There is less prayer than ever before, more sin than ever before, even worse, indifference as if sin no longer exists, and so we have given much greater power to “the father of lies”, Satan (Jn 8:44). In particular Satan has more power to “disguise himself as an angel of light” (2Cor 11:14), to offer his very deadly beautiful lies as if they were the “truth that sets us free” (Jn 8:32)!
Thus it is very important in these times of great confusion, when even Catholic bishops are no longer in agreement about the fundamentals of our faith and morals, to not only pray much and to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church for adults, but to keep our eyes open so as not to fall into the beautiful lies of Satan presented as if they were the Truth!
FOR UPDATES on some of these fundamental, hidden, and disguised deceptions of the ancient serpent, visit one of my index web sites to see the more important, latest articles:
(as well as the DOCUMENTS REGARDING ECCLESIAL APPROVAL of the TESTIMONY OF GLORIA POLO):
Father Joseph Dwight
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The following document was written with the motive to help my sister and her husband, with seven children, to leave the schismatic traditionalist and Sedevacantists groups, and to return home to the one, true Catholic Church.
The reference documents can be found below.
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A Common Sense Rebuttal to Schismatic Traditionalists and Sedevacantists
When I was younger my whole family became rather exasperated by scandalous behavior and bad fruits of some of the Catholic clergy, especially during the Holy Mass. To give an idea of some of the causes of this exasperation, I offer the following comparison between the Traditional Latin Mass and the Modern Mass celebrated at many parishes today, which I found on one of the internet sites of these schismatic traditionalist groups.
Traditional Latin Mass:
1) Atmosphere of Reverent Worship; Peaceful, otherworldly atmosphere; Emphasis on individual "lifting his heart & mind to God”; the members of the congregation direct their attention to God, not to each other.
2) Profound Reverence for the Real Presence: Sixteen genuflections. The hands of the priest alone touch the consecrated host. Communion given only on the tongue.
3) Fidelity to Catholic Doctrine: Over the course of a year, it is presented all the facets of Catholic doctrine.
4) Antiquity: Bulk of Sunday prayers and their arrangement goes back at least to the 300s and 400s AD. Canon essentially the same since St. Ambrose (d. 397).
5) Stability: Everything regulated by precise laws to protect purity of worship and doctrine.
6) The Priest is a Sacrificer: the Priest faces the tabernacle, cross and altar (symbolically toward God). The Priest performs all the actions and recites all the prayers of the Mass.
The Modern Mass:
1) Social, Classroom, Entertainment Atmosphere: Constant standing, sitting, amplified noise; atmosphere like a public meeting; Emphasis on "instruction." Socializing in church before and after the service, and handshaking during the Mass.
2) Indifference, Irreverence towards the Real Presence: Only three genuflections required. Lay men and women distribute communion. Communion given in hand - a practice Protestants introduced to deny Christ's Real Presence.
3) Systematic Omission of Catholic Doctrines: New prayers systematically omit references to hell, judgment, punishment for sin, merits of the Saints, the one true Church, the souls of the departed and miracles.
4) Novelty: Old Sunday prayers omitted or stripped of doctrines, and rearranged in the 1960s. Only 17% of the old prayers remain. Chunks of the ancient Canon are now "optional." The words of consecration, Christ's own words "For you and for many" are changed. Three substitute "Canons" invented and introduced in the 1960s, and still more invented later.
5) Constant Change: Options, options and more options. Individual priests and parish liturgy committees get to pick, drop or invent texts to push what they think people should believe.
6) The Priest is the "President", Actor: the Priest faces the people instead of symbolically "toward God." The Priest sits off to the side. His functions are given away to lay men and women.
MY COMMENT: St. John, the “beloved disciple” and intimate friend of Jesus who He loved in a special way (Jn 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20), did not greet Jesus in a casual way or give Jesus the “high five” when he saw Jesus, the Lamb of God, in his vision of the heavenly Mass (Apoc. ch. 1,4,5,19). Instead he “fell at His feet as though dead” (Rev 1:17)!
DISTINCTION Between Traditional Catholics and Schismatic Traditionalists
I think it is very important to distinguish right from the start the difference between traditional Catholics and schismatic traditionalists. Traditional Catholics seek to hold and maintain the traditions of the Catholic Church which is exactly what the Magisterium of the Church does, guided by the Holy Spirit and led by the Rock which Jesus promised to protect regarding the truth and sources of grace given to the Church by Jesus Christ. This is not very easy today since there are so many bishops and priests and laypeople who no longer follow and preach the true teachings of the Church, and often are outright belligerent and obstinate and rebellious toward the Magisterium of the Church with the Pope as the head.
As Catholics, we believe that “all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God” (CCC 119). The Church approaches Divine Revelation through Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and Magisterial teaching, each of which have equal weight in the Catholic Church, no one of which can subsist without the other two. And so the Church helps us to interpret the Word of God properly, giving us also so many magnificent documents throughout Church history to guide us. We would never be in most of the messes we contrived for ourselves if we had listened to the Church’s teaching. Regarding “The Interpretation of the Heritage of Faith”, see CCC 84-100.
Pope Benedict, increasingly impressed by the attitude of the Society of St. Pius X to open a dialogue about remaining questions, and to respect the legitimate authority of the Holy Father, decided to lift the excommunications on January 21, 2009 giving the reasons: “This gift of peace, at the end of the Christmas celebrations, is also intended to be a sign to promote unity in the charity of the universal Church and to try to vanquish the scandal of division.”
But these were personal removals of the excommunications latae sententiae (automatic excommunication), the penalty laid down in the revised Code of Canon Law, Canon 1382, for directly participating in an Episcopal consecration in the absence of a papal mandate. Shortly after these excommunications, Pope John Paul II did all he could to offer to the priests of this group the possibility to remain with the Catholic Church. It is worthy to note that members of the Society of St. Pius X who wish to re-enter into full communion with the Catholic Church are processed not in the Office of the Liturgy but of the Office of the Doctrine of Faith. The basic problem of union is not one of liturgy but of belief. If one does not accept the doctrines of the Church, including the documents of the Second Vatican Council, one cannot be in full communion with the Catholic Church. This is true also of the Anglicans who wish to enter the Catholic Church, even as a group.
With the lifting of the excommunications the first great hurdle in the way of a full ecclesial communion for the Society appear to have been removed. But the SSPX reverts to the penalties given by Rome prior to the Episcopal consecrations (1988), and all six bishops in the Society remain suspended a divinis. The Society remains a group of Catholics in an irregular state. No chapel of the Society of St Pius X in the world is in communion with the Universal Church, and its priests sharing in the suspension are deprived of the clerical state (a separate matter from the validity of their ordinations). They cannot offer the sacraments of matrimony and penance validly, because that requires faculties from a local bishop. (http://catholicexchange.com/2009/01/25/115236/).
Although Michael Davies (Catholic writer, died on September 25, 2004), an Anglican who converted to Catholicism, was an early supporter of the changes from Vatican II, he later supported the French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre , founder of the Society of St. Pius X, and declined to retract that support after Lefebvre's decision to consecrate four bishops in 1988 against the wish of Pope John Paul II. But upon his death, Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, wrote:
"I have been profoundly touched by the news of the death of Michael Davies. I had the good fortune to meet him several times and I found him as a man of deep faith and ready to embrace suffering. Ever since the Council he put all his energy into the service of the Faith and left us important publications especially about the Sacred Liturgy. Even though he suffered from the Church in many ways in his time, he always truly remained a man of the Church. He knew that the Lord founded His Church on the rock of St Peter and that the Faith can find its fullness and maturity only in union with the successor of St Peter. Therefore we can be confident that the Lord opened wide for him the gates of heaven. We commend his soul to the Lord’s mercy."
This statement of Ratzinger indicates that Davies maintained enough humility to not totally reject his own personal submission to the Pope even though Davies was deeply scandalized by so many bishops, priests and laypeople who interpreted and implemented the Second Vatican Council in their own way, without reference to the documents of the Church that explained how the council documents were to be interpreted. Many of those who left the Church after the council but did not have a certain amount of humility, followed the same path of so many protestants in the history of the Church, becoming more opposed as well as slowly rejecting more and more doctrines and teachings of the Church so as to distance themselves from the “heretical Church” and to self-identify themselves as not the “heretical Church”. Thus so many schismatic traditionalists have rejected even the positive guidance of the Church in the last 50 years just as the protestants have rejected just about everything in the Catholic Church in the last 500 years except “sola scritura”! But even the protestants accept the tradition of the Church which selected and defined which books in the Bible are canonical.
Even before the death of Archbishop Lefebvre, several priests in the Society of St. Pius X left the group because they were unhappy with the attitude of Archbishop Lefebvre who did not totally reject the legitimate authority of the Holy Father. The Society of St. Pius X is considered non-sedevacantist. Today there are a good number of sedevacantist priests who have received non-canonical Episcopal consecrations.
Schismatic traditionalists, as so many other schismatic and heretical groups in the history of the Church, have broken off from the Church as Christ founded the Church, with a hierarchy and the Pope as the head. Just as the protestants, they have put themselves above the authority of the Church that Christ left us here on earth. Each independent protestant group within the various dominations (tens of thousands!) INTERPRETS SACRED SCRIPTURE IN THEIR OWN WAY. You cannot read the Bible in a vacuum. Where in the Bible does it say, “Only The Bible” (“sola scriptura”)? In a rather confusing world filled with innumerable opinions, we Catholics should be grateful to Jesus for leaving us the living “ROCK” until the end of time! Jesus knew full well that there would be this confusion even though there is only one God, one Jesus Christ and one Bible. This is why he left us the living Rock for those who have the humility to submit to this infallible guide, in faith and morals! “No prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (2Pt 1:20).
Forgive me if my style is too straight forward and blunt. I have a BA in mathematics and I have the tendency to go straight to the heart of the matter like a mathematical theorem, using many biblical, theological, doctrinal and historical references, without passing too much time on all the possible ways of falling into invincible ignorance. Obviously my intent is not to judge the subjective guilt of anyone; only God can do that. My only intent is to offer what the Church teaches in this regard for the schismatic traditionalists of good will who have a certain amount of humility like Davies and are open enough and willing to consider the possibility that they have made a grave error for themselves and for their families. In any case, we are all obliged to discern and seek to discover the objective truth; the subjective truth or reality of each individual can only be judged by God. I do not mean to offend anyone by this article. But those who have willingly cut themselves off from the Church that Jesus Christ left us here on earth have put themselves in great peril and risk for themselves and their children. Just like Adam and Eve lost their spiritual and material inheritance for themselves and for their progeny, so too parents who leave the Catholic Church deprive their children of the great gift of the Church here on earth. Those who cut themselves off from the vine will wither (Jn 15: 5-6), as is shown also by Church history. Church history shows that even in the most difficult times, the true followers of Christ did not succumb to a closed mentality or enter a cult, like the Donatists, trying to defend themselves from the strong spiritual onslaughts of Satan of the times. We must always fight for the truth even though there are many sinners “and wolves”, as St. Augustine put it, in the Church. There are many good examples of this spiritual toughness today such as seen on EWTN.
Many people today have misguided compassion and do not want to hurt the feelings of others. But the prophet Ezekiel tells us: “If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life” (Ezek 33:8-9). Referring to the objective truth St. James wrote: "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one converts him, let him know, that he who converts the sinner from the error of his ways shall save his soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." (Jms 5:19-20; see also: Mt 18:15-17). Referring to the subjective truth or guilt St. James wrote: “Who are you that you judge your neighbor?” (Jms 4:12; Mt 7:1-2).
So we see, like Saint Thomas, we must distinguish between the objective and the subjective. It is true that we cannot judge the motives or personal intent of another person as St. James tells us, but we must judge the objective truth and the objective fruits (Mt 12:33; Lk 6:44). Jesus also tells us to judge when he tells us to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees (Mt 16:6,11-12; Mk 8:15; Lk 12:1).
The people in the pro-life movement go to the places where the abortions are being committed and stand there in public witness to what is right and to the value of life. They do that because they are Christians. In the Acts of the Apostles we see the conviction that the Gospel is a public Gospel, that it is to be proclaimed even to those who do not want to hear it. It is because of the command of Christ Himself to go to the people and to announce this good news that Christians proclaim the truth. Pro-lifers do not wait for an invitation; they do not go to only those places where they are welcome. In the spirit of Christ they go to those who need that help even when they do not realize they need it!
The truth is the truth. But very often today many parents, priests and bishops want to make everybody feel good and happy at the expense of transmitting the full truth. But there will be no true and lasting joy if we do not seek the objective truth from God which is fully revealed by His Church. This is the motive for this article. This is also the motive for putting on the web information about other traps that I fell into including the cult at Necedah, Wisconsin (http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com).
Slow Personal Conversion
I began to read more and more the articles of the schismatic traditionalist side. For a period of three years I even moved to live near and with a schismatic traditionalist group. But slowly, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I began to see and experience the problems and inherent contradictions in the schismatic traditionalist and Sedevacantism groups. Finally the scales began to fall from my eyes to be able to see the whole situation from a totally different point of view. One of the main things that helped me get back on track and in the Church was that I always maintained my allegiance and faith in the true, living Pope, and those bishops united to him, as my anchor.
Although the bulk of this written work is a critic about the dangers and problems of schismatic traditionalist groups in general, there is a lot of good in what they believe and promote, otherwise no one would be tempted to join these groups as I and my family were years ago. We have a lot of common ground. As pointed out above (and below), the traditional Latin Mass is of “priceless worth.” The Catholic Church is the one true Church! All Catholics, even in our governments, should promote and defend the Catholic Church. We all believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. The schismatic traditionalists maintain all of these eternal truths! If more Christian pastors would diligently seek to satisfy and help the people who have these needs which they find in schismatic traditionalist groups, the Church would loose less of its faithful; for they are God's people. Unfortunately one can jump out of the Divine Ship, the Church, either on the left side with the liberals or on the right side with the schismatic traditionalists; both groups have jumped out and left the One True Church which will sail to her eternal destiny as promised by Christ. Virtue is always in the middle between the two extremes. This is why a great balance is needed, especially in faith and morals, which is why Jesus left us his Church with an infallible guide until the end of time.
Most of the people who fall into the "schismatic" camp are people who have been profoundly scandalized by things that have happened in the Church. In many cases, you will find that they were virtually driven into the schismatic camp by their inability to find the Catholic Faith anywhere around them in their local churches. While it is all well and good to say, oh, they should just tough it out, keep the Faith and go it alone, many people cannot survive like that and need a community of believers. I think that's the attraction of the schismatic groups, and it is one we can all well understand.
Besides the irreverently celebrated Masses, often made into a show or worse, a mockery, it must be admitted that there is a crisis in Roman Catholicism, a crisis of belief, orthodoxy and morality. More that 85% of Catholics contracept and less than 35% of Catholics believe in the Real Presence. Often moral theology has been undermined and subverted. Regarding these problems, formed in the teeth grinding frustration of liberalism, faithful Catholics have a right to ask why? Most schismatics have asked these questions and have decided the roots lie in the very post-conciliar Church herself. I feel that the incessant pessimism and cynicism of many of the schismatic traditionalists often runs contrary to a robust faith and trust in God and His Church, and a working knowledge of past crises. Many schismatic traditionalists often have a habit of wildly exaggerating the abuses or deficiencies that do indeed exist, but that makes it very difficult to have a reasoned non-emotive discussion with them.
My sister and brother-in-law were in a city of well over 20,000 but with only one large parish; the next nearest parish was about 50 miles away. After getting married in a sectarian type group at Necedah, Wisconsin, they tried to live their faith and worship as reverently as they could. They practiced Natural Family Planning. When I listened to some of the audio cassette tapes produced by NFP in 1990 which my sister gave to me, I was struck by the rather strong attitude of feeling superior and holier than the 97% of the Catholics who did not follow the Church’s teachings by using NFP (according to NFP members at the time). I came to realize why many Bishops at that time had a difficult time with some of the promoters and teachers of NFP because they lacked the humility to simply be grateful to God for the gift of NFP for themselves without judging and condemning the other numerous “sinners” who did not use NFP.
Since my sister’s family stuck out due to their reverence at the Mass, at least one of the three priests in this large parish began to take aim at them and finally at a certain point denounced them and their family publicly during the celebration of a Mass one day. This broke the straw of the camel’s back and they soon found a valid but illicit schismatic priest who celebrated the Mass in Latin around the year 2002 or 2003. From there they went to other schismatic traditionalist groups. It is too bad that they did not have the humility to put up with the very great lack of virtue and prudence (and even irreverently celebrated Masses) of these intolerant priests who treated them so badly and to realize that the Catholic Church is bigger than these bigoted and liberal priests and laypeople. They never had the chance to study the history of the Church or theology so as to realize that these things have occurred many times in the Church’s history causing other people and groups to separated themselves from the Catholic Church. My sister and brother-in-law met and were married in the cult at Necedah and later did not have the opportunity to spiritually mature and overcome this deeply seated sectarian mentality at the Shrine at Necedah. The Church is not made up of angels or confirmed saints but of sinners like all of us. If one seeks a perfect group on earth (as they think they are!?!), one will end up going from one sect to another. G.K. Chesterton once wrote that it would be very difficult for one to remain a protestant if he studied the true history of the world and of the Catholic Church. I think this could very well apply to the new protestants in these sedevancantist groups.
Although the French Bishops, including the French Secretary of State Cardinal Jean Villot, treated Archbishop Lefebvre and his followers very badly and imprudently, the Society of St. Pius X as a whole maintained enough humility and truth to not totally throw out Christ’s words: “You are Peter, and on this Rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). Even amid the faulty, liberal and exaggerated interpretations of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, including the documents on the Liturgy (see the Appendix below), the group as a whole succeeded in putting the blame on so many liberal and imprudent clergy instead of on the Council of the Church. There were, though, a certain number of priests who felt that Archbishop Lefebvre did not go far enough and thus broke away and formed various schismatic traditionalists groups.
The Great Default of Religious Leaders!
It is certainly DIFFICULT TO BE RELIGIOUS AND CIVIL LEADERS TODAY. But God gives more help and graces to those in authority if they ask for this help. Thus the judgment on bishops and priests will be very severe in the end if they do not preach the whole truth as taught by the Catholic Church, especially those truths which are uncomfortable and point directly to the need to suffer and to carry the cross of Christ and to avoid sin, such as the great sinfulness of artificial birth control (“Humanae Vitae”, 1968) and abortion. The priest is to bring God to a world that has forgotten God and seeks only power, money and sex! One of the primary jobs of priests is to shake up the great majority of people who feel they are OK and good, like everyone else, but in fact are motivated only by self interest even while doing things that seem good and holy to themselves and to others.
It is like the TWO POLES OF A BATTERY. If you preach only about the positive pole that God is love and merciful, which is essential and fundamental, without preaching about the negative pole of the need of sacrifice, the cross of Christ, the reality of mortal sin and hell, the current does not flow! The main tenet of the faith today is to be nice and super tolerant and to avoid strong positions against bad morality, and thus people do not dig into the truth. It is much easier and comfortable to imagine that it is almost impossible to commit a mortal sin as so many modern theologians try to convince us (contrary to CCC 1856-1861). Due to the lack of good preaching and example from our religious leaders, many take the easier path and convince themselves that God does not exist or no one knows (agnostisim!).
It is certainly more pleasant and agreeable for the pastors, priests and bishops to satisfy the people and to say what the people want to hear with a nice smile, and to preach with “our intelligence” and with our “cultural preparation”! Many preachers say they do not want to frighten the people! But what is true love? To provide for a nice life of 100 years or a beautiful life of eternity?
Sister Lucia Of Fatima said to Father Agostino Fuentes, the postulator of the cause of beatification of Giacinta e Francesco (December 26, 1957): “Our Lady is very displeased because it is not taken into account her message of 1917. Neither the good nor the bad have held them in consideration. Believe me my Father, the Lord will punish the world very soon; THE PUNISHMENT IS IMMANENT! Many nations will disappear from the face of the earth, many nations will be annihilated … WE DO NOT WANT TO FRIGHTEN THE SOULS, BUT IT IS AN URGENT APPEAL TO REALITY.”
