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June 17, 2009

Tu Es Sacerdos

by Thomas A. Droleskey

The National Catholic Reporter has specialized over the course of its life in promoting all manner of theological dissent, especially as it pertains to the inadmissibility of women to the Holy Priesthood and on matters pertaining to the Sixth and Ninth Commandments. Its work to recast the Catholic Faith in terms that even some conciliarists recognize as beyond the pale of Catholic truth is supported at present by the likes of the now "retired" auxiliary "bishop" of Detroit, the nefarious Thomas Gumbleton, who once wore a miter with a symbol supportive of those steeped in unrepentant perverse sins against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, and the late Joseph "Cardinal" Bernardin.

"Cardinal" Bernardin, who was a true bishop, made it a point to give encouragement now and again to the editor of the newspaper that many of us in the late-1970s had dubbed the National Catholic Distorter, Tom Fox. Dr. James Hitchock, a sedeplenist who is an apologist in behalf of a "correct" understanding of the "Second" Vatican Council, wrote the following about Bernardin's support for the National Catholic Reporter:

"Shortly before his death, referring to the slanders once directed at himself, Bernardin expressed the wish that "unfair attacks" on Hillary Clinton, the president's wife, would cease, so that she would be allowed to employ her talents for the good of the country. Altogether it was as blatantly partisan a statement as any bishop in America has ever made, given the fact that Hillary Clinton was involved in a number of questionable financial transactions and that several of her associates are now under criminal indictment. In addition, abortion has been precisely one of her major causes, and she has used the power of the White House to promote it in every way possible. But if the cardinal was friendly in his statements regarding the Clintons, the White House returned that friendly attention. Shortly before the prelate's death President Clinton bestowed on Bernardin the Medal of Freedom, indicating that he saw the cardinal as exactly the kind of religious leader the nation needs.

But even more astonishing than Ann Landers's revelation that she was the cardinal's close friend was the report by Tom Fox, editor of the National Catholic Reporter (NCR), that Bernardin over the years had occasionally telephoned him to encourage his journalistic work, urging him to "keep the flame lit"--the "flame" being the causes the NCR champions, and calling the newspaper "a candle in the night."

Over its more than thirty years of publication, almost the sole purpose of the NCR's existence has been to mount increasingly bitter assaults on almost every aspect of official Catholic teaching, especially sexual morality, and against every member of the hierarchy who gives visible support to those teachings. It is a journal where, for example, it is almost routine for Vatican officials to be referred to as Nazis and to be accused of suffering from various kinds of psychological disorders. It is also the journal where Tim Unsworth has for years celebrated the rebelliousness of the Chicago clergy, and where the same writer attacked Mother Teresa.

The revelation that for years Bernardin was offering encouragement to the editors of that paper confirmed conservative Catholics' worst suspicions--that, while crafting for himself the image of a "moderate," Bernardin had always been firmly in the liberal camp. While he was occasionally criticized by people on the left for not going far enough, he was a consummate realist who understood that the methods he used were far more successful than direct assaults would be. Under the rubric of "reaching out" he was able to create an environment of maximum tolerance for dissent.

That he admired and supported the angrily abusive NCR also shed light on Bernardin's claim that he merely wanted to bring peace and harmony to a Church torn by bitter disagreements. On the contrary, it turned out that he was quite willing to encourage such bitterness, so long as it served the appropriate causes.  (James Hitchcock, "Cardinal Bernardin's Legacy," found at www.Catholic.net in 2006; the article is no longer to be found on this site and is not available elsewhere, it appears, other than on this site at this time.)


Incredible distortions of Catholic truth are published in the pages of the National Catholic Reporter now and again.

True, incredible distortions of Catholic truth ring out from the mouth and the keyboard of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, who dares to commit one Mortal Sin, objectively speaking, after another as he esteems the symbols of false religions and praises their nonexistent "ability" to "contribute" to the "building" of the "better" world. Ratzinger/Benedict is clever enough, however, to cloud his own errors about the nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and of the Holy Eucharist in terms that can convince most people of his doctrinal orthodoxy on these matters of the Holy Faith while the truth is otherwise.

[Mr. James Larson, an anti-sedevacantist author, has provided a very good analysis of Ratzinger/Benedict's Eucharistic beliefs in Article 4: The Rosmini Rehabilitation - When To Be is Not To Be, although I should point out that Mr. Larson is wrong when stating that not everything in encyclical letters binds a Catholic's conscience as Pope Pius XII made it clear in Number 20, of Humani Generis, August 12, 1950, that we are so bound as that which is included in encyclical letters is found elsewhere in the teaching of the Church. Pope Pius XI noted in Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio that anyone who dissents from the Church's Social Teaching subscribes to a form of social, legal and political modernism that is to be condemned no less vigorously than theological modernism. Ratzinger/Benedict is certainly a dissenter from the Social Teaching of the Church concerning the obligation of the civil state to recognize the true religion and to yield to her in all that pertains to the good of souls.]

