Presentation of Bishop Dom Thomas Aquinas O.S.B. (Part 2)

Presentation of Bishop Dom Thomas Aquinas O.S.B.  (Part 2)

( For part 1, click here )

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Father Thomas Aquinas followed the advice of Archbishop Lefebvre. On the 24th of August 1988, he drew up a solemn declaration in which he refused the agreement established between the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, through the intermediaries of Cardinals Ratzinger and Mayer, and Father Gerard Calvet, Prior of the Monastery of Saint Madeleine of Le Barroux.

« Our Monastery of the Holy Cross was included in the terms of the agreement which we have just refused, without us having been consulted on the matter, even though we were at Le Barroux during the negotiations, and our disagreement was known. Here are the motives of our refusal:

  1. The agreement indicates our insertion into and our practical engagement with the “Conciliar Church”.
  2. The agreement foresees our full reconciliation with the Apostolic See according to the terms of the Motu Propio “Ecclesia Dei”, a document which proclaimed the excommunication of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.  Now we never separated ourselves from the Apostolic See, and we will continue to profess a perfect union with the Chair of Peter.  We separate ourselves however from liberal and Modernist Rome which organises the Assisi meeting, and which praises Luther.   With this Rome we want no reconciliation.
  3. The agreement is founded on the Motu Proprio “Ecclesia Dei” which excommunicates Archbishop Lefebvre.  Therefore in taking part in this agreement we must recognise the injustice done to Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop Antonio Castro Mayer and the four new Bishops, whose excommunication was legally fully void.  We do not follow Archbishop Lefebvre or Bishop de Castro Mayer as our leaders.  We follow the Catholic Church.  But right now, these two confessors of the Faith have been the only bishops against the auto-demolition of the Church.  It is not possible for us to break with them. »

The next day, the 25th of August, Father Thomas Aquinas announced his decision to the monks and on the 26th sent the declaration to Dom Gerard and Cardinal Ratzinger.  The visit of Dom Gerard to the Monastery of the Holy Cross on the 1st and 2nd of September changed nothing of the decision and determination of Father Thomas Aquinas.  After a few hours only, which were very sorrowful, the prior of Le Barroux left the monastery of Brazil, with curses on his lips.

« After the consecrations, Archbishop Lefebvre continued to advise us with his paternal solicitude.  Not only were we helped by him, but also by Campos and more especially by Father Rifan. »

Ordained priest in 1974 by Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, the Bishop of Campos, Father Rifan became his secretary.  Here is the judgment of him by Father Thomas Aquinas:

« A leader of men, endowed with a lively intelligence, warm and easy to meet, and quick-witted, he had no trouble gaining the admiration and trust of all. »

Father Rifan, as well as Fathers Possidente and Athayde, accompanied Bishop de Castro Mayer to Ecône in 1988 on occasion of the consecrations.  Then at the moment of the crisis with Dom Gerard, Father Rifan gave considerable support to Father Thomas Aquinas, who recounts what happened afterwards:

« After the death of Bishop de Castro Mayer, an urgent question arose for the priests of Campos: who should replace Bishop de Castro Mayer? … Bishop de Castro Mayer, before dying, had indicated two names: Father Emmanuel Possidente and Father Licinio Rangel.  Father Rifan was not one of the preferences of Bishop De Castro Mayer.  This is interesting to note.  Father Rangel was chosen, Father Possidente having refused, even though he was the most appropriate for this job.  The consecration of Bishop Rangel took place in the town of Sao Fidelis, on the 28th of July 1991.

When the SSPX made contact with Rome after the Jubilee of 2000 and invited Campos to take part, it was Father Rifan who was chosen to represent Campos at these meetings.  The drama was about to start.  When the conditions put down by Rome appeared unacceptable to the SSPX, Campos, however preferred not to go backwards.  What is the responsibility of the parties in this affair?  It is difficult to establish.  What is certain, is that the man for the job, although obeying the orders of Bishop Rangel, was Father Rifan, the only spokesman present at Rome during the negotiations.  Father Rifan, we should note, for a certain time had contacts more and more frequent with the modernists, and was in the habit of obtaining permission to say the Mass of Saint Pius V with the adversary.  Although it was not necessarily an evil, it was, I believe, a bait which contributed to the fall of Father Rifan and of all the diocese.  Was it the simple contact with men imbued with modernism and liberalism which was the starting point for this fall?  The question is worth asking.

Bishop Rangel signed on the 18th of January 2002, an agreement with Rome in the cathedral of the town of Campos. … It was the death warrant for Tradition in CamposFather Rifan said : “It is not an agreement ; it is a recognition”.  He let it be understood by this that Rome recognized the merits of Tradition.  The faithful were disoriented and believed Father Rifan.  There was a cry of victory.

Bishop Rangel, struck by cancer, did not take long in leaving this life, and Father Rifan succeeded him as the head of the Apostolic Administration born out of the agreements with Rome.  Consecrated by Cardinal Hoyos, Bishop Rifan would quickly show himself as an indulterer par excellence.  Having become the friend of our enemies, he did the tour of the dioceses almost everywhere, embracing those who formerly he attacked with an energy which is not easily forgotten.  Having switched camps, he did not cease to give proofs of his giving himself to Rome.  As Abel Bonnard said “An indulterer is never enough of an indulterer”.  Authority of Vatican II, legitimacy of the New Mass, obligation of submitting to the “Living Magisterium” of the liberal Popes, condemnation of Archbishop Lefebvre ; all of this Bishop Rifan was obliged to approve of and proclaim.  He did so with an unfailing and ever growing assurance.  One could say that he did so with more zeal than most progressives…  Campos had now become a muted dog.  Rome, which knew well that it was going to end like this, had from now on nothing more to fear from these priests, who however had been formed in the school of one of the greatest bishops of the 20th century.  How can we explain this?  Without wanting to penetrate the depths of hearts and to go beyond what the facts tell us, I think that it is certain that contact with the authorities who do not profess the fullness of the Faith can only but lead little by little those who submit to them to share their ideas and way of doing things.  Archbishop Lefebvre had sufficiently warned Dom Gerard about this.  With Rome you do not do what you want, but what Rome wants.  Dom Gerard did not take this into account; Bishop Rifan even less so.

But it was from the diocese itself that the reaction came.  The faithful, all the same, came to realise with time that something was in the process of changing.  They called on us, and Father Antonio-Maria OSB went to say a Mass in the countryside, in a farm which has the beautiful name of Sante Fé (Holy Faith) … Bishop Rifan couldn’t get anything from these brave country-folk who now, on great feasts number more than 250 in a little church which they built themselves, and where only the priests of Tradition are let in…

Bishop Rifan concelebrates these days with the progressive bishops and says that to refuse systematically to say the New Mass is a schismatic attitude.  This is what we call betrayal, that is to say the action of ceasing to be faithful to something or someone; as it happens: [ceasing to be faithful] to Our Lord Jesus Christ.  We can see it.  It is true that many will deny it, but is it not true that to accept Vatican II is to betray Christ the King?   We can also apply to him this other definition of betrayal: crime of a person who goes over to the enemy.  This is also the case.  Everybody can see it.  May God preserve us from doing the same, we who, by our weakness, can fall even lower.  These days Bishop Rifan is the friend of those who condemned Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer.  He speaks now of Blessed John XXIII, of Blessed John Paul II.  In these difficult times in which Tradition finds itself, may these examples help us to not commit the same errors.  The enemy is cunning.  They know how to strike and where to strike.  Let us be docile to the warnings of our elders.  Let’s listen to the voice of the great masters, starting with Archbishop Lefebvre.  Let’s not listen to, on the other hand, those who would lead us there from where it would be difficult to get out afterwards. »

If Father Thomas Aquinas was the clear-sighted sentinel who foresaw before others the fall of Le Barroux and Campos, he rose up equally early against the cozying up of the SSPX to neo-modernist Rome in the 2000’s.  He was under no illusion about the pontificate of the pontificate of Benedict XVI:

« The same causes produces the same effects.  If Benedict XVI beatifies him who excommunicated Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro de Mayer, if he celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Assisi meeting, if he defends the Second Vatican Council (by saying that it is in line with Church Tradition), then the evils which we have seen during the pontificate of John-Paul II will happen again with Benedict XVI.  As long as liberal Rome dominates Eternal Rome, as long as the greatest catastrophe of the history of the Church since her foundation, Vatican II, continues to be the privileged yard stick of the bishops, the cardinals and the Holy Father, there won’t be a solution.

*Objection:  “But Rome is in the process of changing (its attitudes, its’ thinking, etc.)”, say the defenders of agreements.

— Answer : How has Rome changed?

* Objection:  “Rome has allowed the Mass of all time and has lifted the excommunications”, respond the “accordists”.

— Answer :  But what does it serve to liberate the Mass of all time if Rome still permits the existence of the new one?  We read in the Old Testament that Abraham chased away the slave Agar and his son Ismael so that Isaac would not remain with the son of the slave…  The new Mass is Agar.  She has no rights.  She must be suppressed.  As for the lifting of the excommunications, what does that serve if we beatify him who meted them out?  While there was a certain benefit from these two acts, the liberation of the Mass (which was never banned) and the lifting of the excommunications (which were never valid), the spiritual benefit of each of these was compromised by the contradictory context in which they were brought about.  Either John-Paul II was right or Archbishop Lefebvre was.  The two cannot be right at the same time.  That is pure modernism.  As for the Mass, it is the same; If we permit the two Masses, the result is contradiction. It is the principle of dissolution.  A principle which corrupts the Catholic Faith.

* Objection:  “But”, insist the others, “little by little Benedict XVI is taking to the defense of Tradition.  He needs us.  He wants our help to combat modernism.”

— Answer:  Campos also thought like that.  But how would Benedict XVI be able to combat modernism, if he is himself a modernist?  He can combat certain modernists, but combat modernism, he cannot do until he stops being a modernist…

* What is then is the solution?

— Answer: The conversion of the Pope, the Roman Curia and the bishops, in a word, the conversion of the head.

* But how to obtain it?

— Answer: By praying and fighting.  God does not ask us for the victory, but rather the fight.  As Saint Joan of Arc said “In the name of God, let’s fight boldly and God will give the victory”, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. »

When Benedict XVI issued his Motu Proprio on the “extraordinary rite”, Father Thomas Aquinas refused to sing the Te Deum at Sunday Mass, as asked by Bishop Fellay to greet the papal document.

Furthermore, on the occasion of the alleged lifting of the alleged excommunications, Father Thomas Aquinas wrote a letter to Bishop Fellay in which he announced that he would not obey if an agreement with conciliar Rome took place.  Soon after, Bishop de Galarreta and Father Bouchacourt1 came to the monastery to tell Father Thomas Aquinas that he had fifteen days to leave Santa Cruz, otherwise the monastery would no longer receive any help or sacraments from the SSPX.  With Bishop Williamson’s spiritual assistance, Father Thomas Aquinas was able to stay at the monastery.  On 8 September 2012, he wrote:

« Unity must be based on the truth, that is to say on the Catholic Faith; and the words and attitudes of Bishop Fellay are unfortunately not those of a disciple of Archbishop Lefebvre who defended the truth without compromise. […]

Corçao 2 kept repeating that the false notion of charity and unity wreaked havoc in the Catholic resistance.  When charity is separated from the truth, charity ceases to be charity.  Many, even among his friends, accused him of lacking charity because of his articles.  But the first charity is to tell the truth.

Corçao was among those who were right, as the facts have shown.  The same accusation was made against Archbishop Lefebvre.

As for unity, Corcao said with humor that experience had taught him that contrary to the popular saying -‘unity is strength’- he found that unity is often weakness. Why ?  Because unity separated from the truth, unity based on concessions, unity to the detriment of faith, is a weakness that “makes the strong weak.”  Is it not precisely what happened at Vatican II? For the sake of unity with Paul VI, many bishops ended up signing unacceptable documents. That sort of unity does not make us strong, but quite the contrary.

Now, in Tradition they want us to agree at any price with those who believe that the Council’s mistakes are not so grave, with those who believe that 95% of the Council is acceptable, that Dignitatis Humanae’s freedom of religion is very limited, that we should not make super-heresies of the errors of the Council 3. But this is not the truth.  The Council was the greatest disaster in the history of the Church since its foundation, as Archbishop Lefebvre said in his book, “They have uncrowned him”. […]

Let them say what they want.  There is a problem, and it is a problem of faith and it is serious.  As for us, we have taken our stand: we support the defenders of the faith as did Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, St. Pius X and the whole tradition of the Church. If we have to suffer because of it, we will suffer, as our Lord warned us: “Whoever wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3, 12).

As for the Society, we consider it a providential work founded by a bishop who rose to the highest degree of heroism in the most difficult virtues, which are those for which God created the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of God. We consider Archbishop Lefebvre as a light that shines in the darkness of the modern world, and the Society is his work and his heir, provided it remains faithful to the grace received. We pray for it and we do not oppose Bishop Fellay’s policy out of a hostile desire against the Society, but out of love for her and Bishop Fellay, as we love Holy Church, and for the love of it we fight liberalism and modernism; its enemies who have settled within her.  God bless and keep the SSPX, to which I owe the best of what I have received, both as concerns the faith and the priesthood that I received from the hands of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. »

On 7 January 2014, Father Thomas Aquinas co-signed an “appeal to the faithful4“, a paper written by forty priests, members or former members of the SSPX, and several other priests friendly to it.  The authors of the appeal wanted to bear witness to their strong and true commitment to the principles that guided Archbishop Lefebvre in the fight for the faith.

Then came the consecration of Bishop Faure by Bishop Williamson on 19 March 2015. In the Bulletin of the Holy Cross in August 2015, Father Thomas Aquinas asks: “But why consecrate a bishop in the current circumstances? “To answer this question he published in the same bulletin an article to inform the faithful:

« But what does Bishop Fellay want?  Is it fair to compare this to Dom Gerard?  Bishop Fellay wants a gradual rapprochement with Rome. Unlike Dom Gerard’s, the Society’s advance towards Rome is much slower, but the spirit that presides over both moves is the same.  Father Pflüger said that if the situation in Rome is abnormal, then ours, that of Tradition, is too : a canonical regularization is therefore necessary.  It was almost completed in 2012, but Providence prevented it […]  For Bishop Fellay the way forward seems clear: if Rome gives everything and asks for nothing, why refuse a regularization?  This ignores the consequences of placing oneself under the authority of the modernists who occupy Rome today.  It is to make the mistake of Dom Gerard again, of Campos and of so many others.

