Monthly Archives: March 2017

Bp. Salvador Lazo: The Diocesan Bishop who again found Tradition

Since Vatican II, there have been many prelates in the “official” Church who have recognized many symptoms of this present great crisis.  As Abp. Lefebvre noted, a few bishops and cardinals would privately encourage him to keep doing his work.  There are also a few prelates today who appear to show great potential for Tradition(e.g. Bp. Athanasius Schneider).  However, there has not yet been the case of a Bishop who has fully returned to Tradition after having previously worked under the auspices of the Novus Ordo.  That is, except for Bp. Salvador Lazo of the Philippines.

I notice that besides a fond remembrance of Bp. Lazo’s memory amongst many Traditional clergy and faithful, his courageous stand is not often as documented as I believe it should be.  There is little written about him besides the SSPX sources provided in this post.  Our hope for posting about this great Bishop is for others to know more about him and be encouraged by his stand.

Bp. Lazo piously performed his duties as a parish priest and bishop for over forty years in his diocese.  He told of how very little of what was going on at the Council was known to the immediate dioceses.  Although the priests in the diocese were wondering about the Novus Ordo Missae when it was introduced, their ecclesiastical superiors simply stated that “Rome had spoken”.  After Bp. Lazo’s retirement, a group of catechists visited him from the nearest SSPX priory.  After a lively conversation, the group left some reading materials for the Bishop.  Bp. Lazo was delighted to see the selections since they had answered his long-found suspicion over Vatican II.  By reading books about the Kingship of Christ and the nature of Freemasonry, as well as the great encyclicals written by the previous Traditional Popes; the Bishop realized that the Freemasons had successfully infiltrated the true Church of Christ.  Vatican II was the greatest means to advance their agenda.  After realizing the errors of Vatican II and the New mass, Bp. Lazo affiliated himself with the SSPX and participated in religious ceremonies with the other four SSPX bishops.  His support for Tradition was full and entire for the rest of his life and his presence and good spirit were always most assuring for those fighting for the true Faith.

We invite our readers to read the Bishop’s wonderful full autobiography: http://archives.sspx.org/bishop_salvador_lazo/my_return_to_the_traditional_mass_part_1.htm

In 1998, Bp. Lazo penned the following the Declaration of Faith to Pope John Paul II.  How refreshing it is to see a Bishop defend Tradition so emphatically and charitably!  May all of the Bishops of the world follow his lead in embracing the sacred beauty and fullness of Tradition.  And may the memory of Bishop Salvador Lazo be always cherished and admired forever!  May he rest in peace with Our Lord and Our Lady.

 

To His Holiness POPE JOHN PAUL II Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of Vatican City.

Ascension Thursday
May 21, 1998

Most Holy Father,

On the tenth anniversary of the consecration of the four Catholic bishops by His Grace Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre for the survival of the Catholic Faith, by the grace of God, I declare that I am Roman Catholic. My religion was founded by Jesus Christ when he said to Peter:

Thou art Peter and upon this Rock, I will build my Church. (Mt. 16:18)

Holy Father, my Credo is the Apostles’ Creed. The deposit of Faith came from Jesus Christ and was completed at the death of the last Apostle. It was entrusted to the Roman Catholic Church to serve as a guide for the salvation of souls to the end of time.

St. Paul instructed Timothy: “O Timothy, keep the deposit.” (I Tim. 6:20), the deposit of Faith!

Holy Father, it seems that St. Paul is telling me:

Keep the deposit… the deposit that is entrusted to you, not discovered by you. You received it: you did not draw it from your resources. It is not the fruit of any personal understanding but of teaching. It is not personal use, but it belongs to public tradition. It does not come from you, but it has come to you. With respect to it, you cannot act as an author, but only a simple keeper. You are not its initiator but its disciple. It is not for you to direct it, but your duty to follow it. (St. Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorium, No. 21).

The Holy Council of Vatican I teaches that

the doctrine of Faith that God has revealed, was not proposed to the minds of men as a philosophical discovery to be perfected, but as the divine deposit, entrusted to the Spouse of Christ that she might faithfully keep it and infallibly define it. Consequently, the meaning of the Sacred Dogmas which must always be preserved is that which our Holy Mother the Church has determined. Never is it permissible to depart from this in the name of a deeper understanding. (Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, Dz. 1800).

The Holy Ghost was promised to the successors of Peter, not that they might make known new doctrine by His Revelation but rather that, with His assistance, they mighty religiously guard and faithfully explain the Revelation or deposit of Faith that was handed down through the Apostles. (Vatican I,  Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Æternus Dz. 1836)

Moreover, “the power of the pope is not unlimited; not only can he not change anything which is of divine institution (to suppress episcopal jurisdiction, for instance), but he is to build and not to destroy (cf. II Cor. 10, 8); he is enjoined, through natural law, not to sow confusion in the flock of Christ” (Dict. De Théol. Cath., II, col. 2039-2040).

St. Paul too confirmed the Faith of his converts: “But though we or an angel from heaven preach a Gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.” (Gal. 1:8)

As a Catholic bishop, briefly, this is my stand on the post-Conciliar reforms of the Second Vatican Council. If the Conciliar reforms are according to the will of Jesus Christ, then, I will gladly cooperate in their implementation. But if the Conciliar reforms are planned for the destruction of the Catholic Religion founded by Jesus Christ, then, I refuse to give my cooperation.

Holy Father, in 1969, a communication from Rome was received in San Fernando Diocese of La Union. It said the Tridentine Latin Mass was to be suppressed and the Novus Ordo Missae was to be implemented. There was no reason given. Since the order came from Rome it was obeyed without any protest (Roma locuta est, causa finita est).

I retired in 1993, 23 years after my episcopal consecration. Since my retirement, I discovered the real reason for the illegal suppression of the traditional Latin Mass. The ancient Mass was an obstacle to the introduction of ecumenism. The Catholic Mass contained Catholic dogmas, which Protestants denied. To achieve unity with Protestant sects, the Tridentine Latin Mass had to be scrapped, being replaced by the Novus Ordo Missae.

The Novus Ordo Missae was a concoction of Monsignor Annibale Bugnini, a freemason. Six Protestant ministers helped Monsignor Bugnini in fabricating it. The innovators saw to it that no Catholic dogmas fully and replaced them with very ambiguous Protestantizing and heretical things. They even changed the form of the consecration given by Jesus Christ. With these modifications, the new rite of the Mass became more Protestant than Catholic.