There is nothing subtle or obtuse about the National Catholic Reporter's defections from the Faith. Unlike Ratzinger/Benedict, many of those who write for National Catholic Reporter make no effort to explain away the pronouncements of dogmatic councils by means of the logically absurd and dogmatically condemned "hermeneutic of continuity," some of the writers for the National Catholic Reporter simply act as though the Council of Trent never occurred or that it does not bind our consciences in the slightest.

Consider this remarkably straight-forward denial that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ instituted the priesthood:

Pope Benedict has declared June 19 as the beginning of the Year of the Priest. He has proclaimed that “without priestly ministry, there would be no Eucharist, no mission and even no church.” I hate to be the one to inform him, but Eucharist, mission and church existed long before the rise of priesthood.

According to the Gospels, Jesus was not a priest, nor were his disciples. We do see reference to Jesus as a priest in the Letter to the Hebrews. The author uses the word to refer to Jesus as the new and last “High Priest,” ending a long line of Jewish leaders. The author claims that priests are no longer necessary because no more sacrifices are needed. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and is our final high priest.

Perhaps the pope has forgotten that Jesus was not focused on priesthood. He was focused on ministry. He called people to minister alongside him, regardless of their status in society. He called out to fishermen and tax collectors and the woman with seven demons. Everyone was responsible for engendering the kingdom of God.

All were invited to minister and they did so with various titles given to them by the community based on their gifts. Some were called prophet, others teacher and still others apostle. It was only later that we begin to see the emergence of a formal ministry structure and corresponding terminology as the followers of Jesus were influenced and integrated into the Roman Empire. It is not until 215 A.D. that we have evidence of an ordination ritual for bishop, priest and deacon.

The emergence of the clerical structure eventually led to a division of the Christian faithful into “clergy” and “laity.” In the early years of Christianity’s emergence, however, Paul reminded Jesus’ followers, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

After the rise of ordination and priesthood, there develops a hierarchical order among the faithful. The word “ordination” derives from the Latin “ordinare” which means “to create order.” It developed from the Roman usage of the words “ordines” that referred to the classes of people in Rome according to their eligibility for government positions.

The laity became “dis-ordered” from the clergy. The word “laity” originates from the word “laikoi” that referred to those in Greco-Roman society who were not “ordered,” or “ordained” within the established political structure. The word “clergy” comes from the word “kleros,” meaning “a group apart.”

While many Christians continued to minister within the church and even some women carried the titles of deacon, priest and bishop, most carrying this title were part of a limited group of men commissioned within the context of a particular socio-political and religious order.

This endured until 1964 when the Second Vatican Council reminded the church that the role of minister, or priest, was not limited to the ordained, but was a call to all the baptized. The document, Lumen Gentium, proclaimed that the laity were “made sharers in the priestly, prophetical and kingly functions of Christ; and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world” (31).

Priesthood, which arose out of the foundation of the early ministries of Jesus’ followers, was now returned to all Jesus’ faithful. All people are called to ministry again. All Christians are meant to share in the prophetic, sovereign and, yes, even priestly roles within the mission of the church.

So while the pope is exhorting ordained priests to reflection in this Year of the Priest, the call goes out to all of us to reflect on how we are living out our ministry in the church and world.

I wouldn’t worry about telling the pope that Eucharist, mission and church existed long before the priesthood, nor that the Year of the Priest should really be a year dedicated to all the laity. Instead, we need to understand this ourselves.

The Year of the Priest is an opportunity for the entire Christian faithful to reflect on priestly ministry, and in so doing, to claim our own.

Nicole Sotelo is the author of Women Healing from Abuse: Meditations for Finding Peace, published by Paulist Press, and coordinates www.WomenHealing.com. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, she currently works at Call To Action.


Nicole Sotelo, permit me to introduce you to several of the Decrees of the Council of Trent:

Preliminary Remark on the following Canons.

And because that many errors are at this time disseminated and many things are taught and maintained by divers persons, in opposition to this ancient faith, which is based on the sacred Gospel, the traditions of the Apostles, and the doctrine of the holy Fathers; the sacred and holy Synod, after many and grave deliberations maturely had touching these matters, has resolved, with the unanimous consent of all the Fathers, to condemn, and to eliminate from holy Church, by means of the canons subjoined, whatsoever is opposed to this most pure faith and sacred doctrine.


CANON I.--If any one saith, that in the mass a true and proper sacriflce is not offered to God; or, that to be offered is nothing else but that Christ is given us to eat; let him be anathema.

CANON II.--If any one saith, that by those words, Do this for the commemoration of me (Luke xxii. 19), Christ did not institute the apostles priests; or, did not ordain that they, and other priests should offer His own body and blood; let him be anathema.

CANON III.--If any one saith, that the sacrifice of the mass is only a sacrifice of praise and of thanksgiving; or, that it is a bare commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the cross, but not a propitiatory sacrifice; or, that it profits him only who receives; and that it ought not to be offered for the living and the dead for sins, pains, satisfactions, and other necessities; let him be anathema. (The Twenty-Second Session)


The Council of Trent was a dogmatic council of the Catholic Church. Its Fathers were guided in their work by the infallible protection and guidance of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost. The pronouncements in Chapter IX of the Twenty-second Session of the Council of Trent on September 17, 1562, with the approval of Pope Pius IV are dogmatic. They are statements of the truths that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ entrusted exclusively to His Catholic Church for their eternal safekeeping and infallible explication.