So many parents today do not know how to say NO to their children here on earth! And thus they do not know how to say YES to eternal happiness! And then afterwards they ask why their children end up divorced and so many other problems? Is this true love? Love for who? Many bishops and priests today are like sleeping dogs who do not bark at the approach of the wolf. The last two generations, if not more, in America have received very poor catechesis. Most Catholics do not even know the Ten Commandments (not 10 suggestions!) so as to be able to have a minimal basis in order to form one’s conscience and to be able to examine one’s conscience before making a good confession. To all the negligent or false teachers out there,... your days are numbered. The Lord is taking back His Church.
Saint Padre Pio every once in a while drove insincere people out of his confessional. On one such occasion he threw out a mother of two daughters. Later Padre Pio, who could read the hearts and souls of people, revealed that this mother never disciplined her two daughters, never said NO even though these two daughters went around immodestly dressed. Padre Pio knew in his spirit that both of the daughters were already dead and both ended up in hell so he reviled the mother for this grave lack of doing her job as a mother!
The devil seeks, in everyway possible, to convince us that the devil and hell do not exist so that we do not put any effort into discovering our great lack of love and our hidden egotistical motives. If the devils do not exist, if there is no hell, then we all go to Heaven! And so we have nothing to fear?!? WHAT A DECEPTION! The first step of conversion is to realize that we are sinners. Today people are totally surrounded by the “tyranny of relativism”, each person is a little god on his own and determines for himself what is good and evil. What is right for you is OK; what is right for me is OK, and so on. The only thing that is not tolerated is the absolute truth from the Creator! People have lost the belief and connection with the Creator of all things who establishes absolute truth which can be found in His creation and in His divine revelation in Sacred Scripture interpreted by the One Church that He left us with the “Rock” as the guide and head. Pope Benedict XVI has often said that relativism is truly a “tyranny”! Priests and bishops must help people out of this grave diabolic trap of the “tyranny of relativism” to find true freedom, the true meaning of life and true happiness not only on earth but for all eternity. If the priests and bishops speak only about God as love and merciful and do not speak anymore about the reality of mortal sin and the reality of hell, many people end up believing there is not much need (or none whatsoever!) to ask for the mercy of God and thus the redemption is rendered useless and null. We no longer need Jesus Redeemer! So many people (Catholics) today do not understand anymore what is mortal sin and thus do not go to the sacrament of Confession regularly or do not go at all.
A great source of peace is authentic humility. Humility is absolutely essential for any union with God and spiritual progress. Humility is needed to discover the innate laws of nature around us and in us which are put there by the Creator as well as to seek, discover, believe and live God’s divine revelation . To refuse this inborn law is like not following the instruction manual of the car maker by putting Coca Cola in the gas tank and grapefruit juice in the crank case. Things do not work properly in our life if we arrogantly refuse to follow the revealed instructions of our Maker. Humility is also a prerequisite for being heard by GOD.
I posed a question to several people who work in the parishes: “When is the last time that you heard a priest say that it is a mortal sin to use artificial birth control and one must confess this grave sin and throw away the IUD’s and the pill before receiving the Most Holy Eucharist, otherwise one commits another mortal sin? The contraceptive mentality erodes and destroys the fundamental cell of society, the family.” ALL OF THEM SAID NEVER!
Is not THE GREATEST LOVE for another person to help that person to arrive to eternal salvation and happiness, rather than only comfort and feeling good during this very short life? One finds in the Old Testament and in the four Gospels Jesus referring to hell many times, but we rarely hear about this today. Perhaps 100 years ago there were some who exaggerated the preaching of hell, fire and brimstone, without establishing the base of true love and mercy as well. But today the pendulum has gone totally to the other extreme to the great detriment of countless souls.
St. Augustine writes: “ “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord.” And what must you shepherds hear? “Thus says the Lord: Behold I am superior to the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand” (Ez 34:9). Listen and learn, sheep of God: God requires his sheep from the wicked shepherds, and from them demands an account for the death of his sheep. For he says in another place through the same prophet: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity, but you will have saved you life.” What is this, my brothers? You see how dangerous it is to keep silent? He dies, and rightly dies; he dies in his impiety and sin; for his heedlessness kills him. He might have found the living shepherd, who says, “As I live, says the Lord”; but since he has been heedless, no warning coming from the one appointed as watchman to give warning, he will justly die, and the watchman will be justly condemned. But if, says the Lord, you tell and impious man, “You will surely die”, when I have threatened him with the sword, and he neglects to avoid the sword hanging over him, and it falls and kills him, he will die in his sin; but you have saved your life. Therefore it is my part not to keep silent; it is yours , even if I should keep silent, to listen to the words of the shepherd from holy scripture. (Ez 33:7-9) (Office of Readings, week 25, Wednesday).
Why did Our Lady of Fatima show three young children a VISION OF HELL with countless souls falling into the abyss as sparks into the great fire? Lucia of Fatima said to Father Fuentes (1957) that the face of our Lady was always sad. Our Lady sheds tears for each and everyone of her children who fall into hell for all eternity, depriving their Creator of their company for all eternity! God totally respects our primordial gift of our free will, being created in His image (Gen 1:26-27). This is true love! It is not easy today to preach the whole truth! If you have holes in your shield, the devil is a very good shot, and he will shoot an arrow right through the holes and hit you. Pastors, priests and bishops must PREACH BOTH POLES OF THE BATTERY; both are essential for the current to flow, otherwise there is not true Love Who is also INFINITELY JUST!
Priests and bishops have to speak out from the pulpits. Some do so, but so many just do not want to cause a controversy. They want to talk about love on Sunday. Everybody loves; God loves you; we are loving, etc. But where is the love if you are going to tolerate the killing of unborn children, or tolerate other sins such as active euthanasia deriving from the contraceptive mentality and the contraceptive culture that surrounds us today?
Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said: “We don’t need a voice when everything is right; WE NEED A VOICE WHEN EVERYTHING IS WRONG.”
AFTER THE DEATH OF JOSHUA, for the first time the people of Israel were without a leader. In the beginning of the book of Judges we read that “there arose another generation after them, who DID NOT KNOW THE LORD or the work which he had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals...” (Judg 2:10-11). How many of the people of the present generation in the USA and other parts of the world do not even know how to say the “Our Father”? A great number of young people who finish 12 years in the US Catholic school system do not even know the 10 commandments! What are the priests and bishops doing? The divorce rate among Catholics is the same as the rest of the population of the US. The parents never taught their children about “the work which he [the Lord] had done for” them. Being soft hearted parents is good, but not soft headed. Parents who are soft on offering the true love (firm and loving), sometimes called “TOUGH LOVE”, of proper discipline to their children, do a very great disservice to their children who later must face the realities of life with all it’s difficulties, and an increasingly anti-God and antichristian environment. Many parents of the “baby boomers” naively followed the imprudent advice of Dr. Spock whose son committed suicide! Parents have gone behind the world views of so-called experts who dictate “self esteem” instead of humility. I am very saddened and pained for children who were not given the riches and fullness of the faith which their parents had freely chosen to discard and reject and abandon. It reminds me of how our first parents, Adam and Eve, deprived all of mankind of the first gifts in the garden of Eden, and thus passing on to all of us Original Sin and it’s effects.
It is interesting that when the Israelites were tired of deciding and doing things on their own and experienced how much better it is to follow God’s chosen ones, they finally pleaded with Gideon to “rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also...” (Judg 8:22). How many Christians have also become TIRED OF BEING THE POPE and have made this same wise choice to follow God’s chosen one, the living Pope to whom Jesus promised that “the gates of hell would not prevail” (Mt 16:18)? This promise was made to Peter and his successors, not the bishops, or conferences of bishops or to theologians! The schismatic traditionalists instead are going the other direction, away from “God’s chosen ones” so as to decide all things for themselves!
ARCHBISHOP FULTON SHEEN once said: “The truth is the truth even if no one believes it; error is error even if everyone believes it!”
The Sedevacantists strongly condemn the priests and bishops who do not speak out about these great evils and eternal traps for souls. But when someone confronts these people with the clear simple truth about their situation of putting themselves above the Church authority that Christ left us here on earth, they do not want to be treated as they would treat church leaders who they feel are not doing what they should be doing. When Sedevacantists are confronted with this fundamental contradiction in their belief, they often take refuge in various psychological defense mechanisms depending on the character and maturity of each person. One such person accused me of being “very offensive”, “uncharitable” or even “cruel” when I confronted him with the truth. This same person realized, at least years ago, that to comfort or even encourage a person who was planning to have an abortion, was wrong. But this same person condemned me for trying to persuade my relative to not abandon the one true Church, the Catholic Church, with the living Pope as the head.
What was the reaction of King David in the Old Testament when the prophet Nathan (2 Sam 12:1-13) pointed out the truth to David? Did David say to Nathan that your words are “very offensive” and thus refused to communicate with Nathan from then on? David had humility even though he was the king of all of Israel.
What would have happened if Nathan would have said to King David: “That’s OK. Be in peace; God loves you!” Years ago when going door to door with my sister for four years in Barstow, California, asking people to pray to fight abortion, we met a woman who was planning to have an abortion. Both my sister and I understood that we could not say: “That’s OK. Be in peace, God loves you!” Certainly if one has already committed an abortion, one must help the person to face the gravity of what they did, the post abortion trauma, for their own psychological, moral and spiritual good, but at the same time one must help this person to realize and to believe in the great mercy of God, as does the group “Rachel’s Vineyard” (http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/). But to one who has left the Church and is in a schismatic group, one cannot say: “That’s OK. Be in peace; God loves you!”, because they are still in the active state of schism! They were born and raised Catholic and freely and personally decided to become protestant; the great majority of protestants today were born into protestant families without entering into the personal decision of leaving the Church. It is like an ongoing abortion! I feel very sorry for the children of parents who forfeited the great gift of the Church that Christ left us here on earth and became schismatic traditionalists, before the children had a chance to discover and experience this great gift that Christ left us. Certainly these children will be judged by God on how they sought the truth according to the truth and graces received from God. But their parents were born into the One True Church and left Her!
Pope John Paul II did not tell women who committed an abortion: “That’s OK. Be in peace; God loves you”.
EVANGELIUM VITAE; March 25, 1995; Pope John Paul II:
No. 99: I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life. (http://www.vatican.va/edocs/ENG0141/__P10.HTM).
“Rachel’s Vineyard” is ready to help women who have decided not to have any more abortions and who have repented! Christ forgave the prostitute but also said to her: “GO AND SIN NO MORE” (Jn 8:11)! We must return to Christ on His terms and on His truth, not on our own accepted and un-repented type of prostitution!
The schismatic traditionalists say they have maintained the traditional truth but the world wide Catholic Church with the Pope in Rome has not maintained the traditional truth. But who decides if they have maintained the traditional truth and are interpreting and living this truth today? All the Protestant founders, with their followers, all said and say the same thing, just as the new “schismatic traditionalist” protestants today. There are over 35,000 independent protestant groups in the US alone; each independent group interprets the Sacred Scriptures in their own way! They have abandoned the Church that Jesus Christ left us with the “Rock” at the head!
Saint Thomas Bechet, Bishop and Martyr wrote: “Who can doubt that the Church of Rome is the head of all the churches, the source of Catholic teaching? Who does not know that the keys of the kingdom of heaven were given to Peter? Is not the whole structure of the Church built up on Peter’s faith and teaching, so to grow until we all meet Christ as one perfect man, united in faith and in our recognition of him as son of God?... But whoever waters of plants, God gives no increase except to him who has planted in Peter’s faith, and who has assented to his teaching.” (Office of Readings; December 29).
I do not have direct or personal contact with just about all of the people who read this article. If at all possible one must do all he can to draw the one in error to the truth with love and kindness, with honey, not vinegar. But when the one in error will not listen or there is not personal contact, one should offer the straight truth that may seem very hard and difficult to the one in error. Certainly we are all free to read only what we want to read! “Many of His disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (Jn 6:60). Jesus, who is Love, spoke very strongly to the Scribes and Pharisees; the paragraphs in the entire 23rd chapter of Matthew begin with “Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees …”. Right after Jesus proclaimed Peter the Rock, He rebuked Peter: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men” (Mt 16:13-23). Was this love? Of course!
It is a great act of charity to offer the truth to the wayward. One must offer the truth like sowing seeds; after the seeds of truth are sowed, the rest is between the person who receives the seeds of truth and the Holy Spirit. Of course we should water the soil with much prayer and sacrifice (fasting, words of charity, etc.) for our fellow brothers who are free to seek the truth in humility or reject the truth in hidden or manifest, obstinate pride.
The bishop of La Crosse did not have personal contact with the people in the sect at Necedah, Wisconsin who only mandated to the bishop what he, the lawful local Church authority, should do. My sister met her husband and were married in this sect but unfortunately never had the chance to study Church history or theology to overcome this deeply seated sectarian mentality; they really did not know what the Church is! The bishop of La Crosse was only able to offer the straight truth along with an official condemnation of the sect at Necedah (http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com).
I only hope and pray that this article will be of help to those of good will with enough humility to seek the truth Who is Jesus (Jn 14:6)! Today there are many definitions and ideas of who Jesus is and what Jesus taught. Pope Benedict XVI calls this “the tyranny of relativism”! When Christ asked, "Who do you say that I am", one person had the answer, Peter, the “Rock”; all the rest had an opinion (Mt 16:13-20).
“Saint Peter the Rock, First Pope of Rome - Petrine Primacy in the Church Founded by Jesus Christ” (http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Atrium/8410/pete.html).
The Truth Shall Set You Free (Jn 8:32)!
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Without getting into too much detail, I would like to offer some general, common sense thoughts and comments that helped me see the truth even amidst the many continuing problems and abuses in the Catholic Church. I also hope that many schismatic traditionalist will succeed in returning home, to the bosom of Holy Mother Church, especially with the help of our present Pope Benedict XVI. In times when there are many laity and even priests in the Church who lack reverence, and even belief in the Holy Eucharist, the Church could certainly use the example and influence of as many Catholics as possible who believe and understand the greatness of the awesome gift of Christ’s real presence on earth until the end of time!
Above the Living Pope
Many schismatic traditionalists often blame Vatican II for causing the current crisis in the Church. They claim that the changes decreed by the Council are heretical; hence, it was a false council and "true" Catholics should not assent to its teachings. But there is an obvious problem with this argument: It has been the traditional teaching of the Church that an ecumenical council is guided by the Holy Spirit and thus protected from error. In the words of Pope Pius IX, in a letter to the Abbott of Solesmes: ". . . the Ecumenical Council is governed by the Holy Spirit … it is solely by the impulse of this Divine Spirit that the Council defines and proposes what must be believed. . . ." Therefore, the faithful are obliged to assent to all of the decisions and decrees of Vatican II as interpreted by the continuous living authority of the Church. Ludwig Ott, whom few "traditionalists" would regard as a modernist, says basically the same about Ecumenical Councils. Pope Pius XII in his Encyclical Humani Generis (12 August 1950) reiterates the same truth. Why do so many of the schismatic traditionalists not apply these teachings of past popes before 1958 to the popes after 1958? Since many schismatic traditionalists often pick and choose what they like, just as the modernist "cafeteria Catholics" and Protestants do, can we not conclude that they, too, have departed from the Catholic formal principle of authority.
Most schismatic traditionalists believe that all Popes, bishops and priests after VCII are not valid. But if one does not accept the living Pope, one puts himself above the supreme spiritual authority on earth, and thus in a certain sense one has put himself above God! If one is not anchored in the living Pope, and in the bishops united to him, one will slowly drift like a boat without a compass or a rudder going where the winds slowly take him, even with a nice reverent Latin Mass. Schism, however, as history shows, commonly leads to heresy. As Christ said of Himself which can be so admirably applied to His Mystical Body the Church, "I am the Vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in Me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned" (Jn 15: 5-6). Many schismatic traditionalists often put private revelation above the Church and her authority (see: http://priv-rev.blogspot.com). I think it is very important to study the doctrines of the Church and the documents of the Second Vatican Council to be anchored in the heart of the Catholic Church.
Many schismatic traditionalists pick and choose which Popes seem to fit their mentality and way of seeing things; for that matter they also manage to find a renegade bishop (such as Archbishop Ngo-Dinh-Thuc) to acquire valid but illicit orders for their consecration of new bishops. Unfortunately this smorgasbord type of behavior is all too common among Catholics who feel they can pick and choose what they like among the teachings of the Church. Many of these groups promote the idea that the See of Peter is vacant since the time of VCII (a “heretical council”) and that some time in the future we will have a valid and licit Pope. But who has a direct line to the Holy Spirit that can judge the Pope (or an ecumenical council) and his teachings and decide when the See of Peter is vacant or not? Who has the gift of infallibility? Someone in these schismatic traditionalist groups? What guarantee do the schismatic traditionalists have that they will stay orthodox, since they do not have the “Rock.” “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this Rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” This promise was given only to the living Pope, not to each individual bishop. After the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” (1968), there were even whole Episcopal conferences which opposed Pope Paul VI. During the Arian heresy most of the bishops were on the wrong side!
It is interesting how so many schismatic traditionalists condemn most or all of the documents of the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church without even reading the documents themselves. So often they rely on the slanted view of someone else and join in on the condemnation without reading the documents themselves and pointing out specifically what they believe to be false along with their reasons. This happens so often with groups that break away from the Catholic Church. Martin Luther believed and followed the vast majority of the teachings of the Catholic Church; he even wrote very highly of Mary, the mother of Jesus. But as time passed, the generations that followed Martin Luther became ever more anti Catholic above all for the sake of an insecure and immature type of self identification. The Protestants ended up throwing out just about all the traditions of 1500 years while keeping only the Bible (“Sola Scriptura”), which in itself was also a product of early tradition. The self definition of most Protestants quickly became “we are not Catholic.” So many of the modern schismatic traditionalists are quickly heading down the same road. Most of the schismatic traditionalists have thrown out all the gifts to the Church by the Holy Spirit in the last 50 years such as the revelations to Saint Faustina (the Divine Mercy) and so many other graces bestowed on the Church in the last 50 years so desperately needed precisely for our difficult times. “The branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine” (Jn 15:4).
This way of doing things is a form of prooftexting which is the practice of using decontextualised quotations from a document to establish a proposition rhetorically through an appeal to authority (the Bible). In the case of the schismatic traditionalists, they pick out of contexts a few quotes from the Second Vatican II documents and other documents to arrive at the conclusions that they desire; they are not open to the truth in humility so as to find the truth in the context of the whole of divine revelation interpreted by the Rock that Christ left us. This can be seen in so many other cases such as Karl Marx who used the theory of evolution to serve his agenda of revolution; he did not care if the theory was right or wrong. There are over 35,000 registered independent Christian groups (not denominations) in the USA, each of which interprets the one Bible in a different way!
Precisely when there is so much sin and lack of prayer in the world, causing great confusion, we need the “ROCK” even more today! If most of the schismatic traditionalists do not succeed in recognizing the great saints of our times, sent precisely for our modern day needs, as well as the charismas sent by the Holy Spirit to the Church today, I seriously doubt that they would recognize Jesus Christ if they had lived 2000 years ago! Jesus hung around with “sinners” which scandalized many including the religious leaders of his day. It seems that many schismatic traditionalists often fear to recognize the approved charismas and the saints recently canonized by the Church because then they would be admitting that there is actually some good in the Catholic Church! Just like our protestant brothers, one has to throw out everything of the Catholic Church in order to maintain their prideful identity and to feel special and better than the others. Most schismatic traditionalists decide to rely on themselves believing or convincing themselves that they are among the very few who follow the Holy Spirit! They convince themselves that they are holy because they are better than all the others who they judge below them, rather than admitting their sinfulness and confiding in God’s mercy and then forgetting about themselves so as to love Jesus in each and every neighbor.