The Protestants maintain that the Mass is a mere meal, a mere communion, a mere banquet, a memorial. The Council of Trent emphasized the reality of the sacrifice of the Mass, which is an unbloody renewal of the bloody sacrifice of Christ on Mount Calvary. “He, therefore, our god and Lord, though He was about to offer Himself once to God the Father upon the altar of the Cross… offered to God the Father His own body and blood under the species of bread and wine… at the last supper on the night He was betrayed, so that He might leave to His beloved Spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as nature of man demands), whereby that bloody sacrifice once to be completed on the Cross might be represented…” (Dz 938). The Mass is also as a consequence a communion to the sacrifice previously celebrated: a banquet where one eats the immolated Victim of the sacrifice. But if there is no sacrifice there is no communion with it. Mass is first and foremost a sacrifice and secondly a communion or a meal.

It is also noted that in the Novus Ordo Missae, Christ’s Real Eucharistic Presence is implicitly denied. The same observation is also true concerning the Church’s doctrine of Transubstantiation.

Connected with this, in the Novus Ordo Missae, the priest has been demoted from a priest who offers a sacrifice to one who merely presides over the assembly. Now he is the president of the assembly. For this role he faces the people. In the Traditional Mass, the priest, on the contrary, faces the tabernacle and the altar where Christ is.

After having known those mutations, I decided to stop saying the New Rite of Mass, which I was saying for more than twenty-seven in obedience to ecclesiastical superiors. I returned to the Tridentine Latin Mass because it is the Mass instituted by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper which is the unbloody renewal of the bloody sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Mount Calvary. This Mass of all times has sanctified the lives of millions down the centuries.

Holy Father, with all the respect I have for you and for the Holy See of St. Peter, I cannot follow your own teaching of the “universal salvation”, it contradicts Sacred Scripture.

Holy Father, are all men going to be saved? Jesus Christ wanted all men to be redeemed. In fact, He died for us all. Still, not all men are going to be saved because not all men fulfill all the necessary conditions in order to be numbered among the elects of God in Heaven.

Before Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, He entrusted to His Apostles the duty of preaching the Gospel to every creature. His instructions already hinted that all souls were not going to be saved. He said: “Go into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be condemned.” (Mk. 16:15-16).

St. Paul supported this in his instruction to his converts: “Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the Kingdom of God? Do not err, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterous, nor the effeminate, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners shall possess the Kingdom of God.” (I Cor. 6:9-10)

Holy Father, should we respect false religions? Jesus Christ founded only one Church in which one can find eternal salvation. This is the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. When He gave all the doctrines and all the truths needed to be saved Christ did not say: “Respect all false religions.” In fact, the Son of God was crucified on the cross because He did not compromise His teaching.

In 1910, in his letter “Our Apostolic Mandate”, Pope St. Pius X warned that the interdenominational spirit is part of the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for a one world church. Pope Leo XIII warned that to “treat all religions alike… is calculated to bring about the ruin of all forms of religion, and especially of the Catholic Religion, which, as it is the only one that is true, cannot, without great injustice, be regarded as merely equal to other religions (Encyclical Humanum Genus). The process is this: FROM CATHOLICISM TO PROTESTANTISM; FROM PROTESTANTISM TO MODERNISM; FROM MODERNISM TO ATHEISM.

Ecumenism, as practiced today, flies in the face of traditional Catholic doctrine and practices. It places the one true Religion established by Our Lord on the same base level with false, man-made religions —something that popes throughout the centuries absolutely forbade Catholics to do: “It is clear that the Apostolic See can by no means take part in these (ecumenical) assemblies, nor is it in any way lawful for Catholics to give to such enterprises their encouragement or support” (Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos).

I am for eternal Rome, the Rome of Ss. Peter and Paul. I do not follow Masonic Rome. Pope Leo XIII condemned Freemasonry in his encyclical Humanum Genus in 1884.

Neither do I accept modernist Rome. Pope St. Pius X also condemned modernism in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis in 1907.

I do not serve the Rome that is controlled by Freemasons who are the agents of Lucifer, the Prince of devils.

But I support the Rome that leads the Catholic Church faithfully to do the will of Jesus Christ —the glorification of the most Holy and Triune God —God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.

I consider myself fortunate because in this present crisis of the Catholic Church I received the grace to have returned to the Church that adheres to Catholic Tradition. Thank God, I am again saying the traditional Latin Mass —the Mass instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper, the Mass of my ordination.

May the Blessed Mother Mary, St. Joseph, St. Anthony, my patron saint, St. Michael and my Guardian Angel assist me to remain faithful to the Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ for the salvation of men.

May I obtain the grace to remain and die in the bosom of the Holy Roman Catholic Apostolic Church that adheres to the ancient traditions and be always a faithful priest and bishop of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Most respectfully,

+ Salvador L. Lazo, D.D.
Bishop Emeritus San Fernando Diocese of La Union
Philippines

~ Steven C.

The Annunciation

Today is the Feast of the most important event in human history, when God became a man in the womb of the Blessed Virgin. Let us meditate upon this great mystery of our salvation.

And lest we forget, 26 years ago today, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, great champion and defender of the Catholic Faith, passed from this life to the next. May he intercede for us, that God will swiftly bring to an end this catastrophic crisis that has been afflicting the Church.

Damsel of the Faith & Knight of Tradition

Meditation from Fr. Prosper Gueranger:

This is a great day, not only to man, but even to God Himself; for it is the anniversary of the most solemn event that time has ever witnessed. On this day, the Divine Word, by which the Father created the world, was made flesh in the womb of a Virgin, and dwelt among us (St. John. i. 14). We must spend it in joy. Whilst we adore the Son of God who humbled himself by thus becoming Man, let us give thanks to the Father, who so loved the world, as to give his Only Begotten Son (3 Ibid. iii. 16.); let us give thanks to the Holy Ghost, Whose almighty power achieves the great mystery. We are in the very midst of Lent, and yet the ineffable joys of Christmas are upon us: our Emmanuel is conceived on this day, and, nine months…

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Four years of Pope Francis’ Pontificate: SSPX Press Release

Pope

From DICI:

On the occasion of the anniversary of the election of Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, the mainstream press has dedicated several articles to a status report on his first four years on the throne of Saint Peter. Rather than quote these incidental commentaries, it seems to us more helpful to reprint certain analyses that have appeared in recent months. Coming from very different perspectives, their authors all agree on the fact that a deep division in the Church is setting in.

