A Brief Defense of Traditionalism
traditionalists Michael Davies, Fr. Nicholas Gruner, Michael Matt,
Atila Sinke Guimarγes, John Vennari, Christopher Ferrara, Dr. Thomas
Woods, Fr. Paul Kramer, Dr. Marian Therese Horvat, Gary Potter,
Gerry Matatics and David Allen White
Responding to "conservative" attacks and
As is the case in the political field, there have always been differing
views on appropriate Church discipline and governance. These views range
from the extremely liberal to very traditional. Most of the opinions which
today fall under the category of "liberalism" are actually heterodox or
heretical and of little value in most Catholic discussions. Because of
this element "within" the Church and the overall shift that occurred
around the time of the Second Vatican Council, the classic battle between
liberals and conservatives has undergone a deceptive change in
As the heretics of yesterday have become the liberals of today, the
liberals of yesterday now lay claim to the title "conservative".
Consequentially the conservatives came to be known as "traditionalists".
Unfortunately, these terms are no longer completely accurate descriptions.
So for the purposes of this essay, I will use the following general
definitions to delineate the differences between traditionalists and
TRADITIONALIST: One who challenges the novel practices and teachings
of Catholics (including bishops and priests) which appear to contradict
the prior teaching of the Church. A traditionalist questions the
prudence of new pastoral approaches and holds the belief that those
things generally deemed objectively good or evil several decades ago
remain so today.
traditionalists and "conservatives" acknowledge the existence of problems
in the Church but disagree as to their nature, extent, causes and
"CONSERVATIVE": One who upholds and defends the current policies and
positions of the Church hierarchy regardless of their novelty. A
"conservative" extends the definitions of "infallibility" and
"Magisterium" to include most every action and speech of the Pope and
those Cardinals around him, but may exclude those Cardinals and bishops
outside of Rome. A "conservative's" opinion is also subject to change
depending on the current actions of the Holy Father. "Conservative" will
be used it in quotation marks to avoid the misleading connotation of
being diametrically opposed to liberalism or on the far right of the
spectrum. Also since there only exists a desire to "conserve" only those
traditions and practices of the past deemed appropriate at any given
time by the present Pope. The quotation marks will also ensure a proper
dissociation between the actual conservatives active prior to and during
Vatican II (Ottaviani, Lefebvre, Fenton, etc.).
"Conservatives" see it as an "illness" an incidental problem like a
gangrene limb. In the English-speaking world, this problem may be limited
to the actions of certain American bishops. "Conservatives" see the
novelties of Vatican II and the New Mass as natural and acceptable
developments in the course of the Church, but take issue with those
seeking to expand upon those novelties, or take them to their next logical
progression. They see the crisis in the Church as a societal issue that
would have happened regardless of what actions the Church leadership had
taken. Their solution is to return to Vatican II and embark on another
attempt to "renew" the Church.
Traditionalists see the
illness as a widespread cancer affecting the whole body put most
particularly and critically the heart. They question the prudence of
making significant changes in the Mass and the Church's pastoral
orientation. They attribute the destruction to liberal and Modernist
ideals given a certain degree of acceptability once the Church decided to
stop fighting them with extreme vigilance. They see the Church leadership
as sharing in the responsibility for the crisis due to its governance (or
lack thereof). Their solution is not another attempt at a reform that may
be "more in line with the 'spirit' of Vatican II" (shudder), but a
return to the practices and beliefs of the Church that sustained it for
hundreds of years prior.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre consecrates four bishops
"without pontifical mandate". Two days later, all five "incurred the
grave penalty of
"Conservative" objections to
While not in agreement on many issues, traditionalists and
"conservatives" have typically enjoyed some degree of coexistence.
"Conservatives" attacked heretics posing as Catholics in American churches
and traditionalists focused on dangerous trends in the upper Church
hierarchy. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly popular for
"conservatives" to condemn traditionalists as "Schismatics" and guilty of
"excommunication". Be it on the Internet, in periodicals, during speeches
or on radio programs, traditionalism is being vilified as never before.
This essay concerns itself with the attacks of those "conservatives" who
have taken it upon themselves to condemn those who fall to the right of
It is questionable whether the proper functions of Catholics is to hunt
down, "expose" and condemn Catholics they suspect of undue rigidity,
disobedience or "material schism"; especially while giving support to a
Vatican ecumenical campaign which addresses heretics and actual
Schismatics as "separated brethren", Jews as "people of the covenant" and
Muslims as "people of God". This is part of the overall contradiction (or
inconsistency) that permeates the "conservative" mentality. Cloaked in a
pledged loyalty to all things "whatsoever" emanating from the Holy See,
many "conservatives" will go beyond the measures taken by the Church
leaders, or even disagree with their actual positions. The Hawaii
"excommunications" were an obvious example but others can be seen.
"Conservatives" denounce as "Schismatic" all those who set foot in SSPX
chapels while the Vatican embraces the Schismatics in China.
"Conservatives" deny any significant change at the Second Vatican Council
while the Pope celebrates the enormity and impact of the changes.
"Conservatives" seek the conversion of the Eastern "Orthodox" while the
Vatican promises not to "proselytize" them. "Conservatives" deride
American bishops while the Pope appoints and promotes the same ones.
Much ink has been spilled (or whatever the electronic equivalent is) in
these increasing attempts to condemn traditionalists, with some polemics
requiring hundreds of pages to make their point (if traditionalism is so
clearly evil and harmful to the Church, why are such lengths necessary?).
What follows is a brief essay addressing the most common objections of
traditionalism. As a disclaimer (which will certainly be ignored), I am
neither attacking nor defending any particular individual. I will discuss
a number of objections which vary in substance and degree, but I am not
asserting that all "conservatives" hold each of these positions; just as I
don't presume to express the views of every traditionalist in my defense.
1) "Traditionalists criticize the Church
leaders, particularly the Pope. These criticisms show disloyalty and are
only to be done by qualified theologians in rare
This objection comes from an
assumption as to the root motivation of the criticisms. A criticism in
itself is not a bad thing but it can be, depending on its nature and
intent. For instance, a criticism made out of malice or done in a
disrespectful manner becomes an attack or insult. Unfortunately,
"conservatives" seem to be taking issue with any criticism or disagreement
on non-doctrinal matters, regardless of the nature or presumed intent. To
them, the very act of criticism itself seems to indicate a lack of loyalty
or obedience. This was not the opinion of St. Thomas Aquinas.
