every drop of poisonous heresy that could potentially infect the whole Mystical Body of Christ, which would be foreign to Her? Are the bishops in union with him not teaching the same things as Francis and the Church after Vatican II? If it is the Catholic Church are we not bound to obey it despite all its newness since Vatican II? If the answer to all these question are no, then tell me dear reader, how can anybody still united to it say with a clear conscience, I believe in ONE, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church?! It would have to be some place else where the gates of Hell (i.e., the tongues of heretics according to Pope Vigilius), shall not prevail against it. 

Monday, December 4, 2023

Contending For The Faith---Part 22


In St. Jude 1:3, we read, "Dearly beloved, taking all care to write unto you concerning your common salvation, I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints." [Emphasis mine]. Contending For The Faith is a series of posts dedicated to apologetics (i.e.,  the intellectual defense of the truth of the Traditional Catholic Faith) to be published the first Monday of each month.  This is the next installment.

Sadly, in this time of Great Apostasy, the faith is under attack like never before, and many Traditionalists don't know their faith well enough to defend it. Remember the words of our first pope, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." (1Peter 3:16). There are five (5) categories of attacks that will be dealt with in these posts. Attacks against:

  • The existence and attributes of God
  • The truth of the One True Church established by Christ for the salvation of all 
  • The truth of a particular dogma or doctrine of the Church
  • The truth of Catholic moral teaching
  • The truth of the sedevacantist position as the only Catholic solution to what has happened since Vatican II 
In addition, controversial topics touching on the Faith will sometimes be featured, so that the problem and possible solutions may be better understood. If anyone has suggestions for topics that would fall into any of these categories, you may post them in the comments. I cannot guarantee a post on each one, but each will be carefully considered.

The One True Church and the Attack By Religious Pluralism
"Everyone thinks their religion is the true religion. That's what divides us and keeps us apart. Endless arguments, and until we die, we won't know which religion, if any, is true." These statements were made by a colleague of mine in response to my refusal to go to an "ecumenical Thanksgiving party" given by the firm where grace before the meal would be given by attorneys of different religions. My colleague wanted to know why I would not attend since I could say a Traditionalist Catholic prayer. I explained that my faith was not "one among many" religions, that it was the One True Church founded by Christ to which all must belong in order to be saved. By attending that party, I would give scandal by letting people think that religion is no big deal, and the True Church is somehow on par with Mohammedanism, Judaism, Protestantism, Hinduism, and any other false sect.

I told him his contentions were wrong, and invited him to go to lunch with me in January, when things slow down a little bit, and I would explain why. He said he would, and I'll see how that goes if he keeps his word. My fellow attorney is not alone in his sentiments (which led to his becoming an atheist). With the ever-growing secularization of society, and the existence of every religion under the sun here in the United States (with the Masonic separation of Church and State), a large segment of society believes as he does--and agnosticism/atheism many times is the result.

The primary meaning of this attack proceeds as follows: if God is truthful, loving, and clear, why is there so much religious disagreement? This, in turn, leads to religious indifferentism; the view that one religion is as good as another and no religion can be considered correct. There is also negative indifferentism, which asserts all religions are false and bad (atheism/agnosticism), or one only needs to be "spiritual"---whatever that means. 

Our culture, with its pluralism, subjectivism, and relativism, finds it easy to replace truth with certainty. This attitude is enjoying unprecedented popularity. However, truth is not the same thing as certainty. Truth is what corresponds with reality, while certainty refers to a person having no doubt or being fully convinced about something which may or may not correspond to reality.

In this post, I will demonstrate how someone should answer these statements that may well confront you. In this age of Great Apostasy, ushered in by Vatican II, you may very well come up against someone who is convinced by the diversity of religion, and the prevalence of ecumenism, that no religion is true. They assert one of three positions: (1) All religions are false; (2) all religions are equally good; or (3) beliefs don't matter because we can't know which, if any, is true--just be "spiritual." 

(In the writing of this post, I have used many sources, both online and books. I have incorporated the works of Christian philosophers including (but not limited to) St. Thomas Aquinas, Dr. John Lennox, and Professor Richard Swinburne. I take no credit for the material herein, but only for compiling it into a terse and readable post---Introibo). 

