From: Anonymous. You seem kind of inconsistent, calling the Vatican institution "semi-Catholic" on some occasions and "ex-Catholic" on others within your book. Would you comment on that?
Answer: It is true that I use both expressions. I must admit I had not planned it that way, however I think I used the phrase "semi-Catholic" in reference to the entire membership of the Vatican institution including lay attendees at their "services," many of whom are still "Catholic-at-heart" even though materially ex-Catholic owing to their having involuntarily gone over to the Novus Ordo, and furthermore there are some true "Catholics-in-fact" in both the Indult faction and the Eastern Rites. I used the phrase "ex-Catholic" in reference to the direction and prime focus of the entire Vatican institution "leadership" who are all, to the last man, primarily dedicated to the new anti-Catholic direction the Vatican institution has taken since Vatican II, despite the sympathy some have shown for the traditional Faith.
From: Anonymous. I notice you misspelled several words, in particular, the word "Beezlebub" comes to mind, since I just passed an instance (not the first) in your book. Can't you spell?
Answer: The misspelling there is deliberate; I wanted something that sounded vaguely nasty without it's actually being so, sort of like C. S. Lewis' Screwtape, or Slubgob, etc.
From: email@example.com (Website: http://www.tboyle.net/Catholicism.html). Here are some corrections [regarding your chapter on Thuc]:
"So well had he performed his professor duties that in 1938 Pope Pius XI named him head of the newly created vicariate apostolic of Vinh Long."
Correction: He was consecrated a bishop on May 4, 1938, and given the Titular See of Sesina.
Response: I think I already have his date of consecration but I was not aware of his claim to the Titular claim of Sesina. I will include this correction in my revision.
"when one of his brothers, Ngo Dinh Diem had risen to power, he gave Thuc the right to profit from a forested area which generated the needed funds."
Correction: What's the evidence for that? Diem came to power only in 1954, sixteen years after Thuc became a bishop.
Response: This detail is in Thuc's Autobiography.
"Their oldest brother, Ngo Dinh Khoi, had been buried alive along with his son by the communists."
Correction: They were killed by the Communists, but what's the evidence they were buried alive?
Response: This detail is in Thuc's Autobiography.
"In 1955, Ngo Dinh Diem ousted Bao Dai, the Chief of State of Vietnam at that time."
Correction: Bao Dai had abdicated as Emperor in 1945. His title after 1949 was "Chief of State."
Response: Did I call Bao Dai Emperor? I meant to say Chief of State. His previous role as Emperor (and abdication therefrom) is immaterial to to the history of Thuc, despite its relevance to the history of Vietnam as a country, and the overall trend against royalty.
"The United States had backed him in order to fight the communists, but unfortunately, he seems to have devoted the bulk of his efforts against the Buddhists instead.
Correction: The Buddhist crisis was a minor side-show and only in May-November 1963. It provoked US action against Diem, but was a minor issue in Viet Nam.
Response: Granted there were many greater concerns in Vietnam at the time, but the greatest single blunder by far of the Diem administration was their long term policy of favoring the Christians under the law at the expence of the Buddhists and other non-Christians. It is only in 1963 that these problems came to a head with Buddhists burning themselves, but the problem had been brewing since almost the beginning of the Diem regime. This shortsighted policy had the adverse effect of driving the sympathies of many Vietnamese towards Hanoi, despite their dislike and distrust of Communism in general, or Communists in particular.
"But Vietnam was about 90% Buddhist and scarcely 10% Christian."
Correction: Vietnam was only about 20% Buddhist; It was (and is) 70% Confucian - something completely different from Buddhist.
Response: The Asiatic religions are not mutually exclusive like our Western religions. It is quite possible and acceptible within the Asian cultures to be of two or even three such religions simultaneously! That 20% "Buddhist" refers (I think) to those who are "pure" Buddhists. Perhaps another 10% or so are "pure" Confucianists; the balance believe in both religions, even if many may put more emphasis on one or the other, with some miniscule number subscribing (exclusively or not) to the various other Asiatic religions (Taoism, Zen, Shinto, etc.). I have simply followed the practice of most other writers regarding the religion of the Vietnamese who almost always refer to them as "Buddhists." This is however a fair point and merits some mention in the revision of my text.
