Should Traditional Catholics attend Motu Proprio Masses?

The following post will address whether traditional Catholics, fully aware of the crisis in the Church, ought to attend Traditional Masses said under the diocese or the Ecclesia Dei Commission.  This topic is important because many traditionalists are willing to freely attend Traditional Masses almost anywhere with the justification that “it’s the Mass”.  They will often flip-flop between attendance at, for example, an SSPX chapel and a diocesan church for often truly mysterious reasons.

This post is suggested to be read alongside my previous article this week(https://damselofthefaith.wordpress.com/2017/05/01/fssp-german-superior-compromises-on-tradition-in-interview/).  I will begin by summarizing some key points from our previous post titled “Errors of Vatican II”:

“In order to obtain a proper perspective on this great crisis in the Church, it is necessary to know precisely its root cause.  The root cause is thus: Modernist errors being promoted “underground” since St. Pius X’s pontificate quickly gained acceptance or submission throughout virtually the entire Church as a result of the ambiguities and errors of the Second Vatican Council, the main fruit of which was the New mass.

This can be easily confused, however, because of the common “conservative”(but not fully traditional) Catholic mindset.  The “conservative” position essentially proposes that although there are some worrisome statements and ideas spreading in the Church, even now with the aid of Pope Francis himself(or maybe not), Vatican II and the New mass are fine as long as they are both interpreted correctly.  At most, there might be a few ambiguous sentences here and there, but a Catholic should simply interpret them correctly.  After all, how could the Holy Ghost have allowed error?  Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI are recognized as shining examples of orthodoxy; if only the Bishops under them would not have been so liberal.

Surely, dear readers, this may be a good start for a Catholic on the beginning of his journey towards Tradition, but he has not quite arrived at the full truth.  The fact of the matter is that Vatican II was convened as a “pastoral” Council, not a dogmatic one.  It has no binding, dogmatic force in itself.  The Holy Ghost does not necessarily protect such a Council from error, especially if he is shunned by many of its participants.  Modernist, Freemasonic errors were in fact proposed by “progressive” clergy and, in the end, included in the Council documents.  Every priest, bishop, and cardinal in the world was subsequently under heavy pressure to accept these documents with most of them unfortunately accepting or at least keeping silent.  In reality, there were only a few clergy who openly confronted this revolution. Many put themselves under the guidance and training of Abp. Lefebvre, who would form the Society of St. Pius X and establish many traditional monasteries and convents.  Others would remain faithful inside the diocesan structures, although often having to perform their priestly duties in a more “independent” manner.  All of these brave priests and bishops were constantly under attack for their providential stand.  May God bless, reward, and love them forever!

This perspective is also relevant since there are many traditional-leaning Orders in the Church who offer the Traditional Mass and more substantial doctrine, but had to accept all of Vatican II and the New Mass to be received “in full communion with Rome”.  On paper, the priests in these Orders cannot protest these errors and must remain, at least for the most part, silent on them.”

The question now to be answered is whether traditional Catholics may attend Masses of priests in this situation.  A couple of distinctions should briefly be addressed:

Some diocesan priests unfortunately approve various conciliar abuses straight from the Novus Ordo to be implemented in their Traditional Masses.  One common example is the giving of Communion in the hand.  Most of these novelties are sacrilegious and objectively a grave offense against God.  The situation described here is often hardly better than that of the New mass.  Traditional Catholics should definitely avoid attending these Masses, with the exception of passive attendance when allowed.

A few priests have managed to remain in the “official” Church structures and still oppose Vatican II and the New mass.  These priests often face heavy persecution from their liberal bishops and are subsequently forced to work “independently” due to illegal “suspensions”, while still remaining attached to their diocese or religious community.  Traditional Catholics may usually certainly attend the Masses of these good priests.

What then of the “middle ground” between these two sides?  To answer this question, some reliable Catholic sources will be consulted.

First, a general overview from SSPX U.S. District:

The problem with motu proprio Masses

July 19, 2013

The motu proprioSummorum Pontificum, officially ended the canonical struggle over the traditional Roman Mass—but is this the end of the fight for the Mass of All Time?

Since the motu proprio of 2007, Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI changed the juridical situation of the Mass stating that the traditional Mass has never been abrogated.

Thanks to this statement, the Mass has been reestablished as a universal law of the Church and can no longer be considered as prohibited or even as an exception: unfortunately, the expression “extraordinary form” used in themotu propio is misleading. Rome pretends that there are now two usages of the same Roman Rite: “both are the expression of the same lex orandi—rule of prayer—of the Church” (n.6).

Cardinal Stickler wrote in 2004 on the intervention of Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci:

The analysis of the Novus Ordo made by these two cardinals has lost none of its value nor, unfortunately, of its relevance…. The results of the reform are considered by many today to be devastating… they discovered very quickly that the change of the rites led to a fundamental change of doctrine.”

And the SSPX seriously questions, if not its validity in principle, then at least the “legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria” (n.19), since it is so difficult, as Cardinal Ottaviani had already noted in 1969, to consider the Mass of St. Pius V and that of Paul VI to be in the same “apostolic and unbroken tradition” (no. 3).

The document is contradictory in that it excludes those priests who are most attached to the traditional Mass and refuse to be bi-ritual. The contradiction is shown also in the exclusion of the old rite of priestly ordination although this point flies in the face of the principle recalled in n. 3 concerning adherence to “the usages universally handed down by apostolic and unbroken tradition.”

Practically-speaking, the bishops continue to limit the celebration of the traditional Mass by seeking to grant a permission which is no longer necessary, oftentimes in addition to other arbitrary conditions. Thus as we pray that the “Mass of All Time” may be given quickly the monopoly it should never have lost in the Latin Church, nevertheless we cannot but give a strong warning against the regular attendance at such diocesan masses under the present circumstances.

Are we not open to the generalization of the old Mass? Yes, of course, but in the terms of the non-ambiguous condemnation of the New Mass and of the errors of Vatican II which is preached boldly over many of today’s pulpits.

We cannot but feel taken aback as we see the two altars, old and new clashing in the sanctuary and the server extinguishing the candles of the Novus Ordo table to light those of the altar behind!

Certainly we cannot counsel our faithful to regularly participate in the Masses celebrated by priests of dubious doctrinal orthodoxy, even when offered reverentially. We must also warn them to not receive Holy Communion from a ciborium consecrated in the Novus Ordo Missae—for this is the Sacrament of unity and we cannot be in union with a theologically-deficient rite! There is also the constant danger of a strange confusion of rite and improper behavior which is so common in the mainstream churches and their accompanying irreverent rites.

For these reasons and so many others which you will easily discover even from occasional visits to your local motu proprio Mass or in talking with “conciliar trads”, why we think it is not advisable to regularly attend the “extraordinary form” offered by the diocese or under the aegis of the Ecclesia Dei Commission. After all, we have not been fighting for over 40 years against the modernist tsunami, only to be washed away by an ebb tide.”

