November 2000

November 30, 2000: St. Andrew, Apostle

The Vatican Too Late Again

From: Tom

Dear Fr. Moderator:

From a news release: "The Vatican has ordered a stop to exorcisms and healings during Mass in a bid to limit the growth of "charismatic" or "neo-pentecostal" movements. The ban, which was signed by the Pope's chief of doctrine, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, appeared especially aimed at the type of populist healing sessions presided over near Rome by a controversial African Archbishop, Emmanuele Milingo."

Is Archbishop Milingo and his group another offshoot of the charismatic-healing fad within the Novus Ordo? Or is the Archbishop correct in referring to the Vatican as a "Sanctuary for Satan?"

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It's amazing how the Vatican hasn't learned anything in the last 35 years. They open the Pandora's box and allow, e.g., the old heresies of charismaticism and pentecostalism out of the bottle, and then try to stuff them back in the bottle -- too late. Some people never learn. Probably both propositions are true. Paul VI referred to the "smoke of Satan" being around the altar after Vatican II, and Milingo is obviously involved with his concoctions in the context of the Novus Ordo worship service, which is the source of much of the Church's current problems.

A Doppelganger Pope?

From: Paul

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I read something that was very interesting. It was from an exorcism conducted from 1976-1977. Here, Beelzebub (the demon possessing the individual in question) tells the exorcist that there existed (and probably still exists) an imposter Pope, replacing Pope Paul VI. He goes on to say that the real Pope Paul VI was drugged, injected, and received certain poisons. I myself believe that this imposter was responsible for the implementation of the Novus Ordo Missae. What do you think, Father?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

There are many stories of this kind around that are concocted to explain events that people don't understand. I place little credence in them. I go more with St. Thomas Aquinas's attribution of most evil to human weakness -- fear, lack of faith, even malice. Remember that there have been only two saint-popes in the last 700 years.

When One Goes Astray

From: Jim

Dear Fr. Moderator:

How is it that a long-standing Dominican priest now supports "Sola Scriptura" and Protestantism? He says that the Dominicans teach that the Bible "evolved".

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I don't know of this individual, but he seems symptomatic of many who have lost their faith after the confusion of Vatican II, which has affected many laypeople and clergy. It seems that what Vatican II did was to release the "crazies" and allow to be developed a kind of "Neo-Catholic" religion that bears little resemblance to the true Catholic religion that existed for the previous 2000 years. Even Pope Paul VI, not too many years after the Council, condemned the Council for admitting the "smoke of Satan" (his phrase) around the altar. Unfortunately, there is a lot of that smoke still around to be breathed.

November 28, 2000: Ferial Day

Real Evil in the Novus Ordo?

From: Julie

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Someone asked me if I believed that there was real evil in the world? And (since I said yes), if I thought that there were people who wanted to get rid of the Catholic Church. He went on to mention something about people called "sleepers," men and women religious who are accepted into their order, but are there in order to infiltrate the Church and bring her down.

He said that he had read a document 30 years ago, written by this group of people, explaining step by step how to "undo" the Catholic Church. One of the examples he used was the fact that we no longer kneel at Mass. He seemed very focused and extremely serious about what he was saying. I know that he read and saw something 30 years ago, and throughout these 30 years things have happened so that my "frame of mind/reference" in working with the teens is different from his. He's right in some sense.

This has totally puzzled me. What, if anything, have you heard about "sleepers" in the Catholic Church? I can't deny that I feel some of what he said could be true.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This is a well-known fact among careful observers of what has happened to the Church in the last half of the century. A Communist operative did inflitrate the seminary to become a priest with the goal of subverting the Church from within. He wrote that there were many more like him. The book is titled AA-1025: The Memoirs of an Anti-Apostle.

Any careful observer of the Church since the 1950s cannot have failed to note how so much of the Roman Catholic faith and practice have been subverted and replaced by false doctrine and false practice that would have been intolerable before. The traditional Mass of the centuries going back to the early Church, once called "the most beautiful thing this side of heaven," has been replaced by a "New Mass" that has sunk to some kind of Protestantized social event, not the sacred worship of God.

The most beautiful sacred music in civilization, composed to glorify Our Lord and God, has been replaced with popular songs and folk ditties. The regal sound of the pipe organ has been replaced with the profane guitar. Our beautiful cruciform churches and cathedrals have been razed to the ground and replaced my monstrosities that no longer reflect, as St. Paul wrote: "Christ, and Him crucified."

And all this has been brought about by the artificial imposition of the clergy with a programme. Nor is that programme a secret. Quite a number of liberal priests participated in a public "Call to Action" Conference in 1976, held in Detroit under National Council of Catholic Bishops' auspices. The majority of delegates to the conference were clergy, religious, and lay employees of the Church. Their resolutions were so embarrassing that the Conference had to disavow some of them the following year.

Yet, the programme has been pushed forward: laypeople touch the Most Blessed Sacrament, which 80% of Catholics now believe, like the Protestants, is just a piece of bread rather than truly the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the outward species of bread and wine.

The Most Blessed Sacrament, which was once the center of worship, has been shunted away from the main altar to some side chapel, if you can find it at all. The people are not encouraged to increase their private devotions to the Saints. Sermons are devoted to secular social concerns as opposed to the teachings of the Church, the Christian virtues, and the spiritual message of the Gospel.

Our youth are not encouraged to acts of penitence that Our Lord asks for over and over again in the Scriptures. The vast majority of Catholics can't even make the little sacrifice of abstaining from fleshmeat on Friday (no, that Apostolic practice was not "done away with"), to recall the great sacrifice of Our Lord for us on that Good Friday.

Instead of the traditional fast from midnight to prepare ourselves for the reception of Our Lord in Holy Communion, people gorge practically up to the time that they arrive at church. Then, instead of preparing themselves by reflective prayer for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, they gab at the door of the Church, while keeping their Lord waiting inside.

All in all, I'd say that your friend didn't go far enough in what he said. It's a truly sobering thought.

