WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
An Address to my fellow Legionaries of Mary
By Griff Ruby
Imagine, if you please, the following scenario, not a fiction, not a hypothesis, but one which many Catholics like yourself are presently confronted with:
Some good friends of yours in the parish practice contraception. You know this, not merely through gossip or rumor, but because these good friends of yours admit it openly. Like yourself, they are all very involved in the Parish. They are active in several Parish organizations, even lead one or two of them, and are without a doubt the kind of self-sacrificing volunteers every community needs more of. They are active in many of the same Parish organizations you are and you very much enjoy working with them on the various projects undertaken by these organizations.
You know that they are wrong, and sinning, by their practice of contraception, and you have told them so on several occasions. Their response is always, "But our priest told us that this is strictly a matter of our own conscience, and our conscience is clear about doing this." You know they are telling the truth about the Parish priest, since you have heard that priest, your longtime regular confessor, teach as much from the pulpit. He has even brought up this topic and said that "contraception is simply a matter of your own conscience; you are adults now, who can think for themselves, and if you donít think itís a sin then itís not," at weddings he has performed.
Mind you, your Parish priest is in no (other) way a bad person. When he prays, he prays with such depth of sincerity and compassion that there is no room to doubt the holiness of his prayers. And who could ever forget the way he helped your best friend through her bereavement at the sudden loss of her husband to an automobile accident, to say nothing of the real and substantial help and guidance he gave you when you were having trouble with your children? His own life is certainly quite exemplary: no booze, no bad habits, no girlfriends on the side; he never even loses his temper.
You have, of course, approached him with this, and his response is (as always, most compassionate), "Well, if itís a sin for you, then donít do it, but please donít go imposing your conscience on others." He did not change, obviously. When you approached the bishop about this, the bishop replied, "Fr. X is a very good priest; you should be thankful to have such a good priest; in these days of few priests, we need every one we have, and besides, how he runs his parish is really his business; it is not my place to tell him how to do his job; and he is also my personal friend; please donít go making waves or rocking the boat." Again, no action is taken whatsoever.
You even tried writing to the Pope. After nearly a year, you finally got a form letter response: "The Holy Father thanks you for your concern. At this time, His Holiness is far too busy to respond personally to all of his correspondence, but you can be assured that your problem is close to his heart, and that you are in his prayers." In other words, nothing will be done. You canít even be sure that "His Holiness" ever even saw your letter.
Back to your contracepting friends: You continue to admonish them about this, but all it seems to do is alienate them. They really like you of course, but definitely wish that you would just get this bee out of your bonnet. You are starting to sound like Johnny-One-Note to them. Neither is it easy for you to continue telling them this. Since you abide by the rule against contraception, you know what it costs and it is difficult to ask of them to make such a heroic sacrifice. Some of them have a lot more children than you do, and they already have some considerable difficulty feeding them. Others have spouses who would beat them or abandon them if ever they took such a stand.
In view of their overall goodness, you deeply hope and pray that God will have mercy on them on account of their ignorance. Just as deeply however, you also hope that you might yet get through to at least some of them in order that they may live a life which is truly pleasing to God, and make certain their salvation.
Your friends argue, "Look, our priest says that contraception is not a sin, as long as it doesnít run against our conscience. Canít you just go along and get along? And even if he is wrong, isnít that really his responsibility, not ours? He is our spiritual leader and we all obey him. We wonít have to answer for his errors. Surely, God would not set such a shepherd over us unless He wanted us to live by that shepherdís teaching!"
Yet you remember what God said to the prophet Ezekiel:
When I say to the wicked, "You shall surely die," and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul." Ė Ezekiel 3:17-21
Again, your friends argue, "How can you be right and all of us, including our priest, be wrong?" If Truth could be decided on by a majority vote, you would be in the wrong, but you know you are not wrong. You dig in your heels and refuse to back down, which they attribute to stubbornness, but you know to be holy perseverance.
All the same, the confrontations get more and more unpleasant, as your priest begins to take a dislike to you and people start talking about you, and what a troublemaker you are. They are still all kind to your face, but things are now afoot to move against you. The priest starts asking for you to resign from your posts of authority within the parish organizations. The bishop wonít help you. Sometimes, you just feel like you are banging your head against a wall, "How is it that I am the only one who knows that I am right?"
Finally, battle-weary and worn-out, you turn for solace to the very source of the reason you have taken your stand: The infallible teaching of the Popes and the Sacred Magisterium of the Church. You get out your Papal documents and read these rare fine words of Paul VI:
Nonetheless the Church, calling men back to the observance of the norms of the natural law, as interpreted by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life. Ö In conformity with these landmarks in the human and Christian vision of marriage, we must once again declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun, and, above all, directly willed and procured abortion, even if for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as licit means of regulating birth. Equally to be excluded, as the teaching authority of the Church has frequently declared, is direct sterilization, whether perpetual or temporary, whether of the man or of the woman. Similarly to be excluded is every action which either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible. Ė Humani Vitae, paragraphs 11 and 14
Furthermore, Pius XI also similarly wrote:
But no reason, however grave may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.
Small wonder, therefore, if Holy Writ bears witness that the Divine Majesty regards with greatest detestation this horrible crime and at times has punished it with death. As St. Augustine notes, "Intercourse even with oneís legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented. Onan, the son of Juda, did this and the Lord killed him for it."
Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin. Ė Casti Connubii, Section IV, Vices Opposed to Christian Marriage (Paragraphs 54-56)
That is why you have taken your stand, and continue to insist on it even though everyone else does not. The Pope has taught it and confirmed it infallibly and irrevocably as doctrine by virtue of his Petrine authority. Subject to him and in union with him you abide by his teaching and encourage others to do the same. That is the duty and privilege of every good Catholic. Nor can it be claimed that the Popeís words die with him. Both of these men quoted here above are dead, yet these words of theirs live on, and must remain forever the teaching of every Pope to come.