During the sermon that he gave in Poland on March 3, 2017 (see our article here), Bp. Bernard Fellay declared: “There are many contradictions, there is a battle between the bishops, among the cardinals, this is a new situation…. Rome is no longer united, but divided.” The Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X is only confirming what the Pope reportedly said on his own, according to the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel on December 27, 2016:

“According to his own agenda, Francis no longer has much time to change things in the Church, for he himself said that he thought that his pontificate would last only four to five years, and that deadline has almost arrived. The Pope’s critics, in the Vatican and outside the Vatican, must nevertheless be prepared for other surprises. In his inner circle, Francis allegedly said about himself:We must not rule out the possibility that I will go down in history as the one who divided the Catholic Church.’”

de facto schism

On January 20, 2017, the Italian Vatican-watcher Marco Tosatti commented on an article by the German journalist Guido Horst that had appeared in the Tagespost on January 10.

Guido Horst, columnist for the German Catholic newspaper Tagespost, does not mince words in a short article on the state of the Church after Amoris laetitia. “A de facto schism,” he writes. If memory serves us, this term was already used in the recent past by the Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Athanasius Schneider.

The fact that at the same time the newspaper run by the Secretariat of the Italian Episcopal Conference, L’Avvenire, dedicates an article to saying, on the contrary, that in reality everything is going well, and wonders, “who knows what it will take to put an end to a debate that seems absurd to more and more Catholics?”, is an indication of a division that is widening every day, instead of diminishing.

But let us read what Horst writes, in his article entitled: “A de facto schism”. He interprets the statements made by Cardinal Müller as a confirmation that “there will be no answer to these questions from Francis, in particular to the dubia of the four cardinals.”

But the answer has already come from Malta, Horst adds. When the two bishops from that island “instruct the pastors of the little insular State that each divorced-and-remarried person can decide for himself with God to receive Communion, this clearly means that each local church can do what it wants. The split is getting deeper. Florence against Rome, Poland against Argentina, Malta against Milan. This is what is called a de facto schism….”

The problem, Horst asserts, is that the Pope is mute. “The Pope is silent about the letter from the cardinals, and thus he indirectly refuses to make a clear statement about how the disputed paragraphs of Amoris laetitia should be read in the light of the statements of previous popes.” And of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we might add. Thus “Rome is no longer an authority that brings clarity, but rather a calm observer silently watching how and how soon the unity of the Church’s pastoral ministry falls to pieces.” And the individual priests who are ultimately subject to all the pressures “are left alone”.

These are harsh words, particularly because they come from someone who certainly cannot be categorized as an opponent or critic of the current pontificate (Guido Horst contributes to the Tagespost, a liberal Catholic newspaper, and to the official website of the German Bishops’ Conference – Editor’s note.) Likewise, the commentary by Björn Odendahl on the German bishops’ website, Katholisch.de, is certainly in favor of the Pope; in it he deplores, as a progressive, the Pope’s silence: “In a way,” he writes, “the conservatives are right: the Pope’s words are not clear enough. He ought to speak up and quickly put an end to these developments that are harming the Church.”

In our opinion it is not very likely that he will do so, thus allowing the Church to undergo a division on a central topic like the Eucharist and Jesus’ words on marriage, a division that is probably unprecedented in modern times.

We think that he will not do it, because what he said to Archbishop Bruno Fort in April 2016 (to be precise, on May 3, 2016, during a conference on Amoris laetitia in which he presented what follows as a “jest” by the Pope. – Editor’s note) seems to us very eloquent. During the Synod, the Pope allegedly confided to him: “If we speak explicitly about Communion for the divorced-and-remarried, you have no idea what a mess those guys will make for us. Well, then, let’s not talk about it directly; do it in such a way that the premises are there, and afterwards I will be the one to draw the conclusions.”

Abp Forte was Special Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, the author of the controversial “interim report” that was disowned by the President of the Assembly, Cardinal Erdö, and to a large extent was not accepted by the working groups of the Synod. And Abp. Forte commented (on this attitude of the Pope): “Typical of a Jesuit.” He added that the Apostolic Exhortation “is not a new doctrine, but the merciful application of the perennial teaching.”

If the anecdote reported by Abp. Forte is true, and there is no reason to doubt it, we understand better the degree of confusion and ambiguity, as well as the diversity of interpretations, caused by the Apostolic Exhortation. In other words, a deliberate absence of clarity that is reminiscent of the secular polemics and accusations that have been aimed at the Society of Jesus for centuries. The product of a strategy implemented even before the proceedings of the 2014 Synod had commenced.

What does the “revolution” of Pope Francis consist of?

In the French weekly newspaper Valeurs Actuelles (January 7, 2017), Laurent Dandrieu wrote, in an article entitled “Francis, the pope who gives scandal”:

As unusual as it is, this quarrel at the highest levels (of the Church hierarchy) is no doubt not the last one of this pontificate: the leader of liberation theology, the Marxist version of the preferential option for the poor, who was sanctioned as such by John Paul II, Leonardo Boff has just declared that Pope Francis was “one of us” (meaning: in solidarity with liberation theology) and predicts other surprises from the Pope—particularly on the subject of married priests. Now the next Synod, in 2018, will deal with the theme of vocations. It is often maintained that a married priesthood would be the answer to the vocations crisis. But above all this is an issue brought up regularly by the adversaries of the Church, since priestly celibacy appears to them to be an intolerable sign of its refusal to bend the knee to the dictates of modernity. Which raises the question: Does the “revolution” of Pope Francis consist of bringing the Church back to its radical Gospel message, or of winning for the Church the favor of the secularized world? The judgment that history will pass on this pontificate will depend on the answer.

“Not to resist error is to approve of it.”

On January 18, three bishops from Kazakhstan, Abp. Tomash Peta, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Abp. Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop and Bishop emeritus of Karaganda, and Bp. Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, issued an appeal for prayer:

Considering that the admission of so-called “remarried” divorced persons to the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist without requiring them to live in continence is a danger to the faith and to the salvation of souls and furthermore constitutes an offense against God’s holy will; moreover, taking into consideration the fact that this pastoral practice can never be the expression of mercy, of the “via caritatis” [“way of charity”] or of the Church’s maternal way with regard to sinful souls, we issue with deep pastoral concern this urgent appeal for prayer that Pope Francis will revoke, clearly and unambiguously, the aforementioned pastoral guidelines that have already been adopted by some particular Churches. Such an act on the part of the visible Head of the Church would be a comfort for the pastors and for the faithful of the Church, according to the mandate that Christ, the supreme shepherd of souls, gave to the Apostle Peter, and through him to all his successors: “Strengthen your brethren!” (Luke 22:32).