Even before possible agreements, action follows action, showing really a change in direction of the Society: the expulsion of Bishop Williamson [2012], delay of the ordination of Capuchin and Dominican priests and deacons in France [June 2012], threats to postpone indefinitely the ordinations of Bellaigue’s candidates, expulsion of several priests from the Society, decisions of the General Chapter of the Society in 2012 amending the decisions of the 2006 chapter, increasingly bold and liberal declarations from Fr. Pflüger [First Assistant of the SSPX], statement of Bishop Fellay mitigating the gravity of the conciliar document “Dignitatis Humanae” , doctrinal declaration by Bishop Fellay from 15 April 2012 rightly criticized by the very director of the seminary at Écône [at the beginning of the General Chapter of July 2012], the corrosive action of the GREC which united priests of the Society and progressive priests to promote a “necessary reconciliation” 5; the distancing of friendly communities such as the religious of Father Jahir Britto [Brazil], the Dominicans of Avrillé [France], the Santa Cruz Benedictines [Brazil], the Carmelites of Germany, expulsion of nuns from their religious community, not to mention the crisis of conscience of countless souls who suffer in silence. »

In this Bulletin of the Holy Cross in August 2015, Father Thomas Aquinas continued:

« It is with bishops and even with one bishop that what remains of Christianity can be rebuilt or preserved, hoping for the day Rome returns to Tradition and confirms the office of those who, through love of the Church, accepted the heavy cross of [becoming] bishops in such times of crisis as there have never been in history. »

After meeting Father Thomas Aquinas, a priest said to us one day: “I knew him to be a man of prayer, I now know him to be a fighting man. “

The above pages have shown above all the fighting man, the valiant defender of the Faith, the intrepid sentry who watches day and night so that the citadel is not besieged, the worthy heir and spiritual son of Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer.  We have not mentioned the faithful disciple of St. Benedict, the contemplative monk, the director of souls, which are the secret garden of God.  But without the man of prayer, we know that the fighting man cannot exist.

For love of the Church and of souls, Father Thomas Aquinas agreed to receive, on 19 March 2016, the heavy cross of the episcopate.  In the Bulletin of the Holy Cross in June 2014 he wrote:

« We set off again for battle like Archbishop Lefebvre, always cheerful amid the worst difficulties. Let us imitate those who came before us and although we are not many, let us remember the vision the prophet Elisha was favored with, who had asked the Lord to show his servant that those who were with him were stronger and more numerous than those who were against him:

“And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (Kings IV, VI, 16).

It will be the same for us if we remain faithful to the teaching and directives of the one thanks to whom the gates of hell have not prevailed. »

 

- A worshipper

On the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, March 7, 2016.


 

Here is the « Appeal to the faithful » co-signed by Fr Thomas Aquinas with 40 priests and religious, year 2014.

**APPEAL TO THE FAITHFUL**

Faithful to the heritage of Abp. Marcel Lefebvre and in particular to his memorable Declaration of the 21st November 1974, “we adhere with all our heart, with all our soul, to Catholic Rome, guardian of the Catholic faith and the necessary conditions to maintain this faith, to eternal Rome mistress of wisdom and truth.”

According to the example of this great prelate, intrepid defender of the of the Church and the Apostolic See, “we refuse on the contrary and have always refused to follow neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant Rome which clearly manifested itself at the Second Vatican Council and after the council, in all the reforms and orientations which followed it.”

Since the year 2000 and in particular from 2012 the authorities of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X have taken the opposite direction of aligning themselves with modernist Rome.

The Doctrinal Declaration of the 15th April 2012, followed by the exclusion of a bishop and numerous priests and confirmed by the condemnation of the book, “Monseigneur Lefebvre, Our Relations with Rome”, all that shows the pertinacity in this direction which leads to death.

No authority, even the highest in the hierarchy, can make us abandon or diminish our Catholic Faith clearly expressed by the Magisterium of the Church for twenty centuries.”

Under the protection of Our Lady Guardian of the Faith, we intend to follow operation survival begun by Abp. Lefebvre.

In consequence, in these tragic circumstances in which we find ourselves, we put our priesthood at the disposal of all those who want to remain faithful in the combat for the Faith.

This is why from now on, we are committed to respond to the demands which will be made on us, to sustain your families in their educational duties, to offer the priestly formation to young men who desire it, to safeguard the Mass, the sacraments and the doctrinal formation, everywhere we are required to do so.

As for you, we exhort you to be zealous apostles for the reign of Christ the King and Mary our Queen.

Long Live Christ our King!

Our Lady Guardian of the Faith, protect us!

Saint Pius X, pray for us!

The 7th January 2014

Presentation of Bishop Dom Thomas Aquinas O.S.B. (Part 1)

Presentation of Bishop Dom Thomas Aquinas O.S.B.  (Part 1)

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Miguel Ferreira da Costa (the future Father Thomas Aquinas) was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1954.  He subsequently lived in Volta Redonda, where his father worked in an important steel factory, until 1962, when his family came back to Rio.  After his instruction at St. Benedict’s College in Rio de Janeiro, he started his studies in law.

Around the age of 13 he attended one of the weekly conferences given voluntarily by the anti-modernist writer Gustavo Corção to a little group of faithful, desiring to better know the treasures of the Catholic faith:

“I came back during 7 years, encouraged by my mother who barely missed any of these conferences.  My father always attended them when his work allowed him to.  It’s in that occasion that I had the chance to know Mr. Julio Fleichman and his wife, etc.1.” 

The young Miguel Ferreira da Costa went to see Gustavo Corção in 1972, to open his heart about his vocation and to ask him to which seminary he should go.  At this time, Gustavo Corção did not yet know Archbishop Lefebvre:

«”Tell you where to go?”, answered Gustavo Corção, “I can’t.  What I can tell you is where not to go.  You’ll have a hard time finding where they don’t teach fooly things […]”   It’s then that Mrs Pierotti, Corção’s secretary, spoke to me about Archbishop Lefebvre and Ecône: «If you were my son, that’s where I would send you».

Miguel Ferreira da Costa wrote to Archbishop Lefebvre who addressed him to the seminary of Bishop de Castro Mayer in Campos, a city in the State of Rio de Janeiro.  He went there, but he was discouraged by the influence of the TFP movement (“Tradition, Family, Property”) in the seminary.  Then, he heard about the priory that Dom Gérard founded in Bédoin, Provence (France), at the foot of Mount Ventoux.  Gustavo Corção told him: «Go there. If it’s not good, come back.»

“Without realizing it, he had made a prophecy, because that’s how this adventure was going to finish, through ways ordained “mightly and softly” by Divine Providence.  In the meantime, Dom Gérard wrote that he accepted me.  From Ecône arrived a letter too. The director of the seminary, the canon Berthod, opened his doors too.  To make a long story short, I went to Dom Gérard, which was not the best choice.”

Miguel Ferreira da Costa arrived in France in May 1974, in the little Provencal monastery of Bédoin, where Dom Gérard Calvet was following the traditional Benedictine monastic life since 1971.  On October 2, he received the religious habit along with the religious name of Thomas Aquinas, and started his novitiate.  On the occasion of his vows in 1976, Gustavo Corção came to the monastery to attend to the ceremony.  At that time Dom Gérard and the monks were united in heart and thought with Archbishop Lefebvre who gave the Holy Orders to the monks of the monastery.  In 1980, after his ordination in Ecône, Father Thomas Aquinas and the monks moved to the Barroux, leaving with sorrow, Bédoin, which had become too small.

Despite the enthusiasm which reigned at the monastery, Father Thomas Aquinas perceived a lack of philosophical and theological formation of the monks:

“There was already something very disturbing which explains, in my opinion, the drift which our community would have come to know some years later. […]  The formation given in Bédoin, when I arrived and until my ordination, was pretty informal.  Dom Gérard, it’s true, invited a few devoted and learned religious who came to give us some courses.

[…] But these conferences and even these courses didn’t form a structured whole, capable of giving us a true and solid formation. The courses, anyway, weren’t given in the correct order and, for the most part, they remained unfinished.  Dom Gérard then improvised the role of professor to teach us some treatises […] but in a too summarized way, sadly. He also asked the monks to give each other some of the courses when we weren’t yet capable enough to do so.  There were too few classes per week and the exams were very rare.  And so, many subjects were more or less unknown or misunderstood by the first generation of Bédoin. […]

Dom Gérard’s way of going about things was more artistic than realistic.  According to him, St. Thomas had his system.  Other people had others.  This left a doubt on the true value of a purely scholastic formation and of its real necessity, as St. Pius X presents it in the encyclical Pascendi, and in the Code of Canon Law. […] As a result, all we knew about the scholastic method was its name; and for the Summa Theologica, we learned the conclusions without understanding the argumentation.  We contemplated from the outside the Church’s beautiful doctrinal edifice without truly penetrating in the interior, and if at times we entered a bit it was as lay men and not as professionals.  One may say that the role of monks is not to become theologians, that contemplatives don’t need a lot of knowledge in order to devote themselves to contemplation.  That could be true in some cases but, if we were destined to the priesthood, if we were monks and priests, if among us some were destined one day to teach, then, it can hardly be conceived not to be formed in the method of St. Thomas, according to the directives of the Holy See, most especially in the actual crisis. […]

Without falling into the excess of saying that in Bédoin and Barroux we were modernists, it’s certain that we didn’t have in Dom Gérard the same purity, vigilance and doctrinal assurance of Archbishop Lefebvre.  If we weren’t modernists, the environment which reigned there didn’t protect us enough against their doctrines nor against a certain liberalism.”

It’s in 1975 that Father Thomas Aquinas saw for the first time Archbishop Lefebvre, who came to Bédoin to give the minor orders to the brothers Jean de Belleville and Joseph Vannier:

“The homily of Archbishop Lefebvre impressed me by its serenity. It radiated peace, that peace which is the motto of the Benedictines, and which he seemed to have more than us all.”

Father Thomas Aquinas attended at the ordinations in Ecône in 1976, which were a prelude to the «hot summer».  However, it wasn’t until the year of study and rest which he passed at the seminary St. Pius X in Ecône in 1984-1985, that he had a personal contact with Archbishop Lefebvre:

“Taking advantage of the presence of Archbishop Lefebvre, I could see him often.  His paternal goodness made his conversations easy. […]  On March 12, 1985, Archbishop Lefebvre spoke to me about the question of an agreement with Rome.

I think Archbishop Lefebvre broached this topic because of Dom Gérard who, at that time, […] was trying to obtain the support of Archbishop Lefebvre for what he wanted to do.”

Thanks to the notes that he had the habit of writing up after each meeting, Father Thomas Aquinas reveals to us some enlightening words of Archbishop Lefebvre:

“Be subject to men who have not the fullness of the Catholic faith?  Submit to men who proclaim principles contrary to the principles of the Church?  Either we will be obliged to break with them once more and the situation will become worse than before or we will be lead imperceptibly to the lessening and to the loss of the faith.  There is also a third possibility.  A very difficult life because of frequent contact with men who do not have the Catholic faith, leading to the disorientation and to the decrease of the spirit of combat of the faithful.(..)  Our position, such as it is now, allows us to remain united in the faith.  All those who have wanted to compromise with the modernists have veered off course.  I think that we must not submit to them.  I am very distrustful.  I spend whole nights thinking about that.  It is not we who must sign something.  It is they who must sign something guaranteeing that they accept the doctrine of the Church.  They want our submission but they do not give us doctrine.”

Reverend Father Thomas Aquinas also noted that as early as 1984 or 85, Dom Gérard went to Rome to negotiate for the regularization of the monastery of Le Barroux:

He went to see Cardinal Ratzinger and came back dazzled by him. ²The Cardinal, he said, is someone with whom one can work.  Archbishop Lefebvre is too withdrawn.”   And he imitated the attitude of the Archbishop as someone sulking in his corner.  “Moreover it is not necessary that it be Archbishop Lefebvre who ordains our priests.  Another bishop can do it just as well, provided that it is with the old rite”.  We had cold shivers down our backs when we heard all that. (…)  At the end of 1986, I set off for Brazil with Father Joseph Vannier to look at a plot of land with a view to a new foundation.  I was rather relieved to be leaving Le Barroux where the atmosphere was becoming more and more oppressive.  You could feel that the monastery was on a slippery slope.

On May 3rd, 1987 the monastery of Santa Cruz was officially founded and Father Thomas Aquinas became the prior.  The monastery is situated near Nova Friburgo, a town situated in the north-central part of the State of Rio de Janeiro.  Relations between the new foundation and Le Barroux deteriorated rapidly as Dom Thomas Aquinas recounts:

“Next came the years of the foundation of Santa Cruz, during which time Archbishop Lefebvre helped us with his precious counsel.  My conscience was very disturbed because of the liturgical modifications introduced into the Mass by Dom Gérard.[…]  So I wrote to Archbishop Lefebvre who, although not approving Dom Gérard, advised me to maintain good relations with the monastery of Le Barroux in France.  But these good relations with our monastery in France were not going to last long.  Dom Gérard, after the consecrations, was to make an agreement which was going to put our monasteries under the authority of the modernists.”

Here is the judgment of Father Thomas Aquinas on Le Barroux and its founder:

“In this way Dom Gérard destroyed his work.  This work, despite its deficiencies, was for all that a beautiful work .  The offices were said there with much care, the monastic virtues were held in honour there and we had very good vocations which came to us from families who were truly Catholic and traditional.  Dom Gérard had wanted to form a traditional monastery but he lacked an in-depth understanding of the present crisis. Dom Gérard saw the necessity of keeping the Mass of all-time; of keeping the monastic observances but he did not see with sufficient clarity the dangers of modernism and liberalism.  The most profound aspect of the present crisis eluded him.  All that allows us to measure more accurately the value of Archbishop Lefebvre and his work.  It is the Archbishop who saw correctly, it is he who discerned the evil, it is he who understood all the gravity of the situation.  The Archbishop had a vision of faith, a vision which was theological in the most precise sense of the word.  This was lacking in Dom Gérard who, like Jean Madiran, saw the defection of the diocesan bishops rather than that of the conciliar Popes, alas.[…]  When the news of the agreements reached us, we were already expecting it.  At first we thought of leaving Santa Cruz and leaving everything for Dom Gérard and those who wanted to follow him2.

A letter from Archbishop Lefebvre made us change our minds and we kept Santa Cruz in the bosom of Tradition.  […]  Dom Gérard, when he came to Brazil, had to leave again without obtaining what he was hoping for.  After these painful events we had no more contact with him.  On the other hand Archbishop Lefebvre became more and more what he is for all faithful Catholics, i.e. the faithful successor of the apostles who gave us the doctrine and the sacraments of Our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of our souls.  To him we owe our eternal gratitude.

August 18, 1988 Archbishop Lefebvre wrote a letter to Father Thomas Aquinas in which he said:

“ How much I regretted that you had left before the events at Le Barroux3.  It would have been easier to consider the situation provoked by Dom Gérard’s disastrous decision. […]  Dom Gérard, in his declaration, reports what is given to him and accepts putting himself under obedience to modernist Rome, which remains fundamentally anti-traditional, which was the cause of my estrangement.  At the same time he would like to keep the friendship and support of traditionalists, which is inconceivable.  He accuses us of “ resistance-ism”.  Yet I warned him. But his decision was taken a long time ago and he no longer wanted to listen to reason.  From now on the consequences are inescapable.  We will have no further links with Le Barroux and we will warn all our faithful to no longer support a work which is now in the hands of our enemies, the enemies of Our Lord and His universal Reign.

The Benedictine sisters are in anguish.  They came to see me.  I advised them what I advise you also: keep your liberty and refuse all links with this modernist Rome.  Dom Gérard uses all the arguments to lull the resisters. […]  You should have a meeting with Fathers Laurent and the Argentinian Father John of the Cross as well as with the novices.  With the three of you and the novices of Campos you can continue and constitute a monastery independent of Rome.  You must not hesitate to affirm this publicly.  God will bless you.  And you could then, after some time, set up a monastery again in France, you would be very well supported and would have vocations.  Dom Gérard has killed his own work.  Father Tam will tell you in person what I have not written.  I beg Our Lady to come to your aid in defence of the honour of her divine Son.  May God bless you and your monastery.”

