An Analysis of the Traditional Catholic position in the current crisis in the Church.
Today Catholics find themselves bewildered at the current situation in the Church, while for some the answer to that situation is simple; hold to the ancient faith and practice; for other that view doesn’t seem so tenable since they maintain that one has to go alone with the ‘spirit of the church’ so as to keep the Catholic faith even if it means abandoning the ancient practices and the ancient rule of faith.
What are we to make of all this? – How would the saints and Popes have approached our modern situation in Church? Well we don’t have to hold our breath since the great saints and theologians have given us a clear guide on how one is to operate in various situations in which one might find himself.
In the main part the greater number of Traditional Catholics tend to hold a position which was outlined for them by God’s man of providence for our times; the good Archbishop Lefebvre, who did not hesitate to call a spade a spade without going beyond the limits of his own authority or going beyond what was necessary to maintain the faith in his time and for future generations.
Each issue will looked at in question and answer format so as to give a clear response to honest objections set forth to difficult questions that need to be understood for the justification of the solid position taken by Traditional Catholics in response to the conciliar reforms which have only worked to undermine the faith of Catholics.
– (NB. A link will be provided for each point which will give a more detailed insight to each issue).
Objection.1 - I cannot agree that the New Mass is illegitimate or can be considered evil.
Answer: - Cardinal Ottaviani points out the contrary when he clearly stated that ‘Novus Ordo Missae--considering the new elements widely susceptible to widely different interpretations which are implied or taken for granted--represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session 22 of the Council of Trent.’ And as a consequence he concludes that ‘“the true Catholic, by the promulgation of the Novus Ordo, is faced with the tragic necessity of a choice”. - The Ottaviani intervention Commenting on this intervention in more recent times Cardinal Stickler stated that "The analysis of the Novus Ordo made by these two Cardinals has lost nothing of its value, nor, unfortunately, of its timeliness. .. The results of the reform are deemed by many today to have been devastating. It was the merit of Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci to discover very quickly that the modification of the rites resulted in a fundamental change of doctrine." - November 27, 2004, on the occasion of a reprint of the Ottaviani Intervention.
‘You shall know them by their fruits’ Our Lord tells us. A good tree does not produce bad fruit. Any yet what have we seen as a result of the conciliar reform of the Liturgy? Nothing but loss of faith and apostasy. When Cardinal, Cardinal Ratzinger didn’t hesitated to affirm that “I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part on the collapse of the liturgy". - The Catholic Weekly, May 11, 1997
For more detailed look at the problems with the Novus Ordo Missae see:http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/newmass/index.htm
Objection: 2. To affirm this implies that the Church has imposed a defective and evil Mass upon the faithful, an affirmation which in turn militates against the universal teaching of theologians that a liturgy promulgated by the Church must be able to sanctify souls per se. A liturgy promulgated by the hierarchy for this reason is protected by infallibility.
Answer: - All liturgical promulgations are in se disciplinary laws of the Church, which in themselves are not infallible (and consequently not immutable either).
However it suffices to quote several Catholic theologians to confirm this point.
“Since, then, it is here expressly said that those definitions on which the Infallibility of the Pope exercises itself are per se unalterable, it follows, as matter of course, that all those laws which are issued from time to time by the Pope in matters of discipline, and which are alterable, are, by the very reason that they are alterable, not included in the de fide definition of the Vatican Council.” – Bishop Fessler, True and False Infallibility, (And so, it’s clear that in Matters of Discipline, are not matters of infallibility and are alterable - to think Pius IX and a commission of Cardinals approved this work ).
"The infallibility of the Pope does not mean that he cannot sin; it does not mean that he cannot err in matters of science; it does not mean that he cannot err in political matters; it does not mean that he cannot err in his personal theological views; it does not mean that he cannot err in his private theological utterances relating to faith or morals; it does not mean that he cannot err in his personal decisions; it does not mean that he cannot err in his measures concerning the discipline and practice of the Church, for example: sanctioning or dissolving an Order, precepts of worship, ecclesiastical rules etc." - Illustrations for Sermons and Instructions, Rev. Charles J. Callan O.P., New York, 1916, page 147
‘Now, in Catholic belief and teaching, the Pope is not infallible in matters of discipline, or of government; he is infallible only in matters of faith and morals ; that is, exclusively in the doctrines that are to be believed and the duties that are to be fulfilled under the Christian Dispensation. All objections to Infallibility, therefore, founded on Bulls, Briefs, Constitutions, or Letters of Popes, or Decrees of Councils dealing with any of the many points of discipline and government just mentioned are at once disposed of. They do not touch the doctrine; they are simply irrelevant.’ – Rev. Fr. Daniel Lyons, Christianity and Infallibility, 1891, pg. 14
Furthermore both Cardinal Ottaviani and Bacci were more than well of the limitation to Papal authority as regards the sacraments and for this reason did not hesitate to affirm that the New Mass of Paul VI
was “a departure from the Catholic Theology of the Mass, as the Council of Trent formulated it." – The Ottaviani intervention.
