CAN ONE HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT THE FAITH?
'Faith is for doubting'
Finally, to believe rightly means not only to believe fully, but also to have no doubts about what one believes. One must believe what the Church teaches with such a steadfastness that neither doubt, temptation or persecution can unsettle one's soul. After all, that which the Church teaches and charges us to believe, has been revealed to her by God. 'He who doubts any revealed truth, seriously offends God... He who allows himself willfully to doubt of any of the doctrines of the Church, commits a serious sin against faith.' Sara doubted God's promise that she should bear a son in her old age and was reproved by God for incredulity. Zacharias doubted the announcement of an angel and lost the power of speech.
Yet doubts that come into our mind involve no sin, if we do not willfully consent to them. A doubt is a temptation against the faith. One does not sin by being tempted, but only by giving consent to temptation, or by 'toying' with the idea of doing so. When doubts occur we have an obligation to 1) Pray ('I believe Lord, help Thou my unbelief') and 2) to seek help from appropriate authority - that is to say, by study and inquiry so as to remove any ignorance and misunderstanding (32). One must not forget that faith, which as Vatican I teaches, 'is the beginning of man's salvation', is 'a supernatural virtue, whereby, inspired and assisted by God;s grace, we believe.' Now if the grace of God is essential, it is also true that it is never insufficient. We are never, as Scripture teaches, tried beyond our strength. (If we were, we would not be responsible for sin) It is not the lack of grace that man should fear, but rather his own power to resist and reject it.
A Catholic can never have a just reason for abandoning the faith that he has once embraced. (This is far more true of the clergy than for the laity, for with greater knowledge comes responsibility.). Such is so, not only because he has a sufficient motive of credibility in the divinely instituted Church, but also because faith is the result of supernatural grace and carries with it the additional graces necessary to preserve in it. God's providence will not allow the faithful to lack the helps which they need to protect their faith. As St. Augustine says, 'God does not abandon us until we first abandon him.'
IS FAITH ENOUGH?
Important as having the faith is, it is not enough to guarantee our salvation. According to Spirgo and Clark, 'Faith is like the root of the tree, without which it cannot exist; it is the first step on the road to heaven; it is the key which opens the door', but 'it must be a living faith; that is, we must add to it good works and must be ready to confess it openly.'(33).
It is a de fide teaching of the Church that 'besides faith, further acts of disposition must be present.' Father Ott comments on this: 'According to the teaching of the Reformers faith, in the sense of fiducial faith, is the sole cause of justification (sola fides). In opposition to this teaching, the Council of Trent declares that, side by side with faith, other acts of disposition are demanded. As such are named: fear of Divine justice; hope in the mercy of god for the sake of the merits of Christ; the beginning of the love of god; hate and detestation of sin; and the purpose of receiving Baptism and of beginning a new life.'
Father Ott continues: 'When St. Paul teaches that we are saved by faith without works of the Law (Rom. 3:28), he understands by faith, a living faith, active through love; by the works of the law he means the works of the law of the Old Testament, for example, circumcision... When St. James, in apparent contradiction to this, teaches that we are justified by works, not merely by faith... he understand by faith, dead faith; by works, good works proceeding from Christian Faith.' Hence it is clear that, as St. Augustine says: 'Without love faith can indeed exist, but can be of no avail' (De Trin. XV).
Our faith is essentially a belief in all the doctrines which the Catholic Church teaches, and is based on a Truth that is entirely independent of our personal feelings or emotional reactions, a truth given us by Christ and the Apostles and one constantly upheld and preserved by the traditional Church throughout her existence. Faith is never 'blind' for it involves the assent of the intellect to truths taught by the Church. The intellect is by its very nature a faculty which 'sees' and hence does not operate in the 'dark'. Faith is never unreasonable, though it gives assent to what is beyond the grasp of reason.
Faith does not arise in our sub-conscious or any other 'immanent' source. Our assent is never the result of 'an impulse of the heart', or of a 'morally conditioned will'. One must utterly reject the teaching of Vatican II that in matters of faith 'man is to be guided by his own judgment, and he is to enjoy freedom.' Rather, man is to be guided by the teachings of the Church, and his freedom exists in his ability to accept or reject this guidance. Faith is always free, for it cannot be coerced. In giving our assent to 'the teaching Magisterium of the Church', we give our assent to that Truth which Christ and the Apostles gave to the Church to preserve. It is in this act that the possibility of freedom lies, for it frees us from our own subjectivity. Our refusal to give assent makes us slaves of our own 'personal judgments', and in the last analysis, to our own passionate natures.
