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The Papacy & False Obedience
The Major Hurdle: Papal Authority
Let us establish the functions and powers of the papacy. Though essential to the Catholic Church, it has at times been vacant, or filled in such a way that vacancy would have been preferable, and the Church survived. The pope exercises supreme power in the Church, that is to say, greater power than anyone else in his time, but many things are completely beyond his power or control. Election to the papacy cannot confer holiness, moral character, or common sense.
VATICAN I: The Holy Ghost has promised the successors of Peter, not that they may disclose new doctrine by His revelation, but that they may, with His assistance, preserve conscientiously and expound faithfully the revelation transmitted through the Apostles, the deposit of Faith. ....we teach and define that it is a divinely revealed dogma that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra—that is, when exercising his office as Shepherd and Teacher of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals which is to be held by the universal Church—thanks to the divine assistance promised to Blessed Peter, he enjoys that infallibility which the divine Redeemer wished to confer on His Church for the definition of doctrines of faith or morals; and therefore the definitions of the same Roman Pontiff are, by themselves and not by virtue of the consent of the Church, irreformable. (Pastor Aeternus, July 18, 1870)
THE PAPACY, Wladimir d’Ormesson (Hawthorn, 1957): “Papal infallibility embraces the whole of divine revelation, but it is confined to that revelation. The pope can impose nothing beyond what forms part of the deposit of revelation. His mission is to profess it, to teach it, to maintain it, and to preserve it. He has an immense task of conservation and exposition. It is not for him to establish new doctrine. The revelation is complete. .... A pope can pronounce only in the name of and for the universal Church. .... The pope knows .... that he is in full agreement with the successors of the apostles. .... he expresses and, so to speak, sums up their wishes. The principle of unity is manifested thereby in all its fullness and all its power. THEY are ONE. ....
“Beyond these boundaries it is clear that the pope cannot exercise his infallibility. It is no less clear that this infallibility can and must be exercised throughout the whole area contained within these boundaries. .... the primary object of the papal Magisterium is the deposit of faith. In the implicit as well as the explicit sense, this deposit embraces doctrines concerning the mysteries and dogmas; practical laws concerning natural and supernatural morality; the means of sanctification established by Christ, the sacraments above all; the constitution of the Church; liturgical and juridical order.” (Preservation and unity, remember! VATICAN I, Dei Filius, April 24, 1870: “If anyone should say that it is impossible or inexpedient for men to be taught by divine revelation concerning God and the worship to be rendered to Him, let him be anathema.” We must, therefore believe in both possibility and expedience. These clearly imply factuality, and take us back to Revelation, complete at the last Apostle’s death, for our Mass. No new rite, even if not clearly a grievous breach of Church law, can show this essential connection with Revelation.)
“The secondary object of the papal Magisterium is the conservation, interpretation, and maintenance—in the face of errors which may arise—of all that constitutes this primary object. .... there are unmistakable juridical signs whereby it is possible to tell when the pope intends to speak ex cathedra: (1) He must be concerned with a matter of Christian faith or morals. (2) The pope must use terms that leave his intentions immediately clear. (3) He must address himself to the whole Church, and not to a local Church, or the Church of one country or region. (4) He must make clear his decision to bind the conscience of all the faithful.
“Beyond these exceptional cases, the doctrinal and disciplinary Magisterium is exercised ....: (1) Pronounce judgment on theological conclusions drawn from dogmas; conclusions which are not themselves revealed either implicitly or explicitly, but are deduced rationally and theologically from the truths of faith revealed. (2) Censure by appropriate theological notes opinions, hypotheses, or doctrines which are or might be in contradiction with revealed truth, by drawing up lists of condemned propositions, taken from the works of one or several authors. (3) Affirm dogmatic facts which it would be impossible to doubt without endangering the faith. (4) Approve the cultus of a beatus or a saint by process of beatification or canonization. (5) Approve religious orders and ensure that their rules conform to the ideal of perfection taught by the Church.” (Edited)
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, Vol XII, p. 269: (e) (The pope) dispenses the treasury of the Church, and the grant of plenary indulgences is reserved to him. While he has no authority in regard to the substantial rites of the sacraments, and is bound to preserve them as they were given to the Church by Christ and His Apostles, certain powers in their regard belong to him; ....
