1. Is the Chair of Peter Vacant? An Argument for Sedevacantism
2. Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost
3. Saint Elizabeth
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
After the normal commentaries I have afterwards inserted an article by Sandro Magister. This conservative Conciliarist does not understand that his words apply not just to his leader, Jorge Bergoglio, but to the foundation of the Vatican II Church under Angelo Roncalli and Giovanni Montini
. . . He lets run free the most disparate interpretations, whether conservative or progressive in the extreme, without ever explicitly condemning any of them.
The important thing for him is “to cast the seed so that the power may be unleashed,” it is “to mix the leaven so that the power may bring growth,” words from a homily of his a few days ago at Santa Marta. And “if I get my hands dirty, thanks be to God! Because woe to those who preach under the illusion of not getting their hands dirty. These are museum curators.”
Those of us who lived through the changes of Vatican II know that that was exactly how it was: an idea of change was tossed out—not officially—and after the radicals implemented it and the conservatives complained, it then was officially adopted. Unfortunately but expected then, the sense of “obedience to the Holy Father” was absolute; today no one bothers to obey the leader of the Conciliar Church, as seen blatantly by the Society of Pius X. Conditioned to accept the outrageous doctrinal errors of this Novus Ordo Church, they still claim to be part of it. Those complaining of the latest departures from the Catholic faith by Bergoglio will also just grumble as they accept him as their head. It was difficult for those of us to admit, after Vatican II, that this Novus Ordo Church was not the Roman Catholic Church—for that would leave the Church without a Vicar of Christ. But we knew the Pope was for the Church, not the Church for the Pope—and history showed many claimants to the papacy to be not true popes. The Pope was to confirm us in the Faith, not take it away from us. He was to keep the unity of the Church, not be the source of disunity. In upholding the Catholic Faith it obliges one to reject the innovations of the Conciliar Church. Five hundred years after Martin Luther’s Innovation, the Conciliar Church is celebrating his greatness. Less then five years after Martin Luther rejected the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church began to condemn his errors and called a Council, the Council of Trent, to provide, in detail, the one faith to be held by all, and published a Catechism (to be used by all pastors in teaching the faith to the souls under their charge) so all would know this is the Catholic Faith. Both were rejected by the Vatican II Council—yes, they use the term “re-interpreted”, but it still means “rejected”.
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
Fifth Contradiction: Church: Indefectible or Defectible?
What is stated here is not new. The layman, Michael Davies, wrote about this in his three volume Liturgical Revolution (Angelus Press, 1977) in support of the Society of Pius X; and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, in his book I Accuse the Council, (Angelus Press, 1982—first french edition 1976). Unfortunately, the position of accepting a fallible pope and council by the Lefebvrists and Conciliarists, that is, condemning yet defending, has left the majority of Catholics believing in a defectible church.
Wiltgen absolutely makes it clear that the Council was not to clarify and present Church teaching addressing the problems of the Modern Era, but to change the Church of Christ into a Church of Men, from a Divine institution to a human institution:
At a press conference held in Rome on September 13, the day before the opening of the fourth session, Cardinal Döpfner said that the Pope and a large majority of Council Fathers wanted the forthcoming session to be the last one. The work on the remaining schemas was so far advanced, he said, that the session could easily be closed before Christmas “without restricting the liberty of the Council Fathers and without strangulating the Council itself.” He also stressed that the Rules of Procedure would be observed “in their entirety.”
But despite Cardinal Döpfner’s assurances, the Council during the fourth session was in fact “strangulated” more than ever before. This was because the cardinals nearly monopolized prime time. So many of them spoke each day that the interventions of bishops were often read only at a late hour when Council Fathers were either tired or missing from their places. And bishops were repeatedly silenced by closure of debate. Fifty-one cardinals, making up only 2 per cent of the general assembly, delivered 33 per cent of the oral interventions made during the fourth session. (Ibid., 249-250)
The day the Council opened, Montini claimed the Council wanted a synod of bishops to advise the pope and that he would initiate such a council with bishops he chose. The very next day, September 15, 1965, Pope Paul formally constituted the Synod of Bishops, thereby [supposedly] fully complying with the wishes of the Council Fathers even before they had given formal approval to their own suggestion. (Ibid.)
The first document to be considered at the opening of the fourth session was the document on Religious Liberty. The Vatican, during the reign of Pius XII, did not, according to a later apologist, appreciate Murray’s writings, and he had to cease publishing them for a number of years. However, John Courtney Murray made a significant contribution at the Second Vatican Council, especially in The Declaration on Religious Freedom. Murray later wrote:
The statements in Gaudium et Spes [The Church in the Modern World], like those in Dignitatis Humanae [Declaration on Religious Freedom], represent aggiornamento. And they are programmatic for the future. From now on, the Church defines her mission in the temporal order in terms of the realization of human dignity, the promotion of the rights of man, the growth of the human family towards unity, and the sanctification of the secular activities of this world. (John Courtney Murray, “The Issue of Church and State at Vatican Council II.” Theological Studies 27 (1966): 601.)
