Vol 10 Issue 15 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
April 15, 2017 ~ Holy Saturday
1. Is the Chair of Peter Vacant? An Argument for Sedevacantism
2. Easter Sunday
3. Saint Benedict Joseph Labre
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
I want to wish everyone a most blessed feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As Catholics throughout the world celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ it reminds them of the reason of their faith: God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. (John 3:16) Here in the United States we might see this “3:16” posted frequently by the Protestants, but whereas they make it a blanket excuse for rejecting the fulness of faith, by claiming Christ Jesus simply as “Lord” and take passages which refer to belief in the Lord Jesus Christ—e.g., Acts 16:31 and Romans 4:24—but do not take the other passages literally: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5) Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. (6:54) Unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3) He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me. And he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21) among a litany of direct literal commands given relating to divorce, adultery and the Christian life. What about Christ founding the Church on Peter and the Apostles? If you listen to a Protestant you can see why Martin Luther is designated the first defender of free speech, i.e., the making up of stories to defend not doing what one is commanded by God and legitimate authority. As Catholics we make an act of Faith that tells us that we believe in all that God has revealed who can neither deceive nor be deceived. If one goes to the Protestants for a statement of faith, each has a different story except Christ is Lord (who may be understood as a prophet, a great man, a man adopted by God, one possessing some supernatural closeness to God, even Son of God—but not the God-man) and they may quote from Saint Paul to the Hebrews, Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not. (Hebrews 11:1) But such an abstract statement can only have meaning in a concrete setting. As Hebrews is one of the Epistles Luther wanted to reject, it was only because Luther did not accept that concrete setting of Faith:God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days hath spoken to us by his Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). So as the Protestants celebrate a Resurrection that promises them a faith without works, that is, heaven for the taking; Catholics celebrate a Resurrection that comes because Christ was crucified and knowing that one must crucify one’s flesh with its concupiscences (cf. Gal. 5:24) by fulfilling all things commanded (cf. Matt. 5:17). Catholics who have united themselves to the Passion of Christ during Lent know that they will rise with Him not only in a newness of life through grace on this glorious feast, but in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. (Cf. Apostles’ Creed) This is the joy that Catholics have: that they know they will rise with Christ. (Cf. John 11:24)
Those without the opportunity of Mass will be remembered in Mass on Easter Sunday.
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
At the twenty-third session, (July 15, 1563), the Council of Trent decreed the following canons:
Canon 6. If anyone says that in the Catholic Church a hierarchy has not been instituted by divine ordinance, which consists of the bishops, priests, and ministers: let him be anathema [cf. DB 966.]. Canon 7. If anyone says that the bishops are not superior to priests; or that they do not have the power to confirm and to ordain, or, that the power which they have is common to them and to the priests; or that orders conferred by them without the consent or call of the people or of the secular power are invalid, or, that those who have been neither rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but come from a different source, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments: let him be anathema [cf. DB 967].
Canon 8. If anyone says that the bishops who are chosen by the authority of the Roman Pontiff are not true and legitimate bishops, but a human invention: let him be anathema [cf. DB. 968 ].
The Church has never defined exactly the fullness of the Authority of the Church as she has that of explicitly defining the Infallibility of the Pope in teaching and the primacy of the Pope in governing. Infallibility is not confined to the Pope, but is part of the constitution of the Church. So, also, governance is not confined to the Pope, but is part of the constitution of the Church. This does not deny his supremacy—it is only to state the obvious.The Pope is the visible head and sign of unity since in Peter is to be found the unity of Faith and Authority. The Vatican Council (1870) teaches:
. . . 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. 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. (Sess. IV, July 18, 1870—Pastor aeternus; cf. DB 1821.)
Devivier argues for the Ministerial or Priestly Authority as follows:
How could the Church fulfil her mission of saving souls if, while enlightening minds with the light of revelation, she did not at the same time impart the strength absolutely indispensable for the observance of the precepts imposed by revelation? Now it is through the sacraments, through the sacrifice of the Mass particularly, and through the exercises of her worship, that the faithful obtain the graces necessary for the maintenance of the spiritual life.
