Note: The Producers of the video, the "In the Spirit of Chartres" Committee, Inc. (ISOC), consider the following unsolicited letter by Mr. John F. Arnold of Breezy Point, NY, to be an outstanding presentation of the Committee's own position regarding Mr. Ferrara's views. His concluding his letter by attempting to explain the current situation in terms of Our Lady of Salette is of course mere speculation on Mr. Arnold's part and is not endorsed by either this Webmaster nor the ISOC Committee.
September 29, 1999
22 Roosevelt Walk
Breezy Point, N. Y. 11697
Dear Mr. Ferrara,
I have your Sept. 23rd letter concerning the video tape entitled "What We Have Lost" produced by ISOC Committee, Inc..
You take exception to the statements among others that "serious questions of validity" have been raised and that "a reasonable doubt as to the validity of any sacrament is sufficient cause to avoid it." You go on to say that you do not doubt the validity of the sacraments as presented in the post-conciliar rites and that the real danger is in their failure to convey Catholic truths. You rightly point out that the "Magisterium alone" can pronounce authoritatively on these matters as if the questions of validity had never risen before.
The fact of the matter is that the Magisterium has pronounced on these matters before. I'm afraid your position only tends to further confuse those Catholics who are aware of what the Church has had to say on the subject during previous dogmatic and infallible councils and the Ex-cathedra pronouncements of past Popes.
I refer you to the Council of Florence in the year 1442. Following is the Council's pronouncement:
"In the consecration of the Body of the Lord this form of words is used: "Hoc est enim corpus meum;" and in that of the blood: "Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei, novi aeterni testamenti, mysterium fidei, quid pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum."
(For this is My Body : For this is the chalice of My Blood, of the new and eternal testament : the mystery of faith : which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins.)
When Pope St. Pius V commands priests to adhere to this form in his Missale Romanum he does so on the basis of this decree of the Council of Florence. In the chapter entitled "De Defectibus" after quoting the same, exact words as above he goes on to say "If anyone removes or changes anything in the Form of Consecration of the Body and Blood, and by this change of words does not signify the same thing as these words do, he does not confect the sacrament."
By mistranslating the English formula, removing a part and substituting words the validity of the sacrament is clearly suspect since it goes against the infallible pronouncements of the Council of Florence and the Missale Romanum of Pope St. Pius V.
Throughout history we have been instructed by Dogmatic Councils and ex-Cathedra statements of the reigning Pontiff of the time that to tamper with the matter and/or form of the Sacrament was to incur censure and anathema. The Critique of the Roman Theologians on the Novus Ordo clearly states that there may well be a case for invalidity here.
The words of the Consecration as they appear in the context of the "Novus Ordo" may be valid according to the intention of the ministering priest. But they may not be, for they are no longer ex vi verborum (by the force of the words used) or more precisely, in virtue of the modus significandi (way of signifying) which they have had till now in the Mass. Will priests who, in the near future, have not had the traditional training and who rely on the "Novus Ordo" in order to "do what the Church does" make a valid consecration? One may be permitted to doubt it.
I'm sure you have access to the many writings and pronouncements dealing with these matters from the Cenacle to Vatican I. That's why it is surprising in view of all that has been said to understand how an honest suspicion of the cataclysmic developments of the past thirty seven years, many of which have denied, changed, or redefined the infallible teaching of the Church, (not merely errors of judgment) can be construed as an attack on the Catholicity of the Church.
If, on the other hand, these decrees are no longer in effect then it must be explained when they were invalidated and by whom and what authority they have become subordinated to Vatican II and the tinkering of Paul VI and his Protestant advisors. And if the Concilar Popes speaking through a Pastoral Council impose on us a new Mass, a new theology, new attitude toward the Saints and the Virgin Mary, redesigned sacraments, communal worship, ecumenism, Communion in the hand, the Vatican Moscow Accord, the Balamand Statement, ignoring the requests of Mary at Fatima, the shame of Assisi, Masonic presence in Rome and a host of other novelties and outrages, previous infallible condemnations notwithstanding, then we have the right to question their fallible directives and the validity of everything they do that does not have a foundation in tradition and the infallible teaching Magisterium.
The Magisterium is ours to use as a point of reference in differentiating between right and wrong, heresy and orthodoxy, Catholic truth and the errors of false religions. Matters theological on which the Church has not ruled must indeed wait for the Church to speak. But on those things that she has clearly defined infallibly, no discussion is possible. "Rome has spoken...The matter is closed."
At La Salette the Virgin Mary warned that "Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of Antichrist" and "The Church will be in eclipse, the world will be in dismay." The Conciliar Church has buried La Salette and Fatima quite thoroughly. To question the validity of what has been done in certain areas is not questioning the Catholicity of the Church but rather the apostasy that is destroying it.
I've enjoyed your writings over the years but in this matter I must respectfully disagree.
John F. Arnold
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