Please pray for the conversion a man who is entering a hospice as he has been diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Please pray for the conversion a man who is entering a hospice as he has been diagnosed with a brain tumour.
In a post published on his blog on Friday January 20, 2017, Mr. Sean Johnson argues against the “non una cum” position. The Our Lady of Good Success Mission also opposes the “non una cum” position. However, we don’t necessarily agree with all the points used by Mr. Johnson to help reach his conclusion. One of the points that we do not agree with is his use of particular grounds that would permit one to attend Masses offered by schismatic priests without committing sin. Here is the quote (emphasis mine):
“If omission of Francis from the Canon implies schism for refusing to recognize him as head of the Church, then one is quite possibly running into the same preclusions that apply to prevent Mass attendance at Orthodox and other schismatic Masses.
“In such cases (unless ignorance, extreme necessity, or double effect would excuse such a course of action), sanctifying grace from the sacrament would not be communicated, since, though it would be produced in the sacrament “ex opere operato,” it would fail to transmit “ex opere operantis,” because of the bad disposition of the subject (i.e., Who would be objectively and knowingly committing a grave sin, and therefore would not be in the state of grace to receive an increase of same).”
I have written extensively regarding the “ignorance” ground in my paper regarding active attendance at the Novus Ordo Mass, so I will not focus on this ground in this article. I also wrote about the “extreme necessity” ground in the same paper and I did somewhat make an analogy between using “extreme necessity” for permitting one to actively attend the Novus Ordo Mass to using “extreme necessity” for permitting one to actively attend Masses offered by schismatic priests. As far as I am aware, the Catholic Church has never taught that “extreme necessity” may be a ground for actively attending Masses offered by schismatic priests without committing sin. However, she has taught that “extreme necessity” (e.g., immediate danger of death) is a ground for receiving the Sacrament of Penance from a schismatic priest without committing sin.
In his article, Mr. Sean Johnson adds a third ground (not included in his Catechetical Refutation and hence not applied to active attendance at the Novus Ordo Mass), the Principle of Double Effect, for actively attending Masses offered by schismatic priests without committing sin. I use the term “ground” loosely here as the Principle of Double Effect is really a method of applying moral principles to concrete cases. Nevertheless, I neither affirm nor deny that actively attending Masses offered by schismatic priests is “intrinsically evil” as I do affirm in regards to actively attending the Novus Ordo Mass. However, I object that “extreme necessity” or the Principle of Double Effect may be used as a ground to permit one to actively attend Masses offered by schismatic priests without committing sin. As with “extreme necessity”, I have never heard of the Catholic Church teaching that the Principle of Double Effect may be used as a ground for actively attending Masses offered by schismatic priests. I therefore challenge Mr. Johnson to substantiate his claim with Church teaching or even reputable pre-Vatican II theologians. Otherwise, he is making up his own theology as he did in order to defend Bishop Williamson’s permission to the lady in Mahopac, NY to actively attend the Novus Ordo Mass given her circumstances.
Note: Mr. Johnson uses the term “excuse” in “would excuse such a course of action”. The implication of using the term “excuse” is that the person performing the action is ignorant and therefore not guilty of sin. Therefore, I have no problem with the phrase “unless ignorance would excuse such a course of action”. However, I do have a problem with Mr. Johnson using the term “excuse” in relation to “extreme necessity” or “double effect”. The reason I have a problem in Mr. Johnson using the term “excuse” in relation to “extreme necessity” is because “extreme necessity” is a material (objective) element when analyzing the evilness of an act whereas “ignorance” is a formal (subjective) element. I discuss this in my paper that I linked to above. Therefore, one can be knowledgeable that the act he intends to perform is evil, except when, for example, “extreme necessity” justifies his performing the act. “Excusing” an act and “justifying” an act are not the same thing; one is negative and the other is positive. The same line of reasoning can be applied to “double effect”, and even more so, because to apply the Principle of Double Effect one must be consciously studying the concrete case in question in order to determine whether its execution is justifiable. Therefore, it is more accurate to state the phrase in the following manner when it concerns “extreme necessity” or “double effect” (if one is arguing in favour of Mr. Johnson’s proposition that these two grounds do not contribute to a subject’s bad disposition in regards to actively attending Masses offered by schismatic priests): “would justify such a course of action”.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of the relative of a parishioner. The relative (same one in the prior request) passed away January 26th.
The Sadness of Christ is the last and unfinished work of St Thomas More. He had written many works, mainly fighting the new heresies that were rampant and were causing huge damage within Catholic Europe. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London between April 17, 1534 to July 6, 1535, the day he was taken to the block and executed for high treason. And what was his treason? Refusing to accept Henry VIII as the supreme head of the Church.
