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                November 28, 2008

Attempting to Coerce Perjury

by Thomas A. Droleskey

Although Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has long used the language of obfuscation to express his theological positions on various matters, there is nothing truly mysterious about his methodology. It is not necessary to possess any kind of "hidden" powers to be able to use one's reason to understand that the entirety of Ratzinger/Benedict's theological methodology is shaped by the Modernist presuppositions of the New Theology of the late Fathers Hans Urs von Balthasar, Karl Rahner, Henri de Lubac and Yves Congar, among others, including the late layman Maurice Blondel. This is really very simple to understand. Indeed, it takes gargantuan efforts of all manner of theological and intellectual gymnastics not to recognize and to accept Ratzinger/Benedict's deconstruction of the Faith according to the methodological paradigms offered by the "New Theology."

The expression of the Catholic Faith is meant to be clear, not foggy. The expression of the dogmas of the Catholic Faith is precise, not ambiguous or subject to a variety of different interpretations. While it is certainly the case that many theological questions (such as the coexistence of God's Divine foreknowledge of human events with human free will, a matter that divided the Thomists and the Dun Scotists and is still a matter of active debate among orthodox Catholic theologians) are subject to legitimate interpretations and explanations, the dogmas of the Faith are meant to be grasped clearly by the human mind and accepted on the authority of the One Who has revealed them and caused them to be expressed in precise terms by legitimate popes and councils of the Catholic Church. While it is certainly true that the application of certain theological principles in concrete circumstances can be fraught with subjective considerations and other difficulties of the practical order, solemnly defined dogmatic truths demand the assent of the mind and the will without any degree of dissent or deviation whatsoever.

The Scholasticism of Saint Thomas Aquinas has been a major protection against the imprecise expression of the doctrines of the Church and a sure guide to their definitive explication. One true pope after another has recognized this to be the case. Pope Saint Pius X did so in a tribute to Saint Thomas Aquinas, Doctoris Angelici:

For just as the opinion of certain ancients is to be rejected which maintains that it makes no difference to the truth of the Faith what any man thinks about the nature of creation, provided his opinions on the nature of God be sound, because error with regard to the nature of creation begets a false knowledge of God; so the principles of philosophy laid down by St. Thomas Aquinas are to be religiously and inviolably observed, because they are the means of acquiring such a knowledge of creation as is most congruent with the Faith; of refuting all the errors of all the ages, and of enabling man to distinguish clearly what things are to be attributed to God and to God alone….

St. Thomas perfected and augmented still further by the almost angelic quality of his intellect all this superb patrimony of wisdom which he inherited from his predecessors and applied it to prepare, illustrate and protect sacred doctrine in the minds of men. Sound reason suggests that it would be foolish to neglect it and religion will not suffer it to be in any way attenuated. And rightly, because, if Catholic doctrine is once deprived of this strong bulwark, it is useless to seek the slightest assistance for its defense in a philosophy whose principles are either common to the errors of materialism, monism, pantheism, socialism and modernism, or certainly not opposed to such systems. The reason is that the capital theses in the philosophy of St Thomas are not to be placed in the category of opinions capable of being debated one way or another, but are to be considered as the foundations upon which the science of natural and divine things is based; if such principles are once removed or in any way impaired, it must necessarily follow that students of the sacred sciences will ultimately fail to perceive so much as the meaning of the words in which the dogmas of divine revelation are proposed by the magistracy of the Church. . . . (Pope Saint Pius X, Doctoris Angelici, quoted in James Larson's Article 11: A Confusion of Loves.)


Other popes have also praised the precision and certainly provided by the Scholasticism of Saint Thomas Aquinas:

Innocent VI: "The teaching of this Doctor above all others, with the exception of Canon Law, has precision in terminology, propriety of expression, truth of judgment: so that never is one who has held it been found to have deviated from the path of truth."

Pius V: "It was wrought by the providence of Almighty God that by the force and truth of the Angelic Doctor's teaching, by which he illumined the Apostolic Church with the refutation of innumerable errors, that the many heresies which have arisen after his canonization have been confounded, overthrown and dispersed. This has been made evident both earlier and recently in the sacred decrees of the Council of Trent."

Clement VIII to the Neapolitans: "Devoutly and wisely are you thinking of adopting a new patron of your city, your fellow citizen, the Angelic interpreter of the Divine Will, splendid in the sanctity of his life and by his miracles, Thomas Aquinas, since indeed is this honor owed with the greatest justification to his virtues joined to his admirable doctrine. Indeed, witness to his doctrine is the great number of books which he composed, in a very brief time, in almost every class of learning, with a matchless arrangement and wondrous clearness, without any error whatsoever."

Paul V: "We greatly rejoice in the Lord that honor and veneration are increasing daily for the most splendid champion of the Catholic Faith, blessed Thomas Aquinas, by the shield of whose writings the Church Militant successfully parries the spears of the heretics.

And Leo XIII, at once embracing hand surpassing all of the praises of his predecessors, says of him: "Distinguishing reason from Faith, as is proper, but nevertheless combining the two in a friendly alliance, he both preserved the rights of each and had regard for the dignity of both., in such a way too that reason, carried on the wings of Thomas to the highest human limit, now almost cannot rise any higher, and faith almost cannot expect more or stronger helps from reason than it has already obtained through Thomas."

--And again, presenting St. Thomas to Catholics as a model and patron in various sciences, he says: "In him are all the illustrious ornaments of mind and character by which he rightly calls others to the imitation of himself: the richest doctrine, incorrupt, fittingly arranged; obedience to the Faith, and a marvelous consonance with the truths divinely handed down; integrity of life with the splendor of the greatest virtues." (Readings from the Dominican Breviary (II Nocturn) for the feast of the Patronage of Saint Thomas Aquinas, November 13. Text provided by His Excellency Bishop Robert F. McKenna, O.P. I thank His Excellency for providing me with these readings from the Dominican Breviary.)


Pope Leo XIII, writing in Aeterni Patris, August 4, 1879, explained those who deviate from Saint Thomas Aquinas and Scholasticism will always be suspected of error:

But, furthermore, Our predecessors in the Roman pontificate have celebrated the wisdom of Thomas Aquinas by exceptional tributes of praise and the most ample testimonials. Clement VI in the bull "In Ordine;" Nicholas V in his brief to the friars of the Order of Preachers, 1451; Benedict XIII in the bull "Pretiosus," and others bear witness that the universal Church borrows luster from his admirable teaching; while St. Pius V declares in the bull "Mirabilis" that heresies, confounded and convicted by the same teaching, were dissipated, and the whole world daily freed from fatal errors; others, such as Clement XII in the bull "Verbo Dei," affirm that most fruitful blessings have spread abroad from his writings over the whole Church, and that he is worthy of the honor which is bestowed on the greatest Doctors of the Church, on Gregory and Ambrose, Augustine and Jerome; while others have not hesitated to propose St. Thomas for the exemplar and master of the universities and great centers of learning whom they may follow with unfaltering feet. On which point the words of Blessed Urban V to the University of Toulouse are worthy of recall: "It is our will, which We hereby enjoin upon you, that ye follow the teaching of Blessed Thomas as the true and Catholic doctrine and that ye labor with all your force to profit by the same." Innocent XII, followed the example of Urban in the case of the University of Louvain, in the letter in the form of a brief addressed to that university on February 6, 1694, and Benedict XIV in the letter in the form of a brief addressed on August 26, 1752, to the Dionysian College in Granada; while to these judgments of great Pontiffs on Thomas Aquinas comes the crowning testimony of Innocent VI: "His teaching above that of others, the canonical writings alone excepted, enjoys such a precision of language, an order of matters, a truth of conclusions, that those who hold to it are never found swerving from the path of truth, and he who dare assail it will always be suspected of error."

The ecumenical councils, also, where blossoms the flower of all earthly wisdom, have always been careful to hold Thomas Aquinas in singular honor. In the Councils of Lyons, Vienna, Florence, and the Vatican one might almost say that Thomas took part and presided over the deliberations and decrees of the Fathers, contending against the errors of the Greeks, of heretics and rationalists, with invincible force and with the happiest results. But the chief and special glory of Thomas, one which he has shared with none of the Catholic Doctors, is that the Fathers of Trent made it part of the order of conclave to lay upon the altar, together with sacred Scripture and the decrees of the supreme Pontiffs, the "Summa" of Thomas Aquinas, whence to seek counsel, reason, and inspiration.