If one is truly seeking the truth, would a person not want to read both sides of the argument so as to be open to the TRUTH inspired by the Holy Spirit to discover which side is right rather than relying on only one point of view or only one side of the argument manipulated by intelligent prideful leaders of their group? For every article written against the documents of the Second Vatican Council there are thousands of articles that support the council. But many schismatic traditionalists, as those in the cults and the sects, freely choose to only listen to the one side. It seems that there must be a hidden motive to choose not to read the documents or the articles that supports the documents of the Church since 1958, and even before 1958. Many people do not want to entertain the possibility or idea that they could be wrong! A follower of Christ who has been given the grace to have a reasonable certitude that the Catholic Church is the one true Church, at a certain point must take the leap of faith and be even ready to be a fool for Christ as Christ seemed to be a fool to many of the mockers (Mt 27:29-31, 41-44) who passed by Christ on the cross.
Just as the protestants, many schismatic traditionalists have a very strong tendency to throw out these precious gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially in the last 50 years, in order to maintain their immature self identity of not being associated with the Catholic Church; they feel impelled to judge or condemn every one outside their little group in order to maintain an attitude of being better and more holy and more orthodox than the entire Catholic Church world wide founded by Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus founded His Church on sinners like you and me, not on confirmed saints or angels in heaven. Only their little group is perfect and holy and totally orthodox! How many similar groups in the history of the Church are no longer in existence such as the Donatists of the fifth century, etc.; but the same pharisaical attitude continues to show up again and again. If you cut yourself off from the vine, the branch withers away slowly.
How many schismatic traditionalists refuse ecumenism of the Second Vatican Council but they have never read the Church’s Decree on Ecumenism in the Second Vatican Council (UR); they reject ecumenism because they so harshly judge non-Catholics who were born into their respective religions through no fault of their own. Most people agree that God is love. As St. Paul clearly writes that he that loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law (Gal 5:14; Rm 13:8,10). But even though this was clearly taught in the Old Testament (Lev 19:18; Zech 8:17 etc.), Jesus had to reiterate the law of love frequently (Mt 5:43; 19:19; 22:39, etc.). But even after the coming of Christ with his radical teaching of the necessity of loving even one’s enemies, the followers of Christ so easily slide backwards to loving only their friends or those in their group. Before VCII it was rather common for Catholic to not love non-Catholics; there are many examples of this. One could not step foot in a protestant church, etc. But are we not all created by the same God? Do we not all have the same Father in heaven? Are we not then all brothers and sisters? Is this not the basic truth of ecumenism of VCII brought to light once more for the benefit of all mankind? How many Catholics before VCII were happy and comfortable to not treat non-Catholics as their brothers and sisters? Thus when VCII reminded us of our duty to love all men and women, how many Catholics were unhappy about this mandate and thus were happy and even eager to find schismatic traditionalist groups that continued this uncharitable, snobbish and separatist attitude which they nurtured before and after VCII?
There are over 35,000 registered independent Christian groups (not denominations) in the USA; there is very little authority or structure linking the Christian groups in the same denomination in creed and faith. Many schismatic traditionalist groups have the same problem; if one does not obey and find unity in each living Pope, in whom does one obey and find unity? In a charismatic person like Francis Schuckardt? In various private revelations? In a democratic vote? To whom do they submit to? To themselves or to a group or leader who thinks exactly like they think? And then when the group or leader changes his idea, one goes to another group that thinks like him, and so on an so forth… Many schismatic traditionalist groups split up frequently because some are “more traditional” and others “less traditional”, some are more conservative and others too liberal, etc. etc. etc. It seems that the Protestants have over 35,000 different interpretations of the Bible! This is precisely why Jesus did not leave us abandoned to our own human opinions; Jesus left us his Church with a living Pope until the end of time! “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20).
How many thousands of non Catholics, after years of searching and suffering and praying, finally arrive home to holy mother Church, as one can see in the program “The Journey Home” on the television station EWTN. The great majority of these converts began to be bewildered by the incredible amount of confusion and lack of unity in the non Catholic Churches. Most of those who begin to realize this inherent contradiction fall into a type of agnosticism concluding that one cannot find the truth if it even exists. But many of those who persevere in seeking the truth in humility and prayer, finally find the “Rock”, the living Pope, in a very confusing world. It is interesting that when the Israelites were tired of suffering and of deciding and doing things on their own and experienced how much better it is to follow God’s chosen ones, they finally pleaded with Gideon to “rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also...” (Judg 8:22). How many Christians have also become tired of being the Pope and have made this same wise choice to follow God’s chosen one, the living Pope to whom Jesus promised that “the gates of hell would not prevail” (Mt 16:18). How sad it is that people born and raised Catholic end up loosing this incredible gift of God, His Church with a living Pope, because they did not check and control their human tendency to see only the defects of those in the Church; they put themselves above the Church and the living Pope. Pride is a horrible pit because not only does one become blind to the real situation but God Himself abandons such people in their arrogance and leaves them to their own designs. Their program is called “The Journey Away From Home”!
In the beginning of creation, there was a great battle in heaven (Rev 12). Lucifer led the rebelling angels, and Michael led the angels who accepted God as God and themselves as creatures, and thus obeyed and served their Creator. The battle cry of the good angels was precisely the meaning of the name of their captain: Michael, “Who is like unto God!” Satan continues to lure men into the same temptation (Gen 3:4-5) throughout human history. The liberals put themselves above God by calling themselves Christians or Catholics and then they do whatever they want. The schismatic traditionalists call themselves the true Catholics and then put themselves above God by putting themselves above the Church that Christ left us with the living Pope as the head.
So many today, on both sides of the spectrum, use religion to satisfy and to serve self, not to satisfy and to serve God, under the guise of manifold deceptions and hidden motives!
Pope Leo XIII urged us in this climatic period of the world and the Church to pray to the first captain at the beginning of creation. Let us humbly put ourselves under the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth just as the good angels humbly put themselves under God’s heavenly captain at the beginning of creation. “WHO IS LIKE UNTO GOD?”
At the website of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, http://www.sistersofmarymotherofthechurch.org/, one will find a simple explanation of why many fell into the trap of the sedevacantists (video). After VCII, many priests and even bishops did not follow the norms of “The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” (Sacrosanctum concilium, 1963) or the postconciliar documents on the Liturgy regarding the maintaining of the reverence and proper prospective of the Liturgical changes. Thus many people were scandalized and deluded by these clergymen because they no longer sensed the transcendence and the first priority of the Liturgy, to worship and adore God! For many of these misguided clergymen, this proper and primary focus of the Liturgy to worship and to adore God, was relegated to a lower priority, and a lesser priority of creating family and community was placed in the first priority, with the priest celebrant and the community as the center of attention rather than the incarnate Second Person of the Blessed Trinity in the Eucharist. Many scandalized Catholics concluded that the New Mass (celebrated by clergy who did not follow the norms of the approved documents of the Church) came from VCII and thus concluded that VCII must be false and heretical. This logic led to conclude that all popes, bishops, priests and everything else since the beginning of VCII must be thrown out and rejected. Unfortunately many of those who fell into the trap of the schismatic traditionalists never had the chance to see how the Liturgical reforms from VCII are to be celebrated according to the official documents of the Church.
The Vatican's chief excorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, talks about the famous statement of Pope Paul VI on June 29, 1972: “From some crevice, the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God”. He was also asked: “Again, are you saying that many bishops and priests are not, consequently, Catholic?” Amorth replied: “Let us just say that they do not believe a Gospel truth. So, if anything, I would stop them propagating a heresy. But, to be clear about this, a person is officially a heretic if he or she is accused of something and persists in the error. No one today, given the situation in the Church, is accusing a bishop of not believing in the Devil , or in demonic possession or of failing to appoint exorcists because he does not believe. And yet I could give you the names of so many bishops and cardinals who, on their appointment to a diocese, stripped exorcists of their faculty to perform the rite. Or there are bishops who openly say they don’t believe, that these are things of the past. Why is that? Unfortunately, we have had the insidious influence of certain biblists and I could mention some illustrious names. We who are in daily physical contact with the ‘other world’ know that this influence is evident in numerous liturgical reforms. … For example: The Second Vatican Council asked that some texts be revised. Disobeying this command, they set about re-writing them completely with no thought for the danger of making things worse instead of better. So many rites came off badly from this mania to throw out the old and start from scratch, as if the Church to date had always conned us and as if only now the time had at last come of the great geniuses, the supertheologians, the super-biblists and the super-liturgists who know what the right thing is for the Church. This is a lie: the last Council simply asked that the texts be revised, not destroyed.” (http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=2879).
Fr. Amorth did not leave the Catholic Church because he saw so many abuses and imprudent and scandalous Church leaders. Christ founded the Church with sinners in the hierarchy, not with angels or confirmed saints! The protestants of old as well as the new protestants, the schismatic traditionalists, see these scandals and leave the Church with the prideful presumption that they are the perfect Church as Christ intended and according to their “infallible” judgment, they are the ones to decide! But they do not realize that the Church attribute of indefectiblity means that the Church will last until the end of time in the same WAY and FORM that Christ founded the Church.
Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said: “THE "MOST URGENT ISSUE" IS THAT "THE SENSE OF THE LITURGY BE TRULY RECOVERED”. Some of his recent remarks made in an interview with the newspaper Catalunya Cristiana suggest that the "reform of the reform" is alive and well, even while the process is slow and arduous: … “People believe that the liturgy is a matter of forms and external realities, and what we really need is to restore a sense of worship, i.e. the sense of God as God. This sense of God can only be recovered with the liturgy. … THE LITURGY ALWAYS LOOKS TOWARDS GOD, NOT THE COMMUNITY; it is not the community that makes the liturgy, but it is God who makes it. It is He who comes to meet us and offers us to participate in his life, his mercy and his forgiveness ... When one truly lives the liturgy and God is truly at the centre of it, everything changes…” (http://insightscoop.typepad.com/2004/2009/10/cardinal-ca%C3%B1izares-the-most-urgent-issue-is-that-the-sense-of-the-liturgy.html).
Sedevacantism is the position held by a minority of Traditionalist Catholics who claim that the Papal See has been vacant since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958 (or, according to some, since the death of Pope John XXIII in 1963).
Sedevacantists believe that Paul VI (1963–1978), John Paul I (1978), John Paul II (1978–2005) and Benedict XVI (since 2005) have been neither true Catholics nor true popes, by virtue of ALLEGEDLY having espoused the heresy of Modernism, or of having otherwise denied or contradicted solemnly defined Catholic dogmas.
The term "sedevacantism" is derived from the Latin phrase ‘sede vacante’, which literally means "while the seat is vacant", the seat in question being that of a bishop. A specific use of the phrase is in the context of the vacancy of the Holy See between the death or resignation of a Pope and the election of his successor.
Some small groups of Traditionalist Catholics give allegiance to alternative Popes of their own. Since they hold that the Holy See is headed by their nominee and therefore is not in fact vacant, they are not sedevacantists in the strict sense. However, the term "sedevacantist" is often (normally) applied to them because they reject the generally accepted papal succession.
Charismas of the Holy Spirit for Modern Times
One of the fundamental inspirations of the Holy Spirit at VCII regarding the Liturgy was to recuperate the worship and adoration of God as a community of believers as we see in the Book of Acts describing the first Pentecost. On the first Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended first and foremost on the Body of Christ, the new Church, and secondarily on the individual members of the Church. After the first few centuries of the early Church, the emphasis slowly shifted to an individual spirituality and away from a communitarian spirituality and worship. It is not surprising that all the major charismas from the Holy Spirit in the last 70 or 80 years (in particular the ecclesial movements such as the Neocatechumenal Way, the Focolare Movement, the Community of St. Egidio, etc) emphasize anew to the Church and to the world the communitarian spirituality, that of the communion of believers. God desires to be worshiped not just by separate individuals but especially by the community of believers together.
This communitarian spirituality presupposes and includes the individual spirituality; the individual spirituality alone produced many great saints during many centuries of Church history. Only to the degree that one has a certain amount of union with God can he give God to others. But now, as always, the Holy Spirit leads us forward in ever greater dimensions and avenues of grace, needed especially for today, facilitating ever more our walk with and toward Jesus Christ, not just as separate individuals but together as the Body of Christ. The recuperation of the communitarian spirituality was so important that it was worth the risk of the temptation of clergy and lay people to take advantage of this retrieval to put themselves and their group at the center of attention instead of God or our Eucharistic Lord during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The choir is not there at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to draw attention to themselves, but to be in harmony with the community, with the priest presiding, to draw all attention and adoration to Jesus in the Eucharist! The priest makes a grave error when he uses the Mass to draw attention to himself instead of the One who created him Who is present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the holy Eucharist! God wants to be worshiped and loved first of all by the Body of Christ as a community and a family, as well as by separate individuals. The communitarian spirituality also helps us not to fall into the egoism of concentrating only on “my sanctification” but rather on the sanctification of “my brother”; in doing like this we become saints forgetting about ourselves and focusing on love of neighbor letting God keep score of the merits, not ourselves. We humans have the tendency to look at ourselves in the mirror rather than at Jesus and at Jesus in our neighbor.
To give a striking example of this shift from an individual spirituality to, or rather return to, a communitarian spirituality, we read in “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis: “As often as I have been among men,” said one writer, “I have returned less a man” (I, XX, 1-6). But today the times have changed and thus we have new needs precisely for our modern times. In this epoch the Holy Spirit is calling, in a forceful way, for men to walk beside other men, even to be, with all who want it, one heart only and one soul only as in the early Church (Acts 4:32, 2:46). “One goes to God together with men together with the brothers, or rather one goes to God by way of man” (Cf. M. Vandeleene, “Io, il fratello, Dio nel pensiero di Chiara Lubich”, Roma, 1999). Among other Biblical verses, the Holy Spirit has brought to light in a greater and special way in these our times, by way of Chiara Lubich and the Focolare Movement, the words of Christ: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20). But we also must do our part to be “gathered in his [my] name” (http://trueevangelization.blogspot.com) so as to merit this awesome gift of this special and efficacious presence of Jesus Christ among us.
Many schismatic traditionalists are not too fond of these recent charismas of the Holy Spirit; many would rather close in on their own little special group to feel holy and secure. Our only real security is continually loving Jesus and Jesus in each and every person who is before us in each present moment, like flowing water. We must go out and love all (even those not in our group) as Christ loved all. Flowing water in a river (going out of ourselves to love) purifies itself and all that it touches; stagnant water (not going out of ourselves or our group to love) grows stale and putrefies itself and all that it touches. For a believer in God-Love, René Descartes’ famous supposition “I think therefore I am” should read “I love therefore I am”! If the stars stop moving in their orbits, they fall and thus do not exist; if we do not love we are not! If we love, we are, we exist; we live on into eternity in continual love as the three persons of the Most Blessed Trinity do from all eternity! Each of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity live in a continual “kenosis” (emptying Oneself for love of the other Persons); each Person is not isolated or closed in on Itself for Its Own “Holiness”!
The communitarian spiritualities put a great emphasis on helping one’s brother become holy and in so doing we become holy ourselves. Often the individual spiritualities of the past led many to concentrate only on themselves instead of going out of self, forgetting oneself, so as to love Jesus in each and every neighbor in each and every present moment of the day. The communitarian spiritualities, inspired by the Holy Spirit for our times, put the emphasis on serving others and on helping others become saints so that in this love, work and suffering we become saints together in this process while ever more forgetting about ourselves in love for God and in love for Jesus who hides Himself in each and every neighbor. Blessed Mother Teresa’s motto was: “You did it to Me (Jesus!)” (Mt 25:40). The very first words of Chiara Lubich in her first little book published, “Meditations”, we find in the first meditation, “The Attraction of Modern Time”: “Behold the great attraction of modern time: to penetrate into the highest contemplation and to remain mingled among everyone, man along side of man.”
One can find many books of the writings of Chiara Lubich in English such as: MEDITATIONS; Essential Writings: Spirituality Dialogue Culture; The Love That Comes From God: REFLECTIONS ON THE FAMILY; No Thorn Without a Rose: 99 Sayings by Chiara Lubich (99 Words to Live By); The Cry: OF JESUS CRUCIFIED AND FORSAKEN; Stars and tears: A conversation with Chiara Lubich, etc.
Better Than the “Sinners”
Many schismatic traditionalists often feel that they are better than the sinners who have remained in the Catholic Church. This triumphalistic attitude helps maintain a certain level of emotional high and enthusiasm which helps maintain unity in the group. Christ said to the Apostles, who the Pharisees and Scribes considered "sinners": "I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Similar to many schismatic traditionalists, the Scribes and Pharisees habitually judged all those who did not follow all the rules and regulations that they followed. Many schismatic traditionalists express the presumption that perhaps those outside their group might be saved through invincible ignorance! It takes a lot of humility and the grace of God to be able to come back to Holy Mother Church after having left her. It also takes a lot humbleness and patience to put up with those priests and bishops who do not follow the teachings of the Church with the living Pope as their head. Many leave the Church because of these scandals.
We like “Blaming Doctrine Rather than Moral Weakness” as Martin Luther did regarding the scandals of the Pope, bishops and laity in his day.
“Luther's "Reformation" was at first not principally about theology; his early concern was visible morality; only later did he develop doctrinal errors. In the sixteenth century, this devout Augustinian priest tried to make himself more pious through acts of mortification (i.e., fasting). But the more he tried, the more he felt unacceptable to God (cf Rm. 7:15 ff). During this time, he desired to 'purify' the Catholic Church whose leaders were, he thought, predominantly morally bankrupt. Luther travelled to Rome during the papacy of Pope Alexander VI, a papacy wrought with political intrigue and illegitimate children. When Luther went back to Germany, he saw priests with vows of poverty and chastity living in illicit relationships and profiting from the sale of indulgences; he witnessed lay Catholics living immoral lives as well. Luther was scandalized, and heartbroken. St Paul exhorts us, for this reason, even amidst abounding sin: "Christ loved the Church and handed Himself over for her, to sanctify her" (Eph 5:25). Today we must remember that amidst clergy scandals” (http://www.emmitsburg.net/grotto/father_jack/2004/blaming_doctrine.htm).
It must be noted that even though Pope Alexander VI led a sinful life, he did not issue any official papal statement on faith or morals that was in error with Church doctrine. As we know, the gift of infallibility does not imply or mean that the Pope is impeccable!
The Church on earth, the “Church Militant”, is made up of saints and sinners and everything else in between (Mt 13: 36-40, 47-50). In the early Church the heretical cult, the Donatists, explained these two parables of the fish and of the weeds in a rather simplistic way: the Church was made up of only the good people and the world was made up of all the evil people without hope of salvation. The Church would be in the world as a “closed garden” or better, the Ark of Noah in which only for the very few there is salvation from the general flood. St. Augustine’s thought won out which was that of the universal Church. The Church herself is a field in which grow weeds and good seed, bad and good together . St. Augustine even exclaimed: “How many sheep there are outside the Church and how many wolves are inside!” The world is not divided into children of darkness and children of light; but rather we are all children of darkness, we are all weeds, but destined, if we desire it, to become children of the light and good grain, receiving the Kingdom and converting ourselves. Nothing is fixed or fatal, no castes of the elect or of the damned. The field is, yes, the world, but it is also the Church: the place in which there is room to grow, to convert oneself and above all to imitate the patience of God. “The bad exist in this world either so that they might convert themselves, or that by way of them the good exercise patience” (St. Augustine).
Just like the Donatists of old, many schismatic traditionalists and just about all other cults believe that the only “perfect” groups on earth are their groups, the cults and the sects!?!? But if one discovers that their group is not “perfect”, one seeks another “perfect” group. If one does not submit to the Church that Jesus Christ founded and to the “Rock” that Jesus promised to guide until the end of time, to whom does one submit? To himself? To the “perfect” group that always agrees with him? To a charismatic leader? The sedevacantists reject all the Popes, bishops and priests and documents of the Church since Pope Pius XII. But from where or from whom do their bishops in their little group receive the authority from God? Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI were elected by valid, legitimate cardinals of the Catholic Church. Even Jesus Christ Himself insisted that His authority came from the fact that He was sent by the Father (Jn 5:23, 30, 36, 37; 6:39, 44, 57; 8:16 etc.). Who chose and elected the bishops of these schismatic traditionalists groups? To whom do they submit to? The sedevacantists say that they follow the non-heretical popes before Pope John XXIII. But who is the infallible interpreter for them in the last 50 years. Who is their Pope so as to be able to interpret infallibly the applications of the teachings of the popes before Pope John XXIII? Did Christ not found a Church that has continuity and that it will last until the end of time (Mt 16:18)?