It would seem ironic that St Thomas More died for supporting the Papacy because the bishops of his day did little to oppose the various heresies, notably the spread of Protestantism, and also because the reigning Pope at the time badly handled the pressing issue of the day, notably Henry VIII’s wish to divorce his lawful wife. Henry VIII’s wish was met with silence and acquiescence by the English bishops – most were only too compliant and signed the Oath of Supremacy – with the result that within a few years English Catholics, while continuing with their devotions and Mass attendance, were in fact in schism and cut themselves off from the Roman Catholic Church.
All but one English bishop and much of the clergy in Henry VIII’s reign took the Oath and thereby cut themselves off from the Roman Catholic Church. The only faithful bishop, St John Fisher, had this to say moments before his execution: “I am come here to die for Christ’s Catholic Church.”
St John Fisher and St Thomas More both understood that liking or not liking a Pope was not the issue; rather, recognizing the Pope as the supreme Pontiff– whether good or bad – is a Catholic teaching which can never be dispensed with.
The English Catholics were faced with two options: Face martyrdom or hide behind blind ignorance and fear. The first was lamentable but Catholic; the second was understandable but unCatholic.
And the executions were to continue for nearly 150 years.
St Thomas More spent the last 15 months of his life in the Tower in quiet recollection preparing for death and writing spiritual works. The Sadness of Christ was unfinished because all writing material was taken from him and he was executed within a few days.
St Thomas More understood fallen human nature and he knew history. He therefore had a good grasp of the seriousness of his own situation and of that of England, and, no doubt, of that of Europe. When writing The Sadness of Christ he was warning that the sadness which Christ experienced in the garden of Gethsemani was going to be played out yet again: While the apostles sleep, evil wins.
St Thomas More did not mince words. He called the high-priests who conspired to kill Christ “bishops”. He compared the bishops of his day to the apostles who fell asleep during Christ’s passion in the garden. He writes: “…this similitude of apostles thus sleeping may aptly be applied unto those bishops which lie carelessly and sleep full sound, while virtue and true religion are like to run to ruin… like a sort of swine wallowing in the mire, lie fast sluggish in the dead sleep of their mischievous blind affections, as men all drowned and drunken with the pleasant must of the devil, the flesh, and the world” (p 56).
While the apostles – bishops – were asleep, the power of darkness and its minions unleashed their power. St Thomas More used the words of Christ to speak to his “own countrymen and bishops” who gave in and co-operated with “the power of darkness”:
“In darkness be ye, while ye ascribe my death to your own strength, and in darkness shall be your president Pilate too, as long as he shall proudly boast that he hath authority either to quit me or crucify me, who albeit mine own countrymen and bishops shall deliver me into his hands, should have no power for all that upon me, were it not given him from my Father above. And for that cause the more is their offence that shall betake me unto him. But this is your hour and the short power of darkness. And he that walketh in darkness wotteth not whither he goeth” (p 103 – 104).
And so, while the bishops slept, the Faith in England was slowly extinguished. And blind ignorance was no excuse:
“So do ye neither see nor know what ye do. Therefore will I pray myself for ye that you may have pardon for that you work against me. Yet pardon shall ye not all attain, nor blind ignorance will not excuse you all neither, since you are the very cause of your ignorance yourselves. Ye put away the light yourselves, ye first pluck out both your own eyes yourselves, and after that other men’s too, so that the blind leadeth the blind, till ye both fall into the pit” (p 104).
The Sadness of Christ was meant to be a wake-up call for St Thomas More’s generation. Alas, only a happy few responded.
The sadness of Christ in Gethsemani is meant to be a wake-up call for every generation.
Today’s bishops are sleeping!
Will we respond?
Or will the sadness of Christ continue?
Work cited: The Sadness of Christ, Thomas More, 2008, Benediction Classics, Oxford, 124 pages
Transcript of a talk by Fr Gregorius Hesse
Wednesday, January 25th is the anniversary of the death of Fr Hesse in 2006. We commemorate him with a transcript of one of his conferences.
Although we are presenting this transcript, we recommend that you listen to all his conferences because he is clear and Catholic through and through.
The actual talk is available on Youtube, but although the original talk is on 2 cassettes labelled Part 1 & Part 2, the offering on Youtube breaks Part 1 into two parts. The second Youtube part is the remainder of tape 1 plus 4 minutes of the second tape. The original tape ends with a poem by GK Chesterton.
Tape 2 has not been transcribed at this point.
