Hartford's Mark of Apostasy
by Thomas A. Droleskey
[January 26, 2015, Update: This article will be revised and updated for posting on in the format that has been use for this site for the past and one-half months.]
One of the marks of apostasy that distinguish the counterfeit church of conciliarism is the far-reaching freedom afforded those within its ranks who exceed even its own approved apostasies and novelties. Wide latitude is granted in most although not necessarily in all, cases to priests, whether ordained validly or not, who put into question basic articles of the Catholic Faith that have not been denied or put into question under the "official" auspices of the counterfeit church of conciliarism.
Indeed the most that happens in most instances to those who go beyond the pale of conciliarism's official apostasies is for the theologians among their number to be declared unfit to hold chairs in theology at Catholic universities (Fathers Hans Kung, Charles Curran) or for priests or consecrated religious to be expelled from their orders (Father Matthew Fox, O.P., the promoter of the Chardinian "Creation Spirituality").
Father Hans Kung, who is working to make a "One World Church" a reality and who is a dissenter on the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, remains a professor emeritus of "ecumenical theology" at the University of Tubingen after having lost his status as a Catholic theologian at this public university in December of 1979. He also remains in perfectly "good standing" canonically in the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, enjoying a nice evening with his old colleague and sometimes antagonist from their academic days together, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, in August of 2005.
The Devil's Final Battle listed some of Kung's more egregious apostasies:
It needs to be pointed out that these are only some of Hans Kung's heretical views, but they were the only ones mentioned within the Vatican's sanctions. Thus, in effect. the Vatican left Kung's other heterodox tenets untouched. For example in one of his most famous books entitled On Being a Christian, Hans Kung:
- denies the Divinity of Christ (p. 130)
- dismisses the miracles of the Gospel (p. 233)
- denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus (p. 350)
- denies that Christ founded an institutional Church (p. 109)
- denies that the Mass is the re-presentation of Calvary (p. 323)
Kung has never retracted these unorthodox and heretical statements. Moreover, Kung has publicly called for a revision of Church teaching on issues such as papal infallibility, birth control, mandatory celibacy of priests, and women in the priesthood. Despite this blatant rejection of Church teaching, the only penalty that the Vatican ever inflicted against Kung was that he was "not allowed" to be considered a Catholic theologian, and as such, was not allowed to teach theology in a Catholic university. This "penalty" was circumvented when the University of Tubingen, Kung's home campus, retained Kung as a teaching professor and simply restructured part of the university so that Kung, a great celebrity, may continue teaching in that part of the university which is now chartered as a "secular" school.
Meanwhile, the Vatican has never condemned Kung as a heretic, never excommunicated him (as canon law provides), never ordered that his books be removed from libraries in Catholic seminaries and universities (where they are now found in abundance), never prevented him being a guest-lecturer at Catholic institutions, never obstructed him from publishing articles in Concilium or other progressivist "Catholic" publications. Father Hans Kung is not even suspended. Rather, to this day, Kung remains in good standing in the diocese of Basle, with no other canonical penalties leveled against him.
Father Charles Curran remains a priest in "good standing" canonically in the Diocese of Rochester, New York, despite his consistent and unapologetic rejection of Catholic teaching on such matters as contraception and abortion (among other sins against the Fifth Sixth and Ninth Commandments). Curran was permitted to teach at The Catholic University of America for eighteen years following his open opposition to Giovanni Montini/Paul VI's Humanae Vitae in 1968, receiving in 1986 the same kind of censure as that meted out to Kung in 1979 (being declared to be no longer able to teach Catholic theology). It is interesting to note that Curran's bishop at the time of his open dissent from Humanae Vitae was none other than Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, who took no action against him at all. And the conciliar Archbishop of Washington, D.C., at the time, Joseph Cardinal O'Boyle, who tried to discipline Curran by removing him from his teaching position, was overruled by the other cardinals who served on the governing board of The Catholic University of America, a decision that was not overturned by Montini. Curran has been teaching at Southern Methodist University since his dismissal from The Catholic University of America in 1986.
Most often, however, those who support various propositions that go beyond the approve apostasies of conciliarism remain completely uncensured by the conciliar Vatican. Indeed, Charles Curran's own "bishop" and staunch supporter, Matthew Clark of Rochester, New York, said in the 1990s that the "church" must find some way to bless "unions" between "couples" engaged in perverse sins against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments. Clark who did retire in "good standing" after he reachedl his seventy-fifth birthday, on July 15, 2012. Thank you, Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II.
Oh, the examples of those who maintain their "good standing" in the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism despite going beyond its own "approved" false doctrines are too many even to begin to summarize. A good deal of my work at The Wanderer between 1992 and 2000 involved writing a number of "hard news" stories about such cases.
Indeed, one of those "hard news" stories, published in two parts in early-1998, concerned my own home Diocese of Rockville Centre that listed numerous names and dates of defections from the Catholic Faith. Although I did not yet accept that the conciliar church as not the Catholic Church, I knew that those responsible for propagating errors about the Faith were offending God and harming the souls for whom He shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross were never going to be disciplined by Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II. I thought it important to provide a "permanent record" of the facts of the situation in but one diocese, coming to realize eight years later that those facts were simply correlative proofs of the simple reality that the conciliar church was not and could be the Catholic Church. It is simply too wearying even to think about other such stories that were written during my Wanderer days!
