My name seems to have come up in some attack now made upon the Church. I have stated before and again reiterate, this is the hill I am prepared to die upon, for to let this go is to abandon the Church, and I am irrevocably committed to the Church and to the cause of recognizing the true and rightful authority held by the Church in Her clerical officers, the traditional priests and bishops.
I will intersperse here the entries from a blog with my thoroughly Catholic responses to the attacks against faith that a certain selectively informed author has elected to make:
Post script: The New Sedevacantist Error
Partly as a reaction to the notes presented above, certain sedevacantist polemicists have adopted the view that the independent clerics do have the "authority" to pick and choose which editio typica of the liturgical books to use because they are to be ascribed Apostolicity formaliter and ordinary jurisdiction, and, consequently, constituting the Ecclesia docens properly so-called.
First of all, something needs to be said regarding the context of this denunciation, some of which has spilled into this first paragraph. This comes after and within the context of a blog exchange regarding the changes made to the liturgy during the reign of Pope Pius XII. Some, knowing what an obvious disaster the Novus Ordo changes would be, appear to see some initial basis for some of the Novus Ordo aberration in the far smaller and subtler changes made to the liturgy long before, namely under (but with the approval of) a real Roman Catholic Pope.
Some, making that seeming connection, appear to have denigrated the holy Pope, the Angelic Shepherd (which is what Pope Pius XII has been acclaimed as, in a manner similar to how St. Thomas is acclaimed as the Angelic Doctor), for having made, or even allowed, such dangerous changes. Oftentimes, this denigration of that Pope is made as some sort of justification for insisting upon some much older liturgy, namely that which existed before any of those changes which stem from the activities of the obviously Masonic and villainous Annibale Bugnini, namely those changes from the time of Easter Saturday in 1950 clear until what was found by the time of the death of Pope Pius XII (revised Holy Week, other lesser changes), or even what was very much "in the works" upon his death in 1958, such that it has become the 1962 Roman Missal.
I must admit that I do agree that such denigration of a Holy Father is not called for, and that it most certainly is unfair to accuse him of having any Modernist sympathies on the basis of what liturgical changes he did unhappily approve. The changes actually approved by Pope Pius XII (pretty much confined to the Holy Week portion of the Liturgy) might be arguably "imprudent" to some small degree (why, after all, would anyone have wanted, or gone along with wanting, to do away with the Tenebrae?), there certainly is no room to claim that Pope Pius XII was acting outside his capacity as Pope to give consent to these changes or even agree to imposing them upon the Church. Neither is it clear to me (as I write this) whether he insisted upon this for all Latin Rite Catholic clergy under all circumstances, or permitted exceptions, for example on a case-by-case basis with episcopal approval, or for those clerics who are too poor to purchase revised liturgical books.
The bare fact of having allowed any change at all at such a time as this, with the ravages of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo just around the corner, would certainly have to be a much larger imprudence, however as the imprudence of that move can only be seen in hindsight, and in particular in view of what followed after his death, one really cannot charge the Pope with any real imprudence in this matter at all. A decision, which at almost any other time in Church history would certainly be accepted as innocent, takes on the flavor of scandal owing to its proximity in time to a great many further decisions that destroyed the Liturgy, and also by virtue of the fact that the particulars of the few innocent (or at least tolerable) approved changes and the many malicious and devastating changes shortly thereafter were all concocted by the same nefarious person (Annibale Bugnini) and his conspicuously nefarious group.
Anyway, that is the topic of the blog which brings in all references to various editions of the Roman Missal and other liturgical books. However, even what occurs above also begins to explore many issues pertaining to the Sede Vacante circumstance of the Church, and of those supporting or opposing this observation. If it weren’t for one single occurrence of my name in the foregoing, it would never have even occurred to me that he was attempting some sort of "refutation" to the things I have been saying about the Church. What he has to say displays quite a woeful ignorance of my writings and of all that I have said over the years about the Church, to say nothing of a decided weakness in understanding the nature of the Church’s jurisprudence, which is to say, how the Church interprets and applies Her own laws, and finally of the Church’s laws themselves, as actually in effect to this day.