A last triumph was reserved for this incomparable man -- namely, to compel the homage, praise, and admiration of even the very enemies of the Catholic name. For it has come to light that there were not lacking among the leaders of heretical sects some who openly declared that, if the teaching of Thomas Aquinas were only taken away, they could easily battle with all Catholic teachers, gain the victory, and abolish the Church. A vain hope, indeed, but no vain testimony.


One would hope that it has been established beyond all shadow of doubt that Joseph Ratzinger has rejected Scholasticism throughout his scholarly and priestly lives, believing that the "bastions" provided by Scholasticism have to be "razed' in order to look at Sacred Scripture and the Fathers of the Church without the "filter" provided by the Angelic Doctor and those "attached" to the "terminology of the philosophical tradition to which he belonged" (as Ratzinger referred to Scholasticism in Spe Salvi, January 25, 2007.)  Ratzinger has explained his contempt for Scholasticism in his own book of memoirs, Milestones:

The cultural interests pursued at the seminary of Freising were joined to the study of a theology infected by existentialism, beginning with the writings of Romano Guardini. Among the authors preferred by Ratzinger was the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber. Ratzinger loved St. Augustine, but never St. Thomas Aquinas: "By contrast, I had difficulties in penetrating the thought of Thomas Aquinas, whose crystal-clear logic seemed to be too closed in on itself, too impersonal and ready-made" (op. cit., p.44). This aversion was mainly due to the professor of philosophy at the seminary, who "presented us with a rigid, neo-scholastic Thomism that was simply too far afield from my own questions" (ibid.). According to Cardinal Ratzinger, whose current opinions appear unchanged from those he held as a seminarian, the thought of Aquinas was "too closed in on itself, too impersonal and ready-made," and was unable to respond to the personal questions of the faithful. This opinion is enunciated by a prince of the Church whose function it is to safeguard the purity of the doctrine of the Faith! Why, then, should anyone be surprised at the current disastrous crisis of Catholicism, or seek to attribute it to the world, when those who should be the defenders of the Faith, and hence of genuine Catholic thought, are like sewers drinking in the filth, or like gardeners who cut down a tree they are supposed to be nurturing? What can it mean to stigmatize St. Thomas as having a "too impersonal and ready-made" logic? Is logic "personal"? These assertions reveal, in the person who makes them, a typically Protestant, pietist attitude, like that found in those who seek the rule of faith in personal interior sentiment.

In the two years Ratzinger spent at the diocesan seminary of Freising, he studied literature, music, modern philosophy, and he felt drawn towards the new existentialist and modernist theologies. He did not like St. Thomas Aquinas. The formation described does not correspond to the exclusively Catholic formation that is necessary to one called to be a priest, even taking into account the extenuating circumstances of the time, that is, anti-Christian Nazism, the war and defeat, and the secularization of studies within seminaries. It seems that His Eminence, with all due respect, gave too much place to profane culture, with its "openness" to everything, and its critical attitude...Joseph Ratzinger loved the professors who asked many questions, but disliked those who defended dogma with the crystal-clear logic of St. Thomas. This attitude would seem to us to match his manner of understanding Catholic liturgy. He tells us that from childhood he was always attracted to the liturgical movement and was sympathetic towards it. One can see that for him, the liturgy was a matter of feeling, a lived experience, an aesthetically pleasing "Erlebnis," but fundamentally irrational (op. cit. passim.). (The Memories of a Destructive Mind: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's Milestones.)


One who rejects Scholasticism, the official philosophy of the Catholic Church, will lose the surety, clarity and precision with which to understand for himself and then to explicate to others the truths of the Faith. Such is the expressed goal of Modernism and of its off-shoot, the New Theology, as various terms of the Faith are employed in a "double sense" to signify one thing to those who understand those terms as they have been defined by the Church from time immemorial but which are meant to signify quite another to the schismatics and heretics in the various sects of Protestantism and in Orthodoxy.  The goal of Modernism and the New Theology in this regard is "strip away," if you will, the "filter provided by Scholasticism in order to "understand" Sacred Scripture and the Fathers of the Church in a manner that would serve as the "bridge" to "unity" with such schismatics and heretics.

Pope Pius XII noted this very clearly in the encyclical letter that condemned the precepts of the New Theology, Humani Generis, August 12, 1950:

In theology some want to reduce to a minimum the meaning of dogmas; and to free dogma itself from terminology long established in the Church and from philosophical concepts held by Catholic teachers, to bring about a return in the explanation of Catholic doctrine to the way of speaking used in Holy Scripture and by the Fathers of the Church. They cherish the hope that when dogma is stripped of the elements which they hold to be extrinsic to divine revelation, it will compare advantageously with the dogmatic opinions of those who are separated from the unity of the Church and that in this way they will gradually arrive at a mutual assimilation of Catholic dogma with the tenets of the dissidents.

Moreover they assert that when Catholic doctrine has been reduced to this condition, a way will be found to satisfy modern needs, that will permit of dogma being expressed also by the concepts of modern philosophy, whether of immanentism or idealism or existentialism or any other system. Some more audacious affirm that this can and must be done, because they hold that the mysteries of faith are never expressed by truly adequate concepts but only by approximate and ever changeable notions, in which the truth is to some extent expressed, but is necessarily distorted. Wherefore they do not consider it absurd, but altogether necessary, that theology should substitute new concepts in place of the old ones in keeping with the various philosophies which in the course of time it uses as its instruments, so that it should give human expression to divine truths in various ways which are even somewhat opposed, but still equivalent, as they say. They add that the history of dogmas consists in the reporting of the various forms in which revealed truth has been clothed, forms that have succeeded one another in accordance with the different teachings and opinions that have arisen over the course of the centuries.

It is evident from what We have already said, that such tentatives not only lead to what they call dogmatic relativism, but that they actually contain it. The contempt of doctrine commonly taught and of the terms in which it is expressed strongly favor it. Everyone is aware that the terminology employed in the schools and even that used by the Teaching Authority of the Church itself is capable of being perfected and polished; and we know also that the Church itself has not always used the same terms in the same way. It is also manifest that the Church cannot be bound to every system of philosophy that has existed for a short space of time. Nevertheless, the things that have been composed through common effort by Catholic teachers over the course of the centuries to bring about some understanding of dogma are certainly not based on any such weak foundation. These things are based on principles and notions deduced from a true knowledge of created things. In the process of deducing, this knowledge, like a star, gave enlightenment to the human mind through the Church. Hence it is not astonishing that some of these notions have not only been used by the Oecumenical Councils, but even sanctioned by them, so that it is wrong to depart from them.

Unfortunately these advocates of novelty easily pass from despising scholastic theology to the neglect of and even contempt for the Teaching Authority of the Church itself, which gives such authoritative approval to scholastic theology. This Teaching Authority is represented by them as a hindrance to progress and an obstacle in the way of science. Some non Catholics consider it as an unjust restraint preventing some more qualified theologians from reforming their subject. And although this sacred Office of Teacher in matters of faith and morals must be the proximate and universal criterion of truth for all theologians, since to it has been entrusted by Christ Our Lord the whole deposit of faith -- Sacred Scripture and divine Tradition -- to be preserved, guarded and interpreted, still the duty that is incumbent on the faithful to flee also those errors which more or less approach heresy, and accordingly "to keep also the constitutions and decrees by which such evil opinions are proscribed and forbidden by the Holy See," is sometimes as little known as if it did not exist. What is expounded in the Encyclical Letters of the Roman Pontiffs concerning the nature and constitution of the Church, is deliberately and habitually neglected by some with the idea of giving force to a certain vague notion which they profess to have found in the ancient Fathers, especially the Greeks. The Popes, they assert, do not wish to pass judgment on what is a matter of dispute among theologians, so recourse must be had to the early sources, and the recent constitutions and decrees of the Teaching Church must be explained from the writings of the ancients.