The well known theologian Cardinal Juan de Torqumada O.P, well affirmed that 'The Pope could, without doubt, fall into Schism . . . Especially is this true with regard to the divine liturgy,
as for example, if he did not wish personally to follow the universal customs and rites of the Church. . . . Thus it is that Innocent states (De Consuetudine) that, it is necessary to obey a Pope in all things
as long as he does not himself go against the universal customs of the Church, but should he go against the universal customs of the Church, he need not be followed . . ." - Commentarii in Decretum Gratiani
(1519) and Summa de Ecclesia (1489).
And so contrary to what some might hold popes can promulgate laws, albeit liturgical laws contrary to the common good of the Church. While he can in no wise do so by virtue of the gift of papal infallibility (which no conciliar pope has claimed regarding the conciliar reforms/laws), nevertheless he may set out laws which are harmful to the common good which the faithful are not obliged to embrace. Here it is interesting to note that Pope Paul VI who instigated the Novus Ordo himself corrected part of the general instruction of the New Missal indicating that in it's original was somewhat defective.
As St. Thomas Aquinas pointed out “In matters of the Natural Law, the articles of the faith, and the sacraments, he (the Pope) cannot dispense, and any claim to such power is not authentic, but a pretense.” –, IV Quodlibets, viii. 13.
Hence when in previous centuries we find serious errors in this regard we can understand the context in which they are to be understood. For example in the thirteenth century we see that the Roman Pontifical contained the erroneous rubric that wine could be consecrated without reciting the words of consecration but by merely coming in contact with a consecrated host. Again, when we read that Pope Nicholas I in his letter to the Bulgarians (cap. civ; Labbe, VIII) states that a person baptised in the name of Christ alone is validly baptised and does not need to be re-baptised and this we know to be clearly wrong (Dz 335. Cf also John Henry Newman, Certain Difficulties - London, 1876).
In summary however I think it is noteworthy to keep in mind here what Archbishop M. Sheehan in his 1951 Apologetics and Christian Doctrine, pointed out, namely that far from undermining the Papal Office, the occasional weaknesses and mistakes of the Popes serve as proof of the Papacy's Divine institution. "We may, indeed, make no difficulty," says Bishop Sheehan, "admitting that in the long history of the Papacy, there have been errors of policy. It seems as though God wished to make the occasional weakness of the Papacy a motive of credibility, a proof that the Church is Divinely supported."
For a more detailed look at this limit and scope of papal infallibility in regards to church discipline one can read the work of Bishop Fessler; True and False Infallibility.
Obj: 3 - The New Mass makes use of a valid form, valid matter, valid minister with the presumption of a valid intention which is sufficient to make it good.
Answer: The same elements are contained in Orthodox liturgies (and black Masses) and objectively they are not pleasing to God. St. Thomas Aquinas points out that what makes the offering of a sacrifice (like the Mass) pleasing to God is not what victim is being offered, but why the victim is being offered. As he says: "the offering of a sacrifice is not measured by the value of the victim, but by its signification" [S.T. II-II.85.2. ad 2]. Thus the value of the sacrifice of the Mass does not come from its being valid, but from the reason why it is being offered. St. Thomas confirms the above teaching when he says that sacrifices "are not deserving of praise except if they are done out of reverence for God" [S.T. II-II.85.3].
Furthermore, St. Thomas teaches that there are four causes (or factors) that influence the goodness or badness of any act, such as the Mass, and that we can't say that the Mass is good "unless it is good in all these ways, since evil results from any single defect, but good from the complete cause" [S.T. I-II.18.4. ad 3]. These four causes of goodness are:
1. having good or bad circumstances [S.T. I-II.18.3]
2. having or not having all the goodness the act is expected to have [S.T. I-II.18.1]
3. being objectively good or bad [S.T. I-II.18.2]
4. having a good or bad purpose [S.T. I-II 18.4].
