Neither schismatic nor excommunicated

This essay is excerpted from the book, Is Tradition Excommunicated? and was first published in the September 1988 issue of Courrier de Rome (the French version of the Italian SiSiNoNo).

Catholics on the rack

It seems that since Vatican II, a Catholic is constantly compelled, by necessity, to have to choose between Truth and "obedience," or in other words, between being a heretic or a schismatic.

Thus, to take a few examples, he has to choose between St. Pius X's encyclical Pascendi which condemns modernism as "a collection of all heresies" and the present openly modernist ecclesiastical orientation which, through the voice of the Holy See, never ceases to laud modernism and modernists[1] and to disparage St. Pius X. His encyclical was even described, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of his death, as "a disclosure ...without respect for historical points of view."[2]

He has to choose between the monitum from the Holy Office in 1962, condemning the works of the Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin in that they "are alive with ambiguities, and even errors, so serious that they offend Catholic doctrine," and the present ecclesiastical trend. Ecclesiastics do not hesitate to quote these works, even in papal speeches. On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the "apostate" Jesuit, a letter from Cardinal Casaroli, Secretary of State of His Holiness, praised the "wealth of his thought" and "the unequalled religious fervor,”[3] thus giving rise to the reaction of a group of cardinals.[4]

He has to choose between the already defined invalidity of Anglican ordinations[5] and the present-day ecclesiastical orientation in pursuance of which, in 1982, a Roman pontiff, for the first time, took part in an Anglican rite in the Canterbury Cathedral and jointly blessed the crowd with the lay primate of this heretical and schismatic sect, a primate who in his welcoming speech, arrogated to himself, and without being contradicted, the title of Successor of St. Augustine,[6] the Catholic evangelist of Catholic England.[7]

He has to choose between the ex cathedra[8] condemnation of Martin Luther and the present ecclesiastical trend which, "celebrating" the 5th centenary of the birth of the German heretic, declared in a letter signed by His Holiness, John Paul II, that today, thanks to the "common researches made by Catholic and Protestant scholars ...has appeared the deep religiosity of Luther."[9]

He has to choose between the historical truth of the Gospels, which "Holy Mother Church has affirmed and affirms in a definite and absolutely constant manner ...and certifies without hesitation,"[10] and the present ecclesiastical orientation which denies loudly these historical truths in the document published on June 24, 1985, by the Pontifical Commission on Religious Relations with Judaism.[11]

He has to choose between the Holy Scripture which declares the Jews unbelievers "by hatred of God," according to the Gospel, and the present ecclesiastical orientation which, in the speech of the first pope to visit the synagogue in Rome, discovers in the Jews, still unbelievers, "the elder brothers" of ignorant Catholics.[12]

He has to choose between the first Commandment "Thou shalt not have strange Gods before Me," which corresponds to the duty which, since the Redemption, obliges all men to render to God the worship we owe Him "in spirit and in truth," and the present-day ecclesiastical orientation according to which, at the invitation of the Roman pontiff, were practiced in the Catholic churches of Assisi all the forms, even the worst, of superstition: the false worship of the Jews, which in this era of grace pretend to worship God while denying His Christ; the idolatry of the Buddhists adoring their living idol, who sat with his back to the tabernacle where the flickering light attested to the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ.[13]

He has to choose between the Catholic dogma "outside the Church there is no salvation" and the present ecclesiastical orientation which sees in non-Christian religions "channels to God "and declares that even polytheist religions "are also venerable"![14]

He has to choose between the immemorial teaching of the Church according to which heretics and/or schismatics are "outside the Catholic Church"[15] and the present ecclesiastical orientation whereby between the "various Christian denominations" exists only a difference "in depth" and "fullness of communion"[16] and for which consequently the different heretical and/or schismatical sects must be '"respected' as churches and ecclesiastical communities."[17]

Let us stop there as it would be materially impossible to enumerate all the choices that have been imposed and are still being imposed all the time on Catholics. Our newsletter (SiSiNoNo) has pointed them out for the last 14 years and Romano Amerio has made an incomplete list in the 636 pages of his book Iota Unum: A Study of the Changes in the Catholic Church in the 20th Century.[18]

The choice of the "sensus fidei"

In the conflict appearing between "obedience" and Truth, better-informed Catholics have chosen the Truth, assured, in their sensus fidei, that only Truth will ensure union with the invisible Head of the Church who is Christ. Labelled, on that account, as "traditional Catholics" and deemed incapable of distinguishing between Divine Tradition and human tradition, between what is subject to change in the Tradition of the Church and what is immutable, between a homogeneous and a heterogeneous evolution of dogma; charged as disobedient and today, in addition, excommunicated as schismatics, they know well that this does not correspond to any reality. They are fully aware that they are not schismatics─that is to say, "Volentes per se ecclesiam constituere singularem":[19] they have no desire to found a Church for themselves.

On the contrary, they resist the present ecclesiastical orientation in order to remain in the one Church of Christ. None of them "refuse to act as part of a whole," nor do they want to "think, pray, behave, in a word, to live, not in the Church and according to the Church, but as a self-governing body which decides for itself the law of its thoughts, of its prayers and its actions."[20] On the contrary, this is exactly why, in order never to cease thinking, praying and acting "within the Church and according to the Church," they resist the new ecclesiastical tide in the measure that it attempts to distance them from the doctrines or the practices of the Faith, kept and transmitted by the Church.

Furthermore, they do not refuse to sub esse capiti, to submit to the head of the Church, which would be another way of being schismatic.[21] On the contrary, it is to remain obedient to the invisible Head of the Church that they resist the present-day orientation (allowed, favored or wanted by the pope, it doesn't matter), desiring without ever giving up, and in spite of many disillusionments, that the union with the present hierarchy, and particularly with the Vicar of Christ, can be re-established as soon as possible without, however, having to compromise on any single point of doctrine.


However, the apparent conflict between "obedience" and Truth rests in reality on an ambiguity. It lies in the fact of a wrong identification of obedience owed to the hierarchy, with adherence to the orientations imposed by members of the hierarchy against the previous Magisterium of the Church. Take for instance liberalism and ecumenism. They inspire the new direction of the Church and provoke the greatest resistance from traditional Catholics.

Liberalism, which "defends the civil liberty of every religion, a liberty which is not contrary, in itself, to the aims of society but which conforms to reason and to the spirit of the Gospels," has been condemned many times by the Church through the Magisterium of a long series of pontiffs, particularly Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, etc.[22]

Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange adds in his book De Revelatione:

This, the supreme pontiffs have always taught, for example Boniface VIII in the bull Unam Sanctam (Dz. 469), Martin V in his condemnation of the errors of John Hus and Wycliffe (Dz. 640-82) and also Leo X condemning the errors of Martin Luther."

Yet, as recently as1967, Fr. Matteo da Casola counted in the ranks of "schismatics" denying the authority of the Roman pontiff in any particular matter, the "liberal Catholics" and "those who accept the political-religious system of pure liberalism which teaches the absolute and full independence of the State in relation with the Church."[23] It follows then that the "Declaration on Religious Liberty" (Dignitatis humanae),which they want to impose at all cost on Catholics, was drawn up by "schismatics."