Although these things seem well said, still they are not free from error. It is true that Popes generally leave theologians free in those matters which are disputed in various ways by men of very high authority in this field; but history teaches that many matters that formerly were open to discussion, no longer now admit of discussion.

Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: "He who heareth you, heareth me"; and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians.


Joseph Ratzinger has sought to exempt himself from being bound by the "language" of various doctrinal pronouncements and papal encyclical letters that he believes have become "obsolete" in the particulars they contain:

The text [of the document Instruction on the Theologian's Ecclesial Vocation] also presents the various types of bonds that rise from the different degrees of magisterial teaching. It affirms - perhaps for the first time with this clarity - that there are decisions of the magisterium that cannot be the last word on the matter as such, but are, in a substantial fixation of the problem, above all an expression of pastoral prudence, a kind of provisional disposition. The nucleus remains valid, but the particulars, which the circumstances of the times influenced, may need further correction.

In this regard, one may think of the declarations of Popes in the last century [19th century] about religious liberty, as well as the anti-Modernist decisions at the beginning of this century, above all, the decisions of the Biblical Commission of the time [on evolutionism]. As a cry of alarm in the face of hasty and superficial adaptations, they will remain fully justified. A personage such as Johann Baptist Metz said, for example, that the Church's anti-Modernist decisions render the great service of preserving her from falling into the liberal-bourgeois world. But in the details of the determinations they contain, they became obsolete after having fulfilled their pastoral mission at their proper time. (Joseph Ratzinger, "Instruction on the Theologian's Ecclesial Vocation," published with the title "Rinnovato dialogo fra Magistero e Teologia," in L'Osservatore Romano, June 27, 1990, p. 6; Card. Ratzinger: The teachings of the Popes against Modernism are obsolete.)


Modernists must make the "necessary adjustments" in the language of the Church, being "liberated" by their rejection of Scholasticism to use the terms of the Faith in murky and ambiguous ways that obfuscate their true sense and convey a sort of imprecision that is designed to appeal to an esoteric "love" of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ without adhering to everything that He has revealed to men exclusively through His Catholic Church as part of the Deposit of Faith.

Pope Saint Pius X, writing in Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907, explained that the Modernist must do away with Scholasticism in order to "have at" the the doctrines of the Faith by rendering dogmatic language susceptible of multiple interpretations:

Would that they had but displayed less zeal and energy in propagating it! But such is their activity and such their unwearying labor on behalf of their cause, that one cannot but be pained to see them waste such energy in endeavoring to ruin the Church when they might have been of such service to her had their efforts been better directed. Their artifices to delude men's minds are of two kinds, the first to remove obstacles from their path, the second to devise and apply actively and patiently every resource that can serve their purpose. They recognize that the three chief difficulties which stand in their way are the scholastic method of philosophy, the authority and tradition of the Fathers, and the magisterium of the Church, and on these they wage unrelenting war. Against scholastic philosophy and theology they use the weapons of ridicule and contempt. Whether it is ignorance or fear, or both, that inspires this conduct in them, certain it is that the passion for novelty is always united in them with hatred of scholasticism, and there is no surer sign that a man is tending to Modernism than when he begins to show his dislike for the scholastic method. Let the Modernists and their admirers remember the proposition condemned by Pius IX: "The method and principles which have served the ancient doctors of scholasticism when treating of theology no longer correspond with the exigencies of our time or the progress of science." They exercise all their ingenuity in an effort to weaken the force and falsify the character of tradition, so as to rob it of all its weight and authority. But for Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nicea, where it condemns those "who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind...or endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church"; nor that of the declaration of the fourth Council of Constantinople: "We therefore profess to preserve and guard the rules bequeathed to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, by the Holy and most illustrious Apostles, by the orthodox Councils, both general and local, and by everyone of those divine interpreters, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church." Wherefore the Roman Pontiffs, Pius IV and Pius IX, ordered the insertion in the profession of faith of the following declaration: "I most firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church.''


None of this means anything to Ratzinger/Benedict, who refers constantly in his "official" writings as Benedict XVI to the likes of Henri de Lubac and Hans Urs von Balthasar, both of whom had contempt for Scholasticism and used ambiguity to express terms such as "love" and "faith:"

De Lubac, and proponents of the "New Theology" in general, simply do not understand "the God of scholastic theology."


To them, the God of St. Thomas and the traditional Church is not sufficiently "vitally immanent." The God Who created us in His own Image, and sustains us every second of our lives with this same creative action; the God Who died for our sins and for our eternal salvation, and draws us into His very own life through baptism and the other sacraments; the God Who gives His Own Son in Holy Communion, Who insures that we are in possession of infallible truth through His Church, and promises His faithful the Gift of the Beatific Vision - this God, and this faith, are too sterile, absolute, and pharisaical for them.


The problem for these people seems to be that all that constitutes the traditional Catholic concept of grace and supernatural life is considered as Gift, and not something that is their own by right, or by nature.


They choose to barter the Infinite Gift of God for the paltry personal possession of an ounce of supernatural life which is somehow independent of this Gift. It is almost unbelievable foolishness; but even more, it amounts to infinite ingratitude.


What we may be sure of is the enormously destructive consequences of their effort. Again, we have the wisdom of Pope St. Pius X in Pascendi [#34]:


"The domineering overbearance of those who teach these errors, and the thoughtless compliance of the more shallow minds who assent to them, create a corrupted atmosphere which penetrates everywhere, and carries infection with it."


It has penetrated everywhere. It penetrated to the heart of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger when he said that the survival of Catholicism depended on it being freed from the "constraining fetters of Roman Scholastic Theology." We are now experiencing that freedom - the very freedom which has virtually destroyed the faith of Catholic Europe and much of the rest of the world. It is this atmosphere, created by Modernist philosophy and theology in response to reductive secular science, which must be combated as the primary source of decay in the Church. (James Larson, By Arts Entirely New.)


It is important to review each of these points once again as a preface for dissecting the Modernism of the New Theology contained in Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's efforts to coerce perjured testimony from Saint Paul the Apostle so as to make him a "witness" in behalf of conciliarism, especially as regards "false ecumenism" and a rejection of dogmatic definitions that might make it more possible to forge "unity" between the counterfeit church of conciliarism and Protestants and the Orthodox, for whom Scholasticism is, at least for the most part, a poisonous filter that has "obscured" the "true" meaning of Sacred Scripture and the Fathers of the Church.

To wit, there is no need for a Catholic to "revisit" the Doctrine of Justification as it was defined solemnly at the Council of Trent, which convened under and was guided by the infallible presence of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost, so as to make it appear that there are major areas of convergence between the beliefs of the wretched heretic named Martin Luther and the very dogmatic council that condemned those beliefs. Bishop Donald A. Sanborn has offered his Critical Analysis of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification to demonstrate the degree to which the "joint declaration" between the conciliarists and the Lutherans, a "declaration" that was brokered by the direct intervention of the prefect of the conciliar Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the time, Joseph "Cardinal" Ratzinger, defected from the authentic doctrine of the Catholic Church. His Excellency's critical analysis should be read over and over again in order to grasp the extent to which the conciliarists will go in disparaging the dogmatic definitions of the Church (even as they, the conciliarists, protest that they are doing no such thing!).

Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI is using his false "pontificate" to give "official" voice to his own understanding of the Faith that is drawn from the poisoned well of the New Theology, which has such contempt for Scholasticism and thus for theological and dogmatic precision. One can see this quite clearly in the
"general audience" address he delivered last Wednesday, November 19, 2008, in the Vatican:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On the journey we have undertaken under the guidance of St. Paul, we now wish to reflect on a topic that is at the center of the controversies of the century of the Reformation: the issue of justification. How is a man just in the eyes of God? When Paul met the Risen One on the road to Damascus he was a fulfilled man: irreproachable in regard to justice derived from the law (cf. Philippians 3:6); he surpassed many of his contemporaries in the observance of the Mosaic prescriptions and was zealous in upholding the traditions of his forefathers (cf. Galatians 1:14).

