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:: The Lidless Eye Inquisition ::

A weblog dedicated to the exposure of the crackpots of the lunatic self-styled 'traditionalist' fringe who disingenuously pose as faithful Catholics.
Welcome to The Lidless Eye Inquisition | bloghome
"Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the cunning statements of those who persistently claim to wish to be with the Church, to love the Church, to fight so that people do not leave Her...But judge them by their works. If they despise the shepherds of the Church and even the Pope, if they attempt all means of evading their authority in order to elude their directives and judgments..., then about which Church do these men mean to speak? Certainly not about that established on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)." [Pope St. Pius X: Allocution of May 10, 1909]

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[:::....Recent Posts....:::]

The revocation of indefinite suspension to this we...

Briefly on A Few Issues... Though the The Lidless...

As I am planning a return to blogging in other for...

Though this weblog has been suspended "in perpetui...

After pondering this in recent days, I cannot thin...

Points to Ponder: I now come to the positive reas...

"One From the Drafting Board" Dept. The material ...

Before this weblog is formally closed in perpetuit...

On Altar Girls and General Norms of Interpretation...

Final Reflections I would like to thank Shawn McE...

The Inquisitors
:: I. Shawn McElhinney
:: F. John Loughnan
:: Peter J. Vere JCL
:: Greg Mockeridge
:: Apolonio Latar
:: Gregory Rossi
:: Keith Kenney
:: The Curmudgeon
:: Mark Bonocore
:: Gregg the Obscure
Affiliated Weblogs/Websites
:: Rerum Novarum [>>>]
:: Sean O' Lachtnain's Home Page [>>>]
:: Envoy Encore Weblog (Peter Vere JCL, contributor) [>>>]
:: Cooperatores Veritatis [>>>]
:: Thoughts of Apolonio Latar III [>>>]
:: Sancta Liturgia [>>>]
:: Disturber of the Peace [>>>]
:: Vita Brevis [>>>]
Specialty Weblogs
:: The (New) Catholic Light BLOG (Peter Vere JCL, contributor) [>>>]
:: John Betts' Boycott BLOG [>>>]
Ecumenical Jihad*
:: Apolonio Latar and Kevin Tierney's Culture of Christ BLOG [>>>]
Specialty Weblinks
:: A Prescription Against 'Traditionalism' [>>>]
:: On the Intricacies of Dialogue - A Commentary [>>>]
:: The 'Tradition is Opposed to Novelty' Canard [>>>]
:: On Assisi and Catholic Principles [>>>]
:: F. John Loughnan's "Classification of Some Integrist (Lidless Eye) Websites" [>>>]
:: A Syllabus of Various (Mostly Pseudo-"Progressivist") Dissenting Authors [>>>]
:: A Canonical History of the Lefevrist Schism - Peter J. Vere's License Thesis From Saint Paul University, Ontario, Canada [>>>]
:: What Makes Us Catholic Traditionalists - written for The Wanderer December 6, 2001 (I. Shawn McElhinney/Pete Vere JCL) [>>>]
:: Yes Virginia, Fr. Nicholas Has Been Suspended - written for The Wanderer March 6, 2003 (Pete Vere JCL/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Squelching Fr. Gruner's 'Squawking Squire' [>>>]
:: RadTrad Watch [>>>]
:: Antisemitism and the Catholic Right [>>>]
[:::....Site Intention, Disclaimer, Copyright, Etc....:::]
:: Intentions of this Weblog (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Weblog "War and Peace Length" Disclaimer (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Site Copyright (I. Shawn McElhinney/SecretAgentMan) [>>>]
:: Exhortation to Those Who Participate in the Message Boxes (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On Linking to Tridentine Apostolates, Etc. --A Lidless Eye Inquisition Clarification Thread (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
[:::....Heretical Pseudo "Traditionalist" Apostolates....:::]
Mario Derksen's Catholic Insight
:: Responses to Mario Derksen--Parts I-III (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Mario on EENS (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Mario Derksen's Errors on Man (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Mario Derksen's Sedevacantism--Parts I-III (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Response to Mario --Parts I-II (Kevin Byrne) [>>>]
:: Mario's Sedevacantism and His Conscience (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder -I. Shawn McElhinney's Discussion List Comments on the "Karol Wojtyla is the Pope" Subject (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
Gerry Matatics' Apostolate
:: Gerry Matatics Too Hard Line For The Remnant (Pete Vere)[>>>]
:: Concerning Gerry Matatics and His Alleged Sedevacantism (Pete Vere) [>>>]
[:::....Schismatic and Theologically Specious Pseudo "Traditionalist" Apostolates....:::]
Catholic Apologetics International (or CAItanic)
:: Bob Sungenis' "Reply" to Richard John Neuhaus --Parts I-II (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - Richard J. Neuhaus on CAItanic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On CAItanic and the "Petrification" of their Opponents (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: On Stunted Ecclesiology and Other Examples of the Arrested Development of CAItanic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Baghdad Bob Meets Bible Bob (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Commentary on CAItanic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Sungenis/Ferrara and Double Standards (Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: On Sungenis’ “Novelty”--Parts I-II(Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: A Short Response to John Salza and Sungenis (Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: A Brief Clarification by Your Weblog Host On "Mr. Ipse Dixit" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Matatics vs. Sungenis (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Sungenis and God's Contingent Knowledge--Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: On "The Big Bang Theory" and its Pertinance to Catholic Doctrine (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
The Novus Ordo Watch
:: On "Novus Ordo Watch" (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: More on "Novus Ordo Watch" (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Props to David Alexander (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
The Remnant
:: Beyond Lunacy (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: The Remnant Gets it Right (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Commending Christopher Ferrara (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX)
:: Points to Ponder - on the SSPX (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: On the "Reconciliation" Rumours of the SSPX (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: SSPX Demotes Key Priest Hoping For Reconciliation (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Three Cheers for Sedevacantism (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: On Fr. Paul Aulagnier (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Schism For One Dollar (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Bishop Rifan the Prophet (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Is the SSPX Still Lefebvrist? (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Civil War Breaks Out in the SSPX's French District (Pete Vere) [>>>]
[:::....Controverted Apostolates...:::]
Kevin Tierney and His Apostolate
:: Responding to Kevin Tierney's Criticism (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Some Brief Comments on Kevin Tierney's Response to Gregg the Obscure (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Response to Kevin Tierney's Response to I. Shawn McElhinney (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: More Sophistry From Kevin Tierney --Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Briefly on Obedience and Kevin Tierney's Appeal to Canon Law 212 (I. Shawn McElhinney/Pete Vere JCL) [>>>]
:: Responsum ad Tiernam Dubiosum --Parts I-III, Addendum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Note About A Blog (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Radtrads Again (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On True and False 'Traditionalism' With Kevin Tierney --Parts I-VII (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, and Global Government --Parts I-III(Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]
:: Clarification on Global Government (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Brief Response to Kevin Tierney (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Musings on Diversity (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: An Example of the Honesty That Must Accompany Dialogue (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Muttering On Many Subjects (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Detailed Response to Kevin on The Revised Missal, Corpus Christi, Church Attendance, Church Forms, Protocol 1411, Etc. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Musings (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: "Responsum ad Tiernum" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Discussing the Liturgy and Various Contrastings With Kevin Tierney (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Refuting the “He’s Not Disobedient. He's Just Stupid.” Defense (Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]
:: "Responsum ad Tiernum" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
[:::....Controverted Subjects and People in General....:::]
:: Response to a Self-styled "Traditionalist" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the Term "Inquisition" (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Addressing a Sedevacantist Heretic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: February's Quote of the Month (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: On TAN Books (F. John Loughnan) [>>>]
:: On Defining Modernism (Chris Burgwald) [>>>]
:: Refuting the Late 'Trad' Michael Malone's Errors on Vatican II (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From His Beatitude Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh, Cardinal of the Roman Church (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: The Catechism and Radical Traditionalists (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Screwtape Parody on Radical Traditionalism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Dialogue With a Rad-Trad --Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Hell and the Catechism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Sola Fide Trads (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Some Traddie Fallacies Examined (F. John Loughnan) [>>>]
:: Dialogue With Adrian a Self-styled 'Traditionalist' --Parts I-VIII (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From St. Opatus of Milve (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Mr. Smith's Misunderstandings --Parts I-VI (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the Integralist-'Traditionalist' Conection --Parts I-V (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Discussion With Christopher Blosser on Reflections on Covenant and Mission (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the Morality of Promoting Conspiracy Theories (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Question About the Magisterium (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: John Paul II and Islam (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Have 'Traditionalists' Been Too Hard on the Pope Viz Islam (F. John Loughnan) [>>>]
:: A Conversation --Parts I-II (I. Shawn McElhinney/Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Fatal Flaws of False 'Traditionalism' With Albert Cipriani--Parts I-VII (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Conversation on Spiritual Maturity and the Traditional Catholic Approach to Difficulties --Parts I-III (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Is it Okay to Complain? (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Obedience: The Rise of True Catholics --Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Radtradism and Mother Teresa (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Common 'Traditionalist' Errors in Dogmatic Theology and the Ordinary Magisterum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Notes on the Ordinary Magisterium (SecretAgentMan) [>>>]
:: Some Self-styled "Traditionalist" Mendacity (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Posting Rules for Radical 'Traditionalists' (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Thoughts on Radtradism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Why Garrigou-Lagrange? (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: The Syllabus (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Refutation of Some Common Radtrad Misuses of Citations (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: The Errors of Michael Malone Revisited (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Confuting an Attempted Justification for Schism --Parts I-II (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Another Assisi? Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder -Maximus the Abbott as quoted by Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum §13 (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Dialogue With a 'Traditionalist' (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: "To Be Deep in Catholic Theology is to Cease to Be a (Pseudo) 'Traditionalist'" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From Pope Benedict XV (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On Charles de Nunzio (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: For Those Interested (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Refuting Mike's Errors (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: A Response to Mike Tucker (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Will it Merely Be More Uncatholic "Business As Usual"??? (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From St. John Bosco (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From St. Irenaeus of Lyons (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Dialogue/Debate on Pascendi (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From Cardinal Ratzinger on the Revised Roman Missal (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Responsum ad Hibernius (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Material (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: On Liturgical Dance (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: On Humanism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Humanism and Vatican II (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: John Paul II and Universalism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Scruples (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: On Tony Blair and Receiving Communion (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Confuting Radical Pseudo-'Traditionalist' Nonsense --Part I (Mark Bonocore) [>>>]
:: Confuting Radical Pseudo-'Traditionalist' Nonsense --Part II (Mark Bonocore/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: "Wast-ing A-way A-gain in Se-de-vac-ant-a-ville" Dept. (Mark Bonocore/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the McElhinney Media Dictum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Tomorrow Christendom (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Correcting a Common Misperception of This Weblog (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Response to a Guimaraes Article (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: A Response to Fr. Nitoglia (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: More on "Tomorrow Christendom" (Dom Calvet/Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Surprised by Canon Law (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Briefly on Michael Davies' Passing (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On Redemptionis Sacramentum and Canonical Implications for Ecclesia Dei (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Notification of Assisi Essay, Etc. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - Richard John Neuhaus on the Vatican and "Americanism"--Parts I-VI (I. Shawn McElhinney)[>>>]
:: 8 Things You Can Do to Stop the Judaizers (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: On Circumspection in Speech and Public Writing (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: On the Revised Missal Ordination Rites and Other Tidbits (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
::Points to Ponder - John Laux on an Interesting Parallel from History on the Subject of "Preserving Tradition" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: In Fairness to Michael Forrest (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Michael Forrest and the Jews (Pete Vere) [>>>]
::Points to Ponder - Pope Gregory XVI on the Authority of the Popes (I. Shawn McElhinney)[>>>]
:: Michael Forrest and the Jews--Part II (Pete Vere) [>>>]
[:::....Miscellaneous Dialogual Subjects...:::]
:: Real Catholic Traditionalism (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: An Open Challenge to Catholic Traditionalists (Dom Gerard Calvet/Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Briefly on Quo Primum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Traditionalist Debate of the Millenium: Pete Vere vs. Shawn McElhinney (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Dialogue on Ecclesia Dei With Mark Downey (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Sister Lucia of Fatima, Ora Pro Terri Schiavo (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Ecclesia Dei And Respect for Traditionalists (Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]
:: On "The Vile Spectacle of Traditionalists Rooting for Bad News" --Dialogue With Kevin Tierney (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>> [>>>]
:: On Liturgical Nonsense, Recent Restore Rants, Church Music, Etc (I. Shawn McElhinney)[>>>]
:: Briefly Revisiting an Old Subject (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Examining Kevin Tierney's "Catholic Contract" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
[:::....Guest Editorials...:::]
:: The Problems Some Have With Interfaith Outreach (Guest Editorial by Gary Gubinski) [>>>]
:: On the Liturgical Movement (Guest Editorial by the Society of St. John; Prologue by I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Jacinta's Vision (Guest Editorial by Fr. Thomas Carleton) [>>>]
:: Guest Editorial on Private Revelation (Kevin M. Tierney) [>>>]
Any correspondence will be presumed eligible for blogging unless the sender otherwise specifies (cf. Welborn Protocol)

*Ecumenical Jihad listing is for weblogs or websites which are either dedicated to or which to the webmaster (i) are worth reading and (ii) characteri ze in their general outlook the preservation of general Judeo-Christian morality and which are aimed at positively integrating these elements into society. (Such sites need not even be Catholic ones.)