Our Saviour’s will in this respect is very clear. Thus we see that when He gave His apostles the command and the power to teach. He also imposed upon them the obligation to baptize all men; at the Last Supper, after distributing His body and blood to them, He bade them do the same in remembrance of Him; on another occasion He gave them the power to forgive sins, so that they alone had the power to loose and to bind.
The apostles themselves affirm this power implicitly by exercising it, and explicitly by their words. In fact we see them baptizing, confirming, ordaining, celebrating Mass, ministering to the sick, etc., and St. Paul writes: “Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. iv. 1). (op. cit. p. 397.)
The Power to Govern, or the kingly office, is what is generally considered the Authority of the Church. This is also called her Jurisdiction as was quoted above from the Roman Catechism. Devivier provides this exposition on the power to govern:
The right of self-government given to the Church comprises three distinct powers similar to those possessed by civil society: legislative power, or the right to make laws and rules binding upon all the subjects of the Church; judiciary power, to define the sense and reach of her laws, to decide disputed cases, to pronounce judgment upon guilt, etc.; and, finally, executive or coercive power, that is, the right to procure, by the necessary means, particularly by the use of penalties either spiritual or temporal, the observance of the laws which she imposes on her members. . . (ibid., pp. 397-99)
. . . A society cannot really exist and attain its end without the power to govern. A multitude of wills seeking to attain the same end necessarily requires common and efficacious guidance. Hence, when it pleased Our Saviour to unite in a perfect society all who believed in Him, He could not but endow this society with the authority necessary to accomplish its mission. In other words, He had to establish heads and rulers invested with a triple power, legislative, judiciary, and coercive; a law supposes the right to judge the guilty and to inflict punishment.
. . . The apostles from the beginning exercised all these powers, making laws, pronouncing judgment, hurling anathemas at the guilty and the rebellious without consulting the civil power or even despite its opposition (Acts xv. 28; 1 Tim. i. 20; 1 Cor. xi.33, 34; vii. 12, 13; v. 3, 4, 5; iv. 21; xi. 2; 1 Thess. iv. 2.) The Church in the centuries which followed continued to exercise the same powers in virtue of the authority properly belonging to her; nor has belief in the legislative authority of lawful heads ever varied in the Church. (ibid., pp. 397-99)
It is the universal teaching of the Church that Peter has the first place in the hierarchy, which teaching is presented by the Vatican Council:
So we teach and declare that according to the testimonies of the Gospel the primacy of jurisdiction over the entire Church of God was promised and was conferred immediately and directly upon the blessed Apostle Peter by Christ the Lord. For the one Simon, to whom He had before said: “Thou shalt be called Cephas” [John 1:42], after he had given forth his confession with those words: “Thou art Christ, Son of the living God” [Matt. 16:16], the Lord spoke with these solemn words: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar Jona; because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it: and I shall give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven” [Matt. 16:17 ff.]. [against Richerius etc. (see n. 1503)]. And upon Simon Peter alone Jesus after His resurrection conferred the jurisdiction of the highest pastor and rector over his entire fold, saying: “Feed my lambs,” “Feed my sheep” [ John 21:15 ff.]. To this teaching of Sacred Scriptures, so manifest as it has been always understood by the Catholic Church, are opposed openly the vicious opinions of those who perversely deny that the form of government in His Church was established by Christ the Lord; that to Peter alone, before the other apostles, whether individually or all together, was confided the true and proper primacy of jurisdiction by Christ; or, of those who affirm that the same primacy was not immediately and directly bestowed upon the blessed Peter himself, but upon the Church, and through this Church upon him as the minister of the Church herself.
