Popular apologist Jimmy Akin (appropriately distinguished by the fact that he sports a cowboy hat) has been propagating a serious error concerning the authority of the Fathers of the Church. He has been claiming that because Trent’s Decree Concerning The Edition And Use Of The Sacred Books was issued on the same day as the Decree Concerning the Canonical Scriptures (8th April 1546) it should be taken as a disciplinary decree and therefore its requirement that the Scriptures never be interpreted ‘contrary to the unanimous teaching of the Fathers’ should be taken as purely disciplinary. Furthermore, he opines, because the 1983 Code of Canon Law makes no reference to this ‘rule’ it is lapsed and no longer binds the faithful. The motive for this preposterous claim appears to be the desire to unburden himself of unfashionable teachings of the Fathers and to clear the ground for ultramontane magisterial positivism (especially in regard to the interpretation of Genesis).

The problem for Mr Akin is that, even granting his claims about the disciplinary character of the Decree Concerning The Edition And Use Of The Sacred Books, the requirement that the Scriptures never be interpreted ‘contrary to the unanimous teaching of the Fathers’ is not confined to this decree. Exactly the same requirement in included in the Creed of Pius IV or Professio Fidei Tridentina the Church’s rule of faith for four centuries proclaimed at the end of Trent by Pius IV and solemnly affirmed not once but twice by Vatican I. This dogmatic and irreformable statement of the ‘true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved’ resoundingly affirms that:

“I also accept the Holy Scripture according to that sense which holy mother the Church hath held, and doth hold, and to whom it belongeth to judge the true sense and interpretations of the Scriptures. Neither will I ever take and interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.”

The authority of the Fathers, which reaches its highest point in their unanimous interpretation of scripture, is the guarantee of the unchanging sense of the Church’s teaching delivered once and for all to the Apostles and preserved inviolate until the Lord’s return. As Vatican I put it,

“For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated. Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.”

Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us in a mystery by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force. And these no one will gainsay — no one, at all events, who is even moderately versed in the institutions of the Church. For were we to attempt to reject such customs as have no written authority, on the ground that the importance they possess is small, we should unintentionally injure the Gospel in its very vitals; or, rather, should make our public definition a mere phrase and nothing more. For instance, to take the first and most general example, who is thence who has taught us in writing to sign with the sign of the cross those who have trusted in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? What writing has taught us to turn to the East at the prayer? Which of the saints has left us in writing the words of the invocation at the displaying of the bread of the Eucharist and the cup of blessing? For we are not, as is well known, content with what the apostle or the Gospel has recorded, but both in preface and conclusion we add other words as being of great importance to the validity of the ministry, and these we derive from unwritten teaching.

It is obviously very concerning that some Catholics who adhere to the Roman Rite of Mass question the legitimacy of the Second Vatican Council or the legitimacy of the liturgical reform, dictated by Vatican Council II and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs (which, of course, bears no resemblance to the Novus Ordo Missae). However, it is even more worrying that 69% of Catholics attending the Novus Ordo Missae do not believe in Transubstantiation and thus ‘eat and drink condemnation upon themselves’. In fact, it is probably the case that the inspired word of God and the solemn definitions of Lateran IV, Florence and Trent have even more authority than the prudential judgement of Vatican II. Following the wisdom of the pontiff now gloriously reigning, it would seem that existing groups making use of the Novus Ordo Missae should only be allowed to persist in so doing once it is ascertained that they accept the doctrine of the Real Presence and that care should be taken that no new groups of this kind are established.

In case you were wondering:

The John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute and the Pontifical Academy for Life have felt the need to involve some researchers in the field of theology in the preparation of a focused and real growth path about the future of Christian thought in relation to the communication of faith and the form of theology in the ecclesial, human and civil context, that after the pandemic will have to let go of some clichés of a Christian era that is waning and of the new kairos of the human condition that is announced.

Why, you may ask?  Surely, it’s obvious:

Theology accepts direct dialogue with the thought and evidence of history, to do justice to the logos of hope that faith brings to the humans, with the transparency of an intellectual loyalty that must represent a point of honor for the understanding of faith.

So, at least that’s clear.

(original here)


13. A prohibition against new religious orders

Lest too great a variety of religious orders leads to grave confusion in God’s church, we strictly forbid anyone henceforth to found a new religious order. Whoever wants to become a religious should enter one of the already approved orders. Likewise, whoever wishes to found a new religious house should take the rule and institutes from already approved religious orders. We forbid, moreover, anyone to attempt to have a place as a monk in more than one monastery or an abbot to preside over more than one monastery.

