We would like to thank Fr McDonald for performing the Sacrament of Baptism.
We have a new child of God, Basil Athanasius.
We would like to thank Fr McDonald for performing the Sacrament of Baptism.
We have a new child of God, Basil Athanasius.
In the Q & A section of Fallibility of the Pope, Fr Hesse mentions 2 groups of people; those who are searching for truth because they want to know the truth, and those who look for truth in order to prove their point or prove someone else wrong. This comment directly applies to what we see in Tradition in our time.
Based on Fr Hesse’s talk, we recommend people spend more time learning about how to instill true charity rather than spending time arguing about legalistic nuances of arguments. Practical advice is what we need to focus on – Catholic common sense still applies.
The Decline of Charity Since the Council of Trent is perhaps his most important talk for us today in Tradition. Fr Hesse offers an interesting analysis of the third faculty of the soul, one that does not get as much discussion as do the Intellect and Will. This alone is worthy of your attention!
Fallibility of the Pope
Speaking about the Fallibility of the Pope, Fr Hesse gives examples of popes and even canonized saints who made mistakes. We are not to be scandalized but must realize that while the Roman Catholic Church is indefectible, its members are certainly defectible and most fallible.
Fr Hesse gave this talk for 2 reasons: to correct the incomplete teaching given to Catholic laity and to correct those who fall into the error of Sedevacantism.
On incomplete teaching, Fr Hesse says: “First of all, in the 1930’s the universal opinion came up that the Pope cannot err, whatever the Pope says is infallible. People told me that when they still attended school, the Sisters would tell them: ‘Obedience, obedience, obedience, and the infallibility of the Pope, whatever the Pope says, whatever the Pope writes is infallible.’ ”
“I will give you tonight definite proof that that is not the case. I will show you what the Popes did in history….”
Regarding Sedevacantism, Fr Hesse says: “People think that we have no Pope since 1965 or whatever… or that Pope Pius X was an antipope because he changed the breviary….”
Fr Hesse then gives a long list of examples of Popes who were heretics, Popes who were in error, Popes who were undisciplined, and Popes who were criminals.
Fr Hesse says: “Therefore Papal infallibility is very restricted, very limited because history shows how Popes made mistakes. Also even the worst Popes are still counted as Popes in the Annuario Pontificio. So it’s extremely difficult to prove that any one of the recent Popes wasn’t Pope.”
Fr Hesse adds: “Allow me a personal opinion here, it’s short and succinct: …The Church will name John Paul II as one of the many Popes, and some future council would condemn him.”
Fr Hesse explains that Papal power must be regulated by Natural Law:
“The limits of Papal power systematically sink. There is the Natural Law. Can the Pope turn black into white? No. According to St Ignatius of Loyola, yes. St Ignatius of Loyola, I quote him literally: ‘What seems to me white I would believe black if the hierarchical Church so determines.’ That’s against Natural Law. If the Pope says the earth is flat, I will tell him ‘No’ and he is not gonna make me say the earth is flat. And if a Pope says that a tree grows upside down, I will say ‘Not usually.’ And if the Pope tells me black is white, I will say ‘Sorry Pontiff, that’s not true.’ … Welcome to the nuthouse!”
Fr Hesse quotes St Bellarmine’s treatise De Romano Pontifice that lists conditions that limit the Papal power:
“The Pope can fall into heresy.
Unjust laws of the Pope do not bind in conscience.
The Pope is neither the temporal ruler of the world nor the Christian world.
The Pope has the supreme temporal power only indirectly; namely, telling George Bush to obey the Ten Commandments.”
Fr Hesse continues:
“Then there is the limit of Divine Law: The Pope cannot change the sacraments.
“St Bernard of Clairvaux tells the Pope: ‘You are not the Lord of bishops but one of their number.’ The Pope is one of the bishops, except he has the last word.
“Then there is the limit to the Papal power through Ecclesiastical Law: Moral Theology teaches that the legislator is subject to his own laws if not by coercive power, at least in the manner of a directive. Precepts that are unjust, null, harmful do not require obedience, except for the case of avoiding scandal.
“Then there is the Dogmatic limit to the Papal power: Revelation – the Deposit of Faith. [The Pope] cannot define what is in no way related in Revelation. He has to stick most faithfully to Tradition. He cannot introduce any novelty. And he has to follow the previous doctrinal decisions of his predecessors.
“Then there are the practical limits to Papal power: politics, disease, blackmail, stupidity, vices.
“These are the limits of Papal power.”
Fr Hesse then returns to the incomplete teaching given by the Sisters:
“Those poor Sisters who probably meant very well, who in the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s taught you ‘Obedience, obedience, obedience, the Pope is infallible anyway’ – they were thoroughly wrong. Obedience is a great virtue, but a virtue is not just what the name says. Not every form of obedience is a virtue – in that case all the concentration camp guards would have been very virtuous because they did obey.
“Obedience is not a virtue as such. Obedience is a virtue in the light of the Catholic Faith, and especially, please, not just the Faith! All I get to hear in the last 500 years is ‘Do you believe it, yes or no? Are you faithful, yes or no?’
“We should start to ask: Are you charitable too?
“What’s the only reason why we study God? Because we are curious, and He is complicated? No! God is absolutely simple.
