Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Pope Cannot be a Heretic; A Heretic Cannot be Pope

The whole premise behind the term “sede vacante”, which means the chair is vacant, is that the Chair of St. Peter, that is the Holy See, is not currently occupied by a Catholic pope, but rather by a usurper, one who does not have a legitimate claim to the papacy, because he is a heretic.

First, we must address a common argument against judging the man who claims to be pope as a heretic. It goes something like this: "The pope has no superior on earth, and can be judged by no one."

This statement as it stands, is absolutely true. So why do sede vacantists believe that they can judge the man who sits on the chair in the Vatican an antipope?


Judging

It is useful, for better assimilation of the current discussion, to read also the article entitled "Judge not, that you may not be judged!".

In St. Matthew's Gospel, when the Lord Jesus Christ says: "Judge not, that you may not be judged," is he in fact telling us to refrain from all judgment? No. All a person needs to do, is read the next four verses.

"For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye? Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye,"

So it is obvious that the Lord was prohibiting people from judging hypocritically, that is, of condemning others for sins that we are guilty of ourselves. And how does the Lord finish His thought? With these words: "and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

So he is not telling us to refrain from judging at all. He is merely telling us that we have to accuse, judge and correct ourselves, and then shall we see to judge others. In other words, judging others is not forbidden, judging them hypocritically is.


Type of judgment

There are two types of judgment. Juridical, which comes from authority, also called canonical judgment; and epistemological judgment.

Epistemology is the study of knowledge, that is; the study of what we know, and how we know it. Naturally since most sede vacantists are simple lay people, they are not authorized to judge anybody canonically (for the purpose of imposing penalties, etc.), though as we have heard from the mouth of God Incarnate, once we have purified ourselves of our own sins, we shall then see clearly enough to notice and admonish the sins in others.


"Judging the pope?"  Or a man already judged?

Now, we still haven’t solved the problem of "judging the pope". We know that he is judged by no one on earth. This means that when he exercises his authority, there is nobody superior to him on earth and therefore nobody can overturn his decrees.

When we speak of judging someone to be an antipope, there are there are three things to be distinguished;

1) the papal authority
2) the person of the pope
3) the union of the papal authority with the person

The papal authority is from God, yet the union of this authority with the person is made by human election. The papal authority in and of itself can never be judged by any man and neither can any act or decree, which proceeds from this authority.

The person who would be elected pope, however, is indeed judged by his superiors, who constantly promote him from deacon, to priest, to bishop, etc.

When this person has been judged by enough Cardinals to be elected pope, there has been still no judgment of the papal authority, but rather of the person, using the dogmas of faith and morals as a guide in determining that this person is indeed worthy to be united to the papal authority.

But if the person of the pope (or anybody) were to publicly fall into heresy, he would no longer be in the Catholic Church, because it is Catholic dogma that heretics are outside the Catholic Church:

Pope Eugene IV, the Council of Florence, ex cathedra: “It (the Holy Catholic Church) firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council, Session 3, Chapter 3, #8-9: "Wherefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium.  Since, then, without faith it is impossible to please God and reach the fellowship of his sons and daughters, it follows that no one can ever achieve justification without it, neither can anyone attain eternal life unless he or she perseveres in it to the end."

Strong and beautiful words from Pope Pius IX, reiterating and confirming the infallible decree of Pope Eugene IV, but from the other side, professing what is necessary to be counted among the sons and daughters of God, namely the divine and Catholic Faith (and not to reject any point thereof). People who do so are to be avoided, as testified by the constant Tradition of the Church, teachings of both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Magisterium and even Scripture. In the Epistle to Titus, St. Paul admonishes the faithful as follows: “A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid: Knowing that he, that is such an one, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment.”

Pope Vigilius Second Council of Constantinople, ex cathedra: “…we bear in mind what was promised about the holy church and him who said that the gates of hell will not prevail against it (by these we understand the death-dealing tongues of heretics)…”

Pope Vigilius, Second Council of Constantinople, ex cathedra: "And about that claim of the Apostle: Even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, let him be accursed. As we said earlier, I repeat once more: If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, let him be accursed.  Since the Lord declares that the person is judged already, and the Apostle curses even the angels if they instruct in anything different from what we have preached, how is it possible even for the most presumptuous to assert that these condemnations apply only to those who are still alive? Are they unaware, or rather pretending to be unaware, that to be judged anathematized is just the same as to be separated from God? The heretic, even though he has not been condemned formally by any individual, in reality brings anathema on himself, having cut himself off from the way of truth by his heresy. What reply can such people make to the Apostle when he writes: As for someone who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned."


