Words Have Meaning, Including Those of Father Ratzinger
by Thomas A. Droleskey
The interview given by His Lordship, the Most Reverend Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, to Mr. Stephen Heiner in behalf of The Remnant (The Remnant) and True Restoration (Bishop Tissier de Mallerais Interview) contains very direct comments about the early writings of Father Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, who possesses the fullness of the priesthood, said publicly what many of us have been writing in the past year since the elevation of the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the Throne of Saint Peter:
“Well, for instance, that this Pope has professed heresies in the past! He has professed heresies! I do not know whether he still does.”
His Lordship gave specific examples of how the writing of Father Joseph Ratzinger, which he has never recanted, put into question the defined doctrines concerning the Incarnation and the nature of Our Lord’s Redemptive Act on the wood of the Holy Cross as an atonement for human sins. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais gave an example from the writing of Father Ratzinger on the matter of Our Lord’s atonement for human sins. His Lordship said the following in the interview:
“No, it is clear. I can quote him. He rejects ‘an extremely rudimentary presentation of the theology of satisfaction (seen as) a mechanism of an injured and reestablished right. It would be the manner with which the justice of God, infinitely offended, would have been reconciled anew by an infinite satisfaction…some texts of devotion seem to suggest that the Christian faith in the Cross understands God as a God whose inexorable justice required a human sacrifice, the sacrifice of his own Son. And we flee with horror from a justice, the dark anger of which removes any credibility from the message of love’ (translated from the German version, pages 232-233).”
The Sixth Session of the Council of Trent noted the following about the doctrine of the Atonement:
“Whence it came to pass, that the Heavenly Father, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort 2 Corinthians 1, 3), when that blessed fullness of the time was come (Galatians 4:4) sent unto men Jesus Christ, His own Son who had been, both before the Law and during the time of the Law, to many of the holy fathers announced and promised, that He might both redeem the Jews, who were under the Law and that the Gentiles who followed not after justice might attain to justice and that all men might receive the adoption of sons. Him God had proposed as a propitiator, through faith in His blood (Romans 3:25), for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world (I John ii, 2).”
As Bishop Tissier de Mallerais noted in his interview with Mr. Heiner, Pope Benedict XVI believes that there is nothing in the Deposit of Faith that cannot be “re-examined” in light of “modern” research and “scholarship.” Everything is subject to re-interpretation and re-formulation, as he noted in his Principles of Catholic Theology, published in German in 1982 and in English in 1987:
“If it is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the text [of Gaudium et Spes] as a whole, we might say that (in conjunction with the texts on religious liberty and world religions) it is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of counter syllabus. . . . The one-sidedness of the position adopted by the Church under Pius IX and Pius in response to the situation created by the new phase of history inaugurated by the French Revolution was, to a large extent, corrected via facti, especially in Central Europe, but there was still no basic statement of the relationship that should exist between the Church and the world that had come into existence after 1789."
“Let us be content to say here that the text [of the Second Vatican Council] serves as a counter syllabus and, as such, represents, on the part of the Church, an attempt at an official reconciliation with the new era inaugurated in 1789."
Cardinal Ratzinger continued this theme in a 1990 interview in L’Osservatore Romano:
“The text [of the Second Vatican Council] also presents the various forms of bonds that rise from the different degrees of magisterial teaching. It affirms -- perhaps for the first time with this clarity -- that there are decisions of the Magisterium that cannot be a last word on the matter as such, but are, in a substantial fixation of the problem, above all an expression of pastoral prudence, a kind of provisional disposition. Its nucleus remains valid, but the particulars, which the circumstances of the times have influenced, may need further ramifications.
“In this regard, one may think of the declarations of Popes in the last century about religious liberty, as well as the anti-Modernist decisions at the beginning of this century, above all, the decisions of the Biblical Commission of the time. As a cry of alarm in the face of hasty and superficial adaptations, they will remain fully justified. A personage such as Johann Baptist Metz said, for example, that the Church's anti-Modernist decisions render the great service of preserving her from immersion in the liberal-bourgeois world. But in the details of the determinations they contain, they become obsolete after having fulfilled their pastoral mission at the proper moment.”