As society has grown more estranged from its founding principles, I wish to note sites which share the same sentiments for the restoration of society even if the means advocated in this endeavour differ. The Lidless Eye Inquisition does not necessarily endorse particulars with sites under this heading.

:: Saturday, May 31, 2003 ::

Debate with a Rad-Trad

This was a debate between a Radical Traditionalist and me. I asked him permission and he said that I can post it only if I don't expose his name.

Rad-Trad: Should we obey the Pope at all times?

Apolonio: We must give religious submission to the Pope's teachings at all times.

Rad-Trad: If the Pope teaches that it is a sin to worship Jesus Christ, should we obey?

Apolonio: If God says it is a sin to worship Jesus Christ, should we obey?

Rad-Trad: God will never say that because of his nature.

Apolonio: Okay...so the Pope will never say that because it is not the nature of the
Papacy to do so. God will prevent him from teaching, meaning teaching by virtue of his apostolic authority, error.

Rad-Trad: When do you think it is valid to criticize the Pope? What about his actions? Many people criticized the Popes' actions throughout history.

Apolonio: I have no objection of criticizing a Pope's action because we can. However, we must always do it with humility. Always remember that the Pope is our Holy Father. Also, before we criticize, we must first try to see that there his action can be interpreted in another way other than our own. We might be criticizing his action wrongly. That's why I would never advice anyone to criticize a Pope's action. We should just say, "Well, I personally would not do it, but again, I am not the Pope."

Rad-Trad: What about encyclicals? Can we criticize papal encyclicals when they are vague and ambiguous and fail to reiterate adequately the traditional doctrine of the Church Robert Sungenis says?

Apolonio: It depends...why would you want to criticize it anyway? A Catholic is one who always see things with charity. If he sees something vague, he should interpret it properly in light of tradition so that people will not be misled. A fair criticism would be something like, "Well, the Encyclical did not clearly bringly it out, but the context in light of Tradition says..." But surely, one should not write a whole article on how the Pope is heretical or wrong. I would not advocate Jacob Michael's criticism on how our Holy Father advocates or at least implies universal salvation.

Rad-Trad: But if the Pope did not teach it infallibly, it is possible that it is erroneous.

Apolonio: Okay, but we still have to give religious submission as Pius XII and Vatican 2 says. Pius XII said, "Nor should one think that the things proposed in Encyclical Letters do not of themselves call for assent on the plea that in them the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Magisterium. For these things are taught by the Ordinary Magisterium, to which this also applies: He who "hears you hears me."

Rad-Trad: Are you saying that the Pope can never err when he teaches by virtue of his apostolic authority?

Apolonio: What I am saying is that "no one who sat on the Chair taught heretical doctrines."

Rad-Trad: John XII did when he denied beatific vision.

Apolonio: That was a sermon, and he was simply making his theological opinion. You can see the context that he was not making a statement of faith, but rather, an opinion. And I don't think beatific vision was declared de fide back then yet.

Rad-Trad: You are broadening Papal Infallibility. This is not what Vatican 1 taught. Vatican 1 taught that the Pope is only infallible when he speaks ex-cathedra.

Apolonio: I believe you are wrong. Vatican 1 just spoke of a situation when the Pope is infallible. The Pope is infallible basically when he intends something to be definite. He does not have to use any special form of words like some Radical Traditionalists claim. Fr. Most used the example of Pius XII's Divino Afflante Spiritu to show an example of how Pius XII said that a passage of Vatican 1 was a solemn definitio even though it was only in the capitula. Another example is Pope Paul VI's Response to the Letter of Archbishop Coggan. We find this in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. Pope John Paul II says:

"When the question of the ordination of women arose in the Anglican Communion, Pope Paul VI, out of fidelity to his office of safeguarding the Apostolic Tradition, and also with a view to removing a new obstacle placed in the way of Christian unity, reminded Anglicans of the position of the Catholic Church: "She holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God's plan for his Church."

So the statement made by Paul VI was infallible because it put an end to a debate. As Pius XII says:

"If the Supreme Pontiffs, in their acta expressly pass judgment on a matter debated until then, it is obvious to all that the matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot be considered any longer a question open for discussion among theologians."

Ordinatio Sacerdatolis is also infallible because it re-affirms what has been taught by the past magisterium. I would also argue that his statement "I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful" is infallible in itself.

Rad-Trad: What if the Pope teaches something new? What if he teaches something that is contrary to Tradition?

Apolonio: Again, he cannot teach anything like that. The person who claims it is has the burden of proof of proving it is. Also, I would point out that if the Pope teaches something "new", it isn't really new, but that the person who is reading it is interpreting Tradition incorrectly. For example, one can interpret Boniface and the Council of Florence narrowly on "Outside the Church, there is no salvation", but when Vatican 1, Pope Pius IX, Pius XII, Vatican 2, and John Paul II have taught that non-Catholics *can* be saved, the person who interpreted it narrowly is wrong. Again, it basically depends on the person. One can also interpret John Paul II, saying that he is advocating deification, humanism, etc, but if he does not know his anthropology, then it's his fault, not the Pope's. And you should also need to know the context, not to mention recognize development.

Rad-Trad: I don't think you need to know the context at all.

Apolonio: I dare you to say that in front of a Protestant fundamentalist.

Rad-Trad: What about if the Pope said this statement: "Jesus is not God." What context would make that true?

Apolonio: The context that "God" refers to the Father. In that case, "Jesus is not God" would mean "Jesus is not the Father" which is true. Just as "Mother of God" is not true in the context of "God" being the Trinity. Again, you need to know the context.

Rad-Trad: What about non-Catholics having "imperfect communion" with the Catholic Church? Or how about non-Catholics who are members of the Church, which Pope John Paul II said:

"But it is clear that today, as in the past, many people do not have an opportunity to come to know oraccept the Gospel Revelation or to enter the Church.... For suchpeople, salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church,doesnot make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them ina way which is accommodated to their spiritual and materialsituation." (Redemptoris Missio #10)

Find me ONE pre-Vatican 2 statement which speaks of that sort.

Apolonio: I don't need to. I have Vatican 2 and the Catechism, which the Pope declares as a sure norm of teaching.

Rad-Trad: That's what I thought. It is pure novelty.

Apolonio: I didn't say I *can't*. I said I don't need to. But here is a couple.
Pius XII says that man can be:

"ordered to the Church by a certain desire and wish of which he is not aware ," that is, the one contained in the good dispositions mentioned bythe Holy Office." (Mystici Corporis)
And Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange says:

Mystical graces improperly so called or minor mystical graces are not only possible outside the visible Church, but they can occur rather frequently in the holiest of souls in the state of grace ...If they are born candidates for the minor mystical graces, they are unknown Catholics, members of one spiritual Church.." (Our Savior and His Love for Us, 379)

And by the way, John Paul II was influenced by Garrigou-Lagrange too, so he probably got that statement from him. And I DARE YOU to call Garrigou-Lagrange heretical! (Instant Message 5/31)


"There is no soul not worth loving, not worth praying, not worth sacrificing for, and not worth hoping salvation for. This is why the Catechism says, 'In hope, the Church prays for all men to be saved.'"

:: Ap 5:11 PM [+] | ::

:: Friday, May 30, 2003 ::
SSPX Demotes Key Priest Hoping For Reconciliation

Meanwhile, Williamson continues on as always....

In the past week or two, even some of the most hardened traditionalists I know have complained about SSPX Bishop Williamson's latest monthly letter, in which he appears to take a very firm stand against the possibility of an SSPX reconciliation. Here's an excerpt:

Even if these Romans were to speak exactly the same language as the SSPX still, by their modernist religion, they would not be meaninq the same things. Therefore the "reconciliation" would be verbal, not real, and the SSPX would have lost the protection of its present marginalization.

This does not appear to be much different than his various negative comments about the Campos reconciliation. Williamson, as everyone knows, is from England and was raised (at least nominally) as an Anglican. Reportedly, he briefly passed through the Catholic Church on his way to the SSPX schism. He know runs the SSPX's American seminary, and his influence within North America appears to be quite strong.

On the other end of the spectrum, (which is surprising given his past reputation as a SSPX hardliner) L'Abbe Paul Aulagnier from France is now making some pretty strong statements in favor of reconciliation. To share a little of his background, he was one of the SSPX's first priests and has held the offices of District Superior of France (which if I understand correctly is sort of the position of "first among equals" when it comes to SSPX District Superiorships), District Superior of Belgium and Second Assistant to the Superior General. Here's a loose translation of an excerpt from a recent interview he gave ITEM, in which he tackles these same topics:

I am very happy with the positive reaction of Bishop Fellay. "The negotiations continue," he said, "they are not dead." This is something good. I am always very favorable towards these contacts with Rome. We cannot "separate" from Rome, "forget" Rome.

Thus the best thing is to keep things, it is to keep these contacts frequent. Otherwise our "battle" would lose its reason of being. Our goal, over and above the salvation of souls, is to see our Apostolic Tradition rekindle in Rome -- and from Rome to the entire Church.

All isolation is dangerous, and ours in particular.

If we were not to turn toward Rome, we could in time create "a little Church". [Basically a non-Catholic Church like the Old Catholics - PJV]

Then the schism would be consummated well and good. This is our danger. This is why I am happy about Bishop Fellay.

This is also why I'm happy with the "agreement" that Bishop Rangel worked to bring to a successful conclusion with Rome by creating a personal apostolic administration with an exclusive right to the Tridentine liturgy. I hope we will get there ourselves as well.

Granted, my translation isn't perfect, but you get the gist of what Fr. Aulagnier is saying. Despite couching his comments behind appeals to Bishop Fellay's recent comments, it has taken him great courage to state what he has stated in public. (Which is why I'm not gonna quibble with him over whether the SSPX is headed towards schism or already there -- suffice to say, it appears that we both agree the SSPX will end up there permanently in the future if negotiations and contacts aren't intensified.) My heart and prayers go out to Fr. Aulagnier and I pray he will be successful in urging the SSPX toward reconciliation.

Unfortunately, my head tells me that most SSPX clergy still stand behind Williamson, and that he will likely win out if we don't see a massive change of heart among these same clergy. My pessimism is further amplified by the fact Fr. Aulagnier was recently transfered to North America. This is not good in my opinion. I have always found the SSPX quite euro-centric and thus I would not venture to guess that this transfer to North America was a promotion -- especially as Aulagnier is now in the heart of Williamson's sphere of influence.