A Pluralistic World
Occultist guru Oprah Winfrey says it’s a big mistake to believe there’s just one means of salvation: “There are millions of ways to be a human being and many paths to what you call ‘God.’ . . . There couldn’t possibly be just one way.” Now, the observation that religious beliefs abound (descriptive religious pluralism) is one thing; perhaps we could simply call this “religious diversity.”  However, there is also truth-suppressing, Traditionalist-threatening prescriptive religious pluralism: “It’s true—and therefore you need to believe—that no one faith is uniquely capable of saving or liberating; all religions are able to do so.”(those who become atheists will assert no religion can save you).

To assert Christ’s saving uniqueness is arrogant and imperialistic—a relic of the Colonial age. Pluralism is more suited to our individualistic, consumer-oriented, buffet-style approach that says, “I’ll take some of this; no, I don’t like that.” Oprah’s spiritual advisor, Eckhart Tolle (b. 1948), author of A New Earth, presents a pluralistic, souped-up version of Hinduism. Likened to drops of water, individual humans need to recognize that they’re part of an ocean (“God”) and thus can be “One with Life.” There aren’t others—God and fellow humans—to love and relate to, since everything is ultimately one (pantheism). 

Tolle says that a time is coming when not only “all mythologies but also . . . ideologies and belief systems” will evaporate. Though he denies his view is a “belief system,” it certainly is one, nonetheless. Tolle confidently proclaims that all religions are “equally false and equally true, depending on how you use them.” In fact, to assert that your religion is “the truth” is to let your ego get in the way. Perhaps the most notable religious pluralist is John Harwood Hick (b. 1922), who grew up in England amid the Anglican sect.

Once, he had a religious experience on the top floor of a double-decker bus, after which he embraced “the entire evangelical package of Christianity,” complete with serious Bible studies and activities. However, during his studies at Edinburgh under the Kant scholar Norman Kemp Smith (1872–1958), his mind began to change about the centrality of Christ and the historicity of the Resurrection. Moreover, seeds of skepticism were sown due to the idea that the structure of the human mind shapes our perceptions of reality. He then began attending worship in mosques, synagogues, and temples, and he came to believe that the “same kind of thinking” was taking place in those places as in Christian churches: people “opening their minds to a higher divine Reality.” 

Hick became convinced of “God’s universal saving activity,” incompatible with the belief that there can be only one true way of salvation. He saw all religions as human attempts to understand the Ultimate Reality. Over the years he has established himself as an outspoken, highly respected proponent of religious pluralism. 

No stranger to religious diversity, Christianity throughout history has engaged with other religions. In the New Testament itself, believers faced imperial Rome with its emperor cult and polytheism, hostile Judaizers, and syncretistic religion. In the second and third centuries, Christian apologists responded to Gnostic religions (salvation through occult, "enlightened knowledge") and interacted with Judaistic ideas. Centuries later, Christians grappled with Islamic expansion and domination in formerly Christianized regions (e.g., North Africa and the Middle East). Holding on to the truth at all costs was the message of the Church.

Religious pluralism, which has become deeply embedded within Western culture, has a foundational resistance to one religious faith alone bringing salvation or liberation. One instance of pluralism’s going mainstream is Harvard University’s Pluralism Project, chaired by Diana Eck (b. 1945). Eck acknowledges that religious differences exist and shouldn’t be minimized, but the project’s not-so-subtle assumption is twofold: (1) No one religious perspective should be affirmed over against another, and (2) proselytism is an inappropriate response to religious plurality.

Increased globalization carries with it a presupposition of “tolerant pluralism;" this, though, turns out to be an intolerant exclusivism (just as with “relative truth” and “relative morality”). We need to be prepared to respond wisely to this phenomenon, which will be a long-term feature in the worldwide religious landscape in these dark days without a true pope. 