This is of the essence of Modernism, which is founded in the acceptance of the dialectical principle of Hegelianism, that truth itself is evolving as a result of the inherent contradictions contained therein. Thus it is, you see, that the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger can contend that he is adhering to “Tradition” while interpreting it in light of the Modernist presuppositions of the “new thinkers” (Karl Rahner, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Yves Congar, Johann Baptist Metz). This is precisely what he was doing in his General Audience address of April 26, 2006:
“In this way, the action of the Spirit and of Paul is profoundly fused. In the hour of solemn decisions for the life of the Church, the Spirit is present to guide her. This presence-guide of the Holy Spirit was experienced particularly in the Council of Jerusalem, in whose conclusive words resounded the affirmation: ‘It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us’ (Acts 15:28); the Church grows and walks "in the fear of the Lord and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 9:31).
“This permanent actualization of the active presence of the Lord Jesus in his people, realized by the Holy Spirit and expressed in the Church through the apostolic ministry and fraternal communion, is what is understood by the term Tradition in the theological sense: It is not the mere material transmission of what was given at the beginning to the apostles, but the efficacious presence of the Lord Jesus, crucified and risen, which accompanies and guides in the Spirit the community gathered by him.”
“Tradition is the communion of the faithful around their legitimate pastors in the course of history, a communion that the Holy Spirit nurtures assuring the nexus between the experience of the apostolic faith, lived in the original community of the disciples, and the present experience of Christ in his Church.”
In other words, “Tradition” can contradict itself. We do not have to receive Tradition as it has been handed down to us. Under the influence of the “Holy Spirit” we can make Tradition suit the needs of our own times. This is exactly the claim made in Paragraph 15 of the General Instruction to the Roman Missal concerning how the novelties of the Novus Ordo Missae do not constitute a break with Tradition:
"Thus the Church remains faithful in its responsibility as a teacher of truth to guard 'things old,' that is, the deposit of tradition; at the same time it fulfills another duty, that of examining and prudently bringing forth 'things new.'
"Accordingly, a part of the new Roman Missal directs the prayer of the Church expressly to the needs of our times. This is above all true of the ritual Masses and the Masses for various needs and occasions, which happily combine the traditional and the contemporary. Thus many expressions, drawn from the Church's most ancient tradition and familiar through the many editions of the Roman Missal, have remained unchanged. Other expressions, however, have been adapted to today's needs and circumstances and still others-for example, the prayers for the Church, the laity, the sanctification of human work, the community of all peoples, certain needs proper to our era-are completely new compositions, drawing on the thoughts and even the very language of the recent conciliar documents.
"The same awareness of the present state of the world also influenced the use of texts from very ancient tradition. It seemed that this cherished treasure would not be harmed if some phrases were changed so that the style of language would be more in accord with the language of modern theology and would faithfully reflect the actual state of the Church's discipline. Thus there have been changes of some expressions bearing on the evaluation and use of the good things of the earth and of allusions to a particular form of outward penance belonging to another age in the history of the Church.
"In short, the liturgical norms of the Council of Trent have been completed and improved in many respects by those of the Second Vatican Council. The Council has brought to realization the efforts of the last four hundred years to move the faithful closer to the sacred liturgy, especially the efforts of recent times and above all the zeal for the liturgy promoted by Saint Pius X and his successors."
Holy Mass is supposed to be suited to the needs of all times, not just our times. Herein, therefore, lies the real nub of the problem with the General Instruction to the Roman Missal and thus the Novus Ordo itself: a reliance upon the spirit of one particular time in history results in the glorification of the human spirit and not that of the Blessed Trinity. It is really that simple. God exists outside of time and space. The worship of God must convey the timelessness of God and the immortality of our own souls, which will live forever either in Heaven or in Hell once the Last Judgment has taken place. The Mass is supposed to be a refuge from the world, not a glorification of it.
