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Pope Francis tells new priests: ‘Be merciful pastors, not functionaries’

By on Monday, 22 April 2013

Pope Francis hugs a newly ordained priest (Photo: PA)

Pope Francis hugs a newly ordained priest (Photo: PA)

Before ordaining 10 men to the priesthood, Pope Francis prayed privately with them in the sacristy and entrusted them to Mary’s care.

The private moment was a repeat of a practice he began as bishop before celebrating an ordination Mass, according to Vatican Radio.

The 10 new priests – six Italians, two Indians, a Croatian and an Argentine – had prepared for the priesthood in one of three Rome diocesan seminaries.

Pope Francis’s homily, the Vatican said, was basically the text suggested for ordinations by the Italian bishops’ conference, although Pope Francis added personal remarks and observations as he delivered it.

He told the new priests they would have “the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ the teacher. Impart to everyone the word of God which you have received with joy.”

The Pope, who frequently mentions the wisdom and lessons he learned from his grandmother, told the men: “Remember your mothers, your grandmothers, your catechists, who gave you the word of God, the faith – the gift of faith.”

“Meditating on the law of the Lord, see that you believe what you read, that you teach what you believe and that you practice what you teach,” he said. “Remember, too,” he added, “that the word of God is not your property; it is the word of God. And the Church is the custodian of the word of God.”

In looking at the pastoral and sacramental ministry the men will be called to carry out, Pope Francis told them to “never tire of being merciful” in gathering people into the Church through baptism and forgiving sins in the name of Christ and the Church.

“You will comfort the sick and the elderly with holy oil,” he said. “Do not hesitate to show tenderness toward the elderly.”

Pope Francis told the new priests to remember they are chosen from among the faithful and “appointed on their behalf for those things that pertain to God. Therefore, carry out the ministry of Christ the priest with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns, but to those of Jesus Christ.”

“You are pastors, not functionaries,” he told them. “Be mediators, not intermediaries.”

The ordinations are traditionally part of the Pope’s celebration of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which takes place on the fourth Sunday of Easter each year when the Gospel reading presents Jesus as the good shepherd.

Reciting the Regina Coeli prayer at midday with tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said the day’s Gospel reading says the sheep hear Jesus’s voice and follow him. “This is a beautiful parable.

“The mystery of the voice is striking; from the time we are in our mother’s womb we learn to recognise her voice and that of our dad,” he said. “From the tone of a voice we can perceive love or contempt, affection or coldness.”

“The voice of Jesus is unique,” Pope Francis said. “If we learn to distinguish it, he will guide us on the path of life, a path that leads us even beyond the abyss of death.”

The Pope asked young people to listen carefully for Jesus’s voice and to ask for help in discerning his call, his plan for their lives, and then have the courage to follow him.

A group of young people in the square began chanting the Pope’s name in Italian – “Francesco”.

“Thank you very much for the greeting,” he said. “But greet Jesus, too. Shout ‘Jesus, Jesus’ loudly.”

  • Dr Falk

    Dear Timotheos,

    Thank you again for replying. In response –

    (1) In terms of a permanent perpetual magisterium Pope Leo’s encyclical has the heading ‘ The Magisterium (or Teaching Authority) of the Church to be Perpetual’. It then goes on to discuss the apostolic office in the church – in the bishops and the papacy. The papacy has interrugnums – the hierarchy is never extinct. The Papacy and Episcopate is the permanent and perpetual magisterium. This rather (than a disappearing magisterium which should re-appear at some point) is what the good Lord has provided.

    (2) On LaSalette – there is much dispute over this ‘secret’. Books containing it were condemned by the Holy Office – in 1915, 1916, 1923. It is used in many traditionalists circles – there are a number of sources on the Internet that deal with its turbulent history. The history of Melanie Calvert after the apparitions is baffling and troubling. Here’s what the Catholic Encyclopedia says – ‘As said above, the Blessed Virgin confided to each of the two children a special secret. These two secrets, which neither Mélanie or Maximin ever made known to each other, were sent by them in 1851 to Pius IX on the advice of Mgr. de Bruillard. It is unknown what impressions these mysterious revelations made on the pope, for on this point there were two versions diametrically opposed to each other. Maximin’s secret is not known, for it was never published. Mélanie’s was inserted in its entirety in brochure which she herself had printed in 1879 at Lecce, Italy, with the approval of the bishop of that town. A lively controversy followed as to whether the secret published in 1879 was identical with that communicated to Pius IX in 1851, or in its second form it was not merely a work of the imagination. The latter was the opinion of wise and prudent persons, who were persuaded that a distinction must be made between the two Mélanies, between the innocent and simple voyante of 1846 and the visionary of 1879, whose mind had been disturbed by reading apocalyptic books and the lives of illuminati. As Rome uttered no decision the strife was prolonged between the disputants. Most of the defenders of the text of 1879 suffered censure from their bishops. Maximin Giraud, after an unhappy and wandering life, returned to Corps, his native village, and died there a holy death (1 March, 1875). Mélanie Calvat ended a no less wandering life at Altamura, Italy (15 December, 1904).’

