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March 6, 2008

Mocking the Faith

by Thomas A. Droleskey

A vast charade is being played out at the present time as the false "pontiff," Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, continues to exalt false ecumenism, rejecting outright the "ecumenism of the return," and the blasphemy that is "religious liberty" while at the same time making overtures to traditionally-minded Catholics concerning the "liberalization" of the modernized version of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, which is being offered for the most part by men who are not ordained priests and who must make their due obeisance to the "Second" Vatican Council as it is understood in "light of tradition." The word "tradition" means nothing to the Hegelian Ratzinger, who pours into that word whatever it is he desires, projecting into the thoughts of the Fathers of the Church, mind you, fondest expressions of their support for the errors of conciliarism.

Several articles (Singing the Old Songs, Different Names, Same Results, No Lessons Learned After Forty Years of Appeasement and Apostasy, Defending the Truth is Never Any Kind of Game, High Church, Low Church) in this site in the past two months have examined in great detail Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's lifelong warfare against the Catholic Faith in his writings and teaching. Joseph Ratzinger has spelled out his Modernist beliefs, starting with his thoroughly Hegelian view of truth that no rational, sane human being can deny unless he has lost his intellectual integrity, in his writings, especially in Principles of Catholic Theology, which is his "playbook," if you will, for everything he is doing now as a false "pontiff," including pitting traditionally-minded Catholics against each other in fierce combat as he, Ratzinger, might be preparing to rehabilitate the egregious Martin Luther himself!

Joseph Ratzinger told us in Principles of Catholic Theology that those who opposed the "Second" Vatican Council could not be resisted too firmly:

Among the more obvious phenomena of the last years must be counted the increasing number of integralist groups in which the desire for piety, for the sense of mystery, is finding satisfaction. We must be on our guard against minimizing these movements. Without a doubt, they represent a sectarian zealotry that is the antithesis of Catholicity. We cannot resist them too firmly. (Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, pp. 389-390)


Summorum Pontificum, for example, is NOT about "restoring" the Church. It is about coopting traditionally-minded Catholics into becoming full-throated members of the One World Ecumenical Church that is the counterfeit church of conciliarism. This is something that Father Basilio Meramo, the Prior of the Society of Saint Pius X noted three months ago in a most prescient commentary on the mind and the intentions of Joseph Ratzinger. Although this commentary was run in High Church, Low Church nine days ago now, it is important to run once again as an antidote to the insanity being bandied about in some quarters concerning "our only friend in the Vatican's" intentions concerning the Faith:

Sacred Scripture warns us that Satan often transforms himself into an Angel of Light (2 Corinthians 11:14), that is, as an apparent good, to seduce the faithful. "For the Devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour" (2 Peter 5:8). For this reason, St. Peter exhorts us to be sober and watchful.

Many, if not the great majority, of the defenders of the Traditional Mass and doctrine have seen the Motu Proprio of Benedict XVI as a great good, in that it recognized that the Traditional Latin Mass was never abrogated. This "recognition" is seen by those holding this "optimistic" view as something like a piece of parched land that would welcome a gently-falling rain after a long drought. And, even more, we see how they are so overcome with gratitude that they are forecasting the most promising vistas for a happy future, of verdant greenery and bright and beautiful blossoms.

But if we analyze the facts dispassionately and in the steady, clear light of the Faith, we see that the beautiful scenery vanishes before our eyes, like the vain and dangerous mirage-like illusion that it is. Nothing could be better or more perspicacious than to recognize as true that the Traditional Mass was never legally abrogated, although it was suppressed in a manner that was an abuse of power, as Archbishop Lefebvre and traditional Catholics have always maintained.

Therefore, the declaration by Benedict XVI affirming that the true Mass was never abolished appears, at first sight, to be a victory. However, after closer examination of the declaration, one perceives both the subtlety and the intelligence of this action. Benedict XVI is attempting by an audacious and effective way to accomplish his most profound and desired goal according to his Modernistic mindset, so that many critics of Modernism have not been able to appreciate fully the vastness of his aims or the subtlety of his strategy.

Benedict XVI, who has a keen and penetrating intellect, intends to legitimize the New Mass by attempting to portray it as a legitimate and faithful development of the ancient Roman rite. To be successful, he had to heal the rupture created by the attempted suppression of the Traditional Mass, first by denying that the Traditional Mass had been abolished. For the Traditional Mass was the faithful expression of the ancient Roman Mass, both in its historical development and in its dogmatic content, promulgated in perpetuity.

Historically, it could not be affirmed that a schismatic break had taken place in the development of the rite, as Joseph Ratzinger declared in his autobiography. But this is in fact what had been declared had happened when the New Mass was introduced, so it was necessary to repair the breach. The second great event that occurred at the beginning of my years at Ratisbon was the publication of the Missal of Paul VI, with the almost total prohibition of the Traditional Missal. But I was perplexed by the prohibition of the Traditional Missal, for nothing similar had ever occurred in the history of the liturgy. One cannot speak of a prohibition of the older and, until then, legitimately valid Missal, whose development through the centuries can be traced back all the way to the Sacramentaries of the early Church. This brought about a break in the history of the liturgy, whose consequences could be only tragic (Joseph Ratzinger, Mi Vida, ed. Encuentro, Madrid, 2005, pp. 148-149).

We can see then that, for Cardinal Ratzinger, the historical break cannot be legitimately defended, and this rupture had to be healed, especially given his plan to portray the New Mass as a legitimate continuation and development of the Traditional Missal and as an authentic expression of the Roman Rite of the Mass. With his dialectic, oecumenist mind, he could perceive that it could not be affirmed that the New Missal was a legitimate development of the Roman Rite, if on the other hand it was affirmed that the Traditional Missal was not.

Therefore, if both Missals are legitimate developments of the ancient Roman Rite, then it is incoherent to affirm that the Traditional Missal is prohibited or has been abolished, especially if one wants to pass off the New Mass, described by Archbishop Lefebvre as a Protestantized and bastard rite, as an equally legitimate development and expression of the ancient Roman Rite, as the Traditional Rite indeed was. Which brings us to the ultimate aim of Benedict XVI.

The attempt to reconcile the New Mass with the Traditional Mass is the first step in his plan to bring about a reconciliation between the teachings of Vatican II and the True Faith. He cannot permit a rupture or separation to remain, which would impede his dialectic synthesis, for, as he declared when he was Cardinal Ratzinger: "For the life of the Church, it is dramatically urgent that a renewal of the liturgical conscience take place that will recognize once again the unity of the history of the liturgy and will understand Vatican II not as a rupture, but as a moment of development" (ibidem). It now becomes clearly manifested what was the real motivation behind the recognition of the fact that the Traditional Missal was never abrogated. It is s the well-known one step backward/two steps forward strategy.

It would be naïve to think that Benedict XVI has taken these measures because he is moving closer to the Traditional Mass and the True Faith. For according to his own words, the aim of these measures is the consolidation and legitimization of the New Mass and of Vatican II. He is attempting this not through brutal and dramatic measures that break with the past, but by using the method of a subtle and gradual evolution [as "Fr." Ratzinger did at Vatican II], he hopes to reconcile and convince all of the opponents of Vatican II and of the New Mass of their legitimacy.

Benedict XVI is proceeding gently, yet firmly, to establish that the New Mass and Vatican II do not constitute a break with the past, either liturgically or doctrinally, but rather that they are the fruit of an organic growth and development within the Church and must be accepted by all of the faithful. Therefore, the Traditional Mass is the expression of an historical past, and the New Mass is the faithful expression of the vital present and the promise of an even more glorious future.

One cannot conceive of a more subtle, clever, and intelligent maneuver that clearly intends to eliminate the forces that compose the Catholic resistance to the innovations and that defend the Traditional Mass and doctrines of the Catholic Church. This elimination is to take place without any dramatic clashes or brutal confrontations, as was attempted in the past, but rather with a warm oecumenical embrace, which will not leave behind any rotting corpses that could mar the irenic and bucolic scenery. This is not how one proceeds in our democratic age, for now we destroy by dialectic substitution. (February 2008 Commentaries on Traditio)


It is obvious that those who accept the fact that the canonical doctrine of sedevacantism applies in these times of apostasy and betrayal have no "credibility" with the spin doctors who are spinning so wildly in behalf of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. Fine. What about Father Meramo? Does he have it all wrong too? What about the following analysis provided on an anti-sedevacantist website associated, it appears, with the Society of Saint Pius X?  Does the author of this analysis have it all wrong too? Does infallibility reside with those who have a vested interest in proving themselves "right" at the costs of all truth itself?

Three years is a very short period of time in comparison with the long years through which the Church has marched since her foundation, and even in the span of one man's years it is not considered great. Yet when we consider the change which has come upon the traditionalist movement since the 19th of April, 2005, that is, the day of the election of Pope Benedict XVI, three years seems like a very long time indeed. His election has proven to be the Day of Judgement for the Catholics who have clung to Tradition through the pontificates of his predecessors in the Post-Conciliar Church. His pontificate has begun a process which will have lasting effects upon the traditionalist movement, for it has laid bare the reasons which have led various Catholics to have resisted the changes brought upon the Church since Vatican II.