(To be continued)


62 Reasons to reject the new mass (“Novus Ordo Missae”)

62 Reasons to Reject the new mass (“Novus Ordo Missae”)

 NOTES OF THE EDITOR :

1.  These 62 reasons have been written by the priests of Campos (Brazil) before they dangerously accepted a canonical recognition by the conciliar Church.

The new mass can be valid when it is celebrated by a priest validly ordained, saying the prayers of the consecration on bread and wine with the intention to perform what the holy Church intends to perform.  It is not always the case.

But these 62 reasons show that, even validly celebrated, the new mass cannot be said to be good by itself.   By itself, it doesn’t objectively honor God as He should be honored ; and having been made with six Protestant pastors, it is dangerous for the Faith.

What is not good in itself cannot bear good fruit by itself.  If sometimes there are good fruit, it is only accidental ; and it is not a reason to attend it actively.

2.  Note: all quotes followed by an asterisk * are from the Letter of Cardinals A. Ottaviani and A. Bacci to Pope Paul VI, dated September 25, 1969 enclosing “A Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae.”

1. Because the New Mass is not an unequivocal Profession of the Catholic Faith (which the traditional Mass is), it is ambiguous and with a Protestant flavor.  Therefore since we pray as we believe, it follows that we cannot pray with the New Mass in Protestant fashion and still believe as Catholics!

2. Because the changes were not just slight ones but actually “deal with a fundamental renovation … a total change … a new creation.” (Msgr. A. Bugnini, co-author of the New Mass)

3. Because the New Mass leads us to think “that truths … can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic Faith is bound forever.” *

4. Because the New Mass represents “a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent” which, in fixing the “canons,” provided an “insurmountable barrier to any heresy against the integrity of the Mystery.” *

5. Because the difference between the two is not simply one of mere detail or just modification of ceremony, but “all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place (in the New Mass), if it subsists at all.” *

6. Because “Recent reforms have amply demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment in the faithful who already show signs of uneasiness and lessening of Faith.”

7. Because in times of confusion such as now, we are guided by the words of our Lord: “By their fruits you shall know them.” Fruits of the New Mass are: 30% decrease in Sunday Mass attendance in U.S. (NY Times, 5/24/75), 43% decrease in France (Cardinal Marty), 50% decrease in Holland (NY Times, 1/5/76).

8. Because “amongst the best of the clergy the practical result (of the New Mass) is an agonizing crisis of conscience…”*

9. Because in less than seven years after the introduction of the New Mass, priests in the world decreased from 413,438 to 243,307 – almost 50%! (Holy See Statistics)

10. Because “The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition … do not seem to us sufficient.” *

11. Because the New Mass does not manifest Faith in the Real Presence of our Lord – the Traditional Mass manifests it unmistakably.

12. Because the New Mass confuses the REAL Presence of Christ in the Eucharist with His MYSTICAL Presence among us (proximating Protestant doctrine).

13. Because the New Mass blurs what ought to be a sharp difference between the HIERARCHIC Priesthood and the common priesthood of the people (as does Protestantism).

14. Because the New Mass favors the heretical theory that it is THE FAITH of the people and not THE WORDS OF THE PRIEST which makes Christ present in the Eucharist.

15. Because the insertion of the Lutheran :”Prayer of the Faithful” in the New Mass follows and puts forth the Protestant error that all the people are priests.

16. Because the New Mass does away with the Confiteor of the priest, makes it collective with the people, thus promoting Luther’s refusal to accept the Catholic teaching that the priest is judge, witness and intercessor with God.

17. Because the New Mass gives us to understand that the people concelebrate with the priest – which is against Catholic theology!

18. Because six Protestant ministers collaborated in making up the New Mass: George, Jasper, Shepherd, Kunneth, Smith and Thurian.

19. Because just as Luther did away with the Offertory – since it very clearly expressed the sacrificial, propitiatory character of the Mass – so also the inventors of the New Mass did away with it, reducing it to a simple Preparation of the Gifts.

20. Because enough Catholic theology has been removed that Protestants can, while keeping their antipathy for the True Roman Catholic Church, use the text of the New Mass without difficulty. Protestant Minister Thurian (co-consultor for the ‘New Mass’ project) said that a fruit of the New mass “will perhaps be that the non-Catholic communities will be ale to celebrate the Lord’s Supper using the same prayers as the Catholic Church.” (La Croix, 4/30/69)

21. Because the narrative manner of the Consecration in the New Mass infers that it is only a memorial and not a true sacrifice (Protestant thesis)

22. Because by grave omissions, the New Mass leads us to believe that it is only a meal (Protestant doctrine) and not a sacrifice for the remission of sins (Catholic Doctrine).

23. Because the changes such as: table instead of altar; facing people instead of tabernacle; Communion in the hand, etc., emphasize Protestant doctrines (e.g., Mass is only a meal; priest only a president of the assembly; Eucharist is NOT the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, but merely a piece of bread, etc.)

24. Because Protestants themselves have said “the new Catholic Eucharistic prayers have abandoned the false (sic) perspective of sacrifice offered to God.” (La Croix, 12/10/69)

25. Because we are faced with the dilemma: either we become protestantized by worshipping with the New Mass, or else we preserve our Catholic Faith by adhering faithfully to the traditional Mass, the “Mass of All Time.”

26. Because the New Mass was made in accordance with the Protestant definition of the Mass: “The Lord’s Supper or Mass is a sacred synaxis or assembly of the people of God which gathers together under the presidency of the priest to celebrate the memorial of the Lord.” (Par. 7, Intro. to the New Missal, defining the New Mass, 4/6/69)

27. Because by means of ambiguity, the New Mass pretends to please Catholics while pleasing Protestants; thus it is “double-tongued” and offensive to God who abhors any kind of hypocrisy: “Cursed be … the double-tongued for they destroy the peace of many.” (Ecclesiasticus 28:13)

28. Because beautiful, familiar Catholic hymns which have inspired people for centuries, have been thrown out and replaced with new hymns strongly Protestant in sentiment, further deepening the already distinct impression that one is no longer attending a Catholic function.

29. Because the New Mass contains ambiguities subtly favoring heresy, which is more dangerous than if it were clearly heretical since a half-heresy half resembles the Truth!

30. Because Christ has only one Spouse, the Catholic Church, and her worship service cannot also serve religions that are at enmity with her.

31. Because the New Mass follows the format of Cranmer’s heretical Anglican Mass, and the methods used to promote it follow precisely the methods of the English heretics.

32. Because Holy Mother Church canonized numerous English Martyrs who were killed because they refused to participate in a Mass such as the New Mass!

33. Because Protestants who once converted to Catholicism are scandalized to see that the New Mass is the same as the one they attended as Protestants. One of them, Julien Green, asks: “Why did we convert?”

34. Because statistics show a great decrease in conversions to Catholicism following the use of the New Mass. Conversions, which were up to 100,000 a year in the U.S., have decreased to less than 10,000! And the number of people leaving the Church far exceeds those coming in.

35. Because the Traditional Mass has forged many saints. “Innumerable saints have been fed abundantly with the proper piety towards God by it …” (Pope Paul VI, Const. Apost. Missale Romanum)

36. Because the nature of the New Mass is such as to facilitate profanations of the Holy Eucharist, which occur with a frequency unheard of with the Traditional Mass.

37. Because the New Mass, despite appearances, conveys a New Faith, not the Catholic Faith. It conveys Modernism and follows exactly the tactics of Modernism, using vague terminology in order to insinuate and advance error.

38. Because by introducing optional variations, the New Mass undermines the unity of the liturgy, with each priest liable to deviate as he fancies under the guise of creativity. Disorder inevitably results, accompanied by lack of respect and irreverence.

39. Because many good Catholic theologians, canonists and priests do not accept the New Mass, and affirm that they are unable to celebrate it in good conscience.

40. Because the New Mass has eliminated such things as: genuflections (only three remain), purification of the priests fingers in the chalice, preservation from all profane contact of priest’s fingers after Consecration, sacred altar stone and relics, three altar clothes (reduced to one), all of which “only serve to emphasize how outrageously faith in the dogma of the Real Presence is implicitly repudiated.” *

41. Because the traditional Mass, enriched and matured by centuries of Sacred Tradition, was codified (not invented) by a Pope who was a saint, Pius V; whereas the New Mass was artificially fabricated by six Protestant ministers and Msgr. Annibale Bugnini suspect of being a Freemason.

42. Because the errors of the New Mass which are accentuated in the vernacular version are even present in the Latin text of the New Mass.

43. Because the New Mass, with its ambiguity and permissiveness, exposes us to the wrath of God by facilitating the risk of invalid consecrations: “Will priests of the near future who have not received the traditional formation, and who rely on the Novus Ordo Missae with the intention of ‘doing what the Church does,’ consecrate validly? One may be allowed to doubt it!” *

44. Because the abolition of the Traditional Mass recalls the prophecy of Daniel 8:12: “And he was given power against the perpetual sacrifice because of the sins of the people” and the observation of St. Alphonsus de Liguori that because the Mass is the best and most beautiful thing which exists in the Church here below, the devil has always tried by means of heretics to deprive us of it.

45. Because in places where the Traditional Mass is preserved, the Faith and fervor of the people are greater. Whereas the opposite is true where the New Mass reigns (Report on the Mass, Diocese of Campos, Roma, Buenos Aires #69, 8/81)

46. Because along with the New Mass goes also a new catechism, a new morality, new prayers, new Code of Canon law, new calendar, — in a word, a NEW CHURCH, a complete revolution from the old. “The liturgical reform … do not be deceived, this is where the revolution begins.” (Msgr. Dwyer, Archbishop of Birmingham, spokesman of Episcopal Synod)

47. Because the intrinsic beauty of the Traditional Mass attracts souls by itself; whereas the New Mass, lacking any attractiveness of its own, has to invent novelties and entertainment in order to appeal to the people.

48. Because the New mass embodies numerous errors condemned by Pope St. Pius V at the Council of Trent (Mass totally in vernacular, words of Consecration spoken aloud, etc. See Condemnation of Jansenist Synod of Pistoia), and errors condemned by Pope Pius XII (e.g., altar in form of table. See Mediator Dei).

49. Because the New Mass attempts to transform the Catholic Church into a new, ecumenical church embracing all ideologies and all religions – right and wrong, truth and error – a goal long dreamt of by the enemies of the Catholic Church.

50. Because the New Mass, in removing the salutations and final blessing when the priest celebrates alone, shows a denial of, and disbelief in the dogma of the Communion of Saints.

51. Because the altar and tabernacle are now separated, thus marking a division between Christ in His priest-and-Sacrifice-on-the-altar, from Christ in His Real Presence in the tabernacle, “two things which of their very nature, must remain together.” (Pius XII)

52. Because the New Mass no longer constitutes a vertical worship between God and man, but rather a horizontal worship between man and man.

53. Because the New Mass, although appearing to conform to the dispositions of Vatican Council II, in reality opposes its instructions, since the Council itself declared its desire to conserve and promote the Traditional Rite.

54. Because the Traditional Latin Mass of Pope St. Pius V has never been legally abrogated and therefore remains a true rite of the Roman Catholic Church by which the faithful may fulfill their Sunday obligation.

55. Because Pope St. Pius V granted a perpetual indult, valid “for always,” to celebrate the Traditional Mass freely, licitly, without scruple of conscience, punishment, sentence or censure (Papal Bull Quo Primum)

56. Because Pope Paul VI, when promulgating the New Mass, himself declared. “The rite … by itself is NOT a dogmatic definition …” (11/19/69)

57. Because Pope Paul VI, when asked by Cardinal Heenan of England, if he was abrogating or prohibiting the Tridentine Mass, answered: “It is not our intention to prohibit absolutely the Tridentine Mass.”

58. Because “In the Libera nos of the New Mass, the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles and all the Saints are no longer mentioned; her and their intercession thus no longer asked, even in time of peril.” *

59. Because in none of the three new Eucharistic Prayers (of the New Mass) is there any reference … to the state of suffering of those who have died, in none the possibility of a particular Memento, thus undermining faith in the redemptive nature of the Sacrifice. *

60. Because we recognize the Holy Father’s supreme authority in his universal government of Holy Mother Church, but we know that even this authority cannot impose upon us a practice which is so CLEARLY against the Faith: a Mass that is equivocal and favoring heresy and therefore disagreeable to God.

61. Because, as stated in Vatican Council I, the “Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter, that by His revelation they might make new doctrine, but that by His assistance they might inviolably keep and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of Faith delivered through the Apostles.” (Dnz 3070)

62. Because heresy, or whatever clearly favors heresy, cannot be a matter for obedience. Obedience is at the service of Faith and not Faith at the service of obedience! In this foregoing case then, “One must obey God before men.” (Acts 5:29)

The False Mercy of Pope Francis

The False Mercy of Pope Francis

by Alexandre Marie

Last April, by the bull of indiction Misericordiae Vultus, Francis announced an “extraordinary jubilee of mercy”.

This “Holy Year” opened on December 8th 2015 to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the second Vatican council.  This year of mercy, Francis explained, is meant to celebrate the triumph of Vatican II, the beginning of a new era in the history of the Church:

“The Church feels the need to keep this event alive.  It is then that a new stage in her history began.  The Council Fathers had strongly perceived, like a breath of the Holy Spirit, that it was necessary to talk about God to the men of their times in a more understandable way.  The walls which had enclosed the Church for too long like in a citadel having been flattened, the time had come to announce the Gospel in a renewed fashion.”

The “ walls” which used to protect the faith having been “flattened” by this “pastoral “ Council, Francis is trying to flatten those which still protect morality.  This was the work of the Bishops’ synod last October, very obviously also convened with a “pastoral“ goal to extend the reign of a false “mercy” destructive of the truth.

Let us recall just four facts which serve to illustrate the very particular fashion in which Francis understands “mercy”:

1) the notorious comment “Who am I to judge“ gay people?

2) the “ private” phone call to a woman “ married” to a divorced man, whom he advised to go to receive the sacraments in another parish

3) the call to the Spanish transsexual “woman” who told him of the “discrimination” “she“ was subjected to in her parish, and whom Francis invited to come to see him in a private audience in the company of her “fiancée” – at the expense of the Vatican if you please!

4) the washing of the feet of another transsexual “ woman” last Maundy Thursday – to whom to cap it all off Holy Communion was given.

In this perspective, Francis invites us to experience the opening up to “the existential peripheries” and to dare “novelty”:

“During this Holy Year, we will be able to have the experience of opening our hearts to those who live in the most different existential peripheries, which the modern world has often created in a dramatic fashion. […] Don’t let us fall into indifference which humiliates, into the habits which numb the soul and prevent us from discovering novelty, through destructive cynicism.”

The Church dreamed of by Francis must conform herself to the world, must allow herself to be molded by the “values” and “aspirations” of the world instead of trying to convert the world to Our Lord.

After having destroyed “the walls of the citadel”, the Church must come out of herself and breathe in the “ smell of humanity”, even at the risk of “getting hurt”.   At least the Church will be cured of her propensity for “self-reference”, freed from the “certainties” in which she entrenches herself and from the pretention of possessing “unique and absolute” truths.  The Church will no longer “proselytize”, she will not interfere in the spiritual life of people but will really be “at the service of people”.

