Rama P. Coomaraswamy, M.D.































The Magisterium of the Church and Related Issues




Chapter I General Introduction

Chapter II The Sacrament of Order

Chapter III Extreme Unction

Chapter IV Confirmation

Chapter V What happened to Confession

Chapter VI Baptism

Is Baptism of Blood and Desire a Catholic Teaching?

Chapter VI Essay on Catholic Marriage

The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail







This book is primarily written for Catholics who are unhappy with the changes introduced by Vatican II and the post-Conciliar Church. Hopefully, it will enable them to sort out the issues and to act appropriately as Catholics.

Some of these chapters have been published separately or are available as essays on this web page. They are nevertheless included within the body of this text in order that this book can be presented as an integrated entity.

It is always necessary to establish common ground with the reader. With this in view I would propose that all Catholics by definition believe in God; believe that Jesus Christ is God (and man); that Jesus Christ established a visible Church; and that this Church is what is commonly called the Roman Catholic Church.

There can be little discussion about the first two principles for no Catholic as a Catholic can deny the existence of God or the divinity of Jesus Christ.

What creates confusion in these days is the nature of the visible Church that Christ established. Its character was quite obvious for some 1900 years - up to the time of Vatican II. It taught the same doctrines and used essentially the same "Apostolic" rites and sacraments since its foundation. These have generally been referred to as the "deposit of the faith" which it is the Church's duty to guard and reserve unadulterated till the end of time. This principle is incorporated in the creed where we say "One, Holy, Apostolic and Catholic" Church. However, subsequent to this Council changes were introduced in doctrine and rites which have raised a serious question: "is it the same Church?"


As there is only one God, only one Jesus Christ, and hence only one Revelation, it is clear that there can only be one Church. Now the post-Conciliar Church claims to be that Church despite the fact that this new organization has changed the rites and doctrines which were inherited from the Apostles and which were held and/or taught up to the time of Vatican II. It is precisely this which has confused the average thinking Catholic.

Only two possibilities exist. Either the "post-Vatican II (also called the "New" and "Conciliar" Church) has changed from the Church as it existed prior to the time of this most dubious "council," or the two churches are one and the same and the "changes" that have occurred are not of a substantial nature. If one holds that the "New Church" is significantly different from the traditional (tradition meaning "handed down")

Catholic Church, one is obliged as a Catholic to adhere to that Church which Christ founded. If on the other hand one believes that the changes instituted in the wake of Vatican II are insignificant and not substantial, one is obliged as a Catholic to accept and respect them.

There is much talk today about "the Faith." Faith of course has two aspects. First of all, it is objective and as such pertains to the doctrines taught by the Church as part of Revelation. As such Faith is a "gift." But faith also has a subjective aspect which relates to our acceptance of what the Church teaches. The Faith (and not some vague feeling which passes for faith) is important for as St. Paul said, "it is impossible to please God without faith." The objective aspect of faith or the teaching of the Church is incorporated in what is called her Magisterium which is defined in the first section of this book. No Catholic can knowingly deny or reject what the Magisterium or teaching authority of the Church holds to be true without placing themselves outside the Church. We (subjectively) must give our assent to this teaching authority. To refuse to do ,so is to deny Christ who defines Himself as the Truth.


Many Catholics are confused by what has happened to the Church. Much of the confusion lies in the Catholic desire to be "in obedience" to the pope who is or should be Christ's vicar or representative on earth. What is forgotten is that obedience is a "moral" virtue, and as such ranks lower than the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. In other words, obedience is fine, but one must be aware of just what one is in obedience to. If one is in obedience to a false faith, one in essence apostatizes from the Catholic Faith. If one obeys a pope who himself is not in obedience to Christ, one places oneself in disobedience to our Divine Master.


Anyone who attends the Tridentine Mass or rejects the teachings of Vatican II, places him or herself in disobedience to the post-Conciliar popes. This brings us to yet another tactic of those who would sit on the fence. They claim that the doctrinal changes introduced and promulgated by Vatican II are "pastoral" and not "doctrinal," or again, that only the "extraordinary teachings of the Magisterium" (which are given once or twice in a century) demand our intellectual assent. Now both the Ordinary and the Extra-Ordinary Magisterium are part and parcel of the "teaching authority of the Church." Both demand our intellectual assent as Catholics. What are we to say when we find that the post-Conciliar "popes" have "magisterially" declared the documents of Vatican II to be the "highest form of the ordinary Magisterium" to which every Catholic "must give their intellectual assent." It follows that anyone who considers himself to be in obedience to the post-Conciliar hierarchy must accept ALL the teachings incorporated in the documents of Vatican II as well as all the Sacramental changes subsequently introduced. They must further abstain from attending the Tridentine Mass or the "Mass of All Times" as it has been so correctly labeled.

