THE NEW DOCTRINE OF VATICAN II
This article presents the errors of Vatican II and the false conciliar magisterium,
contrasting them with the infallible teachings of the Church’s magisterium.
1. The Purpose of this Article.
This article establishes that Vatican II teaches errors against the Catholic Faith. Since the holiness and catholicity of the Church prevent her from ever teaching any errors against faith or morals at the universal level, Vatican II cannot be a universal teaching of the Catholic Church.
What makes an ecumenical council universal Church teaching is not the fact that it was approved by many bishops, but the fact that it was promulgated by a Roman Pontiff. Since Vatican II cannot be universal Church teaching due to the fact that it contains errors against faith and morals, it cannot have been promulgated by a Roman Pontiff. Therefore, Catholics ought to conclude that those who promulgated Vatican II, and continue to do so, cannot be Roman Pontiffs. Indeed this is a dogmatic fact deducible from divine revelation and reason.
2. Historical Background to the Errors of Vatican II – Prevailing Ideologies Influencing Vatican II: Protestantism, Secularism, and Modernism.
It will be helpful, before beginning an analysis of the errors of Vatican II, to place them in their historical context. This topic deserves a more thorough treatment than a simple article can provide; however, a brief background sketch will suffice to familiarize the reader with the major themes.
The principal errors of Vatican II are drawn directly from intellectual currents originating in Western Europe in three historical periods: the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the Modernist movement. We shall briefly describe the contributions that each of these periods made to the errors of Vatican II.
All forms of Protestantism are based on a single principle. This principle is: the Christian religion as it currently exists in the Catholic Church is not the true Christian religion, but rather, a perversion of the Christian religion; therefore, it must be substantially reformed. Implied in this position is that the Catholic Church is capable of losing its own religion, or, to put it another way, it is capable of defecting from the religion established by Christ. As a result of this defection, according to the Protestant position, Christianity must undergo a substantial reformation in doctrine, worship, and government so that it returns to the status it enjoyed before the defection.
The foundational error of Protestantism is, therefore, a rejection of the Catholic Church’s indefectibility (see article: On the Indefectibility of the Church). In the context of Protestantism, those who do not agree with the analysis that the Catholic Church has defected from the true religion are an enemy to the cause of reform. This is the reason for the longstanding prejudice held by Protestants against Catholics. It is also the reason for the prejudice held by liberal Catholics of today against traditional Catholics. For liberal Catholics adopt a view of the pre-Vatican II Church which is identical to the view adopted by the first Protestants; they see the pre-conciliar Church as a defected Church which had to be set right. And they see the Second Vatican Council as the event of reformation.
This principle – that the Christian religion as it exists in the Catholic Church needs to be replaced with a reformed version of Christianity – was the fundamental rationale for Vatican II. Without the Protestant principle of a defected Church in need of substantial reform in doctrine, worship, and law, Vatican II and the Novus Ordo could not have happened. For this reform of the entire Catholic religion is precisely what the project of Vatican II endeavors to accomplish.
Protestantism provided the intellectual soil for the growth of two errors: state absolutism and individual absolutism. These errors emerged during the so-called Enlightenment period. The reason is that Protestantism creates a power vacuum by rejecting the absolute authority of the Church. This absolute authority must therefore be filled with a new absolute authority, for there is no such thing as human society without an absolute authority. Capitalizing upon the strong prejudice that Protestantism creates against Catholicism, the State seizes the opportunity to acquire for itself the vast material properties, wealth, and influence of the Church. But since it has severed itself from the Church’s laws, the State becomes increasingly bloated, greedy, oppressive, and generally immoral. And it refuses to be disciplined by any higher authority, especially the authority of the Roman Pontiff.
While the State becomes inebriated with wealth and power, citizens of all religions within the state become weaker and poorer. The Protestant principle of individual absolutism, which contains within it the individual’s right to revolt against any and all authority, is instilled among the people of this oppressive State. It easily shifts to an application in the political sphere, causing revolutions against the government and conflicts within the citizenry itself.
What is called “secularism” is characterized by this polarization between absolute State and absolute individual. Secularization is the failure of the State to acknowledge the Catholic Church as the kingdom of Christ. It does not acknowledge absolute authority where God has conferred it, but rather, it establishes absolute authority where God has not conferred it: in the State, and in each individual within the State. The absolute State desires stability, and to that end, it threatens to deprive citizens of rights. The absolute individual desires freedom from all restraints, including civil restraints, and so he asserts his rights against the State, periodically threatening civil war and revolution as a check against the overreaching State. Secularism is therefore not only unstable, but politically incoherent, insofar as it admits these two mutually exclusive and irreconcilable supreme authorities: the State and the individual. It is the application of the Protestant principle to the realm of politics.
Commenting on these trends, Father Denis Fahey writes:
The Spiritual Kingship of Christ, participated in by the Pope and the Bishops of the Catholic Church, being no longer acknowledged, authority over spiritual affairs passed to the Temporal Rulers… As there was no Infallible Guardian of order above the Temporal Rulers, the way was paved for the abuses of State Absolutism… The principle of private judgment prepared the way for the opposite extreme error of “holy rebellion” and the “right” of people to overthrow authority whenever it displeases them. The doctrine, that all men are equal in the Mystical Body and are their own priests, sowed the seeds of that spirit, which was given a body in the naturalistic Masonic society, when the advance of time had brought about the decay of belief in the supernatural life.1
The errors of Vatican II reflect an acceptance of secularism. Vatican II embraces religious liberty, which is the absolute authority of the individual against that of the State in religious matters insofar as the individual may choose whatever religion he thinks to be true. It also embraces ecumenism, which is the authority of the state against the individual in religious matters, insofar as it seeks to congeal all religions into a single Religion of the World, without beliefs, without sacraments, and without morals. To accomplish this, it introduces the idea of partial communion, in which non-Catholic sects are said to exist on a vague gradation of communion with the Catholic Church: this is to foster the sense that religious coalescence has already begun. And finally it embraces the secular doctrine of collegiality, which is the simultaneous assertion of absolute power in two heads: both in the government (the pope) and in the governed (the college of bishops).
The third historical period which influenced Vatican II is the Modernist period. Modernism is a heresy which arose in the late nineteenth century as a direct outgrowth of secular liberalism. Like Protestantism, it held that the Catholic religion needed to be substantially reformed, since it had long ago defected from its original purity. Like secularism, it also held that the supreme authority is both the state (or the ‘people’) and the individual (or the ‘conscience’), rather than the Roman Pontiff. But the Catholic Church successfully resisted the allure of secularism in the nineteenth century, despite the many successes of secularism in the political sphere. Because of this resistance, a new ideology materialized which was designed to make secularism appealing to Catholics. This ideology was Modernism, and it contributed two significant ideas.
First, Modernism holds that, in order to become acceptable to the absolute State, the Catholic religion must evolve; if it does not evolve, it will perish because it will not be able to keep pace with modern times. This idea of ‘survival of the fittest’ applied to religion is taken directly from Darwinism.2 It also claims, falsely, that the Church has always adapted to evolving socio-historical circumstances, and that this adaptability is the reason for its two-thousand year success. These notions of religious evolution and adaptability are simply a crafty means of articulating the older Protestant principle: that the old Christian religion is now obsolete, and must give way to the new one.
Second, Modernism holds that the true Christian religion does not consist of dogma, worship, and government, but rather, an invisible, interior impulse of the subconscious mind which is externally expressed in various ways. When the interior impulses of many people collectively produce the same exterior expressions, religion evolves. Modernism holds that this religious evolution is a natural process. When the collectivity produces modified expressions, this is the signal that it is time for the religion to change and adapt. As time passes, doctrines and rituals become obscure or irrelevant. New interpretations take the place of old interpretations. New meanings, new doctrines, new rites, and new laws constantly emerge from the collective shifting subconscious mind of the people to supplant the old. In Modernism, there is no such thing as objective truth or objective morality. Everything shifts and changes, and there is no stability. In Modernism, the Catholic religion is not truly Catholic, i.e. the same at all times, always in perfect continuity with its past in doctrine, morals, and law; rather, in Modernism, ‘Catholic’ only means ‘universal’ in the sense that the inner religious sense is found in all men. By making man’s subconscious mind the basis of all religion, Modernism expels God from religion, and replaces Him with evolving interior impulses. From this it follows that in Modernism, salvation is not the work of God’s mercy toward man, but an achievement of man’s mind. As such, Modernism is inherently naturalistic, reducing salvation to something man-made. Since there are no criteria for salvation except in the mind of the evolving human community, and since these criteria are entirely subjective, Modernism is quick to embrace the heresy of universal salvation: all are saved. For this reason, it transforms heaven into a paganized afterlife. Instead of presenting heaven as an eternal contemplation of the beatific vision of God together with the saints, the heaven of the Novus Ordo is often presented as differing little from this life. It is common in Novus Ordo contexts to hear funeral sermons in which Grandma is presented as playing the slot machines in the casino of heaven, and Grandpa is presented as watching television in the living room. This is paganism.
Vatican II is Modernist in its teaching that God uses non-Catholic religions for salvation, and in its denial that the Catholic Church is visible and united. The former error is based on the theory of the religious sense which rejects all standards of objective truth and goodness in religion. The latter error is based on the notion of evolution of religion. For if the Catholic Church were in a state of evolving rather than a state of being, then it would be neither united nor visible.
6. List of Errors of Vatican II and Statement of Method.
Vatican II and its false magisterium are not merely ambiguous or problematic, nor do they represent a mere ambiance of opposition to doctrine. They contain clear and certain errors that have been previously condemned by the Catholic Church. It would suffice to establish Vatican II as invalid if it contained even one error against faith or morals. In this article, we shall expose five errors:
- Religious Liberty
- Salvation by Means of Non-Catholic Sects
- Denial of the Church’s Visibility and Unity
- Partial Communion
This list of errors is by no means exhaustive. Neither is the list of citations from Sacred Scripture and the selected magisterium which refute these errors an exhaustive list. The purpose of this article is not to list every error and every corresponding condemnation, but merely to establish the fact that there are errors in the conciliar documents.
The error of collegiality, referenced above (p. 3), will be reserved for a future article, since it requires a more substantial treatment than can be given here.
We have also demonstrated that there is a commitment to the errors of Vatican II among the post-conciliar false magisterium of Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. The fact that there is a consistent commitment to the same errors found in different documents of Vatican II, and the fact that the false magisterium has been committed to upholding these errors for the past sixty years, constitute irrefutable evidence that there was, and is, an objective intention to change the substance of Catholic doctrine altogether. The reason for their interrelatedness is that they depend on the same interrelated currents outlined in the preceding section of this article: Protestantism, Secularism, and Modernism.