    (3) On Arianism. It is true Arianism spead widely. However there were orthodox bishops ( eg. St Athanasius, St Hilary, St Eusebius, St Gregory of Nazianus, St Basil of Casarea ). The See of Rome opposed Arianism ( the case of Pope St Liberius is very debated ). There was also Peter II the Pope of Alexandria opposing Arianism. So we have a Church of bishops, popes and faithful – a visible hierarchial body – a visible body with a living magisterium. Cardinal Newman who studied the period deeply wrote ‘ As to the Arianism of the fourth century it certainly originated in Bishops and priests. Its stronghold was in the State and in the Episcopacy; but still in what sense the Episcopacy? I answer its genuine and pronounced upholders were but a handful of Bishops – you may count them. The Semi-Arian Bishops were numerous, but for repudiating a symbol decided on by an Ecumenical Council. The rest of the Bishops – that is,the majority – were either deficient in controversial science or cowards, who succumbed to the dictation of the State, without in their hearts denying the true faith. The priests and people all through Christendom were for the most part zealous for the Catholic doctrine.’ ( Letter to T W Mossman Sept 17 1868).

    (4) On Our Lords words in Luke 18:8. They could be read as meaning the Church at the end will be a tiny flock – a little flock as at the beginning ( Luke 12:32). This would make it a prediction. The alternative explanation is that the words are a call or challenge to faithfulness – the parable preceding it ( v 2 – 7) concerns faithful persistence. If it this then it is the perennial call to be faithful for we not when the Son of Man comes ( ‘ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour’ – Mt 25:13). Whichever it true and it may be both – the Church remains indefectible in its constitution and cannot lack the visible hierarchial form the Lord gave it.

  • Timotheos

    To Dr Falk:

    Just as we have pure and applied Maths, in the same way some of the Church’s teaching on faith and morals is pure, some is applied. Hence an infallible ruling may appear in doctrinal format or in applied/juridical format. In the latter case, of course, the ruling must be so intimately connected with the Church’s ‘pure’ teaching on faith and morals that its conclusions flow necessarily therefrom – as they do in Apostolicae Curae.

    Now Bishop Fessler failed to understand this, viz. that the Church’s determination of ‘doctrina de fide vel moribus’ relates not just to pure ‘definitions’ OF faith or morals, but also to applied ‘teachings’ REGARDING faith and morals. He may well be right in limiting papal infallibility to a definitory nucleus of authoritative teaching, but his assumption that this teaching must be ‘pure’ in kind (what he calls “the Definition”) is gratuitous.Yes, Pius IX may have agreed with him in a private capacity, but he didn’t make this clear in a public capacity. If this were his private intention, why didn’t he clarify it in the Vatican Constitution? Why did his clear infallible words have to be interpreted, refined, circumscribed in such a manner? Here perhaps we have a remarkable illustration of the necessity of the charism of papal infallibility: a true Pope is forced by God to say one thing in public, but privately he is allowed to fall into certain errors and misapprehensions like everyone else.

    Now the definitory nucleus of Apostolicae Curae lies here: “We PRONOUNCE and DECLARE that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void”. This is a direct practical application of the Church’s faith to a particular historical event. The Pope applies the prerequisites for a valid ordination (based on the Church’s faith regarding the Priesthood and the Sacrament of Holy Orders) to the Anglican Ordinal. A Sacrament must signify its effects to be valid, and a valid rite automatically loses its validity if systematically altered to negate or radically undermine its prior signification. This is nothing but the direct application of basic sacramental theology. It is presented to the world (not just the English nation). It offers definitive teaching based on and regarding the application of the Faith. And it is pronounced solemnly. It is infallible.