At the centre of the resistance to the novelties of the Council and its aftermath stand a number of figures who recognized that the devastation which has swept the Church has as its root a doctrinal deviation. Among these figures are Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and Bishop Antonio de Castro-Mayer. They saw, even at the Council, that a new theology was battling for the soul of the Church. This new theology, infected with modernism and liberalism, was the source of all the dolorous effects which left no diocese of parish untouched, save for those who rallied to these two defenders of the Faith. The Society of Saint Pius X has been the lightening rod of this movement, taking the opprobrium of the reformers upon itself in order to continue the traditional teaching and worship of the Church unsullied. For this group, the new theology was the force behind the liturgical reforms and all the other changes in the Church's devotional life. Until these errors were overturned officially by the Church, no true restoration would be possible.

Some of the laity rallied to the Archbishop and his allies, but not always with the same understanding of the crisis. Some were with him only because of the liturgical crisis or the abandonment of various traditional devotions in the local parishes. They saw the Society of Saint Pius X as a refuge until something palatable would appear again in their local churches. They were not so concerned with what they would consider more obscure questions of religious liberty or collegiality or ecumenism. Some indeed had already imbibed a lesser strain of liberal ideas, especially in those countries which were culturally pluralistic and democratic. Others saw some of the doctrinal questions, but for them there was always a fear that resisting the Pope was the real evil, even more than doctrinal novelty. Therefore, when 1988 came, and the Archbishop consecrated four bishops against the will of the Pope, some fled back to the parishes or to the nascent Ecclesia Dei communities. In these latter communities, the laity could find traditional devotions and the Tridentine Mass, although the doctrinal question was ignored in the process. They were willing to accept a pluralistic Catholicism as long as they had the approbation of the Pope and the local bishops.

But while John-Paul II reigned, there remained many who were at least somewhat aware of doctrinal issues, especially in the area of ecumenism. The travelling pope with his myriad ecumenical or interreligious meetings gave them an uneasy feeling that something was not right in Rome. His decisions to allow female altar servers and to apologize for various supposed offenses committed by the Church in the past left them agitated. Yet there always remained a vaguely guilty feeling that they could not rally to the Pope to the same degree as the "conservative" Catholics who idolized the late Pontiff and conferred upon him the title of "the Great". Since they blamed Pope John-Paul II for various ills, their affections were transferred to the head of the CDF: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. He was the vigilant doctrinal watchdog in their eyes, and one who seemed sympathetic to those who wished the traditional rite a more visible place in the Church. He was the friend of Tradition.

Not all were so quick to accept this icon of Tradition in Rome, especially those who took the time to read his books or examine the documents which were issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Among these was Archbishop Lefebvre, who saw in the Cardinal's ideas the marks of neo-modernism. It was he who pointedly told the Cardinal that both of them were pointed in opposing paths, one to the restoration of Christ's kingship, the other to apostasy. But the traditionalists who had fixed upon the German Cardinal as their one hope turned a blind eye to the unpleasant warnings coming from the Archbishop or his Society. They did not want to read the Cardinal's works or to ask themselves too many questions. Cardinal Ratzinger was the friend of Tradition in a Rome awash in modernism. Of course, they should have asked themselves how it was that the Pope that they were critical of had appointed Cardinal Ratzinger in his position, and would not allow him to retire from it. Does this not indicate a union of ideas between the two? But these traditionalists needed desperately to feel that they had a friend who was one of them among those who wore the Cardinatial robes.

And so Pope John-Paul II went before Him who judges all men. At the Pontiff's funeral presided the Bavarian Cardinal, and the world watched as he communicated Brother Roger, who at least publicly appeared to be a protestant. Ostensibly, the Cardinal did not know this, but it is difficult to imagine that he did not know who Brother Roger was, considering that when he was murdered, the present Pope said he was looking down on us from Heaven. In any case, the "friend of Tradition" became Pope, and the hearts of many looked for change.

This hope bore fruit in the Motu Proprio. It was a document which while saying that the old rite was never abrogated, also said that the old and new rites were actually the same rite (!) and promised that both forms of the same rites would mutually enrich each other. But the Benedict Fan Club ignored any unpleasant things from THEIR Pope. He was the great restorer. He was the anti-thesis of the last Pontiff. The rift within Tradition began to make itself felt. Surely the Society of Saint Pius X would sign on to the "Benedictine Revolution", the "Marshall Plan" to restore the Church. It was time to put aside differences and work with the friend of Tradition. After all, he gave back to the Church her ancient Usage (almost said "rite). But the Society of Saint Pius X continued to insist on a doctrinal discussion on the errors of the Council as a pre-requisite to any agreement, basing themselves on the notion that there can be no union in the Church without a union in the truth. The critics grew impatient.

The change in the prayer for the Jews should have been a wake-up call that this Pope had no intention of leaving the 1962 Missal untouched; after all, he made that quite clear in the letter which accompanied the Motu Proprio ("oh, that was only a political move; he never really meant what he said in that letter"). The change brought even more to light the blindness which has come upon a number of traditionalists over this Pope. There was not even a murmur at seeing a uniformed member of the Salvation Army in St. Peter's taking part in an official liturgical service with the Pope, along with an Orthodox, an Armenian Apostolic, a Lutheran... Desperately these traditionalists point out what nice things the Pope is wearing these days. He is using pre-Conciliar vestments and thrones, after all. But when he affirms that the way of ecumenism is one which the Church has irrevocably set out upon, there is silence. When the relics of Catholic saints are handed over to the Orthodox (to whose assemblies these saints never belonged), there is silence. When he calls the meetings at Assisi of the late Pope, "prophetic", there is silence. When he writes in his encyclicals things contrary to Tradition, such as his novel view of Purgatory or that God is Eros as well as Charity, there is silence. When he changes the ancient prayer for the Jews in the old Rite, suppressing the very words of Saint Paul, while changing nothing in the prayer of the New Rite, there is not silence, but vociferous support and petitions of defense. This Pope will do what his post-Conciliar predecessors could not, and that is win the submission of traditionalists to the Council and all its pomps, and all its works. They will accept his vision of One Missal in which the new and old forms will blend, a vision he has already publicly stated as Cardinal. He will give them the fruit of Neo-Modernism, and they will eat.

The Motu Proprio gave birth to what we must call "Neo-Traditionalism", a new acceptance of change in the name of obedience to the "friend of Tradition". The doctrinal errors will be put aside in favour of a pragmatic pluralism, which can only end in acceptance of error. But what is underneath this enthusiasm which now has captured so many? Is it love of the truth?

Unfortunately, the cult of personality which exalted the last pope has been replaced with another which exalts the present one. Many want, indeed desperately need, to put their hopes on Pope Benedict XVI. They want to feel part of the club again, to feel appreciated by someone in the Church. and they will close their eyes and shut their ears to anything which might put an end to their hopes. Indeed, those who have continued to warn of the doctrinal errors which reign even in the mind of the Pope are set upon by the very traditionalists who would have said the same thing four years ago. The errors have not changed, but these traditionalists have. They use the same language and the same arguments used by the "conservatives" after the Council who plead loyalty to the Pope as the reason for accepting change.

Every Catholic, however, must realize that there is no loyalty greater than loyalty to the Truth. Christ identifies Himself as the Truth. All that who are of the truth hear His voice. God is a jealous God; He does not promise the comfort of being accepted and loved as part of the club. He promises the Cross to those who are truly His disciples. There can be no question of putting aside differences in order to work together when those differences pertain to the Truth taught by the Church, no matter if this means resisting the novelties of prelates, even of the Pope. To put aside differences of truth implies that there is something of greater worth than truth, which is to say that there is something of greater value to the Church than Christ Himself. It is impossible. It is to dethrone Christ yet again and set up an idol, the idol of man. it is the cult of man, and that cult even now is taking root in the hearts of traditionalists who only four years ago spoke up for the truth contra mundum, no matter who that might include.
Neo-TradiCCtionalism and the Cult of Man (Crededimus Caritati, "Neo-Traditionalism and the Cult of Man." http://credidimuscaritati.blogspot.com/ (look to the right sidebar for the link to the article)


Obviously, no true pope can be an enemy of the truth. Apart from this important observation and qualification, the analysis provided on the Crededimus Caritati blogspot is very accurate, resonating some themes explored in detail in some of the recent articles on this site listed above. Anyone with a modicum of common sense and intellectual honesty can see that Joseph Ratzinger believes in condemned propositions about the nature of truth, supports a "new ecclesiology" that contends those outside of the Catholic Church and who dissent from articles contained in the Deposit of Faith are "members" of the "Church of Christ," endorses and promotes with enthusiasm false ecumenism, rejecting the "ecumenism of the return," and "inter-religious dialogue," called "obstinate wrangling" by Lactantius as quoted in Pope Pius XI's Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928, and has made space for the abomination of  false worship in the Archbasilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome as the Shrine of the Most Holy Trinity in Fatima, Portugal, is being turned into an ecumenical center. None of this matters any more, of course, at least to some positivists, because of Summorum Pontificum, proof in and of itself of the diabolical trap posed by the "motu proprio" of July 7, 2007.

Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has no regard for any "past" teaching that he believes has lost its historical relevance, has become, to use his own words, "obsolete." Pope Gregory XVI's condemnation of religious liberty? Obsolete? The condemnations of "separation of Church and State" by Popes Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Saint Pius X? Mere "contingent truths" that become "obsolete in the particulars that they contain." Pope Leo XIII's condemnation of Americanism in Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae? Simply wrong on its face? Pope Leo XIII's condemnation of forty propositions contained in the works of Father Antonio Rosmini? Overturned. Pope Leo XIII had it all wrong. The Social Reign of Christ King defended by pope after pope, including Pope Pius XI in Quas Primas? Irrelevant, unnecessary in an era in which there has been a "reconciliation with the principles of 1789." Pope Pius XII's condemnation of the "new theology" in Humani Generis? Pope Pius XII had it wrong, which is why Karol Wojtyla and Joseph Ratzinger referred constantly to the condmned "new theologians." Each of these true popes had to be wrong, misled, steeped in subjective errors, bound by the "historical circumstances" of their times in order for Joseph Ratzinger to be right. In other words, God Himself permitted His Vicars on earth to be wrong on important matters of the Faith. Impossible.

None of these incontrovertible facts matters, right? Summorum Pontificum changes everything, right? Summorum Pontificum is a diabolically clever trap that causes men to lose their intellectual integrity as they spin for Joseph Ratzinger, a man who has contempt--absolute, fire-breathing contempt--for the true popes of the past and for the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church that these popes merely articulated so well and so courageously, just as many of us spun for so long (far too long, I am ashamed to admit) for Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II. The same old songs are being sung, as I noted in Singing the Old Songs.  And I suppose that it will not matter that, according to press reports, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI is preparing to spit on Pope Leo X, who excommunicated Father Martin Luther, O.S.A., and declared him to be a heretic? Here is the story from The Times of London online

Pope Benedict XVI is to rehabilitate Martin Luther, arguing that he did not intend to split Christianity but only to purge the Church of corrupt practices.

Pope Benedict will issue his findings on Luther (1483-1546) in September after discussing him at his annual seminar of 40 fellow theologians — known as the Ratzinger Schuller— at Castelgandolfo, the papal summer residence. According to Vatican insiders the Pope will argue that Luther, who was excommunicated and condemned for heresy, was not a heretic.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, the head of the pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said the move would help to promote ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Protestants. It is also designed to counteract the impact of July's papal statement describing the Protestant and Orthodox faiths as defective and “not proper Churches”.

The move to re-evaluate Luther is part of a drive to soften Pope Benedict's image as an arch conservative hardliner as he approaches the third anniversary of his election next month. This week it emerged that the Vatican is planning to erect a statue of Galileo, who also faced a heresy trial, to mark the 400th anniversary next year of his discovery of the telescope.

The Pope has also reached out to the Muslim world to mend fences after his 2006 speech at Regensburg University in which he appeared to describe Islam as inherently violent and irrational. This week Muslim scholars and Vatican officials met at the pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue in Rome to begin laying the groundwork for a meeting between the Pope and leading Muslims, also expected to be held at Castelgandolfo.

Cardinal Kasper said: “We have much to learn from Luther, beginning with the importance he attached to the word of God.” It was time for a “more positive” view of Luther, whose reforms had aroused papal ire at the time but could now be seen as having “anticipated aspects of reform which the Church has adopted over time”.

The Castelgandolfo seminar will in part focus on the question of apostolic succession, through which the apostles passed on the authority they received from Jesus to the first bishops. After the Reformation Protestants took the view that “succession” referred only to God's Word and not to church hierarchies but some German scholars have suggested Luther himself did not intend this.

Luther challenged the authority of the papacy by holding that the Bible is the sole source of religious authority and made it accessible to ordinary people by translating it into the vernacular. He became convinced that the Church had lost sight of the “central truths of Christianity”, and was appalled on a visit to Rome in 1510 by the power, wealth and corruption of the papacy.

In 1517 he protested publicly against the sale of papal indulgences for the remission of sins in his “95 Theses”, nailing a copy to the door of a Wittenberg church. Some theologians argue that Luther did not intend to confront the papacy “in a doctrinaire way” but only to raise legitimate questions - a view Pope Benedict apparently shares.

Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X, who dismissed him initially as “a drunken German who will change his mind when sober”.



Time will tell whether this story will be proved true in all of the "particulars which it contains." Although the specifics of the now infamous "revised" prayer for Jews, which has been analyzed so well by the Crededimus Caritati blogspot and by Bishop Richard Williamson and Father Peter Scott of the Society of Saint Pius X and so masterfully by Bishop Donald A. Sanborn in Genuflecting to the Jews, differed from the initial press reports about what it might contain, the press reports WERE correct about that the fact that Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI was taking seriously the demands made by the ancient enemies of the Catholic Faith to change the Good Friday prayer in the modernized version of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition that is now called the "extraordinary form of the Roman Rite" by the scions of the counterfeit church of conciliarism.

And I should also point out that the press reports concerning the work of the International Theological Commission on the fate of unbaptized babies were also pretty accurate even though some dismissed such reports at the time, believing that the "pope" would never permit such a report, however "unofficial" it may be considered in conciliar circles, to see the light of day. The current story in the Times of London online certainly informs us, at the very least, that a meeting will take place to discuss Martin Luther, a "discussion" that is unnecessary as he is indeed a heretic who is responsible for great spiritual and temporal harm being done to souls in the past nearly half-millennium. Even if the story does prove to be true in all of the "particulars which it contains," we can rest assured that defenders of all things Benedict will jump up and scream at us to say that "nothing official" has been made "binding" upon the faithful. Nothing "official." Just more and more drops of poison into the well of the Faith, that's all. Nothing "official" with which to be concerned, nothing that offends God Himself and cannot come from anyone who is a Catholic in good standing with Him.

The Times of London online story is, however, plausible. Why? Because Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, although he has criticized various aspects of Luther's beliefs in various places at various times, including in Spe Salvi, has nevertheless praised Martin Luther as a "father" of a theological school that is deserving of respect. Benedict believers that Catholics and Protestants can both understand their respective "Fathers" in a way that would be recognized as "catholic" by the early Church Fathers, which is why he, Benedict XVI, is attempting to deconstruct the early Church Fathers to "read" conciliarism, which is so favorably disposed to Protestantism, into their texts:

In many respects, a decision about the role of the Fathers seems, in fact, to have been reached today. But, since it is more unfavorable than favorable to a greater reliance upon them, it does nothing to lead us out of our present aporia. For, in the debate about what constitutes greater fidelity to the Church of the Fathers, Luther's historical instinct is clearly proving itself right. We are fairly certain today that, while the Fathers were not Roman Catholic as the thirteenth or nineteenth century would have understood the term, they were nonetheless "Catholic", and their Catholicism extended to the very canon of the New Testament itself. With this assessment, paradoxically, the Fathers have lost ground on both side of the argument because, in the controversy about the fundamental basis for understanding Scripture, there is nothing more to be proved or disproved by reference to them. But neither have they become totally unimportant in the domain, for, even after the relativization they have suffered in the process we have described, the differences between the Catholicism of an Augustine and a Thomas Aquinas, or even between that of a Cardinal Manning and a Cyprian, still opens a broad field of theological investigation. Granted, only one side can consider them its own Fathers, and the proof of continuity, which once led directly back to them, seems no longer worth the effort for a concept of history and faith that sees continuity as made possible and communicated in terms of discontinuity.

Nevertheless, a fact is emerging from these reflections that can guide us in our search for an answer. For we must admit, on the one hand, that, even for Catholic theology, the so-called Fathers of the Church have, for a long time, been "Fathers" only in an indirect sense, whereas the real "Father" of the form that ultimately dominated nineteenth century theology was Thomas Aquinas, with his classic systematization of the thirteenth century doctrina media, which, it must be added, was in its turn based on the "authority" of the Fathers. (Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, pp. 141-142.)


Given the text of Principles of Catholic Theology, my friends, a most reasonable "outcome" of the upcoming meeting in Castelgandolfo will be, at least in part, some kind of declaration that whatever "problems" Martin Luther had with the Catholic Church were the result, at least to a certain extent, of the "distortion" of the Church Fathers provided by Saint Thomas Aquinas and Scholasticism, which is why Benedict XVI is attempting to portray such early Church Fathers as Saint Augustine as champions of religious liberty, a false concept Saint Augustine condemned (as Pope Pius VII, noted in Post Tam Diuturnas, April 29, 1814). Thus it is that a "way" could be found to "reconcile" at least some of Luther's beliefs with those of the early Church Fathers, men whom Ratzinger contends were "not Roman Catholic as the thirteenth or nineteenth century would have understood the term." Remove Scholasticism, you see, and a "bridge" can be found to "reconcile" Catholics and Protestants with each other without demanding the unconditional conversion of Protestants to the Catholic Church, finding "common ground" as the basis for respecting the "traditions" of each as a basis for "full communion" is discovered.

This is what Joseph Ratzinger believes. This is one of the cornerstones of the "new theology" of which he is both an adherent and a "father" in his own right. This very mode of looking at the Church Fathers, however, as a means of finding a 'bridge" with Protestantism has been condemned by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, August 12, 1950, which was a complete and devastating critique and condemnation of the "new theology" to which Joseph Ratzinger subscribes with his entire being:

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.

Permit me, therefore, to offer some free and completely unsolicited advice to the seminar that will take place at Castelgandolfo this summer. Perhaps a "better" outcome will be reached if some of the basic facts about Luther are reviewed. An initial recommendation concerns recommending that each of the participants obtain and read Monsignor Patrick O'Hare's The Facts About Luther. Doing so will cancel the meeting in its entirety.

