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July 2019 Contents
New “Declaration of Truths” Identifies “Common Errors,” Fails to Oppose Their Roots (Matt Gaspers)
On June 10, roughly six weeks after the release of the Open Letter accusing Pope Francis of “the canonical delict of heresy,” a new document appeared on the scene. Entitled a “Declaration of the truths relating to some of the most common errors in the life of the Church of our time,” the eight-page text offers a list of 40 propositions (arranged under four subject headings) which are intended to reaffirm basic Catholic doctrine while refuting a myriad of “common errors,” as the document’s lengthy title implies.
The Declaration itself is accompanied by a two-page explanatory note by which the group of five episcopal signatories—among them, Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider—explain their reasons for publishing the text and what they hope their initiative will accomplish. Click here to continue reading online
Pope Bergoglio’s interview with the Vaticanist Valentina Alazraki of Mexico, his umpteenth over the past seven years, appears to be his first encounter with a journalist who made some effort to ask tough questions and press for direct answers. On at least one point, the results were devastating—for Bergoglio.
It is impossible to cover here all the subjects touched upon in the sprawling 12,000-word text of the interview in Italian (translations mine). A few of the critical questions and answers suffice to demonstrate why, as Philip Lawler has observed, “the current Pope’s leadership has become a danger to the faith…” We are confronted with a dangerous mixture of arrogance, ignorance, shallowness, hypocrisy and a lack of candor unlike anything seen in the living memory of the papacy.
For the sake of space limitations, with the exception of the most critical exchanges I have given only the substance of Alazraki’s wordy questions rather than setting them forth verbatim. Click here to continue reading online
Popes Speak: The Syllabus of Errors (Pope Pius IX)
Editor’s Note: In light of the “Declaration of Truths” released last month (see top of page 1 for details), we have chosen to feature Pope Pius IX’s famous Syllabus of Errors, a list of 80 condemned propositions published in conjunction with his 1864 encyclical Quanta Cura.
In the opening paragraph of Quanta Cura, Pius IX makes clear his intention to continue “the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12) in continuity with his predecessors. He understood that his role as chief shepherd of the Lord’s flock was to protect the sheep from “the nefarious enterprises of wicked men, who…have striven by their deceptive opinions and most pernicious writings to raze the foundations of the Catholic religion and of civil society….”
Similarly, the signers of the recent “Declaration of Truths”, recognizing their “grave responsibility as Catholic bishops”, were compelled to publish their Declaration “as a concrete spiritual help, so that bishops, priests, parishes, religious convents, lay faithful associations, and private persons as well might have the opportunity to confess either privately or publicly those truths that in our days are mostly denied or disfigured.” (Explanatory Note).
While it is similar in format and purpose to the Syllabus, unfortunately the recent Declaration fails to identify the root source of several of the errors it opposes, namely, the Second Vatican Council and post-Conciliar teachings (see top of page 1 for details). Thus, it is all the more important for Catholics to familiarize themselves with solid pre-Conciliar documents like Pius IX’s Syllabus. Click here to read Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors
Pope Francis and the Fruits of Vatican II (Brian M. McCall)
It is certainly consoling for those who have fought to defend Tradition for many decades to see some conservative Catholics (and even a few princes of the Church) realize that the errors of Pope Francis must be resisted. The Open Letter to the Bishops of the World, which continues to garner signatures, identifies seven heretical beliefs that Pope Francis appears to accept and promote. Yet, notwithstanding this positive development – namely, that many who previously condemned Traditionalists for being “disobedient” now advocate resisting Francis “to the face” (Gal. 2:11) – it is troubling that many who rightly recognized the errors advanced by Francis remain unable or unwilling to admit their root cause.
Rotten Fruit Buds from Rotten Seeds
Francis is not an anomaly. He is not some alien to the contemporary Church who has arrived on the scene to initiate a rupture with Tradition. Francis is merely a fruit, albeit a very ripe and mature one, of the seeds planted in St. Peter’s Basilica during the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Ideas have consequences and, as St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us, a small error in the beginning of reasoning produces a great error in the conclusion. Vatican II contained a number of errors which were buried amidst weeds of ambiguity and even healthy seeds so as to mask the poisonous errors being planted. Francis and his program of disruption and revolution are thus a direct product of the doctrinal “cockle among the wheat” (Matt. 13:25) within the Council documents themselves. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Lessons from La Salette (Brian M. McCall)
Over the past eight years, I have often written about my visits to Notre Dame de LaSalette Boys Academy in these pages and in The Remnant Newspaper. La Salette is more than a boys’ boarding school. It is, as I have written previously, a microcosm of Christendom. It is a well-ordered society (in the richest and most philosophical sense of that term) that reflects the values and structure of Christendom. The Faith pervades, or more accurately, penetrates every aspect of daily life. Any visit will provide ample opportunities for reflection upon a different aspect of Catholic civilization. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
A Case of Moral Whac-A-Mole (Gary Taphorn)
Care to Whac-A-Mole?