In like manner, you see, Pope Benedict XVI’s use of the word Tradition is a clever effort to anoint the novelties embraced by the Second Vatican Council with the chrism of the past in order to convince us that “Tradition” can be reinterpreted and re-formulated. However, this Modernist view is directly in contradiction to the defined teaching of the Church itself.
Consider this solemn pronouncement of the First Vatican Council:
“Hence, that meaning of the sacred dogmata is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy Mother Church, and there must never be an abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.... If anyone says that it is possible that at some given time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmata propounded by the Church which is different from that which the Church has always understood and understands: let him be anathema.”
This dogmatic pronouncement cannot be reconciled with the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s life-long embrace of the “New Theologians,” each of whom, along with himself, were under suspicion of heresy by the Holy Office (now called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. Indeed, the views of Pope Benedict XVI, expressed so very cleverly in his General Audience address of April 26, 2006, contrast sharply with the Oath Against Modernism. issued by Pope Saint Pius X in 1910, that he took when he was but a young priest:
"To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.
“I . . . . firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day. And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:90), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated: Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time. Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time. Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical' misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely. Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and lord.
“Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion. I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm. Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.
“Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.
“I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God, and these holy Gospels of God which I touch with my hand.
May God help us to keep this oath until death. Pray for the Restoration to come.
Can it be said that the former Father Joseph Ratzinger has kept this Oath Against Modernism? Not at all. He found ways to undermine it long before its abolition by Pope Paul VI in 1967.
Although her work is disparaged by some because of a lack of footnoting (Solange Hertz is also one who does not use footnotes), the history provided by Mary Ball Martinez in The Undermining of The Catholic Church cannot be the the work of an overactive imagination. I mean, Mrs. Martinez does quote from a book about Saul Alinsky, thus attesting to his meeting with the Archbishop of Milan, Giovanni Montini, the future Pope Paul VI. The account below, which states specific incidents and events that no one has yet refuted, is worthy of consideration here:
“It is true that Pius [XII] did not make Montini [the future Paul VI] a cardinal and that the See of Milan is usually ruled by a cardinal. However the explanation, as revealed by subsequent events, lay in the fact that the Pope did not want Montini to be available for election to the papacy in a conclave he knew could not be far off. Montini must be spared the brunt of what was going to be a severe shock to the faithful, namely the Council he was planning. Meanwhile the message sent to the new Archbishop at the time of his installation was glowing with warmth, gratitude and praise.
“Msgr. Montini seems to have taken to the new more independent life in Milan with zest. Initiating what would become an eight-year sojourn in the Lombard capital with a dramatic gesture, hitherto unknown among Catholic prelates, that of kissing the ground on arrival, he went on to play host to a succession of men whose influence would weigh heavily on the future of the Church. There were successive delegations of non-Catholic theologians staying at the Episcopal palace, most of them members of the Anglican Communion. There was Jacques Maritain whose ‘integral humanism’ Montini and Pacelli had been promoting for the past twenty years. By the mid-1950s the Maritain theory had become the hidden life of the Church only awaiting the Council to insert itself into the lives of the faithful. Following his wartime years as a refugee in Canada the French philosopher had spent three years in Rome as Ambassador to the Holy See and had now returned to France in order to dedicate all his time to writing.
“One summer Maritain brought to Montini’s residence an American whom he said he considered to be ‘one of only three revolutionaries worthy of the name, indeed, one of the few really great men of this century’. It was Saul David Alinsky. The self-styled ‘professional radical’ was to spend an entire week with Archbishop Montini discussing the church’s relations with the powerful local Communist trade union. ‘It was an interesting experience,’ Alinsky told his biographer, M.K. Sanders, ‘There I was, sitting between the Archbishop and a beautiful grey-eyed blonde Milanese Communist union official, exploring the common interests bridging communism and capitalism.’
