CHAPTER II, Part 7
One of the most important functions of the Authentic Magisterium is to protect Sacramental integrity. The Faithful have an absolute right to the Sacraments as they were given to us by God as a 'vehicle' for the transmission of Grace. Now the post-Conciliar establishment has violated the Magisterial structures aimed at protecting these Sacraments in every possible way. Consider the traditional Mass.
This rite was protected by the Papal Bull Quo Primumwhich states that no priest can be forbidden to say this Mass, and that the faithful shall always have access to it. This Papal Bull was moreover re-affirmed by every Pope from Saint Pius V (who promulgated it) to the time of John XXIII. This is now a forbidden Mass.(1) Attempts to disguise this fact such as allowing for the so-called 'indult' Mass, or the Novus Ordo in Latin with Chant prevail. Similarly organizations of seemingly traditional priests such as the Society of St. Peter are organized, but ordained with post-Conciliar 'bishops' who almost certainly do not have the power to pass on Holy Orders. But the fact remains that the Mass of All Times is forbidden and if one doubts this statement, simply go and ask a post-Conciliar 'bishop' for permission to attend it. Now this rite is not only forbidden, it has been replaced by a false Mass in which the 'Words of Consecration' (no longer led such) given us by Christ Himself have been changed. Remembering that we are dealing, as Scripture says, with 'powers and principalities,' this action of the post-Conciliar establishment must be labeled diabolical.(2) In a similar manner all the Sacraments that depend upon the priesthood, and particularly that of Episcopal consecration have been rendered at least doubtful if not totally destroyed.
An excellent example illustrating many of these issues is provided by E. Sylvester Berry. 'According to Protestant teaching, all men are free to worship 'God according to the dictates of their own conscience.' the doctrine is widely proclaimed today as 'freedom of conscience' or 'freedom of worship.' It simply means that every man is free, not only to believe according to his own interpretation of the Scriptures, but also to worship God in his own way. This either denies that Our Lord established any definite form of worship in the New Law, or maintains that we cannot know with certainty what it is, for surely no Christian could believe that he is free to worship as he pleases, if he admits that Christ has established a definite form of worship to be used by His followers.(3)
1. Many attempts to disguise this fact behind such names as 'abrogated' are used. Groups petitioning for the return of this Mass are asked not to refer to the Bull Quo Primum, which is absurd.
2. Cf. Rama P. Coomaraswamy, M.D., The Problems with the New Mass, TAN: Rockford III. See also A History of the Traditional or Tridentine Mass, Sophia, Vol, No.2 &3, 1995-6 (Foundation for Traditional Studies, POB 370, Oakton, VA 22124.
3. The Church of Christ, E. Sylvester Berry, D.D., London : Herder Book Co, , 1927.
A WORD ON THE USE OF ONE'S CONSCIENCE
Many hold that their decision as to how to behave in the present circumstances is one of following their conscience. Catholics should be understand just what this means and again the Magisterium makes it quite clear. One's Catholic conscience is not a 'still small voice' such as Newman and the Protestants believe in. There is a theological and metaphysical teaching that Synderesis (the divine spark within us) cannot err, but conscience can. Our consciences are far too easily influenced by our emotions and passions, by the milieu in which we live, and this is to say nothing of the effects of Original Sin. For a Catholic the conscience is a faculty used to apply God's laws (knowable from the Magisterium) to a given circumstance where the Church has not provided clear guidance. One cannot perform an abortion because one's conscience 'allows' one to do so. Nor can one use one's conscience to choose the 'lesser of two evils,' when both are against God's laws. One of course is responsible for a well formed conscience, which is to say, for knowing the laws of God (as they pertain to one's station in life), as promulgated by the Church and how they apply. But it would be impossible for the Church to formulate specifics for every possible situation nuanced or otherwise. Hence it is that Our Lord provides us with a conscience that allows us to apply the laws we know to some specific circumstance.(1) Where there is doubt as to such application, the Church recommends consulting a competent (and orthodox) confessor.
