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Home-aloners say that sedevacantist bishops and priests are not good for the Church, because they don’t believe they are sent by the Church. It is their private opinion that it’s not absolutely necessary to have bishops and priests for the Universal Church at large and if it were absolutely necessary, this necessity alone would not qualify for the lawfulness of administering the Sacraments beginning with Holy Orders. Home-aloners believe it is better not to receive the sacraments and attend Holy Mass and receive Christ from Catholic clergy without ordinary jurisdiction in hope that someone (even though no one knows who and where) can rectify this terrible crisis.

I submit this home-alone position is wrong in every respect.

The Necessity of Having Shepherds and Teachers

Vatican I declared: “So then, just as he sent apostles, whom he chose out of the world [39], even as he had been sent by the Father [40], in like manner it was his will that in his Church there should be shepherds and teachers until the end of time.”

Why would it be the will of Christ that in His Church there should be shepherds and teachers until the end of time?

Holy Scripture gives us the answer in Ephesians 4:12:

“11. And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors, 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ…”

We see clearly the necessity of having shepherds and teachers until the end of time. Men need to be shepherded and taught. Men also need to be nourished. The Holy Eucharist, for instance, most especially perfects us and is the summit of the ministry. “Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you: except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you (John 6:54).”

Rev. Cornelius À Lapide writes in his Biblical Commentary on John 6:54:

So here, Unless ye shall eat, &c., i.e., unless there are some, viz. priests, who take the Sacrament of the Eucharist under both species, ye shall not have life in you. For if there be none such, then there will be none to consecrate the Eucharist, none to administer it, and so the whole fruit of the most Blessed Sacrament would be lost, as Bellarmine observes. For it is the office of priests to consecrate and receive in both kinds, that there may be not only a perfect Sacrament, but also that they may offer the sacrifice. This requires both kinds, both to signify perfect nourishment (for the sacrifice is, as it were, the food of God): and this nourishment consists of food and drink: as also that there may be a perfect representation of the passion and death of Christ. 

Shepherds and teachers provide us with the Eucharist and the other Sacraments. They are for the good of the Church and it is Christ’s will that they exist until the end of time. Therefore, they exist, because it’s necessary that they exist for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry,and for the edifying of the body of Christ. To deny these two facts is heresy.

Where the Shepherds and Teachers must be Found

Since no shepherds and teachers holding offices with ordinary jurisdiction can be located nor is there a good explanation as to how they can exist without making the Vatican I teaching essentially meaningless, the only logical meaning of Vatican I is in the general sense for all Catholic clergy who are pastors of souls.

Sedevacantist clergy actually do claim to be the shepherds and teachers, which Vatican I is referring to even though they don’t possess particular offices in the Church. They shepherd and teach through the Holy Mass and Sacraments, making them real shepherds and teachers to the faithful.    

Home-aloners believe that only those holding offices are shepherds and teachers, because ordinarily bishops and priests are holding offices. The theological manuals all point to those who have ordinary jurisdiction as the pastors. Therefore, they conclude that ordinary or delegated jurisdiction is necessarily required absolutely under all conditions to be true pastors. However, home-aloners can’t identify the possible existence of any of these shepherds and teachers with ordinary jurisdiction for the Church.

It’s one thing to be in one particular area and not know what’s going on elsewhere, like the Japanese who had no pastors for hundreds of years, because of the persecution by the Japanese authorities. It’s quite another when we have access to the whole world. We know who’s consecrated who. The best argument a home-aloner could make is that a real pastor exists in some Communist prison somewhere that only his parishioners know about. The problem, however, is the Council was referring to shepherds and teachers, which is the plural of them. That rules out the “bishop in the woods” argument. It would have to be more than one.

The whole point of the Church having shepherds and teachers till the end of time is so they can actually shepherd and teach. If all of them are incapacitated, then what’s the point of having them at all? It’s not good enough to say that some bishops must exist in prison camps or somewhere to keep the Vatican I teaching from failing.

The home-aloner has to appeal to a theory with no evidence to maintain the existence of the Church. The problem is that if the Church exists only in the hope that some bishops exist somewhere even though no one knows where or how, the devil has ultimately won anyway. The gates of hell have prevailed, because the will of Christ and His purpose in having shepherds and teachers are ultimately thwarted. Christ left us shepherds and teachers for the benefit of the whole Church only to be incapacitated and our benefit effectively lost. The Church is effectively incapacitated throughout the whole world, which is exactly opposite to the will of Christ and His promise.

Imagine if Christ sent out the Apostles only to be immediately imprisoned so the Church could never take off. What would be the point of sending them out? How would it benefit the Church? Vatican I is saying that shepherds and teachers will exist till the end of time precisely for the same reason Christ sent out the Apostles, to actually be effective and benefit the Church. Again, the gates of hell have prevailed if the Church is totally incapacitated.

The Lawfulness of Sedevacantist Clergy

The sedevacantist clergy are the answer to Vatican I’s teaching.

In ordinary times, the clergy are sent out by being placed in offices. This is how bishops attain full apostolic succession. The sedevacantist clergy are sent, but not in ordinary fashion, because of the extraordinary circumstances of the Church’s existence. All the normal rules and teachings from the theological manuals only address the Church within the framework of pre-apostasy times. The one thing that we must cling to is the teaching of the Church. It is ultimately the one thing that really matters in matters of faith. All Church teachings must be understood in the correct nuance and applied in the circumstance in which it is addressing. Universal opinions have been wrong before.  

Because Christ wills that there shall be shepherds and teachers till the end of time, they must exist by divine right. No human ecclesiastical law can prevent this right. It is absolutely necessary that shepherds and teachers exist for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ, which is why Jesus wills their existence.

All bishops have the power to consecrate and ordain validly. This power is not hindered by heresy, schism, or vitandus excommunication. However, authorization is needed to consecrate lawfully, whether it be by law or permission from the pope. Sedevacantist Bishop Carmona cites two rules as the foundation for the lawfulness of his consecration as bishop.

He cites Pope Gregory IX who declared in the 4th Rule of his decretal “On the Rules of Law” “What is not lawful by law, necessity makes lawful.” Pope Gregory IX gave two examples: Working on the Sabbath and breaking a required fast when sick.

Bishop Carmona also cites Rule 88 of Boniface VIII, which expressly states “It is certain that one sins against the rule who adheres to the letter and leaves aside the spirit.” Carmona writes, “Therefore, it is unjust to impute to the legislator a desire to greatly harm the Church during a vacancy of the Holy See by forbidding the ordination of bishops and priests and the administering of the sacraments to the faithful who ask for them. Therefore, in accepting episcopal consecration from Archbishop Thuc, we have relied on these rules, conscious and certain that, given the circumstances in which we live, the consecrations are both valid and licit. We are also conscious and certain that we would have sinned, if by relying on the letter [of the law] we had rejected the consecrations, there being only one Catholic bishop who can now be found to transmit the episcopal succession.”

Bishops Thuc, Carmona, and Zamora did what works for the Church. Divine law and Pope Gregory IX’s decretal give authorization in this time of great tribulation. No theological manual addresses this particular situation. Therefore, to use theological manuals that addresses totally different situations and applying it against sedevacantism is pointless, not to mention, the manuals are offering general opinions anyway.

Before the great apostasy of Vatican 2, the Church was organized perfectly to function and to spread Catholicism. The theological manuals address the framework of the Church in pre-apostasy times ONLY. The Church is in an imperfect form each time a pope dies and in these post-apostasy times, it’s in dire need of a pope and Episcopal offices filled.

What we have today is a Church with no ordinary jurisdiction. However, insofar as individual souls are concerned who attend sedevacantist missions, there’s no substantial difference in having canonical pastors at parishes before the apostasy and our sedevacantist priests in missions and chapels. What we have works and is greatly needed. If fulfills the basic needs of the Church during this crisis and accomplishes the bare minimum that’s required for the Church to exist and function for the good of the Faithful.

Our sedevacantist bishops and priests are not working in an extraordinary mission that works outside the framework of the Church where there exists a pope, his ordinary succession, and bishops with ordinary jurisdiction who are ready and willing to transmit valid orders. Rather, our clergy work in an extraordinary mission that continues the ordinary mission of the Church insofar as possible precisely because these things are wanting. The books don’t cover the extraordinary mission of sedevacantism, but only condemn, and rightly so, those who assume authority apart from the authority of the pope and the ordinary transmission of the faith. 

The home-alone position focuses on the letter of the law and sins against the spirit of the law. It places a private opinion against the only logical answer to Vatican I, and as we will see, the teachings of Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII.