Many Catholics have rejected the changes introduced. They hold that to refuse to obey a pope who is himself no longer in obedience to Christ, in no way denies the authority of the papacy. It is because of their respect for this institution and their knowing that no Catholic can be saved if he or she is in disobedience to the true Vicar of Christ, that they refuse to obey an individual who they see as lacking all true papal authority. According to Plato a king must rule by divine law (i.e., by enforcing God's laws). Should he command or rule in his own name or by his own authority (as against God's), then he becomes a tyrant. The same is true of the individual who sits in Peter's chair.

"One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic." These are the criteria. Is the post-Conciliar Church one with the Church that Christ established and which has been maintained through 19 centuries? This is for the reader to decide. Is it Catholic, which is to say "universal" in time and place or is it a local phenomena established after the close of Vatican II? Is it Apostolic in the sense that it uses the same rites and teaches the same doctrines that the Apostles did? Again, this is a decision that every Catholic must make. Finally, is it Holy? This is hard for individuals to judge. However its fruits are certainly of a dubious nature. Millions of Catholics have abandoned the faith; thousands of priests and religious have abandoned their vocations. Confessions and baptisms are down. Conversions of former Catholics to other religions abound far in excess of those entering the Church. Certainly, it has canonized a enormous number of saints under new and relaxed regulations. But at the same time it has refused to canonize such individuals as Pius IX and Merry de Val, individuals whose canonization process has been completed under the old rules. Little is it realized that the criteria for sanctity have been changed. Instead of the time honored procedures which involved an examination of the life and writings of the individual involved, it is political expediency which is now the fundamental criteria. The "devil's advocate" no longer functions and miracles are no longer required. But all in all, it is not for us to judge of holiness.


And so it is that Catholics must make a choice. It is hoped that these essays along with my book on The Problems with the New Mass will assist them in doing so.


Rama P. Coomaraswamy





The essays in this book were written over many years. Some have been published in several languages, others have had great difficulty in being published at all, and have reached friends and colleagues only in mimeograph form. At the request of several readers I have brought them together under the title of "The Problem with the Other Sacraments." The title has been chosen because in many ways they are a sequence to my book on The Problems with the New Mass published several years ago by TAN.


The first essay is the last written. It deals with the criteria available to Catholics in these confused times for deciding what to believe and how to act. It is perhaps the most important essay because everything that follows flows from the criteria it establishes (or more precisely, resumes).


What follows is a series of chapters dealing with the changes in the Sacraments other than the Mass. After a General Introduction which deals with the principles of Sacramental Theology, the post-Conciliar changes in the sacraments are discussed. How does the Church judge the validity of a Sacrament and what is the extent to which we must as Catholics demand these criteria be fulfilled by the clergy? Have the changes in the Sacrament of Holy Orders, especially those involving the Consecration of Bishops, rendered them null and void? And if this is so, are priests ordained by such falsely consecrated "bishops" indeed priests? The chapter (originally an essay) dealing, with this critical matter has been in print for well over ten years, and has been translated into French, Spanish and German. To date it's contention that the rite for consecrating bishops, while highly acceptable to Protestants, is barely Catholic and is almost certainly invalid, has never been refuted.


I am grateful to Father Dominic Radecki CRMI for his contribution on the changes in the rite of Baptism. The issue of Baptism is complex. One does not have to be a Catholic to baptize a Catholic, though of course one must use the correct form and intend to do what the Church (or Christ) intends. Many Protestant baptisms are valid, and in so far as most Protestant sects continue to baptize, the need to totally destroy this rite was not present. However, innumerable and highly significant changes were made and a multiplicity of different Baptism rites for different occasions created, each with a host of "options." Underlying these changes are significant alterations in the understanding of the purpose of the rite. This in turn may well effect the intention of the officiating minister and hence may well vitiate validity even though proper form and matter are used.

Each of these chapters have been read by many traditional priests both in this country and abroad. Their suggestions, comments and corrections have been incorporated. The list would be too long for me to name them all. Many of the articles are used in traditional seminaries in this country, Europe and South America. Some will find their contents offensive, but it is my sincere hope that in all that I have said, I have but faithfully reproduced the teaching of the Church of All Times. If it can be shown that I have been in error on some points, I shall be most grateful for correction.

Rama P. Coomaraswamy