It should be abundantly clear on the basis of what has been said that a Catholic cannot reject the authentic Magisterium of the Church on the grounds of conscience. The Magisterium, the 'proximate rule of faith,' is in fact God's law for man. It is the Truth, and one obviously cannot deny the truth on the grounds of conscience.
The idea that God's love will protect us from the consequences of our rebellion is fraught with danger. Love is a reciprocal affair and as St. Francis de Sales instructs us in his Treatise on the Love of God, it has three aspects: love of delight in the divine perfections; love of benevolence, by which we will to praise the Lord, to serve him and work for His glory; and love of conformity, by which we accept all that God wills or expects of us, a love which has its consummation in the total donation of ourselves to God.
In the final analysis the Church has not left us orphans. She has provided all that we need to be Catholic in the present circumstances. Those that would argue that rejecting the heterodox teachings of the post-Conciliar 'popes' leads to denying the indefectability of the Church are simply not rational. It is precisely the opposite. If one accepts them one proclaims that the post-Conciliar Church has in fact defected, for it has changed its teachings and practices which is the essence of defection. The same can be said about rebellion. It is those who have changed Christ's teaching (and those who knowingly accept the changes) who are in rebellion. As opposed to such, it is those who have loyally adhered to the traditions, and who have refused to change their beliefs who have proven that the Church, like the Truth she represents, has never and never can defect. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the truth.
There is a way back. The paradigm is found in the parallel of the Prodigal Son. Having demanded our inheritance and left our home, many of us have he ended up eating the swill of modernism fit only for pigs. When we came to our senses we must return home and the embracing bosom of Our Father. Then it is that the 'fatted lamb' who 'is slain and is yet alive' can be returned to us - the lamb which is none other than Christ Himself. Those of us who, for whatever reason have left our traditional home in Holy Mother Church must make the choice.
In the last analysis, we must all choose between Barabbas and Christ!
1. 'By following a right conscience you not only do I not incur sin, but am also immune from sin, whatever superiors may say to the contrary. For conscience obliges in virtue of divine command whether written down or in a code or instilled by natural law. To weigh conscience in the scale against obedience to legal authority is to compare the weight of divine and human decrees. The first obliges more than the second and sometimes against the second.' St. Thomas Aquinas, Disputations Concerning Truth, 17, 5.
CHAPTER III, part 1
THE NATURE OF REVELATION - SCRIPTURE
'The Church does not come out of Scripture, but rather, Scripture comes out of the Church.'
Having considered the Church's Magisterium, its infallible character, the alternative 'sources' of truth in private judgment, and the nature of 'unity', we shall in the next two chapters consider the sources of the Church's teaching - namely that which for the sake of convenience is divided into Scripture and Tradition.
'It would be true in a sense, to say that there is but one source of Revelation (apart from God Himself), namely, divine Tradition - understanding thereby the body of Revealed Truth handed down from the Apostles... Nevertheless, since a great and important part of that tradition was committed to writing and is contained in the inspired books of Holy Scripture, it is the custom of the Church to distinguish two sources of Revelation: Tradition and Scripture.'(1)
Strictly speaking, Scripture is part of Tradition. The primacy of Tradition has been a constant teaching of the Church, and is indeed, as Tanquerey states, the 'principal source of Revelation'. He summarizes this teaching by saying: 'Tradition is more extensive than Scripture, and embraces truths which are not at all contained in Scripture or are contained there only obscurely; also Tradition is more essential to the Church than is sacred Scripture, for revealed truth at first was handed down orally by the Apostles, it was always proclaimed orally, always and everywhere it is to be proclaimed...' (2)
It is only just that such should be the case, for the Church existed long before the Scriptures were written. As far as we know, Our Blessed Lord Himself never wrote a line of Scripture; nor did he instruct his Apostles to do so. Indeed, the Apostles would have been surprised to note our dependence upon their writings, for when they portioned out the known world among themselves for purposes of evangelization, they carried no written word - handed out no Bible tracts - to the thousands upon thousands of converts they made. The books of the New Testament were produced and called forth by special circumstances - and only five of the twelve left us anything in writing. (St. Matthew's Gospel, the earliest, was written eight to ten years after the death of Our Lord; the Apocalypse, many years later). Moreover, as the Apostle John himself tells us, it was neither reasonable nor possible for every last word and action of Our Saviour to be committed to writing(3). Cardinal Manning puts it well in saying: 'We neither derive our religion from the Scriptures, nor does it depend upon them. Our faith was in the world before the New Testament was written.'(4)
Indeed, the fact that the books of the Old and New Testament are 'inspired' at all, cannot be demonstrated from the Bible, and is entirely based on Tradition . The contents of the 'canon' or list of books admitted as Scripture (as opposed to the Apocrypha), has been handed down to us as a result of the decisions made by the Church (under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost) at the Council of Carthage in 379. As St. Augustine said, 'I should not believe the Gospel, unless I were impelled thereto by the authority of the Catholic Church'.
