It has the makings of a modern day love story filled with fanciful images and garnished with sentimental undertones. It appears designed to evoke a longing for something that seems just beyond one’s reach. Words woo to this effect: “We are Roman Catholics because St. Peter lived and died in Rome, because our Faith, our morality, our liturgy, our Catholic history, all of these come(s) from Rome.” Sigh!
Such were the words that ended a recent conference held in Toronto at the Church of the Transfiguration. The conference was given by the newest district superior, Father Daniel Couture.
Before going any further, it must be acknowledged that Archbishop Lefebvre noted in his book, Spiritual Journey, the following: “We will conclude that one cannot be Catholic without being Roman.” (page 72) The Archbishop, in this same book, noted, on the same page as the above quote, the following: The “. . . occupation of Rome by the Masons permitted infiltration of the Church by Modernist clergy and Popes who hasten to destroy every vestige of Romanitas (1) : the Latin language, the Roman liturgy.” It seems fair to say that this occupation remains in effect to this day and it has, without a doubt, left a lengthy path of destruction, which includes the dilution of the Faith and morality, a constant tinkering with the liturgy and many needless mea culpas for our Catholic history. In fact, it has even become much more publicly brazen through the words and actions of the latest pope, Pope Francis – you know, the “who am I to judge” and “you don’t have to breed like rabbits” person.
Within this same conference, Father Couture lays the blame for a lot of the Church’s woes at the foot of enculturation. He states: “Enculturation has really de-Romanized the church.” Really? That is like saying that the paintbrush painted the house. There is not a single mention of Masons, infiltrators or Modernists here; but, then again, we would not want to offend any of the current occupants of Rome. That might be a bit embarrassing for Bishop Fellay on his next sojourn to Rome.
As the infiltrators, umm, of Conciliar Rome we speak of here, have yet to raise the white flag and cease their destructive toils, then it is fair to say that the occupation of which His Excellency spoke remains an active force for the dissolution of the Roman Church. Yet, Father Couture did not qualify his lament for Rome in any manner similar to the many strident condemnations of Conciliar Rome by Archbishop Lefebvre, the founder of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) of which Father Couture remains a member.
Instead, Father Couture references His Excellency with a quasi-quote to further his Roman-ticising, where he states: “And what did Archbishop Lefebvre do? He taught us to be Romans. He said stick with the encyclicals of the Pope. Stick with the teaching of Rome, with the liturgy of Rome, with the chant of Rome, with the language of Rome. Stick with Rome.”
The position of His Excellency on the above matters is well known through his many public presentations and writings. Father Couture’s emphasis is always on an unqualified Rome. Father Couture uses the singular for Pope – so, the encyclicals of which Pope? The teaching of Rome? Pre or post Vatican II? The liturgy of Rome? Again, pre or post Vatican II? So on and so forth. Unfortunately, Father Couture is not precise in his discourse and these are times where precision is a priority to maintain the integrity of his argument. It is either sloppy or intentionally moving toward Modernism. One is left to wonder then if Father Couture has deviated from the position of His Excellency, Archbishop Lefebvre? Perhaps, the omission of these qualifications was an oversight? Time will tell.
We may not be able to be Catholic without being Roman, but it is implicit that the Roman aspect must be truly Catholic – not modernist, not ecumenical, not conciliar, not mere geography, not a bundle of fanciful dreams, and definitely not a cohabitation within a den of a traitors.
1) Roman Catholics have used the word Romanitas for centuries to express their adherence to the Apostolic See of St. Peter and the Popes, as well as to Roman ecclesiastical culture. As such it was often used by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the founder of the Traditionalist Roman Catholic Society of St. Pius X, who called Romanitas a virtue.
A message from Father summarizes the key points:
We reproduce it below.
OPEN LETTER TO FR. ANTHONY CEKADA – PART TWO
Thankfully, Fr. Cekada has replied:
“Fr. Chazal’s ‘Open Letter’ on the True Trad site is simply incoherent, and contains no discernible theological argument. Fr. Chazal doesn’t like what I said about Fatima, and believes that his private understanding of Fatima somehow ‘refutes’ sedevacantism.