The illumination of Damascus changed his life radically: He began to regard all his merits, achievements of a most honest religious career, as "loss" in face of the sublimity of knowledge of Jesus Christ (cf. Philippians 3:8). The Letter to the Philippians gives us a moving testimony of Paul's turning from a justice based on the law and achieved by observance of the prescribed works, to a justice based on faith in Christ: He understood all that up to now had seemed a gain to him was in fact a loss before God, and because of this decided to dedicate his whole life to Jesus Christ (cf. Philippians 3:7). The treasure hidden in the field, and the precious pearl in whose possession he invests everything, were no longer the works of the law, but Jesus Christ, his Lord.

The relationship between Paul and the Risen One is so profound that it impels him to affirm that Christ was not only his life, but his living, to the point that to be able to reach him, even death was a gain (cf. Philippians 1:21). It was not because he did not appreciate life, but because he understood that for him, living no longer had another objective; therefore, he no longer had a desire other than to reach Christ, as in an athletic competition, to be with him always. The Risen One had become the beginning and end of his existence, the reason and goal of his running. Only concern for the growth in faith of those he had evangelized and solicitude for all the Churches he had founded (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:28), induced him to slow down the run toward his only Lord, to wait for his disciples, so that they would be able to run to the goal with him. If in the previous observance of the law he had nothing to reproach himself from the point of view of moral integrity, once overtaken by Christ he preferred not to judge himself (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4), but limited himself to run to conquer the one who had conquered him (cf. Philippians 3:12).

It is precisely because of this personal experience of the relationship with Jesus that Paul places at the center of his Gospel an irreducible opposition between two alternative paths to justice: one based on the works of the law, the other founded on the grace of faith in Christ. The alternative between justice through the works of the law and justice through faith in Christ thus becomes one of the dominant themes that runs through his letters: "We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified" (Galatians 2:15-16).

And, he reaffirms to the Christians of Rome that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23-24). And he adds: "For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law" (Ibid. 28). Luther translated this point as "justified by faith alone." I will return to this at the end of the catechesis.

First, we must clarify what is the "law" from which we have been freed and what are those "works of the law" that do not justify. Already in the community of Corinth there was the opinion, which will return many times in history, which consisted in thinking that it was a question of the moral law, and that Christian freedom consisted therefore in being free from ethics. So, the words "panta mou estin" (everything is licit for me) circulated in Corinth. It is obvious that this interpretation is erroneous: Christian liberty is not libertinism; the freedom of which St. Paul speaks is not freedom from doing good.

Therefore, what is the meaning of the law from which we have been freed and that does not save? For St. Paul, as well as for all his contemporaries, the word law meant the Torah in its totality, namely, the five books of Moses. In the Pharisaic interpretation, the Torah implied what Paul had studied and made his own, a collection of behaviors extending from an ethical foundation to the ritual and cultural observances that substantially determined the identity of the just man -- particularly circumcision, the observance regarding pure food and general ritual purity, the rules regarding observance of the Sabbath, etc. These behaviors often appear in the debates between Jesus and his contemporaries. All these observances that express a social, cultural and religious identity had come to be singularly important at the time of Hellenistic culture, beginning in the 3rd century B.C.

This culture, which had become the universal culture of the time, was a seemingly rational culture, an apparently tolerant polytheist culture, which constituted a strong pressure toward cultural uniformity and thus threatened the identity of Israel, which was politically obliged to enter into this common identity of Hellenistic culture with the consequent loss of its own identity, loss hence also of the precious inheritance of the faith of their Fathers, of faith in the one God and in God's promises.

Against this cultural pressure, which not only threatened Jewish identity but also faith in the one God and his promises, it was necessary to create a wall of distinction, a defense shield that would protect the precious inheritance of the faith; this wall would consist precisely of the Jewish observances and prescriptions. Paul, who had learned these observances precisely in their defensive function of the gift of God, of the inheritance of the faith in only one God, saw this identity threatened by the freedom of Christians: That is why he persecuted them. At the moment of his encounter with the Risen One he understood that with Christ's resurrection the situation had changed radically. With Christ, the God of Israel, the only true God became the God of all peoples.

The wall -- so says the Letter to the Ephesians -- between Israel and the pagans was no longer necessary: It is Christ who protects us against polytheism and all its deviations; it is Christ who unites us with and in the one God; it is Christ who guarantees our true identity in the diversity of cultures; and it is he who makes us just. To be just means simply to be with Christ and in Christ. And this suffices. Other observances are no longer necessary.

That is why Luther's expression "sola fide" is true if faith is not opposed to charity, to love. Faith is to look at Christ, to entrust oneself to Christ, to be united to Christ, to be conformed to Christ, to his life. And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence, to believe is to be conformed to Christ and to enter into his love. That is why, in the Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul develops above all his doctrine on justification; he speaks of faith that operates through charity (cf. Galatians 5:14).

Paul knows that in the double love of God and neighbor the whole law is fulfilled. Thus the whole law is observed in communion with Christ, in faith that creates charity. We are just when we enter into communion with Christ, who is love. We will see the same in next Sunday's Gospel for the solemnity of Christ the King. It is the Gospel of the judge whose sole criterion is love. What I ask is only this: Did you visit me when I was sick? When I was in prison? Did you feed me when I was hungry, clothe me when I was naked? So justice is decided in charity. Thus, at the end of this Gospel, we can say: love alone, charity alone. However, there is no contradiction between this Gospel and St. Paul. It is the same vision, the one according to which communion with Christ, faith in Christ, creates charity. And charity is the realization of communion with Christ. Thus, being united to him we are just, and in no other way.

At the end, we can only pray to the Lord so that he will help us to believe. To really believe; belief thus becomes life, unity with Christ, the transformation of our life. And thus, transformed by his love, by love of God and neighbor, we can really be just in the eyes of God. (On St. Paul and Justification.)


The entire premise of Ratzinger/Benedict's "general audience" address is based on the implication that Saint Paul the Apostle has a teaching on the Doctrine of Justification that is different than that defined by the Council of Trent. There is not one reference anywhere in Ratzinger/Benedict's remarks, quoted in full above, to the following dogmatic definition of the Doctrine of Justification made by the Council of Trent, whose infallible decrees must bind the consciences of every person on the face of this earth, Catholic and non-Catholic.

Bishop Sanborn's Critical Analysis of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification explains the Council of Trent's infallible teaching on the Doctrine of Justification very clearly, comparing it with the heretical view of Justification offered by Martin Luther and condemned by the Council of Trent:

1. What is the Catholic doctrine of justification? Justification is the passing from the state of sin to that of justice. When a soul is justified, two effects are produced: (1) sins are truly remitted, effaced, and destroyed; (2) man is renewed interiorly and becomes a new creature in Christ. The Catholic doctrine insists on the complete interior renovation of man, so that his soul becomes intrinsically pleasing to God. His soul is pleasing to God because sin is erased, taken away, and in its place the life of God, sanctifying grace, is infused in the soul.

2. What is the Lutheran doctrine on justification? The Lutherans teach that in justification sins are neither remitted nor effaced, but rather are merely covered up and hidden by the justice of Christ. Sins are no longer imputed (applied) to the sinner, even though they remain in the soul. Hence, for the heretics, there is no interior renovation produced by sanctifying grace. The soul is not truly pleasing to God. Rather, our justification is merely extrinsic, that is, God forgets about our sins because He is pleased by the justice of Christ. Luther himself said that grace is like “snow covering the dunghill.” We remain a dunghill of sin, but the merits of Christ cover up our sins from the sight of God.

3. This Lutheran teaching was solemnly and infallibly condemned as heretical by the Catholic Church: If anyone should say that the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, conferred in baptism, does not remit the guilt of original sin, or affirm that whatever and properly belongs to the character of sin is not removed, but is only cancelled or not imputed: let him be anathema. (Council of Trent, Session V, canon 5).

If anyone should say that men are justified merely by the imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, exclusive of the grace and charity that the Holy Ghost infuses in their hearts in a permanent way, or that the grace by which we are justified is a mere favor of God: let him be anathema. (Council of Trent, Session VI, canon 7).

