Not Such a Triumph After All
by Thomas A. Droleskey
Fallen human nature impels us to accept "end results" without caring much about how those results have been accomplished. That is, Adam and Eve's Fall from Grace in the Garden of Eden predisposed man to to employ any and all means necessary to achieve a given end. Niccolo Machiavelli merely exploited that characteristic of fallen man as he attempted to convince rulers that they must take "swift and effective" action regardless of any inherent immorality of said action in order to acquire and retain political power. Machiavelli's amorality (action undertaken without regard to moral truth) has been able to triumph because of the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen wrought by the Protestant Revolt and the rise of Judeo-Masonry.
An obsession with "end results" accomplished without regard for the means used to obtain them has taken hold of many otherwise sensible Catholics in this time of apostasy and betrayal. We are told to "look the other way" as "pro-life" candidates for public office openly support at least some "exceptions" to the absolute inviolability of innocent human life or are silent during a campaign about their "real" positions. "They gotta get elected," we are told, "that's the bottom line. They can't do anything for us if they don't get elected in the first place." Those who utter such absurdities have convinced themselves that it is perfectly acceptable to lie, that we can "accomplish" "something good" by deliberately doing evil and/or by basing "sincere intentions" to do "good things" upon false premises. Left unrecognized by such blindness is the simple fact that those who learn to compromise and to keep their mouths shut before getting elected will keep on doing so in order to get re-elected, which becomes their ultimate bottom line (see Bush Leaguers).
This same obsession with "end results" has gripped many traditionally-minded Catholics yet attached to the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism. Numerous articles have been written by a variety of writers to attempt to justify the bogus claim made by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI in his accompanying letter to Summorum Pontificum, July 7, 2007, that the Missal of Saint Pius V as "revised" by Angelo Roncalli/John XXIII and the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service are but "two forms of the one Roman Rite," that there had been no "rupture" between the modernized Mass of Tradition and the Novus Ordo, something that Ratzinger himself maintained in a preface to the French language edition of Monsignor Klaus Gamber's The Reform of the Roman Liturgy did indeed take place. The fact that Ratzinger, as Benedict XVI, claimed last year that no such rupture had taken place can be explained away by any manner of semantic devices, thereby justifying the use of "papal" subterfuge in order to accomplish the end of "liberating" the modernized version of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition.
Similarly, numerous have been the instances of various Protestants converting to the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism while maintaining most of their strongly held beliefs as Protestants, beliefs that become repackaged as perfectly consonant with conciliarism (which is, of course, truth in advertising in a fashion of speaking). The former Lutheran pastor of Saint Peter's Lutheran Church in the Borough of Manhattan in the City of New York, New York, Richard John Neuhaus, is still very much the same theologically as he was when he, as that Lutheran pastor, hosted the then Joseph "Cardinal" Ratzinger at Saint Peter's Lutheran Church in June of 1988 (I was there for that, believe it or not). Furthermore, Neuhaus expressed his concerns quite openly that "triumphalistic" Catholics not make too much of his conversion, stating that such conversion is not for everyone.
LEAD: Saying he was being faithful to Martin Luther's 16th-century revolt against Rome, a nationally prominent Lutheran theologian became a Roman Catholic yesterday and said he would seek ordination as a Catholic priest.
Pilgrimage of Changes
For Mr. Neuhaus, the break with Lutheranism was another step in a long political and spiritual pilgrimage. Since the early 1970's he has moved from the front lines of the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements to a monthly column in The National Review, from the pastorate of a largely black Lutheran parish in Brooklyn to an office in midtown Manhattan decorated with citations from Ronald Reagan.
But in a recent interview, he emphasized that his decision to leave the church was theological, not political. Mr. Neuhaus has long been identified with a strand in Lutheranism that calls itself ''evangelical catholic,'' with a small c. This group stresses that Luther's Reformation was aimed not at establishing a separate church but at bringing a united Christian church into line with the Reformers' view of the Gospel.
That 16th-century split may have been tragically unavoidable, Mr. Neuhaus said, but it must not become a purpose in itself; it was justified only until Roman Catholicism accepted the lessons of the Reformation.
That moment arrived, Mr. Neuhaus said, with the Second Vatican Council 25 years ago and the growth of agreement between Catholics and Lutherans since then.
Discouraged by Merger
But though he had hoped that Lutheranism might restore its ties with Catholicism, he had concluded that the Lutherans were like ''a people driven into exile who did so well and found themselves so comfortable that they forgot about returning to their home country.''
He became particularly discouraged when several Lutheran churches merged in 1988 to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a merger he said was not guided by any ''ecumenical vision'' or theological theory. ''It was like merging Macy's and K Mart,'' he said, ''a wiring together of interest groups.''
Mr. Neuhaus said his shift reflected the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the ecumenical movement. Calling it ''a decision I've been wrestling with and in some ways really resisting,'' he added:
''I have long believed that the Roman Catholic Church is the fullest expression of the church of Christ through time. But I took very seriously a sense of vocation that you should generally stay where God put you and do your duty there. For me that was as a Lutheran and a Lutheran pastor.''
Mr. Neuhaus said he saw no problem in identifying himself with the statements of Pope John Paul II. ''Over the last 20 years I have probably taken the teaching statements of the Roman Catholic Church more seriously than many Roman Catholic theologians,'' he said.
Departure Had Been Rumored
Lutheran theologians expressed dismay at Mr. Neuhaus's departure, which had been rumored for months, but they said they did not expect it to lead to other defections from the church or to strain relations between the Lutheran and Catholic Churches.
William H. Lazareth, who has been Mr. Neuhaus's bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church, said Mr. Neuhaus had been ''a trustworthy pastor in our communion,'' and added, ''I wish Richard God's richest blessing in his pilgrimage of faith.''
Other Lutherans, including some who share many of Mr. Neuhaus's premises, said they did not agree with his reasoning. One of his oldest friends, Robert L. Wilken, a professor of church history at the University of Virginia, said that over the last century, ''there has been a gradual deepening in Lutheranism of Catholic character and practices and self-understanding.'' Any setback from the recent Lutheran merger ''is a passing phenomenon,'' he said, ''and the deeper change will out.''
Gerhard Forde, who teaches theology at Lutheran Northwest Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., says Catholics and Lutherans have moved closer together but have not yet reached a solid consensus on the meaning of justification by faith. That idea, a central concept for Luther and the Reformation, is that people are saved through their belief in Jesus rather than through good works.
Mr. Neuhaus ''thinks we can best address this by being one church,'' Mr. Forde said. ''I think it's not a matter of getting married first and talking afterwards.''
Another theology professor at the same seminary, Lee E. Snook, went further. ''Richard John Neuhaus interprets the Reformation as a temporary blip,'' he said. ''I see it as a permanent feature of Christianity.''
Mr. Neuhaus said he was ''painfully aware'' that some Lutherans might feel distressed or even betrayed by his decision, but he added that most had been very supportive, ''not in the sense that they agree but that they understand.'' He added that he regretted that some ''triumphalist'' Catholics might cheer his decision as proof ''that any serious Christian will become a Roman Catholic." (Saying Luther's Goal Was One Church, Noted Lutheran Turns to Catholicism.)
Thus it is, my friends, that events that transpire in the counterfeit church of conciliarism are rarely what they appear to be at first glance. There is usually, although not always, some "catch" that makes an apparent bit of "good news" not so good after all. It has never before been the case in the history of the Catholic Church that conversions have been premised on anything other than a complete and unconditional acceptance of the entirety of the Deposit of Faith that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has entrusted exclusively to the Catholic Church for Its eternal safekeeping and infallible explication. This is not the case in the counterfeit church of conciliarism in most instances. Ever seen a Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program in action in a conciliar parish? Some places permit "converts" to believe pretty much what they want. Others, run by pastors who retained a good deal of the sensus Catholicus, insist on an acceptance of the entirety of the Faith. Why should there be uniformity and consistency from parish to parish?
Our Lady was rather blunt and to the point with Pierre Port-Combet in Plantees, France, on March 25, 1656:
Pierre mumbled an answer. The Lady became more serious, "Do you think that I do not know that you are the heretic? Realize that your end is at hand. If you do not return to the True Faith, you will be cast into Hell! But if you change your beliefs, I shall protect you before God. Tell people to pray that they may gain the good graces which, God in His mercy has offered to them." If You Do Not Return to the True Faith, You Will Be Cast Into Hell!
No talk of "negotiation" from the Mother of God. Just an exhortation to Mr. Port-Combet to return to the true Faith lest he perish in the fires of Hell for all eternity. The story is much different with the counterfeit church of conciliarism, where "converts," especially those who are of the "high profile" variety, can more or less define the terms of the "conversion," nuancing this or that point of doctrine to their satisfaction. Ever watch some of those "former" Protestants continue to spout their Protestant heresies as "Catholics" on the Eternally Wishful Television Network (EWTN)?
The story below, carried on the California Catholic Daily website (which is not to be confused with the Daily Catholic website), appeared at first glance to those in the counterfeit church of Conciliarism to be what the article calls its, an "ecumenical triumph." The truth, however, is always a little more complex than what the headlines and superficial stories in the conciliar world would have one believe.
Here is the news story from California Catholic Daily:
On Pentecost, leaders of the Chaldean Catholic Church in California formally received into communion a bishop of the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East, his clergy and faithful. The bishop, Mar Bawai Soro, who presided over the western Assyrian diocese headquartered in San Jose, was disciplined by the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Apostolic Church in 2005 for publicly defending papal primacy.
The Assyrian Church (centered in Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq), which dates back to the earliest days of the Christian faith, eventually came to embrace the teachings of the fifth century archbishop of Constantinople, Nestorius, condemned by the Council of Ephesus in 431. Beginning, however, in the 16th century, large numbers of Nestorian Assyrians came into union with Rome, forming the Chaldean Catholic Church -- which today is larger than the Assyrian Church.
The course of events that led the California-based Assyrian diocese into full communion with the Catholic Church began in November 2005, when Mar Mawai Soro presented a paper, The Position of the Church of the East Theological Tradition on the Questions of Church Unity and Full Communion, to the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church. Five days after Mar Mawai delivered the paper, in which he argued for the necessity of papal primacy, he was suspended by the synod. Subsequently, with loyal clergy and faithful, Mar Bawai formed the Assyrian Catholic Apostolic Diocese.
