Monthly Archives: November 2015

From Pius VIII

From Traditi Humilitati, on Marriage:

10. We also want you to imbue your flock with reverence for the sanctity of marriage so that they may never do anything to detract from the dignity of this sacrament. They should do nothing that might be unbecoming to this spotless union nor anything that might cause doubt about the perpetuity of the bond of matrimony. This goal will be accomplished if the Christian people are accurately taught that the sacrament of matrimony ought to be governed not so much by human law as by divine law and that it ought to be counted among sacred, not earthly, concerns. Thus, it is wholly subject to the Church. Formerly marriage had no other purpose than that of bringing children into the world. But now it has been raised to the dignity of a sacrament by Christ the Lord and enriched with heavenly gifts. Now its purpose is not so much to generate offspring as to educate children for God and for religion. This increases the number of worshippers of the true divinity. It is agreed that the union of marriage signifies the perpetual and sublime union of Christ with His Church; as a result, the close union of husband and wife is a sacrament, that is, a sacred sign of the immortal love of Christ for His spouse. Therefore, teach the people what is sanctioned and what is condemned by the rules of the Church and the decrees of the Councils.[16] Also explain those things which pertain to the essence of the sacrament. Then they will be able to accomplish those things and will not dare to attempt what the Church detests. We ask this earnestly of you because of your love of religion.

Lesson from Pius VIII

From art. 4 of Traditi Humilitati, against indifferentism, a baneful heresy that is creeping around again:

4. Among these heresies belongs that foul contrivance of the sophists of this age who do not admit any difference among the different professions of faith and who think that the portal of eternal salvation opens for all from any religion. They, therefore, label with the stigma of levity and stupidity those who, having abandoned the religion which they learned, embrace another of any kind, even Catholicism. This is certainly a monstrous impiety which assigns the same praise and the mark of the just and upright man to truth and to error, to virtue and to vice, to goodness and to turpitude. Indeed this deadly idea concerning the lack of difference among religions is refuted even by the light of natural reason. We are assured of this because the various religions do not often agree among themselves. If one is true, the other must be false; there can be no society of darkness with light. Against these experienced sophists the people must be taught that the profession of the Catholic faith is uniquely true, as the apostle proclaims: one Lord, one faith, one baptism.[4] Jerome used to say it this way: he who eats the lamb outside this house will perish as did those during the flood who were not with Noah in the ark.[5] Indeed, no other name than the name of Jesus is given to men, by which they may be saved.[6] He who believes shall be saved; he who does not believe shall be condemned.[7]

Lesson from Leo XIII and Pius XI on False Religions

The below is a prayer of consecration, written by Pope Leo XIII, Great Pope that he was, and later used by Pope Pius XI of Immortal Memory. It is a prayer consecrating the entire human race to the Sacred Heart. He asks

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thy altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart.

Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof; call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.

Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism; refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy toward the children of that race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.

Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and Honor forever. Amen.

Lesson from Pius IX on Pastoral Duty

From his marvelous Qui pluribus:

25. When ministers are ignorant or neglectful of their duty, then the morals of the people also immediately decline, Christian discipline grows slack, the practice of religion is dislodged and cast aside, and every vice and corruption is easily introduced into the Church. The word of God, which was uttered for the salvation of souls, is living, efficacious and more piercing than a two-edged sword.[24] So that it may not prove to be unfruitful through the fault of its ministers, never cease, venerable brothers, from encouraging the preachers of this divine word to carry out most religiously the ministry of the Gospel. This should not be carried out by the persuasive words of human wisdom, nor by the profane seductive guise of empty and ambitious eloquence, but rather as a demonstration of the spirit and power.

26. Consequently, by presenting the word of truth properly and by preaching not themselves but Christ crucified, they should clearly proclaim in their preaching the tenets and precepts of our most holy religion in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church and the Fathers. They should explain precisely the particular duties of individuals, frighten them from vice, and inspire them with a love of piety. In this way the faithful will avoid all vices and pursue virtues, and so, will be able to escape eternal punishment and gain heavenly glory.

Pro French Revolution? Nonsense

Many a well-intended person thinks the French Revolution was good for the Church. This is not what sober minds at the time thought. Of course, God always brings good out of evil. So, from that horror, he brought forth fruit.

But the defection of nations from the Church is not in itself a good thing. In itself, it is evil.

Now, if those who are persecuted remain steadfast in the faith, if they read good books and learn first principles, if they avoid the eclecticism of “feel good theology” that offers no solid footing in first principles, if they have pastors that know the full truth and preach it in season and out of season, if they are not confused by the contemporary Zeitgeist, if they avoid errors, if their love remains steadfast and firm, if their hope does not waver, then persecution is good for them. But if the opposite, the opposite.