How could faithful Catholics participate in such a “Holy Year” which is nothing but a charade destined to accelerate the process of the dissolution of Catholicism and to destroy the little that remains?  This “Holy Year“ has nothing holy about it, nor anything even remotely praiseworthy.   It is certainly not the work of the Holy Ghost.  [Editor:  for further information, please see our December 13, 2015 article entitled Should we participate in the ‘Year of Mercy’?  ]

(From Le Sel de la terre 94)

Friends and Benefactors Letter number 21, January 2016 – The Importance of Principles, Part II

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé

No. 21, January 2016

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Group photo with H. E. Bishop Faure and our three newly tonsured Brothers (see chronicle).

 

 

The Importance of Principles (Part II)

Maintaining Principles in the Modern World

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Escaping the seduction of false principles is especially difficult nowadays because these false principles are being taught to the youth beginning at elementary school (thanks to the pseudo-educational system), continually hammered out by the media, and largely accepted by the Conciliar Church:

“The battle is mainly a battle of doctrines. Your resistance, dear brothers, consists therefore in being firm in your minds against the seduction of false and misleading principles. […]  When I ask the wise [men] of this era to identify the worst hardship of modern society, they reply unanimously that mankind is becoming weak and soft.  This reply has even become cliché.  However, we must go further, and ask the ultimate question. […]  Where does this weakness come from?  Isn’t it the natural and inevitable consequence of doctrinal weakness, weakness in belief, and, to be more exact, weakness in the Faith?  After all, courage has no reason to exist if it isn’t at the service of a conviction.  The will is a blind faculty when it is not enlightened by the intellect.  One cannot walk with assurance in the darkness of night, nor even in merely dim daylight. […]  Dear brethren, today, more than ever, the primary strength of the wicked is the weakness of the good.  The core of Satan’s reign among us is the toning down of Christianity in Christians”  (Cardinal Pie. Panégyrique de Saint Émilien, November 8, 1859.  Note that Saint Pius X cited the last sentence of the above passage, in his sermon on December 13, 1908, when he beatified Saint Joan of Arc).

The Importance of Education, Especially in the Family

It is especially in the home that moral principles are acquired.  These principles are indelible when they are learned right from childhood – which is the reason why the Revolution constantly wages war against the family, in order to remove any obstacle to the spreading of its errors:

“Nowadays [in 1910!] we have become helpless witnesses to such acts which – if we were living in the ancient times of paganism – even the barbarians and savages would have violently opposed.  Everywhere in France, schools in which the young are taught to know, love, and adore God, are being closed by a government declaring openly that its goal is to establish a nation of atheists.  We are helpless to remedy the situation because we no longer have firm principles solidly established in our souls.  Instead, we have but vague and unstable ideas, incapable of giving us the strength and energy we need.  Why are our ideas unstable?  It is because the higher, fundamental principles have not at all been inculcated in the souls of children by parents, who, having been formed by these principles, have not transmitted them.  In a word, our families no longer have the sense of tradition.”   (Msgr. Henri Delassus. L’Esprit familial dans la maison, dans la Cité et dans l’État. Lille, France. Éditions Deslcée de Brouwer, 1910. pp. 147-148).

The Force of Principles

There is a force attached to the confession of the truth.  If we know good principles well, and if we count on the grace of Our Lord to make these principles known, there will always be men of good will to listen and understand:

“Today more than ever – and let it be understood rightly – society needs strong and consistent doctrines.  Even though ideas are falling apart everywhere, asserting the truth can still be done in society, provided that this assertion of truth be firm, substantial, and without compromise.  The exchanges between men are becoming more and more sterile; each one seems to hold on to a part of truth, without grasping the whole.  As in the early days of Christianity, it is necessary now that Christians attract the attention of all, by the unity of their principles and judgments.  They have nothing to borrow from this chaos of negations and endless experimentation that testify so eloquently to the powerlessness of modern society.  This society is only living off the rare remnants of the former Catholic civilization that the Revolution has not yet taken away and which God’s Mercy has preserved from destruction.  It is up to you, convinced Catholics, to show yourself as you are.  The world may fear you at first, but be convinced that it will come back to you.  However, if you try to flatter these men by using their language, you will amuse them only for a time.  In the next moment they will forget you because you have not made a serious impression on their minds.  They will see in you the image of themselves; and since they have no trust in themselves, they won’t have much more confidence in you.  There is a grace attached to the full and entire confession of the Faith.  This grace, according to Saint Paul, is the salvation of those who accomplish this confession; and experience shows that such a confession is also the salvation of those who witness it.  Be Catholic and nothing other than Catholic.”   (Dom Prosper Guéranger, O. S. B. Le Sens Chrétien de l’Histoire. The Christian Sense of History. Cited in Le Sel de la Terre: issue 22 – Fall 1997, p.196).

Community Chronicle

September 5th – 6th:  Fathers Innocent-Marie, Louis-Marie, Reginald and Terence, accompanied by a group of the high school boys, attend the yearly book fair at Chiré-en-Montreuil (the Publishing house which handles our Éditions du Sel).

September 7thStart of the school year for Saint Philomena Elementary School, and Saint Thomas Aquinas High School.  Among the extracurricular activities for the high school boys:  weekly study groups to give them a formation for the doctrinal, political and economic combats of tomorrow.  The number of volunteers having grown from last year, there are now three different groups, under the direction of Fathers Innocent-Marie, Reginald and Terence.

September 14th:  Start of the school year for our three clerical brothers.  On the same day, according to the Constitutions of our Order, the Regent of Studies (Fr. Emmanuel-Marie) and the Master of Novices (Fr. Marie-Dominique), renew their Tridentine Profession of Faith, the anti-modernist oath, and the oath to always hold firmly to the doctrine of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

September 26th:  “Our Lady of Fatima Youth Club” has its first meeting of the year, with Fathers Angelico and Hyacinthe-Marie.

October 3rd: Father Prior and Father Angelico represent the community at the official blessing by Bishop Faure of Saint Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort Seminary in nearby Avrillé.

October 16thEntry of our three new postulants:  Filip (Poland), Tiago (Brazil), and Maximilien (France).

mens' group photo-1

October 24th to 11th November:  Fathers Marie-Dominique and Angelico fly to the U.S. to preach two retreats with Father Zendejas on the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary.  In all, about 35 men and woman from all over the U.S. followed the retreats, and will now hopefully know how to get more out of their daily Rosary.  These retreats were also the occasion for five postulants to be received as novices in the Third Order.  For the Feast of Christ the King, the Fathers replaced Fr. Zendejas at his chapels in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.  Before returning to France, the Fathers made a small detour to Minnesota for Sunday Masses, and a few conferences.  A large number of faithful came out, despite the distance.  In each of the places visited, the zeal and fervor of the faithful was remarkable.

November 21st: Meeting for the preparation of next summer’s “John Vaquié Days” (yearly doctrinal session on the tactics of the enemies of the Church).  Three graduates from Saint Thomas Aquinas Boys’ school begin to take an active role in organizing this event, which gives us hope for the future!

December 1st:  As on every first and third Tuesday of the month, Fr. Angelico meets with a group of faithful in the Friary Library for the adult catechism class.  This year’s theme: Old Testament History.

December 8th:   Second annual Mass and candle-light Procession in the city of Angers, in honor of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.

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On the same day, Pope Francis inaugurated the “Year of Mercy” with a light show at the Vatican.  The show, jointly sponsored by the World Bank, had a “New Age” environmental theme, in conjunction with the Pope’s recent Encyclical on ecology.  We cannot participate in this “Jubilee”, whose sole purpose is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vatican II and the new humanistic religion it has ushered in.  For a more detailed refutation of those who advocate participating in the “Year of Mercy”, please go to <http://www.dominicansavrille.us/should-we-participate-in-the-jubilee-of-mercy/>

December 22nd:  Feast of the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary over the Order of Preachers.  Bishop Faure confers the ecclesiastical tonsure to our three clerical Brothers.

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Brothers Alain, Louis-Bertrand and Agostinho offer their candles to the Bishop as part of the ceremony.

December 25th: After the solemn ceremonies of the Dominican Christmas Liturgy*, the afternoon is reserved for the traditional Christmas recreation.  As each year, Christmas carols were sung in French, English, Portuguese, Polish and Flemish (the five most common mother tongues among the members of our very international community), but this year there was something new:  it’s the first year we were privileged with the presence of a Bishop (H.E. Faure)!

*The Dominican liturgy has conserved a few practices that have been abandoned in the Roman rite, for example, the beautiful sequence Laetabundus that is sung just before the Gospel.

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Should we participate in the Jubilee of Mercy?

Should we participate in the Jubilee of Mercy ?

 

A.   It would appear that we should participate in the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy:

1.  When the gates of mercy are made wide open, we must take advantage to receive it in abundance.   A Holy Year is a great grace for all the members of the Church.

2.  The Council of Trent “teaches and demands that the use of indulgences, which are greatly beneficial to Christian people and are approved by the authority of this saintly council, be maintained” (DS 1835); the code of Canon Law states: “All will give great importance to the said indulgences” (can 911).  It would be paradoxical to decide, just because we do not want to have anything to do with the failed council that was Vatican II, to dismiss a truth that was proclaimed by the Council of Trent, and encouraged by all that is Church tradition.

3.  According to St. Alphonse de Liguori: “To become a saint, it suffices to gain as many indulgences as possible”.

4.  Nobody risks his salvation by participating in the Jubilee of Mercy, unless one questions the power of the keys which are legitimately held by Francis.

5.  “Even though the remission of sins were to be done in a questionable way, the interested party would nonetheless gain the full indulgence” (Saint Thomas Aquinas, Suppl. Q.25 to 2, ad 1).

6.  For a circumstance to impact the Jubilee and denature it, it would have to become either the object of, or the specific goal of the Jubilee.  However, the conditions required to obtain the said indulgence are the traditional ones: visit to a Jubilee church, confession, communion, recitation of the Credo, and prayers for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff (such as the Our Father, or the prayer of the Jubilee).

7.   The joy of the Jubilee is not that one of rejoicing in the Vatican II council, but rather in the grace bestowed by the head of the Church who draws it from the treasure of the infinite merits of Christ and of all the saints.  The grace bestowed so abundantly will always be a reason to rejoice for those who are well disposed to receive it.

8.   Archbishop Lefebvre and the Ecône Seminary went to the great pilgrimage organized by Rome during the Holy Year of 1975.  So did the Society of Saint Pius X in 2000.  Yet in 1975 the Vatican had noted that the holy year “coincided with the tenth anniversary of the closing of the second ecumenical Council of the Vatican”, and the decree of the holy year 2000 noted that on the occasion of the entry to the new millennium, “one should return with a renewed fidelity to the teachings the Vatican II council”.

B. Counter arguments

This Jubilee is organized by the conciliar Church; now Archbishop Lefebvre wrote in his spiritual “testament” (Spiritual Itinerary with Saint Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica, 1990):

It is the strict duty of any priest wanting to remain catholic to separate himself from this conciliar Church, until the time it finds again the tradition of the Magisterium of the Church and of the Catholic Faith (…).”

C. Answer:

The morality of a human act is measured not only by its end, but also by the circumstances surrounding it (Summa Theologica-II q.18 a.3).  For example, carrying a pickax while going to one’s own field does not have the same moral sense as carrying the same pickax to a demonstration in front of Town Hall.

The Jubilee of the Year of Mercy is tainted by the following circumstances:

  • the date of the Jubilee has been chosen to celebrate the 50 years of the Council and
  • the “mercy” that Pope Francis advocates is a lax mercy which leads to sin.

Participation in the Jubilee cannot do away with these circumstances and therefore this participation is immoral.

Solutions to the above objections:  [Editor:  “Ad 1”, “Ad 2” are Latin shorthand for   “Response to point 1 above”, “Response to point 2 above”, etc.]

Ad 1.   Saint Hermenegilde refused to receive communion from the hands of an Arian bishop on Easter day, and for this reason he was put to death.  And yet there is nothing more sanctifying than Holy Communion, and Easter communion is obligatory under pain of mortal sin.  But in this case the circumstances made the act sinful: to receive the host from the hands of a heretic priest was a “communio in sacris” with a heretic.

Ad 2.   The objector is wrong in qualifying Vatican II as a “failed council”.  It is, on the contrary, a great success for the modernists who were able on this occasion to found their “Conciliar Church”.  To participate in this Jubilee would be to compromise with this pseudo-church as per the circumstances afore mentioned.  As for the indulgences, one can gain them in other ways than participating in the Jubilee: there are several ways to gain a plenary indulgence every day, for example by a half-hour of reading Holy Scripture or adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the recitation of the Rosary, the stations of the cross, etc.

Ad 3.  The objector does not give a reference from among the works of the Saint, but from a secondary source, which itself does not give any reference.  The oldest trace that we have found of this citation is in a book written to criticize indulgences1.  We would therefore allow ourselves to ask for a precise source to verify the authenticity of this phrase as well as its context.  Whatever the case may be, to become a saint, faith is needed to a heroic degree, and therefore avoidance of all equivocations in matters of Faith.

Ad 4.  We do not question the power of the pope, but we note that he uses it badly.  It is for this same reason that we refuse the new Mass, the new code of canon law, etc.

Ad 5.  The objector omitted, without due notice, part of the quote from Saint Thomas:  “If however, the remittance of punishment is done in an unreasonable way, so that for a pittance men would be turned away from works of penance, he [the one that confers the indulgence] sins in acting in such a way; the person in question does however gain the indulgence in its entirety”.    From this, one perceives that the unreasonable aspect considered by Saint Thomas is a simple disproportion between the penance required, and the indulgence accorded.  Here the gain of the indulgence is tied to the joy of Vatican II and to a false conception of the “mercy” of pope Francis, therefore being not only unreasonable but also immoral.

Ad 6.  The objector plays on the word “denatures”.  It is true that the Jubilee remains a Jubilee, the circumstances that make it bad do not change its nature of Jubilee.  But those circumstances do enter into the object that is being morally considered for they affect its morality.  The communion offered to St. Hermenegilde remained an Easter communion, but the circumstances made it sinful.

Ad 7.  Even if he who participates in the Jubilee does not have the (subjective) intention to rejoice in Vatican II, he participates in a Jubilee that has been objectively designed to rejoice in this Council.  One must therefore abstain from participation, unless one wants to be subjectivist.

Ad 8.  The Jubilees of 1975 and 2000 were ordinary Jubilees, as those regularly held every 25 years to celebrate the anniversaries of the Incarnation.  They were not therefore tied per se to the anniversary of the Council, or to a false conception of mercy.  The allusions to the Council mentioned by the objector remained secondary and did not affect the morality of the act of participation for he who would simply celebrate the anniversary of the Incarnation.

In 1975 the participation of Archbishop Lefebvre in the pilgrimage organized by the “Credo” association took place at a time when he was manifesting his opposition to conciliar Rome2.  There was therefore no ambiguity in this act.

We can ask ourselves if it was prudent to redo a pilgrimage to Rome in 2000.   For it is on this occasion that some contacts were taken up again with the purpose of an agreement with modernistic Rome, which ended with the fall of Campos the following year.  The SSPX tried to pull back, but the talks for an agreement continued and in 2012 the accord almost happened.  The communiqués that followed the Roman meeting of September 23, 2014, the one of Menzingen (“cordial meeting”), and that of the Vatican (“proceed by successive stages” … “towards resolving the difficulties” … “in the perspective of a full reconciliation”) were the point of departure towards a certain number of steps or stages and the participation in this Jubilee would be very clearly part of this process.