The Horrific Implications of Pluralism
  • Proselytism is prohibited. On many university campuses, proselytism is viewed as “cramming your religion down someone’s throat.” Obviously, trying to persuade—to tell someone about the One True Church of Jesus Christ—gets some people upset. Proselytism implies that you believe your doctrines are true and, what’s more, that you believe your listeners should turn from (change) their present way of life. As Bergoglio says, "Proselytism is solemn nonsense."
  • To be exclusivist is to be arrogant. Given the variation of religious beliefs in the world, claiming to know something others don’t must be wrongheaded and erroneous. Moreover, many people convolute exclusive claims—especially about Christ’s saving uniqueness—with colonialism and imperialism, seeing them as nothing more than "Western bigotry" and narrow-mindedness being imposed on unknowing or unwilling people. We invite criticism when we shout that Catholicism alone is true—and equally loudly proclaim that other religions are false.
  • Tolerance is the "greatest virtue." Implying that someone is wrong sounds terribly intolerant when tolerance popularly (but mistakenly) is defined as “being open to or accepting of all ideas.” What sodomite activists call "tolerance," for example, is unconditional acceptance of their lifestyle as legitimate and right. As we’ll see later, this disposition of open-mindedness turns out to be inconsistent: Such sodomite activists, for instance, don’t consider the one holding the traditional view of marriage to be legitimate and right. They are open and accepting (what they call "tolerant") toward those who agree with their argument, and to no others. You are claimed to have a mental illness (the made up "homophobia"), if you dare to disagree. 
Faith and morals go hand-in-glove. If there is no true Faith, then there can't be a true morality based on religious beliefs either. Some statistics from 2016:

  • 71% of Americans believe divorce is morally acceptable
  • 68% of Americans believe fornication is acceptable as long as the two people "love" each other
  • 63% of Americans believe shacking up ("cohabitation") is okay
  • 63% of Americans believe it's OK for married people to have sexual thoughts about someone other than their spouse
  • 63% of Americans believe sodomite relations are okay
  • 61% of Americans believe it is acceptable to have a baby out of wedlock
  • 69% of Americans believe euthanasia should be permitted
  • 53% of Americans think having an adulterous affair is justifiable
  • 50% of Americans identify as "pro-choice"--the alleged right to murder an innocent unborn baby
(See George Barna, America at the Crossroads, (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Books, [2016], pg. 9; abortion statistic from 2017 Gallup Poll).

Against Indifferentism/Pluralism
When confronted by someone who has become an Indifferentist (especially due to pluralism), here are some talking points:

1. Multiple claims to truth do not imply that there is no truth. We can see this throughout history, for example, in the history of science. Over the centuries, people had all sorts of theories to account for natural phenomena, but that variety of views did not mean there was no correct view in any case.  You can introduce this point with an analogy and a question: “Does the existence of counterfeit money show there is no real money?” Your discussion partner may answer “no” and then add something to press the objection further. That’s a good thing, and it allows you to see more of what he has in mind. He may argue something like this: “Yes, but if God reveals only one religion, He should do so clearly so that there would not be any other ones. The fact that there are so many religions shows that God did not adequately reveal Himself."  You can respond by asking if he believes God to be all-good and all-powerful. If he responds in the affirmative, you can reply that God would not allow for inadequate revelation. If he is an atheist, continue with the other points in this section.

2. Widespread religious disagreement may be due in part to a widespread religious impulse within a fallible human race. Most human beings throughout history have believed in God in some sense. Since they believed in God, it’s not surprising that they attempted to find God and draw conclusions about Him on their own. Being fallible, these conclusions were prone to error. Add to this that human beings are not only fallible (prone to error) but also vicious (prone to doing evil), and we can see how some would falsely claim divine revelation for their own gain.

3. The fall of Adam and Eve, through which sin entered the world, is the root cause of our living in an imperfect world—complete with pain, suffering, disease, disasters, and yes, religious disagreement. Nonetheless, God has a rescue plan, according to Christianity, and the created order is in a state of “journeying” toward perfection.

4. Willful and culpable ignorance also accounts for some measure of religious disagreement. In Five Proofs of the Existence of God, philosopher Edward Feser writes, “Just as God allows us a very long leash with respect to errors in what we do—even to the extent of moral breakdown at the level of entire societies, genocide and other atrocities, and so forth—so too does he allow us a very long leash with respect to errors in what we think.”(See pg. 302). If a person is offered evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus or some other proof for the existence of God and the truth of the Catholic Church,  but refuses to consider it or investigate it, by his choice he remains ignorant of these motives for faith. So the “long leash” that Feser describes can include the free decisions of people who culpably refuse to examine the evidence honestly.