Martin Luther was a lecher who never "felt" forgiven when he availed himself of the Sacrament of Penance. He returned to his sins against the Sixth and Ninth Commandment, convincing himself that he was incapable of reforming his life in cooperation with the Sanctifying Grace as man is but a "dung heap covered with a few snow flakes of grace," thoroughly corrupted, as opposed to being wounded, by Original Sin. The best that man could do, Luther contended, was to express sorrow in his heart for his sins, knowing that his "confession of faith" on his lips and in his heart in the "Name of the Lord Jesus" would have his sins "covered up" by Our Lord without being Absolved by the intermediary actions of an alter Christus acting in persona Christi in the Sacrament of Penance. Martin Luther used the various ecclesiastical abuses of the day, including the sale of indulgences, as the pretext for justifying his own rejection of the visible, hierarchical nature of the Church and for rejecting even Apostolic or Sacred Tradition as one of the two sources of Divine Revelation.

Martin Luther also possessed a view of the doctrine of Justification that was condemned by the Council of Trent but endorsed by the conciliar Vatican in one of its "unofficial" moves, you understand, in 1999 with the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification that had the full support of the then Joseph "Cardinal" Ratzinger and which he has, as Benedict XVI, made reference to more than once, including in meetings with Methodists in 2005 and Baptists in 2007. (See Bishop Donald Sanborn's analysis of the Joint Declaration on Justification.)

Martin Luther stressed the ability of each individual to "interpret" the Bible on his own without the magisterial authority of the Catholic Church, an absurd proposition that resulted in the proliferation of over thirty-three thousand Protestant sects in the past 490 years. Men who do not rely upon the magisterial authority of the Catholic Church must become popes in their own right--or "invent" popes who will guide them on matters of Faith and morals (Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jim Bakker, Robert Schuller, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, Norman Vincent Peale, Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, et al.). Martin Luther also rejected in the most manifest terms the Social Reign of Christ the King, endorsing the very concept of the separation of Church and State that is the foundation of the modern civil state and that has the personal seal of approval of conciliarism, being championed in a loud and most vocal manner by none other than Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI himself.

Father Dennis Fahey, writing in his Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World, explained Lutheranism to a tee:

The organization of the Europe of the thirteenth century furnishes us with one concrete realization of the Divine Plan. It is hardly necessary to add that there were then to be seen defects in the working of the Divine Plan., due to the character of fallen man, as well as to an imperfect mastery of physical nature. Yet, withal, the formal principle of ordered social organization in the world, the supremacy of the Mystical Body, was grasped and, in the main, accepted. The Lutheran revolt, prepared by the cult of pagan antiquity at the Renaissance, and by the favour enjoyed by the Nominalist philosophical theories, led to the rupture of that order.

“The great cardinal principle of Protestantism is that every man attains salvation by entering into an immediate relation with Christ, with the aid of that interior faith by which he believes that, though his sins persist, they are no longer imputed to him, thanks to the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. All men are thus priests for themselves and carry out the work of their justification by treating directly and individually with God. The Life of Grace, being nothing else than the external favour of God, remains outside of us and we continue, in fact, in spite of Lutheran faith in Christ, corrupt and sinful. Each human being enters into an isolated relation with our Lord, and there is no transforming life all are called to share. Luther never understood the meaning of faith informed by sanctifying grace and charity. Accordingly, the one visible Church and the Mystical Body is done away with, as well as the priesthood and the sacrifice of the Mystical Body, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The only purpose of preaching and such ceremonies were retained by Protestants was to stir up the individual’s faith.”

Hence the True Church of Christ, according to the Protestant view, is noting else than the assembly of those who, on account of the confidence interiorly conceived of the remission of their sins, have the justice of God imputed to them by God and are accordingly predestined to eternal life. And this Church, known to God alone, is the unique Church of the promises of indefectibility, to which our Lord Jesus Christ promised His assistance to the consummation of the world. Since, however, true believers, instructed by the Holy Ghost, can manifest their faith exteriorly, can communicate their impressions and feelings to other and may employ the symbols of the Sacraments to stir up their faith, they give rise to a visible church which, nevertheless, is not the Church instituted by Christ. Membership of this Church is not necessary for salvation, and it may assume different forms according to different circumstances. The true invisible Church of Christ is always hidden, unseen in the multitude.

“Protestantism, therefore, substituted for the corporate organization of society, imbued with the spirit of the Mystical Body and reconciling the claims of personality and individuality in man, a merely isolated relation with our Divine Lord. This revolt of human individual against order on the supernatural level, this uprise of individualism, with its inevitable chaotic self-seeking, had dire consequences both in regard to ecclesiastical organization and in the realms of politics and economics. Let us take these in turn.”

The tide of revolt which broke away from the Catholic Church had the immediate effect of increasing the power of princes and rulers in Protestant countries. The Anabaptists and the peasants in Germany protested in the name of ‘evangelical liberty,’ but they were crushed. We behold the uprise of national churches, each of which organizes its own particular form of religion, mixture of supernatural and natural elements, as a department of State. The orthodox Church in Russia was also a department of State and as such exposed to the same evils. National life was thus withdrawn from ordered subjection to the Divine Plan and the distinction laid down by our Divine Lord Himself, between the things that are God’s and the things that are Caesar’s, utterly abolished. Given the principle of private judgment or of individual relation with Christ, it was inevitable that the right of every individual to arrange his own form of religion should cause the pendulum to swing from a Caesarinism supreme in Church and State to other concrete expressions of ‘evangelical liberty.’ One current leads to the direction of indefinite multiplication of sects. Pushed to its ultimate conclusion, this would, this would give rise to as many churches as there are individuals, that is, there would not be any church at all. As this is too opposed to man’s social nature, small groups tend to coalesce. The second current tends to the creation of what may be termed broad or multitudinist churches. The exigencies of the national churches are attenuated until they are no longer a burden to anybody. The Church of England is an example of this. As decay in the belief of the Divinity of Jesus continues to increase, the tendency will be to model church organization according to the political theories in favour at the moment. The democratic form of society will be extolled and a ‘Reunion of Christendom,’ for example, will be aimed at, along the a lines of the League of Nations. An increasing number of poor bewildered units will, of course, cease to bother about any ecclesiastical organization at all.

The first [political] result was an enormous increase in the power of the Temporal Rulers, in fact a rebirth of the pagan regime of Imperial Rome. The Spiritual Kingship of Christ, participated in by the Pope and the Bishops of the Catholic Church being no longer acknowledged, authority over spiritual affairs passed to Temporal Rulers. They were thus, in Protestant countries, supposed to share not only in His Temporal Kingship of Christ the King, but also in His spiritual Kingship. As there was no Infallible Guardian of order above the Temporal Rulers, the way was paved for the abuses of State Absolutism. The Protestant oligarchy who ruled England with undisputed sway, from Charles the Second’s time on, and who treated Ireland to the Penal Laws, may be cited, along with that cynical scoundrel, Frederick of Prussia, as typical examples of such rulers. Catholic monarchs, like Louis XIV of France and Joseph II of Austria, by their absolutist tendencies and pretensions to govern the Catholic Church show the influence of the neighboring Protestant countries. Gallicanism and Josephism are merely a revival of Roman paganism.

The rejection by Luther of the visible Catholic Church opened the door, not only to the abuses of absolute rulers, supreme in Church and State, but soon led to an indifference to all ecclesiastical organizations. As faith in the supernatural life of grace and the supernatural order grew dim and waned, the way was made smooth for the acceptance of Freemasonry. The widespread loss of faith in the existence of the supernatural life and the growing ignorance of the meaning of the Redemption permitted the apostles of Illuminism and Masonry to propagate the idea that the true religion of Jesus Christ had never been understood or been corrupted by His disciples, especially by the Church of Rome, the fact being that only a few sages in secret societies down the centuries had kept alive the true teaching of Jesus Christ. According to this ‘authentic’ teaching our Saviour had established a new religion, but had simply restored the religion of the state of nature, the religion of the goodness of human nature when left to itself, freed from the bonds and shackles of society. Jesus Christ died a martyr for liberty, put to death by the rulers and priests. Masons and revolutionary secret societies alone are working for the true salvation of the world. By them shall original sin be done away with and the Garden of Eden restored. But the present organization of society must disappear, by the elimination of the tyranny of priests, the despotism of princes and the slavery resulting from national distinctions, from family life and from private property.


Father Fahey went on to describe the Lutheran concept of the "separation of Church and State:"

The rending of the Mystical Body by the so-called Reformation movement has resulted in the pendulum swinging from the extreme error of Judaeo-Protestant Capitalism to the opposite extreme error of the Judaeo-Masonic-Communism of Karl Marx.

The uprise of individualism rapidly led to unbridled self-seeking. Law-makers who were arbiters of morality, as heads of the Churches, did not hesitate to favour their own enterprising spirit. The nobles and rich merchants in England, for example, who got possession of the monastery lands, which had maintained the poor, voted the poor laws in order to make the poor a charge on the nation at large. The enclosure of common lands in England and the development of the industrial system are a proof of what private judgment can do when transplanted into the realm of production and distribution. The Lutheran separation of Church from the Ruler and the Citizen shows the decay in the true idea of membership of our Lord's Mystical Body.

"Assuredly," said Luther, "a prince can be a Christian, but it is not as a Christian that he ought to govern. As a ruler, he is not called a Christian, but a prince. The man is Christian, but his function does not concern his religion."


