The “new” SSPX has lied recently, falsely denying that it was negotiating with Rome1 and falsely claiming the N-SSPX had growth which it did not have.2
Now, the “new” SSPX has published a (supposed) interview with Archbishop Lefebvre, in which he (supposedly) asserts that there are no problems with one of the key Vatican II documents, Lumen Gentium. 3 The SSPX publishes the interview:
We cannot “prove the negative” and show that Archbishop Lefebvre never promoted Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium, as the N-SSPX now claims he did. Here is what the N-SSPX quotes him as saying:
some conciliar documents... are obviously in conformity with Tradition, which pose no problem: I am thinking of Lumen Gentium...4
This (supposed) quote of “Archbishop Lefebvre” raises two issues:
We address these two issues in turn:
The (supposed) “Archbishop Lefebvre” says that:
some conciliar documents... are obviously in conformity with Tradition, [and] which pose no problem....5
That is false! All Vatican II documents are evil. None of them are “in conformity with Tradition” and all of them pose a problem. Besides mentioning Lumen Gentium, the (supposed) “Archbishop Lefebvre” refers to Optatam Totius, the decree on priestly training.6 It is an evil document like all Vatican II documents. In a future article, we will treat the problems with Optatam Totius.
Lumen Gentium is one of the main and most evil of Vatican II’s documents. It is the general “framework” on which the other conciliar documents “hang”. The present article will focus on the (supposed) Archbishop Lefebvre’s assertion that:
some conciliar documents... are obviously in conformity with Tradition, [and] which pose no problem: I am thinking of Lumen Gentium...7
Note the (supposed) “Archbishop Lefebvre” not only asserts there is no problem with Lumen Gentium, but he says “ obviously ” there is no problem.
We cannot “prove a negative” and so cannot strictly prove that the N-SSPX is committing fraud by publishing this (supposed) “interview”. We cannot strictly prove that Archbishop Lefebvre never approved of Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium, and asserted that it “obviously... poses no problem”8
However, if it were true that Archbishop Lefebvre really did say this, then we would know that Archbishop Lefebvre:
We address these three points in turn:
Archbishop Lefebvre truly taught publicly, and repeatedly, that Lumen Gentium contradicts the infallible teaching of the First Vatican Council and the consistent teaching of the ordinary magisterium of the Church. Archbishop Lefebvre also called Lumen Gentium revolutionary. For example, in one of his books he (correctly) taught that what Lumen Gentium teaches about supreme power in the Church “is contrary to the teaching and Magisterium of the Church,... contrary to the definitions of Vatican Council I and... is a real revolution! ”11
The “old” SSPX used to warn against the errors of Lumen Gentium. For example, the “old” SSPX used to declare that:
Lumen gentium, contradicts the teachings of Pope Pius XII in Mystici corporis and Humani generis... Lumen gentium... contradicts the teachings of Pius IX in [infallible] propositions 16 and 17 of the Syllabus, those of Leo XIII in Satis cogitum, and those of Pius XI in Mortalium animos. 13
It is beyond belief that Archbishop Lefebvre did not recognize that Lumen Gentium’s teachings are new and are inconsistent with Catholic Tradition. Even Pope John Paul II declared that Lumen Gentium taught new doctrine:
[T]he substantial “novelty” of the Second Vatican Council [includes that] the Church is presented as the People of God (cf. Lumen Gentium, no. 2), and authority as a service (cf. ibid., no. 3);... [etc.].
Further, because Lumen Gentium contains hundreds of errors, it would be surprising if Archbishop Lefebvre ever declared that:
obviously... Lumen Gentium... poses no problem16
Pope John Paul II had good reason to declare there are novelties in Lumen Gentium. There are approximately nineteen novel errors for every page!17 These new doctrines are heresies, as we showed in an earlier Catholic Candle. 18
As examples of Lumen Gentium’s hundreds of errors, we analyze the thirty conciliar errors in only a single paragraph in §15. Read the thirty footnotes comparing Traditional Catholic teaching to this paragraph’s conciliar errors. Here is this paragraph of Lumen Gentium:
15. The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked19 with those who, being baptized20, are honored with the name of Christian21, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety22 or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter.23 For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture,24 taking it as a norm of belief25 and a pattern of life26, and who show a sincere27 zeal.28 They lovingly believe in God29 the Father30 Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour.31 They are consecrated by baptism32, in which they are united with Christ.33 They also recognize and accept other sacraments34 within their own Churches35 or ecclesiastical communities.36 Many of them rejoice in the episcopate37, celebrate the Holy Eucharist38 and cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God.39 They also share with us in prayer40 and other spiritual benefits.41 Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit,42 for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them43 with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood.44 In all of Christ's disciples45 the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ46, as one flock under one shepherd,47 and He prompts them to pursue this end. Mother Church never ceases to pray, hope and work that this may come about.48
To read more of Lumen Gentium’s hundreds of other errors, which are analyzed and compared to the Traditional Catholic Faith, read Lumen Gentium Annotated, by Quanta Cura Press, ©2013, available at scribd.com (free) & at Amazon.com (sold at cost).
Is this supposed “interview” with Archbishop Lefebvre merely a recent fraud to avoid defections and sway the N-SSPX’s priests and followers to accept Lumen Gentium and to accept a deal with modernist Rome? We cannot prove this interview is fraudulent, although the N-SSPX has lied in the recent past. To prove it is fraudulent, a person would have to have been with Archbishop Lefebvre everywhere and at all times during the indefinite period in which this “interview” could have occurred. This person also would also have to have a clear memory of what Archbishop Lefebvre said, every day, decades ago, and (if he were to expose the “interview” as a fraud) be willing to incur Menzingen’s wrath and its heavy, iron fist.
Although it is hard to believe that Archbishop Lefebvre ever said there is no problem with Lumen Gentium, if he said this then it is the SSPX’s duty to correct his words, not promote his error and scandalize the faithful by publishing it.
