Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part One)

Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part One)

by Fr. Pierre-Marie, O.P.

Dominican in Avrillé


From Le Sel de la terre 93, Summer 2015


Preface

Vatican II is not a council like the others. This council, which was held in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican in four sessions from 1962 until 1965 under the pontificates of Popes John XIII (1958-1963) and Paul VI (1963-1978), was the occasion, if not the principal cause, of the gravest crisis the Church has known in its history.

The studies concerning this council are numerous, but often voluminous and very technical.  We have thought that it would be useful to provide for Catholics of good will a relatively short text, explaining what Vatican II declared and what is unacceptable for Catholics who want to remain faithful to the traditional infallible teaching of the Church.

After a brief introduction on the authority of the council, we will briefly analyze each of the 16 documents, presenting them in a thematic order.

Introduction

The authority of the Second Vatican Council


What is an ecumenical council?

An ecumenical council is an assembly of bishops of the entire world convoked by the pope, who conducts its meetings (called “sessions”), whether directly or via legates, and who approves the texts, so that they have a binding value for the whole Church. There have been in the history of the Church twenty ecumenical councils since the Council of Nicaea in 325 until the First Vatican Council in 1870.

Is Vatican II a council like the others?

Vatican II is an atypical council because the popes who convoked and conducted it, John XXIII and Paul VI, declared that it was not a dogmatic council, like all the preceding councils, but a pastoral council.  In other words, its aim was not to define doctrine against errors, but to perform an updating (aggiornamento) of this doctrine to adapt it to the thinking of our contemporaries.

Does Vatican II contain infallible teachings?

Here again, differently than all the preceding ecumenical councils, the Second Vatican Council does not contain any infallible teaching.  For a council to be infallible, it must pronounce solemn judgments, which this council refused to do.

Even if it is not infallible, can it not be admitted that Vatican II was assisted by the Holy Ghost?

Our Lord Jesus Christ promised the assistance of the Holy Ghost for the transmission of Revelation: “the Paraclete the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and suggest unto you all things whatsoever I shall say to you.” (Jn 14:26) [Rheims version].

But, without renouncing the transmission of Revelation, the Council proposed the aggiornamento of the Church, i.e., its adaptation to the modern world, notably by introducing into the Church “the best expressed values of two centuries of ‘liberal’ culture”1, and by working to “smooth the way toward unity of mankind.”2.


Why cannot the Holy Ghost aid the Church in acquiring the values of liberal culture, once purified and corrected3?

Liberalism is an error condemned by two centuries of teaching from the Magisterium of the Church.  Such a condemnation is infallible in virtue of the Universal Ordinary Magisterium of the Church.

As the Holy Ghost cannot contradict Himself, He cannot assist the council fathers in making these values of liberalism enter into the Church.

Why cannot the Holy Ghost aid the Church in working toward the unity of mankind?

The Church was founded to save souls and unite them to Our Lord Jesus Christ.  In so doing, the Church works indirectly for peace, propagating charity in souls: “Seek therefore first the Kingdom of God, and the justice of him [the union to Our Lord Jesus Christ by grace]: and all these things [including peace] shall be given you besides.” (Mt. 6:33) [Rheims version].

But today Freemasonry seeks to reshape the unity of mankind (“globalism”) by human means and by positively excluding Our Lord Jesus Christ in virtue of “secularism”.

As was especially seen after the Council (with the secularization of the States and inter-religious meetings), the men of the Church collaborate in this work by means of religious liberty, ecumenism, and inter-religious dialogue. The Holy Ghost cannot assist the Church in working toward an end that is not Her own.

(To be continued)


Alphonse de RATISBONNE (1814 – 1884), Convert from Judaism by the Miraculous Medal

Alphonse de RATISBONNE

(1814 – 1884)

Converted from Judaism by the Miraculous Medal

image

 

Alphonse de Ratisbonne was the son and the inheritor of a family of Jewish Bankers from Strasbourg.  During his childhood, his elder brother, Theodore, converted to Catholicism.  He was even ordained a priest.  The family naturally reacted with horror and hostility.  Alphonse resolved to never have anything to do with his brother and, furthermore, developed a violent antipathy to the Catholic faith.  Though an atheist, he experienced a tremendous love and a profound loyalty for his own people.  He devoted his efforts and money to the purpose of improving the social condition of less fortunate Jews.

At 27, Alphonse became engaged and then noticed a subtle change concerning his religious sentiments:

A certain change overcame me concerning my religious ideas. I believed in nothing; the sight of my fiancée awoke in me a feeling about human dignity. I began to believe in the immortality of the soul; instinctively, I began to pray to God; I even thanked him for my good fortune; but, nevertheless, I remained dissatisfied…..”

Since his fiancée was only 16 years old, it was considered appropriate to postpone the marriage. Therefore, in order to while away the time Alphonse decided to take a sightseeing trip to Italy (1841-1842).

A curious challenge

image

After spending time in Naples, he stayed in Rome. While there he visited Baron Théodore de Bussières, who happened to be the brother of one of his best friends.  Their conversations turned to religion.  Ratisbonne mocked and attacked the Church repeatedly. Finally the Baron offered him a curious challenge:

Wear the Miraculous Medal 1 and recite one short prayer daily to Mary:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who invoked thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left forsaken. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen.

The youthful Jew grudgingly accepted: for him it was a way of proving the inanity of these “detestable superstitions”.