FOOTNOTES to CHAPTER V
1. 'For thus doth our faith teach, that is the true, the right Catholic faith, gathered not by the opinion of private judgment, but by the witness of the Scriptures, not subject to the fluctuations of heretical rashness, but grounded upon Apostolic truth...' (St. Augustine, Serm. xxxiv).
2. This Catechism is a most remarkable one. It is unlike any other summary of Christian doctrine, not only because it is intended for the use of priests in their preaching, but also because it enjoys a unique authority among manuals. In the first place, it was issued by the express command of the Ecumenical Council of Trent, which also ordered that it be translated into the vernacular of different nations to be used as a standard source of preaching. Moreover, it subsequently received the unqualified approval of many Sovereign Pontiffs, including Pius VI and Gregory XIII. Clement XIII said in a papal Bull (June 14, 1761) that the Catechism of the Council of Trent contains a clear explanation of all that is necessary for salvation and useful for the faithful and that no other catechism could be compared to it. He called it 'a norm of Catholic teaching and discipline'. Pope Leo XIII recommended that every seminarian should possess it and considered it to be on a par with the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. Of the several people responsible for compiling it, six subsequently became canonized saints of the Church, including St. Charles Borromeo. One could go on endlessly giving testimony to its authority and excellence. As Father Hogan (former rector of the Irish college in Rome) has stated: 'at the very least it has the same authority as a dogmatic encyclical'.
3. The Blessed John of Avila, Audi Filia, translated from the French, Paris: Aubier, Paris, 1954.
4. Canon George Smith, The Teaching of the Catholic Church, N.Y.:MacMillan, 1949. St. John of the Cross states: 'since He has finished revealing the faith through Christ, there is no more faith to reveal nor will there ever be... Since there are no more articles to be revealed to the Church about the substance of our Faith, a person must not merely reject new revelations about the faith, but he should out of caution, repudiate other kinds of knowledge mingled with them' (Ascent of Mount Carmel). St Vincent of Lerens teaches: 'to announce to Catholic Christians a doctrine other than that which they have received [from the Apostles] was never permitted, is no where permitted and never will be permitted. It was ever necessary, is everywhere necessary, and ever will be necessary that those who announce a doctrine other than that which was received once and for all, be anathema' (Commintoria, XI).
5. Rev. P. Heleh, S.J., Short Sermons on Catholic Dogma, N.Y.:Wagner, 1902.
6. There is some difference in theological opinion as to just what constitutes necessitate medii, though certainly all agree that a knowledge of the existence of God and of the fact that we will be judged for actions is essential. This is the basis of a priest asking a stranger in danger of death if he loves God and is sorry for his sins. Others also include a knowledge of the Incarnation and of the Blessed Trinity.
7. 'In matters of faith it is not permitted to make a distinction between fundamental and so-called non-fundamental articles of faith, as if the first ought to be held by all, and the second the faithful are free to accept or not. The supernatural virtue of faith has as its formal cause the authority of God, the revealer, which suffers not such a division' (Pius XI, Mortalium animos).
8. Footnote in the Abbott translation. The Conciliar statement is ambiguous as is shown by the manner in which the Protestants understood it. There are of course 'degrees of certainty' about the revelatory nature of the Church's teaching, but not to what must be believed and how firmly we must believe. For the sake of completeness, and following Father Parente's Theologica Fundamentalis, these are:
1) Maximum certitude is to be found in formal dogma which is truth divinely and formally revealed and set forth as such by the Magisterium of the Church. Such truths are de fide definita, divina et Catholica. To reject such with obstinacy is a formal heresy.
2) Following closely on this is revealed truth, not as yet so defined by the Church, and which is referred to as proxima fidei (proximately of faith), and to deny these is proximum haeresi (proximate heresy). Other theologians call these truths de fide divina, and state that to deny them with obstinacy is also formal heresy.