"Cardinal Spellman (who floated his boat down the Tiber river in the hopes that by so doing, he would fulfill the prophecy that the next pope would be a Pastor and Mariner) went from being a likely successor to the papacy..."
Correction: Spellman never had any dream of being Pope. No RC has ever taken Malachy's so-called prophecies as anything but hogwash.
Response: It is known that he arrived at the Conclave by boat, taken down the Tiber. It is not known whether he had this specifically in mind at the time, or else simply took that boat for other reasons now utterly lost to history. Perhaps the text should be reworded to say "(who floated his boat down the Tiber river causing some to think that by so doing, he would fulfill the prophecy...)" At any rate, Cardinal Spellman was certainly one of the most Papabile Cardinals to enter the 1958 Conclave, so such reasoning as this is not all that far-fetched. However, as we all know, the usual saying that "He who enters a Conclave a Papabile emerges a Cardinal" (one of the very few features the Post-Vatican II Vatican institution has in common with the Pre-Vatican II Vatican institution/Roman Catholic Church) once again held true as Cardinal Roncalli was elected, taking the name John XXIII.
"Diem and his brother Nhu had spent the night in Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church,..."
Correction: They spent less than an hour there. They spent the night at the home of a Chinese businessman.
Response: The Chinese businessman was probably a parishioner there acting under the advice of the priest, meaning that Diem and Nhu were still under the care of that Church, even if not physically located in it for much of the time. Perhaps the text should be reworded to say "...spent the night under the protection of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church, and a Chinese member of its congregation..."
Regards, Terry Boyle
Supplimentary note: The corrections listed here have been inserted into the text of the book.
From: Victor Aune (or Martha) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Re: your external link. You list the Abbe de Nantes as being sedevacantist. This information is most inaccurate and damaging to him. He would most vehemently deny it, and his writings clearly indicate that he has never been, nor is he now a sedevacantist.
Answer:First of all, there is nothing even remotely "disreputable" about being a sedevacantist. Many of traditional Catholicism's most educated, well-read, and erudite theologians are sedevacantists (John Lane, for example, or Patrick Omlor, des Lauriers, Cekada, Sanborn, etc.).
However, if his position has changed since the day he recommended to Abp. Lefebvre that he separate from "Rome," (a sedevacantist stance), that would be of interest to me. Where would you put him on the "spectrum" from sede at one end, through SSPX in the middle, to Indult at the other extreme of what could truly be called Catholic?
I'll say this for him: Alone of those who believe John Paul II to be a heretic, he has actually confronted the man with the charge and the evidences against him. Too many other sedevacantists seem all too content to discuss the heresies of John Paul II among themselves, but seem unwilling to let him know to his face.
His site is included because it is of considerable merit (as are many of the sites I include), not because of any absolute agreement with all of its contents (not that I know of anything I would take exception to). In the case of the Abbe, he is more known to me by reputation than by direct reading of all of his materials.
If you tell me what to put instead, I will change what it says on my site. Here are the choices:
Notes: SSPX here only means an SSPX-like position, not necessarily affiliation (or even friendship with) the SSPX, although it includes those as well. If one is listed, that alone is advocated by the site. If two are listed, the first has priority with them, or at least seems to be their preference, however mild it may be, to the second. "Categories" here refer to the site, not the person who runs it or writes most or all of its material.
Supplimentary note: The use of such descriptions for each site listed has been stopped, so all of this is no longer a concern.
From: Ecclesia Militans (email@example.com).
I visited your site for the first time earlier today, and was very impressed with the large amount of good and accurate information which is contained on it. But, as it is, I was very offended when I read your section regarding the "Feeneyites."
Ecclesia Militans, continued: While I do not consider myself a "Feeneyite," since I do not take my beliefs from Father Feeney, nor am I a member of the Mancipia Immaculata Cordis Maria, it seems that you are using the term in a general way which applies to anyone who does not believe that one can be saved without the Sacrament of Baptism.
Response: I appreciate your kind language here and hope that in some small measure I may return it. Among those who have been followers of the Saint Benedict Center, Fr. Feeney, and "From the Housetops," I have found many who are quite charitable, knowlegable, even among the most savvy when it comes to understanding many things, even the points I bring out in my book, and other more secular things such as secular politics. I also appreciate deeply the concern for the basic Church teaching that "Outside the Church there is no Salvation," and the valiant battle to keep that truth before the public eye in the face of increasing heresy and sympathy with false religions and false churches on the part of many weak and uneducated (even with degrees after their name!) Catholics which both those who subscribe to Fr. Feeney's teachings and we traditional Catholics have fought in the cause of Right and Truth.