Now, you can offer proof for the existence of God and/or the proofs of the Catholic Church's claims to be the One True Church. (Unfortunately, this is made very difficult because of the Vatican II sect falsely claiming to be the Catholic Church). 

A Response Against Indifferentism/Pluralism by a Pre-Vatican II Theologian
The following is part of an essay entitled Indifferentism, the Heresy that All Religions are Equal:
A Consequence of Martin Luther's Heresy of Faith Alone contained in the 1929 book, The Question Box, Second Edition, by Fr. Bertrand L. Conway, C.S.P.

The Catholic Church condemns indifferentism in the name of reason, of the Sacred Scriptures, and of Christian tradition. The god of indifferentism is not a God to be adored by rational men. God is Essential, Absolute and Eternal Truth; He is likewise Essential. Absolute and Eternal Holiness. A God of Truth and Holiness, He cannot be equally pleased with truth and error, with good and evil. To assert, therefore, that God does not care what men believe, is indeed blasphemous. A man indifferent to truth--a liar, in other words,--cannot have the respect of his fellows. A God indifferent to truth could not demand the homage of thinking men. No wonder, then, that those who formed so low a concept of the Deity finally denied Him altogether. Indifferentism is merely atheism in disguise.

The assertion that one religion is as good as another is irrational. It is a first principle of reason that two contradictory statements cannot both be true. If one is true, the other is undoubtedly false. Either there are many gods or one God; either Jesus Christ is God or He is not; Mohammed is either a prophet or an impostor; divorce is either allowed or prohibited by Christ; the Eucharist is the living Jesus Christ or it is mere bread.

To declare all religions equally true, or that their differences are immaterial, is to deny objective truth altogether with the pragmatist--a denial which is the curse of our age. On this theory a man ought to change his religion as he changes the cut of his clothes, according to his environment. He ought to be a Catholic in Italy, a Lutheran in Sweden, a Mohammedan in Turkey, a Buddhist in China, a Shintoist in Japan.

It is certainly strange that many believers in the Bible are indifferentists, in spite of its clear, explicit condemnation of this theory. Jesus Christ commanded His Apostles to teach a definite Gospel, and condemned those who knowingly rejected it. "Preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be condemned" (Mark xvi. 15, 16). He prophesied that many would gainsay His teaching, but He denounced them in unmeasured terms. "Beware of false prophets who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Matt. vii. 15).

Revelation, if it has any meaning, is a divine message which no one can reject without sin. We must receive it, as the Apostle says, "not as the word of men, but as it is indeed the Word of God" (1 Thess. ii. 13). God, a God of Truth, could not possibly have revealed a plurality of religions, or a multitude of varying Christianities. He founded one Church, one Kingdom of God, one Sheepfold, under the perpetual and infallible guidance of Himself and the Holy Spirit.

The history of Christianity in every age shows how alien to Christ is the heresy of indifferentism, which was first popularized by the English Deists and the French Rationalists of the seventeenth century. In the first three centuries the Christian martyrs died by the thousands, rather than save their lives by a profession of indifferentism. Frequently they were asked by friends and kinsfolk to sacrifice to the gods of pagan Rome, or at least to allow their names to be written down as having sacrificed. "What difference does it make?" asked their pagan friends. They answered in the words of Christ: "Every one, therefore, that shall confess Me before men, I will confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven" (Matt. x. 32, 33). They were not indifferentists. In sixteenth century England, many a Catholic was offered money, preferment and life, if he would but acknowledge the royal supremacy of the Tudors in things spiritual, against the constant voice of Christendom from the beginning. But men like Blessed Thomas More, Bishop Fisher and Edmund Campion gladly died for the certain teaching of Christ. They were not indifferentists.

As a matter of fact, we find that the man who says first, "It does not make any difference what a man BELIEVES" is led logically to say, "It does not make any difference what a man DOES." His morality is built upon the shifting, sands of opinion, fancy, human respect, and, therefore, will not stand the stress of sorrow, disgrace, difficulty or temptation. If religion be a mere matter of opinion, all certainty in morals becomes impossible, and men lapse into the old-time vices of paganism.