The office of "Vicar of Christ" is certainly far grander than even the greatest and most saintly of its occupants. Any living Pope must, insofar as he is to be regarded as Pope, also be regarded as standing for all that has been taught and infallibly promulgated by his predecessors in the Petrine Succession. Even should the man himself, whether out of weakness, coercion, ignorance, folly, or even malice, fail to uphold the above given infallible teaching of those past Popes, "the Pope" is always and everywhere by every Catholic to be regarded as catagorically opposed to contraception, and indeed, this applies not only contraception, but to all areas of the infallible teaching of each and every Successor of Peter.
People are asking just where I am with respect to the Church. I think you can see that in the above example, if your contracepting fellow parishioners were to ask where you were with respect to the Church, you would have to say that you are in absolute union with the Church, and indeed, where all Catholics should be. Really, it would be far more valid to question just where these friends, the parish, and that priest are with respect to the Church! Even if your own actual parish does not have this particular problem, you know there are many parishes out there that do have this problem, where the priest gives such non-Catholic advice, at least in the confessional, and sometimes even from the pulpit. I think you also know that there are just as many weak and indulgent bishops who do nothing to help that situation, and finally, also that the legal machinery of the Vatican moves along at such a glacial pace that even if they were to take up your cause, no definitive action would be taken until long after everyone involved would have long since passed away.
In that sense, and on that basis, I can and do hereby profess my absolute union with, and unreserved obedience to, the Pope, Rome, and the Sacred Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. In view of recent controversies surrounding my stand for the traditional Mass, Sacraments, and Church, many are asking where I stand. Just as all of us would take the same stand regarding the issue discussed in the above illustration, I must similarly take my stand for the traditional Roman Catholic Church and all elements of the Sacred Magisterium as taught and confirmed by the Pope.
For those who would like to know the Magisterial basis for the details of my stand, and what exactly the Popes have said, to this short treatise, I attach the First Appendix of my book, The Resurrection of the Roman Catholic Church, which consists of similar excerpts from the writings of "the Pope" (in the person of Popes Julius III, Paul III, St. Pius V, Benedict XIV, Gregory XVI, Leo XII, Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII) who has infallibly and irrevocably systematically condemned virtually each and every facet of the Novus Ordo religion, a religion which was invented by heretics who are condemned by these (and other) Popes, and yet has been "officially" promulgated as a result of Vatican II.
As can be seen from the attached Appendix, "the Pope" has condemned: the Novus Ordo Missae, the synthetic new "Sacramental forms," the flip-flopping writings of the Modernists (of which Vatican II is a sample), the decentralization and democratization of the Church, the abandonment of the Angelic Doctor (St. Thomas Aquinas), all tampering with the sources of Divine Revelation, any change to the constitution of the Church, socialism and communism, communicatio in sacris (participation in non-Catholic worship), any attempt to reconcile the Church with Modernism, any attempt to deprive the world of Catholic States, liberty of error, americanism, Freemasonry, the limitation of Papal Infallibility to a small handful of "ex cathedra" statements, and the attempt to place even an ecumenical council (such as Vatican II) on par with, or above, the authority of the Pope.
For all intents and purposes, that Appendix IS the Pope speaking, and I abide by all of it. I welcome and encourage anyone who thinks I may have in any way misquoted or misrepresented any of those popes to read for themselves the Council Documents and Papal Encyclicals and other Papal writings cited, and to see the quotes in their context and find out for themselves whether their context augments, weakens, or negates the excerpts given here. If you think I have mishandled this situation, then in all humility I put it to you,What Would You Do? What advice would you give to the person in the above example? Surely, anyone with an earnest seeking after the Truth would want to know what the Pope teaches, and anyone with real compassion would want to see if they could find where I went wrong and show it to me.
Just as it is really far more appropriate to question where those contracepting friends, that pathetic parish, and that heretical priest are, with respect to the Church, it is also far more appropriate to question where the Los Angeles Archdiocese taken as a whole is with respect to the Church. As a highly visible representative of the Church of Rome in the Central California Coastal region, I have personally become the test case. Can this Archdiocese cope with having a real Catholic in their midst, or must they put me out? Jesus was persecuted and finally crucified for no other reason than the fact that He was a jewís Jew, having kept and fulfilled the Law perfectly. I have simply adhered to the entirety of the Sacred Magisterium of the Church. It is for that reason and no other they have difficulty tolerating me. If they should put me out officially, then with that selfsame action they officially proclaim their formal separation from Rome and from the Pope.
With all of that in mind, even though it is better to seek understanding than to be understood, I have laid all of that before you in order that you may understand me, the stand I have taken, and the things which I am fairly certain will be occurring soon. I do not expect from them any further kindness in their response nor even an honest admission on their part as to what they are doing, even though I have in fact done them a great favor.
When I am directly instructed to leave the Legion (and not until then), I will only be leaving the current Curia and Praesidium. When that happens, I will be going fulltime to a small missionary parish which IS fully in union with the Pope, Rome, and the Magisterium. There, I will start up a new Legion of Mary Praesidium, together with my wife, and several interested parishioners in that parish. We will start again from scratch, just like Frank Duff had to do.
I invite, encourage, and exhort all of you to come with me. Though you may at first feel as if you are stepping into the void, I who have already taken that step, spiritually, intellectually, and morally can absolutely assure you all that it is in fact the very reverse. It is you who are all presently in a real void, the void of a changeable and unsteady "Archdiocese," and I hope that I have served as a warm and human hand reaching into that void to assist you all into the warmth and light of the real Roman Catholic Church.
Ė Brother Griff Ruby
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