On the 20th of January, 1842, the last day of his stay in Rome, Ratisbonne entered, by chance, the church of St. Andrew of the Brothers. He recounts the incident himself:

I was in the church but an instant, when all of a sudden I felt myself overtaken by an inexplicable anxiety. I raised my eyes and noticed that the entire edifice had disappeared from my view; a single chapel had, so to speak, concentrated all the light, and in the center of this radiation there appeared standing on the altar, tall, brilliant, full of majesty and tenderness, the Virgin Mary, just as She appears on my medal and now an irresistible force pushed me toward her.  The Virgin signaled to me to kneel down, and seemed to say to me; that is fine!  She did not speak, but I understood everything.”

At the same instant Alphonse felt freed of his blindness:

At the moment of the gesture, the blindfold fell from my eyes; not only one blindfold, but the whole bundle of blindfolds that had kept me enfolded in their grasp disappeared successively and rapidly, just as snow, mud and ice disappear under the action of a brilliant and burning sun…

In some strange way I felt myself to be completely naked, as though a tabula rasa. The world had become as nothing to me; the prejudices against Christianity no longer existed; my childhood prejudices evaporated; God’s love had replaced my other loves.”

In the beginning, he was able to clearly perceive the brilliance of that divine light. He tried three times to raise his eyes to Her but in those three attempts he found himself incapable of raising his eyes higher than her own hands, from which graces and blessings seemed to cascade in the form of luminous rays.

O my God, he cried out, only a half hour ago I was in the act of blaspheming and I felt a profound mortal hatred against the Catholic religion.  All those who know me know full well that humanly speaking, I nourished the strongest reasons to remain Jewish.  My family is Jewish as well as my fiancée and uncle who are all Jewish.  On becoming Catholic I am sacrificing all my hopes and worldly interests.  Yet, I’m no fool.”

Just eleven days later (31 January, 1842), Alphonse was baptized, confirmed and made his first Holy Communion.

Shortly afterwards, having broken his engagement, he entered religious life and was ordained a priest.  He spent the rest of his days working and praying for the conversion of his people.  He settled in the Holy Land and, with his brother Theodore, founded a religious order whose mission it was to pray for the conversion of the Jews.  He had a convent built on the very site of Pilate’s palace, the same spot where the Roman governor showed the poor scourged and bleeding Jesus to the crowd, suggesting that He be freed, and where the Jews cried: “Crucify Him! May His blood be upon us and our children!” (Mt 27:25).

image

Father Mary-Alphonse de Ratisbonne died in the year 1884, at Ain Karem, St. John the Baptist’s birthplace which is near Jerusalem.


Daphne Pochin Mould – convert from Anglicanism

Daphne POCHIN MOULD

(1920-2014)

converted from anglicanism

A Wicked Sheep

« I did not want to become a Catholic. My intention was to attack rather than to submit to the Church. I was not a lost sheep but a wicked and an obstinate sheep… »

Born in Salisbury (England) in 1920, Daphne Pochin Mould was a brilliant student of geology in Edinburg (Scotland).

From her Anglican upbringing she only retained the typical prejudices against the Catholic Church (superstition, intolerance, rigorism, triumphalism, etc.). A militant agnostic, she was convinced that religion was no more than a means of enslaving mankind.clip_image002

« I used to think that I had to attack the ignorance, the superstition and the cowardice of those who think that by believing in another world they can do away with the struggle against evil and error here on earth. »

In order to study how St. Columba of Iona converted Scotland at the end of the 6th century, she had to go to the Benedictine monastery in Fort Augustus. There, for the first time, she ran into a Catholic priest.

« I was never more scared in my life than on that day ».

While talking with the monk, Fr. Augustin, she discovered that the Faith was not what she had imagined it to be.

She used to see the Faith as an abdication of reason, as a flight from reality, as cowardice. Now she realized that Catholics have rational arguments!

The proof of the existence of God made by Fr. Augustin did not convince her immediately:  she found it too abstract, too philosophical, too different from the scientific method that she was used to.  But she had to admit that there are various ways of learning and methods of inquiry.  While the scientific method has its place, it does not solve the fundamental problems: the reason for our existence; the final end of man and the world; or the experience of beauty:

« In the Scottish mountains that were so rich in contrasts of form and colour, I saw the realization of beauty.  I was inspired with an increasing awareness that beyond the enchantment of the mountains there had to exist the last and ultimate beauty; that all the elements of truth that I reached by means of science pointed to a thing that was the Truth itself; that this ultimate Truth had to be crowned with beauty and transcendent splendour of which the sun illuminating the hills had already given me a foretaste. »

For the time being, Daphne decided to accept the existence of God as a « working hypothesis ».  She altered her view on the Church.  She no longer saw it as a force that obscures and oppressively exploits blind religiosity.  She finally understood that reality itself was in question:

« All of a sudden, I realized that the Church was all about God and that it was not simple emotionalism. The Church stood for truth and beauty, for penance and austerity, and even more, for the huge adventure of holiness. »

A Long Inquiry

It is good, grand, noble and generous, but is it true?  Is it not merely a huge illusion?

Daphne was still far from having the Faith.  To the question  «Would you like to become a Catholic? » she responded with a firm « Only if Catholicism is real! »  And she still had many objections.  But in fact her agnosticism no longer satisfied her.