Which only raises the following question: whose side Bishop Fellay is really taking behind the scenes? In other words, if Bishop Fellay is really in favor reconciliation, why would he transfer the SSPX's most outspoken and well-respected reconciliarist ourside of his reported sphere influence after he appeared to break with the party line, when no action appears to have been taken against Bishop Williamson -- who appears to be the SSPX's most outspoken opponent to reconcilation?

This gives the appearance of a double-standard and sends a strong message to the outside world that Williamson's ideological influence has won out within the SSPX. In my opinion, traditionalists on both sides need to watch the SSPX's treatment of Fr. Aulagnier carefully, because it likely will be the litmus test of how serious the SSPX is in approaching negotiations. Those like myself at St. Blog who favor reconciliation need to make a strong statement in support of Aulagnier right now.

:: Pete Vere 3:55 PM [+] | ::

This morning I received a cordial e-mail from Kevin Tierney letting me know of his third-party response to yesterday's post at Catholic Defender. I'll post a reply to his post on this site at some point in the next few days.

:: Gregg the Obscure 7:36 AM [+] | ::

:: Thursday, May 29, 2003 ::
I found the boldfaced Q&A at our the site of our friends at Novus Ordo Watch The plain-type comments are my own or those of sources contrary to the NOW.

Q: What is the Novus Ordo Establishment?
A: The Novus Ordo Establishment is a "New Order" (Latin: Novus Ordo) which consists of a new code (law), creed (belief), and cult (liturgy) imposed on the Catholic Church by the authorities in the Vatican at the end of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Its goal is the systematic destruction of traditional Catholic beliefs and morals, in favor of a "New Evangelization," which seeks not to convert the lost, but to tell the lost they are already found, whether they know it or not.

I’ll get to the “new code, creed and cult” in good time. (Had the author inserted the parentheses cumulatively after “cult” rather than interspersing them, it would have made for a poetic line. Sadly, that’s not the most glaring flaw to be found here. Would that it were!)
According to the author’s unnamed “authorities in the Vatican” implemented the so-called NOE intending the “systematic destruction of traditional Catholic beliefs and morals” somewhere between 35 and 40 years ago. If one were to believe that, one would necessarily have to believe that the Church had gone completely apostate at its highest levels by then, since the Church would not have engaged in such reckless behavior were it not under the complete control of Her adversary. Now if the Church had apostatized at some point so long ago, it’s plain that at least the last two papal elections (and possibly more than those) would have been invalid. There would then be no reasonable alternative to sedevacantism . Of course that produces its own set of problems. The First Vatican Council’s Pastor Aeternus reminds us:
“We, therefore, judge it necessary for the protection, the safety, and the increase of the Catholic flock to pronounce with the approval of the sacred council the true doctrine concerning the establishment, the perpetuity, and the nature of the apostolic primacy. In this primacy, all the efficacy and all the strength of the Church are placed.”
All the strength and efficacy of the Church are in the perpetual institution of the papacy. It can’t be perpetual (let alone efficacious) if it ceases to function for thirty or more years. It can’t be efficacious if it lapsed so badly as to allow “the authorities in the
Vatican” to work in opposition to Christ. So one of the following is wrong: Pastor Aeternus or the NOW website.

Q: When did this New Order begin?
A: Perhaps the first noticeable evidence of the New Order appeared when Pope John XXIII wrote his encyclical Pacem in Terris, which spoke favorably of a one-world government. The New Order was forcefully imposed upon the citizens of the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council opened the Church's doors to the Modern World. According to one theory, the Novus Ordo Establishment officially came into being on November 21, 1964, when Pope Paul VI ratified Lumen Gentium, the Council's "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church in the Modern World." This document departed from the traditional formula of equating the "Church of Jesus Christ" with "the Catholic Church," choosing instead the innovative formula, "The Church of Jesus Christ subsists in the Catholic Church." Thus, the strict identity between the Catholic Church and the Church Jesus Christ founded, taught infallibly and dogmatically by the First Vatican Council (1869-70), was obliterated.

There are problems with both theories for the beginning of the New Order. Various councils and popes have engaged in political advocacy through the centuries, with such advocacy tailored to the circumstances of the day. Bl. John XXIII had witnessed much of one of mankind’s most horrific wars, and wrote at a time when the threat of a vastly more destructive war was palpable. In that light, Bl. John XXIII’s advocacy on behalf of avoiding war is understandable, even if it may appear excessive to an observer who has lived in peaceful circumstances. In any event, every Catholic (and especially the “traditional” Catholic) is called to docility to rightful authority. I haven’t seen the author give a compelling case that would dispenses us, or them for that matter, from those duties to Bl. John XXIII, short of the already-discredited sedevacantism. Of course the docility issue presents again with Pope Paul VI, but there are even bigger problems with that theory to follow.

Q: What is the significance of the word "subsists"?
A: It is an ambiguous word that may be interpreted to mean that the Church of Jesus Christ is not found whole and entire in the Catholic Church, but may be found partially in the Catholic Church, partially in other "ecclesiastical communities."

The above statement is at best highly ignorant. Worse than that, it could well be predicated on a dishonestly selective reading of the text. (I ardently hope that it's merely a case of poor vocabulary rather than outright deception, as it is only proper that I should refrain from thinking or saying the worst of a fellow Catholic.) Rather than looking just at the word “subsists”, please humor me by reading the entire paragraph in question:
“This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Savior, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as ‘the pillar and mainstay of the truth’. This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity.”
Absolutely nothing in the paragraph from Lumen Gentium supports the proposition that the “the Church of Jesus Christ is NOT found whole and entire in the Catholic Church”.
Worse, though, there is NOTHING in any definition I could find of “subsist” to suggest incompleteness. However many senses of “subsist” directly contradict the author’s assertion, such as: to exist; to survive; to continue in a certain state; to maintain as one’s family; to maintain life; to be logically conceivable. Nothing is to be found there mentioning this putative incompleteness referenced by the author.
Only “elements of sanctification and of truth” exist outside the bounds of the Church – not “the completion of sanctification and of truth”. It’s plain that non-Catholics have engaged in various corporal works of mercy and have read the Bible. Those are plainly good things. God’s power isn’t obviated by human sin and frailty, so there are the “elements of sanctification and of truth” outside the Church – it doesn’t say that the fullness of salvation exists outside the Church, which would contradict extra ecclesiam nulla salus and, on an honest reading, doesn’t so much as imply it..
If someone is aware of a definition of “subsist” that pre-dates Lumen Gentium that implies incompleteness, I would very much appreciate being corrected.

Q: What are the external signs that prove the New Order is intent on destroying Traditional Catholicism?
A: The exernal [sic] signs are many and varied, including, but not limited to: A New Order of the Mass, a New Code of Canon Law, a New Liturgical Calendar, a New Evangelization, a New Catechism, and, most recently, a New Rosary.

Six “new” items (leading to a seventh below) lead the author to believe that the so-called NOE is not only destroying the traditional faith, but doing so intentionally. The imputation of intent to the actions of another is fraught with peril, most especially the likelihood of being proven wrong. A person’s description of the motives of another often says more about the speaker than about his subject. For now, though, the bones of contention:

“New Rosary” – There are five new mysteries one may use in praying the Rosary. They aren’t obligatory and they don’t make any other portion of the Rosary fall into desuetude. How does this differ from the addition of the Fatima prayer during the 20th century? Or was that offensive too? How about the addition to the Ave Maria of the phrase starting with Sancta Maria, Mater Dei -- after all, that wasn’t part of the prayer in its earliest guise. (See the fifth paragraph here.)

“New Catechism” – A one-volume work that succinctly summarizes the teachings of the Church drawing liberally on Scripture, the Church Fathers, papal and conciliar documents. And this would be dangerous because . . .
“New Evangelization” – Are we to then infer that our world has grown out of the need for evangelization? Or that past efforts were sufficient? On what grounds?

“New Liturgical Calendar” – A few observances (Ss. Christopher and Philomena come to mind) have been suppressed. A few new ones added and some moved. The biggest change is the restoration of the Easter Vigil (which precedes Vatican II) – a reversion to ancient practice. Some aspects of the new calendar could be characterized as annoying, but destructive?

“New Code of Canon Law” – It came out in 1983 and replaces the code of 1917 – itself a first codification. Oh the tragic loss of a whole 66 years of “traditional” use! (Aside, as someone who works with secular law, there is a pattern of constant clarification and application to new circumstances with law. That the first edition of the code ordered by St. Pius X would be revised should be no surprise.)

“New Order of the Mass” – is often the most contentious of issues raised by traditionalists. It’s contentious because both the traditionalists and their opponents have valid points. The traditionalist bemoans the loss of a most beautiful liturgy and its concomitant reverence. Yet the reality of the last years (or, from what I can tell, generations) of the near-universality* of the Tridentine Mass, is a different story: mumbled rushed prayers that one couldn’t follow no matter how much he wanted to, rigid formalism on the order of that practiced by the Pharisees themselves and abuses as real, if not as spectacular, as those which provoke outrage (such as eliding over the phrase which had the priest had been obliged to say individually to each communicant at Holy Communion). As I’ve mentioned before, I am outraged by abuses of liturgy. Those abuses are best addressed by people who are reasonable and who are plainly in communion with that Church that is truly One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, as no one else would have the standing to do so.

*The Ambrosian, Mozarabic and various other rites maintained their utility and dignity since before the time of St. Pius V and continue to do so.

Q: For what purpose have these novelties been imposed?
A: For the purpose of establishing a New Ecumenism, which will allow all denominations and religions to unite without the requirement of conversion to the Catholic Church. The apparent goal is a one-world religion, a "peaceful" co-existence with all religions fused into one, in which God's Rights and our Duties to Him are subordinated to the Rights of Man, Social Justice, the Dignity of the Human Person, and Liberty of Conscience. "Reconciled diversity" and "unity in diversity" are big watchwords here.

Here we are at last – the heart of the matter. This is the most serious of all the many charges in the document: the charge that “the authorities in the Vatican” were no successors of the apostles, but rather of Judas Iscariot in betraying Christ for the sake of a completely program of syncretism. The consequences of this charge are enormous. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus still applies. If the institutional Church were to go apostate, those who obeyed the authorities would no longer be in communion with Christ. At the same time, those who defied the authorities would be extra ecclesiam. Jesus’ promise at His ascension – that He would be with us always -- would be made into a lie. Are the supposed dark forces so powerful as to make our Lord a liar?
But the syncretism charge presents more problems than even that. The author claims to know the minds of the many powerful “authorities in the Vatican”, but doesn’t give documentary evidence to support this explosive allegation. Since we’re bound to docility to rightful authority and since there’s not yet been a clear dispensation from authority, is not some hard evidence necessary before one believes the worst of the successors to the apostles? Are we not rather bound to uphold the good reputation of our neighbors?

Yes, the new relationship with those outside the Church is somewhat different than the one that is familiar to those who have read documents of the fifteenth through early twentieth centuries. As Bl. John XXIII said, the Church turned to the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity. Even the use of mercy rather than severity in dealing with unbelievers is not unprecedented. Please refer to St. Paul’s sermon in Athens recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. He would have been within his rights to condemn the Athenians for idolatry, but instead he engaged in a respectful discussion with them in order to bring them to Christ. I, for one, am reluctant to second-guess the apostle to the gentiles on how to best present the Gospel in a pagan world.

Q: Why were so many things "revised" or "updated"?
A: To remove any trace of "particular Catholicism," so as not to offend Protestants, Jews, and other religions. Only by changing, "revising," or "updating" the traditional Faith could the New Religion be introduced. All of this is happening under the guise of "renewal."

The subsidiary charge, that all changes in the Church are geared to subverting Catholicism in favor of some syncretistic global religion, demonstrates an incredible distrust of the Church. Let’s look at the six subsidiary new items and how they would fit in to a program of complete syncretism:

“New Rosary” – Any Rosary would be objectionable to Protestants, Jews or members of other religions. Drawing attention to the Rosary, as the Holy Father has done in the Year of the Rosary, could alienate some who don’t understand the role of the Queen of Heaven. Besides, it’s quite clear that the Rosary has undergone many changes through history – it was not engraved on stone tablets by the very hand of God.