The reason Fr. Chazal follows this course is that the ‘recognize and resist’ line he takes on the false Popes of Vatican II cannot be reconciled with the standard principles of traditional ecclesiology which teach that a catholic must submit in doctrine to the Roman Pontiff.
To defend his complete rejection of these principles, Fr. Chazal must turn to his private interpretation of a private revelation, neither of which are a proper basis for a theological argument.
I have repeatedly laid out the argument for sedevacantism, citing text after text from Catholic theologians to support my conclusion. Fr. Chazal, a typical product of the SSPX, offers nothing but hysterical yammering, covered by a veneer of smug piety.
Let him go through my article ‘Traditionalists, Infallibility and the Pope’ or ‘Resisting the Pope, Sedevacantism and Franken church’ and refute me point by point, citing theologians of equal stature to those I cited.
Until then, those who read Fr. Chazal’s comments on sedevacantism should know that he is spouting nonsense.”
Feel free to post this letter wherever you see fit.
Fr. Anthony Cekada.
Dear Father Cekada,
Thank you for not replying to my argument, that Fatima was made public in front of at least 70,000 witnesses, was publicly approved by the Church as “A great sign from heaven” (Apoc. XII), and concerns the fate of nations at the hands of a POPE.
So I went on ‘CathInfo’ & ‘ArchbishopLefebvreForums’ and tried to find the best Sede argument. It was hard because for the most of them, those replies veered off on side issues or details about “the errors of Russia.” The best I could find is that “yes, there is no Pope now, but when need be, one will pop and consecrate Russia”. My guess is that it is the CMRI position. But this means that Heaven requested something impossible to happen for 57 years (1958-2015); That Sister Lucy [Real (Fr. Gruner)/Fake (M.A. Horvat)] was wrong to beseech John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II.
Mr. Putin is asking Pope Francis to consecrate. Has he in fact no one to turn to, to obtain the conversion of his country??
I wont elaborate on the ludicrous belief that Pius XII sucessfully performed the consecration. (St Benedict Center).
So let’s move on your next and biggest antimony.
ANTINOMY # 2: “ALL ECCLESIOLOGY BENDS TO SEDEVACANTISM”.
Interestingly my “hysterical yammering” resembles your booklet “Traditionalists, Infallibility and the Pope”: it is an induction. One accumulates particular facts to conclude inductively one truth: Our Lady uses a Pope (my yammering)/ there is no Pope (your booklet).
An induction is false or sophistic, if it leaves out or fails to mention contrary particular facts. And it is especially sophistic if it leaves out a majority of facts.
You contend, Reverend Father, that there are no “Theologians of equal stature to those I cited”, nay, you challenge us to give us any, with great chutzpah, with this great theological self confidence which is so typical of dogmatic Sedevacantism…
and many have been led to believe that indeed this is the case; that the vast majority, nay, the unanimity of theologians, canonists, experts and ecclesiologists are all arguing in favour of the immediate and ipso facto loss of office of a heretical Pope.
But in fact, you have just taken profit of our negligence, because:
(1). Many and quite authoritative theologians argue the contrary: Cajetan, John of St. Thomas, Azorius, Banez, The Carmelites of Salamanca, Suarez, Billuart, Journet, Garrigou-Lagrange, St. Alfonsus of Liguori…..etc.
(2). Many others think it is impossible or never even ask themselves the question, The king of them all is our common doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas. Yet they provide embarassing supporting arguments (eg. commentary on Timothy).
(3). Some authorities which you cite to support your argument do not indeed teach the automatic, immediate and ipso facto, loss of office of a public heretical Pope.
(4). Others might, but never beyond a probable sentence [either probabilist or probabiliorist]. For the most they are XXth century manuals, often labouring under juridical positivism, like Billot, whom you do not dare to quote. They dealt with the question hurriedly, unfortunately: Manuals.
V: Then there is the question of Cum Ex and can.188.4 with respect of “Vacante Sede” of St. Pius X and “Vacantis Sedis” of Pius XII, IVth Constantinople can.X & the Decree of Gratian (I Dist 40), after and before Cum Ex.