The new diocese then began to draw closer to the El Cajon-based Chaldean Catholic Diocese of St. Peter the Apostle. On Jan. 17, 2008, the clergy of the Assyrian Catholic Apostolic Diocese, meeting in Dublin, unanimously adopted a “Declaration of Intention” to “enter full communion with the Catholic Church” and “resume church unity with the Chaldean Catholic Church.” On March 28, the Chaldean and Assyrian clergy met at the Cathedral of St. Peter in San Diego, where they recited a Catholic profession of faith before the altar.
The union, which brought the bishop, Mar Bawai, six priests, over 30 deacons and subdeacons, and about 3,000 faithful into full, Catholic communion, was solemnized May 10-11 at St. Thomas Church in Turlock and at St. Matthew Church in Ceres. Ecumenical triumph
Is this in fact an "ecumenical triumph"? Well, meaning no disrespect ot the good intentions of Bishop Mar Mawai Soro, the "union" that has been effected with the Chaldean Rite Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle is, leaving aside the fact that the Chaldeans recognize the false pontificate of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, fraught with a few problems, some of which were enumerated by a woman named "Anne" in comments posted on the California Catholic Daily website:
I would be remiss if I did not note certain residual problems pertaining to the Chaldean Catholic Church's decision to receive Mar Bawai Soro, a bishop of the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East, into the same union enjoyed by all Catholics with the bishop of Rome.
(1) The basis for this reconciliation cannot be Mar Bawai Soro's defense of the necessity of the primacy of the pope (which defense occasioned his isolation and suspension by the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church). That defense was incomplete insofar as it was predicated on the historical consensus of patriarchs and bishops in recognition of the presence of Sts. Peter and Paul in Rome but not also, and crucially, on Christ's own express words to Peter establishing him and his successors as the visible head of the Church. (I hope Mar Bawai has by now resolved this problem in his own favor.)
(2) To my knowledge, there is nothing on the record indicating that Mar Bawai has accepted the same terms of reconciliation with the bishop of Rome that the Chaldeans themselves had accepted. When in the 16th century the ex-Nestorian Chaldeans petitioned for reconciliation, Rome embraced them, but on the assumption that their priests would henceforth recite the Mass's Institution Narrative and not rely instead on their own traditional Anaphora of Addai and Mari, which anaphora does not contain the express words of consecration. This was an issue at the beginning of the 20th century (see footnote to Letter dated 31 July 1902 [Note to missionaries], _Codicis Juris Canonici fontes_, Vol. V, Rome, 1935, 546: "Abolish the incredible abuse of not pronouncing the sacramental words at the Consecration in the Mass called 'of the Apostles', which is the most frequent one. Instruct on the true formula of Consecration.")--and it is now an issue at the beginning of the 21st century (see Uwe Michael Lang, ed., _Die Anaphora von Addai und Mari: Studien zu Eucharistie und Einsetzungsworten). ("Anne", Comment on Ecumenical triumph.)
"Anne's" points are well taken, especially one one considers an abstract of Bishop Soro's own views of Papal Primacy, which he presented to the assembled members of the "Holy Synod" of the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East in Chicago, Illinois, on November 2, 2005:
1. A true Apostolic Church cannot possibly remain isolated and alone without being in full ecclesial communion with other Apostolic Churches. If the Apostles of the Lord: Thomas, Andrew, James, John and Peter were bound together in Apostolic communion then also their churches must also be bound with the same communion of their founders. However, due to historical factors, namely, political and geographical, between the Persian and the Roman Empires, ecclesial ties between the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East and the rest of Christendom, i.e., the three major ecclesiastical families in Christianity: the Catholic, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox, communion was ruptured for many centuries. As a result of this regrettable reality, we notice that today the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East is not in ecclesial communion with any other Apostolic Church.
2. Therefore, the state in which we find our Church in today is for many legitimate reasons contrary to ecclesial logic and true theological and apostolic understanding. The following points below are the basis for us, as a church, to seek the restoration of communion with other Apostolic churches:
a. The dogmatic prayers of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Saint John in which Jesus prays to the Father that all His followers be one just as He and His Father are one (Jn 17).
b. The ecclesial reality of the early New Testament Church shows the Apostles never were independent from one another but all were united in communion, prayer and charity (Acts 2: 42-47).
c. Model of communion between our Church of the East and the Western Church during the first five centuries of Christianity was characterized by the willingness of our Church Fathers to receive from the Western Fathers church teachings (creeds), liturgical texts and instructions and canonical legislations. An excellent example of such communion is the Synod of Mar Isaac in 410 AD.
d. Common sense dictates that in today’s world there is a need for Christians from all churches and traditions to form a strong bound of brotherly witness so that the world may believe in Jesus Christ. Furthermore, our people’s instinct of spiritual and cultural survival demands that we unite and form communion with other Apostolic churches to maximize our people’s chances of such survival in a world that is increasingly becoming more hostile by the day.
e. Various liturgical, canonical and patristic texts used and accepted until today in the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East during the Holy Qurbana and the Office for Prayer would certainly teach us two fundamental standpoints:
(i) The Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East belongs to the Great Body (Gushma Rabba) of the one Holy Catholic Church established by our Lord, which is also the holy undivided Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27; Eph. 4:12). The following segment of a prayer recited by every priest and bishop celebrating the Holy Qurbana every Sunday illustrates the above point: “In your mercifulness, my Lord, you have deemed the vileness of our feeble nature worthy to be made recognized member in the Great Body of the Holy Catholic Church, to administer spiritual assistance to the souls of the faithful.” Within the one body of the Lord, which is the Church, there cannot be independence because the body is one. There can only be mutual recognition, respect, harmonized planning and action among Christian brethren. In a body, the hand cannot go independently from the feet and still belonging to the same body (I Corinthians 12:14-21). On the contrary in every functioning of the body there is inter-dependence and mutuality. Indeed, in the history of the Church there were and still are several particular churches who have their autonomy (self-government) but organically they are harmonized as one in the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ, i.e., His Holy Church. Such sacred objective of the unity of Christ’s Church must however be developed from an ecclesiological mentality not political, from an apostolic way of thinking not secular. Because, in a civic or political context a group of people ought to seek objectives as freedom and independence but in an ecclesiastical and spiritual reality, churches are a part of the holy Body of Christ and therefore are tied together in a communion that is characterized by charity, hope and faith. Again, we ought to learn how to think and behave like a church from the New Testament model of the early church to see how these churches were actually living in communion (Acts 2: 42-47).
(ii) The Church of the East attributes a prominent role to Saint Peter and a significant place for the Church of Rome in her liturgical, canonical and Patristic thoughts. There are more than 50 liturgical, canonical and Patristic citations that explicitly express such a conviction. The question before us therefore is, why there must be a primacy attributed to Saint Peter in the Church? If there is no primacy in the universal church, we shall not be able to legitimize a primacy of all the Catholicos-Patriarchs in the other apostolic churches. If the patriarchs of the apostolic churches have legitimate authority over their own respective bishops it is so because there is a principle of primacy in the universal Church. If the principle of primacy is valid for a local Church (for example, the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East), it is so because it is already valid for the universal church. If there is no Peter for the universal church there could not be Peter for the local Church. If all the apostles are equal in authority by virtue of the gift of the Spirit, and if the bishops are the successors of the Apostles, based on what then one of these bishops (i.e., the Catholicos-Patriarchs) has authority over the other bishops?
The Church of the East possesses a theological, liturgical and canonical tradition in which she clearly values the primacy of Peter among the rest of the Apostles and their churches and the relationship Peter has with his successors in the Church of Rome. The official organ of our Church of the East, Mar Abdisho of Soba, the last theologian in our Church before its fall, based himself on such an understanding when he collected his famous Nomocanon in which he clearly states the following: “To the Great Rome [authority] was given because the two pillars are laid [in the grave] there, Peter, I say, the head of the Apostles, and Paul, the teacher of the nations. [Rome] is the first see and the head of the patriarchs.” (Memra 9; Risha 1) Furthermore, Abdisho asserts “. . . . And as the patriarch has authority to do all he wishes in a fitting manner in such things as are beneath his authority, so the patriarch of Rome has authority over all patriarchs, like the blessed Peter over all the community, for he who is in Rome also keeps the office of Peter in all the church. He who transgresses against these things the ecumenical synod places under anathema.” (Memra 9; Risha 8). I would like to ask here the following: who among us would dare to think that he or she is more learned than Abdisho of Soba, or that they are more sincere to the church of our forefather than Mar Abdisho himself? This is true especially since we the members of the Holy Synod have in 2004 affirmed Mar Abdisho’s List of Seven Sacraments as the official list of the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East. How much more then we ought to consider examining and receiving Abdisho’s Synodical legislation in his Nomocanon?
3. As an implementation of the above mentioned principles of full-Communion and Christian Unity, the restoration of ecclesial unity with the Old Calendar and the Chaldean Churches would be the most historically fulfilling objective from any other project we may seek to fulfill. In fact this noble aim has been already recognized by our hierarchs in the past decade when letters of reconciliation and unity were exchanged with the Old-Calendar segment of the Church of the East, and a dialogue was opened and an agreement was reached and signed by the two Catholicos-Patriarchs and the rest of our bishops to bring about a comprehensive formula of unity between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East. Unfortunately, this serious dialogue has been interrupted and paralyzed from 1998 until the present time. In my opinion, this noble quest for unity is the only valid way for the Church of our forefathers, the Church of the East, to fulfill its historic destiny and thrive in the future. Such an action would be a solid ground for our people to activate the mechanism that may also lead one day to a national unity.
The above statement is also my conviction in front of God, you my brothers, and my own church and nation. This conviction I have learned from Mar Abdisho of Soba and cannot abandon it, for it will be a betrayal to my church fathers and to my duty as a bishop of the Church and a shepherd of my people. Accordingly, I do believe that we ought to Implement these principles with caution and in a Christian manner in order to fulfill the objective of church unity and ecclesial communion. This is done so that the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East could unite with both the Chaldean and the Old Calendar Churches and all three of them can once again become one United Church of the East. Then and there, this united Church of the East could formulate a common position to negotiate with the Catholic Church how this New United Church of the East could preserve its spirituality, canon law, liturgy, theological terminology and self-governance but at the same time be in full-communion with the Universal Church. A Question of Communion
Papal Primacy is really, really simple. It goes something like this:
And Jesus came into the quarters of Cesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is? But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am?
Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ. (Matthew 16: 13-20.)
The [First] Vatican Council taught the following in its Fourth Session, July 18, 1870:
We teach and declare
- according to the gospel evidence,
- a primacy of jurisdiction over the whole church of God
- was immediately and directly
- promised to the blessed apostle Peter and
- conferred on him by Christ the lord.