May these words of a saintly pope and of Saint Catherine of Sienna, Doctor of the Church, be for everyone in the Church today a source of light and reassurance:

“Not to resist error is to approve of it; not to defend the truth is to stifle it” (Saint Felix III, Pope, †492). “Holy Father, God chose you in the Church so that you might be an instrument for eradicating heresy, confounding falsehood, exalting the Truth, dispelling darkness and manifesting the light” (Saint Catherine of Sienna, †1380).

When Pope Honorius I (625-638) adopted an ambiguous attitude toward the spread of the new heresy of Monothelitism, Saint Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, sent a bishop from Palestine to Rome, telling him: Travel to the Apostolic See, where the foundations of sacred doctrine are found, and do not stop praying until the Apostolic See condemns the new heresy. The condemnation then took place in 649 by Saint Martin I, pope and martyr.

(Sources: Tagespost/Stilum Curiae/Valeurs Actuelles – based on the French translation by benoitetmoi and the blog of J. Smits – DICI no. 351, dated March 17, 2017)

 

~ Steven C.

 

Our Lady is not appearing in Medjugorje

Image result for medjugorje

The Bishop has spoken. Once again, Bishop Ratko Peric of the Diocese of Mostar Dustar of Crotia has condemned the apparitions in Medjugorje, to the complete disregard of the supporters of this farce.  The obvious diabolical workings of Medjugorje are obvious to see, for those who have the authentic Faith. From the apparitions’s heresy of religious indifferentism to her “accidental” appearing under the guise of a demon, it is plain to see that these are not the fruits of a true apparition.  This entire affair can be summed up in one sentence: Satan or an angel of his is appearing in Medjugorje.

And now for the article, taken from SSPX.org

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/not-real-apparitions-medjugorje-28400

“On February 26, 2017, Ratko Perić, Bishop of Mostar-Duvno and Trebinje-Mrkan, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, published a letter on the subject of the Marian apparitions that have allegedly occurred in Medjugorje since 1981.

This detailed, precise clarification appeared in Italian on the diocesan website. Meanwhile Pope Francis appointed, on February 11 (the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes), a “special envoy from the Holy See” for the shrine in Medjugorje: Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warszawa-Praga (Poland).

His mission, between now and next summer, is “to gain and in-depth knowledge about the pastoral situation of this institution and above all about the needs of the faithful who travel to it on pilgrimage and, based on it, to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future.”

Bishop Perić mentions all the investigations conducted until now on the “Medjugorje phenomenon”: Mostar Diocesan Commission (1982-1984), the Expanded Commission (1984-1986), the Commission of the Episcopal Conference in Zagreb (1987-1990), the Commission of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican (2010-2014), and the evaluation by the same Congregation (2014-2016). “We believe that everything has been placed into the hands of the Holy Father, Pope Francis.” The position of the Curia in Mostar, Bishop Ratko Perić explains, has been clear and determined throughout this period: “This is not about real apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” He concludes his long letter by recalling the statement made by Bishop Pavao Žanić, Bishop of Mostar-Duvno from 1980 to 1993, in Medjugorje on July 25, 1987, so as to be able to declare that “Our Lady has not appeared in Medjugorje!”

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, declared on March 3 on the website of the Italian television network TGCom24 that “some have exaggerated the importance of these phenomena, as though they were almost a dogma.” And he recalled that “even if the Church makes a declaration in favor of these sorts of events, no Catholic is obliged to go there or to believe in them.”

In 2010, the historian Yves Chiron wrote a very well-documented study on Medjugorje (published by Via Romana) in which he presented for the first time in French the text of the conference given by Bishop Perić in 2004, in which the Bishop of Mostar analyzed the facts, emphasized the contradictions and recalled the judgment: “constat de non supernaturalitate” [“it is clearly not supernatural”].

Sources: cath.ch / imedia / radiovatican / md-tm – DICI no. 351 dated March 17, 2017

On a personal note, today is my Birthday. I am thankful that half of my 20 years have been in service to God and the Church as a Catholic.

~Damsel of the Faith

Why Catholics should avoid Disney’s Beauty and the Beast remake

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I’m sure many of our readers are aware of part of the controversy surrounding the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, which was released to theaters on St. Patrick’s Day.  In short, Bill Condon, the “gay” director of the film(born into an Irish Catholic family!), declared that there would be included the first ever “nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie”.  According to Condon, the scene features one of the villains “exploring” and learning his sexuality:

LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh [Gad] makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its pay-off at the end, which I don’t want to give away.”

After much protest from good Catholics and others who still actually believe in Matrimony, Condon said in another interview to “Screen Crush”, “It’s all been overblown … I love the way it plays pure when people don’t know and it comes as a nice surprise…. Why is it a big deal?”

Additionally, an interview of Condon was unearthed from Passport Magazine from several years ago in which he is asked the first thing he does when he enters a hotel room.  He answers “I wish I could say I’m like Ian McKellen and immediately go rip pages out of the Bible, but there don’t seem to be bibles in the hotel rooms I stay in these days.”

As if all of this wasn’t enough, Emma Watson, the former Harry Potter actress now starring as Belle in the film; has also taken the opportunity to promote her despicable agenda.  The actress stated first that she would attempt to portray Belle as more of a feminist in this version of the movie.  Watson also held for charity an “advice booth” and charged fans two dollars apiece to receive advice from her.  When asked what she was to do with the money, Watson exclaimed that the money would be donated to Planned Parenthood, proclaiming “They’re the best!”.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUAVH2od-A0&feature=youtu.be 

Well, dear Catholics, may God help us all.  What a perverse mindset that is spreading in the world!  Let us have Hope, however, because Good will prevail.  There are already signs of the great victory to come!

As for supporting this film, many have already firmly declined to do so.  For those who are still considering, I will address a few objections:

There is no doubt that the “moments” spoken of do occur in the film and are about 20 seconds combined.  The director of the film himself has closed the door for interpretation of these scenes and did not retract his words at all.  In fact, he simply explained that he wished the scenes would have been more hidden and surprise moviegoers.  Ah, so he just wanted the “moments” to be more subliminal and spurious!  It would seem his big mouth somewhat foiled his plot. 