It is not the intention of this article to speculate on the internal motives of the Modernists for promulgating Vatican II. Nor is it our intention to pass judgment on the internal dispositions – the guilt or innocence – of John XXIII, Paul VI, or any of the parties involved in the project of Vatican II. However, it is necessary to show clearly that the Modernism to which these men were committed was objectively directed to the destruction of the Catholic Church, along with the Roman Pontiff, the faith, the moral life, and the sacraments. An error in the speculative order always results in vices in the moral order. This is why it must be understood that the errors of Vatican II are not harmless mistakes pertaining to abstract ideas; they form the principles and ground of an entire system of acting which is ordered to the suppression of the Catholic religion. Hence why St. Pius X called the Modernists “the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church.”3
We proceed via the following method. First, we will state Catholic doctrine in the form of a thesis. Second, we will support this position with excerpts from Sacred Scripture and the Church’s magisterium. Third, we will offer an argument from theological reasoning. Fourth, we will quote the error against this teaching as found in the documents of Vatican II. These quotes will be printed in a red color, in order to make it clear to the reader that they are quotations of erroneous teaching. Then we will reply to this error, introducing counter-arguments in the form of objections, with responses to these. Finally, we will offer a conclusion summarizing each error.
In this article, translations of Sacred Scripture are taken from the Douay-Rheims version. The English translations of magisterial documents are taken from Papal Encyclicals Online, except for those which do not appear on the website. Translations of the latter are by the author.
Sacred Scripture: Thou shalt not have strange Gods before me.4
Magisterium: Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura (1864); Syllabus of Errors (1864).
Against the doctrine of Scripture, of the Church, and of the Holy Fathers, [some] do not hesitate to assert that “that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as public peace may require.” From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an “insanity,” viz., that “liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.5
Theological Reasoning: A right is a legitimate power of acquiring something that is owed according to justice. A universal right to religious liberty means that religious liberty is something owed to all men according to justice, and that all men have a legitimate power of acquiring the ability to practice religion. But the ability to practice a false religion is not owed to any man according to justice. False religions are sinful, and sin is never owed to man according to justice, nor does man have a right to commit sin. Therefore, man does not have a right to practice a false religion.
To illustrate the absurdity of religious liberty, let us imagine Adam and Eve in the garden. Let us say, hypothetically, that they had the right to religious liberty grounded in the dignity of the human person. They ate of the fruit, and when God asked them why they did this, they said, “We ate it because You gave us the right to religious liberty, and grounded it in the dignity of our person.” Now, if they truly had the right to religious liberty from God, then God would not be just in punishing them, since they were merely exercising their rights. But God did punish them. Therefore they did not have the right to religious liberty. And if Adam and Eve did not have this right, then it was not something grounded in the dignity of the human person. And if it is not grounded in the dignity of the human person, then no human person has this right.
The social nature of man, however, itself requires that he should give external expression to his internal acts of religion: that he should share with others in matters religious; that he should profess his religion in community. Injury therefore is done to the human person and to the very order established by God for human life, if the free exercise of religion is denied in society, provided just public order is observed.
REPLY: Human nature cannot require that men express, share, or profess non-Catholic religions, for that is the equivalent of saying that human nature requires that men commit evil. In addition, God cannot establish sin as part of the order for human life, for sin is a disorder. And false religions are sins. Therefore false religions are not part of the order for human life established by God. In addition, the purpose of society is to promote the common good and to restrict evil. But the practice of false religions is evil. Therefore it is not an injury to restrict the exercise of false religions in society, but rather, a benefit.
OBJECTION. Vatican II is speaking only about a right to practice religion in general, and not a right to practice false religions. In other words, it is speaking about liberty of conscience, not liberty of praxis. The reason is that no one may be coerced to act against his conscience, for the conscience of the individual is the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong. To coerce an individual to act against his conscience in any matter, religious or otherwise, would be wrong. It would be a sin against the dignity of his person.
REPLY. First, Dignitatis Humanae does, in fact, teach a liberty of praxis with regard to any religion: “Religious communities rightfully claim freedom in order that they may govern themselves according to their own norms, honor the Supreme Being in public worship, assist their members in the practice of the religious life, strengthen them by instruction, and promote institutions in which they may join together for the purpose of ordering their own lives in accordance with their religious principles.”6 A right is specified by its object. If an object is evil, then the right is also evil, i.e. not a true right. False religious praxis is evil. Therefore the right to practice false religions is also evil, i.e. not a true right.
And second, there are two rules in moral acts: an objective, extrinsic rule and a subjective, intrinsic rule. The objective, extrinsic rule is law. The subjective, intrinsic rule is conscience. Conscience applies the law to a particular moral case. If conscience does not consult the law in order to apply it in practice, when it could have done so, it acts illicitly. Some are invincibly ignorant of the law: meaning, through no fault of their own they do not, and cannot, know the law. When they commit sin, the guilt of the sin is not imputed to them, since they are acting according to the rule of their conscience. However, they are still in an objective sense committing sin, since they do not act according to the rule of law. And although their ignorance is not their fault, nevertheless they do not have a right to sin, since no one has a right to commit evil. One has a right to act according to one’s conscience only when the judgment of the conscience is licit, i.e. only when it is in objective conformity to the law and there is certitude of this conformity on the part of the subject. For only in these cases is the right to act specified by an objective good. But with regard to religious matters, one’s conscience is only in conformity to the law when it is specified by the Catholic religion, for the Catholic religion is the only good and lawful religion. Therefore an unqualified liberty of conscience in religious matters is false.
OBJECTION. Vatican II does not specifically mention false religions. Therefore, it is not speaking about false religions.
REPLY. Dignitatis Humanae, No. 6, teaches that even when
special legal recognition is given in the constitutional order of society to one religious body, it is at the same time imperative that the rights of all citizens and religious communities to religious liberty should be recognized and made effective in practice.
But in any multiplicity of religious communities, there are necessarily some which are false. Therefore, Vatican II is speaking about liberty for false religions.
OBJECTION. Vatican II is only suggesting a pastoral strategy for the modern secular world. It has no intention of teaching religious liberty as if it were an immutable doctrine revealed by God.
REPLY. Dignitatis Humanae, No. 9, teaches:
Compare this to Quanta Cura (cited above), in which Pope Pius IX taught that religious freedom was “against the doctrine of Scripture, of the Church, and of the Holy Fathers.”
OBJECTION. Vatican II is speaking about a right to religious liberty as pertaining only to natural religion, prescinding from the fact of divine revelation and its attendant rights and obligations.
REPLY. The first paragraph of Dignitatis Humanae clearly acknowledges that the Catholic religion is the one true religion. But the Catholic religion is a divinely-revealed religion. Therefore Vatican II is not speaking in such a way as to prescind from the fact of divine revelation. In any case, even if it were speaking only about natural religion, it would still be wrong, since under the natural law, there is no right to religious liberty.
REPLY. Holy Scripture praises the civil ruler King Josiah for commanding the true religion and uprooting false religions in his kingdom,7 and King Asa for the same.8 But Holy Scripture cannot praise man for committing sin.
The schism between Israel and Judah is described as being a punishment from God on account of the idolatry of Solomon.9 All of Solomon’s successors who failed to stem idolatry in the kingdom are described by Holy Scripture as having done evil. But if, by inhibiting the religion of idolatry, these kings would have transgressed the limits of their power by inhibiting acts that are religious, then Sacred Scripture would not have judged them to have sinned by omission in failing to inhibit idolatry. Rather, they would have been judged as oppressors of religious liberty.
When Moses was absent from the Israelite camp, Aaron failed to inhibit religious acts pertaining to the worship of the golden calf. For this failure, he was punished by God, who ordered the Levites to slay their own brothers, companions, and neighbors.10
Likewise, many canonized monarchs upheld penal laws designed to impede heretics and apostates from practicing false religions, and to coerce them to practice the Catholicism which they abandoned; these saints never repented of this legislation. But the Church does not canonize those who sin publicly and die without repenting. Therefore, the civil government does not transgress the limits set to its power if it were to command or inhibit acts that are religious.
Finally, the common good of civil society is the salvation of its members. But salvation is not possible apart from the Catholic Church. Therefore a government that neglects both to promote the Catholic Church and to inhibit the religions opposed to the Catholic Church is a government that transgresses against its citizens by neglecting to promote their common welfare.
OBJECTION. Civil government has power only over the order of nature, not over the order of grace. But religious acts are of the order of grace. Therefore the civil government cannot command or inhibit religious acts.
REPLY. Only Catholic religious acts are of the order of grace, not acts of false religions. Acts of false religions are sinful.
Civil government is a natural act which God has elevated by grace to a supernatural finality. In view of this finality, all authorities, from fathers of families to governments of large countries, have a duty from God to foster the supernatural welfare of the souls within their care, to the extent that their means allow. Therefore, this elevation of the civil government by God confers not only the capability to order its citizens to supernatural ends, but a duty to do so. And since the Church is the only religious body proximately ordered to these supernatural ends, the civil government ought to promote the Church and inhibit false religions.
OBJECTION. It is granted that the practice of false religion is evil in the moral order; however, Dignitatis Humanae is speaking only about the civil order, not the moral order. In other words, it holds religious liberty to be a civil right, not a moral right.
REPLY. It is impossible that there be such a thing as a right in the civil order which contradicts a right in the moral order; for the same God, who is the origin of all rights, is the supreme Governor both of the moral and civil orders. But there is no such thing as a right to practice a false religion in the moral order; therefore there is no such thing as a right to practice a false religion in the civil order.
Religious communities rightfully claim freedom in order that they may govern themselves according to their own norms, honor the Supreme Being in public worship, assist their members in the practice of the religious life, strengthen them by instruction, and promote institutions in which they may join together for the purpose of ordering their own lives in accordance with their religious principles.
REPLY. Any religious government that is not submitted to the one true government established by Our Lord is a false government. False religious governments have no rightful claim to freedom of governance. Therefore, to set up a false religious government (e.g. a heretical sect) opposed to the true government of the Church is evil. No one can rightfully and independently claim freedom to commit evil, otherwise all justice, law, and order would be a farce.