The document received a majority of votes needed, but, in answer to the opponents,
On December 3, Monsignor Giuseppe di Meglio, an Italian specialist on international law, circulated a letter stating that the voting figures indicated “that for a notable number of Council Fathers the teaching and practical applications of the schema are not acceptable in conscience. In fact, the fundamental principle of the schema has remained unchanged despite the amendments that have been introduced: that is, the right of error . . . . Since the declaration on religious freedom has no dogmatic value, the negative votes of the Council Fathers will constitute a factor of great importance for the future studies of the declaration itself, and particularly for the interpretation to be placed upon it.”
Father Courtney Murray described Monsignor di Meglio’s position as the “tolerance” theory, based on the principle that “truth has exclusive rights and error no rights.” Those who held this position, he said, were of the opinion that Catholicism should be the State religion wherever possible. Where this was not possible, non-Catholic religions were merely to be tolerated as the “lesser evil.” By contrast, the supporters of what Father Courtney Murray called “the more contemporary theory of religious freedom” were convinced that this freedom was “an exigency of the dignity of the human person.” They favored religious freedom not for opportunistic reasons, but because it was sound doctrine. (Wiltgen, 251-252)
Here again the Fathers are told it is not a Dogmatic document, and open to interpretation. Giovanni Montini gave full support and, as faithful Catholics believing he is pope and cannot error, accepted the document on December 7, 1965. Yet, why is this document opposed to Catholic teaching? First, what is the teaching of the Church concerning Liberty? Leo XIII devoted an encyclical to the topic (Libertas, June 20, 1888) in which he defines it as follows: Liberty, the highest of natural endowments, being the portion only of intellectual or rational natures, confers on man this dignity—that he is “in the hand of his counsel” [Ecclus. 15:14.] and has power over his actions. This shows a twofold consideration: 1) Man chooses and 2) man is responsible for his choice. This is seen first in the choice of Adam who chose to disobey the command of God and the consequences of his choice set forth in chapter 3 of the book of Genesis. Leo points to this when he writes:
Man, indeed, is free to obey his reason, to seek moral good, and to strive unswervingly after his last end. Yet he is free also to turn aside to all other things; and, in pursuing the empty semblance of good, to disturb rightful order and to fall headlong into the destruction which he has voluntarily chosen. (Ibid.)
Leo XIII, stating the fact that man has freewill and that man is responsible for his choice, which can have dire consequences, one most know that to have freewill is not as an end in itself, or an absolute, but a faculty to obtain an end and must be directed toward that end. This is not a deprivation, but a freedom in and of itself:
Yet there are many who imagine that the Church is hostile to human liberty. Having a false and absurd notion as to what liberty is, either they pervert the very idea of freedom, or they extend it at their pleasure to many things in respect of which man cannot rightly be regarded as free. (Ibid.)
The question, then, lies on what choice is to be based upon; for on this foundation choice becomes either good or evil. If choice is to obtain a good, then, again, that good must be based on what determines it to be absolutely good. Animals seemingly randomly choose but there is no choice, the animals are only acting upon instinct, which is the only basis of their choice. But man consists of an intellect, wherein are knowledge and memory which provides understanding in choice. This gives rise to acceptance of a conscious person choosing—a soul in a body that has life in this world.
Liberty, then, as We have said, belongs only to those who have the gift of reason or intelligence. Considered as to its nature, it is the faculty of choosing means fitted for the end proposed, for he is master of his actions who can choose one thing out of many. Now, since everything chosen as a means is viewed as good or useful, and since good, as such, is the proper object of our desire, it follows that freedom of choice is a property of the will, or, rather, is identical with the will in so far as it has in its action the faculty of choice. But the will cannot proceed to act until it is enlightened by the knowledge possessed by the intellect. In other words, the good wished by the will is necessarily good in so far as it is known by the intellect; and this the more, because in all voluntary acts choice is subsequent to a judgment upon the truth of the good presented, declaring to which good preference should be given. No sensible man can doubt that judgment is an act of reason, not of the will. The end, or object, both of the rational will and of its liberty is that good only which is in conformity with reason. (Ibid., 5.)
Now if man was in a state of perfection, that is, he knew what was absolutely good, he would know unmistakably what he should choose and could be left to choose. But man is not in a perfect state (since the fall from grace), therefore he cannot be left to choose alone but must be assisted. Error in choice is not from freedom of choice, but from a defect in judgment influenced by ignorance or concupiscence or external forces (world, Satan).