It also implicitly denies that the sacrament of Holy Orders is absolutely necessary for the good of the whole Church, that the Church as a whole needs to be shepherded and taught, and without bishops and priests, there is no Church.

Other Problems with the Home-Alone Position

Staying at home is the antithesis of Catholicism. The Church is sent out. We are sent out after Mass, Ite Missa Est. We don’t stay at home, we go out. If every Catholic stays home, there are no Sacraments except baptism and marriage FOR THE WHOLE WORLD. That’s the foundation of Protestantism.

The home-alone position implies that the principle of perpetual succession of the papacy is over, because relying on God to intervene miraculously means the principle is lost, since it takes God to intervene to fulfil what lacks, viz. the principle. Therefore, it’s heretical on this point alone. The principle of perpetual succession must exist until the end of time, which means there is no need for God to miraculously give us a pope. Vatican I is telling us that Christ placed a built-in means to protect the papacy from such measures.

Also, home-aloners admit that we are in the great apostasy. However, Holy Writ tells us that the great apostasy is part of the reign of Antichrist. The reign of Antichrist is short-lived due to Christ’s return. If we are indeed in the great apostasy, then we are not coming out of it. There’s not going to be anyone to fix the Church save Christ at His Return. Therefore, we can’t stay at home hoping that someone somewhere on earth can rectify this terrible crisis. We must do the best we can and the sedevacantist clergy did just that. They fulfilled having shepherds and teachers for the faithful for the whole Church as Christ willed.

Survival Mode

A dire situation requires dire measures. When a man goes into survival mode, he may have to do things that would be forbidden ordinarily. He may have to eat his dead friends as those Uruguayan rugby players did when they crashed in the Andes Mountains in 1972. He may have to drink his urine as many sailors have done in lifeboats at sea. The body itself will do things to stay alive that it wouldn’t or couldn’t do otherwise.

The point is the Catholic Church is in survival mode, because it’s going through its passion in following Christ. All the powers of hell are assaulting the Church right now. If ever Catholics most needed bishops, priests, the Holy Mass, and the 7 Sacraments, now is the time. “And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world (Matt. 28: 18-20).”

Rev. Cornelius À Lapide explains in his Biblical Commentary that “Christ has willed to abide continually in the Church in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.”

Home-aloners must say that Christ has not willed to abide continually in the Church in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, at least not for the vast, vast majority of Catholics. Practically speaking, Christ has abandoned the Church leaving no clergy for teaching, governing, and sanctifying the Faithful through the Holy Mass and the 7 Sacraments. I will say it a third time, the gates of hell have effectively prevailed if the home-alone position is correct. The Catholic Church simply doesn’t exist except in the hopes and dreams of Catholics. That’s not how the Church exists.

The Principle of the Home-Alone Position is Condemned

Pope Pius IX declared in Etsi Multa: [1] 

Further Heresies

They obstinately reject and oppose the infallible magisterium both of the Roman Pontiff and of the whole Church in teaching matters.  Incredibly, they boldly affirm that the Roman Pontiff and all the bishops, the priests and the people conjoined with him in the unity of faith and communion fell into heresy when they approved and professed the definitions of the Ecumenical Vatican Council. Therefore they deny also the indefectibility of the Church and blasphemously declare that it has perished throughout the world and that its visible Head and the bishops have erred. They assert the necessity of restoring a legitimate episcopacy in the person of their pseudo-bishop, who has entered not by the gate but from elsewhere like a thief or robber and calls the damnation of Christ upon his head.

Yet they do not blush to call themselves Catholics and Old Catholics, while in their doctrine, novelty, and number they show themselves in no way to be either old or Catholic. Certainly the Church rises up with greater right against them than it once did through Augustine against the Donatists. Diffused among all people, the Church was built by Christ the Son of the living God upon the rock, against which the gates of Hell will not prevail, and with which He Himself, to Whom all power in heaven and on earth is given, said He would be with until the consummation of the world. “The Church cries to her Spouse: Why do certain men withdrawing from me murmur against me? Why do these lost men claim that I have perished? Announce to me the length of my days, how long I will be in this world? Tell me on account of those who say: it was and is no longer; on account of those who say: the scriptures have been fulfilled, all nations have believed, but the Church has apostatized and perished from all nations. And He announced and the voice was not vain. What did He announce? ‘Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.’ Moved by your voices and your false opinions, it asked of God that He announce to it the length of its days and it found that God said ‘Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.’ Here you will say: He spoke about us; we are as we will be until the end of the world. Christ Himself is asked; He says ‘and this gospel will be preached in the whole world, in testimony to all nations, and then will come the end.’ Therefore the Church will be among all nations until the end of the world. Let heretics perish as they are, and let them find that they become what they are not.”

Old Catholics claimed the Roman Pontiff, all bishops, priests, and the people in union with the pope apostatized. They asserted that there were no shepherds and teachers throughout the world. Pope Pius IX condemned the idea that there are no shepherds and teachers throughout the world as heresy, because it’s contrary to Christ’s promise and meaning in Matt. 28:18-20.

When Pope Pius IX said “all nations” that would not mean literally all nations, but in general all nations. The bible says all men have sinned, but all doesn’t mean literally all, but generally all, since Our Lord and our Lady have not sinned.

“We are as we will be” doesn’t mean exactly with a pope and offices filled, but generally with shepherds and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ, because Christ wills it.

Pope Leo XIII declared in Satis Cognitum: “8…But, as we have already said, the Apostolic mission was not destined to die with the Apostles themselves, or to come to an end in the course of time, since it was intended for the people at large and instituted for the salvation of the human race. For Christ commanded His Apostles to preach the “Gospel to every creature, to carry His name to nations and kings, and to be witnesses to him to the ends of the earth.” He further promised to assist them in the fulfilment of their high mission, and that, not for a few years or centuries only, but for all time – “even to the consummation of the world.” [2]

The Apostolic mission is explained by Pope Leo in the same encyclical.

3…The Apostles received a mission to teach by visible and audible signs, and they discharged their mission only by words and acts which certainly appealed to the senses.

4…What did He wish in regard to the Church founded, or about to be founded? This: to transmit to it the same mission and the same mandate which He had received from the Father, that they should be perpetuated. This He clearly resolved to do: this He actually did. “As the Father hath sent me, I also send you” (John xx., 21). “As thou hast sent Me into the world I also have sent them into the world” (John xvii., 18).

But the mission of Christ is to save that which had perished: that is to say, not some nations or peoples, but the whole human race, without distinction of time or place. “The Son of Man came that the world might be saved by Him” (John iii., 17). “For there is no other name under Heaven given to men whereby we must be saved” (Acts iv., 12). The Church, therefore, is bound to communicate without stint to all men, and to transmit through all ages, the salvation effected by Jesus Christ, and the blessings flowing there from. Wherefore, by the will of its Founder, it is necessary that this Church should be one in all lands and at all times. To justify the existence of more than one Church it would be necessary to go outside this world, and to create a new and unheard – of race of men.

8…There must needs be also the fitting and devout worship of God, which is to be found chiefly in the divine Sacrifice and in the dispensation of the Sacraments, as well as salutary laws and discipline. All these must be found in the Church, since it continues the mission of the Savior for ever. 

The Apostolic mission is to save souls, and this comes by correct teaching, the Holy Mass, and the Sacraments, which necessarily means there must be shepherds and teachers for the people at large as Christ willed.

The home-alone position doesn’t fit even remotely with the teachings of Pope Pius IX and Pope Leo XIII, or even Vatican I. 

Our position of sedevacantist clergy fits and works if interpreted properly. If home-aloners insist that Pope Pius IX and Pope Leo XIII meant bishops with ordinary jurisdiction ONLY, then they must admit that it’s over for Christianity altogether. Either we are right or they must stop being Catholic. There’s no middle ground.

The pseudo-traditionalists that recognize the Vatican 2 popes insist that sedevacantism is wrong, but in doing so they have condemned Christianity, since there’s no possible way the Church is heretical with heretics holding the papacy. Home-aloners are in that same boat. In claiming there are no shepherds and teachers throughout the world, they have condemned Christianity, since there’s no possible way the Church is without them throughout the world. The home-alone position is heretical, plain and simple.

There’s only one solution and that’s the position of the sedevacantist clergy. Bishops Thuc, Carmona, and Zamora saw it plainly. They did what they had to do and by the grace of God, the Church is making it through till the end.

Footnotes

[1] http://www.papalencyclicals.net/pius09/p9etsimu.htm

[2] Satis Cognitum – Papal Encyclicals

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This second installment is a defense of the post-Vatican 2 sedevacantist clergy having authority to administer the sacraments, which sedevacantist home-aloners deny. Also included will be two arguments why the home-alone position is problematic.