  • Dr Falk

    Dear Timotheos,

    On Bishop Fessler – his book which carried the letter of Pope Pius IX was to correct the wrong interpretations of the dogma which were circulating. Sometimes when definitions and decisions are made different interpretations occur. This was an attempt by Bishop Fessler who was at the Council as it’s secretary to explain the dogma. It was supported by the Pope who called and attended the Council. The interpretation by Bishop Fessler does not misunderstand Pastor Aeternus – it explains it in a Catholic sense.

    On words like ‘pronounce and declare’ compare it with Pastor Aeternus – ‘We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed…’ One is a the judgement in a particular case of whether Anglicanism has Orders. The other is a definition of a dogma divinely revealed. On the Assumption of Our Lady we find ‘By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma..’ On the Immaculate Conception we find ‘We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary,..’ These definitions involve dogmas divinely revealed. The case with Apostolicae Curae involves a judgement. It of course involves sacramental theology as does all the judgements of the Church on issues pertaining to Orders but that doesn’t make it infallible.

  • Timotheos

    The sedevacantist conclusion is eminently objective. It is founded on the Church that a heretic is automatically expelled from the Church (without the necessity of a prior trial) and therefore cannot possbily be the head of the Church. If you are genuinely unaware of the raft of heresies taught by the last six antipopes, in both word and deed, you need to be evangelized from scratch.

    St Alphonsus Liguori simply made a theological mistake. He thought that so-called baptism of desire was de fide teaching. In this he misunderstood the teaching of the Council of Trent. I would regard his error as material ‘heresy’. It’s interesting that counterfeit ‘catholics’ who defend this particular error of his are rather less inclined to defend his teaching that all pagans, Jews, Mahometans and heretics are lost, plus other similar teachings todays mocked as “Feeneyite”.

    I don’t see the relevance of discussing de Nantes or des Lauriers, as neither understood the plight of the Church correctly. Neither were sedevacantists.

    Lay members of the Church do not claim to be the Papacy, the Hierarchy, the Seven Sacraments, etc. The idea is ludicrous. Those who act like this are not of the Church. Historically Popes have been elected in a variety of ways during the last two millennia: by Cardinals, by the Roman clergy, and by Christ Himself. There may be other ways as yet unknown to us.

  • Timotheos

    To Dr Falk:

    But in his papal approbation Pius IX merely commended Fessler for beating back Schulte’s errors and indicated his general approval. He didn’t formally declare that Fessler’s book represented the official position of the Church as you claim to hold.

    You haven’t taken on board at all the idea that Papal Infallibility may apply to teachings often treated as merely disciplinary or governmental, providing that they are directly derived from the Church’s dogmatic or moral teachings and represent their application in practice. Fessler rules this possibility out near the beginning of his work, failing to see that the Pope’s teachings on faith and morals may have both a legislative and executive aspect.

  • Dr Falk

    Hello Timotheos,

    (1) The sedevantist position moves very quickly to the subjective. Either it goes from the objective ( X says this ) to the subjective ( presumed pertinacious state) or it doesn’t concern about or know about the necessity of pertinacy for heresy and says in it’s own mind ‘X says this and is therefore a heretic’. Whichever, a very subjectivist position. The Guerardian thesis is very strong on this. Sedevacantism, it says, moves from the objective aspect to the subjective aspect without any proof. This move without the admission on the part of the person involved does not provide that state of objectivity that would be absolutely necessary to come to the conclusion independant of the intervention of Catholic authority.

    (2) On whether a Pope would be depositus or deponendus – deposed or should be deposed – there are the SV arguments but there are also arguments arguing for canonical warnings. These include Scripture and the Council of Trent.

    (3) On St Alphonsus – the quotes I have seen go far beyond baptism of desire. The quotes include support for positions of implicit baptism of desire – i.e. justification without knowledge of baptism, The texts also quote St Alphonsus mentioning learned theologians such as De Lugo and St Thomas supporting implicit baptism. Dominicus Soto is quoted as supporting invincible ignorance. These opinions are deemed in the quotes I have seen ‘sufficiently probable’.

    (4) This brings us to a real issue for sedevacantists. There seems to be two measures operating. If someone today said the above some sedevacantists would say this proves them to be a heretic. If St Alphonsus says it – it is a ‘mistake’. Yet here was a man living in less confused times, a first rate theologian, a Doctor of the Church and a Saint. Wouldn’t he know the Faith and Tradition of the Church on these matters? Yes he could make mistakes but on teaching the opposite of what the Catholic Faith teaches. This is doubtful. However that is only my opinion. Only a canonical case could decide. Pope Pius XII taught about those outside the Church – ‘For even though by an unconscious desire and longing they have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer..’ ( Mystici Corporis Christi,103). Is this heretical? It says that non Catholics by their unconscious desires are somehow linked in relationship to the Church.