False religions do not honor the Supreme Being in public worship, nor do they assist members in the practice of the religious life, strengthen them by instruction, or promote institutions ordered to religious principles. On the contrary, they make a public mockery of the Supreme Being, weaken their members by false doctrines, and inhibit members from practicing a virtuous life by their bad morals. There is only one religious body with the direct authority from God to teach, govern, and sanctify mankind: the Catholic Church.
Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered, either by legal measures or by administrative action on the part of government, in the selection, training, appointment, and transferral of their own ministers, in communicating with religious authorities and communities abroad, in erecting buildings for religious purposes, and in the acquisition and use of suitable funds or properties. Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or by the written word.
REPLY. No one has a right to not be hindered from committing evil. The entire purpose of law is to further good and hinder evil. But the establishment and promotion of a false religion in the manner described above is evil. Therefore, no one has a right to not be hindered from the activities described above.
The social nature of man and the very nature of religion afford the foundation of the right of men freely to hold meetings and to establish educational, cultural, charitable and social organizations, under the impulse of their own religious sense.
REPLY. It is against the social nature of man to commit evil. Every religion which has its ultimate origin in a human person is evil. Therefore it is against the social nature of man to undertake communal religious activities, such as those described above, under the impulse of his own religious sense. True religion follows not the impulses of men, but the commandments of God. For the same reason, the private ‘religious sense’ of individuals cannot be the foundation for the right to establish religious organizations.
John Paul II extolled the error of religious liberty many times, claiming that the right to religious liberty was the “premise and guarantee of all the freedoms that ensure the common good of individuals and peoples.”11 He also taught that the Church strives to make religious liberty a reality in all countries. Contrast this with Pope Pius IX’s teaching (p. 6) that religious liberty is “most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls.”
In its first paragraph, Dignitatis Humanae claims that the Catholic religion is the one true religion. It does not, however, teach that other religions are false and immoral. And in fact, if it held other religions to be false and immoral, the entire document would be incomprehensible. For it would be teaching that falsehood and immorality have equal rights as truth and virtue, which would be a total collapse of law and order.
Rather, Dignitatis Humane is written under the tactic of Modernism. In Modernism, “the one true religion” does not mean the one true religion (i.e. Catholicism); it means whatever religion most people think is the best expression of the contemporary collective religious impulse. All religions are simply gradations of this expression, without reference to objective truth or goodness, i.e. without reference to God. By these principles, Dignitatis Humanae overthrows not only the Catholic religion, but all religion. For this reason, St. Pius X described these errors as fallacies, and enormities, far removed from Catholic teaching, which open wide the way to atheism.12
Pope Pius IX taught that the civil liberty of every form of worship conduces to corrupt the morals and minds of the people, and to propagate the pest of indifferentism.13 This assessment of religious liberty is also proved a posteriori. For in all countries where religious liberty is enshrined constitutionally, citizens gradually become less and less religious and more atheistic; this is a necessary step toward the attainment by the secular state of absolute power. To increase religious indifference is a planned goal of secularism, which seeks to amalgamate all religions into a dogma-less humanism so that the state can attain absolute authority without the dissonance caused by religious distinctions. But the dissonance caused by the distinction between Catholicism and false religions is something prophesied by Sacred Scripture to last until the Judgment. This is very nearly the entire substance of the Apocalypse of St. John. What God has prophesied cannot be undone by man.
14. Catholic Thesis: It is a sin to manufacture religious unity between the Catholic Church and non-Catholic sects.
And an angel of the Lord went up from Galgal to the place of weepers, and said: I made you go out of Egypt, and have brought you into the land for which I swore to your fathers: and I promised that I would not make void my covenant with you for ever: On condition that you should not make a league with the inhabitants of this land, but should throw down their altars: and you would not hear my voice: why have you done this? Wherefore I would not destroy them from before your face; that you may have enemies, and their gods may be your ruin. And when the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel: they lifted up their voice, and wept.14
Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.15
Magisterium: Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, 1928.
Who would dare to say that he loves Christ when he will not strive to his utmost to attain that which Christ prayed for to His Father when He asked that His disciples might “be one”? And did not Christ Himself wish His disciples to bear the sign and be distinguished by the characteristic that they love one another: “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another?” Would, they [the ecumenists] add, that all Christians were one, that they might drive out the evil of irreligion which every day spreads more widely and threatens to overturn the Gospel. These and like arguments are brought forward and amplified by those who call themselves Pan-Christians… The work itself is promoted with such zeal that it has gained a great variety of followers and has even ensnared the minds of Catholics with the entrancing hope of attaining a union that would seem to meet the will of Holy Mother Church to whom nothing is more hallowed than the recall and return of her wandering children to her bosom. Yet beneath the coaxing words there is concealed an error so great that it would destroy utterly the foundations of the Catholic Faith.
And here it seems opportune to expound and to refute a certain false opinion, on which this whole question, as well as that complex movement by which non-Catholics seek to bring about the union of the Christian churches depends. For authors who favor this view are accustomed, times almost without number, to bring forward these words of Christ: “That they all may be one…. And there shall be one fold and one shepherd,” with this signification however: that Christ Jesus merely expressed a desire and prayer, which still lacks its fulfillment. They contend that the unity of faith and governance which is the sign of the true and one Church of Christ, has almost never existed up to this time and does not exist today; it can be wished for and perhaps sometime it can be obtained through common submission of the will but meanwhile it must be considered a fiction… They affirm that they would gladly treat with the Roman Church though upon the basis of equality of rights and as equals. If they could so treat, they do not seem to doubt but that an agreement might be entered into through which they would not be compelled to give up those opinions which are thus far the cause why they have wandered outside the one fold of Christ.
On such conditions it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it in any way lawful for Catholics either to support or to work for such enterprises; for if they do so they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ.
So, venerable brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics; for the union of Christians cannot be fostered otherwise than by promoting the return of the dissident to the true Church of Christ, which in the past they unfortunately abandoned.
Since the Mystical Body of Christ, that is to say, the Church, is, like the physical body, a unity, a compact thing closely joined together, it would be false and foolish to say that Christ’s Mystical Body could be composed of separated and scattered members. Whoever therefore is not united with it is not a member of it nor does he communicate with its Head Who is Christ.16
Theological Reasoning: There can be no unity among a multiplicity of things unless each thing within the multiplicity is united with the other things under a higher principle of unity. For example, a man and woman are united in the higher principle of matrimony, in which “they shall be two in one flesh.”17 Likewise, a multiplicity of independent states could unite under the higher principle of a central government, which would have authority over each member state. But the principle of unity of the Catholic Church is the Holy Ghost, who is God, above whom there exists no higher principle. Therefore, unity between the Catholic Church and non-Catholic sects is impossible.
The Church’s solicitude to promote and defend truth derives from the fact that, according to the plan of God, who wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, men without the assistance of the whole of revealed doctrine cannot reach a complete and firm unity of minds, with which are associated true peace and salvation. Unfortunately, the entire Christian family has not yet fully attained this visible unity in truth. The Catholic Church, therefore, considers it her duty to work actively so that there may be fulfilled the great mystery of that unity, which Jesus Christ invoked with fervent prayer from his heavenly Father on the eve of his sacrifice (That they may all be one [Jn 17:11]).18
REPLY. It is a blasphemy against the Holy Ghost to claim that the Catholic Church is a member of a disunited Christian family. It degrades Him by making Him a lower principle of unity than the efforts by man to manufacture religious unification. Since the Church cannot have a duty to do what is blasphemous, the Church has no duty to work toward attaining visible unity with non-Catholic sects. It has the duty only to draw them back from heresy and/or schism to Catholic unity.
It is a recognized custom for Catholics to have frequent recourse to that prayer for the unity of the Church which the Savior Himself on the eve of His death so fervently appealed to His Father: “That they may all be one.” In certain special circumstances, such as the prescribed prayers “for unity,” and during ecumenical gatherings, it is allowable, indeed desirable that Catholics should join in prayer with their separated brethren. Such prayers in common are certainly an effective means of obtaining the grace of unity, and they are a true expression of the ties which still bind Catholics to their separated brethren. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”19
REPLY. No Catholic custom exists of praying for the unity of the Church with the prayer “that they may all be one.” Catholic tradition knows of no prescribed prayers for this type of unity.
The so-called ‘ecumenical gathering’ is an event characterized by mutual dialogue and prayers for unity between two or more religious sects. But to pray for unity, when God is already the very principle of the Church’s unity, is to bear witness to a false notion of unity. To bear witness to falsehood is a sin against the eighth commandment. Therefore no one may participate in ecumenical gatherings.20
Because the Holy Ghost is already the principle of the Church’s unity, ecumenical gatherings cannot be an effective means of obtaining the grace of unity, nor can they be an expression of the so-called “ties which bind” Catholics to non-Catholics. Pope Pius XI said that anyone who supports the theory and praxis of ecumenism “is altogether abandoning the religion revealed by God.”21
To apply the words of Our Lord – where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them – to ecumenical gatherings, is a blasphemy. For those who gather in the name of the Lord are those who submit to his teachings, his commandments, and the government which He established in St. Peter and his successors. But non-Catholics do not submit to these things. Therefore Christ cannot dwell in the midst of ecumenical gatherings. To claim that He can is to say that God countenances evil, which is another blasphemy. Sacred Scripture testifies:
OBJECTION. The Roman Canon prays: for your holy Catholic Church, that you would deign to pacify, keep, unite, and govern her. Likewise in the prayers before communion, the priest prays: look not upon my sins, but upon the faith of Thy Church; and according to Thy will deign to pacify and unite her. But these are prayers for unity. Therefore it is customary in the Church to pray for unity.
REPLY. Traditional prayers for unity pertain to the strengthening of the bonds between the members and head of the Mystical Body, not the obtaining of a visible unity which is not yet realized. In a similar way, traditional prayers for the unity of a marriage are not prayers that a unity may be obtained which was formerly absent, but rather, that the unity which is already present in the marriage be strengthened. Ecumenical prayers for unity, by contrast, are asking for a unity to be obtained which is currently absent.
OBJECTION. Iesu Dulcissime Redemptor, the traditional Act of Dedication of the Human Race to Christ the King, says: “Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.”22 But the goal of ecumenism is nothing more than the attainment of one flock and one Shepherd. Therefore praying for ecumenical unity is not a novelty, but something traditional.
REPLY. This is a prayer for an end to heresy and schism. It is a prayer for baptized non-Catholics to renounce their errors and schismatic stances, so that all sins against the unity of faith and government of the Catholic Church may come to an end. It is a prayer that the multiplicity of false flocks and false shepherds be brought to an end, with the result that there remains only the one true flock and the one true Shepherd: the Catholic Church and her visible head, the Roman Pontiff. It is not a prayer to obtain visible unity with non-Catholic sects which the Church “has not yet fully attained” as John XXIII said in the opening speech of Vatican II.
In subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions made their appearance and quite large communities came to be separated from full communion with the Catholic Church – for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame.
REPLY. The Catholic Church is holy, which means that, although particular members of the Church can be the cause of evil, taken as a whole institution, it cannot be the cause of evil. But schism is an evil. Therefore the Church cannot be the cause of schism.23
OBJECTION. Vatican II is not blaming the whole Church as the cause of schism; it is only saying that the scandal of bad individual Catholics has sometimes driven other Catholics into schism.
REPLY. The responsibility to interpret a Church teaching is that of the Roman Pontiffs. But the so-called ‘popes’ of Vatican II have asked the world for forgiveness on behalf of the sins of the Church several times.24 Therefore the interpretation suggested above is not consistent with the official interpretation given by the so-called ‘popes’ themselves. In any case, even if this were the correct interpretation, it would be a false statement historically. For there is no example in history of a large group of Catholics going into schism as a result of the scandalous behavior of a fellow Catholic.
The Catholic Church has been very solicitous historically to readmit her dissident children to unity with the Roman Pontiff. For example, the Greek Orthodox were reconciled (albeit briefly) at the Councils of Lateran IV, Lyons II, and Florence. The Armenians were also reconciled at Florence. The Maronites were reconciled at Lateran V. Relations with the Malabar and Ruthenian Christians were restored in the sixteenth century. The Chaldean Christians were reconciled in the nineteenth century. The Syro-Malabars were reconciled under Pope Pius XI in 1923. Yet after sixty years of the ecumenism promoted by Vatican II, no reconciliation with any non-Catholic group has been accomplished. This is because ecumenism is not ordered to the reconciliation of heretics and schismatics with the Catholic Church, but with a gradual coalescence between the Church and these false religions, resulting in an indefinite mass of people with no dogma, no worship, and no government.
Christ summons the Church to continual reformation as she sojourns here on earth. The Church is always in need of this, insofar as she is an institution of men here on earth. Thus if, in various times and circumstances, there have been deficiencies in moral conduct or in Church discipline, or even in the way that Church teaching has been formulated – to be carefully distinguished from the deposit of faith itself – these can and should be set right at the opportune moment.
REPLY. Christ does not, and cannot, propose absurdities or self-injury to the Church. Pope Gregory XVI taught that it is “obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain ‘restoration and regeneration’ for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune.”25 Therefore Christ does not propose continual reformation to the Church out of necessity.
It pertains to the Church’s indefectibility that she can never teach by utilizing a certain manner of formulation that leads souls into error or sin. She is protected by the Holy Ghost not only from teaching error in substance, but also from utilizing formulas or expressions and instituting disciplines that lead souls into sin. There is no example in history of a doctrine being taught by the Church in an unclear manner which led souls into sin. Therefore, the Church will never have any need to “set aright” certain “deficiencies” either in her disciplines or in the ways in which she formulates doctrine, for in the Church, there can be no deficiencies in these areas.
OBJECTION. When he was praying before the crucifix, St. Francis of Assisi heard God say to him, “Go, Francis, and repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin.” But this meant that God was proposing to St. Francis a reformation of the Church. Also, in the traditional collect for St. Pius V, it says that God chose him to restore the worship of the Church. Quo Primum (1570) also speaks about a restoration of worship. Therefore God proposes a periodic reformation of the Church and the Catholic religion.
REPLY. Although this anecdote has been interpreted by Modernists to mean that God was proposing that St. Francis reform the entire Church by means of the Franciscan Order, the saint himself did not interpret it this way. He interpreted it to mean a literal repair of the ruined chapel of St. Damian’s in Assisi. God never corrected this interpretation, which He would have done had St. Francis not understood the request. Therefore this divine command to the saint of Assisi cannot have meant a reformation of a Church which had been ruined in matters of doctrine or discipline.
St. Pius V was indeed called by God to restore the worship of the Church in places where it had fallen under the influence of Protestantism and its heretical predecessors. This was the intention of Quo Primum. This word ‘restoration’ cannot be taken as if it were implying that the entire Church had become estranged from its own worship, for not only is this absolutely impossible, but it is also not historically factual.
OBJECTION. The Council of Lateran V speaks about a renewal of the universal Church. Vatican II speaks of the same.26
REPLY. Lateran V indeed speaks of a reformation and renewal of the status of the universal Church.27 However, Lateran V did not understand this ‘reformation’ to mean altering the very substance of the Catholic faith. The reformation and renewal with which Session XII of Lateran V was concerned consisted of mobilizing Christendom for war against the Turks, which can hardly be called ecumenical. This equivocation, in which Lateran V is cited out of context in order to persuade readers that ecumenism is traditional, is typical of Modernism. The Modernist destroys the traditional faith while simultaneously professing that he is upholding the traditional faith by quoting ancient sources out of context.
Yet worship in common is not to be considered as a means to be used indiscriminately for the restoration of Christian unity. There are two main principles governing the practice of such common worship: first, the bearing witness to the unity of the Church, and second, the sharing in the means of grace. Witness to the unity of the Church very generally forbids common worship to Christians, but the grace to be had from it sometimes commends this practice.
REPLY. Sin is not something which is forbidden very generally but commendable sometimes. Rather, sin is forbidden always and commendable never. But worship in common with non-Catholics (communicatio in sacris) is a sin. Therefore communicatio in sacris is forbidden always, and can never be commendable. Mediate material cooperation in sin may be tolerated only when the act is not intrinsically evil and when there is a most serious proportionate reason.28 An example of this would be to attend a non-Catholic funeral service of a relative or close friend, without, however, participating in the liturgical acts. Communicatio in sacris is never something commendable, as Vatican II says.
We must come to understand the outlook of our separated brethren… Of great value for this purpose are meetings between the two sides, especially for discussion of theological problems, where each can deal with the other on an equal footing.
REPLY. Only the Catholic Church has authority from God to teach, rule, and sanctify the nations of the earth with true doctrine, fitting worship, and perfect morals. All false religions lack this authority, instead preferring to follow the deceits of the devil into schism and heresy, separating themselves from the Mystical Body of Christ. There is no such thing as “equal footing” between those who have a mission from God and those who enslave themselves to the deceits of the devil. What separates sects from the Catholic Church are not ‘outlooks’ or ‘theological problems,’ but schism. What is ‘of great value’ are not meetings, but repentance, abjuration of these falsehoods and sins, and conversion to Christ. Moses did not meet with the rebellious Core and his schismatic followers in order to try to understand the outlook of his separated brethren.29 The prophet Elias did not meet with the prophets of Baal to discuss theological problems on an equal footing.30 Our Blessed Lord never met with pagan soothsayers to discuss theological problems.
OBJECTION. Unitatis Redintegratio reconciles ecumenism with traditional teachings by saying that, despite being separated from “full communion” with the Catholic Church, “all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body.”31 The Council of Florence and St. Augustine both support this position.
REPLY. Vatican II cites the Council of Florence in order to defend ecumenism as a traditional doctrine.32 The passage cited is describing the effects of baptism on the soul properly disposed for the sake of educating the Armenians about the sacraments. One of the effects of baptism, this document teaches, is to make the newly baptized a member of Christ and of his body, the Church.33 Obviously the document is speaking of Catholic baptism in the Catholic Church, not baptism administered outside the Church illicitly; for these latter adult baptisms, even when administered validly, do not confer membership in the Church, since in the very act of baptism the candidate is sinning by professing schism with the head of the Church. Hence it is no surprise that the same Council of Florence also teaches that the body of Christ is the Church,34 and that everyone outside this body, including schismatics, despite being baptized, will go into the eternal fire unless they are gathered to her before death.35 That the authors of Vatican II should cite the Council of Florence in support of ecumenism is completely absurd.
Since children who lack the use of reason are incapable of sinning, children under the age of reason who are baptized into heretical sects have always been considered to be members of the Catholic Church until they reach the age of reason. Once they reach the age of reason, they are no longer considered members of the Church.
Vatican II also cites St. Augustine in support of ecumenism.36 The citation is of a sermon delivered during the Donatist schism. Elsewhere, St. Augustine describes this schism as founded by traitors, condemned by pope and council, separated from the whole world, and a cause of division, violence, and bloodshed.37 By the early fifth century, the Donatist sect had become so notorious for immorality and violence that the Emperor himself decided to intervene. He attempted a peaceful resolution. Through an imperial legate, a disputation was arranged between the Donatist and Catholic bishops. This disputation is known as the Collatio of 411. It was shortly before the Collatio that St. Augustine delivered this sermon on Psalm XXXII, cited by Vatican II, in which he referred to the Donatists as ‘our brothers.’ Clearly his aim was to instill a peaceful disposition among the Catholics, whose patience had already been severely tried, so that the bishops of both sides could be free to attempt an orderly resolution to the conflict without public tumult. Despite referring to the Donatists as ‘brothers,’ he also explicitly states that they are “separated from the body.”38 This sermon had nothing to do with ecumenism.
Unitatis Redintegratio is the mission statement of Vatican II for attaining visible unity with non-Catholic groups. Such an enterprise necessarily repudiates the present visibility and unity of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. This error is also contained in Lumen Gentium, which will be examined below.
The unity of the Church is that mark by which it is one in profession of the same faith, in the communion of the same sacraments validly, licitly, and certainly celebrated, and in submission to the same legitimate authority, i.e. the Roman Pontiff. No non-Catholic sect has the mark of Christian unity, nor will it ever have the mark of Christian unity. This mark is found in the Catholic Church alone. And it is a proper mark, meaning something visible, by which something is known to be a certain thing. The visible mark of unity shall never pass from the Catholic Church, for the principle of the Church’s unity is the Holy Ghost Himself.
Ecumenism is not really something religious at all, but something political. While it is an attempt to amalgamate different religions into one religion, this future religious unity would be something manufactured by men, and as such would be akin to a mere business or corporation or state, under the domain of men. It is simply one part of the broader globalist project of social secularization which was set in motion by the Protestant revolt; as such, it is intrinsically opposed to the mission of the Church: the salvation of souls.