Response, continued: However, I do most flatly and firmly take exception to the following four claims or "teachings:"
(One might regard that as my own little "Syllabus of Errors")
Response, continued: Now I ask, did Fr. Feeney teach these four statements, or did he not? If he did not, then why are his followers so keen on pressing certain claims which the man himself denied? If he did teach these things, these sheer novelties, then such teachings on his part most certainly brand him as a heretic, and publicly so because he attempted to teach these absurdities to everyone he met rather than confine them to the dark corners of his own mind. Such claims as these were never heard in the Church until the 1940's and 1950's. If the Church never explicitly condemned these four notions before, it is only because She never before encountered them. They are novelties, and it is therefore appropriate that those who adhere to them as opposed to the long-held teaching of the Church are therefore named for the man who invented them, hence the term "Feeneyites."
Response, continued: Really, the full absurdity of making such claims constitutes an attack against the Church, since it is tantamout to saying that the Church has been wrong for all these thousands of years, and only with the appearence of Fr. Feeney did anyone finally get it right. Now I realize that some popes have taught weak and ambiguous things (and in one case even heretical, but that was a private teaching, strictly, not a public one), which since had to be repudiated, and of course we have the present Vatican-II caused confusion which can spread more official sounding error in one month than the Church has endured in all the rest of Her history, but to claim that the Church can err, and remain in error over such a prolonged period of time, infallibly confirmed by so many, many popes, among them canonized saints, brings one to wonder, "Why bother be Catholic?"
Ecclesia Militans, continued: Your primary argument against those who hold that one cannot be saved without the afore-mentioned Sacrament seems to be that because Father Feeney disobeyed Pope Pius XII, and did not go to Rome when summoned, he was disobedient, and was therefore outside the Catholic Church. This is false!
Ecclesia Militans, continued: Disobedience does not throw one outside the fold. It does not make one a schismatic or anything along those lines. If there were no good reasons for disobeying the Pope, then certainly it would have been a sin. But is it a sufficient reason for one to be declared to be outside the Catholic Church? I think not.
Ecclesia Militans, continued: The refusal of obedience to various orders does not mean that one is outside the Catholic Church. In the state of sin, most probably - depending upon the order which was disobeyed. The "order" to go to Rome were canonically defective, as Father Feeney pointed out to Cardinal Pizzardo who was the one who gave Father the "summons." If you wish to learn more concerning this issue, I would recommend that you visit the following URL and read the information contained there concerning the entire "excommunication":
Ecclesia Militans, continued:In the first place, disobedience does not make one a non-Catholic, nor cast one outside the Catholic Church. In the second place, the summons were canonically defective, as Father Feeney pointed out.
Response, continued: These are historical facts, not disputed by anyone. Furthermore, he was excommunicated. That legislative act in and of itself most certainly DID put him outside the Church, even if he weren't already outside by virtue of his four above heresies. Cardinal Cushing was so far out in left field that I truly doubt that he either knew or cared whether Fr. Feeney taught the above four heresies or not. And for me it always comes down to the same question: "Why didn't he go to Rome?" And by that I don't merely mean "What canonical defects can he find to excuse himself from the otherwise absolute moral obligation to go and see the Pope?" That much is given in the reference above. No, I mean by it "What interest did Fr. Feeney have in seeking any canonical defects in that command in the first place; why not take advantage of this clear opportunity which saints have clamored for?" That has never been answered, satisfactorily or not. I can venture that I think it was because he was afraid that the Pope might have gotten wind of his doctrinal novelties and might say to his face "You MUST give up these novelties!" And if he were determined not to, then he would be excommunicated vitandus for heresy by the Holy Father himself, not merely by some relatively minor Vatican functionary for the disobedience (which was what had attracted the hierarchy to his case) but for heresy. Rather than face that risk, he chose to be merely "disobedient" and remain doctrinally a cipher to the Vatican. An excommunication for disobedience is, after all, far less serious than an excommunication for teaching heresy. This refusal to forward his claims in an important forum when he had such a ready opportunity reeks of one who prefers things to be gray and ambiguous and unresolved, one who is afraid to face the truth. Had it been me, I would have gone. Even in the present situation, if John Paul II were to offer to bring me to Rome to see him and explain my beliefs about traditional catholicism, I would go in a heartbeat! What sort of person wouldn't?