 

A further explanation from Fr. Peter Scott and Abp. Marcel Lefebvre:

 

WHAT OUGHT TRADITIONAL CATHOLICS TO DO?

But, you might say, surely we can attend these Masses. They will be traditional Masses. They are not Indult Masses, for they no longer presume a special indult or permission, but are based upon the correct principle that the traditional rite was never abrogated. The Motu proprio itself does not attach any explicit and unacceptable conditions, as did the Indult. This delicate question can be resolved on two levels, one doctrinal and one liturgical. The first consideration is doctrinal. If we have won a battle for the celebration of the true Mass, we have not yet won it with respect to the profession of the true Faith, uncontaminated by the errors of Vatican II. Our attendance at Mass must be a profession of this true Faith, whole and entire. Hence the obligation of assisting at the Masses of those priests who stand up against the errors of Vatican II and refuse the idea of “non rupture”.

The second consideration is liturgical. Benedict XVI assures the Novus Ordo bishops of their ultimate control:“Nothing is taken away, then, from the authority of the Bishop…the local Ordinary will always be able to intervene”. Furthermore, he encourages the assistance at each of the two opposed rites. In fact, he goes so far as to propose that they be mixed in the same celebration, a confusing desecration not even permitted under the Indult: “For that matter, the two forms of the usage of the Roman rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal.” The mind boggles at the consequences of such a principle, the practical application of which the Ecclesia Dei commission is supposed to study. The principle of alternating and mixing celebrations seems important to the Pope to establish non rupture between the two “uses”. However, it would inevitably greatly weaken the traditional Faith and the convictions of the faithful. It is for this reason that Archbishop Lefebvre, when giving profound reasons why our faithful ought not to attend the Indult Mass, pointed out that they must not attend the traditional Masses of those priests who still celebrate the New Mass, and who are not determined to combat the evils of the New Mass. These were his precise words in 1985:

“Generally speaking, we counsel the faithful against attending the Mass of those priests who have abandoned the combat against the New Mass. It is much to be feared that one day they will be obliged by their bishop to also celebrate the New Mass, to celebrate both Mass, and even to concelebrate, to accept giving Communion in the hand and of celebrating Mass facing the people. All of these things are entirely repugnant to us, and that is the reason why we counsel the faithful not at attend the Masses of these priests…As for us, it is always the same advice: we think that one ought not to go to these Masses because it is dangerous to affirm that the New Mass is just as good as the old one.” (Quoted in La messe de toujours, p. 431)

These words apply absolutely literally to the situation of Masses celebrated by non-traditional priests in parishes under this Motu proprio. As much good as such Masses will certainly do for those who are still in the NovusOrdo, and as much as we ought to encourage our Novus Ordo acquaintances to request their celebration, so much ought our faithful not to attend, even if they have no other Sunday Mass available. It would be an unacceptable compromise to attend the Masses of priests of the new rite, who celebrate and administer sacraments according to the new rite, or who are at least willing to do so. It would be precisely to cooperate in the Holy Father’s iniquitous policy of a reconciliatory non-rupture, a clever way to mix a little honey with the bitter pill of Vatican II, so that we might swallow it down without even realizing it.

Let not these realistic considerations, however, dampen the gratitude that Bishop Fellay requests that we have towards Almighty God first, and Archbishop Lefebvre second, who have permitted this victory. The Good Lord will bring much more good out of it than we could imagine, and will draw souls to the unchanging truth of Catholic Tradition.”

There may be some exceptions to this general rule.  One possible exception might be to encourage a prelate who is literally on the cusp of embracing full Tradition.  Some Catholics protest this position, noting that the only Traditional Masses accessible to them from their hometown(long-term) are Motu Proprio Masses.  For those in this situation, it is recommended to seek the advice of a trusted Traditional priest and above all to use good Catholic common sense in satisfying their Sunday duty.

Many traditional Catholics will criticize this entire approach, saying that we must tone down any “rhetoric” to be charitable to our traditional brothers.  This Sept. 1990 quote from Abp. Lefebvre refutes this objection: “’After all, we must be charitable, we must be kind, we must not be divisive, after all, they are celebrating the Tridentine Mass, they are not as bad as everyone says’–but they are betraying us! They are shaking hands with the Church’s destroyers, with people holding modernist and liberal ideas condemned by the Church. So they are doing the devil’s work.”  Charity, yes, but compromise with the ‘conciliar’ church, no!

On this “unity” advocated for, which the SSPX and the Ecclesia Dei Orders already possess in reality, this is an excellent piece by Angelus Press’ Mark Riddle:

 

“In a recent article, a traditional Catholic blogger made a call for what can only be described as a superficial unity among the two camps in the traditional Catholic movement – those aligned with the Society of St. Pius X, and those aligned with the Ecclesia Dei communities, which themselves grew out of the first camp (in most cases).

We must ask ourselves, first presented with such a call, to what unity is the author appealing? It can’t be a unity of worship – this is present already as both camps celebrate the immemorial Mass exclusively, at least theoretically (though admittedly the understanding and defense of that Mass differs greatly). It can’t be a unity of governance – despite the arguments given against the Society, it is beyond dispute that both sides are firmly in the bosom of the Church, and are in union with the Sovereign Pontiff and the hierarchy throughout the world. Finally, it can’t be a question of the unity of doctrine, because while the defense of the Faith differs in both degree and kind between the two camps, neither accuses the other, at a structural level, of heterodoxy.

So, if the two camps already share the unity of fellow Catholics, and it would be foolish to deny that they do, what kind of unity is sought?

It would seem the unity for which he calls is a sort of détente between the two camps – a “you’re OK, I’m OK” approach to the traditional Catholic movement (term used for lack of a better one). In this concept, both camps are positively ordained by God to the roles which they currently play: The Society to play the role of “bad cop” ever presenting to Rome the Church’s perennial teachings to help prevent further doctrinal chaos, the Ecclesia Dei communities to present to Rome – and the average Catholic in the pew – a picture of the vibrancy of Tradition from within normal canonical life. And yet, this is little more than a false oasis. Take a closer look and as the clouds move and the light shifts, the Edenic vision fades leaving behind nothing but desert sand. It is all an illusion.

While I stated above – and it would be difficult to deny – that both camps share a unity of doctrine – neither ascribing openly or at the organizational level to any non-Catholic doctrine, we must ask – is there a correct approach to the present crisis gripping the Church?

From the founding of the Society of St. Pius X and the affiliated groups aligned for Tradition, there was a relatively coherent and united approach – defend the True Faith against those who would abandon and attack it, even to the point of rebuking prelates, even the Sovereign Pontiff when his actions were objectively opposed to the perennial teaching of the Church.