We are not going to enter into the argument. A rapid glance at pontifical documents of the last 150 years is sufficient here to convince anyone that the new ecclesiastical orientation is the work of an old current which has been for a long time obstinately opposed to the Magisterium.[24] At the time of the council, this current was opposed and silenced by more or less honest means, but has since installed itself in key positions in the post-conciliar period and demands today obedience to its personal orientations against the whole previous Magisterium of the Church.

The same can be said for the peace-at-any-cost ecumenism,[25] of Protestant origin, which inspired all the ambiguous or unacceptable texts of the Council before the liturgical upheaval of Paul VI. This ecumenism, which imposed and imposes on Catholics the most numerous and most serious consequences, was on many occasions condemned by the Church, particularly through the Magisterium of Leo XIII (Testem benevolentiae, Satis cognitum), of St. Pius X (Singulari quadam), of Pius XI (Mortalium animos), of Pius XII (Humani generis).

We will not delay further, as we have so constantly denounced and illustrated it in this periodical.

Pius XI wrote in Mortalium animos that "charity cannot interfere with the Faith" and consequently "the Holy See cannot, in any way, take part in their [ecumenists'] meeting and that in no way can Catholics give their support to such an undertaking or collaborate with it. If they were do to so, they would be giving some authority to a false Christian religion completely foreign to the one Church of Christ." "Could we suffer," continued the pope, "that the divinely revealed Truth be compromised? It would be the worst of iniquities, because, in the circumstance, it is a question of respecting Revealed Truth." This demonstrates the conflict between Truth and alleged "obedience," a conflict which so many Catholics are facing today.

As to the "dialogue" which one should enter into with all the erring people and all the errors, this is only an entirely personal invention of Paul VI, absolutely without precedent in the 2,000 years of the history of the Church.[26]

However, a Catholic has the duty of being in communion with the successor of Peter only insofar as he accomplishes the duty of his charge, that is to say, in the measure that he keeps, transmits and interprets faithfully the deposit of the Faith. He (a Catholic) is not obliged to be in communion with the "adinventiones," the inventions─opinions, views, personal orientation─of the successor of Peter, particularly if these orientations are in conflict with the purity and the integrity of the Faith. Because it is not unusual that advantage be taken of this ambiguity to attempt to give qualms of conscience to traditional Catholics, it is today essential, more than ever, to have a clear idea of the papacy and its function in the Church.

The Church is not bi-cephalous (two-headed)

"The unique body of the Church, one and unique, has only one head, and not two like a monster. It is Christ and His Vicar, the Lord having said to Peter: 'Feed my lambs."'[27]

The unique Church of Christ therefore is also One and under One alone.[28] And because Christ and the pope are not two different heads but one and the same unique Head, the Church cannot receive from Christ and the pope two different orientations and, even less, opposite ones. If this were to happen, there is no need to say to Whom one would owe allegiance.

The pope is indeed the Vicar and not the successor of Christ,[29] and the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, not the mystical body of the pope.[30] That is why St. Jerome wrote to Pope Damasus:

As for myself, I follow no one other than Christ as my first leader. I am then bound in communion with your Beatitude, that is to say to the Chair of Peter, knowing that on that rock is the Church built."[31]

Christ is the "cornerstone" on which the Church is built. Peter is a rock only "by participation."[32] He has heard, yes, "that he should be a rock; but not in the same way as Christ. Christ is the truly immovable rock. Peter is only immovable by virtue of Him..."[33] The pope is, yes, "Head and Leader of the Church, but on the visible level, in the juridical sense, for as long as he is assisted by Christ (infallibility) during the measured time of his pontificate."[34]

It follows that communion with the pope is inseparable from communion with Christ; the unity of the Church is unity with Christ and His vicar, never unity with the vicar without Christ or against Christ. Reason itself tells us that "we owe obedience to each one according to his rank." Otherwise justice is overthrown.[35]

The “person” and the “function” of the pope

But could it be possible that he whom Christ has joined to Himself as head of the Church and as Peter would allow, favor, or want in the Church an orientation different from that wanted by Christ or opposed to it? Holy Scripture as well as Catholic theology tell us that, except in cases when the authority of the pope is covered by infallibility,[36] this is possible.

Peter confesses the divinity of Christ and Jesus tells him,

Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in Heaven. And I say to thee [to you who have confessed that I am the Son of God] that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church."[37]

The same Peter tries to divert Christ from His Passion and Jesus retorts to him,

Get behind me, Satan, thou art an obstacle unto me [that is the exact meaning of the word "scandal"] because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men."[38]

And that we not think that this "scandal" happened because the primacy had at that point in time only been promised but not yet conferred, there is the famous episode of Antioch.

The risen Jesus conferred on Peter the primacy which he exercises with the veneration of the first Christian community. In Antioch, however, Paul realized that Peter was "reprehensibilis" because he, and others led by his example, "did not walk uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel."[39]

Though inferior and subordinate to Peter, he reproved him "coram omnibus," in front of everyone. St. Thomas comments:

The occasion of the reproach was not minor but just and useful: it was the risk run by the truth of the Gospel. The manner in which it was made was suitable because it was public and evident ...given that this failure constituted a peril for everyone."[40]

Therefore Holy Scripture teaches that, with the exception of the case of infallibility, Peter is fallible and can become "reprehensible."

Identical is the teaching of the best Catholic theology, which makes a distinction between the "person" of the pope and his "function."

"Persona papae potest renuere subesse officio papae: the person of the pope can refuse to comply with his duty as pope," writes Cajetan, adding that "persistence in such behavior would make the pope a schismatic per separationem sui ab unitate Capitis: through his separation from union with the Head of the Church, who is Christ."[41] Cajetan specifies that the axiom "where the pope is, there is the Church" is valid inasmuch as the pope behaves as pope and as head of the Church; otherwise "the Church is not in him nor is he in the Church."

Cardinal Journet deals also with the case of "a bad pope but still a believer,"[42] of the possibility accepted by "major theologians" of a "heretical pope" and of a "schismatic pope."[43] He writes on this account that the pope "can also sin in two ways against ecclesiastical communion." The second way consists of the fact of "breaking the unity of direction, which could happen," according to the penetrating analysis of Cajetan,

if he rebelled, as a private individual, against the duties of his responsibilities, and refused to the Church─by trying to excommunicate it as a whole or simply by trying to live solely as a secular prince─the spiritual direction which she has the right to expect from him in the name of one greater than he, that of Christ Himself and of God."

And he adds:

the possibility of a schismatic pope reveals to us furthermore, in underlining a tragic day, the mystery of the holiness of this unity of aims which is necessary for the Church, and it might, perhaps, help a historian of the Church─or rather a theologian of the history of the Kingdom of God─to throw a divine light on the dark periods of the annals of the papacy, by allowing him to show how it was betrayed by some of its trustees."