Response, continued: Furthermore, I would not be concerned about "canonical form" here, since this represented an opportunity for any real saint. As for the issue of obedience, it is not as if the Pope was ordering him to commit a sin (since when is it a sin to go have an audience with the Pope?). He wasn't being ordered to offer up Protestant worship, nor was he being ordered to behave in any way as if nor teach that false religions are as good as the true, only to go and see the Pope. By the way, did Cardinal Pizzardo agree with Fr. Feeney's claim about the order being canonically defective?
Ecclesia Militans, continued: If you state that one can be saved without the Sacrament of Baptism, then you are the one who is a heretic here, not Father Feeney. The Church has already declared on the subject of the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism in the Council of Trent. To cite the Sacred Council:
Ecclesia Militans, continued: Session 7, Canon 5 of the Canons on Baptism from the Decree Concerning the Sacraments:
Ecclesia Militans, continued: Can. 5. "If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, NOT NECESSARY FOR SALVATION, let him be anathema."
Ecclesia Militans, continued: This is infallible dogma, all Catholics are bound to believe it. It cannot be error because the Catholic Church has infallibly defined that the Sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation, as seen above.
Response, continued: I have never denied the necessity for the Sacrament of Baptism. What I deny is the absolute necessity of "Baptism in water." Baptism is a little like the Trinity, one God, three Persons. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, but the Father is not the Son and neither one of them is the Holy Spirit. Likewise, there is the one Sacrament of Baptism ("...one Faith, one Baptism,...") but it comes in three forms, by water, blood, and desire. But there are not three Baptisms, but only one, even though Baptism in water is not Baptism in blood and neither forms are Baptism of desire. All of those grand Church documents (to which I adhere utterly) say is that Baptism must take place, but no prejudice is made as to which form it takes in each case. And don't get confused by the word "form" which in other contexts would refer to the words one would use in a conventional Baptism of water.
Response, continued: If believing that Baptism may be of blood or desire as well as water is supposed to make me a heretic, then every Catholic Pope has been a heretic from the get-go. This can be seen quite easily. Just get out any standard Catechism (such as the Baltimore, which I will use here for illustrative purposes, the 1969 St. Joseph edition to be precise) and turn to the section on Baptism, page 153. Starting with question 320, "Why is Baptism necessary?" we see that this Catechism is fully in line with your above quotes from the Council of Trent. However it continues: question 321 asks, "How can those be saved who through no fault of their have not recieved the sacrament of Baptism?" (In this context, talk of the reception of the Sacrament is meant to refer to reception of the Sacramental ceremony of Baptism in water, the norm for the Church). After that, question 322 asks "How does an unbaptized person recieve the baptism of blood?" and again question 323 asks "How does an unbaptized person recieve the baptism of desire?"
Response, continued: If such things as Baptism of Blood and Desire were mere theological opinions, and minority ones at that, they would not be discussed in a Catechism for small children. And this is not the only one. Nearly every standard pre-Vatican II Catechism from all around the world reiterates this same teaching. Many holy Popes of the last couple centuries were raised on these catechisms and not a one of them ever came from their seminary training nor reception of the Papal office (along with its Infallibility) saying "Hold on, the Catechism of my upbringing contained heresy." Indeed, the very reverse happened. When Pope Saint Pius X wrote a Catechism (here we have the Infallible and sainted Holy Father teaching the Church in his official capacity as Pope a matter of Faith, he writes (question 17 under Baptism, page 71 in the Instauratio Press edition of the Catechism of Saint Pius X) "The absence of Baptism can be supplied by martyrdom, which is called Baptism of Blood, or by an act of perfect love of God, or of contrition, along with the desire, at least implicit, of Baptism, and this is called Baptism of Desire." So here, the Sainted Pope has taught Baptism of Blood and Desire. Did the Holy Sainted Pope err, or is Fr. Feeney off the mark? I opt for the latter, and thus stand with the Church. Nor is that all. Who canonized the Holy Innocents? (Baptism of Blood). That is an ancient belief in the Baptism of Blood.