Our Lord instituted the Holy Priesthood and the Holy Eucharist on Maundy Thursday at the Last Supper as He entered into the events of His Passion and Death to redeem us by the shedding of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. The first Mass was the bloody Sacrifice offered by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man in His Most Blessed Mother's Virginal and Immaculate Womb by the power of God the Holy Ghost to His Co-Equal and Co-Eternal Father in Spirit and in Truth.

Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was both Priest and Victim as He hung atop the dung heap known as Calvary or Golgotha on the gibbet of the Holy Cross as He made atonement for our sins. He has been since that the time Chief Priest and Victim and each and every valid offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the unbloody re-presentation of His Sacrifice of the Cross, as an alter Christus acting in persona Christi makes Him present, Body and Blood and Soul and Divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist. Each Mass is a propiatory offering for our sins those of the whole world.

The Council of Trent further decreed the following on July 15, 1563 in its Twenty-third Session:

On the institution of the Priesthood of the New Law.

Sacrifice and priesthood are, by the ordinance of God, in such wise conjoined, as that both have existed in every law. Whereas, therefore, in the New Testament, the Catholic Church has received, from the institution of Christ, the holy visible sacrifice of the Eucharist; it must needs also be confessed, that there is, in that Church, a new, visible, and external priesthood, into which the old has been translated. And the sacred Scriptures show, and the tradition of the Catholic Church has always taught, that this priesthood was instituted by the same Lord our Saviour, and that to the apostles, and their successors in the priesthood, was the power delivered of consecrating, offering, and administering His Body and Blood, as also of forgiving and of retaining sins.

On the Seven Orders.

And whereas the ministry of so holy a priesthood is a divine thing; to the end that it might be exercised in a more worthy manner, and with greater veneration, it was suitable that, in the most well-ordered settlement of the church, there should be several and diverse orders of ministers, to minister to the priesthood, by virtue of their office; orders so distributed as that those already marked with the clerical tonsure should ascend through the lesser to the greater orders. For the sacred Scriptures make open mention not only of priests, but also of deacons; and teach, in words the most weighty, what things are especially to be attended to in the Ordination thereof; and, from the very beginning of the church, the names of the following orders, and the ministrations proper to each one of them, are known to have been in use; to wit those of subdeacon, acolyth, exorcist, lector, and door-keeper; though these were not of equal rank: for the subdeavonship is classed amongst the greater orders by the Fathers and sacred Councils, wherein also we very often read of the other inferior orders.

That Order is truly and properly a Sacrament.

Whereas, by the testimony of Scripture, by Apostolic tradition, and the unanimous consent of the Fathers, it is clear that grace is conferred by sacred ordination, which is performed by words and outward signs, no one ought to doubt that Order is truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of holy Church. For the apostle says; I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God, which is in thee by the imposition of my hands. For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love of sobriety.

On the Ecclesiastical hierarchy, and on Ordination.

But, forasmuch as in the sacrament of Order, as also in Baptism and Confirmation, a character is imprinted, which can neither be effaced nor taken away; the holy Synod with reason condemns the opinion of those, who assert that the priests of the New Testament have only a temporary power; and that those who have once been rightly ordained, can again become laymen, if they do not exercise the ministry of the word of God. And if any one affirm, that all Christians indiscrimately are priests of the New Testament, or that they are all mutually endowed with an equal spiritual power, he clearly does nothing but confound the ecclesiastical hierarchy, which is as an army set in array; as if, contrary to the doctrine of blessed Paul, all were apostles, all prophets, all evangelists, all pastors, all doctors. Wherefore, the holy Synod declares that, besides the other ecclesiastical degrees, bishops, who have succeeded to the place of the apostles, principally belong to this hierarchical order; that they are placed, as the same apostle says, by the Holy Ghost, to rule the Church of God; that they are superior to priests; administer the sacrament of Confirmation; ordain the ministers of the Church; and that they can perform very many other things; over which functions others of an inferior order have no power. Furthermore, the sacred and holy Synod teaches, that, in the ordination of bishops, priests, and of the other orders, neither the consent, nor vocation, nor authority, whether of the people, or of any civil power or magistrate whatsoever, is required in such wise as that, without this, the ordination is invalid: yea rather doth It decree, that all those who, being only called and instituted by the people, or by the civil power and magistrate, ascend to the exercise of these ministrations, and those who of their own rashness assume them to themselves, are not ministers of the church, but are to be looked upon as thieves and robbers, who have not entered by the door. These are the things which it hath seemed good to the sacred Synod to teach the faithful in Christ, in general terms, touching the sacrament of Order. But It hath resolved to condemn whatsoever things are contrary thereunto, in express and specific canons, in the manner following; in order that all men, with the help of Christ, using the rule of faith, may, in the midst of the darkness of so many errors, more easily be able to recognise and to hold Catholic truth.