VI: Then the consistent traditional reaction in case of doctrinal errors of previous Popes (Liberius, Honorius, Symmachus, Paschal II, Marcellinus, John XXII, Alexander VI [accused of heresy by Savonarola]).
VII: Then, after Tradition, Scripture: there are obvious reasons why Sedevacantists fail to support their argument with Sacred Scriptures.
So, as your booklet indicates, the question of automatic loss of office is the main axis of your efforts;
hence, if you care to reply, do stay on course, because all too often Sedevacantists veer off on other aspects instead of replying to what is objected to them.
I am happy to see that you want to go “point by point” and let’s see if you stick to the seven course menu…..
(PART ONE). MANY AUTHORITATIVE THEOLOGIANS ARGUE AGAINST SEDEVACANTISM.
In page 11 of your booklet you claimed that Cajetan says that “a Pope may become a heretic and thus lose the Pontificate”.Not only this is false; but Cajetan is the father of a long line of Theologians that states the opposite of Sedevacantism. You do quote the “De Comparatione” on the question of the General Council, but you stay clear from chapter XX that refutes you by proving:
(A). Two extremes are false: The Pope is deposed by the mere fact of being heretic – the Pope can be judged.
(B). Tertium Datur. The Church can only declare him heretic, separate herself from him and wait for Christ to deposed him Authoritatively (we shall explain this later).
I leave it to you, read it up.
Even Bellarmine, your main authority, does not agree with Fr. Cekada’s way of reading Cajetan (“De Romano Pontifice”, Chapter XX). Bellarmine says he disagrees with Cajetan. So please, do yourself the favour of quoting rightly those authorities who agree with you to some extend, perhaps.
Therefore, the famed Cardinal Cajetan, and great commentator of St. Thomas is set, and at great length, against Sedevacantism.
*JOHN OF ST THOMAS (“De Auctoritate Summi Pontificis” Disp III, Art II, XVII to XXVIII) goes at great length on the question, and picks up the disagreement of Bellarmine with Cajetan, supporting the latter (XX). John of St. Thomas is a great and famous commentator of St. Thomas, with Capreolus and Cajetan (whose Commentary thrones usually in the reference section of a good seminary library).
Why such blatant ignorance or refusals to even refute him?
It is because of quotes like this (XXVI): “the Pope does not cease to be the Pope before any ecclesiastical sentence by the fact of heresy itself, and before he is proposed to be avoided”. And he is indeed difficult to refute because, prior to Vatican II, he gave the longest and most augmented exposition on the problem.
His position hinges on two points
1. “The Church has a right to separate itself from a heretical Pope in virtue of Divine Right, and, as a result can take all the means for such a separation”. (XIX)
2. The Pope draws his power immediately from Christ. Only Christ can stop him from that power authoritatively.
We more or less agree with you sedevacantists on (1), but total separation is not enough for you. Fr. Oliver Rioult is right to insist that as long as this separation is made, souls are safe, the Faith is safe, and the rest is a point of theological “Finasserie”. John of St. Thomas adds something to the necessity of separation from heretics; the fact that by his heresy, a Pope is disposed to be deposed, ministerially while we await him to be removed from office authoritatively by Christ. He is actually impounded, incapable to exercise his office to prevent him from causing further damage. “He is necessarily rendered impotent from being the head of the Church because he is a member to be avoided by her, and as a consequence cannot have influence on her” (XXIV).
Sedevacantists always assume that if we recognize a Pope we must obey him, or we will follow his heresies, unlike St. Paul who resisted St. Peter, and St. Peter who resisted Caiphas.
They also fail to notice that non sedevacantists believe that a heretical Pope loses his office down the line, nay, is set to lose it like a train is set on his rails, but such happy event does not occur before he is declared heretic by the Church in due process;
while the duty to separate from him is immediate as soon as one knows him to be a heretic. “That (separation) can remain without a superior power formally above the power of the Pope” (XXIII).