Pope Gelasius in his ninth letter (chap. 26) to the bishops of Lucania condemned the evil practice which had been introduced of women serving the priest at the celebration of Mass. Since this abuse had spread to the Greeks, Innocent IV strictly forbade it in his letter to the bishop of Tusculum: ‘Women should not dare to serve at the altar; they should be altogether refused this ministry.’ We too have forbidden this practice in the same words in Our oft-repeated constitution Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 6, no. 21. ” – Benedict XIV, enc. Allatae sunt, 1755

George Weigel thinks it was ‘correct‘ to drop the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, in contrast, teaches that,

[T]his Holy Synod adopts the condemnations of total war which have already been uttered by recent popes, and declares: Every operation of war which aims indiscriminately at the destruction of whole cities, or of widespread areas with their inhabitants, is a crime against God and humanity itself which is to be firmly and unhesitatingly condemned.

– Gaudium et spes 80

Luckily for Mr Weigel, Pope Paul VI clarified in 1966 that, “In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner any dogma carrying the mark of infallibility.” So that means that the definition quoted above belongs to the secondary object of the magisterium of which Canon 750§ 2 tells us,

…each and everything set forth definitively by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals must be firmly accepted and held; namely, those things required for the holy keeping and faithful exposition of the deposit of faith; therefore, anyone who rejects propositions which are to be held definitively sets himself against the teaching of the Catholic Church.

So, Mr Weigel is not teaching heresy, only error. In its Doctrinal Commentary on the 1998 Apostolic Letter (Motu Proprio) Ad Tuendam Fidem the CDF tells us “Whoever denies these truths would be in a position of rejecting a truth of Catholic doctrine and would therefore no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church.”

The Code of Canon Law (1983) goes on to say,

Canon 1371 – The following are to be punished with a just penalty:

1° a person who, apart from the case mentioned in canon 1364 § 1, teaches a doctrine condemned by the Roman Pontiff, or by an Ecumenical Council, or obstinately rejects the teachings mentioned in canon 750 § 2 or in canon 752 and, when warned by the Apostolic See or by the Ordinary, does not retract

We can only hope that the Apostolic See will soon warn Mr Weigel so he can return to “full communion with the Catholic Church.”

LateranThere has been a lot of talk lately about the Second Vatican Council and how it ought to be set aside or relegated from its ecumenical status. This is quite impossible and improper. It is precisely the sort of idea liberals have been floating about many of the other councils. It cannot be accepted or even tolerated.  The Council infallibly defined in a number of areas and these definitions must be accepted. Vatican II was a validly convened Ecumenical Council and must be accepted as such.

However, it is very clear that the twenty-first council was associated with many rash and frankly presumptuous prudential decisions. The very idea of holding an Ecumencial Council for no particular reason and then deliberately defining no dogmas and issuing no canons while putting forth volumes of merely authentic teaching is wrong. It is putting God to the test. Bishops at the council openly propounded heretical doctrines and nothing was done. Cardinal Franz König of Vienna openly denied the inerrancy of Scripture. Others praised the monstrous writings of Teilhard de Chardin. Ambiguities intended to favour heresy were introduced into the texts. The reforms proposed by Sacrosanctum Concilium were similarly ambiguous in order to facilitate the outrageous and illicit confection of a ‘New Rite’ of the Mass by Paul VI.

These wicked acts must be frankly acknowledged and atoned for by another Ecumenical Council in a definitive way. The public and complete atonement for the blasphemies of the last sixty years must be comprehensive. Just as Cardinal Pole frankly acknowledged the crimes of the Roman Curia and the episcopate at the beginning of Trent so too the Council of restoration must, and even more solemnly, confess the sins of the prelacy and beg Almighty God to put an end to the plague of apostasy, corruption and unnatural vice that has laid waste to the Church.

All the errors and heresies favoured by the ambiguities in Vatican II’s merely authentic teaching must be solemnly condemned. It must be solemnly defined that the Novus Ordo was illicit and that Popes do not have the authority to create ‘new rites’ of this kind. Heretics such as Karl Rahner, Hans Urs von Balthasar and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin must be solemnly condemned by name along with their adherents and the errors of authors such as Maritain and de Lubac openly identified, attributed to them by name and proscribed. If possible, priestly ordinations should henceforth be conducted only by bishops without the Novus Ordo in their episcopal line. Not because the Novus Ordo is invalid but in recognition of the offence it has given to God. This Council must not flinch from holding the present occupant of the highest See to the same standards as Honorius was held in 681 and binding all his successors to recognise their verdict in that matter.

An interesting exchange of letters.

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