Error, Gruge, and Murmuracyon

A Protestant Allegory (c.1538-44) by Girolamo da Treviso; oil on panel; 67.9 x 84.4 cm; in the Royal Collection by 1547 (Henry VIII inventory: ‘a table of the bushopp of Rome and the four Evangelists casting stones upon him’).
A Protestant Allegory (c.1538-44) by Girolamo da Treviso; oil on panel; 67.9 x 84.4 cm; in the Royal Collection by 1547 (Henry VIII inventory: ‘a table of the bushopp of Rome and the four Evangelists casting stones upon him’).

By the KING.
HENRY R.

RIGHT trusty and welbiloued cousin we grete you well. And wher it is commen to our knowlaige that sundrie persons, aswell religious as seculer priests and curats in their peroches and diverse places within this our realme, do dailly asmoche as in them is, set forthe and extolle the iurisdiction and auctoritie of the bishop of Rome, otherwyse called pope, sowing their sediciouse, pestylent, and false doctryne, praying for him in the pulpit, and makyng hym a God, to the greate decyte, illuding and seducyng of our subgietts, bryngyng them into errors, sedicyon, and euyll opynyons, more preferryng the power, lawes, and iurisdictyon of the said bishop of Rome, then the most holly lawes and precepts of Almighty God. We therfore myndyng not only to prouide for an vnitie and quietnes to be had and contynued among our said subgietts, but also greatly couetyng and desyryng them to be brought to a perfectyon and knawlege of the mere veritie and truth, and no longer to be seduced, nor blynded, with any suche superstitiouse and false doctryne of any erthly vsurper of Goddes lawes, will therfore and command you, that wher and whensoever ye shall fynde, apperceyue, know, or heretell, of any such sedicious personnes, that in such wise do spreade, teche and preache, or otherwise set forth any suche opynyons and perniciouse doctryne; to the exaltatyon of the power of the bishop of Rome, bryngyng therby our subgietts into error, gruge, and murmuracyon; that ye indelaydly doo apprehend and take them, or cause them to be apprehended and taken, and so commytted to ward, there to remaine without bayle or mayneprise, vntill vpon your aduertisement thereof vnto vs or our councell ye shall know our further pleasure in that behalfe. Yeuen vndre our signet, at our manor of Grenwich the xvii day of Aprill.

To our right trustie and welbiloued cousin and counsellor Therle of Sussex.

— quoted in John Weever’s Ancient Funerall Monuments.

Two Religions

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre at Ecône.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre at Ecône.

Sed licet nos aut angelus de cælo evangelizet vobis præterquam quod evangelizavimus vobis, anathema sit. Gal. i. 8.

Two religions confront each other; we are in a dramatic situation and it is impossible to avoid a choice, but the choice is not between obedience and disobedience. What is suggested to us, what we are expressly invited to do, what we are persecuted for not doing, is to choose an appearance of obedience. But even the Holy Father cannot ask us to abandon our faith.

We therefore choose to keep it and we cannot be mistaken in clinging to what the Church has taught for two thousand years. The crisis is profound, cleverly organized and directed, and by this token one can truly believe that the mastermind is not a man but Satan himself. For it is a master-stroke of Satan to get Catholics to disobey the whole of Tradition in the name of obedience. A typical example is furnished by the “aggiornamento” of the religious societies. By obedience, monks and nuns are made to disobey the laws and constitutions of their founders, which they swore to observe when they made their profession. Obedience in this case should have been a categorical refusal. Even legitimate authority cannot command a reprehensible and evil act. Nobody can oblige anyone to change his monastic vows into simple promises, just as nobody can make us become Protestants or modernists. St. Thomas Aquinas, to whom we must always refer, goes so far in the Summa Theologica as to ask whether the “fraternal correction” prescribed by Our Lord can be exercised towards our superiors. After having made all the appropriate distinctions he replies: “One can exercise fraternal correction towards superiors when it is a matter of faith.”

If we were more resolute on this subject, we would avoid coming to the point of gradually absorbing heresies. At the beginning of the sixteenth century the English underwent an experience of the kind we are living through, but with the difference that it began with a schism. In all other respects the similarities are astonishing and should give us cause to ponder. The new religion which was to take the name “Anglicanism” started with an attack on the Mass, personal confession and priestly celibacy. Henry VIII, although he had taken the enormous responsibility of separating his people from Rome, rejected the suggestions that were put to him, but a year after his death a statute authorized the use of English for the celebration of the Mass. Processions were forbidden and a new order of service was imposed, the “Communion Service” in which there was no longer an Offertory. To reassure Christians another statute forbade all sorts of changes, whereas a third allowed priests to get rid of the statues of the saints and of the Blessed Virgin in the churches. Venerable works of art were sold to traders, just as today they go to antique dealers and flea markets.