"I say to thee, thou art
Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of
hell shall not prevail against it."
"When there is an imminent danger for the Faith, Prelates must be
questioned, even publicly, by their subjects." 1 Why
would traditionalists waste so much time discussing Papal actions out of
simple malice towards the Supreme Pontiff? Traditionalists are Catholics
who are very concerned about the state of the Church and are forced, out
of charity, to make those concerns known. There should be no doubt that
those who offer proper criticism show an even deeper love than those who
remain in unquestioning silence.
If someone were to write a letter to President Bush, criticizing his
decision to allow experimentation on stem cells from human embryos, would
the author be seen as disloyal to his country? It should be clear that he
cares so much for his country, that he does not want to see it suffer from
such a horrible lack of judgment. Granted the Church is not a democracy,
but the same principle applies. Dominican theologian Melchior Cano states
"Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and
indiscriminately defend every decision of the supreme Pontiff are the
very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See they
destroy instead of strengthening its foundations." Ever since the
pronouncement of Papal Infallibility at the First Vatican Council, there
has existed to some degree a false impression that the Pope enjoys a high
level of perfection and is protected from most errors not just in
matters faith and morals but all words and actions. Such a view is not
Catholic and is dangerously close to the worship of a man (papolatry), a
violation of the First Commandment. Infallibility is defined within very
precise limits. Not every Pope enjoys an aura of infallibility or is
generally protected from imprudence just ask one of the sons of Pope
A criticism of the Pope is not a criticism of the Catholic Church or a
denial of its indefectibility, but of the decisions of the man who
occupies the Chair of Peter. According to John Henry Newman:
"It is in no sense doctrinally false that a Pope, as a private
doctor, and much more bishops, when not teaching formally, may err, as
we find they did err in the fourth century." The Supreme Pontiff
is indeed deserving of the benefit of the doubt and his teaching deserving
of "internal assent" (except in cases where there is nothing towards which
to assent or an apparent contradiction with previous teaching). Although,
this assent has been lacking in the Church since the 1960's (especially in
America), to respond with an insistence of papal perfection is an extreme
and dangerous overreaction.
Although he was "Prince of the Apostles" and the head of the Church,
Peter was not Christ. More scriptural verses are devoted to Peter's
mistakes and imprudence than those of any other apostle. From his denials
of Christ to his treatment of Gentiles, the first Pope was shown as a man
with human weaknesses who was by no means perfect or deserving of "blind
Some "conservatives" are fine with the existence of the criticisms but
not with the perceived tone. Examples of previous saints (e.g. St.
Catherine of Siena) are given to demonstrate the "proper" and "respectful"
way to question authorities. First of all, a simple disagreement over
communication techniques hardly accounts for the vast difference between
loyalty and disobedience, or Catholic and Schismatic. Secondly, when
situations turn dire, language must follow. Traditionalists are not taking
issue with a single isolated incident in an otherwise strong and
impressive Church. This is not the time for a simple reminder or request
for clarification on a minor issue. It has long since escalated to
full-scale alarm. The Church has gone through such overwhelming
devastation over the past thirty-five years, it's a wonder anyone can
react otherwise. Strong affirmations of Catholic truths and unambiguous
criticisms of dissent are necessary in a time of confusion and ruin.
2) "Traditionalists do not 'trust' their
leaders and assume the worst."
"Conservatives" compare traditionalists to the apostles who were
disturbed by Christ's sleeping in the boat while the waters raged around
them. I don't think the analogy applies. Again, Peter is not Christ and
while "conservatives" may find it morally acceptable to remain silent,
"trusting" that it is all part of God's Divine Plan, most Catholics are
unable to calmly witness the Bride of Christ subject to such abuse.
History is full of
"defenders of the Faith" who were unwilling to see the Church afflicted in
the smallest of ways ("small" at least by today's standards). Just because
the gates of hell cannot prevail doesn't mean the attack on souls being
carried out in the meantime should be passively ignored in a misguided act
of faith. For what is a Catholic to do when heretics like Hans Kung are
allowed to publish lies with impunity? When globalists and mass
abortionists like Gorbachev are treated as guests of honor at the Vatican?
When Schismatic groups, heretical sects and false religions are treated as
on a similar level as the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church? When
bishops who deny the necessity of conversion for salvation (Walter Kasper)
and advocate the Church's assistance of women procuring abortions (Karl
Lehmann) are rewarded with Cardinal birettas? When traditional bishops and
priests are subjected to extreme and disproportional persecution while
heretics exercise great power and influence? When Our Holy Father flatters
the undeniably evil Chinese government as an institution whose objectives
are "not in opposition" to the Catholic Church? Of what sort of "trust"
are these activities deserving? What is the proper Catholic response? What
would St. Paul have done?
institution, even the holiest, every aspect of organization can,
through the historical process of formation and deformation, come to
need renewal, and must then be reformed and renewed. Indeed, the
holier the institution, the worse the damage, and the more urgent
"But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach a gospel to you
besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema."
(Galatians 1:8) Indefectibility is not a promise of wonderful
times in the course of Christendom. The Arian heresy was certainly no
Golden Age for the Church. As St. Jerome wrote, the whole world "awoke
with a groan to find itself Arian," yet the Church did not defect. The
Faith was maintained primarily by the laity and led by a few courageous
individuals when it appeared the majority of priests and bishops had
fallen into heresy.
Throughout history, there have been numerous corrupt Popes, Cardinals,
bishops and priests but the Church has marched on, emerging from each
trial stronger than before. While "conservatives" may be content to
passively wait around for the next triumph of the Church, some Catholics
set their sights a little higher and are concerned about the loss of souls
that could be avoided in the meantime.
Also, such a criticism of the "trust" of traditionalists is more than a
little disingenuous. It represents the most traditional of "conservative"
mentalities an implicit admission that all these problems may exist but
we should silently sit back and watch those chosen to run the Church do so
as they see fit. To be consistent, "conservatives" would have to withdraw
their attacks on American Cardinals who, by virtue of their office, should
be deserving of similar "trust". This objection also shows a lack of
"trust" for the previous Popes and their efforts as recently as the early
part of the 20th century. Again, some "conservatives" claim all current
Papal actions to be completely consistent with his predecessors and
Vatican II completely in line with the history of the Church, while the
Pope and Cardinals claim and celebrate the opposite. Why would Pope St.