It is obvious that if Catholic theology studies the prob lems caused by a bad, schismatic or even heretical pope, it is precisely because, as Cajetan says, "persona papae potest renuere sub esse officio papae": the person of the pope, outside the occasions when his infallibility is involved, can refuse to accept the functions of his position as pope. One last remark: because they had made a distinction between the "papacy" and its "trustees," between the "person" and the "function" of the pope, many theologians were personally told to get in line during the dark periods of the papacy.[44]

As for ourselves, to whom these dark periods had seemed to have been resolved forever, we have lost the habit of such distinctions; and since the First Vatican Council, we have ended up by mistaking infallibility and infallibilism, as if the pope were infallible always in everything, and not in very precise circumstances and under well-determined conditions.[45]

Unity of faith and unity of communion

What then is the function of the pope in the Church? The First Vatican Council teaches:

In order that the multitude of the faithful keep themselves in the unity of the Faith and of communion (in fidei et communionis unitate), Jesus placed blessed Peter as head of the Apostles.[46] Leo XIII, who deals ex professo with the unity of the Church, writes: "The divine Author of the Church, having decreed to give it the unity of faith, of government, of communion, chose Peter and his successors to establish in them the principle and the center of unity."[47]

Therefore, the function of Peter is to ensure "the unity of faith and of communion" amongst the multitude of the faithful as well as the "unity of government" amongst the multitude of pastors.

But in the Church, what are the relations between unity of faith and unity of communion?─unity of faith and unity of government?

He who has established the unique Church has also founded it One ...Now, so great and so absolute a harmony between men must have as a necessary corollary the agreement and the union of intellects; from which follows naturally the agreement of wills and the accord of actions. That is why, according to the divine plan, Jesus wanted the existence of the unity of faith in His Church: because faith is the first of all bonds which unites man to God and it is to this that we owe the name of faithful."[48]

And Pius XI follows it up with:

that is why, as charity has for foundation an upright and sincere faith, it is the unity of faith which must be the main connecting line uniting the disciples of Christ."[49]

Therefore unity of faith and unity of communion, unity of faith and unity of government are inseparable in the Church, the unity of faith being the necessary basis as much for the unity of communion as for the unity of government. It follows that no one in the Church has the right to require a unity of communion and/or government which disregards the unity of faith. And if today Catholics sufficiently well-informed feel themselves constantly divided between the unity of faith with the Church and a pretended "unity of communion" with the present-day hierarchy; if the bishops (whether they admit it or not, whether they bend to more or less great compromises, it is not relevant) are also divided between a unity of faith with the Church and a pretended “unity of government” with their higher superiors, it is precisely because there is required, of the faithful and the bishops respectively, a unity of communion and a unity of government based not on a unity of faith but on an adhesion to "personal" views more or less erroneous.

From the necessary relation which connects unity of faith with unity of communion, it follows that communion with the present hierarchy cannot, nor must not, be separate from communion with previous hierarchies. For today's hierarchy has, as those of former days, the function to transmit unaltered and to interpret faithfully the same deposit of Faith. He who, under Montini, accused the traditional Catholics of disobedience to the "pope of today" in the name of obedience to the "popes of yesteryears," was not in a position, good modernist that he was, to assess the gravity of this statement.

Communion with the pope is necessarily communion in the Truth, and, as such, it is communion with all the popes of yesteryears and of today, making allowance, of course, for the development of dogma, which proceeds with explanations and never by contradiction. When the necessity is imposed of having to choose between communion with the "popes of yesteryears" and the "pope of today," it is a sign that something is not going well within the Church. It is a sign that the "person" of the pope (or someone in his name) intervenes improperly in his "office." And just as a Catholic cannot, nor should not, be in communion with Pope Honorius I inasmuch as he favored the monothelite heresy,[50] similarly a Catholic should not, nor cannot, be in communion with Paul VI, inasmuch as he favored the modernism, the liberalism, the ecumenism condemned by his predecessors and invented a "dialogue," which is the negation of the dogma "extra Ecclesiam nulla salus [outside the Church there is no salvation]," by pretending improperly to direct the whole Church according to his personal views, distorted as well as distorting.

The criteria of choice

From what we have seen, it appears clearly that the criteria required to distinguish between the legitimate exercise of authority and "personal" initiatives of the trustees of authority are not subjective but objective and are given to every Catholic by the Tradition of the Church, "Guardian of the Faith."[51]

We must not ...distance ourselves from the early ecclesiastical tradition, nor believe anything other than what the Church of God has taught us through its constant tradition."[52]

True wisdom is the doctrine of the Apostles ...brought as far as us through the succession of the bishops."[53]

It is established that all doctrines consistent with that of the apostolic Churches, mothers and early sources of the Faith, must be declared true, because they keep without a doubt that which the Churches received from the Apostles, the Apostles from Christ, Christ from God ...We are in communion with the apostolic Churches; none have a different doctrine; that is the testimony of the truth."[54] BLK

For if the Magisterium instituted by Jesus Christ is a "living Magisterium," it is also a "perpetual Magisterium"[55] which cannot contradict itself without contradicting what the Church has received from the Apostles, the Apostles from Christ and Christ from God.

Ecumenism, an attack on the unity of the Church

Because the unity of faith is "the necessary foundation" of the "accord of wills" and the "agreement of actions,"[56] in short, of all unity in the Church, it follows that each time the hierarchy demands a "unity of communion" or of "government" in opposition more or less seriously to the "unity of faith," it attacks the unity of the Church.

Leo XIII gave it advance notice, as early as 1899, in Testem benevolentiae:

They [the Americanist (activist) bishops] hold, in effect, that in order to reach the hearts of the separated sheep, it is opportune to keep quiet about certain points of doctrine as if they were less important or to minimize them to the extent that they no longer have the meaning the Church has always held. To show how blameworthy is the tendency of this conception one does not need long speeches

...One must not believe either that there is no fault in this silence with which they cover certain principles of Catholic doctrine so as to wrap them in the obscurity of oblivion

...Because all these truths which form the whole Christian doctrine have only one Author and Doctor

...Let one beware not to subtract anything from the doctrine received from God or to omit anything for whatever reasons there might be; because he who would do that, would tend more to distance Catholics from the Church rather than to bring back to the Church those who are separated from it. Let them return; nothing indeed is dearer to our heart; let them return, all those who wander away from the fold of Christ, but through no other way than that which Christ Himself has shown."

Any commentary would be superfluous. Leo XIII notifies here that irenic ecumenism [cf. note 25] attacks the purity and integrity of the Faith and, on that account, the unity of communion in the Church. No need to show that it is exactly this ecumenism which is promoted since Vatican II and that to continue on the "irreversible" way of this ecumenism is tantamount to continuing to compromise the integrity and purity of the Faith, which the initiative of Assisi shows perfectly well, and therefore to tear apart the unity of the Church.

Let us note again that Leo XIII says "would tend to separate Catholics from the Church" because, in fact, no one can separate a Catholic from the Church unless he himself is guilty of such a separation; the temporary separation caused by the orientations of the hierarchy does not mean, in fact, a separation from the Church. On the contrary, the Dictionary of Catholic Theology writes:

The theologians of the Middle Ages, those of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries at least, are careful to note that schism is an unlawful separation from the unity of the Church because, they say, there could be a lawful separation, such as someone refusing obedience to the pope who would order something bad or unwarranted (Turrecremata, Summa de Ecclesia). This consideration could appear to be superfluous [which is not the case today] and one could think that just as in the case of an unjust excommunication, there would be a purely external and putative separation of unity."[57]

The "extraordinary" situation within the Church

The break between the unity of faith and a pretended temporary "unity of communion" with a hierarchy who omits, keeps quiet or alters the doctrine received from God and transmitted by the Church creates in the Church militant an "extraordinary" situation, that is to say, a state of affairs that is neither ordinary nor regular. The normal and ordinary situation of the Holy Catholic Church is that the orientation which is exteriorly commissioned to the hierarchy should favor, or at least not contradict, the orientation which its invisible Head gave them originally and which He continues to give through grace.[58]

On the contrary, when the hierarchy contradicts this orientation which Christ gave and continues to give, which no one has the right to change, it creates, inevitably, a situation of conflict and uneasiness amongst Catholics. This is a conflict between the orientation whose acceptation they strive to force and the sensus fidei of Catholics; between the direction which is imposed on their government and the conscience that each and every bishop has, or at least should have, of his own mission.