Satan’s master stroke (Part 2 of 2)

Satan’s master stroke (Part 2 of 2)

(Editorial of Le Sel de la terre 94, Autumn 2015)

(Continued)

4. Should we return to the old principle :

“No practical agreement without doctrinal agreement” ?

Today, under Pope Francis, it is no longer possible to argue for a supposed improvement in the situation in Rome, but this does not stop certain people from raising objections to a return to the “old principle”.  Here are some objections which are voiced and the responses which can be made to them:

Objection 1

Between “no practical agreement without doctrinal agreement” and “practical agreement without doctrinal agreement”, there is a middle way which is in conformity with the thought of Archbishop Lefebvre.

1st Response: The Devil fishes in troubled waters.  In a matter of such importance (since the Faith is in danger), we must be clear.

2nd Response:  The thought of Archbishop Lefebvre evolved with events.  The more Conciliar Rome showed itself to be stubborn in its adherence to Modernism, the more he took his distance.  After the failure of the negotiations, he took up a very clear position, which is the one we have explained above (i.e. in the first part of this article).  Those who today want to make a practical agreement with Rome while claiming to be faithful to Archbishop Lefebvre are obliged to suppose that Archbishop Lefebvre would have changed his mind.  It is more correct to think that Archbishop Lefebvre would, on the contrary, be even more wary of today’s Rome, because of the fact that it is even more Modernist than in 1988.

Objection 2.

But if the Pope grants us something (like the label of “Catholic Association” in Argentina, or even ordinary jurisdiction to confess validly and licitly during the Holy Year), without asking us for anything in exchange, then we are not going to refuse!  It binds us to nothing.

Response: “Timeo Daneos et dona ferentes”1, replies Virgil.  We should instead have the wisdom and prudence to at least recall that we remain separated by a wall – i.e. the wall which separates Catholic doctrine from Modernism.  Otherwise we could end up thinking that these little gifts are the proof that collaboration is possible2.

During the Communist persecutions, Catholics who wanted to resist chose rather the policy of never accepting anything from the Communists (see “Le piège des pains au jambon” by Rose Hu, in Sel de la Terre 61, Summer 2007, p. 703).

Objection 3.

By refusing to follow the Society of Saint Pius X, you are dividing Tradition, whereas it needs to be united vis-à-vis Rome, in order to be stronger.

1st Response: Our strength lies above all in the truth which we defend.  By “muting” this truth (by accepting a “practical agreement” with those who do not profess it), we lose our strength, just as Sampson lost his by allowing his hair to be cut.

2nd Response: Bishop de Galarreta had foreseen that if we continued down this path of a practical agreement, “many superiors and priests will have a legitimate problem of conscience and will oppose it4”.

3rd Response: Who causes division: the one who changes policy – without saying so clearly – or the one who does not want to change and simply explains why he does not want to change?

Objection 4.

But nothing has been signed!  So, we can keep the current situation, while waiting for a better Pope with whom we will be able to make an agreement.

Response:  Signing will be the end of the process.  But once you accept in principle to place yourself under the direct authority of Modernists, you are committing yourself to a process of rapprochement.  This is a process which is already well underway: in effect, since 2011, at least, there has been no serious condemnation of the errors and faults of Modernist Rome by the superior authority of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X.  Some underlings have been allowed to speak out, but even they less and less5.

Objection 5.

One cannot say, without further qualification, that principles – even practical ones – remain unchangeable.  As a result, you are exaggerating when you make of this principle an unchangeable rule6.

Response: It is true that prudence must take account of circumstances and that the application of the principles can vary.  Saint Thomas Aquinas (II-IIae, q. 49, a.2) shows that the practical syllogism of prudence contains a universal Major (a first proposition) and a particular Minor (a second proposition).

This Minor, which is the observation of a concrete fact, is changeable according to the circumstances.  But it is not a “principle” in the sense used here7.

The Major, however, is a principle, a general rule of action founded on human nature and therefore invariable:  it is in this sense that the word “principle” is used in the quotes of Cardinal Pie, Monseigneur Freppel, Fréderic Le Play, etc.:

Let us not hope to seize once more, by means of secret capitulations, that which Heaven itself refuses to give us.  The reign of expediency is over; the reign of principles is beginning (Cardinal Pie, First Pastoral Letter, 25 November 1849).

In a society which is everywhere collapsing, it seemed to me that the first thing to do was to straighten out ideas.  What is necessary is to concentrate on improving the fundamentals in light of the principles.  There is no other rule of reform than that of seeking what is true and confessing it, whatever may happen (Fréderic Le Play in 1865).

Let us know how to recognize that abandoning the principles is the real cause of our disasters (The Count de Chambord, 8 May 1871).

The greatest misfortune for any era or country is when truth is abandoned or diminished.  One can recover from anything else; one never recovers from sacrificing principles (Monseigneur Freppel, 19 January 1873).

It is clear that, for these distinguished minds, the principles of which they speak are not variable rules.

Conclusion: let us keep the “old principle”

Undoubtedly the principle “no canonical agreement before a doctrinal agreement” is not one of the very first principles of the Natural Law (like the Ten Commandments).  It is rather to be ranked amongst those common truths admitted by prudent people.

However, in the current circumstances, after more than 25 years’ experience of witnessing that those groups which have gone over to Conciliar Rome always end up abandoning the fight for the Faith, after observing that the situation in Rome, far from improving, is actually only worsening, it appears clearly that only the observation of this principle – left as a testament by Archbishop Lefebvre – will allow us to resist “Satan’s master stroke”.

Satan’s “master stroke” (Part 1 of 2)

Satan’s “master stroke”  (Part 1 of 2)

(Editorial of Le Sel de la terre 94, Autumn 2015)

1.  Satan Launches his “master stroke”

We know that Pope Paul VI spoke of the auto-destruction of the Church and of the smoke of Satan which had entered the Temple of God:

“The Church finds Herself in a time of anxiety, of self-criticism, we could even say of auto-destruction. It is akin to an interior upheaval, which is both acute and complex, and which no-one would have expected after the Council.”1

“Faced with the situation in the Church today, we have the impression that through some crack or fissure the smoke of Satan has entered into the Temple of God.  There are doubts, uncertainties, problems, anxiety, dissatisfaction, confrontation. The Church is no longer trusted. […] It was thought that after the Council the sun would have shone on the history of the Church.  But, instead of sun, we have had clouds, storms, darkness, searching, uncertainty. […] How was this able to happen?  An adversary power has intervened, whose name is the devil, this mysterious being to whom Saint Peter alludes in his letter.”2

Just as the High-Priest, Caiaphas, prophesied that it was necessary for Our Lord Jesus Christ to die in order to save His people3, but without understanding his prophecy, so Paul VI saw that the Church was auto-destructing via the action of Satan, but without understanding the process.

On 13 October 1974, the anniversary of the apparitions of Fatima, in a written work entitled “Satan’s Master stroke”, Archbishop Lefebvre described in a striking manner how the auto-destruction of the Church was happening.  Here are some extracts from that text:

“Satan’s master stroke will therefore be to spread the revolutionary principles introduced into the Church by the authority of the Church itself, placing this authority in a situation of incoherence and permanent contradiction; so long as this ambiguity has not been dispersed, disasters will multiply within the Church. […]  We must acknowledge that the trick has been well played and that Satan’s lie has been masterfully utilized.  The Church will destroy Herself through obedience.  […]  You must obey!  Whom or what must we obey?  We don’t know exactly.  Woe to the man who does not consent.  He thereby earns the right to be trampled under-foot, to be calumniated, to be deprived of everything which allowed him to live.  He is a heretic, a schismatic; let him die – that is all he deserves.”

“Satan has really succeeded in pulling off a master stroke: he is succeeding in having those who keep the Catholic Faith condemned by the very people who should be defending and propagating it. […]  Satan reigns through ambiguity and incoherence, which are his means of combat, and which deceive men of little Faith.  Satan’s master stroke, by which he is bringing about the auto-destruction of the Church, is therefore to use obedience in order to destroy the Faith: authority against Truth.“

2. Satan continues his “master stroke”

It is not only in the immediate aftermath of the Council that Satan used his master stroke.  He began all over again after the consecrations of 30 June 1988 in order to try to divide Tradition.  Here is how Dom Thomas Aquinas describes the scenario in the last Letter to the Friends of Santa Cruz Monastery:

“On June 30, 1988, after having prayed for a long time, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre consecrated four bishops so that Holy Church could continue Her mission.  This ceremony stirred up the predicted storm.  Rome thundered excommunication (invalid because Archbishop Lefebvre’s act was licit and necessary due to the situation in which the Church finds Herself) and the newspapers published the news with great gusto.However, Rome was not the only one to disapprove of these consecrations. Some within Tradition also opposed them: Dom Gérard Calvet, Prior of the Sainte Madeleine Monastery in Le Barroux, France, Jean Madiran, director of the Itinéraires magazine, Father Bisig4, and some others.  Dom Gérard said that it was necessary to remain within the visible perimeter of the Church.  In order to accomplish this, he regularized his canonical situation with Rome, abandoning Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, bringing with him the Benedictine nuns of the Annonciation Monastery in France.  He also tried to bring with him in his opposition to the 1988 consecrations the Brazilian foundation of Santa Cruz.

And what were his arguments?  They were subtle and threatened to undermine the monks of Santa Cruz:

You must obey me”, he said, “because this decision does not concern the Faith.  It is a prudential question.  You must obey me because of your vows”.

These are not his exact words, but that was the essence of his argument.  Dom Gérard had already declared:  “Rome is giving us everything and is asking nothing from us.  How could we refuse?”  He thus employed every means to convince his monks, the faithful and friendly priests: to disobey him would be a mortal sin, a sin against our vows.

What were we to say faced with such an argument?   “Our Faith is exposed to great risks by this agreement with Rome.  We cannot accept it”.

“You must come back to France”, Dom Gérard told me.  “There are fifty monks in the monastery to protect your Faith”.

Even though Dom Gérard said there was no risk for our Faith, even though Dom Gérard said that his decision was purely prudential, the truth was completely different.  Even though this decision was prudential, it had serious consequences for the Faith.  By submitting himself to authorities who were not professing the Catholic Faith in all its integrity, Dom Gérard was placing our monasteries in a situation whose harmfulness would be demonstrated over time:  the New Mass celebrated by monks, Religious Liberty defended by Father Basile, the departure of several monks as well as a new orientation for the whole monastery of Le Barroux.”

3. A means of resisting pointed out by Archbishop Lefebvre

Satan’s master stroke has been working well for about fifty years.  It is to be foreseen that the devil will continue using it.  How can we resist and not allow ourselves to be tricked by it?

Archbishop Lefebvre himself gives us some good advice.

First off, distinguish the two Romes:

“We can think that there is Rome and Rome: [on one hand,] there is the Rome which is eternal in Her Faith, Her Dogmas, Her concept of the Sacrifice of the Mass; [on the other hand,] there is the temporal Rome which is influenced by the ideas of the modern world, an influence which the Council itself did not escape.5

Then we must clearly manifest our refusal to follow neo-Modernist Rome. Some weeks after writing his text on “Satan’s master stroke”, in his famous Declaration of 21 November 1974, Archbishop Lefebvre returned to this distinction of the two Romes and explained his refusal to follow neo-Modernist Rome:

“We hold fast, with all our heart and with all our soul, to Catholic Rome, Guardian of the Catholic Faith and of the traditions necessary to preserve this Faith, to Eternal Rome, Mistress of wisdom and truth.

We refuse, on the other hand, and have always refused to follow the Rome of neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant tendencies which were clearly evident in the Second Vatican Council and, after the Council, in all the reforms which issued from it. “

In his Spiritual Journey6,“written for us in 1990, as his spiritual will and testament7”, Archbishop Lefebvre reaffirmed with force the necessity of breaking with neo-Modernist Rome, once more called “Conciliar church”:

“It is, therefore, a strict duty for every priest wanting to remain Catholic to separate himself from this Conciliar Church for as long as it does not rediscover the Tradition of the Church and of the Catholic Faith!”

As Archbishop Lefebvre also said: “it is the superiors who make the subjects8” and not the opposite. Whence the necessity of maintaining a respectful distance from the Modernist Roman authorities and of observing the principle which was that of the Society of Saint Pius X between 1998 and 2012: “No canonical agreement with Rome before a doctrinal agreement”.

This principle was bequeathed by Archbishop Lefebvre after the failure of the negotiations of 1988. Here, for example, are some extracts of the article entitled “À une reprise des colloques, je poserai mes conditions” (“If talks were renewed, I would lay down my conditions”), which appeared in Fideliter No. 66 of December 1988:

“I shall not accept being in the position where I was put during the dialogue. No more. I will place the discussion on the doctrinal level: “Do you agree with the great encyclicals of all the popes who preceded you? Do you agree with Quanta Cura of Pius IX, Immortale Dei and Libertas of Leo XIII, Pascendi Gregis of Pius X, Quas Primas of Pius XI, Humani Generis of Pius XII? Are you in full communion with these Popes and their teachings? Do you still accept the entire Anti-Modernist Oath? Are you in favor of the Social Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ? If you do not accept the doctrine of your predecessors, it is useless to talk! As long as you do not accept the correction of the Council, in consideration of the doctrine of these Popes, your predecessors, no dialogue is possible. It is useless.” Thus, the positions will be clear.”

This principle was repeated very many times by the authorities of the Society of Saint Pius X, notably by the Chapter of 2006:

“The contacts made from time to time [by the Society] with the authorities in Rome have no other purpose than to help them embrace once again that Tradition which the Church cannot repudiate without losing her identity. The purpose is not just to benefit the Society, nor to arrive at some merely practical impossible agreement. “

In 2008, Bishop Fellay judged, correctly, that this principle is based on the order of the nature of things:

“It is so clear for us that the issue of the Faith and of the spirit of Faith has priority over all that we cannot consider a practical solution before the first issue is safely resolved. […] Each day brings additional proofs that we must clarify to the maximum the underlying issues before taking one more step toward a canonical situation, which is not in itself displeasing to us. But this is a matter of following the order of the nature of things, and to start from the wrong end would unavoidably place us in an unbearable situation. We have daily proofs of this. What is at stake is nothing more nor less than our future existence.9

And yet, in March 2012 Bishop Fellay announced that he was abandoning this principle, because of the improvement in Rome since 200610, and this abandonment was supported by the General Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X in July 2012: the condition of an agreement on doctrine no longer figures amongst the six conditions laid down for a canonical recognition.11

Since then, despite many pleas, Bishop Fellay has refused to return to the old principle. Whence the troubles which Tradition has been experiencing for three years now.