Pius X devote so much time and energy to combating and rooting out
Modernism if he did not clearly see its power and ability to infiltrate
the highest levels of the Church? Many people laughed at his "crusade" and
thought he was overreacting, but history has long since vindicated the
prophetic nature of his words. Why were many priests and theologians, who
would later rise to influential positions in the Church, under serious
investigation for Modernism in the 1950's? Is perfect wisdom and orthodoxy
guaranteed by position? Again, of what sort of "trust" is deserving
3) "Traditionalists defy the Magisterium of
Not so. The Magisterium is not everything a Pope or Cardinal may decide
to do (like hold an ecumenical seance) but the official teaching authority
of the Church, whether Ordinary or Extraordinary. As with infallibility,
"conservatives" extend the meaning of Magisterium to encompass the actions
of anyone in the upper hierarchy of the Church or with current residence
in the Vatican.
Traditionalists have called
into question (not defied or rejected) some recent teachings of the
Ordinary Magisterium because of their apparent contradiction with previous
teaching. This is not a preference or an overly-arrogant use of "private
judgment". They maintain the attitude that what was true for their parents
and grandparents is just as true for them. They refuse to share in the
optimism of new ideas and techniques promising to "renew" the Church. Such
naive optimism may have been excusable forty years ago it's not
Pope Alexander VI and
Despite his shortcomings, Savonarola was
one of the few to speak out against the worldliness, excesses and
humanism growing among the clergy and especially the Pope: "In these
days, prelates and preachers are chained to the earth by the love of
earthly things. The care of souls is no longer their concern. They
are content with the receipt of revenue. The preachers preach to
please princes and to be praised by them. They have done worse. They
have not only destroyed the Church of God. They have built up a new
Church after their own patter. Go to Rome and see! ... Dost thou not
know what I would tell thee! What doest thou, O Lord! Arise, and
come to deliver thy Church from the hands of devils, from the hands
of tyrants, from the hands of iniquitous
Suspicion towards non-infallible teachings of the Ordinary Magisterium
will be addressed more below, but it is founded in a belief of absolutes
in the objective order. Just because matters of Church discipline are not
on the same level as solemn moral pronouncements, doesn't mean the
arguments which support them cease to apply. In fact, when communion in
the hand and "altar girls" were forbidden by Rome, "conservatives" led the
crusade against the dissenters and were the first to proclaim their evils.
When Rome caved into the pressure and deemed each aberration acceptable,
what was once so clearly imprudent to "conservatives" was suddenly "OK".
Granted this is "only" a disciplinary matter, but a Catholic attitude
is one that holds novelty and change suspect no matter what the
justification. If this strange sort of "trust" leads to a blind
complacency which renders one incapable of recognizing error once it has
bored its way into the heart of the Church, it should be seen as an
accursed vice. If "integrism" is used to describe those people who protect
the Church from dangerous novelties with the zeal encouraged by St. Pius
X, how can it become anything other than a badge of honor?
4) "Traditionalists view the documents and
encyclicals of recent years as questionable or different than those of
previous Church leaders."
It doesn't take a theology degree to recognize that the language of
documents since Vatican II is decidedly different than those of previous
years. What once was clear and precise, giving little room for alternative
interpretations is now vague and questionable. In previous times, a
statement that apparently contradicted previous teaching would, out of
obligation, contain a clarification of how it is to be reconciled with
what was previously taught. This is no longer the case and any
inconsistencies are either ignored or the previous teaching is said to "no
longer apply". Traditionalists ask the question "why?". Why are Catholics
owed no explanation of why a teaching is being completely reversed before
And why are "conservatives" the only ones defending these documents?
Why don't the actual authors in the hierarchy provide clarifications?
While many "conservatives" are quick to defend some of the novel language
Ut Unum Sint or Dominus Iesus as perfectly orthodox, such
defenses have not been regular or forthcoming from the Vatican. And (as
with the Novus Ordo) since when does something "perfectly orthodox"
even need a defense?
The objection comes that Catholics should trust the language as
orthodox and assume any apparent contradiction is just a deficiency in
their own untrained understanding rather than in the document. But if
that's the case, what is the point of the document in the first place, if
not to clearly instruct? These documents are not written for "elite"
theologians but for all Catholics. These documents used to be in clear,
unambiguous language which took no chances when it came to possible
misunderstandings. Theological degrees and "conservative" defenders were
not needed to discover their "proper" meaning, and they should not be
today. The very fact that modern encyclicals leave any room for
intelligent, faithful individuals to debate the meaning is, in itself, a
5) "Traditionalists view Vatican II as a
significant change in the orientation of the Church."
The claim that Vatican II represented a
very slight or insignificant change is the first of the two very
mysterious objections addressed in this essay (the other being the New
Rite of the Mass wasn't much different than its predecessor). Mysterious
because these were the same claims made by everyone (liberal or
conservative) when the changes were going on. There was little
disagreement as to the extent of such changes, just the prudence of making
"We have the impression that through some cracks in
the wall the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God: . . .
doubt, uncertainty, questioning, dissatisfaction, confrontation . .
. We thought that after the Council a day of sunshine would have
dawned for the history of the Church. What dawned, instead, was a
day of clouds and storms, of darkness, of searching and
-Pope Paul VI (June 29, 1972)
The fact that things were changing was an obvious fact admitted on all
sides. Liberal Dominican "theologian" Yves Congar celebrated the changes
he helped implement, then chided traditional Catholics that "no one
ever promised you a Church you'd be comfortable with". Upon his
election, Pope John Paul II praised the council for its revolutionary
nature and cites it almost exclusively (apart from Scripture) in his
encyclicals and letters. In fact, over ninety percent of the references in
the new Catechism are from the documents of Vatican II. In Ecclesia
Dei, Pope John Paul II even admitted:
"Indeed, the extent and depth of the teaching of the Second
Vatican Council call for a renewed commitment to deeper study in order
to reveal clearly the Council's continuity with Tradition, especially in
points of doctrine which, perhaps because they are new, have not
yet been well understood by some sections of the Church."