But what happens when Catholics make peace with the Revolutionaries? Drink in the poison of the Revolution? Conflate truth with error? Confuse others? Do not know, much less preach, the full truth? Do not disciple themselves at the feet of the Doctors of the Church. When we are badly formed by off-beat ideas without sound judgment, is this a help? What if we embrace the error of the time? Then persecution has had its say; the rebels have one. They have infiltrated the sanctuary.

Pius VII, successor of Pius VI, praises his predecessor:

Later ages will be amazed at the wisdom, magnanimity, and firmness of Our predecessor Pius VI. We could wish that We had also inherited his courage which withstood unshaken the blows of every storm and misfortune.

Too bad our age is so blind as not to see the holy zeal in Pius VI. It is also quite interesting – and pathetic – that those who speak so highly of the French Revolution are those living in the Empire of the West. But now, as the west collapses before barbarian hordes of a false religion, these pseudo-peace loving westerners should sober up. But still they slumber. When the sword is at their throats, perhaps they shall think again.

Pope Leo the Great, Pope St. Agatho (also great), Pope Leo XIII, and countless other popes teaching officially and not spouting personally, esteemed the protection of the Holy Empire for the defense of Holy Mother Church. The sad imprudence that abounds today among Catholics will be destroyed by the barbarians. The imprudence shall lead either (a) to us being tyrannized over violently by barbarians, (b) converted to false religion or, (c) hopefully, converted to sobriety and genuine Catholicity. (c) may require (a) as its means.

A Pope Forbad Christians from taking Muslim Names

Because various penalties were imposed upon them, Christians at times were tempted to take Muslim names.

Pope Benedict XIV strictly forbad it.

Why? Because Christians would do so in order to get along and go along in Muslim society. But why did the name change help them “get along and go along”? Because by the name they could pretend they were Muslims. In short, they would believe Jesus with their heart but not confess Him with their lips.

This action showed, of course, that they loved earthly wealth and glory more than God. Hence, they had true faith, perhaps, but not charity. Ergo, they could not be saved. See Jn 12:41ff. See also James 3-4.

Pope Benedict, solicitous for their salvation, urgently rebukes them and lays heavy burdens on them. Why? Because he was a “Pharisee”? What nonsense to charge him of that. What solemn nonsense. Rather, he sought their salvation.

Moreover, he added, such “getting along” is a sin against the Muslims. Why? Because (a) it is hypocrisy. Therefore, the Muslims would punish it in justice. Also (b) it does not allow Muslims to see the face of Christ, sincere and truthful, courageous and charitable. Thus, they have less reason to convert to the One True Religion, the Catholic Religion.

Let us read his Quod Provinciale:

In Our letter mentioned above, We designated that abuse [i.e. calling oneself a Muslim name] as a cowardly concealment of the Christian profession, approaching infidelity. Since then, We have learned with great mental anguish that many people in that province continue to take Turkish or Mohammedan names despite the consideration of their eternal salvation. They do so not only in order to be immune and free from those taxes and burdens which have often been and continue to be imposed on the faithful of Christ, but also in order that neither they themselves nor their parents may be thought to have abandoned the Mohammedan sect, thereby avoiding the requisite penalties. For all this cannot take place without a pretense of the errors of Mohammed, even if the faith of Christ is adhered to in the heart, and this is at variance with Christian sincerity. It involves a lie in a most serious matter and includes a virtual denial of the Faith, most insulting to God and scandalous to their neighbors. It even gives the Turks themselves a suitable opportunity to rate all Christ’s faithful as hypocrites and deceivers, and accordingly to persecute them justly and deservedly.

2. Our sorrow and anguish is further increased by the fact that some of you yourselves, venerable brothers, and of you also, beloved sons, parish priests and missionaries, take no measures against so vile and hateful a pretense. In fact, some of you even connive at it; by being impressed by empty motives to find excuses for sins, you do not hesitate to allow those who take common Turkish or Mohammedan names and desire to be addressed by them, to partake of the Sacraments with no pang of conscience at all, to the public offense of the obedient faithful.

3. We who are entrusted with the care of all the churches and the supreme administration of the sacred Apostolate; in this capacity, We are obliged to lead all Christians back to the way of salvation and to present them to God pure and sincere, walking in the spirit and in truth without stain. We have heard Our Venerable Brothers, the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, who are general Inquisitors for evil heresy on this subject. In accordance with their advice, We first renew and confirm by Our Apostolic authority in this letter the praiseworthy canon of the council of your province of Albania, and We command that it be strictly observed. Also We extend the decrees of Our church by the same authority and uniformity to include your province; We equally strictly prohibit any of Christ’s faithful from daring to take Turkish or Mohammedan names in order to be considered Mohammedans, in any case, under any pretext, or in any conceivable circumstances.

