It is sad that the current Pope is sending many a distraught Catholic to the SV position or to apostasy. These people follow closely what the Pope says and does, are shocked and cry “He cannot be the Pope!”
Before dealing with this problem, let us consider another issue, the attendance at the Holy Mass. Many a Traditional or Conservative Catholic has the erroneous notion that the attendance at the Latin Mass is an automatic ticket to Heaven. Did not Luther, a Roman Catholic priest, celebrate the true Latin Mass? Did not every priest, bishop and cardinal prior to Vatican II exclusively celebrate the true Latin Mass?
We are faced with this reality: Luther did end up in apostasy in spite of the Latin Mass. And the pre-Vatican clergy did end up in the Conciliar Church in spite of the Latin Mass.
This sad reality makes it clear that attendance at the true Latin Mass is not an automatic guarantee of anything. The fact is that God sends us graces continuously, and the Holy Mass is the normal means of obtaining God’s graces, but the fact also is that we must co-operate with these graces. In other words, we must engage our Free Will and choose to love God with all our soul, all our heart and all our mind!
In the Missal, the Prayer For Grace, which is said before the Communion of the priest, gives a sober warning:
Let not the partaking of Thy Body, O Lord, Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgment and condemnation; but let it through Thy mercy, become a safeguard and remedy, both for soul and body; Who with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God, for ever and ever. Amen. (emphasis mine)
This warning also applies to the Pope. The Pope has the use of his Free Will to love God or to reject God. Whatever may or may not be written on the subject of how a Pope loses his Office is of little importance because the Pope is currently in Office. It will be the duty of a future Pope or a Council to condemn the Pope; our duty is to keep the Faith and not to obey the Pope when he utters erroneous or heretical statements.
Uttering erroneous or heretical statements does not automatically make the Pope lose his Office. We cannot judge the Pope – he may be in error or in ignorance. In fact, the Church has suffered through many a wicked Pope (study history and/or read Dante’s Inferno). Theology (and common sense) teaches that evil leaders are often the punishment for our sins. In other words, our suffering is the consequence of freely giving in to our own will.
As for the anguished cry that “He cannot be Pope because he says or does such unCatholic things”, that is pure emotionalism. What the current Pope says or does is precisely the result of Vatican II new theology. UnCatholic statements and actions are to be expected from unCatholic theology!! What else would you expect?!
What really haunts us is the proverbial “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people (to me!)?” The simplified answer is “So God can make greater good out of a bad situation” – even out of this general apostasy! This of course does not give us the right to do evil or to fall into inaction. The understanding that God can make good out of evil is precisely why we can rejoice and say “O Happy Fault”. And so we have every reason not to despair because we know that God wills or permits everything and that everything works out for the best for those who love God.
So, rather than poison yourself with the current fiasco in the Conciliar Church and then jump to the wrong conclusion, study the Catholic Faith. Read the lives of the saints. Read the life of St Athanasius. And do not despair! Stay sane!
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An Incomplete List of Absolutely Essential Reading for Those Who Want to Remain Sane
– all works by Hilaire Belloc – The Great Heresies is an excellent study of St Athanasius
– all works by William Thomas Walsh – Saints in Action also gives an excellent insight into the life of St Athanasius. Most of his books are out of print, so search in used book stores. Our Lady of Fatima is available at the Fatima Centre.
– all works by Archbishop Lefebvre – Spiritual Journey, They Have Uncrowned Him, Open Letter to Confused Catholics explain the current crisis in the Church. Reading these works will help you to remain not only sane, but Roman Catholic!
– Martyrs of the English Reformation by Dr Malcolm Brennan – Learn how our brothers and sisters used their Free Will in the difficult times they lived in. Read and you will never again complain!
– all works by St Thomas More – Caveat: some editions have retained the 16th-century English which makes them hard to understand. A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, 1998 Scepter Publishers is good.
– works by Abbe Francis Trochu – The Cure d’Ars and St Bernadette Soubirous are inspiring examples of how God works all things for the best for those who love Him.
– The Liberal Illusion by Louis Veuillot is an excellent study of Liberalism
– Liberalism Is a Sin – Don Felix Sarda Y Salvany – highly recommended
– A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture by Bishop Frederick Knecht – this is an excellent textbook for young teenagers (and adults). Beautiful explanation of selected passages of the Old and New Testament.
– The Catechism in Pictures by Fernandez – This is a good Catechism for children.
– Gabriel Garcia Moreno by Mrs Maxwell-Scott – a brief biography of President Moreno of Ecuador
Pax et Bonum
Sister Constance TOSF