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, Vol VlI, p. 798: The pope cannot delegate his infallible authority to the Roman Congregations, and whatever issues formally in the name of any of these, even when confirmed in the ordinary official way by the pope, does not pretend to be ex cathedra and infallible.
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, Vol XII, p. 269: Though the power of the pope is very great .... it does not follow that it is arbitrary and unrestricted. “The pope is circumscribed by the consciousness of the necessity of making a righteous and beneficent use of the duties attached to his privileges .... by the spirit and practice of the Church, by the respect due to General Councils and to ancient statutes and customs .... by the traditional mild tone of government indicated by the aim of the institution of the papacy—to feed ....”
JUS CANONICUM DE PERSONIS, Ioannes Chelodi, Societa Anonima Tipografica, 1942: “.... we say more briefly what he cannot do than what he can. For limits are not marked for him unless by natural law, by positive divine law, by the purpose of the religion and spiritual society he heads, as regards valid exercise of his power, unless by prudence and the obligation of action to build and not to destroy, as regards its licit exercise.”
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, Vol II, p. 138: There are limits to civil obedience, and to the competence of civil authority. As domestic obedience is not to be carried to the extent of rebellion against the civil government, so neither is the State to be obeyed as against God. It is not within the competence of the State to command anything and everything. The state could not command what God could not command, for instance, idolatry. The authority of the State is absolute, that is to say, full and complete in its own sphere, and subordinate to no other authority within that sphere. But the authority of the State is not arbitrary; it is not available for the carrying out of every whim and caprice. Arbitrary government is irrational government; now no government is licensed to set reason aside. The government of God Himself is not arbitrary as St. Thomas says: “God is not offended by us except at what we do against our own good.” (Contra Gentiles, III, 122) The arbitrary use of authority is called tyranny. Such is the tyranny of an absolute monarch, of a council, of a class, or of a majority. A legal enactment may be immoral, and then it cannot in conscience be obeyed; or it may be ultra vires, beyond the competence of the authority that enacts it, in which case compliance with the law is not a matter of obedience, but of prudence. In either case the law is tyrannical and “a tyrannical law, not being according to reason, is not, absolutely speaking, a law, but rather a perversion of law.” (Summa Theologiae Ia, IIae, q, 92, art 1, ad 4)
The last time a pope spoke infallibly was in 1950 when Pius XII defined the ancient doctrine of the Assumption.
Heresy is the Greek word for choice. Instead of accepting the entire deposit of faith, all that Christ gave us, we set ourselves up as judges of divine revelation. We select the doctrines that appeal to us and reject those that repel us, whether aesthetically, as though we could judge beauty or fitness better than Christ, or logically, as though our reasoning powers excelled the omniscient omnipotence of God. He has spread out what He wishes us to know of eternity before us. We have no logical choice but to accept or reject it in its entirety. If we refuse to accept any point we have no reason to accept any other point, for they all come from the same Source, guaranteed by the same Authority. Not surprisingly, they all hang together with overpowering logical consistency. No fact in any order can contradict them, though some concern matters which we have no other means of ascertaining. All non-Catholic “Christian” religions are heresy—selective Catholicism.
Schism is separation from the Church, traditionally from the pope, successor of St. Peter, vicar of Christ, visible head of the Church. Here we have neither quarrel nor problem. We confront a problem, nevertheless, one faced by few former ages of the Church. In the heart of our religion we must choose between opposing popes. How are we to be united with Paul VI and not separated from St. Peter, St. Gregory the Great, St. Pius V, and St. Pius X? We must be united with them all. If this becomes impossible through the words or actions of one of them we are not authorized to follow the dissident, the newcomer, the innovator, the improviser in the slightest detail that opposes tradition. No matter what his reasons, his motives, his powers of persuasion, his wishes, his hopes, his commands, we cannot move single minds, single souls, in opposite directions simultaneously. Could we accomplish this we should not be schismatic but schizoid.