    (5) The St Alphonsus issue brings us the question of how one decides what a person knows and establishing pertinacy. Can we just presume it or excuse it or must it be established canonically?

    (6) On the Church – the Catholic Church always has seven sacraments, the office of Peter, the episcopal college and a magisterium. If a person belongs to a Church that doesn’t have them then that body is not the Catholic Church. It might claim to be but it can’t be. Ubi Petrus ibi Ecclesia – these precious words of St Ambrose contain a whole theological treatise on the Church of Christ. This is why a group of good lay people scattered here and there cannot be the Church. Hence the Church a visible and hierarchical body.

    (7) On papal elections. Sedevacantism has no cardinals or Roman clergy. To look directly to Christ would mean private apparitions which don’t have a good track record here ( Palmar, St Jovite, Michel Collin, etc ).It’s difficult to see how non-conclavist or non – apparitionist sedevacantists will ever get a Pope.

    Good to talk.

  • Dr Falk

    One last post for tonight Timotheos. A previous post referred to the book as ‘ It represents probably the highest interpretation of what the dogma means.’ This means not that it is the official position of the Church but the highest interpretation I know of. Unless you can offer a higher interpretation from a Catholic source i’m happy and honoured to agree with Bishop Fessler and Blessed Pope Pius IX.

  • Timotheos

    To Peter:

    You write, ‘The truth is that salvation extends beyond the visible limits of the Church to all mankind.’ This is heresy.

    If you wish to abandon the counterfeit neo-Protestant sect of Vatican II and join Christ’s Church, you will need to be docile to what she actually teaches. The Church is a Body, the Mystical Body of Christ. She is like a town built on a hill (Mt. 5.14) Bodies are always visible. One cannot belong to the Church in any other way than by belonging to Her visible Body.

    Pope Leo XIII teaches that “those who conjure up and picture to themselves a hidden and invisible Church are in grievous and pernicious error.” (Satis Cognitum)

    Pope Eugene IV teaches that “the unity of this ecclesiastical body is so strong that only for those who abide IN it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation” (Council of Florence). Thus false ‘christians’ (i.e. heretics and schismatics) cannot even benefit from sacramental grace extra ecclesiam.

    Pope Pius XI teachs that “Whosoever is not united with the BODY is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head.” (Mortalium Animos)

    Pope Leo X teaches: ” … the one universal Church, outside of which NO ONE at all is saved … That is why it is fitting that, BELONGING TO THE ONE SAME BODY, they also have the one same will.” (Fifth Lateran Council)

    The reason that so many foolish souls apostatize from the Church and join the counterfeit church of Satan is that they think it would be ‘unfair’ of God to damn man for his ‘invincible ignorance’. This is sinful reasoning, for all men of good conscience, i.e. of the truth, hear Christ’s voice. If they don’t hear it, they were not of good consicence in the first place, and they will be damned, not for their ignorance of the Gospel, but for their other sins. (St Thomas Aquinas explains all this). If a man is of good conscience, He will INVARIABLY hear the Gospel and be baptized before he dies even if God has to send an angel or a bilocating missionary to preach to him. Men of bad laugh at this, as though God were powerless to communicate the essential truths of salvation to ALL His elect.

  • Timotheos

    To Dr Falk:

    (1) One must distinguish between the Magisterium and the hierarchy in whom it is vested. The Magisterium is with us permanently. It is diachronic by nature. Even though its personal application is suspended for a while (as today), we still have two millennia of magisterial teaching to guide us, and (providentially) it has never been easier than before to locate this information – particularly via the Internet. Tell me, what good is it to exclaim against the possibility of temporarily losing the visible hierarchy when the teachings of their predecessors (which remain as valid as ever) are so conspicuously ignored?

    (2) I don’t accept Melanie Calvat’s 1879 version of her secret. Nevertheless, it contains certain phrases which are so striking, so unexpected in their 19th century context that it’s difficult to see how she could have made them up. One of these phrases pertains to the ‘eclipse of the Church’. I adopt the position of Fr Georges de Nantes in this matter. I made his excellent analsysis of the subject available on the Internet in 1998. It can still be found at

    (3) Newman talked of a ‘temporary suspension of episcopal authority’ during the Arian crisis. The nature of the crisis today is far more profound and wide-reaching.