Lesson from Pius VI on Occult Heresy

I keep writing about Occult Heresy. Why? Because it is as deadly as is heresy, since it is heresy, and it is hidden and cunning. Sometimes, its raiment is attractive, such as pseudo-humility. Thus, the unthinking, the careless, those seeking novelty, those not guarding their souls and minds carefully, drink it in somewhat unawares. It is ubiquitous in our day. Occult heresy can be propagated wittingly or unwittingly. Unwittingly, if someone is malformed in the faith and then forms others. To some extent, we all fall short; but we can avoid grave mistakes. How?

To avoid occult heresy, even unwitting, we must stay close to the Catechism. Read the crucial councils of the Church. Study also the Catechism of the Council of Trent, a marvelous wealth of the faith. Imbibe the Perennial Tradition.

This is introit to a lesson from Pius VI. He warns us that occult heretics are often very eloquent, very intelligent, seemingly humble and pious. They may hide behind a pseudo mysticism. Perhaps they themselves are unwittingly misled by the Zeitgeist.

How then to detect them? Well, you have to know the Tradition and be close to the Doctors of the Church and to the actually authoritative words of popes, i.e., to papal words. Let us receive the meat of Tradition, primarily the Perennial Tradition, the Doctors of the Church, long approved theses. If we are theological, let us know the long engaged battles legitimately fought (licit disputes) and where the strengths and pitfalls are of certain recent theories. But all this should be focused on the truth. Sources that articulate the faith clearly and enable absolute certainty – for the faith is absolutely certain – are good for us.

However, we don’t prepare ourselves rightly with bits and pieces of this and that, without much order or rhyme or reason, bits that sound alright and make us feel alright but that do not order our minds crisply towards Truth, this is not good. How does it lead to order? To truth? To knowledge of the faith? To skill at rightly determining a dispute? One is so bewildered. One knows not what to do in principle. How to tackle an issue. Of what to be certain and about what to suspend judgment.

Let us read from Pius’s Inscrutabile, par. 6

We refer to the pestilent disease which the wickedness of our times brings forth. We must unite our minds and strength in treating this plague before it grows rife and becomes incurable in the Church through Our oversight. For in recent days, the dangerous times foretold by the Apostle Paul have clearly arrived, when there will be “men who love themselves, who are lifted up, proud, blasphemous, traitors, lovers of pleasure instead of God, men who are always learning but never arriving at the knowledge of truth, possessing indeed the appearance of piety but denying its power, corrupt in mind, reprobate about the faith.”[8] These men raise themselves up into “lying” teachers, as they are called by Peter the prince of the Apostles, and bring in sects of perdition. They deny the Lord who bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. They say they are wise and they have become fools, and their uncomprehending heart is darkened.

You yourselves, established as scouts in the house of Israel, see clearly the many victories claimed by a philosophy full of deceit. You see the ease with which it attracts to itself a great host of peoples, concealing its impiety with the honorable name of philosophy. Who could express in words or call to mind the wickedness of the tenets and evil madness which it imparts? While such men apparently intend to search out wisdom, “they fail because they do not search in the proper way. . . and they fall into errors which lead them astray from ordinary wisdom.”[9] They have come to such a height of impiety that they make out that God does not exist, or if He does that He is idle and uncaring, making no revelation to men. Consequently it is not surprising that they assert that everything holy and divine is the product of the minds of inexperienced men smitten with empty fear of the future and seduced by a vain hope of immortality. But those deceitful sages soften and conceal the wickedness of their doctrine with seductive words and statements; in this way, they attract and wretchedly ensnare many of the weak into rejecting their faith or allowing it to be greatly shaken. While they pursue a remarkable knowledge, they open their eyes to behold a false light which is worse than the very darkness. Naturally our enemy, desirous of harming us and skilled in doing so, just as he made use of the serpent to deceive the first human beings, has armed the tongues of those men with the poison of his deceitfulness in order to lead astray the minds of the faithful. The prophet prays that his soul may be delivered from such deceitful tongues.[10] In this way these men by their speech “enter in lowliness, capture mildly, softly bind and kill in secret.”[11] This results in great moral corruption, in license of thought and speech, in arrogance and rashness in every enterprise.

