Vol 10 Issue 13 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
April 1, 2017 ~ Lenten Feria
1. Is the Chair of Peter Vacant? An Argument for Sedevacantism
2. Passion Sunday
3. Saint Francis of Paola
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
This Sunday the Church will cover the Crucifix and the Saints’ images as she witnesses the persecution of Christ by His enemies but particularly by our sins. Sometimes it is easy to look at the problems of society and deplore how terrible the situation is and pray that God would rectify the situation. Actually, God does want to rectify the situation, but it is ourselves who do not want to have it rectified. How is this? Because to rectify the situation we must begin with ourselves and making sure that there is no sin in our lives. But we justify ourselves in claiming that what we do is nothing compared to what others are doing and do not seem to hear the echo in ourselves of what the Pharisee was saying in the Temple: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican. (Luke 18:11) It was such as this Pharisee and which we have become that condemned Our Lord to the death of the Cross. What we must propose to ourselves, especially during these last two weeks, is whether we are serious about following Our Lord to Calvary a) carrying our cross: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Matt.16:24; cf. Mark8:34 and Luke9:23) and b) being crucified with Him: And they that are Christ’s, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences (Gal. 5:24). Unfortunately as we blame the apostles from running away and hiding during the Passion, we don’t seem to realize we have also joined them because we too fear the suffering entailed by giving up our vices—our passions obscure His Passion because the happiness we seek is not eternal happiness in heaven but temporal sensual happiness found on earth. We have become blind to what our sins have done to us and even believe it is better to have Caesar (the world) as king then Christ as king. What did the reception of the palm on Palm Sunday mean? Words? Because are actions betray Him—even with a kiss. We become so bold as to even tell Him that if He is the Son of God He should come down from the Cross, that is, take away suffering from us and let us continue in our vices. No wonder why Saint Paul can say: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness (1 Cor.1:23). We are fools if we continue to justify living in sin, if we continue to command fire to come down from heaven, and consume sinners (Luke9:54) Do we not hear the rebuke: You know not of what spirit you are, the Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save (ibid. 55-56). We have to save our soul and it will only be through God’s grace when we nail ourselves with Christ to the Cross so we can rise with Him because we hear the words He addressed to the man cured at the pool of Siloe (John5:14) and to Mary Magdalen (ibid.8:11): Sin no more!
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
3. The Church Possesses the Attributes of Authority, Infallibility and Indefectibility
Everything the Pope binds on the Universal Church must lead, of itself, to the salvation of the members of the Church. In the next chapter Joseph Fessler takes up Papal Infallibility in this explanation:
1) By this expression, then, ex cathedra, the gift of God’s divine grace conveying Infallibility in faith and morals to the Roman Pontiff, the visible head of the Catholic Church, and who in the person of St. Peter has received from our Lord Jesus Christ the full power to feed the universal Church, to direct and to guide it, is closely restricted to the exercise of his office as Pastor and Doctor of all Christians.
The Pope, as visible head of the whole Church, is:
I. The Supreme Teacher of truth revealed by God.
II. The Supreme Priest.
III. The Supreme Legislator in ecclesiastical matters.
IV. The Supreme Judge in ecclesiastical causes.
He has, however, the gift of Infallibility, according to the manifest sense of the words of the definition, only as supreme teacher of truths necessary for salvation revealed by God, not as supreme priest, not as supreme legislator in matters of discipline, not as supreme judge in ecclesiastical questions, not in respect of any other questions over which his highest governing power in the Church may otherwise extend. And when I here decline to place in the range of subjects for the exercise of Infallibility ecclesiastical matters, I mean to exclude all those matters which commonly form the subject of ecclesiastical processes, as, for instance, marriage questions, benefice questions, patronage questions, church-building questions, &c.; questions of faith of course the Pope decides as Supreme Teacher.
(2) As doctrinal definitions comprehend doctrines respecting the faith as well as doctrines respecting morals, it will often happen in the nature of things that definitions on the latter of these two subjects, viz. morals, will be issued to the universal Church in the form of a command or prohibition from the Pope (Precepta morum).