We also know that if the interview is genuine, then:
We also know that if the “new” SSPX ever publishes a (supposed) interview in which the N-SSPX claims that Archbishop Lefebvre says that he loves Buddha or that he worships Satan, we would expect them to publish that interview (like this one):
There are some conciliar documents that are obviously in conformity with Tradition, which pose no problem: I am thinking of Lumen Gentium, but also of other documents, such as the one on priestly formation and the seminaries. Then there are some ambiguous texts, which nevertheless can somehow be “interpreted” correctly according to the previous Magisterium. But there are also some texts that are plainly in contradiction with Tradition and which can in no way be “integrated” [with it]: the Declaration on Religious Liberty, the decree on Ecumenism, the one on the Liturgy. Here, agreement becomes impossible.
Quoted from the SSPX, at this link: https://fsspx.org/en/%E2%80%9Cif-it-my-duty-i-will-consecrate-bishops%E2%80%9D (bracketed words in the original; bold emphasis added; italic emphasis in the original). ↑
We are speaking of heresy now as denoting a corruption of the Christian Faith. Now it does not imply a corruption of the Christian faith , if a man has a false opinion in matters that are not of faith, for instance, in questions of geometry and so forth, which cannot belong to the faith by any means; but only when a person has a false opinion about things belonging to the faith.
Now a thing may be of the faith in two ways, as stated above, in one way, directly and principally, e.g. the articles of faith; in another way, indirectly and secondarily, e.g. those matters, the denial of which leads to the corruption of some article of faith ; and there may be heresy in either way, even as there can be faith.
Summa, IIa IIae, Q.11, a.2, respondeo (emphasis added). ↑
They have collegialized the pope's government and that of the bishops with a presbyterial college, that of the parish priest with a lay council, the whole broken down into innumerable commissions, councils, sessions, etc. The new Code of Canon Law is completely permeated with this concept. The pope is described as the head of the College of Bishops. We find this doctrine already suggested in the Council document Lumen Gentium, according to which the College of Bishops, together with the pope, exercises supreme power in the Church in habitual and constant manner. This is not a change for the better; this doctrine of double supremacy is contrary to the teaching and Magisterium of the Church. It is contrary to the definitions of Vatican Council I and to Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Satis Cognitum. The Pope alone has supreme power; he communicates it only to the degree he considers advisable, and only in exceptional circumstances. The pope alone has power of jurisdiction over the whole world.
We are witnessing therefore a restriction on the freedom of the Supreme Pontiff. Yes, this is a real revolution!
Open Letter to Confused Catholics, by Archbishop Lefebvre, ch. 13 (emphasis added). ↑
[T]he teachings of Vatican Council II appear to be, if not in logical contradiction, then at least difficult to reconcile with the statements of the earlier traditional Magisterium.... Its doctrine on the Church, as expressed in paragraph 8 of the constitution Lumen gentium, contradicts the teachings of Pope Pius XII in Mystici corporis and Humani generis; its doctrine on ecumenism, as expressed in paragraph 8 of Lumen gentium and paragraph 3 of the decree Unitatis redintegratio, contradicts the teachings of Pius IX in propositions 16 and 17 of the Syllabus, those of Leo XIII in Satis cogitum, and those of Pius XI in Mortalium animos.
Quote from https://fsspx.org/en/general-presentation (bold emphasis and bracketed word added).↑
[W]hat constitutes the substantial “novelty” of the Second Vatican Council, in line with the legislative tradition of the Church, especially in regard to ecclesiology, constitutes likewise the “novelty” of the new Code [of canon law].
Among the elements which characterize the true and genuine image of the Church, we should emphasize especially the following: the doctrine in which the Church is presented as the People of God (cf. Lumen Gentium , no. 2), and authority as a service (cf. ibid., no. 3); the doctrine in which the Church is seen as a “communion”, and which, therefore, determines the relations which should exist between the particular Churches and the universal Church, and between collegiality and the primacy; the doctrine, moreover, according to which all the members of the People of God, in the way suited to each of them, participate in the threefold office of Christ: priestly, prophetic and kingly. With this teaching, there is also linked that which concerns the duties and rights of the faithful, and particularly of the laity; and finally, the Church's commitment to ecumenism.... [T]he Second Vatican Council has... elements both old and new, and the new consists precisely in the elements which we have enumerated....
Pope John Paul II, Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, January 25, 1983 (bracketed words added; bold emphasis added; italic emphasis in the original).↑
Vatican II elsewhere identifies this “linking” as partial communion (which is a conciliar error):
For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Without doubt, the differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles.... But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in baptism are incorporated into Christ.
Unitatis Redintegratio, §3 (emphasis added).
But there is no true partial communion with the Church! “Whosoever... is not united with the Body is no member thereof, neither is he in communion with Christ its Head.” Pius XI, Mortalium Animos Jan. 6, 1928, §15 (emphasis added).
Those who profess a false (i.e., non-Catholic) religion are separated precisely because they rebel against the teaching of the Church and thereby resist the Holy Ghost. On the other hand, anyone who has the true Catholic Faith formally and is a material heretic only (because of his ignorance), is fully a Catholic and not simply linked in some way to the Church. To assert that there are links which are an imperfect communion, as the conciliar church does, is false and denies the Mark of the Church called “One”, viz., Her unity.
However much it might be supposed (though wrongly) that the Church is “linked” to apostates and heretics, they have no true part with her nor are they part of Christ’s Mystical Body, outside of which there is no salvation.↑
But the council is asserting the opposite of the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church! The truth is that heretics and schismatics are unfaithful to their baptism and desecrate it. St. Augustine calls the baptism of a person who refuses the Catholic Faith, a “sacrilegious vanity”. Migne's Patrologia, vol.46, Sermon VIII, col. 840. This is true because, when a heretic receives the Catholic Sacrament of Baptism, while resisting the true Catholic Faith and the true Catholic Church, he is irreverently treating this Sacrament (viz., Baptism), which is something sacred. But to treat irreverently something which is sacred, is a sacrilege. Summa, IIa IIae, Q.99, a.1. Thus, a heretic commits a sacrilege when he is baptized and Lumen Gentium honors heretics for these evil deeds (and mortal sins).