The New Mass falls short in these things. For a detailed article on this issue see :http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/newmass/nmissa.htm
Objection: 4 - It has been said that the defect is in the lack of reverence of the New Mass, but it can be offered worthily and devoutly.
Answer: This has never been an objection by any serious theologian in the current crisis in the Church. The New Mass itself regardless of the minister or his modus operandi is offensive. It is not a legitimate Catholic rite of worship, but a total rupture with homogenous liturgical development. – Cardinal Ottavianni never argued the point of the modus operandi of the minister offering the rite but simply pointed out the defects in the rite itself, which is a breach or abuse of papal authority to try to have imposed it upon Catholics of the Roman rite.
Consider these words of Michael Davies and the reference he makes ; ‘It would be impossible to exaggerate the importance of Father Fortescue' s insistence that in composing new services the Protestant Reformers "broke away utterly from all historic liturgical evolution". In 1898, referring to the reform of Cranmer, the Catholic Bishops of the Province of Westminster insisted that local churches are not entitled to devise new rites:
They must not omit or reform anything in those forms which immemorial tradition has bequeathed to us. For such an immemorial usage, whether or not it has in the course of ages incorporated superfluous accretions, must, in the estimation of those who believe in a divinely guarded, visible Church, at least have retained whatever is necessary; so that in adhering rigidly to the rite handed down to us we can always feel secure: whereas, if we omit or change anything, we may perhaps be abandoning just that element which is essential . . . that they were permitted to subtract prayers and ceremonies in previous use, and even to remodel the existing rites in a most drastic manner, is a proposition for which we know of no historical foundation, and which appears to us absolutely incredible. - The Cardinal Archbishop and Bishops of the Province of Westminster, A Vindication of the Bull "Apostolicae Curae" (London, 1898). p. 42.
For a more detailed answer to this question see:http://www.sspx.org/news/is_new_mass_legit/is_the_new_mass_legit.htm
Objection: 5 It is fallacious to compare too closely the new and old rites. Following the same reasoning, the Tridentine Rite is poor in the expression of sacrifice in comparison to the Byzantine Rite. However, no one would suggest that the Tridentine Rite is defective because of this.
Answer: - The comparison has nothing to do with the fact that the new Mass isn’t defective because it’s up to par with the Tridentine rite but because in itself it is defective as a Catholic Liturgy. – The Pope has the right to impose a new rite on Catholics but that rite would have to be a Catholic rite! The New Mass isn’t new; it is the rite of the Protestant reformers imposed on Catholics, a rite that many Catholics preferred to die rather than attend or embrace; having a valid Eucharist doesn’t make it any more acceptable, it only makes it more insidious.
It was for this very reason that Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer (Bishop of Campos, Brazil) wrote to Paul VI concerning the promulgation of the Novus Ordo saying that “The Novus Ordo Missae shows, by its omissions, and by the changes that it has brought to the Ordinary of the Mass, as well as by a good number of the general rules that describe the understanding and nature of the new missal in its essential points, that it does not express, as it ought to do the theology of the Holy Sacrifice as established by the Holy Council of Trent in its XXII session. . . . The changes that prepared the Novus Ordo have not helped to bring about an increase in the Faith and the piety of the faithful. . . . Moreover, as I indicate in the attached reasons, the Novus Ordo not only fails to inspire fervor, but to the contrary, diminishes the Faith in central truths of the Catholic life, such as the Real Presence of Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament, the reality of the propitiatory Sacrifice, the hierarchical priesthood.’ - September 12th, 1969 .
Most recently Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, in an address given to a congress held on Summorum Pontificum on May 15, 2011, admitted that “the post-conciliar liturgical reform is considered in large circles of the Catholic Church as a rupture with tradition and as a new creation” (Zenit, 5-17-2011).
For a more detailed look at this question see:http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/newmass/comparison.htm
Objection 6: Traditional Catholics seem to reject the “hermeneutic of continuity” which I hold as a necessary principle of Tradition in any age, and especially our own.
Answer: No, Traditional Catholics don’t reject this concept; they only reject it in terms of trying to make a square out of a circle. You can’t have it both ways. – A thing is what it is. – Something can be said to be a true homogenous development if it implicitly contained in its former principle if not to claim that there has been a homogeneous development or a ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ would be (intellectual perversion or ) outright dishonesty to say the least.