This defense of the Faith required both this “negative” approach – condemning scandal and error for the sake of the faithful, and constantly, a “positive” approach – promoting the constant teaching of the Church, especially when it came to the rights of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so trampled by ecumenism and religious liberty.

This defense culminated in an earthquake – the canonically illegal and morally reprehensible “suspension” of 1976. But this is the key point. For 12 years, from then until the consecrations of bishops by Archbishop Lefebvre, his sons remained with him. Let us consider the consequences of that for a moment.

These same priests who today reject the validity of the confessions heard and marriages witnessed by the Society, were themselves hearing confession and witnessing marriages, all the while operating under the appearance of a suspension a divinis.

Today, those same priests who argue that the Society acts disobediently, that the Society’s lack of canonical regularity (through no fault of its own) is itself a crime worthy of condemnation, operated for over a decade “disobediently” and “without canonical regularity.”

It was the consecrations that separated them from the Archbishop. Until then they followed him in his fight for the Faith. That was a bridge too far. All good and well – at least from the perspective of the article in question – assuming those same priests maintained their defense of the Faith – warning the faithful of the grave scandal which ever more emanates from the Sovereign Pontiff and the hierarchy who assist him in the Church’s governance.

But that this is not the case is evident to everyone! Where was the public defense of the Faith in light of the later Assisi meetings? Where the cry to the faithful against the erroneous push for religious liberty among the U.S. Bishops? One priestly society in the “Ecclesia Dei camp” even takes its young faithful to the scandalous World Youth Days held every few years[SC- The Author may be referring to this: https://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2005-1015-world_youth_day.htm ].

Shared parishes, silence on doctrinal matters, participation in diocesan events, money to diocesan ventures contrary to the Faith: the list goes on forever.

To be clear, this is a painful piece to write. I am personally grateful and happy for the work done by the priests of these groups in promoting the traditional Mass, and in exposing many of the faithful throughout the world to the beauties of true Catholic liturgical life. The solid moral foundation offered by these priests is a balm to souls in an ecclesial environment gone mad, but let us at least be honest with one another.

There is no point in pretending that “I’m okay – you’re okay.” The Society and those orders aligned with it have maintained a constant defense of the Faith for 40+ years, weathering the abuse of prelates and false friends, to this day continually attacked for refusing to burn incense in front of the modernist gods of religious liberty, ecumenism, and collegiality. Deo Gratias. It is the will of God, and God will determine when He will end this crisis.

But let us not pretend that soldiers who have gone into a retreat are fighting the same battle as those holding the line. If they were, the situation would be much different.

Please God, the day may soon come when all may stand together in the fight. Today, sadly, that is not the case.”

 

H.E. Bp. Bernard Fellay: “First of all, all the Ecclesia Dei members understand that if we would not have had bishops, they would not exist. Directly or indirectly, they depend on the Society’s life. That is very, very clear. And now the fruits of their apostolates are totally subjected to the good will of the local bishops. They drastically limit any solid desire to establish traditional Catholic life by limiting the possibilities of the apostolate in that direction. They are obliged to mix with the novelties of Vatican II, the world, and the Novus Ordo. This is the great difference between the Society and Ecclesia Dei groups.

I do see that some Ecclesia Dei groups are getting closer to us. This is definitely not all of them, though.”

 

A few other highly recommended resources:

Fr. Nicholas Gruner and Fr. Paul Kramer on the FSSP:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mghxuwo-Gec
Canon Gregory Hesse on the SSPX vs. Ecclesia Dei Orders:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqwlKEEtiwU
An excellent, strong, and balanced letter from Fr. Arnaud Rostand, SSPX, regarding Summorum Pontificum and our attendance at Motu Proprio Masses: http://www.fsspx.com/Documents/Fr-Rostand/2008_June.htm
An insightful article from Laramie Hirsch:  http://thehirschfiles.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-fssp-harbors-aggressive-resentment.html
On the Paul VI rites of ordination and consecration, which most of these priests are ordained under(to help settle confusion in this regard): http://sspx.org/en/must-priests-who-come-tradition-be-re-ordained
Sources used in the post:
~ Steven C.

 

 

The St. Benedict Medal/Crucifix: A Defense against Satan

IMG_0279

The St. Benedict Medal & Crucifix have been effacious sacramentals of the Church, to ward off Satan and evil, even leading to conversions in those affected by the grace that God allows to flow through these small instruments, meant to help us in saving our souls.

St. Benedict, Father of Monasticism and the Founder of the Benedictines, had a special devotion to the Cross, a striking similarity between much of the early Saints of the Church. This devotion led to the striking of medals which came to be known as the Medal-Cross of St. Benedict. The medal struck for the 400th Anniversary of the Benedictines in 1880 (the most popular in use to this day) is known as the Jubilee Medal. The front side consists of St. Benedict holding the Cross in one hand and his rule for monasteries in the other. Two instruments of his attempted death are featured on pedestals- a poisoned cup, that offered to him by fellow monks believing him to be too strict in his monastic practice, which shattered when St. Benedict made the sign of the cross over it and a raven carrying some poisoned bread, since the story goes that a raven prevented St. Benedict from eating poisoned bread by carrying it off. The top inscription says, “the Cross of our holy father, Benedict” and at the bottom of the medal is the phrase, “May we be strengthened by his presence at the hour of death!” Like St. Joseph, Benedict is also a patron of a happy death, for he died peacefully in his monastic order, having lived and died in penance and austerity.

The medal should be used piously, whether worn around the neck or buried to draw down God’s mercy and protection. The medal is a protection against Satan, having an approved exorcism blessing, which follows:

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.

In the name of God the Father + almighty, who made heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them, I exorcise these medals against the power and attacks of the evil one. May all who use these medals devoutly be blessed with health of soul and body. In the name of the Father + almighty, of the Son + Jesus Christ our Lord, and of the Holy + Spirit the Paraclete, and in the love of the same Lord Jesus Christ who will come on the last day to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.
Amen.

Let us pray. Almighty God, the boundless source of all good things, we humbly ask that, througrh the intercession of Saint Benedict, you pour out your blessings + upon these medals. May those who use them devoutly and earnestly strive to perform good works be blessed by you with health of soul and body, the grace of a holy life, and remission of the temporal punishment due to sin.

May they also with the help of your merciful love, resist the temptation of the evil one and strive to exercise true charity and justice toward all, so that one day they may appear sinless and holy in your sight. This we ask though Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The Cross of Christ is our victory over sin and death. The Saints, including St. Benedict have used the cross in their exorcisms, to dispel Satan. For this reason, St. Benedict’s Cross is used in most exorcisms. Let us use what God has graciously bestowed upon us to fight evil, lessen temptation and give us the graces to remain in the state of grace. The St. Benedict Cross is a badge of protection, for Satan hates the Cross and it’s power. He shrinks in fear from it, for he knows that through the Cross, Christ has conquered him and his kingdom and through the Cross, Christ will rescue us all from the clutches of evil, if only we have faith and the Faith.