4. The dispositions required for justification. The Church teaches that adults, excited and aided by grace, must bring certain dispositions in order to be justified. These dispositions are not required in children under the age of reason; the Church supplies for this lack in them, since they are incapable of producing these acts. This is not to say that man prepares himself for justification, since to do so is impossible without the grace of God. God must draw him to these acts of disposition by actual grace.

      The Council of Trent teaches that there are six dispositions required for justification:

      (1) faith, which consists in believing and holding as true those things which God has revealed and promised;

      (2) fear of divine justice;

      (3) hope that God will treat us mercifully through love for Jesus Christ;

      (4) A beginning of the love of God, whom we must love as the source of all justice;

      (5) Hatred and detestation for sin.

      (6) The resolution to receive baptism (or the sacrament of penance in the case of those already baptized and in mortal sin), in order to begin a new life and to observe the commandments of God and of the Church.

      So we see that the Church is insistent that man, under the influence of grace, cooperate in his own justification. As Saint Augustine put it, “Christ effects salvation in the impious, but not without the impious…He who has made you without your help will not justify you without your cooperation.”

5. What is the Lutheran doctrine concerning the dispositions to justification? The Lutherans teach that justification takes place by faith alone. Hence it is not necessary that the other dispositions be there, not even contrition for sin. For, according to Luther, man remains a sinner even after his justification, and can never free himself from sin. Furthermore, this “faith” is not the adherence to the truths which God has revealed and which the Church has taught, but rather a mere “confidence” which the sinner has that, for Christ’s sake, his sins will not be imputed to him. Luther said: “Lack of belief in the Son of God is the only sin in this world. Only believe, and you may rest assured of your salvation…Sin and sin boldly; we must sin while we are in this world. Those pious souls who do good in order to attain the kingdom of heaven, not only will never reach there, but must even be counted among the wicked.”

6. The Lutheran doctrine of “faith alone” was solemnly condemned by the Council of Trent. “If anyone should say that faith alone justifies the sinner, meaning thereby that nothing else is required from him than to cooperate with the grace of justification, and that it is in no way necessary for him to prepare himself therefor or to make any act of the will: let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Session VI, canon 9)

7. The Lutheran notion of justifying faith was solemnly condemned by the Council of Trent. “If anyone should say that justifying faith is nothing more than confidence in the divine mercy because it remits sin for the sake of Jesus Christ…let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Session VI, canon 12)

8. What are the attributes of justification according to the Catholic teaching? There are four: (1) it is uncertain; (2) it is not equal in all men; (3) it may be lost; (3) it may be regained.

      The Church teaches that no one, apart from a special revelation from God, can be certain, by certainty of faith, of his own justification. “No one can know with a certainty of faith, which is an infallible certainty, whether he has obtained the grace of God.” (Council of Trent, Session VI, chapter 11) The reason of this uncertainty is that justification depends not only on the divine promise, but also on our conversion and preparation, and of these we are not absolutely certain. We can be morally certain that we are in the state of grace, that is, we can say, “It is most probable that I am in the sate of grace,” but we cannot have the certitude of faith.

      The Church teaches that the interior sanctification (or justice) of man is capable of increase as the result of good works. Since good works are not equally practiced by all, there results and inequality of justification among men. “If anyone should say that justice when received is not preserved and augmented before God by good works, but that good works are only fruits or signs of justice obtained: let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Session VI, canon 24)

      The Church teaches that justification may be lost, and is often lost by mortal sin. “If anyone should say that man once justified can no longer sin nor lose grace; and that, consequently, he who falls and sins has never been justified: let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Session VI, canon 23)

      Finally the Church teaches that justice, lost by sin, can be recovered. “Those who by sin have lost the grace of justification, may become justified anew, if docile to God’s impulse, they strive to recover lost grace through the merits of Jesus Christ, by means of the Sacrament of Penance.” (Council of Trent, Session VI, canon 14)

9. Lutheran heresies with regard to the attributes of justification. Since they believe that justification is merely a confidence in the justice of Christ, and the imputing of His justice to ourselves, they profess the following heresies:

      (1) that our justification is certain with the certainty of faith. Hence they commonly say, “I am saved,” or “I have a reservation in heaven.”

      (2) that justification is equal in all men, since it is acquired by imputing the justice of Christ to ourselves. Since our souls are not intrinsically justified by sanctifying grace which truly adheres to the soul, but rather are mere extrinsically justified by the justice of Christ, like snow covering the dunghill, it follows that all men are equally justified. The dunghill, in other words, is covered by the same snow.

      (3) that justification is incapable of being lost, since, if we are dung, it does not matter if we sin and continue to be dung: we are all covered by the snow of Christ.

      Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange summed it up in a nutshell: Luther’s doctrine of grace and justification dispensed us from having to observe the commandments of God.

10. The Catholic notion of merit. The Catholic Church teaches that good works done in the state of sanctifying grace are meritorious, that is, they truly obtain for us an increase in sanctifying grace as well as eternal glory and an increase in glory. “If anyone says that the just man, through the good works which he accomplishes by the grace of God and through the merits of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit and increase of grace, and also eternal life and the securing of eternal life itself (provided that he dies in the state of grace), and that he does not receive even an increase of glory: let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Session VI, can. 32).

11. The Lutheran heresy concerning merit. He denied merit outright. According to Luther, even the just man does nothing but sin, and even sins when he is doing good works. If under the impulse of grace, a man performs a good work, it is still a sin, because we are still in the state of original sin. Good works are merely the signs or fruits of the grace of God, but are of no avail toward eternal salvation.

12. Catholic condemnation of the Lutheran heresy on merit. “If anyone should say that the good works of a just man are so entirely the gift of God that they are not also meritorious for this just man…let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Session VI, can. 31)

13. Catholic versus Lutheran doctrine on the certitude of salvation. Catholic teaching as we have seen, says it is impossible to have certitude of faith that you are in the state of sanctifying grace, i.e., justified. Similarly the Church teaches that it is impossible to have certitude of faith that you are going to heaven. “It is not possible, without a special revelation, to know those whom God has chosen for Himself.” (Council of Trent, Session VI, chap. 12). If anyone should say that he is certain, with an absolute and infallible certainty, that he will enjoy the great gift of final perseverance, without learning it by a special revelation: let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Session VI, canon 16).

      The Lutherans, however, do teach that such a certitude is possible, and that everyone who is justified will necessarily make it to heaven. This is because the justification of the sinner is merely extrinsic and cannot be broken by sin. The Catholic Church, however, teaches that the sanctification of the soul is interrupted by mortal sin. Therefore not all who are justified will necessarily be saved.


Nowhere in the text of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's is there any reference at all to the six dispositions must exist in a soul to be in a state of Justification. Here are those six dispositions once again as listed in Bishop Sanborn's critical analysis:

The Council of Trent teaches that there are six dispositions required for justification:

      (1) faith, which consists in believing and holding as true those things which God has revealed and promised;

      (2) fear of divine justice;

      (3) hope that God will treat us mercifully through love for Jesus Christ;

      (4) A beginning of the love of God, whom we must love as the source of all justice;

      (5) Hatred and detestation for sin.

      (6) The resolution to receive baptism (or the sacrament of penance in the case of those already baptized and in mortal sin), in order to begin a new life and to observe the commandments of God and of the Church.


Joseph Ratzinger's discussion of Faith in his "general audience" address on November 19, 2008, did not discuss these dispositions, nor were these dispositions discussed in his Wednesday, November 26, 2008, "general audience" address that continued deconstructing the Catholic Church's Doctrine of Justification. Not once in either of these addresses did the false "pontiff" mention mention the solemn, infallible decrees of the Council of Trent, decrees to which every human being on the face of this earth must assent without any shadow of dissent.

As is his Modernist wont, Ratzinger/Benedict discusses "faith" in nebulous, ambiguous, obscure terms that appeal to a "personal" adherence to and love for Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by making it appear as though there is a bifurcation between "faith" in Our Lord and belief in everything that He has revealed to us through the Deposit of Faith that He has entrusted exclusively to the Catholic Church. To be "just" is to "be with Christ," according to Ratzinger:

The wall -- so says the Letter to the Ephesians -- between Israel and the pagans was no longer necessary: It is Christ who protects us against polytheism and all its deviations; it is Christ who unites us with and in the one God; it is Christ who guarantees our true identity in the diversity of cultures; and it is he who makes us just. To be just means simply to be with Christ and in Christ. And this suffices. Other observances are no longer necessary.


