by Thomas A. Droleskey
What is being called The Ravenna Document, which deals with the "fruit" of the "dialogue that has taken place between representatives of the counterfeit church of conciliarism and representatives of the various heretical and schismatic Orthodox churches has many profound theological ramifications that are best left to trained theologians, such as Bishops Donald Sanborn, Daniel Dolan, Robert McKenna, and Mark Pivarunas, among so many others, to review and analyze. Many of the passages are jaw-dropping in nature. As one fought many a battle within the conciliar structures even in my "conservative" days as an indulterer, I must admit that I am truly amazed at the boldness of some of the passages, only two of which will be reviewed for present purposes to demonstrate that far from being a "breakthrough" The Ravenna Document represents a major step in the direction of the completion of the One World Ecumenical Church started with the election of Angelo Roncalli in 1958 and given form and direction by the "Second" Vatican Council.
One of the most telling passages in The Ravenna Document is as follows:
The Church of God exists where there is a community gathered together in the Eucharist, presided over, directly or through his presbyters, by a bishop legitimately ordained into the apostolic succession, teaching the faith received from the Apostles, in communion with the other bishops and their Churches. The fruit of this Eucharist and this ministry is to gather into an authentic communion of faith, prayer, mission, fraternal love and mutual aid, all those who have received the Spirit of Christ in Baptism. This communion is the frame in which all ecclesial authority is exercised. Communion is the criterion for its exercise.
This is false. The "Church of God" does not exist where there is a community gathered together in the Eucharist, presided over, directly or through his presbyters by a bishop legitimately ordained into the apostolic succession, teaching the faith received from the Apostles, in communion with the other bishops and their Churches. Validity of episcopal consecration (the proper term, of course) absent a complete submission to the authority of the Vicar of Christ and to the fullness of the Deposit of Faith as it has been taught by the Catholic Church throughout the centuries, including the centuries comprising the Second Millennium, does not make an ecclesiastical "body" part of the the Church of God. The Church of God is the Catholic Church. None other.
Pope Pius XII noted the following in Mystici Corporis, June 29,1943:
They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it.
This does not mean a mere recognition of some kind of nebulous papal primacy as a "first among equals." No. The Vicar of Christ has plenipotentiary powers to govern the Catholic Church universally. This was recognized without question in the First Millennium, as Saint Jerome wrote to Pope Saint Damasus I:
"I, acknowledging no other leader than Christ, am bound in fellowship with Your Holiness; that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that the church was built upon him as its rock, and that whosoever gathereth not with you, scattereth."
The fourth pope, Pope Saint Clement I, indicated in his [First] Epistle to the Corinthians that he had the authority to call upon the Catholics in Corinth to quit arguing with each other, knowing full well that total power was given to him as the Successor of Saint Peter. No bishop on earth was his equal. Here are just a few passages of how the fourth pope asserted his papal authority over the Corinthians at the end of the First Century A.D.:
The apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done sol from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus says the Scripture a certain place, "I will appoint their bishops s in righteousness, and their deacons in faith."
CHAPTER 42 -- MOSES OF OLD STILLED THE CONTENTION WHICH AROSE CONCERNING THE PRIESTLY DIGNITY.
And what wonder is it if those in Christ who were entrusted with such a duty by God, appointed those [ministers] before mentioned, when the blessed Moses also, "a faithful servant in all his house," noted down in the sacred books all the injunctions which were given him, and when the other prophets also followed him, bearing witness with one consent to the ordinances which he had appointed? For, when rivalry arose concerning the priesthood, and the tribes were contending among themselves as to which of them should be adorned with that glorious title, he commanded the twelve princes of the tribes to bring him their rods, each one being inscribed with the name of the tribe. And he took them and bound them [together], and sealed them with the rings of the princes of the tribes, and laid them up in the tabernacle of witness on the table of God. And having shut the doors of the tabernacle, he sealed the keys, as he had done the rods, and said to them, Men and brethren, the tribe whose rod shall blossom has God chosen to fulfil the office of the priesthood, and to minister to Him. And when the morning was come, he assembled all Israel, six hundred thousand men, and showed the seals to the princes of the tribes, and opened the tabernacle of witness, and brought forth the rods. And the rod of Aaron was found not only to have blossomed, but to bear fruit upon it. What think you, beloved? Did not Moses know beforehand that this would happen? Undoubtedly he knew; but he acted thus, that there might be no sedition in Israel, and that the name of the true and only God might be glorified; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
CHAPTER 44 -- THE ORDINANCES OF THE APOSTLES, THAT THERE MIGHT BE NO CONTENTION RESPECTING THE PRIESTLY OFFICE.
Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blame-lessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that you have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour.
An assertion that one can be part of the Church of God and be separated from the full juridical authority given to the Visible Head of the Catholic Church, Successor of Saint Peter, by the Invisible Head of the Catholic Church, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, is heretical. Pope Pius XI noted this in Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928:
Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls? Alas their children left the home of their fathers, but it did not fall to the ground and perish for ever, for it was supported by God. Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion. For if, as they continually state, they long to be united with Us and ours, why do they not hasten to enter the Church, "the Mother and mistress of all Christ's faithful"? Let them hear Lactantius crying out: "The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned, which will be lost and entirely destroyed, unless their interests are carefully and assiduously kept in mind." (Emphasis mildly added.)
Did Pope Pius XI have it wrong? Did he get his historical facts wrong? Did he get his Catholic doctrine wrong? Did not the bishops of the Eastern churches obey the Sovereign Pontiffs before the Greek Schism of 1054? Or is it not the assertion in The Ravenna Document that papal primary was exercised in the First Millennium in a collegial sense without the sort of papal "domination" that "developed" in the Second Millennium a revisionist lie. Please tell Pope Saint Gregory the Great that he was not the Vicar of Christ to whom all bishops in the world submitted themselves.
Moreover, the passage from The Ravenna Document quoted above stated that that one of the conditions of the "Church of God" to be present was for it to teach the "faith received from the apostles." This is true as far as it goes. However, left unspoken in this passage is the fact that the schismatic and heretical Orthodox believe that the "pure apostolic faith" of the First Millennium was "corrupted" during the Second Millennium by councils of the "Roman Church" in which they did not participate and therefore are not binding upon them. This belief is utter blasphemy against God the Holy Ghost, under Whose infallible guidance the dogmatic councils of the Catholic Church have met and conducted their deliberations before making solemn dogmatic pronouncements. The Holy Ghost does not need heretics and schismatics present to do His holy business. To take anything away from the legitimacy of the councils of the Catholic Church held in the Second Millennium and the binding nature of the decrees they issued is to spit upon the very nature of the Church.
Every Christian on the face of this earth must believe everything that has been taught by the authority of the Catholic Church. Pope Pius XI, among so many others, made this clear in the aforementioned Mortalium Animos:
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." 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.
Pope Leo XIII had made a similar point in Satis Cognitum, June 29, 1896:
Agreement and union of minds is the necessary foundation of this perfect concord amongst men, from which concurrence of wills and similarity of action are the natural results. Wherefore, in His divine wisdom, He ordained in His Church Unity of Faith; a virtue which is the first of those bonds which unite man to God, and whence we receive the name of the faithful - "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. iv., 5). That is, as there is one Lord and one baptism, so should all Christians, without exception, have but one faith. And so the Apostle St. Paul not merely begs, but entreats and implores Christians to be all of the same mind, and to avoid difference of opinions: "I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms amongst you, and that you be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Cor. i., 10). Such passages certainly need no interpreter; they speak clearly enough for themselves. Besides, all who profess Christianity allow that there can be but one faith. It is of the greatest importance and indeed of absolute necessity, as to which many are deceived, that the nature and character of this unity should be recognized. And, as We have already stated, this is not to be ascertained by conjecture, but by the certain knowledge of what was done; that is by seeking for and ascertaining what kind of unity in faith has been commanded by Jesus Christ.. . . .
For this reason the Fathers of the Vatican Council laid down nothing new, but followed divine revelation and the acknowledged and invariable teaching of the Church as to the very nature of faith, when they decreed as follows: "All those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written or unwritten word of God, and which are proposed by the Church as divinely revealed, either by a solemn definition or in the exercise of its ordinary and universal Magisterium" (Sess. iii., cap. 3). Hence, as it is clear that God absolutely willed that there should be unity in His Church, and as it is evident what kind of unity He willed, and by means of what principle He ordained that this unity should be maintained, we may address the following words of St. Augustine to all who have not deliberately closed their minds to the truth: "When we see the great help of God, such manifest progress and such abundant fruit, shall we hesitate to take refuge in the bosom of that Church, which, as is evident to all, possesses the supreme authority of the Apostolic See through the Episcopal succession? In vain do heretics rage round it; they are condemned partly by the judgment of the people themselves, partly by the weight of councils, partly by the splendid evidence of miracles. To refuse to the Church the primacy is most impious and above measure arrogant. And if all learning, no matter how easy and common it may be, in order to be fully understood requires a teacher and master, what can be greater evidence of pride and rashness than to be unwilling to learn about the books of the divine mysteries from the proper interpreter, and to wish to condemn them unknown?" (De Unitate Credendi, cap. xvii., n. 35).