A pope is as obliged as we to maintain union with the pope, even though dead. Doctrine is not a matter of who is alive or dead, not subject only to a reigning pope. If he fails to maintain union he is as guilty of schism as anyone else. If we insist on union with such a leader we are also in schism.
For my stated intention of destroying the novus ordo “mass” Eric de Saventhem, head of Una Voce, charged me with schismatic tendencies. A schismatic tendency is one which seeks to split the Church. The novus ordo is a prime example. To destroy a prime cause of schism is hardly to promote schism.
Typically—almost universally—innovators accuse of schism those who have only retained what they had—as though the Church of the ages, not the innovators, had caused the trouble which threatens schism. The rot in the Church is there for all to see. Surely they cannot impute the blame to such a small minority as us, whether or not we are correct. What they appear to say is: “The Church is fragmented, so this little group of cranks is responsible.” We become lunatics, so they absolve themselves of answering our arguments. They can’t hide, so they hide us instead.
Tradition is the indispensable bulk of our religion, upon which even the authority of the Bible depends. Neither Christ nor most of His Apostles left writings. They preached. The Gospels were almost afterthoughts. Epistles refer to other unwritten doctrines. St. John’s Gospel states that only a minor portion of Christ’s words and actions—sufficient to prove His divinity—had been recorded. Nothing in the whole Bible guarantees itself. Without the external authority of Tradition it is only a book. Tradition is based entirely on the oral teaching of Christ and His Apostles. It comes to us as well with its traditional interpretation. Untraditional meanings, insights, interpretations are impossible to accept. The Revelation depends in no way on the state of civilization, comparative intelligence, worldly experience, or scientific progress of those to whom it is revealed. It contains all the truths and practices necessary to salvation. It cannot be held that we require more or more advanced doctrine than the earliest Christians, or that they lacked our necessities for salvation.
Innovators, updating the Church, search the past for tradition. They resurrect or invent it and “restore” us to Christianity’s “pure” beginnings—to the “primitive” Church with few rules, no priests, and none of the distracting “accretions of history.” Discoveries of this nature or method cannot be tradition, whose definition includes that it has been handed down without a break. Salvation’s essentials could not have escaped this requirement. The Holy Ghost forgot traditions? And these innovators compensate for His deficiency?
When I encounter a new doctrine that cannot be logically developed from the Apostolic deposit of Faith I must reject it. I must further consider the purveyor of this contra-rational doctrine not Catholic. Beyond that, everything else he tells me falls under unavoidable suspicion, for one is either Catholic or not. No one—layman, priest, bishop, pope—can be part Catholic.
A human is fallible, however high he may rise. What greater privilege could come to a man than that Christ should choose him for an Apostle? Yet Judas sold his God to negotiate with the chief priests. Of the sixty heresies originated by Catholics listed in The Catholic Encyclopedia fifty-eight came from bishops and priests. The person of a pope is not above error or criticism. One pope was condemned as a heretic. Many, even St. Peter, needed correction in office. Several have led anything but exemplary lives. More have exercised the poorest judgment. Others have been incompetent, one resigning for this reason. Election to the papacy guarantees a man no human perfection. Nothing of which a pope can be accused lacks historical precedent or parallel.
Several priests have said that Paul VI is a heretic, a schismatic, an apostate. These charges were brought to Paul, who stood on the dignity of his position, as though he were not bound to prove his orthodoxy or recant his heresy. He is neither the Church nor above testing. The entire Church is not here and now; it is the Mystical Body of Christ and the Communion of Saints; it includes all ages but not all men. Christ Himself was tested. We believe Him because of His Resurrection and on the further test He gave us: “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
CODE OF CANON LAW, 188: All offices shall be vacant ipso facto by tacit resignation in the following cases: .... (4) if a cleric has publicly lapsed from the Catholic Faith; .... (If your bishop fits this he can have no claim on your obedience, even should he have official backing. If, for instance, he will take no action against heretical doctrine taught in his diocesan schools after such error has been demonstrated and called to his attention, he has publicly lapsed from the Catholic Faith.)