Objection: 7 - Traditional Catholics interprets almost every Vatican II and post-Vatican II text according to the same hermeneutic of rupture as the liberals within the Church.
Answer: Not everything in Vatican II is a rupture with the pre-conciliar faith. No Traditional Catholic is claiming that. Yet, it would be dishonest to claim that there has been no rupture with the mind of the Church as set out by the documents of Vatican II when compared to the pre-conciliar teaching. Catholics have no such problem in the case of the Council of Trent. Why is that? Because Trent conformed itself to handing on the constant teaching of the Church.
If the Liberals including the Post Conciliar Popes have looked to the Second Vatican Council as the corner stone by which to launch their major reforms (reformation/destruction) to model the Church according to their own (modernist) designs it is not by some mistaken identity that they have seen the foundation stone of that in the council itself.
As Cardinal Giuseppe Siri pointed about concerning the Council: "If the Church were not divine this Council (Vatican II) would have buried it." - Statement, apud Lucio Brunelli, 30 days, September 1993, P. 50.
Michael Davies well answer this delirium of the ‘conservative Catholic’ saying that ‘There are a good many sincere and exemplary Catholics who, lie the Pope, believe that the paradox of the actual as opposed to the intended fruits of the council can be solved by making a distinction between the so-called ‘spirit of Vatican II’ and the conciliar documents themselves. Adherence to these documents, they claim, would have brought about an unprecedented renewal. Once again it must be stressed that a good tree cannot bring forth bad fruit. There was no ‘spirit’ of Trent or Vatican I working in a contradictory sense to the expressed intentions of these councils because their documents are not open to such an interpretation.’ – Pope Johns Council, Volume II, pg. 9.
Cardinal Heenan who was no liberal to say the least, could help but ask himself, after seeing the devastation that had resulted in the Church from Vatican II; 'I often wonder what Pope John would have thought had he been able to foresee that his council would provide an excuse for rejecting so much Catholic doctrine which he so whole-heartedly accepted.' - The Tablet, 18 May 1968, pg. 489.
For a deeper look at the question of Vatican II see:http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/vatican2/index.htm
Objection: 8. There is only one Rome, led by one Vicar of Christ. He alone has the supreme power of loosing and binding; in him alone resides the primacy and the infallibility and indefectibility connected with it. To condemn Rome in such a generalised fashion is at the very least a scandal to the faithful.
Answer: Let us answer with a question. Was it not scandalous to destroy the ancient rite of liturgy? Was it not scandalous to persecute Traditional Catholic Clergy for keeping the faith? Was it no scandalous to impose reforms that have only served to undermine the faith of millions of Catholics who since the council have left the faith? –
This question brings up an issue of obedience. – Obedience to the Pope is limited to the faith. When he goes outside his authority – Yes he can be disobey and questioned. – But this is the whole question that has brought out clear hypocrisy in the conciliar Church. The Conciliar clergy come out with all sorts of statements contrary to the current positions of Rome. And yet, only silence from Rome. If a Traditional Catholic bishop or priest says something to the contrary then we hear the condemnations. Why? Simply because Traditional Catholicism is a clear obstacle to their diabolical agenda of continuous reform (revolution).
Who in the conciliar Church obeys the pope at all? Each does his own thing. What does one obey? Things he likes and rejects the things he doesn’t. Let’s face it; to even try to obey the Popes of the Conciliar Church would lead one to losing the faith eventually. A faith which they themselves have asserted we are not certain we have fully come to yet.
Beyond this, let’s make it clear, the person of the Pope as was made clear by the code of Canon Law is not beyond falling from the faith (hence the reason for the canons on the pope falling into heresy, or losing his office).
For a more detailed answer see:http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/vatican2/deftrd.htm
Objection 9. - Were not the illicit consecrations by Archbishop Lefebvre act of disobedience and lack of trust in the Church?
Answer: - Yes, it was indeed materially an act of disobedience to the Legislator but they are in total conformity to the end for which he was placed as legislator, namely for the salvation of souls. –Archbishop Lefebvre no doubt acted with a good intention, as envisioned by Canons 1321 and 1323.
What is more is that the 1983 Code of Canon law nowhere provides that an illicit episcopal consecration constitutes in itself the canonical crime of schism.