Father Edward Cahill, S.J., writing in The Framework of a Christian State, wrote the following about Luther and his revolution against the Church that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope:

The assertion that Protestantism has introduced into Europe, or promoted, democratic freedom or real liberty of conscience is still more patently untrue. It is a fact, indeed, that at the beginning of the revolt Luther's professions were radically democratic. He promised to benefit the people at large by curtailing the power of both Church and State. But he and his followers ended up by supporting an irresponsible despotism such as Europe had not known since the days of the pagan Emperors of Rome.

Inspired by Luther's democratic professions and his denunciations of the "tyranny and oppression" of the rulers, the knights and the lesser nobility of many of the German States, and later on, the peasants rose in open revolt against the princes. When the revolution was crushed in blood (1525) the victorious princes, now without a rival and no longer kept in check by the moderating influence of the Catholic Church, used their augmented power to establish a despotism which they exceeded for their own personal advantage, in opposition to the interests of the people; while Luther, with unscrupulous inconsistency, now proclaimed the doctrine of the unlimited power of rulers.

Soon even the Church in the Protestant States fell completely under the control of the ruling princes, who were thus established as the absolute masters of both Church and State. The wealth of the Church, which hitherto had been the patrimony of the poor; its authority; all the ecclesiastical institutions, including hospitals, schools, homes of refuge, etc., passed into the hands of the kings, princes, and the town magistrates. At the Peace of Augsburg (1555), which ended the first phase of the revolution in Germany, the principle was formally adopted that the prince of each state was free to dictate the religion of each and all of his subjects." (Father Edward Cahill, S.J., The Framework of a Christian State, published in 1932 in Ireland and republished by Roman Catholic books, pp. 93-94.)


Monsignor Patrick F. O'Hare, writing in The Facts About Luther, provided us with information that would be of great help to the participants of the upcoming meeting in Castelgandolfo:

"Anointed," as Luther was, "to preach the Gospel of peace," and commissioned to communicate to all the knowledge which uplifts, sanctifies and saves, it is certainly pertinent to ask what was his attitude towards the ministry of the divine word, and in what manner did he show by speech and behavior the heavenly sanctions of law: divine, international and social?

As we draw near this man and carefully examine his career, we find that in an evil moment he abandoned the spirit of discipline, became a pursuer of novelty, and put on the ways and manners of the "wolf in sheep's clothing" whose teeth and claws rent asunder the seamless garment of divine knowledge which should have been kept whole for the instruction and the comfort of all who were to seek the law at his lips. His words lost their savor and influence for good, and only foulness and mocking blasphemy filled his mouth, to deceive the ignorant and lead them into error, license and rebellion against both Church and state. Out of the abundance of a corrupt heart this fallen priest, who had departed from the divine source of that knowledge, which is unto peace, shamelessly advanced theories and principles which cut at the root of all order, authority and obedience, and inaugurated an antagonism and a disregard for the sanctity of law such as the world had not seen since pagan times. His Gospel was not that of the Apostles, who issued from the upper room of Jerusalem in the power of those "parted tongues, as it were of fire." His doctrine, stripped of its cunning and deceit, was nothing else, to use the words of St. James describing false teaching, but "earthly, sensual, devilish"; so much so, that men of good sense could no longer safely "seek the law at his mouth" and honestly recognize him as "the angel of the Lord of Hosts" sent with instructions for the good of the flock and the peace of the nations. Opposed to all law, order and restraint, he could not but disgrace his ministry, proclaim his own shame, and prove to every wise and discerning follower of the true Gospel of peace, the groundlessness of his boastful claims to be in any proper sense a benefactor of society, an upholder of constituted authority and a promoter of the best interests of humanity.

Luther, like many another framer of religious and political heresy, may have begun his course blindly and with little serious reflection. He may never have stopped to estimate the lamentable and disastrous results to which his heretofore unheard-of-propaganda would inevitably lead. He may not have directly intended the ruin, desolation and misery which his seditious preaching effected in all directions. "But," as Verres aptly says, "if a man standing on one of the snowcapped giants of the Alps were to roll down a little stone, knowing what consequences would follow, he would be answerable for the desolation caused by the avalanche in the valley below. Luther put into motion not one little stone, but rock after rock, and he must have been shortsighted indeed--or his blind hatred made him so--if he was unable to estimate beforehand what effect his inflammatory appeals to the masses of the people and his wild denunciations of law and order would have." He should, as a matter of course, have weighed well and thoroughly the merits or demerits of his "new gospel" before he announced it to an undiscriminating public, and wittingly or unwittingly unbarred the floodgates of confusion and unrest. Deliberation, however, was a process little known to this man of many moods and violent temper. To secure victory in his quarrel with the Church absorbed his attention to the exclusion of all else, and, although he may not have reflected in time on the effects of his revolutionary teachings, he is nonetheless largely responsible for the religious, political and social upheaval of his day which his wild and passionate harangues fomented and precipitated. Nothing short of a miracle could have prevented his reckless, persistent and unsparing denunciations of authority and its representatives from undermining the supports by which order and discipline in Church and state were upheld. As events proved, his wild words, flung about in reckless profusion, fell into souls full of the fermenting passions of time and turned Germany into a land of misery, darkness and disorder. (Monsignor Patrick F. O'Hare. The Facts About Luther, published originally in Cincinnati, Ohio, by Frederick Pustet Company in 1916, reprinted in 1987 by TAN Books and Publishers, pp. 215-217.)


It would be also wise for those "discussing" Martin Luther in Castelgandolfo this summer to take very seriously--and to do nothing to contradict--these words of Pope Leo X in his Bull of Excommunication, Exsurge Domini, June 15, 1520, against a man who is so responsible for the devastation of so many billions of souls, to say nothing of much of the social disorder and wars of the past nearly half millennium:

Arise, O Lord, and judge your own cause. Remember your reproaches to those who are filled with foolishness all through the day. Listen to our prayers, for foxes have arisen seeking to destroy the vineyard whose winepress you alone have trod. When you were about to ascend to your Father, you committed the care, rule, and administration of the vineyard, an image of the triumphant church, to Peter, as the head and your vicar and his successors. The wild boar from the forest seeks to destroy it and every wild beast feeds upon it.

Rise, Peter, and fulfill this pastoral office divinely entrusted to you as mentioned above. Give heed to the cause of the holy Roman Church, mother of all churches and teacher of the faith, whom you by the order of God, have consecrated by your blood. Against the Roman Church, you warned, lying teachers are rising, introducing ruinous sects, and drawing upon themselves speedy doom. Their tongues are fire, a restless evil, full of deadly poison. They have bitter zeal, contention in their hearts, and boast and lie against the truth.

We beseech you also, Paul, to arise. It was you that enlightened and illuminated the Church by your doctrine and by a martyrdom like Peter's. For now a new Porphyry rises who, as the old once wrongfully assailed the holy apostles, now assails the holy pontiffs, our predecessors.

Rebuking them, in violation of your teaching, instead of imploring them, he is not ashamed to assail them, to tear at them, and when he despairs of his cause, to stoop to insults. He is like the heretics "whose last defense," as Jerome says, "is to start spewing out a serpent's venom with their tongue when they see that their causes are about to be condemned, and spring to insults when they see they are vanquished." For although you have said that there must be heresies to test the faithful, still they must be destroyed at their very birth by your intercession and help, so they do not grow or wax strong like your wolves. Finally, let the whole church of the saints and the rest of the universal church arise. Some, putting aside her true interpretation of Sacred Scripture, are blinded in mind by the father of lies. Wise in their own eyes, according to the ancient practice of heretics, they interpret these same Scriptures otherwise than the Holy Spirit demands, inspired only by their own sense of ambition, and for the sake of popular acclaim, as the Apostle declares. In fact, they twist and adulterate the Scriptures. As a result, according to Jerome, "It is no longer the Gospel of Christ, but a man's, or what is worse, the devil's."

Let all this holy Church of God, I say, arise, and with the blessed apostles intercede with almighty God to purge the errors of His sheep, to banish all heresies from the lands of the faithful, and be pleased to maintain the peace and unity of His holy Church.

For we can scarcely express, from distress and grief of mind, what has reached our ears for some time by the report of reliable men and general rumor; alas, we have even seen with our eyes and read the many diverse errors. Some of these have already been condemned by councils and the constitutions of our predecessors, and expressly contain even the heresy of the Greeks and Bohemians. Other errors are either heretical, false, scandalous, or offensive to pious ears, as seductive of simple minds, originating with false exponents of the faith who in their proud curiosity yearn for the world's glory, and contrary to the Apostle's teaching, wish to be wiser than they should be. Their talkativeness, unsupported by the authority of the Scriptures, as Jerome says, would not win credence unless they appeared to support their perverse doctrine even with divine testimonies however badly interpreted. From their sight fear of God has now passed.

These errors have, at the suggestion of the human race, been revived and recently propagated among the more frivolous and the illustrious German nation. We grieve the more that this happened there because we and our predecessors have always held this nation in the bosom of our affection. For after the empire had been transferred by the Roman Church from the Greeks to these same Germans, our predecessors and we always took the Church's advocates and defenders from among them. Indeed it is certain that these Germans, truly germane to the Catholic faith, have always been the bitterest opponents of heresies, as witnessed by those commendable constitutions of the German emperors in behalf of the Church's independence, freedom, and the expulsion and extermination of all heretics from Germany. Those constitutions formerly issued, and then confirmed by our predecessors, were issued under the greatest penalties even of loss of lands and dominions against anyone sheltering or not expelling them. If they were observed today both we and they would obviously be free of this disturbance. Witness to this is the condemnation and punishment in the Council of Constance of the infidelity of the Hussites and Wyclifites as well as Jerome of Prague. Witness to this is the blood of Germans shed so often in wars against the Bohemians. A final witness is the refutation, rejection, and condemnation no less learned than true and holy of the above errors, or many of them, by the universities of Cologne and Louvain, most devoted and religious cultivators of the Lord's field. We could allege many other facts too, which we have decided to omit, lest we appear to be composing a history.