The Sarum Rite

From: Chris

Dear Fr. Moderator:

The Anglicans claim that when 19th century Anglicans sought to recover their "Catholic" ritual roots and restore their ancient heritage, they quite rightly looked not to Roman "Tridentine" use (which they call an "innovation" of 1570!), but to the ancient English "Sarum" (Salisbury) use. Could you explain?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

First of all, the Traditional Latin Mass is not an "innovation" of 1570. It has been used as the principal rite of the Roman Catholic Church since the early centuries and was well established in its basic details by the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great in 600. All that happened in 1570 was that Pope St. Pius V required the use of the long-standing Roman form instead of some of the regional variations that had crept in over the centuries. Pope Gregory would easily have recognized this as the Mass of his own time in all but a few accidental details.

The Sarum rite that these people are talking about is not the traditional one that goes back to about the 11th century, is in Latin, and is a variation of the Roman rite used in a few (not all) English venues like Salisbury, after which it is named. Rather, these people are Protestants, talking about a Protestant (post-reformation) version that was changed and rephrased in English.

The rite of the English people is historically the Roman rite, which was never replaced by the Sarum rite.

The Sarum Rite

From: Joseph

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I recently came upon the following assertions in a Novus Ordo "dialogue" on the proper placement of the tabernacle: "You may be interested to know that the Codex of Canon Law of 1917 prohibited reservation of the Eucharist in the main body of collegiate or other large churches where large numbers of people frequented the space...."

And: "The tabernacle had not been part of the 'sanctuary' until mediaeval times; the most ancient placing was on a pillar or shelf off to the side. The [...] statement requiring placement [of the tabernacle] on the main altar is from the Italian bishops in the 17th century."

Regarding the first claim, this is the first I've heard about such a prohibition. "Large churches"? Did that include cathedrals and basilicas? Perhaps this should not strike me as odd, yet it does. Is the sentence accurate, or is the Novus Ordo enthusiast mis-remembering?

Regarding the second claim, I have never heard of such an arrangement. Am I correct in doubting its veracity? Now, I recall distinctly that the original tabernacles were in the form of a pyx, usually in the shape of a dove, and were generally suspended above the altar. However, I also seem to recall that the traditional tabernacle, built into/upon the main altar, appeared not long after the Reformation -- perhaps the late 16th century. As to when such tabernacles were "required," though, I have no idea. I was hoping perhaps you would know, offhand.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

There are a number of inaccuracies in the statement.

Canon 1268.1 provides first a general principle: "The Most Holy Sacrament cannot be reserved permanently or customarily except on only one altar of the same church." In other words, in a church having several altars, only one can be used to reserve the Blessed Sacrament.

Canon 1268.3 provides merely an exception to that general principle: "But in cathedral, collegiate, or conventual churches in which the greater choral functions must be carried out, lest an impediment be offered to ecclesiastical offices, it is appropriate that the Most Holy Sacrament not regularly be reserved on the primary altar, but in another chapel or altar."

First, a few terms must be understood. The term I have translated "collegiate" does not pertain to our modern idea of a college, but rather of a collegium, that is, a religious society. The term I have translated "conventual" does not refer specifically to a convent, but to those churches in which Conventual Mass is said, that is, churches of those bound to singing the Divine Office.

In such churches, which typically have more than one altar, it has been the practice to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle of the Marian altar, which is the transcept altar on the Gospel side.

Canon 1269 goes on to state the general rule about the altar where the Blessed Sacrament is to be reserved in dedicated churches: "The Most Holy Sacrament must be reserved in an immovable tabernacle placed in the middle part of the altar."

Thus, the only time when the Blessed Sacrament in a church cannot be maintained in the middle of the main altar is in the exceptional case when that altar is used for pontifical ceremonies, solemn conduct of the Divine Office, and or in formal monastic situations (where the Divine Office would be solemnly conducted in any case).

The person who quotes the passage as saying that the tabernacle "is prohibited" from being reserved in the "main body" of a church, where "large numbers of people frequent the church" is wrong on all counts:

  1. The person doesn't know his Latin (or English). The Canon 1268.1 says that the tabernacle "cannot" (nequit) be placed there, for practical reasons, not that it "may not." Canon 1269 says that the tabernacle "must" (debet be placed in the middle of the altar. There is a difference between "can" and "may."
  2. Even in the exceptional cases, the tabernacle will normally be in the main body of the church, that is, in one of the transcept altars, which are in the main body of the church.
  3. The impracticality of the first case has nothing to do with "large numbers of people frequenting the church," but to the practical issue encountered when the clergy solemnly sing the Divine Office.

On the second point, in the early days of the Church until after the dangers of the "Dark Ages," the exact place of the reservation might vary, but typically was in the sanctuary, above the altar or to the side of the altar. In the early Middle Ages, when devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was very strong among the people, the tabernacle was placed in the center of the altar as we have it today.

This situation is a far cry from today, when the position of importance has long been established, for the better part of a millennium, and the symbolism that the Blessed Sacrament is at the center of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has long been understood. Now, the removal of the Blessed Sacrament from its established position clearly implies a rejection of that doctrine.

Is it any wonder that 80% of Novus Ordo Catholics since Vatican II hold to the Protestant view of the matter: that what the Catholic Church teaches is truly the Body and Blood of Christ under the species of bread and wine is to be rejected, and that the Novus Ordo "Mass" is understood to be simply an "assembly of the people," at which they break bread together?

Magisterium Again

From: Roger

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Could you briefly define ordinary and extraordinary Magisterium?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

For Ordinary Magisterium, St. Vincent's early definition was as follows: Magnopere curandum est ut id teneamus, quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est; hoc est etenim vere proprieque catholicum [Care must especially be had that we hold that which was believed everywhere, always, and by all; for this is truly and properly catholic.] It is the teaching of the Church that is recognized as universal through space, time, and peoples.

Extraordinary Magisterium is a very limited and solemn form of the exercise of the papal office to define for the Church a doctrine of faith or morals that applies universally. Of course, such a doctrine must come from the Deposit of Faith (Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition), as Vatican I's Pastor Aeternus tells us. An example would be Pope Pius XII's solemn definition of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Remember that magisterium is a thing, not a person. It is the Church's teaching authority based on the Deposit of Faith within the bounds set by Christ in his constitution of the Church.

November 25, 2000: St. Catherine

What Unity?