One of the "progressive" priests in the conciliar structures who remained in perfectly "good standing" canonically in the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, until the time of his death on Sunday, January 25, 2015, the Third Sunday of the Epiphany and the Commemoration of the Conversion of Saint Paul, was s Father Richard P. McBrien, who began serving as a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, in 1979. It was at McBrien's invitation when he was chairman of the Department of Theology in 1984 that the then Governor of the State of New York, Mario Matthew Cuomo, gave his famous apologia in defense of his "I'm personally opposed to abortion but cannot impose my views on others" position (Cuomo's Notre Dame speech, September 13 1984). McBrien, dressed in a jacket and tie, personally introduced Cuomo to the admiring throng who gathered for his address.
Father McBrien, who supported women's "ordination" to the conciliar "priesthood," gave active rhetorical support to Catholic politicians who support the chemical and/or surgical assassination of innocent preborn babies. His doing so on a telecast of the American Broadcasting Company's Nightline program on May 15, 1989, following the telecast of the made-for-television motion picture Roe v. Wade, scandalized a Protestant "minister," who, to our utter shame as Catholics, said the following to McBrien (and this is a paraphrase):
"Father, and I will call you that because that is your title, I don't think that Jesus is going to say to all of those politicians who support the killing of babies "well done, good and faithful servant" when they stand before Him next to a pile of dead babies as they are being judged by Him."
McBrien's infamous book, Catholicism, was even too much for the doctrinal committee of the then named National Conference of Catholic Bishops, which noted in 1996 the following doctrinal problems or ambiguities in the book's text:
A. Examples of Inaccurate or Misleading Statements
1) The Impeccability of Jesus Christ
Catholicism insists that it is possible to hold the faith of the church while maintaining that Jesus Christ could have sinned. "It is not that Jesus Christ was absolutely incapable of sin, but rather that he was able not to sin and, in fact, did not sin"( p. 547). The book argues that "both views—the one favoring impeccability and the one that does not—are within the range of Catholic orthodoxy" (p. 547). This position, however, cannot be reconciled with the Christology of the councils. In two natures, Jesus Christ is only one hypostasis (or person), the hypostasis of the Word. With Christ there is no possible subject of the verb to sin. There are indeed two wills in Christ, but only one person, one subject. The contention that Jesus could have sinned, if followed to its logical conclusion, inevitably implies a Nestorian or an adoptionist Christology, though it must be said that Catholicism does not draw such extreme conclusions.
2) The Virginal Conception of Jesus
Catholicism presents the virgin birth of Jesus as being of uncertain and perhaps even doubtful historicity. The book argues that belief in the virgin birth should be considered a theologoumenon, "a nondoctrinal theological interpretation that cannot be verified or refuted on the basis of historical evidence, but that can be affirmed because of its close connection with some defined doctrine about God" (p. 542). While the adjective non-normative has been deleted from the new edition's definition of theologoumenon (in the study edition, p. 516), the book continues to describe belief in the virgin birth as "nondoctrinal." This belief, however, has been a constant part of church teaching from the first century and has been reaffirmed by the Holy See since Vatican II.
It is confusing to say, as Catholicism does (p. 543), that the cooperation of Joseph in the conception of Jesus was not excluded by any explicit definition. That point has been implicitly taught in the creeds, and the implication has been spelled out by constant and repeated magisterial teaching since the fifth century.
The 1985 statement of the Committee on Doctrine pointed to (among other matters) the treatment of the virginal conception of Jesus in Catholicism as one of those that were found "confusing and ambiguous." This description also applies to the treatment of this question in the new edition, for it remains substantially the same. The book seems to suggest that as a result of modern biblical scholarship the scales tip against the factual historicity of the virginal conception. Interpreted in this way, Catholicism comes very close to denying, if it does not actually deny, an article of faith.
3) The Perpetual Virginity of Mary
While Catholicism offers an examination of the virgin birth and concludes that this belief is a theologoumenon, its treatment of the belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary is purely descriptive and never systematic. The matter is discussed in terms of a descriptive history of the development of this belief, an account that itself appears in the course of an overview of the development of veneration of Mary in general (pp. 1078-1100). This overview has a decidedly skeptical tone, emphasizing the lack of reference and the occasionally negative references to Mary in the New Testament and in the early church, the influence of apocryphal and particularly Docetic writings, and the opposition of major saints and theologians (Bernard, Bonaventure, Aquinas) to doctrines such as the immaculate conception.