In virtue of our pastoral office committed to us by the divine favor we can under no circumstances tolerate or overlook any longer the pernicious poison of the above errors without disgrace to the Christian religion and injury to orthodox faith. Some of these errors we have decided to include in the present document; their substance is as follows:

1. It is a heretical opinion, but a common one, that the sacraments of the New Law give pardoning grace to those who do not set up an obstacle.

2. To deny that in a child after baptism sin remains is to treat with contempt both Paul and Christ.

3. The inflammable sources of sin, even if there be no actual sin, delay a soul departing from the body from entrance into heaven.

4. To one on the point of death imperfect charity necessarily brings with it great fear, which in itself alone is enough to produce the punishment of purgatory, and impedes entrance into the kingdom.

5. That there are three parts to penance: contrition, confession, and satisfaction, has no foundation in Sacred Scripture nor in the ancient sacred Christian doctors.

6. Contrition, which is acquired through discussion, collection, and detestation of sins, by which one reflects upon his years in the bitterness of his soul, by pondering over the gravity of sins, their number, their baseness, the loss of eternal beatitude, and the acquisition of eternal damnation, this contrition makes him a hypocrite, indeed more a sinner.

7. It is a most truthful proverb and the doctrine concerning the contritions given thus far is the more remarkable: "Not to do so in the future is the highest penance; the best penance, a new life."

8. By no means may you presume to confess venial sins, nor even all mortal sins, because it is impossible that you know all mortal sins. Hence in the primitive Church only manifest mortal sins were confessed.

9. As long as we wish to confess all sins without exception, we are doing nothing else than to wish to leave nothing to God's mercy for pardon.

10. Sins are not forgiven to anyone, unless when the priest forgives them he believes they are forgiven; on the contrary the sin would remain unless he believed it was forgiven; for indeed the remission of sin and the granting of grace does not suffice, but it is necessary also to believe that there has been forgiveness.

11. By no means can you have reassurance of being absolved because of your contrition, but because of the word of Christ: "Whatsoever you shall loose, etc." Hence, I say, trust confidently, if you have obtained the absolution of the priest, and firmly believe yourself to have been absolved, and you will truly be absolved, whatever there may be of contrition.

12. If through an impossibility he who confessed was not contrite, or the priest did not absolve seriously, but in a jocose manner, if nevertheless he believes that he has been absolved, he is most truly absolved.

13. In the sacrament of penance and the remission of sin the pope or the bishop does no more than the lowest priest; indeed, where there is no priest, any Christian, even if a woman or child, may equally do as much.

14. No one ought to answer a priest that he is contrite, nor should the priest inquire.

15. Great is the error of those who approach the sacrament of the Eucharist relying on this, that they have confessed, that they are not conscious of any mortal sin, that they have sent their prayers on ahead and made preparations; all these eat and drink judgment to themselves. But if they believe and trust that they will attain grace, then this faith alone makes them pure and worthy.

16. It seems to have been decided that the Church in common Council established that the laity should communicate under both species; the Bohemians who communicate under both species are not heretics, but schismatics.

17. The treasures of the Church, from which the pope grants indulgences, are not the merits of Christ and of the saints.

18. Indulgences are pious frauds of the faithful, and remissions of good works; and they are among the number of those things which are allowed, and not of the number of those which are advantageous.

19. Indulgences are of no avail to those who truly gain them, for the remission of the penalty due to actual sin in the sight of divine justice.

20. They are seduced who believe that indulgences are salutary and useful for the fruit of the spirit.

21. Indulgences are necessary only for public crimes, and are properly conceded only to the harsh and impatient.

22. For six kinds of men indulgences are neither necessary nor useful; namely, for the dead and those about to die, the infirm, those legitimately hindered, and those who have not committed crimes, and those who have committed crimes, but not public ones, and those who devote themselves to better things.

23. Excommunications are only external penalties and they do not deprive man of the common spiritual prayers of the Church.

24. Christians must be taught to cherish excommunications rather than to fear them.

25. The Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, is not the vicar of Christ over all the churches of the entire world, instituted by Christ Himself in blessed Peter.

26. The word of Christ to Peter: "Whatsoever you shall loose on earth," etc., is extended merely to those things bound by Peter himself.

27. It is certain that it is not in the power of the Church or the pope to decide upon the articles of faith, and much less concerning the laws for morals or for good works.

28. If the pope with a great part of the Church thought so and so, he would not err; still it is not a sin or heresy to think the contrary, especially in a matter not necessary for salvation, until one alternative is condemned and another approved by a general Council.

29. A way has been made for us for weakening the authority of councils, and for freely contradicting their actions, and judging their decrees, and boldly confessing whatever seems true, whether it has been approved or disapproved by any council whatsoever.

30. Some articles of John Hus, condemned in the Council of Constance, are most Christian, wholly true and evangelical; these the universal Church could not condemn.

31. In every good work the just man sins.

32. A good work done very well is a venial sin.

33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.

34. To go to war against the Turks is to resist God who punishes our iniquities through them.

35. No one is certain that he is not always sinning mortally, because of the most hidden vice of pride.

36. Free will after sin is a matter of title only; and as long as one does what is in him, one sins mortally.

37. Purgatory cannot be proved from Sacred Scripture which is in the canon.

38. The souls in purgatory are not sure of their salvation, at least not all; nor is it proved by any arguments or by the Scriptures that they are beyond the state of meriting or of increasing in charity.

39. The souls in purgatory sin without intermission, as long as they seek rest and abhor punishment.

40. The souls freed from purgatory by the suffrages of the living are less happy than if they had made satisfactions by themselves.

41. Ecclesiastical prelates and secular princes would not act badly if they destroyed all of the money bags of beggary.

No one of sound mind is ignorant how destructive, pernicious, scandalous, and seductive to pious and simple minds these various errors are, how opposed they are to all charity and reverence for the holy Roman Church who is the mother of all the faithful and teacher of the faith; how destructive they are of the vigor of ecclesiastical discipline, namely obedience. This virtue is the font and origin of all virtues and without it anyone is readily convicted of being unfaithful.

Therefore we, in this above enumeration, important as it is, wish to proceed with great care as is proper, and to cut off the advance of this plague and cancerous disease so it will not spread any further in the Lord's field as harmful thornbushes. We have therefore held a careful inquiry, scrutiny, discussion, strict examination, and mature deliberation with each of the brothers, the eminent cardinals of the holy Roman Church, as well as the priors and ministers general of the religious orders, besides many other professors and masters skilled in sacred theology and in civil and canon law. We have found that these errors or theses are not Catholic, as mentioned above, and are not to be taught, as such; but rather are against the doctrine and tradition of the Catholic Church, and against the true interpretation of the sacred Scriptures received from the Church. Now Augustine maintained that her authority had to be accepted so completely that he stated he would not have believed the Gospel unless the authority of the Catholic Church had vouched for it. For, according to these errors, or any one or several of them, it clearly follows that the Church which is guided by the Holy Spirit is in error and has always erred. This is against what Christ at his ascension promised to his disciples (as is read in the holy Gospel of Matthew): "I will be with you to the consummation of the world"; it is against the determinations of the holy Fathers, or the express ordinances and canons of the councils and the supreme pontiffs. Failure to comply with these canons, according to the testimony of Cyprian, will be the fuel and cause of all heresy and schism.

With the advice and consent of these our venerable brothers, with mature deliberation on each and every one of the above theses, and by the authority of almighty God, the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own authority, we condemn, reprobate, and reject completely each of these theses or errors as either heretical, scandalous, false, offensive to pious ears or seductive of simple minds, and against Catholic truth. By listing them, we decree and declare that all the faithful of both sexes must regard them as condemned, reprobated, and rejected . . . We restrain all in the virtue of holy obedience and under the penalty of an automatic major excommunication....

Moreover, because the preceding errors and many others are contained in the books or writings of Martin Luther, we likewise condemn, reprobate, and reject completely the books and all the writings and sermons of the said Martin, whether in Latin or any other language, containing the said errors or any one of them; and we wish them to be regarded as utterly condemned, reprobated, and rejected. We forbid each and every one of the faithful of either sex, in virtue of holy obedience and under the above penalties to be incurred automatically, to read, assert, preach, praise, print, publish, or defend them. They will incur these penalties if they presume to uphold them in any way, personally or through another or others, directly or indirectly, tacitly or explicitly, publicly or occultly, either in their own homes or in other public or private places. Indeed immediately after the publication of this letter these works, wherever they may be, shall be sought out carefully by the ordinaries and others [ecclesiastics and regulars], and under each and every one of the above penalties shall be burned publicly and solemnly in the presence of the clerics and people.