It was to Simon alone,
- to whom he had already said
- You shall be called Cephas  ,
that the Lord,
- after his confession, You are the Christ, the son of the living God,
spoke these words:
- Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
- And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the underworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven  .
And it was to Peter alone that Jesus,
confided the jurisdiction of supreme pastor and ruler of his whole fold, saying:
- Feed my lambs, feed my sheep  .
To this absolutely manifest teaching of the sacred scriptures, as it has always been understood by the catholic church, are clearly opposed the distorted opinions of those who misrepresent the form of government which Christ the lord established in his church and deny that Peter, in preference to the rest of the apostles, taken singly or collectively, was endowed by Christ with a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction.
The same may be said of those who assert that this primacy was not conferred immediately and directly on blessed Peter himself, but rather on the church, and that it was through the church that it was transmitted to him in his capacity as her minister.
- if anyone says that
let him be anathema.
- blessed Peter the apostle was not appointed by Christ the lord as prince of all the apostles and visible head of the whole church militant; or that
- it was a primacy of honour only and not one of true and proper jurisdiction that he directly and immediately received from our lord Jesus Christ himself:
Pope Leo XIII, writing in Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae, June 20, 1894, exhorted the bishops of the East that many of their own number had served as Successors of Saint Peter:
First of all, then, We cast an affectionate look upon the East, from whence in the beginning came forth the salvation of the world. Yes, and the yearning desire of Our heart bids us conceive and hope that the day is not far distant when the Eastern Churches, so illustrious in their ancient faith and glorious past, will return to the fold they have abandoned. We hope it all the more, that the distance separating them from Us is not so great: nay, with some few exceptions, we agree so entirely on other heads that, in defense of the Catholic Faith, we often have recourse to reasons and testimony borrowed from the teaching, the Rites, and Customs of the East.
The Principal subject of contention is the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff. But let them look back to the early years of their existence, let them consider the sentiments entertained by their forefathers, and examine what the oldest Traditions testify, and it will, indeed, become evident to them that Christ's Divine Utterance, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, has undoubtedly been realized in the Roman Pontiffs. Many of these latter in the first gates of the Church were chosen from the East, and foremost among them Anacletus, Evaristus, Anicetus, Eleutherius, Zosimus, and Agatho; and of these a great number, after Governing the Church in Wisdom and Sanctity, Consecrated their Ministry with the shedding of their blood. The time, the reasons, the promoters of the unfortunate division, are well known. Before the day when man separated what God had joined together, the name of the Apostolic See was held in Reverence by all the nations of the Christian world: and the East, like the West, agreed without hesitation in its obedience to the Pontiff of Rome, as the Legitimate Successor of St. Peter, and, therefore, the Vicar of Christ here on earth.
And, accordingly, if we refer to the beginning of the dissension, we shall see that Photius himself was careful to send his advocates to Rome on the matters that concerned him; and Pope Nicholas I sent his Legates to Constantinople from the Eternal City, without the slightest opposition, "in order to examine the case of Ignatius the Patriarch with all diligence, and to bring back to the Apostolic See a full and accurate report"; so that the history of the whole negotiation is a manifest Confirmation of the Primacy of the Roman See with which the dissension then began. Finally, in two great Councils, the second of Lyons and that of Florence, Latins and Greeks, as is notorious, easily agreed, and all unanimously proclaimed as Dogma the Supreme Power of the Roman Pontiffs.
We have recalled those things intentionally, for they constitute an invitation to peace and reconciliation; and with all the more reason that in Our own days it would seem as if there were a more conciliatory spirit towards Catholics on the part of the Eastern Churches, and even some degree of kindly feeling. To mention an instance, those sentiments were lately made manifest when some of Our faithful travelled to the East on a Holy Enterprise, and received so many proofs of courtesy and good-will.
Therefore, Our mouth is open to you, to you all of Greek or other Oriental Rites who are separated from the Catholic Church, We earnestly desire that each and every one of you should meditate upon the words, so full of gravity and love, addressed by Bessarion to your forefathers: "What answer shall we give to God when He comes to ask why we have separated from our Brethren: to Him Who, to unite us and bring us into One Fold, came down from Heaven, was Incarnate, and was Crucified? What will our defense be in the eyes of posterity? Oh, my Venerable Fathers, we must not suffer this to be, we must not entertain this thought, we must not thus so ill provide for ourselves and for our Brethren."
Weigh carefully in your minds and before God the nature of Our request. It is not for any human motive, but impelled by Divine Charity and a desire for the salvation of all, that We advise the reconciliation and union with the Church of Rome; and We mean a perfect and complete union, such as could not subsist in any way if nothing else was brought about but a certain kind of agreement in the Tenets of Belief and an intercourse of Fraternal love. The True Union between Christians is that which Jesus Christ, the Author of the Church, instituted and desired, and which consists in a Unity of Faith and Unity of Government.
Nor is there any reason for you to fear on that account that We or any of Our Successors will ever diminish your rights, the privileges of your Patriarchs, or the established Ritual of any one of your Churches. It has been and always will be the intent and Tradition of the Apostolic See, to make a large allowance, in all that is right and good, for the primitive Traditions and special customs of every nation. On the contrary, if you re-establish Union with Us, you will see how, by God's bounty, the glory and dignity of your Churches will be remarkably increased. May God, then, in His goodness, hear the Prayer that you yourselves address to Him: "Make the schisms of the Churches cease," and "Assemble those who are dispersed, bring back those who err, and unite them to Thy Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." May you thus return to that one Holy Faith which has been handed down both to Us and to you from time immemorial; which your forefathers preserved untainted, and which was enhanced by the rival splendor of the Virtues, the great genius, and the sublime learning of St. Athanasius and St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nazianzum and St. John Chrysostom, the two Saints who bore the name of Cyril, and so many other great men whose glory belongs as a common inheritance to the East and to the West.
Pope Pius XI, writing in Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928, explained that there must be a perfect unity in in the Catholic Church, that all of her children must believe each of her teachings exactly as she has proclaimed them and without a shadow of a doubt or any qualification whatsoever:
"These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment "Love one another," altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ's teaching: "If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you." [Editor's note: So much for Father Brian Harrison's contention that the Catholic Church's ban on inter-religious prayer was a matter of discipline, not doctrine.] For which reason, since charity is based on a complete and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united principally by the bond of one faith. Who then can conceive a Christian Federation, the members of which retain each his own opinions and private judgment, even in matters which concern the object of faith, even though they be repugnant to the opinions of the rest? And in what manner, We ask, can men who follow contrary opinions, belong to one and the same Federation of the faithful? For example, those who affirm, and those who deny that sacred Tradition is a true fount of divine Revelation; those who hold that an ecclesiastical hierarchy, made up of bishops, priests and ministers, has been divinely constituted, and those who assert that it has been brought in little by little in accordance with the conditions of the time; those who adore Christ really present in the Most Holy Eucharist through that marvelous conversion of the bread and wine, which is called transubstantiation, and those who affirm that Christ is present only by faith or by the signification and virtue of the Sacrament; those who in the Eucharist recognize the nature both of a sacrament and of a sacrifice, and those who say that it is nothing more than the memorial or commemoration of the Lord's Supper; those who believe it to be good and useful to invoke by prayer the Saints reigning with Christ, especially Mary the Mother of God, and to venerate their images, and those who urge that such a veneration is not to be made use of, for it is contrary to the honor due to Jesus Christ, "the one mediator of God and men." How so great a variety of opinions can make the way clear to effect the unity of the Church We know not; that unity can only arise from one teaching authority, one law of belief and one faith of Christians. But We do know that from this it is an easy step to the neglect of religion or indifferentism and to modernism, as they call it. Those, who are unhappily infected with these errors, hold that dogmatic truth is not absolute but relative, that is, it agrees with the varying necessities of time and place and with the varying tendencies of the mind, since it is not contained in immutable revelation, but is capable of being accommodated to human life. Besides this, in connection with things which must be believed, it is nowise licit to use that distinction which some have seen fit to introduce between those articles of faith which are fundamental and those which are not fundamental, as they say, as if the former are to be accepted by all, while the latter may be left to the free assent of the faithful: for the supernatural virtue of faith has a formal cause, namely the authority of God revealing, and this is patient of no such distinction. For this reason it is that all who are truly Christ's believe, for example, the Conception of the Mother of God without stain of original sin with the same faith as they believe the mystery of the August Trinity, and the Incarnation of our Lord just as they do the infallible teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, according to the sense in which it was defined by the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican. Are these truths not equally certain, or not equally to be believed, because the Church has solemnly sanctioned and defined them, some in one age and some in another, even in those times immediately before our own? Has not God revealed them all? For the teaching authority of the Church, which in the divine wisdom was constituted on earth in order that revealed doctrines might remain intact for ever, and that they might be brought with ease and security to the knowledge of men, and which is daily exercised through the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops who are in communion with him, has also the office of defining, when it sees fit, any truth with solemn rites and decrees, whenever this is necessary either to oppose the errors or the attacks of heretics, or more clearly and in greater detail to stamp the minds of the faithful with the articles of sacred doctrine which have been explained. But in the use of this extraordinary teaching authority no newly invented matter is brought in, nor is anything new added to the number of those truths which are at least implicitly contained in the deposit of Revelation, divinely handed down to the Church: only those which are made clear which perhaps may still seem obscure to some, or that which some have previously called into question is declared to be of faith."
Once again, this reiteration of the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church (expressed also by Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum, June 29, 1896, and by Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, June 29, 1943) means nothing to the conciliarists, who feel free to re-define the Faith according to the Hegelian notions of the evolution of dogma.
Indeed, Joseph Ratzinger wrote very clearly in Principles of Catholic Theology that the Church should not demand of the East any more than what had been accepted by its patriarchs in the First Millennium prior to the Greek Schism of 1054. This is the way he believes that "unity" can be effect without "uniformity" of "terminology" or an acceptance of dogmas defined by councils at which representatives of the Eastern schismatic and heretical churches were not present:
How, then are the maximum demands to be decided in advance? Certainly, no one who claims allegiance to Catholic theology can simply declare the doctrine of primacy null and void, especially not if he seeks to understand the objections and evaluates with an open mind the relative weight of what can be determined historically. Nor it is possible, on the other hand, for him to regard as the only possible form and, consequently, as binding on all Christians the form this primacy has taken in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. . . .