(Continue to Part 2)

  1. Paul VI, Declaration of 7 December 1968. Source in French: Documentation Catholique, 5 January 1969, Column 12.
  2. Homily of Paul VI of 6/29/1972.   Source (in French): http://notredamedesneiges.-overblog. Text in Italian: http://www.vatican.va/… Strangely, it is not the text itself which is reproduced, but a “report”, which is undoubtedly the work of the Curia offices.
  3. “It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people”(John XI, 50).
  4. Founder of the Society of Saint Peter
  5. « Le coup de maître de Satan » (“Satan’s Masterstroke”), 13 October, 1974.
  6. Archbishop Lefebvre, Spiritual Journey, Angelus Press, 1991.
  7. Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais , sermon of 1 January, 2015.
  8. Fideliter, 70, p.6.
  9. Letter to Friends and Benefactors, No. 73, 23 October, 2008.
  10. “The Chapter in 2006 set forth a very clear line of conduct in matters concerning our situation with respect to Rome. We give priority to the Faith, without seeking for our part a practical solution BEFORE the doctrinal question is resolved. This is not a principle, but a line of conduct that should regulate our concrete action. […] If there were a change in the situation of the Church with respect to Tradition, then that might necessitate a corresponding modification of the conclusion. […] Now there is no doubt that since 2006 we have witnessed a development in the Church, an important and extremely interesting development, although it is not very visible. […] This requires that we take up a new position with respect to the official Church. […] This is the context in which it is advisable to ask the question about some form of recognition of the Society by the official Church. […] Our new friends in Rome declare that the impact of such recognition would be extremely powerful on the whole Church.” (Bishop Fellay, Cor Unum, 18 March, 2012).
  11. Sine qua non conditions to be laid down by the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X in the case of a canonical recognition: 1 Freedom to keep, to transmit and to teach the sane doctrine of the unchanging magisterium of the Church and of the unchangeable truth of Divine Tradition ; freedom to defend, to correct and to reprove, even in public, those responsible for the errors or novelties of modernism, of liberalism, of The Second Vatican Council and their consequences ; 2 Exclusive use of the liturgy of 1962. The retention of the sacramental practice that we have at the moment (including holy orders, confirmation and marriage) ; 3 The guarantee of at least one bishop. – Desirable conditions: 1 Our own ecclesiastical tribunals, in the first instance ; 2 Exemption of houses of The Society of St Pius X in respect of diocesan bishops ; 3 A Pontifical Commission in Rome for Tradition, dependent on the Pope, with a majority of members, and the presidency, from Tradition”. (Father Christian Thouvenot, Circular Letter to Superiors of 18 July 2012. French source: http://tradinews.blogspot.fr/2012/07)

On the Deposition of the Pope (Part 2 of 2)

ON THE DEPOSITION OF THE POPE  – continued  (Part 2 of 2)

Text of John of St. Thomas O.P.

Translated from the Latin and annotated by Fr. Pierre-Marie O.P. (Avrillé. France)

and published in Le Sel de la Terre [No. 90, Fall 2014]

Translated from French to English by Fr. Juan Carlos Ortiz


Response to the objections

It is easy to answer the objections of Bellarmine and Suárez against this view.

Objection 1. “A heretic is not a member, so cannot be head of the Church”

Bellarmine objected that the Apostle [St Paul] says that we must avoid the heretic after two admonitions, that is to say, after he clearly appears pertinacious, before any excommunication and sentence of a judge, as St. Jerome says in his commentary, for heretics separate themselves by the heresy itself (per se) from the Body of Christ.

And here is his reasoning:

  • A non-Christian cannot be Pope, for he who is not a member [of the Church] cannot be the head; now, a heretic is not a Christian, as commonly say the Fathers; thus, a manifest heretic cannot be Pope.
  • One cannot object that a character remains in him , because if he remained Pope because of a character, since it is indelible, it could never be deposed.  This is why the Fathers commonly teach that a heretic, because of heresy and regardless of excommunication, is deprived of any jurisdiction and power, as say St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose and St. Jerome.

Answer:  

I answer [to Bellarmine] that the heretic should be avoided after two admonitions legally made and with the Church’s authority, and not according to private judgment; indeed, a great confusion in the Church would follow , if it was allowed that the admonition is made by a private man, and that the manifestation of this heresy having been made without being declared by the Church and proclaimed to all, in order that they avoid the Pontiff, that all should be required to avoid; for a heresy of the Pope cannot be public for all the faithful on the report of a few, and this report, not being legal, does not require that all believe it and avoid the Pontiff; and therefore as the Church proclaims him legally elected by legally designating him for all, it is necessary that she deposes him by declaring and proclaiming him as a heretic to be avoided.

Therefore, we see that this has been practiced by the Church, when in the case of the deposition of the Pope, the cause itself was first addressed by the General Council before the Pope was declared “No Pope”, as we said above.  Therefore it is not because the Pope is a heretic, even publicly, that he will ipso facto cease to be Pope, before the declaration of the Church, and before she proclaims him as “to be avoided” by the faithful.

And when St. Jerome says that a heretic separates itself from the body of Christ, he does not exclude a judgment of the Church, especially in such a serious matter as the deposition of the Pope, but it indicates only the quality of the crime, which excludes per se from the Church, without any further sentence, at least from the moment he is declared [heretic] by the Church;  indeed, even if the crime of heresy separates itself (ex se) of the Church, however, in relation to us that separation is not understood as have been made (not intelligitur facto) without this statement.

It is the same thing from the reason added by Bellarmine.  A non-Christian who is such in itself AND in relation to us (quoad se et quoad nos) cannot be Pope;  however, if he is not in itself a Christian, because he has lost the faith, but if in relation to us he is not legally declared being infidel or heretic, as obvious as it may appear in a private judgment, he is still in relation to us (quoad nos) a member of the Church and therefore the head.   Accordingly, a judgment of the Church is required through which he is declared (proponatur) as being a non-Christian and to be avoided, and then he ceases in relation to us to be the Pope, consequently, previously he did not cease to be himself (etiam in se) [Pope], because all what he did was valid in itself.1


Objection 2. “The Church has no power over the conjunction of the Pontificate with the person.”

The points of this objection are these:

  • [a] The Church cannot have power over the conjunction of the pontificate with the person, unless you have power over the Papacy itself; indeed, when the Pope deposes a bishop he does nothing else than to destroy his conjunction with the episcopate, though he does not destroy the episcopate itself;  therefore, if the Church has power over the conjunction of the Pontificate with the person, consequently she has power over the Papacy and the person of the Pope.
  • [b] A confirmation of this argument is that the Pope is deposed against his will, therefore, he is punished by this deposition; but it belongs to the superior and to the judge to punish. Therefore, the Church who deposes or punishes through the punishment of deposition, has superiority over the Pope.
  • [c] Finally, one who has power over the united parties or their conjunction simply has power over the whole. Therefore, if the Church has power over the conjunction of the Pontificate with the person, she has simpliciter power over the Pope, which Cajetan denies.

Answer:

[a] We answer that it is not in the same manner that the Pontiff has power over the bishop when he deposes him, and the Church over the Pontiff: indeed, the Pontiff punishes the bishop as someone who is subjected to him, [the latter] being invested with a subordinated and dependent power, which [the former] can limit and restrict; and, although it does not remove the episcopate from the person [punished], nor destroys it, nevertheless he does it by the superiority he has over the person, including in this power which is subordinated to him.  That is why he really removes the power to [from] that person, and does not just remove that person from power.  On the contrary, the Church removes the Pontificate not by superiority over him, but by a power which is only ministerial and dispositive, in so far as she can induce a disposition incompatible with the Pontificate, as it was said.

[b] In response to the confirmation of the reasoning, the Pope is deposed against his will, in a ministerial and dispositive manner by the Church, [but] authoritatively by Christ the Lord, so that through him, and not by Church, he is properly said punished.

[c]  Regarding the latter reason, he who has power over the conjunction of the parties has power over the whole simpliciter, unless his power over the conjunction is ministerial and dispositive; we must distinguish between

  • physical realities when the dispositions have a natural connection to the very being of the whole, so that when the agent realizes the combination producing the dispositions binding the parties, it produces the whole simpliciter;
  • and moral realities, in which the disposition made by the agent has only a moral connection with the form, in relation to a free institution, so that he who does the disposition is not supposed to do the whole simpliciter;  for example, when the Pontiff grants to anyone the power to designate a place to be favored to gain indulgences, or remove indulgences by saying that the place is not privileged anymore, that designation or declaration removes or grants indulgences, not with authority and principaliter, but only ministerially.”

[End of John of St. Thomas’s text]



Some thoughts as a conclusion

The main argument of sedevacantists concluding on the vacancy of the Apostolic See is “the theological argument of the heresy of the Pope,” namely of a Pope who becomes a heretic loses the Pontificate.

In the “Small Catechism on Sedevacantism” (Le Sel de la terre 79, p. 40), Dominicus explained that this argument cannot conclude, on the one side because it would be necessary to prove the formal and manifest heresy of the Pope, on the other, because a judgment of the Church stating that heresy would be necessary.

The text of John of St. Thomas develops this second point: the need for a judgment of the Church for the deposition of a heretical pope.

But at the same time, it shows the difficulty of such a judgment in the present circumstances of the Church.  Indeed, it is easy to see that the vast majority of bishops share the Pope’s ideas about false ecumenism, false religious freedom, etc.  It is therefore impossible to imagine in the current circumstances, a judgment of a General Council which would declare the heresy of Pope Francis.

Humanly speaking we see the situation is hopeless.  We must wait that the Providence, in one way or another, shows the way to overcome this impasse.  Meanwhile, it is prudent to maintain the position of Archbishop Lefebvre and pray for the Pope, while resisting his “heresies”.


Annexes

Here we give some other texts from Thomist authors who share the view of Cajetan and John of St. ThomasBáñez, the Carmelites of Salamanca, Billuart and Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange.

Báñez

Domingo (Dominicus) Báñez or Bannez O.P. (1528-1604) is one of the greatest theologians of the 16th century, the golden age of Theology in Spain (with Francisco de Vitoria, Domingo de Soto, Melchior Cano, Bartholomew Medina and Pedro de Sotomayor).

Báñez is regarded, rightly, as one of the most profound and safest commentators of the doctrine of St. Thomas. His style is clear, sober and nervous, without darkness or false elegance.  His erudition is abundant, without ostentation or clutter.  His logic power and intelligence of metaphysics are particularly noteworthy, and on this ground exceeds his teachers and his most famous colleagues. (P. MANDONNET, D.T.C., “Bañez”)

In his commentary on the Summa Theologica, he defends the view that:

If the Supreme Pontiff falls into heresy, he does not lose immediately the Papal dignity, before he is deposed by the Church. (In II-II q. 1 a. 10)

He explained that a number of theologians believe that the Pope, once he becomes a heretic, immediately loses his power.  But the opinion he defends is that of Cajetan, of which he summarizes the arguments:

  1. The other bishops, if they become heretics, retain their episcopal dignity until they are deposed by the Pope. […]
  2. If the Pontiff, once fallen into heresy, is ready to amend, he should not be deposed, as even those who hold the opposite view admit, so he does not cease to be Pope. […]

He then examines an objection against his thesis, and this is the most interesting passage for our study:

One objects that the Sovereign Pontiff ceases to be the head of the Church when he falls into heresy and therefore he ceases to be Pope.  Indeed, as soon as he falls into heresy he ceases to be a member of the Church, so to be its head.

One easily answers this objection with the doctrine we have given while explaining the definition of the Church.  The Pontiff is not said to be the head of the Church because of his holiness or his faith, because it is not thus that he influences the other members, but [rather] is said to be the head of the Church because of his ministerial office, which aims to govern the Church by defining the truth, by establishing laws, by administering the sacraments, all of which are carried out according externally according to a visible ecclesiastical hierarchy, and almost palpable.  Besides, the fact that the Pontiff, because of his heresy, ceases to be a member of Christ, for he ceases to receive from Him the spiritual influence for his own sanctification, does not prevent him of being called the chief member of the Church, namely its head, in relation to the ecclesiastical government.  Similarly, the head of a State is said to be the head of the Republic.  As the notion of membership is employed metaphorically, we have said above that there may be different points of view of the metaphor: according to one point of view [Editor’s note: from the spiritual influence received from Christ] the Pontiff is not a member of Christ or the Church, and from another [Editor’s note: the power of government] he is a member. (Venice edition of 1587, columns 194-196)

The Carmelites of Salamanca

The composition of the Cursus theologicus salmanticensis extends over seventy years, during the last three quarters of the 17th century. It is a renowned theological course composed by six Discalced Carmelite theologians of Saint-Elias Convent of Salamanca.  The convent was founded in 1581, during the life and under the counsel of St. Teresa of Avila.

They ask if the Pope, as an individual doctor, can become a heretic.  They cite some authors who think it is not possible (Pighi, Bellarmine, Suárez), and they continue:

The contrary view (which states that the Pontiff as a private doctor can err, not only in secondary objects, but even on matters of faith, and not just with a non-culpable error coming from ignorance or negligence, but also with pertinacity, so that he is a heretic) is much more probable (longe probabilior) and more common among theologians.

Among the reasons they give in favor of their opinion, there is this one:

Because the Church may depose the Pontiff of his dignity, as Cajetan shows in his Treatise on the Authority of the Pope (from chapter 20 to chapter 26) and Melchior Cano in his book De Locis theologicis (book 6, chapter 8).  But this power to depose is not vain in the Church, and it cannot be reduced to the act except if the Pontiff errs in the faith: so this error may be in the Pope as a private person. (De Fide, disp. 4 dubium 1, n. 7)

Billuart

Charles-René Billuart O.P. (1685-1757) is a French Thomist theologian.  He composed a Theology course which enjoys a high reputation.

In the Treatise on the Incarnation (De Incarnatione, diss. IX, a. II, § 2, obj. 2) Billuart defends the thesis that Christ is not the head of heretics, even occult.

It is objected that several doctors (Cajetan, Soto Cano, Suárez, etc.) say that the Pope fallen into occult heresy remains the head of the Church. So he must be a member.

Billuart denies the conclusion:

There is a difference between being constituted a head by the fact that one is influencing on the members, and being made a member by the fact that one is receiving an influx in itself;  this is why, while the pontiff [who] fell into occult heresy keeps the jurisdiction by which he influences the Church by governing her, thereby he remains the head;  but as he no longer receives the vital influx of Christ‘s faith or charity, who is the invisible and first head, he cannot be said to be a member of Christ or of the Church.

Instance: it is repugnant to be the head of a body without being a member, since the head is the primary member.

Answer:  I distinguish the first sentence: it is repugnant to a natural head, I agree; to a moral head, I deny it.  For example, Christ is the moral head of the Church, but he is not a member.  The reason for the difference is that the natural head cannot have an influence on other members without receiving the vital influx of the soul.  But the moral head, as the Pontiff is, can exercise the jurisdiction and the government over the Church and its members, although he is not informed by the soul of the Church, which are faith and charity, and that he does not receive any vital influx.   

In a word, the Pope is made a member of the Church through the personal faith which he can lose, and the head of the Church by the jurisdiction and the power which can be reconciled with an internal heresy. (Cursus theologiœ, Pars III, Venice, 1787, p. 66)

In the Treatise on Faith (De Fide diss IV to III, § 3, obj 2) Billuart defends the following thesis:   Heretics, even manifest (unless being denounced by name, or by leaving the Church themselves) keep the jurisdiction and absolve validly.