From: Scott

Dear Fr. Moderator:

My cousin reported to me that in his Novus Ordo church a new presbyter was sent as a replacement for one taking a leave of absence. (How many does that make now leaving?) One Sunday he permitted the choir to sing the Sanctus in Latin, which some enjoyed very much. The following Sunday the Sanctus was in English again. He was asked by one of the members of the congregation why it wasn't in Latin again, and he said that the pastor had told him it was not a good idea because it disrupts unity. Pope Pius XII must be tossing and turning!

Fr. Moderator Replies.

After Vatican II one must be very careful to determine how people are defining their terms. The precision of the Latin theology has yielded to the errancy of the vulgar tongues and the consequent vulgar theology.

Unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam from the Nicene Creed is clear from centuries of definition. But what does "unity" mean? False ecumenism, social tolerance, false obedience? In this context it apparently means adherence to the Novus Ordo line -- nothing else is tolerated. (And the Novus Ordinarians say that traditional Catholics are intolerant!)

Where Are the Saints Now?

From: Sal

Dear Fr. Moderator:

It seems to me that it is almost impossible to have the devotion and loyalty to the Novus Ordo worship service that the Catholic saints had toward the Traditional Latin Mass. What do you think that this means for the future of Catholic sainthood in western culture? Do you think that there will be anyone in the future willing to sacrifice all for the faith, like St. Thomas More or St. John Fisher?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

A very pertinent question. It has been pointed out here before how after the Council of Trent the Church saw a flood of Saints as had not been seen since the early centuries of persecution, to carry the Council's dogmata and reforms throughout the Church and the world.

Among these were Pope St. Pius V, who vigorously carried out the Council's reforms; St. Philip Neri, who cared for the physical and spiritual lives of the people of Rome; St. Peter Canisius, who fought for the faith against the inroads of Protestantism in Germany; St. Teresa of Avila, who with St. John of the Cross reformed the spiritual lives of religious; St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane, who revived traditional devotion among the people; St. Vincent de Paul, who organized Christian charitable works for the poor; and many, many more.

Such Saints are not visible today, working among us. Maybe eventually Mother Teresa, but where are the scholars, the popes, the religious, the Catholic statesmen? This is perhaps the most salient commentary against Vatican II. Its tree never produced any fruit, whereas much fruit hung from the tree of Trent.

Even Pope Paul VI had to admit, in his June 29, 1972, sermon during the Mass for Sts. Peter & Paul, on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of his coronation)

We have the impression that through some cracks in the wall the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God: it is doubt, uncertainty, questioning, dissatisfaction, confrontation.... We thought that after the Council a day of sunshine would have dawned for the history of the Church. What dawned, instead, was a day of clouds and storms, of darkness, of searching and uncertainties.

According to the pope of the council, then, the Novus Ordinarians continue to walk in darkness, not having seen any great light to emanate from Vatican II.

November 24, 2000: St. John of the Cross

Microsoft Gets Religion

From: Marty

Dear Fr. Moderator:

The classically-minded among us may have noted a new TV ad for Microsoft's Internet Explorer which uses the musical theme of the "Confutatis Maledictis" from Mozart's Requiem.

"Where do you want to go today?" is the cheery line on the screen, while the chorus sings "Confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus addictis." This translates to "The damned are confounded and consigned to the flames of hell."

Good to know that Microsoft has done its research.

More on the Diocese of O.

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

The diocese's Cathedral Feasibility Study refers to the proposed new building as "a new cathedral worship space." One of the key goals -- to make a hospitable gathering place: "In our discussion regarding a cathedral for today we have continually emphasized cathedral as a gathering place for all people."

Note that, as is typical for Novus Ordo-speak, there is no definite article before "cathedral," and the emphasis is placed on the building as a mere gathering space rather than what I would prefer to call a House of God or even a House of Prayer.

What is a church? Is it to be user-friendly? No, even the Novus Ordo Father Rutler says that a church is to be more than friendly or hospitable. It's supposed to make us fall to our knees, first of all, and say that we are not worthy!

The document also speaks of a "continuation of the vision of the Second Vatican Council." I suppose by this they mean that it should be made as "zen" as possible.

November 23, 2000: Pope St. Clement I

Reminders before a Feast

From: Catholic Dispatch

Dear Fr. Moderator:

In view of the holiday in the United States called "Thanksgiving Day," it seems appropriate, at this time, to remind all Catholics of a few things. Although it is well that a special holiday be set aside to thank God for His gifts, we should remember to actually do so by saying grace aloud with others before we start the feast, asking the Lord, with the rest of our family and friends who are present, to bless us and the food we have received from His bounty.

In all the excitement and concerns involved in socializing and preparation, many lose sight of this important moment. Does the fear of our food getting cold, or respect for the hunger and restlessness of our guests, warrant our skipping over this grace before meals? This is something to think seriously about.

We should also realize as Catholics that we should not wait a whole year, until this holiday, to pray this grace. Doing so every day will not only make sure that we fulfill our duty of occasionally thanking God, but also it will also have the added advantage of better ensuring that we do not forget it on the occasion of the bigger feasts. There is no better time to give a good example to some of our young ones, and those who may have fallen away, than to thank the Lord more solemnly and publicly on occasion. Let us not forget the simple fact above all that it pleases the Lord and obtains for us actual blessings.

What do we do following this grace before meals? Do we act like the pagans and think only of stuffing ourselves to the point where we cannot move, get sick or have heartburn, and later laugh about it as though it were some point of amusement? God forbid! Gluttony is not funny. Saying grace before meals also can help us practice temperance and moderation in eating and drinking.

St. Francis de Sales, a Doctor of the Church, had said, that "mortification of the sense of taste is the ABC of the spiritual life." Let us remember that God did not give us the gift of life so that we could eat. He gave us the power to eat so that we could sustain life. Let us not abuse this duty of nature. What the Lord ordained as a part of the nature of man should not be abused. Such an a abuse is called gluttony.

Make up your mind to continue saying grace and eating with moderation. Make of it a New Years resolution for the Church's New Year, which begins on the first Sunday of Advent (December 3 this year). Make this a part of your preparation for the Advent of the Christmas season which begins on Christmas Day. This year it may be well to be even more determined to prepare ourselves penitentially, as the liturgy of the season suggests during Advent, in view of the problems noticeably increasing in the world.