~Damsel of the Faith

 

 

FSSP German Superior compromises on Tradition in interview

A blessed feast of St. Joseph the Worker!  http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/may-1-feast-st-joseph-worker

http://www.onepeterfive.com/fssp-superior-distinguishes-fraternity-from-sspx-eschews-traditionalist-label/

Last week, Fr. Bernhard Gerstle, German District Superior of the Fraternity of St. Peter, gave an interview to the German Bishops’ official website.  This interview made headlines on several traditional websites for statements made concerning the SSPX, conciliar texts, and Tradition in general.  In short, the authors of this blog do affirm that good Catholics faithful to Eternal Rome are right to be scandalized by this interview, which made several compromises on Tradition.  However, we furthermore believe that this interview simply revealed further the erroneous positions held by the Ecclesia Dei Orders concerning Vatican II and the New mass.

The timing of this interview is quite coincidental since the author of this post was actually about to write an article concerning the Ecclesia Dei Orders and traditional Catholics’ attendance at Motu Proprio Masses.  That article will be posted later this week. In the meantime, I will elaborate on a few principles and apply them to this interview.

Admittedly, it is very difficult to address this issue because the Ecclesia Dei Orders are faithful in many respects.  These religious and their faithful are often among the most conservative Catholics in the “mainstream” Catholic structures and do possess a genuine love for the Traditional Mass and practices.  Also, there are many traditional Catholics who vehemently oppose any criticism regarding these Orders for the sake of “unity”.  The SSPX and like-minded Catholics are consequently upbraided for trying to divide for vain purposes.

I would answer by stating that in almost all ways, the SSPX and the Ecclesia Dei Orders are very much united.  Insofar as the latter upholds Sacred Tradition, there is no division.  However, for the sake of the Faith, the SSPX is required to recognize that there are some grave errors in the Vatican II documents themselves.  All Catholics are objectively bound to oppose these errors as well to remain Catholic.  Certainly unity is praiseworthy, but true doctrine must come first!  To recognize unity before the Truth is to fall into a common modern error.  We see in our universities, for example, the urge to recognize all lifestyles and cultures, even if we might personally feel uneasy about them. Nonsense! This violates the basic Law of Non-Contradiction. Certainly we are obliged out of Charity to acknowledge the good of these Orders, but we must disagree with their position on the Vatican II documents.

Bp. Bernard Fellay: “First of all, all the Ecclesia Dei members understand that if we would not have had bishops, they would not exist. Directly or indirectly, they depend on the Society’s life. That is very, very clear. And now the fruits of their apostolates are totally subjected to the good will of the local bishops. They drastically limit any solid desire to establish traditional Catholic life by limiting the possibilities of the apostolate in that direction. They are obliged to mix with the novelties of Vatican II, the world, and the Novus Ordo. This is the great difference between the Society and Ecclesia Dei groups.”

We have elaborated on the errors of Vatican II in a previous post(https://damselofthefaith.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/errors-of-vatican-ii/).  Some claim that the FSSP does not officially recognize all of Vatican II.  The blanket acceptance of this Council has actually always been the official position of these Orders.  Just observe, for example, their full acceptance of the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the stated “preference” for the Traditional Mass because it better suits their charisma(not necessarily because it is THE Roman Rite of the Church).  One of the most essential missions of the FSSP is to study the Vatican II documents in order that they might all be better understood faithfully by Catholics.

FSSP Superior General Fr. John Berg: “With regard to the documents with passages that are unclear within the Second Vatican Council, there should be no cause for scandal. They simply need to be read in light of the full teaching Tradition of the Church. Of course, ultimately, these two cannot contradict. This is the work that needs to be done.”

Pope Francis: “By way of the celebration of the sacred Mysteries according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite and the orientations of the Constitution on the Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, as well as by passing on the apostolic faith as it is presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, may they contribute, in fidelity to the living Tradition of the Church, to a better comprehension and implementation of the Second Vatican Council.”

Let us now examine a couple of points Fr. Gerstle makes, as taken from the excellent above-linked article by Maike Hickson:

Father Gerstle insists that for the FSSP, the new 1983 Code of Canon Law is the standard.

SSPX.ORG:

Canon 844, §4 allows the administration of penance, anointing of the sick, and even holy communion to non-Catholics who manifest “Catholic faith” (vs. principle 7) in these sacraments.This used to be considered a mortal sin and was gravely forbidden (1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 731, §21) because it implicitly denies the dogma, “Outside the Church, no salvation” (principle 2).

Canon 1055, §1 no longer defines marriage by its primary end, the procreation of children, but mentions this only after a secondary end, the good of the spouses. And this latter, as we can see in the light of annulments now given, has become the essence of marriage [vs. principles 5 & 6]: the partners give each other their whole selves (and not just “the exclusive and perpetual right over the body of the partner as regards the acts capable in themselves of generating offspring,” 1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 1081, §2) for their self-fulfillment in wedlock (canon 1057, §2).

There is considered to be no marriage where one spouse cannot provide the other this help (canon 1095, 20 and 30, canon 1098, etc., cf. canon 1063, 40). Whence today’s annulments’ fiasco: in the United States, for example, there were 338 annulments granted in 1968; there were 59,030 in 1992.

Canon 336 codifies the collegiality of Vatican II. The “college of bishops,” a 20th century invention, is now made a permanent subject, together with the pope, of supreme and full power over the Universal Church. A bishop, moreover, participates in this universal jurisdiction by the mere fact of his consecration (cf. canon 375, §2).*

*This becomes all the more disconcerting when one considers the recognition now given by the Vatican to the Orthodox bishops. Cf., Pope Paul VI:

It is on the heads of the Churches, of their hierarchy, that the obligation rests to guide the Churches along the way that leads to full communion again. They ought to do this by recognizing and respecting each other as pastors of the flock of Christ entrusted to them…”

Quoted at Balamand, by the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, Final Statement §18 cf., §14; Ut Unum Sint §§50-63

These are but the most grave deficiencies; other defective points include the following:

  • mixed marriages (canons 1125, 1127),
  • diminution in censures (excommunication of freemasons, etc.),
  • the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas is no longer strictly enjoined in seminaries (canons 251ff), and
  • general absolutions are more readily available (canons 961-963, etc.).

In passing, it is interesting to note that for Pope John Paul II the 1983 Code of Canon Law had less weight than a conciliar constitution.

“This notion I do not like at all to hear. We are not traditionalists, but simply Catholic.”