Response, continued: Now I grant that a fair question comes up. If a person recieves a valid Baptism of Desire, or somehow survives a valid baptism of Blood, why ought they recieve a Baptism in water if they get the chance? Why not just say "Well, So-and-so got a valid Baptism of Desire, so he has no more need of any water Baptism"? However the answer is simple. Both Baptisms of Blood and Desire fail to confer the mark of the Sacrament until the final death of the person. The Baptism in water not only symbolizes, but Sacramentally enacts, that death on the person while still living. One of the symbolic qualities lost when the Church approved (in ancient times) the use of such a small amount of water to Baptize, as opposed to dunking the entire person, is the symbol of burial. Some attempt to translate the word Baptize as "immerse" which at least is an English word of similar meaning, but an even closer translation would be "drown." This drowning again implies death, as does being laid to rest under the water, just as being pulled back up again symbolizes one's resurrection of the body. Sin requires death. Adam and Eve had to die for their sin. We all must become dead to sin, either by our literal death (in the case of Baptisms of Blood and Desire) or our symbolic death (but a real death to sin, as we renounce Satan and his pomps and works, etc.) in water Baptism. It is the presence of that sacramental mark on our souls which enables us (if still alive afterwords, which is only true in the case of water baptism) to receive the other Sacraments lawfully and validly.
Response, continued: The First Letter of John, Chapter Five has much to say about Baptism, both our own as well as that of Christ on the Cross. Starting with verse one: "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. And every one that loveth him who begot, loveth him also who is born of him." No mention of water here, this is an explicit Biblical reference to the Baptism of Desire. We belong to Him and His life is in us from the moment we truly desire Him and it. The three forms of Baptism echo the three earthly witness bearers, the Spirit (Desire), the Water (Water), and the Blood (Blood), and thus each are made possible by the sacrificial death of our Lord, and derive their benefit therefrom.
Response, continued: I really have to wonder at the monsterous teaching that the Heavenly Father is not like the Father in the parable of the Prodigal son who, "when he [the son] was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." (Luke 15:20) Feeneyites would have it that the Father cares not of his son until that son has fully arrived, and washed up, and then the Father takes notice of him, "Oh, I didn't see you coming. How lucky for you that you made it. Now that you are back, and now that you have washed, only now are you finally welcome."
Response, continued: So, when I said, "Like all others who left the Church, he subsequently veered into error, namely the claim that a soul cannot be 'saved' unless literally baptized with water," and "The Church had already explicitly taught otherwise [from Fr. Feeney's unique interpretation], namely that a soul can be not only justified, but saved, by a Baptism of Blood or Desire," these statements are fully in accord with the "mind of the Church," and as such require no explanation:
Ecclesia Militans, continued: This is an interesting statement. I am very interested in seeing you back it up with evidence, and supporting it with citations from either a Church Council, or the Pope.
Ecclesia Militans, continued: Firstly, the Church has never condemned anyone who rejects the theories of salvation through "baptism" of desire and "baptism" of blood. You cannot condemn them any more than the Church has, and the Church has not done so. Secondly, you must prove that refusing to believe in these theories makes one a heretic and therefore a non-Catholic. Merely holding an error does not mean that one is outside the Catholic Church.
Response, continued: But the evidence has already been provided, and not by me alone. Twenty Church Councils have had every opportunity to condemn the feast of the Holy Innocents, if Baptism of Blood were heresy. And Pope Saint Pius X explicitly taught that the Baptisms of Blood and Desire are Catholic doctrine, to be believed, as shown above. So all the evidences needed to convince any honest person have already been provided.
Response, continued: We see, however, in the lack of any previous condemnation (I anticipate that one will come someday) of the above four Feeneyite claims, nothing more at work than another one of the few qualities the Post Vatican II Vatican institution has in common with the Pre-Vatican II Catholic Vatican institution, namely the fact that legal cases proceed at a glacial pace. Had the Church simply continued forward for about another fifty years without the interruption of Vatican II, I have not the slightest doubt that the above four Feeneyite claims would have been formally condemned as heresies. But as we know, events overtook the Church, and now there are far more important concerns than a subtle and obscure detail pertaining to one Sacrament, which furthermore has no practical impact on what we ought to do. Perhaps, in the absense of any formal condemnation, one could allow that the traditional Masses of Feeneyites might still be considered lawful where attendance at the Mass of, say, the Eastern Orthodox, would not. The latter are, after all, formally put out of the Church, and who knows but which so-called Feeneyites of today might repent once the Church, when better times return, should examine their claims and formally declare them heresy?