Back in the 1980s, with five young kids in tow, my wife and I faced one of our first family challenges: how to make the weekly experience of CCD religious education classes more palatable. Given that classes concluded late on a weekday afternoon, part of our solution became a follow-on trip to a local restaurant for dinner. The kids’ favorite destination quickly became our local Chuck E. Cheese restaurant which, in spite of the marginal cuisine, offered the irresistible bonus of arcade games. It was here that I was exposed to the then-relatively new game of Whac-a-Mole. Not having been invented until the mid-1970s, it was one of those cultural phenomena which convinced the kids that my own Baby Boomer generation had indeed suffered from a deprived childhood.
For those not familiar with the game, the object is to hit as many “moles” as possible with a hammer in the allotted time. Striking a mole, and driving it underground, would inevitably cause another mole to pop up in another area. The game thus rewarded speed, agility, and anticipation. All in all, it was more challenging, if more violent, than pinball.
The moral problems currently faced by the Catholic Church and, more broadly, by all traditional Christians have recently reminded me of Whac-a-Mole, except that the stakes are not points on a neon scoreboard but the salvation of souls. For the sake of argument, let’s confine ourselves to the sexual issues plaguing our society, although we could easily go beyond that into other areas such as drug abuse, the amoral underpinning of public education, etc. The “traditional” moles that we confront include, at the broadest level, the evils of contraception, abortion, pornography, and homosexuality. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
The Hem of His Garment (Mark Fellows)
It was an incidental miracle, really. Surrounded by sinners and Pharisees, Jesus was telling them all that new wine needed new wineskins when Jairus, the chief of the synagogue at Capharnaum, burst into the inner circle to throw himself at the Master’s feet (cf. Matt. 9:15-18).
His daughter was dead, or she was dying. The confusion was due to the agitation of a man who was no longer the chief of a synagogue but a father gray with anguish over the plight of his only child. His dread of her fate was matched only by his conviction that if the Master would but touch his daughter, then “she shall live” (Matt. 9:18). Jairus waited while an intent stare from the Master plumbed his depths and seemed to pierce his very heart – a heart that then leapt with the rest of his body when Jesus rose to follow Jairus home. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
*Lessons in Catholic Education* Developing a Critical Ear for Music is…Critical (Fr. David Sherry, SSPX)
Be Careful, Little Ears, What You Hear
Discrimination these days has a bad name, but thinking necessarily means judging. As Pope Pius XI said, “the educated man or true man of character is the man who thinks, judges and acts in accordance with right reason and the supernatural teaching of Christ.” Aristotle claimed that the educated man was the one who was able to discriminate. To be a man or woman, you must be able to discriminate between true and false, right and wrong, good and evil, beauty and ugliness.
Some time ago, I played two pieces of music to a class of high school boys. The first was “Imagine” by John Lennon (Imagine there’s no heaven / it’s easy if you try / no hell below us / above us only sky). The second was In Trutina by Carl Orff (In trutina mentis dubia / fluctuant contraria / lascivus amor et pudicitia / sed eligo quod video). The first song has music attractive to the senses and evil lyrics, the second song has beautiful music and equally evil lyrics but they were in Latin and the students did not understand them. They mostly said that the first song was bad because of the lyrics, and that the second was good because of the music.
But in fact, a song is lyrics and music. If the lyrics are bad, then the music will not make the song good. In fact, the more attractive the music, the more the lyrics are likely to enter the soul and the more dangerous it will be. That is why music with bad lyrics and an attractive tune is poison. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
The Life of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, SSPX)
Editor’s Note: In this month’s installment, Archbishop Lefebvre becomes the Apostolic Delegate to French-speaking Africa. We see more proof of his great pastoral care for the native peoples as he faithfully implements the will of Pope Pius XII to build a strong native hierarchy in Africa as a defense against Communism. In these critical years of the 1940s and 1950s, we see the Archbishop demonstrate extraordinary skills as an organizer in building an ecclesiastical hierarchy from scratch. His great solicitude for the vast territories committed to his care with great confidence by Pius XII is truly an inspiration. – Brian M. McCall, Editor-in-Chief
The Will of the Pope
On October 1, 1948, Archbishop Lefebvre visited the motherhouse of his congregation where he had gone in search of more funds and more personnel. He had only just arrived when Archbishop Le Hunsec saw him, came down, and straightaway said to him, “Come on, Monseigneur, come on. I’ve got something to tell you.”