(3) Here, in order that we may better understand the subject, it will be well to compare what we are now saying with what is said in the third chapter of the Vatican definition de fide, where it is expressly taught that the Pope possesses the highest power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, ‘not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in matters of the discipline and government of the Church extended over the whole orbis terrarum.’ Thus there are here distinguished four classes of matters as belonging to the province of things ecclesiastical, which fall under the supreme power of the Pope:
I. Matters of faith.
II. Matters of morals.
III. Matters of discipline.
IV. Matters of government.
In all these matters the faithful owe a true obedience to the Pope.
(4) Then in the fourth chapter, entitled On the Infallible Teaching Office of the Roman Pope, the
Council treats exclusively of the teaching power of the Pope matters, that is, of the first and second class, faith and morals, not matters of the third and fourth class, i.e. discipline and government. Accordingly, it is only as regards definitions of the Pope upon faith and morals, that the Council defines, as a proposition revealed by God, that they possess infallible certainty by virtue of the unerring divine assistance promised to the Pope in St. Peter, i.e. as the successor of St. Peter. Cardinal Bellarmine had already made this distinction, speaking of the doctrine on morals as follows (De Rom. Pontif. lib. iv. cap. v.): Non potest errare summus Pontifex in praeceptis morum, quae toti ecclesiae praescribuntur, et quae in rebus necessariis ad salutem, vel in iis quae per se bona et mala sunt, versantur. [The Supreme Pontiff cannot err in the precepts of morals that are prescribed to the whole of the church and regards what is necessary for salvation, or pertains to good in itself, and not only in those things that are evil. –Author’s Translation.]What he then says further in this place refers to discipline: ‘Non est erroneum dicere Pontificem in aliis legibus posse errare, nimirum superfluam legem condendo vel minus discretam, &c. Ut autem jubeat (sc. Pontifex) aliquid quod non est bonum neque malum ex se, neque contra salutem, sed tamen est inutile, vel sub poena nimis gravi illud praecipiat, non est absurdum dicere posse fieri, &c. [It is not erroneous to say that the Pope is able to err in the other laws, namely a law that is not necessary or is made more or less unconnected, etc. And if he (that is the Pope) orders something that is neither good nor evil of itself, nor is contrary to salvation, but may seem useless, or prescribes it under severe punishment, it is not absurd to say he can do so, etc.—Author’s Translation] And other theologians follow Bellarmine on this point.
(5) This Infallibility of the Pope in the exercise of his office as Pastor and Doctor of all Christians is, however, still more closely defined as ‘that Infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that His Church should be provided in the definition of a doctrine relating to faith or morals. Before, then, we proceed to answer the question, how far the Papal Infallibility extends over matters which concern faith or morals, the question arises how far the Infallibility of the Church extends over such matters? Without entering into the investigation of this very wide question, on which much precise information is afforded in all our great theological works, I content myself with selecting the following proposition, universally acknowledged in theology—viz. That even in dogmatic Decrees, Bulls, &c. &c., not all which therein occurs in any one place, not that which occurs or is mentioned incidentally, not a preface, nor what is laid down as the basis of the decree, is to be looked upon as itself a dogmatic definition, and so as matter of Infallibility.
(6) Lastly, the Council adds that the definitions of the Pope, in which, by virtue of his office as Pastor and Doctor, he lays down a certain doctrine on faith or morals as firmly to be held de fide by all Christians, are per se irreversible, i.e. of their own nature, and not only irreversible when they receive the subsequent as sent of the Church. It is not meant by this that the Pope ever decides anything contrary to the tradition of the Church, or that he would stand alone in opposition to all the other Bishops, but only that the Infallibility of his definition is not dependent on the acceptance of the Church, and rests on the special divine assistance promised and vouchsafed to him in the person of St. Peter for the exercise of his supreme teaching office. 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 a 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. (pp. 56-60)
One can not, from what is said above, nullify that a Pope is infallible when teaching the Universal Church regarding faith and morals—otherwise one would never know if what the Pope taught regarding what is the faith or divine law must be believed.