Uneasiness amongst the faithful is the consequence. They find themselves attacked in their Faith by those very people who should be their guardians and their teachers, and find themselves conscience-bound to resist those whom they would wish, and in normal times would have the duty, to follow as pastors. Uneasiness also follows among those bishops who feel in conscience the duty of resisting (that they do not do so, for various reasons, is a different matter) authority, which has the duty of ensuring unity of government in the Church, authority with whom they would be, and in normal times should be, in communion. This "extraordinary" situation in the Church imposes, over and above, extraordinary duties on all.

Extraordinary duties of lay people

Accused of not being in communion with the Church militant, lay people will answer with St. Joan of Arc: Yes, I unite but "I serve God first!" (Dieu premier servi!) Accused of being disobedient to the pope, they explain that "the Holy Ghost was promised to the successors of Peter, not that they might make known new doctrine by His revelation but rather that, with His assistance, they might religiously and faithfully explain the Revelation or deposit of Faith that was handed down through the Apostles"[59] and that "the power of the pope is not unlimited; not only can he not change anything which is of divine institution (to suppress episcopal jurisdiction, for instance), but he is to build and not to destroy (II Cor. 10); he is enjoined, through natural law, not to sow confusion in the flock of Christ."[60]

And in their hearts they sigh with St. Catherine:[61] "Your Holiness, make it so that I will not have to complain to Jesus Christ about you. I cannot complain to anyone else as you have no superior on earth."

In practice, faithful to the traditional doctrines and practices of the Church, they resist the "novelties" wanted, encouraged or allowed from above, believing against all human appearance and hoping against all human hope that the confusion will pass away because "the gates of hell will not prevail" and that the Bride of Christ cannot "lose the memory" of living Tradition.[62]

Their holy "objection of conscience" would appear to wound the visible unity of the Church: Catholics suffer from it but they know that they are not responsible for it. They know, above all, that they are not permitted to act in any other way. They love the Church and firmly profess the primacy of Peter; they are prompt to obey his successor in so far as he acts as successor of Peter; but they know also that, in the extraordinary state of affairs in which they live, they have the duty "in the name of One greater than he"[63] to resist him or anyone acting in his name.

The decision of their sensus fidei is encouraged by the great Catholic theologians. St. Augustine, St. Cyprian, St. Gregory "in the commentary on the famous episode of Antioch," Turrecremata, Banez, Vitoria, Suarez, Cajetan, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Thomas Aquinas and other experi­enced authors teach that in "a danger for the Faith" and "public scandal," particularly in doctrinal matters, it is not only lawful, but right, to resist publicly the hierarchy and the pontiff himself.

Lawful, because "just as it is lawful to resist the pontiff who attacks the body, similarly is it lawful to resist the pope who attacks the soul or disturbs the secular order, and, even more so, the pope who tries to destroy the Church."[64]

It is right because with the Faith is involved one's own eternal salvation, as well as that of others, and with salvation, the glorification that man owes, according to divine design, to his Creator. It is to His eternal law that should be referred all natural and supernatural relations between creatures, no one person being exempted.[65]

That is why St. Thomas writes:

Take note that if there were a danger for the Faith, subordinates would be bound to reprove their prelates, even publicly."[66]

And Cajetan adds:

One must resist the pope who openly destroys the Church."[67]

Duties and powers of bishops

If the extraordinary behavior of the present-day hierarchy justifies or even compels the faithful to a behavior so out of the ordinary, even more so does it require this of the bishops because of the heavier duties and the greater powers which are theirs in the Church.

From the fact of their greater duties

The bishops, present in the Church by divine institution,[68] "are not delegates or vicars of the pope, but really and truly in their own right, shepherds of souls."[69]

By virtue of their hierarchical rank, masters and guardians "of the Faith and of customs,"[70] the bishops are responsible to Christ for their divine commission.[71] This commission is undoubtedly made with and under Peter, but Peter has neither the right to annul it, nor to change it, nor to direct it towards other ends; just as the Church is the Body of Christ and not that of Peter, similarly the bishops, however subor­dinate they may be to Peter, are the servants of Christ and not of Peter.[72]

The papacy and the episcopate "are closely joined": "they are of two kinds, one supreme ...the other dependent ...of the same power which comes from Christ, which is directed to the eternal salvation of souls."[73] Thus a bishop cannot pretend to have done all his duty when he limits himself, just as a lay person would, to resisting only on his own account.

From the fact of their greater power

To take care of the eternal salvation of souls, each bishop receives:

  1. Immediately from God and through the intermediary of the Sovereign Pontiff, or directly from the Sovereign Pontiff but by divine right/'the power of jurisdiction "to direct the faithful that they may gain eternal life" and this through the means of the sacred Magisterium and of the legislative and judicial power.[75]
  2. Immediately from God, at the time of his episcopal consecration, the power of Order "to sanctify souls by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and by the administration of the sacraments," sacraments amongst which are those that regard the bishop himself, Confirmation and Holy Orders, this last allowing him to transmit the priesthood in its fullness (episcopacy).

Whereas the power of jurisdiction can be taken away, the power of Order is permanent. For this reason, the episcopal consecration by a bishop is valid even in the case where it has been declared illegal by the competent authority.[76]

The power and the duty of the papacy

In so far as they are ordered to the building up of the one Church of Christ, the episcopal mission and powers are undoubtedly subject in their exercise to the successor of Peter, by virtue of the primacy.

The pope, however, has only received the power to discipline men, has only received the mission and power of divine right, for the sole purpose of ensuring that the Church has a unity of government in the pursuit of its specific aim, which is the eternal salvation of souls.[71] He did not receive it to direct the episcopacy according to his own "personal views and, even less to let it take a direction contrary to that which Christ Himself has given, and which Christ continues to give, provided He does not meet any resistance, according to His formal promise: "Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."[78]

Thus, in instituting the primacy, Our Lord Jesus Christ did intend to leave His Church to the discretion of Peter and his successors. The Church is not multi-headed as the instigators of episcopal collegiality would wish; neither is she two-headed, as we have already mentioned; but if it is true that the episcopacy is limited by the primacy of Peter, this one too, in its turn, is "limited by divine right," which "requires that ecclesiastical authority, in agreement with its ultimate purpose, be used for the building up and not for the destruction of the Mystical Body of Christ."[79]

It follows that when he limits the power of jurisdiction of the bishops, as when he regulates the exercise of their power of Order, the pope is bound to act in conformity with the requirements of the glory of God, the good of the Church and the eternal salvation of souls.

These are more than rudimentary notions; today they are, however, obscured as never before in the mind of the very members of the hierarchy.