Those who fail to profess the true Catholic religion, are worse off for having been baptized and will have a lower place in hell as a punishment, if they don’t enter the one true Catholic Church. This is why apostates and heretics are worse and lower than pagans, as St. Thomas explains:
[T]he unbelief of heretics, who confess their belief in the Gospel, and resist that faith by corrupting it, is a more grievous sin than that of the Jews, who have never accepted the Gospel faith. Since, however, they accepted the figure of that faith in the Old Law, which they corrupt by their false interpretations, their unbelief is a more grievous sin than that of the heathens, because the latter have not accepted the Gospel faith in any way at all.
Summa, IIa IIae, Q.10, a.6. That is why it is the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church to not baptize children who will not be brought up Catholic. Summa, IIa IIae,Q.10, a.12.
St. Augustine gives the traditional teaching of the Church, that “men may be baptized in communions severed from the Church, in which Christ’s baptism is given and received in the said celebration of the sacrament, but it will only then avail for the remission of sins, when the recipient, being reconciled to the unity of the Church, is purged from the sacrilege of deceit [viz., schism], by which his sins were retained, and their remission prevented.” On Baptism, against the Donatists, Bk. 1, ch. 12, ¶18.
As Pope Gregory XVI declares: “A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: ‘The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?’ ” Mirari Vos, ¶13.
St. Fulgentius explains eloquently the uselessness of Baptism outside the Catholic Church:
Whether in the Catholic Church or in any heretical or schismatic church, if anyone receives the Sacrament of Baptism, he receives it intact; but he will not have salvation if he received that Sacrament outside the Catholic Church. Eternal life can never in any way be obtained by one who, with the Sacrament of Baptism, remains a stranger to the Catholic Church. Hold most firmly, and do not doubt at all, that the Sacrament of Baptism can exist among heretics, but that outside the Catholic Church it cannot be of profit. For the unity of this ecclesiastical society is of such value for salvation that he is not saved by Baptism to whom it has not been administered where it ought to have been. Hold most firmly, and do not doubt at all, that everyone baptized outside the Catholic Church cannot be made a partaker of eternal life if, before the end of this earthly life, he does not return to the Catholic Church and become incorporated in Her.
On Faith, to Peter §43.
Although the council here praises the baptisms occurring in heretical sects, one can clearly see Satan’s hand in those baptisms. Heretical sects tend to baptize their children after those children reach the age of reason. If the heretical sects had baptized their children as infants (assuming those baptisms were valid), then those children would live for several years (viz., before the age of reason) as Catholics, in Sanctifying Grace. However, by waiting until these children are capable of apostasy, those heretical sects prevent the children from living even a single day as Catholics, in Sanctifying Grace, before those children are capable of abjuring the true Faith. As horrific as these truths are, these are the baptisms which the council praises!↑
Vatican II does not accord the name “Christian” to heretics and schismatics out of mere politeness (however scandalous this would be). Worse than that, the council insists that this name is the right of heretics:
But even in spite of [obstacles to unity] it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church....
Unitatis Redintegratio, §3 (emphasis added).
But the Catholic Church has always taught the opposite! For example:
Pope Pius XII: “To be Christian one must be Roman. One must recognize the oneness of Christ’s Church that is governed by one successor of the Prince of the Apostles who is the Bishop of Rome, Christ’s Vicar on earth.” Allocution to the Irish pilgrims of October 8, 1957.
Pope Leo XIII: “So long as the member lives in the body, it lived; separated, it lost its life. Thus the man, so long as he lives in the body of the [Catholic] Church, he is a Christian; separated from her, he becomes a heretic ”. Encyclical Satis cognitum ¶5.
St. Peter Canisius, Doctor of the Church: “Q. Who is to be called a Christian?
A. He who confesses the doctrine of Jesus Christ in his Church. Hence, he who is truly a Christian thoroughly detests all cults and sects found outside the doctrine and outside the Church of Christ, everywhere and among all peoples, as for example the Jewish, the Mohammedan, and the heretical cults and sects.
The Sum of Christian Doctrine, Pt.1, Q.1.St. Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church takes as natural, the distinction between heretics and true Christians, who are Catholic: “The people I was describing know and observe these things; for they are Christians, not heretics. ” On the Morals of the Catholic Church, ch. 33, ¶72 (emphasis added).
St. Cyprian, Father of the Church teaches: “[A schismatic] professes himself to be a Christian in such a way as the devil often feigns himself to be Christ”. Treatise I, On the Unity of the Church, ¶14.
It is a very old situation that persons are born into religious errors and have (perhaps) not examined those errors carefully. In fact, this problem is as old as the Church Herself. Not only have there been many occasions for persons to be born into heresy almost from the beginning of the Catholic Church (e.g., in Arian times, Manichean times, Donatist times, Albigensian times, etc.), but this situation is the same as for all other non-believers also. Pagans and Jews have been born into their errors too, during the entire life of the Church. Thus, we are not now in a new situation that the great doctors of the Church could not have foreseen, which would require anyone to “update” the Church’s teaching to fit our age.
There is some sense in which no one would commit any kind of sin (including apostasy), if he fully understood all of the consequences of his actions. As St. Thomas teaches:
Unbelievers are in ignorance of things that are of faith, for neither do they see, nor know, them in themselves, nor do they know them to be credible. The faithful, on the other hand, know them, not as by demonstration, but by the light of faith which makes them see that they ought to believe them....
Summa, IIa IIae, Q.1, a.5 ad 1.
Although ignorance is in some way part of every sin including unbelief in the true Faith, all culpability also requires some knowledge in some way, that particular conduct is wrong; otherwise, the person would not be culpable for his sin.
We might assume that a man is invincibly ignorant if he has never had the full Catholic Faith explained to him, and thus we might suppose that he is not culpable for rejecting the true Faith. However, we don’t really know every opportunity that such person has had. His subjective culpability is known to God, not to men (or at least it is known to men only imperfectly). God knows the hearts of men. God judges on a basis that might not appear to us. For example, to us a person might appear invincibly (i.e., inculpably) ignorant of the Catholic Faith because we have good reason to think the Faith was never explained to him. But, however respectable such a person appears, we don’t know his interior.
Perhaps the person does not reject even those sins which are contrary to reason (such as all lying and all theft). Perhaps God might judge that man as having rejected Catholicism because he rejected the truth or justice more generally. Again, God will judge the internal forum (the conscience) of that person. Man makes mistakes by doing so.
Thus, from the last few paragraphs of this footnote, it is clear that: 1) all sin involves some ignorance and this ignorance does not necessarily remove culpability; and that 2) man can err regarding the interior culpability of another man.
Further, it is a dogma of the Catholic Church, that Outside the Catholic Church, there is no salvation. Thus, for a person who is not visibly/externally part of the Catholic Church, the only way for him to get to heaven is if he formally has the Catholic Faith, Sanctifying Grace, Hope, and Charity and is really, truly, and interiorly part of the Catholic Church but has some errors for which he is not blamable, which cause him through ignorance to not explicitly embrace the one true visible Catholic Church.
Thus, it is false to call anyone a “Christian” (i.e., a true follower of Christ), unless he is Catholic. It would be false to call anyone a “Christian”, if he is outside the visible Catholic Church, unless he is truly a member of the Catholic Church but because of his invincible, inculpable ignorance, he was not part of the Church visibly, i.e., exteriorly.
If we were to call Protestants by the name “Christians”, on the theory that we can’t rule out the possibility that they are in perfect good faith but invincibly ignorant—thereby resulting in their truly being part of the Catholic Church although they neither appear to be nor know they are—then we should call all Jews and pagans by the name “Christian” for the same reason, because we cannot rule out a similar, interior, perfect good will.
Not only that, this same principle applies not only to the name “Christian” but also to the name “Catholic”, since anyone who is truly Christian (and truly a follower of Christ), is also a Catholic. Thus, according to the harmful and foolish conciliar practice of blindly presuming that every heretic has perfect good will, then we should call all heretics, Jews and pagans by the name “Catholic”.
But there’s more: if we foolishly think that we cannot rule out that all men are interior Catholics—yet don’t belong to the one, true, visible Catholic Church because they are invincibly ignorant, we similarly cannot rule out the possibility that they are not only Catholic but also are extremely saintly because of their (supposed) good will, invincible ignorance and presumed charity! Thus, to apply consistently the foolish conciliar notion that we should call heretics by the name “Christians”, we should also call everyone a saintly Catholic, including rock-music-blaring, drug-addicted, blaspheming derelicts.
However, it has never been the practice of men (nor is it reasonable) to assume in the external forum (where men judge) the complete lack of interior (subjective) culpability of all men for all of their actions, simply because they could possibly lack culpability in the internal forum of their conscience, which is known with certainty, by God alone. We don’t say “Hitler was a holy man”, simply because we can’t rule out the possibility that God will judge him to be holy because of some completely hidden (invincible) ignorance and (hypothetical) good will. Similarly, with Stalin, Attila the Hun, Luther and all of the rest of the enemies of mankind. We don’t assume they are holy and blameless and call them such, although we acknowledge that we cannot entirely rule out this possibility, nor can we be positive they are in hell.
Likewise, the Church judges this same way also and this is the only way any man can judge. She calls an outward heretic by this name, just as men call an outward thief, by that name.
St. Thomas Aquinas explained: “[W]ith regard to man's internal disposition we consider his spiritual state in relation to the Divine judgment, while with regard to his external actions we consider man's spiritual state in relation to the Church.” Summa, IIa IIae, Q.184, a.4, Respondeo. Because the name “Christian”, when used by Catholics or the Catholic Church, pertains to external actions, no non-Catholic should ever be called a “Christian”.
Similarly, Pope Leo XIII explained that: “Of the state of mind and of the intention, the Church does not judge, as they are interior; but insofar as they are apparent, she must judge them”. Apostolicae Curae, ¶33.
Pope St. Pius X explained this principle the same way, when judging of the modernists:
Although they express their astonishment that we should number them amongst the enemies of the Church, no one will be reasonably surprised that we should do so, if, leaving out of account the internal disposition of soul, of which God alone is the judge, he considers their doctrines, their manner of speech, and their action [which are the objective criteria upon which one judges]. Nor, indeed, would he be wrong in regarding them as the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church.
Pascendi Dominici gregis, ¶3 (bracketed words added). Again, because the name “Christian”, when used by Catholics or the Catholic Church, pertains to external actions, no non-Catholic should ever be called a “Christian”.
Pope Benedict XIV explains this in connection with the hypothetical case of a heretic dying for a dogma which he held in common with the Catholic Church. The pope explains that even if that heretic were invincibly ignorant of his heresy, and thus, even if he were a martyr in God’s Eyes, the Church would never call him a martyr, since the Church judges only on the outside and judges the heretic to be outside the Church, since that heretic publicly professed heresy. Citing and following St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope Benedict XIV further teaches that the Church judges the heretic to not have the gift of supernatural Faith. De servorum Dei beatificatione et beatorum canonizatione, Bk.III, ch.20, ¶3.
These judgments by the Catholic Church or by anyone else, do not exclude the possibility that the person could go to heaven, is holy and blameless. But man judges outward, blamable conduct in the external forum. Thus, for the same reason, it is unreasonable, is contrary to the practice of men generally and is contrary to the Catholic Church’s entire history, to call heretics by the name “Christian”.↑
Pope Benedict XV: “Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: ‘This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved’”. Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, ¶24, quoting the Athanasian Creed (emphasis added).
Pope Leo XIII: “[H] e who dissents even in one point from divinely revealed truth absolutely rejects all the faith, since he thereby refuses to honor God as the supreme truth and the formal motive of faith ”. Satis Cognitum, ¶9 (emphasis added).
St. John Cassian teaches: “one who denies one portion of the... Catholic Faith... cannot confess the other. For all parts of it are so bound up and united together that one cannot stand without the other and if a man denies one point out of the whole number, it is of no use for him to believe all the others. ” On The Incarnation—against Nestorius, Bk. VI, ch.17 (emphasis added).
Pope Pius VIII: When condemning the error that “various religions” are good because they hold some truth, remarked that: “the various religions do not often agree among themselves. If one is true, the other must be false; there can be no society of darkness with light. ” Traditi Humilitati, ¶4.
Further, Lumen Gentium falsely indicates that heretics can benefit by holding some of doctrines which are part of the true Catholic Faith, even though those heretics reject other doctrines of the true Faith. The Catholic Church has always taught the opposite. For example:
St. Thomas Aquinas teaches:
It is written (2 Pet. 2:21): “It had been better for them not to have known the way of justice, than after they have known it, to turn back.” Now the heathens have not known the way of justice, whereas heretics... have abandoned it after knowing it in some way. Therefore, theirs is the graver sin....
[T]he unbelief of heretics, who confess their belief in the Gospel, and resist that faith by corrupting it, is a more grievous sin than that of the Jews, who have never accepted the Gospel faith.... Hence, speaking absolutely, the unbelief of heretics is the worst.
Summa, IIa IIae, Q.10, a.6, Sed. cont. & Resp. (emphasis added).
The Athanasian Creed: “Whosoever wishes to be saved must, first of all, hold the Catholic faith, which, unless a man shall have held it whole and inviolate, he will most certainly perish forever.” The Creed concludes: “This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man shall have believed it faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.” (Emphasis added.)
Pope Gregory XVI: “[W]ithout a doubt... persons of any religion whatever... will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate. ” Mirari Vos (On Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism), ¶13 (emphasis added).
Saint Augustine: “In many things they are with me, only in a few they are not with me; but because of these few points they have separated themselves from me, it doesn’t mean anything that they be with me with all the rest. ” Comm. Psalmo 54, §19.↑
Pope Boniface VIII: “We declare, state, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” Bull Unam Sanctam.
Pope Pius IX stated: “He who abandons the See of Peter on which the Church is founded, is falsely persuaded that he is in the Church ”. Quartus supra¸ 1-6-1873, §8 (emphasis added).
Pope Pius XI declared: “[I]n [the] one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors.” Mortalium Animos, ¶11.
Pope Clement VIII declared that schismatics are “no longer members of the Body of Christ which is the Church, as they [are] no longer linked with Her visible head, the Sovereign Pontiff of Rome”. Magnus Dominus, 12-23-1595.
St. Augustine teaches, speaking to schismatics: “That which belongs to you, is your impiety in separating yourselves from us; for if, in all other things, you think and you possess the truth, yet in persevering in your separation... you lack that which lacks in him who has not charity.” De Baptismo contra donatistas, Bk.l, ch.14, §22.
Again, St. Augustine: “So in the points in which schismatics and heretics neither entertain different opinions nor observe different practice from ourselves, we do not correct them when they join us, but... these things do them no good so long as they are schismatics or heretics, on account of other points in which they differ from us, not to mention the most grievous sin that is involved in separation itself”. De Baptismo contra donatistas, Bk.1, ch.13, §21. ↑
The council promotes false ecumenism, by listing (as Pope John Paul II explains) “at length ‘the elements of sanctification and truth’ which in various ways are present and operative beyond the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church”. Ut unum sint, ¶12. Here in §15 is the list of the “elements” which the council referred to earlier, in §8.
One of these “elements of sanctification and truth” listed here, is that the Protestants honor the Bible. However, the council speaks falsely here, in the service of ecumenism, because the Protestants reject various books of the Old Testament and some Protestants also reject certain books of the New Testament. See, 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, under the headings Canon of the Old Testament and Canon of the New Testament.
The complete list of the true books of the Bible is infallibly declared by the Council of Trent. Denz. 784. But how can it be said that Protestants honor the Bible when they reject parts of it? Clearly, their rejecting parts of the Bible, greatly insults God and dishonors the Bible.
Further, the First Vatican Council solemnly condemned anyone who does not accept the entire Catholic Bible: “If anyone shall not accept the entire books of Sacred Scripture with all their divisions, just as the sacred Synod of Trent has enumerated them [listed in Denz. #784], as canonical and sacred, or denies that they have been inspired by God: let him be anathema.” Denz. 1809, §4.
So, the Protestants are anathematized (i.e., condemned, cut off and denounced) by the First Vatican Council because of their position regarding the Bible, and Vatican II (shockingly) declares that Protestants honoring the Bible, is an element of their sanctification!↑
There is moreover a reason in the subject of His discourse why the Lord should sit in the ship, and the multitude stand on the shore. For He was about to speak in parables, and by this action signifies that they who were without the Church could have no understanding of the Divine Word.
The ship offers a type of the Church, within which the word of life is placed, and is preached to those without, and who as being barren sand cannot understand it.
Catena Aurea of St. Thomas Aquinas, quoting St. Hilary of Poitiers’ commentary on St. Matthew’s Gospel, ch. 13 (emphasis added).
Again, St. Hilary of Poitiers, explaining how heretics cannot understand Sacred Scripture, states:
For there have risen many who have given to the plain words of Holy Writ some arbitrary interpretation of their own.... Heresy lies in the sense assigned, not in the word written; the guilt is that of the expositor, not of the text.
Treatise On the Trinity, Bk. II, § 3.
Thus, Lumen Gentium errs in the service of ecumenism, by falsely asserting that heretics can take the Bible for their “norm of belief” even though they are heretics. For, if heretics truly took the Bible as their norm of belief, then manifestly they would be Catholic. As Pope Leo XIII explains, quoting St. Augustine:
[T]hey, who take from Christian doctrine what they please [i.e., heretics], lean on their own judgments, not on faith; and not “bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. x., 5), they more truly obey themselves than God. “You, who believe what you like, believe yourselves rather than the gospel ” (S. Augustinus, lib. xvii., Contra Faustum Manichaeum, cap. 3).
Satis Cognitum, ¶9 (emphasis added).
So heretics can never truly take Sacred Scripture for their norm of belief because they cannot truly understand Sacred Scripture. This is why Pope Leo XIII cautions us against reading the “works of non-Catholics” because: “the sense of Holy Scripture can nowhere be found incorrupt outside of the Church, and cannot be expected to be found in writers who, being without the true faith, only gnaw the bark of the Sacred Scripture, and never attain its pith.” Providentissiumus Deus, ¶15.
Lastly, as explained by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Doctor of the Church:
Take away the authority of the Church and neither Divine Revelation nor natural reason itself is of any use, for each of them may be interpreted by every individual according to his own caprice. From this accursed liberty of conscience has arisen the immense variety of heretical and atheistic sects. If you take away obedience to the Church, there is no error which will not be embraced.
Exposition of the Council of Trent, Part 16, §29.↑
Heretics cannot take Sacred Scripture for their pattern of life. For, to do that, they would have to understand it correctly, which they cannot. See, the footnote immediately preceding this one.
Any honest observation of heretical and schismatic sects, shows that it is wrong to say they are holy. Holiness is a Mark only of the true Catholic Church. As the Council of Trent Catechism teaches, non-Catholic sects “are sunk in the most pernicious errors both doctrinal and moral. ” Under the section Creed; IX article, Apostolicity (emphasis added).↑
This phrase of the council is similar to the one a little above, calling them all Christians. The traditional teaching of the Church never assumed that heretics and schismatics were all blameless and invincibly ignorant. As St. Augustine told heretics and schismatics: “that which is yours are your bad sentiments and sacrilegious practices, and [the fact] that you have the impiety to separate yourselves from us.” On Baptism, against the Donatists, Bk. 1, ch. 14, ¶22.
As Pope Benedict XIV declared:
Our great hope is that those who long ago, deceived by lies of the devil, left the Church might now return to the unity of the Catholic faith. Do they not hear her voice calling them most lovingly to her embrace? Do they not understand that when they left the faith they began to direct their course by human conventions and they handed themselves over to be taught by others who willfully led them astray with various foreign doctrines? But alas! How many there are among them who are not ignorant of these things! And indeed they do not deny that the foundations of each individual sect are weak and, if shaken a little, collapse easily. But what is more to be deplored is their evil lack of interest in the things of God. Because of this they despise the light of truth and the voice of their conscience. As enemies both of the Catholic Church and of their own souls, they refuse to understand what they ought to do. Nor do they wish to examine the straightway of the Lord which is the only way back to the portals of salvation. May they at least be awakened by the example of your faith and devotion to consider that they will have no excuse on the Judgment Day if they continue to spurn the reasons which have been offered to them for recognizing the truth. May your obvious agreement in the worship of God, in the discipline of Christian life, and in reverence toward the Pope, spiritual Father of every Catholic, all serve as an incentive for emulation and an occasion for shame among those who have left the Church.
Encyclical Peregrinantes, ¶10 (emphasis added). ↑
The traditional teaching of the Church is that heretics and schismatics cannot have God for their Father. For example, Pope Pius IX teaches: “He who does not have the Church for a mother cannot have God for a Father ”. Singulari Quidem, §4 (emphasis added).
Saint Cyprian, Father of the Church, also teaches: “He who has not the Church for his mother cannot have God for his Father. ” Treatise I, On the Unity of the Church, ¶6 (emphasis added).↑
Speaking correctly, it is an error to say that any groups of non-Catholics are a “church”. Outside the Catholic Church, there are only individual lost sheep, that is, heretics, schismatics and other non-Catholics. The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. There is no other “christ” to which the heretics or schismatics can be united as to a mystical body. Besides the Catholic Church, referring to other groups as “churches”, is an incorrect shorthand merely used to describe lost sheep that have gone astray in a particular direction, e.g., over the same cliff or into the same swamp. However, even such lost sheep who have wandered in a particular direction, do not thereby constitute another flock.
Because non-Catholic sects do not deserve the name “church”, the Council of Trent Catechism refers to them as “societies arrogating to themselves the name of “church ”. Under the heading Creed; IX article, Apostolicity (emphasis added). The Council of Trent Catechism likens heretics and schismatics to “deserters” in relation to “the army from which they have deserted.” Quoted from the Creed section, “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church”.
Pope St. Pius X called the Eastern schismatics “sheep scattered abroad”. Ex quo, non labente.
Pope Pius XII called all non-Catholics “straying sheep”. Mystici Corporis, ¶104.
Here is an example of how non-Catholic groups were described before Vatican II: “[H]e who is truly a Christian thoroughly detests all cults and sects found outside the doctrine and outside the Church of Christ, everywhere and among all peoples, as for example, the heretical cults and sects. ” St. Peter Canisius, Doctor of the Church, The Sum of Christian Doctrine, Pt.1, Q.1.
When Vatican II called non-Catholic sects by the name “church”, this was revolutionary and Protestants were delighted. For example, Dr. Robert McAfee Brown, a Protestant observer at Vatican II, was quick to praise Vatican II’s new approach. Dr. Brown was well aware of the traditional Catholic teaching and he celebrated the drastic change of attitude that Vatican II wrought. He did not see continuity in Vatican II, but rupture with the past, and he rejoiced. In his 1967 book, The Ecumenical Revolution, he applauds the Council’s Decree on Ecumenism:
The document makes clear how new is the attitude that has emerged. No more is there talk of “schismatics and heretics” but rather of “separated brethren.” No more is there an imperial demand that the dissidents return in penitence to the Church who has no need of penitence; instead there is recognition that both sides are guilty of the sins of division and must reach out penitentially to one another. No more are Protestants dismissed merely as “sects” or psychological entities alone; instead it is acknowledged that there is a measure of “ecclesial reality” to be found within their corporate life.
Robert McAfee Brown, Ecumenical Revolution, Doubleday, Garden City, 1967 (2nd ed. 1969), pp. 67-8. (emphasis added)↑
This “rejoicing in the episcopate” says nothing about validity and is a fuzzy enough statement to allow the post-conciliar popes to treat invalid Protestant “bishops” as if they were real bishops.
The council also makes the grave error of ignoring the truth that Episcopal consecrations and priestly ordinations are matters for greater punishment of the damned, just like baptismal characters are also, since to whom more is given, more is expected. ↑
Lumen Gentium falsely asserts that there is good in every religion. Although it is true that all creatures are good insofar as they have being, all false “religions” are bad simply speaking, because they do not have the good they should have. To the extent that any heretical or schismatic sects have valid bishops or “celebrate the Holy Eucharist”, this simply means they offend God more gravely, since their sacrileges are thus valid sacrileges. That is, any sects offend God more greatly, if they have real bishops who preach their evil doctrine or conduct their offensive ceremonies. Likewise, to the extent that sects have validly consecrated Hosts, those sects are objectively more culpable for bringing God down into a place of heresy and sacrilege, which is objectively the enemy camp, set in battle-array against Christ and His true Church.↑
Those who are not in the Catholic Church, which is her Son’s Mystical Body, cannot truly be devoted to our Lady. For all non-Catholic “religions” and their teachings, are of the devil, since “all of the gods of the gentiles are devils”. Psalms 95:5. But our Lady crushes the head of the devil [Gen. 3:15] as well as his (false) doctrines and his schisms. Thus, it is false that non-Catholics can truly “cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God”.
Permeating Lumen Gentium, here and in many places, is the ecumenical and minimizing spirit of “ let’s focus on what unites us and ignore what divides us ”. This error is called “Eirenism” and was condemned many times before Vatican II. For example: Pope Pius XI:
[I]n connection with things which must be believed, it is nowise licit to use that distinction which some have seen fit to introduce between those articles of faith which are fundamental and those which are not fundamental, as they say, as if the former are to be accepted by all, while the latter may be left to the free assent of the faithful: for the supernatural virtue of faith has a formal cause, namely the authority of God revealing, and this is patient of no such distinction.
Mortalium Animos, §9
Pope Leo XIII described Eirenism and condemned it as follows:
[I]n order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas....
Encyclical Testem Benevolentiae (emphasis added).
Pope Pius XII identified and condemned (ahead of time) the council’s error in this way:
Another danger is perceived which is all the more serious because it is more concealed beneath the mask of virtue. There are many who, deploring disagreement among men and intellectual confusion, through an imprudent zeal for souls, are urged by a great and ardent desire to do away with the barrier that divides good and honest men; these advocate an "Eirenism" according to which, by setting aside the questions which divide men, they aim not only at joining forces to repel the attacks of atheism, but also at reconciling things opposed to one another in the field of dogma. And as in former times some questioned whether the traditional apologetics of the Church did not constitute an obstacle rather than a help to the winning of souls for Christ, so today some are presumptuous enough to question seriously whether theology and theological methods, such as with the approval of ecclesiastical authority are found in our schools, should not only be perfected, but also completely reformed, in order to promote the more efficacious propagation of the kingdom of Christ everywhere throughout the world among men of every culture and religious opinion.
Humani generis, §11.↑
The council’s statement is fuzzy, that non-Catholics “share with us in prayer”. To the extent that the council’s statement here simply means that non-Catholics say the same words of prayers that Catholics do, this is irrelevant because what matters is whether God hears our prayers. But non-Catholics are not in the state of Sanctifying Grace (for Sanctifying Grace would justify them, would make them Catholic and allow them to go to heaven). But anyone who is not in the state of Sanctifying Grace does not move God by his prayers. Thus, it is irrelevant whether heretics say the words of prayers like Catholics do, because Catholics’ prayers are heard and heretics’ prayers are not.
The council’s statement is like the statement that “birds and crazy people both try to fly”. That statement might be true, but birds accomplish something because they actually fly into the air, whereas crazy people go nowhere, regardless of how much they flap their arms. Applying this analogy: non-Catholics move their lips (like crazy people flap their arms), but obtain no results but to delude themselves.
However, when the council says here that non-Catholics “share with us in prayer”, this “sharing” could indicate that Catholics should pray together with non-Catholics, sharing prayer meetings with them, etc. To the extent this is the meaning, this fits with the practices of the conciliar church and is similar to what the council says elsewhere: “[I]t is allowable, indeed desirable, that Catholics join in prayer with their separated brethren.” Unitatis Redintegratio, §8.
This is the opposite of the consistent teaching of the Church before Vatican II. The Catholic Church “has constantly forbidden Her children to hold any communication, in religious matters, with those who are separated from her communion”. The Sincere Christian, by Bishop George Hay, vol.2, p.373.
From very ancient times, the Church has decreed that: “If any bishop, or priest, or deacon, shall join in prayers with heretics, let him be suspended from communion”. Id., quoting Canon 44 of the apostolical canons.
Further, “If any clergyman or laic [i.e., layman] shall go into the synagogue of the Jews or the meetings of heretics, to join in prayer with them, let him be deposed and deprived of communion”. Id., quoting Canon 63 of the apostolical canons.
[I]n one of Her [viz., the Catholic Church’s] most respected councils, held in the year 398, at which the great St Augustine was present, She speaks thus: “None must either pray or sing psalms with heretics; and whosoever shall communicate with those who are cut off from the communion of the Church, whether clergyman or laic [i.e., layman], let him be excommunicated,” Council of Carthage, iv, §§72 & 73.
Further, the Council of Laodicea decreed: “No one shall pray in common with heretics or schismatics”. Council of Laodicea, Canon 33.
The Catholic Church’s constant prohibition against praying with heretics and schismatics makes perfect sense because those outside the Church maintain the posture of being enemies of God, since all those not in the state of Sanctifying Grace are exactly that. It would be complete stupidity to join with God’s enemies to attempt to be heard by Him.↑
The council’s statement here promotes ecumenism, but the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church is that the Sacraments do not benefit heretics and schismatics: “For all the sacraments of Christ, if not combined with the love which belongs to the unity of Christ, are possessed not unto salvation, but unto judgment.” St. Augustine, ad Petilian, the Donatist, Bk. III, ch.40, ¶46.
Further, non-Catholics do have not Charity. So whatever good works non-Catholics do profit them nothing. As St. Paul said, “[I]f I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 1 Corin. 13:3.
Further, as the Council of Florence and Pope Eugene IV taught:
[S]o important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity... can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may... can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.
St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, teaches the same: “[I]f they [viz., heretics] distribute of themselves their own substance to the poor, as many do,... in the different heretical bodies [i.e., sects]... they cannot attain to eternal salvation, even with all those good things, which profit them not”. On Baptism, against the Donatists, Bk. 1, ch.9.
Thus, non-Catholics receive no spiritual benefits for anything they do and so do not share in good works, in the sense of meriting from them. It is true that they can receive the benefit of the good works that Catholics offer up for them, just as the souls in Purgatory and just as the pagans (and everyone else) can also share in the good works Catholics offer up. But it is clear that this is not what the council means here.
All graces and “spiritual benefits” which God gives to those persons outside the visible structure of the Church are given without the merits of those persons, in order to bring them into the Catholic Church, to live the Catholic life and live it abundantly. Summa, Ia IIae, Q.109, a.2, & Q.114, a.5. ↑
St. Augustine teaches the same thing:
What the soul is to the body of man, the Holy Ghost is to the Body of Christ: which the Church is. What the soul does in all the members of one body, this the Holy Ghost does throughout the Church.... It happens sometimes in the human body, that from this same body something is cut off, a hand, a finger, a foot. Do you think the soul follows the part cut thus off? While it belonged to the body, it lived. Cut off, it loses its life. So likewise, the Christian Catholic man: while in the Body he lives; becoming a heretic, he is cut off: for the Spirit follows no amputated member. If therefore you wish to live in the Holy Ghost, hold fast to the bond of charity, love the truth, long for unity, that you may attain to eternity.
Sermon 267, The Holy Ghost: Soul of the Church, §IV (emphasis added).
St Augustine also teaches: “Who is not in this [Catholic] Church, does not now receive the Holy Ghost.” Lectures on St. John’s Gospel, tract 32, §7 (bracketed word added). St. Augustine then continues: “[W]e too receive the Holy Ghost if we love the Church, if we are joined together by charity, if we rejoice in the Catholic name and faith.” Id., at §8.↑
Murdered missionaries who promoted a false religion, cannot be considered martyrs since they were not witnesses to the true Faith. All those who shed their blood (purportedly) for Christ but are outside the Catholic Church, are damned and their death avails them nothing.
Council of Florence & Pope Eugene IV: “No one, even if he pours out his blood for the name of Christ, can be saved unless he remains within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.” Bull Cantate Domino, Denz. 714 (emphasis added).
St. Augustine: “[I]f, under the pressure of any persecution, they [viz., schismatics] give their bodies with us to be burned for the faith which they like us confess: yet because they do all these things apart from the Church, not “forbearing one another in love,” nor “endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace,” insomuch as they have not charity [since schism is a sin against charity], they cannot attain to eternal salvation, even with all those good things which profit them not”. On Baptism, against the Donatists, Bk.1, ch.9 (emphasis added; bracketed words added).
Saint Cyprian of Carthage: “[N]ot even the baptism of a public confession and blood can profit a heretic to salvation, because there is no salvation out of the Church”. Letter LXXII, ¶21. “He cannot be a martyr who is not in the Church ”. Treatise I, On the Unity of the Church, ¶14 (emphasis added).Pope Pelagius II:
Those who were not willing to be in agreement in the Church of God, cannot remain with God; although given over to flames and fires, they burn, or thrown to wild beasts, they lay down their lives, there will not be [for them] that crown of faith, but the punishment of faithlessness, not a glorious result, but the ruin of despair. Such a one can be slain; he cannot be crowned.
Denz. 247 (emphasis added; bracketed words added).
Council of Laodicea: “No Christian shall... turn to false martyrs, that is, to those of the heretics ”. Canon 34 (emphasis added).
Writing on the topic “Concerning The False Martyrs Of The Heretics And Schismatics”, Pope Benedict XIV explains that the Church would never recognize a heretic to be a martyr even if he were killed for a dogma he held in common with the Catholic Church, because the Church considers him in light of his public (exterior) adherence to heresy. Pope Benedict XIV adds that this is true even if it were (hypothetically) true that the heretic were not culpable for his heresy, because of invincible ignorance of the true Faith. De servorum Dei beatificatione et beatorum canonizatione, Bk. III, ch.20, ¶3.↑
The Catholic Church lacks no unity in Herself. She is fully One and this is one of Her Four Marks. Pope Pius XI taught: “[T]he Mystical Body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together ”. Mortalium animos, ¶10 (emphasis added).
The fact that there are lost sheep (heretics, schismatics and all other non-Catholics) outside the one true Sheepfold, does not diminish the Church’s unity at all. Their wandering in the swamps and among the brambles outside the true Fold, simply means that those lost sheep are in grave danger. But the Church does not need them for Her unity. As Pope Pius XI exclaimed, in his thirst for the souls of non-Catholics:
Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not: to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us, We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, “Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”, would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray, to the unity of the Church !
Pope Pius XI, Mortalium animos, ¶12 (emphasis added).↑