    (4) The Church is indefectible, yes. But this means that SHE WILL REMAIN TRUE TO HER NATURE until the end of time. So, for example, a pope will NEVER teach heresy in a pubic capacity. Indefectibility does NOT mean that the Church cannot be reduced to a remnant. ‘Even if Catholics faithful to tradition are reduced to a handful, THEY are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.’ (St Athanasius) Furthermore, the hierarchical structure persists even though personal incumbents are absent. For example, the sedes papae continues to exist even if there is no papa sedens. This explains why, during a papal interregnum, episcopal jurisdiction granted (or confirmed) by the previous pope persists.

  • Timotheos

    To Dr Falk:

    The wording of infallible decrees depends on the precise object, particularly whether it is a primary object of infallibility or a secondary. Primary objects relate to truths of divine revelation, secondary objects to matters closely related thereto. Examples of the latter would include Apostolicae Curae, canonizations, and the Council of Florence’s declaration that the ‘Filioque’ was lawfully added to the Creed.

    I’m hoping that Brother Peter Dimond (who has read Bishop Fessler’s book and is clearly more knowledgeable on the subject than I am) will be able to provide a video on the matter at some point, as there is clearly a lot of misunderstanding about it.

  • Timotheos

    Dear Dr Falk:

    Perhaps you can explain how your minimalist interpretation of papal infallibillity accounts for the infallibility of the Church’s universal disciplinary laws, many of which stem directly from papal rulings.

    If not, perhaps you’d benefit from studying the arguments of the 20th century Catholic theologians at the top of the following webpage:

    Note in particular Schulte’s argument, quite contrary to Fessler’s false compartmentalization scheme:

    “Through disciplinary laws, the Church teaches about matters of faith and morals, not doctrinally or theoretically, but practically and effectively. A disciplinary law therefore involves a doctrinal judgement.…”

  • Timotheos

    To Dr Falk:

    (1) Psychoanalyze individuals sedevacantists as much as you want — many of them are indeed heretics or of otherwise unsound mind — but the sedevacantist position itself, when correctly presented, is founded entirely on the bimillennial magisterial teaching of the Church. It is not subjective in the least. As for des Lauriers, I repeat, he was not sedevacantist; he was sedeprivationist. There is an unbridgeable chasm between these two positions.

    (2) The ‘depositus vs deponendus’ debate may be an issue for confused individuals like the Abbé de Nantes, whose 1973 thesis has long since been exploded by subsequent events, but it is easily resolved by those who remain faithful to the Church’s teaching: heresy leads to ipso facto excommunication without need for a prior trial.

    (3) St Alphonsus did indeed hold that adults could be saved by the ‘implicit’ desire for the Sacrament of Baptism, but by ‘implicit’ he meant ‘unexpressed’, not ‘unconscious’. In other words, there had to be at the very least a real interior, albeit unexpressed, desire for Baptism. He did not hold at all to the modern-day heresy of Invincible Ignorance. It may also be noted that he wrongly held that infants could be ‘baptized’ in their own blood like the Holy Innocents, failing to realize (i) that the latter died before the Law of Baptism was instituted and (ii) that the Church teaches a contrary position, i.e. children have no remedy at death except the Sacrament of Baptism (Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence).

    (4) St Alphonsus’ errors regarding Baptism were material, not formal. He wrongly, but in good conscience, understood Session 6, Chapter 4 of the Council of Trent. We know this from the fact that he has been canonized. However, his errors are insignicant indeed compared to those today who push the heresies of Invincible Ignorance and Salvation outside the Church. Their errors are blatant denials of unmistakable dogmatic teaching.

    Your quotation from Mystici Corporis is deceptive. The Pope did NOT say that by unconscious desire non-Catholics ‘have a certain relationship’ with the Church, he said that they may be ‘ordered / disposed’ (ordinentur) to the Church by such – a very different concept. These kinds of false translations are put out by adherents of the heresy of Salvation Outside the Church. Several of them appear in Denzinger.

    (5) Formal heresy is not that difficult to establish. If a man knows the magisterial teachings of the Church (as the antipopes show that they do) or, having been shown it, reveals a lack of interest or even contempt for it, and continues to maintain beliefs repugnant thereto, he is to be regarded as a formal heretic.