Ecclesia Militans, continued: Lastly, while I find much of the information on your site to be very good and very informative, I am sorry to say that your stance regarding so-called "Feeneyites" (i.e. anyone who doesn't believe in salvation through the "baptisms" of desire or blood) is both very offensive and erroneous. If you are going to attempt to present the Catholic Faith, I would very much appreciate it if you tried to do so accurately, rather than pontificating on matters which you have no authority/right to do so. Thank you for your time.
Ecclesia Militans, continued:In Our Lady of
John - webmaster Ecclesia Militans
Response, continued: I thank you for your appreciation for the other information on my site, but I must point out that as an ordinary lay catechist, I most certainly do possess the authority and right to teach out of any standard Catechism of the Church, such as I did out of the Baltimore Catechism above. Furthermore, as demonstrated above, I also possess the intellectual, scholastic, and moral competance to discuss this issue theologically. Fr. Feeney, if he taught the above four heresies, did not.
Response, continued A little more about those four heresies: Number 4 among them is different from the rest. It is a much newer claim than the other three. Up until a certain point, Fr. Feeney and his Boston community taught (along with the Church) that to die justified is to die "saved," and that the difference between being justified and saved is that one can be justified in this life, but only saved in the next. That fourth heresy came about thus: One day, in some formal public debate, Fr. Feeney (or some prominent representative of his) flat out lost, and was forced to condede publicly that, despite all previous denials by all Feeneyites, souls can, after all, be justified by Baptism of Blood or Desire. Rather than admit an honest defeat and close up shop (which would be the honorable thing to do), they took the only remaining path open to the sore loser: "All right! All right! All right! I admit it! That soul was justified, despite never having been Baptized in water! But that still doesn't mean he went to Heaven!" No doubt the audience got a big laugh out of that one. But embracing that absurdity was the only alternative to shutting down and admitting they were wrong. But think of what that means, a soul, truly justified and forgiven and redeemed by God, on the strength of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross, dying in a state of Sanctifying grace, and yet ending up in Hell merely because he never had water Baptism! Now THAT is nonsense! I challenge any and every Feeneyite, and for that matter the entire Feeneyite community taken together, to make even the slightest bit of sense out of that one!
John Thomson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I disagree with your explanation of how marriage annulments are handled in the SSPX, as you explain it in #6 on the webpage http://www.the-pope.com/readques.html.
A priest of the SSPX sent me a list of procedures that must be followed by SSPX priests with regard to marriage annulments. One of the procedures is that the SSPX priest concerned must have the person(s) seeking the annulment sign a statement that they will NOT seek an annulment from the local bishop (aka the Novus Ordo) while the SSPX annulment is in progress, and that they will further agree NOT to seek an annulment from the local bishop after the SSPX annulment process is finished, whether the SSPX grants them an annulment or not. If the person(s) seeking the annulment refuse to sign such a statement, the SSPX priest concerned must refuse to process their request for a marriage annulment.
I suggest you make inquiries with the SSPX to find out what procedures they must follow for marriage annulments.
God bless you.
Response:It appears that the standard SSPX procedure for processing annulments has changed since it was once reported some years ago as I previously described. From what I see above, perhaps it is to avoid the clutter of and confusion of having two annulment processes going on at the same time, or else drawing the SSPX annulment process into question.
Response, continued: The reality as to all the finer details of their policies I can only guess at, but the proper policies for believers to use if having recourse to the SSPX for an annulment would be simply to go to them first, and if not granted then that's it. The fact that one might reasonably be available from the Vatican institution means nothing since the SSPX uses Catholic standards to decide if one is called for. If by any remote chance it is granted by the SSPX, then if the couple wish only to deal with fellow believers in the SSPX, then that is fine and they need not pursue it further. On the other hand should they later elect to fellowship with Catholics from other communities (such as Indult), and if they happen to have baptismal records with the Vatican as well, they should proceed to get (no question of being able to get it) their annulment from the Vatican institution as well, previous "promises" to the contrary notwithstanding, since such a promise cannot be binding.