Before the great apostasy, the Church had customary channels of power and authority, which we now refer to as ordinary times. Formerly, the Church enjoyed normal papal succession, world-wide hierarchy, and ecclesiastical laws, so that everything worked within the framework of the Church’s existence in those times.

The predicament of the great apostasy, however, is an extraordinary phenomenon unprecedented in history. It has affected the Church to such an extent that many laws of the Church can’t apply, can’t be applied, nor can be enforced; an example being the law on papal elections requiring cardinals. See THE CASE THAT PROVES CHURCH LAWS CAN’T ALWAYS APPLY – Revised

Some theologians and canonists have argued this nightmare can’t happen, but obviously that opinion is proven wrong by the very fact it has.

The Catholic Church has gone into what I call survival mode. Some things that would be illicit now become licit as the 4th rule of Pope Gregory IX lays out:

Propter necessitatem, illicitum efficitur licitum (Necessity makes licit was illicit)

In ordinary times, bishops and priests had ordinary and delegated jurisdiction, which is the power to rule and the authority to administer. In these extraordinary times, the power and authority has taken on a new form due to the circumstances. Therefore, the Church must supply the jurisdiction to stay alive and carry on its mission of saving souls. Exactly how supplied jurisdiction is granted to sedevacantist clergy is the question.

Supplied jurisdiction is when ordinary or delegated jurisdiction is absent and the Church confers it extraordinarily, when it was not bestowed regularly for the purpose of a grave cause and common good of souls.

Since no pope exists, no bishops with ordinary or delegated jurisdiction exist (insofar as we can tell), the Church must carry on lest the gates of hell effectively prevails.

According to the First Vatican Council, just as Peter has by Divine right successors in the primacy, so too, as is natural, the Church has by Divine right to live and carry on its mission of saving souls through the sacraments. What Catholic could deny this fact?

Rev. Ludwig Ott taught in his Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, “The Sacraments are the means appointed by God for the attainment of eternal salvation. Three of them are in the ordinary way of salvation so necessary, that without their use salvation cannot be attained. Thus, for the individual person, Baptism is necessary in this way and after the commission of a grievous sin, Penance is equally necessary, while for the Church in general, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is necessary. The other Sacraments are necessary in so far as salvation cannot be so easily gained without them.” [1] Ott tells us on p. 332, “All the Sacraments of the New Covenant confer sanctifying grace on the receivers. (De fide.)”

No ecclesiastical law could be used to prevent the Church as a whole from carrying on its mission of saving souls through these life-giving sacraments.

Just as doctrine develops over time, so too, ecclesiastical law develops. It is in this development that we discover how our clergy have jurisdiction supplied to them by the Church.

For example, canon law tells us that Confession can only be granted by a priest lacks ordinary or delegated jurisdiction in the case of danger of death.

Can. 882 states: When there is danger of death, any priest, even though not otherwise approved for hearing confessions, may validly and licitly absolve any penitent from whatever sins and censures, including those which are reserved and notorious, even though an approved priest may be present.  But the rules laid down in can. 884 and 2252 must be observed. [2]

Therefore, based on this canon, any priest (including valid non-Catholic priests) can absolve when there is danger of death. Over the years, the application of this canon has developed.

Several canonists such as Rev. Guiseppe d’Annibale and Rev. Matthaeus a Coronata taught that a long-term lack of a confessor may be regarded as equivalent to danger of death for purposes of supplied jurisdiction. It’s an opinion not agreed upon by others. However, I find that d’Annibale and Coronata are applying a fundamental rule of jurisprudence by applying as broad as possible an interpretation on the words of a favorable law. [3]

The novel interpretation by d’Annibale and Coronata demonstrates that the canon does not have to be interpreted absolutely in the strictest sense. If d’Annibale and Coronata are correct, then by this particular canon, the Church supplies jurisdiction to our sedevacantist clergy. Therefore, we have a law that’s lacking an expressed prescription that canonists think is possible and considered within that law.

Where did they get the opinion that a long-term lack of a confessor is equivalent to danger of death? d’Annibale cites two earlier authorities that taught the “in danger of death” law to mean possibly dying without a priest or confessor over a long period of time. A particular auspicious authority we’ll examine is the Doctor of the Church and Patron Saint of Confessors, St. Alphonsus Liquori who taught:

“Is any priest able to absolve from any sins and censures, not only at the point of death, but also in danger of death? This is denied by [various names] but more truly and more commonly affirmed by…The reason for this is that in this matter, the danger is taken for the point, as is clear from…For in such a case, anyone in mortal sin is bound to confess in the same way as if he were at the point of death. This is accepted by…provided that such a danger be so grave that it can scarcely be distinguished with certainty from the point: but, more immediately, it seems to be sufficient that there be prudent fear that death will arise in the danger. Now such a danger is considered to be present in a battle, in a long sea voyage, in a difficult delivery, in a dangerous disease, and similar cases…The same is true of one who is in probable danger of falling into insanity (amentia)…and the same of those who are captives among infidels with small hope of liberty. For it is believed that they will have no other priests in the future.” [4]

It would seem that in battles, long sea voyages, etc. the same priest without ordinary jurisdiction will be present throughout the situation. In such a case, that same priest can absolve a man repeatedly over the duration of war, long sea voyages, etc.

That said, St. Alphonsus then offers another situation that’s related, but not precisely the same as in danger of war, long sea voyage, pandemic, etc. He refers to those who are captives among infidels (not those who are in danger of falling captives). He’s not very clear what this means precisely. However, we can conclude that this particular situation is not exactly a danger of death. It’s a case outside of some immediate danger of death.

It may be that St. Alphonsus intended to mean those who expect to never have a priest again, which is manifestly not the situation where Catholics today have access to a priest regularly.

If we were able to ask St. Alphonsus, what if there was a priest without ordinary jurisdiction made captive himself with small hope of liberty, can he absolve the other captives as long as they are captives, since there’s small hope of liberty?

It’s reasonable to presume that St. Alphonsus would say yes, since it’s the obvious conclusion. That conclusion is precisely the situation Catholics find themselves today. The problem with our situation is that it’s not addressed anywhere, probably because it wasn’t considered possible.

When Rev. Guiseppe d’Annibale explains the law of absolving in danger of death, he lists the different situations in the same order as St. Alphonsus. He even cites St. Alphonsus, because he’s using him as the source. However, when d’Annibale comes to the section of “probable danger of falling into insanity and captives among infidels with small hope of liberty,” he lists it as “Besides, if one is in danger of falling into perpetual insanity, or is in such circumstances that henceforth he is likely not to have a confessor available any more, he is likewise to be regarded as if he were in danger of death.” [5] Interestingly, he doesn’t cite St. Alphonsus, perhaps because he’s already cited him twice, even though Liguori speaks about insanity, but d’Annibale does cite Rev. Leonardo Duardo.

Rev. Leonardo Duardo wrote in Commentaria in Bullam Coenae Domini (1638):

“But that is also to be noted, that if one bound by some censure of our Bull is found in that state, in which if he is not absolved now, it is to be feared as likely, that before death he will not have a Confessor available, as can happen in India, or in some captivity; then I say that he can be absolved by someone other than the Roman Pontiff; because although he is said to be outside the imminent danger of death, still in this matter, and morally speaking, this case is not different from danger of death: all the more, because in such a case, if he were to have access to a confessor he would be bound by divine law to make his confession: as Suarez says in the place cited: as taken from Suarez.” (probably Suarez de pentitentia, disp. 35, sec. 2 & 3) [6]

Duardo and Liguori make the “in danger of death” clause to include in danger of dying without another priest or confessor. It’s technically not “in danger of death” at all. Yet, they include it in the law. These authorities have developed the application of the law to mean something the law doesn’t specifically mention.

Rev. Matthaeus Conte a Coronata, O.F.M. Cap., Institutiones Iuris Canonici, IV. n. 1760 4th edition, published in 1955, writes:

“Danger of death is present for him who is in such circumstances that death is truly and gravely probable, but who also may survive. This situation can arise from various causes, e.g. from illness, injury, difficult childbirth, extreme old age, dangerous journey, imminent battle, surgical operation to be undergone, extreme torture etc.”

“He may be regarded as equal to those in danger of death who is in grave danger of falling into perpetual insanity or who is in such a condition that henceforth he will not have a confessor available anymore.”

Coronata cites d’Annibale as the source demonstrating that he agrees with d’Annibale’s analysis of Duardo and St. Alphonsus. They don’t spend much time on the topic, probably because it’s such a rare situation. Perhaps, they didn’t think an in-depth examination was needed. However, their explanations using confessor rather than priest have connotations that resembles our great apostasy age. As long as Catholics are in a situation where they could die without a confessor, any priest can absolve as many times as needed. It’s the logical extension of Duardo and Liguori’s application.