As. Fr. Sertillanges O.P, once wrote ‘From the solid unity of the episcopate flows many a consequence, notably that in certain extraordinary circumstances, as in time of persecution, of schism, one can foresee a simple bishop by his own intervention going beyond the limits of his particular church and laying a universal role, a role which must be interpreted as an act of the communion of bishops, and consequently, as an act emanating from the principle of their communion: the Pope’ – The Church, pg. 27, Lecoffre edition, 1931, vol. 2.
For a more detailed answer see:http://www.catholicapologetics.info/apologetics/defense/index.htm
Objection: 10 – One thing is certain, God blesses obedience more than disobedience.
Answer: No, this is only true if obedience is given to lawful things. Obedience is not an end in itself. St. Thomas Aquinas confirms this saying that "sometimes the things commanded by a superior are against God. Therefore superiors are not to be obeyed in all things." (Summa, II-II, Q. 104, Art 5).
St. Bernard state that : "He who does evil because he has been commanded does not perform an act of obedience but rather of rebellion, he upsets the order: he neglects obedience to God in order to obey men" - Complete works of St. Bernard, Charpentier, BookI, Ep.VII
The same obvious applies to those who neglect to do what is right out of fear of going against the legislator or superior whose end is contrary to that of the Church.
Thus helping to destroy the Church in the name of "obedience" is sinful as blind obedience is not, and has never been Catholic. This is confirmed by many saints, namely St. Catherine of Siena who said in her day: "There are times when those who obey . . .. are heading for Hell." (St. Catherine to Pope Gregory XI, 1376.)
Dr. Dietrich Von Hildebrand who was honored by Pope Paul VI for his services to the Holy See has pointed out clearly that ‘Loyalty towards the Holy Father which is nobly intended, but in which practical decisions of the pope are accepted in the same way as ex cathedra definitions; or encyclicals dealing with questions of faith or morals which are always in full harmony with the tradition of the Holy Church and Magisterium. This Loyalty is really false and unfounded. It places insoluble problems before the faithful in regard to the history of the Church. In the end this false loyalty can only endanger the true Catholic faith’ – Satan at work, pg. 45.
Pope Adrian concerning Pope Honorius states that Pope "Honorius was anathematized by the East. We must remember that he was accused of heresy, a crime which legitimizes the resistance of inferiors to superiors, together with the rejection of their pernicious doctrines" – Allocution III, Lect. In Conc. VIII, act. VII.
Let's face it 'obedience' in the conciliar Church means little next to nothing. It is only those who are holding to the ancient faith who truly obedient for the standard of their obedience is the faith, unlike the conciliarists whose standards are their own whims! This point is clear as day light. How many conciliar clergy have been discipline for their heretical teachings and other perversions? One needs only read the daily news for a confirmation of this fact. What is more, why should a conciliar religious be disciplinary for only taking the logical conclusions as set forth by the Conciliar popes and prelates? Monkeys see, Monkey do!
For a more detailed answer see:http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/vatican2/resist.htm
Objection: 11 - To my knowledge, never in the two thousand year history of the Church has a bishop consecrated another against the explicit will of the Sovereign Pontiff and subsequently been praised for it. If history is the magistra vitae, this in itself should be an indication of the gravity of the act.
Answer: - Firstly, it is an error to presume that just because something hasn’t ever been done before that it should not nor could not be done without blame. Just read the lives of the saints. They are filled with surprises. Further that is not only bad logic but also bad theology to say the least.
If we take a brief look at Church History, we read that "St. Eusebius of Samosata and other bishops, not only consecrated but even established other bishops in Episcopal sees" (V.Manlio Simonetti, la Crisi ariana nel IV Secolo, Institutum Patristicum Augustinainum, Via S., Uffizio 25, Roma), 1975) even while having no particular jurisdiction over them, (Theod. Hist.eccl'bookII, Chap XI, Action du college episcopal) and yet the Church has not hesitated to proclaim his sanctity. St. Anthanasius and the other othodox bishops took it upon themselves in the fourth century to enter into the diocese of Arian minded bishops to attend to those Catholics who had kept the faith. And the Church maintained their praises.