“What’s up?” wondered Archbishop Lefebvre, “What’s the matter?”
“Come into the parlor…you’re not going to say no! The Pope has appointed you Apostolic Delegate.”
The “Apostolic Delegation of Africa,” which was established in 1930 at Mombasa in Kenya, had been rechristened “Apostolic Delegation of British East and West Africa” on January 2, 1947. Ever since, it had been expected that a similar delegation would be established for French-speaking, or rather French Black Africa. However, what no-one yet knew was that Pius XII had not only chosen Dakar as the delegation headquarters, he had also chosen the Vicar Apostolic to be the Apostolic Delegate. Even before naming him Vicar Apostolic, Pius XII already had his eye on Marcel Lefebvre. He simply waited a year in order to see him in action. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Our Lady of Fatima and the Dogma Most Denied — Part I (Marianna Bartold)
“In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc.” Those who are knowledgeable about the Fatima, Portugal apparitions recognize that sentence as the opening of the Third Secret, which the Virgin wished to be publicly revealed by 1960 or upon Lucia’s death, whichever came first. Although to this day never have the words of Our Lady been completely released, we know that Lucia and others who knew it (or who thoroughly studied it) collectively gave enough information to put the matter in context.
In my book, Fatima: The Signs and Secrets, I addressed Our Lady’s words regarding the dogma of the faith, writing as follows:
In 1943, when asked about the contents of The Third Secret, Sr. Lucia said, “In a certain way, I have already revealed it.” How so? In her Fourth Memoir, she implicitly disclosed it in a sentence of substantial importance: “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc.” This sentence, which ends with the intriguing “et cetera,” is the prelude to the Third Secret Message−the part of the secret still hidden.
*Roman Catechism Series* Suffered Under Pontius Pilate; Was Crucified, Dead, and Buried — Part II (Matthew Plese)
Why Did Jesus Die?
As we covered last month, the Roman Catechism begins its discussion of the “Reasons Why Christ Suffered” by stating “that thus the greatness and intensity of the divine love towards us may the more fully appear.” Going on, the text explains:
“Should anyone inquire why the Son of God underwent His most bitter Passion, he will find that besides the guilt inherited from our first parents [i.e. Original Sin] the principal causes were the vices and crimes which have been perpetrated from the beginning of the world to the present day and those which will be committed to the end of time. In His Passion and death the Son of God, our Savior, intended to atone for and blot out the sins of all ages, to offer for them to His Father a full and abundant satisfaction.”
It is highly controversial nowadays to state that the Jews were at all responsible for the death of our Divine Lord. But what does the Church really teach? The first overarching issue is to determine what we mean by “responsible.” How can some say that the Jews are responsible for Christ’s death while others maintain that they are not responsible. The difference is precisely a lack of continuity in terminology.
What we must first consider is the philosophical notion that has been part of Catholic theology for over 1,000 years: the four causes. Aristotle was the first philosopher to identify all four types of causes which Aquinas would later incorporate into his Summa Theologiae. Each cause is a different kind of answer to the question: why? To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition
The Two Cities in History Mysterium Iniquitatis — Part I (Roberto de Mattei)
The Mysterium Iniquitatis According to Leo XIII
In seeking to throw a little light on the Mysterium iniquitatis, it is necessary to look back at the first moments of universal history.
In his Encyclical Humanum genus of 20 April 1884 against Freemasonry, Leo XIII asserts:
“The race of man, after its miserable fall from God, the Creator and the Giver of heavenly gifts, ‘through the envy of the devil’, separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other for those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ; and those who desire from their heart to be united with it, so as to gain salvation, must of necessity serve God and His only-begotten Son with their whole mind and with an entire will. The other is the kingdom of Satan, in whose possession and control are all whosoever follow the fatal example of their leader and of our first parents, those who refuse to obey the divine and eternal law, and who have many aims of their own in contempt of God, and many aims also against God.”
Pope Leo XIII therefore teaches that humanity is divided into two camps which are in incessant combat: the kingdom of God, consisting of the Church of Christ, and the kingdom of Satan, consisting of followers of the Devil. The combat is not merely an episode in history, but dates from the first moment of the creation of the universe, and will continue until the end of time.
Leo XIII, Enc. Humanum genus, de secta massonum of 20 April 1884 in Leonis Acta, vol. IV (1885), page 43 (43-70). Click here to continue reading online