Some, such as Carl Kozlowski of Catholic(?) News Agency, might object that the scenes are not very long in duration, so the film is essentially suitable for family entertainment.  But this is how the devil works!  Since when has the devil used the strategy of 0 percent good, 100 percent bad?  Besides, even the Council that led to the worst crisis in Church history could be supposedly interpreted for the most part in a Catholic sense.  It is actually only a smaller part that is absolutely problematic.  A few drops of poison mixed in cake batter is still poison!

I have also heard the objection that young children will not recognize the scenes and will only look for an agenda if their parents tell them.  Consider the merit of this logic.  We know from science that babies are able to hear and learn inside the womb.  This is why good doctors recommend classical music instead of rap, pleasant conversations instead of tense, screaming ones, etc.  How then will children not process what they see on the movie screen?  They might not recognize much immediately.  Believe me, however, it will go into their heads.  This is the whole point of the approach.  It is not supposed to necessarily come off as blatant.  The strategy is much more effective when it is not.

Finally, it is obvious that this movie is being touted as a landmark in “LGBT history”.  Christians who decide to still view this movie are praised as not “obsessing” over these matters.  Indeed, even if the movie is presented as “Beauty and the Beast”(a title it doesn’t deserve), we must still fight for Truth!  Why should we all subject ourselves to inappropriate images or pictures for no sufficient reason?  Why should we give support to this movie when modern Disney has allowed such grave matter to be included in or associated with it?  It would be most prudent for us to avoid as much support as possible for this revolutionary film.  After all, many countries even in our day are imposing restrictions for Beauty and the Beast.              

It is very unfortunate that Disney apparently does not mind corrupting its audience, mostly composed of young girls and families, but let this not hold us back!  A girl’s innate love for princesses ought not be limited to only Disney princesses.  Rather than simply wait for another acceptable movie, we should make efforts to teach our children about all of the great, saintly kings and queens in the past.  These monarchs were not only the most noble examples of royalty on Earth, but are now also enjoying royalty in Heaven with the King of Kings Himself!  

 

~ Steven C. 

The Breastplate of St. Patrick

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The following beautiful prayer traditionally attributed to St. Patrick, bears reflection on this weekend of his Feast Day. May the great Apostle of the Emerald Isle drive out the Modernists and apostates from his beloved country and once again restore the Faith to that blessed land, once so proud of its Catholic heritage.

~Damsel of the Faith

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Defending Priestly Celibacy

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http://www.catholicregister.org/home/international/item/24593-pope-francis-gives-life-to-married-priests-debate

http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/3086-in-defense-of-priestly-celibacy

For the past several years, many in the Church have called for an “openness” to the ordination of married men in the Roman Rite.  Granting this privilege would, according to them, solve the post-Vatican II vocation crisis and even no longer force men to choose their vocation out of the two states of life.

There is much misunderstanding on this issue, including an exaggeration of the height of the limited privileges granted in some of the Eastern Rites.  Given that the Pope himself is now openly considering such a possibility; a thorough examination is necessary.

I would thus like to commend the SSPX French District for writing this most needed defense, along with The Remnant Newspaper for featuring it on their website and assisting in producing an English translation.  We will provide it below for our readers.  Make no mistake, if Rome were to allow concessions to the ordination of married men in the Roman Rite; it would be another great sorrow for Tradition and an utter disaster.  Certainly the clergy and faithful have to duty to defend the sacredness and necessity of the celibate priesthood!

Update(3/17/2017): (http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/pope-francis-expresses-openness-ordaining-married-men-unique-cases-need) While the Pope might not publicly indicate that a married priesthood is the primary means to solve the vocational crisis in the Church, his openness by “way of exception” would still appear to be concerning to those wishing to maintain the constant Tradition of the Church.  What a display of the fruits of Vatican II that the situation has become this dire!

Defense:

Objections against priestly celibacy

Apparently convincing arguments can be made against the practice of priestly celibacy. Let us quickly examine some of the most important of these. First of all, the New Testament does not seem to require celibacy for priests, but simply proposes it as a special grace, to which each individual may freely respond (cf. Mt 19, 11-12). Moreover, Jesus Christ did not make of it a prerequisite in the choice of His Twelve Apostles, nor did the Apostles themselves in their choice of the leaders of the first Christian communities (cf. 1Tm 3, 2-5; Tt 1, 5-6).

The fruit of an unhealthy obsession with purity?

Admittedly, throughout the centuries the Church Fathers and ecclesiastical writers established a link between a priestly vocation and consecrated celibacy. However, the Fathers rather recommend chastity in marriage than celibacy itself. Moreover, these texts appear to be inspired by an exaggerated pessimism or by a more or less unhealthy obsesssion with purity. Finally, they refer to a socio-cultural context which is no longer our’s. Furthermore, this custom of ecclesiastical celibacy improperly aligns the priestly vocation with the vocation to celibacy. Moreover, we are forced to admit the tragic shrinking of the clergy: would not one of the causes of this shrinking be the obligation to remain celibate, which is too heavy a load for many young people today? Would not a suppression of this obligation give a new impetus to the recruitment of priests?

A requirement which is impossible to fulfill?

Anyway, we are forced to admit the numerous breaches of this consecrated ceibacy, either on the part of priests who leave their ministry to marry, or on the part of priests who have more or less clandestine sexual relationships. Wouldn’t a frank authorisation be better than a shameful hypocrisy which ends in scandal? In reality, perfect celibacy is impossible to keep, because it is against nature and inhuman. It puts the priest in a physically and psychologically damaging condition, from which are born discouragement, or even dispair. Thus, according to its opponents, priestly celibacy is proven to be unfounded in Scripture and Tradition, excessive, inappropriate, hypocritical and against nature. It is therefore urgent to completely suppress it, or, at least, to make it entirely optional, both for today’s clergy and for future priests.

Bad reasons for defending it?

In order to defend priestly celibacy, people have sometimes put forward an argument which goes something like this: “If the priest were married, he would have to devote himself to his wife and family, which would make him less available for his faithful (for example for bringing the Sacraments during the night or during an epidemic). Furthemore, the secrets which are entrusted to him under the seal of confession would risk being uncovered during discussions with his spouse, and the mere thought of this risk would repel penitents from approaching him”. Such reasonings are not entirely devoid of truth. However, they are not absolutely convincing either. In effect, the doctor must also leave home at night or during epidemics in order to cure sick people. He likewise receives the most intimate confidences of his patients. Yet, no-one has ever stopped a doctor from getting married! This is therefore proof that this reason alone (as well-founded as it appears) is not sufficient to justify priestly celibacy. Attacked by strong reasons and defended by insufficient arguments, priestly celibacy seems to be a cause which is definitively lost, destined to be swept aside by the victorious march of history and human progress.