Dom Grea, whose attachment to the pope is above all suspicion, testifies (De L'Eglise et de sa divine constitution, vol. I) that not only at the beginning of Christianity did the "necessity of the Church and the Gospel" demand that the power of the episcopal order be exercised in all its fullness without jurisdictional limitations, but that in successive ages extraordinary circumstances required "even more exceptional and more extraordinary manifestations" of Episcopal power (ibid, P.218) in order "to apply a remedy to the current necessity of the Christian people" for whom there was no hope of aid on the part of the legitimate pastors nor from the Pope.
If one doesn’t want to admit that today we are living in a similar situation they are free to do so. One is free to think that pigs can fly and that Martians live on Mars. – But we are dealing with reality.
As Mgr. Rudolf Graber, Bishop of Regensburg, well put it ‘What happened over 1600 years ago is repeating itself today, but with two or three differences: Alexandria is the whole Universal Church, the stability of which is being shaken, and what was undertaken at that time by means of physical force and cruelty is now being transferred to a different level. Exile is replaced by banishment into the silence of being ignored; killing, by assassination of character.’ -Athanasius and the Church of Our Times, p. 23.
It so it is clear that Abp. Lefebvre acted according to the directives of Catholic theology since "it is legitimate to disobey a Pope's command and hinder the carrying out of his orders if he jeopardizes souls" (St. Robert Bellarmine, de Romane Pontife, 2,29). Thus the Archbishop's decision to consecrate four bishops is in direct line with the saintly bishop and confessor Athanasius who at a time of similar general blindness when heresy prevailed was one of the few bishops who openly resisted it at the cost of even being excommunicated which was a measure understood to be just as invalid as the supposed excommunication of June 30, 1988.
For a more detailed answer see:http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/vatican2/wayward.htm
Objection: 12 - The visibility of the Church is rendered void if one is somehow obliged to remain outside its juridical structure.
Answer: - This is not true at all. Those who ought to speak in defense of the church have rendered themselves mute. A Catholic is one who essentially holds to the Catholic faith. As the great St. Athanasius put it "Even if Catholics faithful to tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.” - Coll. Selecta SS. Eccl. Patrum. Caillu and Guillou, Vol. 32, pp 411-412
As Fr. William Jurgens points out: “At one point in the Church’s history, only a few years before Gregory’s [Nazianz] present preaching (+380 A.D.), perhaps the number of Catholic bishops in possession
of sees, as opposed to Arian bishops in possession of sees, was no greater than something between 1% and 3% of the total. Had doctrine been determined by popularity, today we should all be deniers of Christ and opponents of the Spirit. …In the time of the Emperor Valens (4th century), Basil was virtually the only orthodox Bishop in all the East who succeeded in retaining charge of his see… If it has no other importance for modern man, knowledge of the history of Arianism should demonstrate at least that the Catholic Church takes no account of popularity and numbers in shaping and maintaining doctrine: else, we should long since have had to abandon Basil and Hilary and Athanasius and Liberius and Ossius and call ourselves after Arius.” - William Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, Vol. 2, p. 39.
Again in dealing with this issue of the Arian crisis, Michael Davies well noted: "During a time of apostasy, those who remain true to the Faith may have to worship outside the official churches, in order not to compromise that Faith... they may have to look for truly Catholic teaching not from the bishops of their country... not even to the Roman Pontiff... but to one heroic confessor whom the other bishops and even the Roman Pontiff may have repudiated or excommunicated."
St. Augustine well noted long ago that "Divine providence often allows even good men to be expelled from the Christian community.... By their patient endurance of such injury and disgrace for the peace of the Church..., they will give man a lesson in true affliction, in the really genuine charity, which God's service calls for. The object of such men is to return when the gale has blown itself out; but if this is not possible because the storm continues, or is more likely to break out more furiously than ever if they go back, they cling to their determination... and are prepared... to defend to the death the faith which they know is preached in the Catholic Church, and to support it by their loyal testimony. The Father sees these men in secret, and rewards them in secret." - De Vera Religione, sec. 6
When a similar problem came about during the Arian heresy, what Carnal Newman said of it can be justly applied here: : “There was a the temporary suspense of the function of Ecclesia Docens [teaching Church] as about 80 percent of the bishops fell into heresy. The body of bishops failed in their confession of the faith.... The Catholic people, in the length and breadth of Christendom, were the obstinate champions of Catholic truth, and the bishops were not. Of course, there were great and illustrious exceptions; first, Athanasius, Hilary, the Latin Eusebius, and Phoebadius; and after them, Basil, the two Gregories, and Ambrose;... This is a very remarkable fact; but there is a moral in it.