Thou shalt not make to thy self a graven thing, nor the likeness of any things, that are in heaven above, or that are in the earth beneath, or that abide in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, and thou shalt not serve them. For I am the Lord thy God, a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon their children unto the third and fourth generation, to them that hate me.39
You that contribute gold out of the bag, and weigh out silver in the scales: and hire a goldsmith to make a god: and they fall down and worship. They bear him on their shoulders and carry him, and set him in his place, and he shall stand, and shall not stir out of his place. Yea, when they shall cry also unto him, he shall not hear: he shall not save them from tribulation.40
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.41
Magisterium: Athanasian Creed; Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam (1302); Council of Florence; Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (1832), Summo Jugitur (1832); Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quadam (1854), Quanto Conficiamur Moerore (1863), Syllabus of Errors (1864), Jam Vos Omnes (1868); Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (1928).
Whoever willeth to be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith, which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish eternally.42
We declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.43
The Holy Roman Church… firmly believes, professes, and preaches, that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church – not only pagans, but also Jews or heretics or schismatics – can become participants in eternal life; but shall go into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt XXV, 41), unless before the end of life, they should be gathered to her.44
This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that “there is one God, one faith, one baptism” may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever.45
He who adheres to the author of a schism will not possess the kingdom of God.46
The true Church is one, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman; unique: the Chair founded on Peter by the Lord’s words; outside her fold is to be found neither the true faith nor eternal salvation.47
It is a most well known Catholic dogma that it is not possible to be saved outside the Catholic Church. Eternal salvation cannot be obtained by those who oppose the authority and statements of the same Church and are stubbornly separated from the unity of the Church and also from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, to whom “the custody of the vineyard has been committed by the Savior.48
Now, whoever will carefully examine and reflect upon the condition of the various religious societies, divided among themselves, and separated from the Catholic Church, which, from the days of our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles has never ceased to exercise, by its lawful pastors, and still continues to exercise, the divine power committed to it by this same Lord; cannot fail to satisfy himself that neither any one of these societies by itself, nor all of them together, can in any manner constitute and be that One Catholic Church which Christ our Lord built, and established, and willed should continue; and that they cannot in any way be said to be branches or parts of that Church, since they are visibly cut off from Catholic unity. For, whereas such societies are destitute of that living authority established by God, which especially teaches men what is of Faith, and what the rule of morals, and directs and guides them in all those things which pertain to eternal salvation, so they have continually varied in their doctrines, and this change and variation is ceaselessly going on among them. Everyone must perfectly understand, and clearly and evidently see, that such a state of things is directly opposed to the nature of the Church instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ; for in that Church truth must always continue firm and ever inaccessible to all change, as a deposit given to that Church to be guarded in its integrity, for the guardianship of which the presence and aid of the Holy Ghost have been promised to the Church for ever.49
The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation.50
Theological Reasoning: Christ willed that the merits of his saving sacrificial death on the cross be distributed to mankind not in an erratic fashion, but by means of the Catholic Church, which is his Mystical Body, His Immaculate Spouse, the Temple of the Holy Ghost, and the Kingdom of God. Christ is the font of all graces, and the Catholic Church is the exclusive distributor of these graces. But there is no salvation except by the grace of Christ. Therefore non-Catholic sects are not means of salvation.
The brethren separated from us also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation. It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation.51
REPLY. There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. Non-Catholic sects are outside the Catholic Church. Therefore non-Catholic sects are not means of salvation.
Nor do non-Catholic sects use liturgical actions of the Christian religion. For the Christian religion is the Catholic religion. Only the liturgical actions of this religion are lawful, and as such, engender the life of grace.52 The liturgical actions of false religions and sects are objectively sinful, even when their externals very nearly match Catholic externals; as a result, they are opposed to the life of grace.
OBJECTION. Vatican II means to say that salvation is more efficacious in the Catholic Church than in non-Catholic sects.
REPLY. All non-Catholic sects publicly reject submission to the authority of the Church divinely-appointed by Christ. But this rejection of authority is a sin. And it is impossible that one can be saved by means of sin. Sin is not a less efficacious means of salvation, but an impediment to salvation. Therefore there is no salvation by means of non-Catholic sects.
OBJECTION. Pope Pius IX, in Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, said that salvation is possible for those who sedulously obey the natural law and who live an honest life. But it seems that many members of religious groups outside the Catholic Church do this. Therefore it seems that God sanctifies and saves men outside the Church.
REPLY. Pope Pius IX said that those who are in invincible ignorance about the true religion, and who sedulously obey the natural law and live an honest life are able to attain salvation.53 He wrote: “It is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, are not stained by any guilt in this matter in the eyes of God.”54 Invincible ignorance about the true religion is a condition by which, through no fault of one’s own, it is impossible to know the true religion. Someone who is in invincible ignorance about the true religion, yet who sedulously obeys the natural law and lives an honest life, is already a member of the Church implicitly and in voto (by desire). It is necessary for salvation by a necessity of means to belong to the Church at least implicitly and in voto. It is necessary by a necessity of precept to belong to the Church in re (by visible membership). “Necessity of means” refers to the fact that without it, salvation absolutely cannot be attained. “Necessity of precept” refers to the fact that, if it were omitted inculpably (without guilt), one could still be saved. But if one culpably omits to enter the Church (i.e. with guilt), one cannot be saved. This latter is what is meant by the axiom extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.55
Pope Pius IX is not teaching that modern men who know the Catholic Church yet refuse to submit to her can be saved purely because they pay their taxes and are kind to animals. He teaches: ”Eternal salvation cannot be obtained by those who oppose the authority and statements of the same Church and are stubbornly separated from the unity of the Church and also from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, to whom ‘the custody of the vineyard has been committed by the Savior.’”56
Everyone also knows with what great love the Christians of the East celebrate the sacred liturgy, especially the eucharistic celebration, source of the Church’s life and pledge of future glory, in which the faithful, united with their bishop, have access to God the Father through the Son, the Word made flesh, Who suffered and has been glorified, and so, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they enter into communion with the most holy Trinity, being made “sharers of the divine nature”. Hence, through the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in each of these churches, the Church of God is built up and grows in stature and through concelebration, their communion with one another is made manifest.
REPLY. The term ‘faithful’ means the Catholic laity; it has never been used in any official teaching to refer to heretics and/or members of sects. In this context, however, the reader is to understand that the meaning of the term has now been expanded to refer to lay members of the Photian schismatic sects (commonly called Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, etc.). Members of these sects are not members of the Catholic Church. They are not united with their bishop in the same sense that Catholics are united with their bishop. For Catholic bishops are authorities by divine right, with true jurisdiction; and as such, every Catholic bishop is the principle of unity within his diocese. Photian bishops are unlawfully constituted, and have no authority over anyone. They have no principle of unity except the natural bonds of human affection which unite the members of any organization. But these natural bonds are not sufficient to constitute the Church, nor does the Church experience a building-up or growth within these sects.
Vatican II also teaches that in their Eucharistic celebrations, the Photian schismatics access God the Father through the Son, the Word made flesh.57 However, just as it is possible to receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin, and by doing so merit punishment,58 so it is also possible to celebrate Mass in a manner which merits punishment. Every Mass celebrated outside the Catholic Church is objectively sinful, because these Masses are a public protestation and open rebellion against the divinely-appointed authority of the Roman Pontiff and the mission of the Catholic Church. And what is objectively sinful is not a means of accessing God the Father through the Son (see pp. 29-31).
Nor are the Photian sects ‘churches’ in which the celebration of the Holy Eucharist occurs. Unitatis Redintegratio No. 3 attempts to present this novelty as if it were a traditional teaching by citing the Councils of Lateran IV, Lyons II, and Florence as referring to schismatic groups as ‘churches.’ However, these councils referred to the Greeks as ‘churches’ because these councils are referring to them as they were either before the schisms occurred, or after the schisms were healed. They are not referring to the Greeks in their present condition of schism as ‘particular churches’ within the Church of Christ, as Benedict XVI called them.59
Nor is the tradition of concelebration in Photian liturgy a manifestation of unity. For something sensible is only a manifestation of some immaterial thing if that immaterial thing exists in the first place. But unity does not exist among the various Photian groups. Therefore Photian concelebration cannot be a manifestation of unity. For example, wedding rings are symbols of being married; but if one is not truly married, the mere wearing of rings will not manifest a marriage.
The error of salvation by non-Catholic sects is beyond mere Protestantism. While Martin Luther encouraged people to sin boldly, with the promise that faith alone is necessary for salvation, even Luther never claimed that the Holy Ghost uses sin as means of salvation.
This error is also beyond mere secularism. For secularism is interested purely in this world and this life. It desires the political suppression of the Catholic Church’s social reign by means of sanctioning civil religious liberty and ecumenism. It is not interested in doctrines pertaining to supernatural beatitude.
Indeed, it is Modernism which is the basis for the error of salvation by means of non-Catholic sects. In Modernism, any worship in any religion is good because it is the expression of inner feelings and needs. In Modernism, all doctrine, even false doctrine, is “true” because it is the external projection of a people’s communal religious convictions. Vatican II never once uses the language of false religions, false doctrines, impious worship, or schismatic sects. The reason is because in Modernism, there is no objective reference to truth or goodness. All doctrine, worship, and morality are mere expressions of the evolving human community, and are capable of being either full expressions or less-full expressions. They are never capable of being objectively false or sinful.
For the Modernist, then, salvation means any successful integration of some communal religious sense with an external expression. This is why Vatican II claims that false religious worship gives access to the community of salvation. In this way, the very notion of salvation is reduced to something altogether naturalistic and even pagan.
26. Catholic Thesis. The Catholic Church is identical to the Church of Christ, which is visible and united, and the principle of this unity is the Holy Ghost.
Creed of Nicene-Constantinople:
You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid.60
For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office: so we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.61
Magisterium: Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (1896); Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, (1943).
Jesus Christ did not, in point of fact, institute a Church to embrace several communities similar in nature, but in themselves distinct, and lacking those bonds which render the Church unique and indivisible after that manner in which in the symbol of our faith we profess: I believe in one Church.62
They err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, something merely “pneumatological” as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are united by an invisible bond…Only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. “For in one spirit” says the Apostle, “were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free.” As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith. And therefore if a man refuse to hear the Church let him be considered — so the Lord commands — as a heathen and a publican. It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit.63
Theological Reasoning: Whatever is disunited does not exist, inasmuch as it is not one thing, for unity is convertible with being. But the Catholic Church exists. Therefore the Catholic Church has unity.