What does it mean to "be with Christ and in Christ"? Does it mean to be a member of the Catholic Church in a state of Sanctifying Grace whose soul has the six dispositions necessary for justification? Does it mean to adhere to everything contained in the Deposit Faith as Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as entrusted It to His Catholic Church? Are these the sort of "observances," in addition to the prescriptions of the Mosaic law from which Our Lord has freed us, that are "no longer necessary?"

One cannot be in a state of Justification if one dissents knowingly from anything contained in the Deposit of Faith. Pope Leo XIII explained this in Satis Cognitum, June 29, 1896:


The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavour than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own. The Arians, the Montanists, the Novatians, the Quartodecimans, the Eutychians, did not certainly reject all Catholic doctrine: they abandoned only a certain portion of it. Still who does not know that they were declared heretics and banished from the bosom of the Church? In like manner were condemned all authors of heretical tenets who followed them in subsequent ages. "There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition" (Auctor Tract. de Fide Orthodoxa contra Arianos).

The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodore :, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. "No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic" (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88).

The need of this divinely instituted means for the preservation of unity, about which we speak is urged by St. Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians. In this he first admonishes them to preserve with every care concord of minds: "Solicitous to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. iv., 3, et seq.). And as souls cannot be perfectly united in charity unless minds agree in faith, he wishes all to hold the same faith: "One Lord, one faith," and this so perfectly one as to prevent all danger of error: "that henceforth we be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive" (Eph. iv., 14): and this he teaches is to be observed, not for a time only - "but until we all meet in the unity of faith...unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ" (13). But, in what has Christ placed the primary principle, and the means of preserving this unity? In that - "He gave some Apostles - and other some pastors and doctors, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (11-12).


Pope Leo XIII noted also in Satis Cognitum that agreement of minds is a necessary condition for unity of Faith and thus of union with Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:

Agreement and union of minds is the necessary foundation of this perfect concord amongst men, from which concurrence of wills and similarity of action are the natural results. 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 xviii., cap. 5, n. I). 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.

We are mindful only of what is witnessed to by Holy Writ and what is otherwise well known. Christ proves His own divinity and the divine origin of His mission by miracles; He teaches the multitudes heavenly doctrine by word of mouth; and He absolutely commands that the assent of faith should be given to His teaching, promising eternal rewards to those who believe and eternal punishment to those who do not. "If I do not the works of my Father, believe Me not" (John x., 37). "If I had not done among them the works than no other man had done, they would not have sin" (Ibid. xv., 24). "But if I do (the works) though you will not believe Me, believe the works" (Ibid. x., 38). Whatsoever He commands, He commands by the same authority. He requires the assent of the mind to all truths without exception. It was thus the duty of all who heard Jesus Christ, if they wished for eternal salvation, not merely to accept His doctrine as a whole, but to assent with their entire mind to all and every point of it, since it is unlawful to withhold faith from God even in regard to one single point.


"Faith" in Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ not a kind of fuzzy "personal relationship with a "You" Who is divorced and dissevered from the Catholic Church without a regard for a strict belief in everything He has revealed to us through her. Alas, this is what Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI means by "faith," as James Larson, who, though very much opposed to sedevacantism, has produced some of the best analyses extant on the New Theology that inheres in the thought and the writing of Ratzinger/Benedict(writings that are available en toto on his The War Against Being website), noted in an analysis of Ratzinger's Spe Salvi:

Hope, in other words, is totally rooted in Faith as its substance, and Faith is rooted in the content of what God has revealed to us. This is why in order to possess Catholic faith, submission to all the defined doctrines of our faith is necessary. Faith is constituted by a submission of both intellect and will to the Sacred Deposit of Faith which God has revealed to us through His Church. Because all doctrine is not, and cannot, be fully understood does not mean that this submission is, or should be, or may be, any less. Faith is not, therefore, equivalent to hope, but rather its requisite. And contrary to what Fr. Ratzinger said in regard to a man remaining a Christian despite the fact that he may "find many of the details of faith obscure and impracticable” (read: cannot be used, accepted or practiced), the absolute obligation to accept the entire Deposit of Faith in order to retain Catholic Faith is still imperative. St. Thomas writes:


"Just as mortal sin is contrary to charity, so is disbelief in one article of faith contrary to faith. Now charity does not remain in a man after one mortal sin. Therefore neither does faith, after a man disbelieves one article." (Ibid, II-II, Q.5, A.3).

In the entire length of Spe Salvi, not a single reference is made to Revealed Truth, the Deposit of Faith, Doctrine, or Dogma as having any relation whatsoever to our Hope.

Having sundered both hope and faith from the absolutely objective content of the Deposit of Faith, Joseph Ratzinger is left merely with the existential choice of continuing to believe in the "You" of Jesus Christ, but not the "something" of this Divine Deposit. And since (Christ's) claim to be both man and God is just as absurd from the positivistic viewpoint as transubstantiation or original sin, then this choice, this hope, this trust, this faith becomes essentially an existential choice with no objective foundation. As such, it can make no claims to exclusivity, and therefore demand no conversion. It must, in other words, adjust itself to pluralism and ecumenism. Again, from Faith and the Future:


"As things are, faith cannot count on a bundle of philosophical certainties [thus Thomism is sent entirely packing) which lead up to faith and support it. It will be compelled, rather, to prove its own legitimacy in advance by reflecting on its own inner reasonableness and by presenting itself as a reasonable whole, which can be offered to men as a possible and responsible choice. To say this is to imply that faith must clearly adjust itself to an intellectual pluralism that cannot ever be reversed, and within this intellectual climate must present itself as a comprehensible offer of meaning, even if it can find no prolegomena in a commonly accepted philosophical system. That means, in the end, that the meaning which man needs becomes accessible in any case only through a decision for a meaningful structure. It may not be proved, but can be seen as meaningful." (p. 74-75)


Imagine trying to teach such a faith to all the little children who Our Lord instructed us to "suffer" to come unto Him. The victim in all this is not only the Truth. It is also the Innocent. (James Larson, Article 12: The Quintessential Evolutionist.)


Ratzinger/Benedict's attempts to drive a wedge between the "person" of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and His doctrine is pure Modernism. His rejection of and contempt for the Scholasticism of Saint Thomas Aquinas has led him into a murky world of personalist existentialism that minimizes the importance of adhering to dogmatic statements, each of which must be judged critically in light of the specific historical circumstances in which they were written, separating those things that are "permanent" from those things that are "contingent" upon the exigencies of a given moment. In other words, the subjectivism of Orthodoxy and Protestantism are the correct way in which to develop and sustain a "relationship" with Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which is why it is necessary to "revisit" Saint Paul the Apostle and certain of the Fathers of the Church, especially Saint Augustine of Hippo, to coerce perjured testimony from them in support of conciliar propositions that they opposed during their lifetimes and in their writings.

Ratzinger/Benedict's efforts to drive a wedge between the "person" of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and His doctrine was on display most incredibly in his Wednesday, November 26, 2008, general audience when he said that, "The essential point is that Christian ethics do not arise from a system of commandments, they are a consequence of our friendship with Christ," thereby throwing out the sixth disposition listed by the Council of Trent for a soul to be in a state of justification. And perhaps this disdain for a "system of commandments," which God Himself implanted in man's rational nature and revealed definitively to Moses on Mount Sinai and has given finally to His Catholic Church for their eternal safekeeping and infallible explication, explains why Ratzinger/Benedict feels "free" to break the First Commandment repeatedly by esteeming the symbols of false religions and praising their nonexistent "ability" to contribute to "peace" in the world. What matters to Ratzinger/Benedict is not a "legalistic" interpretation of Commandments but a "friendship with Christ." There can be no friendship with Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ if we do not recognize and admit that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of the Christian moral order and thus of an authentic love for God and our neighbor in light of what He has revealed to us through His true Church.