Sometimes the good lives of unbelievers are mentioned as proof positive that belief is an unimportant factor in the regulation of conduct. A man will argue, "A never puts his foot inside a church, nor does he accept any creed whatever; yet he is a man, kindly, charitable, pure and honest. On the other hand, B is a Catholic, accepting without question every dogma and law of his Church, and I know him to be a drunkard, an adulterer, a hypocrite, the most uncharitable and contemptible of men." But this statement proves nothing at all, because the comparison is made between the open, well-known vices of a sinful, hypocritical believer, and the obvious good deeds of an amiable unbeliever. The whole character of the two men is often not adequately known, and consequently is not weighed in a true balance.

But even if we grant that a particular unbeliever is a fairly good man, his goodness is certainly not due to his unbelief. He lives in a Christian environment; he comes of Christian stock; he may perhaps have received a Christian education as a child. His life is parasitic. As Balfour writes in his Foundations of Belief, 82: "Biologists tell us of parasites which live, and can only live in the bodies of animals more highly organized than they. . . . . So it is with those persons who claim to show by their example that naturalism is practically consistent with the maintenance of ethical ideals, with which naturalism has no natural affinity. Their spiritual life is parasitic; it is sheltered by convictions which belong not to them, but to the society of which they form a part; it is nourished by processes in which they take no share. And when these convictions decay, and these processes come to an end, the alien life which they have maintained can scarce be expected to outlast them."

If a man be utterly indifferent to the truth of God, if he look upon the Ten Commandments as temporary laws evolved out of the consciousness of a certain Semitic race, if he questions the fact of God's existence, makes little of the fact of immortality, denies the fact of sin, and the freedom of the will, what basis can he have for the moral law? A lawyer, he will not hesitate to bribe both jury and judge, if he can do so without detection; a doctor, he will not shrink from child murder or a criminal operation; a politician, he will steal what he can from the State's treasury, and be loyal to his friends, no matter what their competence or their morals; a preacher of the Gospel of Christ, he will deny its every doctrine, and be at the beck and call of the rich and powerful among his hearers--a mere "seller of rhetoric," as St. Augustine called him long ago.

The true Christian may under stress of temptation fall into the worst vices of the pagan, and give the lie to his high profession. But no matter how low he may fall, he falls FROM A STANDARD, and you may appeal to him for amendment. He has once climbed up the mount of God, and he knows that with God's help he can again reach the summit. But if a man feels confident that every lapse is due merely to the evil of environment, a taint in the blood, or the impelling force of a stronger will, he will not answer your appeal to higher things. He calls evil good, and good evil.

Will you say that conduct is the one thing essential? You are right. But faith is the inspiration and support of right conduct. It is the very foundation stone of the supernatural life. A good man will accept God's word in its entirety, once he knows it. A good man is bound to search for the revelation of God, once he begins to doubt about the validity of his own ethical and religious convictions. It is just as much a sin to deny the known truth or to be indifferent in its search, as to commit murder or adultery. This is a principle which the modern world has forgotten, but it will have to come back to it. It is a truth that the Catholic Church is ever trying to drive home to every heart and mind. She appeals to all men, however deluded by error or debased by sin, in a spirit of kindliness, tact, sympathy and patience. But she dare not sacrifice one jot or tittle of the divine message, which Christ gave her for the healing of the nations.

We must be prepared for the challenge of indifferentism spurred on by unrestrained religious pluralism, in the age of "religious liberty" ushered in by Vatican II. Believe it or not, intolerance is a virtue. It doesn't mean we go around hating people, but ideas and actions should be forcefully hated and condemned. We should be intolerant of abortion, sodomite "marriage" and the idea that beliefs don't matter, because "all religions lead to God" or "no one can know the truth about religion."  If someone believes all religions lead to salvation, then he believes he has the correct perspective to the exclusion of all who think otherwise, whom he would consider wrong and (ironically) be intolerant of their belief. If someone thinks we can't know the truth about religion, he has made a truth claim. Ask, "how do you know that"? 

Objective truth and  objective morality exist, and it carries with it great implications for us. We must strive to live in accordance with them and defend our Holy Mother the Church whenever She is attacked.