The Orthodox may get concessions from the authorities of the counterfeit church of conciliarism concerning how they could "interpret," if not ignore, the Council of Florence or the Council of Trent or the [First] Vatican Council. The Catholic Church can grant no such concessions, as Pope Pius XI noted in Mortalium Animos:
Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is "the root and womb whence the Church of God springs," not with the intention and the hope that "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, "Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth," would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray to the unity of the Church! In this most important undertaking We ask and wish that others should ask the prayers of Blessed Mary the Virgin, Mother of divine grace, victorious over all heresies and Help of Christians, that She may implore for Us the speedy coming of the much hoped-for day, when all men shall hear the voice of Her divine Son, and shall be "careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Although The Ravenna Document represents but a preliminary stage what of Walter "Cardinal" Kasper, the President of the
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said could take another ten years to produce another such document dealing with other issues, one should make no mistake at all about the fact that the direction it takes comes straight out of Joseph Ratzinger's own Principles of Catholic Theology. The Ravenna Document and Principles of Catholic Theology both contend that the proper understanding of papal primacy is open to discussion and in need of clarification:
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.)
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)
"Nor is it 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"? Anyone out there who has not as of yet realized that Joseph Ratzinger defected from the Catholic Faith a long time ago want to "Mapquest" directions to Saint Gertrude the Great in West Chester, Ohio, or to Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe, Connecticut, or to Christ the King Church in Lafayette, Louisiana, or to Mary Immaculate Church in Omaha, Nebraska, or to Queen of All Saints Church in Brooksville, Florida, or to Mount Saint Michael's Church in Spokane, Washington, or to Saint Hugh of Lincoln Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, or to Mary Immaculate Queen Church in Rathdrum, Idaho, or to Saint Clare's Church in Columbus, Ohio, or to Saint Michael's Chapel in Glenmont, New York, or to Saint Joseph's Church in Wayne, Michigan, or to Our Lady of the Angels Church in Santa Clarita, California, or to Holy Rosary Church in Phoenix, Arizona (just to mention a few places in the Catholic catacombs served by true bishops and true priests)?
"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"? One could only laugh a big belly laugh out loud if the matter did not involved the eternal fate of souls. Studied in greater depth? Do not the solemn pronouncements of the Catholic Church bind all human beings in all places at all times without any exception whatsoever? Not according to Walter Kasper and the clowns and jugglers with whom he worked on the
Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.
The [First] Vatican Council made the following declarations that bind every human being on the face of this earth
Therefore, if anyone says that 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: let him be anathema (Vatican I, Session 1.6)
Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the church throughout the world.In this way, by unity with the Roman pontiff in communion and in profession of the same faith , the church of Christ becomes one flock under one supreme shepherd. This is the teaching of the catholic truth, and no one can depart from it without endangering his faith and salvation. (Vatican I, Session 4, Chapter 3.2-5)
So, then, if anyone says that the Roman pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema. (Vatican I, Session 4, Chapter 3.9)
The conciliarists have anathematized themselves by their own words. Oh, yes, I know, I know. The Ravenna Document is not binding on anyone. It has not be formally promulgated. I know. I know. All of the same lame excuses that avoid admitting that men who believe the things proposed by The Ravenna Document have expelled themselves from the Catholic Church will be made over and over again. Pope Leo XIII pointed out in Satis Cognitum that those who deviate from the Faith in one thing have defected from It in its entirety:
The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavour than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own. The Arians, the Montanists, the Novatians, the Quartodecimans, the Eutychians, did not certainly reject all Catholic doctrine: they abandoned only a certain portion of it. Still who does not know that they were declared heretics and banished from the bosom of the Church? In like manner were condemned all authors of heretical tenets who followed them in subsequent ages. "There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition" (Auctor Tract. de Fide Orthodoxa contra Arianos).
The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodore :, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. "No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic" (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88).