“As for religion, Saul Alinsky explained his attitude to Playboy a few years later. He said he had turned away from his strict Jewish family in order to join the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. Going on to develop his theory of ‘People Power’ he said that it was after meeting Jacques Maritain that he began to see how revolution could become part of the Catholic Church. He preferred to call it, however, the ‘Church of Today and Tomorrow’ and it was a church which he felt must become quite free of dogma. ‘I detest and fear dogma. Nobody owns the truth and dogma, whatever form it takes, is the ultimate enemy of human freedom.’ Alinsky, Montini and Mairtain expressed serene accord that the Church Militant must give way to the Church Loving.
“By the late 1950's the days of Eugenio Pacelli were drawing to a close and the time of the Council approaching. Unusual light is thrown on the feverish activity of that time by Elizabeth Gerstner, an assistant to the German who headed the Bonn office of the Lay Apostolate, a newly set up Vatican organization. It was the illness of her chief that brought young Mrs. Gerstner to the central office, some twenty rooms in a complex of old buildings in Rome’s Piazza di San Calisto. The coordination and promotion of major assemblies throughout the world was the aim of work carried out with strenuous efficiency by a staff of twenty-five under the direction of a young Australian convert from Judaism, Rosemary Goldie.
“From the beginning Mrs. Gerstner was astonished at the familiarity with which Miss Goldie and the other members of the staff treated Curial cardinals and bishops. There was no difficulty in communicating with them at any hour of the day. Gradually it dawned on her how important this committee was, functioning as a kind of processing center for every phase of hierarchy-laity relations throughout the world.
“In retrospect, however, the center has taken on an even greater significance for her as an ante-chamber of the Second Vatican Council. Well before the announcement of the Council the kind of churchmen who moved in and out of the offices at San Calisto presaged the changes ahead. There was the jolly old German, Augustin Bea, 78, whose episcopal consecration, his negotiations with Jewish leaders and his Secretary of Christian Unity were still ahead of him. There was the protege of that long-deceased pioneer of change. Cardinal Mercier of Malines-Brusssels, Leo Suenens, now Auxiliary Bishop of the same diocese, not yet ‘born again’ nor converted to Pentecostalism. There were the younger avant-garde Jesuits, Jean Danielou, Malachi Martin, Robert Tucci who would on to head Vatican Radio and there were the even more avant-garde theologians such as Yves Congar, Josef Ratzinger, Bernard Haring. Members of the Laity Committee itself included Francois Dubois-Dumee, journalist and avowed Communist as well as Msgr. Achille Gloireux who would be found to have been in charge of the waylaying operation in which an anti-Marxist draft resolution signed by 450 Council fathers vanished from sight. In his The Rhine Flows into the Tiber Fr. Wiltgen wrote, ‘From four different sources I learned that the person who had withheld the document was Msgr. Glorieux of Lille, France, who was holding down half a dozen Vatican posts at the time.’
“Inevitably the continued presence of men like these engendered an atmosphere entirely new to the young representative from Germany. Neither her considerable travel nor her wide international contacts had prepared her for the kind of language she was hearing at San Calisto. She was unable to reconcile it with anything she knew to be Catholic. When news came that a Council had been summoned it suddenly became clear to her that these men had not only been working toward Vatican II but were moving way beyond it, planning situations and inventing structures for an entirely new kind of Church in which the priesthood, the liturgy of the sacraments and the Mass itself would be of little importance.
“Late in 1962 making her farewells after three years at San Calisto, Mrs. Gerstner stopped in to see one of the men whose reasoned words had rested her mind after the incomprehensible goings-on at the Lay Apostolate offices, the ageing Spaniard, Arcadio Cardinal Larraona. She told him of her feeling of dread for the future of the Church, He gave her no comfort.