This is not entirely incorrect.  As Catholic Truth Scotland Patricia McKeever notes: “…we should not need labels such as “traditionalist” because ALL Catholics should be adhering to both Tradition and Scripture. In the current crisis, these labels have sprung up to distinguish those who go along with the revolutionary changes in the Church post-Vatican II, and those who do not.”

However, I do think Fr. Gerstle’s reasoning for making such a statement is probably more spurious.  Catholic Truth blogger “Athanasius” observes:  “The real reason why Father Gerstle doesn’t like to use the word Traditional is that he would then be forced to admit that there is a serious problem in the Church since Vatican II that strongly resembles the Modernist crisis predicted by the pre-conciliar Popes, particularly St. Pius X. He wants a foot in each camp, Tradition without the persecution, heaven without the Cross, which is what he gets with his present stance. The only problem with his position is that it is not honest, and I think his conscience troubles him about that. Hence the reason why he doesn’t want to distinguish between Traditional and Modernist liberal Catholics. Everyone knows that the divide exists, just look at the devastation in the Church since the latter usurped the positions of influence in Rome and elsewhere.

So what is the real reason why Fr. Gerstle dislikes the use of the word Traditional? It has to be conscience. I simply do not believe that he is genuinely convinced that all Catholics today fundamentally believe and practice the same ancient faith that came down unsullied for almost two thousand years to the fateful Vatican II. He’s too educated a man to believe such nonsense.”

Certain elements of the new liturgy could be “enriching for the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.”

The Ottaviani Intervention: “It is evident that the Novus Ordo has no intention of presenting the faith as taught by the Council of Trent, to which, nonetheless, the Catholic conscience is bound forever. With the promulgation fo the Novus Ordo, the loyal Catholic is thus faced with a most tragic alternative.”

The Traditional Rite is the only true form of the Roman Rite.  The New mass is not a licit rite and objectively cannot be attended by Catholics, except for passive reasons: http://sspx.org/en/faq-page/what-is-wrong-with-the-novus-ordo-missae-faq5

The Fraternity of St. Peter, however, has accepted to study without prejudice the conciliar texts and has come to the conclusion that there is no breach with any previous magisterial statements. 

I will provide just one example to challenge this ridiculous assertion.  Lumen Gentium 16: “In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.”  This sentence is both heretical and blasphemous.  The Moslems do not worship the One, Triune God as we do.  Just read the language, if you dare, that the Koran ascribes to those who believe in the Holy Trinity.  Does Fr. Gerstle really believe that this statement of Vatican II does not contradict an earlier Church teaching?

But, in the meantime, Rome has already made here concordant clarifications which the Society of St. Pius X should now also recognize.

Abp. Pozzo, among many others actually in charge of the SSPX-Rome Discussions, are not insisting that the Society accept the erroneous Vatican II positions.

As Catholics, he says, “we appreciate tradition,” but without “completely blocking organic adaptations and changes.”

Louie Verrecchio comments: “I suppose he means such “organic changes” as those concerning the Church’s view of the Jews in our time who are pleased to reject Christ yet are now considered to be one with us in the Cross (NA 4), or the heretic communities that we now understand as being used by Christ as means of salvation (UR 3), or maybe the newly discovered right that man has to practice whatever religion he chooses both publicly and privately – a right that comes from man’s own dignity, no less (DH 2).

Then again, maybe Fr. Gerstle was referring to the “organic changes” that brought about the Novus Ordo Missae…”

Father Gerstle further distances himself from those smaller groups within the SSPX – whom he calls “hardliners” – who “reject the Second Vatican Council to a large extent, for example with regard to religious freedom or as to the decree on ecumenism.” Some of them, he says, also doubt the validity of the new liturgy.

I do not doubt that Fr. Gerstle might know a few SSPX priests personally, but I do not trust this analysis at all.  Just read his remarks on the number of priests who disagreed with the Econe Consecrations.  However, a few clarifications should be made.  The official SSPX(aka Catholic) position on Vatican II is that some of the documents are perfectly fine, some are ambiguous, and some are directly erroneous(such as on the aforementioned subjects of Religious Liberty and Ecumenism). I have attended SSPX Chapels since I was 5 years old and know personally at least a third of the priests in the U.S. District and many more residing in other countries.  I have never known any of these priests to not fully agree with this position.  I have also never seen any official SSPX publication disagree with this position.  This is true also for virtually all of our faithful, even those newer to Tradition.

The SSPX does not doubt, in itself, the validity of the Novus Ordo Missae, but holds that many of these masses may be invalid because of common additional abuses introduced into the rite.  If an individual SSPX priest would happen to disagree on these positions regarding Vatican II and the New mass, he is not allowed to proclaim them publicly.  If there is trouble in this regard, he is expelled from the Society.

For almost all of the Society’s history, there have been conciliar prelates who claimed that a large number of the Society’s priests did not agree with the Society’s positions.  This has been proven wrong time and time again.  One can only wonder if such statements are not made to simply scatter and divide the little remnant.

Let us above all pray for our traditional priests, that they remain firm!  Let us also resolve to always love and support our priests who have bravely opposed the Revolution and continue to do so to this day!

~ Steven C.

Sources used:

http://archives.sspx.org/superior_generals_news/reflections_on_25th_anniversary_of_1988_consecrations.htm

https://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2007-0715-fr-berg.htm

http://cfnews.org/page88/files/59c958e25cf166a089be9c8c4846898d-159.html

FSSP: Two Masses Enrich Each Other

https://akacatholic.com/fraternity-of-st-peter-a-conciliar-attitude-on-display/

 

 

 

The solid Rock – the triumph of love born out of Faith

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“O Catholic faith, how solid, how strong you are! How deeply rooted, how firmly founded on a solid rock! Heaven and earth will pass away, but you can never pass away. From the beginning the whole world opposed you, but you mightily triumphed over everything. This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. It has subjected powerful kings to the rule of Christ; it has bound nations to his service. What made the holy apostles and martyrs endure fierce agony and bitter torments, except faith, and especially faith in the resurrection? What is it that today makes true followers of Christ cast luxuries aside, leave pleasures behind, and endure difficulties and pain? It is living faith that expresses itself through love. It is this that makes us put aside the goods of the present in the hope of future goods. It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future.”
~the last sermon of St Fidelis of Sigmaringen before his martyrdom.

Bp. Fellay’s declaration against Rome’s commemoration of the Protestant Revolt

In lieu of the article prepared for today, we made the decision to post instead this freshly released declaration from Bp. Bernard Fellay regarding this 500th Anniversary of Luther’s rebellion.  It is stunning and evil to consider that these Church authorities would dare celebrate the actions of an excommunicated priest that would consequently fracture Christendom to this day.  However, we must realize that Modernist Rome is only carrying out the principles established at Vatican II, statements influenced by Freemasonry present in the texts themselves.  God bless our good priests and bishops who fight these grave errors despite endless persecutions!