2 (emphasis mine here and throughout) Whether or not the
changes have been beneficial is debatable, but whether or not a change in
orientation has taken place within the Catholic Church is a clear,
established fact admitted by all.
6) "Traditionalists reject the infallibility
of the Vatican II documents which are automatically infallible, being
pronounced by an ecumenical council."
The canonical status of Vatican II documents can be an unnecessarily
long discussion to get into. Put simply, just because an ecumenical
council can exercise infallibility does not mean it will. Although it is
an "organ of infallibility", an ecumenical council does not enjoy that
privilege simply by virtue of its commencement. Even liberal theologians
like Karl Rahner were forced to admit as much. Countless quotes from
bishops, priests and theologians can testify to the fact that
infallibility wasn't even an issue during the council, but the testimony
of Pope Paul VI should be enough to suffice:
"In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any
extraordinary statements of dogmas endowed with the note of
Ecumenical councils have typically
been called to address doctrinal issues and make solemn definitions.
Vatican II was, from the start, billed as a "pastoral" (as opposed to
"doctrinal" or "dogmatic") council. This was repeated to the bishops on
several occasions when concern was raised over the orthodoxy and authority
of some of the documents.
censured under Pius XII but welcomed by John XXIII as Vatican II
advisors: Karl Rahner, John Courtney Murray, Henri de Lubac and
"Beware of false prophets who come to you in the clothing of
sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you
shall know them."
In Cardinal Ratzinger's letter to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre on July
20, 1983, he states that:
"It must be noted that, because the conciliar texts are of
varying authority, criticism of certain of their expressions, in
accordance to the general rules of adhesion to the Magisterium, is not
forbidden. You may likewise express a desire for a statement or an
explanation on various points. ... You may that personally you cannot
see how they are compatible, and so ask the Holy See for an
explanation." 4 It is impossible for infallible texts
to "vary in authority". Also, criticizing expressions and asking for
clarification on seemingly contradictory teachings is "not
Of course, non-infallible declarations of an ecumenical council are
deserving of internal assent, but not when those documents make no solemn
definitions, or seem on their face to be in contrast to previous teaching
(e.g. Dignitatis Humanae). As explained in the Catholic
"But before being bound to give such an assent, the believer
has a right to be certain that the teaching in question is
definitive (since only definitive teaching is infallible)..."
6 That such contradictions are apparent has been admitted
by no less a man than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
"If it is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the text as a whole,
we might say that (in conjunction with the texts on religious liberty
and world religions) [Gaudium et spes] is a revision of the Syllabus
of Pius IX, a kind of counter-syllabus ... Let us be content to say
here that the text serves as a counter syllabus and, as such,
represents, on the part of the Church, an attempt at an official
reconciliation with the new era inaugurated in 1789..." 7
The nature of such "apparent contrasts" is debatable, as are the
appropriate methods employed for discussion and clarification, but all
investigation on the matter should not cease to a halt due to an
insistence on infallibility that never existed. To do so would reward
those looking to take advantage of this imaginary infallibility "gray
area" by giving novel ideas the authority of an ecumenical council.
In order to prevent any confusion on the matter, very clear
restrictions were put on what can be considered infallible. Infallibility
only applies to solemn definitions by the Pope or an ecumenical council in
a matter of faith or morals, binding on the entire Church. It does not
automatically apply to everything coming out of a council or even all
parts of a documents making infallible definitions. The Catholic
Encyclopedia entry on "Infallibility" goes on to state that:
"It need only be added here that not everything in a conciliar
or papal pronouncement, in which some doctrine is defined, is to
be treated as definitive and infallible. For example, in the lengthy
Bull of Pius IX defining the Immaculate Conception the strictly
definitive and infallible portion is comprised in a sentence or two; and
the same is true in many cases in regard to conciliar decisions. The
merely argumentative and justificatory statements embodied in definitive
judgments, however true and authoritative they may be, are not covered
by the guarantee of infallibility which attaches to the strictly
definitive sentences unless, indeed, their infallibility has been
previously or subsequently established by an independent decision."
What could be more clear? What is reserved for certain individual
sentences cannot be generally applied to an entire collection of
documents. Non-definitive statements cannot inadvertently be sealed with
infallibility because they happen during a council. No matter how many
times Vatican II is praised by present bishops and even the Pope,
infallibility cannot be applied retroactively. If it did not exist at the
time, it cannot be claimed now or in the future.
7) "Traditionalists view the current crisis
of the Church that has occurred since the 60's as somehow 'caused' by
Vatican II or the New Mass or the actions of the Church Leaders. That is
ridiculous and similar to claiming Humanae Vitae 'caused' the
This comes closer to the heart of
the traditionalist position. Traditionalists tend to place the "blame" for
many modern issues on the Vatican Council and the New Mass (also Church
governance which could be seen as an extension of conciliar-style
"ecumenism" and "collegiality").
Pope Pius IX and the
First Vatican Council
"The Holy Ghost was not promised to the
successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new
doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the
revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of the
Faith, and might faithfully set it
"Conservatives" revel in the claim that since such a "cause-effect"
relationship cannot be "proven", assigning any blame or trying to
reasonably demonstrate how one could lead to the other is completely
unreasonable. They cite the basic principle of scientific research that
correlation does not demonstrate causation. Unfortunately for
"conservatives", such exact causation cannot be determined outside
experimental settings and thus has little bearing on examinations of
history. Political scientists will always debate whether America came out
of the Great Depression due to the "New Deal" or World War II, but neither
can be scientifically "proven" as the cause. Because one cause cannot be
proven, another cannot be discounted especially one with reasonable
logical support. Traditionalists make a compelling case for the role the
"renewal" of Vatican II has played in the modern crisis. To discount such
an argument due to the failure of establishing an impossible "proof" is
Traditionalists believe the Second Vatican Council to be harmful to the
Church. As with criticisms of the Pope, this does not represent a denial
of the Church's indefectibility. Just because an ecumenical council is
called, does not guarantee it will succeed or be good for the Church.
"It is entirely possible that an ecumenical council can simply
fail in its stated goal. The fifteenth-century Council of
Ferrara-Florence failed to bring about a lasting reconciliation with the
Orthodox. The Second Council of Constantinople, held during the 550s,
seems only to have confused people further about the controversy
surrounding Monophysitism. For that reason, St. Isidore of Seville
believed that the Church would have been better off had it never been
called." 9 This is not to say that all the directors
of this new pastoral orientation which begun with Vatican II were evil or
subversive. Many (but not all) certainly were well-intentioned people who
bought into the idea of a "renewed" Church with an "improved" outlook
towards the world. But given the results we have all witnessed, such
initial optimism is no longer reasonable. Even Cardinal Ratzinger admits
"I am repeating here what I said ten years after the conclusion
of the work: it is incontrovertible that this period [following
Vatican II] has definitely been unfavorable for the Catholic
Church." 10 Such a conclusion did not take very long
to realize. The results could be seen immediately after the council. In
1968, Pope Paul VI lamented:
"We looked forward to a flowering, a serene expansion of concepts
which matured in the great sessions of the Council. ... [Instead, it] is
as if the Church were destroying herself." 11 And the
following year, Fr. Louis Bouyer wrote:
"Unless we are blind, we must even state bluntly that what we see
looks less like the hoped-for regeneration of Catholicism than its
accelerated decomposition." 12 The Church has never
been guaranteed that it will take the wisest and most prudent path.
Infallibility on matters of faith and morals does not extend to every
decision and pastoral technique the Church leaders may try. As Dr. Woods
"... [how can one] conclude that an orientation could itself be a
magisterial teaching? How can an orientation be 'true' or 'false'? It
can only be wise or unwise, fruitful or barren. Thus if the Pope were to
declare that the pastoral experiment inaugurated by Vatican II, having
produced more dissension and confusion than genuine fruit, was to be
abandoned in favor of the Church's traditional posture, that would be
entirely his prerogative. If the suggestions of Vatican II fall short
of their expectations, they can be revised or rejected by the
Church. For example, in the wake of the Council of Trent and in the
face of the Protestant Revolt, the Church granted the request of some of
her members that Communion be offered to the faithful under both
species. Over time the practice seemed to produce more confusion than
piety - some laymen simply could not be persuaded from the superstitious
notion that one receives more grace by receiving under both kinds - and
so the very churchmen who had originally requested the Holy See's
permission for this experiment finally asked that the previous
discipline be restored." 13 which agrees perfectly
with Dietrich von Hildebrand, praised by Pope Pius XII as the "20th
century Doctor of the Church":
Dietrich von Hildebrand
"If one of the devils in
C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters had been entrusted with the ruin
of the liturgy, he could not have done it
"In the case of practical, as distinguished from theoretical,
authority, which refers, of course, to the ordinances of the Pope, the
protection of the Holy Spirit is not promised in the same way.
Ordinances can be unfortunate, ill-conceived, even disastrous, and
there have been many such in the history of the Church. Here Roma
locuta, causa finita does not hold. The faithful are not obliged to
regard all ordinances as good and desirable. They can regret them and
pray that they will be taken back; indeed, they can work, with all due
respect for the pope, for their elimination." The alternate
"conservative" theory of causation (that the current situation would have
happened anyway due to unavoidable changes in social climate) is possible
but seems unlikely for several reasons. Anecdotally, we've seen that
non-Latin Catholic Rites and Eastern Schismatic churches did not see the
same drop-offs and mass exodus. We've also seen the popularity of Islam
explode in Western civilization, especially in Great Britain and the
United States. One would expect a debilitating societal condition to
afflict different "religious groups" equally (or at least somewhat
But the main reason to discount such a "would've happened anyway"
hypothesis is that Vatican II and the New Mass were extremely visible and
major changes if not in substance than appearance. Such appearances (or
accidents) are not insignificant details but have always been regarded as
important. The result of changing them does not have to be theorized. It
can be seen by the statistical drop in conversions, ordinations,
practicing Catholics and every other vital sign one wishes to examine. It
can also be heard in the words of confused Catholics:
"If it now seems that salvation can be obtained in other
religions, why remain Catholic?"
All understandable concerns concerns which had no
real basis in pre-conciliar days. They do now.
"If anyone can participate "actively" in the liturgy, why be a
"Why is the Mass now very similar (in prayers, music, architecture)
to the heretical ones previously condemned?"
"If the Mass and the Church can change this much, why can't it change
further to whatever my particular cause is?"
"If that which was formerly condemned is now acceptable and the 'old'
Church was mistaken or 'out of touch', how do we know the current Church
isn't the same way, and will be judged as 'out of touch' at some future
Which brings us to the much heralded "Spirit of Vatican II" which is
used to justify any and every aberration or heresy. Regardless of whether
you see this as an abuse of the Council or the result of the logical
progression it unleashed (I tend to favor the latter), such novelties
would have no excuse were it not for the Council, and the laity would be
less likely to accept them. Novelties on a far smaller scale went on
before the Council but received limited support and were clearly seen for
what they were.
The Archdiocese of
Seattle went through a disastrous time in the 1980's under Archbishop
Raymond Hunthausen. Everything from "altar girls" to lay-run "liturgies"
to pagan architecture to invalid sacramental matter was justified by
conformance to the elusive "spirit of Vatican II". What if no such Council
could be used for such abuse? They may have found another excuse but it
would be much less likely to succeed and certainly less widespread.
"...I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith
was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers
in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport.
Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that
dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from
the one which the Church held previously."
-Pope St. Pius X's
Oath Against Modernism
When Modernism and liberalism were emphatically condemned from the
highest levels of the Church, when priests were required to take
anti-Modernist oaths, when diocesan councils were encouraged to root out
these errors, such a thing could never be justified nor carried out. When
the fight against these forces turned into an implicit (or explicit)
acceptance and such outward changes could be seen by Catholics every week,
the Catholic Church became fertile ground for a revolution. When confusion
reigns, those things that would normally cause mass protest are accepted.
All this is defended as the necessary cost of the "renewal". No matter
how enthusiastic the Pope is about the current Church and Vatican II, no
"renewal" is happening. The evidence of this fantastical "Springtime" is
nowhere to be found, except in those small pockets of grace which find the
faithful rediscovering the traditional teachings, practices and rites of
the Catholic Faith.
With regards to the "Humanae Vitae" argument, equating a
significant change in the orientation of the Church towards the world
(accompanied by a change in worship experienced every week by every member
of the Latin Rite) with a single encyclical which upholds Catholic
teaching, and discounting the possibility for either to significantly
effect the Church is, at best, careless. It seems that "conservative"
Catholics are frantically looking for some explanation of what's going on,
convinced it couldn't be the Council or anything the Church leaders have
done. Why not?
Some have gone so far as to claim that most every modern problem in the
Church from low Mass attendance to a lack of vocations was "caused" by
dissension from Humanae Vitae.14 And that through a sort
of "radiation" theory, the "plague" of dissent has brought the Church to
its knees and driven away priests and converts, leaving the Pope and
bishops absolutely helpless. Again, if you'll believe this, why discount
the possibly of significant wide scale changes made by the Church itself
having some negative effects?
"Conservatives" are faced with
another problem when they start blaming the current crisis on certain
dissenting bishops and priests who spread heresy, dissent and scandal. If
they are to blame, so is their leader. Who is the one in charge of
governing the bishops and priests? Who is responsible for keeping them in
line? If local policemen start a riot, you can bet the police chief and
mayor will be held accountable. When Palestinian suicide bombers attack
Israel, Arafat will certainly be held to blame. When a company is facing
bankruptcy and losses, the CEO needs to answer for it. Pick any
organizational analogy you like teachers, parents, sports teams,
schools, businesses, organizations, societies the result is the same.
The state of a household in ruin has something to do with its head
whether through misguided actions or the lack of appropriate response.
Bishops Matthew Clark
and Thomas Gumbleton
"Religious people keep silence, but
every blaspheming tongue is let loose. Sacred things are profaned;
those of the laity who are sound in their faith avoid the places of
worship as schools of impiety, and raise their hands in solitudes,
with groans and tears to the Lord in heaven."
So any attack against a liberal Cardinal or dissident bishop is an
implication of Our Holy Father. Who has the power to reprimand heretics?
Even if you excuse the Pope as "too busy" or claim he "has his hands
tied", who has the power to assign bishops? Why has the Pope made bishops
out of Thomas Gumbleton and Matthew Clark? Why are Francis George and
Roger Mahony named Cardinals and electors of the Pope? You can only
pretend for so long that the Pope is oblivious to "what's really going
on". John Paul II was very familiar with the "views" of Karl Lehmann and
Walter Kasper when they were named Cardinals last year. Again, does true
loyalty mean remaining silent or, much worse yet, making excuses? Or is
the proper Catholic response to question what's going on?
As a final clarification, most traditionalists do not see the Second
Vatican Council and Novus Ordo as formal "causes" of the modern
crisis but catalysts which allowed a number of Modernists to come to the
forefront and foist their ideas and heresies on the Church under the guise
of a "renewal". Both marked a sort of "triumph" of liberal, masonic and
Modernist ideals within the structure of the Church. It is not wholly
inaccurate to claim that:
"What the French Revolution was to France, the Second Vatican
Council was to the Catholic Church."
8) "Traditionalists view the Mass of Pope
Paul VI as significantly 'different' than the Tridentine
Here we come to the second "mysterious objection". Again,
traditionalists are accused of a position held partially or totally by
those same Church leaders they are supposedly being disloyal to. It is
well-known that one of the main objectives behind the "revision" of the
Roman Rite was an "ecumenical" one. It was to break down one of the chief
differences between the Protestant forms of Worship and the Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass. While the validity of the sacrament may not be up for debate,
the prudence of the decisions supporting the revision (revolution) of the
Roman Missal is not beyond questioning, especially given one of its chief
objectives. If one objects to the current ecumenical direction and
practices which humiliate the Catholic Faith and cost countless souls, why
should the Novus Ordo Mass receive immunity?
The significance of such a
change is necessitated by its goal. If the Mass underwent the same
"natural" development it had undergone over the ages, it would not
accomplish any "ecumenical" ends because it would not be seen by
Protestants as any different than the previous Catholic Mass. Of course,
the degree of change was substantial and widely acknowledged by those
assigned to the very Consilium responsible for its revision.
Consilium expert Joseph Gelineau, S.J. stated:
|The "Mass" at Cardinal Roger Mahony's 2001 Religious
"But the things which the
heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to God. And I
would not that you should be made partakers with devils. You cannot
drink the chalice of the Lord and the chalice of devils: you cannot
be partakers of the table of the Lord and of the table of
-1 Corinthians 10:20
incense censors or portable cauldrons?
"Preparation of the Altar"
A sing-along everyone can
Blessing the juice
"Hoc Est Enim Corpus
"Let it be candidly said: the Roman Rite which we have known
hitherto no longer exists. It is destroyed." 15 This
was reiterated by Consilium appointee Fr. Louis Bouyer:
"There is practically no liturgy worthy of the name in the
Church." Msgr. Klaus Gamber, one of the most esteemed and
respected liturgists of the twentieth century and chamberlain of Pope Paul
VI, strongly criticized the nature in which this "reform" was undertaken.
As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote in the preface of one of Gamber's
"...in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came
fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth
and replaced it...with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.
Gamber...opposed this falsification, and, thanks to his incredibly rich
knowledge, indefatigably taught us about the living fullness of a true
liturgy." 16 As Gamber demonstrated, this was a
"revision" never before seen in the historical development of the Mass.
This was not just another organic development but an effort to create a
"new" Mass for particular objectives. The result was clearly shocking,
even to Ratzinger's predecessor as head of the Holy Office, Cardinal
"...the Novus Ordo Missae...represents, both as a whole and in
its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the
Mass. ... To abandon a liturgical tradition which for four centuries
stood as a sign and pledge of unity in worship, and to replace it with
another liturgy which, due to the countless liberties it implicitly
authorizes, cannot but be a sign of division a liturgy which teems
with insinuations or manifest errors against the integrity of the
Catholic Faith is, we feel bound in conscience to proclaim, an
incalculable error." 17 Finally, the Novus Ordo
required an additional "foreword" published one year later which justified
the doctrinal orthodoxy of the Mass. The existence of this "justification"
is the most condemning aspect of all. Why is such a justification needed
if the orthodoxy of the Mass is so clear? And, as with all the other
excuses and defenses of this new orientation, the very fact that they
exist is an implicit acknowledgement of the legitimacy of criticism.
9) "Traditionalists are on a trajectory
towards or leading people into disobedience and schism and are no better
than liberal dissidents on the left."
While it's heartening that some "conservatives" realize they cannot
pronounce someone "Schismatic" just because they don't agree with his
views on successful pastoral techniques, it's not much better when they
try to use an imaginary slippery slope.
It's unfortunate that the views of traditionalists (the same views
universally held by Catholics several decades ago) are now on the "fringe"
of the "mainstream" Church, but it's unavoidable. This is not a place
traditionalists themselves have traveled but where they have been forced
in light of the current Church orientation. Different saints throughout
history have found themselves at odds with the popular opinions held by
Churchmen, but have remained as such to avoid the even greater error of
compromise. St. Athanasius may be used as a justification for too many
things, but one cannot deny that he was better off being at odds with a
majority of those "within" the Church than denying his Faith.
To go along with the popular opinions just because they are
popular is a significant error, especially when dealing with the
Catholic Faith and salvation of souls. To say that those Modernist ideas
condemned as heretical and dangerous at the beginning of the century are
now acceptable because the Pope seems to "say so" is to surrender based on
the odds. That truth and error can be defined by public opinion is not
Catholicism and is wholly detestable.
Furthermore, comparing "Catholic" liberals (material Protestants and
heretics) who campaign for Church "acceptance" of baby-killing and
"ordination" of women to traditionalists who uphold the consistent Truth
of the Catholic Church is extremely insulting and inaccurate. It is a
difference of night and day, black and white.
Liberals reject encyclicals that aren't in line with their
"lifestyle choice"; traditionalists ask clarification on only
those items which apparently contradict past teaching.
Just because our current leaders are less sympathetic to
traditional Catholic beliefs and practices does not put us on the same
level as those who would "renew" the Church according to their humanist
and diabolical desires. The fundamental difference is obvious.
Liberals condemn the spiritual and moral authority of the Church;
traditionalists uphold and defend it.
Liberals want to promote personal or political agendas;
traditionalists don't want those agendas anywhere near the Church.
Liberals push for new beliefs, approaches, philosophies, practices
and rituals; traditionalists protect the old ones that have sustained
the Church for thousands of years.
Liberals see the Church as an old-fashioned discriminatory
institution of which they are ashamed; traditionalists would die to
Liberals would just as soon leave the Church for a trendy alternative
if they don't get their way; traditionalists will remain until the end
The dissidents on the left who were rightfully shunned a half century
ago have seen their ideals (religious liberty, collegiality, ecumenism)
gain great measures of support in the Vatican. Will today's dissidents who
proclaim their new causes (women's "ordination", "choice", contraception)
gain some measure of official support fifty or a hundred years from now?
The Church making any concession to these "causes" seems unthinkable, but
no one ever thought eighty years ago that an ecumenical council would
release a document affirming the "right" of an individual to publicly
profess a false religion. No one thought the Vatican would support or even
acknowledge a global, atheistic, man-made institution that aggressively
spreads abortion and contraception to all the countries of the world. No
one ever thought a Communist government would be so much as tolerated,
much less praised in an attempt towards "dialogue".
Of course the Church is indefectible, but it can be influenced by evil
forces and outwardly appear to be in collapse. A consequence of this
crisis is that faithful Catholics upholding traditional beliefs are seen
as "extremists". As St. Basil lamented during the Arian Heresy:
"Only one offense is now vigorously punished an accurate
observance of our father's traditions. For this cause the pious are
driven from their countries and transported into deserts."
18 As is the case during every widespread Church crisis,
those holding firm to the Catholic Faith are subject to ridicule and
persecution. Traditionalists expect nothing less.
The traditionalists of today were the conservatives of fifty years ago.
Their positions have not changed the Church around them has, and the
results are there for everyone to see. "Conservatives" claim a greater
degree of "trust" in their leaders whose opinions and actions have
received stark criticism from the prophetic words of former Popes.
Of course, a "trusting" road is a much easier one to travel. Bearing in
mind the ridiculous state of the Church in America, it is natural to cling
to the hopeful idea that there are allies in Rome who are "on your side".
And if those leaders only knew the extent of what was going on or were not
too busy with more important matters, surely they'd come to the rescue.
"Conservatives" would dread having to get down on their knees every
night worrying what the Pope is going to do or say next; or how many
potential converts are being lost due to the ecumenical shenanigans; or
how an orthodox priest will ever be able to make it through a seminary
without getting expelled for being too Catholic; or what type of man a
College of Cardinals which includes Mahony and Kasper will elect to
succeed John Paul II.
I, for one, would love to sleep peacefully each night comfortable that,
as bad as things may be in my local parish or diocese, the majority of the
Church (and especially the leadership) is composed of perfectly wise and
holy individuals, incapable of error. But that's not the case and
maintaining such misguided "trust" is not being honest.
The Church Militant now, more than ever, needs strong warriors. We must
respond to St. Athanasius' exhortation:
"Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to
hold the Catholic Faith; unless each one preserves this whole and
inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in
"Our canons and our forms were not given to the Churches at the
present day, but were wisely and safely transmitted to us from our
forefathers. Neither had our faith its beginning at this time, but it
came down to us from the Lord through his disciples. That therefore the
ordinances which have been preserved in the Churches from old time until
now, may not be lost in our days, and the trust which has been committed
to us required at our hands; rouse yourselves, brethren, as being
stewards of the mysteries of God, on seeing them now seized upon by
aliens." 19 and heed the words of Pope Pius XI:
"The two opposing camps are now clearly marked; each man should
choose his own. Men of good will and men of evil will face one another.
The uninterested and the cowards face their fearsome
responsibility. They will have their names changed if they do not
change their behavior: they will be called traitors." It
is completely backwards to fight against the destruction of a cathedral
building while ignoring the actual Church in a state of ruin. It is
ludicrous to share in the Vatican illusion of a "Springtime of Vatican II"
when all eye can see is a devastated vineyard.
Catholics must never give in to compromise or ignore error out of a
false sense of loyalty. We must avoid the errors of those who fall into
"conservative" relativism out of a fear of "private judgment". Our
Sensus Catholicus cannot be abandoned or suppressed at the time
when it is needed most!
"Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. Right is right even
if no one is doing it." -St. Augustine
Peter Miller (Seattle,
1 St. Thomas
Aquinas, "Summa Theologica" II, II, q. 33, a. 4
John Paul II, "Ecclesia Dei", (7/2/1988)
3 Pope Paul
VI, General Audience, (1/12/1966)
4 M. Davies, "The
Second Vatican Council and Religious Liberty", Neumann
5 Lest I be accused of quoting out of context,
Cardinal Ratzinger also says in the letter that "You may not,
however, affirm that the conciliar texts, which are magisterial
texts, are incompatible with the Magisterium and with Tradition."
Which has little bearing on an infallibility discussion, but does
come into play when traditionalists make strong affirmations and
accusations (even though Ottaviani repeatedly did) rather than
pointing out inconsistencies and asking for
6 Catholic Encyclopedia,
7 J. Ratzinger, "Principles of
Catholic Theology" Ignatius Press (1987)
Encyclopedia, "Infallibility" (1910)
9 Dr. T. Woods,
The Remnant (2000)
10 J. Ratzinger
11 Pope Paul VI, "Address to Lombard
12 Fr. Louis Bouyer, "The
Decomposition of Catholicism", p. 3, Franciscan Herald Press
13 Dr. T. Woods, The Remnant
14 New Oxford Review (9/2001)
Joseph Gelineau, S.J., Demain la liturgie, Ed. du Cerf, Paris, 1979,
16 J. Ratzinger, K. Gamber, "The Reform of The
17 A. Ottaviani, "The Ottaviani
18 St. Basil (376)
POST SCRIPT: "Wandering" aimlessly?
In the year 2000, The Wanderer (an American "conservative"
Catholic periodical) published a work by a former traditionalist
turned "conservative" who accused his former associates of
maintaining a dangerous "trajectory", lacking adequate "trust" and
exercising irresponsible or arrogant use of "private judgment" (FULL TEXT). What could have been an
interesting and beneficial discussion on the merits of a particular
publication ("We Resist You to the Face") became an angry and
illogical attempt to generalize, then condemn all traditionalists.
What could have been the start of an important debate became a
shocking personal attack.
Faced with such an action, The
Remnant (an American traditional Catholic periodical whose
editor was among the targets of the attack) published a series of
responses which defended the individuals singled out, as well as
Catholic traditionalism as a whole (FULL TEXT). The responses demonstrated the
obvious inconsistencies of the attack and summarily refuted what
anti-traditionalist arguments were made. To the objective observer,
the original work was destroyed and the author embarrassed. As much
was obvious even to a non-objective "conservative" observer. I know
because I was one.
At the time of the publication, I considered myself a
"conservative". I was orthodox in my beliefs, knew the Catechism and
Church History better than most and practiced pious prayer,
sacrifice and devotions. Like any good "conservative", I would react
strongly against those who claimed that Vatican II or the Novus
Ordo Mass had any deficiencies they were both doctrinally
sound but unexplainably hijacked and abused by evil men. Pope John
Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger were my role models and the shining
examples of wonderful "conservative" Catholicism in an increasingly
liberal world the generals fighting the "culture of death". I knew
all the "conservative" mantras: "the modern crisis would've happened
anyway due to societal changes"; "the Novus Ordo Mass was
just the most recent in a line of perfectly normal liturgical
developments"; "Pope John Paul II brought about the 'fall' of
Communism"; "the New Mass accomplished important 'pastoral'
objectives and provided a 'richer fare' for the people";
"traditionalists put unreasonable and 'arbitrary' limits on
Tradition". Yes, I could defend the shadows on the cave wall with
the best of them.
In reading the aforementioned attack in The Wanderer, the
inconsistencies started to become clear. The author presented the
very un-"conservative" opinion that the Novus Ordo Mass was
only hesitantly promulgated after much deliberation and undue
pressure from Annibale Bugnini, a man "deeply influenced by secular
humanism" (although selected, appointed and supported by Pope Paul
VI). He condemned the use of "private judgment" in a publication
that regularly criticizes bishops and Cardinals selectively "judged"
as part of their "AmChurch". He suggested the views of
traditionalists had an economic incentive after himself switching
from an audience of a couple thousand to one of millions. He held up
blind trust as a virtue asserting the unquestionable wisdom and
prudence of the Supreme Pontiff, due to his position. It was almost
as if he was really a traditionalist trying to emphasize the
inconsistencies of the "conservative" position by giving extreme
examples; as if he were setting up straw arguments for an easy
refutation. Perhaps it took an angry individual rejecting his former
traditionalism to draw big red circles around the tentative and
arbitrary nature of the "conservative" ideology. Perhaps he was
really attacking his own former extreme beliefs and practices (not
actually reading any encyclicals, declaring the Pope an impostor),
but then decided to condemn all traditionalists as guilty by
While the problems were already becoming quite apparent before
even reading the responses, I (like several other "conservatives" I
knew) acquired copies of The Remnant to read them for myself.
What I knew would be a relatively easy defense became a complete and
irrefutable annihilation of The Wanderer and the work they
mistakenly chose to print.
Since that event, The Wanderer has been on a very
questionable "trajectory". The attacks on traditionalists have
continued. Some have been in rhyming verse and some even attempting
to usurp the title "traditionalist" for themselves (one would think
laying claim to the undeserved title of "conservative" would have
been enough of a coup already). The criticisms of Cardinals and
bishops have become less frequent as the actions of their superiors
in the Vatican have become more similar. Recently, the publication
even went so far as to suggest that Sister Lucy either lied or was
mistaken about Our Lady's message at Fatima (would the Queen of
Heaven really entrust critical messages to an individual with such
poor morals or memory?).
What once was a valuable resource for keeping up on the
scandalous behavior of US bishops and priests is becoming merely a
vehicle for Vatican press releases, a forum for politically
conservative opinions and a weapon wielded against traditional
Catholics. The name is becoming more and more fitting as the
direction in which this periodical is "wandering" becomes more and
Please Not Another Assisi
The event that stripped modern ecumenism
of any credibility is back
In response to the cultural divisions highlighted by the recent
terrorist attacks on the U.S. and escalating violence in the Middle
East, Pope John Paul II called for another major interreligious
prayer session at Assisi...
True Soldiers in the Church
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The body of faithful which comprises the Catholic Church is
divided into three parts: the Church Triumphant (souls in heaven),
the Church Suffering (souls in purgatory) and the Church Militant
(faithful on earth). The Church Militant has been defined as...