All the saints, without exception, submitted to the living, lawful Church authority given to us by Jesus himself even though the Church is made up of sinners like you and me. The greatest criteria of discernment of a private revelation is if the seer submits to the lawful Church authority; otherwise there is no humility and trust in God and thus God is not the author of the supposed apparition (see 4.3 and 9.2 in: http://priv-rev.blogspot.com). If one does not submit to the lawful authority of the Church, one ends up submitting only to himself or to those who agree exactly with himself, and thus God abandons such a person; he is on his own. If the leaders of a schismatic group changes their mind or is not in agreement with a member of the group, the member tries to find another such group that totally agrees him and so he continues to submit only to himself! This happens all the time with Protestants; when they do not like how the Protestant pastor preaches or they are in disagreement, they go to another church!
Just about all the members of these groups are so closed and totally convinced that they have all the truth that there is not much one can say or do for them except to offer prayers and sacrifices. They only submit to themselves. When they accuse me of doing the same I simple say I submit to the Church with the Pope as the head, not to myself. There is a big and fundamental difference! Sometimes when I must talk to a so-called “Catholic” who does not submit to the lawful authority that Jesus left us, the Church with the Pope as the head, but only submits to himself, I often end up simply saying,: “CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE THE POPE!” I say this hoping that they might come to their senses and realize the grave danger they are in, that they truly have put themselves in the place of God (Gen 3:4-5)! They have set themselves up as the sole interpreters of right and wrong, good and evil. St. Bonaventure, St. Francis of Assisi and numerous saints tell us that without humility there is no virtue! Jesus admonished his disciples: “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy!” (Lk 12:1)
Many schismatic traditionalists say: “Why doesn’t the Pope straighten out all the liberal bishops and priests?” My response would be why did God the Father allow His only begotten son to die on the cross; He could have wiped out all the bad Jews in an instant! Why does God the Father let those of bad will continue to live and to corrupt the Church? Why did God give us a free will? Is it not because God respects this great gift of our free will here on earth in this temporary testing ground? Looking at the history of the Church; why did it take so much time to fight or eradicate most of the heresies during the history of the Church? Look how much St. Athenasius had to work and suffer in the early Church to fight the Arian heresy. Why did not the Pope get rid of all the Arian bishops immediately? We are not in heaven where all is perfect! The Pope is just one man even though he is protected by Christ when he speaks on faith and morals to the universal Church; people are free to accept or reject these Papal pronouncements. He needs the collaboration of others. The Pope needs people to help him; he does not need those who abandon the Church when things are tough! When Jesus was crucified there was only Mary, St. John and a few women who did not abandon Jesus at the foot of cross. How many will continue to abandon Christ’s Body, the Church, in this period when many are re-crucifying the Body of Christ? It should be pointed out also that the schismatic traditionalist groups have plenty of their own scandals, e.g., Francis Schuckardt and the CMRI, etc. At the website of the CMRI one even reads: “Traditional Catholics inclined to condemn CMRI for its past ought to remember that no traditional Catholic organization — indeed, no human organization — is impeccable, unsullied by misdeeds or immune to occasional scandals. The histories of SSPX, SSPV, ORCM, TCA, TCM or any organization in the traditionalist alphabet soup would turn soap opera writers into millionaires.”
Many schismatic traditionalists use the excuse of scandalous priests and bishops as their justification and motive for leaving the Catholic Church. But Christ loves all people, especially the sinners. Christ was patient with sinners. He did not give up hope and say: “I’m fed up with you sinners and hypocrites, go to hell!” This is the reaction of many self-righteous traditionalists regarding scandalous priests or bishops. Christ said to his disciples: “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Mt 16:6). But even though Jesus said to not follow their scandalous example he still said: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice” (Mt 23:2-3). God never abandons his people as we see clearly in the Old Testament. So too God will never abandon his Church even if there are more scandalous and heretical bishops and priests than in the time of the Arian heresy. Many schismatic traditionalists do not have the patience and humility that Christ demanded of his disciples in regard to doing what the Pharisees and Scribes say but not what they do. The schismatic traditionalists do not do what the lawful authorities of the Church say.
We, who were born and raised in the Catholic Church, will be far more culpable of not being in the Catholic Church than Protestants or people of the Eastern Orthodox Churches who were not born and raised in the Catholic Church! “They could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it, or to remain in it” (LG 14).
One of the main goals of the Second Vatican Council was to overcome the rather strong pharisaical and sectarian tendencies in the Church in the past: clericalism, juridicalism and triumphalism. The biggest obstacle for Christ 2000 years ago was not the sinners but the Pharisees and the Scribes who felt they were special and above the sinners and did not need Christ or His new Church which was precisely for sinners. It is also interesting that the “Catholic” groups that have more of the pharisaical tendencies have the most difficult time with the documents of the Second Vatican Council! The Pharisees and Scribes were in effect "traditionalists" in that they held to the laws of the past but were not open to the newness that Jesus Christ had to say and to offer. The Pharisees and Scribes put themselves above Christ, above God! “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Mt 16:6; Mk 8:15; Lk 12:1). “Likewise, the Church, although she needs human resources to carry out her mission, is not set up to seek earthly glory, but to proclaim, and this by her own example, humility and self-denial” (LG 8). Before VCII (and even today) there were many Catholics who felt they were more special, above and better than non Catholics. In a real sense, many schismatic traditionalists have a great desire to recuperate the proud prestige of clericalism, juridicalism and triumphalism that was rather prevalent in the Church before VCII.
The document on New Religious Movements points out: “Before the Second Vatican Council there seemed to be more vocations perhaps in part due to the greater social and prestigious advantages which thus attracted a certain percentage of young vocations due to certain non virtuous premises or at least immature motives. Thirty to forty years ago, to become a priest meant for many the opportunity to rise out of anonymity and become part of the elite. Now it seems that many groups who have attempted to keep or revive this triumphalistic or elitist attitude have often attracted more vocations. Some of these groups became more hardened in this seeming subtle form of pride and end up outside the Church as Lefebvre's group and numerous other smaller groups have done. But others have become more ecclesial and properly ecumenically minded in the true spirit of the council.”
Many members of communities in the mainline Churches today feel comfortable in their static traditions but often do not reach out to others in a way that the others would feel attracted and more comfortable. This is a fundamental reason for the Church's loss of vast numbers of Catholics world wide to various sects according to the Vatican document on "New Religious Movements".
"Almost all the responses (from the Regional and National Episcopal Conferences world wide, October, 1985) appeal for a rethinking (at least in many local situations) of the traditional "parish community system"; a search for community patterns which will be more fraternal, more "to the measure of man", more adapted to people's life situation; more "basic ecclesial communities": caring communities of lively faith, love (warmth, acceptance, understanding, reconciliation, fellowship), and hope; celebrating communities; praying communities; missionary communities: outgoing and witnessing; communities open to the supporting people who have special problems: the divorced and "remarried", the marginalized.” Is this not what the early Christians did? (see: http://trueevangelization.blogspot.com).
There is often the lack of distinguishing between the sin and the sinner. The Church loves the sinner but hates the sin. Many accuse the Church of hating the homosexuals because many do not make the distinction that the Church, as does Christ, loves the person with homosexual tendencies but hates the act of homosexuality. The Pharisees and Scribes were scandalized because Christ sought to help the publicans, tax collectors and prostitutes; but Christ did say to the prostitute “go and sin no more.” So too many schismatic traditionalists are scandalized because the Second Vatican Council teaches the importance of an honest desire to acknowledge and appreciate the true and the good in other non-Catholic Christians both as individuals and as collective bodies, “particular Churches” (see also UR 3).
Many schismatic traditionalists say: “Well what’s the use of becoming a Catholic if the other “Churches” are recognized Churches?” In the Catholic Church one can truly point to one place to find the fullness of truth of Divine Revelation and saving "elements of sanctification" (LG 8) by which the faithful may be configured to Christ. It took several centuries even for the Catholic Church to overcome an anti-protestant self identification after the Council of Trent. With the Second Vatican Council the Catholic Church finally overcame this immature negative self identification. True ecumenism also includes the desire and honesty to acknowledge and appreciate the true and the good in other churches and groups, instead of only concentrating on our differences, as many members of the Church tended to do in the past. VCII was a call to the Church to rediscover her calling to serve as the humble servant of Christ to help all those “of the truth” to make it to heaven; many traditionalists still need this negative, anti-protestant and anti-sinner mentality in order to self-identify themselves. The Church, while still asserting that "the one and only Church of Christ is the Roman Catholic Church”, added the significant admission that "many elements of sanctification can be found outside the Church’s total structure," and that these are "things properly belonging to the Church of Christ” (LG 8). Often many people need a common enemy (“heretics” or sinners) to be motivated and unified or to maintain their enthusiasm, or to be reinforced in their own (insecure?!) self identification. The lack of enemies tends to disrupt the homeostasis of the group. Sometimes people form a type of comparative self religion in which they feel more holy if they compare themselves with others that they condemn or at least judge as less holy than themselves. Almost invariably the schismatic traditionalists tend to criticized all those not in their group so that they feel holy and better than the others, instead of comparing themselves only with Jesus Christ. It is so easy and such a strong human temptation and tendency to seek to observe and dwell on the faults and abuses of a lawful superior. After dwelling on these so-called faults and abuses of bishops and priests over a period of time along with listening to and hearing support from our agreeable peers and (busy-body?) 'friends', is it any wonder that when we receive a hard and disagreeable command from this superior that we are able to easily disregard and subjectively justify disobedience to such a command? It is interesting that just about all the schismatic traditionalists do not like the fact that the Church now loves and prays with sinners and non-Catholics. Was this not the same reaction of the Pharisees and Scribes when Jesus loved and ate with sinners and non-Jews? Christ said to Pilate: “Every one who is of the truth hears my voice”. People “of the truth” are not found only in the Catholic Church! We should rejoice in the good of others even if they are not members of “our Church” or group. I think one can draw more people to the truth using honey (love) rather than vinegar (judgment and condemnation). Judgment and a critical and negative attitude toward others springs out of an inflated opinion of oneself in most instances.
Christ promised to guide the Church until the end of time “You are Peter…”. God’s promise and power is not founded on human capacities or the correspondence to grace of human beings. Precisely by the fact that Jesus calls sinners like each one of us, is a sign that everyone can belong to His family, and not withstanding each ones limitations, we all can bring forth together for the Kingdom of God. At one point St. Peter was called Satan by Christ; Peter cut off the ear of the servant in the Garden of Olives; Peter denied Christ three times. But in the end Peter had the grace to humble himself, bitterly crying, to ask for forgiveness.
It seems to me also that many schismatic traditionalists have a similar attitude as that of the older son in the parable of the Prodigal’s Son. The elder son did not love his father even though he followed all the rules and felt he was better that his younger prodigal brother. The elder son enumerated all that he did for his father: “These many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command”, as if this was the true measure of righteousness or holiness or claim to his father’s benefits or love. But the elder son did not have a personal relationship of love with his father; the father wanted his heart, not so much his works or that the elder son follows all the rules. Just as the elder son condemned his younger brother: “But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!”, so too many schismatic traditionalists abhor the fact that the Church in VCII expressed her ecumenical openness and love for non-Catholics. Many schismatic traditionalists have a very difficult time rejoicing with the father who, while his prodigal son was yet at a distance, he “saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” The father said to the elder son: “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.” Do the schismatic traditionalists truly believe that God is love and that God loves each and every person on the face of this earth immensely? Would such a God abandon millions of his beloved creatures throughout the world, especially in these most difficult times, depriving them of his life giving sacraments? What kind of a God do the schismatic traditionalists believe in? Is their religion based on this immense love of Jesus for each of us and a personal response to this love that we find throughout the Sacred Scriptures, or rather is it based on a type of religiosity devoid of true love that we find with the elder son and among other groups in the Sacred Scriptures? I sincerely wonder if many schismatic traditionalists have ever experienced in a personal way God’s infinite love and mercy for each of us. I remember once when my father commented to me about the new emphasis put on a personal relationship with Jesus in the catechisms after VCII. He said to me: “What does that mean?” My father felt he was saved because he went to daily Mass and said the daily Rosary, but did not understand what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus! At least in the past, many protestants accused the Catholics of not having a personal relationship with Jesus; I think in many cases they were right.
If one has experienced this divine love and mercy and has a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus, would not he be less prone to have a critical and judgmental spirit toward others and even rejoice with the Father and with the Church for the good in other persons and in other Churches, religions or groups with other beliefs just as the father did with his prodigal son and so many other sinners? God is the Father of all men and women, not just Catholics. As our catechism tells us that God created each person so that he might know, love and serve Him and be happy with Him in heaven for all eternity!
The Second Vatican Council
Often Church documents of the past, before the Second Vatican Council, were too little ecumenical and too much inspired by an anti-Protestant Catholicism.
Pope John XXIII, during his address at the solemn opening (October 11, 1962) of the Second Vatican Council, pointed out to the council Fathers: "The Church has always opposed these errors. Frequently she has condemned them with the greatest severity. Nowadays, however, the spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity. She considers that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnations."…"The substance of the ancient doctrine of the Deposit of Faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character."
"The work (the first drafts of VCII) showed little awareness of modern problems, it was said, and offered little more than weary repetitions of well-known utterances from the First Vatican Council. The ecumenical perspective was lacking. It was weighted on the side of Church authority and Church privileges and was very light on the duties and calling of the Church in our times. Its concern was for the juridical and clerical aspects of the Church, while it showed little feeling for the humility and servanthood of the Church. Generally, it betrayed what was called an `introverted ecclesiology.' It conveyed the image of a Church concerned with itself instead of directing its sights outward to the world and to the separated brethren."
"Yesterday, said Bishop Elchinger, the Church was considered above all as an institution, today it is experienced as a community. Yesterday it was the Pope who was mainly in view, today the Pope is thought of as united to the bishops. Yesterday the bishop alone was considered, today all the bishops together. Yesterday theology stressed the importance of the hierarchy; today it is discovering the people of God. Yesterday it was chiefly concerned with what divided; today it voices all that unites. Yesterday the theology of the Church was mainly preoccupied with the inward life of the Church, today it sees the Church as orientated to the outside world."
"The manifold Catholic attack against triumphalism goes hand in glove with a desire to sustain the spirituality of the Church. This is one of the essential elements of the new ecclesiological way of thinking apparent at the council. It wanted no new dogma, no new definition of the Church that would clarify everything. Rather, with the hierarchy in mind in a most existential sense, it was a summons to complete and utter humility. The Church was being told to remember that it followed the Lord who came not to be served but to serve.”
For good motives, such as to protect ones family and children etc., it is easier than one may think for a person or a family or a group to fall into a sectarian mentality especially today with so many problems and scandals as well as our modern cultural, social and religious crisis. After one slides into a type of sect, one tends to not consider another point of view or to read or listen to other outside information or reasoning so that one becomes ever more entrenched in one’s own mentality. One spends time almost exclusively with those in one’s own group and interprets everything, including reasons contrary to their beliefs, according to their own sectarian logic. One feels he is in a special group, better than the others, and among the “few” saved. One of the attractions for children of schismatic traditionalists is also this feeling and self-satisfaction of being part of the elite which their parents offer to them. It is an alluring attractive carrot of pride which the children so easily and readily latch on to and hold on to. Jesus on the other hand tells us: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mt 11:29; see also: Mt 23:12; Lk 14:11; 18:14).
A favorite story about St Teresa illustrates the intimate relationship that the saints have with God. When she was on one of her innumerable journeys across Spain, her horse threw her as she was crossing a river. Soaked to the skin she looked up to heaven and said, “If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few of them!” We should bring everything to God in our prayers, even our reproaches. For a reproach, in the end, is simply our way of offering up to God our incomprehension of what he is giving us. (http://brotherdismas.blogspot.com/2009/10/madre-teresa-of-avila.html).
Often members of the group feel that they are called to save the Church after the chastisement or after the period of the Great Tribulation! No one can help them because they know it all and they are specially called by God! Without humility even charitable works have no merit before God. Over the years, in a closed group, one does not realize how far he or she or they have slowly slid from reality and an objective view point; everything is interpreted in one way only. Often many schismatic traditionalists groups and even many groups in the Society of St. Pius X tend toward many of the same bizarre, quasi-Jansenistic practices of the past.
There are two fundamental virtues that each generation must strive to maintain, renew and continually recuperate in a proper healthy mutual tension: humility and child like confidence and trust in God. These two virtues might seem in opposition to each other and very difficult to harmonize or even coexist with each other for some people or groups. But this harmonization or coexistence of these two qualities seems to be rather natural for small children. “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3-4). It seems that both the schismatic traditionalists and the liberals might benefit if they would try sincerely to “become like children”! The schismatic traditionalist might learn to trust, “like this child”, in the authority that Jesus left us hear on earth until the end of time instead of themselves as well as forgiving and not overreacting to the crimes of the liberals. The liberal might learn the same thing since they generally call themselves Catholics and then do whatever they want to do in the name of “love” or in the name of any other self chosen “ideal” or cause or personal reasoning not formed by the true revelation of God interpreted by His Catholic Church! In essence, both sides use religion to satisfy their desires and pleasure and pride rather that using religion to humbly seek the truth, the will of God, and then to use religion as a source of grace and guidance to live the truth, to do the will of God.
Do we remember the dream of St. John Bosco with a ship in a great storm, with the Pope at the helm, being attacked by many small ships from all sides, from the right and the left, from the extreme traditionalists (schismatic) and from the liberals, shooting at the big ship with the pope at the helm guiding the church between the two pillars with the Eucharist and Mary at the top of the two pillars? Precisely in the most difficult period in the history of the world and of the Church, the schismatic traditionalists abandon the one chosen by God to be at the helm!
Have not the vast majority of people and Christians (including Catholics) today, including the liberals and the schismatic traditionalists alike, yielded to THE FIRST AND MOST FUNDAMENTAL AND CONTINUAL TEMPTATION OF SATAN? “But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:4-5).
The schismatic traditionalists tend toward the emphasis on reverence before an infinite God, which is a holy and important virtue; but at the same time they tend toward a Jansenistic self-righteousness and self-satisfying sentiment of religious piety which often leads to a cold impersonal distance from this infinite God. The liberals tend toward an over confidence in God, treating Jesus in the Eucharist almost like a human pal or buddy, as a brother basically at the same level as we human creatures, while tending toward putting man or the community at the center of the Liturgy and worship. To offer a remedy to Jansenism, Jesus gave us the great gift of the revelation of His burning and tender and personal love for each of us in His Sacred Heart by way of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Pope Benedict XVI is doing all he can to help the Church overcome the false interpretations and applications of the documents of the Second Vatican Council which led to many liturgical abuses and deterioration of the most important essence and reality of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to adore the infinite God. With patience and prudence, Pope Benedict is drawing humble and sincere Catholics to greater reverence to the greatest gift we have on the face of the earth, the Eucharist. At every Mass that Pope Benedict celebrates, one can receive from him the precious Eucharist only kneeling down and on the tongue. Of course Pope Benedict is leading the Church in this direction while interpreting and applying properly the documents of the Council which bring us back to the proper balance and harmony of adoring God and celebrating the liturgy both as individuals (which was emphasized in the Tridentine Mass) and as a community, as the body of Christ, as was present at the first Pentecost and during the first centuries of the Church. "The truth shall set you free!"