John of St. Thomas also quotes an important decree of Gratian (I, Dist 40, D 79, C.11) “Eiectionem summorum sacerdoutum sibi Dominus reservavit, licet electionem eorum bonis sacerdotibus et spiritualibus populis concessisset” [“The Lord has reserved to Himself the deposition of the Sovereign Pontiffs”]. Worth keeping under the sleeve.
And on the question of the separation of a heretic from the Church, because heretics are not members of the Church, John of St. Thomas makes a distinction, Per Se & Quoad Nos:
– Per Se: in itself, yes the Pope is separate, like any other heretic.
– Quoad Nos: “As far as we are concerned such a separation is not understood to take place without such declaration (…..). For us he is not yet declared infidel or heretic, no matter how much he may be manifest according to private judgement. He is still a member of the Church for us [Quoad Nos], and consequently its head. Therefore the judgement of the Church is required by which he is declared as a non Christian and ceases to be a Pope to us”. (XXVI).
Billuart and Garrigou will elaborate from this, but I hope that you realise, dear Father, that John of St. Thomas is a whole arsenal against your proposed automatic and immediate loss of office of the Pope.
*AZORIUS, quoted by John of St. Thomas says “no heretic Bishop, no matter how visible his heresy may be, and in spite of him incurring excommunication, loses jurisdiction and Episcopal power, until he is declared such by the Church and deposed.[……] Only the ‘non tolerated’ and ‘vitandi’, i.e. those who have been nominally excommunicated or have assaulted a cleric, fall under this case”.
*SOTO (4 Sent, D 22, Q 2, A 2) & CANO (De Locis L.4) say that the case must be proven externally, but sorry, I have not been able to lay my fingers on ‘these texts’. TORQUEMADA’s text also eludes me, yet i know him to be a Judge with a certain taste of judging prior acting. For each of these texts, one Mass intention bounty is promised to the finder.
*SUAREZ is not of your liking. “The Church […] would declare him a heretic and therefore unworthy of Pontifical honours; he would be then ipso facto & immediately deposed by Christ (de Fide, D 10, S 6, N 10).
“If he were a heretic and incorrigible, the Pope would cease to be the Pope only when a sentence has been passed against him for his crime by the legitimate jurisdiction of the Church. This is the common opinion among the Doctors” (id.,D 10, S 6, N 3 – 10)… “as long as a sentence is not passed on him”. (id.).
Dear Father, if this is hysterical yammering to you, why do you put Suarez in page eleven of your “T,I&TP”, right after Cajetan (who also disagree so badly with you)??
As I fly over Australia, an overwhelmingly vacant land, I am wondering that your speech might turn the same on these pointed authorities.
Yet, please agree with me, Reverend Father, that this is an interesting debate, and there are plenty, more facts to come… and surprises.
Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
Take away the supernatural, and what remains is the unnatural.
Before you pull any fence down, always pause long enough to find out why it was put there in the first place.
At the funeral of an atheist, an onlooker who noticed how nattily the deceased was attired, commented to Chesterton, “All dressed up, with nowhere to go!” Chesterton replied grimly, “I bet he wishes that were so.”
A saint is one who exaggerates what the world neglects.
The Curé d’Ars, first published in 1927, is an excellent study of the life of St Jean-Marie-Baptiste Vianney and of his contribution to the Catholic cause in the aftermath of the French Revolution. The author, Fr Francis Trochu, whose life spanned a good part of the 19th and the early part of the 20th century, knew from a first hand experience what life in the post-Revolution France was like. He no doubt understood that the Revolution was preparing for the next major coup. Only this time the target was to be none other than the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
But God never leaves his children orphaned and always provides a remedy: The remedy God provided for the 19th century was the Curé d’Ars.
The following extracts are taken from Chapters II and III. Note that while these extracts describe specific historical events, these same events could well describe our Catholic past and, no doubt, our future.