The big question was Jesus Christ.  But before studying the life of Jesus Christ, Daphne felt turned off by miracles.  They revolted her and she bolted.  But after thinking about it, she had to admit that this passionate reaction was not reasonable.  She recognized that:

« It is more scientific to examine the possibility of a miracle than to refuse a priori to accept it.»

The methodical reading of the four Books of the Gospel was a veritable shock.  She had known only fragments of the Books.  She discovered in the entirety of the Books a doctrine that was so rich and so profound, and, at the same time, so simple and so balanced, that it was difficult to accept that an ordinary man – even a prophet or a saint – could have possibly authored it.

Must she thus admit that Jesus is God?  Daphne was not ready for that.  She was fascinated by His personality, but could not yet bring herself to that conclusion.

« I knew very well that to accept the truthfulness of the Gospel meant to accept Christ and Rome.  I had to give it a long thought. »

In the spring of 1950, Daphne embarked on a serious study of the history of the Church.  She was struck by the terrible crises that regularly oppressed the Church (persecutions, heresies, decadence or weakness of the clergy, etc). At least ten times the Church could have perished under the assaults of its enemies or from the vices of its own members (at times priests, bishops and popes!).  But each time, saints rose up, redressing the humanly desperate situation so that the Church rose up more alive than before.  And there were times when the leaders of the Church could have used their office to justify their errors doctrinally.  But it never happened.  The Infallibility of the Pope is certainly not a trivial claim!

A Conditional Prayer

Finally, Daphne had to recognize both the preeminence of Christ and of the Catholic Church.  But the big question still remained:  Is Jesus Christ truly God?   Daphne could not get past this hurdle:

« The more I thought about the historicity of the Gospels, the more I recognized the evidence that I had to accept Christ; this understanding revolted me violently.  Nonetheless, the natural beauty that I observed – the creation of God that I admired – all came from the same hand that had written the historical Gospels. »

« You need to pray »,  Fr. Augustin told her.  Daphne was deeply irritated by that.  What good would that action do?  Wasn’t she running the risk of falling into auto-suggestion and falsifying the scientific method?  She wanted to refuse to pray, but she felt herself (to be) mysteriously urged to attempt the experiment.  She prayed conditionally in order to appease her conscience.  After invoking God, she immediately added « if He exists » as a precaution in order not to rush the process.  Then she prayed for enlightenment.

She decided to attend Mass – as part of her study, without really participating – and she carefully compared the Roman Missal, which is the traditional Catholic rite of the Mass, to the Anglican ‘Prayer Book’.  She was impressed by the superiority of the former.  The traditional Catholic rite is somber and beautiful as well as dignified and precise.  She especially appreciated the Latin phrases that « always say the right word in the right place »:

« I thought back about the beauty of the mountains and the shores of the Hybrides; I had learned to identify supreme Truth with supreme Beauty; now the simple reading of the Missal left deep impressions.  If the Roman Church is capable of producing such liturgy, it is highly probable that it possesses the truth about God. »

Little by little, Daphne dropped all her objections.  But she still asked: do I truly have the Faith?

« I had always believed that Faith was a pious feeling, an emotional and a euphoric disposition, similar to a disposition created in us by music or by wine.  While I did not have any such feelings, I was pushed by a strong interior movement to take the decisive step to fully accept the Catholic Faith. »

Finally, Daphne Poncin Mould surrendered to Grace:

« He who has always lived in the Catholic Faith cannot imagine what this step means to an agnostic.  It is one thing to be intellectually convinced of the Truth held by Rome, it is altogether another to make the decision to become a Catholic. »

« To accept Roman authority, to confess that you will believe everything that the Church tells you to believe seemed a desperate step, a spiritual suicide.  I feared all authority.  I still had a profound attachment to Protestant individualism.  With this mindset, how could I possibly submit to an authoritative Church like Rome?

A Barrier Had Fallen

Daphne was condemned by her family (who no longer wanted to see her) and by her friends (who abandoned her).

She was received into the Catholic Church on November 11, 1950.  Her soul found peace and joy:

« My first impression was that the barrier between God and myself had fallen.  The second impression was that by becoming a Catholic, I had taken a step towards what was a beginning rather than an end.  I used to consider the Catholic Faith solely as a collection of beliefs, as a moral code; I had forgotten that the Faith was firstly and above all a contact with God, with the Being who is Infinite Love.  Such an adventure has no end.  I understood that the Catholic who attempts to understand God more deeply is never in danger of feeling restricted or limited.  We are made to contemplate God. »

She understood the need for Our Lady in order to be able to truly penetrate the mysteries of the Gospel, and so she applied herself to the Rosary:

« When I was received into the Church, I thought of God mainly in terms of Truth, Beauty and Goodness.  I did not have a true devotion to the Person of Christ.

Now as I read the Gospel, I found myself attracted to His Person and I prayed to Our Lady to help me to better know her Son. »clip_image002[5]

At the same time, Daphne discovered the real Church:

« The most amazing thing about the Church is the gentleness.  This gentleness comes from strength.  The Church is maternal but at the same time has the absolute certitude of possessing the Truth.  How far off were my ideas about the intolerance and violence of Papists! »

Bibliography :

Daphne Pochin Mould, The Rock of Truth

(an autobiography of her conversion), London, Sheet and Ward, 1953.