3) Third are those truths which are virtually revealed (virtualiter revelata) ,,which is to say, derived from what is revealed with the help of reason (conclusio theologica or a theological conclusion)'. Such truths carry theological certitude (theologica certa) and are said to pertain to the faith (ad fidem pertinens). To deny these is a theological error or an error in faith.
4) Next are the non-revealed truths, but truths nevertheless connected with revelation which the opinion of the theologians (sententia theologorum) refer to as communis (commonly held). To deny these is considered temerous.
These distinctions are of theological use, but not in themselves de fide. Many popes have for example described heresies as 'errors in faith'.
9. The Church in the Modern World. John Courtney Murray, S.J., tells us in his introduction to the Document on Religious Freedom that 'the course of development between the Syllabus of errors (1864) and Dignitatis Humanae Personae (1965) still remains to be explained by theologians. But the Council formally sanctioned the validity of the development itself; and this was a doctrinal event of high importance for theological thought in many other areas' (The Documents of Vatican II, Ed. Walter M. Abbott, S.J., N.Y.: Guild, 1966).
10. Newman's doctrinal views are ambiguous and open to a variety of interpretations. It is pertinent that he was the most quoted theologian in the debates of Vatican II (Christopher Hollis, Newman and the Modern World, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1968) and that his orthodoxy has been questioned by such individuals as Cardinal Manning. It has been said that he was a crypto-Catholic while and Anglican, and a crypto-Protestant when a Catholic. He distinguished between 'the notional assent to truth', the academic recognition of certain beliefs as valid, and the real assent inspired by personal experience. Despite the fact that he died in complete submission to the Church, he is not always a safe source of doctrine.
11. Mgr. G. Van Noort, Dogmatic Theology, Vol III, divine Faith, Maryland:Newman, 1960
12. Canon Smith, op. cit.
13. As Avery Dulles, S.J., one of the Conciliar periti states: 'While stressing that God's self-revelation reached its unsurpassable fullness in Christ, the Council left ample room for development in the Church's assimilation of that fullness in new and unpredictable ways. Without using the term 'continuing revelation', Vatican II allowed for something of the kind. Echoing a favorite term of John XXIII, it spoke repeatedly of the need to discern 'the signs of the times' through which God continues to address his people' (Doctrines do Grow, Ed. John T. McGinn, NU.: Paulist, 1972).
14. The Church in the Modern World, Para. 62.
15. Disputations Concerning Truth.
16. Cf. Chapter II.
17. Catholica, March 1987.
18. Father William Faber, Introduction to the Life of St. Liguori, Richardson: London, 184.
19. op. cit.
20. For example, the Assumption has always been believed by Catholics. It is one of the mysteries of the Rosary.
21. St. John Fisher, quoted in E.E.Reynold's Biography of St. John Fisher, N.Y.: Kenedy, 1955.
22. op. cit.
23. Andrew Greeley, Priests in the United States, Reflections on a Survey, N.Y.: Doubleday 1973. A Statistical survey carried out under Father Greeley's supervision.
24. The first quote is from Time, May 24, 1976 and the second from The Wanderer, June 17, 1976. Archbishop Bernadine has also advocated that cake be used for the 'matter' of the Eucharistic Sacrament, and was rewarded for his loyalty to the faith by being made a Cardinal!
25. Karl Rahner, The Creed in the Melting Pot, published 'cum approbatione ecclesiastica' in concilium, 1973.
26. John McKenzie, The Sword and the Spirit, N.Y.: Paulist, 1972. A more specific Modernist exposition of faith would be hard to find. Father McKenzie remains a priest in good standing.
27. Hubert Monteilhet, Rome n'est plus dans Rome, Pauvert: Paris, 1977. In such a statement the entire French hierarchy placed themselves outside the Church.