CANON I.--If any one saith, that there is not in the New Testament a visible and external priesthood; or that there is not any power of consecrating and offering the true body and blood of the Lord, and of forgiving and retaining sins; but only an office and bare ministry of preaching the Gospel, or, that those who do not preach are not priests at all; let him be anathema.

CANON II.--If any one saith, that, besides the priesthood, there are not in the Catholic Church other orders, both greater and minor, by which, as by certain steps, advance is made unto the priesthood; let him be anathema.

CANON III.--If any one saith, that order, or sacred ordination, is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord; or, that it is a kind of human figment devised by men unskilled in ecclesiastical matters; or, that it is only a kind of rite for choosing ministers of the word of God and of the sacraments; let him be anathema.

CANON IV.--If any one saith, that, by sacred ordination, the Holy Ghost is not given; and that vainly therefore do the bishops say, Receive ye the Holy Ghost; or, that a character is not imprinted by that ordination; or, that he who has once been a priest, can again become a layman; let him be anathema.

CANON V.--If any one saith, that the sacred unction which the Church uses in holy ordination, is not only not required, but is to be despised and is pernicious, as likewise are the other ceremonies of Order; let him be anathema.

CANON VI.--If any one saith, that, in the Catholic Church there is not a hierarchy by divine ordination instituted, consisting of bishops, priests, and ministers; let him be anathema.

CANON VII.--If any one saith, that bishops are not superior to priests; or, that they have not the power of confirming and ordaining; or, that the power which they possess is common to them and to priests; or, that orders, conferred by them, without the consent, or vocation of the people, or of the secular power, are invalid; or, that those who have neither been rightly ordained, nor sent, by ecclesiastical and canonical power, but come from elsewhere, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments; let him be anathema.

CANON VIII.--If any one saith, that the bishops, who are assumed by authority of the Roman Pontiff, are not legitimate and true bishops, but are a human figment; let him be anathema.


Your entire article, Nicole Sotelo, has been anathematized by the solemn decrees of the Council of Trent. It is quite a telling commentary about the counterfeit church of conciliarism that someone can maintain his "good standing" in its structures while stating that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ did not instituted the Holy Priesthood Himself.

Saint Paul, chosen specifically by Our Lord to be the Apostle to the the Gentiles, wrote about the priesthood his First Epistle to Saint Timothy, explaining that priests must rule over their flocks, meaning that the sacerdotal priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ is hierarchical of its very nature (having within itself the right of rule, and that Saint Timothy, a bishop, must not ordain a man to the Holy Priesthood rashly:

Let the priests that rule well, be esteemed worthy of double honour: especially they who labour in the word and doctrine: For the scripture saith: Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn: and, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against a priest receive not an accusation, but under two or three witnesses. Them that sin reprove before all: that the rest also may have fear.

I charge thee before God, and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by declining to either side. Impose not hands lightly upon any man, neither be partaker of other men's sins. Keep thyself chaste.(1 Tim. 5: 17-22.)


As is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Paul explained that bishops had been placed over the flock by God Himself to rule the faithful:

Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. I know that, after my departure, ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. And of your own selves shall arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them (Acts 20: 28-30.)


Ravening wolves are indeed with us. Nicole Sotelo's misrepresentation of Catholic teaching is not novel. Indeed, it is pretty standard fare in the many of the quarters of the counterfeit church of conciliarism. I heard variations on her apostate, anathematized themes when I was exploring the possibility of a vocation to the conciliar presbyterate in the 1970s as I was pursuing my doctorate at the then named Graduate School of Public Affairs of the State University of New York at Albany and after I had begun my full-time teaching career in the Fall of 1976 at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, New York. One vocations director told me that the "applause of the community" was what ratified and signified a man's ordination to the priesthood. This man really did not believe that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ personally had instituted a sacerdotal, hierarchical priesthood or that the Holy Mass was the unbloody re-presentations of Our Lord's Sacrifice of Himself to the Father in Spirit and in Truth on the wood of the Holy Cross. No, I am afraid that Nicole Sotelo has lots of company in the quarters of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, where agreement and union of minds and wills are not necessary for membership.

Not a few of the conciliar "bishops" themselves share the apostate view of Nicole Sotelo. The whole art and architecture of many of the newer conciliar church buildings, including the Taj Mahony on the Hollywood Freeway in Los Angeles, California, is designed to convey the false belief that the common priesthood that each of us in the laity has by means of our baptism is equal, if not superior, to the ministerial priesthood of the ordained priest. Leaving aside the inconvenient little truth that the counterfeit church of conciliarism has a paucity of true priests, the egalitarian view of what Nicole Sotelo calls "priesthood" without the use of the definitive article "the" is pretty standard fare in chancery offices and parishes throughout the counterfeit church of concilairism. The Diocese of Linz, Austria, is particularly afflicted with this apostasy.