Remember: on Thanksgiving Day, the only thing that should get stuffed is the turkey!

Grace before Meals
+ Benedic, Domine, nos, et haec tua dona, quae de tua largitate sumus sumpturi. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
+ Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from the bounty. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Grace after Meals
+ Agimus tibi gratias, omnipotens Deus, pro universis beneficiis tuis. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
+ We give Thee thanks, almighty God, for all Thy benefits, Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

That's the Way They Do It

From: Fr. Moderator

In the vernacular tongue, we have an expression: "we've got their number." After 35 years of dealing with false statements, obfuscations, disinformation, and even outright lies, we certainly know by now the number of the Novus Ordo apparatus. Case in point.

Scene One. We return to the Diocese of O. Its beautiful 19th-century cathedral was damaged in an earthquake some years ago. Instead of repairing the damage, the diocese decided that the earthquake would be a good excuse to get rid of yet another beautiful traditional church. So, the Vicar General of the Diocese of O. stood in front of the cathedral and declared that it was the bishop's "will" to convert the consecrated cathdral into a mini-mall.

While Novus Ordo Catholics knuckled under to the bishop's "will," obedient as always (the prime Vatican II virtue: obedience to evil), a local Protestant group declared that such action was wrong and proposed to purchase the building to turn it into an all-faiths prayer center for the city. (At least the Protestants were thinking of God instead of commerce.)

Now, normal people would think that the bishop would be overjoyed. Wrong! The bishop and his minions took the preservationists to court to prevent their purchase of the property. The preservationists even took the matter as far as the appellate court, and when an adverse decision was handed down, the bishop destroyed the cathedral within days to prevent further appeals.

Scene Two. The Diocese of O. is without a cathedral. The bishop says that the church next to the diocesan chancery office is just fine for a cathedral and that the money will be saved (for what purposes, one never knows); no new cathedral needs to be built.

Fine. But now, several years later, out of the blue, the bishop announces that in fact a new multi-million dollar cathedral will be built, the former name of the cathedral (the diocese's patron saint) will be rejected, and that the new cathedral will be named after a document of the Second Vatican Council.

Get the picture? These dioceses and bishops have sold themselves out totally to the New Order and will do anything to force their brainwashing down the throats of unwilling Catholics, who genuflect to the bishop and "obey," while their Church falls down around them. They accept a crumb of an "indult" Mass, which is often corrupted to become more like the Novus Ordo, as long as they are "obedient."

Well, St. Augustine wasn't obedient. He took a public oath against the sitting pope who was suborning heresy. St. Athanasius wasn't obedient. He publicly chastised the sitting pope who was suborning heresy. Nor was St. Basil, St. Martin, St. Eusebius, St. Bernard, St. Catherine, St. Bridget, and others. Actually, they were being obedient, but to a higher cause, following the dictum of the first pope, St. Peter, who said: "We ought to obey God rather than man" (Acts 5:29/DR).

All of these courageous Saints stood up for their Roman Catholic Faith and put the fear of God into the sitting pope of their respective times. And you know what? The popes corrected their erroneous actions. For further information, click on the Limitations of Papal Authority: From the Writings of Roman Catholic Popes, Councils, Saints, and Theologians.

During this century we had another group that thrived on blind obedience, whose Reich of a Thousand Years fell crashing in less than a decade. Do we live and learn? Or do we ignore history to our own peril?

November 20, 2000: St. Felix of Valois

St. Louis Bishop Celebrates Traditional Latin Mass

From: Joe

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Three weeks ago I was at my Sunday (Traditional Latin) Mass, and the bishop here in St. Louis was the main celebrant. It was a High Mass with no adulterations or vernacularizations. Was I surprised to see him there! Just thought you would like to hear about this.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The problem is that these are once-in-a-while cases, which simply confirm the belief that the Traditional Latin Mass is not the sole rite proper to the Roman Catholic Church, but is an occasional exception, with the Novus Ordo being the daily fare.

If the bishop were to act in accord with the true Faith, he would celebrate exclusively a Pontifical Mass each Sunday in his own cathedral. He doesn't, because he is an essentially an advocate of the New Order and all the unCatholic aberrations it brings, not the traditional Faith, sorry to say.

Who Knows the End of the World?

From: Stephen

In today's reading it says that no one, not even the angels or the Son, knows when the Lord God will come. In light of the Blessed Trinity being one and the same God, I cannot understand this passage. I know that the Trinity is a mystery now for us, but know you can shed some light on this passage for me?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This passage is not from the traditional Gospel for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, which relates Our Lord's raising the daughter of Jairus from death. I wonder if that means that this Mass is really a "hybrid" Mass, using not the traditional Epistle and Gospel of over 1500 years, but the Novus Ordo "readings."

Be that as it may, in the passage you mention, Our Lord is making a point that confirms the nature of the Most Blessed Trinity as the Church teaches it. Although there is one God, there are also three divine Persons, each with His own proper function, even though they all share in the Godhead.

Here Our Lord is making the point that we should not concern ourselves about when the end of the world will come. We should be prepared at any time. This theme will be supported in next Sunday's traditional Gospel, in which Our Lord describes to us how the world will end and how we should not be taken unawares. Our Lord came to redeem us. When the end of the world will come is not a concern to our redemption. This is the message of the passage.

It is an important message to so many nowadays, even some traditional Catholics, who are so involved in visions, apparitions, and prophecies that they have forgotten the essence of their faith, which is not to engage in rumors and speculations, but to live a life of Christian faith and virtue here and now, so that they may be with the Lord for eternity. Chances are that the end of the world will come for each of us long before it comes for the whole world!

November 18, 2000: Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter & Paul

It's Not the Same

From: David

I understand that if I miss mass without good cause on Sundays or Holydays, I have gravely sinned. However, if I occasionally worship in a different Christian church with friends or non-Catholic family members in lieu of attending Mass, I don't feel that this is a sin because I'm still worshipping and giving thanks to God. Help me to understand this.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I have to be forthright here for your own spiritual good. Actually, it is a much greater sin to attend Protestant (or other) services, since not only are you failing to worship in the correct way that your own faith requires, that is, the way that Our Lord provided for and passed down to his Apostles and the Church, but also you are participating in the worship of false faiths and causing scandal thereby.