The book stresses that the New Testament says nothing about the perpetual virginity of Mary (rather, it speaks of brothers and sisters of Jesus) and asserts that even in the second century there is no evidence for this belief apart from the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James (pp. 1081-83). According to Catholicism, the development of belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary "coincided with a newly positive assessment of virginity" (p. 1083). While the book does not explicitly conclude that the cause for the acceptance of belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary was the church's desire to promote virginity as an ascetical state, the reader seems to be invited to draw this inference. It was because the church sought to foster the "glorification of the Virgin Mary for ascetical reasons" that the church ignored the opposition of those like Tertullian who recognized that such a doctrine "introduced a new danger of Docetic trends" (p. 1083). The acceptance of belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary is presented as closely if not inextricably linked with the fostering of asceticism, which supposedly arose only in the third century. After pointing out the absence of evidence for this belief in the New Testament and second-century fathers, including the opposition of Tertullian, the text continues:
"Mary's perpetual virginity, however, came to be almost universally accepted from the third century on. By now consecrated virgins had been established as a special state in the church, and Mary was presented to them as their model" (p. 1083).
Although Catholicism does not arrive at any explicit conclusions as to the status of the belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary, the description of the history of the development of this belief gives the impression that rather than a truth that the church only gradually uncovered, the belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary was a creation of the third-century church as part of its program to promote virginity and asceticism. The book apparently favors the view that Mary had "normal sexual relations after the birth of Jesus" and that Jesus had blood brothers and sisters, while admitting, however, that the New Testament evidence does not constitute an "insuperable" barrier to the belief that Mary remained ever a virgin (p.1081).
While the perpetual virginity of Mary may rank lower in the hierarchy of truths than the virginal conception of Jesus, it must be reckoned as a constant teaching of the church, and not as an open question. The net effect of the discussion of the point in Catholicism is to leave the impression that the teaching of the church on this matter is not to be trusted.
Review of Fr. McBrien's Catholicism
Leaving aside the National Conference of "Catholic" "Bishops'" effort to rank the Perpetual Virginity of Our Lady as "lower" in the "hierarchy of truths" than the "virginal conception" of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (see endnote at the conclusion of the article), the review of McBrien's Catholicism by its "doctrinal committee" meant nothing to the conciliar "archbishop" of Hartford, Connecticut, at the time, Daniel Cronin. McBrien's open support for women's ordination and open opposition to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, meant nothing to Cronin's predecessor, Archbishop John Francis Whealon (a true bishop), who said in response to a question I posed to him as his student in a Scripture course he was teaching in 1983 at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, that McBrien's case was "very interesting," never explaining why he chose to let him teach at the University of Notre Dame and to leave him uncensured to harm souls. Archbishop Whealon never answered the question.
Father Richard P. McBrien was shameless as he sought to distort Catholic teaching. He was sometimes so bold as to leave believing Catholics speechless, as occurred when Father James LeBar, the official exorcist of the Archdiocese of New York, appeared on Nightline with McBrien in the early-1990s (after the ABC-TV program 20/20 aired a video of an exorcism performed by Father LeBar, who is a true priest) and had no answer for McBrien when the latter said that the Catholic Church had never declared dogmatically that the devil existed. McBrien, using the same sort of Modernist/Hegelian sleight of hand for which Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has distinguished himself throughout his priesthood, might have actually believed this to be the case as he, a doctrinal minimalist, did not consider the dogmatic declarations of the Church's councils to be much more than simply exercises in "apologetics" that do not bind the consciences of anyone, especially those belonging to "theologians" such as himself.
Unfortunately for Father McBrien, the Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, did have something to say about the devil (so did the Council of Trent in Chapter I of its Decree on Justification):
We firmly believe and openly confess that there is only one true God, eternal and immense, omnipotent, unchangeable, incomprehensible, and ineffable, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; three Persons indeed but one essence, substance, or nature absolutely simple; the Father (proceeding) from no one, but the Son from the Father only, and the Holy Ghost equally from both, always without beginning and end. The Father begetting, the Son begotten, and the Holy Ghost proceeding; consubstantial and coequal, co-omnipotent and coeternal, the one principle of the universe, Creator of all things invisible and visible, spiritual and corporeal, who from the beginning of time and by His omnipotent power made from nothing creatures both spiritual and corporeal, angelic, namely, and mundane, and then human, as it were, common, composed of spirit and body. The devil and the other demons were indeed created by God good by nature but they became bad through themselves; man, however, sinned at the suggestion of the devil. This Holy Trinity in its common essence undivided and in personal properties divided, through Moses, the holy prophets, and other servants gave to the human race at the most opportune intervals of time the doctrine of salvation.
And finally, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God made flesh by the entire Trinity, conceived with the co-operation of the Holy Ghost of Mary ever Virgin, made true man, composed of a rational soul and human flesh, one Person in two natures, pointed out more clearly the way of life. Who according to His divinity is immortal and impassable, according to His humanity was made passable and mortal, suffered on the cross for the salvation of the human race, and being dead descended into hell, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. But He descended in soul, arose in flesh, and ascended equally in both; He will come at the end of the world to judge the living and the dead and will render to the reprobate and to the elect according to their works. Who all shall rise with their own bodies which they now have that they may receive according to their merits, whether good or bad, the latter eternal punishment with the devil, the former eternal glory with Christ.