To stress tradition is in no way to decry Scripture which is a major part of it, and as such remains one of the primary sources from which we come to know the Catholic Faith. And who can deny but that the Church has throughout the ages given the greatest possible veneration to what is called 'Holy Writ'? The Council of Trent taught that 'following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, [the Council of Trent] receives and venerates with equal affection of piety and reverence all the books both of the Old and the New Testament, - seeing that one God is the author of both... But if anyone receive not, as sacred and canonical, the said books entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic church... let him be anathema' (Session IV).
Pope Leo XIII taught that they 'in their entirety, and together with all their parts, were written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.' He further added that 'it is utterly impossible for the least error to be divinely inspired' (Providentissimus Deus). Whenever the Gospels are read at Mass, the faithful stand and make the Sign of the Cross over their foreheads, their mouths and their heart, thus symbolizing that what they believe in their minds, they confess on their lips and love in their heart. Anyone who has attended a traditional High Mass knows how the Gospel carried in procession, incensed and venerated. If the great hand-written and illuminated Bibles of mediaeval times were 'chained' in the Churches, this is but similar to the practice today in any rare-book library. If they were preserved in the Latin (Vulgate), this was but to prevent the introduction of error into the established text . They were from the earliest days read in both the liturgical language and the vernacular - this we know from the history of St. Procarp who was martyred in the year 303, and whose function it was at Mass to translate the sacred text into the spoken tongue - a custom that prevails to this day wherever the traditional Mass is said. Nor is it true, as Luther and the Protestants claim, that the Church 'kept the Bible from the laity'. For example, there were at least nine editions of the Bible published in the German tongue prior to Luther's birth, and he himself used one of these as the basis of his own work; there were many more - perhaps as many as a hundred - in Latin (8). It should be noted that prior to 1500 any literate man could handle Latin with ease. Multiple editions were also printed in the other countries. And this is to say nothing of the mediaeval sermons which were often little more than strings of biblical quotations strung together.
Again, the Church has not, as Protestant historians claim, ever forbidden the translation of the Scriptures into the vernacular. As the Preface to the King James Version and as Cranmer himself admitted, there were a host of pre-Reformation translations into the Anglo-Saxon and English tongues(9). The issue only came under discussion when false translations produced by heretics made their appearance. And when they did, the Church with her usual concern for preserving the integrity of the Scriptures, imposed and promulgated certain legitimate and necessary limitations. Thus in England, it was the Lollard (the followers of Wycliffe) cry 'An open Bible for all!', meaning the incorrect and mischievous translations being spread abroad and the free interpretation of Scripture, that led Bishop Arundel to promulgate the following article at a Diocesan Council held in Oxford in 1408: 'We therefore command and ordain that henceforth no one ON HIS OWN AUTHORITY translate any passage of Holy Scripture into English in a book, booklet, or tract, and that no one read, wholly or in part, publicly or secretly, any such book, booklet, or tract lately written in the time of said John Wycliffe or since, or that may hereafter be made, under pain of excommunication until such translation has been approved and allowed by the diocesan of the place...'(10).