Francois Russo S.J. Le Roc de la certitude, Daphne Pochin Mould

(a French resume of the above work), Brussels, Foyer Notre-Dame, 1962.

The Rights of Truth, the “non-rights” of Error

The Rights of Truth, the “non-rights” of Error

[The report of R. P. Philippe C. S. S. R. November 30, 1922 to the Congress of the Apostolic League of Nations, which took place in Paris, and appeared in “La Documentation Catholique” of 24 March, 1923: No. 191]

If there is such a thing as a fundamental truth, it is certainly that of the rights of Truth and the non-rights of error.  It is astonishing that such a subject must even be dealt with, but the intellectual decadence of our times has reached the point that we no longer even wish to acknowledge Truth, but are willing to convince ourselves that Truth doesn’t even exist.  What is said about Truth must also be said of the authority which is based on the truth of the existence of the Supreme Being upon Whom we all depend.

By banishing in one fell swoop Truth and the authority of this Truth, the enemies of Jesus Christ and His Holy Church overthrow, upturn and destroy from top to bottom, not only Christian Order, but all order, be it simply natural, civil, familial, religious or any other.

Order based on nothingness cannot be sustained.  That is why we establish at one and the same time both the rights of Truth and the injustice of error.

We will not get involved here in overly speculative considerations.  Rather, we will limit ourselves to reproducing the simple facts of philosophy and theology.


1. Truth is the conformity of the intellect with the object

St. Thomas Aquinas concisely states the following: Veritas invenitur in intellectu secundum quod apprehendit rem ut est, et in re, secundum quod habet esse conformabile intellectui (Summa Theologica, I, q. 16, art. 5) : truth is in the intellect insofar as it grasps the object as it is.  Truth is in the object itself, insofar as being (that is, this object) can be intellectually reproduced.  In other words, for the intellect to possess the truth of an object (or to be true) that object must first exist, then the intellect must have perceived it just as it is, and intellectually reproduce it thus.  That is why St. Thomas says elsewhere : unumquodque inquantum habet de esse, tantum est cognoscibile (ibid. art. 3) for a thing to be known, it must exist, and can be known only insofar as it exists.

For Truth to exist in the intellect, it is therefore necessary for the intellect to reproduce intellectually (or by means of an intellectual image, if one prefers) objective reality in so far as it exists.  The latter is itself insofar as it reproduces the eternal concept of God who created it.  That is why St. Thomas defines Truth as follows:  Adaequatio rei et intellectus (ibid. art. 1), meaning by this that, in order to be true, the created object must correspond to the concept of the Divine Intellect and that the human intellect which possesses the Truth only possesses it insofar as it is intellectually in conformity with the object itself.

2. The object has the right to be known by the intellect precisely as it [i.e. the object] is

To assert that Truth alone has rights is to declare that the intellect, which is made to possess Truth, has the right not to be led into error.  It is to say, above all else, that the object which is known has the right not to be known other than as it actually is, as well as the right to be known just as it is.

The weakness of the human intellect can be such that it does not conceive the essence of a being in all of its perfection.  It remains no less a fact that whatever the intellect does in fact conceive must be in conformity with what is.

3. In error, nothingness takes the place of the object

What happens in the contrary situation when the intellect conceives, not in conformity with that which is, but with that which is not?  Its intellectual concept does not correspond to any existing reality, or, in the case of a partial error, it corresponds only partially to what that reality actually is.  As for the other part, it corresponds to nothing which is.

Who does not see the conclusion which must be immediately drawn from this?  An intellectual concept which does not correspond to any objective reality corresponds to nothing; that is to say, for it, nothingness has taken the place of the object.

4. Nothingness, therefore error, has no rights

Thus it is an obvious truth that nothingness (or non-being) cannot have rights, because it does not exist.

An intellectual concept which corresponds to no reality whatsoever cannot be the reproduction of a true reality.  Therefore, corresponding to nothingness (which has no rights), it participates in the non-rights of nothingness.

Thus, if the man whose intellect created these fictions and errors wishes to attribute to them rights which they cannot have, then these rights are the most fundamentally unjust that can possibly be.

5. To build on nothingness or error is disorder

What folly, then, to construct a life on nothingness! For this is what necessarily happens when, instead of taking Truth as the principle of this life, we choose error.  With nothingness as a guiding principle for all our acts, for all our feelings, for all our thoughts, what can there be that is true, just or well-founded in our lives?  Nothing.

Furthermore, if error is at the basis of social order, nothingness is the guiding principle of society, of governments, of the constitutions of peoples, of legislation and of everything else.  Let us say it again : what can be built on this?  What can be built on nothingness?  In a social order thus conceived, there can be neither Truth nor Justice nor Order.

Disorder is the inevitable result.

6. This is proven by experience

To better understand this phenomenon, let us see what practically remains as a guiding principle in both individual and social life wherever objective truth has disappeared :

* In the individual order, there remains only individual thought, captive to all of its fantasies.

* In the social order, there remains only collective thought, subject to every whim of the majority.

And when we have swept Truth aside, we have suppressed the Supreme Being who is the great guiding Truth of peoples and individuals.  When God has disappeared from the council of consciences and nations, when there are no more sanctions or responsibilities before the Eternal One, what is left to collective and individual human thought?  Logically, nothing.  In reality, though, in spite of everything, in spite of human fantasies and whims, there remain Eternal Truth and Eternal Justice which crush beneath all their weight those who, turning toward them, say: “You do not exist.”