To illustrate this point, we must make a distinction between being a thing and becoming a thing. When a thing has being, it also has unity. If I claim that my dog exists, I am also claiming that my dog has being and is one, single, unified thing. But when a thing is becoming something else, it necessarily means that it does not yet exist as that thing, nor does it have unity as that thing. For example, if I claim that I am becoming a priest, I am necessarily claiming that I am currently a non-priest, i.e. that I have no being as a priest, and that I have no unity as a priest.
As we shall see, Vatican II claims both that the Church is united, and that it is also impelled toward unity, i.e. becoming united. But this is the same as saying that the Church exists, and that the Church is also becoming the Church. It is the equivalent of claiming that I am a priest and that I am also becoming a priest, or that my dog exists, and that my dog is also becoming a dog. This is a contradiction.
This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, which our Savior, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as “the pillar and mainstay of the truth.” This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward Catholic unity.
REPLY. When Our Lord appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, He did not say, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou the visible structure in which my Church subsists?” He said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”64 This is because there is no distinction between the Mystical Body of Christ and the Church. All Catholics are bound to affirm that they are one and the same thing.65 The distinction which Vatican II makes between the abstract concept ‘Church of Christ’ and the concrete and visible realization of this concept in the society of the ‘Catholic Church’ is a bogus distinction which is found nowhere in Catholic teaching. There is only one, visible Church: the Catholic Church.
To sanctify something is to make it holy. But nothing is made holy except by sanctifying grace. And the source of all grace is Christ. But the grace of Christ is not applied to men except by means of the Catholic Church. And the Catholic Church is by nature a visible organization. Therefore all things are made holy by means of the visible society which is the Catholic Church.
There are no ‘elements of sanctification’ outside the visible structure of the Church.66 Indeed, there are no such things as ‘elements’ of sanctification at all. Sanctification is something binary: one is either sanctified, and simultaneously a member of the visible Church, or not. It cannot be divided into constitutive elements. It is like being a citizen of the United States. One is either a citizen of the visible United States or not. There is no such thing as having elements of citizenship.
OBJECTION. “Subsists in” can be interpreted to mean the same thing as “is.” In interpreting ambiguous documents, we ought to favor the Catholic interpretation. Therefore, this excerpt can be interpreted to mean that the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church.
REPLY. In the Church, doctrine must be interpreted in the way that the authority interprets it. In 2007, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Benedict XVI was asked why the phrase ‘subsists in’ was used instead of the word ‘is,’ which was used by Pope Pius XII.67 The Congregation avoided the question. Following the example of Lumen Gentium, the Congregation simply taught that ‘subsists in’ meant ‘full identity,’ with the understanding that there are lesser gradations of identity, and that these gradations include non-Catholic sects containing elements of sanctification and truth impelling toward catholic unity.68 Now, if elements of the Church of Christ are impelling toward unity, then the Church of Christ cannot be united right now. It is merely becoming united. And if it is not united right now, then it is disunited. But the Catholic Church is not disunited. Therefore, according to the official statement issued with the explicit approval of Benedict XVI, the Church of Christ cannot be the same as the Catholic Church.
Those who profess that the authority of the ‘popes’ of Vatican II is a true authority must yield their assent to this teaching. They are not at liberty to adhere to an interpretation contrary to it. Those who claim that ‘subsists in’ means ‘is’ are adopting a position which is contrary to Vatican II, John Paul II,69 and Benedict XVI. Francis insisted upon this point when he said, “Either you are with the Church and therefore you follow the Council, and if you do not follow the Council or you interpret it in your own way, as you wish, you are not with the Church. We must be demanding and strict on this point.”70
OBJECTION. Pope Clement XI condemned the proposition of Quesnel that there is no grace given outside the Church.71 But grace is an element of sanctification. Therefore there are elements of sanctification outside the Church.
REPLY. Indeed, the terminus of many graces lies outside the Church; otherwise no one would ever convert and become a member of the Church, and there would be no demerit for failing to cooperate with grace. However, while grace is aimed outside the Church, the giver of this grace is Christ, who gives it mediated through the Church. Pope Pius XII taught, “it was possible for Him of Himself to impart these graces to mankind directly; but He willed to do so only through a visible Church made up of men.”72
OBJECTION. Vatican II is teaching that the forces impelling toward catholic unity which are found outside the visible structure are the graces that dispose souls for sanctification and unity with the Church. The reason Vatican II teaches that they are not found in the visible structures of the Church is that they do not actually sanctify or cause membership in the Church, yet they do dispose or impel souls toward sanctification and unity.
REPLY. Vatican II explicitly says that the forces impelling toward unity which are found outside the visible structure are elements of sanctification. Catholic teaching is that graces which dispose souls for sanctification (and consequently impel them toward unity with the Church) are not sanctifying graces, but actual graces. These latter graces do not make a person a member of the Church; they merely dispose a person to membership. It is impossible to be in the state of sanctifying grace unless one is already a member of the Church at least in voto (by desire). Therefore it is impossible that there can be elements of sanctification outside the Church.
OBJECTION. Vatican II is only saying that there are some persons who lack visible marks of membership in the Church, but yet are in a state of grace. These are the people outside the visible structures who are impelled toward unity.
REPLY. If someone is in the state of grace, even if he should lack the visible marks of membership, he is necessarily already a member of the Church in voto (by desire). He is not impelled toward unity, since he already has unity. He is impelled to the visible marks of membership: profession of faith, the sacraments, and submission to the Roman Pontiff.
OBJECTION. Valid sacraments exist outside the Church. And valid sacraments sanctify. Therefore elements of sanctification exist outside the Church.
REPLY. Valid sacraments are often administered outside the Church. Apart from cases of extreme necessity, these sacraments are sins. To administer them is against divine law, since the schismatic administrator of the sacrament has no divine mission. To receive them is a species of communicatio in sacris: communicating in divine matters with illicit ministers. It is impossible to be sanctified by means of sin. Therefore, there is no such thing as elements of sanctification outside the Church.
Now, those in the state of grace may be invincibly ignorant about the fact that such sacraments are administered sinfully. This means that, through no fault of their own, they simply do not know, and cannot know, that the sacrament is being administered sinfully. This is the case, for example, with infants under the age of reason. In this case, the guilt of the sin is not imputed to that person. If these souls receive any grace when they receive the sacrament, it is not due to the sinfulness of the action, but to the mercy of God, Who forgives them only because “they know not what they do.”73 The sacrament confers sanctifying grace to the recipient not because of the illicitness of the act, but because of the disposition of the recipient, who does not, and cannot, know that what they are doing is wrong. However, in themselves, sacraments administered by schismatics are not elements of sanctification, as Vatican II claims, but rather, sins.74
The sacraments are the exclusive property of the Catholic Church. They are not found outside in the Church except as stolen items. Just as it would be wrong to pay with and accept stolen money, so it is wrong to administer and receive sacraments from schismatic ministers. And something that is wrong cannot be an element of sanctification. One would not say that stolen money is an element impelling toward unity between the thief and the man who was robbed by the thief. Just as the thief must repent and make restitution for his wicked deeds, so the schismatic minister must repent and pay restitution for his. If there is sanctification in a sacrament conferred by a schismatic minister, it is not because it was conferred in a schismatic context, but because the particular disposition of the recipient is such that guilt is not imputed (e.g. if someone is under the age of reason or invincibly ignorant).
After many French clergymen signed the schismatic Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790), the question arose whether the faithful could approach them for baptism. Pope Pius VI responded as follows:
It is not permitted to receive the baptism of the intruded clergy except in cases of extreme necessity and if no one else can be found to give baptism; the sacrament should be conferred by legitimate clergy or by others armed with their permission.
For, since the intruded pastor is certainly schismatical, and his schism is obvious, it follows that the action of a Catholic who addresses himself to the intruded cleric for the administration of baptism is, from every point of view, vicious, evil, and forbidden; in effect, this would be to communicate with schismatics in divine matters and in the very wickedness of the schism, which is by its very nature an evil, and hence forbidden by the natural law as well as by the divine.75
Now, something which is vicious, evil, wicked, and forbidden by the natural and divine law cannot be an element of sanctification.
28. Vatican II: Lumen Gentium, 9.
God gathered together as one all those who in faith look upon Jesus as the author of salvation and the source of unity and peace, and established them as the Church that for each and all it may be the visible sacrament of this saving unity.
REPLY. The Church does not consist merely of those who have the virtue of faith. The virtue of faith is invisible. Therefore, a collection of people who have faith does not constitute the visible Church. It constitutes a group of people with an invisible quality, and nothing more.
That Vatican II identifies this collection of people ‘who in faith look upon Jesus’ as the Church is the equivalent of saying that the Church is invisible. But the Church is by nature visible. Therefore the Church does not consist of those who in faith look upon Jesus. The Church consists of those baptized Catholics in union with, and submitted to, the Roman Pontiff, and in communion and profession of the Catholic faith.76 These are the sensible things that constitute the Church as a visible society.
29. Denial of the Church’s Visibility and Unity: Conclusion.
This error is the intellectual justification for ecumenism.77 For if it is no longer a sin for Catholics to manufacture visible unity with non-Catholic sects, as the heresy of ecumenism maintains, then it follows that there currently is no visible unity. Lumen Gentium provides the logical denial of that unity which is necessary in order for ecumenism to make sense.
In Lumen Gentium, the Church of Christ is presented as an invisible organization consisting of both Catholics and non-Catholic Christians, all those who “in faith look upon Jesus” and desire progress toward unity and peace. The Catholic Church, by contrast, is presented as a complexus of visible and organizational components superimposed upon the invisible ‘Church of Christ’ as one particular manifestation of this spirit, a manifestation which has the “fullness” of the Church of Christ, but is not exclusively identical with it.
The 1983 Code of Canon Law incorporates this heresy by its novel distinction between christifideles catholici (Can. 844) and christifideles (Can. 204), or ‘the Catholic Christian faithful’ and ‘the Christian faithful.’ The former belong to the visible organization (‘Catholic Church’), and the latter belong to the invisible organization (‘Church of Christ’).
By denying the exclusive identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church, Vatican II places the Catholic Church on the same level as any sect. Regarding non-Catholic sects, according to the Roman Catechism, “it is necessary that they be subject to the most pernicious errors of doctrine and morals, as they are led by the spirit of the devil.”78 But the infallible and indefectible Catholic Church can never be moved by the slightest doctrinal or moral error, nor can it be led by the spirit of the devil. Therefore, the Catholic Church is not a Christian sect, but rather, the one true Mystical Body of Christ, the Church of the living God, the “pillar and ground of the truth.”79
30. Catholic Thesis: The unity of the Church is that mark by which it is exclusive of all other societies.
He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.80
And if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as a heathen or publican.81
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever?82
Magisterium: Pope St. Leo the Great, Sermo CXXIX; Pope Pius IX, Etsi Multa (1873); Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, (1896).