After all, Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, in the same bull in which he excommunicated the Patriarch Michael Cerularius and thus inaugurated the schism between East and West, designated the Emperor and the people of Constantinople as "very Christian and orthodox", although their concept of the Roman primary was certainly far less different from that of Cerularius than from that, let us say, of the First Vatican Council. In other words, Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the doctrine of primacy than had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium. (Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, pp. 198-199)
Ratzinger's misrepresentation of authentic history, proven as such by Pope Leo XIII in Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae (cited above), is the basis by which he, as Benedict XVI, believes that some kind of "arrangement" can be reached with various of the schismatic and heretical churches of the East (including the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East and the Orthodox churches) that does not require them to express belief in Papal Primacy and Papal Infallibility as defined by the authority of councils in the Second Millennium (even though the doctrine of Papal Primacy was, as Pope Leo XIII, noted acknowledged quite fully by the Greeks in the First Millennium). Ratzinger/Benedict's misrepresentation of history is thus at the heart of The Ravenna Document, which, although rejected by the schismatic and heretical Russian Orthodox Church, remains a means by which conciliarists can work out an "arrangement" some sort of "partner" from East:
It remains for the question of the role of the bishop of Rome in the communion of all the Churches to be studied in greater depth. What is the specific function of the bishop of the “first see” in an ecclesiology of koinonia and in view of what we have said on conciliarity and authority in the present text? How should the teaching of the first and second Vatican councils on the universal primacy be understood and lived in the light of the ecclesial practice of the first millennium? These are crucial questions for our dialogue and for our hopes of restoring full communion between us.
We, the members of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, are convinced that the above statement on ecclesial communion, conciliarity and authority represents positive and significant progress in our dialogue, and that it provides a firm basis for future discussion of the question of primacy at the universal level in the Church. We are conscious that many difficult questions remain to be clarified, but we hope that, sustained by the prayer of Jesus “That they may all be one … so that the world may believe” (Jn 17, 21), and in obedience to the Holy Spirit, we can build upon the agreement already reached. Reaffirming and confessing “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4, 5), we give glory to God the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who has gathered us together. (The Ravenna Document)
The details of the reception of Bishop Mar Bawai Soro, a bishop of the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East who was more or less "on his own" after being expelled from his own schismatic and heretical church following the address he gave on Papal Primacy in 2005, into the Chaldean Rite Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle are so important to have on the record as there is every indication that it was effected as a result of "negotiations" meant to "finesse" or at least "nuance" supposedly "difficult" issues, especially those relating to Papal Primacy and quite possibly the Filioque. This matters. This matters very much.
Why? Because one's conversion to the Catholic Church must be unconditional. While a bishop with true orders from a schismatic church may have to engage in negotiations concerning the property under his control and what authority he might exercise in a rite of the Catholic Church after his conversion, there is nothing negotiable about doctrinal truth or our unconditional acceptance of it. A penitent must have true contrition for his sins and to have a firm purpose of amendment as a precondition for the Absolution administered by a true priest to be effected. One seeking to convert to the true Faith must desire to abjure publicly all of this past errors and to profess the Catholic Faith without any conditions or nuances of mental reservations whatsoever.
Indeed, at least one tragic concession was made to effect the reception of Bishop Mar Bawai Soro into the Chaldean Rite Eparchy of Saint James the Apostle: permission granted to him and his priests to continue using the Anaphora of Addai and Mari of the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East that does not contain any actual words of consecration within its text. The fact that this Anaphora, which was rejected by the authority of the Catholic Church in the Sixteenth Century when the Chaldeans (the former Nestorians) were reunited with Rome and once again in 1902 when news reached Rome that many priests of the Chaldean Rite were still using the old Assyrian Anaphora of Addai and Mari without the words of consecration, was "approved" by the then Joseph "Cardinal" Ratzinger and Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II in 2001 does not give one a great deal of comfort (unless one believes in rank positivism, in which case one must confront the simple fact that the highest authorities in the Catholic Church were wrong on this issue for over 440 years!):
The principal issue for the Catholic Church in agreeing to this request, related to the question of the validity of the Eucharist celebrated with the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, one of the three Anaphoras traditionally used by the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East. The Anaphora of Addai and Mari is notable because, from time immemorial, it has been used without a recitation of the Institution Narrative. As the Catholic Church considers the words of the Eucharistic Institution a constitutive and therefore indispensable part of the Anaphora or Eucharistic Prayer, a long and careful study was undertaken of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, from a historical, liturgical and theological perspective, at the end of which the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith on January 17th, 2001 concluded that this Anaphora can be considered valid. H.H. Pope John Paul II has approved this decision. This conclusion rests on three major arguments.
In the first place, the Anaphora of Addai and Mari is one of the most ancient Anaphoras, dating back to the time of the very early Church; it was composed and used with the clear intention of celebrating the Eucharist in full continuity with the Last Supper and according to the intention of the Church; its validity was never officially contested, neither in the Christian East nor in the Christian West.
Secondly, the Catholic Church recognises the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East as a true particular Church, built upon orthodox faith and apostolic succession. The Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East has also preserved full Eucharistic faith in the presence of our Lord under the species of bread and wine and in the sacrificial character of the Eucharist. In the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East, though not in full communion with the Catholic Church, are thus to be found "true sacraments, and above all, by apostolic succession, the priesthood and the Eucharist" (U.R., n. 15). Secondly, the Catholic Church recognises the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East as a true particular Church, built upon orthodox faith and apostolic succession. The Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East has also preserved full Eucharistic faith in the presence of our Lord under the species of bread and wine and in the sacrificial character of the Eucharist. In the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East, though not in full communion with the Catholic Church, are thus to be found "true sacraments, and above all, by apostolic succession, the priesthood and the Eucharist" (U.R., n. 15).
Finally, the words of Eucharistic Institution are indeed present in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, not in a coherent narrative way and ad litteram, but rather in a dispersed euchological way, that is, integrated in successive prayers of thanksgiving, praise and intercession.
4. Guidelines for admission to the Eucharist
Considering the liturgical tradition of the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East, the doctrinal clarification regarding the validity of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, the contemporary context in which both Assyrian and Chaldean faithful are living, the appropriate regulations which are foreseen in official documents of the Catholic Church, and the process of rapprochement between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East, the following provision is made:
1. When necessity requires, Assyrian faithful are permitted to participate and to receive Holy Communion in a Chaldean celebration of the Holy Eucharist; in the same way, Chaldean faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister, are permitted to participate and to receive Holy Communion in an Assyrian celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
2. In both cases, Assyrian and Chaldean ministers celebrate the Holy Eucharist according to the liturgical prescriptions and customs of their own tradition.
3. When Chaldean faithful are participating in an Assyrian celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Assyrian minister is warmly invited to insert the words of the Institution in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, as allowed by the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East.
4. The above considerations on the use of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari and the present guidelines for admission to the Eucharist, are intended exclusively in relation to the Eucharistic celebration and admission to the Eucharist of the faithful from the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East, in view of the pastoral necessity and ecumenical context mentioned above.
Rome, July 20th, 2001
Guidelines for Chaldean Catholics receiving the Eucharist in Assyrian Churches
What's a mere matter of words to men who make short work of the nature of dogmatic truth, thus making short work of the very nature of God Himself? Words? Mere words? They matter? Oh, yes, they sure do. The "ecumenical triumph" that is said to be the reception of Bishop Mar Bawai Soro into the Catholic Church might very well have been premised on the nuancing of the meaning of Papal Primacy to suit Bishop Soro's conscience and upon an acceptance of an invalid Eucharistic prayer. There is some special irony to this: a true bishop and true priests offering an invalid liturgy joining up with a conciliar church whose Latin Rite is full of false "bishops" and false "priests" offering an invalid liturgy. Oh, but this isn't the Great Apostasy, right?
Speaking of the Great Apostasy, what's this business about the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East being a "true particular church"? Let's turn to BOOP (book out of print, written by those most adamantly opposed to sedevacantism) for an excellent analysis of that conciliar exercise in positivism:
According to DI [Dominus Iesus] 17 (which refers to Lumen Gentium's use of the term subsistit), the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church but is also "present and operative" in the Orthodox churches are true particular churches, even though they lack "full communion:" with the Catholic Church. This goes even beyond what is said of the Protestant sects--i.e., that they possess "ecclesial elements," though they are not proper churches. But a we now, in Human Generis 27, Pope Pius XII taught that the Catholic Church and the Mystical Body of Christ are identical: "Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the sources of revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing [quae quidem docet corpus Christi mysticum et Ecclesiam Catholicam Romanum unum idemque esse]."
This leads to further question: If the Church of Christ can subsist in the Catholic Church while also being present and operative in Orthodox churches, does this not mean that the Church of Christ is an entity greater in scope than the Roman Catholic Church, and therefore not identical to it as Pius XII taught? If the Church of Christ can be present and operative in the Orthodox churches at the same time the Orthodox churches lack communion with the Catholic Church, then how can the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church be one and the same thing?
For the past thirty-five years, traditionalists have been claiming that the term "subsists" was inserted by the conciliar liberals to imply that the Church of Christ is "larger" than, and thus not identical to, the Roman Catholic Church, whereas our neo-Catholic brethren insisted that "subsists" was merely a more powerful way of expressing that the Church of Christ is the the Roman Catholic Church. Well, it appears that at least as far as the principal author of DI is concerned, we were right and they were wrong. In an extensive interview in the German newspaper Frankfort Allgemeine following publication of DI, Cardinal Ratzinger addressed various non-Catholic objections to DI's teaching on the nature of the Church. Here is what the Cardinal said about the Council's use of the term subsistit:
"When the Council Fathers replaced the word "is" with the word "subsistit," they did so for a very precise reason. The concept expressed by "is" (to be) is far broader than that expressed by "to subsist." "To subsist" is a very precise way of being, that is, to be as a subject, which exists in itself. Thus the Council Fathers meant to say that the being of the Church as such is a broader entity than the Roman Catholic Church, but within the latter it acquires, in an incomparable way, the character of a true and proper subject ."
If the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing, then what exactly is this "Church of Christ" whose "being as such is a broader entity than the Roman Catholic Church." and which subsists in the Roman Catholic Church while also being present and operative in the Orthodox churches? How can there be an ecclesial entity broader than the Mystical Body itself? As Catholic laymen who believe they understand their Faith, we do not see how Cardinal Ratzinger's opinion can be reconciled with the teaching of the Pius XII; and we also believe we have the right to ask how it can be reconciled.