28. Paul VI told the leaders of the Pentecostal Movement: 'We are very interested in what you are doing. We have herd so much about what is happening among you. And we rejoice.' (L'Osservatore Romano, Oct. 11, 1975). for a full discussion of Pentecostalism, see The Roman Catholic, vol. I, Nos. 3 and 4, 1979.) A classic example of post-Conciliar attitudes is provided by Bishop Milvaine of the Diocese of Pocahontas. 'The Faith is not a collection of abstract propositions to be memorized. Faith is an encounter with Christ. It should be a deep experience. For several generations we have made a serious mistake in making catechesis mainly a matter of religious instruction (almost 2000 years - Coomaraswamy) and religious instruction a watered-down theology course. We must be aware that the central goal of catechesis is to strengthen faith. To accomplish this we must build up vibrant faith communities' (The Wanderer, Jan. 26, 1978). The editor of The Wanderer then continues to describe the 'faith community' of Pocahontas as 'priests and nuns in rebellion against the Pope; heresy in the Catechisms; immorality passed off as virtue in the confessional; all apparently with the Bishop's approval!' One may be permitted to ask what parishes in the United States are free of such 'abuses'?
29. Veritas, Feb. 1981.
30. Rev. Francis Spirago, The Catechism Explained, N.Y. Benzinger, 1899.
31. While it is true that a Catholic must 'follow his conscience', conscience is itself nothing but the application of God's law to specific circumstances. Putting this in different terms, there is no possible reason apart from insanity for a Catholic to decide the teaching of the Church is false. Only a false Church can teach falsely.
32. De natura et gratia, c. 26. Canon Smith (op. cit.) makes the following statement: 'It is clear, then, that in this matter the Catholic has serious duties. Not only must he avoid temptations against the faith, not only must he pray for an increase of faith, but he is bound to take care that his mental development in secular branches of study shall is accompanied by equal development in the knowledge of his religion. If he feels difficulties regarding fundamentals, it is his duty to inquire of those who are able to solve them; and here he needs a humility of mind which recognizes that what he does not know is well known to many others. There can be little doubt that many defections from the Church are due to a culpable lack of knowledge -culpable because the ordinary means of information upon this important matter, whether they be Catholic books, sermons, or instructions, have been culpably neglected.'
33. 'Good works' includes, not only acts of charity towards our neighbor, but also 'acts of charity' towards God, namely 'fasting and prayer'.
34. Dr. Ludgwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Cork Mercier, 1955.
THE ATTITUDE OF THE MAGISTERIUM TOWARDS INNOVATION
Webster's Dictionary defines 'innovation' as a 'change or novelty, especially in customs, manners or rites,' and reminds us that a more obsolete usage equates the term with 'revolution and insurrection.' The traditional Catholic Church has always been strongly opposed to all innovation(1). Even prior to the coming of Christ, we find Plato calling the innovator 'the worst kind of pest' in society, and stating that it was 'our own irrational impulses which yearned for innovation.'(2) The same attitude prevailed in ancient Rome. Sallust described the innovator as an 'unprincipled character, hating the established order of things... bent on general upheaval, turmoil, and rebellion,' and Cicero said 'sic est vulgus, ex veritate pauca, ex opinione multa estimant.'(3)
Our Lord never presented himself as an 'innovator.' He clearly stated that 'My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me' (John 8:16) and further stated that 'I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill the law' (Matt. 5:17). The warning of St. Paul against those who would teach us a new kind of gospel ('even though an Angel') are quite clear, for as it says in Proverbs: 'Add not a thing to His words lest thou be reproved and found a liar' (30:6). This attitude was preserved by the saints with care. Thus St. Papias (whom St. Irenaeus describes as a 'hearer of the Apostle John and friend of Polycarp'(4)) says, 'I do not take pleasure as many do... in those who relate foreign precepts, but in those who relate the precepts which were given by the Lord to the faith and come down to us from truth itself,' and Tertullian said 'It is not lawful to introduce anything of our own choice... we have for our authors the Apostles of the Lord who did not even themselves choose anything to be introduced of their own will, but faithfully delivered over to the nations the religion which they had received from Christ...' and 'I do not accept what you introduce... on you own authority.'