Let the meaning of the article be clear. There is no prohibition against translations as such, but against unauthorized translations. And indeed, such was both legitimate and necessary, for as Belloc points out, the reformers used the Scriptures against the Church in three ways: 1) They appealed to the sacred books against the Church as if Scripture could be used to negate tradition; 2) If the authority of the clergy was to be removed or undermined, an alternative authority had to be found, and indeed the Scriptures proved most useful in so far as no Catholic was willing to deny but that they had a certain authority - hence the cry of the Reformers: 'Sola Scriptura'; and 3) Scripture could be translated in such a manner as to distort the original meaning by simply changing a few key words - to say nothing of the heretical commentaries that could lead the reader of even orthodox translations to understand their content in an incorrect manner(11).
Certain 'Key-words'. What were some of these? According to Thomas Ward's 'Errata of the Protestant Bible', they were above all the words that specified the sacrificial nature of the Mass and the Priesthood. Altar became 'table'; priest became 'elder', church became 'congregation' and grace became 'favor'. St. Thomas More lists yet others such as Penance changed to 'repentance'; Confession to 'knowledge' and Contrite to 'troubled'. The Reformers also had a penchant for adding and deleting phrases they objected to. A classical example of this is Luther translating Romans 3:29 as 'justified by faith ONLY.' There is absolutely nothing in the Vulgate to justify the addition of the word ONLY. When Luther was taken task for this he responded: 'You tell me what a great fuss the Papists are making because of the word 'alone' is not in the text of Paul. If your Papist makes such an unnecessary row about the word 'alone', say right out to him: Dr. Martin Luther will have it so, and say: Papists and asses are one and the same thing. I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word 'alone' is not in the Latin and Greek text, and it is not necessary for the Papists to teach me that... It shall remain in my New Testament, and if all the Popish donkeys were to get mad and beside themselves, they will not get it out.'(12). In parallel manner they deleted important portions (those referring to the need for good works or Purgatory) of both the New and the Old Testament.
The Church is not only concerned with the proper translations of the sacred text; she is also concerned that the obscure passages in Scripture be understood correctly - that is, after the manner of the Fathers, the Doctors and the Saints(13). How could she do otherwise? For centuries she had taken an almost excessive care to preserve the Scriptures intact - no one has ever accused her of falsifying them - and if she took such care to preserve them in the exact form that they were given to her, how could she not be concerned with their proper interpretation?(14) Where after all did the Protestants get their Scriptures which they so freely interpret? And how else can we expect a loving mother to act?
THE POST-CONCILIAR TRANSLATIONS OF SCRIPTURE
'A man is said to expound Holy Writ in another sense than that required by the Holy Ghost, when he so distorts the meaning of Holy Writ, that it is contrary to what the Holy Ghost has revealed... such are false prophets'
St. Thomas Aquinas (15)
The post-Conciliar 'popes' have approved a variety of new translations, and while not overtly condemning the Douay-Rheims version, have all but consigned it to oblivion(16). The one in most common use is The New American Bible, approved for use with the Novus Ordo Missae or new mass. It carries an introduction by Paul VI in which he states that it was 'produced in cooperation with our separated brethren...' so that 'all Christians may be able to use it'. What this means is that the translation is one the Protestants approve of. Yet another is the Jerusalem Bible (approved, but not specifically recommended for use during liturgical services.) It informs us in the introduction that it was created with aggiornamento or 'keeping abreast of the times' and approfondimento or 'deepening of theological thought' in mind. It also provides notes 'which are neither sectarian nor superficial.' Still another is The Way, the Living bible, complete Catholic Edition, which one writer to The Remnant has described as 'the killing bible, complete satanic edition(17).
It is not surprising then to turn to these ecumenical editions and find that the very key-words which the enemies of the Church in a previous era used so effectively to attack the deposit of the faith, have now been adopted and approved by the post-Conciliar Church. Consider I Cor., 11:27 where the Latin calicem is translated as a 'cup' rather than a chalice. Such is by no means innocent when one finds altar translated as 'table' and sacrifice as 'meal'(18).