Only a few bishops pointed out that the Communion Service infringed the dogma of the Real Presence by saying that Our Lord gives us His Body and Blood spiritually. The Confiteor, translated into the vernacular,  was recited at the same time by the celebrant and the faithful and served as an absolution. The Mass was transformed into a meal or Communion. But even clear-headed bishops eventually accepted the new Prayer Book in order to maintain peace and unity. It is for exactly the same reasons that the post-Conciliar Church wants to impose on us the Novus Ordo. The English bishops in the Sixteenth Century affirmed that the Mass was a “memorial!” A sustained propaganda introduced Lutheran views into the minds of the faithful. Preachers had to be approved by the Government.

During the same period the Pope was only referred to as the “Bishop of Rome.” He was no longer the father but the brother of the other bishops and in this instance, the brother of the King of England who had made himself head of the national church. Cranmer’s Prayer Book was composed by mixing parts of the Greek liturgy with parts of Luther’s liturgy. How can we not be reminded of Mgr. Bugnini drawing up the so-called Mass of Paul VI, with the collaboration of six Protestant “observers” attached as experts to the Consilium for the reform of the liturgy? The Prayer Book begins with these words, “The Supper and Holy Communion, commonly called Mass…,” which foreshadows the notorious Article 7 of the Institutio Generalis of the New Missal, revived by the Lourdes Eucharistic Congress in 1981: “The Supper of the Lord, otherwise called the Mass.” The destruction of the sacred, to which I have already referred, also formed part of the Anglican reform. The words of the Canon were required to be spoken in a loud voice, as happens in the “Eucharists” of the present day.

The Prayer Book was also approved by the bishops “to preserve the internal unity of the Kingdom.” Priests who continued to say the “Old Mass” incurred penalties ranging from loss of income to removal pure and simple, with life imprisonment for further offences. We have to be grateful that these days they do not put traditionalist priests in prison.

Tudor England, led by its pastors, slid into heresy without realizing it, by accepting change under the pretext of adapting to the historical circumstances of the time. Today the whole of Christendom is in danger of taking the same road. Have you thought that even if we who are of a certain age run a smaller risk, children and younger seminarians brought up in new catechisms, experimental psychology and sociology, without a trace of dogmatic or moral theology, canon law or Church history, are educated in a faith which is not the true one and take for granted the new Protestant notions with which they are indoctrinated? What will tomorrow’s religion be if we do not resist?

You will be tempted to say: “But what can we do about it? It is a bishop who says this or that. Look, this document comes from the Catechetical Commission or some other official commission.”

That way there is nothing left for you but to lose your faith. But you do not have the right to react in that way. St. Paul has warned us: “Even if an angel from Heaven came to tell you anything other than what I have taught you, do not listen to him.”

Such is the secret of true obedience.

— Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s An Open Letter to Confused Catholics.

I Have the Humility

Francis, Bishop of Rome.

Vatican II, inspired by Pope John and Paul VI, decided to look to the future with a modern spirit and to open to modern culture. The council fathers knew that opening to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with nonbelievers. After then, very little was done in that direction. I have the humility and the ambition to want to do it.

Pope Francis (or as he prefers, Bishop of Rome) in another “off-the-cuff,” 4,500-word interview with the atheist founder of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Eugenio Scalfari, as quoted by Sandro Magister.

* * *

Humility? Really? What unmitigated gall! Spare us, Holy Father.

Pray for our ever-so-humble Presiding Bishop of Rome!

* * *

V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco.

R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

Oremus.

Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Franciscum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Romana Ecclesia a Solo Domino Sit Fundata