As far as Martin himself is concerned, O good God, what have we overlooked or not done? What fatherly charity have we omitted that we might call him back from such errors? For after we had cited him, wishing to deal more kindly with him, we urged him through various conferences with our legate and through our personal letters to abandon these errors. We have even offered him safe conduct and the money necessary for the journey urging him to come without fear or any misgivings, which perfect charity should cast out, and to talk not secretly but openly and face to face after the example of our Savior and the Apostle Paul. If he had done this, we are certain he would have changed in heart, and he would have recognized his errors. He would not have found all these errors in the Roman Curia which he attacks so viciously, ascribing to it more than he should because of the empty rumors of wicked men. We would have shown him clearer than the light of day that the Roman pontiffs, our predecessors, whom he injuriously attacks beyond all decency, never erred in their canons or constitutions which he tries to assail. For, according to the prophet, neither is healing oil nor the doctor lacking in Galaad.

But he always refused to listen and, despising the previous citation and each and every one of the above overtures, disdained to come. To the present day he has been contumacious. With a hardened spirit he has continued under censure over a year. What is worse, adding evil to evil, and on learning of the citation, he broke forth in a rash appeal to a future council. This to be sure was contrary to the constitution of Pius II and Julius II our predecessors that all appealing in this way are to be punished with the penalties of heretics. In vain does he implore the help of a council, since he openly admits that he does not believe in a council.

Therefore we can, without any further citation or delay, proceed against him to his condemnation and damnation as one whose faith is notoriously suspect and in fact a true heretic with the full severity of each and all of the above penalties and censures. Yet, with the advice of our brothers, imitating the mercy of almighty God who does not wish the death of a sinner but rather that he be converted and live, and forgetting all the injuries inflicted on us and the Apostolic See, we have decided to use all the compassion we are capable of. It is our hope, so far as in us lies, that he will experience a change of heart by taking the road of mildness we have proposed, return, and turn away from his errors. We will receive him kindly as the prodigal son returning to the embrace of the Church.

Therefore let Martin himself and all those adhering to him, and those who shelter and support him, through the merciful heart of our God and the sprinkling of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ by which and through whom the redemption of the human race and the upbuilding of holy mother Church was accomplished, know that from our heart we exhort and beseech that he cease to disturb the peace, unity, and truth of the Church for which the Savior prayed so earnestly to the Father. Let him abstain from his pernicious errors that he may come back to us. If they really will obey, and certify to us by legal documents that they have obeyed, they will find in us the affection of a father's love, the opening of the font of the effects of paternal charity, and opening of the font of mercy and clemency.

We enjoin, however, on Martin that in the meantime he cease from all preaching or the office of preacher.

{And even though the love of righteousness and virtue did not take him away from sin and the hope of forgiveness did not lead him to penance, perhaps the terror of the pain of punishment may move him. Thus we beseech and remind this Martin, his supporters and accomplices of his holy orders and the described punishment. We ask him earnestly that he and his supporters, adherents and accomplices desist within sixty days (which we wish to have divided into three times twenty days, counting from the publication of this bull at the places mentioned below) from preaching, both expounding their views and denouncing others, from publishing books and pamphlets concerning some or all of their errors. Furthermore, all writings which contain some or all of his errors are to be burned. Furthermore, this Martin is to recant perpetually such errors and views. He is to inform us of such recantation through an open document, sealed by two prelates, which we should receive within another sixty days. Or he should personally, with safe conduct, inform us of his recantation by coming to Rome. We would prefer this latter way in order that no doubt remain of his sincere obedience.

If, however, this Martin, his supporters, adherents and accomplices, much to our regret, should stubbornly not comply with the mentioned stipulations within the mentioned period, we shall, following the teaching of the holy Apostle Paul, who teaches us to avoid a heretic after having admonished him for a first and a second time, condemn this Martin, his supporters, adherents and accomplices as barren vines which are not in Christ, preaching an offensive doctrine contrary to the Christian faith and offend the divine majesty, to the damage and shame of the entire Christian Church, and diminish the keys of the Church as stubborn and public heretics.} . . .


Did God permit Pope Leo X to be in error about all of this? Was he, like the popes of the Nineteenth Century, the "prisoner" of subjective considerations that render Exsurge Domini to be "obsolete in the particulars in which it contains"? Given the fact that a Catholic understands the answer to both of these questions is a resounding NO!, what, pray tell, is there to "discuss" at Castelgandolfo this summer? Well, a great deal, of course, if one considers this prophetic words written by Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907:

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.


Joseph Ratzinger told us in Principles of Catholic Theology that it was necessary to "raze the bastions" of the Church, citing his "new theology" mentor, Father Hans Urs von Balthasar, in this regard:

Does this mean that the Council should be revoked? Certainly not. It means only that the real reception of the Council has not yet even begun. What devastated the Church in the decade after the Council was not the Council but the refusal to accept it. This becomes clear precisely in the history of the influence of Gaudium et spes. What was identified with the Council was, for the most part, the expression of an attitude that did not coincide with the statements to be found in the text itself, although it is recognizable as a tendency in its development and in some of its individual formulations. The task is not, therefore, to suppress the Council but to discover the real Council and to deepen its true intention in the light of the present experience. That means that there can be no return to the Syllabus, which may have marked the first stage in the confrontation with liberalism and a newly conceived Marxism but cannot be the last stage. In the long run, neither embrace nor ghetto can solve for Christians the problem of the modern world. The fact is, as Hans Urs von Balthasar pointed out as early as 1952, that the "demolition of the bastions" is a long-overdue task.

The Church cannot choose the times in which she will live. After Constantine, she was obliged to find a mode of coexistence with the world other than that necessitated by the persecutions of the preceding age. But is bespeaks a foolish romanticism to bemoan the change that occurred with Constantine while we ourselves fall at the feet of the world from which we profess our desire to liberate the Church. The struggle between imperium and sacerdotium in the Middle Ages, the dispute about the "enlightened" concept of state churches at the beginning of the modern age, were attempts to come to terms with the difficult problems created in its various epochs by a world that had become Christian. In age of the secular state and of Marxist messianism, in an age of worldwide economic and social problems, in an age when the world is dominated by science, the Church, too, faces anew the question of her relationship with the world and its needs. She must relinquish many of the things that have hitherto spelled security for her and that she has taken for granted. She must demolish the longstanding bastions and trust solely to the shield of faith. But the demolition of the bastions cannot mean that she no longer has anything to defend or that she can live for forces other than those that brought her forth: the blood and water from the pierced side of the Lord (Jn. 19: 31-37). "In the world you will have trouble, but be brave. I have conquered the world" (Jn. 16:33). That is true today, too. (Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, p, 392.)


This madness--and it is nothing else other than madness--was foreseen and condemned by Pope Pius VIII in his first and only encyclical letter, Traditi Humilitati Nostrae, May 24, 1829:

According to the custom of Our ancestors, We are about to assume Our pontificate in the church of the Lateran. This office has been granted to Us, even though We are humble and unworthy. We open Our heart with joy to you, venerable brothers, whom God has given to Us as helpers in the conduct of so great an administration. We are pleased to let you know the intimate sentiments of Our will. We also think it helpful to communicate those things from which the Christian cause may benefit. For the duty of Our office is not only to feed, rule, and direct the lambs, namely the Christian people, but also the sheep, that is the clergy.


We rejoice and praise Christ, who raised up shepherds for the safekeeping of His flock. These shepherds vigilantly lead their flocks so as not to lose even one of those they have received from the Father. For We know well, venerable brothers, your unshakeable faith, your zeal for religion, your sanctity of life, and your singular prudence. Co-workers such as you make Us happy and confident. This pleasant situation encourages Us when We fear because of the great responsibility of Our office, and it refreshes and strengthens Us when We feel overwhelmed by so many serious concerns. We shall not detain you with a long sermon to remind you what things are required to perform sacred duties well, what the canons prescribe lest anyone depart from vigilance over his flock, and what attention ought to be given in preparing and accepting ministers. Rather We call upon God the Savior that He may protect you with His omnipresent divinity and bless your activities and endeavors with happy success.


Although God may console Us with you, We are nonetheless sad. This is due to the numberless errors and the teachings of perverse doctrines which, no longer secretly and clandestinely but openly and vigorously, attack the Catholic faith. You know how evil men have raised the standard of revolt against religion through philosophy (of which they proclaim themselves doctors) and through empty fallacies devised according to natural reason. In the first place, the Roman See is assailed and the bonds of unity are, every day, being severed. The authority of the Church is weakened and the protectors of things sacred are snatched away and held in contempt. The holy precepts are despised, the celebration of divine offices is ridiculed, and the worship of God is cursed by the sinner. All things which concern religion are relegated to the fables of old women and the superstitions of priests. Truly lions have roared in Israel.With tears We say: "Truly they have conspired against the Lord and against His Christ." Truly the impious have said: "Raze it, raze it down to its foundations."


Among these heresies belongs that foul contrivance of the sophists of this age who do not admit any difference among the different professions of faith and who think that the portal of eternal salvation opens for all from any religion. They, therefore, label with the stigma of levity and stupidity those who, having abandoned the religion which they learned, embrace another of any kind, even Catholicism. This is certainly a monstrous impiety which assigns the same praise and the mark of the just and upright man to truth and to error, to virtue and to vice, to goodness and to turpitude. Indeed this deadly idea concerning the lack of difference among religions is refuted even by the light of natural reason. We are assured of this because the various religions do not often agree among themselves. If one is true, the other must be false; there can be no society of darkness with light. Against these experienced sophists the people must be taught that the profession of the Catholic faith is uniquely true, as the apostle proclaims: one Lord, one faith, one baptism Jerome used to say it this way: he who eats the lamb outside this house will perish as did those during the flood who were not with Noah in the ark. Indeed, no other name than the name of Jesus is given to men, by which they may be saved. He who believes shall be saved; he who does not believe shall be condemned.