The constant practise of the Church

Impressed by these objections (and by yet others which could be formulated), we could be tempted to accept this apparent inevitability. However, an enormous fact towers before us, which obliges us to think seriously about the gravity of the question at hand. This fact is the constant practise of the Catholic Church in the matter of ecclesiastical celibacy. In effect, since Christian antiquity, the Fathers of the Church and the ecclesiastical writers witness unanimously to the propagation (amongst the clergy of both East and West) of the freely assumed practice of consecrated celibacy. From the fourth century on, the Western Church (thanks to the interventions of several provincial councils and bishops), reinforced, developed and sanctioned this practice of priestly celibacy.

The action of the Roman pontiffs

The Roman pontiffs, in particular, were intent on protecting and restoring ecclesiastical celibacy at all times, even when the general slackening of morals was opposed to it and when a part of the clergy was publicly living in misconduct. This obligation of priestly celibacy was, in particular, solemnly recalled by the Council of Trent and inserted into the Code of Canon Law. Since the beginning of the 20th Century, all the popes without exception (following to a custom created by Saint Pius X), have addressed an encyclical letter to the priests of the entire world, notably reminding them of the solemn engagement of celibacy which they have contracted.

The practice of the Church of the East

If the legislation of the Eastern Church concerning ecclesiastical celibacy is partially different, it must not be forgotten that this is due to historical circumstances proper to this part of the Church. However, the Eastern Fathers have sung highly the praises of virginity and of its profound links with the priestly ministry. Furthermore, in the East, the episcopacy (that is to say, the fulness of the priesthood) is strictly reserved to celibate clergy. Finally, candidates for the priesthood who desire marriage absolutely must get married before ordination and, if they become widowers, they cannot remarry. In such manner that, even in the East, the prinicple of celibate priesthood and that of the correspondance between celibacy and priestly ministry remain established up to a certain point, at least in the episcopal priesthood.

A universal and constant practice

In a Church which claims to be essentially faithful to Tradition, this universal and constant practice of consecrated celibacy cannot be treated as a simple human custom, revocable at will. On the contrary, it brings us to think that ecclesiastical celibacy has deep links with Revelation Itself.

The real sense of priestly celibacy

However, the practice of the Church alone is not necessarily prescriptive in itself. It must furthermore rest on foundations which come from Divine Revelation or the nature of things. This is the case for priestly celibacy, which rests on supernatural motives of the highest value and is rooted directly in the Gospel itself. Sacerdos alter Christus, “the priest is another Christ”. This is the fundamental principle which illuminates the Catholic priesthood. The Priesthood of Christ is unique and definitive, and the priesthood of men, the ministerial priesthood (that is, etymologically, the priesthood of servants) is a real participation in this Sovereign Priesthood. It is therefore Christ Himself who is the Model, the “Type”, He to Whom each priest must be intimately conformed in order for his priesthood to take on all of its truth.

Jesus Christ, the True Priest, remained a virgin

But it is remarkable that Jesus Christ (in a world where celibacy was almost unknown, if not cursed), remained in the state of virginity throughout all of His life. With Him, this virginity signifies His total and unreserved consecration to God. All of His energies, all of His thoughts, all of His actions belong to God. It is by this total consecration (which in Jesus went as far as the Hypostatic Union, where the human nature no longer belongs to itself but belongs directly to the Person of the Word), that Christ was constituted Mediator between Heaven and earth, between God and men, that is to say, Priest.

Celibacy as a consecration to God

Thus, virginity signifies and brings about consecration, the essence of this Priesthood of Christ. In other words, the virginity of Jesus flows from His Priesthood and is intimately connected with it. The human priest (participator in the Priesthood of Christ) also participates in His total consecration to God and, as a consequence, in His virginity. The consecrated celibacy of the priest is therefore an intimate and love-filled union with the virginity of Jesus, sign of His consecration to the Father. This is the first and most fundamental reason for the celibacy of priests.

The love of Christ for the Church

If Jesus remained a virgin as an expression of His consecration to the Father, He was also a virgin in His offering of Himself on the Cross for His Church, so as to make of Her a glorious, holy and immaculate Spouse (cf. Ep 5, 25-27). The consecrated virginity of the human priest also manifests and prolongs, therefore, the virginal love of Christ for the Church and the supernatural fecundity of this love. This availibilty to love the Church and souls manifests itself by the prayer-life of the priest, by the celebration of the sacraments and particularly of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by his charity towards all, by his continual preaching of the Gospel, mirroring the very Life of Jesus. Each day, the priest, united to Christ the Redeemer, begets souls in Faith and Grace, and makes the love of Christ for His Church (which virginity signifies) present among men.

The sign of the Kingdom to come

If we examine, no longer the mission of Christ on earth, but the full realisation of this mission in Heaven, we discover a third cause of His virginity and (consequently) of that of the priest. In effect, the earthly Church is the seed of the heavenly Church and at the same time the sign of this blessed life to come. What heavenly beatitude will be is already visible (but veiled and as if in an enigma) in the earthly life of the Church. But, as Our Lord said with force: “in the resurrection they shall neither marry nor be married; but shall be as the angels of God in heaven.” (cf. Mt 22, 30). Virginity will therefore be the definitive state of blessed humanity. It is fitting that (already in this life) the sign of this virginity should shine in the midst of the tribulations and desires of the flesh. The consecrated celibacy of the priest is thus (mirroring that of Christ) an anticipation of heavenly glory, a prefiguration of the life of the elect and a pressing invitation to the faithful to march towards Eternal Life unincumbered by the weight of the day. The celibacy of human priests is therefore a participation in the virginity of the Supreme Priest, which expresses His total consecration to the Father, makes possible His union with the Church and announces the blessed life of Heaven to come.