He considers the question of the case of a Pope, which is a special case, who receives his jurisdiction not from the Church, but directly from Christ:

It is nowhere stated that Christ continues to give jurisdiction to a manifestly heretical Pontiff, for this can be known by the Church and she can get another pastor.  However the common sentence [editor:  opinion] holds that Christ, by a special provision (ex speciali dispensatione), for the common good and peace of the Church, continues [to give] jurisdiction to a Pontiff even who is a manifest heretic, until he is declared manifestly heretical by the Church. (Cursus theologiœ, Pars II-II, Brescia, 1838, p. 33-34)

In the Treaty on the Rules of Faith (De regulis fidei, diss IV, VIII a, § 2, obj 2 and 6) Billuart defends the following thesis:  The sovereign Pontiff is superior to any council by authority and jurisdiction.

It is objected that the Pontiff is subject to the judgment of the Church in the case of heresy.  Why then he would not be subject also in other cases?

He replies:

This is because in the case of heresy, and not in other cases, he loses the pontificate by the fact itself of his heresy: how could remain head of the Church he who is no longer a member?  This is why he is subject to the judgment of the Church, not in order to be removed, since he is already deposed himself by heresy and he rejected the Pontificate (pontificatum abjecerit), but in order to be declared a heretic, and thus that he will be known to the Church that he is not anymore Pontiff: before this statement [of the Church] it is not permitted to refuse him obedience, because he keeps jurisdiction until then, not by right, as if he were still Pontiff, but in fact, by the will of God and accordingly disposing it for the common good of the Church. (Cursus theologiœ, Pars II-II, Brescia, 1838, p. 123)

Another objector remarked that the Church would be deprived of a remedy if she could not subject the Pope to the Council in the case that he would be harmful and would seek to subvert her.

Billuart replied that:

If the pope sought to harm her in the faith, he would be manifestly heretical, and he would thereby lose the Pontificate: however it should be necessary a declaration of the Church in order to deny him obedience, as we have said above. (Cursus theologiœ, Pars II-II, Brescia, 1838, p. 125)

If the Pope would harm the Church otherwise than in the faith, some say that one could resist him by the force of arms, however without losing his superiority.  St. Thomas Aquinas said it would be necessary to appeal to God in order to correct him or taking him away from this world (4 Sent. D. 19, q. 2, a. 2 q.1a 3, ad 2).

Billuart prefers to think that:

Whereas God governs and sustains his Church with a special Providence, he will not permit, as he has not permitted it so far, that this situation will happen, and if he permits it, he will not fail to give the means and the help appropriate. (Cursus theologiœ, Pars II-II, Brescia, 1838, p. 125)

St. Alphonsus Liguori

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787), Doctor of the Church, devoted several writings in defense of Papal power against the conciliarist heresy (which gave to the councils a higher authority over the Pope).  Collected in one volume by a Redemptorist religious on the eve of Vatican Council I, (Du Pape et du concile; Tournai, Casterman, 1869) these writings have helped to prepare the definition of the dogma of Papal infallibility.  St. Alphonsus does not really treat the issue of a heretical Pope, and he excludes it so that it does not disturb his subject.  But, without entering into the details, he said repeatedly that the heretical Pope loses his authority only when his heresy has been confirmed by a council.   He clearly shares the view of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas.

In an essay on the authority of the Pope, added by St. Alphonsus at the end of the edition of his Moral Theology in 1748,2 the Holy Doctor vigorously defends the superiority of the Pope over the council, but beforehand he declares:

  1. It should first be noted that the superiority of the Pope over the council does not extend to the dubious Pope in the time of a schism when there is a serious doubt about the legitimacy of his election; because then everyone must submit to the council, as defined by the Council of Constance.  Then indeed the General Council draws its supreme power directly from Christ, as in times of vacancy of the Apostolic See, as it was well said by St. Antoninus (Summa, p. 3 did. 23, c. 2 § 6).
  2. The same must be said of a pope who would be manifestly and exteriorly heretical (and not only secretly and mentally).  However, others argue more accurately that, in this case, the Pope cannot be deprived of his authority by the council as if it were above him, but that he is deposed immediately by Jesus Christ, when the condition of this deposition [= the declaration of the council] is carried out as required.3

After presenting the views of Azorius (viz. that the council is above a manifestly heretical pope), St. Alphonsus nuances it and therefore ultimately follows the position of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas, considered as “more accurate”.   St. Alphonsus did the same in his apologetical treatise Truth of Faith (1767):

“When in time of schism we are in doubt about the true Pope, the council may be convened by the cardinals and the bishops; and then each of the elected Popes is obliged to follow the decision of the council because, at that time, the Apostolic See is considered vacant.  It would be the same if the Pope would fall notoriously and perseveringly, persistently in some heresy.  However, there are those who affirm with more foundation that in the latter case, that the Pope would not be deprived of the papacy by the council as if it were superior to him, but he would be stripped directly by Jesus Christ because he would then become a subject completely disqualified and deprived of his office.” (Truth of Faith (1767), penultimate chapter “On the Superiority of the Roman pontiff over the councils”, art. I, Preliminary Notions, 2°)

St. Alphonsus defends again the same idea in 1768 in his refutation of the errors of Febronius:

If ever the Pope, as a private person, falls into heresy, then he would be immediately stripped of papal authority as he would be outside the Church and therefore he could not be the head of the Church.  So, in this case, the Church should not truly depose him, because no one has a superior power to the Pope, but to declare him deprived of the pontificate.  (We said: if the Pope fall into heresy as a private person, because the Pope as Pope, that is to say, teaching the whole Church ex cathedra cannot teach an error against Faith because Christ’s promise cannot fail). (Vindiciae pro suprema Pontificis potestate adversus justinum febronium, 1768, Chapter VIII, response to the 6th objection)

Father Garrigou-Lagrange O.P.

Father Garrigou-Lagrange examines the question of the heretical pope in his treatise De Christo Salvatore. (Marietti, Rome-Turin, 1946, p. 232)  After explaining that Christ cannot be the head of a formal heretic, he concludes:

This is why a baptized formal heretic is not a member in act of the Church, yet the Church has the right to punish him, in so far as he does not hold what he has promised, like a king has the right to punish a deserter.

Bellarmine objects that a Pope fallen into occult heresy remains a member of the Church in act, for he remains the head of the Church, as taught [also] by Cajetan, Soto, Cano, Suárez and others.4

I answer that this case is quite abnormal, so it is no wonder that it follows an abnormal consequence, namely that an occult heretical Pope would not remain a member of the Church in act (according to the doctrine we have just described), but he would keep the jurisdiction by which he influences the Church by governing her.  So he would retain the reason [= the nature] of head vis-à-vis the Church, on which he would continue to influence, but he would cease to be a member of Christ, because he would no longer receive the vital influx of the faith of Christ, the invisible and first head.  Thus, in a quite abnormal manner, in relation to the jurisdiction he would be the head of the Church, but he would not be a member.

This would be impossible if it were a physical head, but it is not contradictory for a secondary moral head.  The reason is that, while a physical head cannot exert any influence on the members without receiving the vital influx of the soul, a moral head, as is the [Roman] Pontiff can exercise jurisdiction on the Church even if it [he] receives from the soul of the Church no influence from internal faith and from charity.

In short, as Billuart says, the Pope is considered a member of the Church by his personal faith, which he may lose, and a head of the visible Church by the jurisdiction and power that may coexist with internal heresy.  The Church will always appear as a union of members placed under a visible head, namely the Roman Pontiff, although some of those who appear to be members of the Church are internal heretics.  Therefore we must conclude that occult heretics are only apparent members of the Church, which [the latter] they profess outwardly and visibly to be the true one.



On the Deposition of the Pope (Part 1 of 2)

ON THE DEPOSITION OF THE POPE

Text of John of St. Thomas O.P.

Translated from the Latin and annotated by Fr. Pierre-Marie O.P. (Avrillé. France)

and published in Le Sel de la Terre [No. 90, Fall 2014]

Translated from French to English by Fr. Juan Carlos Ortiz

Foreword

John of St. Thomas (1589-1644) is rightly regarded as one of the greatest Thomistic theologians. His contemporaries unanimously called him a second Thomas, a bright star in front of the Sun (St. Thomas Aquinas) and always he was placed, in the company of Cajetan and Báñez, alongside the Angel of the School.  His doctrine is none other than that of the Angelic Doctor, profoundly understood and faithfully expressed.”  (J.M. Ramírez, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, “Jean de Saint-Thomas”, col. 806)

He was born in Lisbon, was educated at Coimbra University, then at Louvain University, before joining the Dominicans in Madrid at the age of 23. He was long time a professor at Alcalá (Madrid University).  The last year of his life he was the confessor of King Philip IV of Spain (1605-1665, king in 1621).  It is, moreover, much against his will and by obedience that he accepted this honor while telling his brothers in religion, “This is the end of my life, Fathers; I’m dead, pray for me.”

“His life was a living reproduction of the virtues of the Angelic Doctor, from whom he had taken the name to mark his devotion to him.  In fact, he joined to his hard intellectual work, a great love of prayer and a burning desire for religious perfection.  Students flocked to his courses, attracted by the depth and solidity of his doctrine.” (Ibid. col. 804)

We give here the first [French] translation of the main passages of his dissertation on “Can the Pope be deposed by the Church as he is elected by Her, and in what case?” (Disputatio II, articulus III, in II-II, q. 1 a. 7, p. 133-140 in the edition of Lyon, 1663) which he wrote while commenting the first question of the II-II of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica.

This is a matter whose importance will not escape our lectors.  However, the book of Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira, La Nouvelle Messe de Paul VI: Qu’en penser?  1 often considered the reference on the question on the “heretical pope” does not have this opinion.  John of St. Thomas is not even mentioned in the extensive bibliography of the book.  In fact, Xavier da Silveira agrees with the opinion of St. Robert Bellarmine, while Cardinal Journet affirms that the studies of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas on this point are more penetrating than those of the Jesuit doctor.

As we have remarked in the report we did in Le Sel de la Terre 52 (p. 205), Father Jean-Michel Gleize [SSPX] thinks that this “thesis [of Cajetan on the deposition of heretical pope] does not hold” since St. Robert Bellarmine’s S.J. studies (1542-1621), and declares not being satisfied with the answers John of St. Thomas gave to the Jesuit theologian. (Thomas de Vio Cajetan, The Successor of Peter, annotated translation by Father Gleize in Courrier de Rome, 2004, n. 65, p. XXII and n. 473, p. 138.)

Nevertheless, a century after John of St. Thomas, Billuart (1685- 1737) also qualified this thesis of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas as ‘more common’. (See the text given in the Appendix.)  It seems, to us, to be solidly supported.  With the text published here and the appendices that follow, the readers may judge by themselves.

The subtitles and the notes are ours.

Le Sel de la Terre [No. 90, Fall 2014]


Introduction

“I affirm that the Pope can lose the pontificate in three ways: through natural death, by voluntary renunciation, and by deposition.

About the first case, there is no difficulty.

About the second case, there is an express provision [in Canon Law2 ], where it is established that the Pontiff may resign, as it was the case with Celestine V; at the Council of Constance, the resignation was asked to the doubtful pontiffs in order to finish with the schism as did Gregory XII and John XXIII. […]

About the third case of losing the Pontificate, many difficulties arise: to make this brief, we reduce all these problems to two main headers: [1] Under what circumstances a deposition can be made?   [2] And by which power this deposition should be made?

On the first point, we will mention three main cases in which a deposition can take place.  The first is the case of heresy or infidelity.  The second case is perpetual madness.  The third case is doubt about the validity of the election.”

[COMMENT: Here we are only interested in the first case dealt with by John of St. Thomas: the deposition for cases of heresy or infidelity, as it is the case currently concerning us with Pope Francis.]

Can a deposition occur in cases of heresy or infidelity?

“Concerning the case of heresy, theologians and Canon lawyers have disputed very much.  It is not necessary to dwell at length.  However, there is an agreement among the Doctors on the fact that the Pope may be deposed in case of heresy: we will mention them in the discussion of the difficulty.

Arguments from authority

  • A specific text is found in the Decree of Gratian, Distinction 40, chapter “Si Papa”, where it is said:  “On earth, no mortal should presume to reproach (redarguere) any faults to the Pontiff, because he who has to judge (judicaturus) others, should not be judged (judicandus) by anyone, unless he is found deviating from the Faith.” (Pars I, D 40, c. 6)   This exception obviously means that in case of heresy, a judgment could be made of the pope.
  • The same thing is confirmed by the letter of Hadrian II, reported in the Eighth General Council [IV Constantinople, 869-870], in the 7th session, where it is said that the Roman Pontiff is judged by no one, but the anathema was made by the Orientals against Honorius, because he was accused of heresy, the only cause for which it is lawful for inferiors to resist their superiors. (MANSI, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova collectio amplissima, Venice, 1771, vol. 16, col. 126)
  • Also Pope St. Clement says in his first epistle that Saint Peter taught that a heretical pope must be deposed.3


Theological argument

The reason is that we must separate ourselves from heretics, according to Titus 3:10: A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid (devita) him.”   Now, one should not avoid one that remains in the [Sovereign] Pontificate; on the contrary, the Church should instead be united to him as her supreme head and communicate with him.  Therefore, if the pope is a heretic, either the Church should communicate with him, or he must be deposed from the Pontificate.

The first solution leads to the obvious destruction of the Church, and has inherently a risk that the whole ecclesiastical government errs, if she has to follow a heretical head.  In addition, as the heretic is an enemy of the Church, natural law provides protection against such a Pope according to the rules of self-defense, because she can defend herself against an enemy as is a heretical Pope; therefore, she can act (in justice) against him.  So, in any case, it is necessary that such a Pope must be deposed.

Response to an objection.

An objection: Christ the Lord tolerated, in the chair of Moses, infidels and heretics, like the Pharisees: The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses.  All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not. (Mt 23: 2-3).  But the Pharisees were heretics and taught false doctrines according to various superstitions and traditions, says St. Jerome in his commentary on Chapter 8 of Isaiah.  St. Epiphanius lists their errors (Panarion, 1. 1, c. 16), and Josephus (Jewish War, 1. 2, c 7 on the end) and Baronius (Annals, v. 7).   So on the Chair of Peter, too, one must tolerate a heretic and an infidel, because he can define a heresy or an error, and thus the Church will always remain free of heresy.

I answer that Christ the Lord did not order that Pharisees be tolerated in the chair of Moses, even if they are declared heretics, or that any heretic or infidel should be kept in the priesthood or in the Papacy, but he only gave this counsel in case they are tolerated there.  If they are not yet declared and deposed from their chair, the faithful should listen to them and obey them, because they keep their power and jurisdiction; however, if the Church wants to declare them heretic and no longer tolerate them, Christ the Lord does not prohibit it by the words reported above.

Two conditions.

But we need to know if the Pope can be deposed in any case of heresy and in whatever form of being a heretic; or if some additional conditions are needed without which heresy alone is not sufficient to depose the Pontiff.

I answer that the pontiff cannot be deposed and lose the pontificate except if two conditions are fulfilled together:

  1. That the heresy is not hidden, but public and legally notorious;
  2. Then that he must be incorrigible and pertinacious in his heresy.

If both conditions are fulfilled the pontiff may be deposed, but not without them; and even if he is not unfaithful interiorly, however if he behaves externally as a heretic, he can be deposed and the sentence of deposition will be valid.