(To be continued)
Fr. Leonard Goffine
The Ecclesiastical Year (1880)
INSTRUCTION ON THE FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT.(JUDICA)
This Sunday, called Judica from the first word of the Introit, is also called Passion Sunday, because from this day the Church occupies herself exclusively with the contemplation of the passion and death of Christ. The pictures of Christ crucified are covered today in memory of his having hidden Himself from the Jews until His entrance into Jerusalem, no longer showing Himself in public. (John XI. 54.) In the Mass the Glory be to the Father, etc. is omitted, because in the person of Christ the Holy Trinity was dishonored. The psalm Judica is not said today, because on this day the high priests held council about our Lord, for which reason the Church in the name of the suffering Saviour uses these words at the Introit: Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man, for Thou art my God and my strength. Send forth thy light and thy truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto thy holy hill, and into thy tabernacles. (Ps. xlii. 1. 3.)
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. We beseech Thee, Almighty God, graciously to look upon Thy family; that by Thy bounty it may be governed in body, and by Thy protection be guarded in mind. Through, &c.
EPISTLE. (Heb. ix. 11-15.) Brethren, Christ being come, a high-priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by his own blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who, by the Holy Ghost, offered himself without spot to God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? And therefore he is the Mediator of the new testament; that by means of his death, for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former testament; they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
EXPLANATION. St. Paul here teaches, that Christ as the true high-priest of the New Testament, through His precious blood on the altar of the cross, has indeed rendered perfect satisfaction for sins, but that the sinner must also do his own part, by cooperating with Christ to make himself less unworthy of participating in His passion and merits, and to appropriate to himself its fruits. This is done when he diligently and devoutly assists at the unbloody Sacrifice of the Mass, by which the fruits of the death on the cross are attributed to us; when, according to the will of the Church, he purifies his conscience by true contrition and confession; and when he seeks by trust in Christ’s merits to render some satisfaction for his sins through voluntary penance and faithful following of Christ.
ASPIRATION.Grant us, O meek Jesus, Thy grace, that through perfect sorrow for our sins and the exercise of good works we may become participators in the merits of Thy bitter passion.
GOSPEL. (John viii. 46-59.) At that time, Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews: Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? He that is of God, heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God. The Jews therefore answered, and said to him: Do not we say well, that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered: I have not a devil; but I honor my Father, and you have dishonored me. But I seek not my own glory; there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen, I say to you, if any-man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever. The Jews therefore said: Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest: If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art thou greater than our Father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself? Jesus answered: If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God. And you have not known him; but I know him. And if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know him, and do keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad. The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. They took up stones therefore to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.
Why did Christ ask the Jews, which of them should convince Him of sin?
To show us that he who would teach and punish others, should strive to be irreproachable himself; and to prove that He, being free from sin, was more than mere man, and therefore, the Messiah, the Son of God, as He repeatedly told the Jews, especially in this day’s gospel, and substantiated by His great and numerous miracles.
Why did He say: He that is of God, heareth the words of God?
To prove that the Jews on account of their stubbornness and unbelief were not the children of God, but of the devil. “Therefore,” St. Gregory says, “let every one when he hears the word of God, ask himself, of whom he is. Eternal truth demands that we be desirous of the heavenly fatherland, that we tame the desires of the flesh, be indifferent to the praises of the world, covet not our neighbor’s goods, and give alms according to our means. Therefore examine yourself, and if you find in your heart this voice of God, then you will know that you are of God.”
CONSOLATION UNDER CALUMNY
When Christ told the Jews the truth, He received insults and calumny; they called Him a Samaritan, that is, an unbeliever, a heretic, one possessed of a devil. This was a terrible slander, and it must have pained Him exceedingly, but at the same time it is a great consolation to those who are innocently calumniated, when they consider that Christ Himself received nothing better. St. Augustine consoles such by saying: “O friend, what is there that can happen to you that your Saviour did not suffer before you? Is it slander? He heard it, when He was called a glutton, a drunkard, a heretic, and a rebel, a companion of sinners, one possessed of a devil; He even heard, when casting out devils, that He did so by Beelzebub, prince of devils.” (Matt. ix. 34.) He therefore comforts His apostles, saying, If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household? (Matt. x. 25.) Are the pains bitter? There is no pain so bitter that He has not endured it; for what is more painful, and at the same time more ignominious, than the death of the cross? For think, says St. Paul, diligently upon him who endured such opposition from sinners against himself: that you be not wearied (by all contempt and calumny), fainting in your minds. (Heb. xii. 3.)
How and why did Christ defend Himself against those who slandered Him?