There are some conciliar "bishops" who recognize that some of their confreres do not believe in the sacerdotal priesthood of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I was visiting the late "Bishop" James S. Sullivan of Fargo, North Dakota, in May of 1990 about nine months after having left his formal employ as his director of communications to return to college teaching. Another man at the dinner table at Passages restaurant at the Radisson restaurant in Fargo (which had, believe it or not, the best French onion soup of any restaurant in the country) was attempting to interest conciliar "bishops" in the work of the Serra Club to foster vocations to the conciliar priesthood. This fellow could not figure out why "Bishop" Kenneth Untener of Saginaw, Michigan, who died on March 27, 2004, was not interested in recruiting seminarians. "Bishop" Sullivan had a rare moment of public candor when the man from the Serra Club asked this question in all earnestness.

"Dan," "Bishop" Sullivan said to the man, "what you have to understand is that 'Bishop' Untener does not believe in the priesthood." "Bishop" Sullivan then resumed eating his French onion soup.

"Bishop Untener, who was a product of the late John Cardinal Dearden's factory of apostasy in Detroit, Michigan (where "Call to Action" was born to present an organized force opposed to the binding truths contained in the Deposit Faith), was not alone in life and he is not alone in death. Nicole Sotelo has merely given voice to what is believed by many in the conciliar structures in full contravention of the decrees of the Council of Trent, which were of themselves only a formal and solemn expression of what had been believed from the beginning of the Church.

Nicole Sotelo demonstrated extraordinary depths of ignorance when she attempted to imply that the "Second" Vatican Council's Lumen Gentium, November 21, 1964, the document that gave birth to the "new ecclesiology" and its false contention that the Church of Christ is not co-identical and co-extensive with the Catholic Church, had, in effect, "recovered" the teaching that members of the laity share in the priestly, kingly and prophetic duties of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Lumen Gentium did no such thing. The Catholic Church has taught from time immemorial that the Sacrament of Baptism confers us on the three-fold powers of priest, prophet and king.

First, this means that we can help to sanctify the world by means of our prayers and our sacrifices and sufferings and mortifications and fastings and almsgiving to the Sacrifice of the Cross that is offered in an unbloody manner by an alter Christus acting in persona Christi in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. No lay man can offer Holy Mass. No lay man can call God down from Heaven to make Him incarnate under the appearances of bread and wine. No lay man can forgive sins committed after Baptism. A lay man can, however, and must unite his daily prayers and sacrifices to the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as he offers up his very life to the Most Holy Trinity through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The common priesthood of the lay faithful is different both in degree and in kind from the sacerdotal, hierarchical priesthood of the ordained priest.

Second, we are called to be kings by how we govern ourselves (and those under our authority) in accord with the binding precepts of the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law as we cooperate with the Sanctifying Graces won for us on the wood of the Holy Cross by the shedding of every single drop of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, she who is the Mediatrix of All Graces.

Third, we are called to proclaim the truths of the Holy Faith by how we live as we seek to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world. This prophetic power and duty that is ours by virtue of our Baptism is not the same thing as the right and duty of ordained priest to preach and teach with the authority of Holy Mother Church. Our prophetic power and duty as disciples of Our Lord require us to give a visible, tangible witness to the Faith as we seek to discharge the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy and the duties associated with our states-in-life.

Pope Pius XII explained this in detail in Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947, seventeen years, one day prior to Lumen Gentium!

But it will not do to possess these facts and truths after the fashion of an abstract memory lesson or lifeless commentary. They must lead to practical results. They must impel us to subject our senses and their faculties to reason, as illuminated by the Catholic faith. They must help to cleanse and purify the heart, uniting it to Christ more intimately every day, growing ever more to His likeness, and drawing from Him the divine inspiration and strength of which it stands in need. They must serve as increasingly effective incentives to action: urging men to produce good fruit, to perform their individual duties faithfully, to give themselves eagerly to the regular practice of their religion and the energetic exercise of virtue. "You are Christ's, and Christ is God's." Let everything, therefore, have its proper place and arrangement; let everything be "theocentric," so to speak, if we really wish to direct everything to the glory of God through the life and power which flow from the divine Head into our hearts: "Having therefore, brethren, a confidence in the entering into the holies by the blood of Christ, a new and living way which He both dedicated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh, and a high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart, in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with clean water, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering . . . and let us consider one another, to provoke unto charity and to good works."

Here is the source of the harmony and equilibrium which prevails among the members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. When the Church teaches us our Catholic faith and exhorts us to obey the commandments of Christ, she is paving a way for her priestly, sanctifying action in its highest sense; she disposes us likewise for more serious meditation on the life of the divine Redeemer and guides us to profounder knowledge of the mysteries of faith where we may draw the supernatural sustenance, strength and vitality that enable us to progress safely, through Christ, towards a more perfect life. Not only through her ministers but with the help of the faithful individually, who have imbibed in this fashion the spirit of Christ, the Church endeavors to permeate with this same spirit the life and labors of men - their private and family life, their social, even economic and political life - that all who are called God's children may reach more readily the end He has proposed for them.

Such action on the part of individual Christians, then, along with the ascetic effort promoting them to purify their hearts, actually stimulates in the faithful those energies which enable them to participate in the august sacrifice of the altar with better dispositions. They now can receive the sacraments with more abundant fruit, and come from the celebration of the sacred rites more eager, more firmly resolved to pray and deny themselves like Christians, to answer the inspirations and invitation of divine grace and to imitate daily more closely the virtues of our Redeemer. And all of this not simply for their own advantage, but for that of the whole Church, where whatever good is accomplished proceeds from the power of her Head and redounds to the advancement of all her members.