7. Divine Truth always takes back its Rights

God proclaims these Rights and causes them to be respected by His Justice.

Oh Divine Truth!  It takes back its Rights – Rights which are marked with the seal of Infinity, with the seal of Eternity.  This God Whom man (in his folly) has desired to consign to nothingness in order to have nothingness as the principle of his life, is Creator.  Everything has been made by Him in the infinite splendour of His Beauty.  He reiterates all the conditions of Truth.  Furthermore, to the rights which He Himself has given to all Truth, He adds those with which He alone can be endowed because He alone is infinite, He alone is Creator.

How, then, can those who depend essentially upon Him rise up against Him and His Rights?  It is not astonishing that Eternal Truth which has been dumped on the scrap heap of nothingness surrounds itself with all the rigours of Justice in order to strike back.  Justice is the avenger of its Sister, Truth.

8. Divine Truth manifests itself in Christ

The Infinite goes even farther, so to speak.  God destines this creature for whom He has created Truth (in a word, this human being) to eternal happiness.  In order to lead him to this supreme end, He will become incarnate in the Person of His Word.  He will appear in this world, and, there again, He will manifest Himself as the Truth:  Ego sum Veritas!   Veritas et gratia per Jesum Christum factum est.   It is Truth which is tasked to lead man to his destiny, and see, therefore, what was required for this Truth to be realized in these conditions by Christ: nothing less than the Passion and Death of Christ.  This all-loving Master paid a great price for It, but after all It belongs to Him, It is identified with Him.  Behold this Truth, which is Christ and which has all the Rights of Christ, is launched into the world, bolstered by God’s own Authority.  It must enlighten consciences.  It must guide the social order.  Society must be impregnated with Christ because man, both as a citizen and as an individual, is a creature of God whose final end must be God and infinite beatitude.

9. God strikes those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ and His Church

What homage does man render, what homage does the citizen render, what homage do governments render to the Rights of Truth, to the Supreme Rights of God, to the Rights of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate?

Let us repeat it again: in order to establish nothingness (and consequently disorder in society and confusion among peoples) all the more securely as the guiding principle of peoples, they consign to this nothingness, with all the power their thought can muster, God and His Christ and the institution which continues Christ on earth: the Church.

Is it surprising then that God, seeing Himself despised in the very Truth which He has created, despised in Himself and in His Christ, is it surprising that He chastises peoples with the most dreadful scourges?  War and famine are minor things.  Confusion, upheavals in the political and economic order are a mild manifestation of the terrors which Divine Justice reserves for those who trample His Truth underfoot.

Let us endeavour to understand all this.  Especially let those to whom God has given the responsibility of governing society endeavour to penetrate themselves with these profound teachings and introduce them into the practical working-out of the social order for the good of humanity.  If this is done, both peoples and humanity will be saved.

Saint Thomas Aquinas in today’s combat for the faith

Saint Thomas Aquinas in today’s combat for the faith


A Sermon given in the Dominican Monastery of Avrillé (France)

“Thomas Aquinas was a light placed by Me over the Mystical Body of the Church in order to disperse the darkness of error.” 1

1. Saint Thomas, celestial patron of Catholic studies

On the feast of Saint Dominic, on August 4, 1880, and after having consulted the Sacred Congregation of Rites, Pope Leo III published the Brief, Cum hoc sit, designating St. Thomas the patron of universities, academies, Catholic colleges and schools. The feast was fixed on the 13th of November.2

The motives justifying the patronage of Saint Thomas for Catholic studies

This decision of the Pope, designating Saint Thomas patron of Catholic studies came immediately after his encyclical Aeterni Patris, dealing with the restoration of Catholic philosophy according to the principles of Saint Thomas Aquinas, written one year before, on August 4, 1879.  This patronage should have been its crowning point, and Leo XIII assigned three reasons for it.    Let us quote the Pope:

  1. The doctrine of Saint Thomas is so vast that it embraces, like an ocean, the entire wisdom of Antiquity.  Everything said in the past that was true, everything that was wisely discussed by the pagan philosophers and by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church as well as those superior individuals who existed before him; not only did he completely understand it, but he developed, completed and classified it with such an insight, with such methodical precision and with such a precise terminology, that he seems to have only left to his followers the ability to imitate him, while at the same time taking away their possibility of equaling him!”
  2. “There is yet a more important matter to consider: it is that his doctrine being formed and armed with principles containing a vast breadth of application corresponds to the necessities not only of one historical period but rather of all times and periods of history and is therefore very well suited to conquer the continually re-emerging errors.  Sustaining itself by its own strength, it remains invincible and causes a profound fear to its adversaries.  The perfect agreement between faith and reason [in the works of St. Thomas] must not be neglected, especially in regards to the judgment of Catholics.”
  3. “Finally, the Angelic Doctor, though great because of his doctrine, is no less great because of his virtue and holiness.  Consequently virtue is the best preparation for the work of the mind and the acquisition of knowledge; those who neglect virtue falsely imagine having acquired a solid and fruitful knowledge because ‘Wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins’ (Wisdom 1:4).”

Furthermore, Pope Pius XI dedicated a very beautiful encyclical; Studiorum Ducem3, in order to demonstrate the link between ecclesiastical studies and holiness as exemplified by Saint Thomas.