The Church fathers maintained this attitude with clarity. St. Simeon of Thessalonica begins his book on the Church with the following words: 'With love, we pass on to you that which we have taken from the Fathers. For we offer nothing new, but only that which has been passed on to us, and we have changed nothing but we have retained everything, like a creed, in the state in which it has been given to us. We worship exactly as Christ Himself did and as did the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church.' St. Isidore taught: 'We have the Apostles of God as authorities who did not choose what they would believe but faithfully transmitted the teachings of Christ. So, even if an angel from heaven should preach otherwise, he should be called anathema.' St. Vincent of Lerins said, 'the more a man is under the influence of religion, the more prompt is he to oppose innovation.' He further noted that 'if there is a beginning of mixing the new with the old, foreign ideas with genuine, and profane elements with sacred, this habit will creep in everywhere, without check. In the end, nothing in the Church will be left untouched, unimpaired, unhurt and unstained. Where formerly there was a sanctuary of chaste and uncorrupted truth, there will be a brothel of impious and filthy errors. It is therefore, an indispensable obligation for all Catholics who are eager to prove that they are true sons of Holy Mother Church to adhere to the Holy Faith of the Holy Fathers, to preserve it, to die for it, and, on the other hand, to detest the profane novelties of profane men, to dread them, to harass and attack them. I cannot help wondering about such madness in certain people, the dreadful impiety of their blinded minds and their insatiable lust for error, such that they are not content with the traditional rule of faith as once and for all received from antiquity, but are driven to seek another novelty daily. They are possessed by a permanent desire to change religion, to add something and to take something away - as though the dogma were not divine, so that it has to be revealed only once. But they take it for a merely human institution, which cannot be perfected except by constant emendations, rather, by constant corrections.' St. Augustine taught 'for thus doth our faith teach, that is the true, the right Catholic faith, gathered not by the opinion of private judgment, but by the witness of the Scriptures; not subject to the fluctuations of heretical rashness, but grounded upon Apostolic truth.' He further stated that 'the heretic... is one who for some temporal advantage, especially for the sake of glory and preeminence, originates or follows false and new opinions.' St. Basil said, 'We accept no new faith, written out for us by others, nor do we proclaim the results of our own cogitation, lest mere human wisdom should be accounted the rule of faith; we communicate to all who question us that which the Holy Fathers have taught us.' St. John Climacus in his famous Ladder of Ascent states, 'We should constantly be examining and comparing ourselves with the Holy Fathers and lights who lived before us,' and further adds, 'this I ask, that you should not imagine that we are inventing what we write, for such a suspicion would detract from its value.' St. Bruno teaches 'we ought to relate not our own words, but those of the saints; not those which we can draw from our own heart, but those which we can derive from the fountains of Israel.' St. Maximus the Confessor stated 'I have no private opinion, but only agree with the Catholic Church.'
Coming down through the later centuries we find St. Bernard teaching that heretics 'mix novelties of speech and meaning with heavenly words like poison with honey.' He describes what happens as a result: 'Churches without people, people without priests, priests without reverence due to them, and Christians without Christ. The churches are regarded as synagogues, the holiness of God's sanctuary is denied, the sacraments are not considered sacred, the holy days are deprived of their solemnities...'(14) M. Olier, the founder of the Sulpicians says 'God forbid that I should ever innovate anything in religious matters.' St. Francis de Sales said 'I have said nothing which I have not learned from others,' and in doing so reflected the very words of Cassian: 'I am not inventing this teaching, but simply passing on what I learned from others.' St. Vincent de Paul stated his fear 'that God is allowing the faith gradually to perish from among us on account of the depravity of manners, the novel opinions which are spreading more and more, and the generally evil stage of things,.' and Alphonse de Liguori cried out against those 'who taught not the Gospel but their own inventions. One could go on quoting the saints in similar fashion ad infinitum. Suffice it to conclude with just two more - both of recent vintage. Alban Butler speaks to us of 'Pride... which often attends knowledge' and continues: 'of this there cannot be a more dangerous symptom in a scholar than a fondness for novelty and singularity, especially if joined with obstinacy and opinionateness.' And finally the Abbe Gueranger in his Introduction to the Season of Advent states: 'the reader will rightly infer, from what we have said, that the object we have in view is not in any way to publish some favorite or clever method of our own.'
Pope St. Gregory said with regard to his Commands: 'know, my brother that these orders are not of our own invention, but that we proclaim them as decrees of the ancient fathers taught to them by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.'. Pope St. Sylvester declared 'Let there be no innovations,' and about one thousand years later his statement was repeated by Pope Benedict XV in his encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum.