In the spiritual life, consequently, there can be no opposition between the action of God, who pours forth His grace into men's hearts so that the work of the redemption may always abide, and the tireless collaboration of man, who must not render vain the gift of God. No more can the efficacy of the external administration of the sacraments, which comes from the rite itself (ex opere operato), be opposed to the meritorious action of their ministers of recipients, which we call the agent's action (opus operantis). Similarly, no conflict exists between public prayer and prayers in private, between morality and contemplation, between the ascetical life and devotion to the liturgy. Finally, there is no opposition between the jurisdiction and teaching office of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and the specifically priestly power exercised in the sacred ministry. . . .

For a better and more accurate understanding of the sacred liturgy another of its characteristic features, no less important, needs to be considered.

The Church is a society, and as such requires an authority and hierarchy of her own. Though it is true that all the members of the Mystical Body partake of the same blessings and pursue the same objective, they do not all enjoy the same powers, nor are they all qualified to perform the same acts. The divine Redeemer has willed, as a matter of fact, that His Kingdom should be built and solidly supported, as it were, on a holy order, which resembles in some sort the heavenly hierarchy.

Only to the apostles, and thenceforth to those on whom their successors have imposed hands, is granted the power of the priesthood, in virtue of which they represent the person of Jesus Christ before their people, acting at the same time as representatives of their people before God. This priesthood is not transmitted by heredity or human descent. It does not emanate from the Christian community. It is not a delegation from the people. Prior to acting as representative of the community before the throne of God, the priest is the ambassador of the divine Redeemer. He is God's vice-gerent in the midst of his flock precisely because Jesus Christ is Head of that body of which Christians are the members. The power entrusted to him, therefore, bears no natural resemblance to anything human. It is entirely supernatural. It comes from God. "As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. . . he that heareth you heareth me. . . go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."

That is why the visible, external priesthood of Jesus Christ is not handed down indiscriminately to all members of the Church in general, but is conferred on designated men, through what may be called the spiritual generation of holy orders.

This latter, one of the seven sacraments, not only imparts the grace appropriate to the clerical function and state of life, but imparts an indelible "character" besides, indicating the sacred ministers' conformity to Jesus Christ the Priest and qualifying them to perform those official acts of religion by which men are sanctified and God is duly glorified in keeping with the divine laws and regulations.

In the same way, actually that baptism is the distinctive mark of all Christians, and serves to differentiate them from those who have not been cleansed in this purifying stream and consequently are not members of Christ, the sacrament of holy orders sets the priest apart from the rest of the faithful who have not received this consecration. For they alone, in answer to an inward supernatural call, have entered the august ministry, where they are assigned to service in the sanctuary and become, as it were, the instruments God uses to communicate supernatural life from on high to the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. Add to this, as We have noted above, the fact that they alone have been marked with the indelible sign "conforming" them to Christ the Priest, and that their hands alone have been consecrated "in order that whatever they bless may be blessed, whatever they consecrate may become sacred and holy, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" Let all, then, who would live in Christ flock to their priests. By them they will be supplied with the comforts and food of the spiritual life. From them they will procure the medicine of salvation assuring their cure and happy recovery from the fatal sickness of their sins. The priest, finally, will bless their homes, consecrate their families and help them, as they breathe their last, across the threshold of eternal happiness.

Since, therefore, it is the priest chiefly who performs the sacred liturgy in the name of the Church, its organization, regulation and details cannot but be subject to Church authority. This conclusion, based on the nature of Christian worship itself, is further confirmed by the testimony of history.

Additional proof of this indefeasible right of the ecclesiastical hierarchy lies in the circumstances that the sacred liturgy is intimately bound up with doctrinal propositions which the Church proposes to be perfectly true and certain, and must as a consequence conform to the decrees respecting Catholic faith issued by the supreme teaching authority of the Church with a view to safeguarding the integrity of the religion revealed by God. . . .

The fact, however, that the faithful participate in the eucharistic sacrifice does not mean that they also are endowed with priestly power. It is very necessary that you make this quite clear to your flocks.

For there are today, Venerable Brethren, those who, approximating to errors long since condemned teach that in the New Testament by the word "priesthood" is meant only that priesthood which applies to all who have been baptized; and hold that the command by which Christ gave power to His apostles at the Last Supper to do what He Himself had done, applies directly to the entire Christian Church, and that thence, and thence only, arises the hierarchical priesthood. Hence they assert that the people are possessed of a true priestly power, while the priest only acts in virtue of an office committed to him by the community. Wherefore, they look on the eucharistic sacrifice as a "concelebration," in the literal meaning of that term, and consider it more fitting that priests should "concelebrate" with the people present than that they should offer the sacrifice privately when the people are absent.