    (6) If the Church is reduced to just one bishop or priest, she remains visible. What dogmatic decrees teaches otherwise? Does the Church cease to exist when a Pope dies and his successor is awaited? What dogmatic decree teaches the maximum length of a papal interregnum?

    (7) Are you saying that it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to give the Church a true Pope absent valid cardinals or a faithful Roman clergy? By all means criticize ‘apparitionists’, but don’t limit God’s power, particularly in a time of crisis.

  • Dr Falk

    Dear Timotheos,

    To respond –

    (1) My posts have cited Catholic sources from Pope Leo XIII for a perpetual permanent and LIVING Magisterium. Can you cite a theological source of at least equal weight to say the Magisterium can be with us but cease to function for a long time?

    (2) Your post says ‘what good is it to exclaim against the possibility of temporarily losing the visible hierarchy when the teachings of their predecessors (which remain as valid as ever) are so conspicuously ignored?’

    I would argue that the teachings of the Church are often ignored historically by church members. To lose the visible hierarchy, my friend, would mean the Church had lost her mark of apostolicity – it mean she no longer had apostolic goverment. One of the four marks of the Church would have fallen.

    (3) On the La Salette comment I am not sure if your comment is correct. It would all depend on what apocalyptic materials of the time said. France would certainly have had them – flowing particularly from the conflicts between the French Revolution and the Church. It would be interesting to see what a study of this literature turned up.

    (4) On Newman’s comment I don’t believe he meant a universal suspension of the episcopal authority. If memory serves he was challenged on this and went on to say that there were orthodox bishops upholding the faith. I will try to find more info and post. The quote I posted above gives proof of popes, bishops and priests opposing Arianism. There was also a Desert Father like St Anthony the Great and in the West the likes of St Martin of Tours fighting the Arian error.

    (5) On the quote of St Athanasius – as my post did not deny that the Church could be reduced to a small number the quote does not oppose it. I am sure that St Athanasius was not envisaging a bishopless church. There is the incident of Dracontius a monk who had become a bishop but fled due to fear. Charles Gore the Anglican scholar writes ‘ Athanasius endeavours to recall him to his duty,in part by reminding him of monks who have made good bishops, but principally by recalling to his mind the dignity of the episcopate – as instituted by Christ through His Apostles and having therefore not merely the authority of Church but the authority of Christ Himself, and as being the essential condition of the continuous life of the Church and the handing down of grace..’(The Church and Ministry,1888, p 156). In this we see the saint seeing the episcopate as ‘the essential condition of the life of the Church’. His Church was episcopal.

    (6) Sedevacantists argue that vacant sees don’t mean that the Church has defected. They argue that the papal see has been vacant in the past. However this is not comparable to what they now describe as the theological reality now. They hold the disappearance of every Catholic bishop and that the papal office is not only vacant but they cannot show a way for this to return. They have no cardinals so there can’t be election by cardinals. They have not the Roman clergy or people so can’t look to them. Most sedevacantists don’t want to look to a private revelation as how would one know if it was true. To have an imperfect council or conclave is problematic as it’s pretty certain ( and the conclaves of Pope Michael, Pope Linus II and Pope Pius XIII illustrate this ) that most sedevacantists will reject the results as they will see it’s attenders as not being fully Catholic or not having the authority to do this what they seek. I really think, my friend, you are stuck here and may end as the Petite Eglise without bishops and priests and with no potency for having what you most need. Take care and have a good weekend.

  • Dr Falk

    Thank you Timotheos. I think we may have gone as far as we can at this present time on the issue of Apostolicae Curae and infallibility. Best wishes,

  • Dr Falk

    Dear Timotheos.
    Some quick answers here –

    (1) Fr Guerard Des Lauriers was a sedevantist. He didn’t develop his other thesis until the mid 1970′s and it was publicised around 1977. I understand this is why he asked to leave Econe where he taught. The SV position is deeply subjective – it has to be unless it is claimed that a decision that a person you have never met, discussed with or reasoned with is obstinately denying a revealed teaching is an objective stance. This is not psychoanalysis – rather pointing out the method of private judgement at the heart of sedevacantism.

    (2) We can discuss these texts if you wish.

    (3)St Alphonsus quotes Dominicus Soto as probable in a statement supporting invincible ignorance. This is the quote I have seen from Theologia Moralis. Maybe the quote is wrong but I have read it.