There is one Universal Church of the faithful, outside of which there is absolutely no salvation. In which there is the same priest and sacrifice, Jesus Christ, whose body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the forms of bread and wine; the bread being changed (transubstantiation) by divine power into the body, and the wine into the blood, so that to realize the mystery of unity we may receive of Him what He has received of us. And this sacrament no one can effect except the priest who has been duly ordained in accordance with the keys of the Church, which Jesus Christ Himself gave to the Apostles and their successors. (Twelfth Ecumenical Council: Lateran IV 1215.)
Modernists attempt to use a variety of linguistic tricks to explain away the Catholic Church's twenty dogmatic councils. Alas, their wiles have been exposed and condemned by Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907, and by Pope Saint Pius XII in Humani Generis, August 12, 1950. McBrien was a past master of using various tricks to present apostasy as acceptable Catholic "truth," making him of one mind and heart in this regard with Ratzinger/Benedict XVI himself, no matter where they might differ on this or that point or how the might go about expressing the particular tenets of such apostasies as the "new ecclesiology" with different emphases or with different terms.
That having been noted, however, McBrien's wrote a syndicated column in August of 2008 that was still being carried in a number of conciliar diocesan newspapers, that represented a view of ecclesiology that was almost identical with that of Ratzinger's, admitting that the latter attempts to deconstruct the notion of the Church's mark of Unity in very slightly different terms than those used by McBrien:
The Creed of the Council of Constantinople (381), better known as the Nicene Creed, contains the line: "We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church." These are known as the marks, or notes, of the Church.
They were used by Counter-Reformation theologians to distinguish the Catholic Church as "the one, true Church of Christ" from all of the "false" claimants that had emerged from the Protestant Reformation.
The Catholic apologists argued that the true Church must possess the marks of unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity, as specified in the Creed, and that the Catholic Church alone has them in a visible, easily verifiable form.
The best English-language treatment of the marks of the Church is Francis Sullivan's "The Church We Believe In: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic" (Paulist Press, 1988). The Jesuit theologian has a highly compressed version of the book in the one-volume "HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism" ("marks of the Church," pp. 817-18).
As Father Sullivan points out therein, the apologetical approach of the Counter-Reformation period was severely marred by the theological presuppositions that were prevalent at the time. The four marks of the Church, he observes, "were practically reduced to the requirement that the true Church must be one governed by the Bishop of Rome."
Another problem with the apologetical approach was its insistence on the visibility of the marks, such that any objective person could readily see them in the Catholic Church. But, as Father Sullivan insists, "there is much more to the oneness, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity of the Church than what can be seen of them."
Catholic theologians today, and since the mid-20th century, have abandoned the apologetical approach in favor of one that is called eschatological. This means that the four marks are as much future goals of the Church, still to be achieved, as they are present realities.
Thus, the Church already experiences some measure of unity because of the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit, who is the principal source of unity, and also because of the Eucharist, which is the sacrament of unity.
The oneness of the Church is also, but not primarily, insured by the Petrine ministry of the Bishop of Rome, the pope, whose major pastoral responsibility is to insure the unity of the whole Church.
At the same time, however, the Church is not united; it is divided: East from West, and Protestant and Anglican from Catholic. So it is theologically --- and empirically --- more accurate to say that the Church is already one, but not yet fully one.
And that is what is meant by the term "eschatological." The Church already shares in the unity of the triune God by the working of the Holy Spirit, but at this moment of salvation history it "strains toward the consummation of the kingdom and, with all its strength, hopes and desires to be united in glory with its King" (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, n. 5).
The same can be said of the other marks. The Church is already holy, but not yet fully holy. The Church is already catholic, but not yet fully catholic. The Church is already apostolic, but not yet fully apostolic.
The fundamental source of the Church's earthly unity, as noted above, is the Holy Spirit, who is available to all Christians, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.
The next most powerful source of unity is the Eucharist, in the celebration of which the Church prays for, and to some significant extent receives, the grace of God that creates and sustains the unity of the whole, yet still-divided, Church.
For many Protestant communities, however, the liturgical emphasis is on the preached Word to the practical exclusion of the sacrament. Consequently, the Eucharist plays a more limited role in sustaining and strengthening the unity of the earthly Church than does the Holy Spirit.
And the Petrine ministry, exercised by the pope, has an even more limited role, because fewer portions of the Body of Christ recognize his primacy over the whole Church than celebrate the Eucharist or some form thereof.
To be sure, the Catholic Church teaches that it is not simply one Church among many. It is, in some real theological sense, the one, true Church of Christ in which the Body of Christ "subsists," even if not fully so (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, n. 8).
But Vatican II also acknowledges that there are other Churches and "ecclesial communities" within the Body of Christ, which share faith in Christ, celebrate one Baptism, and are committed to the Word of God and its moral demands (Decree on Ecumenism, n. 3).