An Old Pope Clarifying an Error in Poland

Benedict XIV, Magnae nobis. This is quite worth the read in full. Why? Topic is Catholics marrying. The Pose heard that people mis-understood him. He heard that people thought he had done things contrary to the good of the Church. So, he knew it was his duty to set forth the truth, and he did so:

It was a painful surprise to learn from trustworthy reports and letters that a certain false opinion had spread in Poland. It is said that some matrimonial dispensations had been granted and sent out, indeed, that they are customarily granted and sent out, by this Apostolic See, in which the canonical impediments for a legitimate and valid marriage are removed, even though one or both of the contracting parties openly profess a heretical sect. Since this could only be disseminated by injustice and intolerable calumny, We would be lacking in our Apostolic ministry if We did not clarify the constant rule of action in this matter. At the same time, We earnestly admonish and beseech all of you and your subordinates in Poland, a kingdom renowned for its faith and religion, to read and weigh the letters of matrimonial dispensation which are sent out by the Apostolic See for the people of that kingdom. We are certain that if there ever was any sin in this matter, it was not the fault of this Apostolic See or of its officials; truly it must be attributed entirely to the Ordinaries of places or to their ministers, who did not take care either to read or to weigh sufficiently the letters of dispensation which they received.


Lesson from Pius VII: Protect Children not Heretics, Property not Marxists

How utterly important is education of the youth, formation in truth and holiness.

Yet, the false apostles and false prophets – how they abound today! Everywhere. If they abounded at the dark times of the French Revolution, how much more now.

Yet, we sleep and slumber. Listen, then, to Pius VII urge Bishops to protect the little ones. Note that his concern is not first and foremost the protection of the rights of heretics. What absurdity to put that first, given the guilt of such persons and considering what few rights in the Church remain for Catholic heretics. His concern is also not first and foremost the conversion of heretics. His first and foremost concern, as is right, is the protection of the young from heretics.

How utterly backwards, then, are the standards of of many today. Often, it is heretics’ rights that seem to be of most concern, then their conversion, then the protection of the youth. Perhaps nothing can be done, legally, to make the proper order of concern clear. But it is imprudent to keep the heretic’s rights as foremost.

True charity should be ruled by prudence. And basic wisdom says that the true good of a child is the true faith. Basic wisdom acknowledges that children are being perverted by false doctrines and takes heed, if it loves, to remove such errors and teach truth. Let us first consider the common good and the innocent. That means the good of the whole Church and her members, before the good of particular heretics. That means the young, before those who ought to know better.

Pius VII:

13. Would that We had not learned by experience how many “false apostles” the present age has spawned! These are “deceitful workmen who transform themselves into apostles of Christ.” Unless we are on our guard “they will destroy the understanding of the faithful as the serpent seduced Eve by his cleverness, and they will fall away from their simplicity which is in Christ.”[11] While you must care for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has placed you as bishop, the watchfulness, eagerness, and effort of your fatherly love and benevolence is demanded in particular by boys and young men. Christ by example and statement has particularly entrusted these to us[12] and the enemies of private property and states who are striving to confound all laws, divine and human, hope to effect their wicked plans chiefly by corrupting their young minds. For they are aware that the young are like soft wax and can easily be drawn in any direction, bent and moulded and that they firmly retain a form once they have received it and it has been hardened by advancing years; then they will reject a different form. Hence the well-worn proverb from scripture: “A young man will not depart from his way even when he has grown old.”[13]

Bishops Must Banish Error: Lesson from Pius VI

Thus spoke Pius VI in his marvelous Inscrutabile:

Consequently, you who are the salt of the earth, guardians and shepherds of the Lord’s flock, whose business it is to fight the battles of the Lord, arise and gird on your sword, which is the word of God, and expel this foul contagion from your lands. How long are we to ignore the common insult to faith and Church? Let the words of Bernard arouse us like a lament of the spouse of Christ: “Of old was it foretold and the time of fulfillment is now at hand: Behold, in peace is my sorrow most sorrowful. It was sorrowful first when the martyrs died; afterwards it was more sorrowful in the fight with the heretics and now it is most sorrowful in the conduct of the members of the household…. The Church is struck within and so in peace is my sorrow most sorrowful. But what peace? There is peace and there is no peace. There is peace from the pagans and peace from the heretics, but no peace from the children. At that time the voice will lament: Sons did I rear and exalt, but they despised me. They despised me and defiled me by a bad life, base gain, evil traffic, and business conducted in the dark.”[12] Who can hear these tearful complaints of our most holy mother without feeling a strong urge to devote all his energy and effort to the Church, as he has promised? Therefore cast out the old leaven, remove the evil from your midst. Forcefully and carefully banish poisonous books from the eyes of your flock, and at once courageously set apart those who have been infected, to prevent them harming the rest.