“New Catechism” – The CCC contains quite a few statements that would upset Protestants, Jews or members of other religions. For instance, how about the prohibition on reception of the Eucharist by non-Catholics in §1400?

“New Evangelization” – Per the author, bringing people IN to the Church is meant to placate other religions and lead to syncretism. I had thought that a poor grasp of history was the biggest problem with NOW, but I’m becoming convinced that their logic is worse yet.

“New Liturgical Calendar” – The new calendar contains the feast of Corpus Christi, a holy day of obligation commemorating the Immaculate Conception and a host of other instances of “particular Catholicism”. Were it an effort to advance syncretism, wouldn’t these be among the first things out the door?

“New Code of Canon Law” – Any complaints about the new code should be made on a substantive, rather than a procedural basis. I’ve seen none, but am open to suggestion.

“New Order of the Mass” – The Mass still includes the Eucharist, which makes it quite “particularly Catholic” and the pre-eminent means by which mortals may come into contact with God. Any quibbles we may have with the incidental attributes of the Mass are dwarfed by what Christ does at every Mass. If anyone by his scorn for disagreeable practices in the Mass somehow comes to denigrate Him whose presence the Mass celebrates, does that man not heap scorn on the Suffering Servant?.

Q: What is the effect on the faithful of so many innovations?
A: The faithful no longer have a sense of balance, nor are they clear on what the Church teaches anymore. So many upheavals have given the impression that nothing is sacred or immutable, that all things are subject to the changing whims of the Modern World. Many people [sic] now believe that the Church is just human and that teachings and rules can change if just enough pressure is put on the Church.

I agree that there’s been some bad catechesis. Here’s a bold proposal: why not counter it with sound catechesis. You know what would come in handy for that? How about a one-volume work that succinctly summarizes the teachings of the Church drawing liberally on Scripture, the Church Fathers, papal and conciliar documents. (Hey, wait a minute! That sounds familiar . . .)

Q: What is the effect on the Church of so many innovations?
A: The Church no longer has a revered and respected voice in the world, and thus She is no longer capable of fulfilling Her Divine Commission to "teach all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Each innovation and novelty imposed upon the Church is a new kind of virus, which weakens the Church's immune system and brings Her closer to death. The combined effect of so many viruses in the Body of Christ is comparable to the AIDS virus, which weakens the immune system and allows even the smallest of diseases to kill the body.

And you think the Church had a “revered and respected voice in the world” during the time of St. John Vianney? Or of St. Francis? How about in the time of the apostles?
I’d be hard pressed to say that the Church was widely respected by the world at many times in history. After all, Her message is antithetical to that of the world. We should rather be surprised if the world regard the Church well.
Does NOW mean to imply that the body of Christ is at or near death? So much for the gates of hell not prevailing against Her then, eh?

Q: Why are these viruses so dangerous?
A: The novelties being imposed on the Church of the New Order are dangerous precisely because they are so well hidden and imperceptible to the faithful. However, when left untreated for so many years, even the smallest virus will eventually manifest itself in a visible outbreak. After 40 years, the viruses introduced into the Church at the Second Vatican Council are breaking out on the "skin" of the Church at an alarming rate. These exterior rashes and lesions, which, unlike the viruses, are visible and obvious to all, are what this web site chronicles in the "Archive" section.

The first sentence of the answer is simply amazing to me. Is the Novus Ordo Mass imperceptibly different from the Tridentine? If so, what’s the problem? If the difference is perceptible, by NOW’s logic, then it ISN’T DANGEROUS. A advocate that preaches the importance of the Church maintaining perfect consistency in its practices does little to advance his own credibility with such stunning inconsistency.

Moreover, nothing that’s “imperceptible” could rob the Church of a “revered and respected voice in the world” because it just wouldn’t register with anyone. The “new creed”, were there one, would certainly be noticeable since, if the difference were so subtle as to escape human perception, it would be meaningless.

There’s plainly no new creed. The new code is a red herring. The new cult is an issue worthy of concern and attention. The NOW, though, is hardly the group to trust given its poor understanding of history, weak grasp of logic, limited vocabulary and hostility toward the successors to St. Peter and the other apostles. The saddest part of this is that, given their zeal and industriousness, with a bit of direction they could make formidable saints themselves.

:: Gregg the Obscure 10:11 AM [+] | ::

:: Monday, May 26, 2003 ::
Is Hell Empty?

Mr RT: Apolonio, I am having a hard time understanding your position on this. Can you explain it and please also give proof from the Church. I just can't believe you accept Von Balthasar's theory.

Apolonio's Response:
I don't know if I accept von Balthasar's theory or not. I have not read his work directly. There are many people who claim what he said, but it may be false. But here is my personal opinion on this:

The Catechism states:

274 "Nothing is more apt to confirm our faith and hope than holding it fixed in our minds that nothing is impossible with God."

Nothing is impossible with God. God can save all if He wants. But because He is a Good God, He gave us free-will to either reject Him or not. Those who reject Him will go to hell. As the Council of Florence says:

"It firmly believes, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart 'into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels' [Mt 25:46], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock..." (DS 714).

The Church does teach the reality of hell and that those who reject God will go to hell. But note the words of the Council, "unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock." Let us ***pray*** that they ***will*** be added to the flock. We can hope that they will. But that's all we can do, hope. Our hope does not negate the free will of those who would rather be in hell. But we can hope they will convert before they die. We can hope that God give them the grace to come to Him at is deathbed.

My hope is also based on the Mass. As Garrigou-Lagrange says:

"It is impossible that the precious blood should not in some measure overflow the chalice at Mass and some day--at least at the moment of death-- purify those straying souls who do not resist divine attentions or the actual prevenient graces that inspire their conversion." (Our Savior and His Love for Us, 268)

So let us pray that the precious blood will touch **all** of the sinners before the moment they die.

My hope is also based on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Garrigou-Lagrange says:

"Let us not forget that at the outset of the twentieth century Leo XIII consecrated the entire human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The effects of this grace should continue to increase with each passing year." (ibid, 384)

And the Catechism also says:

1058 The Church prays that no one should be lost: "Lord, let me never be parted from you." If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God "desires all men to be saved" (1 Tim 2:4), and that for him "all things are possible" (Mt 19:26).

God truly desires all men to be saved. We should be in union with Him especially with His desire that all men be saved. Our hope can be based on this desire. Should we not hope that all men be saved? Shall we hope that only some are saved? Of course not. We should hope that all men be saved. Charity is willing the good for others. Fulton Sheen says that the hateful are those who look for the worse from others. I agree. We should always look for the best from others. So we should pray for them and hope the best for them.

Do I believe that hell is empty? The only thing I can say is that I hope it is. There is a difference between belief and hope. As my friend says:

"Believing it is not empty while hoping that it is empty, isn't really a contradiction, but rather expresses your hope that somehow all will be saved, this is no more a contradiction than it is for God to will the salvation of all, but to permit some to be lost. "

All I can say is that we should hope for the conversion of sinners.

As the Catechism says:

982 There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. "There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest. Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin.

Let us unite with Our Blessed Lord who said, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." Let us also make sacrifices for the sinners of the world. I truly hope that all are saved and I hope that my hope is not false.


:: Ap 4:31 PM [+] | ::

:: Sunday, May 25, 2003 ::
A Little More from Mr. RT

To read the previous installment of this thread see this link.

Mr. RT: I would advice you to please not consider Mario Derksen a Traditionalist. There are true Traditionalists who simply tries to question the inconsistency of Vatican 2 with Tradition. I have read Mario's works and some I agree with and some are totally out there. Most Traditionalists would not even go as far as him. For example, his website Novus Ordo Watch is totally uncalled for.

Apolonio's Response:
I already know that :-). If he is not anti-Catholic, I do not know what he is. He hates Pope John Paul II. In fact, the Pope is not even a Catholic according to him. He said that he is a better Catholic than the Pope. Imagine....a person who goes to confession constantly, holy hour, devoted to the Rosary, etc is not a Catholic! If Pope John Paul II is not a Catholic, then it just shows that those devotions are meaningless. It shows that if what he does does not make him a better Catholic, then I believe that those devotions are in itself meaningless. For a person who constantly prays to God and practices those devotions, I just cannot conceive a person who would not progress in his spiritual, interior life.

Mr. RT: He also criticizes our Holy Father because of the many beatifications and canonizations he did.

Apolonio's Response:
Well, he is not the only one who does. There are a couple of Rad-Trads who have. But I don't know why they do. Pope John Paul II honors men who devoted their whole lives to Christ instead of honoring the false heroes of our day.

Mr. RT: I have one more question. If the Pope teaches Magisterially that murder is not a sin, should I give assent?

Apolonio's Response:
That's like saying, if Jesus says we should rape our neighbor, should we obey? It is an absurd question. The fact is that the Pope CANNOT make that kind of statement because it would mean hell has prevailed. So I will not accept your question as a valid question. The theory of "judging if the Pope is right on with Tradition" is an absurd position. The Pope should judge us, not the other way around. Imagine we are living in the 16th century. What will happen to me if I called Trent heretical for saying that Mary is free from original sin because it contradicted the Tradition of "Christ alone is without sin?" What if I said, "NOVELTY!?" I know how you are going to answer. You will say "Well, Trent and/or Tradition had a specific meaning when it says 'Christ alone is without sin."' I agree. But why can't we apply that to Vatican 2 and pre-Vatican 2? Shouting novelty at Trent because it taught something "new" like Mary is free from original sin is like shouting novelty at Vatican 2 because it taught "new" doctrines such as Ecumenism, Religious Liberty, "Humanism", etc. You should interpret the old in light of the new and interpret the new in light of the old. The problem with the Rad-Trad position is that it is purely arbitrary.

I hope that helps. Blessed Lord, I love you very much. Save a soul, forgetting not my own.


:: Ap 6:07 PM [+] | ::

:: Saturday, May 24, 2003 ::
Answering Questions from a Radical Traditionalist

A Radical Traditionalist emailed me asking me many questions about the faith. His words will be in Mr.RT and mine will be under "Response".

Mr.RT: Hello Apolonio. First, I have nothing against you. I believe you are a fine Apologist and Theologian. You are a great defender of the Church and I love your articles especially your debate against Julie Staples and your spirituality articles. However, I can't take it. I believe the Church has fallen away. This is why I am about to take the Traditionalist view. Here are some questions which I hope you can answer.

Apolonio's Response:
First, I am far from a theologian. I am a person who loves my faith and have a desire to know and love the truth. Second, I don't think you should believe the Church has fallen away. To say this is to go against Scripture which says, "hell shall not prevail against." Yes, there are many problems with the Church since it is filled with liberalism. Hell is in and outside the Church trying to prevail. However, hell will not prevail. To say the Church has fallen is to be non-Traditional.

Mr. RT: How would you respond to the saints when they said that Where Peter is, there is the Church, but only as long as they do not teach error?

Apolonio's Response:
First, there is no one who sat on the Chair that taught error. What I mean by "taught" is that there is no Pope who magisterially taught heresy. Secod, yes, some have said that we should resist when the Pope errs. But how do you know when the Pope would err? When in contradicts past Magisteriums? But how do you know it contradicts it? Did Trent contradict Tradition of "Christ alone is without sin" when she taught that Mary is not included in original sin? Of course not. You must interpret the statements of the Pope in light of Tradition and you must interpret Tradition in light of the current Magisterium. The Apostolic See will always be the foundation and unity of orthodoxy. As Pius IX said,quoting Augustine, Irenaeus, and Jerome

"The leadership of the Apostolic See has always been active, and therefore because of its preeminent authority, the whole Church must agree with it. Whoever does not gather with this Church scatters." (Qui Pluribus, 11)

Mr. RT: My conscience says that some of the things Pope John Paul II have said are heretical, but my conscience says that I have to obey. What should I do?