If you are truly a Catholic and believe in the teachings of Christ and His Church as handed down to us through 2000 years, you cannot morally participate in worship associated with groups that contradict those teachings. For example, Protestants deny the teaching on the Most Blessed Sacrament. How can you morally participate in a service that denies not only that basic teaching of your faith but also denies four other Sacraments of the Church?

By attending such services, you are not only risking your own spiritual life but you are also causing scandal to others, who can say: "That Dave is a nice guy. He's Catholic, but he doesn't see anything wrong with other faiths. Dave's a sharp guy. If he doesn't think one's faith and beliefs make any difference, I guess it doesn't matter whether we're Catholic, or Lutheran, or Mormon, or Jew, or Mohammedan." In this way you are setting a false example and risking not only your eternal life but also that of all your friends as well, who might otherwise be moved by the example of your strong Catholic faith to come to the true faith and belief.

November 17, 2000: St. Gregory Thaumaturgus

Those American Bishops at It Again!

From: Fr. Moderator

Where are the Augustines and Ambroses these days?! Those bishops fought for the Roman Catholic Faith. The current gaggle of American bishops seem to be willing to sell out what little Catholicism remains in the Novus Ordo.

Traditional Catholics should long ago have been disabused of the thought that diocesan bishops will support traditional Catholicism in any way. A few will offer the occasional Tootsie Pop of a hybrid "indult" Mass, but -- make no mistake about it -- the American bishops are in no way to be relied upon to maintain any form of Catholicism worth the name.

The "indult" societies, in particular the Fraternity of St. Peter, which has itself been gutted by the Vatican, would like you to believe in the diocesan structure whose pale shadow now exists, but the American bishops themselves are at least honest enough to admit out of their own mouths (see the release from their Washington conference below) what they are up to:

As to the misquote below on Vatican II and Latin below (what Vatican II really said was: "The use of the Latin language ... is to be retained in the Latin rites"), Venerable Pope Pius XII prophetically put it in words whose significance we can by now well understand:

The day the Church abandons her universal tongue [Latin] is the day before she returns to the catacombs.

Indeed, the true Roman Catholic Church is returning to the modern catacombs -- those traditional chapels and churches established around the world with blood, sweat, and tears -- and no help from the Novus Ordo establishment.

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Catholic bishops opened their fall conference Monday [November 13, 2000] with calls to abolish the death penalty.... Bishop Joseph Fiorenza, the conference president, said in his opening address that the year has been dedicated to celebration and affirmation of the Second Vatican Council, a meeting of the world's Catholic bishops from 1962-65. Among other things, that council called for closer ecumenical contact with other Christian denominations as well as Jews, and approved major changes in worship such as using vernacular instead of Latin during services. "There is no turning away from the council. There is only a stronger commitment to its teaching," Fiorenza said.

The Beat of Penitence

From: Chris

Can you tell me the origins of striking the breast during the Confiteor and the Domine Non Sum Dignus?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It is an ancient sign of penitence, going back to Old Testament times. We read, for example, of the publican in St. Luke's Gospel (18:13), who strikes his breast in repentance for his sins.

Holy Spirit or Ghost

From: John

Should we say Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost? I know the old way was Holy Ghost in the U.S., but doesn't the translation from Latin almost totally correspond with Spirit instead of Ghost? I know that the word Ghost is taken from the German.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Spirit in English is closer to Spiritus in Latin; that is true. However, most traditional Catholics prefer the traditional Ghost translation because the reference is absolutely clear with that usage, whereas spirit admits of other more general interpretations in certain contexts.

An Eyewitness at "Youthfest 2000"

From: Chris

I am ashamed to admit that I inadvertantly got involved with Youthfest 2000. I found myself, at one point, watching these teenagers from a distance in the yard out back. There was a D.J. blaring sexually-explicit rap music while Novus Ordo presbyters and nuns stood around, smiling. They later had live hard rock bands with names like "The Revolver Solution," bands with members who had satanic tatoos and earings in their lips, all of this sponsored by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

I was curious as to what "mass with the cardinal" would be. The youths erected a table on the stage of the auditorium for Abp. Bevilacqua's use. It was a horrible, sickening, rock concert worship service. How could the archbishop feel okay with this? I could not stand to be there and regret not standing up and calling it for what it was, a sham.

The worst of the it was a horrible act by a Novus Ordo presbyter whom I once had respected. There were two teenage boys carrying on during the communion procession, and they did not get into the procession. This presbyter walked by them and just dropped a host in the one kid's hand. Just like that. At first I was stunned, but then considered that it was probably just a piece of bread anyway.

The next day I got my sanity back at the Traditional Latin Mass and prayed even harder that others will see the horror of what the Novus Ordo has become. I fear it will take a very long time.

November 15, 2000: St. Albertus Magnus

What Is Going on at the Vatican?

From: Fr. Moderator

One of the conservative Vatican periodicals lists among the papabili, that is, those who are considered possible "candidates" for the papacy, one Castrillon Cardinal Hoyos, the new head of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, who has for all intents and purposes gutted the "indult" group called the Fraternity of St. Peter and may be behind the "restructuring" of another "indult" group, the Institute of Christ the King. A political move to curry favor among the liberal cardinals?

The periodical also drools over the "Jubilee of the Young" held in Rome on August 15-20, 2000. This is the fiasco in which teenagers, supposedly in Rome for a prayer meeting, dressed and acted scandalously. When the pope celebrated the Novus Ordo worship service on a temporary platform, the kids apparently thought that the whole affair was like a rock concert and proceeded to storm the altar and practically topple over the platform.

Why should we be suprised at such behavior? This pope has made it a point to associate with and commend rock stars, and even cut a "rock-style" recording himself like a 1960s beatnik. Meanwhile, the once-great Sistine choir is a laughing-stock, and the celestial music of St. Gregory and Palestrina, which once filled the Basilica of St. Peter, is rarely heard now.

The periodical includes a number of photos that make the whole sacrilege clear. One photo shows a scene inside the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, in which three teenagers, dressed in T-shirts and shorts (supposedly prohibited in Roman holy places) stare at (but do not pray at) the Chapel of St. Stephen within. Another photo shows a Novus Ordo presbyter hearing "reconciliation." The penitent is attired in T-shirt and shorts, and the presbyter himself is attired in T-shirt and baseball cap -- with not even a stole, let alone a cassock.