The election of bishops

It is a fact that "in the early days of the Church and at the beginning of the Middle Ages, the choice of a bishop by members of the clergy, by the people, or the nomination made by state princes, was not always and everywhere subject to the approbation of the pope. That, in these cases, there was an implied confirmation or a conferment by the pope of the episcopal power ...seems to be as much not demonstrable as incredible."[80] Hence the distinction is made by theologians between the authority of the pope, and the manner and the exercise of such authority.[81]

In fact, the exercise of papal authority on the power of Order of bishops has varied in the course of centuries, as a result of the needs of the Church and the requirements of the salvation of souls. This intervention did not exist during the first centuries, when the necessities of the preaching of the Gospel required that episcopal power should be exercised without limitation. Thus one sees the Apostles and their immediate disciples elect, consecrate and establish other bishops in episcopal sees.[82] Later, little by little and more and more up to the 14th century, the popes, to avoid the unwanted meddling of civil powers, began to restrict the election of bishops to themselves as "major cause"─that is to say, of major importance to the Church.[83] The present-day discipline, which foresees the excommunication of a bishop who has consecrated without pontifical mandate, was instigated by Pius XII, when he had to face the danger of a schismatic Church in China.

In the history of the Church there are any number of cases of bishops who, in extraordinary circumstances, when they found themselves in some of the same difficulties as these of the early centuries and, consequently, where the necessity arose of using their episcopal powers in all their fullness, consecrated bishops without adhering to the disciplinary norms of the time. They did so by virtue of this "law of supply [Ecclesia supplet]" which exists in the Church, as it does in all organizations, when the functioning of necessary and indispensable organs becomes endangered. Thus in the 4th century, St. Eusebius of Samosata travelled throughout the Eastern Churches laid waste by the Arians and consecrated and installed Catholic bishops.[84]

One could, in such conditions, reasonably presume the assent of the higher authority which could not but want the good of the Church and the salvation of souls. And the actual violation of the disciplinary standards, in force at that time, was justified by the "state of necessity" which correspondingly created a "right of necessity."

State and right of necessity

The state of necessity, and consequently the right of necessity, is one of the arguments put forward by Our Lord Jesus Christ when He wants to demonstrate the innocence of His disciples, accused by the Pharisees of having broken the laws of the sabbatical rest by gathering ears of grain to allay their hunger: Jesus recalls the episode of David who, driven by the necessity of hunger, "entered into the house of God, and did eat the loaves of proposition, which it was not lawful for him to eat, nor for them that were with him, but for the priests only" (Matt. 12:3-4).[85]

The state of necessity is considered by canon law as one of the causes which, in certain conditions, abolishes the imputability[86] of the "offence" which, then, is reduced to a purely material violation of the law.[87] Moreover, the official statement of June 30, 1988, from the Press Office of the Vatican referred, in the case of Archbishop Lefebvre, to this right of necessity, if only to deny it.

The state of necessity, as it is explained by jurists, is a state in which the necessary goods for natural or supernatural life are so threatened that one is morally compelled to break the law in order to save them.[88]

To be able to invoke a state of necessity and to be able to benefit from its corresponding right:

  1. there must really be a state of necessity;
  2. one must have attempted to remedy it by ordinary means;
  3. the "extraordinary" act performed must not be intrinsically evil and no harm must result to one's neighbor;
  4. in this breaking of the law, one must keep to the limits of the requirements really imposed by the state of necessity;
  5. in no way should the validity of the competent authority be questioned and that, on the contrary, one could presume that in normal circumstances, it would have given its consent.

All these five conditions are found united in the case of the episcopal consecrations carried out by Archbishop Lefebvre.

1. There is in the Church a real state of necessity.

There exists a state of necessity for souls who have the right to receive from the clergy the necessary aids for salvation, especially doctrine and the sacraments.[89] There exists a right of necessity for seminarians, who have the right to receive a sound priestly formation, particularly in the area of doctrine.

For souls:

On him who would deny the existence of a state of necessity, it would be incumbent to prove that the Faith and the transmission of the Faith amongst the Christian people are not seriously and gravely threatened:

  • a) by the new catechisms approved and imposed by the Episcopal Conferences;
  • b) by the sermons, by the Catholic mass media and notably by the so-called "Catholic Press"[90] which attacks, puts in doubt or denies the truths of the Faith and the principles of Catholic morals without any exceptions;
  • c) by the ecumenical initiatives of people, promoted at all levels of the hierarchy, initiatives which spread religious indifferentism which is "one of the most obnoxious heresies";[91]
  • d) by the new liturgy, particularly by the new rite of Mass which an Anglican convert, Julian Green, has described as "a rather gross imitation of an Anglican service”[92] and which the Calvinists of Taize consider suitable for the Protestant "communion service."

In particular, he would have to prove that this new orientation is neither wanted, nor favored nor permitted from above, or, at least, even if in the course of the last twenty years all the penalties foreseen by Canon Law for "offences against the Faith"[93] had been applied, to establish that the events for which Archbishop Lefebvre is today improperly penalized for an "offence" committed in the exercise of his power of Order would have happened anyway.[94]

As this is impossible to prove, the only thing to do, for one who stubbornly denies a state of necessity, is to contradict the Holy Ghost[95] by affirming that it is possible to please God ...even without Faith!

Lastly, to the few who object that not all is that far wrecked, we would remind them that in matters of Faith, he who doubts or denies even one single truth revealed or connected with Revelation, doubts or denies the whole of Revelation.[96]

For seminarians:

He who would deny the existence of a state of necessity for those who are called to the Catholic priesthood would have to establish:

  • a) that nearly all seminaries have neither been closed nor sold;
  • b) that the remaining seminaries provide the future priests with a doctrinal formation (not to mention the moral and spiritual formation) genuinely Catholic, free from liberalism, modernism, ecumenism, and heresies of all kinds;
  • c) that the two attempts undertaken by the Vatican to offer a valid alternative, in Rome itself, to those seminarians who had left Archbishop Lefebvre, were not a miserable failure, which the press recalled only recently;
  • d) that in the Catholic institutes and universities and in the Roman pontifical universities themselves, they do not teach an immoral moral theology nor a dogmatic theology which denies even the basic dogmas of the Catholic Faith (Resurrection, divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, etc.).

As this would be impossible to establish, all that remains is to declare that the formation of future priests is of no concern to the Church of God.

2. All the ordinary means have been exhausted.

To supply a remedy for the state of necessity of the faithful, Archbishop Lefebvre has himself founded a priestly fraternity which guarantees to souls a sound doctrine and the sacraments in the traditional rites of the Catholic Church. Moreover, following the example of St. Paul, he has not ceased, even publicly, to remind the other members of the hierarchy of their own responsibilities towards the "truth of the Gospel" and towards souls, thus incurring the hostility of his confreres in the episcopate, particularly of the French bishops and Paul VI himself.

To remedy the state of necessity of those who were called to the priesthood, Archbishop Lefebvre founded, at their urgent request, the seminary of Econe. When this seminary, recognized and flourishing in the midst of the general collapse of priestly vocations and of seminaries, should have been closed in pursuance of illegal as well as invalid measures, its founder, seeing himself being refused every possibility of obtaining justice from authority, proceeded also with the ordination of the first priests, thereby incurring a suspensus a divinis. During twelve years all rehabilitation was refused him and the most elementary justice not given to him. After the unprecedented, ecumenical "summit" of Assisi, Archbishop Lefebvre announced that given his advanced age, he found himself constrained to consecrate auxiliary bishops in order to ensure access to the priesthood of some three hundred seminarians who were studying in the various houses of the fraternity. It was then that Rome held out the prospect of proceeding to the consecration with a pontifical mandate in good and proper form without having, in return, to compromise on doctrine.