It is superfluous to explain how captious errors of this sort completely contradict the truths which we have just stated above, when treating of the place of the priest in the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. But we deem it necessary to recall that the priest acts for the people only because he represents Jesus Christ, who is Head of all His members and offers Himself in their stead. Hence, he goes to the altar as the minister of Christ, inferior to Christ but superior to the people. The people, on the other hand, since they in no sense represent the divine Redeemer and are not mediator between themselves and God, can in no way possess the sacerdotal power.

All this has the certitude of faith. However, it must also be said that the faithful do offer the divine Victim, though in a different sense.

This has already been stated in the clearest terms by some of Our predecessors and some Doctors of the Church. "Not only," says Innocent III of immortal memory, "do the priests offer the sacrifice, but also all the faithful: for what the priest does personally by virtue of his ministry, the faithful do collectively by virtue of their intention." We are happy to recall one of St. Robert Bellarmine's many statements on this subject. "The sacrifice," he says "is principally offered in the person of Christ. Thus the oblation that follows the consecration is a sort of attestation that the whole Church consents in the oblation made by Christ, and offers it along with Him."

Moreover, the rites and prayers of the eucharistic sacrifice signify and show no less clearly that the oblation of the Victim is made by the priests in company with the people. For not only does the sacred minister, after the oblation of the bread and wine when he turns to the people, say the significant prayer: "Pray brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Father Almighty;" but also the prayers by which the divine Victim is offered to God are generally expressed in the plural number: and in these it is indicated more than once that the people also participate in this august sacrifice inasmuch as they offer the same. The following words, for example, are used: "For whom we offer, or who offer up to Thee . . . We therefore beseech thee, O Lord, to be appeased and to receive this offering of our bounded duty, as also of thy whole household. . . We thy servants, as also thy whole people . . . do offer unto thy most excellent majesty, of thine own gifts bestowed upon us, a pure victim, a holy victim, a spotless victim."

Nor is it to be wondered at, that the faithful should be raised to this dignity. By the waters of baptism, as by common right, Christians are made members of the Mystical Body of Christ the Priest, and by the "character" which is imprinted on their souls, they are appointed to give worship to God. Thus they participate, according to their condition, in the priesthood of Christ.

In every age of the Church's history, the mind of man, enlightened by faith, has aimed at the greatest possible knowledge of things divine. It is fitting, then, that the Christian people should also desire to know in what sense they are said in the canon of the Mass to offer up the sacrifice. To satisfy such a pious desire, then, We shall here explain the matter briefly and concisely.


It could not be clearer that Nicole Sotelo and the editors of the National Catholic Reporter are propagating errors that have been condemned and anathematized by the authority of the Catholic Church. Pope Pius XII specifically condemned Miss Sotelo's apostasies when he wrote (as cited above):

The fact, however, that the faithful participate in the eucharistic sacrifice does not mean that they also are endowed with priestly power. It is very necessary that you make this quite clear to your flocks.

For there are today, Venerable Brethren, those who, approximating to errors long since condemned teach that in the New Testament by the word "priesthood" is meant only that priesthood which applies to all who have been baptized; and hold that the command by which Christ gave power to His apostles at the Last Supper to do what He Himself had done, applies directly to the entire Christian Church, and that thence, and thence only, arises the hierarchical priesthood. Hence they assert that the people are possessed of a true priestly power, while the priest only acts in virtue of an office committed to him by the community. Wherefore, they look on the eucharistic sacrifice as a "concelebration," in the literal meaning of that term, and consider it more fitting that priests should "concelebrate" with the people present than that they should offer the sacrifice privately when the people are absent.

It is superfluous to explain how captious errors of this sort completely contradict the truths which we have just stated above, when treating of the place of the priest in the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ.


Over and above the apostasies that have the "official," de jure approval of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, you see, there are these "unofficial" apostasies that have grown out of the conciliar spirit and have been given great breathing room as a result of the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service and all of its many mutations.

The Novus Ordo has obliterated belief in the Real Presence of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament, undermined belief in the nature of the Mass as a sacrificial, propiatory offering for human sins and has obscured the distinctions between the hierarchical priesthood of the ordained priest and the common priesthood of the lay faithful. The latter has been accomplished not only as a result of art and architecture but as a consequence of the Novus Ordo's desire, expressed in the General Instruction to the Roman Missal, to flood its "sanctuary" with the laity to perform various functions while the presbyter is reduced to the role of a de facto "presider."

One of the particular ironies of the conciliar ethos is that it has produced a kind of schizophrenia in the minds of some "conservative" bishops. The aforementioned "Bishop" James Sullivan, who died on June 12, 2006, was very hostile to any version of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition. He did not realize that his "fidelity" to the conciliar ethos is what produced men like the late Kenneth Untener in his day and women like Nicole Sotelo in ours. Bad ideas lead to bad consequences. Always. Inevitably. Inexorably.

The Novus Ordo was evil from its inception, and it has produced blasphemy and sacrilege and profanity and apostasy in its demonic wake. Catholics who believed such apostasies as Nicole Sotelo were very rare sixty years ago. They are to be found in large numbers in chancery offices and in pulpits of parishes in conciliar captivity and in conciliar elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities and convents and seminaries and theological and liturgical "update" programs. That the proliferation of such apostasies has occurred in the wake of the "Second" Vatican Council and the promulgation of the Novus Ordo service is no accident whatsoever.