New New "Mass" Introduces More Changes

From: Fr. T.

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I understand that a new document from Rome (Congregation for Divine Worship) has stated that the Novus Ordo Worship Service must now always be said facing the people. Doesn't this "blow out of the water" the Adoremus group, Mother Angelica, to say nothing of Card. Ratzinger and his new book?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

You are referring to the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani 2000 of July 27, 2000. It contains a number of bombshells that will haunt the conservative Novus Ordinarians, such as:

Sanctuary Lamps & Home Chapels

From: Peter

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Is there a rule about which side (Gospel or Epistle) the sanctuary lamp must be located, or can it be placed on whichever side works best?

Also, can any Catholic have a home chapel, or are there special requirements, and if so, what are they?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The side for the sanctuary lamp is not specified in Church law.

By Church law, lay Catholics are prohibited from having a home chapel. By this term, we are referring to a location set up for Holy Mass to be said. Bishops are permitted, and priests with special permission. We are not speaking here of a home shrine, that is, an area set aside for private devotion, where holy pictures and statues might be displayed.

November 12, 2000: Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost

The Meaning of IHS

From: Stephen

Dear Fr. Moderator:

If IHS stands for Iesus Hominum Salvator, what does INRI stand for?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The first actually stands for the first three capital letters in Greek (iota, eta, sigma) of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. The Latin explanation, Iesus Hominum Salvator [Jesus, Savior of Men] was developed only later, about the time of the Middle Ages.

The second stands for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum [Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews], the title that Pontius Pilate placed on Our Lord's cross, thereby proclaiming to the world (ironically, without intending to do so) the great truth of salvation.

What Was Changed in the Mass -- and When?

From: Chris

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I am curious what changes were made to the Roman Missal in 1962. Are these Missals referred to as the 1962 books? Prior to the changes made by Pope John XXIII, how long was the previous version in use? Are there any books available that detail the history of the Roman Rite? I do enjoy reading your commentaries. God bless you.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The 1962 typical edition of the Missale Romanum is considered by most to be the last traditional edition. However, some priests and traditional organizations argue for earlier editions.

In 1956, there was significant "simplification" of the rubrics under Pope Pius XII, which eliminiated many of the traditional categories of liturgical days and eliminated a number of traditional prayers. In addition, the text of the Missal was changed significantly for the days of Holy Week, the most sacred week of the entire liturgical year. Some priests argue that these changes where forced through by Hannibal Bugnini, the Grand Archictect of the Novus Ordo, who was on the Sacred Congregation of Rites even at that time, while the pope was terminally ill.

It appears, moreover, that the Pope never approved the changes in Holy Week in forma specifica, that is, under his own authority, but only under (questionably) delegated authority to the Commission. It was for this reason that many churches around the world did not implement the Holy Week changes in 1956.

In 1960, another major "simplification" of the rubrics occurred under Pope John XXIII. These did away entirely with the traditonal categories of liturgical days and instituted a new four-class system. There were other significant changes in the rubrics, most especially of the Divine Office, but also of the Holy Mass.

Finally, in 1962, Pope John XXIII on his own authority took it upon himself to do what no other pope had ever done (or likely could ever do) since Pope Greogry the Great (whom the people tried to put to death for this action), that is, change the actual text of the sacred Canon of Holy Mass, by adding the name of St. Joseph. This seemingly simple act opened the door to the 1967 action of Pope Paul VI, by which the very words of the Consecration of Holy Mass were purportedly changed.

The best book on the history of the Roman Rite is that of Fr. Adrian Fortescue. For further information, see FAQ 5: What Traditional Books Do You Recommend?

New Tapes on Catholic Culture

From: Fr. Moderator

I draw the TRADITIO participants' attention to the fact that the "In the Spirit of Chartres" Committee, P.O. Box 17984, Fountain Hills, AZ 85269-7984, (480) 471-9009,,, has just released two new videotapes by David Allen White on Catholic culture:

Most Catholics, including traditional Catholics, are abysmally ignorant of their great classical and Catholic cultural heritage. This situation should as a priority be remedied. As a result of it, Catholics fall prey to the most anti-Catholic propaganda on such subjects as the Holy Crusades, Christopher Columbus, Galileo Galilei, slavery, the Holy Inquisition.

Some traditional Catholics go too far in the other direction, rejecting anything that is not absolutely Catholic in the narrowest sense, so that, for example, they would reject the Aeneid of the Roman poet Vergil because he was born before Christ or the plays of William Shakespeare because he worked under the anti-Catholic Queen Elizabeth I (even though there is significant evidence to the effect that Shakespeare was, and perhaps remained, a Catholic).

Prof. White, who teaches English literature at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, presents in these videotapes a broadly Catholic view of literature and a sane approach even to good literature that is not Catholic, as opposed to the products of the "junk culture" that we are daily exposed to. Prof. White considers that such greats as Vergil and Shakespeare "plant the seeds" for Catholicism, recalling Christ's Parable of the Sower.

If you feel that you are not as conversant with classical and Catholic culture as you should be, particularly to answer anti-Catholic arguments, you should strongly consider viewing these tapes.

November 10, 2000: St. Andrew Avellino

Eucharistic Fast

From: Margaret

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I attend a traditional Catholic church, and we are having some difference of opinion on fasting before Holy Communion. I believe that you are to fast from midnight on, until you receive Holy Communion. Our priest said that it was changed before Vatican II to three hours before for food and one hour before for drink. Please comment on this.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This is partially correct. The traditional Eucharistic fast before Holy Communion is complete abstinence from all food and drink from midnight. In 1953, when Sunday evening Masses had become more frequent as a result of circumstances that arose in World War II, Pope Pius XII allowed for a mitigation to a three hour fast from food and a one hour fast from drink before Holy Communion. However, at the same time the pope warned:

We earnestly exhort the priests and faithful who are able to do so to observe the venerable and time-honored form [from midnight] of the Eucharistic fast before the celebration of Mass and the reception of Holy Communion (Indulta a Constitutione Apostolica "Christus Dominus" Extenduntur, March 19, 1957).