It might be argued that what Ratzinger means to teach is that the Church of Christ is identical to the Mystical Body, and that the Mystical Body (being identical to the Church of Christ) subsists in the Catholic Church. But if the Church of Christ is identical to the Mystical Body, and if Pius XII taught that the Roman Catholic Church is identical to the Mystical Body, then the Church of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church must likewise be identical, since if A=B and C=B, then A=C. But in the Frankfurter Allgemeine interview, Cardinal Ratzinger explicitly denies that the Church of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are identical:
"In his Encyclical, Pius XII said: The Roman Catholic Church "is" the one Church of Jesus Christ. This seems [!] to express a complete identity, which is why there was no Church outside the Catholic community. However, this is not the case: according to Catholic teaching, which Pius XII obviously also shared, the local Churches of the Eastern Church separated from Rome are authentic local churches."
Cardinal Ratzinger provided no proof that what "seems" to be the complete identity between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Christ in the teaching of Pius XII is "not the case." Further, Ratzinger's Frankfurter Allgemeine interview provides no demonstration that Pius XII "shared" the teaching of DI 17, that the Orthodox churches are "authentic local churches." If Pius XII or the other preconciliar Popes had ever taught such a thing, one supposes their teaching would have been cited rather prominently in DI to show its continuity with the perennial Magisterium. To the contrary, in Satis Cognitum, Leo XIII taught the following about the ecclesial status of non-Catholic sees:
"[I]t must be clearly understood that Bishops are deprived of the right and power of ruling, if they deliberately secede from Peter and his successors; because, by this secession, they are separated from the foundation on which the whole edifice must rest. They are therefore outside the edifice itself; and for this very reason they are separated from the fold, whose leader is the Chief Pastor; they are exiled from the Kingdom, the keys of which were given by Christ to Peter alone."
Likewise, in his letter on reunion with Eastern churches, St. Pius X declared as follows:
"Let, then, all those who strive to defend the cause of unity go forth; let them go forth wearing the helmet of faith, holding to the anchor of hope, and inflamed with the fire of charity, to work unceasingly in this most heavenly enterprise; and God, the author and lover of peace, will hasten the day when the nations of the East shall return to Catholic unity, and, united to the Apostolic See, after casting away their errors, shall enter the part of everlasting salvation."
There is an urgent need for the Church to explain, in a definitive and binding pronouncement, how churches that lack all jurisdiction, are separated from the very foundation of the Church, are outside the edifice of the Church, not within the fold, exiled from the Kingdom, and not yet in the port of everlasting salvation, can be "true particular churches or "authentic local churches."
It is not enough to say that individual members of the schismatic Orthodox churches may be inculpable of the personal sin of schism. This is not the point here. The point is that, according to every preconciliar papal pronouncement on the subject, the Orthodox churches, as institutions, are in a state of schism--cut off from Peter, the very foundation of Christian unity (Again, neo-Catholics have no problem saying this when it comes to the alleged schism of the Society of Saint Pius X.) The departure of the Orthodox churches from a number of Catholic doctrines and their permission for the sin of divorce and remarriage demonstrate the dire consequences of that cutting off.
Granted, the Orthodox churches would become true particular churches the moment they abjured their errors, submitted to the Vicar of Christ and thereby entered "the port of eternal salvation," to recall the words of St. Pius X. But then any Jew would become a Christian the moment he was baptized and professed the Faith. The potential state of churches or individual people is not the same as their actual state. But it seems to us that confusion between the actual and the potential is a the heart of ecumenism, and that DI 17 only perpetuates the confusion.
Indeed, if Leo XIII and St. Pius X were not addressing their teaching to the actual, objective condition of Orthodox churches and their adherents, what was the point of their teaching? Are we to suppose that these two great Popes lamented an ecclesial condition from which no one was actually suffering any longer, merely because the Orthodox schism had perdured for centuries and all the Orthodox could be presumed to be in good faith? Or has the ecclesial standing of the Orthodox somehow been elevated since the pontificates of Leo and Pius?
Furthermore, one must ask: Of which Church are the Orthodox churches said to be "true particular churches"? Are they true particular churches of the Catholic Church? This is obviously untenable. Are they, then, true particular churches of the posited Church of Christ, which DI says is "present and operative" in Orthodox churches despite their lack of communion with the Catholic Church? In that case, the Church of Christ would have to be regarded as an entity capable of being present and operative without the Catholic Church also being present and operative--meaning, once again, that the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church are distinct from each other, a conclusion whose harmony with Catholic teaching is not apparent.
Then again, if the Orthodox churches are said to be particular churches of neither the Catholic Church nor the Church of Christ, but merely particular churches standing alone, how can the use of the phrase "particular churches" be justified, since the concept of a particular church has meaning only with reference to the universal church? By analogy, if one of the American states had permanently secede from the Union before the Civil War--say, Virginia--would we still call it today, or would it not simply be the independent commonwealth of Virginia?
More questions present themselves: if the Orthodox churches are said to be "true particular churches," does this means that they are part of the Mystical Body of Christ? But how could this be true, in view of the solemn teaching of Pius XII in Mystici Corporis that churches not in communion with the Pope are not part of the Mystical Body, since they are not part of the visible Catholic Church? Pius teaches:
"Actually, only those who are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or have been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. . . . It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit."
Here, Pius XII was repeating the teaching his predecessor, Pius XI, in Mortalium Animos:
"For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head."
Pius XII clearly meant his teaching to apply to the schismatic churches of the East, whose members he described in his encyclical,Orientalis Ecclesiae as "those who are wafted towards her [the Catholic Church], as it were, on wings of yearning desire"--the same yearning and desire Pius attributed to morally upright, good-faith Protestants in Mystici Corporis. In Orientalis Ecclesiae, Pius also spoke of "promoting the reunion of our separated sons with the one Church of Christ." Obviously, the Orthodox churches cannot be part of the Mystical Body if they are wafting toward the Catholic Church and need to reunited with "the one Church of Christ," which Pius XII clearly identifies with the Catholic Church. And if the Orthodox churches need to be reunited with the "one Church of Christ, referred to by Pius XII, how can "the Church of Christ" referred to by Cardinal Ratzinger already be 'present and operative" in the Orthodox churches as "true particular churches"? Furthermore, how can the Orthodox churches "remain united" to us "by the closest of bonds," as DI asserts, if, as Pius XII taught, there must be a reunion of the Orthodox with the one Church of Christ, i.e., the Catholic church What sense does it make to speak of the Church being united with those who have yet reunited with her?
These questions all arise from the conundrum caused by the postconciliar "optimism" that refuses to view heretics and schismatics, even objectively speaking, as outside the Church--as in the defined dogma that outside the Church there is no salvation. Yet the Council of Florence was surely speaking about the actual state of somebody when it declared infallibly that the Church "firmly believes, professes and proclaims that those no living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics and schismatics, cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart 'into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels,' unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock...." If that was true of pagans, Jews, heretics and schismatics in the fifteenth century, it holds all the more today, in an age of moral depravity that even the likes of Luther would find unbelievable.
On the other hand, if it is admitted that the Orthodox churches are not part of the Mystical Body and thus are outside the one true Church, then how can they possibly be "true particular churches"? Can there be a true particular church outside the visible aspect of the Mystical Body, which is inseparable from its invisible aspect? How is this possible? DI offers no apparent answers to any of these questions.
Perhaps the difficulties we have noted here explains why DI contains not a single reference to the Catholic doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ. DI 16 does refer to "a single body of Christ," but makes no mention of the Mystical Body of preconciliar teaching, consisting of a visible Church inseparably united to it soul, the Holy Ghost, and identified so precisely with the Roman Catholic Church by Pius XII and Leo XIII. Are we witnessing the "shedding" of more "terminological armor" for the sake of ecumenism? (Out of print book, pp. 355-363.)
Leaving aside this out-of-print-book's references to the legitimacy of the conciliar shepherds, its analysis of conciliarism's discussions of "particular churches" is simply excellent and penetrating, one that has substantial bearing on the specific details of the reception of Bishop Mar Bawai Soro into the Chaldean Rite Eparchy of Saint James the Apostle.
The use of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari by the "reconciled" Bishop Soro and his priests is a grave scandal. Father Michael Bazzi, the pastor of Saint Peter Catholic Cathedral in El Cajon, California, told me in a telephone conversation on Friday, May 16, 2008, that Bishop Soro and his priests would continue to use the Anaphora of Addai and Mari for the "time being" until they got "used to" the following Anaphora, used in the Chaldean Rite, with the words of consecration:
For when the time came that he would suffer and approach death, on that night on which he was betrayed, he took bread into his holy hands (he takes the host into his hands) and, raising his eyes to you, his almighty Father, gave thanks and blessed. He broke and gave it to his disciples, saying: take, all of you, and eat of it: this is my Body, which is broken for you, for the forgiveness of sins.
They answer: Amen.
Likewise, after they had eaten, he took the pure cup into his holy hands (he takes the chalice into his hands), gave thanks to you and blessed; he gave it to his disciples, saying: take, all of you, and drink from it: this is my Blood of the new and everlasting covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
They answer: Amen.
Priest: Whenever you do this, do it in remembrance of me.
They answer: Amen. (We believe and confess.) Reformed Missal in English
A Catholic author who is opposed to sedevacantism wrote the following in 2004 about this matter of the "approval" of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari by the then Joseph "Cardinal" Ratzinger:
Yes, “our only friend in the Vatican” is at it yet again, seemingly poised to tear down another tradition. We are reminded once again of the sentiments the Cardinal expressed back in the 1980s in his book Principles of Catholic Theology (at page 391 for those who are checking): “The fact is, as Hans Urs von Balthasar pointed out as early as 1952, that ‘the demolition of bastions’ is a long-overdue task…. She [the Church] must relinquish many of the things that have hitherto spelled security for her and that she has taken for granted. She must demolish longstanding bastions and trust solely the shield of faith.”