Saint Thomas enjoyed a wisdom proportioned to his sanctity; furthermore he enjoyed a superior degree of sanctity which was especially true from the moment when the Angels bound his loins with the cincture of chastity.  The enlightenment of the intellect is, indeed, the special fruit of chastity while the result of impurity is to darken the mind.  Saint Thomas was so free from the fires of concupiscence that he was able to enjoy an understanding of divine things similar to that of the Angels who do not have a body.  That is why he is called the Angelic Doctor.

Saint Thomas is the fruit of the Dominican Order

At the same time, St. Thomas must not be separated from the religious order to which he belonged.  It was the soil of the Order of Preachers where he was allowed to show his true worth.  The necessary balance between the practice of the vows of religion, monastic observances, the choral singing of the divine office, and the contemplative study ordered to preaching for the salvation of souls: it is this entire wonderful ensemble that permitted him to develop his Angelic doctrine.  But, since a religious acts only out of obedience, Saint Thomas’ superiors must also be mentioned:

“Must we not acknowledge that they directed him as perfectly as possible in his scientific vocation?   For he was a superior intellect, a genius who during his period of development was not inhibited by his own brethren.   This is a

phenomenon rare enough throughout history even in Religious Orders to deserve to be mentioned and held up as an example.” 4

The Masters General under whose direction he lived his religious life5, and the great saint, Albert-the-Great (1206-1280) who directed him at Cologne are a few superiors of Saint Thomas who must be honored.

We can certainly claim that Saint Thomas is the most beautiful flower, the most beautiful fruit of the Order of Saint Dominic:  the Order whose mission in the Church is to spread the light of truth and combat error in order to save souls.

2. Saint Thomas Aquinas in today’s combat for the faith

Therefore, it is clear from all that has been said how important Saint Thomas is in the contemporary battle for the Faith.  Let us quote Archbishop Lefebvre:

“We do not have the right to contradict the spirit of the Church which has always relied on Saint Thomas throughout its history.  God, Himself, raised up this admirable Doctor and the Church and the Popes have confirmed it, always proclaiming the power of Saint Thomas in rejecting error and heresy.  Since our contemporary age is one replete with heresy, error and paganism, we do not have the right to neglect papal directives. […]  It is very unfortunate that in today’s Roman Universities every possible and imaginable theory is floated without any correction from the authorities.  This is unfortunately due to the infiltration of ecumenism into philosophy as well as the idea of the equality of every theory.  Thomism is considered like everything else – relative – it was a system that was good during a certain period of time but, now we need something else more suited to the needs of the time.  (Archbishop Lefebvre)”6

Study

Saint Thomas is the remedy for the malicious illness of our time – which is Modernism

None other than Saint Pius X, in his encyclical Pascendi, written on the 8th of September, 1907, declares that the primary remediation for Modernism is the study of the philosophy and theology of Saint Thomas:

“Concerning the question of studies, We wish and order that Scholastic philosophy form the basis for the Sacred Studies. […] And when we prescribe Scholastic philosophy, We want to make it clear the We especially mean the philosophy left us by the Angelic Doctor. This is of paramount importance.”

Saint Pius X will again clarify his thought in his Motu Proprio Doctoris Angelici of June 29, 1914, concerning the study of the doctrine of Saint Thomas Aquinas:

“It happened that since We said that the philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas especially had to be followed without indicating that it had to be exclusively followed, a number of teachers convinced themselves that they were obeying Our desire, or at the very least, that it was not contradictory if they were to adopt indiscriminately what other scholastics taught about philosophy, even though it was directly in opposition to the principles of Saint Thomas.   But in doing this they were greatly deceived.  When we gave Our seminarians Saint Thomas as the sole leader of Scholastic Philosophy, it goes without saying, that we were talking especially about his principles upon which, as on its foundation, this philosophy rests. […] It is certainly not difficult to understand that if the doctrine of some author or some saint was ever recommended by Us or by Our predecessors with particular enthusiasm, […] it is not difficult to understand that they were recommended in so far as they were in agreement with the principles of Thomas Aquinas or at least they did not oppose his principles in the very least.”

Again, it is Saint Pius X who gives the reason for this:

We wanted to state to all those dedicated to teaching philosophy and sacred theology to be alerted that if they alienated themselves from Thomas Aquinas, in the slightest degree, especially in matters of metaphysics they would experience a tragic loss.”
 

Furthermore, the Church had taken precise measures concerning this matter.  The 1917 Code of Canon Law obliges seminary professors, as well as their students, to “adhere both in philosophy and theology to the method, doctrine and principles of Saint Thomas.” (C. 1366 # 2).  The Dominican Constitution even required professors, the Master of novices and the brothers during their course of study to take an oath to maintain that doctrine.   The doctrine of Saint Thomas is the Church’s doctrine, and the Church is suspicious of anyone straying from it.

The shipwreck of the Conciliar Church

Alienated from the Tradition of the Church, the intellect has no point of reference; it just wanders around (or it loses its way).  This is precisely the spectacle given by the Conciliar Church.

The new Code of Canon Law issued in 1983, does not even explicitly mention Saint Thomas when it comes to philosophical studies in the seminaries!   It only says:

“The philosophical formation ought to always relate to Tradition while at the same time keeping aware of on going philosophical research” (C. 251).