The time of such excusing the apostasy of conciliarism and conciliarists may be fast slipping away for those who have reviled sedevacantism in general and sedevacantists in particular for so very long: Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has called for a meet of the conciliar "College of Cardinals" of the counterfeit church of conciliarism on this coming Friday, November 23, 2007, to discuss The Ravenna Document, which might serve, reports indicate at present, as the basis for a call of an Ecumenical Council in which some of the Orthodox patriarchs would be placed on a level of equality with the putative Vicar of Christ. Some are speculating, and that is all it is at this time, that such a council would redefine or perhaps repeal the [First] Vatican Council's solemn dogmatic declaration on papal infallibility. Even I, ladies and gentlemen, find it hard to believe that Ratzinger would be so bold as to entertain this as he has been content thus far to redefine the papal infallibility (and the infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium of the Catholic Church) according to his thoroughly Modernist notion of the nature of truth, that certain dogmatic statements of the past become "obsolete." Would an "ecumenical council" give Ratzinger cover to attack the doctrine of papal infallibility frontally, thereby communicating to the world that the Catholic Church had it wrong at the [First] Vatican Council? Time will tell. Such a frontal attack on the doctrine of papal infallibility would, however, give the anti-sedevacantists no room to hide any longer, unless they are willing to admit that truth changes and that the [First] Vatican Council had it all wrong.
The plain fact of the matter is that one cannot claim that there is any need to "understand" papal primacy and be of one mind and one heart with Catholic teaching. As noted earlier, even the partiarchs and bishops of the Eastern centuries in the First Millennium obeyed the Sovereign Pontiffs. Pope Leo XIII, writing in Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae, June 20, 1894:
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. (See also the excellent discussion of the the history of what led up to the Greek Schism that is contained in Fathers Francisco and Dominic Radecki's
Hegelian revisionists must deny history and Catholic doctrine both at the same time in an effort to build yet another story to the One World Ecumenical Church, which might soon include "Anglo-Catholics" and the Society of Saint Pius X, proving that there is room for Opus Dei, Focolare, Communion and Liberation, Cursillo, the "Catholic Charismatic Renewal," World Youth Day, the Sant'Egidio Community, the Taize Community, and dozens of others of like-minded "movements" in the counterfeit church of conciliarism. What a coup it would be to get at least some of the Orthodox communities into the building of the One World Ecumenical Church. After all, what's a thousand years among friends? Perhaps this should be rephrased: What's a thousand years among apostates?
The Ravenna Document is no "breakthrough" of benefit to the Catholic Faith. I could belabor this point by pasting the transcript of the text of pages from a book published five years ago, but is apparently out of print now, that eviscerates (as in slices and dices, slashes and burns) Joseph Ratzinger's contentions about the Orthodox churches. Apart from the fact that I do not like to stick my thumb in the eye of those who may have changed their minds and who may no longer stand by their past words (I have had to correct many of my own past positions), there is no need to do this. The truth is what it is. Popes and dogmatic councils have spoken quite clearly and unequivocally. The two passages of The Ravenna Document that have served as the foundation of this ever-so-brief commentary demonstrate that conciliarism has no regard for anything taught by the authority of the Catholic Church that contradicts its own desires to effect a union based upon falsehoods and heresies. I am sure that the entire text of The Ravenna Document will be given close scrutiny by the keen theological eyes of the aforementioned bishops (and by Father Anthony Cekada).
Today is the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul. The fourth pope, Pope Saint Clement I, whose feast today is observed this coming Friday, November 23, wrote the following to the Corinthians about the martyrdoms of the first pope and the Apostle to the Gentiles:
CHAPTER 5 -- NO LESS EVILS HAVE ARISEN FROM THE SAME SOURCE IN THE MOST RECENT TIMES. THE MARTYRDOM OF PETER AND PAUL.
But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes. Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the Church] have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours, and when he had finally suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience.
CHAPTER 6 -- CONTINUATION. SEVERAL OTHER MARTYRS.
To these men who spent their lives in the practice of holiness, there is to be added a great multitude of the elect, who, having through envy endured many indignities and tortures, furnished us with a most excellent example. Through envy, those women, the Danaids and Dircae, being persecuted, after they had suffered terrible and unspeakable torments, finished the course of their faith with steadfastness, and though weak in body, received a noble reward. Envy has alienated wives from their husbands, and changed that saying of our father Adam, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." Envy and strife have overthrown great cities and rooted up mighty nations.
CHAPTER 7 -- AN EXHORTATION TO REPENTANCE.
These things, beloved, we write to you, not merely to admonish you of your duty, but also to remind ourselves. For we are struggling in the same arena, and the same conflict is assigned to both of us. So let us give up vain and fruitless cares, and approach to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling. Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of Him who formed us. Let us look steadfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world. Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all who would be converted to Him. Noah preached repentance, and as many as listened to him were saved. Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites; but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation, although they were aliens [to the covenant] of God.
CHAPTER 8 -- CONTINUATION RESPECTING REPENTANCE.