Very soon, however, Archbishop Lefebvre realized that the promise, by word of mouth and imprecise, of such a pontifical mandate, was only a deceptive bait. In a notice issued on June16, 1988, by the Vatican Press Office, one reads that in the protocol "to be used as a basis" for the "reconciliation," Archbishop Lefebvre and his fraternity were committed "to an attitude of study and of communication with the Holy See, avoiding all polemics on the subject of the points taught by Vatican II or with the reforms which followed and which they found difficult to reconcile with Tradition." This was clearly to be a "pact of silence."

The bitter experience of more than 20 years has largely demonstrated that to argue "in an attitude of study and communication" with the Vatican was something utterly useless; the only foreseen result of the "agreement" was the reduction to silence of the unique, authorized and disturbing voice which made itself heard at the time of the general auto-demolition of the Church. Later on, when it was requested that Archbishop Lefebvre apologize, in writing, to the pope for errors that he had never committed, the negotiations started with the promise to "respect the particular charisma" of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X. But this promise clearly appeared to be based on an ambiguity, as Cardinal Gagnon himself said to the Avvenire of June 17, 1988:

On our part, we have always talked of reconciliation; Archbishop Lefebvre, on his part, of recognition. The difference is not small. Reconciliation implies that both parties will make an effort to recognize past errors. Archbishop Lefebvre wants only that it be declared that he was right all the time, and this is impossible."[97]

No, Archbishop Lefebvre does not want a declaration according to which he alone is right; the text of the "protocol" is there to prove it. He wants only not to be asked to recognize "errors" which he has not committed, because that would be equivalent to rendering useless the fight for the Faith waged all these years, a battle which it would have been better never to have started if it should end in surrender. At this point of the talks, it became obvious that it was impossible to "collaborate" with a hierarchy whose dogged orientation would end, sooner or later, by requesting from Archbishop Lefebvre or his fraternity some compromise, some surrender, or at least some aiding and abetting silence.

It was then that Archbishop Lefebvre wrote to His Holiness John Paul II:

it isn't yet the time for a frank and effective collaboration ...We will continue to pray that modem Rome, infested with modernism, becomes again Catholic Rome and rediscovers it’s Tradition of two thousand years. Then, the problem of reconciliation will be solved."

Henceforth, facing the impossibility of securing a lawful pontifical mandate without having to compromise, nothing remained except to proceed with the consecrations by using the right, created by necessity, to depart from the letter of the law. To have kept to the normal discipline, which in this area governs the power of Order of the bishops, would have meant, in the present state of necessity in which souls and the future priests find themselves, having to sacrifice the salvation of souls because of a disciplinary rule of ecclesiastical law. This would truly have been a reversal of the proper order: discipline is in fact ordered to the salvation of souls, not the contrary. It is the preaching of Jesus in face of pharisaic formalism: the Sabbath is for man, not man for the Sabbath.[98]

The declaration broadcast by the Press Office of the Vatican, according to which the necessity "was created" by Archbishop Lefebvre, is therefore absolutely without foundation. The state of necessity in which souls and candidates for the priesthood find themselves was most certainly not created by him. The necessity of using his own power of Order outside the usual rules which exist for the good of the Church was created by whoever thought of taking advantage, in order to make him comply, of the state of necessity in which age placed Archbishop Lefebvre.

3. The act involved is not intrinsically evil and results in no harm for souls.

It is not intrinsically evil. As a matter of fact, episcopal consecration without regular pontifical mandate does not constitute in itself an "act of a schismatic nature," contrary to what can be read-incredible but true-in the decree of the Congregation for Bishops.[99]

In itself, it is an act of formal or material disobedience to a disciplinary rule of ecclesiastical law. Now, it is evident that it is not only according to common sense (one swallow does not make a summer), but also according to Catholic theology that an act of disobedience does not constitute a schism.[100]

And in fact, the Code of Canon Law until Pius XII foresaw for a consecration without pontifical mandate only a suspension a divinis and not an excommunication (brought in for reasons already mentioned). Even today, in the Code of 1983, such a consecration does not appear amongst the "offences against the unity of the Church"[101] but rather in the chapter of "usurpation of ecclesiastical duties and offences against the exercise of these duties."[102]

Cajetan specifies that there is no schism when the refusal of obedience concerns the matter of the thing ordered or the person of the superior, without however bringing into ques­tion his authority.[103]

Now, Archbishop Lefebvre not only does not question the authority of the pope, as we will show in greater detail in paragraph no. 5 (below), but furthermore he does not question the present discipline in the Church. He simply contends that using the existing rules may be to the detriment of the Church and of souls and would be today contrary to the raison d'etre of the episcopacy and of the pontifical primacy itself.

It is thus proven that the act undertaken by Archbishop Lefebvre is not intrinsically evil, because it is not of a "schismatic nature," nor is it inspired by schismatical intentions; and because the "disobedience" is strictly material, required as it is by the state of necessity that weighs on him and other people, it is also justified by the corresponding right of necessity.

Lastly, it is unnecessary to prove that an episcopal consecration does no harm to others. And to him who would object that the act of disobedience, even strictly material, constitutes a scandal for insufficiently well-informed Catholics, we answer with St. Gregory the Great: "Melius permittitur nasci scandalum quam Veritas relinquatur." “It is better to allow a scandal to arise than to betray the Truth."

4. The limits of effective requirements have not been exceeded.

In the material infringement of the disciplinary rule, Archbishop Lefebvre kept himself within the limits drawn by the requirements effectively imposed by the state of necessity and therefore acted within the framework of the right of necessity.

Already on April 27, 1987, the founder of Econe wrote to his priests:

The faithful who are still Catholic are in many places in a desperate spiritual situation. It is the call which the Church hears, it is for these situations that she gives jurisdiction [law of supply─Ecclesia supplet] ...and, for that reason we must go where we are called and must not give the impression that we have a universal jurisdiction, nor a jurisdiction over a country or a region. This would be to found our apostolate on a false and illusory basis."

And he added:

If one day it becomes necessary to consecrate bishops, these would only have the episcopal function of exercising their power of Order and they would not have any power of jurisdiction, having no canonical mission."

To those consecrated, he repeated:

The main purpose of this transmission is to confer the grace of priestly orders for the continuation of the true Sacrifice of the Holy Mass and to confer the grace of the sacrament of Confirmation to children and to the faithful who ask for it."

Thus, Archbishop Lefebvre did not assume the right to confer on the new bishops a power of jurisdiction which comes directly or indirectly from the pope; he did not organize, nor intend to organize, a parallel hierarchy (for instance, the bishops consecrated by him remain subject to the superior general of the fraternity), or even less, a parallel Church. He confined himself to transmitting the power of Order which a bishop receives directly from God at the time of his consecration in order that the new bishops could provide for the state of necessity of souls and of the candidates to the priesthood. And because in a normal situation the exercise of the power of Order conforms to fixed rules, Archbishop Lefebvre added:

I will confer this grace [of Catholic episcopacy] on you, confident that without delay, the See of Peter will be occupied by a successor of Peter, perfectly Catholic, into whose hands you will be able to deposit the grace of your episcopacy so that he may confirm it."