We must continue praying, as the Bishop implores, for the Pope and Bishops to not delay any further and consecrate Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.  This is the answer that God has given mankind to emerge from these terrible, endless conflicts afflicting the world and the Church.  Let us hasten the great restoration of Christendom!

~ Steven C.

http://fsspx.news/en/content/29364

Luther’s private judgment denies the need for supernatural authority and makes unity in the Truth impossible.

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther rebelled against the Church, taking a good third of Europe along with him. It was probably the most significant loss that the Catholic Church has had to suffer during her entire history, after the Eastern Schism of 1054. He thus deprived millions of souls of the necessary means of salvation, separating them not just from one religious organization among others, but actually from the one Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, denying its supernatural reality and the necessity of it for salvation. He completely distorted the Faith, rejecting its fundamental dogmas, which are the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, the priesthood, the papacy, grace, and justification.

At the foundation of his thinking, which even today is that of Protestantism as a whole, is private judgment. This principle amounts to denying the need for a supernatural, infallible authority that can impose itself on particular judgments and decide debates between those whom she is commissioned to guide along the path to Heaven. This principle, which is claimed explicitly, quite simply renders the act of supernatural faith impossible, since the latter is based on the submission of the intellect and the will to the Truth revealed by God and taught authoritatively by the Church.

Private judgment, set up as a principle, not only cuts off access to the supernatural faith which is the way of salvation (“He that believeth not shall be condemned,” Mk 16:16), but also makes unity in the Truth impossible. He thus established in principle for Protestants the impossibility of eternal salvation and of unity in the Truth. And in fact the number of Protestant sects has not stopped increasing since the 16th century.

In the face of such a distressing spectacle, who would not understand the maternal efforts made by the true Church of Christ to look for the lost sheep? Who would not welcome the many apostolic attempts to liberate so many souls locked up in that fallacious principle that forbids them access to eternal salvation? This concern for their return to the unity of the true Faith and of the true Church runs through the centuries. It is not at all new; consider the prayer recited on Good Friday:

Let us pray for heretics and schismatics, that our Lord God may deliver them from all errors and may deign to bring them back to our Holy Mother, the Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Almighty and ever-living God, who savest all and dost not wish that any one should perish, look at the souls deceived by the diabolical fraud, so that the hearts of those who err, having set aside all heretical perversity, might repent and return to the unity of Thy truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This traditional language leaves no room for the confusion that is so widespread today in the name of a false ecumenism. The warnings of the Congregation of the Sacred Office in 1949, following several papal documents, the most important of which is certainly the Encyclical by Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (1928), these fair warnings seem now to be a dead letter. Nevertheless, the dangers of this ecumenical irenicism, which was denounced by Pius XII in Humani Generis (1950), are immense and extremely serious, because it discourages conversions to Catholicism. What Protestant, seeing the “riches” and the “venerable traditions” of Luther’s Reform being praised, would feel the need to convert? Besides, the very word “conversion” is currently banished from the official Catholic vocabulary when it is a question of other Christian denominations.

Furthermore this new attitude, made up of praises for Protestantism and apologies for Catholicism, causes the loss of faith in countless Catholics—this is an observable fact. Every survey inquiring about the faith of Catholics shows the ravages resulting from this frightening alignment with Protestantism. How many Catholics are affected in the 21st century by what the Church condemned, until the Council, by the name of indifferentism? A fatal error that claims that the whole world is saved, whatever one’s religion may be. An error diametrically opposed to the teaching of Our Lord Himself and of the whole Church after Him. Nevertheless, if someone denounces this error against the two-thousand-year-old Catholic Faith, he is immediately branded as a fanatic or a dangerous extremist.

The new liturgy, too, was invented in the name of this new ecumenism. It has so many parallels with the Protestant Lord’s Supper that several Protestant theologians, for example, Max Thurian in Taizé, have been able to state that it is possible for their co-religionists to use the new Catholic missal. And during this time the children of the Catholic Church found themselves deprived of the most beautiful treasures of divine worship and of grace. Thank God, Benedict XVI courageously declared that the many-centuries-old liturgy had never been abolished, but—for more than 40 years, throughout the world—the postconciliar liturgical reform drove millions of the faithful from the churches, because they no longer found what they expected of the Catholic Church.

How can anyone be surprised, then, that this ecumenism, which is supposed to promote the unity of Christians, makes but little progress?

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, from the Council on, denounced this new way of dealing with the Protestants that took shelter under the name of ecumenism. In fact, this very elastic term expresses a general manner of seeing and doing that was introduced into the Church at the time of Vatican II. We are talking about an ostentatious benevolence toward all human beings, a determination to no longer condemn error, a search all over the map for “what unites us” rather than what separates us…. And what ought to have been only the first step in a journey toward unity, within the framework of a captatio benevolentiae [a rhetorical gesture to win good will], rapidly turned into a pursuit for its own sake that became an end in itself; an unending quest for an undefined truth. It then strayed from its objective purpose: the return to the Church of those who have lost unity with her. Thus the meaning of the word ecumenism was changed, the concept of unity was modified, and the means of arriving at it were falsified.

In the past, the Church knew that she is the only true Church and proclaimed it loud and strong, but this traditional clarity has been replaced by a new, uncertain doctrine—a mixture of apologetic self-denigration and post-modern relativism (for example, “we do not possess the whole truth”), which currently leads a majority of Catholics to reject the statement that there is only one way of salvation, and that we have it from Jesus Christ Himself that “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but through me” (Jn 14:6).

The dogma “Outside the Church there is no salvation” has been changed surreptitiously by confused ideas, to the point of altering the statement that the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church are identical. Cardinal Walter Kasper, then-President of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity, saw the new definition of the Church (subsistit in; “subsists in”) as the thing that quite simply made possible the ecumenism that has been promoted since the Council. Coming from a figure like that, this is a fitting admission that should be taken seriously!

That, in a few words, is why we cannot celebrate joyfully the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Quite the contrary, we lament this cruel division. Following Our Lord, we pray and work so that the lost sheep might find again the path that will lead them safely to salvation, the path of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

We pray also that this illusory irenicism will soon be abandoned and that in its place a true movement of conversion may be reborn, like the one that existed before the Council, particularly in English-speaking countries.

Finally, during this centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady to the three shepherd children of Fatima, we pray also that the requests of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary may be heard. She promised the conversion of Russia, when the Supreme Pontiff will be so kind as to consecrate this country explicitly to her Immaculate Heart. Let us redouble our prayers and sacrifices, so that the promise of the Mother of God may become a reality, without delay.

With her Divine Son, cum prole pia, may she deign to bless you during this Easter season and lead us all to eternal happiness.

Easter Sunday 2017
+ Bernard Fellay

Brazilian Priest charged with assault and attacked by State agent, for defending the Blessed Sacrament

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A horrific sacrilege such as this proves the fury of Satan at the true Catholic Religion and the Traditional Latin Mass. Please read this article and pray for the safety, protection and good name of this holy priest.