Apolonio's Response:
Look at history. Tell me, out of the number of people who opposed the Pope, what are the probabilities that the people were right? If you want to be Traditional, look at Tradition. It is more probable that the Popes were right than the people. A person can criticize an action of the Pope. I don't object to that. But one must try to see the rationale for him doing it, why he is doing it, seeing it through his eyes. Always remember that the Pope is your Holy Father. You would not want to attack him like a dog. When it comes to teaching or discipline, you must submit as Vatican 2 teaches. Pope Pius XII also said,

"Nor must it be thought that the things contained in Encyclical Letters do not of themselves require assent on the plea that in them the Pontiffs do not exercise the supreme power of their Magisterium. For these things are taught with the ordinary Magisterium, about which it is also true to say, 'He who hears you, hears me.'" (Humani Generis)

To dissent from the Pope is proximate to heresy. It is also forbidden to judge the Pope. You do not have that authority. Always look in the eyes of charity, that is, looking at the best of the other. And once again, the Chair will never teach, note again, the word teach which has a specific meaning, heresy. The Chair is the pillar and foundation of truth. Some Fathers believe it will never err until end times, but how do you know when the end times is? You might then ask, "which Pope should I submit to?" My answer is BOTH. As St. Theodore the Studite said:

" You are, indeed the untroubled and pure fount of orthodoxy from the beginning, you the calm harbor of the whole Church, far removed from the waves of heresy, you the God-chosen city of refuge." (Letter of St. Theodor & Four Abbots to Pope Paschal).

and Leo XIII

"The words - and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it proclaim and establish the authority of which we speak. "What is the it?" (writes Origen). "Is it the rock upon which Christ builds the Church or the Church? The expression indeed is ambiguous, as if the rock and the Church were one and the same. I indeed think that this is so, and that neither against the rock upon which Christ builds His Church nor against the Church shall the gates of Hell prevail" (Origenes, Comment. in Matt., tom. xii., n. ii). The meaning of this divine utterance is, that, notwithstanding the wiles and intrigues which they bring to bear against the Church, it can never be that the church committed to the care of Peter shall succumb or in any wise fail....And since all Christians must be closely united in the communion of one immutable faith, Christ the Lord, in virtue of His prayers, obtained for Peter that in the fulfilment of his office he should never fall away from the faith. "But I have asked for thee that thy faith fail not" (Luke xxii., 32), and He furthermore commanded him to impart light and strength to his brethren as often as the need should arise: "Confirm thy brethren" (Ibid.). He willed then that he whom He had designated as the foundation of the Church should be the defence of its faith...It was necessary that a government of this kind, since it belongs to the constitution and formation of the Church, as its principal element that is as the principle of unity and the foundation of lasting stability - should in no wise come to an end with St. Peter, but should pass to his successors from one to another. "There remains, therefore, the ordinance of truth, and St. Peter, persevering in the strength of the rock which he had received, hath not abandoned the government of the Church which had been confided to him" (S. Leo M. sermo iii., cap. 3)." (On the Unity of the Church, Pope Leo XIII)

and Pius IX

"This consideration too clarifies the great error of those others as well who boldly venture to explain and interpret the words of God by their own judgment, misusing their reason and holding the opinion that these words are like a human work. God Himself has set up a living authority to establish and teach the true and legitimate meaning of His heavenly revelation. This authority judges infallibly all disputes which concern matters of faith and morals, lest the faithful be swirled around by every wind of doctrine which springs from the evilness of men in encompassing error. And this living infallible authority is active only in that Church which was built by Christ the Lord upon Peter, the head of the entire Church, leader and shepherd, whose faith He promised would never fail. This Church has had an unbroken line of succession from Peter himself; these legitimate pontiffs are the heirs and defenders of the same teaching, rank, office and power. And the Church is where Peter is,[5] and Peter speaks in the Roman Pontiff,[6] living at all times in his successors and making judgment,[7] providing the truth of the faith to those who seek it.[8] The divine words therefore mean what this Roman See of the most blessed Peter holds and has held. 11. For this mother and teacher[9] of all the churches has always preserved entire and unharmed the faith entrusted to it by Christ the Lord. "(Qui Pluribus)

And never forget that love without obedience is false love.

Mr. RT: And can you comment on "hell being empty"? Isn't that close to universalism?

Apolonio's Response:
The Church has not decided on the issue whether one can have hope for hell being emtpy. You cannot be certain that hell is empty. Here are some points you can consider.

1) We have two possible ends, heaven or hell. Hell *is* a possibility. People can go to hell. God can be loving and still put people to hell. So a person can either be in heaven or hell. We can *hope* the person will go to heaven. We can pray for his soul just like St. Therese did. Since every person has a possibility of going to hell, every person has also the possibility of going to heaven. We can hope that that person go to heaven.THEN THAT'S IT. We must stop from there and leave it at that.

2) We have to believe that evil people will go to hell. This is what someone might argue for "universal hope".

Lateran Council IV: "....to come at the end of time, to judge the living and the dead, and to render to each according to his works, to the wicked as well as to the elect, all of whom will rise with their bodies which they now bear, that they may receive according to their works, whether these works have been good or evil, the latter everlasting punishment with the devil, and the former everlasting glory with Christ"

comment: The Council says that God will judge people and will judge them according to their works. If they are evil, then they will go to hell. But we can pray and hope that the person will convert before he is judged. We can pray the Divine Mercy chaplet for him. As the Council of Florence said:

It firmly believes, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart 'into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels' [Mt 25:46], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock..."

We can PRAY AND HOPE that the person will be added to the flock. But again, we must remember that those who are under mortal sin does not repent, he will go to hell.

3) God desires that all men be saved. If God can will and desire that all men can be saved, why can't we? Some object to the "hope for all" is false hope. But this can mean that God's desire and hope is false. The fact is that it is not false hope. One can have hope for all men to be saved with the knowledge that it is a possibility that they will go to hell. This is not universalism because you are not saying that people will go to heaven, but you only have hope for it.

Mr. RT What is your position on this?

Apolonio's Response:
First, I am not really a fan of von Balthasar. I do like some of his works, such as beauty, but I find him dry sometimes. I don't object to his fans though. I do have some disagreements with von Balthasar, but he does have a "theological right" to state his opinion since the Magisterium never said we cannot have hope for all men to be saved.

So here is my view. I believe that God desires all men to be saved. However, He did give men free will, a will to either reject or accept God. If he rejects God, he will go to hell. However, I do pray that God have mercy on all souls and that God can give them the grace to convert. Will the evil people go to hell? Yes, definately. But I pray that every evil person will come to Christ. In actuality, will he go to hell? That is for God to decide and I will trust God on His judgment.

I hope that helps. My Lord Jesus, I love you very much. Save a soul, forgetting not my own.

God love you,


:: Ap 6:13 PM [+] | ::

:: Friday, May 23, 2003 ::
A Letter From a Devil on Radical Traditionalism (Screwtape Letter type)

Dear SneakyLick,

I see that you have failed to keep your patient from converting to Catholicism. He grew up in a religious Protestant family, which we could not do anything about, and became a pastor and Biblical scholar for 20 years. He knew the Bible well and you could not stop him from reading it. So you used his talent to fight against the Enemy's Church. You made him think that the Enemy's Church is the whore of Babylon and the Pope is the anti-Christ. However, you failed.

You made him read Church history. You didn't stop him from reading the Church Fathers. It made him see how the whole Christian history is like an ugly music that is still being played. We can never stop this music from being played, but we can make people stop listening to it. And that is what you have to do with your client. He needs to stop listening to the music. Here are some advices.

First, your client has a hard head, which is not good for us. He knows what is truth and what is not. He is intolerant, which is bad for us. But it can also be good for us. You see, he hates liberalism. However, you can make him hate liberals as well. You can make him go far to the right instead of the middle, which is where truth and virtue is. Make him hate everything a liberal says.

So when the Pope makes a statement that seems liberal because it has been said by a liberal, like being a humanitarian, he will lose faith in the Papacy, which has been called the source and foundation of orthodoxy. But it will be hard to make him lose faith in the office of the Papacy. So what you have to do is to use his old arguments from the past. You see, many people who convert to Catholicism from Protestantism still have a fundamentalist mentality. You have to use his weaknesses to make his strength weak.

When he was a Protestant, he used to say the "rock" of Matthew 16 was merely the faith of Peter and not the man himself. Now that he is Catholic, you have to make him respect merely the office and not the man who sits in it. Make him think that "Holy Father" has no meaning! Don't make him believe that the Pope is his spiritual father, his Holy Father. If you let him, he will treat the Pope with great respect. However, if you stop him from thinking that, he will show the Pope no respect. He will make judgments of his actions and even his teachings! He will even call him a heretic! This is what you want to do! You want him to become the Pope!

The great part is he will even justify it by quoting Church Fathers and the canon law. Don't ever let him find the secret of true Traditionalism. Tradition, which has been called the democracy of the dead, has shown that people who have called the Pope a heretic were heretics themselves! If he ever sees that the probability of people being right over the Pope's teaching is almost non-existent, he will become humble. Yuck!

Here is another advice. Remember when you had him make arguments from the Bible that the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon? You will have to do something similar. You have to make him read past Popes and saints who prophesied about an apostasy. How would he know the Church is in apostasy? This is what you do. Make him read the "Masonic plots" against the Catholic Church and the condemnations of Masonry. Then, make him read Vatican 2 and especially the old dude on the block, John Paul II. That Council and that idiot knew our strategy.

Our strategy was to make man the center of everything. We made men focus on themselves instead of God. So to counter that, the Council and "JP" wrote documents on the true nature of man. "JP" for example, wrote "Redeemer of Man" which focused on what redemption did for man and his dignity. This is not good since it actually taught the truth about man. It taught how man cannot be happy unless he abandons himself to God. But we can twist this thing around. He has read the condemnations of past Popes which taught against making man the center of everything and now he reads the encyclical which focuses on man! He will think there is something "sneaky" going on. He will think that the Church shifted primacy, though she just shifted emphasis. Just as the Church shifted emphasis over the years to fight against errors, she shifted emphasis concerning the modern error.

For example, to fight against fideism and irrationalism, the Church shifted the emphasis on rationalism in Vatican Council 1. And now that the modern error is on what man is, the Church has shifted its emphasis on what man truly is. But don't make him think this. Make him think that the Church has forgotten old truths. So when the Pope says "Church" he will criticize it because it didn't say "Catholic Church." Though it should be common sense that this is implied, he will criticize it. He will try to show how the "modern church" is in apostasy since it contradicts past magisteriums. Catholic common sense knows that the Magisterium cannot contradict itself just as Scripture cannot contradict itself though there are many passages which seem to do that. But he will not realize this. He will repeat his mistakes because of his fundamentalist mentality.

One final thing. Make him think the Catholic Church teaches "uniformity" instead of "unity by diversity." That big-mouthed Art Sippo kept on stressing this fact and don't let him read his writings. Make him think that "Catholic" means you cannot have a diverse theology. Make him think that Catholicism means everyone playing the same instrument instead of making a beautiful music with great harmony by having different instruments. Make him a strict Thomist and and intolerant of other philosophies and theology. Don't make him think Catholic truth is like a beautiful song with all the bass, tenors, altos, and sopranos. Make him sing a song with only the altos.

It is like Protestantism. Protestantism has only the bass, maybe the tenors even, but they forget the altos and sopranos. This is why they only have some truths, not the fullness of truth. And so too he will have some truths and not all.

Trust me, it works all the time.

Your uncle,

Water Strider, senior devil

:: Ap 7:21 PM [+] | ::

More on reading Protestant Spirituality

To read the previous installment of this thread see this link.

As I have shown, even other Traditionalists disagree with Mario on his position regarding reading non-Catholic spirituality books. He claims it is a sin. I contacted some Traditionalists to know what they think of the issue. I asked if they agreed with Mario's position, and what the Traditionalist position is. If they disagreed with me, I wanted them to give Magisterial teaching on the issue.