5. The authority of the pope is not put into question.

In view of what has just been written, it should be clear also that Archbishop Lefebvre has never questioned nor intends to question the authority of the pope either globally or for certain of his prerogatives. He makes a distinction, as he is justified in doing, between the junction of the pope and the person of the pope. For the pope can wholly or in part "renuere subesse officio Papae" (Cajetan) "refuse to accomplish the duties of his own position" by wanting, favoring or allowing a ruinous orientation of the Church (whether it should be by ill will, negligence, blindness or by personal blunders more or less culpable, is of no import; it is for God to judge).

That is why Archbishop Lefebvre, at the very time when he was going to proceed with the episcopal consecration without the regular pontifical mandate, wrote to the future bishops:

I entreat you to remain faithful to the See of Peter, to the Roman Church, Mother and Mistress of all the Churches, in the entire Catholic Faith, expressed in the Creeds of Faith, in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, in conformity with what you were taught in the seminary."

The episcopal consecration without regular pontifical mandate does not imply the denial of the pope's primacy, as has been said with incredible wantonness: this not only because this consecration was motivated and effectively justified by a real state of necessity, but also because one can and one must reasonably presume in favor of a reasonable act, accomplished for the good of souls and made necessary by the situation, which the pope would have approved in normal circumstance, that is to say, outside the extraordinary course of events which are objectively taking place in the Church today. It is unthinkable that the Vicar of Christ could wish or want the condemnation to death of the only Catholic seminaries where vocations flourish and a correct priestly formation is given, which is unobtainable elsewhere. It is unthinkable that he could wish or want the death of the sole Catholic apostolate which helps so many souls submerged in anxiety and deep spiritual poverty. As Archbishop Lefebvre said on this occasion, "The pope (in his function as pope) cannot but desire to continue the Catholic priesthood," that is to say, the Catholic Church, the building up of which is precisely his raison d'etre as pope.

The excommunication

All that has been said shows clearly:

  1. that there does not exist a "schism" of Archbishop Lefebvre, as it has been decreed with a great deal of superficiality, not without a fair amount of bad faith and─one must add─a suspect eagerness;
  2. that the excommunication cannot injure Archbishop Lefebvre because "a state of necessity creates a right of ne­cessity" which, according to the old as well as the new Code of Canon Law, renders non-imputable the material violation of the law;
  3. that neither does the excommunication affect the faithful who "want to follow the schism of Archbishop Lefebvre"[104]
  • a) because there is no schism;
  • b) because traditional Catholics do not "want" to join a "schism." On the contrary, their firm intention is to resist anyone, in order to stay within the Catholic Church. They do not follow the "person" of Archbishop Lefebvre; they follow Christ and His Church, resolute in that they will not drift either to "the right or the left" (Exodus).

If they continue to follow Archbishop Lefebvre, it is because "sciunt vocem Eius" Jn.10:4) they recognize in the words of this shepherd the words of their Eternal Shepherd, this Shepherd on whom the shepherds who succeed as time goes on are obliged to adjust their government. And when these faithful resist the other shepherds in the Church, it isn’t by inclination for rebellion, or disobedience or worse; it is because the "sheep do not follow the stranger but fly from him, because they know not the voice of the stranger" Jn. 10:4).

If today there is a crisis in the Church, as has been admitted by Paul VI and John Paul II, as Cardinal Ratzinger has admitted, it is precisely because the voice of the shepherd has turned into the voice of the stranger. The sheep do not recognize in this voice that of their Unique Shepherd, the voice of the Church, their Mother.

When Our Blessed Lord said to His Apostles: "He who hears you, hears Me," He did not delegate to the members of the hierarchy the right to have Him say what pleased them. Just as He taught what He Himself had learned from the Father,[105] similarly the Church teaches only what she was taught by Christ.[106] No distortion, no addition, no deviation, no contradiction, in a word, no "personal" unwarranted interference from pastors belongs in the Church, and her sons have the duty not to support it, if they do not want to be factually separated from communion with the Spouse of the Incarnate Word.


We hope and we pray that these recent events will be for all an occasion of deep thought and of light:

For the faithful, that they become aware of their duty to glorify God by their own sanctification. Correspondingly, they ought to recognize their right to receive from the pastors of the Church all the necessary means to attain that end: pure and entire doctrine, sacraments properly administered, and a liturgy which is an unequivocal profession of the Catholic Faith.

For the pastors, that they become again conscious of their duty to give souls all the necessary means for their eternal salvation. This is the only duty which gives the corresponding right to be listened to and followed by the flock.

For all, that the exact meaning of "obedience" be re-established by which one obeys men only because one wants to obey God, so that in case of conflict one obeys "God rather than men."[107]

From which it follows that, if the pastors assume, as they have done for nearly twenty years, a power which Christ did not give them and which is in contradiction with their duty as pastors, to suppress, to reduce, to cancel even one iota of the Truth received from Christ and transmitted by His Church, to alter the administration of even one sacrament, to impose even one ambiguous liturgical rite, the Catholic, whose duty is to prefer death to the denial of even one truth of the Faith or to the breaking of even one of God's commandments, has the duty to resist Authority in the name of God.

Otherwise, no amount of "obedience" would justify him before God for a more or less conceived apostasy.


1 Cf. for instance, the repeated praise of Gallarati Scotti, friend of the young Montini in L’Osservatore Romano (from now on OR) of 7-7-1976, of 1-14-1979, of 6-5-1981, etc.

2 OR of 9-8-1977.

3 OR of 6-10-1981.

4 See SiSiNoNo, 7th year, No.15, p.15.

5 Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Apostolicae curae of 9-18-1896.

6 St. Augustine of Canterbury, bishop sent by St. Gregory the Great to evangelize Great Britain, landed on the English coast in 597 with about 40 missionaries; established his first monastery in Canterbury and died May 26, 604.

7 See SiSiNoNo, 8th year, No.20.

8 Leo X, Bull Exsurge Domine of 1520.

9 OR of 11-6-1983.

10 Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum.

11 OR of 6-24-25-1985.

12 OR of 4-14-15-1986.

13 Avvenire of 10-20-1986. The dalai lama is considered as the reincarnation of Buddha.

14 OR of 9-17-1986: "Elements for a theological basis for the World Day of Prayer for Peace"; see also Civilta Cattolica of April 20, 1985: "Christianity and Non-Christian Religions."

15 Catechism of St. Pius X, No.124.

16 OR of 9-11-1986.

17 Pope's greeting to "Christians" in St. Ruffin's Cathedral in Assisi: OR of 10-27-28-1986.

18 The Italian edition was published by Ricciardi in Milan and Naples, and the French translation by the Nouvelles Editions Latines in Paris.

19 St. Thomas, in IV Sent., dist. XIII q. II a I ad 2.

20 Cajetan, In IIa-IIae, q.39, a. 1 No. 2.

21 St. Thomas, lla-IIae, q.39, a.1.

22 Gregory XVI, Encyclical Mirari vos (Denzinger [from now on Dz.]1613-6); Pius IX, Encyclical Quanta cura (Dz. 1689 and ff.) and Syllabus (Dz.1724-1755, 1777-1780); Leo XIII, encyclicals Immortnle Dei (Dz. 1867) and Libertas (Dz. 1932).