Nicole Sotelo and her soul mates in the counterfeit church of conciliarism could, of course, seek to justify their outright rejection of the solemn decrees of the Council of Trent that were used as the doctrinal foundation of Pope Pius XII's Mediator Dei by claiming that "there are decisions of the magisterium that cannot be the last word on the matter as such, but are, in a substantial fixation of the problem, above all an expression of pastoral prudence, a kind of provisional disposition. The nucleus remains valid, but the particulars, which the circumstances of the times influenced, may need further correction." Why not use Joseph Ratzinger's own belief that certain teachings are obsolete in the "particulars" that they contain to claim that the very nature of the priesthood itself can be deconstructed according to Ratzinger's "hermeneutic of continuity and discontinuity"? Who is to say that the decrees of the Council of Trent cannot be subjected to the same Hegelian treatment as that given to the Catholic Church's teaching against religious liberty and separation of Church and State and Pope Pius IX's The Syllabus of Errors and Pope Saint Pius X's Pascendi Dominci Gregis?

Nicole Sotelo and her soul mates in the counterfeit church of conciliarism are blunt instruments, if you will, who come right out and tell us what they believe in defiance of the Catholic Faith. "Archbishop" Robert Zollitsch in Germany is a similar blunt instrument, having bluntly denied on April 11, 2009, Holy Saturday of all days, that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ died in atonement for our sins. He has gone sixty-seven days without any kind of a reprimand from the conciliar "pontiff," who called the conciliar "bishops" in Austria yesterday to "full fidelity to the Second Vatican Council and to the post-conciliar Magisterium of the Church, and the renewal of catechesis in light of the Catechism of the Catholic Church," which, of course is not exactly a precis of Catholic teaching whatsoever (see (see The New Catechism: Is it Catholic?, which is also appended at the end of my own Piracy, Conciliar Style just in case it "disappears" one day from the Society of Saint Pius X's American website).

The devil uses the blunt instruments of the counterfeit church of conciliarism to make men like Ratzinger/Benedict to seem much more "appealing" and "moderate," if not even "traditional." The blunt instruments such as Nicole Sotelo and Robert Zollitsch are so blunt that they do not realize that Ratzinger/Benedict believes pretty much what they do.

Ratzinger/Benedict, however, has the preternatural ability to use obfuscation and Modernism's double-mindedness to present his beliefs in such murky ways as to lead those who want to rally around him as the "champion" of Tradition into projecting their fondest hopes and desires into his words. This is, of course, a much more clever way to advance the same beliefs as the blunter instruments in the counterfeit church of conciliarism, and Nicole Sotelo and her friends might be amazed to find at the end of Ratzinger/Benedict's "year of the priest" that the false "pontiff" may not be that far removed from their own view of the priesthood after all.

We have just gone through the "Pauline Year" in which Ratzinger/Benedict tried to make the Apostle to the Gentiles a witness in behalf of conciliarism's apostasies (see Attempting to Coerce Perjury), including the sort of false ecumenism and inter-religious "prayer" services that Saint Paul specifically rejected when he wrote:

Bear not the yoke together with unbelievers; for what participation hath justice with injustice or what fellowship hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbelievers or what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God." (2 Cor. 6:14)


A man who can "rehabilitate" the late Father Antonio Rosmini, whose errors on the Eucharist dovetail very well with some of those propagated by many conciliar revolutionaries, could very well make it appear as though he believes in the integrity of the priesthood as he undermines the Catholic Church's teaching on it. The fact that Ratzinger/Benedict, who dares to blaspheme God by entering into places of false worship and esteem symbols of false religions, can remain silent for sixty-seven days (and counting) after an outright, public denial of Catholic teaching of Our Lord's having died for our sins speaks quite loudly about the possibility that his own views may not be all that dissimilar. Robert Zollitsch cannot believe that the Mass is a propiatory offering for human sins if he does not believe that Our Lord died on the Holy Cross in atonement for our sins. One who does see the necessity of correcting this false belief might very well believe it himself. Time will tell.

In the meantime, of course, we must make no concessions at all to the counterfeit church of conciliarism, contenting ourselves to receive the Sacraments exclusively at the hands of true bishops and true priests who give no legitimacy at all to the conciliar wolves in shepherds' clothing. We must be willing to suffer whatever calumnies come our way as we do so. Our Lady will take care of us just as she took care of Saint Athanasius during his five exiles from Alexandria. As the late Bill Koneazny noted, "Our Lady will come to throw the bums out." She sure will, Bill. She sure will.

As we end the Octave of Corpus Christi tomorrow and prepare for the great Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on Friday, June 19, 2009, we must intensify our acts of reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, especially by praying as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit.  We must also give thanks for our true bishops and priests who have been given to us in this time of apostasy and betrayal, submitting ourselves to their pastoral care with humility and docility: Tu es sacerdos in aeternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, triumph soon!

Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.


Immaculate Heart of Mary, triumph soon!

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.

See also: A Litany of Saints

© Copyright 2009, Thomas A. Droleskey. All rights reserved.