It is a natural tendency of creatures to seek and be drawn to the Creator especially in tumultuous and confusing times. We feel our limitations and helplessness in such times and we seek one outside of ourselves and more powerful to help us. Stable patterns are needed and sought after. Many people seek a certain routine and security such as what the Church seemed to maintain before the Second Vatican Council: e.g., calendar of saints, the same Mass, rules, rigorism, juridicalism, casuistic moral and disciplinary laws, etc. But there is also the risk of closing in on one self as a group, maintaining a strong sense of identity and fear of outsiders. This tendency is a common unhealthy element of cults. And yet cults and their memberships today are growing very rapidly as the 1986 document on New Religious Movements points out. Thus there can be the real temptation to pull back to some of the sectarian tendencies present in the Church prior to Vatican II. And yet if the Church does not reach out to the multitudes that feel alienated and not attracted to the Church, will she be fulfilling or at least going forward in her call to be ever more Catholic?
It is hard to leave a schismatic traditionalist group all by oneself. Jesus said to His disciples: "Think not that I have come to send peace upon the earth: I have come not to send peace, but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be those of his own household. He that loves his father or mother more than me (or His Church?!?) is not worthy of me: and he that loves his son or daughter more than me (or His Church?!?) is not worth of me."
Often in these groups it is believed that the end of the world or the chastisement is near causing one to loose sight of reality and overall common sense and to lean more toward the cultic refuge of false peace and security which we all seek. One feels that in this closed environment there are less dangers to one or to one’s soul (or psyche) due to the “evil nature of the world” which causes many to stay and conform to the flow of the mass of people in the group (see chapter 11: http://priv-rev.blogspot.com).
God Is Faithful
God does not abandon His Spouse, the Church, even though it is filled with sinners like you and me; if God does abandon the Church because of sinners, the Church would have ended immediately after the death of Christ! Look at the 2000 year history of the Church with all the sinners and heretics. And yet Christ said about His Church that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Often one does not really know what the Church is. Otherwise one would not be prone to leave her. It is important to study regularly the "The Catechism of the Catholic Church” and read if possible a good book on the history of the Church.
Like their protestant counterparts, most schismatic traditionalists believe that the Church is indefectible! The Protestants, as does the CMRI and all those who broke away from the Catholic Church, believe that the Church went bad and thus God is using their particular group or founder to put everything straight to continue until the end of time etc. But indefectiblity means that the Church will last until the end of time in the same WAY and FORM that Christ founded the Church. Jesus founded the Church on the apostles and in particular on Peter, “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail.” Thus Christ founded the Church with a hierarchy: the apostles and their successors, and on Peter, the first Pope and his successors. The Protestants have thrown out all the Popes and councils of the Church in the last 400 or 500 years. Most of the schismatic traditionalists have thrown out all the Popes in the last 50 years as well as an Ecumenical Council and thus they have forfeited the divine ecclesial attribute of indefectibility. Is it not blasphemy to say that Jesus was not able to found a Church that would last until the end of time in the MANNER and FORM that He founded it, as if Jesus needed Martin Luther or King Henry VIII or CMRI or whoever… to fulfill His promise? Indefectibility refers to the imperishable duration of the Church and her immutability until the end of time. The First Vatican Council declared that the Church possesses “an unconquered stability” and that, “built on a rock, she will continue to stand until the end of time” (Denzinger 3013, 3056).
My father, and thus the father of my sister, often said to protestant friends that they believe that Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, was unable to found a Church that would last until the end of time and thus God needed Martin Luther, King Henry VIII etc. But my sister and brother-in-law do not want to remember this statement because they are doing the exact same thing! They quote my father only in his arrogant and critical statements putting himself above the Church and the living Pope that Jesus Christ left us until the end of time. Jesus knew full well that there would be thousands and millions of opinions about the truth and the road to salvation and about the interpretation Sacred Scripture even among sincere Christians; that is why He left us the Rock (Mt 16:18) for those who would have the humility to accept the teachings of the Church with the Pope as the head.
One time when my father was strongly criticizing Pope John Paul II because he did not do as my father thought he should do, I commented to him, when he provoked my response, that I do not presume to believe that I know more than the Pope who sees the whole world and Church situation better than me and that he is specially guided by the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised. Needless to say my father was not very happy with my response!
Five hundred years ago there were many sinners in the Catholic Church which caused the Protestant Reformation; today there are many sinners in the Church which cause many to leave the Church. A good husband does not abandon his wife when she becomes old and not pretty. If Satan cannot get you on the extreme side of the liberals, he will try to get you on the other extreme which is even worse. As said above, one can jump out of the Divine Ship, the Church, either on the left side with the liberals or on the right side with the schismatic traditionalists. My father used to say that to protestants: “I’d rather have an ugly box with a diamond inside than a beautiful box that is empty inside.” He was referring to the fact that the Catholic Church has all seven sacraments as well as the “Rock” to guide us until the end of time, even though the Church (the ugly box) was founded by Christ with sinners like all the apostles and other sinners, not with angels or confirmed saints! Schismatic traditionalists try to find a group that is “as holy” as they are!?!
Many schismatic traditionalist groups feel that only their small group has valid sacraments and the fullness of the truth from the Holy Spirit and that all the rest of the Catholic Church does not have valid sacraments or the fullness of the truth since 1962, the beginning of VCII or since 1958 after the death of Pope Pius XII! What presumption! Would God allow such a thing to happen? What kind of a God do they believe in? Did God abandon the Israelites in the Old Testament when they were so frequently unfaithful to God? God did not abandon the Church all these centuries; why would God abandon the Church now at the Second Vatican Council? Certainly times are difficult. But to abandon the Ship now!? Now when God needs us the most to fight for the truth!
It seems that many schismatic traditionalists do not believe in a God who is Love and loves each and every human being personally and immensely. This leads them to develop a self-styled religion in which holiness is based on being better than others who they fondly judge less holy, or sinners or outright damned, instead of being based on the mercy of God and a personal relationship of love with Jesus Christ. This attitude does not come from humility or a child-like trust in God’s mercy and love. What kind of a God do they believe in that would abandon his entire Church 50 years ago and only give valid sacraments to their little self-righteous, self-made group? Is this their idea of God-love that only their little group is loved and protected by God? Their religion is not based on God-love and the response to this immense love but rather it is based on feeling more holy and privileged than the others because they are in a special group and they follow all the rules and explanations dictated by the leaders of the group.
The Body of Christ Re-crucified
Satan is working hard to destroy the Church; the devil would be very happy if many or all people would leave the Church in this critical time in the history of the Church and world. The Church, the Body of Christ, is being crucified anew. Two thousand years ago even most of the apostles abandoned Jesus on the cross. Will we too abandon Jesus and His Body, the Church, in this critical time as so many did 2000 years ago and throughout the history of the Church??? These priests and laymen and so called “bishops” who encourage people to leave the Church in this crucial period, I think we can apply to them Christ’s words: "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin"!
If one reads even a little of the history of the Church one would know that there have always been bad priests and bishops and laity, but God did not abandon His Church! Remember the Arian heresy when the majority of the bishops were Arians, and yet God did not abandon His Church. There was a group in the early Church, the Montanists, which condemned and had no mercy for those who fled from martyrdom. The Church instead did not condemn those who fled martyrdom but rather offered encouragement and the mercy of Jesus in confession. The Pharisees and Scribes did not associate with "sinners", but Christ did; Jesus even sought out sinners. Will God abandon His Church in the most difficult time in the history of the world?
If the Catholic Church were not the true Church, the devil would not waste his time with her. Instead the devil is attacking the Catholic Church in every way possible especially today. Now is the crucifixion of Christ's Body, the Church, the saving Ship with the living Pope at the helm. Now is the time to defend and fight for our Holy Mother Church; it is NOT the time to abandon her! Instead of abandoning Christ's Body, the Church, in this crucial time, we must help and teach others to prudently fight and stand up for the Church, as many are doing, especially now when things are much more difficult. When the going gets tough, the tough get going! The Catholic Church is much bigger than just one town or state or country. Christ will never abandon the Church, His Body, as He promised, no matter how ugly and covered with "blood" she becomes.
Our Holy Mother Church needs each of us, especially now more than ever!!!
Distinguish Between Dogma and Church Discipline
Although the Latin Mass is of “priceless worth” one must not use the question of the Latin Mass as an excuse or justification for leaving the Church! Because it is obvious that to say the Mass in Latin or in the vernacular is not a question of faith or dogma or doctrine; it is a matter of Church discipline which can be changed by the Church with the Pope's approval. A priest can say the Novus Ordo reverently just as a priest can say the traditional Latin Mass quickly and irreverently. When the Pope at the Council of Trent said that one must not change the Latin Mass, he was addressing all the priests and bishops at that time. Because in the years preceding the Council of Trent there was a great variety of ways that the priests and bishops celebrated the Mass; over the centuries it got out of hand. So for the sake of unity at that time in history, the Pope ordered that all priests and bishops say the same Mass in Latin. This was what was needed in Church discipline at the time of the Council of Trent. This does not mean that all the Masses before Trent were invalid! No Pope can bind all future Popes in matters of Church discipline. Even Pope Pius XII approved the famous Missa Luba for Africa which is a version of the Latin Mass based on traditional Congolese songs and dance. One clearly finds in Sacred Scripture that God is pleased to be worshiped in silent reverence as well as in joyous jubilation! There is a time and place for both! To condemn those who also want to rejoice in the Lord with jubilant songs and proper liturgical dance according to their culture, at the proper moments of the Mass, is a subtle form of pride.
On the other hand if a Pope defines a dogma "ex cathedra", this definition remains forever. In this case the defined dogma was even before (always) an infallible truth from God. The dogma only defined the truth more clearly in our human language. But one must distinguish between dogma and Church discipline. Dogma can never be changed; Church discipline can and should be changed in time to suit the needs of the Church in a given period. If one does not make this distinction, there will be much confusion and false conclusions!!!
The Latin Mass is certainly of great value! Pope Paul VI said at his Audience Address of November 26, 1969: “It is here that the greatest newness is going to be noticed, the newness of language. No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass. The introduction of the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power and the expressive sacrality of Latin. We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance. We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant. We have reason for regret, reason almost for bewilderment. What can we put in the place of that language of the angels? We are giving up something of priceless worth. Why? What is more precious than these loftiest of our Church’s values?”
“The answer will seem banal, almost prosaic. Yet it is a good answer because it is human, it is apostolic. Understanding of prayer is more important than the silken garments in which it is royally dressed. Participation by the people is worth more – particularly participation by modern people, so fond of plain language which is easily understood and converted into everyday speech.”
Legitimate Changes in the Mass and Ordination Rites
Several centuries after the Council of Trent, at the recent Second Vatican Council the Church decided, with the approval of the Pope, that what was need in Church discipline today was to offer the Mass in the vernacular. The Church also offered several choices for the Canon of the Mass besides Canon number one which corresponds to the original Tridentine Mass. But in all the new Canons, the ESSENTIAL WORDS of the Consecration remained the same. Only the words that surround the essential words of the Consecration can be changed as was done at the Second Vatican Council, as well as at the Council of Trent for that matter.
The main arguments used by many schismatic traditionalists to illustrate the "invalidity" of the ‘Novus Ordo Missae’ (New Order of Mass) are: "mysterium fidei" (mystery of faith) has been deleted from the words of the consecration and "for all" has been substituted for "pro multis" (for many). They believe these changes are tantamount to heresy. But, once again, there is not much weight to these arguments.
The words "mystery of faith" are not found in any of the scriptural accounts of Our Lord's institution of the Eucharist; they are not found in other formulas of consecration recognized as valid by the Church; and hence, they are not required for a valid consecration. Also, nothing heretical is being asserted by the use of the words "for all men" in the consecration formula, for Christ died "for all" (2 Cor. 5:15). Traditional Catholic theology has always distinguished between the "objective redemption" of all men by Christ and the "subjective redemption," whereby the grace merited by Christ on the Cross actually proves fruitful only in the case of those who cooperate with his grace and achieve salvation. It is actually a heresy (Jansenism) that Christ did not give himself for the redemption of all.
The inclusion of the words "for all men" in the consecration formula no more implies heresy that all men will necessarily be saved, than the previous formula "for you and for many" necessarily implied the opposite heresy (Jansenism) that Christ did not give himself for the redemption of all. The consecratory formula of the Mass is not, in the nature of the case, the place where the Church's full doctrine is, or could possibly be, expressed. Since the phrase "for all" is proven not to be heretical, it therefore in no way invalidates the Novus Ordo Mass.
Of course, the aforementioned explanations should not be necessary since the only words needed to make the consecration valid are "This is My Body" and "This is the cup of My Blood." And the only other requirements for the Mass itself to be valid are valid matter (bread and wine) and a validly ordained priest (with the intention of confecting the Sacrament) to celebrate the Mass.
The Declaration entitled ‘Instauratio Liturgica’, dated January 25, 1974, and issued by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, should clarify (though not with the traditionalist fringe) any confusion over many of the renderings in the vernacular version of the Mass:
This same reasoning holds also for the words of ordination of a priest or a bishop. The essential words of ordination or consecration have always remained the same. But the many words that surround these essential words can and have been changed over the centuries. Can one really think that the Apostles 2000 years ago used all the same words to ordain a priest or bishop as the words that were used at the time of the Council of Trent??? Or for that matter, were all the words of the Mass 2000 years ago identical to the Tridentine Mass??? The essential words, yes! But the many surrounding words have been added for embellishment throughout the centuries. The essential words of ordination or consecration are still the same today. Thus to say that the ordinations today are invalid because the surrounding words or embellishments are different is absurd! With this same illogic, the Tridentine Mass as well as the ordinations in the time of the Council of Trent would be invalid because the words of embellishment in these rituals were not used 2000 years ago when the Apostles celebrated the Mass or ordained a priest or a bishop!!!
The Goal and Purpose of the Sacraments
The Holy Mass is certainly very important. But we must also not fall into forgetting that the goal and purpose of all the sacraments is to love God and neighbor ever more earnestly. The sacraments are to help us to do the will of God better, which is to love God in a total and personal way and to love one’s neighbor ever more diligently. Certainly our love of God, especially in the Holy Mass, includes worshiping and adoring our Creator God. But we must not fall into the trap that the Pharisees and Scribes fell into; they felt they were holier than all the others because they followed a rather large set of rules and regulations. “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get”” (Lk 18:11-12; Mt 6:5; Mk 11:25). We must always distinguish between the ends and the means. The end is to have a personal relationship of love with Jesus Christ by doing his holy will; the means are prayer and the sacraments to help us do the will of Christ, which is to love ever more God and neighbor, and thus to arrive at union with Jesus himself. Thus it is possible to go everyday to the Holy Mass and to pray everyday the Holy Rosary and yet fall into the trap of pride which can happen more easily than one might think especially in groups which put the whole emphasis only on worshiping and adoring God without much emphasis on putting into practice Christ’s commandment of love (Jn 13:34). Without humility there is no virtue! Without humility one becomes slowly blind to the truth and to reality. Is not the goal and ends of prayer and the sacraments (the means) to help us progress in an ever deeper relationship of love with Jesus Christ and to love Jesus in each and every neighbor? If we do not progress in this fundamental objective, something is not working to say the least! One cannot separate love of God from love of neighbor. If there is only love of God without love of neighbor, one is actually loving a god that one has created in ones own head but not the God that is identified and proclaimed in Sacred Scriptures; faith without works (concrete love) is dead. If there is only love of neighbor without love of God, it becomes a type of social activity not related to the One who gave us everything we have and is thus void of eternal merit.
According to the teaching of the Catholic Church, to receive the fruits of the sacraments requires that a person be properly disposed. This means reception of grace via the sacraments is not automatic. But the principle of ‘ex opere operato’ does affirm that while a proper disposition (openness) is necessary to receive grace in the sacraments, it is not the ‘cause’ of the grace. In other words, the sacraments are not mere "magic formulas," apart from disposition, holiness, intent, sincerity, etc.
A great part of those who fall prey to the schismatic traditionalist mentality already had a tendency to base their religious practice and security of salvation on external signs, practices and worship. Many feel “saved” by going to a reverent Latin Mass or praying many Rosaries, etc. But one can draw comfort from “The Fifteen Promises of Mary to Christians Who Recite the Rosary” if one recites the Rosary in his personal life, if he lives the Rosary in his life, not just saying words! “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 7:21). Security is only found in trusting God and loving God and neighbor continually until death. We HOPE to go to heaven, but no one has a guarantee to go to heaven until he is dead and in heaven or purgatory. One can say a hundred thousand Rosaries, but if one does not increase in humility and charity, what is going on, what is happening?
Sister Mary of the Cross asked the soul in purgatory (Sister Mary Gabriel; see http://purgatory-manu.blogspot.com, “4 of 5”; pg. 42 in the out of print edition (1985) by “A Fatima House Publication” of “An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory”): “Are the promises made to those who recite the rosary of St. Michael true?” Sister Mary Gabriel responded: “The promises are real, but you need not think that people who recite it out of routine and without any pains to become holy are taken out of Purgatory at once. That would be false. St. Michael does more than he promises, but he is not over anxious to relieve those who are condemned to a long Purgatory. Certainly as a reward for their devotion to the Archangel their sufferings are shortened, but as to delivering them at once, not so. I, who used to say it, can serve as an example of this. Immediate deliverance takes place only in the case of those who worked with courage at their perfection and who have little to expiate in Purgatory.” Further on we read: “As for the plenary indulgences, I may as well tell you that few, very few people gain them entirely. There has to be such a wonderful disposition of heart and will that is rare, much rarer than you think it is, to have the entire remission of one's faults.”
The Church Is Big
We often have such a small concept of the Church. The Church is huge. I am glad that I had the opportunity to study philosophy and theology in Rome were one sees the universality of the Church as well as many fruits of the Holy Spirit in the Church worldwide. The soul of the Church is the Holy Spirit. Many schismatic traditionalists make the mistake of thinking that the whole Church is in one group which celebrates the Mass in Latin but are not under any legitimate bishop or under the one, true, living Pope.
My experiences in Rome helped me to see that the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is very big. It has all kinds of people in it. The Church, even from the beginning, has always had many saints and sinners inside her because we are in the "Church Militant" on earth, not the "Church Triumphant" in heaven where all is perfect. It is certainly important to know about the sinners and problems in the Church so as not to fall into the pitfalls of today. But we should not be so afraid of the sinners and problems that we miss out on all the good things in the Church, as well as doing God’s will of loving everyone as Christ did.
I have had much experience with the Focolare Movement and other ecclesial movements approved by the Church. It is hard to describe how great a charisma God has given to the foundress of the Focolare Movement, Chiara Lubich. If one lives this charisma of unity while loving ever more ones neighbor and especially Jesus Crucified and Forsaken in our lives, one can become a great saint in less time than normal. Over eight hundred years ago the Church was in bad shape so God sent St. Francis and St. Dominic and others to reform the Church. The Focolare Movement is just one of many charismas of the Holy Spirit for the Church today.
The Ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council
Many of these schismatic traditionalist groups have a very difficult time with the fact that the Second Vatican Council gave greater appreciation and recognition to the non-Catholic Christians and especially to the non-Catholic Christian Churches.
We read in ‘Lumen Gentium’ of the Second Vatican Council: “But, the society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical body of Christ, the visible society and the spiritual community, the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches, are not to be thought of as two realities. On the contrary, they form one complex reality which comes together from a human and a divine element. For this reason the Church is compared, not without significance, to the mystery of the incarnate Word. As the assumed nature, inseparably united to him, serves the divine Word as a living organ of salvation, so, in a somewhat similar way, does the social structure of the Church serve the Spirit of Christ who vivifies it, in the building up of the body (cf. Eph. 4:15)” (LG 8). “The sole Church of Christ” … “constituted and organized as a society in the present world, SUBSISTS IN the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines. Since these are gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity” (LG 8). “Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions, without prejudice to the Chair of Peter which presides over the whole assembly of charity, and protects their legitimate variety while at the same time taking care that these differences do not hinder unity, but rather contribute to it” (LG 13). “Christ himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mk. 16:16; Jn. 3:5), and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it, or to remain in it.” … “Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but “in body” not “in heart” (LG 14). The Church clearly teaches against indifferentism and subjectivism (DH 1). Referring to non-Catholic Christians: “These Christians are indeed in some real way joined to us in the Holy Spirit for, by his gifts and graces, his sanctifying power is also active in them and he has strengthened some of them even to the shedding of their blood” (LG 15). “Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways” (LG 16).
"Nevertheless, our separated brethren, whether considered as individuals or as Communities and Churches, are NOT blessed with that unity which Jesus Christ wished to bestow on ALL those who through Him were born again into one body, and with Him quickened to newness of life - that unity which the Holy Scriptures and the ancient Tradition of the Church proclaim. For it is ONLY THROUGH CHRIST'S CATHOLIC CHURCH, which is "the all-embracing means of salvation," that they can benefit fully from the means of salvation. We believe that Our Lord entrusted ALL the blessings of the New Covenant to the apostolic college ALONE, of which PETER IS THE HEAD, in order to establish the ONE BODY OF CHRIST on earth TO WHICH ALL SHOULD BE FULLY INCORPORATED who belong in any way to the people of God." Unitatis Redintegratio n 3. (Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism)
"Moreover, some, even very many, of the most significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church: the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements. All of these, which come from Christ and lead back to him, belong by right to the one Church of Christ. ... For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church" (UR 3). "... the Catholic Church has been endowed with all divinely revealed truth and with all means of grace,..." (UR 4).
Pope John Paul II in his “Discourse to the Roman Curia”, June 28, 1981 said: “In these truly plenary gatherings, the ecclesial communities of different countries make real the fundamental second chapter of ‘Lumen Gentium’ which treats of the numerous “spheres” of belonging to the Church as People of God and of the bond which exists with it, even on the part of those who do not yet form a part of it.”
The Church in the Second Vatican Council reached a new level of maturity of not needing anymore to differentiate itself from other non-Catholic Churches but could now acknowledge the good in the other Churches without feeling in danger of loosing its own self identification.
“The New Ecclesiology”
Many schismatic traditionalists call the Ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council “The New Ecclesiology” while continually quoting the strong statements of selected Popes of the past, especially after the Council of Trent, to convince themselves and others of apparent or seeming contradictions. Many Popes after the Council of Trent were caught up in the heat of the polemics, condemning non-Catholic persons, groups or Churches. When there is a heated fight between two or more people or groups, one tends to see and exaggerate only the faults and defects of the other person or group. The more virtuous person or group succeeds in listening to and in seeing also the positive side of the other person or group and thus succeeds in establishing a more Christian “dialogue". Many sedevacantists wrongly treat certain papal statements of the past as if they were “ex cathedra” declarations.
There is also the tendency to blame all problems, or at least the important religious problems, on the recent council, VCII, without considering too much the many negative factors caused by our modern social and cultural crisis. Life was simpler fifty or a hundred years ago. There was more time to pray and to socialize without the temptation or possibility to spend a tremendous amount of time in front of the television set or with an impersonal computer, instead of spending time with ones own family. Today we have more money, cell phones, answering machines, ipod’s, computer games, digital cameras and decoders, etc., along with an ever increasing consumism. Certainly one of the big difficulties or barriers in walking together toward and with Jesus by example in the families today is the lack of time spent together due to the "rat-race" that claims mealtimes, evenings and weekends and days and ... The August 1974 issue of "Scientific American" in an important article, "The Origins of Alienation", by Dr. Urie Bronfenbrenner, reported the shocking results of their study that the average amount of time spent by middle-class fathers with their small children was thirty-seven seconds per day!
Many people today believe that technology and science can solve all our problems and thus there is no need of a superfluous and inconvenient God or a divinely guided teaching authority on earth. This is modern man’s greatest sin: he considers himself self sufficient without any need of his Creator. Even though all good things come from God, modern man shows no gratitude to his Creator.
Many schismatic traditionalist groups, as do the cults, have a very strong tendency to see everything simply in a “black and white” prospective and so one becomes blinded to the partially masked and subtle truths of the matter. They project the world as being so polarized which is also an attitude which makes it difficult to see the real but hidden realities of a complex world, or causes the members to be imprudently biased thus making it more difficult to see things objectively due to these fabricated preconceived and instilled false notions about life (see chapter 11: http://priv-rev.blogspot.com).
Many schismatic traditionalists often use extreme examples and apply them to the non-Catholic Churches. For example they say that an airplane that is to fly across the ocean and has only a half a tank of gas will crash. Or if you inject a little poison into a person, the whole body dies. Or if you do not have all the correct numbers in Bingo, you do not win anything. They use these examples to conclude that a non-Catholic group or Church is totally bad since it is missing at least one of the basic truths or means of sanctification (see the article “The Impact and Interpretation of 'Subsists In' (Vatican II)”); they apply this logic also to the Roman Catholic Church since they say that the Second Vatican Council was heretical and thus there are no longer any valid sacraments or clergy or truths in the Roman Catholic Church!!! It is interesting that schismatic groups do not apply these words to themselves even though they are missing the living Pope and the guidance of the Catholic Church. Many schismatic traditionalists also try to apply the statement that you cannot have only a part of Christ because essence does not admit to degrees. If one reads carefully and studies the documents of the Second Vatican Council especially regarding ecumenism, I think one of good will and open to the truth will see that these extreme examples cannot be applied to non-Catholic Christian Churches, and thus these extreme examples and strong statements are not in contradiction to the documents of the Second Vatican Council. To love our non-Catholic brothers is not a sin but in fact a virtue in imitation of Christ Himself. Other explanations will be given below. God can sort out the tiny black and white dots that seem to us as grey. As Pope John XXIII, during his address at the solemn opening (October 11, 1962) of the Second Vatican Council, pointed out to the council Fathers: "The Church has always opposed these errors. Frequently she has condemned them with the greatest severity.”
In a very real sense, offensive speech or terminology had been elevated to a much more important priority (perhaps even a principle?!) especially when one considers the language used in Pope Pius XI's encyclical 'Mortalium Animos' (1928). Besides a perhaps greater sensitivity to other Christians and the very possible bad fruits caused by irritating or offensive presentation of certain Church teachings, a further, very plausible explanation of this great concern not to annoy non-Catholics could be found in the relatively recent development of the mass media and the great speed of disbursement of news. In the time of Pius XI, ecclesial documents did not circulate much beyond a few ecclesial magazines months after the initial writing of the document. Imagine the scorn Mortalium Animos would receive if this document was written today by Pope Benedict XVI!
The following are a few examples of Papal statements (not ex cathedra or infallible) after the Protestant Reformation that many schismatic traditionalists use to justify condemning VCII and leaving the Catholic Church. I offer my comments and documentation to show that the Church is consistent in her teaching before and after VCII.
“The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavor then 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 one drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by Our Lord and handed down by apostolic tradition”.” … “But when we consider what was actually done we find that Jesus Christ did not in point of fact, institute a Church to embrace several communities similar in nature, but in themselves distinct, and lacking those bonds which render the Church unique and indivisible after that manner in which in the symbol of our faith we profess: “I believe in one Church.”
“Now, anyone who wishes to examine with care and to meditate on the condition of the different religious societies divided among themselves and separated from the Catholic Church… will easily be convinced that no one of these societies nor all of them together in any way constitute or are that one Catholic Church which Our Lord founded and established and which He willed to create. Nor is it possible, either, to say that these societies are either a member or part of this same Church, since they are visibly separated from Catholic unity.”
MY COMMENTS: VCII clearly teaches that there is only one true Church but as a “complex reality”. Many schismatic traditionalists want everything black and white, not many tiny black dots making up a “complex reality”. The non-Catholic Christian Churches certainly do have “nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth”. … “Since these are gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity” (see above; LG 8). A non-Catholic Church can certainly possess “many elements of sanctification and of truth.” For example, the Church community can decide to baptize and raise their children according to the Gospel and to live a virtuous life, etc. For further understanding about the fact that the Church of Christ “subsists in” the Catholic Church see the article below “Ecclesiology of the Catholic Church” as well as the article “The Impact and Interpretation of 'Subsists In' (Vatican II)”
“The way and method in which the Catholic faith is expressed should never become an obstacle to dialogue with our brethren. It is, of course, essential that the doctrine should be clearly presented in its entirety. Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false irenicism, in which the purity of Catholic doctrine suffers loss and its genuine and certain meaning is clouded” (UR 11).
These words are faithful to the will of Pius XI and Pius XII who expressed their desire that doctrines not be sacrificed for the sake of unity among Christians (see below). Once again UR escapes the condemnation which many schismatic traditionalists are so anxious to attach to it.
December of 1949 Pius XII directed the Holy Office to release an instruction titled ‘Ecclesia Catholica’. One portion of the instruction reads: “The Catholic Church takes no part in "Ecumenical" conferences or meetings. But, as may be seen from many papal documents, she has never ceased, nor ever will, from following with deepest interest and furthering with fervent prayer every attempt to attain that end which Christ our Lord had so much at heart, namely, that all who believe in him "may become perfectly one" (Jn 17:23) . . . The present time has witnessed in different parts of the world a growing desire amongst many persons outside the Church for the reunion of all who believe in Christ. This may be attributed, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to external factors and the changing attitude of peoples' minds, but above all to the united prayers of the faithful. To all children of the True Church this is a cause for HOLY JOY in the Lord; it urges them to extend a helping hand to all those sincerely seeking after the truth by praying fervently that God may enlighten them and give them strength . . .” 
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“If they [the faithful] were to go [to ecumenical gatherings], they would be attributing authority to an erroneous form of the Christian religion, entirely alien to the one Church of Christ.” … “It is therefore inconsistent and foolish to say that the Mystical Body could be formed of disjointed and separated parts; therefore whoever is not joined to it is not a member of it and is not in union with Christ the Head.” “No one is in the Church of Christ, and no one remains in it, unless he acknowledges and accepts with obedience the authority and power of Peter and his legitimate successors”. “They (heretics) add that the Church, in herself, and by her nature, is divided into parts, that is to say, made up of many churches or individual communities, which although separate, hold some points of doctrine in common although they differ on the rest; each Church, according to them, has the same rights.”
“Therefore they are straying from divine truth who imagine the Church to be something which can neither be touched nor seen, that it is something merely “spiritual,” as they say, in which many Christian communities, although separated from one another by faith, could be joined by some kind of invisible link.”
MY COMMENTS: Cannot one go to an ecumenical gathering with the motive to love his brother? Can one not pray together with non-Catholics for peace in the world, for unity (Jn 17:20; see UR 7) and for so many other common needs of today as Pope John Paul II did at Assisi in 1986 and 2002? As mentioned above, are many schismatic traditionalists so perfect that they will not love all human beings that God created as Jesus did? The Church states clearly that only “in certain circumstances” can Catholic and non-Catholics prayer together (UR 7). One is not a "bad Catholic" for expressing serious reservations over the meetings in Assisi for instance. However, schismatic traditionalists would have the Church throw the baby, the council's true and authoritative teaching, out with the bath water, the abuses not sanctioned by the Church. This is simply not a legitimate option.
Ecumenism has many kernels in Catholic Tradition, most notably with the acceptance by St. Augustine and the Church, of Donatist baptism. The Donatists were formal schismatics, yet the Church accepted the validity of their baptism (just as with Protestants today). The devil is strong today; we must unite in all that we have in common and in all that we can share and do together to overcome the onslaughts of the devil today!
The confusion that many schismatic traditionalists express over and over again about ecumenism is itself perplexing. Is it so difficult to understand that the "ecumenical movement" is that movement meant to bring about Christian unity? When the authors write that "it is impossible to determine precisely what is meant by spiritual ecumenism," one wonders if they have read UR 8: "This change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name, “spiritual ecumenism”. It is a recognized custom for Catholics to meet for frequent recourse to that prayer for the unity of the Church with which the Savior himself on the eve of his death so fervently appealed to his Father: “That they may all be one” (Jn 17:20).” Spiritual ecumenism is public and private prayer for the unity of Christians. Is this so difficult to understand?
The use of the term "dialogue" is one such difference between the preconciliar and postconciliar Church's approach. The initiatives and activities planned and undertaken to promote Christian unity are: “first, every effort to avoid expressions, judgments, and actions which do not represent the condition of our separated brethren with truth and fairness and so make mutual relations with them more difficult; then, "dialogue" between competent experts from different Churches and Communities. At these meetings, which are organized in a religious spirit, each explains the teaching of his Communion in greater depth and brings out clearly its distinctive features. In such dialogue, everyone gains a truer knowledge and more just appreciation of the teaching and religious life of both Communions” (UR 4). Dialogue exists and is necessary for the sake of clarity and truthfulness.
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“But he who in his manner of thinking and acting would separate himself from his shepherd and from his Sovereign Pastor, the Roman Pontiff, has no further bond with Christ: “He that hears you, hears me, he that despises you, despises me” (Luke 10:16). Whoever is estranged from Christ does not reap; he scatters.”
“He who leaves the [Roman] See cannot hope to remain within the Church; he who eats of the lamb outside of it has no part with God.”
“He who abandons the Chair of Peter on which the Church is founded, is falsely persuaded that he is in the Church, since he is already a sinner and a schismatic who raises up a chair against the one Chair of Peter, from which flow to all others the sacred rights of communion.”
“But this Catholic dogma is equally well known: that none can be saved outside the Catholic Church and that those who knowingly rebel against the teaching and authority of the Church cannot obtain eternal salvation, nor can those who willingly separate themselves from union with the Church and with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, to whom the Savior has entrusted the safe-keeping of his vineyard.”
MY COMMENTS: It is interesting that many schismatic traditionalists want to condemn an Ecumenical Council approved by the Pope, which constitutes the highest level of certainty, because the Council recognizes particular Churches which do not acknowledge the primacy of the Pope, and yet most of the schismatic traditionalists do not acknowledge the primacy of the living Popes since Pope Pius XII?!? Protestants today were born in protestant families; they never had the experience first hand of the Catholic Church. Are they to blame if they do not know that the Catholic Church is the One True Church founded by Christ? On the other hand, most of the schismatic traditionalists were born, baptized and raised in the Catholic Church!
In the statement from Pius XII's 1949 Vatican Curia — assessed by Ottaviani — to the superior of Fr. Leonard Feeney: "That is why no one will be saved if, knowing that the Church is of divine institution by Christ, he nevertheless refuses to submit to her or separates himself from the obedience of the Roman Pontiff, Christ's Vicar on earth." This is precisely what Vatican II (LG 14) and John Paul II (see below) have stated. At the same time the Holy Office of Pius XII admits the following, "The same must be said of the Church, as a general means of salvation. That is why for a person to obtain his salvation, it is not always required that he be de facto incorporated into the Church as a member but he must at least be united to the Church through desire or hope." And Pius XII continues that furthermore, "it is not always necessary that this hope be explicit as in the case of catechumens. When one is in a state of invincible ignorance, God accepts an implicit desire, thus called because it is implicit in the soul's good disposition, whereby it desires to conform its will to the will of God". The Holy Office then quotes Pius XII’s “Mystici corporis Christi” paragraph 103 where the Pope writes, "For even though by an unconscious desire and longing they have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer, they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church." Here the Pontiff admits that there is a "certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer" that exists for those righteous persons "in a state of invincible ignorance."
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“With God’s help, your clergy will never have any more pressing anxiety than to preach the true Catholic faith: he who does not keep it whole and without error, will indubitably be lost. They will endeavor, therefore, to favor union with the Catholic Church; for he who is separated from it will not have life.”
Outside of the Catholic Church, “except with the excuse of invincible ignorance, there is no hope of life or of salvation.”
MY COMMENTS: At the individual level (non ecclesial level), there is no obvious discrepancy between the schismatic traditionalists and VCII (see: LG 14, DH 1,3 etc.). It is obvious that there are many good people outside the Catholic Church just as there are those who are not invincibly ignorant of being separated from the one true Church of Christ, the Catholic Church (LG 14); only God knows the heart of each person.
This underpinning, this basic approach, this Tradition is expressed well by Pope John Paul II when he stated in a general audience on May 31, 1995: “Since Christ brings about salvation through his Mystical Body, which is the Church, the way of salvation is connected essentially with the Church. The axiom extra Ecclesiam nulla salus — "outside the Church there is no salvation" — stated by St. Cyprian (Epist. 73 21, PL 1123 AB), belongs to the Christian tradition and was included in the Fourth Lateran Council (DS 802), in the Bull Unam sanctam of Boniface VIII (DS 870) and in the Council of Florence (Decretum pro Jacobitis, DS 1351). The axiom means that for those who are not ignorant of the fact that the Church has been established as necessary by God through Jesus Christ, there is an obligation to enter the Church and remain in her in order to attain salvation (cf. Lumen gentium, n. 14).” This is the age-old teaching of the Church, a teaching that all the Popes have always accepted and preached.
Regarding how ecumenism is different from the traditional position of having dissidents return to the one true Church, it must be said that there is a striking difference, a marked change in policy but not doctrine. Previous to Vatican II the goal of Christian unity in the West was one where all the separated brethren would simply abandon their Protestant churches, for instance, and return to the Roman Catholic Church. The wayward sheep would abandon every aspect of their Protestant communion — which was overtly anti-Catholic — and adopt every aspect of Roman Catholic life, meaning that they would adopt not just the tradition-doctrines but also the tradition-customs of the Church. This image of Christian unity changed, and a distinction has been made. It is the distinction between the work of ecumenism — reconciliation in doctrine — and the work of assimilation — reconciliation in customs and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church.
The fact is that there exist some 23 different juridically autonomous Churches within the Catholic Church, the largest of which is the Roman Catholic Church, or the Latin Church. The other 22 Churches maintain their own rites, ecclesiastical discipline (i.e., canon law and hierarchy), and spiritual heritage while at the same time being in communion with the Bishop of Rome by recognizing his primacy.
The change that occurred at Vatican II was the possibility that Protestant churches could, once they had accepted the doctrines of the Catholic faith and pledged submission to the Successor of Peter, exist as their own semi-autonomous Church drawing upon their own customs and spiritual heritage. This is what is meant by a "unity in diversity" approach. The diversity that is expressed is not that of faith. UR and the post VCII Popes have been clear that the doctrines of the faith, the truths of Revelation cannot be sacrificed. But there can be diversity in practice, in the explanation of a truth and in prudential determinations of ecclesiastical policy. This is nothing new either, for the Catholic Church has existed for centuries with these semi-autonomous Churches, Churches that believe what we believe, but practice differently.
Pius XII in Humani generis paragraph 27 where he states, "Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the Sources of Revelation, which teach that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing." Pius XII did not utter an error, of course, but there is more that can be said. One can state, "Two plus two is four," but this truth does not make "One plus three is four" any less true. The Roman Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, but this does not make the Coptic Catholic Church any less part of this same Mystical Body.
Thus there are persons who have been baptized, profess the true faith, are not separated from the Body, and are yet not members of the Roman Catholic Church. By "Roman Catholic Church" one is to understand that specific ecclesiastical structure which uses the Latin Rite, the Latin Code of Canon Law, and has the Bishop of Rome as its patriarch. This particular Church has the "character of a true and proper subject" unlike any other of the legitimate Catholic Churches. And the word "is" was changed to "subsist" in order to make clearer this unique character of the Roman Church within the Mystical Body of Christ. The word "subsist" restates the "is" and distinguishes the particular kind of being that the Roman Catholic Church embodies.
The purpose of my comments has not been an attempt to justify the wild and obscene efforts on the part of some clergy and lay people in the name of ecumenism. This is a separate issue. Though some claim it is an issue inherently related to UR, condemning the document because of the abuses is in no way an attempt to confront and deal with the veracity of the document itself.
Many schismatic traditionalists claim that "ambiguity" is a symptom of a specific disease in Vatican II. However, they would do well to remember that Fr. Leonard Feeney also took advantage of ambiguities in ecclesiastical documents and many heretics have taken advantage of ambiguities in Scripture to justify what they desired. By the logic of many of the schismatic traditionalists we would have to throw out Sacred Scripture, because it offers too many loopholes. Questions in interpretation can always be solved by the same Magisterium which drafted the document in the first place.
Is ecumenism, as Vatican II defined it, a novelty? The answer to the question is no, it is not a novelty. Understanding that a novelty is something that jeopardizes the doctrinal integrity of the Church and having seen that UR clearly states that the doctrines of the Church must all be kept and faithfully communicated, we have to conclude that ecumenism as expressed by the Vatican Council is no novelty. The terminology may be new, the policy of "unity in diversity" may be new, the permission granted to common prayer might be new, but it is not new and doctrinally false. No Catholic doctrine is denied or even jeopardized when Vatican II states that the movement for Christian unity is a movement fostered by the Holy Spirit. No Catholic doctrine is denied or jeopardized when it is stated that every Catholic Christian is called to take part — through prayer or action — in the effort to bring about the unity of Christian persons.
The schismatic traditionalists are right in understanding that ecumenism is not a dogma of the Church. However, there is a very real and doctrinally weighty reality which the term points to, and points to definitively. Most of the schismatic traditionalists have completely ignored this. The desire for the unity of persons, a unity that even Pius XII admitted did not exist at his time, is one planted and cultivated by the Holy Spirit. This is the teaching of Pius XII, Vatican II, and all the Popes after VCII and this is a doctrinally binding teaching of the Church regarding faith and morals. This is no dogma, true, but we certainly are required to offer an obsequium, a submission, to the following doctrine: the ecumenical movement — understood as the desire and work to bring about Christian unity under the headship of the Vicar of Christ and without sacrificing doctrine — is initiated and fostered by the Holy Spirit.
VCII and Religious Liberty
Many schismatic traditionalists have a difficult time with VCII’s teaching on religious liberty because they feel that non-Catholics do not have the right to promote their religion or creed publicly as was often the case in the past centuries under numerous Catholic monarchs. Most schismatic traditionalists, as well as many past Popes, believe that only the truth (Catholic) has the right to be promoted publicly. It is interesting to note that an important American theologian, Father John Courtney Murry, was silenced by the Vatican (Cardinal Ottaviani) to write or speak publicly on this issue during the 50's because there was the strong tendency in the Church to believe that only the truth, that is the Catholic Church, has the right to be promoted publicly; the other Churches or groups must remain in the closet. Father Murry, with his American experience of a multi cultured and multi religious country, later was invited to VCII as an “expert” where he contributed in an important way to the document Dignitatis Humanae (Dec. 7, 1965). It has been said: "Truth without charity is an idol."
VCII instead said that every person or group has the right to promote his or her or their belief publicly due to the human dignity of each person as long as one does not interfere with the rights of others, i.e., public peace, public order and public morality (DH 7); this is the principle of promoting religion or the faith on the basis of the dignity of each person. This was a change in DISCIPLINE of how religion is promoted; it was NOT A CHANGE IN FAITH OR MORALS.
Who wants to be forced, or coerced or badgered into joining a religion against his or her will? Instead of proselytism as understood in the older sense, should we not love non-Catholics as Christ loves each of us so as to eventually attract them freely to the source of our supernatural love? Is this not how the early Christians attracted so many new converts? (see: http://trueevangelization.blogspot.com). If some non-Catholics love as Christ loves better than some Catholics, who will attract more people into their fold without any type of coercion whatsoever? Do the schismatic traditionalists like to be forced or manipulated to believe something they do not want to believe? Regarding freedom, if a person in a schismatic group begins to think for himself and express ideas similar to this article, what will happen? If an action or way of life has angelic inspiration and guidance, it will result in the fruits of creativity, growth, development, increased consciousness and keener awareness. The demonic usually results in disintegration, narrowed awareness and stunted growth (see chapter 11: http://priv-rev.blogspot.com).
According to this principle, with VCII (Dignitatis Humanae, the "Declaration of Religious Liberty (VCII)”), the Church could declare to the modern totalitarian and various repressive regimes to allow the Catholic Church and all religions to promote their creeds publicly and freely in their country citing human dignity (and basic charity!) as a basis and justification. The main thrust of the decree (DH) is the affirmation of a divine right, that the Church claims freedom for herself in human society and before every public authority (DH 13).
It is very clear in “Dignitatis Humanae” that the Church teaches against indifferentism and against subjectivism: “All men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and his Church, and to embrace it and hold on to it as they come to know it. The sacred Council likewise proclaims that these obligations bind man’s conscience. … So while the religious freedom which men demand in fulfilling their obligation to worship God has to do with freedom from coercion in civil society, it leaves intact the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies towards the true religion and the one Church of Christ” (DH 1). See also the article “The Declaration of Religious Liberty (VCII)”.
The Holy Spirit Is Not Dead!
God will never abandon His Church as Christ promised. When Satan and his cohorts are working extra hard, the Holy Spirit helps the Church and those of good will even more. There are many graces and charismas in the Church today which come from the Holy Spirit. Instead of hiding from the world, one should encourage ones children to experience these graces and charismas of the Holy Spirit today such as the new Ecclesial Movements. We must not abandon the Church now when she needs warriors to defend and fight for her.
There are many saints in the world today that can offer tremendous insights and experiences to help one draw closer to God. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta or Pope John Paul II or Chiara Lubich or Jean Vanier or Saint Padre Pio or Saint Faustina are only a few of our modern saints. Many schismatic traditionalists say that these modern day saints are mistaken in following the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent Popes, citing that other saints of the past made mistakes too!?! I truly believe, and have experienced, that when the times are more difficult the Holy Spirit offers to the humble of good will special graces to withstand the onslaughts of the devil. If we throw out the Church in the last 50 years we also are throwing out these special grace precisely for our times that are most needed today.
It is sad that there are many scandalous priests and bishops today who have lost their faith in the Eucharist and devotion to their mother, Mary, or have avoided standing up for the truth or have sought their own glory and comfort rather than the glory of God. But when we die will we be able to say to Jesus that we abandoned His Church, His Mystical Body, because of these scandals???
St. James wrote: "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one converts him, let him know, that he who converts the sinner from the error of his ways shall save his soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." I think this is why I have written this article. But I fear that most of those already in the schismatic traditionalist groups will have a very difficult time seeing the light which is also the experience of those in the cults in general. Dialogue with sectarian groups is almost non-existent. Without the grace of finally being able to see the whole situation from the proper point of view, it is virtually impossible to interpret the events in the Church properly. I hope this article reaches those tempted to enter such groups before it is too late. I hope and pray also that concerned Catholic pastors might more diligently offer and attempt to fulfill the needs and desires of those in their flock that might be tempted to seek these longings in a group outside the Church.
Most schismatic traditionalists maintain that there were many previously silenced or suspect theologians who contributed in an adverse or heretical way to VCII either directly (as “experts”) or indirectly. But as a believing Catholic, I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit will always protect the Church from error especially in the Church’s highest form of theological certitude, an ecumenical council approved by the living Pope. Did we not learn years ago in our catechisms that the Catholic Church has three attributes: Indefectibility, Infallibility and Authority? Even if some theologians went too far in some areas, does this mean that the Holy Spirit cannot take the good parts of what many say and help the Church arrive at a more mature ecclesiology or principle of religious liberty as we have seen in VCII?
It is true that Satan is working hard in these times, as always, to destroy the Church. Many schismatic traditionalists feel that the supposed change in orientation of the Church since VCII “would (if it were possible) convert the Catholic Church from a divine institution that directs its earthly activity toward the eternal salvation of souls, to a mere co-participant with human organizations in the building up of a utopian world “brotherhood” between men of all religions or no religion at all.” Certainly this is what the freemasons and many other anti-Catholic groups want. Certainly the freemasons and other groups have plotted patiently for a long time, in an organized way, to weaken or to destroy or even to subvert or neutralize or instrumentalize the Church for their own ends. The followers of the devil, willingly or unwillingly, have always attacked this divine ship, the Church, for 2000 years from within and from without. But to believe now, with VCII, that the Holy Spirit is no longer able to keep good on His promise of Indefectibility or that the “gates of hell will not prevail” is playing right into the hands of the devil himself! Even if 10,000 communists enter the church and seminaries, is the Holy Spirit not capable of sustaining the Church until the end of time?
Certainly we will one day arrive to the period of the Great Tribulation that Jesus talked about in Matthew 24; but I firmly believe that it will be clear, to those of faith and of good will, when the Antichrist and his False Prophet, the Second Beast, arrive on the scene. God often (always?) takes the back seat allowing even Satan more freedom and power as was indicated in a private vision to Pope Leo XIII. We have been warned of difficult times ahead by Our Lady.
God will never abandon His Church just as He never abandoned Israel in the Old Testament. Many schismatic traditionalists believe that Satan won the bet with Jesus (as seen by Leo XIII)! Who is more powerful, Satan or Jesus? Who will always win in the end? The Pope, as Saint Don Bosco predicted, will always remain at the helm of our divine and human Ship, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, even in the midst of fierce attacks. In the end Christ will win with His humble, charitable, patient, long-suffering and loyal followers scattered throughout the world. “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” The most important virtue of a child is trust! I trust my Holy Mother Church!
Often the schismatic traditionalists quote private revelation to convince themselves and others that the Church will be infiltrated and (almost) destroyed from within and from without, concluding that VCII was taken over by the liberals and thus was totally corrupted. Many schismatic traditionalists have a very strong tendency to put private revelation above the official teachings of the Catholic Church and Sacred Scripture (see: http://priv-rev.blogspot.com). They try to conjecture that many bishops and cardinals (and even Popes) in the Church have consciously tried to down play or set aside the message of Fatima. They cite Cardinal Oddi who supposedly said that the words of the Blessed Virgin in the “Third Secret of Fatima” had nothing to do with Gorbachev; she was alerting us against the apostasy in the Church. Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi, Pope John Paul II’s personal papal theologian allegedly revealed, in a personal communication to a Professor Baumgartner in Salzburg, that: “In the Third Secret it is foretold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.” Many schismatic traditionalists use these purported writings to enhance their belief that the see of Peter is vacant (“Sedevacantism”) since 1958. I too feel there will be many bishops and cardinals that will not follow or promote the true teachings of the Church. But I trust and believe in the words of Jesus Christ who said: “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail.” Thus, contrary to what many of the schismatic traditionalists would have us believe, the gates of hell will never prevail against the true, “Rock”, the living Pope, unto the end of the world as Jesus Christ promised.
If a great apostasy in the Church begins at the top, I personally believe that this will be caused by a bad bishop or cardinal as various saints and learned men have indicated. Many schismatic traditionalists who put private revelation (as well as themselves) above the Church, and even the words of Christ, believe that this private revelation indicated above refers to a validly elected Pope.
It is interesting that St. Hildegard (d. 1179) wrote that when the new Pope is elected immediately before the Antichrist, a cardinal will kill the Pope before he is crowned through jealousy, he wishing to be Pope himself; then when the other cardinals elect the next Pope this cardinal will proclaim himself (anti) Pope, and two-thirds of the Christians will go with him. She notes that this Antipope as well as the Antichrist are descended from the tribe of Dan. If this private revelation of St. Hildegard turns out to be true, is it possible that this Antipope might be the False Prophet predicted in the book of the Apocalypse (Apoc 16:13; 19:20; 20:10; ch. 13 etc.) who will work hand in hand with the first "beast", the antichrist, , just as St. John the Baptist did for Jesus?
The Archbishop Fulton Sheen, TV personality in the 50’s and 60 said: “The false prophets will have a religion without a cross. A religion to destroy other religions. The false prophet will create his own religion. Satan will crown the false prophet among our own Bishops.” Many Fathers of the Church wrote that the False Prophet would be a Catholic bishop who will become an INVALID anti-pope while the real Pope dies a cruel death in exile.
It was the learned opinion of the eminent, 20th Century scripture scholar, Father E. Sylvester Berry that the 12th and 13th chapters of the Apocalypse of St. John foretell an usurpation of the papal see by the false prophet of Antichrist resulting in great tribulations befalling the Catholic Church. Fr. Berry points out that it is the papacy, which is the principal target of those who seek to establish the reign of Antichrist. Heresy, schism and the introduction of false worship upon the altars of Catholic churches are, thus, to be the direct results of the removal of the TRUE Pope from the See of Rome, and subsequent occupation of the Chair of Peter by the forces of Antichrist.
Thus all of these authors indicated that sometime in the future there will be an INVALID, false antipope occupying the Chair of Peter , “immediately before the Antichrist”. Christ promised that “the gates of hell would not prevail” against the “Rock”, the true, valid, living Pope.
Perhaps this could help explain what Our Lady at La Salette said on September 19, 1846, "Rome would lose the Faith and become the seat of the antichrist . . . The Church will be in eclipse." I would interpret this as when the true Pope is killed or driven from Rome. This seems to go along with what Our Lady told Sr. Agnes Sasagawa at Akita, Japan (October 13, 1973): "The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops” (http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/akita.htm).
But even if a great apostasy does begin in the Church at the top by way of a bad bishop or cardinal, what is the most prudent thing to do? Abandon Holy Mother Church? Would it not be more prudent to stay on board our divine and human Ship and weather out the great storm together, trusting in the Holy Spirit to guide her through to her destiny? What do we gain if we abandon the Church during the storm? An illicit, reverent Latin Mass or a feeling of being holier than “the others” not in our special group? If we separate ourselves from the Church, who will guide us infallibly and who will tell us when the storm is over so that we can attempt to board the Ship again, if ever?
I am convinced that if a schismatic traditionalist might receive the grace from God to see things from the perspective of an infinite loving and merciful God, instead of from the perspective of a critical and judgmental spirit toward others, he or she would be able to see everything from a different viewpoint and be able to rejoice in the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit precisely in the Second Vatican Council and in the many saints and charismas approved and proclaimed by the Church in the last 50 years! They would also be able to recognize and appreciate the good and the holiness in individuals and Churches that are not part of their little group. Is not God the Father of all human beings? Does not God love every human being immensely?
When one habitually dwells on the negative, criticizing all authority different from one’s own beliefs, it becomes very difficult to see the good in others and in the documents of VCII. When one goes to the websites of the schismatic traditionalists, it is almost totally dedicated to criticizing the Catholic Church and VCII. If one is so bent on this negativism, one’s religion becomes based on this negative self identity rather than positively going forward toward a greater relationship of love and trust with Jesus Christ as well as an ever greater love of Jesus in each and every neighbor. Many cults, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, are also based on hammering continually into its members that the Catholic Church is evil along with all other religions. After years of this type of indoctrination and formation, those who leave these types of groups, due to scandals or other motives, most often do not succeed in persevering in going forward in seeking the fullness of the truth but rather fall into some type of agnosticism as if God himself is unknowable and thus there is no motive or reason to seek the true religion which they no longer feel even exists. This is the common, great tragedy of the great majority of those who leave these types of groups because they do not have a positive formation of truth, of God and of religion which would help them to not loose the desire to continue to seek the fullness of the truth which leads to true and lasting happiness.
I do not deny that there is a crisis. My difference with the schismatic traditionalist position lies in the cause and precise nature of the crisis. I do not locate its primary cause in Vatican II and post-1958 popes (supposedly "modernist" or "ambiguous," etc., etc.). I place it where it belongs: on the shoulders of heterodox modernists who have worked to undermine traditional orthodoxy and piety - whether in sincerity, or according to a diabolical plan to destroy the Church, which is, of course, impossible to do. History offers ample illustration that the heretics always eventually disappear, or at least greatly diminish in influence. The Church will survive. In fact, the beginning signs of coming revival are plain already, if one would simply maintain a little hope and optimistic faith that God is in control.
Rev. Joseph Dwight
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On May 29, 1969 the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship issued “MEMORIALE DOMINI”, containing the Instruction on the Manner of Distributing Holy Communion, which is still in vigor and could be summarized as follows: the prohibition of receiving Holy Communion in the hand remains in vigor in the universal mode and the bishops, priests and faithful are heartily exhorted to diligently follow this law newly reasserted. Nonetheless, where this use may have been entrenched and introduced in an illicit manner, there is provided the possibility to concede to those sectors which are not disposed to obey this exhortation.
“Therefore, taking into account the remarks and the advice of those whom "the Holy Spirit has placed to rule over" the Churches, in view of the gravity of the matter and the force of the arguments put forward, the Holy Father has decided not to change the existing way of administering holy communion to the faithful. … The Apostolic See therefore emphatically urges bishops, priests and laity to obey carefully the law which is still valid and which has again been confirmed.”
In the volume of the “ACTA APOSTOLICAE SEDIS” of 1969, one reads:
“In reply to the request of your conference of bishops regarding permission to give communion by placing the host on the hand of the faithful, I wish to communicate the following. Pope Paul Vl calls attention to the purpose of the Instruction “Memoriale Domini” of 29 May 1969, on retaining the traditional practice in use. At the same time he has taken into account the reasons given to support your request and the outcome of the vote taken on this matter. The Pope grants that throughout the territory of your conference, each bishop may, according to his prudent judgment and conscience, authorize in his diocese the introduction of the new rite for giving communion. The condition is the complete avoidance of any cause for the faithful to be shocked and any danger of irreverence toward the Eucharist. The following norms must therefore be respected.” [My emphasis. One wonders if this condition is being met.] …”
Note: In the ACTA APOSTOLICAE SEDIS (pp. 546-547) the Instruction was accompanied by a sample of the letter (in French) which is sent to hierarchies who ask for and are granted permission to introduce the practice of holy communion on the hand. The letter laid down the following regulations:
1. The new method of administering communion should not be imposed in a way that would exclude the traditional usage....
“POPE BENEDICT Sets the Norm for Receiving Communion”; “In other words, it is an exception to the norm, and Pope Benedict is making it clear what the norm has been and still is: Communion on the tongue while kneeling.” (http://catholicism.about.com/b/2008/06/26/pope-benedict-sets-the-norm-for-receiving-communion.htm).
Instruction Concerning Worship Of The Eucharistic Mystery
10. The faithful, whether religious or lay, who are authorized as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist can distribute Communion only when there is no priest, deacon or acolyte, when the priest is impeded by illness or advanced age, or when the number of the faithful going to Communion is so large as to make the celebration of Mass excessively long. Accordingly, a reprehensible attitude is shown by those priests who, though present at the celebration, refrain from distributing Communion and leave this task to the laity.
11. The Church has always required from the faithful respect and reverence for the Eucharist at the moment of receiving it.
With regard to the manner of going to Communion, the faithful can receive it either kneeling or standing, in accordance with the norms laid down by the episcopal conference: "When the faithful communicate kneeling, no other sign of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament is required, since kneeling is itself a sign of adoration. When they receive Communion standing, it is strongly recommended that, coming up in procession, they should make a sign of reverence before receiving the Sacrament. This should be done at the right time and place, so that the order of people going to and from Communion is not disrupted."
The Amen said by the faithful when receiving Communion is an act of personal faith in the presence of Christ.
GENERAL INSTRUCTION OF THE ROMAN MISSAL
Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship
“The people should kneel at the consecration unless prevented by the lack of space, the number of people present, or some other good reason.” (http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/GIRM.HTM).
Cardinal Cañizares on Communion Received Kneeling
CARDINAL ANTONIO CAÑIZARES, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is still at the same time Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Toledo. There, during Holy Week, he reinstated the communion rail in the Cathedral and encouraged the faithful to receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue (cf. report in Spanish here; kneelers for receiving Holy Communion kneeling have also been recently introduced at two other Spanish Cathedrals, that of Málaga, beginning with the Chrism Mass, and that of the Diocese of the Armed Forces in Madrid, cf. report in Spanish here). After his successor, Msgr. Braulio Rodríguez, until now Archbishop of Valladolid, has been named last week, Cardinal Cañizares before leaving the Archdiocese has granted an interview to the Spanish newspaper ABC. Here is the question concerning the reception of Holy Communion in an NLM translation:…
Words from Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera
He's of one mind with His Holiness.
“Urgent business there is every morning, referring to excesses and errors which are being committed in the liturgy, but above all, THE MOST URGENT ISSUE that is pressing all over the world, is that the sense of the liturgy be truly recovered.” (http://gregorianrite2007.blogspot.com/2009/11/words-from-cardinal-antonio-canizares.html).