The great Councils also held to this attitude. The Seventh Ecumenical council stated 'let everything that conflicts with ecclesiastical tradition and teaching, and that has been innovated and done contrary to the examples outlined by the saints and the venerable Fathers, or that shall hereafter at any time be done in such a fashion, be anathema.' The Second Council of Nicaea also condemned 'those, who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions and to invent novelties of some kind.'
And such has ever been the seemingly monotonous plainchant of the Church which sees her function as one of preserving the Truth which Christ entrusted to her. As Mgr. Van Noort states, 'THE POINT IS HAMMERED HOME MORE FORECEABLY BY TRADITION WHICH FROM THE VERY EARLIEST DAYS WAS WILLING TO FOLLOW ONLY THE DOCTRINE OF THE APOSTLES, AND ALWAYS CONSIDERED ANY INNOVATION IN MATTERS OF THE FAITH TO BE A CLEAR HALLMARK OF HERESY.' Not one saint, not one pope from a previous era, no council prior to Vatican II and not one line of Holy Scripture can be brought forth in defense of innovation. And such is not surprising for the Law of the Church with regard to the canonization of saints promulgated by Pope Urban VIII requires that: 'A most diligent inquiry be made as to whether the servant of God whose canonization is sought wrote any books, tracts, meditations, or the like; for if any such have been written, no inquiry is to be carried on until such books are carefully examined by the Congregation to see whether they contain any errors contrary to faith or morals, or any novel doctrine opposed to the sound and pure teaching of the Church.'
Such however is by no means the attitude of the post-Conciliar Church. On the contrary, Paul VI, despite the fact that he took a coronation oath (in which he swore 'to change nothing of the received tradition, and nothing thereof that I have found before me guarded by my God-pleasing predecessors, to encroach upon and to alter nothing, nor to permit any innovation therein...'), has done everything in his power to foster innovations of the most horrendous character.
Thus in his General Audience of July 2, 1969 he said that: 'We desire to make our own the important words used by the council, the words which define its spirit, and in a dynamic synthesis form the spirit of all those who place their confidence in it, whether they be in or outside of the Church. The (key) word is NOVELTY (nouveaute - change, innovation, newness), a simple word, in common usage, and most dear to the hearts of modern man... This word... has been given to us as a command and as a program.' and further on in the same discourse:
'Two terms characterize the Council: renovation and aggiornamento. We very much desire that the 'spirit of renewal', to use an expression sanctioned by the Council, should be understood and lived by everyone. It is a response to one of the characteristics of our times, engaged as it is in an enormous and rapid transformation which creates change and innovation in all domains of modern life. How can one fail but to spontaneously reflect that IF THE WORLD CHANGES, SHOULD NOT RELIGION ALSO CHANGE?... It is for this very reason that the Church has, especially after the Council, undertaken so many reforms... The religious orders reforming their statutes... The Liturgy undergoing a reform the extent of which is clear to everyone... And we are about to reform the whole of Canon Law... And how many other consoling and promising INNOVATIONS... We can say... of the Council that it marks the opening of a NEW ERA in which no one will be able to deny the NEW POINTS OF VIEW which we have indicated...'
Not everyone was entirely happy with the 'new era' and these 'new points of view.' Hence it became necessary for Paul VI to once again discuss the subject. In his General Audience of August 4, 1971 he stated that 'it is necessary to know how to welcome with humility and an interior freedom what is innovative.' He proceeded to explain to the faithful that the 'renewal' achieved since Vatican II was: '...that of a renewal conceived in correct terms, and according to the 'good spirit' promised by the Heavenly Father... We could, by the grace of the Lord, give many proofs, and not trivial ones either, that seem to us convincing... If we think of the sum total of innovating measures that have been put into effect in this period, particularly if we consider the liturgical reform - a great innovation indeed!'.
And indeed, as he states elsewhere that the 'chief innovation affects the Eucharistic Prayer...' which is to say the Mass itself.