1) Michael Dougherty
He believes that both Mario and I are missing each other's point. He says:

"One of his points is that there is nothing in a Protestant book that can't be gotten, in a much fuller and more profound way, from Catholic books. What the other person doesn't get from you is that you aren't saying Protestants have truths that Catholics are missing- you are just saying they have truths they derive from the true Church "

I then asked, " If a person reads a spirituality book from a Protestant to gain some truth, and his Catholic foundation is strong, would that be forbidden?"

He said,

"The problem is your verbs. we can't "gain" truths from Protestantism that aren't in Catholicism in their fullness. Protestants books of spirituality should probably only be redunant- of what we have received from the Church. Derksen is right to say express his "doubt"that there is "Any truth at all that we have to take from Protestants." If he said I doubt there is any truth at all in what Protestants say- he would clearly be wrong. If you are a Catholic you have no truth to gain from a Protestant. Anything they say that is true is merely redundant of the Catholic faith. I think it would be okay to gain inspiration from their writings- or even to feel edified by them. But I can't object to someone who simply says- you don't need books by Protestants when we have much better books by Catholics."

I agree that we don't need to read them, but is it a sin to do so? His answer was:

"I would not say it is a grave sin, but I wouldn't recommend it either. I would tell someone to consult with their priest- who can probably suggest a better Catholic book." (on Instant Message, 5/22/03)

2) Jason Andrew Cebalo

He said,

"My position is quite simple, there is nothing wrong with intelligent catholics reading books by protestants and an awful lot of us have gained greatly from reading Lewis, or reading the pre-coversion Newman.

As to traditionalists generally, most of the ones I know read Lewis and plenty of other protestant writers. Fr. John Parsons who founded the parish I
belong to told me he was deeply indebted to Lewis for keeping him a christian in high-school and to Newman's Essay on Development of Christian Doctorine for making him catholic in first year university. He also strongly recomended to me that I read Lewis and the pre-conversion Newman. He also once preached a sermon in which he recomended to the parish that we should all read the Narnia Chronicles and the Screwtape letters. In the same sermon he recomended a number of books by pagan writers, including Aristotle and Marcus Aurelius.

I'd never heard anyone suggest there was anything wrong with this until Phil and Mario brought it up. I expected as much from Bartlet, but really was shocked to hear Mario agree with him." (5/22/03)

3) Adam Kolasinski

"I agree with your position, though all I can say is that it is my position. I do not think there is such a thing as a "Traditionalist position" on the topic." (5/23/03)

4) Robert Sungenis
Is it a grave sin to read Protestant spirituality books? His answer: no (on Instant Message 5/23/03)

Closing Statement
I don't agree with some of the things the three people above believe. But even they agree that reading Protestant books isn't a grave sin unlike what Mario claims. Why does Mario claim this? I really don't know. We just need to pray for him.

Blessed Lord, I love you very much. Have mercy on a soul, forgetting not my own.


:: Ap 1:57 PM [+] | ::

:: Thursday, May 22, 2003 ::
Reading non-Catholic books is a sin!

That is what Mario Derksen claimed. Again, he acts as if he is the head of the holy office when in fact, he does not even have common sense. First, he says that reading Protestant spirituality is a sin. He said the following words:

"To even consider reading a non-Catholic for spiritual growth is disgusting. "


"I doubt that there is ANY truth AT ALL that we have to take from Protestants. I am pretty darn sure that our own intellectual and spiritual Tradition has given us everything true and good and holy and that not an iota is needed from a heretic. Besides, it is actually a grave occasion of sin to read Protestant spirituality books because one can very easily be misled. In order to get to the few iotas of truth in those books, you need to first go through a whole heap of garbage."

This is the kind of pseudo-intellectualism that sometimes goes on in the "Rad-Trad" camp. I shall give some common-sensical answers to this. But be very careful. You must actually have common sense to understand what I say. To not have Catholic common sense is to see my statements from the Devil's eyes.

Can we gain some truths from non-Catholics? The answer is yes. A non-Catholic who encourages self-abandonment to Divine Providence would be orthodox on that point. This does not mean however, we should accept everything he says. I myself love Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but he is wrong on his analysis of the Reformation. He was wrong when he criticized Rome. This does not mean however, that some of the things he said were not true. His teaching on self-abandonment is orthodox. His teaching that "A Christian is one who participates in the sufferings of Christ" is also orthodox. We can learn many things from him, though we still have to sift since he is not in full communion with us.

Or take the example of John Henry Newman. Shall we not read "Oxford University Sermons" or "Essay on Development of Christian Doctrine" simply because he was an Anglican heretic when he wrote it? If the Rad-Trad puts his money where his mouth is, then he would encourage all Catholics not to read Newman when he was a heretic because we cannot gain truths from him. It means that we cannot gain any spiritual insights from Newman because he was a heretic then. Again, this is what kind of pseudo-intellectualism that goes on in the Radical Traditionalist camp.

We can also take the example of C.S. Lewis. Many Catholics like C.S. Lewis. Does this mean that we cannot gain truths from him because he too was a heretic? Shall we ignore his writings? How about Aristotle? Shall we ignore his writings on virtue because he was a non-Catholic? The Rad-Trad above, who is a Thomist, contradicts himself. Shall we not read Mortimer Adler because he was not a Catholic (he converted to the faith in his late years)?

And from the words of Shawn McElhinney:

"Not to mention GK Chesterton's works "Heretics" and "Orthodoxy." Not to mention Aristotle's "Metaphysics", Vergil's "Aeneid", Plato's "Allegories", and numerous other examples which could be mentioned. If the Church took his stance she would never have developed her Christological doctrines, she never would have developed her Eucharistic doctrines, etc. Her reliance on the categories of pagan Roman law would have been her undoing over a thousand years ago.

The theology of the soul as espoused by so many of the Fathers including Aquinas would be illegitimate because the sources primarily utilized in this discussion were philosophical writings. Even Tertullian who was not fond of utilizing the philosophers except when absolutely necessary in his Treatise on the Soul relies exclusively on the philosophers. Aquinas who was influenced by the genius of Tertullian primarily through Augustine (whose debt to Tertullian was much greater than commonly recognized) in discussing the soul does so from philosophical abstractions borrowed from non-Catholics.

Do we need to point out that the teaching of transubstantiation was developed with a heavy reliance on Aristotelian metaphysical conceptions??? Trads are so zealous to parrot transubstantiation with every passing word and yet the concept of "matter" and "form" is so plainly based on Aristotle that it is unavoidable. So they condemn your reading of non-Catholics as spiritual sources but they adhere blindly to doctrines developed with the same kind of non-Catholic influence they condemn in your case. (Trinity, transubstantiation, theology of the soul, etc.) People like Mario put the "crit" in "hypocrite" without a shred of doubt." (5/18/03)

I am very anti-Protestantism, but to be anti-Protestantism is to simply be anti-Protestantism, which is to be anti-what-is-not-Catholic. To be anti-Protestantism does not mean however, that we cannot gain some theological, philosophical, spiritual, etc insights from Protestants. To be anti-Protestantism is not to ignore Catholic truths which Protestants have. The Church has always "Catholicized" any non-Catholicism that is not inherently evil, such as the Christmas tree or Aristotle's philosophy. I do not see why she cannot do so now.

I then asked Mario to give me a magisterial teaching which proves his point. He gave me quotes from theologians such as Fr. Jone and Prummer. It says:

<<clear that they contain nothing contrary to Catholic faith." (p. 272)>>>

Before I go on, let me give you the context. Mario claimed that reading non-Catholic SPIRITUALITY books is sinful. He himself read Protestant books to refute such as McCarthy. He claims that if we have the intent of refuting books, that is okay. If we have the intent however, to look to non-Catholics for truths, we are in grave sin. Here is the irony....the quote says that reading books of non-Catholics which contradicts the faith is sinful, at least, that is the interpretation of Mario. However, it does not say anything about the intent. It does not say, "If you read it with the intent of refuting them, then it is okay." It says reading it in itself is forbidden. Mario just changes the standards everytime he is nailed down. He then had to contradict his previous statements and agreed that he did sin when he read McCarthy. Funny isn't it? :-)

The problem with this is that even the people in Mario's little group disagrees with him. Jason Andrew from the SSPX list says:

"You must know that this is simply not the case, most of us are big fans of Lewis."


I have to admit, I'm shocked that Mario said that. I still insist, however, that this is not what most traditionalists think.

WOW! Again, let us not forget that he has shown NO TEACHING FROM THE MAGISTERIUM TO SUPPORT HIS THEORY.

The problem with Mario is that he has too much pride. He has so much pride that he would say that he is a better Catholic than Pope John Paul II since Pope John Paul II isn't even a Catholic. Of course, I believe most Rad-Trads would disagree with this. He also objected to the Novus Ordo offertory. He was of course, refuted by his fellow Rad-Trads. He then objected to Ratzinger's definition of the Eucharist, "He gives so that we can give." Of course, this just shows he does not have any Catholic common sense. I gave him quotes of Garrigou-Lagrange to support this kind of definition. In fact, if anyone knows their faith, this "definition" is Augustinian. It just shows that Mario is very ignorant of the faith. Mario also blamed the Supreme Pontiff for letting Tony Blair have communion. However, he found out that this may not be true. I believe he still does not know if it is true. Why would Mario put a criticism on his site www.novusordowatch.com if he did not check if the claim was true in the first place? The fact is, anything he hears which gives him the opportunity to attack the Church, he will do it. This is anti-Catholicism at best.

So what shall we do? We should pray for this poor anti-Catholic. Let us pray to St. Escriva for a change of heart. Let us pray to St. Francis for humility. Let us pray to St. Thomas Aquinas for common sense. Let us pray to St. Joseph to show him the vitue of silence .Let us pray to Our Blessed Mother to show him the virtue of obedience. If in 50 years, he is still an anti-Catholic, let us then pray to St. John Paul the Great, who would probably be canonized at that time.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us all.

Blessed Lord, I love you very much. Save a soul, forgetting not my own.



:: Ap 12:46 PM [+] | ::

:: Tuesday, May 20, 2003 ::
The Catechism and Radical Traditionalists (Rad-Trads)

I was in an email list called "SSPX". It is a list headed by Mario Derksen of Cathinsight, Novusordowatch, and DailyCatholic. There was a usual debate between the Catholics and the Rad-Trads. I believe the topic we were discussing was "No Salvation Outside the Church". I used the New Catechism to prove my point, that people who through no fault of their own can be saved. Mario then said the following words:

"Please, let us not use the New Catechism to prove anything."

This is not new in the Rad-Trad crowd. They do not use the Catechism as a guide for doctrine. Some even say it contains heresy. The question is, why can't we use it? The Rad-Trad argument is that it contradicts pre-Vatican 2 doctrines. But is this reasonable? Absolutely not. This leads to private interpretation. Fidei Depositum said the following words:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved 25 June last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. May it serve the renewal to which the Holy Spirit ceaselessly calls the Church of God, the Body of Christ, on her pilgrimage to the undiminished light of the Kingdom! The approval and publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church represent a service which the Successor of Peter wishes to offer to the Holy Catholic Church, to all the particular Churches in peace and communion with the Apostolic See: the service, that is, of supporting and confirming the faith of all the Lord Jesus' disciples (cf. Lk 22:32 as well as of strengthening the bonds of unity in the same apostolic faith. Therefore, I ask all the Church's Pastors and the Christian faithful to receive this catechism in a spirit of communion and to use it assiduously in fulfilling their mission of proclaiming the faith and calling people to the Gospel life. "

What can we say about this?
1) He is speaking as Supreme Pontiff -- "in virtue of my Apostolic Authority"
2) It is a declaration from the Supreme Pontiff (see #1)--- "I declare it to be a sure norm of teaching the faith"
3) He is speaking to all Christians: "To all particular churches..."
4) That the Catechism is an offer from the Pope to support and confirm doctrines. -- "the service, that is, of supporting and confirming the faith " He then quotes Luke 22:32, the same passage in which it said, "I pray that your faith shall not fail."