“‘They are going to change everything,’ he said, ‘the liturgy, everything. Latin will go completely.’
“She told him of her love for Latin and how she had taught Gregorian plainsong to Black girls in a settlement house in New York City and how, to their delight, by the end of summer they were able to sing through the entire Mass. The Cardinal’s only comment, ‘They are going to do away with all of it.’
“What is interesting is that an insider Larraona knew at least a year before the Council opened that in top Vatican circles a plan to phase out Latin had been formulated, decided upon and only awaited the bishops’ signatures to be ratified. Mrs. Gerstner’s revelation thus makes pointless he mountain of post-Conciliar analyses about how and when it was that events during the Council were decisive for change. What happened to the liturgy had begun to happen in 1947 when Pope Pius XII set up his liturgical commission and selected young Fr. Bugnini to manage it.”
Any questions, folks? Father Joseph Ratzinger’s views as a young priest are entirely consistent with his views as the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. They are entirely consistent with his views today as Pope Benedict XVI. Joseph Ratzinger is a man who rejects the patrimony of Catholicism as it has been handed down to us. He has seen himself as a man whose job it has been–and continues to be–to “educate” those still steeped in the preconciliar “past” in the ways of the “new thinkers” as the “Church Loving” makes her reconciliation with the principles of 1789.
The apostasy we face is thus vast. Men who do not think as Catholics have thought perennially now hold all of the Church’s offices. Nearly three generations of Catholics have been mis-educated in a milieu of Modernism. Countless numbers of souls have been taught to hate the actual Tradition of the Church, including the Immemorial Mass of Tradition. Countless numbers of other souls have simply abandoned the practice of the Faith, being left wide open to the possibility of eternal perdition as a result of the spiritual malfeasance of the wolves in shepherds’ clothing. This is, as I noted a few days ago, the simple reality that we face in our days. No amount of denying this reality can make it go away or be rationalized as a manifestation of a “springtime of the Church.”
What if, ladies and gentlemen, the goal of the revolutionaries was indeed to destroy the episcopate–and thus the priesthood–by invalid episcopal consecrations? What if the goal of the revolutionaries was to conform the Mass as far as was possible to an expression of the Calvinist liturgy of the Lord’s Supper? What if the goal of the revolutionaries was to so bewilder the faithful that they, the faithful, would come to doubt every single tenet of the Faith and come to trust only in the“insights” and “direction” provided by the revolutionaries? What if the goal of the revolutionaries was to so confuse matters of Faith and morals that Catholics would succumb more and more the allures of the errors of Russia, which are the anti-Incarnational errors of Modernity itself?
Yes, God has known from all eternity that these problems would rise. The graces he won for us by the shedding of every single drop of His Most Precious Blood are sufficient for us to deal with these problems and to give them to Him through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother. We never lose Faith in the midst of the difficulties that beset Holy Mother Church in her human elements. However, we must nevertheless face the reality of our situation honestly and to ask some hard questions, chief among them is whether men who do not believe in the Catholic Faith as it has been handed down to us from the Apostles and exactly as it has been taught perennially without any change or alteration actually hold the offices they appear to hold.
Look, let us be honest. The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a genuine hero of the Catholic Faith, said publicly on several occasions in the 1980s that he had been considering a declaration about the legitimacy of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. The questions about the Catholicity of Pope Benedict XVI are much graver, believe it or not, much clearer. There is too much disturbing evidence about the former Father Joseph Ratzinger’s writings, even those published while he was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to ignore as one bad episcopal appointment after another is made, as worship is rendered to false gods on the grounds of Catholic cathedrals and churches, as what purports to be Catholic “worship” features pagan rituals and other profanations, as outright dissidents are permitted to remain in “good standing” to corrupt souls, as those who adhere to the fullness of the Church’s actual Tradition and who worship as Catholics in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church have always worshiped. It is time for each of us to face this fact: Pope Benedict XVI has indeed deviated from the Catholic Faith throughout his priesthood. And Pope Paul IV himself wrote in Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio that even a mere deviation from the Faith was enough to disqualify anyone from holding ecclesiastical office.