In some ways these new versions are even worse than their Protestant prototypes. For example, those responsible for this translation seem to have a positive aversion for the term 'soul'. Consider the Magnificat: where Mary says 'My soul doth magnify the Lord'. We now read 'My being proclaims the greatness of God' (Luke 2:46). Where Luke quotes Simeon as saying 'and thine own soul a sword shall pierce' we now read 'and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword' (Luke 2:35). Again, where Matthew asks 'what doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul' we find the following: 'what profit would a man show if he were to gain the whole world and destroy himself in the process?' (Matt. 16:26; Mark 8:36). Even Christ does not escape! His words uttered during the Agony in the Garden are changed from 'my soul is sorrowful even unto death' to 'my heart is nearly broken with sorrow' (Matt. 26:36).
'Hell' has also been all but abolished. It is only mentioned once in the New American Bible, while it is mentioned over 120 times in the Douay-Rheims translation and over 50 times in the Anglo-Episcopalian King James version. Moreover, in the various cycles that are read to the 'People of God' each Sunday, the pertinent passage is not included. No wonder that belief in Hell has greatly diminished among the faithful.
Another favorite distortion is to change the word 'charity' to 'love'. St. Thomas More addresses this falsification and shows the Protestants used it with the deliberate intention of discrediting the teaching of the Church. 'For although charity', he says, 'be always love, yet is not, ye wot well, love always charity.' He discusses the differences between the two words as commonly understood. 'But now, whereas charity signifieth in Englishmen's ears not every common love, but a good virtuous and well-ordered love, he that will studiously flee from that name of good love, and always speak of 'love' and leave out the 'good', I would surely say that he meaneth naughtily.' He concluded that Tyndale had altered the word 'in order to minish the name of holy virtuous affection into the bare name of love, common to the virtuous love that man beareth to God and the lewd love that is between some worthless fellow and his mate.' Charity means to More, and to every other Catholic, that degree of supernatural love for God enjoyed by each particular soul in a state of grace. And this supernatural state is one to which a man by his own efforts can never attain, one which is entirely beyond his deserts, and in which he is raised to the dignity of an adopted son of God and is endowed by grace with the powers befitting his new status. Charity, then, is a key-word of the Catholic faith. Tyndale's object, as More points out (and Tyndale never denied), was to displace it by the commoner word 'love', and thus to make way for another Protestant key-word, namely faith - a faith, which, as they believe, without works, without charity and without grace, is sufficient in itself for salvation(20).
Again, the New American Bible constantly translates the phrase resurrexit and surrexit (active voice) as 'Christ has been raised' (passive voice), rather than the correct 'Christ is risen'. The distinction may seem minor, but Christ was not raised by another. 'If Christ be not risen (being god, in and of Himself)... then is our faith in vain' (1 Cor. XV) (21)
Still further and truly offensive to pious ears is the new translation of the Angelic Salutation. 'Hail Mary full of grace...' (Ave Maria, gratia plena). We now find it translated by the most acquard 'Rejoice, O highly favored daughter' - hardly a phrase to use in the rosary, but one the Protestants of an earlier period had used to denigrate the Mother of God. As Father Robert Burns comments on this passage are pertinent: 'I'm sure that God had many highly favored daughters, but I know of only one who was informed by an angel from Heaven that she possessed the fullness of grace.' And indeed, when Pope Pius IX defined the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, he pointed to his very phrase as evidence that the soul of the Blessed Virgin could never, even from the moment of conception, have been stained by sin (22).
Allow me to conclude with one final passage. In Genesis XXV, from whence comes the famous phrase of selling one's soul for a 'mess of pottage', Esau is quoted as saying to Jacob: 'Let me gulp down some of that red stuff, I'm starving...' How many parents would tolerate this type of language at the dinner table. Are we to assume the current crop of translators can't speak English? Or is there perhaps some attempt in all this to turn Scripture itself into a 'mess of pottage'?