Mario then responded with words like,

"The New Catechism is no good because it is largely a restatement of Vatican II. Most footnotes, I think, are to Vatican II."

So what? This is Mario's own opinion and the Supreme Pontiff says otherwise. Pope John Paul II isn't speaking as a private theologian, merely giving his opinions, but as the Supreme Pontiff. He explicitly said that it is by virtue of his Apostolic Authority that the Catechism is a sure norm teaching of the faith. Since the Pope has spoken, we must submit. However, to say that "The Catechism is not a sure norm of faith" is also following tradition. It is a tradition of the heretics who went against the Popes because of their lack of humility to submit.

Some would object that this is not an infallible statement. So what? I have shown at least four reasons why it should be given assent. Mario then responded with words like:

"I am not saying JPII can't publish a catechism! "

But what is the Catechism? Pope John Paul II defines what a Catechism is when he said that it "is a statement of the Church's faith and Catholic doctrine." So Pope John Paul II, by virtue of his Apostolic authority, published a statement of the Church's faith and Catholic doctrine, which is a sure norm of the faith. So it is more than just publishing a catechism, but also confirming what the Catechism teaches since he says it is a statement of the faith and a sure norm for teaching.

A Rad-Trad then can respond by saying, "Well, it still contradicts past teachings. We must give assent to the past first before we give assent to the present." But what Catholic thought like this? Who said that a person should judge what the Pope says by virtue of his Apostolic authority to see if it is orthodox or not? The Catholic tradition says that the Pope JUDGES US, not the other way around. We must give assent to BOTH past magisteriums and the present. We must interpret the teaching in light of the old, and the old in light of the new just as we do in Scripture. No one for example, could have called Trent heretical for teaching that Mary was free from sin because it contradicted the Tradition of "Christ alone is without sin." We must interpret it in light of Tradition and interpret Tradition with the teaching of the Church. When a person does this, he will see that "Christ alone is without sin" is true but there is a specific meaning of it, namely, that they were speaking of His nature. But he cannot see this if he does not accept what is being taught by the Church. Just as Scripture cannot contradict itself, so too the Church cannot contradict itself.

Another problem with "it contradicts past teachings" is that it is arbitrary. The Rad-Trad will become a cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing what he wants to believe. Why then can't I object to Pius XII's declaration of the Assumption? The Rad-Trad might say, "because he spoke ex-cathedra." But so what? According to Rad-Trads, if a person teaches contrary to past teaching, then the Pope is not speaking as Pope. So I can very well argue that since the Assumption is contrary to Tradition (it isn't contrary to Tradition, though I can argue it is according to the Rad-Trad criteria), the ex-cathedra statement is null. A Rad-Trad can then say, "It is clear that it is ex-cathedra and if you say otherwise, then you are going against Vatican 1." After that, then I can very well say that it is clear that Pope John Paul II spoke by virtue of his Apostolic Authority to declare the Catechism as a sure norm for teaching the faith.

It is clear that when the Pope speaks from his throne, we must submit to it. To say otherwise is to dissent. Either a person is with Pope John Paul II or he doesn't. To dissent is to be not with him. But to be not with him is to be not with the Church since Peter is where the Church is. Peter has spoken through John Paul II. Let us receive it humbly. So can a Catholic believe that the Catechism is a statement of the faith? Rome says yes. Rome has spoken, case is closed.

:: Ap 3:49 PM [+] | ::

:: Tuesday, May 13, 2003 ::
I was introduced to something new today from Mr. Shea-- the Novus Ordo Watch. In the words of my grandmother, Uff da!

I'm somewhat of a rigorist when it comes to liturgy, but these guys could make our friends at CAI look like the Marty Haugen fan club.

They rail against the Holy Father for attending an acrobatics show that included a scantily clad woman. They claim this happened in 1981. They're still steamed about it. They call the Holy Father a "Sillonist". They gripe about the number of beatifications and canonizations that have taken place during the current pontificate. et cetera They generally appear to be of the opinion that the vast majority of the Church (if not all of it) has completely missed the point and is going to hell in a bucket.

The acrobatics show was twenty-two years ago. No similar events have taken place since (or at least there's no evidence of such, and they deride the Pontiff for excessive publicity -- so it's a safe bet that, were there similar things subsequently, they wouldn't be secret). Alexander VI did more than that before breakfast most days, probably even including Fridays during Lent. He was hardly alone in bringing serious disgrace to the Throne of Peter. Does this one event (of which we have a photograph) compare to those in the mists of history? Does the possibility that this was the result of some sort of mistake by someone in the Vatican's scheduling offices not appear to be a likely explanation for the show? It certainly seems to be the explanation that would result from a charitable view of the situation.

The Sillon, condemned in the famous letter of St. Pius X was a particular movement that could fairly be characterized as Unitarian. Now many traditionalists are opposed to the ecumenical outreaches of the past forty years, either in their entirety or in specific instances. To claim that any ecumenical outreach is an adoption of Sillonism, though, is to weaken any legitimacy of the grievance against any particular incident since it's plain that neither the Second Vatican Council nor any of the popes from that time until today have stated that all religions are merely alternative paths to the same place -- which is the problem with Sillon and what Unitarians still do teach. There's a difference between having a respectful discussion with the followers of other faiths and believing the other faiths to be equivalent to Catholicism. This is somewhat unfamiliar territory, so it is uncomfortable. This is hardly the first time that the Church has faced unfamiliar territory. Is it not reasonable to trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church, and will continue to do so, as He has in the past?

It's quite clear that (1) more people are alive now than have been alive during any previous year and (2) there are more dead Christians now than there have been during any previous year. Unless the Holy Spirit has abandoned the world, it's only reasonable that there would be more saints and beati named during the past twenty years than were in the past. When one looks at the incredible persecutions of the Church during the 20th century, how can one fail to recognize that there would be a great harvest of martyrs and other saints? Of course the bigger question would be "What is wrong with having a large number of persons named as saints and/or beati?" Does this group imply that the process is being abused for some nefarious purpose? If so, be brave enough to say so and have the facts to back up your assertion or kindly cease from spreading innuendoes against the Vicar of Christ.

There are quite a few things mentioned on the site that appear to be actual liturgical abuses. The chances of addressing those real abuses and improving the lot of countless Catholics are harmed when the site devoted to pointing out real abuses gets caught up in chasing after phantoms and fantasies.

It's also worth taking a look at Church History. Yes, there are crises and scandals at every turn today. In years past, in a much smaller Church, there were crises and scandals at every turn. At the time of St. Athanasius, nearly every bishop was a heretic. At the time of St. Francis, most of the clergy were corrupt. At the time of St. Cajetan, large segments of the Church fell into heresy and schism. I could go on with an entire litany, but three examples should be sufficient. The fundamental questions are whether we trust the words of Christ at His ascension "I am with you always" and the degree to which we take the Petrine office seriously.

:: Gregg the Obscure 2:39 PM [+] | ::

:: Saturday, May 10, 2003 ::
What do you mean we're not masons?!?

It is always weird when your past catches up with you in unexpected ways. As many of you know, my journey as a Catholic writer began many years ago when I set up and moderated an email discussion list for traditionalists of the schismatic variety. I still remember one incident which drew a lot of responses and condemnations all around. Basically, "Bishop X" had passed away, and it was reported on our list that the Shriners had provided an honor guard at his funeral. Of course, the Shriners being masons, this created quite the stir. A bishop of all people should know the Church's condemnation of freemasonry and set a public example.

Well, many years later, I find myself running for the international executive of the International Order of Alhambra, which is a Catholic fraternal organization which has some similarities in costume and titles to the Shriners. I was speaking to two of our Regional Directors (RDs) a couple of nights ago on a conference call, when RD Y said to RD X, "By the way, I still have the master video of the honor guard your region provided at Bishop X's funeral." This is a good reminder to always double check facts before accusing a legitimate ecclesiastical superior.

:: Pete Vere 5:53 AM [+] | ::

:: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 ::
"Commentary on CAItanic" Dept.
(Musings from the Webmaster of Rerum Novarum)

The heart should not have to be separated from the mind. The charm of Christianity as one sees it in St. Paul, St. John, and the Gospels is to unite mind and heart, thought and love. The doctors have human tenderness too. The mystics are also theologians. And piety always intervenes to mitigate what is dry in the intelligence. But this composition of heart and of spirit is not so easily made, it is not common. There are specialties. Although charity is the bond of perfection, it is rare that the Spirit, master of its gifts, associates opposite faculties - for example that he creates a theologian quivering with sensitivity, or an abstract poet, or a leader capable of compassion. [Jean Guitton: Dialogues]

I have not wanted to comment much on the adventures of the CAItanic castaways both for the sake of not spoiling my very fruitful Lent and also because of the concern that publicity is what they are thirsting for right now. However, one is at times in a position where a response is needed fo the benefit of those who are teetering between schism and retaining communion with the Church.

As another response will be made at Rerum Novarum that touches on this subject to some extent, it seems appropriate to dispense with this part of the subject now so that it is out of the way before posting the other response which was written last month and which in some parameters will be rather brutal in its assessment.{1} Without further ado, let us get to it.

One of the saddest spectacles of the past two years (apart from the many deaths in my family) was watching a man succumb fully to his own ego and make explicit a schismatic mentality that had long been suspected and indeed even predicted by not a few individuals in the Catholic apologetics community. The problem having happened is one that we need to learn from; however not without considering the "warning signs" if you will.

I personally was sounding the alarm in divers ways over two years before it happened. My original review for Not By Scripture Alone made note of the very Fundamentalist tone in Mr. Sungenis' contributions to that work and how they contrasted with the contributions of others which I thought were on the whole better sections of the work. I gave the book five stars because it was (and is) a very essential work on the topic it discusses. And Mr. Sungenis' work in that volume though not without some minor problems (particularly the tone) was good. Amazon of course with their 1,000 word limit made me delete two thirds of my planned review but the parts not put up were often recycled in discussions on the book in the two years subseqent to my January 8, 2000 review.

The review was written in the last week of my affiliation with the schismatic Society of St. Pius X. It was also written specifically to get the attention of someone I loved dearly who would as fate would have it would drift apart from me during the span of that year. I was aware in acute detail of the flaws of the "traditionalist" paradigm at that time but still suffering from the scruples imparted to me via the malformed theological foundation in my young adult period.{2} But lest I get offtrack, let us return to the subject of malformed thinking.

I was in many ways a "Tertullian" in my time with the SSPX. Many had even attempted to give me a complement in retrospect by inquiring as to if I had ever considered becoming a priest. This was because of my interest in theology, liturgical and church history and the accompanying threads. I of course found the reasoning insulting because (i) it implied that laymen could not be interested in these subjects and (ii) the thought of the priesthood frankly scared me because I was only aware of how unfit I would be for that calling. Besides, I was still under the illusion that the difficulties between me and the aforementioned lady would be resolved. Strange how so many threads tie together to make a point but I do not want to get offtrack so back to the point of exodus from the "trads."

Though I was feeling my way around at this point (January-June 2000), one thing was very clear to me then: Mr. Sungenis displayed an undercurrent of Fundamentalism to his thinking that would have drastic implications if not tended to. I had spent over a decade in such company of people and the symptoms were readily apparent. Later when attempting to organize an intervention to talk to Gerry Matatics,{3} I found myself in the company of Mr. Sungenis on a discussion list of Catholic evangelists many of whom had influenced me and whom I counted among my friends. Ultimately the intervention did not pan but the discussion threads were interesting ones.

I saw more signs that all was not well with Mr. Sungenis in observing his interactions with others including with myself. However, there was nothing that was definite or unmistakable at this point. I found myself despite my suspicions having a profound respect for Mr. Sungenis as someone who told you what he felt. I also admired his grasp of Greek - by my own admission I am concordance limited and thus to have someone fluent in the language in the "circle" if you will was viewed as a nice addition indeed.