As we know, in 2001 Ratzinger demolished a longstanding bastion when he approved as a valid Mass a “Eucharistic prayer” used by the schismatic Nestorian Assyrians, called the “Anaphora of Addai and Mari,” which lacks the words of the Consecration. Since a Mass without a Consecration is preposterous, traditionalists objected to Ratzinger’s utter novelty (the implications for the entire Catholic doctrine of matter and form being obvious), only to be accused by the neo-Catholic gallery, yet again, of being “more Catholic than the Pope.” But, yet again, the traditionalist objection has been vindicated. In the November 5, 2004 issue of NCR, John Allen reported that Divinitas, a theological journal published by the Vatican press, ran no fewer than four articles questioning Ratzinger’s decision (as well as six in favor). One of these articles, by German scholar David Berger, who is associated with Una Voce in Germany, states “the Church has no authority to change something in the essential rites of these sacraments which is based on a divine ordinance.” Allen noted that “another strongly critical piece was written by a veteran Vatican monsignore, Fr. Brunero Gherardini, who was the postulator for the beatification of Pope Pius IX. Gherardini is the editor-in-chief of Divinitas.” Gherardini lists five arguments against Ratzinger’s decision. Even more telling, “the journal comes with an imprimatur from Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, arch-priest of St. Peter’s Basilica and the pope’s vicar general for Vatican City.” Allen concludes: “All this suggests that the decision of 2001 has some powerful critics inside Vatican corridors.” The neo-Catholic gallery has suddenly fallen silent. (Miracles? We Don't Need No Miracles!)
When an e-mal sent to Father Bazzi to follow-up on my initial conversation went unanswered, I telephoned him on Monday, May 19, 2008. He informed me that he could not define how long the "time being" was. He also said that I should address my questions about Papal Primacy to the Chaldean Rite Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint James the Apostle, the Most Reverend Yawsip Jammo. He was the one, Father Bazzi, explained, who handled the "negotiations" with Bishop Soro. "Negotiations?" I asked myself. "What's to negotiate? One either accepts the Catholic Faith, or he does not? Negotiations?" (All right, all right. As noted before. Negotiations might be necessary concerning the disposition of properties and the roles that will be played by a reconciled bishop and his priests. And we are dealing with Semites here, people whose particular nature make them prone to dickering over almost anything. Acceptance of the Deposit of Faith, however, is non-negotiable.)
I reached Bishop Jammo a few hours later that same day. His Excellency was most gracious to take my telephone call. Bishop Jammo said, however, that he might not be able to answer my questions, that the matter was "very sensitive" and that he had to choose his words very carefully, asking me to put my questions in writing. As I do not believe in "gotcha journalism" and wanted to show my respect for a true bishop, yes, even one associated with the errors of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, I laid out my position for him and then posed a series of questions. His Excellency informed me in my conversation with him that he might choose to refuse to answer my questions, which turned out to be the case. While I thank His Excellency for considering my questions, I do believe that my letter to him raises issues that need to be addressed and that demonstrate all of the hubbub bout Bishop Soro's "conversion" is, as per usual in the world of conciliarism, misplaced and based in large part upon wishful thinking--or, at the very least, a desire not to examine this matter too carefully.
Here is part of my unanswered letter to Bishop Jammo of the Chaldean Rite Eparchy of Saint James the Apostle, excepting a few introductory paragraphs:
I want you to know this, Your Excellency, as it is important for me to be completely honest with you. My concern with the reception of His Excellency Bishop Mar Bawai Soro by the Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle goes to the heart of the problems with the conciliar notion of ecumenism that was condemned in no uncertain terms by His Holiness Pope Pius XI in Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928. That conciliar notion of ecumenism is premised upon not insisting that those outside of the Catholic Church return to her maternal bosom unconditionally and without any preconditions whatsoever. No "negotiations" are needed to become Catholic. The only thing that one needs to do is to submit humbly and with docility to the entirety of the Deposit of Faith as It has been entrusted to the true Church by Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself, assenting to all of its tenets as they have been defined by the magisterial authority of that same Catholic Church.
It appears (and I place an emphasis on the word appears) that Bishop Mar Bawai Soro did not convert unconditionally to Chaldean Rite of the Catholic Church. This appearance is given by the fact that Bishop Soro's 2005 address to his brother Assyrian bishops accepted the primacy of Saint Peter as the head of the Universal Church because he had governed in Rome. There was no reference to the simple fact that Our Lord Himself founded that same Catholic Church upon Saint Peter, appointing Him and His Successors as the visible heads of the true Church, His own very Mystical Body. It is not clear that Bishop Soro believes in Papal Primacy as defined by the Catholic Church, especially by the First Vatican Council. Indeed, it is troubling to learn, as Father Michael Bazzi informed me today, that you, Your Excellency, engaged in "negotiations" with Bishop Soro
Thus, Your Excellency, my first question to you is this: What is there to negotiate with a potential convert to the Catholic Faith? What is negotiable about the truth?
My second question to you is this: Does Bishop Mar Bawai Soro believe in Papal Primacy and Papal Infallibility as taught solemnly by the First Vatican Council, which was presided over by His Holiness Pope Pius IX?
My third question to you is this: Does Bishop Mar Bawai Soro accept the Marian dogmas proclaimed by Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius XII in exactly the sense in which they were promulgated by the authority given them as Successors of Saint Peter? Does he accept the doctrine of Purgatory as taught solemnly by the Council of Trent?
My fourth question to you is this: Did Bishop Mar Bawai Soro and his priests and faithful have to make a formal, solemn and public Abjuration of Error before being received into the Chaldean Rite of the Catholic Church?
His Holiness Pope Leo XIII explained that there must be a perfect concord of Faith for there to be a true union between West and East. This is what he wrote in Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae, June 20, 1894:
"Weigh carefully in your minds and before God the nature of Our request. It is not for any human motive, but impelled by Divine Charity and a desire for the salvation of all, that We advise the reconciliation and union with the Church of Rome; and We mean a perfect and complete union, such as could not subsist in any way if nothing else was brought about but a certain kind of agreement in the Tenets of Belief and an intercourse of Fraternal love. The True Union between Christians is that which Jesus Christ, the Author of the Church, instituted and desired, and which consists in a Unity of Faith and Unity of Government."
My fifth question to you is this: Was the Profession of Faith made by Bishop Mar Bawai Soro presaged or conditioned in way by the "nuancing" of language on various points, such as his notion of Papal Primacy and other doctrinal points, so that he could make "mental reservations" to hold him "harmless" for not assenting to every point of doctrine as it has been defined by the authority of the Catholic Church?
My sixth question to you is this: Did Walter Cardinal Kasper, the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, play any role in the negotiations between Bishop Mar Bawai Soro and you, Your Excellency?
The Ravenna Document, October 13, 2007, leaves open the possibility that some kind of union between the Catholic Church and the Orthdox confessions can be brought about if an agreement was reached to accept the Orthodox's misrepresentation (my characterization) of the "Petrine Ministry" in the First Millennium. This misrepresentation of true history was exploded by Pope Leo XIII in the aforementioned Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae, but has found itself expressed by none other than the then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in Principles of Catholic Theology in 1982 and in The Ravenna Document itself.
My seventh question to you is this: Was The Ravenna Document used as any kind of guideline or foundation to develop a mutually acceptable "understanding" about the doctrine of Papal Primacy between Bishop Mar Bawai Soro and you, Your Excellency?
My eighth question to you is this: Are the terms of the agreement you reached with Bishop Mar Bawai Soro "sensitive" because said terms might be used as the prototype for effecting a possible reconciliation of the entire Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East (and the Orthdox Churches) with the Catholic Church? Is there a fear that the questions being raised might undermine efforts to effect such future "reconciliations"?
A further concern held by many Catholics, Your Excellency, revolves around the Assyrian Anaphora of Addai and Mari without the words of consecration contained with its text. Although Father Michael Bazzi informed me on Friday, May 16, 2008, that Bishop Mar Bawai Soro and his priests will use the Assyrian anaphora without the words of consecration for the time being, there is no indication of how long "the time being" might be (other than until they are "get used to" the Chaldean formula, which is identical to that of the traditional Roman Rite of the Catholic Church).
My ninth question to you is this: Was Catholic Church wrong to have commanded the Chaldean Rite to use the proper form of consecration in the Sixteenth Century? Was the Catholic Church wrong to reaffirm this command in 1902 under the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII? How could the Catholic Church be wrong for 440 years before Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger finally "got it right" in 2001, thus affirming, for the first time in the history of the Catholic Church, a Canon of the Mass without any words of consecration?
My tenth and final question to you is this: Did Bishop Mar Bawai Soro, who has certainly suffered much injustice and excoriation at the hands of his former confreres of the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East, take the initiative to commence discussions/negotiations with you, Your Excellency? Were Roman authorities involved prior to Bishop Soro's contacts with you?
The fear of many of us, Your Excellency, is that the recent agreement between the Bishop Mar Bawai Soro and the Chaldean Rite Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle is but another example of a false "reconciliation" that is presaged on preconditions that have nothing to do with a genuine conversion to and acceptance of the Catholic Faith.
Pope Saint Pius X put the matter this way in Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910:
Alas! this organization [The Sillon, which had views identical to those expressed in Gaudium et Spes] which formerly afforded such promising expectations, this limpid and impetuous stream, has been harnessed in its course by the modern enemies of the Church, and is now no more than a miserable affluent of the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world (if such a Church could overcome) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer."
Pope Pius XI put the matter this way in Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928 (same quote as above). . . .
Can it be said, Your Excellency, in all truth and without any reservations whatsoever, that Bishop Mar Bawai Soro accepts each of the doctrines enumerated by Pope Pius XI in exactly the sense that they have been taught by the authority of the Catholic Church without any degree of qualification or reservation, being willing to explicate and to defend these doctrines from his pulpit and in his apostolic work for souls? There is no such thing as "partial" communion with the Catholic Church.
As I noted before, Your Excellency, I realize that you may not be willing to answer these questions. If that is the case, fiat voluntas tua. I would simply appreciate your indicating this to me, at which point I will proceed with my article, Your Excellency, including the questions that I have just asked you.
Bishop Jammo chose not to respond to my letter to him. He informed me in a brief telephone call that I had placed to him on Wednesday, May 21, 2008, that he had read my "resume," as he called my letter to him, and that "my thinking is not in line with yours, which is not in line with the Catholic Church." He said that I could make "whatever declarations" I would like to make and wished me well. I asked him specifically if he would answer my questions. He wished me well once again.
My inquiries in the matter of Bishop Mar Bawai Soro are not about making "declarations." My inquiries in this matter revolve around a search for the truth of the facts of Bishop Soro's reception into the Chaldean Eparchy of Saint James the Apostle. Significant questions are raised by Bishop Soro's past statements about the nature of Papal Primacy and his use of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari. And one of the items I forgot to ask to Bishop Jammo was whether Bishop Soro accepted the Filioque (that the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father and the Son). It would, therefore, be very interesting to see the text of the Profession of Faith that Bishop Soro and his priests made on March 28, 2008, when they were received by Bishop Jammo into the Chaldean Eparchy of Saint James the Apostle.