Therefore when a person who appears to be pope has fallen into heresy, he has condemned himself, he has judged himself, he is no longer Catholic, and therefore is no longer personally worthy or able to be united to the papal authority. It is by Divine Law that a lawfully appointed Pontiff is successor to St. Peter in the primacy over the Church, just as it is by Divine Law that a heretic, schismatic, or any apostate from the faith, ceases to be Catholic, and is therefore ejected from the Church. Non-Catholics are not eligible as candidates for the papacy, and this is why if a pope should fall into heresy, he can no longer be pope. We do not pronounce a sentence upon him, but rather recognize that which he pronounces upon himself.

It is the only possible position to hold, otherwise we would have to say that if a pope could be a heretic and remain pope, then St. Paul admonished the body of Christ to avoid its own head, but that is ridiculous. No, his teaching shows the truth that if the person who is the head of the body of Christ should fall into heresy, he loses his headship, and must be avoided.

This is undeniably a reasonable and sound argument.


Another objection

But there is a common objection that runs as follows: "Peter denied the Lord, which is the gravest crime of heresy, even apostasy, so he cannot have been a pope!"  But there are two reasons why this objection is invalid:

1) The papal discipline of Pope Paul IV was not yet decreed, and
2) St. Peter was not yet pope.

The first problem is obvious, since St. Peter's papacy was in the first century of the Catholic age, whereas Pope Paul IV lived 15 centuries later.

The second reason is proved easily enough from the historical record from Scripture itself:

St. Matthew 16:18-20: "And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.  Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ."

When Christ and the Apostles came into Caesarea Philippi, St. Peter is not then made the head of the Church, but Christ merely promises that He will build the Church upon him.  A few things are clear form the text of the Gospel of St. Matthew 16:18-20.

1)  Christ says "I will build my church", and "whatsoever thou shalt bind", both in future tense.
2)  He commanded his disciples that they should NOT tell anyone that He was the Christ.

It is clear that at this point, Peter was not a pope, since the pope is the Vicar of Our Lord in Heaven, and it is his duty to preach that Jesus is the Christ.

St. Luke 22:32-33: "And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren. Who said to him: Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.  And he said: I say to thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, till thou thrice deniest that thou knowest me."

Obviously Christ knew that St. Peter's faith would fail.  Does this mean that His prayer was ineffective?  God forbid!  But He in order to humble St. Peter, He permitted him to fall into apostasy by His own weakness before he would be later converted to God and strengthened by the Holy Ghost.

It was not until after Christ's resurrection that St. Peter was given the commission that Christ had promised him.

St. John 21:14-19: "This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to his disciples, after he was risen from the dead.  When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.  He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.  He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me?

Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him:Feed my sheep.  Amen, amen I say to thee, when thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself, and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldst not.  And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had said this, he saith to him: Follow me. "

This is undeniably the event that Jesus foretold in St. Luke 22:32 (being thou converted).


Not all public sinners lose the faith or lose office

There must be a distinction made between a heretic and a public sinner against morality.  Heresy involves explicitly speaking contrary to the Catholic religion, while public sinners who are not heretics do not teach that their sins are okay.  They do give scandal by a bad example, and are no less worthy of damnation, but they retain their Catholicity and authority.  That we may know this is true, The Roman Pontiff has condemned the following proposition of the heretic John Hus:

Pope Martin V, Council of Constance, ex cathedra: "If the pope is wicked, and especially if he is foreknown to damnation, then he is a devil like Judas the apostle, a thief and a son of perdition and is not the head of the holy church militant since he is not even a member of it." - Condemned

Of course, even in such cases, it is lawful to rebuke the sins of a superior (even the pope), in the hope that he will amend and save his own soul.

St. Catherine of Siena, Letter to Pope Gregory IX, AD 1376: "Alas, Most Holy Father! At times obedience to you leads to eternal damnation.”