Duardo and St. Alphonsus are laying out a principle that cases exist outside of immediate danger of death that are equivalent to being in danger of death. They don’t list every possibility, but they came up with something that’s novel and not found elsewhere.

There’s no reason why our scenario can’t be figured into the law and put into practice by our theologians and canonists. d’Annibale and Coronata already point that way.

In his Moral Theology, book 6, n. 560, p. 443, St. Alphonsus Liguori lays out a practical teaching:

“The question is: whether heretics, schismatics, and vitandus excommunicates can absolve a dying man, if no other priest is present.”

“The first opinion says that they can, based on the Council of Trent’s statement that it is ecclesiastical tradition that there’s no reservation [of jurisdiction to absolve] when a man is dying.”

“The second opinion, (which St. Alphonsus agrees), says that such priests can’t validly absolve a dying man because the council wasn’t speaking of priests with no jurisdiction, but of those who lack jurisdiction over reserved cases (that is, reserved to the bishop or the Holy See on account of censure); also because the Council of Trent didn’t make a new law, but only approved the ancient law, which was that priests cut off from the unity of the Church cannot validly absolve under any circumstances.”

“Nevertheless, the Continuator of Tournely says rightly that in such a case, a priest who is a heretic or a vitandus excommunicate, when no other priest is present, may well give conditional absolution to a dying man, because in extreme or urgent necessity according to the common opinion of doctors, as we said n. 482 [citation omitted] … it is licit to follow an opinion that is only slightly probable.” [7]

The Holy Office settled the issue on July 39, 1891, which affirmed the first opinion. However, the relevant part of Liguori’s answer is the last sentence. To follow the opinion of d’Annibale and Coronata is licit.

To follow the opinion of d’Annibale and Coronata is licit. Also, the Church is in urgent necessity of bishops and priests. The fact that we have all of our theologians and canonists presenting the same argument (I would think) makes it at least slightly probable.

I can think of other possible scenarios not addressed by saints or any theologian (that I’ve found). What if a priest shipwrecks on an island where no civilized persons have ever witnessed? Therefore, the likelihood of being rescued is slim to none. The priest converts the natives and baptizes them. However, we are to understand that he can’t administer the other sacraments because of some particular Church law that’s not referring to this particular situation? Is this the will of Christ and His Church? The priest wasn’t technically sent by the ordinary laws of Church, therefore, the poor Catholics are just out of luck until there is imminent danger of death?

Again, the logical conclusion is that “in danger of death” could include dying without a confessor, but if a priest is present, he can absolve as long as necessary. It isn’t specifically mentioned, but it doesn’t need to be. It wasn’t in the books about possibly dying without a priest or confessor years in the future until a theologian and a canonist thought of it years later. St. Alphonsus and Duardo’s scenarios don’t become true for the law, because they thought of it. It was always true. The same thing applies to our situation. The “in danger of death” law provides the means for our sedevacantist clergy.

If home-aloners reject my explanation out of novelty or because it’s not a real danger of death scenario, then they would have to apply that same rule to St. Alphonsus Liguori for the same reasons. Then the argument turns against the Patron Saint of Confessors.

The Council of Trent declared, “For those who after baptism have fallen into sin, the Sacrament of Penance is as necessary unto salvation as is baptism itself for those who have not yet been regenerated” (Sess. XIV, c. 2).

We don’t wait until we’re in imminent danger of death for the Sacrament of Penance. We are not living in ordinary times with ordinary circumstances. We have no recourse to ordinary channels of priests with ordinary and delegated jurisdiction. Yet, we have priests and bishops all around us. There’s a law that lacks an express prescription, which is considered by our theologians and canonists to work for the current situation.

Getting back to the problem with home-aloners, I have a question to ponder:

Is it possible for the Church to unintentionally prohibit the administration of all the sacraments to the whole Church except Baptism and Marriage for a day, a year, 50 years, or indefinitely?

The home-alone position must submit that the Church is withholding and prohibiting the sacraments to the whole Church unintentionally, which is contrary to Christ’s mission of the Church. The Church’s mission can’t become counter-missionary to itself. Would Christ place a time-bomb in the establishment of His Church?

It doesn’t say much for a loving Mother that hinders ALL HER children from living and dying as holy a life as possible to be saved.

Home-aloners necessarily hold that the entire Church is incapacitated and paralyzed from administering the sacraments. It would mean that Christ does not and has not provided the means for the administration of the sacraments to His whole Church. The mission of the Church has come to a screeching halt and the devil has thwarted God’s positive Will for His Church of accomplishing what it was sent out to do.

I submit the gates of hell have prevailed if our clergy are wrong for administering the sacraments. What good is a Church that has been totally incapacitated? It would mean the Church’s mission is effectively over and the devil has won. In my estimation, the home alone position is not just impossible, it’s anti-Catholic.

This all leads to my two final arguments.

Before the great apostasy, there were opinions permitted to be held, which post-apostasy circumstances prove to be false opinions. One such false opinion held by the majority of theologians and canonists is the universal acceptance of the Church guarantees a true pope. At least 5 theologians and canonists disagreed with this opinion and were proven right by the circumstances of the great apostasy. This is one reason why listing a collection of theological opinions proves nothing.

So too, the circumstances of the great apostasy prove that the home-alone opinion of supplied jurisdiction to be false by the mere fact that the Church can’t be counter-missionary to itself and be completely incapacitated to administer the sacraments as a whole. The Church has by Divine right to exist and carry on its mission of saving souls through the sacraments. That Divine right must exist somehow even if it can’t be shown explicitly.

Lastly is the argument of reason: If we consider both the home-alone position and the sedevacantist clergy position as sincere opinions, what are the pros and cons of each position from the viewpoint of being right or wrong?

If the home-aloners are correct and avoided sedevacantist clergy, they have gained nothing, but the fact they followed their conscience, which both sides do anyway. However, if they are wrong:

     1. They lose numerous graces from the sacraments they could have received.

     2. Their chance of losing their souls becomes greater.

     3. Their chance of gaining heaven becomes less.

     4. The probability of having a tougher purgatory becomes greater.

     5. They will not have lived and died in the greatest possible manner.

     6. They will not be as close to Jesus and Mary in life and in death.

     7. Their place in heaven may not reach the heights it could have been.

If our sedevacantist clergy are wrong, we have lost nothing. We died in good faith, but were mistaken. However, if we are right:

     1. We gained numerous graces from the sacraments.

     2. The chance of losing our souls decreases.

     3. The chance of gaining heaven increases.

     4. The probability of having a tough purgatory decreases.

     5. We will have lived and died as holy as possible with the sacraments.

     6. We will be closer to Jesus and Mary in life and in death.

     7. Our place in heaven becomes the highest it could possibly be, because of the sacraments.

The argument from reason demonstrates that the home-alone position gains nothing and stands to lose so much. Our position stands to lose nothing and gains everything. While this argument doesn’t prove which side is right, it does prove which opinion is better.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Rev. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, pp. 340-341:

The Sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for the salvation of mankind. (De fide.)

As Christ instituted the Sacraments and bound them up with the communication of grace they are necessary to us for the achievement of salvation (necessitate medii), even if not all are necessary for each individual. The efficacious reception of a Sacrament can, in case of necessity, be replaced by the desire for the Sacrament (votum sacramenti) (hypothetical necessity).

The Council of Trent declared against the Reformers who, on the ground of their “sola fides” doctrine, contested the necessity of the Sacraments for salvation: Si quis dixerit sacramenta novae Legis non esse ad salutem necessaria, sed superflua, ct sine eis aut eorum voto per solam fidem homines a Deo gratiam iustificationis adipisci, licet omnia singulis necessaria non sint. A.S. D. 847. In the Middle Ages the necessity of the Sacraments was controverted by the Cathari.

The Sacraments are the means appointed by God for the attainment of eternal salvation. Three of them are in the ordinary way of salvation so necessary, that without their use salvation cannot be attained. Thus, for the individual person, Baptism is necessary in this way and after the commission of a grievous sin, Penance is equally necessary, while for the Church in general, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is necessary. The other Sacraments are necessary in so far as salvation cannot be so easily gained without them. Thus Confirmation is the completion of Baptism, and Extreme Unction is the completion of Penance, while Matrimony is the basis for the preservation of the Church Commonwealth, and the Eucharist is the end (finis) of all the Sacraments. C£ S. the III 6S, 3 and 4.