Obviously, the pope's legislation intended that the traditional Eucharistic fast from midnight be maintained whenever possible. The mitigated fast was not intended to become the norm. Those who attend late morning or evening Masses or who have long to travel (perhaps 50 km or so) to Holy Mass might reasonably avail themselves of the mitigation, but even in such cases there is a golden opportunity for a little more of the extra penance that we all need, particularly as it relates to our reception of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

November 9, 2000: Dedication of the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior

What about the 1965 Mass?

From: Fr. Timothy

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I heard yesterday that a certain "indult" Society is now using the Mass of 1965. What is this Mass? If it is not traditional, I think that we should make people aware of it.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The superior of that "indult" Society has published a letter in which he says that the Society has no objection to the Mass of 1965. This was the first non-traditional deviation from the Traditional Latin Mass (up to 1962). It eliminated the Prayers and the Foot of the Altar, introduced the Offertory procession and a number of other abberrations -- a bitter harbinger of what was to come when the full Novus Ordo Worship Service was exposed in 1969. Most notably, it first turned its back on the Sacred Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church by introducing the vulgar tongue into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as a direct result of which the true Mass and true Catholic doctrine have been dangerously compromised since Vatican II.

November 8, 2000: Octave Day of All Saints

Where to Go in Rome?

From: William

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have been a member of your list for some four years now and cannot thank you enough for the service you provide. May God continue to bless your noble endeavor! As part of my university program of studies, I shall be going to Rome. Are there any good traditional shrines to visit that might be overlooked in the usual tourbooks?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

See the Mass Sites Outside the U.S. and Canada section of the Official Catholic Directory of Traditional Latin Masses & Resource Book for the United States and Canada, "The Traditional Catholic Yellow Pages", for a list of Traditional Latin Masses in Rome.

Some historically interesting churches to consider visiting when in Rome are:

Also, I should mention two excellent guidebooks for classical and ecclesiastical historical sites in Rome:

November 6, 2000: Sixth Day within the Octave of All Saints

More on Donations

From: Robert

Dear Fr. Moderator:

My wife and I make a regular habit of donating food for the poor. From a traditional Catholic perspective, is it permissable to donate either food or money for food through non-Catholic food distribution agencies? Also, is there a reasonable chance that donations of money to Novus Ordo Catholic relief services, missionary oblates, etc., will actually be transferred to indigents?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Traditionally, it has been permissable to donate to non-Catholic organizations when strictly almsworks are involved, and the organization can reasonably be trusted not to convert the donation for use in promoting false religion. For example, the Salvation Army has a relief arm that is generally acknowleged to allocate funds to disaster victims strictly according to the intentions of the donors. United Way, on the other hand, has a reputation for allocating funds to purposes other than those intended by the donors, including several contrary to Catholic teaching (abortion assistance, promotion of a homosexual agenda, etc.). For other principles, see the answer on suggested donation outlets below.

The Most Blessed Trinity

From: Rich

Dear Fr. Moderator:

How would one briefly explain the Trinity in teaching a class?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Most Blessed Trinity is one and the same God in three divine Persons. These Persons are distinct from one another and are perfectly equal to one another because all are one and the same God, having the same divine nature. Our mere human intellects cannot fully comprehend this supernatural mystery, although God Himself has chosen to reveal some of its aspects to His Church in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

A Sung Alleluia

From: Jim

I have always been under the impression that the "Alleluia acclamation" before the reading of the Gospel was to be sung or, if not sung, to be eliminated.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Nothing is ever eliminated from Holy Mass in this way. If the Alleluia is not in a Missa Cantata and would therefore not be sung, it is recited, as at a Low Mass. I think that you may be confusing something in the Novus Ordo Worship Service, because traditionally the Alleluia is part of the Gradual. It is not traditionally called an "Alleluia acclamation."

November 3, 2000: Third Day within the Octave of All Saints

Novus Ordo Sinks Deeper into Cesspool

BOSTON (Associated Press NY 11-02-00 1835EST) - A nun who was fired for helping perform baptism rites reserved for priests won't receive a Jesuit center's highest honor this year - if ever. Sister Jeannette Normandin was to receive the annual Imago Deo "in the image of God" award from Boston's Jesuit Urban Center during a Nov. 17 ceremony. But Jesuit officials decided to postpone the dinner after Normandin was fired last week for violating a church law by anointing children during their baptisms....

Church officials believe Normandin was making a political statement when she helped baptize the adoptive sons of two gay couples Oct. 22. Under church law, baptisms can only be performed by ordained ministers, except in an emergency. Normandin has said women should be ordained as priests. Normandin and the Rev. George Winchester, who watched as she performed the baptisms, were both fired and were ordered to move out of the Jesuit center. Normandin said Thursday she doesn't believe her actions were wrong. "In my heart, I don't think I'm out of sync with God and have done a horrible thing," she said.

November 2, 2000: All Souls

Dominus Iesus Not What It Appears

From: Fr. Moderator

Even traditional Catholics felt somewhat assuaged when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the post-conciliar analogue for the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office) issued on February 5, 2000, the Declaration Dominus Iesus, which purportedly restated the traditional teaching that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church.

As with so many post-conciliar documents, however, the reality is often different from the surface appearance. This document uses the ambiguous phrase, introduced at Vatican II: "The sole Church of Christ ... subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church.... [Lumen Gentium, November 21, 1964, para. 8]. Previously, it had always been said that the Catholic Church is the only true Church of Christ. Logically, only one Church is can be the true Church, but the Church of Christ may subsist in other Churches.

Voila! We have the principle of false ecumenism for which Vatican II is the primogenitor. It appears that Vatican II had the same problem with language that the American president did when he claimed not to know the meaning of the word is!

In the new Declaration Dominus Iesus (para. 4), the same term is used: "the subsistence of the one Church of Christ in the Catholic Church." Thus, the new declaration appears to have the same quality of deliberate ambiguity about it as all other post-conciliar "ecumenical" documents. It is nothing from which to take any consolation, but another in the endless string of contradictory wishy-washy, up/down, liberal/conservative documents that have been issued from the post-conciliar Vatican.

Watch Your Donation Money!