So, even in this first paragraph he gets it very wrong. Particularly, it is in claiming that what I present is in any way "New," and especially as though it were "a reaction to the notes presented above" which I have never read until today (though many of the thoughts and concerns expressed therein I have seen elsewhere). Apparently, he seems to think I just thought this all up recently, and might, on some whim, come up with something else different and perhaps even contradictory, next week.
My concern here is not with what edition of the liturgical books should, or may, or could, be used with sufficient justification of some sort or another, versus which books cannot be used, and what reasons might or might not be sufficient and why. Rather, it is with the antecedent authority of our traditional clerics (mischaracterized here as "independent") which can be properly characterized as "Apostolicity Formaliter and ordinary jurisdiction, and, consequently, constituting the Ecclesia docens properly so-called." Our blogger continues:
The sensus Catholicus recoils at having to reconcile the "œconomia nova" of the modernists who occupy the Johannine-Pauline structures and the depositum fidei of the Church of Christ. However, identifying the acephalous and vagrant clergy of the anti-modernist resistance with the duly appointed hierarchy of the Church of Christ only complicates things.
At least it can be said that this blogger can be given credit for seeing the theological horror of ascribing any real ecclesial role to the modernists "who occupy the Johannine-Pauline structures." However, I don’t know of anyone who would even think of "identifying [any] acephalous and vagrant clergy of the anti-modernist resistance with the duly appointed hierarchy of the Church of Christ." So I have to wonder who he could possibly be even talking about. For myself, I identify the duly appointed hierarchy of the Church of Christ with the duly appointed hierarchy of the Church of Christ.
If some ignorant country bumpkin pays some shady Old Catholic or Duarte-line bishop $100.00 to make of priest of him, and then sets up shop somewhere, opening up a little chapel for whoever might wish to have a "priest" who willingly serves merely as a sacrament machine, what is that to me? Obviously, such an individual would, at best, be capable of functioning only and exclusively under the terms of ecclesia supplet and epikeia, or canons 209 and 2261. And just as obviously, such an individual, despite his reception of sacramentally valid Holy Orders (assuming he got even that), would plainly not thereby become part of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
The priests and bishops I espouse, those of the SSPX, of the SSPV, of the CMRI, of the Trento Priests, and of other similar societies whose names I do not know in various parts of the world, but whose histories are similar in all relevant particulars, along with also what few and fewer remaining priests were incardinated back in those days now long past and who have simply continued faithful in their lawfully appointed role, flatly do not fit into any such category. These bishops and priests most certainly DO comprise the Roman Catholic hierarchy today, first and foremost, because they were so delegated by the Church in accordance with Her laws in effect during this time, and secondly because of the simple deductive fact that if they didn’t, then there really would be no living Roman Catholic hierarchy today in existence at all, as no one else on God’s green earth comes even remotely as close as these to being canonically qualified.
One kind of has to glean from that writer's comments that he actually intends to lump these duly authorized Roman Catholic clerics into the same category as the country bumpkin Old-Catholic-ordained priest mentioned in my illustration above, a kind of indirect insult, and clearly intended as insult, to say nothing of a sacrilegious disrespect of the Church and Her official ministers. There is of course absolutely nothing about belonging to the Church as a cleric during a period of Sede Vacante that in any way makes said cleric "acephalous" even though the Church as a whole is indeed technically in such a state. But by the implied rationale of this blogger, during any and every papal vacancy throughout the Church's history, one could have rightly asserted in the face of any and every diocesan or religious order bishop, or any parish or religious order priest, that "You, sir, are an acephalous cleric!" merely because he has no pope. One would have to marvel at the Church’s recognition of Her authority to provide Herself with another pope, from Pope Linus onward.
In order for the sedevacantists to logically posit their self-appointed clergy as constituting the Ecclesia docens, they must first demonstrate and prove:
The clergy I espouse were appointed by the Church. It is positively libelous to refer to the Church's own lawful hierarchical members as being "self-appointed." If anything, they leave the recognition of their appointment to others, in the spirit of Proverbs 27:2, "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips." However, I, as that "another," am most certainly free to praise them in that manner from which they themselves refrain out of humility and self-effacement. Many of the Church's best and clearest statements of Her beliefs have come in response to the challenges of heretics, and it is in that tradition that I provide what follows. Very well then, the gauntlet is to be thrown down. Let the demonstrations and proofs begin!