Wherefore, since outside the Catholic Church there is nothing undefiled, the Apostle declaring that “all that is not of faith is sin,” we are in no way likened with those who are divided from the unity of the Body of Christ; we are joined in no communion.83
Whence it follows that from this Apostolic See where Peter lives and presides and grants to all those who seek it the truths of faith, emanate all the rights of holy communion; and this same See “is certainly to the other churches spread through the world what the head is to the other members of the body, and who so separates himself from this See becomes a stranger to the Christian religion, since he ceases to be part of its structure.84
Jesus Christ did not, in point of fact, institute a Church to embrace several communities similar in nature, but in themselves distinct, and lacking those bonds which render the Church unique and indivisible after that manner in which in the symbol of our faith we profess: I believe in one Church.85
Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these [Eastern Orthodox] Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church.86
REPLY. The Church of Christ is identical with the Catholic Church. They are two terms that mean exactly the same thing. Now, the Eastern Orthodox (Photian) sects are not members of the Catholic Church. Therefore the Church of Christ is not present and operative in the Photian schismatic churches. For a thing cannot be present and operative and yet at the same time lack existence. For example, if the U.S. military is present and operative in the Pacific Ocean, it necessarily follows that it exists in the Pacific Ocean. If the Church of Christ is present and operative in schismatic sects, this is to say that it exists in schismatic sects. This is an error.
The error about the Church of Christ being partially in schismatic sects originated with the Protestant theologian Oscar Cullmann (1902-1999). Cullmann was a pupil of the Modernist Alfred Loisy.87 He was also a lifelong ecumenist and personal friend of Paul VI. He was present at Vatican II officially only as an observer; however, in the practical order he was a theological consultant to the drafters of the schemata. He espoused the idea of an inaugurated eschatology, in which the ‘Christ-event,’ which he also called the ‘Paschal Mystery,’ inaugurates an age in which the kingdom of God is in a stage of incompleteness; it is in partial union with Christ, but progressing toward complete union, and it will only be fully united with Him at the eschaton, or the end of the age. Cullmann denied that Christ established a perfect kingdom; rather, he affirmed that Christ only had an idea of a kingdom which to this day remains in a state of imperfection. He saw the Catholic Church as a sect equivalent to the Photians and Protestants, which was collaborating with them toward the perfection of the kingdom. Ecumenism, for Cullmann, was the way in which the kingdom strains and groans toward its final completion, which will ultimately consist in a manufactured unity of all religious sects with one another and with God. Lumen Gentium expresses exactly the same idea:
From this source [the Spirit], the Church…receives the mission to proclaim and spread to all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God and to be the initial budding forth of that kingdom. While it slowly grows, the Church strains toward the completed Kingdom and, with all its strength, hopes, and desires, to be united in glory with its King.88
32. John Paul II: Ut Unum Sint, 14.
In accordance with the great Tradition, attested to by the Fathers of the East and of the West, the Catholic Church believes that in the Pentecost Event God has already manifested the Church in her eschatological reality, which he had prepared “from the time of Abel, the just one.” This reality is something already given. Consequently we are even now in the last times. The elements of this already-given Church exist, found in their fullness in the Catholic Church and, without this fullness, in the other Communities, where certain features of the Christian mystery have at times been more effectively emphasized. Ecumenism is directed precisely to making the partial communion existing between Christians grow towards full communion in truth and charity.
REPLY. Pentecost was the birth of the Catholic Church. It was not an event at which a plurality of sects emerged with varying degrees of ecumenical fullness, to be united in the last times. Elements of the Christian mystery have never at any time in history been more effectively emphasized in non-Catholic sects than in the Holy Catholic Church. To imply that other religions are more effective at teaching the faith than the Catholic Church is blasphemous.
Ecumenism is not the means by which the Church becomes fully united with those communities with which it is now only partially united. The Church is not partially united with any other religious society. It is exclusive of all other religious societies, and will always remain thus.
Both Lumen Gentium and Ut Unum Sint contain errors which are logically derived from Cullmann’s error of inaugurated eschatology. The Abu Dhabi Statement of Francis, also known as the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together (2019), in which is claimed that God wills a plurality of religions, is in perfect agreement with the errors of inaugurated eschatology and partial communion.
33. Partial Communion: Conclusion.
We saw above that Modernism holds that there is no such thing as error, but merely gradations of truth. It holds that there is no such thing as evil, but merely gradations of goodness. It holds that there is no such thing as damnation, but merely gradations of salvation. In keeping with these notions, the authors of Vatican II invented the notion of partial communion, in which there is no such thing as being outside the Church, but merely gradations of belonging, ranging from full to partial.
The Catholic teaching is that communion with the Church is something binary, like being in the state of grace. One is either in the state of grace or not; there is no such thing as a partial state of grace. It is the same with membership in the Church. One is either a member of the Church or not.
Under the rubric of ecumenism, all religions must work together to manufacture a secular religious unity. This unity has nothing to do with God or Christianity. It is merely a cultural homogenization, the fulfillment of masonic, liberal ideologies dating from the Enlightenment period. It has one goal: the gradual ridding of all religious distinctions until there is only one religion left, the ‘religion’ of dogmaless humanism. Partial communion is a political declaration of progress toward religious coalescence, which is a necessary prelude to the absolute secular state.
In this survey of the errors of Vatican II, an insight is gained into the spirit of Modernism which spread throughout the Catholic clergy of the twentieth century after the death of St. Pius X. Modernism is a multifaceted heresy, seeking to discredit the Catholic Church in all areas: theology, philosophy, history, law, liturgy, Scripture, apologetics, etc. To conclude this article, we shall briefly examine the influence of Modernism on each of the errors outlined above.
Modernism is derived from liberalism. All liberals reject the notion that the civil government is bound to accept divine revelation sufficiently proposed, instead claiming that it is bound to remain neutral toward divine revelation. Liberalism begins with the premise that the civil government must be neutral toward religion, making no distinction between good or evil religions; it must grant liberty to all the many religions in its territory, allowing them to practice their faith openly, provided that they do not disturb the public order. Hence we see in Vatican II the bold proclamation of the right to religious liberty, which Pope Gregory XVI called an insanity.
Liberalism is always favorable to ecumenism. This is because, wherever religious liberty is enshrined in law, the plurality of religions necessarily causes conflict. This conflict weakens the strength of the state. To alleviate this conflict, rather than favor the Catholic religion as the solution, liberalism favors ecumenism as the solution: the gradual coalescence of religions into one unity for the purpose of eliminating all differences and alleviating all civil conflict. The Modernist is quick to support this project, since he believes that all religions spring from the same inner subconscious of humanity, so their coalescence does not present a problem to him. Hence we see in Vatican II the promulgation of ecumenism, which Pope Pius XI called an error so great that it would destroy utterly the foundations of the Catholic faith.
Modernists believe that all religions are true. This is because, in Modernism, religion is whatever people feel it to be. As a result, Modernism also believes that all religions are fundamentally good and salvific. Hence we see in Vatican II the promulgation of salvation by means of non-Catholic sects, which Pope Gregory XVI called a deadly error. For this reason also the doctrine of universal salvation (condemned in the sixth century by Pope Vigilius)89 is preached almost everywhere in the Novus Ordo today.
Modernists believe that there are two “Churches”: an invisible Church and a visible Church. The invisible Church is simply an idea that Christ had long ago about uniting the human race, but which has yet to be realized in a visible manner. All men are members of this invisible Church. The visible Church is an attempt by the apostles and Catholics to make present the original “kingdom idea” through doctrine, liturgy, and law. But it is not necessarily a permanent or stable realization. It is in a state of evolution. By means of ecumenism, it becomes the ultimate realization of what Christ intended. Hence we see in Vatican II the denial of the Church’s unity and visibility, which Pope Pius XII called an error in a matter of divine truth.
The Modernists assert that the Church of Christ (the invisible Church) is fully realized in the visible Catholic Church. But it is partially realized in the plurality of different religious sects. The match between the original kingdom “idea” and non-Catholic sects is imperfect, but this imperfection is nevertheless valid because it is an expression of the subjective religious sense. For the Modernist, different religions are like different pieces of music. Just as there is no meaningful distinction between lovers of Tchaikovsky and lovers of Bach, except to say that Bach is better than Tchaikovsky, Modernism makes no meaningful distinction between the Church and non-Catholic sects, except to say that one is better than the other. Hence we see in Vatican II the doctrine of partial communion, in which non-Catholic sects are said to exist on a graded scale of partial communion with the Catholic Church, in which elements of the invisible Church of Christ are present and operative, albeit deficient. Contrast this with the teaching of Pope Leo XIII, who taught that those who reject Catholic doctrine or authority are rebels, expelled from the ranks of her children, and banished from the bosom of the Church.90
Modernists appear to be Catholics, but they are not Catholics. They despise the Church’s teachings and endeavor by every artifice to deceive Catholics into rejecting the faith and embracing the errors of Protestantism and secularism. In the words of St. Pius X: “Imbued with poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church,” their goal is to “utterly subvert the kingdom of Christ.” They strike at the root of the faith itself; they have endeavored to collect every condemned heresy and to condense them all into one diabolical system of lies. There is no part of Catholic truth that they leave untouched, “none that they do not strive to corrupt. Further, none is more skillful, none more astute than they, in the employment of a thousand noxious devices; for they play the double part of rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error; and as audacity is their chief characteristic, there is no conclusion of any kind from which they shrink or which they do not thrust forward with pertinacity and assurance.”91 They have contempt for all authority except themselves, and as a rule, they are a stone wall of resistance to all repentance and conversion.
The Spouse of Christ, the Holy Catholic Church is a fountain of purity, holiness, and truth that can never propose to her children absurdities, impieties, or errors. Vatican II is a collection of documents full of absurdities, impieties, and errors imbued with the spirit of Modernism. No Catholic may assent to it, either internally or publicly, without prejudice to the infused virtue of faith given in baptism. To profess Vatican II as Catholic teaching is equivalent to professing that the Church is a fallible and defectible sect, and as such no longer possesses any motives of credibility.