OBJECTION: “The Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not : and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” (Luke xxii, 31, 32). Since Christ prayed for Peter, no pope can fail. Therefore Paul VI cannot be a heretic.
REPLY: Have you ever read two verses further in St. Luke’s Gospel? Please explain Peter’s subsequent triple denial of Christ. Jesus also prayed (John xvii, 21 ) “that they all may be one.” Since Paul VI and Vatican II diluted Catholicism supposedly to accomplish this, even Catholics are no longer one. Since God wills the salvation of all, why is hell? Before confirming his brethren Peter was to be converted. When was Paul Vl’s conversion?
IUS CANONICUM DE PERSONIS: The pope’s power is removed: (a) through death .... (b) through resignation .... (c) through lapse into certain and incurable insanity .... (d) through notorious lapse into heresy. This possibility certain people soberly deny a priori, but no reason is speculative which absolutely excludes this. For the pope is not given infallibility as a private teacher. If he infringingly (perfracte) and publicly deny a dogmatic truth, he is no longer a member of the Church, and therefore cannot be its head, and by the very fact loses jurisdiction. This is done by divine law; for this reason the sentence, which in this case the Church would pronounce, would be not of deposition but of mere declaration. .... controversy concerns a heretic pope. Innocent III openly grants the possibility. (Sermo IV in cons. Pontif.: “He can be judged by men, or rather be shown judged, if he clearly vanishes into heresy, because he who does not believe has been judged.”) This admitted, canonists have differed in various opinions, of which the two extremes are: (1) of those affirming that a pope loses jurisdiction on account of heresy merely occult, (2) of those contending that a pope can neither appear nor be deprived of jurisdiction even for public heresy. Both are considered improbable today. And the same judgment (improbability) must be applied to a third, formerly held even by many doctors of great reputation (Cajetan, Suarez), according to whom a publicly heretical pope would not be ipso facto deposed, but must be deposed by the Church. For this contradicts the certain principle of law: that a legitimate pope is subject to no human power.
Citing our standard of unity as authority for change is clearly self-defeating, for his authority is confined to preservation of the entire Faith. Citing infallibility is of no more use, for, as Father J. W. Flanagan points out (Fatima International 4 Feb. 1975): “If Pope Paul imposed a mass that is ‘null and void,” ‘immoral,” ‘not a mass at all,” and ‘a great sacrilege” on the Church and called it ‘the will of Christ” and the ‘breath of the Holy Spirit,” it should be obvious to all that Pope Paul VI is not a legitimate pope or has fallen into heresy which ‘ipso facto” ends his pontificate.” How can infallibility, which he has not pretended to invoke, cover an act which strips him of infallibility? This is as vicious a circle as can be imagined. Whether we recognize Paul VI as valid pope makes no real difference. Nor can all the lawful authority of the lawful successor of St. Peter empower him to bring about unstabilizing innovations in our Mass, our Sacraments, our traditions, or our doctrine. Nor can it be adduced that he can do these things because he has done them. If we are to remain Catholic they must all be undone. If he will not undo them we must. We cannot do it with compromise or faintheartedness. We may not live to see the end of the fight, but fight we must. The Mass and Sacraments are the ordinary means of grace and salvation. We cannot leave such grave matters in doubt. We cannot afford to be wrong. It won’t help in hell to say: “But everyone else was wrong, too.”
Infallibility, imputed blanket-style to Paul’s every whim, covers none of his words or actions. Even a pope speaks infallibly only to the entire Church on faith and morals. Here he may not innovate—what he expounds must be shown held at least implicitly by the Church from its beginning. The purpose and extent of all papal authority is to preserve the essentials (which include propagation) of the Church.
By far the greatest essential is the Mass. The entire purpose of the Church is the worship of God, and subordinately the concomitant salvation it offers men. All else in the Church serves this one end—worship. This above all must be preserved as instituted by Christ, as performed by the Apostles. We may surround it with solemn ceremony, with safeguards of language and doctrine, but we must never change an essential. For as soon as an essential is changed the result is not a Mass, no matter what is intended.
To remove its prime purpose is to stultify the Catholic Church, to disorient it, to turn it into a laughing-stock. It had to be done gradually; no one would believe it at one great gulp. “Theologians” published novel views. They far exceeded the bounds of Catholic doctrine and tradition, and converted many to barefaced heresy. The “pope,” the guardian of truth, said nothing. He shirked his responsibility to guide his flock, to analyze and condemn errors, and called his dereliction “charity.”
Standing in the shoes of the Fisherman, he caught us a red herring—vernacular. The Mass was translated into modern languages, supposedly by experts. A ten-year-old would blush to have done it. But the translators were experts—really. They’d given us something that everyone on earth itched to change further—obviously one could only improve it. And the changes continue; were they to stop some might realize there had been a purpose, now accomplished.
Then Paul violated—but did not abrogate—the infallibly promulgated law Quo Primum by the introduction of a new rite, presumably to bring order out of the liturgical chaos for which he was responsible. He imposed it with a wish and a hope, which we were to invest with infallibility and construe as a command. “Ritual and rubrics,” he said, “are not in themselves a matter of dogmatic definition.” Possibly true, but a lie nonetheless, for he implied that his introduction of a new rite—an absurdity in itself—was no more than a change of ritual and rubrics.
Meanwhile back at the herring hatchery some one brought in birth-control. This redolent fish stank for years; talks dragged on, minority reports leaked, everybody wondered what the pope would say. It was a settled issue, and had been all the way back to Genesis. I knew what the pope must say, and so did Paul. But he took his sweet time, and even then took it out of the realm of infallibility so he need not fire brother-modernist cardinals for disagreeing. Humanae Vitae was unnecessary except to “prove” Paul’s orthodoxy.
I quote Paul VI, citing paragraph numbers in his Encyclical Populorum Progressio. 34.... every program made to increase production has .... no other raison d’etre than the service of man. Such programs could reduce inequalities, fight discriminations, free man from various types of servitude, and enable him to be the instrument of his own material betterment, of his moral progress, and of his spiritual growth. (What need for religion?) .... man is only truly man in as far as, master of his own acts and judge of their worth, he is the author of his own advancement, in keeping with the nature which was given to him by his Creator and whose possibilities and exigencies he himself freely assumes. (Man is only man if he needs no help? Who shows him these possibilities? To whom is he responsible?) 35 .... an illiterate is a person with an undernourished mind. .... literacy is a fundamental factor of social integration, as well as of personal enrichment, and for society it is a privileged instrument of economic progress and of development. (Worship of God or of paper? No one knows anything unless it is written and he can read! Since a greater proportion of Christians than formerly can read, we must be better and more informed Christians. How inefficient of Christ not to have waited for the invention of the printing press! Readers have well-nourished minds, and therefore fit better into their own social systems, whatever they are?) 77. The peoples themselves have the prime responsibility to work for their own development. But they will not bring this about in isolation. (No increased production?) Regional agreements among weak nations for mutual support, understandings of wider scope entered into for their help, more far-reaching agreements to establish programs for closer co-operation among groups of nations—these are the milestones on the road to development that leads to peace (or war). 78. This international collaboration on a world-wide scale requires institutions that will prepare, co-ordinate, and direct it, until finally there is established an order of justice which is universally recognized. With all Our heart, We encourage these organizations which have undertaken this collaboration for the development of the peoples of the world, and Our wish is that they grow in prestige and authority. ‘Your vocation,” as We said to the representatives of the United Nations in New York, ‘is to bring not some people but all peoples to treat each other as brothers.... Who does not see the necessity of thus establishing progressively a world authority, capable of acting effectively in the juridical and political sectors?” (Who does not see, rather, a pope striking at the roots of order by undercutting legitimate governing authority and advocating unworkable political uniformity while simultaneously he destroys religious uniformity, a far more unitive Force?) 37 .... too frequently an accelerated demographic increase adds its own difficulties to the problems of development: the size of the population increases more rapidly than available resources.... It is certain that public authorities can intervene(!), within the limit of their competence .... (Neither limit nor competence are defined for this utterly new public right of intervention. Only the size of the family is limited.)
Paul says many orthodox words, I am told. Look, For instance at his marvellous Encyclical Mysterium Fidei! So look at paragraph 35: “The Lord bloodlessly immolates Himself in the sacrifice of the Mass, which represents the sacrifice of the Cross, and exerts its saving power, when through the words of consecration, He begins to be present in a sacramental form under the appearances of bread and wine to become the spiritual food of the faithful.” Is it not incumbent upon a teaching pope to speak precisely, especially in such a vital matter? “Begins to be” can mean that Christ is not fully, definitively present until after the elevation—that his presence is induced by the credulous ogling of the bread by the congregation. This agrees with the definition of the novus ordo, and with its rubrics, which dispense with the genuflections before both elevations. But even this is not specified; it can mean that Christ becomes fully present, if at all, at the communion “to become the spiritual food of the faithful.”
Paul also said (21 June 1972): “Perhaps the Lord has called me not to govern and save the Church, but to suffer for her, and to make it clear that He, and no one else, guides and saves her. .... We say this in order that you may enjoy the tranquillity that We Ourselves experience at the thought that it is the Lord’s hand that is at the helm of Peter’s boat....” The Lord has broad shoulders, too. On the worst stretch of your bus route, where the slightest mistake can plunge you off either side of the icy ridge to certain death, your driver leaves his seat, suffers mightily, and leaves the wheel to the Lord. Anyone can suffer—on his own time! Christ’s vicar’s job is to run Christ’s Church. Paul VI ran it into the ground and had the colossal gall to milk sympathy for his malfeasance!
April 10, 1970 Paul publicly thanked the six Protestant clerics who had given us our new “mass” for their work on reform of the liturgy. He praised them for imparting an “authentic simplicity” to our new “mass,” for “elevating” divine worship, for “adjusting” the ancient texts to “our way of thinking,” for “correcting” and bringing into these texts “greater theological richness.”
During the General Audience of 20 Nov. 1974 (L’Osservatore Romano 28 Nov.) he said: “To undertake the religious effort that the celebration of the Holy Year will ask of each of us, a certain spiritual certainty is necessary. Without it the teaching characteristic of this period would take little hold on us.” (Something new?) “In a preceding elementary talk we mentioned the state of subjective uncertainty, a doubt about our identity, which, if it is not overcome by a logical, psychological, moral state of normal interior certainty, would make unavailing the effort towards explicit and progressive renewal of oneself. It is not possible to build on sand. Sceptical and pessimistic doubt about one’s identity, about one’s life, renders vain all positive effectiveness of religious and moral development. So we said.
“But we must complete this subjective analysis by mentioning an objective analysis, no less general and indispensable; and it is what we would entitle the ‘authenticity’” (what else?) “of our religious thought. Are we sure of possessing sufficient truth to construct the building of our faith upon it?” (Is the speaker not the custodian of Christ’s truth?)
“This observation has a panoramic sweep, because it extends to all matters related to the reality of our religious beliefs. Everything today is invested with an inexorable set of problems, which seem to discourage our claim to give you, adequately, a sufficient and persuasive answer. Our inner doubt thus becomes exterior. It is as if our course, though sincere and courageous, were proceeding in the dark.” (Lumen Gentium? Darkness Visible?) “The psychological doubt becomes ontological. The problem of truth assails our conscience, no longer just in its capacity of grasping reality, but in the real conquest and concrete definition that we give of this reality. On this front, too, the modern mentality, in regard to religion, seems to waver in the darkness; what truth can there be, it comments, in this mysterious field?”
Abbe Georges de Nantes in his sixty pages of specifications of heresy, schism, and scandal (Liber Accusationis) taxes Paul with ever presenting the difficulty, heresy, or problem at length, deliberately leaving insufficient time for the orthodox remedy. See how Hamlet straightens out everything in one sentence before his fresh assault on reason.
“Apologetics remains, and does not refuse its indispensable and tacit” (because he will not voice it) “service, even when it is not explicitly requested” (relevant?) ; (problem solved--let’s have another) “but in the religious field today preference is given to experience rather than to reasoning. Charismatic spirituality is preferred to rational dogmatism. We will certainly not depreciate this possible(!) and admirable(!) way to recovery of religious truth, provided this way itself is” (what else?) “authentic. In this connection let us listen to St. Paul, the doctor of charisms: ‘So, my brethren, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues; but all things should be done decently and in order.” (I Cor. xiv, 39, 40).”
The last paragraph translates: “The Pentecostals will recover our pristine truth since we appear to have lost it. Roll on, you Holy Rollers!” Yet so cunning is the phrasing that Paul can deny such intent: “I only call attention to an existing situation and quote Scripture on the point.” I earnestly desire to prophesy: If this man is on our side we need no enemies.
The papacy is the office of the vicar of Christ. To be antipapal is to be anti-Christian. There is nothing anti-papal in showing that a man may disgrace his office. We do not condemn the Apostles for Peter’s denial or Judas” betrayal. Spoiled by our recent succession of great popes, we may not admit the possibility that we, even as remoter ages, can be afflicted with deficient popes. It is not anti-papal to cite historical facts: that Honorius I was condemned as a heretic, that Benedict IX turned his palace into a brothel, “executed” cardinals, and sold his high office, that Innocent VIII and Alexander VI fathered and granted ecclesiastical preferment to illegitimate families, that Clement VII greatly assisted the Reformation by inaction, that Sixtus IV was involved in a successful murder plot, that Sixtus V tried to palm off an incorrect version of the Bible, that John XXIl almost habitually preached erroneous eschatology. We can all see the great abuses Paul VI condones. The papacy’s purpose is total preservation of the Deposit of Faith, the Mass, sacraments, doctrine and tradition of the Church. Paul VI has not only not preserved them—he has actively replaced them. How is it antipapal to cite facts? Can we help where the accusing facts inevitably point?
But Paul, we are told, is under unimagined pressures. History teems with popes under pressure. Of the first thirty only the twenty-fifth, St. Dionysius, escaped martyrdom. Persecution, invasion, exile, antipopes, or sweeping heresies faced others. Pressure is the hallmark of the papacy. St. Pius X faced the same Modernism that has nearly swamped us today—successfully—heroically, as the Church has recognized in canonizing him. If Paul VI couldn’t stand pressure why did he not resign? He appeared rather to exert than to suffer pressure, as the Econe affair typified.
We can judge results of actions, no matter how motivated. Before John XXIII opened the windows we could all recognize the marks of the Catholic Church. We have since lost 1) unity with our ancestors and with each other, 2) holiness in our holiest ceremonies, 3) universal acceptance by Catholics of Catholic doctrine and tradition, and 4) all missionary or Apostolic endeavor. Are motives relevant?
Again we are told the Holy Spirit guides the conclave of cardinals in papal elections—Paul VI was therefore God’s choice. Leo X held the papacy when Luther exploded. He provided the fuse, and failed to blanket the charge. Clement VII refused to call a Council for fear it would censure or depose him. His temporization and cowardice contributed heavily to the “success” of the Reformation. Were these two walking disasters—elected by cardinals in conclave—chosen candidates of the Holy Ghost? They lost whole countries to us for centuries. If this is the work of Divine Providence, why may not another pope or two be involved in similar works of Divine Providence?
Paul VI developed a new use for orthodoxy, the highly successful tactic of foundation removal, or rug-jerking. Paul criticized some current abuse—Pentecostalism, communion in the hand—thus bolstering confidence in the Magisterium. Delighted theologians quoted him for their arguments. What greater authority could they ask? But this authority destroyed himself shortly by some “spontaneous” word or act, leaving the theologian, who could have used firm bases for his arguments, dangling with the rest of us. This technique undermines certainty, destroys faith in permanency, murders tradition and stability, and demoralizes the entire Catholic community, Pavlov’s newest dogs.
He also counterfeits orthodoxy, as in his “Creed of the People of God.” First hearing of it, I thought it supererogative; could modern man improve the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds? Now I appreciate its ecumenic properties.
Paul’s preamble—which unwarrantably ties this self-serving instrument to the Nicene Creed, and, of course, updates it—carefully removes the credimus from the realm of dogmatic definition. He knew better than to propose this for unquestioning belief, even his own. He both omitted and said too much.
“Creator of things visible such as this world in which our transient life passes, of things invisible such as the pure spirits which are also called angels” (no devils?), “and Creator in each man of his spiritual and immortal soul.... and above every created intellect.” Omission of “all” before each use of “things” has left the possibility of things which God has not created, such as the human body and mind (evolved?) or uncreated intellects (the “god” of freemasonry) to which God is not necessarily superior. Only much later, after several changes of subject, do we find “through Him all things were made,” apparently subject to the prior ambiguity.
Who in Christendom is foolish enough to thank God for Judaism or Islam? Only an unbeliever could have thought of it: “that very many believers can testify with us before men to the unity of God; even though they know not the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.” Let us thank God that so many violently deny a basic truth revealed by God Himself, and have consequently wiped out whole Christian nations!
“He gave us this new commandment to love one another as he loved us. He taught us the way of the beatitudes of the Gospel ....” Why single out these? Ecumenism? World development? With no axe to grind he might well have included the entire Gospel.
“.... those who have refused them (love and piety of God) to the end going” (for how long?) “to the fire that is not extinguished.” He could not bear to mention hell, nor that eternity of punishment, that impossibility of escape that makes it hell.
“We” believe also (updating with a vengeance) that “Baptism should be administered even to little children.” This serves an urgent need of our time? Or raises another dead issue for re-examination?
“.... and which (infallibility) is assured also to the episcopal body when it exercises with him (pope) the supreme Magisterium.” Here he tries to impute infallibility to Vatican II as well as to his new “advisory” synod of bishops, for which, incidentally, it is the pope’s duty and prescribed function to prepare the agenda, just as the Vatican prescribes the agenda for the various national and regional episcopal conferences, which, despite the general impression, are anything but rebellious and innovative as a rule. But Paul ever avoids sole responsibility, and often any responsibility, for actions or doctrines.
“Recognizing also the existence, outside the organism of the Church of Christ (Catholic?), of numerous elements of truth and sanctification which belong to her as her own and tend to Catholic unity, .... we entertain the hope that the Christians who are not yet” (but formerly were) “in the full communion of the one only” (Catholic?) “Church will one day be reunited in one flock with one only shepherd” (president of the World Council of Churches?). Is entertainment of hopes of this nature matter for a Creed? The Catholic Church has a monopoly, not on grace, but on sanctification.
How does one achieve less than full communion with the Church? Paul is on “safe” ground here; Vatican II (Ecumenism 3 & 4) had said much the same.
“We confess that the Kingdom of God .... consists in an ever more profound knowledge .... an ever stronger hope .... an ever more ardent response .... and an ever more general bestowal of grace and holiness among men.” How much more fortunate are we than our ever more remote ancestors who received their religious pittance from that inefficient Jesus Christ! Such ever greater privileges must be deserved, probably through evolutionary superiority.
The next four paragraphs beat the drum for world government and largely usurp the functions of Providence. Then:
“We believe that the souls of all those who die in the grace of Christ, whether they must still be purified in Purgatory, or whether from the moment they leave their bodies Jesus takes them to Paradise .....” A Catholic may accept this as a statement of belief in Purgatory. But a Protestant can and will take this to mean that Purgatory is a moot question—that it makes no difference since the final result is identical whether or not Purgatory exists.
Ambiguity cannot be stacked so high by accident. Catholics may read traditional interpretation into these loose phrases. Others will assess them differently.
Why are you not Catholic? • Catholic Controversy • Danehy on Penance • The Papacy •
The Council • The New Order • The New Mass • The New Law • Cum Ex