Whether or not Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio still binds the Church is a matter of some dispute in traditional circles. Regardless of this dispute, which I hope can be aired in a conference at some point in the near future, those of us who ignore the Second Vatican Council, as His Lordship Bishop Tissier de Mallerais is urging the entire Church to do, and who resist the statements and actions of popes and cardinals and bishops while conceding, at least publicly, that they hold the offices they appear to hold must stop making war against those who have come to a conclusion that the See of Peter is vacant. The sedevacantists (either those who have made an actual declaration in this regard or who contend that it is a legitimate theological position to hold this belief) are not the problem facing the Church today. The possession of ecclesiastical offices by Modernists and those influenced by the ethos of Modernism is the problem facing the Church today.
Meaning not to minimize the important theological distinctions between material and formal heresy, it is also important to recognize that Pope Paul IV said that a mere deviation from the Faith disqualified one from holding ecclesiastical office, including the papacy. Neither can we ignore the plain fact that Pope Benedict XVI does not think as Catholics have thought traditionally. He not simply a product of the Second Vatican Council. As Mrs. Martinez demonstrated, he was part of planning the revolutionary agenda for the Council. Can a man who has professed heresies, as Bishop Tissier de Mallerais termed some of what is contained in the writing of Father Joseph Ratzinger, and who has not abjured them publicly sit as a Successor of Saint Peter? Leaving aside Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, the opinion of many saints and theologians is that a heretic not only falls from office but expels himself from the Church. This possibility cannot be dismissed as an absurdity in the case of Pope Benedict XVI.
Additionally, it is time for those of us who have made no formal declarations concerning the See of Peter to stop thinking we are superior to those who have made such a declaration. In actual point of fact, you see, those of us who criticize the Novus Ordo Missae, which was promulgated by Pope Paul VI, and who ignore the statements and actions of popes and cardinals and bishops are acting as though the See of Peter is vacant. Many over the years have asked the sedevacantists how long they can continue to refuse to recognize a pope. Well, perhaps it is time for those of us who have thus far not embraced the sedevacantist position to ask ourselves this question: how long can we exist outside of the official ecclesiastical structures and ignore the words and actions of the men we state occupy those structures legitimately? How long can priests who have left their dioceses to embrace, quite rightly, Tradition without compromise expect to stay outside of the official structures? How long can they serve as their own pastoral guides without any adherence to the dictates coming from Rome? They have no clearer answer to that question than do the sedevacantists have about when a Catholic will be restored to the Throne of Saint Peter.
Indeed, what binds non-sedevacantist traditionalists who work outside of the official ecclesiastical structures while conceding the legitimacy of those who hold those offices and sedevacantists together, among other things, is this: a trust that God Himself will effect a miracle to bring about a restoration. Those who do not hold to sedevacantism would be hard-pressed to name a current cardinal who would serve as the next Saint Pius X. They have to trust that God will intervene to restore the Church and wipe away the nightmare of the Second Vatican Council and the Novus Ordo Missae. Well, the same is true of the sedevacantists, who cannot say how another pope is going to ascend to the Throne of Saint Peter. Neither side can say how long this will go on. Both sides trust in God, Who can bring this all to an end as quickly as He calmed the waves while the Apostles cried out in fright about their height and fury, believing that they were going to die. Both parties trust that God will effect a restoration through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Perhaps this is a good starting point for at least some degree of respect and good will?
Making no effort at all to resolve these questions (I am not a visionary), I would like to implore all traditional Catholics who believe in the necessity of resisting and rejecting the novelties of the recent past to at least treat each others as brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, I recognize that the warring camps may never cooperate with each other, making us more akin to the Anglicans and Presbyterians and Methodists in England in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries than to Roman Catholics. However, I do think it is time to let people come to the conclusions that they believe are right. For it is entirely possible that those who have embraced the sedevacantist position long ago have been correct. We shouldn’t be too quick to denounce people who may have been right all along.