Response, continued: Perhaps the change reflects certain practical issues which sometimes arose in the previous format, for example if a couple obtained an annulment from the Vatican, but then the SSPX subsequently reviewed it and found the marriage valid (and annulment invalid) after all, then what were the parties involved to do? Such might prove a powerful temptation to leave the traditions of the Church and return to the Novus Ordo. Similarly those who might have approached the SSPX first, and failing to obtain their wanted annulment, may have sometimes decided to turn to the Vatican, knowing that they could get one there, and casting aside marital honor in favor of their desires to marry another.
James Reyes (email@example.com).
Just a point of correction. Clemente Dominguez is still alive and Michael I was not a child when elected "pope". I can offer you newspaper clippings to prove it.
Response: I'll see about fixing those. I do remember once saying that Michael I was a "child" because when I wrote that the only (severly limited) source of information I had on him said he was a "child." Looking back on what it said, I obviously misunderstood that souce which apparently meant only that by comparison to the others (to say nothing of the 33-1958 era Catholic popes) he was unusually young, a "child" in comparison to the others, although still a grown man in fact. Perhaps the phrase "very young man" would do better?
Response, continued: Do you happen to recall where I said that Clemente Domingues was dead? That sounds like it would have to be some outright mistake. Perhaps reports of his death have been greatly exaggerated...
Response, continued: Anyway, thanks for reading and God bless.
First of all I would like to commend you on the incredible labour you have exerted in seeking to create a website that responds to the need of the traditionalist community for ever increasing knowledge of the horrible crisis that now assails us. I myself, though well versed in theology (yet never versed enough), am a recent convert to the Catholic Church and now to Traditional Catholicism. The testmony of the fathers, and the mere flavour of their language is enough to convince the honest heart that the church has changed its tone and its voice and its words and its teachings since that horrible decade of the 1960s.
That being said, and praise rightfully heaped upon you for your efforts, I do have one thing that I must object to. It is your condemnation of geocentrism. That this is the unanimous teaching of the church fathers cannot be denied even one iota. That it is taught again and again as the proper interpretation of the sacred writings, even over against certain of the pagans cannot be denied. This is in short what the church taught during the time of the apostles and afterwards, and therefore forms part of the infallible deposit of faith. I do not see merit in your objections to geocentrism. One of your objections is that missile trajectories must be calculated with the spin and movement of the earth around the sun in mind, proving that the earth moves. But this is assuming was is yet to be proven, because it is clear that through the Lense-Thirring effect and the fact that the cause of gravitational force is not known, but merely that gravity exists- that the calculations required could be just as much the result of resistance to the gravitational, electromagnetic, and other forces exerted by a rotating star system and planetary field around the earth, coupled with a "wobbling" of the universe about an axis (thereby explaining the rotation and revolution of the earth to use heliocentric terminology).
So what do we prefer then? The atheistic conception of a universe where God prizes earth as a mere speck at the edge of a random galaxy, or the true interpretation of the church where man is at the center of God's creative plan and redemptive schema? If one is an atheist it would be absurd to posit a still earth and a revolving star system, but as a Catholic it is absurd to posit the opposite.
Response: First of all I must thank you for your kind words regarding the value of the theological material on my site, and your willingness to take the time to write me with your objections and suggestions for improvements. You are a special soul and I hope to be able to return some of that kindness. However, geocentrism cannot be considered a "Catholic doctrine," if only for the fact that it is not a doctrine at all, merely an opinion, and not a very well-founded one at that. Vatican I explcitly taught that the Church's and Pope's infallibility is limited to the domains of Faith and Morals. Now unless you want to claim that the Church had already gone astray by then, you must accept the conclusion of that Council. If you choose to reject it, then you have a "Catholic Church" which has propegated error for well over a hundred years, or else you must be able to explain just who it actually was that has served as the Church since some unspecified point prior to then.
Response, continued: Neither does it "do" to claim that all interpretation of Scripture comes under the heading of either Faith or Morals. Attempts to interpret Scripture regarding the nature and timing of historical events or scientific facts in particlular has never been regarded as referring to either Faith or Morals, and so churchmen can only produce opinions on such issues, based on their flawed, fallible attemtps at reading Scripture.