Some will ask, what is wrong with innovations? The answer is that they essentially deny and disrupt the integrity of Revelation as handed down to us by Tradition. Hence the are intimately associated with heresy, and indeed, the Church Fathers frequently join the two terms in a single phrase - the terms being virtually synonymous. As St. Augustine said with regard to the teaching of the Church on original sin: 'It is not I who devised the teaching of the Church which the Catholic faith holds from ancient times, but you who deny it are undoubtedly an innovating heretic.' If the Church functions to preserve the deposit of the faith, she has an absolute obligation to speak out and expose those who would dilute or distort this deposit, and she has an absolute obligation to do everything in her power to prevent such heretics from misleading the faithful. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1908) states that 'heresy is a deadly poison generated within the organism of the Church.' As Father Faber says, 'there is no possibility of measuring the harm done to a man's religious habits by the admission and temporary entertainment of error, however ignorance might seem to excuse such an admission.' St. John Fisher (who did not die in vain) tells us that 'the sinner remains joined to the Mystical Body by faith,' but 'the heretic cuts himself off from the body and its vivifying spirit.'(24) Pope Pius X taught in his Encyclical Editae Saepe himself quoting the words of St. Charles Borromeo: 'It is a certain well-established fact that no other crime so seriously offends god and provokes His greatest wrath as the vice of heresy.'(25)
The idea that it is not necessary for those in authority to condemn heretics was labeled as 'scandalous' by Pope Alexander VII in 1665 (Denz. 1105). The very first council of the Apostles in Jerusalem was convened to put an end to the judaizing tendencies of the first Christians. Pope Leo confirmed the conciliar condemnation of Pope Honorius I on the grounds that 'he was wanting the vigilance expected from him in his Apostolic office and thereby allowed heresy to make headway which he should have crushed in its beginnings.' During the traditional rite for the Ordination of bishops, the following words are read: 'I have made thee a watchman to the house of Israel' (Ezech. 3:17). and the very next sentence continues: 'If thou declare not to the wicked his iniquity, I will require his blood at thy hand.' (Needless to say, these phrases, to accommodate Protestant prejudices, have been dropped from the post-Conciliar ordination rite. The Conciliar 'bishops' are 'ordained' to 'loose,' but not to 'bind'! cf. Chapter XIV or Ordination Rites.) Canon Law (2396) states that 'he is suspect of heresy who spontaneously and consciously helps in any way with the propagation of heresy.' Pope Felix III stated: 'Not to oppose error is to approve of it, and not to defend truth is to suppress it, and indeed, to neglect to confound evil men, when we can do it, is no less a sin than to encourage them.'(26)
It should not be thought that such 'anti-heretical' attitudes on the part of the traditional Church are not Scriptural. Christ Himself warned us that 'many false prophets shall arise, and shall seduce many...' He further stated that 'he who is not with me is against me;.. and he who will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican.' He was not ambiguous when he said 'he who believeth not shall be condemned.' the Apostles spoke in a similar vein. St. Paul warned us against those 'who would teach a Gospel besides that which we had received of him.' St. John calls the heretic 'a seducer, an Antichrist, a man who dissolves Christ,' and instructs us 'to receive him not into the house nor say to him God speed you.' St. Peter, with his characteristic ardor, calls the heretics 'lying teachers who shall bring in sects of perdition, and deny the Lord who bought them; bringing upon themselves swift destruction.' He called them 'clouds without water and clouds tossed in whirlwinds, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved.' St. Jude speaks in a similar strain throughout his whole Epistle. And St. Paul tells us how to act with regard to heresy. He instructs Timothy to 'war on them a good warfare, having faith and good conscience, which some rejecting have made a shipwreck concerning the faith...' He exhorts the ancients of the Church at Ephesus to 'take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you Bishops to rule the Church of god... I know that, after my departure, ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock... therefore watch.' :Beware of dogs,' he writes to the Philippians, the 'dogs' being the same false teachers as the ravening wolves. Is it any wonder that St. Jerome calls the congregations of heretics 'synagogues of Satan' and says that their communion is to be avoided 'like that of vipers and scorpions?' St. De Montfort warned his own father 'not to touch pitch, for it would defile him; not to swallow earth, for it would choke him, not to inhale smoke, for it would stifle him.' (29) As St. Bernard warns, 'it is not safe to sleep near serpents.' (30)