One cannot be more vague.

Let us also quote the incredible declaration of Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI:

“I had difficulty in understanding Saint Thomas Aquinas whose crystalline logic appeared much too enclosed on itself, too impersonal and too stereotyped.”7

At any other time in history, he would not have been ordained a priest.  And in our times, he became the Pope!

One must read the text of Saint Thomas

Following the thought of Saint Pius X we readily see that he insists on reading the text of Saint Thomas itself:

“It is absolutely necessary to return to the ancient custom which, should have never been abandoned, that there be courses taught on the Summa Theologica itself, for the obvious reason that this highly reasoned book renders the Solemn Decrees of the teaching Church and its Acts that naturally follow more easily intelligible.  Because in the wake of the most blessed saintly Doctor, the Church has never held a Council in which he himself were not present with all the richness of his doctrine.  It daily becomes clearer and the experience of so many centuries has made it known, how true the affirmation of Our predecessor John XXII8is right on: [Thomas] enlightened the Church more clearly than all the Doctors, and, in his books, man profits more in one year than if he spent his entire life span studying all the others.”

In addition to the necessity of reading the text of St. Thomas itself, two cogent things should be retained:

  • The Second Vatican Council is the only council which did not rely on the doctrine of the Angelic Doctor; hence the disaster that flows from this omission.
  • Saint Pius X links the study of St. Thomas, in our times, to none other than the Acts of the Holy See.  This is something that was sadly lacking to the Thomists in our times.  Leaning on the principles of the Angelic Doctor, the Popes – up to Pius XII included – assiduously studied modern errors and condemned them.  These lessons were too often ignored and the lack of knowledge of the pontifical texts is an important cause for the lack of reaction against these errors in the Church:  hence their triumph on the occasion of Vatican II.

That is why Archbishop Lefebvre, in order “to transmit in its entire doctrinal purity, as well as in all his missionary charity, just as Our Lord transmitted it to His Apostles as also the Roman Church transmitted it up until the middle of the XXth century,”9 inserted in the first year course on spirituality for the seminarians, courses on the Acts of the Magisterium concerning modern errors which he himself gave in the beginning10.

Preaching

The study of the doctrine of St. Thomas, in itself, ought to be the principal inspiration for preaching for priests.  It is very important to nourish the souls with this doctrine in order to sustain their contemplation and love of God.

Saint Thomas himself, as a true son of Saint Dominic, had consecrated himself to the salvation of souls.  Furthermore, it is Thomas himself who developed the logo for the Order of Preachers: “Contemplari, et contemplate aliis tradere,”:  to contemplate and transmit to others that which you have contemplated.

It would be a grave error and detriment for the faithful to think that Saint Thomas is only reserved for priestsIt would also be wrong to think that, for the faithful, it is only necessary to give moral exhortations or, what is worse, considerations that appeal only to feelings.

Let us quote again the Archbishop:

Let us not think that Saint Thomas is too much for the faithful and that he is distant from their faith, for this is not true and damaging to the faithful.  The philosophy and theology of Saint Thomas are truth.  Therefore let us not say that the truth explained in all its simplicity, and clarity, in addition to its profound logic, cannot be understood by the faithful.  That would be condescension on our part.  This would amount to abandoning and despairing of communicating to the faithful – a profound tragedy.  It goes without saying that one must know how to express and expose these admirable principles.”11

Father Garrigou-Lagrange O.P. tells of having known a little lay sister, who was a contemplative, and who did not possess any human culture to speak of but who had been interiorly enlightened by interior trials:

“She had discovered among the saints two great friends: Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Albert the Great.  In spite of the fact that she lacked any philosophical or theological culture, she, nevertheless, loved to read how these saints prayed and furthermore, addressed them saying: “They are great Doctors of the Church and they enlighten the souls of those who entreat them for help.”  As a matter of fact, Father Garrigou-Lagrange continues to explain that it was St. Thomas who showed her where the obscure tunnel she was crossing would lead her!  And Saint Thomas enlightened many souls, as he had done to the little lay sister, if these poor souls appealed to him.”12

It was well known at Econe, that Msgr. Lefebvre came for a spiritual conference with a single volume of Saint Thomas, and he gave a commentary on an article of the Summa.  These formed the most pleasing lectures experienced by the Seminarians, and especially by the brothers!

It was not something rare, at the Monastery of Avrille, to be surprised to find our (now deceased) brother Marie-Joseph O.P. plunged into one of these same volumes.  He was particularly in love with the treatise on charity.

Conclusion

Let us ask of Our Lord what the Church makes us specially ask for in the Collect and the Postcommunion for the feast of Saint Thomas:

Da nobis et quae docuit, intellectu conspicere:

give us the grace to contemplate what he taught – that is, to nourish ourselves with his doctrine,

et quae egit imitatione complere; ut actus exterius piae operationis excrescent:

give us the grace to resemble him, in order that there may be an increase in our good works,

knowing that the first work of spiritual mercy consists in teaching souls the truth:

Docere ignorantes.


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)

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

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé

No. 21, January 2016

IMG_5537-1

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.

clip_image006

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.

IMG_5525

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.

PLEASE NOTE:

THE UNITED STATES IRS HAS NOW APPROVED OUR TAX EXEMPT STATUS

To send a donation:

– In the U.S.:

Dominicans of Avrillé, Inc.