We must also be wary of those who publish the Bible with new interpretations contrary to the Church's laws. They skillfully distort the meaning by their own interpretation. They print the Bibles in the vernacular and, absorbing an incredible expense, offer them free even to the uneducated. Furthermore, the Bibles are rarely without perverse little inserts to insure that the reader imbibes their lethal poison instead of the saving water of salvation. Long ago the Apostolic See warned about this serious hazard to the faith and drew up a list of the authors of these pernicious notions. The rules of this Index were published by the Council of Trent; the ordinance required that translations of the Bible into the vernacular not be permitted without the approval of the Apostolic See and further required that they be published with commentaries from the Fathers. The sacred Synod of Trent had decreed in order to restrain impudent characters, that no one, relying on his own prudence in matters of faith and of conduct which concerns Christian doctrine, might twist the sacred Scriptures to his own opinion, or to an opinion contrary to that of the Church or the popes. Though such machinations against the Catholic faith had been assailed long ago by these canonical proscriptions, Our recent predecessors made a special effort to check these spreading evils. With these arms may you too strive to fight the battles of the Lord which endanger the sacred teachings, lest this deadly virus spread in your flock.


Conciliarism is a mockery of the Catholic Faith. No matter what comes out of the upcoming meeting at Castelgandolfo this summer, the mere fact that it is considered necessary to have any "discussion" about Martin Luther other than that which would review his errors and the multiple ways in which he helped to ruin men and their nations, renewing once again the condemnation of Pope Leo X and the condemnation by the Council of Trent of his many errors, is nothing other than a total mockery of God, Who has always protected the Catholic Church from any trace of error or deception whatsoever.

Heresy is nothing to "review" to see whether it can be made "compatible" with the Catholic Faith by means of a "new" understanding in light of the changing circumstances of the times, using an application of Hegelian illogic to make "acceptable" that which is repulsive in the very sight of God Himself. Father Frederick Faber noted this in The Foot of the Cross, published originally as The Dolors of Mary in 1857:

The love of God brings many new instincts into the heart. Heavenly and noble as they are, they bear no resemblance to what men would call the finer and more heroic developments of character. A spiritual discernment is necessary to their right appreciation. They are so unlike the growth of earth, that they must expect to meet on earth with only suspicion, misunderstanding, and dislike. It is not easy to defend them from a controversial point of view; for our controversy is obliged to begin by begging the question, or else it would be unable so much as to state its case. The axioms of the world pass current in the world, the axioms of the gospel do not. Hence the world has its own way. It talks us down. It tries us before tribunals where our condemnation is secured beforehand. It appeals to principles which are fundamental with most men but are heresies with us. Hence its audience takes part with it against us. We are foreigners, and must pay the penalty of being so. If we are misunderstood, we had no right to reckon on any thing else, being as we are, out of our own country. We are made to be laughed at. We shall be understood in heaven. Woe to those easy-going Christians whom the world can understand, and will tolerate because it sees they have a mind to compromise!

The love of souls is one of these instincts which the love of Jesus brings into our hearts. To the world it is proselytism, there mere wish to add to a faction, one of the selfish developments of party spirit. One while the stain of lax morality is affixed to it, another while the reproach of pharisaic strictness! For what the world seems to suspect least of all in religion is consistency. But the love of souls, however apostolic, is always subordinate to love of Jesus. We love souls because of Jesus, not Jesus because of souls. Thus there are times and places when we pass from the instinct of divine love to another, from the love of souls to the hatred of heresy. This last is particularly offensive to the world. So especially opposed is it to the spirit of the world, that, even in good, believing hearts, every remnant of worldliness rises in arms against this hatred of heresy, embittering the very gentlest of characters and spoiling many a glorious work of grace. Many a convert, in whose soul God would have done grand things, goes to his grave a spiritual failure, because he would not hate heresy. The heart which feels the slightest suspicion against the hatred of heresy is not yet converted. God is far from reigning over it yet with an undivided sovereignty. The paths of higher sanctity are absolutely barred against it. In the judgment of the world, and of worldly Christians, this hatred of heresy is exaggerated, bitter, contrary to moderation, indiscreet, unreasonable, aiming at too much, bigoted, intolerant, narrow, stupid, and immoral. What can we say to defend it? Nothing which they can understand. We had, therefore, better hold our peace. If we understand God, and He understands us, it is not so very hard to go through life suspected, misunderstood and unpopular. The mild self-opinionatedness of the gentle, undiscerning good will also take the world's view and condemn us; for there is a meek-loving positiveness about timid goodness which is far from God, and the instincts of whose charity is more toward those who are less for God, while its timidity is searing enough for harsh judgment. There are conversions where three-quarters of the heart stop outside the Church and only a quarter enters, and heresy can only be hated by an undivided heart. But if it is hard, it has to be borne. A man can hardly have the full use of his senses who is bent on proving to the world, God's enemy, that a thorough-going Catholic hatred of heresy is a right frame of man. We might as well force a blind man to judge a question of color. Divine love inspheres in us a different circle of life, motive, and principle, which is not only not that of the world, but in direct enmity with it. From a worldly point of view, the craters in the moon are more explicable things than we Christians with our supernatural instincts. From the hatred of heresy we get to another of these instincts, the horror of sacrilege. The distress caused by profane words seems to the world but an exaggerated sentimentality. The penitential spirit of reparation which pervades the whole Church is, on its view, either a superstition or an unreality. The perfect misery which an unhallowed  touch of the Blessed Sacrament causes to the servants of God provokes either the world's anger or its derision. Men consider it either altogether absurd in itself, or at any rate out of all proportion; and, if otherwise they have proofs of our common sense, they are inclined to put down our unhappiness to sheer hypocrisy. The very fact that they do not believe as we believe removes us still further beyond the reach even of their charitable comprehension. If they do not believe in the very existence our sacred things, how they shall they judge the excesses of a soul to which these sacred things are far dearer than itself?

Now, it is important to bear all this in mind while we are considering the sixth dolor. Mary's heart was furnished, as never heart of saint was yet, yet with these three instincts regarding souls, heresy, and sacrilege. They were in her heart three grand abysses of grace, out of which arose perpetually new capabilities of suffering. Ordinarily speaking, the Passion tires us. It is a fatiguing devotion. It is necessarily so because of the strain of soul which it is every moment eliciting. So when our Lord dies a feeling of repose comes over us. For a moment we are tempted to think that our Lady's dolors ought to have ended there, and that the sixth dolor and the seventh are almost of our own creation, and that we tax our imagination in order to fill up the picture with the requisite dark shading of sorrow. But this is only one of the ways in which devotion to the dolors heightens and deepens our devotion to the Passion. It is not our imagination that we tax but our spiritual discernment. In these two last dolors we are led into greater refinements of woe, into the more abstruse delicacies of grief, because we have got to deal with a soul rendered even more wonderful than it was before by the elevations of the sorrows which have gone before. Thus, the piercing of our Lord with the spear as to our Blessed Lady by far the most awful sacrilege which it was then in man's power to perpetrate upon the earth. To break violently into the Holy of Holies in the temple, and pollute its dread sanctity with all manner of heathen defilement, would have been as nothing compared to the outrage of the adorable Body of God. It is in vain that we try to lift ourselves to a true appreciation of this horror in Mary's heart. Our love of God is wanting in keenness, our perceptions of divine things in fineness. We cannot do more than make approaches  and they are terrible enough. (Father Frederick Faber, The Foot of the Cross, published originally in England in 1857, republished by TAN Books and Publishers, pp. 291-205. This provides you with the full context of the oft-quoted "hatred of heresy" passage from Father Faber's The Foot of the Cross. My dear wife, through her assiduous reading of this great spiritual masterpiece while I have been recording my online video lectures, found this quote yesterday, March 5, 2008.)


Heresy is a "ho-hum" matter to the conciliarists. Yesterday's heresy can become today's accepted "truth" in the Hegelian illogic used by the conciliarists. It cannot be that way with us. Although none of us who rejects the legitimacy of the conciliar "pontiffs" is one whit better than anyone else (and I know that I am far, far worse than most, believe me!), we must be willing to withstand whatever calumny comes our way for pointing out that no member of the Catholic Church speaks and acts as the conciliarists do as they use all manner of Hegelian tricks to exempt themselves from adhering to each and every truth of the Catholic Faith in exactly the same manner and in the same sense as they have been understood from time immemorial Indeed, Joseph Ratzinger swore to this himself when he took The Oath Against Modernism:

I . . . . firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day. And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:90), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated: Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time. Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time. Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical' misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely. Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and lord.

Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion. I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm. Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.

Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.

I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God. . .


Taking refuge in the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary as we give to her Divine Son's Most Sacred Heart all of the sufferings of the present moment--and all of the penances we undertake in reparation for our sins and those of the whole world, may we pray as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit so that there will be, if God wills it to be so, a glorious Resurrection of the Mystical Body of Christ, a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that will not be stained in any whatsoever with any error or sacrilege or blasphemy or in any other way making a mockery of the Holy Faith, which is to make a mockery of God Himself.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!


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.

Saints Perpetua and Felicity, pray for us.

See also: A Litany of Saints


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