Response, continued: It is the plain evidences of my eyes and ears and other God-given sense-organs that demonstrates to me the rotation of the planet Earth, the same source of all information we know. If I can trust my eyes to read a Bible or a Papal declaration correctly, then I can at least as reliably trust them to show me whether the world turns or not. Such questions are not within the domain of Natural Law, and nothing else is written by God on the hearts of men as infused knowlege. Everything else we know we learned through the same senses that show a turning earth. The Earth in every way acts exactly as if it were rotating at the speed given in that article, so why not simply assume it really does? Because some prominent churchmen of days gone by misread the Bible? Not a one of them would have insisted on their interpretation if they knew what we know today. Anyway, I only wanted to defuse the speculations against science that would only serve to discredit Catholicism were they to hold sway over large numbers of Catholics. We must be as open to the wonders that God shows us through His Creation as we are through revelation and His Church.
From: John M.
Your sight is interesting. And I would really like to read more, but your background and foreground color combinations are atrocious. Most contrasts are too difficult to read. Why not make available a plain black and white format for those who would so prefer. Is this an empty attempt to novelty? Sorry. I really do not mean to complain.
From: C. Zend
It would be very helpful to people like me, whose old eyes tire easily, if you would replace the bright yellow, orange, blue, etc. backgrounds of your pages, and replace them with just plain white.
Many thanks for your consideration.
Response: Now that more than one person has complained about the color scheme of my site, perhaps I might want to look into it. For now however, do bear in mind that I merely strove to give the various parts of my site their own distinct personalities, to reflect the difference between being in the traditional Catholic Library versus the Questions and Objections page, or the What's New page, or the Topical Subject Index page and so forth. Once you get into the articles and books themselves however, you will find that there I either use black lettering on a pale blue background (cyan, actually) for my books, and black lettering on a plain white background for all other articles. Only the entry pages use the different colors, yellow for the main to reflect the gold (of gold and silver have I none... symbolizing the Papacy) to reflect my site's URL the-pope, green for my external links page (because of the fecundity of the sites pointed to therein), a coffee colored brown for the coffee-like stimulating questions and answer page, red for the What's New page to call attention to new items added, and so forth. Perhaps I can someday "shadow" these indexing pages with plain white equivalents for those who have difficulty with the colors, but give me some time to figure out how to work this out.
From: Ken Ruddy.
Sirs, I am a Traditional pre-Vatican11 Catholic. However I don't think you should have such a hate site like that Holy War site. I feel it doesn't belong as a link in your otherwise beautiful website.
Thank You and God Bless
Response: I think you are right. Once upon a time they once had some articles of real interest regarding the situation of the Church, but these articles can no longer be found on it and all that seems to remain is the hate. I have therefore (finally!) removed it.
From: M. T. C.
In your history of the development of the Ecclesia Dei movement, you discuss a point in FSSP history when they were debating whether or not they were permitted to celebrate Mass using the Novus Ordo. You said that if you were an FSSP priest, you would tell the local Bishop that you would concelebrate with him only if he did the Chrism Mass according to the Traditional liturgy. You also noticed that none of the FSSP priests thought of this solution. I believe I know why.
In the Tridentine liturgy there is no option of concelebration, ever. The priests who gathered for the Bishop's annual Chrism Mass did not used to concelebrate with him. Concelebration was reintroduced by the Second Vatican Council, having been a long defunct practice within the Latin Church, which the Council seemed to think would be pastorally beneficial in the modern day and thus revived it. Be glad neither the FSSP nor the Vatican thought of your solution; that would likely have seen the conflation of the two rituals! That would be bad. So, that is why the FSSP priest would need Novus Ordo facilties to concelebrate at a Chrism Mass.
Response: Well, that just goes to show the kind of innocent mistake a simple layman like myself can make. Thank you for pointing that out. In the revised text for my book, I have corrected this fault. In point of fact however, I should point out that traditional Catholicism and the tridentine Mass is not about "liturgical fussiness" but about about seeking to worship God as God instructs instead of as Man invents. A sincere but simple-minded and sloppy tridentine Mass is worth infinately more than the most flawlessly performed reverent, valid, and sonorous Latin Novus Ordo. That is because the first is offered in union with the Church whereas the latter is not. And furthermore, were I a FSSP priest and my bishop saying a tridentine Chrism Mass, I most certainly would be willing and eager to serve in it in the role of Deacon or Subdeacon, or other (lesser) server. All the same, that would not constitute a "concelebration" as such, and I do stand corrected on this.
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