And what do we have today in the new and post-Conciliar church? As Frank Sheed has said, 'every week brings news of some revolutionary-sounding denial by some theologian somewhere - and not a sound out of the hierarchy!... There is hardly a doctrine or practice of the Church that I have not heard attacked by some priest.'(31) Now, who are the great theologians of the new Church? Surely no one will balk at the name of Bernard Haring, Karl Rahner, Hans Kung, Joseph Suenens, Edward Schillebeeckx and Yves Congar, to give but a few names that are almost household words - and everyone of these has denied one or another of the Church's teachings. They are all well known to Paul VI and his successors - many as personal friends. All of them are 'priests in good standing.' Not one of them has been declared heretical, much less excommunicated(32). When Hans Kung was brought up on charges of heresy - he denies the doctrine of transubstantiation, that Christ established a hierarchy or even a priesthood, the reality of all the miracles in the Gospel and even the Resurrection - even the Lutherans object to his Christology - it was declared that 'he was not a Catholic theologian' but in no way deprived of his priestly function or his power to influence the Catholic faithful. As Michael Novak commented, 'neither Kung nor those theologians who have leaped to his defense argue that the Vatican has misunderstood or misrepresented him... The Vatican has not, however, limited his freedom; it has only revoked his authority to speak in its name. Nor has the Vatican accused him of heresy - defined as deviation from the teachings of Christ, accompanied by deliberate scorn for orthodoxy - or impugned his person, motives or good will. The Vatican recognizes Kung's intention to remain a Catholic.' Father Schillebeeckx, one of those responsible for the 'Dutch Cathechism,' and a man who has denied as many teachings of the Church as has Hans Kung, after a thorough investigation was declared 'a priest in good standing' both by his order and the Vatican. These investigations were instituted during the reign of Paul VI and carried to completion during that of John Paul II.
Paul VI recognized that the 'smoke of Satan' was rising within the Vatican itself. But what of his actions? He has never condemned heresy, but rather stated that 'you will have noticed my dear friends to what extent the style of our government of the Church seeks to be pastoral, fraternal, humble in spirit and form. It is on this account that, with the help of God, we hoped to be loved.' And to be loved by the world, he abolished the Index (35), and effectively abolished the Holy Office, one of the primary functions of which was to prevent heretics from doing harm, and then openly declared that: 'We are going to have a period of greater liberty in the life of the Church, and hence for each of her sons... Formal discipline will be reduced, all arbitrary judgment will be abolished, as well as all intolerance and absolutism.'
Now such a statement from a person who claimed to be a reigning Pontiff - Christ's representative on earth, can only be termed extraordinary. First of all, the judgments of the Church have never been 'arbitrary,' but based on sound doctrine, and often taken after years of careful study. Secondly, the Church must be intolerant of error. After all, she is here to proclaim Christ's truth. Now either she is the Church that Christ founded, and therefore has, whether the world accords her recognition and love or not, special rights and privileges, or she is only one Church among many others and must bow and kowtow to those she would emulate. Either she teaches the absolute Truth, or there is in her eyes, no absolute truth. What parent would ever fail to censor the reading and activities of his children or those entrusted to his care? What government in power has ever allowed seditious organizations the freedom to undermine its structures? And heresy for the Church of Christ is sedition. What physician would ever allow the disease to play havoc with his patient when he was in a position to prevent it?
It should by now be quite clear to the reader that the New and post-Conciliar church has departed from unity with the traditional Church, the 'Church of All Times,: the Church that Christ founded, the Roman Catholic Church as she exists now and will continue to exist till the end of time. To those who argue that all such departures are in the nature of 'abuses,' let it be stressed that throughout this book, almost all examples of the RUPTURE WITH TRADITION are taken from either statements of the post-Conciliar 'popes,' the documents of Vatican II, or illustrated from the new Sacramental rites as they are officially promulgated. No post-Conciliar Catholic can refuse to accept these three sources without defeating his own argument. He cannot 'pick and choose' just what he will accept in the New Church without declaring that it is in fact his own 'private opinion' that is the basic authority for his decision. The 'post-Conciliar Catholic' no matter how 'sincere' is plainly and simply, NO LONGER A ROMAN CATHOLIC.
'To use the words of the fathers of Trent, it is certain that the Church 'was instructed by Jesus Christ and His apostles and that all truth was daily taught it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.' Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain 'restoration and regeneration' for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obstruction or other misfortune. Indeed these authors of novelties consider that a 'foundation may be laid for a new human institution', and what Cyprian detested may come to pass, that what was a divine thing 'may become a human church.'