P.O. Box 23

Newman Lake, WA. 99025-9998

 

– In Canada:

The Association of St. Dominic

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

201-21 Street East

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

S7K OB8 Canada

Please specify:

CAN$: acc.#40-91531

 

– In the U.K.:

The Association of St. Dominic

The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Edinburgh Comiston Branch

17 Comiston Road

Edinburgh EH10 6AA

Please specify:

Acc # 00105564

clip_image010

For more information write to:

Couvent de la Haye-aux-Bonshommes

49240 Avrillé, France

What should we make of the book The Poem of the Man God by Maria Valtorta?

What should we make of the book The Poem of the Man God by Maria Valtorta?

To answer to questions which were asked of us about Maria Valtorta, we publish here a text coming from Le Sel de la terre n° 7 (doctrinal review of the Dominicans of Avrillé).

For more details, you can consult the book of Fr Herrbach: “Des visions sur l’Évangile” on the website: http://www.clovis-diffusion.com/

Maria Valtorta died in 1961 “in an incomprehensible physical isolation” (in an insane asylum).

Her principal work The Poem of the Man God, which was written in the years from 1943 to 1947, took up 10,000 pages of note-books.

Her confessor Father Migliorini, claims to have been received in audience with Pope Pius XII alongside Father Berti, in February 1948 and the Pope is supposed to have said to them to publish this work, adding ” Whoever reads it, will understand“.  This oral authorisation of the Pope seems very unlikely: The Pope could only have given the authorisation of the work if he had read it and been assured of its orthodoxy; but how would the Pope have found the time to read these 10,000 pages?  This authorisation appears even less credible when the Holy Office forbade the work definitively (with no possible correction) one year later in February 1949.  The first four volumes were however published without Imprimatur from 1956 to 1959.  On the 16th of December 1959, the edited books were put on The Index [Editor: The Index of Forbidden Books].   The Osservatore Romano (official newspaper of the Vatican) published the placement on The Index accompanied with an article justifying the condemnation.  Here are some extracts:

“The four Gospels present us with a Jesus humble and full of reserve; His speaking is sober, incisive but supremely efficacious.  On the contrary in this sort of romantic History [Editor:  i.e. The Poem of the Man God], Jesus is excessively loquacious and resembles a man of propaganda, always ready to proclaim Himself the Messiah and Son of God, and to give out lessons of theology, using the same terms that a professor of theology would use today.

In the Gospel narratives, we admire the humility and the silence of the Mother of Jesus.  On the contrary for the author of this work, the most blessed Virgin Mary with the talkativeness of a modern lawyer, is always present everywhere and always ready to give lessons of Marian theology, perfectly up to date with the latest current studies of specialists on the matter…

Some scenes are rather indecent and make us think of scenes from a modern novel.  We will only give a few examples, such as the confession made to Mary by a certain Aglae, a woman of ill-repute (1st volume, p.790 and after1);  the not very edifying narrative from pages 887 and onwards in the first volume;  a ballet executed in an immodest fashion before Pilate at the pretorium (volume 4, p. 75) etc…

To finish let us point out another strange and imprecise affirmation where it is said of the Madonna, “You, all the time that you will be on this earth, you will be the second after Peter, in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. [It is we who underline, says the review]”

Here are some examples of the errors and improprieties of this book

  • Our Lord thinks that words tire now and we must have recourse to visions… of Maria Valtorta; 
  • The tree of life in the terrestrial paradise is only a symbol; 
  • The sin of Adam and Eve consisted in the use of marriage in a spirit of lust; 
  • Saint Anne gave birth without pain; 
  • Our Lady brags of her humility and her calm; 
  • She says that she redeemed women through her maternity; 
  • She said that she saw God at her creation; 
  • Satan became flesh in the form of Judas.

One can note numerous contradictions with the Gospel, for example:

  • Our Lord is supposed to have sucked with avidity the vinegar given by the soldier;
  • On the Cross Our Lord did not cease to cry out “Mommy!” and she replied: “Yes, my treasure, I am here”; 
  • Our Lady gets angry, cries out and becomes “almost” delirious after the death of her Son;
  • and this is not to mention the numerous sensualities which are spread throughout the work.

Let us finish by citing a talk by Archbishop Lefebvre at a retreat, where he expresses his reserve regarding Maria Valtorta:

It is better for us […] not to spend too much time on the material details of the life of Our Lord. […] These books which present themselves as revelations of the Life of Our Lord, in my opinion, can be a danger, precisely because they represent Our Lord in a too concrete manner, too much in the details of His life.  I am thinking of course of Maria Valtorta.   And perhaps for some this reading can do good, it can bring them close to Our Lord, to try to imagine what would have been the life of the Apostles with Our Lord, the life at Nazareth, the life of Our Lord as the visits of the cities of Israel.

But there is a danger, a great danger; that is to humanize too much, to concretize too much, and to not sufficiently show the face of God, in this Life of Our Lord.  This is the danger.  I do not know if we should recommend so much to people the reading of these books, if they are not forewarned.  I do not know if that would raise them up and make them know Our Lord, such as He was, such as He is, such as we should know Him and believe Him to be.2

Last advice : Rather than read these novels where errors abound, it would be better to read Holy Scripture with good commentary based on the Fathers of the Church3, or even good lives of the saints4.

(From Le Sel de la terre, n° 7)


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”.