To see many Church documents regarding the respect and reverence due to the Most Holy Eucharist, visit: “The Real Presence Christ In The Eucharist” (http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/link/e-doc.html).
To read about many “Eucharistic Miracles”, visit: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/a3.html.
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 See the article ‘A Psychological Analysis of a Cult at Necedah, Wisconsin’. See also http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com.
 When I was in the cult at Necedah, Wisconsin I did not see the truth for two years while surrounded by this sectarian environment. But when the scales from my eyes fell, I finally could see and understand the whole situation from a truly Catholic point of view.
 Rm 15:1.
 “The Pope, the Council, and the Mass,” by James Likoudis and Kenneth D. Whitehead. Catholics United for the Faith, 1981, p. 38.
 Ibid. p. 40.
 The Council of Trent also teaches that the Bishops are the successors of the Apostles (D 960); and so does the Vatican Council [ I ] (D 1828). As successors of the Apostles they are the pastors and teachers of the faithful (D 1821). As official teachers of the faith, they are endowed with the active infallibility assured to the incumbents of the Church teaching office.
It has been the constant teaching of the Church from the earliest times that the resolutions of the General Councils are infallible. St Athanasius says of the Decree on faith of the Nicene Council: 'The words of the Lord which were spoken by the General Council of Nicæa, remain in eternity' (Ep. ad Afros 2). St. Gregory the Great recognises and honours the first four General Councils as much as the Four Gospels; he makes the fifth equal to them (Ep. I 25) . . .
The Bishops exercise their infallible teaching power in an ordinary manner when they, in their dioceses, in moral unity with the Pope, unanimously promulgate the same teachings on faith and morals. The Vatican Council [ I ] expressly declared that also the truths of Revelation proposed as such by the ordinary and general teaching office of the Church are to be firmly held with 'divine and catholic faith' (D 1792) . . .
(Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, ed. James Canon Bastible, tr. Patrick Lynch, Rockford, IL: TAN Books and Publishers, 1974; orig. 1952 in German, pp. 299-300)
 “20. Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: "He who heareth you, heareth me" (Lk 10:16); and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians.”
“21. It is also true that theologians must always return to the sources of divine revelation: for it belongs to them to point out how the doctrine of the living Teaching Authority is to be found either explicitly or implicitly in the Scriptures and in Tradition. Besides, each source of divinely revealed doctrine contains so many rich treasures of truth, that they can really never be exhausted. Hence it is that theology through the study of its sacred sources remains ever fresh; on the other hand, speculation which neglects a deeper search into the deposit of faith, proves sterile, as we know from experience. But for this reason even positive theology cannot be on a par with merely historical science. For, together with the sources of positive theology God has given to His Church a living Teaching Authority to elucidate and explain what is contained in the deposit of faith only obscurely and implicitly. This deposit of faith our Divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, not even to theologians, but only to the Teaching Authority of the Church. But if the Church does exercise this function of teaching, as she often has through the centuries, either in the ordinary or extraordinary way, it is clear how false is a procedure which would attempt to explain what is clear by means of what is obscure. Indeed the very opposite procedure must be used. Hence Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, teaching that the most noble office of theology is to show how a doctrine defined by the Church is contained in the sources of revelation, added these words, and with very good reason: "in that sense in which it has been defined by the Church".”
 From Pope John XXIII onward.
 See also “The Holy Catholic Church and Private Revelation”, Ch. 7 (http://priv-rev.blogspot.com).
 Pope John Paul II (among many other occasions) spoke firmly against this "pick and choose smorgasbord type Catholicism" in LA in his September 1987 visit: "It is sometimes reported that a large number of Catholics today do not adhere to the teaching of the Church on a number of questions, notably sexual and conjugal morality, divorce and remarriage. Some are reported as not accepting the Church's clear position on abortion. It has also been noted that there is a tendency on the part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church's moral teachings. It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a" good Catholic" and poses no obstacle to the reception of the sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching office of the bishops of the United States and elsewhere. I wish to encourage you in the love of Christ to address this situation courageously in your pastoral ministry, relying on the power of God's truth to attract assent and on the grace of the Holy Spirit which is given both to those who proclaim the message and to those to whom it is addressed"; taken from the address of Pope John Paul II to the bishops of the United States in Los Angeles on September 16, 1987.
 Mt 16:18. See also “The Holy Catholic Church and Private Revelation”, Ch. 7 (http://priv-rev.blogspot.com).
 See chapter IX in “The Holy Catholic Church and Private Revelation” (http://priv-rev.blogspot.com).
 See the article ‘A Psychological Analysis of a Cult at Necedah, Wisconsin’. See also http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com.
 Mt 5:20
 Quote from 9.2 in http://priv-rev.blogspot.com:
For similar reasons obedience may constitute a criterion of discernment, or at least provide a strong support to someone already grounded in humility. It is, obviously, less intimately bound up with the revelation itself than is humility. It proves that the visionary, even in the spheres of will and of action, is not seeking his own interests. As Christ said, "I do not my own will but the will of my Father," so the fact that the visionary proves himself to be submissive to the authority which comes from God cannot help but be a testimony in favor of the revelation which he may have had. This obedience may not have been so strongly evidenced before the occurrence of the revelation as was the subject's humility, which predisposed him to receive that revelation, but displays itself effectively during and after this revelation has taken place.
In regard to this matter there is scarcely a more instructive case than the following which is related in the 'Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila’ (chap. 29, 5-6) in which she recounts how the Lord manifested Himself to her. She considers the visions which she has received from Him as signal favors from God, and adds that she would not have wished to change one of them for all the riches and pleasures of the world. But since these visions became more and more frequent, her confessors began to see in them the work of the devil.
"They bade me," writes the saint, "to reject them every time by the sign of the cross and by derision, and the devil - for this was he, I was to be certain of that - would return no more; but it was necessary to banish all fear from my soul; besides, God would watch over me and would deliver me. Their command caused me very deep grief. As it was impossible for me to admit that these visions did not come from God, it was a fearful thing for me to obey. I could not wish, as I said before, that the visions should be withheld. But despite everything, I did as I was bidden....
"It was for me a most painful thing to make a show of contempt when I was being favored by the vision of the Lord. When I saw Him before me, if I were cut to pieces, I could not believe it was Satan.... It reminded me of the insults which the Jews had heaped upon Him, and so I prayed Him to forgive me, seeing that I did so in obedience to him who stood in His stead, and not to lay the blame on me, seeing that he was one of those whom He had placed as His ministers in His Church. He said to me, that I was not to distress myself, that I did well to obey; but that He would make them see the truth of the matter."
Here we are dealing with a matter of obedience to God in the mystery of Christ and of the Church. To offer opposition to the obedience owed to the Church is to set oneself upon the wrong path. Disobedience is a negative criterion of discernment and emphasized by theologians. And one of the reasons which bishops and other ecclesiastical authorities have given for condemning this or that apparition has been precisely the disobedience of the visionaries or even, of members of the Church who believed in the apparitions in question and disobeyed the instructions given upon the matter, as happened at Exquioga and on other occasions.
 “The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals” (CCC 891).
Impeccability is sometimes confused with infallibility, especially in discussions of papal infallibility. Impeccability is an attribute not claimed by the pope, and few would deny that there have been "bad" popes - Saint Peter himself denied Jesus three times. The Pope is not impeccable (incapable of sinning). Catholics trust the Pope because He was appointed by Christ. "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church ...” (Mt 16:18). The exemption of the Roman Church from error extends only to its definitive teachings on faith and morals: not its historical judgments. Similarly, papal "sainthood" does not suggest that popes are free from sin. Quite the contrary, popes frequent the sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) for the forgiveness of their sins, as all other Catholics are required to do. Pope Benedict XVI confesses his sins once a week.
 See: http://www.traditionalmass.org/articles/article.php?id=26&catname=14.
On July 1, 1988 the Vatican Congregation for Bishops issued a decree that declared the excommunication of Archbishop Lefebvre for consecrating four bishops without papal permission. A day later, on July 2, 1988, Pope John Paul II issued his apostolic letter ‘Ecclesia Dei’ on the matter.
The following are excerpts: “In itself, this act [that is, the unlawful consecration of four bishops by Msgr. Lefebvre] was one of disobedience to the Roman Pontiff in a very grave matter and of supreme importance for the unity of the Church, such as is the ordination of bishops whereby the apostolic succession is sacramentally perpetuated. Hence such disobedience—which implies in practice the rejection of the Roman primacy—constitutes a schismatic act. In performing such an act, notwithstanding the formal canonical warning sent to them by the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops on June 17, Msgr. Lefebvre and the priests Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta, have incurred the grave penalty of excommunication envisaged by ecclesiastical law. . . . “
“In the present circumstances, I wish especially to make an appeal both solemn and heartfelt, paternal and fraternal, to all those who until now have been linked in various ways to the movement of Archbishop Lefebvre, that they may fulfil the grave duty of remaining united to the Vicar of Christ in the unity of the Catholic Church, and of ceasing their support in any way for that movement. Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism is a grave offence against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church's law. (Faith Fact: "Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X," p. 1, from Catholics United for the Faith.).
In 1983, nine sedevacantist priests were expelled from the SSPX after clashing with Archbishop Lefebvre over the Society's relationship with the "Conciliar" Church ("Habemus papam?", Karl Keating. ‘This Rock’ magazine, July/August 1995, p. 14).
Subsequently, those nine priests formed their own religious congregation, calling it the Society of St. Pius V (SSPV). The Rev. Clarence Kelly was chosen to be their leader. Within a short time there were disputes about property ownership, which resulted in yet another schism. Kelly continues to lead the SSPV (headquartered in New York), and the Rev. Daniel Dolan leads the off-shoot faction (headquartered in Ohio). Ibid. p. 14. Both Dolan and Kelly are now "bishops." Dolan's uncanonical consecration is ultimately derived from the retired and possibly senile Archbishop of Hue, Ngo Dinh Thuc. Kelly was secretly consecrated by the late Alfred F. Mendez, who was a retired bishop of Puerto Rico. Additional sedevacantist groups are located in Spokane, Washington (Mount St. Michael), Michigan, and Colorado.
Ultimately, schismatic traditionalists encounter the same problem as do the Protestants: because they have separated themselves from the one, true Church founded by Jesus Christ on Peter and his successors, they will always find themselves in a state of spiritual chaos.
There really is only a minor distinction between the sedevacantists and the Lefebvrites: the sedevacantists believe outright that John Paul II and his three predecessors were, in effect, antipopes because they followed the "heretical" reforms of Vatican II; the Lefebvrites, on the other hand, are schizophrenic about this. Lefebvrites purport to accept that Benedict XVI is Pope, but they vociferously ridicule him and do not submit to his authority.
 See the article below “The Impact and Interpretation of 'Subsists In' (Vatican II)” as well as http://trueevangelization.blogspot.com.
 The Vatican document, “Sects or New Religious Movements: Pastoral Challenge", 1986. See also http://trueevangelization.blogspot.com.
 'Sects or New Religious Movements: Pastoral Challenge', L'Osservatore Romano, N. 20, May 19, 1986, p. 5.
 Jn 8:11.
 See questions 3 and 5 in the article “Ecclesiology of the Catholic Church”; see also ‘Francis A. Sullivan’ in the article “The Impact and Interpretation of 'Subsists In' (Vatican II)”. See also AGD 19.
 Yves Congar points out an important attitude (so prevalent in the past) that must be rejected: "In no way does the "conversion" of our separated brethren involve an impoverishment or a repudiation of such riches as they already possess. Negations alone must be denied, and this precisely in order that all the positive values of Christianity may be affirmed. For the same reasons, we Catholics cannot regard it as a matter for rejoicing when we see our Protestant or Orthodox brethren weakening in their faith, becoming victims of religious indifference or doctrinal discord. To wish for these things to happen, or to take pleasure in them, would imply that we view them solely from the standpoint of the system rather than that of the life. Certainly we do not wish to see Protestantism go on for ever: because we believe it to be a false system we would wish rather to see its end. We are most emphatically desirous that our Protestant brethren should be reunited to us and in this way, as we say, become "converts." But we cannot directly wish that their faith, however impoverished it may be, should become still further impoverished and weakened, for such impoverishment and weakening is an evil in itself, and it is never lawful for us to will what is evil in itself. Whatsoever there is of genuine Christianity among Protestants belongs by right to the Church, and any loss of supernatural life is, to that extent, a loss to the Church", M. J. Congar, Divided Christendom (Geoffrey Bles: The Centenary Press, London, 1939), p. 239.
 Jn 18:37.
 See the article ‘A Psychological Analysis of a Cult at Necedah, Wisconsin’. See also http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com.
 Jn 18:37.
 See UR 4 and Note P in the appendix of the article “The Impact and Interpretation of 'Subsists In' (Vatican II)”.
 Lk 15:11-32.
 Floyd Anderson, ed., Council Daybook - Vatican II (Session 1, Oct. 11 to Dec. 8, 1962, Session 2, Sept. 29 to Dec 4, 1963) (National Catholic Welfare Conference (Pub.), Washington, D.C., 1965), p. 27 (also cf. Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Herder & Herder, N.Y., 1968), vol 1 , p. 108). Also see Giovanni Caprile, a cura di, Il Concilio Vaticano II (Cronache del Concilio Vaticano II edite da "La Civilta' Cattolica") (Secondo Periodo (1963-1964), Vol III; Edizione "La Civilta' Cattolica", Roma, 1966), pp. 29-30 and p. 40.
 G. C. Berkouwer, The Second Vatican Council and the New Catholicism (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1965), pp. 178-179.
 Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Herder & Herder, N.Y., 1968), vol 1, p. 108.
 (Mk 10:45), G. C. Berkouwer, The Second Vatican Council and the New Catholicism (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1965), p. 184.
 See the article ‘A Psychological Analysis of a Cult at Necedah, Wisconsin’. See also http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com.
 Mt 24:21; Apoc 7:14.
 Jn 8:32.
 Napier, Augustus and Whitaker, Carl, ‘The Family Crucible’; Haper & Row, Publishers, N.Y., 1988, pp. 83, 99.
 Cf. ‘Sects or New Religious Movements: Pastoral Challenge’, L'Osservatore Romano, N. 20, 19 May 1986, (1.2) p. 5.
 See ‘Concluding Remarks’ in the article “The Impact and Interpretation of 'Subsists In' (Vatican II)”.
 See the article ‘A Psychological Analysis of a Cult at Necedah, Wisconsin’. See also http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com.
 Mt 10:34-37.
 Mt 16:18.
 Mt 16:18.
 Lk 17:2; Mt 18:6; Mk 9:42.
 ‘The Pope, the Council, and the Mass’, by James Likoudis and Kenneth D. Whitehead. Catholics United for the Faith, 1981, p. 114.
 Ibid. p. 98.
 Ibid. p. 99.
 Ibid. pp. 103-104.
The liturgical reform which has been carried out in accordance with the Constitution of the Second Vatican Council has made certain changes in the essential formulae of the sacramental rites. These new expressions, like the other ones, have had to be translated into modern languages in such a way that the original sense finds expression in the idiom proper to each language. This has given rise to certain difficulties, which have come to light now that the translations have been sent by episcopal conferences to the Holy See for approval. in these circumstances, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith again calls attention to the necessity that the essential formulae of the sacramental rites render faithfully the original sense of the Latin "typical text." With that in mind it declares:
When a vernacular translation of a sacramental formula is submitted to the Holy See for approval, it examines it carefully. When it is satisfied that it expresses the meaning intended by the Church, it approves and confirms it, stipulating, however, that it must be understood in accordance with the mind of the Church as expressed in the original Latin text.
 .See also “The Holy Catholic Church and Private Revelation”, Ch. 7 (http://priv-rev.blogspot.com).
 James 2:14-26.
 Literally: "by the very fact of the action's being performed", i.e., by virtue of the saving work of Christ, accomplished once for all.
 CCC #1131: “The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.” See also CCC 1127 and 1128.
Likewise, Vatican II stressed active participation in the liturgy:
In order that the liturgy may be able to produce its full effects it is necessary that the faithful come to it with PROPER DISPOSITIONS, that their minds be attuned to their voices, and that they cooperate with heavenly grace lest they RECEIVE IT IN VAIN. Pastors of souls must, therefore, realize that, when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the laws governing valid and lawful celebration. It is their duty also to ensure that the faithful take part FULLY AWARE of what they are doing, ACTIVELY ENGAGED in the rite and enriched by it.......
Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy.......In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy the full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered above all else, for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit. Therefore, in all their apostolic activity, pastors of souls should energetically set about achieving it through the requisite pedagogy. (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Dec. 4, 1963, ch. 1, I, sec. 11 and II, sec. 14)
 "Straight Talk to Men and Their Wives" by Dr. James C. Dobson; Word Publishing, Dallas, 1980; pp. 35-36.
 Leo XIII, Encyclical ‘Satis cognitum’, June 29, 1896.
 Pius IX, Letter ‘Jam vos omnes’, September 13, 1868, to Protestants and other non-Catholics.
 See also LG 15, UR 3, etc.
 Dz 908 as it appears in The Christian Faith compiled and edited by Neuner-Depuis, p. 343.
 Pius XI, Encyclical ‘Mortalium Animos’, January 6, 1928.
 Pius XII, Encyclical ‘Mystici Corporis’, June 29, 1943.
 See also UR 8 and question 4 in “Ecclesiology of the Catholic Church”.
 Leo XIII, Letter ‘Officio sanctissimo’, December 22, 1887, to the Bishops of Bavaria.
 Pius IX, Encyclical ‘Amantissimus’, April 18, 1862.
 Pius IX, Encyclical ‘Quartus supra’, January 6, 1873, to the Armenians.
 Pius IX, Letter ‘Quanto conficiamur moerore’, August 10, 1863.
 Gregory XVI, Letter ‘Perlatum ad nos’, July 17, 1841, to the Archbishop pfLwow.
 Pius IX, Letter ‘Singulari quidem’, March 17, 1856, to the Austrian Episcopate.
 Jms 5:19-20; Ez 33:7-9; Mt 18:15-17.
 See the article ‘A Psychological Analysis of a Cult at Necedah, Wisconsin’. See also http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com.
 Cf. Father Paul Kramer, "The Devil’s Final Battle," The Missionary Association; Terryville, Conn. U.S.A. (2002), pp. 1, 77.
 Apoc 16:13; 19:20; 20:10.
 Apoc 13, etc.
 “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1Cor 1:27-29).
 Exactly 33 years to the day prior to the great Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, that is, on October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII had a remarkable vision. When the aged Pontiff had finished celebrating Mass in his private Vatican Chapel, attended by a few Cardinals and members of the Vatican staff, he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. He stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white. Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed the prayer to St. Michael, with instructions that it be said after all Low Masses everywhere. When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices - two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation:
The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasted to Our Lord: "I can destroy your Church."
The gentle voice of Our Lord: "You can? Then go ahead and do so."
Satan: "To do so, I need more time and more power."
Our Lord: "How much time? How much power?
Satan: "75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service."
Our Lord: "You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will."
 It seems that our Lord indicated to Sister Lucia in August 1931 a similar calamity might happen (Fatima, July 13, 1917) as that of King of France, Louis XIV, exactly 100 years after he and his son and grandson did not perform the consecration of France to His Sacred Heart as our Lord had commanded. Perhaps the liberal attack on the Church as well as the 1988 schism of Archbishop Lefebvre was just a part of this prediction.
 Mt 18:3; Mc 10:15; Lk 18:17.
 Cf. Father Paul Kramer, "The Devil’s Final Battle," The Missionary Association; Terryville, Conn. U.S.A. (2002).
 Ibid., p. 163
 See Father Gerard Mura, “The Third Secret of Fatima: Has It Been Completely Revealed?”, the periodical ‘Catholic’, (published by the Transalpine Redemptorists, Orkney Isles, Scotland, Great Britain) March 2002.
 Mt 16:18.
 Mt 16:18.
 Mt 16:18