And solemnly declares in its canon:
If anyone then says that the blessed Apostle Peter was not established by the Lord Christ as the chief of all the apostles, and the visible head of the whole militant Church, or, that the same received great honor but did not receive from the same our Lord Jesus Christ directly and immediately the primacy in true and proper jurisdiction: let him be anathema. (Sess. IV; cf. DB 1822, 1823)
And Tanqueray argues:
Peter cannot be the foundation on which the Church is to be made firm and solid unless he is to be powerful with the supreme authority of teaching and of ruling in spiritual affairs. The same authority he is promised in the following words:” I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven” and: ” Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth . . .” (op. cit., p. 119.)
Van Hove, writing on the Hierarchy (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 7.—1910 ed.),
In the hierarchy of jurisdiction the episcopate and the papacy are of Divine origin; all the other grades are of ecclesiastical institution. According to the Vatican Council the Bishop of Rome, as successor of St. Peter, has been established by Christ as the visible head of the whole Church militant, and possesses a real primacy of jurisdiction, in virtue of which he has supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church in matters of faith, morals, discipline, and the government of the Church. This power is ordinary and immediate over all the Churches, and over each one in particular, over all the pastors and faithful, collectively and individually (Const. de Eccl. Christi, cap. i-3). The government of the Church is strictly monarchical. The bishops are the successors of the Apostles, but do not inherit their personal prerogatives, such as universal jurisdiction and infallibility (Conc. Trid., Sess. XXIII, De sacramento ordinis, cap. iv). The pope is bound to establish bishops who enjoy genuine ordinary power in the Church (potestas ordinaria), and who are not merely his delegates or vicars, as some medieval theologians held. On the other hand, the theory proposed in the fifteenth century at the Councils of Constance and Basle, which made the pope subject to an œcumenical council; the Gallican theory, that would impose limits on his power by the ancient canons received in the Church, and requiring the acceptance or consent of the Church before his decisions could become irreformable; and the theory of Febronius, who maintained that the Holy See had usurped many rights which properly belonged to the bishops and that ought to be restored to them, are all equally false and opposed to the monarchical constitution of the Church). An œcumenical council does, indeed, possess sovereign authority in the Church, but it cannot be œcumenical without the pope.
(To be continued)
Fr. Leonard Goffine
The Ecclesiastical Year (1880)
INSTRUCTION ON EASTER
What is the festival of Easter?
Easter, in Latin Pascha, signifies passing over, and has the following historical origin: Under Pharao, King of Egypt, the Jews in that country groaned under intolerable bondage. God had mercy on His people, and the hour of deliverance came. By His command the first-born of all the Egyptians was killed by an angel. The Jews had been ordered by God to be ready for emigration, but first to kill a lamb, eat it in their houses in common, and sprinkle the doorposts with its blood. And the angel of death, by order of God, passed the doors sprinkled with the blood of the lamb, and did no harm to any child of the Israelites, whilst he slew all the first-born sons of the Egyptians. In grateful memory of this passing their doors, the Jews observed the festival of Easter, the Pasch, or Passover. After the death of Jesus, the apostles introduced the same festival into the Church in grateful remembrance of the day on which Jesus, the true Easter Lamb, took away our sins by His blood, freed us from the angel of eternal death, and passed us over to the freedom of the children of God.
Where, during this time, was Christ’s holy soul?
In Limbo, that is, the place where the souls of the just who died before Christ, and were yet in original sin, were awaiting their redemption.
What have we to expect from the resurrection of Christ?
That our bodies will rise again from death. (Rom. VIII. II) For if Christ our head is alive, then we His members must also become reanimated, because a living head cannot exist without living members.
What is meant by the Alleluia sung at Easter time?
In English Alleluia means Praise the Lord, and expresses the joy of the Church at the Resurrection of Christ, and the hope of eternal happiness which He has obtained for us.
Why does the Church on this day bless eggs, bread, and meat?
To remind the faithful that although the time of fasting is now ended, they should not indulge in gluttony, but thank God, and use their food simply for the necessary preservation of physical strength.