Around January of 2001, the exchange outlined at the March 21st entry took place. The backdrop of it was Mr. Sungenis taking a very derogatory and amazingly dogmatic tone on the subject in question. I decided to see if my suspicions were correct and set the trap noted below. I knew Mr. Sungenis would take the bait because he never showed himself previously to have any understanding of how to avert ambushes. His "straight shooter" trait while admirable on one level can get one in deep kim chee on other levels.{4} The result of this outcome was to me the definitive proof that what has transpired would take place. It was at that time only a matter of "when" and not if.

I contemplated filling in the gaps from January 2001 until September 2002 but that would involve a lot of personal information. I also would not want to give the incorrect impression that I was in any way too concerned about Mr. Sungenis in this interim except very remotely as any Catholic with a thirst for souls should be when they see a brother going astray. So I will start this thread anew at the point of CAI's implosion because that will save on space and not give any false pretenses.

After the implosion of CAI, I felt it necessary to ignore them after they had brought my friend Albert Cipriani on board. I sought to bring to the latters' attention some problems in an open letter but (thus far) this has been without success. I also felt the need to make public the hypocrisy of Mr. Sungenis claiming to align himself with "Augustine, Aquinas, Trent, and Pius X" in his imprudent crusade against the Church hierarchy. This of course went without answer from him as I expected it would{5} but it was (and is) on the record as an example of how large his lacuna in knowledge on these subjects. Prior to that point, I had not said much about Mr. Sungenis at my weblog explicitly - virtually everything noted was of an implicit nature. From this point on, the main observations would be by way of parodies as that would constitute a clear picture of how relevant I viewed Mr. Sungenis after the September meltdown. I was already utilizing the occasional parody to make my point about the trads in general. For that reason, acting in like manner with Mr. Sungenis and his associates at CAItanic was only a logical extension of what I was already doing. Other than the parody of course there was no reason to give them the time of day as I saw it.

Mr. Sungenis responded to one parody by quoting it absent its proper context but I resisted the temptation to respond to it. And my rational for this at the time{6} justified the stance I took from approximately late October 2002 until February 2002. But in that interim, the antics of CAItanic were of course typically desperate in this interim.

Though my primary blog focus had shifted from theological issues to issues about the war and just war theory in this period, it was brought to my attention that CAItanic was going after John Betts. Normally this would mean nothing to me but the timing of this was interesting: it was approximately three weeks after the latter had announced that he was suspending blogging and returning to school. I found this tactic despicable and cowardly as it was akin to shooting someone in the back when they were walking away.

For this reason, I contemplated a point by point confutation but John had noted well that Mr. Sungenis' piece if one really read it more than superficially was quite absurd on its face. So I let it drop after that point. About this time, the flap with First Things cropped up and you can follow its sequence further down on this blog. Some of it was handled privately and other parts publicly. Then Dr. Scott Hahn became the latest target of the CAIraqi leader.

Again, I saw this as a very low blow but my good friend Dr. Art Sippo was better qualified to respond to Mr. Sungenis on this than I was as he is good friends with Dr. Hahn. However, it seemed to me that the core problem with Mr. Sungenis' Fundamentalism could be illustrated with the very complaints he and his associates had about Fr. Neuhaus. Hence I tied that into Dr. Sippo's defense of Dr. Hahn and added some additional material.

Well, it was not long before Mr. Sungenis wrote a supposed "refutation" of me. I was not inclined to want to challenge my sanity in responding to someone whose eye is so clearly altered{7} not because I could not respond but because I knew to do so would likely be as pointless as opening a barbershop on the steps of the guillotine. Hence, I decided to not even read the piece at all.

But at the same time, there was the concern that he may have said something of value even if a stalk of wheat in a silo full of chaff. For this reason, I asked a good friend whose judgment I trust to read the piece and let me know if there is anything of worth in it. Here is the response I got which I post here in full with the name deleted:


I read over Sungenis' reply. I don't see any reason to reply to anything unless you're making CAI your personal cause. The more I read Sungenis, the more he appears to be James White or William Webster with a Rosary. If you ask me, Mark Shea is one of the few - the very few - "Evangelical convert apologists" who has an authentically-Catholic caste of mind. Most of them tend to think that conversion is a matter of switching out one dogmatic/theological content for another, but there's more to it than that. A fully-functioning Catholic isn't someone who's discovered that the "whole counsel of God" in Scripture validates Catholicism, nor is he someone who applies sola scriptura's license to insert his own personal theology as the "plain meaning" of papal documents. Old habits die hard, and with Sungenis freed from the "false Church" of "apostate popes," they're actually thriving. The man garnered his house, but only so that seven worse devils can enter...

Where to start? Oh, it's the same old bullshit -- that the Church has taught Hell is a place where men can go is proof positive that the Church teaches Hell is full of men, that the Church has taught it is a necessary means of salvation proves that the Church teaches that salvation is denied to all non-Catholics. When you use analogy or metaphor, you're to be read literally and the errors of your literal perspective corrected harshly. When Sungenis writes literally and is caught out, he's suddenly just using metaphor and analogy and you're trying to deceive when you critique him. Your jibes are unforgivable insults which are out of place in serious dialogue, while Sungenis' insults are just accurate descriptions penned without any malice. And so forth.

I see this behavior in lawyers all the time. When it's as extreme as Sungenis', I just tell them that the only way I'll discuss a case with them is either in front of the Judge or by letter. There's not much can be done with this one except prayer and fasting.

In short, my suspicions were confirmed so there will be no planned response to Mr. Sungenis' drivel unless and until he supplies the proper context to his previous piece where he mentions me and interacts with the points of the damning indictment noted above. (The missing context to that response can be read HERE.)

To supply some additional points for reflection, it is interesting that my friend mentioned William Webster. For in a description of William Webster from late 2001, another friend Dr. Art Sippo noted the following about Mr. Webster which I thought at the time applied well to Mr. Sungenis albeit slightly differently:

Mr. Webster is a well-known anti-Catholic author who writes books misrepresenting the Catholic Church and her history in order to impress uneducated Protestants.  He specializes in taking known facts from history and then "explaining" them in novel ways that support his prejudices while ignoring the interpretations of serious historians.  He refuses to accept the conclusions of normative historians when they conflict with his own and fails to appreciate the legitimacy of interpretations other than his own.

Webster is not a serious student of Church history and has no real desire to understand the sitz im leben of the pre-Reformation Church.  He commits numerous errors and yet is very defensive about his opinions.  He is not open to correction about his mistakes.  His personal hatred of the Catholic Church blinds him to the possibility that we Catholics may have a rationale for our position even if he does not agree with it.  Consequently, he needs to be constantly engaged in tenacious ad hominem personal attacks against anyone with the temerity to challenge his views. I for one wish he would appreciate the complexity of Church History and stop trying to interpret it in "black and white" terms using anachronistic Protestant presuppositions.

The sources of his "arguments" usually come from the works of Protestant controversialists of the 19th and early 20th Centuries many of which have been found wanting by subsequent scholarship.  There is no appreciation of the wider context of Church History or of studies done apart from an anti-Catholic fortress mentality.  He has no familiarity with the more genteel and exacting ecumenical work in Church History that has been done since World War II that cuts across denominational lines.  He also has no idea what to make of modern religious studies.  The significance of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls is lost on him.  He also cannot understand the diversity of opinions among believing Christians throughout history.  Like other Low Church types, he thinks that Christianity was meant to be static and unchanging so that any development in doctrine or practice over the millennia must necessarily represent corruption...He has no appreciation for the historic Catholic Church and its body of teaching as works in process under the superintendence of the Holy Spirit.  In short, he wants to invent his own better Church in competition with the one that Jesus founded.

With very few modifications, that section could be reconstituted as an indictment of Mr. Sungenis. Interestingly enough, the following material from Reformed apologist Keith Mathison{8} was written concurrent to Dr. Sippo's statements about Mr. Webster above. Note if you will the similarities between what Keith says about Mr. Sungenis and what Dr. Sippo noted above about Mr. Webster.{9} The parallels are striking:

I need to make a few comments explaining why this brief paper is my final contribution to this discussion. In my first counter-response, I expressed my displeasure at the personal insults and mockery in Sungenis’ first critique. In his Second Rebuttal, Sungenis denies that he ever did any such thing and then says he will not be drawn into such “childish behavior” — the “childish behavior” being my objection to the condescending mockery.  Considering what numerous Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants have written to me regarding Sungenis’ “behavior” in this and other apologetic discussions, I find his statement quite ironic. Apparently, Sungenis is completely oblivious to the way he comes across to others in discussions of this kind. It is unfortunate because this kind of behavior makes an intelligent and mutually respectful discussion virtually impossible. 

The silly behavior continues in his Second Rebuttal.  For example, near the beginning of his paper, Sungenis writes:

My constituents know that I am not a theological light-weight.  They will tell you that the critiques I submit are taken very seriously by my opponents.

What is this kind of statement supposed to accomplish in a serious discussion of important issues?  May I submit that this kind of boastful, in-your-face language is more appropriate to the World Wrestling Federation than it is to any kind of theological paper?  May I suggest that it is the kind of statement one would expect to find in the writings of Texe Marrs or Jack Chick, and that it makes the person who says it look absolutely ridiculous?  Is this really how Sungenis wants to present himself and the Roman Catholic Church to the world? 

The comment is ridiculous because real theological heavyweights do not brag that they are theological heavyweights. You simply do not find the real intellectual giants of the Roman Catholic Church (or any other communion for that matter) boasting in their writings about what imposing theological heavy-hitters they are.  I happen to know for a fact that I am not in the same league as the theological heavyweights I admire and respect.  But Sungenis seems to think that he can join the ranks of the theological heavyweights by bragging loudly enough that he is one of them. That simply isn’t true.

The point is this: if Sungenis is content to keep coming across publicly as the Roman Catholic equivalent of some WWF wrestler before a big match, that is his business.  Whether other Roman Catholics want their Church presented in this way is for them to decide.  Sungenis is certainly free to continue to boast about what a brilliant and intimidating scholar he is and about how seriously his critiques must be taken. He is also free to continue blatantly misrepresenting those with whom he disagrees rather than presenting their arguments accurately. But if he is not going to deal honestly with the issues, and if he is going to continue the self-congratulatory boasting, then there is no point reading, much less taking seriously, anything that he writes. There are plenty of real Roman Catholic biblical scholars, historians, and theologians out there who are writing substantive, thought-provoking, and intelligent works on this subject that are worthy of serious consideration.  To waste time reading the boastful Internet musings of Mr. Sungenis when these real scholarly works are available would be grossly irresponsible.

So for those who have awaited a "response" from me, you now have it. I will pray for Mr. Sungenis and continue to include him in my mass intentions. However, until he meets the prerequisite I have set for dialogue on "traditionalist" matters,{10} there is nothing left to discuss. I value my sanity and also my spiritual health. And to waste time reading his screeds is detrimental to both. Remember my friends, an altered eye alters all. Or in the unfortunate case of Mr. Sungenis, "an altered mind alters all things."

In closing, I know of no one who would not welcome Mr. Sungenis back with open arms if he should repent of his errors and the scandals they have caused. May the Lord grant to him the light to see what has happened and the fortitude to make things right again.


{1} By contrast this one was written in its entirety today and rather than devoted to issues is instead directed at personalities.

{2} The theological/historical/philosophical lacunas were filled in the last years of my time with the SSPX but there is more to understanding Catholicism than these areas. And admittedly there was a lack of spiritual instruction on my part which since that time has been to some degree compensated for.

{3} After I caught a lot of flack on a message board for defending him on a controversial subject matter.

{4} As any student of The General is quite aware of.

{5} And of course since what is written there is quite damning and difficult if not impossible for him to backtrack on without making his predicament obvious.

{6} My rationale was why give him any undeserved publicity.

{7} To quote William Blake: "an altered eye alters all things."

{8} I have dialogued with Mr. Mathison and he is a very courteous individual.

{9} Not to mention what my friend who reviewed Mr. Sungenis' recent screed contra me had to say.

{10} This is covered at the Rerum Novarum Miscellaneous BLOG.

:: Shawn 3:11 PM [+] | ::


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