[2] Rev. Charles Augustine, A Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law, vol. IV, p. 286

[3] “A fundamental rule of jurisprudence is to put as broad as possible an interpretation on the words of a favorable law and to interpret unfavorable laws strictly (e.g., penal laws). (C. 19.)” Moral Theology, Fr. Heribert Jone, p. 23.

[4] Theologia Moralis, Liguori, Bk.6, no. 561, Q.2

[5] Summula theologiae moralis : Giuseppe d’ Annibale : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

[6] Commentaria in bullam S.D.N.D. Pauli Papae V lectam in die Coenae Domini … – Leonardo Duardo (C.R.) – Google Books

[7] https://archive.org/details/theologiamoralis02ligu_0/page/442/mode/2up

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Vatican 2 declared that “all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body, (21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.” [1]

The context is referring to baptized non-Catholics.

The right to be called Christian is an issue that involves the external forum, because it presumes an objective fact that’s known or proved to be true. The body is also reference to the external forum, because it refers to something physical or material and tangible. The Latin corpus (body) is the root word for corpse, corporal, and corporeal.

As Catholics, we believe Christ’s Body is the Catholic Church. Pope Leo XIII declared in his 1896 Encyclical Satis Cognitum, #3:

For this reason the Church is so often called in Holy Writ a body, and even the body of Christ – “Now you are the body of Christ” (I Cor. xii., 27) – and precisely because it is a body is the Church visible: and because it is the body of Christ is it living and energizing, because by the infusion of His power Christ guards and sustains it, just as the vine gives nourishment and renders fruitful the branches united to it. And as in animals the vital principle is unseen and invisible, and is evidenced and manifested by the movements and action of the members, so the principle of supernatural life in the Church is clearly shown in that which is done by it.

From this it follows that those who arbitrarily conjure up and picture to themselves a hidden and invisible Church are in grievous and pernicious error: as also are those who regard the Church as a human institution which claims a certain obedience in discipline and external duties, but which is without the perennial communication of the gifts of divine grace, and without all that which testifies by constant and undoubted signs to the existence of that life which is drawn from God. It is assuredly as impossible that the Church of Jesus Christ can be the one or the other, as that man should be a body alone or a soul alone. The connection and union of both elements is as absolutely necessary to the true Church as the intimate union of the soul and body is to human nature. The Church is not something dead: it is the body of Christ endowed with supernatural life. As Christ, the Head and Exemplar, is not wholly in His visible human nature, which Photinians and Nestorians assert, nor wholly in the invisible divine nature, as the Monophysites hold, but is one, from and in both natures, visible and invisible; so the mystical body of Christ is the true Church, only because its visible parts draw life and power from the supernatural gifts and other things whence spring their very nature and essence.

Pope Pius XII taught and declared: “the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing. (Mystici Corporis, 1943, Humani Generis, 1950)

“…the Queen of Martyrs, more than all the faithful “filled up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ . . . for His Body, which is the Church”(Mystici Corporis,1943)

We also believe that only Catholics are Christians. [2] See A Right to the Christian Name

This means the right to be called Christian is also the right to be called Catholic, because the words mean the same thing and are interchangeable. [3]

Vatican 2 is teaching something radically different and tries to make it sound Catholic by footnoting [21] the 1439 Decretum Exultate Deo from the Council of Florence. However, the Decretum in no way implies that baptized non-Catholics are members of Christ’s Body. Thus, the council’s footnote is misleading if not deceptive.

Vatican 2’s teaching that non-Catholics are members of Christ’s Body can only mean one of two things:

1. Non-Catholics have a right to be called Catholics and are members of the Catholic Church.

However, we know this is not what Vatican 2 is teaching, because it says in Lumen Gentium 15 that these non-Catholics are only “linked” to the Church. They are not yet “peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd.” [4]

Therefore, the only other implication is that…

2. Catholic and Christian do not mean the same thing and one can be a true Christian in the external forum without being Catholic despite the fact that at least 2 popes taught otherwise. Again, Lumen Gentium 15 tells us these non-Catholics are “consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ.” [5]

To declare that baptized non-Catholics “are members of Christ’s body,” “united to Christ,” and to tell us these “members” are not yet united members of the Catholic Church contradicts Pope Pius XI’s 1928 Encyclical Mortalium animos, which declared,

“for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it…For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, [22] compacted and fitly joined together,[23] it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head.[24] ([22]. I Cor. xii, 12., [23]. Eph. Iv, 16., [24]. Cf. Eph. v, 30; 1, 22.)”

Notice that Pope Pius XI is citing Holy Scripture to prove his point. Christ’s Body is the Catholic Church and is only made up with the members united to the Catholic Church, but apparently that fact was too exclusive for the fathers of the Second Vatican Council. They were bent on including non-Catholics as members of Christ’s Body.  

Vatican 2 continued in Unitatis Redintegratio: We believe that Our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, in order to establish the one Body of Christ on earth to which all should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God.

“Fully incorporated” implies there’s such a thing as partial incorporation, which is diametrically opposed to Pope Pius IX’s teaching from his Apostolic Letter to all Protestants and other Non-Catholics at the convocation of the Vatican Council, September 13, 1868, “Neither will it ever be able to be said that they are members and part of that Church as long as they remain visibly separated from Catholic unity.”

We have Vatican 2 telling us that baptized non-Catholics are Christian with the right to the name.

To the contrary, Pope Pius XII and Pope Leo XIII tell us that only Catholics are truly Christians. [6] Christian used merely in conventional language means something else as seen in footnote 3. 

Vatican 2 tells us that baptized non-Catholics are united with Christ and members of Christ’s Body. We have the polar opposites with Pope Pius IX telling us they need to return to the Body of Christ; [7] Pope Leo XIII telling us they are not united to Christ’s Body; [8] Pope Pius XI telling us they are separated from Christ’s Body; [9] and Pope Pius XII telling us they are not members of Christ’s Body. [10]

Vatican 2 tells us by implication that baptized non-Catholics are partially incorporated into the Church.

Pope Pius IX tells us there’s no such thing as partial incorporation into the Church. [11]

Vatican 2 chucked all the relevant papal teachings from the previous 100 years and presented an evolution of doctrine, a perfect example of modernism. Therefore, Vatican 2’s teaching on Christ’s Body is anti-Catholic. Only a robber council can do such a thing and true popes could never approve it as all the Vatican 2 popes have done.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Referring to non-Catholics, Unitatis Redintegratio of Vatican 2 declared: For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church – whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church – do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body, (21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church. (22)”

[2] Pope Pius XII declared: “To be Christian one must be Roman. One must recognize the oneness of Christ’s Church that is governed by one successor of the Prince of the Apostles who is the Bishop of Rome, Christ’s Vicar on earth” (Allocution to the Irish pilgrims of October 8, 1957).

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, “5 So the Christian is a Catholic as long as he lives in the body: cut off from it he becomes a heretic – the life of the spirit follows not the amputated member.”

[3] The generic term Christian in conventional language, which identifies those who claim to follow Christ as opposed to Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Judaism, etc. would not be included as a God-given right precisely, because it is a generic term of conventional language. 

[4] Lumen Gentium 15. The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter. (14*) For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. (15*) They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ. They also recognize and accept other sacraments within their own Churches or ecclesiastical communities. Many of them rejoice in the episcopate, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God.(16*) They also share with us in prayer and other spiritual benefits. Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood. In all of Christ’s disciples the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end. (17*) Mother Church never ceases to pray, hope and work that this may come about. She exhorts her children to purification and renewal so that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the earth.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] In an Apostolic Letter of His Holiness, Pope Pius IX, to all Protestants and other Non-Catholics at the convocation of the Vatican Council, September 13, 1868, that they might return to the Catholic Church:

“Nobody will certainly be able to doubt or deny that this Jesus Christ, to the end that the fruits of His Redemption might be applied to all the race of men, has built here on earth, upon Peter, the only Church, which is one, holy, catholic and apostolic; and that He has conferred upon her the power necessary to preserve whole and inviolate the deposit of faith; to transmit this same faith to all peoples, tribes, and nations; to call [elect] to unity in this Mystical Body, through baptism, all men, for the purpose of preserving in them, and perfecting, that new life of grace, without which no one can merit and obtain eternal life; wherefore this Church, which constitutes the Mystical Body, will persist and prosper in her own stable and indefectible nature until the end of the ages, and offer to all Her sons the means of salvation….