The Church is one, but not yet one. The Church is one | The-Tidings.com
This was a remarkable piece of apostasy, for which Richard McBrien did not suffer one bit of censure from the authorities of the Archdiocese of Hartford, then under the direction of "archbishop" Henry Mansell (who retired in 2013 and was replaced by an ultra-progressive conciliar revolutionary, Leonard Paul Blair), a true priest ordained by Francis Cardinal Spellman of the Archdiocese of New York on December 19, 1962. McBrien's thoroughly apostate views were considered within the pale of conciliarism's "new ecclesiology," especially in light of the fact that his views were in almost complete conformity with those of Ratzinger/Benedict's, who used contradiction and paradox to a very fine degree to obfuscate the meaning of the mark of Unity, stating on some occasions that this mark "subsists" within the Catholic Church without "its ever being lost" while on the other hand stating that unity has yet to be achieved:
We all know there are numerous models of unity and you know that the Catholic Church also has as her goal the full visible unity of the disciples of Christ, as defined by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council in its various Documents (cf. Lumen Gentium, nn. 8, 13; Unitatis Redintegratio, nn. 2, 4, etc.). This unity, we are convinced, indeed subsists in the Catholic Church, without the possibility of ever being lost (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 4); the Church in fact has not totally disappeared from the world.
On the other hand, this unity does not mean what could be called ecumenism of the return: that is, to deny and to reject one's own faith history. Absolutely not!
It does not mean uniformity in all expressions of theology and spirituality, in liturgical forms and in discipline. Unity in multiplicity, and multiplicity in unity: in my Homily for the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul on 29 June last, I insisted that full unity and true catholicity in the original sense of the word go together. As a necessary condition for the achievement of this coexistence, the commitment to unity must be constantly purified and renewed; it must constantly grow and mature.(Ecumenical meeting at the Archbishopric of Cologne, August 19, 2005.)
Father Francis Connell dispensed quite handily with the "unity in multiplicity" and "multiplicity in unity" apostasy in 1959:
To characterize the relation between Catholics and Protestants as 'unity-in-diversity' is misleading, inasmuch as it implies that essentially Catholics are one with heretics, and that their diversities are only accidental. Actually, the very opposite is the true situation. For, however near an heretical sect may seem to be to the Catholic Church in its particular beliefs, a wide gulf separates them, insofar as the divinely established means whereby the message of God is to be communicated to souls--the infallible Magisterium of the Church--is rejected by every heretical sect. By telling Protestants that they are one with us in certain beliefs, in such wise as to give the impression that we regard this unity as the predominant feature of our relation with them, we are actually misleading them regarding the true attitude of the Catholic Church toward those who do not acknowledge Her teaching authority. (Father Francis Connell, Father Connell Answers Moral Questions, published in 1959 by Catholic University of America Press, p. 11; quoted in Fathers Dominic and Francisco Radecki, CMRI, TUMULTUOUS TIMES, p. 348.)
Yes, far from representing an approach of Catholic "apologetics" that can be dismissed as determined by the historical circumstances in which the Counter-Reformation missionaries to the Protestants sought to convert heretics and schismatics to the true Church, outside of which there is no salvation, the efforts of the likes of Saints Francis de Sales and Peter Canisius and Robert Bellarmine and others in the Sixteenth Century and thereafter were founded in the immutable doctrine of the Catholic Church, from which no Catholic may dissent and remain a member in good standing of the Catholic Church.
McBrien, the trickster, would have had his uninformed readers to think that the unnamed "apologists" were stupid men whose minds were clouded by the "prejudices" of the moment in which they lived. As I wrote in 2008, "All right, Father McBrien, please tell us that Saint Francis de Sale and Saint Peter Canisius were wrong to with assiduously for the conversion of Protestants. Please tell us that Saint Josaphat was wrong to give up his life to convert the heretical and schismatic Orthodox. Name your apologists and explain how they were "wrong" to base their tireless work in behalf of the conversion of souls to the true Faith on the immutable teaching of the Catholic Church."
Ah, then, it is far better for a rhetorical trickster to try to obfuscate his apostasy without naming names and without informing his readers that the Catholic Church has rejected the "new ecclesiology" of conciliarism long before the "Second" Vatican Council, as His Excellency Bishop Donald Sanborn noted in his excellent compilation,
The New Ecclesiology: Documentation:
Conciliarist Teachings on the New Ecclesiology
This communion exists especially with the Eastern
Orthodox Churches which, though separated from the See
of Peter, remain united to the Catholic Church by means of
very close bonds, such as the apostolic succession and a
valid Eucharist, and therefore merit the title of particular
Churches. (CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE
FAITH. Letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on
Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion.
 [Hereinafter known as “C”], 17)
Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and
operative also in these Churches, even though they
lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since
they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy,
which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of
Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire
Church. (Dominus Iesus, [Hereinafter known as
The universal Church is therefore the body of the
Churches.” [i.e., the particular Churches]. (C, 8)
In these truly plenary gatherings, the ecclesial
communities of different countries make real the
fundamental second chapter of Lumen Gentium which
treats of the numerous “spheres” of belonging to the
Church as People of God and of the bond which
exists with it, even on the part of those who do not
yet form a part of it. (John Paul II, Discourse to the
Roman Curia, June 28, 1981)
THE TEACHING OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC
[Encyclical Amantissimus, April 18, 1862]
He who leaves this [Roman] See cannot hope to remain
within the Church; he who eats of the lamb outside of it
has no part with God.