In January, 1791, the civil constitution of the clergy began to be enforced in the province of Lyons. Jean-Marie had not yet completed his fifth year. Messire Jacques Rey, cure of Dardilly during the past thirty-nine years, was weak enough to take the schismatic oath. However, if we may believe local tradition, enlightened by the example of his curate and the neighbouring clergy, who refused the oath, he soon came to understand and disavow his fault. He continued for a time to reside in his parish, saying Mass in a private house. Eventually he retired to Lyons, and from there he went to Italy. The disappearance of M. Rey did not pass unnoticed, yet Dardilly was not as much upset as might have been expected. The church remained open because another cure was sent by the new bishop of Lyons, M. Lamourette, a friend of Mirabeau’s, who, without any brief from Rome, had been installed by the Constituent Assembly, in succession to the venerable Mrg. de Marbeuf. The new parish priest, like the new bishop, had duly taken the oath. But how were the good folk of Dardilly to suspect that the civil constitution, of which, perhaps, they did not so much as know the name, would lead to schism and heresy? There was no outward change in the ceremonies and customs with which they had so long been familiar. For a time, at least, these simple people did not scruple to assist at the Mass of the juror-priest. Matthieu Vianney and his family acted thus in all good faith.
After a while, however, their eyes were opened to realities. Though barely twelve years old at the time, Catherine, the eldest of the girls, was the first to scent danger. In the pulpit the new pastor did not speak quite like M. Rey, nor on the same topics. His sermons were interlarded with the words citizen, civism, and constitution. He so far forgot himself as to criticize his predecessors: “These people,” he used to say, “are no more parish priests than my shoe!” The congregation was more promiscuous and scantier than of yore: persons who were noted for their fervour were no longer seen in the church – where did they go to Mass on Sundays? – others, on the contrary, were there and occupied the best seats, who previously had hardly ever darkened the threshold of the sacred edifice. Catherine felt anxious, and she confided her secret fears to her mother.
In the meantime, a relative living at Ecully paid a visit to the Vianneys. “What are you doing?” she exclaimed on hearing that they attended the Mass of the juror; “all good priests have refused the oath, and in consequence are being hunted and persecuted and driven into exile. Happily at Ecully we still have some good priests. It is to these you must go. By taking the oath your new parish priest has separated himself from the Catholic Church; he is not your true shepherd and you cannot make yourselves his abettors.”
This staggering revelation drove Mme. Vianney almost frantic. She did not hesitate to speak to the unfortunate priest, reproaching him with having severed himself from the true Church. When she reminded him of the saying of the Gospel that the branch that is cut off from the vine shall be cast into the fire, the priest owned to the truth of her words: “True, madam, the vine is better than the branch.”
Marie Vianney must have informed her family of the state of affairs, because we are told that little Jean-Marie “showed his horror of sin from the day when he began to avoid the juror-priest.” From that moment the Vianneys ceased to attend the parish church…. In point of fact, the sacred edifice was soon closed altogether.
A cruel persecution was now raging. Priests who had refused the oath ran the risk of arrest and execution…. A reward of 100 francs was paid to anyone denouncing the [non juror-priests].
However, there still remained brave priests who did not abandon their flock. And so we read:
On certain days trusty messengers would arrive from Ecully and call on Catholic households. They brought information of the secret spot where, on the following night, the Holy Mysteries would be celebrated. As soon as darkness fell, the Vianneys set out in deepest silence. In his happiness at being allowed to accompany his parents, Jean-Marie stepped out bravely. “His brothers and sisters grumbled at times, thinking the distance too great; then their mother would say: ‘Can you not be like Jean-Marie, who is always the keenest of all?’ “.
When they reached the appointed place they were led into a barn or some retired room, where hardly a light was allowed. They saw kneeling at a plain table a tired-looking stranger of gentle mien. The stranger met the newcomers with outstretched hand. Then, in the farthest corner of the room, behind an improvised partition, the good priest, speaking in whispers, exercised his ministry of counsel, comfort, and pardon. Sometimes he would also have to bless marriages. And then followed the Mass, the Mass so keenly longed for by young and old.
The priest placed on the table the altar stone he had brought, the Missal, the chalice, and several small altar breads, for to-night he would not be the only communicant. Quickly he donned the sacred vestments, faded and crumpled in consequence of much hasty folding. Amid deep silence he began the prayers of the Liturgy: Introibo ad altare Dei. What fervour there was in his voice, what recollection, what emotion in the congregation! Sobs mingled with the prayers. It was like being at Mass in the Roman Catacombs, before arrest and martyrdom.