In this post, I challenged the owner of CathInfo to debate my paper in which I tore apart Mr. Sean Johnson’s paper regarding the subject of active attendance at the Novus Ordo Mass. I am not surprised that the owner turned down my challenge. You may read his lame response here. Perhaps the owner should refrain in the future from making ad hominem attacks and concentrate instead on making constructive counterarguments. Nevertheless, the reality is that CathInfo has deviated from the line of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre because of the owner’s defence of Bishop Williamson’s advice to the lady in Mahopac, NY regarding active attendance at the Novus Ordo Mass. Hence, CathInfo is a pseudo Archbishop Lefebvre forum.
There is another forum which claims itself faithful to Archbishop Lefebvre, so much so that it is called “Archbishop Lefebvre Forum“. This forum houses Mr. Sean Johnson (forum name is Br. Athanasius T.O.P.) as a moderator. You can guess, then, which side this forum takes on the debate regarding Bishop Williamson’s advice to the lady in Mahopac, NY. However, Br. Athanasius T.O.P. and the forum owner (forum name is Samuel), to their credit, have allowed me some leeway in debating issues of contention. They have allowed my paper to be published and have even put forth points of criticism, although these points are weak (listen to Episode 3 of Ecclesia Militans Radio where I spoke about a couple of these weak points). In addition, unlike the owner of CathInfo, they have allowed Episode 3 of Ecclesia Militans Radio to be and remain published. It is in response to this post made by Samuel regarding Episode 3 that I would like to make a few comments.
Samuel states, “A bit disappointing that no new arguments were presented in this rather long monologue, just the same old assumptions and prepackaged conclusions.” But Samuel I don’t need new arguments because neither you nor Br. Athanasius have been able to successfully counter-argue the main thesis in my paper that Bishop Williamson’s advice to the lady in Mahopac, NY runs contrary to the position of Archbishop Lefebvre. The counterpoints you brought up, especially the one regarding advising someone to steal a smaller amount, are at best poor reasoning. They show the mental somersaults you perform in order to try to defend the indefensible.
Samuel states, “Unless someone can come up with some clear Church doctrine that proves what Tony is trying to present as a fact, I see no other option than to wait until the Church one day settles the matter for us.” So let me get this straight, Samuel. Until the Church finally pronounces on the goodness or badness of active attendance at the Novus Ordo Mass, its goodness or badness will remain open for debate. Is that what you are saying? I think that it is precisely what you are saying. Let us take a look at this post, which you wrote on October 6, 2016 (see here for the link to the full page). You stated, “Likewise with the NOM, we can recognize and treat it as sacrilegious, but we cannot elevate this opinion (emphasis mine) to the level of a dogma.” So to you, Samuel, the goodness or badness of active attendance at the Novus Ordo Mass is a matter of opinion. Is this the level of certitude that the Archbishop held on this matter? No! First of all, I want to make clear that it is true that the Archbishop did not raise his position regarding active attendance at the Novus Ordo Mass to the level of dogma. He knew he could not do that; I know I cannot do that. However, one does not have to hold a position as dogmatic prior to promoting that position without fear of the opposite being true. There are other degrees of certitude such as physical and moral certitude. It is with a moral certitude that the Archbishop held (as do I) that active attendance at the Novus Ordo Mass is bad in itself (i.e., intrinsically evil). Otherwise, he would not have had his seminarians sign a Declaration of Fidelity to the Positions of the SSPX in which they promised to never celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass and never advise anyone in a positive manner to take an active part in it. Declarations are not written and signed as opinion pieces. But to you, Samuel, that active attendance at the Novus Ordo Mass is bad in itself is merely an opinion. You will wait instead until the Church makes a definitive pronouncement. How then does your position (i.e., that active attendance at the Novus Ordo Mass is not bad in itself – taken from the fact that you support Bishop Williamson’s position) differ substantially from those who actively attend the Novus Ordo Mass themselves?
My friends, Samuel’s line of thinking is the type that results from straying from the clear line of Archbishop Lefebvre in defending the hazy line of Bishop Williamson. As with CathInfo, Samuel’s forum is a pseudo Archbishop Lefebvre forum. One cannot claim to be faithful to the Archbishop and deviate from his position on such a core issue as active attendance at the Novus Ordo Mass.
Samuel, the true followers of the Archbishop would most appreciate if you would change your forum’s name to “Bishop Williamson Forum”. Please and thank you!
Today’s sermons contain such an exceptional number of inspiring teachings, that it is hard to recommend just one. Consider reading all of today’s sermons, sipping them slowly in order to get the most out of their wine.