[Letter from the Holy Office, September 16, 1864, to the
It [this novelty] can be summed up in this proposition, that
the true Church of Jesus Christ is made up of one part
Roman Church, established and propagated throughout
the world, and one part the schism of Photius, and the
Anglican heresy, both of which have, with the Church
of Rome, one same Lord, one same faith, one same
[Letter from the Holy Office, September 16, 1864, to the
This novelty is all the more dangerous in that it is presented
under the appearances of piety and eager solicitude for the
unity of Christian society. The foundation on which it is
built is such that it destroys at one stroke the divine
constitution of the Church.
BISHOP SANBORN'S COMMENTARY
The Vatican II ecclesiology is heretical since it affirms that
non-Catholic sects are particular Churches which belong to
the Church of Christ. The Catholic teaching is that the
Church of Christ is exactly the same thing as the Roman
Catholic Church, and that those who are separated from the
Roman Catholic Church are separated from the Church of
Christ, and from Christ Himself.
The new ecclesiology was already condemned in 1864.
Although Vatican II apologists claim that their theory is not
the same as the Branch Theory, which is here condemned,
it is nonetheless the same: the Church of Christ is
composed of many parts which differ according to faith and
The new ecclesiology is heretical, since it destroys the
divine constitution of the Church. The New Ecclesiology: Documentation
Moreover, as Bishop Sanborn demonstrated his documentation, Pope Leo XIII rejected any notion that the Church's Mark of Unity was somehow to be realized in the "future," that the Catholic Church did not always possess this Mark completely, a Mark to which no other heretical or schismatic sect may lay any claim whatsoever:
The Church of Christ, therefore, is one and the same for ever; those who leave it depart from the will and command of Christ, the Lord - leaving the path of salvation they enter on that of perdition. "Whosoever is separated from the Church is united to an adulteress. He has cut himself off from the promises of the Church, and he who leaves the Church of Christ cannot arrive at the rewards of Christ....He who observes not this unity observes not the law of God, holds not the faith of the Father and the Son, clings not to life and salvation" (S. Cyprianus, De Cath. Eccl. Unitate, n. 6).
But He, indeed, Who made this one Church, also gave it unity, that is, He made it such that all who are to belong to it must be united by the closest bonds, so as to form one society, one kingdom, one body - "one body and one spirit as you are called in one hope of your calling (Eph. iv., 4). Jesus Christ, when His death was nigh at hand, declared His will in this matter, and solemnly offered it up, thus addressing His Father: "Not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in Me...that they also may be one in Us...that they may be made perfect in one" John xvii., 20-21 23). Yea, He commanded that this unity should be so closely knit and so perfect amongst His followers that it might, in some measure, shadow forth the union between Himself and His Father: "I pray that they all may be one as Thou Father in Me and I in Thee" (Ibid. 21).
Agreement and union of minds is the necessary foundation of this perfect concord amongst men, from which concurrence of wills and similarity of action are the natural results. Wherefore, in His divine wisdom, He ordained in His Church Unity of Faith; a virtue which is the first of those bonds which unite man to God, and whence we receive the name of the faithful - "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. iv., 5). That is, as there is one Lord and one baptism, so should all Christians, without exception, have but one faith. And so the Apostle St. Paul not merely begs, but entreats and implores Christians to be all of the same mind, and to avoid difference of opinions: "I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms amongst you, and that you be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Cor. i., 10). Such passages certainly need no interpreter; they speak clearly enough for themselves. Besides, all who profess Christianity allow that there can be but one faith. It is of the greatest importance and indeed of absolute necessity, as to which many are deceived, that the nature and character of this unity should be recognized. And, as We have already stated, this is not to be ascertained by conjecture, but by the certain knowledge of what was done; that is by seeking for and ascertaining what kind of unity in faith has been commanded by Jesus Christ. (Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, June 29, 1896.)
Bishop Sanborn also cited Pope Pius XI's Lux Veritatis, December 25, 1931. Here are several passages that elaborated upon the text provided in His Excellency's compilation:
But if, as We have said, at all times throughout the course of ages, the true Church of Christ has most diligently defended this genuine and uncorrupted doctrine concerning the personal unity and the divinity of her Founder, it has not been so, alas! with those who wander unhappily outside the one fold of Christ. For whenever anyone pertinaciously withdraws himself from the infallible teaching authority of the Church, We grieve to say that he gradually loses the true and certain doctrine concerning Jesus Christ. And, indeed, with regard to the many and various religious sects, especially those dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which still bear the Christian name, and which, at the beginning of their separation, firmly professed that Christ is God and man; if we ask them now what they hold about Him, we shall certainly receive diverse and contradictory answers. For a few among them, indeed, have kept the full doctrine and the full faith concerning the person of our Redeemer; but others, if in a manner they affirm something like it, yet they seem to savour of vaporous scents whose reality is departed. For they set Jesus Christ before us as a man endowed with divine gifts and in a mysterious manner united to the Divinity beyond all others and very near to God; but they are far removed from the full and sincere profession of the Catholic faith. Others again, recognising nothing of the Divine in Christ, profess that He is a mere man, adorned indeed with excellent gifts of soul and body, but subject to errors and to human infirmity. From which it is clearly seen that all these, no less than Nestorius, make a temerarious attempt to "dissolve Christ," and that, therefore, on the testimony of John the Evangelist, they are not of God (cf. 1 John iv. 3).