The ministers of the grace of God have, by the Holy Spirit, spoken of repentance; and the Lord of all things has himself declared with an oath regarding it, "As I live, says the Lord, I desire not the death of the sinner, but rather his repentance;" adding, moreover, this gracious declaration: "Repent O house of Israel, of your iniquity. Say to the children of My people, Though your sins reach from earth to heaven, and though they be redder than scarlet, and blacker than sackcloth, if you turn to Me with your whole heart, and say, Father! I will listen to you, as to a holy people." And in another place He says: "Wash, and become clean; put away the wickedness of your souls from before my eyes; cease from your evil ways, and learn to do well; seek out judgment, deliver the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and see that justice is done to the widow; and come, and let us reason together. He declares, "Though your sins be like crimson, I will make them white as snow; though they be like scarlet, I will whiten them like wool. And if you are willing and obey Me, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse, and will not listen to Me, the sword shall devour you, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken these things." Desiring, therefore, that all His beloved should be partakers of repentance, He has, by His almighty will, established [these declarations].
Here you have a papal injunction to do penance for our sins written before the end of the First Century. May we offer up our own daily prayers and penances and mortifications and sacrifices and humiliations to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, giving unto these twin hearts of love as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has undergone His Mystical Passion and Death at the hands of the conciliarists. May it be our privilege to help plant a few seeds for the Resurrection of the Mystical Body of Christ by doing penance for our own sins and those of the whole world as we flee from everything to do with the insanity and absurdity and infidelity of conciliarism and its counterfeit church.
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us now and the hour of our deaths. Amen.
All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Luke 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.
Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, pray for us.
Saint Gertrude the Great, pray for us.
Saint Josaphat, pray for us.
Saint Albert the Great, pray for us.
Saint Didacus, pray for us.
Pope Saint Martin I, pray for us.
Saint Martin of Tours, pray for us.
Saint Charles Borromeo, pray for us.
Saints Vitalis and Agricola, pray for us.
Saint Hilarion, pray for us.
Saint John Cantius, pray for us.
Saint Peter of Alcantara, pray for us.
Saint Hedwig, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Francis Borgia, pray for us.
Saint Edward the Confessor, pray for us.
Saint John Leonard, pray for us.
Saint Dionysisus (Denis), Rusticus and Eleutherius, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Placidus and Companions, pray for us.
Saint Bruno, pray for us.
Saint Wenceslaus, pray for us.
Saint Jerome, pray for us.
Saint Remigius, pray for us.
Saint Clotilde, pray for us.
Saints Cosmas and Damian, pray for us.
Pope Saint Linus, pray for us.
Saint Peter Nolasco, pray for us.
Saint Raymond Pennafort, pray for us.
Saint Raymond Nonnatus, pray for us.
Saint Thecla, pray for us.
Saint Matthew, pray for us.
Saint Eustachius and Family, pray for us.
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, pray for us.
Saint Joseph Cupertino, pray for us.
Saint Januarius, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saints Cornelius and Cyprian, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Saint Giles, pray for us.
Saint Stephen of Hungary, pray for us.
Saint Rose of Lima, pray for us.
Saint Nicomedes, pray for us.
Saint Joseph Calasanctius, pray for us.
Pope Saint Zephyrinus, pray for us.
Saint Louis IX, King of France, pray for us.
Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, pray for us.
Saint Bartholomew, pray for us.
Saint Philip Benizi, pray for us.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us.
Saint John Eudes, pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth, pray for us, pray for us.
Saint Agapitus, pray for us.
Saint Helena, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Irenaeus, pray for us.
Saints Monica, pray for us.
Saint Jude, pray for us.
Saint John the Beloved, pray for us.
Saint Francis Solano, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Dominic Savio, pray for us.
Saint Scholastica, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us.
Saint Antony of the Desert, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Bonaventure, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us.
Saint Peter Damian, pray for us.
Saint Turibius, pray for us.
Saint Francis Solano, pray for us.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Monica, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
Saint Basil the Great, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
Saint Rene Goupil, pray for us.
Saint John Lalonde, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel Lalemont, pray for us.
Saint Noel Chabanel, pray for us.
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us.
Saint Anthony Daniel, pray for us.
Saint John DeBrebeuf, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Gerard Majella, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Saint Genevieve, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Saint Rita of Cascia, pray for us.
Saint Louis de Montfort, pray for us.
Blessed Humbeline, pray for us.
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Venerable Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Father Miguel Augustin Pro, pray for us.
Francisco Marto, pray for us.
Jacinta Marto, pray for us.
Juan Diego, pray for us.
Father Maximilian Kolbe,M.I., pray for us.
Father Frederick Faber, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.