Whoever thus gives proper attention and reflection to the situation which surrounds the various religious societies, divided amongst themselves and separated from the Catholic Church – which, without interruption, from the time of Christ the Lord and of His Apostles, by means of her legitimate sacred Shepherds, has always exercised, and exercises still, the divine power conferred upon Her by the Lord – it will be easy to convince [them] that in none of these societies, and not even in all of them taken together, can in some way be seen the one and Catholic Church which Christ the Lord built, constituted, and willed to exist. Neither will it ever be able to be said that they are members and part of that Church as long as they remain visibly separated from Catholic unity…

It is for this reason that so many who do not share “the communion and the truth of the Catholic Church” must make use of the occasion of the Council, by the means of the Catholic Church, which received in Her bosom their ancestors, proposes [further] demonstration of profound unity and of firm vital force; hear the requirements [demands] of her heart, they must engage themselves to leave this state that does not guarantee for them the security of salvation. She does not hesitate to raise to the Lord of mercy most fervent prayers to tear down of the walls of division, to dissipate the haze of errors, and lead them back within holy Mother Church…we exhort them warmly and beseech them with insistence to hasten to return to the one fold of Christ…we await with open arms the return of the wayward sons to the Catholic Church, in order to receive them with infinite fondness into the house of the Heavenly Father and to enrich them with its inexhaustible treasures. By our greatest wish for the return to the truth and the communion with the Catholic Church, upon which depends not only the salvation of all of them…”

[8] Ibid.

[9] Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, “the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the returnto the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it…”

[10] Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi:  “14. If the Church is a body, it must be an unbroken unity, according to those words of Paul: “Though many we are one body in Christ.” [14] But it is not enough that the body of the Church should be an unbroken unity; it must also be something definite and perceptible to the senses as Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Satis Cognitum asserts: “the Church is visible because she is a body.” [15] Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a 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….”

[11.] Ibid.

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Many of those who recognize and are united to Bergoglio as pope have contempt for the new mass. Yet, if it is an approved rite of the Church, this behavior is anathema. The mass is an “untainted source,” must be “embraced,” and is “perfect.”  

SESSION VII, CANON XIII. If any one saith, that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, wont to be used in the solemn administration of the sacraments, may be contemned, or without sin be omitted at pleasure by the ministers, or be changed, by every pastor of the churches, into other new ones; let him be anathema. 

Is the novus ordo missae an approved rite that administers the sacrament of the Eucharist? 

SESSION XXII, CANON VII. If any one saith, that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs, which the Catholic Church makes use of in the celebration of masses, are incentives to impiety, rather than offices of piety; let him be anathema. 

How could the novus ordo missae be a problem if those things within it can’t be? 

Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, 9 (1832):Furthermore, the discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or branded as contrary to certain principles of the natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority. In this discipline the administration of sacred rites, standards of morality, and the reckoning of the Church and her ministers are embraced. 

How can a Catholic not embrace the novus ordo missae as sound, perfect, and holy, since this teaching must be accepted as true? 

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (1896): For, since Jesus Christ delivered Himself up for the salvation of the human race, and to this end directed all His teaching and commands, so He ordered the Church to strive, by the truth of its doctrine, to sanctify and to save mankind. But faith alone cannot compass so great, excellent, and important an end. There must need be also the fitting and devout worship of God, which is to be found chiefly in the divine Sacrifice and in the dispensation of the Sacraments, as well as salutary laws and discipline. All these must be found in the Church, since it continues the mission of the Saviour for ever. The Church alone offers to the human race that religion – that state of absolute perfection – which He wished, as it were, to be incorporated in it. And it alone supplies those means of salvation which accord with the ordinary counsels of Providence. 

How can there be a state of absolute perfection if the novus ordo missae is not?

Pope Pius XII, Haurietis Aquas, May 15, 1956: From what We have so far explained, venerable brethren, it is clear that the faithful must seek from Scripture, tradition and the sacred liturgy as from a deep untainted source, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus if they desire to penetrate its inner nature and by piously meditating on it, receive the nourishment for the fostering and development of their religious fervor. 

All this means the novus ordo mass can’t be treated with contempt, nor spoken of as contemptible, or leading to impiety, if Francis is a true pope. 

Yet, most all pseudo-traditionalists have problems with the new mass in some way. All of them have anathematized themselves by their own contempt for their own religious rites approved by their own pope and church.

Keep this in mind when you speak to family and friends who fall in this category. 

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Lutherans, Anglicans and Methodists say the Apostles Creed claiming the church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

Contrary to Catholicism’s definition, oneness or unity simply means the Church made up by believers across denominational lines are united to Christ. There is no formal unity. It doesn’t require a unity of faith in all doctrine, but a merely an acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior with some basic beliefs surrounding Christianity. There’s no definition as to what constitutes what beliefs are necessary. However, if there was a denial of hell, Christ’s divinity, or Trinity, you may not be considered by these particular Protestants as Christians united to Christ.

Vatican 2 redefined the nature of the Church by promulgating this Protestant understanding. The Vatican 2 religion through its popes promote this Protestant understanding in decrees, letters, addresses, and other documents, such as the Balamand Statement and the Joint Declaration with Lutherans.

In Lumen Gentium, Vatican 2 declared:

     “This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic…”

According to same Vatican 2 religion, this Church of Christ is also formally divided and not unified in faith.

In Unitatis Redintegratio, Vatican 2 declared:

     4. “Nevertheless, the divisions among Christians prevent the Church from realizing in practice the fullness of Catholicity proper to her, in those of her sons and daughters who, though attached to her by baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her.  Furthermore, the Church herself finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full Catholicity in all its bearings.”

This statement makes no sense unless Vatican 2 is saying the Eastern Orthodox and Protestants and their false religions make up the Church of Christ. However, the Vatican 2 popes have removed all doubt that this, indeed, is what Vatican 2 means:

In 1972, Paul VI addressed the newly elected Patriarch of Constantinople a telegram saying: “At the moment when you assume a heavy charge in the service of the Church of Christ…” (L’Osservatore Romano, July 27, 1972, p. 12)

In a 2006 Joint Declaration with the Eastern Orthodox, Benedict XVI referred to Patriarch Bartholomew and himself “as Pastors in the Church of Christ.” (www.zenit.org, Zenit news report, Nov. 30, 2006)

The following year in the Common Declaration with the Eastern Orthodox, Benedict XVI referred to Archbishop Chrysostomos II and himself “as Pastors in the Church.”

That same year Benedict XVI’s told the Eastern Orthodox Romanian Patriarchate: “I also wish to express my earnest good wishes for you and your brother Bishops as you guide the Church in this time of transition.”

In a Jan. 22, 2013 L’Osservatore Romano article titled: The divisions among Christians disfigure the face of the Church, it was written that Benedict XVI said, “One of the gravest sins ‘that disfigure the Church’s face’ is the sin ‘against her visible unity’.”

On May 25, 1995, John Paul II, in Ut Unum Sint, n. 59, approved the 1993 Balamand declaration, which declared:

     14. It is in this perspective that the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as Sister Churches, responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity. According to the words of Pope John Paul II, the ecumenical endeavour of the Sister Churches of East and West, grounded in dialogue and prayer, is the search for perfect and total communion which is neither absorption nor fusion but a meeting in truth and love (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, n. 27).

According to this statement, the visible Church of God is divided and the Eastern Orthodox churches form the one Church of God.

The Nov. 1, 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification  by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church states:

     44. We give thanks to the Lord for this decisive step forward on the way to overcoming the division of the church. We ask the Holy Spirit to lead us further toward that visible unity which is Christ’s will.

Again, we see the rejection of the dogma on the visible unity of the Church and the heresy that Lutherans are part of the Body of Christ the Church. John Paul II approved and blessed the Joint Declaration.

The Vatican 2 religion and popes hold the Protestant-style oneness doctrine opposed to the Catholic definition.

The Catholic doctrine of oneness is so foundational, deviation from it amounts to an avalanche of heresies. The Trinity is one, Christ is one with His Body, and the Church must be one in faith. If it were divided in faith, Christ would be divided with truth, Christ’s prayer for unity would be a failure, the true Church couldn’t be identified because it would not truly exist, the Catholic definition would be false, Scripture and particular I Tim. 3:15 would be a lie, thus making the gates of hell the prevailer of the Church and ultimately proving Christianity a false religion.

The Church is one in faith or else Christ is not Lord.

What I find astounding is how pseudo-traditionalist “Catholics” hold to the same heretical principle of oneness as Vatican 2 and Protestantism. They claim to hold the oneness dogma, while outwardly being divided in faith with Vatican 2 and their pope. What blindness! 

For further reading see That They May Be One (Ut Unum Sint) 

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Lately, I’ve been trying to hit all the different angles of the pseudo-traditionalist errors.