    (4) On Pope Pius and unconscious desire. I have checked four different online translations and they all have the rendering I mentioned. Of course they may all be wrong.

    (5) This doesn’t take account of possibles such as (a) confusion, (b) believing mistakenly what one holds is Catholic teaching (c) having an attitude that if shown by legitimate persons that one’s teaching was against Church teaching one would change. The excommuncation decree against the Abbe Loisy shows one of these possibles and St Alphonsus’s treatment of Erasmus shows another. Pertinacy should be established.

    (6) and (7) – these are answered in my previous posting this evening.

  • Timotheos

    To Dr Falk:

    (1) You identify the living Magisterium of the Church with the MORIBUND, nay LIFELESS, PUTRID pseudo-magisterium of the Vatican II sect? The living Magisterium excommunicates heretics and those who contest her moral teaching. Does your ‘magisterium’ do this? For example, how many pro-aborts have been excommunicated from the Vatican II sect? Or are they rewarded instead with Vatican II ‘holy communion’? The Magisterium is alive and powerful in the Church. In the absence of visible popes and bishops, its authority still rings out loud and clear in the living Echo that resonates daily from the Church’s remaining faithful.

    (2) The teachings of the Church are NEVER ignored by church members. If a man ignores Church teach, he ceases thereby to be a member of the Church.

    (3) If you’re not sure about my understanding of the Message of La Salette, why don’t you read that article I promoted?

    (4) The Arian crisis was only a partial prefigurement of the crisis today. Your error lies in thinking that the situation in the Church today could not be worse than then.

    (5) Did St Athanasius ‘envisage a bishopless church’? Who knows? As long as valid Orders exist outside the Church of the Faithful (as they clearly still do), a temporary suspension of clerical jurisdiction can be restored when the holders thereof are converted.

    (6) God can easily restore the papacy whenever He wishes. He has not mandated that a Pope can only be appointed by cardinals or the clergy of Rome. I have faith in God’s Omnipotent Power and His Promises to the Church. You do not, because you think Him unable to deal with the plight in which His Church finds herself today. By implicitly circumscribing God’s power you offend Him grievously.

  • Timotheos

    To Dr Falk:

    (1) If you call des Lauriers a ‘sedevacantist’, why don’t you call Mrg Knox and Cardinal Newman Anglicans? After all ,they embraced Anglicanism for far longer than did des Lauriers his short-lived theoretical version of sedevacantism.

    (2) St Alphonsus did NOT espouse the heresy of invincible ignorance. He often makes this clear. For example, ‘They who are out of our Church, or if they are separated from it, CANNOT BE SAVED.’ And of ignorant ‘Christians’ he wrote, ‘Many have no idea of the Most Holy Trinity, the Incarnation, mortal sin, Judgment, Paradise, Hell, or Eternity; and this deplorable IGNORANCE damns them.’

    (4) You should learn Latin, the language of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. As soon as people start relying on English ‘translations’, the Devil gets his foot in the door straight away. The heresies of Baptism of Desire and Invincible Ignorance have been espoused for well over a hundred years by wayward theologians who will stop at nothing to promote this evil. Whenever a dubious or controversial text is in question, the Latin MUST be consulted. Failure to do so is inexcusable. Here is the relevant text: ‘Quandoquidem, etsiami inscio quodam desiderio ac voto ad mysticum Redemptoris Corpus ordinentur…’ The notion of relatedness or unitedness appears nowhere. The Pope simply says that such souls are ‘ordered’ (i.e. steered in the right direction) towards the Mystical Body of the Redeemer by their unconscious desire. This is a grace, yes, a preliminary grace, but it is not Saving Grace, and it leaves one entirely outside the Church unless followed up. Are you not filled with holy anger against those who would dupe you like this by falsifying the papal text?

    (5) Ignorance may result in long term material heresy, but genuine, sincere confusion is speedily resolved by reference to the Church’s magisterial teaching. The Church does not judge in the internal forum, but in the external forum only. If a man does not renounce heresy promptly when confronted with the evidence, he is presumed cut off from the Church. What is the problem with Loisy’s excommunication? Erasmus was branded a heretic by the Council of Trent, and his works were prohibited. Why invoke Alphonsus Liguori?

  • Dr Falk

    Hi Timotheos,

    We have debated for a few days now. I will make this my last post. Several responses to your last two postings.

    (1) I mentioned Fr Des Lauriers as the first sedevacantistI I know of – not that he continued in sedevacantism.