Moreover, Ratzinger/Benedict's discussion of Martin Luther in his general audience addresses of Wednesday, November 19, 2008, and Wednesday, November 26, 2008, places Luther's heresy on the Doctrine of Justification in the context of the fuzziness and murkiness of the New Theology. Ratzinger/Benedict, having discarded Thomism, uses phrases such as Charity without defining them precisely. Is it enough for one to "love" Our Lord and to have "faith" in Him without believing in everything taught by the Catholic Church, without performing the specific Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy taught by the Catholic Church (which works increase the state of Justice within our souls, a little concept nowhere mentioned in Ratzinger/Benedict's allocutions), without attempting to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world, without attempting to live penitentially so as to grow in sanctity?

James Larson discussed Ratzinger's distorted views on "love" and "charity" at some length:

It would seem extremely revealing, therefore, that in an encyclical titled Deus caritas est, there is not one mention of caritas (charity) as being a divine grace gratuitously added to our nature, by which we come into friendship with God. There is not one mention of sanctifying grace, gratuitously added to our nature at baptism, and restored through confession, by which we become capable of the exercise of supernatural caritas. Never, therefore, does the Pope tell us that the greatest act of love which we can exercise towards any of our unconverted neighbors is to help bring them into the life of supernatural charity which comes through conversion to Christ and to His Church.

St. Thomas, on the other hand, offers us a profound passage integrating the teaching of Holy Scripture with absolutely sound Catholic theology:


“On the contrary, The Apostle says (Rom. v. 5): The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, Who is given to us.

I answer that, As stated above 9Q.23, A.1), charity is a friendship of man for God, founded upon the fellowship of everlasting happiness. Now this fellowship is in respect, not of natural, but of gratuitous gifts, for, according to Rom vi. 23, the grace of God is life everlasting: wherefore charity itself surpasses our natural faculties. Now that which surpasses the faculty of nature, cannot be natural or acquired by the natural powers, since a natural effect does not transcend its cause.

Therefore charity can be in us neither naturally, nor through acquisition by the natural powers, but by the infusion of the Holy Ghost, Who is the love of the Father and the Son, and the participation of Whom in us is created charity.” (ST, II-II, Q.24, A.2).

The salvation of every human being on this earth is therefore dependent on the gift of supernatural charity which is integral to sanctifying grace. And since the “normal” means of acquisition of sanctifying grace and supernatural caritas is through the sacrament of Baptism, and since Baptism for adults requires a personal assent to Christian faith, then the great impetus behind all love exercised towards non-Catholics should be to bring them to Catholic faith and baptism. This is the great mandate given by Christ to His apostles after the Resurrection: “Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:16). It is therefore astounding that in a Papal encyclical on charity, the greater part of which is devoted to the obligation of love towards our neighbor, that this Gospel imperative is never quoted or discussed.

The “hard line” which must be drawn between God and man, between the supernatural and the natural, and between spiritual life and spiritual death as taught to us both by Christ in His teaching on faith and baptism, and also by St. Thomas in his writings on supernatural caritas, is the great sign of contradiction to proponents of the New Theology, and also to Eastern Orthodoxy. It is my conviction that Pope Benedict XVI’s teaching on love is reflective of this enmity. (James Larson, Article 11: A Confusion of Loves.)


Martin Luther's concept of justification by "faith alone" is absolutely opposed to the Supernatural Virtue of Charity as his, Luther's concept of "faith" is itself heretical and thus opposed to the eternal good of the souls for whom Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. As the late Father William Heidt, O.S.B., noted in a course on Scriptural hermeneutics at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, in the Fall of 1983, "We are justified by belief in everything that constitutes the Catholic Faith, which includes belief in and adherence to each of the Church's dogmatic pronouncements and having the dispositions of soul necessary for justification, including the performance of good works. No one who rejects those pronouncements or is in a state of Original Sin or Mortal Sin is justified by a 'feeling' of being personally attached to Our Lord." There is simply no way to reconcile Martin Luther's heretical and condemned concept of justification with any legitimately Catholic teaching on the constituent elements of Faith, Hope, and Charity. None whatsoever.

Ratzinger/Benedict concluded his general audience address of November 19, 2008, by stating that the sole standard of our Particular Judgment is "love" and nothing else, citing the passage from Saint Matthew's Gospel used in the Novus Ordo observance of the Feast of Christ the King on the "Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time," an observance, it should be noted, that stresses Our Lord's eschatological Kingship at the end of time and not his Social Kingship here on earth at the present time. Ratzinger/Benedict stated that, "And charity is the realization of communion with Christ. Thus, being united to him we are just, and in no other way." But how are we united Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Through some personal feeling? As members of the Catholic Church who are in states of Sanctifying Grace and who profess whole the Deposit of Faith? Are the six dispositions outlined by the Council of Trent no longer necessary to be justified before God? Is there any possibility of losing this justification? Can there be true love of God and neighbor if one dissents knowingly from anything contained in the Deposit of Faith? Do good works increase justice in one's soul? Are these good works justifying or are they merely "signs" of one's "communion" in "love" with Our Lord?

As noted earlier in this commentary, there is no need to make that which has been defined solemnly by the Church difficult to understand. How many Catholics in the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism even know the Doctrine of Justification as it has been defined by the Council of Trent? More to the point, how many Catholics in the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism even know that there is such a Doctrine of Justification or know anything at all about the Council of Trent?

Catholics need to know what the Catholic Church teaches solemnly under the infallible guidance and protection of God the Holy Ghost in the Holy Name of her Invisible Head and Mystical Bridegroom, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Catholics need to know how they can cooperate with Sanctifying Grace to adhere to this teaching. They do not need to have an apologist for the "New Theology" make it appear as though the words "faith" and "love" can be understood without regard to the doctrines enunciated by Holy Mother Church and in a way compatible with Lutheranism itself.

His Excellency Bishop Donald A. Sanborn, who took the time to review Ratzinger/Benedict's November 26, 2008, "general audience" address (On Signs of a Living Faith, which is a continuation of the November 19, 2008, address critiqued herein), was kind enough to offer the following comments:

The speech is pure Lutheranism. It is overtly heretical. 

(1) He professes the Lutheran notion that it is faith alone that justifies, and not works. HERESY

(2) He accepts Luther's interpretation that "works" refers to the observance of the moral law, and not to St. Paul's meaning, namely the Mosaic observances. ERROR

(3) He teaches the typically Lutheran doctrine that works are merely congruous with justifying faith, but not in themselves justifying. HERESY

(4) He wrongly defines faith as "communion with Christ," and wrongly states that faith not animated by charity is false faith. AT LEAST ERRONEOUS, if not heretical. It concludes directly to heresy, and is, I believe, contrary to the teaching of Trent.

It will be interesting to see how the Novus Ordo conservatives dance around this one. . . . . A new set of towels will have to thrown over the naked emperor.

I thank His Excellency for offering these cogent remarks.

Writing in Pascendi Dominci Gregis, Pope Saint Pius X, September 8, 1907, explained that not one part of the Faith is left untouched by the Modernist mind:

Although they express their astonishment that We should number them amongst the enemies of the Church, no one will be reasonably surprised that We should do so, if, leaving out of account the internal disposition of the soul, of which God alone is the Judge, he considers their tenets, their manner of speech, and their action. Nor indeed would he be wrong in regarding them as the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church. For, as We have said, they put into operation their designs for her undoing, not from without but from within. Hence, the danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain from the very fact that their knowledge of her is more intimate. Moreover, they lay the ax not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fibers. And once having struck at this root of immortality, they proceed to diffuse poison through the whole tree, so that there is no part of Catholic truth which they leave untouched, none that they do not strive to corrupt. Further, none is more skillful, none more astute than they, in the employment of a thousand noxious devices; for they play the double part of rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error; and as audacity is their chief characteristic, there is no conclusion of any kind from which they shrink or which they do not thrust forward with pertinacity and assurance To this must be added the fact, which indeed is well calculated to deceive souls, that they lead a life of the greatest activity, of assiduous and ardent application to every branch of learning, and that they possess, as a rule, a reputation for irreproachable morality. Finally, there is the fact which is all hut fatal to the hope of cure that their very doctrines have given such a bent to their minds, that they disdain all authority and brook no restraint; and relying upon a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that which is in reality the result of pride and obstinacy. . . .