Mario Francesco Cardinal Pompedda, the former Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura of the Roman Curia, stated last year, when discussing the possibility of Pope John Paul II’s resigning the papacy, that the See of Peter, that the See of Peter would become vacant in the case of heresy. The sedevacantists are not propagating some “myth” that is beyond the realm of possibility. Joseph Ratzinger has, as Bishop Tissier de Mallerais noted, professed heresies. Much more than the disputes that took place during the Great Schism, which lasted from 1378 to 1417 and centered on politics and personalities, the disputes within traditional circles at present center on matters of doctrine. Those traditional Catholics, therefore, who recognize the harm of conciliarism and that it must be resisted (this, obviously, does not apply to many, although certainly not all, of those in the indult world, some of whom pray the “Luminous Mysteries” and even make excuses for ecumenism and religious liberty) must at least stop shooting at each other if they want to really get down to the business of propagating the perennial truths of the Church to those still steeped in the Novus Ordo and to non-Catholics.
Let us proceed as our consciences dictate. Let us do so without casting aspersions at others who have come to conclusions with which we disagree. As one who has had to change his mind about Americanism and the pontificate of Pope John Paul II and the importance of the work done by the Society of Saint Pius X and the work done by independent priests and the necessity of restoring the fullness of the Mass of Tradition before it was touched by Annibale Bugnini, I can say that I have learned much as the years have progressed. Let us not be too quick, as I have been far too frequently at points in my own life, to dismiss the views of those with whom we have disagreed in the past. Let us be assiduous in our prayers for all of the bishops and priests in the Traditional Catholic movement, no matter how divided they might be amongst each other.
We are dealing with nothing other than a fundamental rejection of the Catholic Faith as it has been handed down to us. While Our Lord did promise us that the jaws of Hell would never prevail against the Church, He did not say that the adversary would not win a few battles now again, either in our own lives or the larger life of the Church in her human elements. The final victory belongs to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May we work and pray for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, keeping close to her through her Most Holy Rosary as we seek out the Faith of our fathers in the catacombs and reject, utterly and completely, everything and anything to do with the Second Vatican Council and the rotten ethos that has corrupted so many souls and thus added to the problems we face in the midst of the world.
The late William C. Koneazny, the very sagacious founder of the Catholic Rendezvous in the Berkshire Mountains who died on June 16, 2004, said, “Our Lady will come and throw the bums out.” May we pray for this day to come as the fruit of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary sooner rather than later.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Siena, pray for us.
Saint Peter Verona (the Martyr), pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.
Sister Lucia, pray for us.
An Afterword: Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre Reflecting on his "Suspension," 1976:
“What could be clearer. We are suspended a divinis by the conciliar church, for the conciliar church to which we have no wish to belong.
The conciliar church is a schismatic church because it breaks with the Catholic Church that has always been. It has its new dogmas, its new priesthood, its new institutions, its new worship; all already condemned by the church in many a document – official and definitive.
This is why the founders of the conciliar church insist so much on obedience to today’s church, prescinding from yesterday’s church as though it no longer existed.
This conciliar church is schismatic because it has taken as a basis for its updating, principals opposed to those of the Catholic Church. This conciliar church is therefore not Catholic!
To whatever extent pope, bishops, priests, or faithful adhere to this new church, they separate themselves from the Catholic Church.
Today’s Church is the true Church only to whatever extent it is a continuation of and one body with the Church of yesterday and of always. The norm of Catholic faith is tradition. The demand of His Eminence Msgr Benelli is then illuminating: submission to the conciliar church, to the Vatican II church, to the schismatic church!
For our part we persevere in the Catholic church by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary."
Whatever our conclusions currently, can we all agree that Archbishop Lefebvre was exactly correct thirty years ago?
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.