Response to objections

When the absence of any commandment on the part of Jesus is opposed to consecrated celibacy, we must reply with an elementary distinction. In itself, the priesthood is not linked absolutely to celibacy because it is a spiritual quality of the soul, a sacramental character. This explains why a married man can be validly ordained priest and that Jesus did not make of celibacy a direct commandment. But it is evident in the Gospel that there is a profound link between priestly consecration and virginal consecration. Jesus, having chosen His first priests, wanted to initiate them into the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt 13, 11 ; Mk 4, 11 ; Lk 8, 10) and called them His friends and His brothers (Jn 15, 15 ; 20, 17). He sacrificed Himself for them so that they would be consecrated in Truth (Jn 17, 19) and promised a superabundant recompense to anyone who would abandon house, family, spouse and children for the Kingdom of God. Finally, He recommended (in words laden with meaning and addressing Himself to His disciples alone) a more perfect consecration to God by virginity, propter regnum (cf. Mt 19, 11-12). The constant tradition of the Church concerning priestly celibacy is therefore founded on the Gospel itself and on the express doctrine of Jesus Christ.

A particularly expressive congruity

In the same spirit, the Fathers of the Church never intended transforming this evangelical correspondance between celibacy and the priesthood (which became a canonical law in the West and in part in the East) into a strict obligation of Divine Law. That is why the link which they establish between the priestly vocation and consecrated virginity is more a pressing exhortation than a strict obligation. Their writings nevertheless express the spirit of the Gospel in this matter in a very clear manner. Besides, it is possible that the ecclesiastical writers have sometimes been inspired by an exaggerated pessimism or refer to a socio-cultural context which is no longer our’s. But this is only true on points of detail or for this or that Father in particular. On the other hand, the universality of the Fathers and ecclesiastical writers, dealing with the profound link between the priesthood and virginity, far from expressing a temporary and doubtful opinion, on the contrary translate with sureness the very doctrine of Divine Revelation.

A vocation is not a right, but a calling

To those who claim to separate the priestly vocation from consecrated chastity, we must reply that they are committing a profound error on the very nature of a vocation. The latter is, in effect, a Divine call manifested by the Church through the voice of the bishop. This Divine call is in no way a sort of haphazard choice which could fall on anyone. It is, on the contrary, a precise call which supposes or creates the necessary dispositions in the one who is called. Thus, in the Eastern Church, because of the central place occupied by ecclesiastical chant, no minister can be ordained unless he is apt for singing. In the Western Church, no priest can be ordained without consecrated celibacy. In other words, there is no real priestly vocation in the West without the call to consecrated celibacy. It is therefore absolutely false to want to separate priesthood and chastity in the West, since they are one reality, that of the authentic Divine vocation.

Married clergy does not recruit any better than celibate clergy

When people point to the vocations crisis in order to attack priestly celibacy, they forget to say that those eccelsial communities which already admit the marriage of their priests or pastors (e.g. the Orthodox, the Anglicans etc.) are experiencing the same recruitment difficulties as the Latin Rite Catholic Church. Allowing married priests is therefore not an especially efficacious way of cancelling out the drop in vocations. Rather, it is the weakening of the spirit of Faith, the destruction of the Catholic family, the development of materialism, the enormous scandals caused by certain priests, the ruin of the Holy Mass by the liturgical reform, etc., which are the real causes of the drop in vocations. The total gift of self to God which is signified by priestly celibacy is, on the contrary, a light which guides generous souls towards the priestly ministry and is one of the principal sources of a vocation.

Change the law because it is only imperfectly followed?

Breaches of the law of celibacy (going as far as scandals and apostasies) exist – it would be ridiculous to deny this. Nevertheless, this is in no way a reason for rejecting consecrated celibacy. Otherwise, we would also have to suppress marriage. In effect, there are breaches of fidelity, adulteries and scandalous divorces. However, difficulty in keeping conjugal fidelity is not a reason for suppressing it. Similarly, difficulty in conserving priestly chastity is not a reason for suppressing celibacy, but rather a reason for more and more anchoring it every day within a human balance and an authentic supernatural life. To want to suppress celibacy because it is not always observed is to throw the baby out with the bathwater, to get rid of cars because of road-traffic accidents, to abolish food because of indigestion and to do away with life because there are people who commit suicide.

What is impossible to man is possible to God

To claim that observing celibacy is an impossibility is false both on the natural and supernatural level. We know (from scientific and philosophical psychology) that continence (even absolute continence) is not in any way against nature. Man, a free and reasonable being, is capable of mastering his physical and affective tenedencies. However, it has to be admitted that virtuously and continually observing celibacy is not ordinarily given to human nature wounded by Original Sin. In this sense, the celibacy of the priest is founded, not on nature alone, but on that Grace by which God makes possible what is impossible to man. It is therefore true that consecrated celibacy requires a particular Grace, but which God unreservedly grants to the one who has piously engaged himself in His service. This Grace makes him capable of remaining faithful to his engagements, as witness the immense legion of priests who (for so many centuries) have caused the magnificent splendour of their spotless virginity to shine in the Church.

A beautiful text of Pius XII

We will conclude with a beautiful text of Pius XII who recalls the supernatural fecundity of priestly celibacy: “The priest has as the proper field of his activity everything that pertains to the supernatural life, since it is he who promotes the increase of this supernatural life and communicates it to the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. Consequently, it is necessary that he renounce ‘the things of the world’, in order to have care only for ‘the things of the Lord’. And it is precisely because he should be free from preoccupation with worldly things to dedicate himself entirely to the divine service, that the Church has established the law of celibacy, thus making it ever more manifest to all peoples that the priest is a minister of God and the father of souls. By his law of celibacy, the priest, so far from losing the gift and duties of fatherhood, rather increases them immeasurably, for, although he does not beget progeny for this passing life of earth, he begets children for that life which is heavenly and eternal. The more resplendent priestly chastity is, so much the more does the sacred minister become, together with Christ, ‘a pure victim, a holy victim, an immaculate victim’” (Pius XII, Menti nostrae, 23rd September, 1950).

 

For more explanation of the history of priestly celibacy, excerpts of this SSPX article are also provided:

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/priestly-celibacy-discipline-or-doctrine-2421

A little history on priestly celibacy

Before we come to the magisterial and theological texts on the matter, it may be useful to review the facts themselves as they have unfolded during the long history of the Church.

We begin by understanding that if the Jewish priesthood was married according to the Law, nevertheless the exercise of this priesthood demanded these men to preserve continence for the duration of their priestly function at the Temple.