For you, see, the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East from which Bishop Soro was expelled in 2005 believes the following about the procession of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity and on the founding of the Church herself:
And (we believe) in one Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth:
Luke 12:12 - for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."Acts 1:5 - for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit."Titus 3:5 - he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit.John 14:17 - even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.
Who proceedeth from the Father, the life-giving Spirit:
Luke 11:13 - If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"John 15:26 - But when the Counsellor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me;1 Corinthians 15:45 - Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
And (we believe) in one Holy Apostolic and Catholic (universal) Church:
Ephesians 2:20 - built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. Ephesians 5:25 - Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Matthew 28:19 - Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
(Creed of Nicaea, Assyrian Church of the East.)
The Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East does not accept the Filioque or the fact that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ founded His Catholic Church upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. It is not clear that Bishop Soro accepts either of these two points of Catholic doctrine. Perhaps he does. Perhaps this has been made clear in the Profession of Faith he made on March 28, 2008. The refusal of Bishop Jammo to answer the questions posted to him leaves one in doubt as to whether Bishop Soro has abandoned the heresies of his former church and has accepted Catholic doctrine as defined by the authority of the Catholic Church, including her dogmatic pronouncements made in her councils of the Second Millennium. What is "sensitive" about these matters? Why the secrecy? What's to be "finessed" and "nuanced"?
Here is the version of the Nicene Creed without the Filioque that is used in the Divine Liturgy of the Uniat Chaldeans with whom Bishop Soro has now associated:
We believe in one God, the Father almighty, Maker of all that is visible and invisible; and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God and first born of all creatures, who was begotten from his Father before all the ages and was not made: true God from true God, of the same substance as his Father, by whose hands the world was ordered and everything was created, who, for us men and for our salvation, descended from heaven, betook a body by the power of the Holy Spirit, was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary and became man, who suffered and was crucified in the days of Pontius Pilate, who died, was buried and rose on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures, who ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and who will come again to judge the dead and the living; and in one Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father: the Giver of life; and in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. We confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. (Reformed Missal in English.)
The Catholic Church has not required Catholics in the Uniat Rites to insert the words "and from the Son" into Creed in their Divine Liturgies. She has required them to believe in the Filioque as defined by her teaching authority. In truth, however, some of the Uniat Rites did include the words "and the Son" in the Creed until recently.
To wit, a former friend of mine in the conciliar priesthood pointed out to me in the early-1980s that an Ruthenian Rite church in Westbury, New York, Saint Andrew the Apostle, had missalettes in which which its then pastor, Father Richard Lee, had blotted out the words "and the Son" in the Creed with black magic marker. I saw this myself when assisting at the Divine Liturgy there on several occasions in the Fall of 1982. The words "and the Son" were plainly blotted out with a magic marker. Did this signal a lack of belief in the procession of God the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son?
Once again, this is not a minor matter at all. This is a point of the de fide teaching of the Catholic Church from which no one may dissent and remain a Catholic in good standing:
The rejection of the Filioque, or the double Procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and Son, and the denial of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff constitute even today the principal errors of the Greek church. While outside the Church doubt as to the double Procession of the Holy Ghost grew into open denial, inside the Church the doctrine of the Filioque was declared to be a dogma of faith in the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), the Second council of Lyons (1274), and the Council of Florence (1438-1445). Thus the Church proposed in a clear and authoritative form the teaching of Sacred Scripture and tradition on the Procession of the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. (CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Filioque.)
Does Bishop Soro believe in the procession of God the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son? Has he abandoned the Assyrian Church's rejection of this dogmatic truth? These are important questions that must be answered.
There is a further interesting development in the case of Bishop Mar Bawai Soro: he was, in defiance of his own heretical and schismatic church's edicts, offering the Assyrian liturgy in the vernacular as early as 1984, making him an excellent candidate for reception in to the counterfeit church of conciliarism.
Here is how one of Bishop Soro's many Assyrian critics described the matter in 2005 (shortly after Bishop Soro delivered his remarks on Papal Primacy):
Another point raised by Bishop Mar Bawai in his many public allocutions is his promotion of liturgical reform. This issue has always centered around the discussion about the use of the vernacular (leshana khata) in the celebration of the eucharistic liturgy. It should be mentioned that Mar Bawai has celebrating the liturgy in the vernacular since he became a bishop in 1984; hence, for some 20 years now! Which patriarch or synod has ever censored him for using the vernacular in the liturgy? Why synod has ever stopped him for making changes under his own initiative?
Though we are in agreement that the liturgy must be updated and reformed in certain areas, it should never be a ‘one-man show’! The liturgy is not about what a certain bishop or priest feels; it is about worshipping God as a community in the tradition and rites of the Church! The reformation of the liturgy—which many Churches are still undergoing and have not yet perfected—requires the guidance of experts in this particular area. In this regard, Bishop Soro is not an expert in our liturgy! In any case, His Grace has been using the vernacular in his parishes—as has been the case in other Assyrian parishes throughout the U.S.—without any censorship from his superiors.(Zinda 7 December 2005.)
Yes, meaning no disrespect to Bishop Soro whatsoever, it does nevertheless seem as though he is a perfect candidate for "conversion" into an arm of the One World Church that is the countefeit church of conciliarism. Liturgical reform, anyone? Bishop Soro will fit in quite well to the whole ethos of conciliarism. Bishop Soro will have no problem at all of being una cum Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. This is indeed a true "ecumenical triumph" for conciliarism, not for Catholicism.
There was never any need to parse true conversions to the Catholic Church. They were complete. They were unconditional. They left no questions as to the fact that the convert accepted everything taught by the Catholic Church without any reservations, attesting to this fact by making not only a Profession of Faith but also by making an Abjuration of Error quite publicly (we have seen a convert recite and sign an Abjuration of Error in front his Excellency Bishop Robert F. McKenna, O.P., on Wednesday, October 17, 2007).
Although Chaldean Rite Catholics have suffered terribly at the hands of various Mohammedans in Iraq following the American invasion of that country five years ago, suffering the murder of the Chaldean Rite Bishop of Mosul, Paulos Faraj Rahho, earlier this year, their rite has been very much compromised by conciliarism. One of the lessons that should be drawn from the unnecessary complexity dealing with Bishop Mar Bawai Soro's "conversion" to the Chaldean Rite Eparchy of Saint James the Apostle is that the Uniat Rites are not refuges from conciliarism in the slightest.
The bishops of the Uniat Rite are true bishops. These bishops, however, are compromised by their association with the apostates of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, sometimes engaging in the full-throated exercise of the conciliarist ethos in their own eparchies (or dioceses). Consider this brief excerpt from BOOP:
For example, there is the incident in which the Vicar of Christ kissed a copy of the Koran, the Muslim holy book, presented to him during a visit by a delegation of Iraqi representatives. For this the Pope was praised by the Catholic patriarch of Iraq, Raphael I. The Koran condemns the Holy Trinity as a blasphemy worthy of eternal hellfire, and denies that Our Lord was crucified. One can easily imagine a line of Catholic martyrs going to their deaths rather than consenting to kiss that book. (out of print book, pp. 138-139.)
Saints gave up their lives rather than to give even the appearance of blaspheming God in this way. And although some sought to excuse Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II's alleged "act of impetuosity" on May 14, 1999, there was no "impetuosity" in Washington, District of Columbia, on Thursday, April 17, 2007, as Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI was presented and received with esteem the symbols of five false religions. This act of apostasy, involving multiple Mortal Sins, objectively speaking, against the First Commandment, was planned, pre-meditated and had the full stamp of approval of the "papal" household before it was placed on the "pope's" schedule. Oh, yes, the Uniat Rites have indeed been compromised by conciliarism. They are "una cum" apostasy and betrayal.
The extent of the Chaldean Eparchy of Saint James the Apostle's own involvement in conciliarism is manifested on the Kaldu.org Weekly News website, whereon one can find a link to "Chiara Lubich's Heroic Lesson in Love" ("Nailed to the Cross, We Become Mothers and Fathers of Souls"). Indeed, there have been at least two other references to Focolare on Kaldu.or website in the past year or so. Any informed Catholic knows that Focolare is based on Communist and Masonic principles and is not to be promoted in any way. (Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI is a supporter, of course, as was his predecessor, Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II).
For those who need a reminder, here is a quick refresher course on the late Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focolare movement (one of those "ecclesial communities" that has been praised so lavishly by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI), provided by Cornelia Ferreira and John Vennari's World Youth Day: From Catholicism to Counterchurch:
Chiara Lubich, perhaps the most influential "Catholic" syncretist and promoter of Masonic world religion and government, is revered by religious leaders, the UN and heads of state. She is a worthy recipient of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, the religious equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Her influence is felt in politics, economics and world governance as, using high-flown rhetoric, she propagates the absolute equality taught by Masonry and Communism.
It is Lubich was developed the prototype of the adult faith community or Counterchurch: the "new parish." Her New Parish Movement has been turning parishes into democratic communities by promoting co-responsibility. In a new parish, says Father Joseph Arruano, a member of Focolare's Priests Branch, "it is normal now to see pastors, priests and laymen form an authentic community, so that the parish does not become a bureaucratic [i.e.. hierarchical] institution." Within these parishes, "the people are united with one another and to their pastors, and consider themselves to be co-responsible for the entire spiritual and social life of the parish." That is because "each neighbor is Jesus and ... in his presence, not even the pastor can set himself above the others as teacher and judge. . . . Before God, it is not important whether we are men or women, rich or poor, Jew or Greek, nor does it matter when we are priest [sic] or laymen' (this is a famous misinterpretation of Gal. 3:28, used also to justify feminism and indifferentism). This egalitarian parish community develops "fraternity" and"one body" (in which non-Catholics are welcome). "Father Joe" calls its it "a real evangelical revolution." Note that "united" and "authentic" are code words for equal.
In Focolare's inner circles, its anticlericalism and contempt of priests with a "priestly mentality" (i.e., a lack of submission to Focolare's egalitarianism) is undisguised. Its public obeisance towards and "love bombing" of the hierarchy, especially the Pope, is just public relations. Gaining episcopal members or protectors silences critics and helps expansion. But in 1966, at the opening of a school in Rome for the formation of priests in Focolare's spirituality of unity, Chiara boldly proposed the dismantling of priestly authority:
If priests could learn how to set aside everything, even their very priesthood, to ensure the presence of Jesus amongst them [each person in the community, and the community as a whole, thus being alter Christus], . . . then ultimately Jesus will transform them into "new" priests with a "new" pastoral approach, and there will be "new" seminaries. . . . And if they are also united [as equals] to the lay section of the Movement, this will give rise to what I would call the "Church-City" or "Church-Society" . . . We can offer the world "new priests" who are "new" because they live the New Commandment [of equality]. . . .