Since, however, both these faculties are imperfect, it is possible, as is often seen, that the reason should propose something which is not really good, but which has the appearance of good, and that the will should choose accordingly. For, as the possibility of error, and actual error, are defects of the mind and attest its imperfection, so the pursuit of what has a false appearance of good, though a proof of our freedom, just as a disease is a proof of our vitality, implies defect in human liberty. The will also, simply because of its dependence on the reason, no sooner desires anything contrary thereto than it abuses its freedom of choice and corrupts its very essence. Thus it is that the infinitely perfect God, although supremely free, because of the supremacy of His intellect and of His essential goodness, nevertheless cannot choose evil; neither can the angels and saints, who enjoy the beatific vision. St. Augustine and others urged most admirably against the Pelagians that, if the possibility of deflection from good belonged to the essence or perfection of liberty, then God, Jesus Christ, and the angels and saints, who have not this power, would have no liberty at all, or would have less liberty than man has in his state of pilgrimage and imperfection. This subject is often discussed by the Angelic Doctor in his demonstration that the possibility of sinning is not freedom, but slavery. It will suffice to quote his subtle commentary on the words of our Lord: “Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin.”[ John 8:34.] “Everything,” he says, “is that which belongs to it naturally. When, therefore, it acts through a power outside itself, it does not act of itself, but through another, that is, as a slave. But man is by nature rational. When, therefore, he acts according to reason, he acts of himself and according to his free will; and this is liberty. Whereas, when he sins, he acts in opposition to reason, is moved by another, and is the victim of foreign misapprehensions. Therefore, ‘Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin’.”[Thomas Aquinas, On the Gospel of St. John, cap. VIII, lect. 4, n. 3 (ed.Vives, Vol. 20 p. 95).] Even the heathen philosophers clearly recognized this truth, especially they who held that the wise man alone is free; and by the term “wise man” was meant, as is well known, the man trained to live in accordance with his nature, that is, in justice and virtue. (Ibid., 6)
Therefore, because of this imperfection, man needs help in order to be free to make the right choices.
Such, then, being the condition of human liberty, it necessarily stands in need of light and strength to direct its actions to good and to restrain them from evil. Without this, the freedom of our will would be our ruin. First of all, there must be law; that is, a fixed rule of teaching what is to be done and what is to be left undone. This rule cannot affect the lower animals in any true sense, since they act of necessity, following their natural instinct, and cannot of themselves act in any other way. On the other hand, as was said above, he who is free can either act or not act, can do this or do that, as he pleases, because his judgment precedes his choice. And his judgment not only decides what is right or wrong of its own nature, but also what is practically good and therefore to be chosen, and what is practically evil and therefore to be avoided. In other words, the reason prescribes to the will what it should seek after or shun, in order to the eventual attainment of man’s last end, for the sake of which all his actions ought to be performed. This ordination of reason is called law. In man’s free will, therefore, or in the moral necessity of our voluntary acts being in accordance with reason, lies the very root of the necessity of law. Nothing more foolish can be uttered or conceived than the notion that, because man is free by nature, he is therefore exempt from law. Were this the case, it would follow that to become free we must be deprived of reason; whereas the truth is that we are bound to submit to law precisely because we are free by our very nature. For, law is the guide of man’s actions; it turns him toward good by its rewards, and deters him from evil by its punishments. (Ibid., 7)
And Leo XIII, then, gives us the basis of liberty, that is, what liberty must be based upon:
From this it is manifest that the eternal law of God is the sole standard and rule of human liberty, not only in each individual man, but also in the community and civil society which men constitute when united. Therefore, the true liberty of human society does not consist in every man doing what he pleases, for this would simply end in turmoil and confusion, and bring on the overthrow of the State; but rather in this, that through the injunctions of the civil law all may more easily conform to the prescriptions of the eternal law. Likewise, the liberty of those who are in authority does not consist in the power to lay unreasonable and capricious commands upon their subjects, which would equally be criminal and would lead to the ruin of the commonwealth; but the binding force of human laws is in this, that they are to be regarded as applications of the eternal law, and incapable of sanctioning anything which is not contained in the eternal law, as in the principle of all law. Thus, St. Augustine most wisely says: “I think that you can see, at the same time, that there is nothing just and lawful in that temporal law, unless what men have gathered from this eternal law.”[ Augustine, De libero arbitrio, lib. I, cap. 6, n. 15 (PL 32, 1229).] If, then, by anyone in authority, something be sanctioned out of conformity with the principles of right reason, and consequently hurtful to the commonwealth, such an enactment can have no binding force of law, as being no rule of justice, but certain to lead men away from that good which is the very end of civil society. (Ibid., 10)
(To be continued)
Fr. Leonard Goffine
The Ecclesiastical Year (1880)
INSTRUCTION FOR THE TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
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