No Catholic may reject an ecumenical council, for ecumenical councils are teachings of the universal Church which cannot err. Yet what makes an ecumenical council valid and binding is its promulgation by the Roman Pontiff; therefore, the virtue of faith itself binds all Catholics to reject the notion that Vatican II was promulgated by a Roman Pontiff. May God grant that all Catholics endeavor diligently to study the Church’s teachings, that the poison of Vatican II may be easily discerned and rejected by all.
Sancte Pie X, ora pro nobis.
- Rev. Denis Fahey, CSs.P., The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World, Waterford, Ireland: Browne and Nolan Ltd., 1938, pp. 13-14. ↩︎
- In the practical order, because of the influence of Modernism in Vatican II, the error of Darwinism has become a near-universal dogma within educational settings of the Novus Ordo structure. ↩︎
- Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi (1907). ↩︎
- Ez XX, 3. ↩︎
- Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura (1864). ↩︎
- Dignitatis Humanae, 4. ↩︎
- II Kgs XXIII, 24-25. ↩︎
- I Kgs XV, 9-15. ↩︎
- I Kgs XI, 31-33. ↩︎
- Ex XXXII, 28. ↩︎
- John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio No. 39 (December 7, 1990). ↩︎
- Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi (1907). ↩︎
- Pope Pius IX, Nunquam Fore (1856). ↩︎
- Jdg II, 1-4. ↩︎
- II Cor. VI, 14-18. ↩︎
- Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (1928). ↩︎
- Gen II, 24. ↩︎
- In his work Introduction to Christianity (1969), Fr. Joseph Ratzinger expresses the same sentiment: “Everyone knows, it is true, that Jesus’ ‘high priestly prayer’ (Jn 17), of which we are speaking, is the basic character of all efforts for the unity of the Church…Christian unity is first of all unity with Christ, which becomes possible where insistence on one’s own individuality ceases and is replaced by pure, unreserved being with Christ, which enters completely into the openness of the one who willed to hold on to nothing of his own individuality, follows the complete “at-one-ness” – “that they may all be one, even as we are one.” All not-at-one-ness, all division, rests on a concealed lack of real Christliness, on a clinging to individuality that hinders the coalescence into unity.” Translated by J.R. Foster, Communio Press, Ignatius Books, San Francisco, 2004 (originally published 1968), p. 108. ↩︎
- The idea by which the liturgy manifests a process of unification appears almost immediately in Vatican II, in the second paragraph of the very first decree, Sacrosanctum Concilium. Here, the sacred liturgy is described as “a sign lifted up among the nations under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together until there is one sheepfold and one shepherd.” This idea of progressive ecumenical unity was imported into the newly-composed Eucharistic Prayers II and III in the Novus Ordo Mass (1969), as is proved by their seemingly compulsive need to mention the same theme: gathering together the scattered peoples, becoming one body, advancing the peace and salvation of the world, standing in God’s presence as family, assembling of peoples, communal partaking and gathering into one, etc. John Paul II said that the Church desires “that the authentic Eucharistic community should become a sign of the gradually maturing unity of all Christians” (Redemptor Hominis, 20, 1979). ↩︎
- In 1949, the Holy Office issued an instruction concerning the ecumenical movement, in which it permitted, under very strict regulations overseen by the local ordinary, gatherings of competent Catholic priests with non-Catholics to discuss religious matters, with the founded hope that some of them will convert. This is distinct from the ecumenism of Vatican II, which seeks mutual religious union. ↩︎
- Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (1928). ↩︎
- Sacred Penitentiary Apostolic, July 16, 1926. ↩︎
- Pope Pius IX condemned the proposition that the Roman Pontiffs, by their too arbitrary conduct, contributed to the Photian schism (Syllabus of Errors, 1864). ↩︎
- Notable instances of this corporate apologizing include the Catholic-Orthodox Declaration of Paul VI (1965), the visit of John Paul II to Jerusalem (2000), and most recently the apology of Francis to indigenous Canadians (2022). Paul VI also referred to “the faults” (i falli) of the Church in Ecclesiam suam No. 99 (1964). ↩︎
- Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (1832). ↩︎
- Unitatis Redintegratio, 3. ↩︎
- Sess. XII, Constituti. ↩︎
- See Benedictus Henricus Merkelbach, O.P, Summa Theologiae Moralis, I. De Principiis, Desclée de Brouwer, Bruges, Ed. XI, 1962: No. 754; St. Thomas Aquinas, ST II-II.10.9; CIC (1917), Can. 1258. ↩︎
- Num XVI. Moses excommunicated them, and the earth swallowed them up alive. ↩︎
- I Kgs XVIII, 17-40. Elias killed all the false prophets at the brook Kishon. ↩︎
- Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio, 3. ↩︎
- Ibid. ↩︎
- Council of Florence, Decretum pro Armenis, Exsultate Deo, 1439 (Dz. 696). ↩︎
- Dz. 705. ↩︎
- Dz. 714. ↩︎
- Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio, 3. ↩︎
- The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. V, Encyclopedia Press, Inc., New York, 1913: Donatists, p. 127. ↩︎
- St. Augustine, In Psalm XXXIII, Enn. II, Sermo II, 29. ↩︎
- Deut. V, 8-9. ↩︎
- Is. XLIV, 6-7. ↩︎
- Apoc. XXI, 8. ↩︎
- Athanasian Creed. ↩︎
- Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam (1302). ↩︎
- Council of Florence, Decree Pro Jacobitis 1438-1445 (Denz. 714). ↩︎
- Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (1832). ↩︎
- Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Jugitur (1832). ↩︎
- Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quidem (1856). ↩︎
- Pope Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore (1863). ↩︎
- Pope Pius IX, Iam Vos Omnes (1868). ↩︎
- Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (1928). ↩︎
- This teaching is repeated by John Paul II in Redemptor Hominis (1979) and Catechesi Tradendae (1979); in the latter, he adds that it must be taught to catechumens. It is also repeated by Benedict XVI in Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church No. 3 (2007). ↩︎
- The Council of Florence taught: The unity of the Church’s body is of such great importance that only for those remaining in it are the Church’s sacraments profitable for salvation (Decretum pro Jacobitis, Cantate Domino, Dz. 714). ↩︎
- Pope Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore (1863). ↩︎
- Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quadam (1854). ↩︎
- Outside the Church, there is no salvation. ↩︎
- Pope Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore (1863). ↩︎
- The same error is repeated by John Paul II in Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion No. 17 (1992) and by Benedict XVI in Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church No. 4 (2007). ↩︎
- I Cor. XI, 29. ↩︎
- Benedict XVI, Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church No. 4 (2007). In this document, to call the schismatics ‘particular churches’ is referred to as a traditional teaching. ↩︎
- Mt. V, 14. ↩︎
- Rom. XII, 4-5. ↩︎
- Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (1896). ↩︎
- Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (1943). ↩︎
- Acts IX, 4. ↩︎
- Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis (1950): Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the Sources of Revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing. Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation. Others finally belittle the reasonable character of the credibility of Christian faith. These and like errors, it is clear, have crept in among certain of Our sons who are deceived by imprudent zeal for souls or by false science. ↩︎
- Nostra Aetate No. 2 teaches the error that there are holy things in non-Catholic religions, which is similar to the error of Lumen Gentium. Nostra Aetate No. 4 teaches the error that non-Catholics can bear witness to Christ by shedding their blood. Against this, the Council of Florence taught that even if one has shed his blood for the name of Christ, he cannot be saved unless he remains in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church (Dz. 714). ↩︎
- Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (1943): The Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing. ↩︎
- Benedict XVI, Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church No. 3 (2007). ↩︎
- See John Paul II, Dominus Jesus, No. 17. ↩︎
- Francis, To Participants in the Meeting Promoted by the National Catechetical Office of the Italian Episcopal Conference, January 30, 2021. https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2021/january/documents/papa-francesco_20210130_ufficio-catechistico-cei.html. Accessed Augusts 29, 2022. ↩︎
- Bull Unigenitus, September 8, 1713: Dz 1379. ↩︎
- Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (1943). ↩︎
- Lk XXIII, 34. ↩︎
- The Council of Florence taught: The unity of the Church’s body is of such great importance that only for those remaining in it are the Church’s sacraments profitable for salvation (Decretum pro Jacobitis, Cantate Domino, Dz. 714). ↩︎
- Instruction Laudabilem majorum to the French Bishops, September 26, 1791. From Papal Teachings: The Church, Selected and Arranged by the Benedictine Monks of Solesmes, trans. By Mother E. O’Gorman, R.S.C.J., Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, 1962, p. 87. ↩︎
- Pastor Aeternus, Vatican Council (1870). ↩︎
- That this error was the justification for ecumenism was explicitly stated by the Doctrinal Commission for the schema De Ecclesia. Commenting on the passage referring to elements of sanctification outside the Church, the Commission said: “In this precisely [elements of sanctification] is founded the principle of the ecumenical movement” (Francisco Gil Hellín, Lumen Gentium. Constitutio Dogmatica De Ecclesia Concilii Vaticani II Synopsis in ordinem redigens schemata cum relationibus necnon patrum orationes atque animadversiones, Vatican City, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, Schema No. 3, VII, XV). ↩︎
- Catechism of the Council of Trent, Part I, Art. IX, Q. XV. ↩︎
- 1 Tim 3:15. ↩︎
- Mt. XII, 30. ↩︎
- Mt. XVIII, 17. ↩︎
- II Cor. VI, 15. ↩︎
- Pope St. Leo the Great, Sermo CXXIX. ↩︎
- Pope Pius IX, Etsi Multa (1873). ↩︎
- Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (1896). ↩︎
- The language of ‘full communion,’ ‘fuller unity,’ and ‘fuller incorporation’ was introduced at Vatican II in Unitatis Redintegratio No. 3 and Lumen Gentium Nos. 1, 14, and 15; in the latter document this language is contrasted with those who, while not fully united, are nevertheless linked or related to the Church in various ways.
Similar language of ‘spheres of belonging’ was also used by John Paul II in Speech to the Cardinals and Collaborators in the Organisms of the Roman Curia No. 11 (June 28, 1980). In Dominus Jesus No. 17 (2000), he spoke of the Church of Christ being “present and operative” in non-Catholic sects, but lacking full communion.
The error about the Church of Christ being “present and operative” in schismatic sects was again taught by Benedict XVI in Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church No. 4 (2007). ↩︎
- Fr. Alfred Loisy (1857-1940) was a Modernist excommunicated in 1908. After his excommunication, he became a secular history professor, abandoning religion altogether and dying impenitent. ↩︎
- Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 5. ↩︎
- Dz. 211. ↩︎
- Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (1896). ↩︎
- Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi (1907). ↩︎