With the establishment of the New Covenant, “Our Lord Himself who became man wished to give the example of celibacy. He surrounded Himself with virgin souls, Mary, Joseph and John, those closest and dearest to Him.”[1] And although He chose some married men, like St. Peter, among His Apostles, we do not hear of their wives anymore and the New Testament suggests rather that, like St. Paul, having left everything to follow Christ, they preserved continence after the founding of the Church.

In Ad Catholici Sacerdotii Fastigium, Pius XI, explains that:

…the first written legislation dates from the Council of Elvira in Spain (circa 300 AD), which presupposes a still earlier unwritten practice. This law only makes obligatory what might in any case almost be termed a moral exigency that springs from the Gospel and the Apostolic preaching.”

By the end of the 4th century, celibacy was already applied to the subdiaconate. This has caused some authors to consider it an unwritten tradition of apostolic origin.[2]

Since then, Church law has been fairly consistent and has seen in Holy Orders an absolute impediment to matrimony. After the decadence of the early Middle Ages, the Second Council of Lateran (1139 AD) declared that such a marriage would be invalid in the Western Church.

The Latin and the Greek discipline

Perhaps the best way to see how the Western and Eastern churches differ in this matter is to examine the two articles St. Thomas Aquinas dedicated to this question of celibacy.

In his Supplement to the Summa (q. 53, art. 3), he asks whether the reception of major holy orders prevent matrimony. In other words, can someone already a subdeacon become married? The answer for both the East as well as the West is simply negative. St. Thomas concedes that this rule is based on the ordinance or discipline of the Church, but he adds a suitable reason for this. Those who are in holy orders handle the sacred vessels and the sacraments: wherefore it is becoming that they keep their bodies clean by continence [Isaias 52:11].

But, unlike the Latins who have the vow of perfect chastity attached to the major holy orders (subdeacon, priesthood and episcopacy), for the Greeks, these holy orders do not include the vow of continence. Hence, they do not forbid the use of marriage already contracted: for a priest can use marriage contracted previously, although he cannot be married again.

St. Thomas inquires further in his Supplement (q. 53, art. 4) whether matrimony is an impediment to holy orders. Can someone in the bonds of marriage become a priest? The answer here is yes. The Council of Elvira affirms that clerics already married must practice continence, and this led immediately to the practice of priestly celibacy.

Perhaps the reader will raise the question: why is there a difference between these two positions? Are not holy orders as much opposed to marriage as marriage to holy orders? How can a married man become a priest whereas the priest cannot marry?

St. Thomas answers that matrimony is a human contract, but holy orders is a sacramental consecration by God. Hence matrimony may be impeded by a previous reception of a holy order, so as not to be a true marriage. On the other hand, holy orders cannot be impeded by marriage (so as not to be a legitimate reception of a holy order) because the power of the sacraments is unchangeable, whereas human acts can be impeded.

We may sum up St. Thomas’ mind thus. As the clerical state is a higher and more perfect vocation than married life, it is unbecoming of a cleric to lower himself to marriage. Thus, we must hold that theologically, sacred orders are fittingly seen as an impediment to marriage—so that no priest may validly enter into marriage. However, we may still maintain that marriage need not be an impediment to the priesthood—so that some married men may be ordained priests. But in this matter, because the Latin Church includes an implicit vow of perfect chastity for the clergy in major holy orders (which cannot be broken by mere human power), a married clergy is not allowed in the Western Church (i.e., in general, as opposed to an extraordinary situation as the Church has traditionally acceded—such as the case of a married Lutheran pastor who converts to the Faith and shows signs of a priestly vocation).

We must also keep in mind that, even for the Greeks who allow the ordination of married men, no one will be consecrated a bishop unless he be celibate. And it is interesting to hear of the Eastern Church leaders themselves speak of the problems they have with their married clergy, as it occurred in the Roman Synod of Bishops in 2005. While Ukrainian bishops recalled the need to keep a ratio of 50% non-married priests because, below this, it would be impossible to maintain an efficacious apostolate as the married clergy are too busy and cannot dedicate sufficient time to religious studies. Another Eastern bishop raised the spectrum of priests going through divorce: what do you do with them?

Magisterial teaching on the primacy of celibacy

The Church has constantly taught the excellence and primacy of virginity and consecrated life against the enemies of the vows. The consecrated life mirrors Christ’s own way and anticipates the future age, when in the Kingdom of Heaven, the children of the resurrection will be like the angels of God (cf. Mt. 22:30). Here are a couple of texts by way of illustration.

  • Pope Pius XII, Sacra Virginitas, no. 32: “This doctrine of the excellence of virginity and of celibacy and of their superiority over the married state was, as we have already said, revealed by our Divine Redeemer and by the Apostle of the Gentiles; so too, it was solemnly defined as a dogma of divine faith by the holy council of Trent, and explained in the same way by all the holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church.”
  • Council of Trent (Denzinger 980): “If anyone saith that the marriage state is to be preferred before the state of virginity, let him be anathema.” […] “writing to the Corinthians, [Paul] says: I would that all men were even as myself; that is, that all embrace the virtue of continence… A life of continence is to be desired by all.”

The wise words of a missionary bishop

Archbishop Lefebvre was well aware of the powerful voice of the priestly and religious virginity over souls. A young parishioner of his, now Archbishop Zoa of Yaoune, said that as a child, he raised doubts about the celibacy of priests. But when it saw it in practice, he confessed: “That religion is God’s religion.” The missionary goes on:[3]

What an example for married people to see the priest practice the virtue of chastity, of virginity! It is an example Christians need in order to help them practice this virtue of chastity in their own marriage.

The profound reason for consecrated priestly celibacy is the same reason for which the most Blessed Virgin herself remained a virgin. It was just and fitting that she remain a virgin because she had carried our Lord in her womb. The priest also brings God to earth by the words which he pronounces at the consecration. He has such a closeness to God, who is a spiritual Bing, a Spirit above all, that it is good and just and eminently fitting that the priest be a virgin and remain celibate.

(Celibacy) is a magnificent honor for the Church, an honor which we have to guard like a treasure. No other religion asks such a thing of its ministers, and you notice that of all those who have left the Church—all of the heretics, the schismatics—all or most of them have entered into the bonds of marriage. It is the honor of the Church to have maintained celibacy for her priests, for what other priests can say that they carry in their hands the body, the blood, the soul and the divinity of Jesus Christ? Is it surprising then that the Church would ask her priests not to share their heart, not to have any other love than our Lord Jesus Christ?”