From: Fr. Moderator

The Novus Ordo apparatus is famous for extracting money for what appears to be "traditional" maintanance of churches and then converting the use of the money to radical reconstructions. A legal firm reports that in a case in Ohio, a pastor had raised a great deal of money by promising "to restore the interior of the church to its past splendor." However, once he had his parishioners' money in had, the pastor announced that he would:

By the way, those who look to the modern Vatican for any support against these abominations show notice that the latest revision of the Novus Ordo Missal now prohibits the tabernacle from residing on the altar. It must be either in the sanctuary off to the side or in a side room (Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani 2000, para. 315-317).

TRADITIO has consistently recommended that traditional Catholics discharge their obligation under the Sixth Precept of the Church to contribute to the support of the Church by:

  1. contributing the majority of their alms to the church or chapel that provides them with the Traditional Latin Mass and Sacraments
  2. contributing to the work of truly traditional organizations, particularly smaller ones having no other source for support rather than the larger ones that spend so much of their money on expensive mailings and lotteries
  3. contributing to almswork in their local areas or in the missions, but only to organizations whose work they can monitor (or, better yet, participate in)

A Lesson from History

From: Fr. Moderator

Will the Church ever get right again? How is it possible to turn around the sorry state of the Church at this late date?

Frequently I receive such questions from traditional Catholics. Believe me, the Catholics of the fourth century (Arian heresy), the twelfth century (papal crisis), the fourteenth century (Avignon crisis of the papacy), and the fifteenth century (the Great Western Schism, when it was unclear who was the real pope) wondered the same thing. In each case it took the better part of a century for the Church to be righted.

Recently, I was reminded of an instructive incident in the secular history of the United States. In late 1776, the army of the new American Republic was fighting against one of the greatest powers in Europe for its independence. The Americans were outnumbered ten to one. The Americans were badly organized and facing a well-ensconced establishment. The Americans were poor in resources against a very rich and well-provisioned enemy. The republic was tottering and would have fallen much less than a year after independence from Britain was declared.

All that was before the Battle of Trenton, in the words of Pope Leo XIII "at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic" (Encyclical Letter Longinque oceani of January 6, 1895, sec. 4). Because of the longsuffering, perserverance, and fortitude of this man endowed with the classical virtues, the best mercenary forces of the Hessians were defeated, and the Republic was on the road to being saved.

Just days before, the army was about to dissolve, and the Congress had been forced to flee from Philadelphia to Baltimore for safety. No one would have believed that such a victory could be achieved, except for a small group of faithful individuals who were committed to the cause. And they overcame much larger forces, who were ultimately less committed.

Let that be a lesson to us traditional Catholics of the post-conciliar era, fighting for our Roman Catholic Church. Let us stand with St. Athanasius of Alexandria, St. Basil the Great, St. Martin of Tours, St. Anthony of the Desert, and the handful of other bishops who remained orthodox in the face of a Church "off the rails." After all, it is not numbers that count, but right, for "wrong is wrong even if everybody is doing it, and right is right even if nobody is doing it" (St. Augustine of Hippo).

Moral vs. Venial Sin

From: Julia

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I know the distinction between mortal and venial sins, but my question is how can this be so if any sin, mortal or venial, has infinite value against God -- since a sin takes the measure of who is being offended and not who is offending. Infinite is infinite -- there aren't varying degrees of it. I'm kind of caught inbetween this and the fact that I know that a mortal sin takes out completely the grace in one's soul, whereas a venial sin weakens this grace.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Your premise is incorrect. A sin may be venial either because of its intrinsic nature (e.g., a white lie to a neighbor is not of the same essential gravity as forswearing an oath taken in God's name) or because, although it is intrisincally grave, it is not committed with full knowledge and consent of will.

November 1, 2000: All Saints

Novus Ordo Is Pope's Own Term

From: Mike

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Recently a Novus Ordinarian stated that the term Novus Ordo was a term made up by us Traditional Catholics. While I was sure that he was wrong, I could not recall for certain where this term came from. I was wondering if you could help me with this question.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This is another one of those baseless Novus Ordo red-herrings. The words were used by Pope Paul VI himself in his Apostolic Constitution of April 3, 1969, entitled Missale Romanum, in which he several times refers to a "new" Missal for the Order of Mass, leading to the phrase Novus Ordo Missae [New Order of Mass]. The phrase Novus Ordo also occurs frequently in the decrees of the Vatican congregations. For example, the Congregation for Divine Worship, in its decree Conferentiarum Episcopalium of October 28, 1974, refers to the "new Order of the Roman Missal" (Novus Ordo Missalis Romani).

The Pope Hath Not the Competence

From: James

Dear Fr. Moderator:

A friend who attends the Traditional Latin Mass along with our family stated that the Pope has complete authority in the governance of the Church and is the highest and final authority on decisions for the Church. That, he claimed, is a doctrine of the Church and is the reason why the Pope can change words of consecration if he so choses.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Actually, your friend is advocating an heretical doctrine. What he is saying is opposed to the teaching of the popes and councils, Fathers and Doctors of the Roman Catholic Church. The correct doctrine of the Church is that the Sacraments are established by Our Lord Jesus Christ, not the pope; thus, no pope has the competence, that is, the legal power, to change their essential form and matter.

If the pope got up on the balcony of St. Peter's today and decreed that henceforth Baptisms must be administered not with water, but with Sherry wine, would the pope be acting within the power delegated to the office of the papacy by Our Lord Jesus Christ? Of course not. He would be acting ultra vires, and his decree would be null and void. The same principle holds true for the form and matter of the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. No pope has the power to change the form established by Our Lord as handed down to us in Apostolic Tradition.

It is an error of the "papolators" to attribute to the pope a kind of divinity. This is, of course, by its nature a grievous sin against the First Commandment and is entirely counter to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. On the contrary, the pope is the "vicar" of Christ, a kind of "Vice President," so to speak (vicar and vice in this sense come from the same Latin root), who is in every way subject to his principal, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

For the pope to arrogate power to himself beyond his office of humility, Servus Servorum Dei {the Servant of the Servants of God), is a grievous error and is directly contrary to the example set by St. Peter, the first pope, as reported in the Acts of the Apostles of the New Testament (5:29). For further information, see The Limitations of Papal Authority from the Writings of Roman Catholic Popes, Councils, Saints, and Theologians.

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