(1) precisely how, when and why the occupants of the Johannine-Pauline structures cannot claim to constitute the Ecclesia docens;
This is the easiest of them all, and among the first things I discovered so long ago. The "Johannine-Pauline structures," as he puts it, ceased to constitute the Ecclesia docens, and indeed the Ecclesia at all precisely when it so defined itself publicly and officially as no longer being the Ecclesia. This took place on 21 November, 1964, when this apparatus formally promulgated a constitution by which it defined itself not as being the Church itself per se (nor even the earthly portion of the Church, or "Church Militant"), but rather as merely some parallel organization, an Œconomia nova, within some unidentified portions of which some portion (and also quite explicitly, not by any means "all") of the Catholic Church would happen to be found.
This occurred in the infamous "subsists in" phrase of section 8 of Lumen Gentium. Had the sentence read that the Mystical Body of Christ, Christ's Own Church, the REAL Roman Catholic Church of all history, subsists AS the Catholic Church, that would have been neither more nor less nor other than a definitive reassertion or reiteration of a known and infallible dogma. With "subsists as" so used, the sheer nonsense of the further sentences of that paragraph would have been patently obvious. "Elements of sanctification and truth" can only consist of authorized, jurisdiction-holding or faculties-holding hierarchical members of the Roman Catholic Church, and more strictly speaking, of the Ecclesia docens.
Another alternative that might have been theoretically possible would have been to have the sentence read that the Mystical Body of Christ, Christ's Own Church, the REAL Roman Catholic Church of all history, subsists THROUGHOUT their "catholic church." That at least would have allowed for there to be the "elements of sanctification and truth" outside their organization while still requiring the full extent and domain of their own organization to adhere to the Catholic Faith, thus placing itself entirely within the real Catholic Church, but now in no wise any longer comprising the entirety of it. But that is not what they said here, either.
What they wrote is that the Mystical Body of Christ, Christ's Own Church, the REAL Roman Catholic Church of all history, subsists IN their "catholic church." In this manner, not only could and would portions of the universal and subsistent hierarchical Church (the Ecclesia docens) be found outside its "confines," but furthermore there ceases to be any implication that Catholicism need exist at all throughout its extent and domain, with the one lone stipulation that Catholicism would nevertheless have to continue to be tolerated within at least some portion of it. However, that stipulation in no way prevents that portion of the Church retained within some unidentified portion of their organization from being limited or reduced to some extremely small group, and compartmentalized away from the rest, and thus rendered inconsequential to their operations on the whole.
If one continues to have difficulty seeing the difference between saying "subsists as" here and "subsists in" here, let me illustrate it another way. Recently, I heard an apologist state that the Catholic Church subsists in every age and every place. This is quite exact and correct, theologically, dogmatically, and grammatically. By token of this, one can pick virtually any secular nation (for example, I take my own country, the United States of America) which has so much as a single Catholic citizen, and rightly say of that nation, "The Catholic Church subsists IN the United States of America." Are there citizens of this nation who are Catholics? Oh yes, quite a number, even if still proportionately small, and even some Catholic clerics as well. After all, the Church subsists in all places, and all places include any such particular place, and that in turn includes the United States of America as a place.
But what a wildly obvious blasphemy it would be to claim that "The Catholic Church subsists AS the United States of America." That would be to equate the eternal Church of God with some particular human-made nation which arose at a specific time in history (long after the time of Christ). And were it instead claimed that "The Catholic Church subsists THROUGHOUT the United States of America, then that would be an assertion that, at least officially, every American citizen is a Catholic (which would make America a Catholic nation), while still allowing that any number of foreigners abroad could also be Catholics. From this it has to be clear that the Vatican II Fathers have put their organization fully and exactly on par with any other secular nation, and furthermore, with non-Catholic secular nations.