~Damsel of the Faith

http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/3164-priest-charged-with-assault-for-defending-eucharist-during-traditional-latin-mass

Editor’s Note: We have received the following report from our Catholic brothers in the Archdiocese of Niterói (a municipality close to the City of Rio de Janeiro), Brazil, about a very serious incident that occurred last Ash Wednesday at São Domingos de Gusmão (Saint Dominic de Guzmán) parish church. We kindly ask you to read it and then meet our requests for Catholic action at the article’s conclusion. MJM

Last Ash Wednesday everything was ready for the celebration of the Holy Mass at São Domingos de Gusmão parish church. The faithful entered the church and prepared themselves to ask God’s Grace, receive the Sign of the Cross on their foreheads, listen to the exhortation to “turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”, and so enter into the Lenten Season. The service was a Traditional Latin Mass; the minister was a diocesan priest, Father Anderson Batista da Silva, who has celebrated the Vetus Ordo for a long time, even before the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum.

The Mass had already begun when a man in his sixties entered the church and, from the outset, started to complain, out loud, about several issues (the rite, its duration, the Gregorian chant, etc.), thus, bothering those around him. At the time of Communion, as usual, the faithful formed a line towards the altar rail and, on their knees, started to receive the Body of Christ on the tongue, as required by the ancient practice of the Church-¾every faithful assisting the service was aware of this manner of receiving the Host, especially since because Father Batista explains the details of the traditional rite before it starts.

The angry man lined up for Communion and continued grumbling and moaning all the way to the Communion rail. At his turn, he refused to receive Communion on the tongue, demanding instead that Father Batista place the Host in his hand. Father Batista calmly explained to him that the prescribed manner of receiving the Sacrament according to the traditional rite is on one’s knees and on the tongue, and the matter was not for the faithful to decide upon.

However, the man did not accept the priest’s explanation and demanded out loud to be given the Communion in the hand. Probably, intending to avoid further disturbance at the service, the priest conceded and gave the Host in his hand. Then, he asked the man to consume the Host right away. However, with the Sacrament in his hand, the man closed it and refused to consume the Host in front of the priest, saying that the Host did not belong to the priest and that he had the right to make his Communion wherever he wanted.

He further shouted saying that this was not his religion and that this old Mass did not exist. At that moment, those who were near him – acolytes and other faithful alike – warned him that he could not leave the place with a consecrated Host.

Ignoring the warning, the man threatened those who surrounded him by saying that he would break through them. In a burst of anger, he shouted: “One, two, three”, and moved violently towards those who were surrounding him, as to push them down and leave the Church with the Blessed Sacrament.

At this point, the faithful tried to stop him and the man fell down on the floor. The acolytes and other faithful managed to immobilize him (without hurting him) and take him to a side room leading to the sacristy, where they were able to recover fragments of the Body of Christ that he had crushed in his hand.

Next, they moved away from the man without hurting him. The same could not be said of said man, who acted with extreme violence and started to kick the people around while staying on the floor. The faithful who had witnessed such a shameful spectacle remained at a distance, praying Hail Mary’s all the time. Father Batista looked terrified throughout the incident. He continued holding the Communion cup tight (he could not hold the Communion cup safely and interfere in the situation at the same time).

After that ghastly act of profanation and outrage, which disturbed the peace of all attendees (the ground where the fragments of the Host had been scattered had to be purified afterwards) and upon leaving the church, the man came back through the church’s main entrance and made threats. He said that he was an appellate prosecutor (a State agent) and would use his power to destroy the priest’s reputation. He said he was going to the police station to bring charges against Father Batista.

Father became visibly shaken by these events.

On the other hand, we, the faithful, thought that the matter would be forgotten in a few days and no more problems would arise. We were mistaken! We have just learned that criminal charges had been brought against Father Batista.

The content of the indictment, as far as we know and without having read the piece, would be an accusation made by that man (the actual aggressor and Eucharistic defiler) in the sense that he would have been grabbed and assaulted by the acolytes upon Father’s orders. Father would be guilty of inciting violence.

Criminal charges, threat of filing a legal proceeding and a promise to destroy his reputation: these are the rewards for not having prevented his acolytes and faithful from defending Jesus in the Eucharist. It is hard to conceive of such tortuous reasoning: the priest, probably considered as “retrograde” as the Tridentine rite, is now the defendant in the crime of assault and causing bodily injury.

* * *

This is the end of the report on the events that took place at São Domingos de Gusmão parish church last Ash Wednesday. We now present the requests we have mentioned at the beginning of this article.

Please offer prayers on Father Anderson Batista da Silva’s intentions. At this point, your prayers will be of great comfort and help. We cannot disregard the possibility of Divine intervention in this episode. Please, share your prayer intentions with The Remnant in the Letters to Editor or in the Comments section of RemnantNewspaper.com

Please write to the Archdiocese of Niterói (here or here, even in English) congratulating them for having such a pious priest among its ranks. Ask the diocese to protect and support Father Batista in view of any legal proceeding that might be filed against him. Pray for the Archdiocese of Niterói not to succumb to the threats of the aggressor and his social status (as he said, he is a State agent), but guide itself only for the zeal for the Eucharist

Please pray for this man who appeared at the parish church unexpectedly and caused so much harm, so that God may have mercy on him, and also that he may repent of the insults he has thrown at Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, the irreverence towards the Traditional Catholic Mass, the outrage of trying to leave the Mass with the Eucharist in his hand, and the serious threats he is making against our good Catholic priest.

Marijuana smoking is normally a Mortal Sin

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“Let me state this in the clearest terms possible: the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs! Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise.”- Pope Francis

It is unfortunately the case this week that marijuana is being discussed more frequently in the news.  Make no mistake about it: “National Weed Day” celebrations of 4/20 are nothing more than a song sung to the devil’s honor.

I am frequently astonished at how even so many Catholics now hold such dangerous positions on the use of marijuana.  Hopefully this little post will assist in countering the trend.  Since the selected sources do more than an adequate job at explaining everything, I will only summarize briefly.

The recreational use of marijuana is grievously sinful, even if just done once for “fun”.  The very nature of the drug puts one in an unnecessary occasion of mortal sin and will eventually(with continued usage) destroy both body and soul.  Its nature differs from that of certain food products, such as alcohol, which so many like to compare to drugs.  It is clear that recreational usage goes entirely against even the Natural Law.  This is explained more in-depth below. Marijuana usage is only permitted for grave medical reasons and under the supervision of a trusted doctor, if possible.

Materials are taken from sspx.org and The Fatima Center:

 

Is smoking marijuana a sin?