Focolare was founded in 1943 in Trent, Italy, as a small Christian community. Almost from its founding, when ecumenism was forbidden for Catholics, Focolare was non-denominational. Staring in 1949, it held large annual ecumenical gatherings in temporary "cities" called "Mariapolises." (Thirty-three Mariapolises are now permanent towns, prototypes of the world community.) Focolare thus operated as the indifferentist Counterchurch long before the Council. It was championed by the pro-Marxist Monsignor Montini and officially approved by John XXIII. Later Montini, as Pope Paul VI, commented, "May God bless this new form of communitarian life, this new Christian life and fervor which is blossoming in the bosom of the Church," thus institutionalizing Communism and Masonic indifferentism as an exalted form of Catholicism.
Focolare's "quiet" ecumenism became publicly structured with the inauguration by Augustin Cardinal Bea, President of the Secretariat for Christian Unity, of its ecumenical village with Lutherans in Ottmaring, Germany, in 1968. With Church approval, praying together in this village that was living Focolare's spirit of unity was standard practice. Ottmaring became the model for ecumenical communities around the world.
Focolare's rapidly interdenominational priest and bishop branches have been approved as "Catholic" by Pope John Paul. Each year the Bishop Friends of the Focolare Movement meets for Catholic and non-Catholic bishops to study how to apply Focolare's spirituality of unity or communion in their lives. Begun in 1977, the group became ecumenical in 1982 and received canonical approval in 1994. For many years, the meeting have been organized by Milsolav Cardinal Vlk of Prague, a focolarino since 1964, who was shaped "far more" by Focolare "than the seminary. Pope John Paul promoted this Lubich apostle through the ranks to Cardinal, and appointed him to head the Council of European Bishops' Conferences in 1993. Before his term expired in 2001, Cardinal Vlk, signed an Ecumenical Charter with the Conference of [non-Catholic] European Churches, which includes gnostic Old Catholic Churches. The Charter commits Catholic and non-Catholic bishops to work for a Europe united in government and religion and for all the usual leftist demands of the New World Order.
The "spirituality of unity" or "collective spirituality," as it's termed, is based on changing Jesus' words, "Where two or three are gathered in My name..." (Matt. 18:20) to "Where two or three are united in My name." This is then interpreted to mean that "individualism is banned" in ideas, possessions, friendships and piety. This enforced conformity is called charity or love. In Focolare, "all differences vanished in the fire of charity." This spirituality is cultish and Communistic. It is also Jewish. Lubich says it is based on the Talmud, the Jewish body of man-made beliefs considered higher than the Bible. The Talmud contains occult teachings and has been condemned in many Papal Decrees.
Although Jesus clearly condemned the Talmudic teachings of the Pharisees, Chiara claims that HIs words, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them," are based on the Talmudic teaching, "If two sit together and the words between them are of the Torah then the Shekinah (the divine dwelling) is in their midst (Mishna Avot, 3,2)." In Judaism, Torah can symbolize either the Old Testament (which has been very distorted) or the Talmud (the false "Oral" Torah). One wonders if Lubich realizes this verse from the Babylonian Talmud is predicated on the belief that each Jew is God, so in any gathering of Jews, God is present. And does she know that in the kabbalistic beliefs of Orthodox Judaism, Shekinah is a goddess at the centre of a whole sexual mythology?
Now, according to SS. Cyprian and John Chrysostom, Jesus' words, "In My name," and "There am I in the midst of them" are understood only of assemblies gathered in the name of Christ, assembled by authority received from Him, in the manner appointed by Him, for His sake, and seeking only His glory. These conditions apply to lawful ecumenical councils. But Lubich heretically interprets this Gospel passage to teach that it is in a community (as opposed to in the tabernacle) that Jesus is present, so that the community is His Body, i.e., God. As seen earlier, such thinking has infected the rest of the Counterchurch.
Focolarini (Focolare members) seek Jesus only in unity with each other and claim that they "can generate the presence of Christ" amongst themselves. As with Unitarian Universalism, the translate "God is Love," into "love is God," where "love" denotes a unity stemming from complete equality and unanimity. From this they seem to conclude that the community that is united "loves," and is therefore God. Hence, a Counterchurch community like Focolare that "loves" by living unity, sees itself--including its non-Catholic members--as God, Jesus enfleshed, the Church. Focolare's New Parish spokesman Father Joe elaborates: " ... when a community accepts Jesus, he dwells there and the parishioners become his members, his Body. I have found the Church." Whether talking, working or resting, everything this community does automatically "becomes an expression of the supernatural, a manifestation of the divine in human activities." As with Unitarians, God for Lubich and her co-founders was an abstract power, an "ideal worth living for and as a result they focused their lives on the Gospel--their falsified Gospel. (Cornelia Ferreira and John Vennari, World Youth Day: From Catholicism to Counterchurch, Canisius Press, 2005, pp. 109-114.)
Bishop Mar Bawai Soro has gone from one apostate church, the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East, which expelled him for even mentioning the concept of Papal Primacy without even basing his conclusion on correct premises, to another apostate church, the counterfeit church of conciliarism. This should serve as an abject lesson that the Uniat Rites are compromised, at least to one degree or another, by conciliarism, especially in the matter of "reformed" liturgies offered in the vernacular. Those Uniat Rites that appear at present to have been less compromised by conciliarism than others will find themselves becoming more tainted as the years progress if God does not intervene to cast out the conciliar revolutionaries from their positions of power and influence. Each of these Uniat Rites is on the conciliar revolutionaries' "to do" list. One can see that the the Faith has been lost to some extent in the Chaldean Rite for a patriarch to approve of the kissing of the Koran, a document that blasphemes Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and for its bishops and priests and members to believe that Chiara Lubich was anything other than an apostle of an apostate gospel of Communism and Judeo-Masonry.
The story of Bishop Mar Bawai Soro and the Chaldean Eparchy of Saint James the Apostle is not such a "ecumenical triumph" after all, as it turns out. It is, quite predictably, yet another example of how false ecumenism leads to false conversions to a false church that is at war with God Himself and the very immutable nature of His Holy Truths, which is to say that this false church is at war with His very nature as God.
Indeed, if it does indeed turn out to be the case that Bishop Mar Bawai Soro still holds to even one of the beliefs he held as a member of a heretical and schismatic church, then these words of the late Father Frederick Faber, contained in The Precious Blood, have particular relevancy (as they do for the entire ethos of conciliarism):
Another gift of this devotion [to the Most Precious Blood of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ] is a vehement and intelligent hatred of sin. It is useless for the hatred to be intelligent unless it be also vehement, and worse than useless for it to be vehement unless it is intelligent as well. In these days what our loyalty to God most needs is sternness to the disloyal. This should be shown first and foremost to ourselves. Whom do we know to be so disloyal as ourselves? What resistance to grace, what contempt of warnings, what neglect of inspirations, what slovenliness of performance, make up our lives! If we hated sin as we ought to hate it, purely, keenly, manfully, we should do more penance, we should inflict more self-punishment, we should sorrow for our sins more abidingly. Then, again the crowning disloyalty to God is heresy. It is the sin of sins, the very loathsomest of things which God looks down upon in this malignant world. Yet how little do we understand of its excessive hatefulness! It is the polluting of God's truth, which is the worst of all impurities. Yet how light we make of it! We look at it, and are calm. We touch it, and do not shudder. We mix with it, and have no fear. We see it touch holy things, and we have no sense of sacrilege. We breathe its odor, and show no signs of detestation or disgust. Some of us affect its friendship; and some even extenuate its guilt. We do not love God enough to be angry for his glory. We do not love men enough to be charitably truthful for their souls. Having lost the touch, the taste, the sight, and all the sense of heavenly-mindedness, we can dwell amidst this odious plague, in imperturbable tranquility, reconciled to its foulness, not without some boastful professions of liberal admiration, perhaps even with a solicitous show of tolerant sympathies. Why are we so far below the old saints, and even the modern apostles of these latter times, in the abundance of our conversions? Because we have not the antique sternness. We want the old Church-spirit, the old ecclesiastical genius. Our charity is untruthful, because it is not severe; and it is unpersuasive, because it is untruthful. We lack devotion to truth as truth, as God's truth. Our zeal for souls is puny, because we have no zeal for God's honor. We act as if God were complimented by conversions, instead of trembling souls rescued by a stretch of mercy. We tell men half the truth, the half that best suits our own pusillanimity and their conceit; and then we wonder that so few are converted, and that of those few so many apostatize. We are so weak as to be surprised that our half-truth has not succeeded as well as God's whole truth. Where there is no hatred of heresy, there is no holiness. A man, who might be an apostle, becomes a fester in the Church for the want of this righteous abomination. We need St. Michael to put new hearts in these days of universal heresy. But devotion to the Precious Blood, with its hymning of the Church and its blazoning of the Sacraments, will give us Michael's heart and the craft to use Michael's sword. Who ever drew his sword with nobler haste, or used his victory more tenderly, than that brave archangel, whose war-cry was, All for God! (Father Frederick Faber, The Precious Blood, written in 1860, republished by TAN Books and Publishers, pp. 270-271.)
Words matter. Truth matters. There is nothing "sensitive" about the truths of the Holy Faith. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ made this very clear when He said:
Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed: nor hidden, that shall not be known. For whatsoever things you have spoken in darkness, shall be published in the light: and that which you have spoken in the ear in the chambers, shall be preached on the housetops. And I say to you, my friends: Be not afraid of them who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you shall fear: fear ye him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you, fear him.
Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? Yea, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows. And I say to you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God. But he that shall deny me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but to him that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven.
And when they shall bring you into the synagogues, and to magistrates and powers, be not solicitous how or what you shall answer, or what you shall say; For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what you must say. (Luke 12: 1-12.)
Truth matters. There is no "victory" when truth is hidden or misrepresented in order to claim as a triumph that which compromises the Faith in any way, shape or form.
Our Lady is our sure refuge in this time of apostasy and betrayal. May we, by praying as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit, help to make reparation for our own sins--and those of the whole world--offering the fruit of our prayers and sufferings and trials and difficulties to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through her own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
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.
Saint Bernardine of Siena, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints