Vol 10 Issue 7 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
February 18, 2017 ~ Saint Bernadette, opn!
1. Is the Chair of Peter Vacant? An Argument for Sedevacantism
2. Sexagesima Sunday
3. Saint Mesrop
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
For Catholics today it is easy to fall prey to becoming one’s own means of salvation. Personal salvation is not to be interpreted as “I have to save my soul by myself” and do not need the Church—for it is only through the Church that salvation is obtained. If one were to ask the simple question: What did Christ obtain for mankind on the Cross? It is true one could answer that Christ obtained the salvation of mankind, but salvation is through the Church and therefore Christ obtained the means of salvation, the Sacraments, which He entrusted to His Church. When He sends His Apostles and disciples, with the command, Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world (Matt. 28:19-20), He did so not as individuals, but as the Church, which has always been understood by the apostolic fathers and Church teaching. It is the Church which is given the Sacraments, such that the Church teaches there is no valid marriage unless the couple marry with the Church’s consent; because she, alone, has authority over the sacraments and which she administers. Liceity of Sacraments is always when the minister is united with the Church and receives from the Church the authority. She gives us birth, she strengthens us, she feeds us with the bread from heaven, she heals our spiritual wounds and she is there at our death. Those who would want to separate themselves from the Church, founded on the Apostles (Bishops), no longer belong to the Church—that is what separation means (schism). It is true that Christ founded His Church on weak humans, but the proof of His Divine Spirit dwelling in the Church is her inerrancy—not in personal matters, but in the Church herself. To point to one priest or one bishop does not show the Church failed, but that God does not interfere with the human element, while preserving the divine element in His wisdom. The Protestants and the Atheists will shout how through the history of the Church there have been bad priests and bishops, starting with Judas and justify their separation. The Church has only declared unrepentant heretics and apostates as excluded but has also included both saints and sinners in her bosom. May faithful Catholics never become so proud that they become more Catholic than the Catholic Church, for then it would show they are not Catholic. Receiving the sacraments from a saint is no different essentially than receiving the sacraments from a sinner, as the Church has always taught and expressed in her condemnation of Donatism. Self-reliance for salvation is condemned by the Church condemning Pelagianism. May we, as faithful Catholics, always remain united with the shepherds of our souls, the bishops, by which alone we can remain united to the Apostolic faith that is one, holy and catholic.
As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor
Is the Chair of Peter Vacant?
An Argument for Sedevacantism
by Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
2.The Catholic Church is One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic
In continuing, the Church must be one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic: I believe in one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. (Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed)
a. The Church is One. The Catechism of the Council of Trent, from which source Catholics were taught throughout the world, summarizes this unity as follows:
“My dove is one, my beautiful one is one.” [Cant. vi.8] So vast a multitude, scattered far and wide, is called one, for the reasons mentioned by St. Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” [Eph. iv.5.] This Church has, also, but one ruler and one governor, the invisible one, Christ, whom the Eternal Father “hath made head over all the Church, which is his body;” [Eph. i.22, 23] the visible one, him, who, as legitimate successor of Peter the prince of the Apostles, fills the apostolic chair.
Vatican Council Session IV (July 18, 1870):
“The eternal Pastor and Bishop of our souls” [1 Pet. 2:25], in order to render the saving work of redemption perennial, willed to build a holy Church, in which, as in the house of the living God, all the faithful might be contained by the bond of one faith and charity. Therefore, before His glory was made manifest, “He asked the Father, not only for the Apostles but also for those who would believe through their word in Him, that all might be one, just as the Son Himself and the Father are one” [ John17:20 f.]. Thus, then, as He sent the apostles, whom He had selected from the world for Himself, as He himself had been sent by the Father [ John 20:21], so in His Church He wished the pastors and the doctors to be “even to the consummation of the world” [ Matt. 28:20]. But, that the episcopacy itself might be one and undivided, and that the entire multitude of the faithful through priests closely connected with one another might be preserved in the unity of faith and communion, placing the blessed Peter over the other apostles He established in him the perpetual principle and visible foundation of both unities, upon whose strength the eternal temple might be erected, and the sublimity of the Church to be raised to heaven might rise in the firmness of this faith. [Cf. St. Leo the Great, serm. 4 de natali ipsius c. 2] And, since the gates of hell, to overthrow the Church, if this were possible, arise from all sides with ever greater hatred against its divinely established foundation, We judge it to be necessary for the protection, safety, and increase of the Catholic flock, with the approbation of the Council, to set forth the doctrine on the institution, perpetuity, and nature of the Sacred Apostolic Primacy, in which the strength and solidarity of the whole Church consist, to be believed and held by all the faithful, according to the ancient and continual faith of the universal Church, and to proscribe and condemn the contrary errors, so pernicious to the Lord’s flock. (Dogmatic Constitution I on the Church of Christ, Preamble; cf. D 1821)
To preserve that unity, a visible head is necessary:
That this visible head is necessary to establish and preserve unity in the Church is the unanimous accord of the Fathers; and on this, the sentiments of St. Jerome, in his work against Jovinian, are as clearly conceived as they are happily expressed: “One,” says he, “is chosen, that, by the appointment of a head, all occasion of schism may be removed;” [S. Hyeron. Lib. I contr. Jovin. In med. Et epist. 57.] and to Damasus, “Let envy cease, let the pride of Roman ambition be humbled: I speak to the successor of the fisherman, and to the disciple of the cross. Following no chief but Christ, I am united in communion with your Holiness, that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that on that rock is built the Church. Whoever will eat the lamb outside this house is profane: who ever is not in the ark of Noah shall perish in the flood.” The same doctrine was, long before, established by S. S. Irenaeus, [Iren. Lib. 3 contr. Haeres. Cap. 3.] and Cyprian: [B. Cyprian. de simp. Praeel. In principio fere.] the latter, speaking of the unity of the Church, observes: “The Lord said to Peter, I say to thee Peter! thou art Peter: and upon this rock I will build my Church: [Matt. 16:18.] he builds his Church on one; and although, after his resurrection, he gave equal power to all his Apostles, saying, As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. Receive ye the Holy Ghost; [John 20:21, 22.] yet, to display unity, he disposed, by his own authority, the origin of this unity, which had its beginning with one, &c.” Again, Optatus of Milevis says: “It cannot be ascribed to ignorance on your part, knowing, as you do, that the episcopal chair, in which, as head of all the Apostles, Peter sat, was, first, fixed by him in the city of Rome, that in him alone may be preserved the unity of the Church; and that the other Apostles may not claim each a chair for himself; so that, now, he, who erects another, in opposition to this single chair, is a schismatic and a prevaricator.” [Optat. Initio lib. 2. Ad Parmen.] In the next place, S. Basil has these words: “Peter is made the foundation, because he says: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God: and hears in reply that he is a rock; but although a rock, he is not such a rock as Christ, for in himself Christ is, truly, an immoveable rock, but Peter, only by virtue of that rock; for God bestows his dignities on others: He is a priest, and he makes priests; a rock, and he makes a rock: what belongs to himself, he bestows on his servants.” [Basil. Hom. 29. Quae est de paenit.] Lastly, S. Ambrose says: “Should any one object, that the Church is content with one head and one spouse, Jesus Christ, and requires no other, the answer is obvious; for, as we deem Christ not only the author of all the Sacraments, but, also, their invisible minister; (he it is who baptises, he it is who absolves, although men are appointed by him the external ministers of the sacraments) so has he placed over his Church, which he governs by his invisible spirit, a man to be his vicar, and the minister of his power: a visible Church requires a visible head, and, therefore, does the Saviour appoint Peter head and pastor of all the faithful, when, in the most ample terms, he commits to his care the feeding of all his sheep; [45 John 21:15.] desiring that he, who was to succeed him, should be invested with the very same power of ruling and governing the entire Church.” (Rom. Cat. I, ix)
The unity is in Faith (and Hope):
Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum:
Wherefore, in His divine wisdom, He ordained in His Church Unity of Faith; a virtue which is the first of those bonds which unite man to God, and whence we receive the name of the faithful – “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. iv., 5). That is, as there is one Lord and one baptism, so should all Christians, without exception, have but one faith. And so the Apostle St. Paul not merely begs, but entreats and implores Christians to be all of the same mind, and to avoid difference of opinions: “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms amongst you, and that you be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Cor. i., 10). Such passages certainly need no interpreter; they speak clearly enough for themselves. Besides, all who profess Christianity allow that there can be but one faith. It is of the greatest importance and indeed of absolute necessity, as to which many are deceived, that the nature and character of this unity should be recognized. And, as We have already stated, this is not to be ascertained by conjecture, but by the certain knowledge of what was done; that is by seeking for and ascertaining what kind of unity in faith has been commanded by Jesus Christ.