23 Compendio di Diritto Canonico, ed. Marietti, Turin, p.1320.

24 Cf. E.E.Y. Hales, La Chiesa cattolica nel mondo contemporaneo, ed. Paoline,1961.

25 Instruction on the ecumenical movement of 12-20-1949 by Pius Xll:

One must avoid that in a mentality called today irenic, the very Catholic Doctrine, whether in its dogmas connected to them, be assimilated or adapted in some ways to the doctrines adverse, by a comparative study and vain desire of progressive assimilation of the diverse professions of faith, and this to the extent that the purity of the Catholic Doctrine be hurt or that its certain and authentic interpretation be obscured."

26 See Romano Amerio, op.cit., chap. XVI Le dialogue.

27 Boniface VII, bull Unam Sanctum (Dz.468).

28 St. Thomas, IIa-IIae, q.39, a. 1 and Cajetan in IIa-IIae, q. 39.

29 Cardinal Journet, L'Eglise du Verbe Incarne. Desclee de Brouwer, Fribourg, 1962, vol.I, p.526.

30 Ibid., p. 524;Cajetan, De comparata auctoritate papae et concilii, chap. VIII, No 519.

31 Ep. XV, 2, quoted by Leo XIII in the encyclical Salis cognitum, June 29, 1896.

32 Leo XIII, Salis cognitum.

33 Homily De Paenitentia attributed to St. Basil, quoted by the Council of Trent and by Leo XIII in Satis cognitum.

34 Cardinal Journet, op.cit., p.524.

35 Quote of Bossuet, in Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique, vol. lX, col. 908.

36 See Dz.1839.

37 Matt.16:17-18.

38 Ibid.,16:23.

39 Gal. 2:14.

40 In all of St. Paul's Epistles.

41 In IIa-IIae, q.39, a.1, No. 6.

42 Op.cit., vol. I, pp.547 ff.

43 Ibid., p.626; vol. II, pp. 839 ff.

44 See Dictionnaire de Theologique Catholique, under "schisme."

45 On this subject, let one re-read Vatican I's Constitution Pastor Aeternus.

46 Dz.1821.

47 Dz.1969.

48 Leo XIII, encyclical Satis cognitum.

49 Pius XI, encyclical Mortalium animos.

50 The monothelite heresy pretended that there was only one will in Jesus Christ. It was condemned in 681by the Third Ecumenical Council of Constantinople.

51 Leo XIII, encyclical quoted.

52 Origen, Vetus interpretatio commentariorem in Matth. No.46,quoted as the two following in Satis cognitum.

53 St. lrenaeus, Contra Haereses, book IV, chap. XIII, No.1.

54 Tertullian, De Praescrip., chap. XXI.

55 These expressions are from Leo XIII in the encyclical previously quoted.

56 Satis cognitum.

57 Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique, under "schisme," vol. XXVII, col. 1302.

58 Cardinal Journet, op. cit., vol. I, p. 525, note 1 on the "monocephal" Church, that is to say, with only one head.

59 Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution De Ecclesin Christi, Dz.1836.

60 Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique, vol. II, col. 2039-2040.

61 Letter of Gregory XI.

62 Fr. Calmel, O.P., Breve Apologie pour l'Eglise de toujours, Difralivre.

63 Cardinal Journet.

64 St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice.

65 See Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique, vol. IX, col. 876-877.

66 IIa-Iae q.33 a 4 ad 2.

67 De comparata auctoritate papae et concilii.

68 Vatican I, Dz.1828; Acts 20:28.

69 Ludwig Ott, Grundriss der Dogmatik, ed. Herder, Fribourg, Germany; Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique, vol.V, col.1703.

70 Cardinal Journet, op. cit., vol. 1, p.506; cf. canon 336 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law.

71 I Pet. 5:2.

72 Ludwig Ott, op. cit.; Raoul Naz and other authors, Traite de Droit canonique, ed. Letourzey and Ane, Paris.

73 Cardinal Journet, op.cit., vol.1., p.522.

74 This question is still unresolved; see Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique, under "Eveques," vol. VIII, col.1703.

75 Parente-Piolanti Garofalo, Dizionario de teologia dommatica, ed. Studium, Rome, under "gerarchia."

76 Raoul Naz and other authors, op.cit., p.455.

77 Dz.1821.

78 Matt. 28:20.

79 II Cor.10:8; cf. Ludwig Ott, op.cit.

80 Ludwig Ott, op.cit.

81 Cardinal Journet, op.cit., vol.1, p.528, note1.

82 Tit. 1:5; I Tim.; Acts 14:22.

83 Raoul Naz and other authors, op.cit.; Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique, under "Election des Eveques," vol.VIII, col.2256 and ff.

84 Theod., Hist.eccl.,1, IV, c.12; Dom A. Grea, L'Eglise et sa divine constitution,1, II, chap. XI: Action du college episcopal.

85 Matt.12:3-4.

86 For a person to be punishable there has to be:

  • a) a breaking of the law;
  • b) that a person must be "guilty" of the violation, that is, that there be some grounds for that; and it is here that the state of necessity comes in;
  • c) the person must be a responsible person.

If he is not, he can't be punished although he be guilty of the offense.

87 Cf. canon 2205 §2 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law and canon 1323 No.4 of the New Code of 1983 which says

incurs no penalty [if] the person who, having broken the Jaw or a precept: ...(4th) has acted forced by a serious fear, even if it were only relatively, or compelled by necessity, or to avoid a serious inconvenience, except however if the act is intrinsically evil or if it causes harm to souls...."

88 Eichmann-Morsdorf: Traiti du droit canonique; Cf. G. May, Notwehr, Weiderstand, Notsand (Self-defense, Resistance, Necessity), Vienne, Mediatrix-Verlag, 1984.

89 Canon 682 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law and canon 213 of the New Code which says

The faithful have the right to receive from their sacred pastors the help which comes from the spiritual goods of the Church, especially from the word of God and the sacraments."

90 First in line for Italy is Civilta Cattolica with its editorials, then Famiglia Cristiana, sold in churches as well as many parish newsletters [In Ireland, The Irish Catholic─Ed].

91 Roberti-Palazzini, Dizionario de teologia morale, ed. Studium, Rome.

92 Julian Green, Ce qu'il faut d'amour a l’homme.

93 Book IV; IInd part, title I.

94 Ibid., title III.

95 Heb.11:6.

96 St. Thomas, IIa-IIae q. 5 a.3.

97 In a program of FR3 (French Radio) broadcast on the regional network, Jacques Devron asks the cardinal who responds:

All is well. Everywhere we see edifying things, excellent ones. We are trying to go everywhere, to see the different works that are done. And we find that much is done ...One can't expect a warmer welcome. Everyone speaks always of the pope, of the affection for the pope and for the Church."

One sees then that from the cardinal's own mouth, it is not only Archbishop Lefebvre but truly all the traditional Catholics who wished to be fully recognized.

98 Mc. 2:27.

99 OR of 7-3-1988.

100 St. Thomas, Summa Theologica IIa-IIae q.39 a 1 ad 2.

101 Book VI Sanctions in the Church, IInd part, title I.

102 Ibid., title III, can. 1382.

103 Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique: schisme et desobeissance, vol. XXVII, col.104.

104 Cf. OR of 7-2-1988, Italian translation of the Decree of the Congregation for Bishops.

105 Jn. 8:28.

106 Matt. 28:20.

107 Acts 5:29; cf. Roberti-Palazzini, op. cit., under "obbedienza."