“Why do we study Theology? Why do we have to study the Catechism? Just to know things? That’s not worth anything.
“It is Whom we love we want to know about, right?”
Fr Hesse then concludes with a sober lesson:
“This is the lesson from this horrible part of Papal history which does not mean that there weren’t many saintly Popes – there were many saintly Popes – but the lesson we have to learn is the Pope is neither infallible [at all times] nor is he protected from sin, and most of the time his foremost sin is not to be a father but a boss….
“Am I a father? That’s what we have to learn: charity.
“That also means – if we meet people who do not agree with us, we will still love them. I mean, everyone here would be proud to convert somebody from a heresy into the Catholic Church, right? Well, I tell you one thing: You cannot convert anybody before you love him.”
Fallibility of the Pope:
The Decline of Charity Since the Council of Trent
The following is a brief synopsis of the talk.
The Council of Trent did not have the time to deal with the Christian virtue of Charity because the Church Fathers were too busy dealing with the problems of Faith and Doctrine. Also it is difficult to define where charity starts and where charity starts to exaggerate.
The question is: Why do we adore the Sacred Heart? Why do we venerate the Immaculate Heart?
King Louis XIV was asked to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart. He refused and the French Revolution was the vengeance of Our Lord exactly 100 years later.
The question once again is: Why did Our Lord Himself intervene about 150 years after the Council of Trent and request the adoration of His Sacred Heart? What does the Heart stand for? Does one say: ‘I love you with all my will’? No. Do you say: ‘I love you with all my intellect’? No. ‘I love you with all my heart.’
Charity is a neglected virtue. We constantly sin against charity – that is the normal human state after the Fall.
St Thomas Aquinas teaches that the human soul has 2 faculties: Will and Intellect. But what about Love (charity)? The human soul must have 3 faculties: Will, Intellect and Love. Love is needed to get to heaven.
Will and Intellect are not enough, and that is why Christ came down and said: ‘I want you to worship My Heart.’ He did not say: ‘I want you to worship My Divine Will.’ He did not say: ‘I want you to worship My Brain.’ The Feast of the Sacred Heart has the same rank as the Feast of Christmas. Therefore there must have been a special reason why Christ wanted that feast.
The human soul is made in the image of God. The human soul must have 3 faculties: The Will corresponds to the Father, the Intellect corresponds to the Son, the Heart corresponds to the Holy Spirit.
Do we not talk about the fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of love? Where is the fire in us – in the Will, in the Intellect? God forbid!
Love, according to St Paul, is the most important of the theological virtues.
That is why Christ gave us the Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion. That is why God gave us the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady devotion. Our Lady is immaculate in her love.
Love is the highest of all virtues. Love is the one virtue that corresponds to the highest of all sacraments – the Holy Eucharist, the one sacrament that will survive the Last Judgment, as all the others will be unnecessary: There will be no Baptism in heaven. There will be no Confession in heaven. There will be no Confirmation in heaven. There will be no Marriage in heaven. There will be no Priestly Ordination in heaven. There will certainly be no Extreme Unction because no one will die in heaven.
The Holy Eucharist is not the sacrament of the Will. The Holy Eucharist is not the sacrament of the Intellect. It is the sacrament of Love.
Before Vatican II, there was too much emphasis on Doctrine, Faith. Then the pendulum swung too much the other way, with Doctrine and Faith being less important, and the virtue of Love became exaggerated. In came an uncontrolled, chaotic and rebellious sense of love – we have to be kind to everybody. Charity was degraded, it became indifferent, went wild, lost its purpose.
The Decline of Charity Since the Council of Trent
* * *
As an aside, note that Dante’s Inferno places Satan in the bottom of Hell in a block of ice. Satan definitely has no Charity!
In the quote below, Archbishop Lefebvre comments on why we cannot go to the Mass of a group which is dangerous to the Faith. His argument can certainly be applied to the Red Light Position.
Following the format of “another forum” who does not provide links to the site they quote from:
Interview with Archbishop Lefebvre, Fideliter No. 79 Jan. – Feb. 1991
Archbishop Lefebvre: “I have always warned the faithful vis-à -vis the sedevacantists for example. There, also, people say: “The Mass is fine, so we go to it.”
“Yes, there is the Mass. That’s fine, but there is also the sermon; there is the atmosphere, the conversations, contacts before and after, which make you little by little, change your ideas. It is therefore a danger and that’s why in general, I think it constitutes part of a whole. One does not merely go to Mass, one frequents a milieu.”
On the Rorate Caeli website, a site that has been supportive of Bishop Fellay’s change in direction, they posted a guest editorial by journalist Robert Mattei which make a different case for the contrary position.
The picture of His Holiness is priceless and fits well with the first sentence: “Against the evidence there is little to argue. The outstretched hand of Pope Bergoglio to the Society of St. Pius X is the same, which has recently dealt blows to the Order of Malta and the Franciscans of the Immaculate.”
He concludes with: “The wish of Bp. Bernard Fellay to regularize the canonical position of the Society of St. Pius X with an agreement that nothing will undermine the identity of his institute is certainly commendable, but the question arises: Is it opportune to be placed under the legal umbrella of Rome in the very moment when the law is being ignored, or worse yet, being used as a means to crack down on those who want to remain faithful to Catholic faith and morals?”
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 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.
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.