The heavenly doctrine of Christ, although for the most part committed to writing by divine inspiration, could not unite the minds of men if left to the human intellect alone. It would, for this very reason, be subject to various and contradictory interpretations. This is so, not only because of the nature of the doctrine itself and of the mysteries it involves, but also because of the divergencies of the human mind and of the disturbing element of conflicting passions. From a variety of interpretations a variety of beliefs is necessarily begotten; hence come controversies, dissensions and wranglings such as have arisen in the past, even in the first ages of the Church. Irenaeus writes of heretics as follows: “Admitting the sacred Scriptures they distort the interpretations” (Lib. iii., cap. 12, n. 12). And Augustine: “Heresies have arisen, and certain perverse views ensnaring souls and precipitating them into the abyss only when the Scriptures, good in themselves, are not properly understood” (In Evang. Joan., tract 18:, cap. 5, n. 1). Besides Holy Writ it was absolutely necessary to insure this union of men’s minds – to effect and preserve unity of ideas – that there should be another principle. This the wisdom of God requires: for He could not have willed that the faith should be one if He did not provide means sufficient for the preservation of this unity; and this Holy Writ clearly sets forth as We shall presently point out. Assuredly the infinite power of God is not bound by anything, all things obey it as so many passive instruments. In regard to this external principle, therefore, we must inquire which one of all the means in His power Christ did actually adopt. For this purpose it is necessary to recall in thought the institution of Christianity. (Par. 6-7)
Again, the Roman Catechism (ibid.):
The Apostle, moreover, writing to the Corinthians, tells them, that there is but one and the same Spirit who imparts grace to the faithlul, as the soul communicates life to the members of the body. [I Cor 12:11, 12.] Exhorting the Ephesians to preserve this unity, he says, “Be careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” [Eph. iv.3.] As the human body consists of many members, animated by one soul, which gives sight to the eyes, hearing to the ears, and to the other senses, the power of discharging their respective functions; so, the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church, is composed of many faithful. The hope, to which we are called, is, also, one, as the Apostle tells us in the same place: [Eph. iv.4.] we all hope for the same consummation, eternal life. Finally, the faith, which all are bound to believe and to profess, is one: “Let there be no schisms amongst you;” [I Cor i.10.] and baptism, which is the seal of our solemn initiation into the Christian faith, is, also, one. [Eph. iv.5.]
Pius IX in his Allocution, Ubi primum to the Consistory, December 17, 1847:
. . . We have a special reverence for and We defend very strongly those [traditions] which are in harmony with the tradition of the other Churches, and above all with this Holy Roman Church, with which, to use the words of Irenaeus, “by reason of her eminent primacy, every church must necessarily agree, that is to say, the faithful of the entire world, and in which is kept, by all the faithful, the tradition which comes from the Apostles” [Adv. Haereses, III, 3, 2.]
Therefore, let those who wish to be saved come to this pillar, to this foundation of the truth which is the Church; let them come to the true Church of Christ which, in her Bishops and in the Roman Pontiff, the supreme head of all, possesses the uninterrupted succession of apostolic authority, which has never had anything more closely at heart than to preach, to preserve, and to defend with all her strength the doctrine announced by the Apostles on the order of Jesus Christ; who, since the days of the Apostles, has grown in the midst of difficulties of every kind, and who, splendid with the splendor of miracles in the entire, world, made fruitful by the blood of Martyrs, ennobled by the virtues of Confessors and Virgins, strengthened by the testimony and the wise writings of the Fathers, has sent down roots and still nourishes in all the countries of the earth, brilliant in the perfect unity of her faith, of the sacraments and of her spiritual sacred government. For Us, who, in spite of Our unworthiness, sit on this supreme Chair of the Apostle Peter, on which Jesus Christ Our Lord laid the foundations of his Church, We will never spare either Our efforts or Our labors, to bring back, by the grace of the same Jesus Christ, to this unique way of truth and salvation, those in ignorance and error. Let all those who oppose Us remember that heaven and earth will pass away, but that not One of Christ’s words can pass away, that nothing can be changed in the doctrine which the Catholic Church has received from Jesus Christ to preserve, to defend, and to preach.
Van Noort provides this outline:
Christ willed that His Church enjoy unity of faith and of profession (credal unity) which consists in this, that all the members of the Church hold and make profession of the same doctrine as it is presented for belief by the Church’s teaching office.
Note the phrase “make profession of”; for a purely internal assent of the mind to truth does not satisfy the requirements of a visible society such as the Church is. This assent must be given clear outward expression as well: Because with the heart a man believes and attains holiness, and with the lips profession of faith is made and salvation secured (Rom. 10:10).