Neither the effeminate, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards…will possess the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 6:10). Drunkenness is a deliberate excess in the use of intoxicating drink or drugs to the point of forcibly depriving oneself of the use of reason for the sake of gratifying an inordinate desire for such drink and not for the sake of promoting health. This is contrary to the virtue of temperance, and specifically sobriety. Sobriety regulates man’s desire and use of intoxicants, and is vitally necessary for an upright moral life. The evil of intoxication lies in the violence committed against one’s nature by depriving it of the use of reason. He deprives himself of that which makes him specifically human – his ability to think. The drunk, or in this case the drug user, desires this loss of reason because of the feeling of liberation which accompanies it precisely from this lack of control of the will over the reason. It is unnatural, contrary to sleep, which also deprives one of the use of reason but in a natural manner.

Drug use gives an illicit means of escape. Besides being a sin, it also manifests an immaturity on the part of the user. Through an act of violence against himself, he escapes from the responsibility of decision making and control in his life. When this deprivation is complete, e.g., actions totally contrary to normal behavior, incapability of distinguishing between good and evil, etc., it is a grave sin. “In vino veritas,” said the Romans, not without reason. Any state short of complete drunkenness, without sufficient reason, is of itself venially sinful, but even in this case it may be a mortal sin if it causes scandal, injury to health, harm to one’s family, etc. It is important also to note that a man is responsible for all the sinful actions committed while intoxicated which he had, or ought to have, foreseen.

According to Jone-Adelman in Moral Theology, the use of drugs in small quantities and only occasionally is a venial sin if done without sufficient reason. This could be the case, for example, with sleeping pills. Obviously, deprivation of the use of reason through narcotics is to be judged as alcohol. The use of most drugs is complicated by the fact that they are illegal. This also signifies the will of the user to break the law, an offense against social justice. This compounds the sin. The speed with which a drug alters one’s consciousness also aggravates its use. This rapidity risks a greater potential to deprive oneself of the use of reason and thus to pass on to stronger intoxicants for increased effect. Therefore, adding to the violation of the virtue of justice, the grave scandal caused, the grave danger of addiction, and the stronger consciousness-altering ability of marijuana, it is difficult to excuse one of mortal sin. Moreover, experience tells us that its use is frequently an occasion of mortal sin, especially sins of the flesh and the use of narcotic drugs. But to willingly and knowingly place oneself in an unnecessary proximate occasion of mortal sin is to commit a mortal sin.  Fr. James Doran, September 1993

Is it a mortal sin to use drugs?

The old text books [on moral theology] do not speak of this new problem of the modern world. However, the immorality of drug abuse can be clearly deduced from the principles which allow an evaluation of the malice of alcohol abuse. The distinction is made between imperfect drunkenness, the fact of making oneself tipsy deliberately, which can only be a venial sin, and perfect drunkenness, which is drinking until one is drunk. This is a mortal sin because a drunken person loses the use of reason. This is St. Thomas Aquinas’s response to the objection that the quantity of wine drunk is but a circumstance, which cannot make a venial sin into a mortal sin:

With regard to drunkenness we reply that it is a mortal sin by reason of its genus: for that a man, without necessity, and through the mere lust of wine, makes himself unable to use his reason, whereby he is directed to God and avoids committing many sins, is expressly contrary to virtue. That it be a venial sin is due to some sort of ignorance or weakness, as when a man is ignorant of the strength of the wine, or of his own unfitness, so that he has no thought of getting drunk, for in that case the drunkenness is not imputed to him as a sin, but only the excessive drink…. (ST, I-II, q. 88, art. 5, ad1)

The consumption of illegal drugs, even those called soft drugs, is comparable not to becoming tipsy on a little wine but to perfect drunkenness. For these drugs have their effect by causing a “high,” that is, an emotional experience when a person escapes from the demands of reality. For a brief period he lives in an unreal, euphoric world. All the other effects, such as relaxation, come as a consequence of this “high,” or unreal euphoria. If this state does not always prohibit all use of reason, it most certainly does always impede the most important use of reason, which St. Thomas just explained to us “whereby he is directed to God and avoids committing many sins.” All drugs deaden the conscience, and obscure the practical judgment as to right and wrong and what we must do. With respect to morality, their effect is consequently equivalent to the removal of the use of reason, and is a practical refusal to direct all of man’s acts to God through reason.

Drug abuse is consequently much worse than the pure seeking of pleasure or relaxation that some claim it to be. It is a denial of the natural and supernatural order, according to which God has created us in His image and likeness that our acts might be ordered to His honor and glory. Moreover, it goes without saying that the abuse of drugs is directly opposed to the Catholic spirit, which spirit of sacrifice, the practical application of the spirit of the cross, is essential to the living of our faith.

As previously mentioned, the principal evil of drug abuse is the destruction of moral conscience. It follows that the atrocious consequences of drug abuse are inseparable from it, and are willed together with the drugs themselves. This includes the breaking of the law in the consumption of drugs; and in the means of obtaining them, such as theft; and in the effort to sell them in turn to others, often minors or children. Other consequences include the incredible self-indulgence which accompanies the almost insatiable desire for always more titillating experiences, sins of blasphemy, the often satanic rock music, and the sins against purity and chastity, which are the consequence of the loss of shame and conscience. Sins against charity and justice abound, such as disobedience to parents and refusal to do one’s duty at school or work, not to mention the bad company-keeping which is the breeding ground of all vices. Long term results are also willed in their cause, and they include such things as emotional and physical addiction, the passage from soft to hard drugs, the damage done to the body and to general health by prolonged drug use, culminating in the “fried” brains of the person who cannot even reason clearly, let alone make a moral judgment. It is a mortal sin to place one’s physical and spiritual health in such proximate danger, even if a person is to pretend that he is immune from this danger and that “it could not happen to me.

Even the often liberal and ambiguous Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in 1994 in application of the principles of Vatican II, acknowledges this:

The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law. (§2291)

This does not, however, exclude the use of narcotic drugs for therapeutic reasons. Their use, under medical supervision, is justified by a sufficiently grave and proportionate reason, even if they do deprive a person temporarily of the use of reason. (Cf. Merkelbach, Summa Theologiae Moralis, II, 925). For it is not the loss of reason which is willed. It is only an indirect consequence, so that there is not necessarily a disorder with respect to the final end of man. The typical example is pain control.

In conclusion, therefore, the use of marijuana, like any hard or soft drug, must be considered a mortal sin. If on occasion some people might be in ignorance as to the gravity of this sin, it is clearly evident that the matter is objectively serious. Consequently, it must be confessed as a mortal sin, and a person is obliged to confess drug abuse under pain of a bad or sacrilegious confession. If he forgot to confess the sin, he must then confess it at the first possible opportunity that he has. The priest who claimed that this was not a mortal sin has fallen into the trap of laxity.

Fr. Peter Scott, January 1999

 

~ Steven C.