Therefore, it is to be believed by all (for they themselves have so declared it and defined themselves thereby as an institution) that the "Johannine-Pauline structures" taken as a whole are to be specifically, exclusively, entirely, and exactly identified as that Œconomia nova of the Modernists. In the instant of that declaration, the real Catholic Church, the visible Mystical Body of Christ, shared exactly the same range, domain, resources, and œconomia as the Œconomia nova. But from that point onward, no intrinsic identity between the Church and the Œconomia nova was to be implied; indeed it was quite explicit that they were not to remain the same, which was the essence and purpose of what it is that makes it an Œconomia nova. How would any portion of the original Œconomia of God, those lawful ecclesial and hierarchical "elements of grace and sanctification" subsisting outside its "confines," come to exist at all, as such, except by retaining their membership in God's original œconomia while departing from (or being driven out of) the Œconomia nova of the Modernists? And correspondingly, how would the new anti-Catholic Novus Ordo religion be concocted and developed within the Modernist's Œconomia nova unless it were explicitly clear that the œconomia of God shall not subsist "as it," nor even "throughout" it but merely "in" it, in some easily limited and contained and ultimately very small and non-influential portion of it?
But the real Catholic Church, the object of all the infallible doctrines and dogmas promulgated by the popes, and enshrined in Sacred Scripture and in the Tradition as documented by the Ancient Church Fathers, and also the sole lawful object of the whole of Catholic Canon Law, simply IS the Mystical Body of Christ, Christ's Own Church, the REAL Roman Catholic Church of all history, absolute identity explicitly stated in the Church's historic dogmas, and to be believed. To declare and mandate the existence of a "catholic church" of explicitly differing range and domain than the Mystical Body of Christ that is Christ's Own Church, is to create and institute a brand new and parallel organization to that of the real Church.
Why did they do this? It is not clear to what extent each of the various participants in that promulgation (and all the discussions and negotiations leading up to it) would have realized this import of what they were saying, but the goal was to find some way for the other churches and religions (East Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.) to be, themselves, the ecclesial means of the salvation of souls. It was intended that the "elements of sanctification and truth" would go on to mean (as would be realized in later Vatican II and other documents) East Orthodox and other schismatic priests and bishops, Protestant ministers and pastors, Jewish rabbis, Islamic imams, Buddhist gurus, and so forth. This in turn is what made possible all of the infamous Vatican II ecumenism and and religious liberty, as so horribly demonstrated at Assisi.
As to the question of why God the Holy Ghost, in all Providence, would allow such a thing to occur, I can think of at least a few reasons, though of course God in His wisdom would certainly have any number of further reasons known only to Himself, some of which may unfold in history to come, and much more of which may only come to be known by us in that heavenly time when we can finally "know as we are known." One would be to prepare the Church for that future time when the End really is near and the Antichrist of Biblical prophecy actually comes to stalk the earth. A great many precedents provided by our present circumstance will doubtless prove of great value for that desperate and most dangerous period.
For another, the career and inner being of Archbishop Giovanni Montini himself was so obviously gravely scandalous, and even outright dangerous, for a pope that his removal from the papal office may well have been paramount. The man was so bent on teaching heresy that had he remained pope he might well have shattered the charism of papal infallibility. As I have explored elsewhere and will get to later on here, this creation of a parallel organization and making of the Pope into the first leader of this new and parallel organization also effected his immediate removal from the Papal office.
For another, recall that Jesus Christ gave charge of His Church over to Peter, and not to Caesar. But over the intervening centuries, the office of Peter gradually came to acquire many of the secular prerogatives of Caesar, and perhaps some of these Caesarian prerogatives were beginning to take on a life of their own. Think of, for example, John XXIII's advocating of a quite flawed purely secular political exercise as the United Nations, in his document, Pacem in Terris. Creating this distinction between the Johannine-Pauline structures and the real Catholic Church effectively stripped Peter of his Caesarian prerogatives, and, correspondingly, Paul VI of his Petrine prerogatives. Perhaps there is meant for there to be something of a balance to how far a pope should ideally venture into the role of a worldly Caesar. Or perhaps this is meant as a Providential warning to the future true popes that any and all exercise of Caesarian prerogatives (once any future pope should ever come to acquire any such secular prerogatives again) must be quite specifically and exclusively in the service of the Church.
In part two, I will delve further into the official loss of Catholic offices on the part of Pope and most bishops as I continue.
Griff L. Ruby
Griff's book is available from iUniverse.com Books for $26.95 or can be read on-line at www.the-pope.com We at the DailyCatholic strongly urge you to share it with all you can for that could be the gentle shove that moves your friends back to where the True Faith resides forever, rooted in the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church as Christ intended and promised.