It remains for Us now to say a few words about the Modernist as reformer. From all that has preceded, it is abundantly clear how great and how eager is the passion of such men for innovation. In all Catholicism there is absolutely nothing on which it does not fasten. They wish philosophy to be reformed, especially in the ecclesiastical seminaries. They wish the scholastic philosophy to be relegated to the history of philosophy and to be classed among absolute systems, and the young men to be taught modern philosophy which alone is true and suited to the times in which we live. They desire the reform of theology: rational theology is to have modern philosophy for its foundation, and positive theology is to be founded on the history of dogma. As for history, it must be written and taught only according to their methods and modern principles. Dogmas and their evolution, they affirm, are to be harmonized with science and history. In the Catechism no dogmas are to be inserted except those that have been reformed and are within the capacity of the people. Regarding worship, they say, the number of external devotions is to he reduced, and steps must be taken to prevent their further increase, though, indeed, some of the admirers of symbolism are disposed to be more indulgent on this head. They cry out that ecclesiastical government requires to be reformed in all its branches, but especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic departments They insist that both outwardly and inwardly it must be brought into harmony with the modern conscience which now wholly tends towards democracy; a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to the lower ranks of the clergy and even to the laity and authority which is too much concentrated should be decentralized The Roman Congregations and especially the index and the Holy Office, must be likewise modified The ecclesiastical authority must alter its line of conduct in the social and political world; while keeping outside political organizations it must adapt itself to them in order to penetrate them with its spirit. With regard to morals, they adopt the principle of the Americanists, that the active virtues are more important than the passive, and are to be more encouraged in practice. They ask that the clergy should return to their primitive humility and poverty, and that in their ideas and action they should admit the principles of Modernism; and there are some who, gladly listening to the teaching of their Protestant masters, would desire the suppression of the celibacy of the clergy. What is there left in the Church which is not to be reformed by them and according to their principles?

It may, perhaps, seem to some, Venerable Brethren, that We have dealt at too great length on this exposition of the doctrines of the Modernists. But it was necessary that We should do so, both in order to meet their customary charge that We do not understand their ideas, and to show that their system does not consist in scattered and unconnected theories, but, as it were, in a closely connected whole, so that it is not possible to admit one without admitting all. For this reason, too, We have had to give to this exposition a somewhat didactic form, and not to shrink from employing certain unwonted terms which the Modernists have brought into use. And now with Our eyes fixed upon the whole system, no one will be surprised that We should define it to be the synthesis of all heresies. Undoubtedly, were anyone to attempt the task of collecting together all the errors that have been broached against the faith and to concentrate into one the sap and substance of them all, he could not succeed in doing so better than the Modernists have done. Nay, they have gone farther than this, for, as We have already intimated, their system means the destruction not of the Catholic religion alone, but of all religion. Hence the rationalists are not wanting in their applause, and the most frank and sincere among them congratulate themselves on having found in the Modernists the most valuable of all allies.


One of the greatest triumphs of the Modernists in the counterfeit church of conciliarism is that their efforts to redefine the Faith in terms of pure Modernism and its New Theology stepchild cause all manner of "conservative" Catholics to "read" Catholicism into the texts of allocutions or homilies or encyclical letters that are founded in one condemned proposition after another. There was never any need to "read" Catholicism into an encyclical letter of Pope Gregory XVI or Pope Pius IX or Pope Leo XIII or Pope Saint Pius X, now was there? No one had to strain to "reconcile" of these popes' encyclicals with each other.

Undaunted, however, all manner of people will use their fancy "blogspots" and websites to do just this with the general audience addresses of November 19 and 26, 2008, that is, of straining to find the Catholicism that is "hidden" in Ratzinger's words (an exercise reminiscent of finding the hidden characters in the old Highlights magazine for children; in fact, I tried to do this again in June of this year when we had to take Lucy to a pediatrician).

Some are even trying to claim that the Fathers of the Council of Trent, guided infallibly by the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, did not understand the "theology" of Martin Luther because he, Luther, had not expressed his views clearly. Please try that one on Saint Charles Borromeo, who participated in the final part of the Council of Trent and was instrumental in the work that produced The Roman Catechism. Go tell that to Saint Robert Bellarmine, who wrote after the Council of Trent and knew the mind of Martin Luther very well. What utter and complete madness, all designed to indemnify an apostle of the condemned New Theology, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.

The fact remains that Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI did not in his past two "general audience" addresses mention the simple fact that one must have the six dispositions of soul listed by the Council of Trent to be in a state of Justification. The Catholic Church is quite specific. She is guided infallibly by God the Holy Ghost. The Catholic Church never lets souls wander in a area of murkiness or ambiguity. Any Catholic attempting to give a catechesis on the Doctrine of Justification would review each of the six dispositions. Ah, when one is attempting to appeal to non-Catholic Christians on the basis of Scripture alone without making advertence to dogmatic formulae whose specific language was "influenced" by the "historical circumstances" of the moment, one cannot appeal to the authority of dogmatic councils and one must descend in to the murkiness and imprecision offered by the New Theology's abandonment of Scholastic principles of dogmatic expression and apologetics.

Remember, Ratzinger/Benedict rejects what he calls disparagingly the "ecumenism of the return." He does not believe that the Catholic Church has a mission to seek with urgency the unconditional conversion of all non-Catholics to her maternal bosom, meaning that he believes that it is normally or ordinarily the case for men, including those validly baptized non-Catholic Christians, who have a "communion" with Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to be in a state of Justification. This is not so. This is once again part and parcel of what Father Anthony Cekada has termed "Frankenchurch" (Frankenchurch).

As His Excellency Bishop Donald Sanborn noted to us on Wednesday in Holy Week of 2007 (April 4, 2007), anyone who reads the Church's pronouncements and papal decrees in Denziger would find that the Church spoke with one voice (una voce) prior to 1958. There was a "seamless" unity to all that was taught. Obviously, this is not the case in the counterfeit church of conciliarism. Indeed, we sometimes find the same conciliar "pontiff" contradicting himself now and again (Ratzinger himself writing in a letter that there cannot be any true "inter-religious dialogue' without leaving one's faith in "parentheses" while he gives allocutions praising inter-religious dialogue and participates in inter-religious prayer services and esteems the symbols of false religions with his own priestly hands).

Believing Catholics know that none of of what is emanating from the Vatican in conciliar captivity represents the work of the Catholic Church. While we must pray for the conversion of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and his "hierarchy," we must also be sure to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world as the consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, praying as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit.

We must also take consolation once again these words of Pope Pius XI, contained in Quas Primas, December 11, 1925:

We may well admire in this the admirable wisdom of the Providence of God, who, ever bringing good out of evil, has from time to time suffered the faith and piety of men to grow weak, and allowed Catholic truth to be attacked by false doctrines, but always with the result that truth has afterwards shone out with greater splendor, and that men's faith, aroused from its lethargy, has shown itself more vigorous than before.


Let us be aroused from our own lethargy and make no compromises with the Faith at all as we entrust our souls exclusively to the pastoral care of true bishops and true priests in the Catholic catacombs where no concessions at all are made with conciliarism or any legitimacy whatsoever granted to those who hold positions in the conciliar church as members of the Catholic Church in good standing. ((Please see His Excellency Bishop Daniel L. Dolan's excellent sermon on making no compromises with the false church, Why Do We Say No To The “Una Cum” Masses )

May we take refuge in the sure shelters provided by the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary as we seek to get to Heaven by growing in sanctity and making reparation for our sins, always conscious that this very night our lives may be demanded of us!

Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!

Isn't it time to pray a full fifteen decade Rosary now?

Our Lady of the Rosary, us.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.


Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.

Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria, pray for us.

Saint Catherine Laboure, pray for us.

Saint Sylvester the Abbot, pray for us.

Saint Peter of Alexandria, pray for us.

See also: A Litany of Saints


© Copyright 2008, Thomas A. Droleskey. All rights reserved.