    (2) I didn’t know Erasmus was condemned at the Council of Trent – can you please say in what session this occurred? My reference to St Aphonsus is to his History of Heresies.

    (3) Do church members ignore Church teaching? Yes. In the 18th century some Jansenist bishops appealed against the papal bull Unigentus. They were not during the appeal regarded as non Catholics and Catholics were not told to withdraw from communion with them. The great theologian Cardinal Billot said it was when they pertinaciously rejected the Bull in an open way that there regarded no longer as true Catholic bishops ( ref. Heresy in History by J. S. Daly). Pertinacy appears again my friend.

    (4) Your comments on the Arian crisis – ‘Your error lies in thinking that the situation in the Church today could not be worse than then’ I have never said this. I have accepted the possibility that the Church could end up a small remnant. I actually think it could be worse than Arianism – we may have less faithful bishops and priests, more confusion about more issues and less saints. I never said what you label my ‘error’. Your own words refute your ability to judge someone as you got this so wrong. Your failure here puts a large question mark over your ability to make religious judgements particularly of an ecumenical Council and the post conciliar Popes. You have it seems two options. The first is to say you were wrong here. That’s fine – it does question your judgement on religious matters. Or you can claim that you can mind read me and that I really mean this although I have not wrote it and do not believe this. If you claim this then all I can say is your powers of mind reading are very poor and again your judgement is not to be followed. At the end of this discussion my friend it is your own words here that refute the foundation of sedevacantism – that you are not able to make these judgements on a religious matter and get it right. I am happy for you to have the last word. I would ask you to reply to this as it shows how you accuse of error when I have not said it or meant it.

    Thank you for the discussion. I wish you every blessing and peace in Christ our Lord

  • Yorkshire Catholic

    Excuse me but Liberius is not a saint in the Roman calendar, presumably because of his embarrassing compromise with Arianism. J.W.C. Wand’s (Anglican but excellent) history of the early church sets out the problem more starkly than most Catholic historians are willing to do.
    [He is a saint in the Eastern Church, but I fear that is a clerical error.]

  • Timotheos

    To Dr Falk:

    (1) The Council of Trent condemned Erasmus’ New Testament in 1546 (first session), all his books including the Colloquies and Praise of Folly were placed on the Index, and he himself was labelled an ‘impious heretic’ by Pope Paul IV.

    (3) To make a canonical appeal against a teaching of the Church is NOT to ignore said teaching, quite the contrary! It is to subject the question to the supreme court of the Pope on the understanding that its verdict must be accepted. In canon law penalties are suspended for the duration of the trial. This is normal. However, if a man decides dogma for himself in open contestation of the Church’s teaching, he is immediately a heretic. (The word is pertinacity, by the way, not ‘pertinacy’.)

    (4) You openly admit that the Church could end up as a tiny remnant. Good. But why so ungraciously? Don’t you think that anger is better reserved for the defence of God’s Church than for oneself? Furthermore, misjudgements (if such they are) in matters of human understanding are not at all commensurate with errors concerning divine faith. If they were, no one would be fit to preach the Gospel. Consider my own intellectual abilities as defective as you like, but don’t use this as a pretext for ignoring the clear Voice of the Church.

  • Dr Falk

    Dear Yorkshire Catholic,

    If I may quote from the article ‘Schism, Obedience and the Society of St Pius X’ by John Beaumont and John Walsh.The article has at the beginning a statement of approval from Aidan Nichols, Professor at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas [the Angelicum] in Rome. In it the authors say ‘The formal procedure of canonization had not then been instituted, but Liberius is given recognition in the ancient Latin Martyrology and in the Greek Menology, the Eastern equivalent to the martyrologies of the Western Church. If more evidence were needed, it could be found in the fact that numerous saints referred to Pope Liberius’s sanctity and unfailing orthodoxy: for example, St. Ambrose, St. Basil, St. Epiphanius, St. Siricius, and Pope Anastasius I.’ More recent voices such as Pope Pius IX and Benedict XV spoke respectively of him refusing to condemn St Athanasius and fearlessly going into exile for the Faith. The following link shows the church documents for his feast – In St Paul Outside The Walls in Rome his image has a halo. This is what I know of the issue. Hope it is helpful. Best wishes,

  • Anne

    And no mention of the Holy Eucharist …the source and summit of our faith and certainly the centre of a Priests life. Perhaps it is in his full homily. I haven’t seen it yet.