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City.
St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City.
  1. That the Roman church was founded by God alone.
  2. That the Roman pontiff alone can with right be called universal.
  3. That he alone can depose or reinstate bishops.
  4. That, in a council his legate, even if a lower grade, is above all bishops, and can pass sentence of deposition against them.
  5. That the pope may depose the absent.
  6. That, among other things, we ought not to remain in the same house with those excommunicated by him.
  7. That for him alone is it lawful, according to the needs of the time, to make new laws, to assemble together new congregations, to make an abbey of a canonry; and, on the other hand, to divide a rich bishopric and unite the poor ones.
  8. That he alone may use the imperial insignia.
  9. That of the pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet.
  10. That his name alone shall be spoken in the churches.
  11. That this title [Pope] is unique in the world.
  12. That it may be permitted to him to depose emperors.
  13. That he may be permitted to transfer bishops if need be.
  14. That he has power to ordain a clerk of any church he may wish.
  15. That he who is ordained by him may preside over another church, but may not hold a subordinate position; and that such a one may not receive a higher grade from any bishop.
  16. That no synod shall be called a general one without his order.
  17. That no chapter and no book shall be considered canonical without his authority.
  18. That a sentence passed by him may be retracted by no one; and that he himself, alone of all, may retract it.
  19. That he himself may be judged by no one.
  20. That no one shall dare to condemn one who appeals to the apostolic chair.
  21. That to the latter should be referred the more important cases of every church.
  22. That the Roman church has never erred; nor will it err to all eternity, the Scripture bearing witness.
  23. That the Roman pontiff, if he have been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly made a saint by the merits of St. Peter; St. Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, bearing witness, and many holy fathers agreeing with him. As is contained in the decrees of St. Symmachus the pope.
  24. That, by his command and consent, it may be lawful for subordinates to bring accusations.
  25. That he may depose and reinstate bishops without assembling a synod.
  26. That he who is not at peace with the Roman church shall not be considered catholic.
  27. That he may absolve subjects from their fealty to wicked men.

Dictatus papæ, included in the register of Pope Gregory VII under the year 1075; translated in Ernest F. Henderson, Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages, (London: George Bell and Sons, 1910), pp. 366-367.

Continue reading “Romana Ecclesia a Solo Domino Sit Fundata”

Habemus Papam!

St. Peter's Square and Rome from the Vatican Basilica.
St. Peter’s Square and Rome from the Vatican Basilica.

Deo gratias.

Tu Es Petrus (At Least for Another Week)

Today’s news of the pending “resignation”of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, is most distressing — not simply the notion that a pope would abdicate the throne, (though I seem to remember that St. Peter persevered to the bitter end on a Roman cross), but because of the practical ramifications of the Holy Father’s vision of the papacy as expressed in his surprise announcement in today’s consistory.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.

I take great issue with the pope’s idea that a “modern” pontiff need any special strengths more aptly suited to the circumstances of today’s Church than were perhaps necessary for his predecessors. I feel certain that the Holy Ghost need not impart any extraordinary modernist graces to today’s uniquely challenged popes. It has been reported, for example, that one of the factors in the Holy Father’s decision may have been his doctor’s advice to refrain from any further overseas trips.

It seems certain that the Holy Father’s health is deteriorating — perhaps very quickly. I of course pray for the health and long life of the Successor of St. Peter. I can not pretend to know why the Holy Father does not wish to occupy the papal throne until his death — which despite his many and deep personal flaws, his immediate predecessor Pope John Paul II did humbly with admirable grace, despite his very public illness and decline.

The duty of the Bishop of Rome is to govern the Universal Church as the vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, the God-Man Who emptied Himself — in extreme humiliation, openly before the whole world — to willingly suffer, become weak and ultimately, from a human perspective, powerless for the Redemption of His Church. Despite the egotistical and flamboyant escapades of his (rashly) blessed predecessor, Pope John Paul II, the Holy Father does not need to jet around the world headlining outdoor mega-masses that derive more inspiration from Woodstock and Lalapalooza than the Cenacle. Nor does a pope need to receive mariachi bands, trapeze artists, and children’s choirs in front of a cheering crowd in the Paul VI Audience Hall each Wednesday. In fact, he need not be seen at all. For well on nineteen hundred years, the vast majority of Catholics hadn’t the vaguest idea of what their pope looked like in person — and it neither impeded them in their faith nor the supreme pontiff in the exercise of his most dread office.

The reigns of Paul VI and John Paul II have deeply perverted the mission of the papacy, and Pope Benedict XVI has finally and fully acquiesced to this modernist vision of the Petrine Office. Will his successor have the courage to break from this mould or will the papacy descend further into the cesspool of collegiality, Curial bureaucracy, pastoral doublespeak, pathetic impotence, and ultimate irrelevance?

Let us all pray that the College of Cardinals will be open to the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and that the new pope will represent a return to the traditional role of the Successor of St. Peter in the Catholic Church.

Princeps Apostolorum

Statue of the saint in St. Peter's Square.
Statue of the saint in St. Peter’s Square.

Beatus Petrus, apostolus et princeps apostolorum, Antiochenus, filius Iohannis, prouinciae Gallileae, uico Bethsaida, frater Andreae, primum sedit cathedram episcopatus in Antiochia annos VII. Hic Petrus ingressus in urbe Roma, Nerone Cæsare, ibique sedit cathedram episcopatus ann. XXV m. II d. III. Fuit autem temporibus Tiberii Cæsaris et Gaii et Tiberii Claudi et Neronis.

— Liber Pontificalis.