Concerning the first requirement, some among Catholics are of a different opinion, saying that even for an occult  heresy [Editor:  occult = “hidden”, “not visible”], the Pontiff loses his papal jurisdiction, which is based on the true Faith and right confession of Faith; supporting this opinion we have Torquemada (1, 2, 2 p. from v. 18 and 1. 2, c. 102), Paludanus, Castro, Simancas, Driedo […]

Others think that it is necessary that the heresy must be external and proved in the external forum in order that the Pontiff can be deposed of the pontificate; thus Soto (4 Sent. D. 22, q. 2. 2); Cano (from Locis, 1. 4), who believes that the contrary opinion is not even probable; Cajetan (On the Pope’s power, De Comparatione auctoritatis papae and concilii cum apologia eiusdem tractatus; Rome, Angelicum, 1936; c. 18 and 19), Suárez, Azorius, Bellarmine (On the Roman Pontiff, c. 30).

The principle is that occult heretics, as long as they are not condemned by the Church and being separated [by her], belong to the Church and are in communion with her, as like being moved from the exterior, even if they do not receive any more interiorly the vital movement; therefore the Pontiff, if he is an occult heretic, is not separated from the Church; therefore, he can still be the head, since he is still a part and a member, even if he is not a living one.

A confirmation of it is that the priests of a lower order can exercise the power of order and jurisdiction without Faith because a heretical priest can confer the sacraments and give absolution in cases of extreme need […]

The second condition, in order to be able to depose the Pope, namely that he is guilty of incorrigible and pertinacious heresy, is evident, because if someone is ready to be corrected and is not pertinacious in heresy, is not considered to be heretical (Decree of Gratian, No. 24. 3. 29 “Dixit Apostolus.”); therefore, if the Pope is ready to be corrected, he should not be deposed as a heretic.

The Apostle [Paul] prescribes to avoid heretics only after a first and a second correction: if he comes to repentance after the correction, he should not be avoided; therefore, as the Pope must be deposed for heresy under this apostolic precept, it follows that if he can be corrected, he should not be deposed. […]”

On the Deposition of the Pope

“It remains to deal with the second problem: by what authority should the deposition of the Pope be done?    And the whole issue revolves around two points:

  1. The declarative sentence by which the Pope’s crime is declared: should it be made by the Cardinals or by the General Council?  And if it is by the General Council, by what authority should it be assembled, and on what basis could this Council judge the case?
  2. The deposition itself which must follow the declarative sentence of the crime: is it made by the power of the Church, or immediately by Christ, being supposed made the declaration?


1. Who should pronounce the declarative sentence of the crime of heresy?


The declarative sentence should not be made by the Cardinals

On the first point, we must say that the statement of the crime does not come from the Cardinals, but from the General Council.

It first appears from the practice of the Church. Indeed, in the case of Pope Marcellinus (Pope from 296 to 304) about the incense offered to idols, a Synod was convened, as stated in the Decree of Gratian. (Distinction 21, Chapter 7, “Nunc autem”)   And in the case of the Great [Western] Schism during which there were three popes, the Council of Constance was assembled to settle the schism.  Likewise in the case of Pope Symmachus (Pope from 498 to 514), a Council was convened in Rome to treat the case against him, as reported in Antoine Augustin in his Epitome juris pontificii veteris (Title 13, Chapter 14. See also Catholic Encyclopedia, Pope St. Symmachus); and the places of Canon Law quoted above, show that the Pontiffs who wanted to defend themselves against the crimes imputed to them, have done it before a Council.

Then we see that the power to treat the cause of the Pontiff, and what concerns his deposition, was not entrusted to the Cardinals.  In the case of deposition, this belongs to the Church, whose authority is represented by the General Council; indeed, to the cardinal is only entrusted the election, and nothing else, as can be seen in Canon Law [John of St. Thomas refers to what he said earlier in his works]: see Torquemada (Summa, 1. 2, c. 93), Cajetan (De Comparatione auctoritatis papae), and the Canonists (On the Decretal of Boniface VIII (in 6th), chap. “In fidei de haereticis” and the Decree of Gratian, Dist. 40).

The declarative sentence must be made by a General Council

[…] This council can be convened by the authority of the Church which is in the Bishops or the greater majority of them; the Church has, by divine law, the right to separate herself from a heretical Pope, and therefore she has all the means necessary for such a separation; now, a necessary means in itself (per se) is to be able to legally prove such a crime; but we cannot prove it see legally unless if there is a competent judgment, and in such a serious matter, we cannot have a competent judgment except by the General Council, because it is about the universal head of the Church, so much so that it depends on the judgment of the universal Church, that is to say, of the General Council.

I do not share the opinion of Father Suárez who believes that this can be treated by Provincial Councils; indeed, a Provincial Council does not represent the universal Church in a manner that this case can be treated by such authority; and even several Provincial Councils have no such representation or such authority.

If this is not about the authority under which one must judge, but about the one which has the authority to convene the [General] Council, I believe that this is not assigned to a specific person, but it can be done either by the Cardinals who could communicate the news to the bishops, either by the nearest bishops who can tell others so that all are gathered; or even at the request of princes, not as a summons having coercive force, as when the Pope convenes a Council, but as an “enuntative” convocation that denounces such a crime to the bishops and manifest it in order that they come to bring a remedy.  And the Pope cannot annul such a Council or reject it because he is itself part of it (quia ipse est pars), and that the Church has the power, by the divine right, to convene the council for this purpose, because she has the right to secede from a heretic.

2. On which authority is the Pope deposed?


The diverse opinions

On the second point, namely on which authority the declaration [of heresy] and the deposition are to be made, there is dissension among theologians, and it is not clear by whom that statement should be made, because it is an act of judgment and jurisdiction, which no one can exert on the Pope.  Cajetan, in his treatise On the Pope’s authority, refers to two extreme positions and two middle positions. (De Comparatione auctoritatis Papae and concilii; Angelicum, Rome, 1936; chapter 20)

The two extremes: one says that the Pope is removed without human judge by the mere fact of being a heretic (Bellarmine and Suárez); on the opposite, the other said that the Pope has truly a power above him by which he can be judged (this opinion is not sustained anymore; Cajetan considered it false).

The two middle positions: one says that the pope has no superior [on earth] in absolute terms, except in case of heresy; the other says that he has no superior on earth, neither absolutely, nor in the case of heresy, but only in a ministerial way: just as the Church has a ministerial power to choose the person [Pope], but not to give power, as this is done immediately by Christ, in the same manner, in the deposition, which is the destruction of the bond by which the Papacy is attached to such person in particular, the Church has the power to depose him in a ministerial manner; but it is Christ who deprives [his power] with authority.

The first opinion is that of Azorius (the church is above the Pope in case of heresy).  The second is that of Cajetan who develops it extensively.  Bellarmine quotes it and combats it (The Romano Pontifice, c. 20), especially on two points:  Cajetan said that the manifest heretic Pope is not ipso facto removed and that the Pope is actually deposed really and authoritatively by the Church.  Similarly Suárez (De fide Predisputatio, Sec. 6, num. 7) reproaches Cajetan for saying that the Church, in the case of heresy, is above the Pope as a private person, but not as a Pope.  This, in fact, Cajetan did not say: he holds that the Church is not above the Pope absolutely, even in the case of heresy, but she is above the link joining the Pontificate with such a person, and that she dissolves it, in the same manner as the Church has joined it in the election, and that this power of the Church is ministerial, because only Christ the Lord is simpliciter superior to the pope.

Bellarmine and Suárez therefore think that the Pope, by the very fact that he is a manifest heretic and declared incorrigible, is immediately deposed by Christ the Lord and not by any authority of the Church.


The opinion of Cajetan


Thus the opinion of Cajetan contains three points.

1.  The first is that the heretic pope is not deprived of the Pontificate and deposed by the mere fact of heresy, considered separately.

2.  The second is that the Church has neither power nor superiority over the Pope about his power, even in the case of heresy; never is the Church’s power above the power of the Pope, and consequently above the Pope absolutely.

3.  The third is that the Church’s power has for its object:

  • the application of the papal power to such person, in designating him by the election, and
  • the separation of the power with such a person, by declaring him heretical and to be avoided by the faithful.

Therefore, although the declaration of a crime is like an antecedent disposition preceding the deposition itself and that it relates to it only in a ministerial manner, however, it reaches the form itself of this dispositive and ministerial manner; insofar as it reaches the disposition, so it aims mediately to the form: in the same manner as in the generation and corruption of a man, the begetter neither produces nor educts the form, and the one who corrupts it does not destroy it, but the first one produces the combination of the form, and the second one the separation, immediately reaching the dispositions of the matter to the form, and through them, the form.

Cajetan’s FIRST POINT:  The heretical pope is not deprived of the Pontificate and deposed by the mere fact of heresy considered separately

The first point is obvious and is not legitimately opposed by Bellarmine.  His truth appears thus:

- First, because the Pope, no matter how real and public may be his heresy, by the moment he is eager to be corrected, he cannot be deposed, and the Church cannot depose him by divine right, for she cannot nor should avoid him since the Apostle [Paul] says, “avoid the heretic after the first and second correction; therefore, before the first and second correction he should not be avoided, and consequently he should not be deposed; therefore it is wrong to say that the pope is deposed (ipso facto) as soon as he is a public heretic: he may be a public heretic, but not yet corrected by the Church, nor declared incorrigible.

- Then, because (as Azorius rightly noted) any heretical Bishop, no matter how visible is his heresy, and although he incurs an excommunication, does not lose ipso facto the Episcopal jurisdiction and power until he is declared [such] by the Church and deposed; indeed only the excommunicated “not tolerated” [vitandus] loses jurisdiction ipso facto, namely those specifically excommunicated or those who manifestly struck a cleric (manifesti percussores clerici).  Therefore, if a bishop or some other prelate loses not ipso facto his power by the mere external heresy, why the Pope would lose it [even] before the Church’s declaration?   Especially since the Pope cannot incur excommunication: on the one hand, no excommunication at all – I suppose – is carried by divine law itself;  on the other hand, he cannot be excommunicated by human right, because he is superior to any human right.

The Church has neither power nor superiority over the Pope concerning his power of Pope, even in case of heresy


Thesis to be proved

The second point of Cajetan is proved by the fact that the power of the Pope absolutely (absolute) is a power derived from Christ the Lord, and not from the Church, and that Christ has submitted to that power the entire Church, namely, all the faithful without restriction: that is certain of faith [de fide] as we have shown it above.

Therefore, in no case the Church can have a power superior to him, except in a case where the power of the Pope would be made dependent to the Church, and inferior to her: and by the fact that it is made inferior in this case, his power is changed and remains the same as before, since before it was above the Church and independent from her, but in this case it is made dependent and inferior: thus, it never happened that the Church has [had] power over the pope formally, because in order to have a higher power than the papal power in a particular case, it is necessary that the papal power be formally other, and not so extensive and supreme as it was before.

Argument from authority

And one cannot cite any authority stating that Christ the Lord has given in such a manner to the Church a power above the Pope.  Those who were cited in the case of heresy, do not indicate any superiority over the Pope formally, but only speak about avoiding him, getting separated from him, to refuse the communion with him, etc., all things which can be done without a power formally above the Pope’s power.

Lack of foundation of the opposite opinion

There is no basis for the proposition which allows to affirm that Christ the Lord, who gave unrestricted, supreme, and independent power to the Pope and to the Holy See, has determined that, in the case of heresy, such a power would be formally as a power (in ratione potestatis) dependent on and inferior to that of the Church, which implies that it would remain subordinate to that of the Church, and not superior as before.

Cajetan’s SECOND POINT

Theological argument

This second point of Cajetan (the Church has never, in the strict sense, a superior power to the Pope), is widely proved by what has been said above, since the Church must be submitted to the Pope and the power of the Pope did not originate from the Church, as a political power, but immediately from Christ, of whom the Pope is the Vicar.

That, even in the case of heresy, the Church is not superior to the Pope, as a Pope, it appears:

  • On the one hand, because the power of the Pope is in no way derived from the Church, nor does it come from her, but from Christ, therefore never is the power of the Church superior [to that of the Pope].
  • On the other hand, because the power of the Pope, which originated in that of Christ, is established as a supreme power above all other powers of the Church here on earth (as we have shown above with many authorities); no case has been excluded by Christ in which this power [of the Pope] would be limited and subjected to another, but always and in relation to all [powers], He speaks of it as a supreme power and as a monarchy.   When He deals with the case of heresy, He does not assign any superiority [of someone] in relation to the Pope, but He prescribed only to avoid the heretic, to be separated from him, not to communicate with him, all things that do not show any superiority, and which can exist without it.  Therefore, the Church’s power is not superior to the power of the Pope, even in the case of heresy.

Canonical argument

Finally, Canon Law also gives us this conviction when it says that “the First Seat is judged by no one,” and this applies even in cases of infidelity, for the Fathers gathered to examine the case of Pope Marcellinus said: “Judge thyself.”

Cajetan’s THIRD POINT:  The power of the Church has as its object the application of the Papal power to a person


Theological argument

The third point follows from the previous two.  For the Church can declare the crime of the Pontiff and proclaim (proponere) to the faithful that he should be avoided according to divine law, decreeing that a heretic must be avoided.

Now, a pontiff who must be avoided by this provision is necessarily prevented from being made the head of the Church, for he is a member which she must avoid, and therefore he cannot have an influence on her; this is why, by virtue of such a power, the Church dissolves ministerially and dispositively the link of the pontificate with such a person.  The implication is clear: an agent that can induce in a subject a disposition that necessarily causes the separation of the form, a disposition without which the form cannot exist in the subject, has power over the dissolution of the form, and acts mediately on the form, in order to separate it from the subject, and not to destroy it; it is clear in the case of an agent who corrupts a man: he does not destroy the form [the soul], but it induces the dissolution of the form, by putting in the matter a disposition without which the form cannot subsist.

Thus, since the Church can declare the Pontiff as a person to be avoided, she can induce in that person a disposition without which the pontificate cannot stand; the pontificate is so dissolved ministerially and dispositively by the Church, by the authority of Christ, in the same manner as the Church, in choosing the pontiff by the election, she ultimately disposes him to receive the collation of power by Christ the Lord.

Explanation of the words of Cajetan

When Cajetan says that the Church acts with authority (auctoritative) on the conjunction or separation of the Pontificate with the person, and ministerially on the Papacy itself, we must understand it in the sense that the Church has the authority to declare the crime of the Pope, as she has [the power] to choose him to the Papacy, and that what she does with authority in this declaration, acts at the same time ministerially on the form [the Papacy] to join or to separate [the person]: for the form itself, absolutely and in itself (absolute et in se), the Church cannot do anything because the Papal power is not submitted to her.

Canonical argument.

This is congruent with the provisions of the law that sometimes affirm that the deposition of the Pontiff belongs only to God, and that sometimes in case of heresy he can be judged by his inferiors: both are true,

  • On the one side, the “ejection” or deposition of the Pope is reserved only to God in order to be done with authority and from above (auctoritative et principaliter), as stated in the Decree of Gratian, Distinction 79 (Pars I, D 79, c. 11) and in many other places of the law, which say that God has reserved to Himself the judgment of the Apostolic See;
  • Secondly, the Church judges the Pontiff in a ministerial and dispositive manner, by declaring his crime and by proposing him to be avoided, as stated in the Decree of Gratian, in Distinction 40, chapter “Si Papa” (Pars I, D 40, c. 6) and in Part II, Chapter “oves” (q. 7 c. 13).


(To be continued)