One particular pseudo-traditionalist here in Kentucky that I’ve been emailing, can’t see the forest for the trees. He misunderstands the differences between material and formal heresy, internal and external forum, the application of laws, dogmas and opinions, etc. Rather than getting bogged down in explaining the differences, I’ve decided to get it down to one main point.

One thing that’s undeniable is the fact that there are four marks, which are four dogmas that identify the true religion.

Many of these fake Catholics acknowledge that Vatican 2 and the Vatican 2 popes have promulgated heretical teachings. The pseudo-trad from Ky is no exception.

As soon as the pseudo-traditionalist points to this or that heresy of his religion, the question comes down to how his religion still has those four marks and how he still holds to them himself. Claiming the Church teaches heresy by law or decree leads to an avalanche of heresy against the four marks of the Church.

Oneness in Catholic faith can’t exist in the external forum if the magisterium is promulgating heresy. The Church will be divided between those who accept and reject the heresy. The Church would be no different from the Protestant and Eastern Orthodox religions in principle.

Holiness would be missing since heresy is unholy. The true Church can’t have unholy doctrines or else it would be no different from the Protestant and Eastern Orthodox religions.

Catholicity would be missing since heresy is damning.  The Roman Catechism declared the Catholic Church to be “universal, because all who desire eternal salvation must cling to and embrace her, like those who entered the ark to escape perishing in the flood. This (note of catholicity), therefore, is to be taught as a most reliable criterion, by which to distinguish the true from a false Church.” Heresy severs from Catholicism, which severs from salvation.

Apostolicity would be missing since heresy is not Apostolic. Protestant and Eastern Orthodox religions have false teachings, which prove they are not apostolic.

Pseudo-traditionalists like to attack sedevacantism for not having bishops with the fullness of apostolic succession. They fail to see that apostolicity requires the fullness of apostolic teaching. The Roman Catechism notes on the Apostolic mark, The true Church is also to be recognised from her origin, which can be traced back under the law of grace to the Apostles; for her doctrine is the truth not recently given, nor now first heard of, but delivered of old by the Apostles, and disseminated throughout the entire world. Hence no one can doubt that the impious opinions which heresy invents, opposed as they are to the doctrines taught by the Church from the days of the Apostles to the present time, are very different from the faith of the true Church.”

So when the fake Catholic acknowledges heresy from its councils, laws and other decrees, it necessarily follows that he denies the four dogmatic marks of his own religion. He becomes his own worst enemy.

Six years ago, I posted: Missing the Marks: The Church of Vatican 2.  If one knows that his religion denies the four marks, then again, it necessarily follows that he will, too.

There is no escape for the pseudo-traditionalist. He’s trapped in a false religion with an avalanche of his own heresies.   

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Since the Protestant Revolt, a particular Scripture verse has been used to counter the Protestant sola scriptura argument. Nowadays, this same verse is rejected by the pseudo-traditionalists in union with the Vatican 2 popes.

St. Paul to St. Timothy:

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth (I Tim. 3:15).

Fr. Leo Haydock writes in his commentary: Ver. 15. By the promises of Christ to direct his Church by the infallible spirit of truth; (see John xvi. 7. Mat. xxviii. 20. &c. Wi.) and therefore, the Church of the living God can never uphold error, nor bring in corruptions, superstition, or idolatry. Ch. — That the Church, the pillar and ground of truth, is to be conducted by the constant superintendence and guidance of the Holy Spirit into all truth to the consummation of days, every one whose mind is not strangely prejudiced may easily discover in various places of the inspired writings.

Yet, pseudo-traditionalists argue that the Catholic Church upholds error and brings in corruptions of all types.

The Remnant Newspaper  published an article by Robert Siscoe arguing that Pope Celestine III taught heresy by law.

Tradition in Action devotes most of its website denouncing the errors of Vatican 2, its popes, and the new mass.

Christopher Ferrara’s “Great Facade” attacks Vatican 2, its popes, and the new mass as novelty that contradicts past teaching.  

The Catholic Family News writes about resisting the errors of Vatican 2, its popes, and the new mass.

Archbishop Viganò criticizes Vatican 2 as erroneous, leading Catholics into schism, and creating a false church alongside the true Church.  He, also, says a pope can be a heretic.

The list goes on and on, but this can only mean these pseudo-traditionalists believe the Church is not the pillar and foundation of truth.

For every error they claim comes from the Church, an equal and opposite error is professed by them. For example, when they claim the Vatican 2 teaching on religious liberty is false or the new mass is harmful, it necessarily means the Church is the source of corruption and error, which is itself heresy and contrary to First Timothy 3:15.

If, however, they deny these things came from the Church, but only from a Vatican 2 pope, it necessarily means the First Vatican Council’s definition of the pope is false; another pseudo-traditionalist heresy.

It’s impossible for one to say the Catholic Church or pope promulgates error and heresy without himself disseminating error and heresy. Pseudo-traditionalists are as equally erroneous and heretical as their pope and religion.

“In the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” there’s no need to attack, resist, or criticize councils, papal teaching, and liturgies. 

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Despite the fact that Tradition In Action @ TraditionInAction.org rejects the position of sedevacantism, they put out a lot a good material in support of it. Twice, I’ve written open letters to Tradition in Action. [2] However, they continue to suffer from the The Anti-Sedevacantist Syndrome.

Recently, TIA responded to the Brazilian priest claiming he attacked them. [1] The priest wrote:

“TIA, How can you say that the Church teaches heresies and the Pope has a diabolical sense? If we see that, we can conclude that this is not the Church and Francis isn’t a true Pope!”

The priest makes the point that it’s not just the Vatican 2 popes but the Church, which TIA claims is teaching heresy.

TIA’s reply is astounding. They admit that their religion, which they believe is the Catholic Church, teaches the heresy of universal salvation. They write:

“Now then, all the Conciliar Popes preached universal salvation, especially Pope Francis. So, it is accurate to say that they are heretics…”

Next, TIA denies the logical conclusion that a heretic can’t be pope by stating, “History registers several Popes that taught heresy and continued to be Popes.” They provide two links to prove their point, but they prove no such thing.

Never has a pope taught heresy. The First Vatican Council’s fathers make that abundantly clear after pointing to 40 papal errors of the past. Popes can err, but not against the Faith. However, Atila Sinke Guimarãess of TIA claims in one article that Honorius was a heretic.

The Fathers of the First Vatican Council certainly didn’t think Honorius was heretic and neither did St. Robert Bellarmine. Honorius made it clear that he had no intention to define a doctrine. His letters were private and weren’t published until years later. His successor Pope John IV defended the orthodoxy of Honorius. Pope St. Leo II did not condemn Honorius for heresy, but for tolerating it. Much of the Honorius incident is unclear and doubtful. Yet, TIA needs Honorius to be a formal heretic in order to justify that popes can be heretics and remain popes. [3]

The main problem for TIA is that the First Vatican Council has infallibly declared by implication that popes can’t be heretics and remain popes. Thus the discussion is closed despite TIA saying the contrary. Furthermore, by claiming their popes are heretics, they necessarily must conclude that the gates of hell are also the gates of the Church. These are two huge problems when you decide that your popes can also be heretics.

TIA asserts that the Catholic Church teaches heresy and promulgates an evil liturgy. As I’ve said before, if the Catholic Church can promulgate such things, it would be the height of hypocrisy for the same Church to condemn Protestantism for doing the same. Did Christ found a Church that’s all true or mostly true? TIA advocates the latter.

TIA make themselves out to be stalwart supporters of traditional Catholicism, but they are every bit as revolutionary as those they condemn.

 

Footnotes:

[1] OPEN LETTER TO “TRADITION IN ACTION”

Open Letter to Fr. Ronald Brown of Tradition in Action

[2] TIA’s Film Has Wrong Affirmations & Biased Data (traditioninaction.org)

[3] For the sake of the argument, if Honorius indeed fell into heresy, it doesn’t prove he kept the papacy afterwards.

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It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins (II Maccabees 12:46).

This verse tells us that sins can be forgiven after death by the intercession of prayers of those who still live.

St. Paul through the Holy Ghost tells us in the Apocalypse the defiled will not enter Heaven. [1] Yet, all good men are defiled in someway. There may be an attachment to sin even through ignorance and the punishment due to forgiven mortal sin. Men don’t always repair and make restitutions for their sins, which is a type of defilement. Therefore, a place of purgation and purification must exist in order that God’s justice and mercy apply perfectly and completely. How this works is explained in St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians.