He then provides the Scriptural texts that prove our Lord and the Apostles demand that everyone profess the faith preached by the apostles and their successors: Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-17; Gal. 1:8; I Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:5, 13-14; Tit. 3:10-11. Next, he draws from early Christianity:
According to St. Justin, real Christians are “disciples of the genuine and unsullied doctrine of Jesus Christ,” and are “one mind, one congregation, one Church.” On the contrary, “those who claim to be Christians but do not hold His doctrine” are heretics.’ Hegesippus stigmatizes as heretics those “who have, each of them, privately introduced their own pet opinions,” because “by introducing strange doctrine . . . they have rent asunder the unity of the Church.” [Cited in Eusebius’ History of the Church, 4. 21.] St. Irenaeus: “Just as the sun is one and the same all throughout the world, so too the preaching of the truth shines everywhere and enlightens all who desire to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. . . for the universal Church has the one and the same faith all throughout the world.” [Adversus haereses i. 10. 2-3].
St. Augustine lists eighty-eight heresies, and then concludes: “There may be or there may arise other heresies, but if anyone espouses one of them, he will not be a Catholic Christian.” [Liber de haeresibus concl.]
Van Noort then defines unity of faith:
The unity of faith which Christ decreed without qualification consists in this, that everyone accepts the doctrines presented for belief by the Church’s teaching office. In fact our Lord requires nothing other than the acceptance by all of “‘the preaching of the apostolic college, a body which is to continue forever; or, what amounts to the same thing, of the pronouncements of the Church’s teaching office, which He Himself set up as the rule of faith. And /127/ so, (a) the essential unity of faith definitely requires that everyone hold each and every doctrine clearly and distinctly presented for belief by the Church’s teaching office; and that everyone hold these truths explicitly or at least implicitly, i.e., by acknowledging the authority of the Church which teaches them. But, (b) it does not require the absence from the Church of all controversy about religious matters. For as long as there does not exist a clear and explicit statement of the Church about some point or other, even though it may perchance be contained objectively in the sources of revelation, it can be freely discussed without any detriment to the unity of the faith, provided that all the disputants are ready to bow to a decision of the Church’s teaching office, should one be forthcoming. Obviously the unity of faith does not extend beyond the limits of the rule of faith. (op. cit., p. 126-28; cf. Ott, Part 2, chapt. 3, p. 15)
(To be continued)
Fr. Leonard Goffine
The Ecclesiastical Year (1880)
In the Introit of this day’s Mass, the Church brings before us one who seeks to be loosed from his sins, and calls on God for help and assistance. Arise, why sleepest thou , O Lord? arise, and cast us not off to the end: why turnest thou thy face away, and forgettest our trouble? Our belly hath cleaved to the earth: arise, O Lord, help us and deliver us. O God, we have heard with our ears; our Fathers have declared to us. (Ps. xliii. 23. 25.) Glory be to the Father, &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O God, who seest that we trust not in aught we do; mercifully grant that by the protection of the Doctor of the Gentiles we may be defended against all adversities. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, &c.
EPISTLE (ii. Cor. xi. 19-33; to xii. 1-9,) Brethren, you gladly suffer the foolish; whereas yourselves are wise. For you suffer if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take from you, if a man be lifted up, if a man strike you on the face. I speak according to dishonor, as if we had been weak in this part. Wherein if any man dare (I speak foolishly), I dare also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they the ministers of Christ (I speak as one less wise,) I am more: in many more labors, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times did I receive forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods; once was I stoned; thrice I suffered shipwreck; a night and a day I was in the depth of the sea. In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren. In labor and painfulness, in much watchings, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness; besides those things which are without, my daily instance, the solicitude for all the Churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is scandalized, and I am not on fire? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things that concern my infirmity. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knoweth that I lie not. At Damascus the governor of the nation under Aretas the king, guarded the city of the Damascenes to apprehend me; and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and so escaped his hands. If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed); but I will come to the visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in, the body I know not, or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth): such an one rapt even to the third heaven. And I know such a man (whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell, God knoweth): that he was caught up into paradise; and heard secret words, which it is not granted to man to utter. For such an one I will glory; but for myself I will glory nothing, but in my infirmities. For though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish; for I will say the truth. But I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth in me, or anything he heareth from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me. For, which thing thrice I besought the Lord, that it might depart from me. And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Why is St. Paul mentioned in the Mass of this day, and why is this epistle read?
Because in Rome the Station or Church service is held on this day in the Church of St. Paul and because the Church continues to encourage us to work according to the example given by St. Paul who, with the grace of God, accomplished and suffered so much; also because we should labor for the honor of God and the salvation of our souls and faithfully cooperate with the grace of God. <