Perhaps it was permitted in order to impress upon the Church at that very time passing out of her state of persecution to her long temporal ascendancy, the greatest evangelical lesson, that, not the wise and powerful, but the obscure, the unlearned, and the weak constitute her (the Church) real strength. It was mainly by the faithful people that Paganism was overthrown; it was by the faithful people, under the lead of Athanasius and the Egyptian bishops, and in some places supported by their Bishops or priests, that the worst of heresies was withstood and stamped out of the sacred territory.”
While leaving out the theological explanation St. Vincent of Lerins in his well-known commonitory on the Tradition points out clearly what position is be taken in such disastrous situation where Catholics find their faith undermined ‘What, if some novel contagion seek to infect not merely an insignificant portion of the Church, but the whole? Then it will be his care to cleave to antiquity, which at this day cannot possibly be seduced by any fraud of novelty.’
Archbishop Lefebvre summed up his response to this objection saying that "As for us, they say that we have distanced ourselves from the See of Peter and from the Church. Yet is we who are the best defenders of both, we who are the most ready to defend the Holy See and the bishops in so far as they the successors of the apostles and the representatives of the church; but not the liberalism they profess." (Against the Heresies Pg. 120)
For a more detailed answer see:http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/vatican2/athanc.htm
Objection: 13 This state of necessity hypothesis is akin to the justification of the Lutheran revolt.
Answer: Ironic how those who have embraced the religion and liturgy of the Notorious heretic (Luther) try to label as Lutheran those who oppose everything he stood for! What a perversion of true order and obedience. In the name of ‘ecclesiastical obedience’ they have managed to undermine the very foundations of the ancient faith in the hearts of men, so much so, that the ancient faith and liturgy which embodies it, is hardly known even by most well intentioned of Catholics today. – Now that is truly a diabolical perversion.
It is the conciliar Church which is making joint declarations with the successors of Luther, not Traditional Catholics. And the abominable declarations are on the Vatican web site for all to view:
In speaking of Martin Luther, John Paul II didn’t hesitated to say that: “Our world even today experiences his great impact on history.”- L’Osservatore Romano, Nov. 14, 1983, p. 9.
Benedict XVI, himself in an address to Protestants at World Youth Day, August 19, 2005 stated that: “And we now ask: What does it mean to restore the unity of all Christians?... this unity does not mean what could be called ecumenism of the return: that is, to deny and to reject one’s own faith history. Absolutely not!” - L’Osservatore Romano, August 24, 2005, p. 8.
Again speaking as Cardinal, Benedict XVI, stated in his work , Principles of Catholic Theology (1982), p. 202: “It means that the Catholic does not insist on the dissolution of the Protestant confessions and the demolishing of their churches but hopes, rather, that they will be strengthened in their confessions and in their ecclesial reality.” - Benedict XVI, Principles of Catholic Theology, p. 202
In short, such contention from conciliarist are based on an outdated theology which is only currently held by Traditional Catholics who hold the ancient faith, by conciliar standards such objections (according to the conciliar popes) are offensive to ecumenical standards.
By conciliar theology what was wrong with Luther?
For a more detailed answer see:http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/vatican2/abuse.htm
Objection: 14 The supplied jurisdiction which the Society claims is founded on too broad an interpretation of the canons which legislate for such a jurisdiction in specific instances.
Answer: - In fact Canon Law itself leaves these cannons to a wide interpretation as the Church primarily seeks not its own (pharisaical) legalism (as end in itself) but rather it’s finality, namely the salvation of souls.
I recommend you to read some of the following articles on the topic:http://www.catholicintl.com/catholicissues/sspxconfessions.pdf
Objection: 15. There is only one Rome, led by one Vicar of Christ. He alone has the supreme power of loosing and binding; in him alone resides the primacy and the infallibility and indefectibility connected with it.
Answer: No one disputes this. However this statement has a context like all of Catholic theology. To take it out of context is to make of the Pope an absolute monarch without bounds, as though he were God on earth. This is akin to idolatry. Even Pope Benedict VXI didn't hesitate this point prior to his taken the papacy; "In fact, the First Vatican Council did not in any way define that the Pope was an absolute monarch! Au contraire, the first Vatican Council sketched his role as that of a guarantee for the obedience to the Revealed Word. The papal authority is limited by the Holy Tradition of the Faith, and that regards also the Liturgy.' - (Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000 AD) .