36. Wherefore, with a fatherly heart, from the summit of this Apostolic See, We exhort all those who glory in being the followers of Christ, and who place in Him their own hope and salvation and that of human society, that they should ever join themselves more firmly and more closely to this Roman Church, in which alone Christ is believed in with whole and perfect faith, is worshipped with the sincere worship of adoration, and is beloved with the perpetual flame of burning charity. Let them remember, and in particular those who preside over a flock separated from Us, that the faith which their fathers solemnly professed at Ephesus is preserved unchanged and is strenuously defended, as in past ages so also in the present, by this supreme Chair of Truth. Let them remember that the unity of this genuine faith rests and stands firm only on the one rock set by Christ, and can be preserved safe and intact by the supreme authority of the successors of Blessed Peter.
We spoke more fully, indeed, on this unity of the Catholic religion, a few years ago, in Our Encyclical letter Mortalium animos; still it may be useful to recall the matter briefly here; for the hypostatic union of Christ, solemnly confirmed in the Synod of Ephesus, bears and sets before us the image of that unity with which our Redeemer willed that His mystical body, that is to say the Church, should be adorned; "one body" (I Corinthians xii. 12) "compacted and fitly joined together" (Ephesians iv. 16). For if the personal unity of Christ is the mystical exemplar to which He Himself willed that the union of Christian society should be conformed, every wise man will see that this can only arise, not from any pretended conjunction of many disagreeing among themselves, but from one hierarchy, from one supreme teaching authority, from one law of believing, and from one faith of Christians. (See the Encyclical Letter Mortalium animos.) To this unity of the Church, consisting in communion with the Apostolic See, Philip, the Legate of the Roman Bishop, bore admirable testimony in the Synod of Ephesus; for when the Fathers of the Council, with one voice, were applauding the letters sent by Celestine, he addressed them in these memorable words: "We give thanks to the holy and venerable Synod that, when the letters of our holy Pope were recited, as holy members by your holy voices and exclamations, ye joined yourselves to the Holy Head. For your beatitude is not ignorant that the Blessed Peter is the head of the whole faith, as also of the Apostles." (Mans, I.c. IV 1290.) (Pope Pius XI, Lux Veritatis, December 25, 1931.)
"For whenever anyone pertinaciously withdraws himself from the infallible teaching authority of the Church, We grieve to say that he gradually loses the true and certain doctrine concerning Jesus Christ." This applies equally to the conciliarists who embrace the "new ecclesiology" as it does to those who belong to the heretical and/or schismatic sects of Protestantism and Orthodoxy. The "true and certain doctrine concerning Jesus Christ" must be lost when the decrees of the dogmatic councils of the Catholic Church and the pronouncements made by the Successors of Saint Peter are dismissed by various Modernist tricks, including terming them exercises in "apologetics" or the product of historical circumstances that make the "particulars" which they contain "obsolete" over the course of time.
Indeed, Pope Pius XII, writing in Mystici Corporis, June 29, 1943, defined the nature of the Mark of Unity of the Catholic Church precisely, explaining that those who rejected the teaching of the Church about her very Divine Constitution have strayed from the Divine truth:
If we would define and describe this true Church of Jesus Christ -- which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church -- we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime, or more divine than the expression "the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ" - an expression which springs from and is, as it were, the fair flowering of the repeated teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the holy Fathers.
That the Church is a body is frequently asserted in the Sacred Scriptures. "Christ," says the Apostle, "is the Head of the Body of the Church." If the Church is a body, it must be an unbroken unity, according to those words of Paul: "Though many we are one body in Christ." But it is not enough that the body of the Church should be an unbroken unity; it must also be something definite and perceptible to the senses as Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Satis Cognitum asserts: "the Church is visible because she is a body." Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a something merely "pneumatological" as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are united by an invisible bond. (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, June 29, 1943.)
Aware that many of the disciples of the New Theology in which young Joseph Ratzinger was being indoctrinated in seminary in Germany were promoting the very false, heretical notion of the "Church of Christ" as would be expressed in Lumen Gentium and propagated, albeit in slightly varying ways, by the likes of Joseph Ratzinger and Richard McBrien, Pope Pius XII reiterated in Humani Generis the consistent, immutable Catholic teaching on the Divine Constitution of the Catholic Church and reminded one and all that must accept papal encyclical letters as exercises in the Ordinary Infallibility of that same Catholic Church:
Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: "He who heareth you, heareth me"; and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians. . . .
Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the sources of revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing. Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation. Others finally belittle the reasonable character of the credibility of Christian faith. (Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis, August 12, 1950.)
The Catholic Church, the one and only true Church founded by Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope, has always and exclusively possessed the Four Marks of Unity, Holiness, Catholicity, and Apostolicity. Anyone, such as the late Father Richard McBrien, who says that these marks are to be realized eschatologically is an apostate. Anyone, such as Joseph Ratzinger, who says that "unity" is something for which we must "strive" by means of "inter-religious dialogue" in the here and now is an apostate. There is only one way to make those outside of the Catholic Church sharers in her Four Marks, and that is by seeking with urgency their unconditional conversion to her maternal bosom. Period:
It is for this reason that so many who do not share “the communion and the truth of the Catholic Church” must make use of the occasion of the Council, by the means of the Catholic Church, which received in Her bosom their ancestors, proposes [further] demonstration of profound unity and of firm vital force; hear the requirements [demands] of her heart, they must engage themselves to leave this state that does not guarantee for them the security of salvation. She does not hesitate to raise to the Lord of mercy most fervent prayers to tear down of the walls of division, to dissipate the haze of errors, and lead them back within holy Mother Church, where their Ancestors found salutary pastures of life; where, in an exclusive way, is conserved and transmitted whole the doctrine of Jesus Christ and wherein is dispensed the mysteries of heavenly grace. (Pope Pius IX, Iam Vos Omnes, September 13, 1868.)
Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is "the root and womb whence the Church of God springs," not with the intention and the hope that "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, "Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth," would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray to the unity of the Church! In this most important undertaking We ask and wish that others should ask the prayers of Blessed Mary the Virgin, Mother of divine grace, victorious over all heresies and Help of Christians, that She may implore for Us the speedy coming of the much hoped-for day, when all men shall hear the voice of Her divine Son, and shall be "careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, January 6 1928.)
Our Lady, the very Mother of God Himself, had some choice words for a Calvinist in France who persisted in his apostasy after he had witnessed a miracle seven years before she appeared to him on March 25, 1656:
Then the Lady said, "Where does that heretic live who cut the willow tree? Does he not want to be converted?"
Pierre mumbled an answer. The Lady became more serious, "Do you think that I do not know that you are the heretic? Realize that your end is at hand. If you do not return to the True Faith, you will be cast into Hell! But if you change your beliefs, I shall protect you before God. Tell people to pray that they may gain the good graces which, God in His mercy has offered to them."
Pierre was filled with sorrow and shame and moved away from the Lady. Suddenly realizing that he was being rude, Pierre stepped closer to her, but she had moved away and was already near the little hill. He ran after her begging, "Please stop and listen to me. I want to apologize to you and I want you to help me!"
The Lady stopped and turned. By the time Pierre caught up to her, she was floating in the air and was already disappearing from sight. Suddenly, Pierre realized that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary had appeared to him! He fell to his knees and cried buckets of tears, "Jesus and Mary I promise you that I will change my life and become a good Catholic. I am sorry for what I have done and I beg you please, to help me change my life…" (Our Lady of the Willow Tree.)
As I wrote in 2008:
This is awfully good advice for apostates such as Richard McBrien and Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI to keep in mind as they continue propagating, albeit a bit differently in very slightly nuanced ways, the new ecclesiology that was condemned by the Catholic Church thirty-nine years before Pope Saint Pius X ascended to the Throne of Saint Peter to do battle with the Modernists.
Pope Saint Pius X defended the honor of the great Wonder Worker whom we commemorate today, our glorious and most dear Saint Philomena, knowing that the Modernists, so full of Jansenism and Protestant rationalism, dismissed those saints whose "legends" they could not "prove" by means of their "scientific," historical-critical methods. We should all the more spread devotion to Saint Philomena, a Saint who desires to defend the purity of her Divine Master's teaching as much as she defender her own personal purity against Emperor Diocletian, to work wonders against those who dared to take her feast off of the Roman Calendar in the counterfeit church of conciliarism in 1961 keeping in mind these words of Pope Saint Pius X:
To discredit the present decisions and declarations concerning Saint Philomena as not being permanent, stable, valid and effective, necessary of obedience, and in full-effect for all eternity, proceeds from an element that is null and void and without merit or authority.
Don't you just love it?
Conscious that we have many sins for which to answer in our own lives, may we be ceaseless in our efforts to offer up the sufferings of the present moment to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, praying as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit.
Saint Philomena is the Patroness Saint of the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena. Our Lady appeared to Saint Philomena while she was imprisoned by Diocletian. May it be our privilege to offer eternal praise to the Most Holy Trinity--Father, Son, and Holy Ghost--in Heaven in the company of Our Lady and the patroness of the Living Rosary, Saint Philomena, whose intercession we must invoke daily for the conversion of those who have the mark of apostasy on their souls while remaining in "good standing" as alleged representatives of the true Church which can give us no error or obfuscation, only the perfect, immutable teaching of Christ the King as public honor is given at all times to Mary our Immaculate Queen.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Viva Cristo Rey!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and the hour of our death.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.