9 For we are God’s coadjutors: you are God’s husbandry; you are God’s building.

10 According to the grace of God that is given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation; and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: 13 Every man’s work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. 16 Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

17 But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are (I Cor. 3:9-17).

The “day of the Lord” is Judgment Day. The temple is man. Gold, silver, and precious stones represents good works deserving of a reward (Heaven). Wood, hay, and stubble represents venial sins, which gets burned up (Purgatory). Violating the temple is mortal sin and those that do so will be destroyed (Hell).

Mortal sins are sins unto death, and venial sins are sins not unto death (First John 5:16-17). For instance, in Matthew 5:19, Jesus states that men can commit certain sins and even teach others to commit that sin but would be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. Other sins however, Jesus says would cause men liable to hell fire. Therefore, different types of sins have different types of punishment and this is what St. Paul describes.

Lastly, Jesus implicitely tells that Purgatory exists:

“And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come (Matt. 12:32).”

Fr. Leo Haydock writes in his Bible commentary that St. Augustine (De Civ. 1.xxi. c. 13) and Pope St. Gregory the Great (Dial. Iv, c. 39) understood the passage to refer to Purgatory. St. Augustine said this passage would not be true, if some sins were not forgiven in the world to come; and St. Gregory says, we are to believe from these words in the existence of the fire of purgatory, to expiate our smaller offenses, before the day of judgment. St. Isidore and Ven. Bede say the same. St. Bernard, speaking of heretics, says they do not believe in purgatory; let them then inquire of our Savior, what he meant by these words.” [2]

Fr. Cornelius à Lapide S.J. writes in his commentary, “S. Aug. (21 Civit. 24), S. Greg. (4 dialog. 39), Isidore, Bede, S. Bern., and others, quoted by Bellarmine (Lib. 2. de Purgat. sec. 4), prove from this passage, that there is a Purgatory after this life. For it would be unmeaning to say, shall not be forgiven nor in the world to come, if there were no remission of sins in the world to come. Thus a person would speak vainly who said, I will never marry a wife, neither in this world, nor in the world to come, since no wife can be married in the world to come. Mark adds, and gives greater force to the saying: but shall be guilty of eternal damnation. Moreover mortal sins are expiated in Purgatory, so far only as pertains to their punishment, but venial sins as regards both fault and punishment.” [3]

In the past, I’ve answered certain objections to Purgatory, [4] but the bottom line is that the Church is the pillar and ground for the truth (I Tim. 3:15) and the Church from its beginning has believed in Purgatory. We clearly see it in the Holy Bible. According to Apostolic traditions, liturgies were offered for the poor souls in Purgatory. We also see prayers offered for the dead in the catacombs.

The 3rd century heretics known as the Apostolici (a sect of Encratites) denied Purgatory, but could not have done so if the universal belief didn’t already exist.

Later heretics such as the Cathars (Waldenses) of the 12th century denied the existence of Purgatory. Some of the Eastern Orthodox (Greek and Russian) denied it after the “Orthodox Confession of Petrus Mogilas” was drawn up around 1640 AD. The Protestants denied it in the 16th century. The fact that they all denied Purgatory demonstrates that it existed before they existed.

The 2nd Council of Lyons (1274), Pope Benedict XII, in the dogmatic constitution “Benedietus Deus” (1336), Council of Florence (1439), and the Council of Trent (1563) defined Purgatory from a universal belief to a dogma of the Catholic Faith. [5]

God has spoken and His Church, the Pillar and Ground for the truth has spoken. Purgatory is real!

 

Footnotes:

[1] There shall not enter into it any thing defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb (Apoc. 21:27).

[2] The Haydock Bible

[3] CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Cornelius Cornelii a Lapide (newadvent.org)

[4] OBJECTIONS TO PURGATORY ANSWERED IN A NUTSHELL

[5] Benedictus Deus (On the Beatific Vision of God) | EWTN

~The Council of Trent – Session 25~

 

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St. John Chrysostom, made Bishop of Constantinople, Feb. 26, 398: 

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice [Job 1:5], why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them (Homilies on First Corinthians 41:5, 392 AD).

Weep for those who die in their wealth and who with all their wealth prepared no consolation for their own souls, who had the power to wash away their sins and did not will to do it. Let us weep for them, let us assist them to the extent of our ability, let us think of some assistance for them, small as it may be, yet let us somehow assist them. But how, and in what way? By praying for them and by entreating others to pray for them, by constantly giving alms to the poor on their behalf. Not in vain was it decreed by the apostles that in the awesome mysteries remembrance should be made of the departed. They knew that here there was much gain for them, much benefit. When the entire people stands with hands uplifted, a priestly assembly, and that awesome sacrificial Victim is laid out, how, when we are calling upon God, should we not succeed in their defense? But this is done for those who have departed in the faith, while even the catechumens are not reckoned as worthy of this consolation, but are deprived of every means of assistance except one. And what is that? We may give alms to the poor on their behalf (Homilies on Philippians 3:9–10, 402 AD).

St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, 396-430:

There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for other dead who are remembered. It is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended (Sermons 159:1, 411 AD).

“But by the prayers of the holy Church, and by the salvific sacrifice, and by the alms which are given for their spirits, there is no doubt that the dead are aided, that the Lord might deal more mercifully with them than their sins would deserve. The whole Church observes this practice which was handed down by the Fathers: that it prays for those who have died in the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, when they are commemorated in their own place in the sacrifice itself; and the sacrifice is offered also in memory of them, on their behalf. If, then, works of mercy are celebrated for the sake of those who are being remembered, who would hesitate to recommend them, on whose behalf prayers to God are not offered in vain? It is not at all to be doubted that such prayers are of profit to the dead; but for such of them as lived before their death in a way that makes it possible for these things to be useful to them after death” (ibid., 172:2).

Temporal punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by some after death, by some both here and hereafter, but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But not all who suffer temporal punishments after death will come to eternal punishments, which are to follow after that judgment (The City of God 21:13, 419 AD).

That there should be some fire even after this life is not incredible, and it can be inquired into and either be discovered or left hidden whether some of the faithful may be saved, some more slowly and some more quickly in the greater or lesser degree in which they loved the good things that perish, through a certain purgatorial fire (Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Charity 18:69 421 AD).

The time which interposes between the death of a man and the final resurrection holds souls in hidden retreats, accordingly as each is deserving of rest or of hardship, in view of what it merited when it was living in the flesh. Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead find relief through the piety of their friends and relatives who are still alive, when the Sacrifice of the Mediator [Mass] is offered for them, or when alms are given in the Church. But these things are of profit to those who, when they were alive, merited that they might afterward be able to be helped by these things. There is a certain manner of living, neither so good that there is no need of these helps after death, nor yet so wicked that these helps are of no avail after death (ibid., 29:109).

The Passion of the Holy Martyrs of Perpetua and Felicity – 202 AD

3. After a few days, while we were all praying, on a sudden, in the middle of our prayer, there came to me a word, and I named Dinocrates; and I was amazed that that name had never come into my mind until then, and I was grieved as I remembered his misfortune. And I felt myself immediately to be worthy, and to be called on to ask on his behalf. And for him I began earnestly to make supplication, and to cry with groaning to the Lord. Without delay, on that very night, this was shown to me in a vision. I saw Dinocrates going out from a gloomy place, where also there were several others, and he was parched and very thirsty, with a filthy countenance and pallid color, and the wound on his face which he had when he died. This Dinocrates had been my brother after the flesh, seven years of age, who died miserably with disease — his face being so eaten out with cancer, that his death caused repugnance to all men. For him I had made my prayer, and between him and me there was a large interval, so that neither of us could approach to the other. And moreover, in the same place where Dinocrates was, there was a pool full of water, having its brink higher than was the stature of the boy; and Dinocrates raised himself up as if to drink. And I was grieved that, although that pool held water, still, on account of the height to its brink, he could not drink. And I was upset, and knew that my brother was in suffering. But I trusted that my prayer would bring help to his suffering; and I prayed for him every day until we passed over into the prison of the camp, for we were to fight in the camp-show. Then was the birthday of Geta Cæsar, and I made my prayer for my brother day and night, groaning and weeping that he might be granted to me.

4. Then, on the day on which we remained in fetters, this was shown to me. I saw that that place which I had formerly observed to be in gloom was now bright; and Dinocrates, with a clean body well clad, was finding refreshment. And where there had been a wound, I saw a scar; and that pool which I had before seen, I saw now with its margin lowered even to the boy’s navel. And one drew water from the pool incessantly, and upon its brink was a goblet filled with water; and Dinocrates drew near and began to drink from it, and the goblet did not fail. And when he was satisfied, he went away from the water to play joyously, after the manner of children, and I awoke. Then I understood that he was translated from the place of punishment.

(The Passion of the Holy Martyrs of Perpetua and Felicity 2:3–4, 202 AD).

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