For this reason the well-known Jesuit theologian Suarez, did not hesitate to affirm :"If [the pope] gives an order contrary to right customs, he should not be obeyed; if he attempts to do something manifestly opposed to justice and the common good, it will be lawful to resist him’ -(De Fide, Disp. X, Sec. VI, N. 16)
Again the Dominican theologian Cajetan points out that;
‘Peter is (must be) subject to the duties of the Office; otherwise, "neither is the Church in him, nor is he in the Church." - (Apud St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, IIa IIae, Q. 39, Art. 1, ad 6). Elsewhere for the same reason he doesn’t hesitate to affirm that “It is imperative to resist a pope who is openly destroying the Church.” (De Comparata Auctoritate Papae et Concilio)
Fr. Adrian Fortescue sums up this point well saying that ‘ The Pope is not, in the absolute sense, head of the Church; the head of the Church is Jesus Christ our Lord.... The Pope is the vicar of that head, and therefore visible head of the Church on earth, having authority delegate from Christ over the Church on Earth only.... If the Pope is a monarch, he is a very constitutional monarch indeed, bound on all sides by the constitution of the Church, as this has been given to her by Christ." (The Early Papacy to the Synod of Chalcedon in 451, pp. 27-28)
For a more detailed answer see:http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/vatican2/newman.html
Objection: 16. God did not need Archbishop Lefebvre or the SSPX to persevere the work of Tradition. Obedience would have been better.
Answer: The same objection could be levied against St. John of Ark, and numerous other saints who followed the will of God despite the compounded opposition, even from lawful superiors, who they resisted. Not everything a superior commands is the will God, nor is it to always and in every case to be seen as such. St. Hughes of Grenoble and Guy of Vienne (who later became Pope Calixtus II ) wrote to Pope Pascal II who was wavering concerning "the investitures": "If, what we absolutely do not believe, you would choose another way and would - God forbid - refuse to confirm the decisions of our paternity , you would force us away from obeying you." (Bouix, Tract, de Papa, T. II, p. 650).
Thomas Aquinas deals with this issue when covering the issue of Fraternal Correction and states thus:
"Some say that fraternal correction does not extend to the prelates either because man should not raise his voice against heaven, or because the prelates are easily scandalized if corrected by their subjects. However, this does not happen, since when they sin, the prelates do not represent heaven, and, therefore, must be corrected. And those who correct them charitably do not raise their voices against them, but in their favor, since the admonishment is for their own sake.... For this reason, according to other [authors], the precept of fraternal correction extends also to the prelates, so that they may be corrected by their subjects." (IV Sententiarum, D. 19, Q. 2, A. 2)
God is free to use the instruments he uses and in the many he wishes to use them. History it is clear has confirmed the witness of Archbishop Lefebvre and his work which has stood as a light house not only for the SSPX but also for numerous other religious communities who have been able to flourish as a consequence of his work and the numerous souls who have been brought to the faith through the expanding work of the archbishops apostolate.
For a more detailed answer see:http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/vatican2/obediance.htm
Objection 17 – It seems that there can be no solution to the SSPX situation vis a vis it’s relation to the conciliar Church.
Answer: That would be a narrow minded approach to the issue. An approach which never the Pope nor the superiors of the SSPX hold. There are current discussion to come to a resolution as to the canonical structure so as to allow the SSPX to continue it’s work.
As Archbishop Lefebvre well wrote in his well known declaration of 1974 : ‘we pursue our work of the formation of priests under the star of the age-old Magisterium, in the conviction that we can thus do no greater service to the holy Catholic Church, to the Sovereign Pontiff, and to future generations.’
Recently in an interview to Nouvelles de France (June 8th, 2011), Mgr. Guido Pozzo, clearly affirmed that “The letter of removal of excommunications of the four Bishops illegitimately consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre is the expression of the desire of the Holy Father to favor the reconciliation of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X with the Holy See.”
In short however, all the work of the SSPX is at the service of the Church. Until the Pontiff is ready to allow real Catholicism to flourish once more within the visible structures of the Church the SSPX remains by divine providence on it’s steady course of handing on the faith and forming clergy for the Church.
That said, no well-informed Catholic in good conscience can or should support the apostasy of the conciliar religion which has come about as a consequence of the conciliar reforms and overwhelming influence of the perverse liberal and modernist clergy within it's confines.