[How did the small Jean-Marie spend the days during] “those terrible months”? Twice daily he drove out the donkey, the cows, and the sheep to graze, leading by the hand his little sister Gothon…. [There, in those meadows] “he found time to pray to the good God and to think of his soul”. [His priestly vocation was being formed:] On reaching the meadow, brother and sister, obedient to their mother’s advice, went down upon their knees in order to dedicate to God the task they were about to perform…. Jean-Marie told [his sister] stories out of the Old and New Testament; he also taught her prayers and gave her sundry spiritual counsels….
On the bank of the stream there stood a willow tree, old and worm-eaten. In the hollow of the trunk Jean-Marie sometimes placed his little statue, and after surrounding it with moss, branches of trees and flowers, he knelt down to say his rosary. Thus did the river bank take the place of the church to which people no longer went to pray.
At other times he erected a kind of shrine for his statue. With clay from the river bank he constructed diminutive chapels or moulded effigies of saints and priests. He possessed a natural deftness which might have been greatly developed by intuition. In this way he made a statue of the Blessed Virgin, which was judged quite good; in fact, his father had it hardened in the oven, and it was long kept at the Vianneys’ house. As soon as the altar was ready, he and Gothon, with vague memories of processions and festivals now suppressed, sang together what snatches of religious canticles they could remember.
Other young shepherds [who] tended their flocks in the same district [came]…to look at the shrine. Jean-Marie replied to their questions without either embarrassment or annoyance. But how was it that these children, who were of the same age as our saint, were yet ignorant of the meaning of those images? Alas! less devout and attentive, they had already forgotten the beautiful ceremonies of Sundays and holidays. All unawares little Vianney became the teacher of these poor children. He constituted himself their catechist. Taking his stand before the rustic altar, he gave utterance to the thoughts that came to his mind in the silent hours of the night, and taught them the prayers he had learned at his mother’s knee…. A priestly vocation had sprung up in the peaceful vale of Chante-Merle!
The “congregation” proving somewhat restless, the sermon had of necessity to be short. But the youthful preacher bethought himself of other means by which he hoped to retain his audience. He organized processions. Thus it came about that in this unknown dale, whilst throughout France religious ceremonies were being suppressed, a band of children might have been seen walking in procession behind a cross formed of two sticks. The rosary was recited, and childish hymns were sung…”.
In closing the churches the Convention had sought to destroy divine worship; but it was unable to repress one of the most touching manifestations of religion – charity (p 11- 9).
The priests risked all to bring the sacraments to the people for the love of God; the people risked all to support the priests for the love of God.
The sad reality is that “France was now a missionary country; in some respects she was worse off than that. The need of some sort of organization was painfully felt” (p 23-24).
The heroic priests who remained “disguised and in hiding” had an organized approach:
All these priests lived at Ecully, lodging in separate houses, and by way of additional precaution they took up some trade, even though they may not have been keen in its pursuit. Thus M. Balley acted as a carpenter and M. Groboz as a cook. Their tools and implements furnished a plausible explanation of their movements. Moreover, they only went abroad at nightfall and avoided the highway when going to the house which had been selected for the celebration of Mass (p 24).
With what emotion and reverence did not little Vianney look up to these men as they stood at the altar? They had grown old before their time, and their faces bore the tell-tale traces of the labours and privations which they had endured for the love of souls (p 24).
And the little Vianney went on to become one of the greatest saints. If he is extraordinary, it is because he remained an ordinary Catholic at a time when it was politically incorrect to do so. And because God often uses the ordinary to achieve extraordinary results, He used the simple Curé to put the Revolution to shame.
Source: The Curé d’Ars St. Jean-Marie-Baptiste Vianney by Abbé Francis Trochu, Tan Books and Publishers, Illinois USA, 1977
P.S. The Curé d’Ars was a huge promoter of the Third Order of St Francis and literally brought it back to life in post-Revolution France.