In conclusion, yes it is unlawful to judge the pope's private actions for the purpose of penalizing him, or to judge or rebel against any of his legitimate authoritative papal acts, but once he has condemned himself by his own judgment, by publicly manifesting a heretical belief, he is not showing himself to be no longer Catholic and not the pope and those who recognize this fact are not breaking the law by judging him to be an antipope; they are obeying the law by judging and avoiding a heretic who has fallen from his dignity and placed himself outside the Church by his own perverse opinions.


Finally, here is the most relevant proof from the Magisterium:

Pope Paul IV, Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio: "1. In assessing Our duty and the situation now prevailing, We have been weighed upon by the thought that a matter of this kind [i.e. error in respect of the Faith] is so grave and so dangerous that the Roman Pontiff,who is the representative upon earth of God and our God and Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the fulness of power over peoples and kingdoms, who may judge all and be judged by none in this world, may nonetheless be contradicted if he be found to have deviated from the Faith [...] and We have been concerned also lest it may befall Us to see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel, in the holy place..."

"6. In addition, [by this Our Constitution, which is to remain valid in perpetuity We enact, determine, decree and define:] that if ever at any time it shall appear that any Bishop, even if he be acting as an Archbishop, Patriarch or Primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, or, as has already been mentioned, any legate, or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy:(i) the promotion or elevation, even if it shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals, shall be null, void and worthless;
"(ii) it shall not be possible for it to acquire validity (nor for it to be said that it has thus acquired validity) through the acceptance of the office, of consecration, of subsequent authority, nor through possession of administration, nor through the putative enthronement of a Roman Pontiff, or Veneration, or obedience accorded to such by all, nor through the lapse of any period of time in the foregoing situation;

"(iii) it shall not be held as partially legitimate in any way;
"(iv) to any so promoted to be Bishops, or Archbishops, or Patriarchs, or Primates or elevated as Cardinals, or as Roman Pontiff, no authority shall have been granted, nor shall it be considered to have been so granted either in the spiritual or the temporal domain;

"(v) each and all of their words, deeds, actions and enactments, howsoever made, and anything whatsoever to which these may give rise, shall be without force and shall grant no stability whatsoever nor any right to anyone;

"(vi) those thus promoted or elevated shall be deprived automatically, and without need for any further declaration, of all dignity, position, honour, title, authority, office and power.

"7. Finally, [by this Our Constitution, which is to remain valid in perpetuity, We] also [enact, determine, define and decree]: that any and all persons who would have been subject to those thus promoted or elevated if they had not previously deviated from the Faith, become heretics, incurred schism or provoked or committed any or all of these, be they members of anysoever of the following categories: the Cardinals, even those who shall have taken part in the election of this very Pontiff previously deviating from the Faith or heretical or schismatical, or shall otherwise have consented and vouchsafed obedience to him and shall have venerated him;

"Castellans, Prefects, Captains and Officials, even of Our Beloved City and of the entire Ecclesiastical State, even if they shall be obliged and beholden to those thus promoted or elevated by homage, oath or security; shall be permitted at any time to withdraw with impunity from obedience and devotion to those thus promoted or elevated and to avoid them as warlocks, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs (the same subject persons, nevertheless, remaining bound by the duty of fidelity and obedience to any future Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates, Cardinals and Roman Pontiff canonically entering)."

So the alleged Pontiff who should appear to have been heretical in any public and knowable capacity, prior to his elevation as alleged Pontiff, but while acting as Bishop or Archbishop, or who has even PROVOKED heresy or schism as such, has met the above conditions and is excommunicated from the Church, and incapable of holding office.  I believe this Bull was promulgated by Pope Paul VI to prevent the suspected heretic Cardinal Morone from becoming "Pontiff", but, moreover, by God the Holy Ghost to prevent Gioacchino Pecci from becoming the Vicar of Christ, lest He be accused of allowing the wolf to take hold of the flock (as some blasphemers assert).



Overcoming objections to Papal Infallibility: Popes Liberius, Vigilius, Honorius, John XXII

These four popes are often brought up as objections to two important facts. The first fact is that God bestowed the gift of an unfailing faith on St. Peter and his successors (papal infallibility), and the second is that a pope must be Catholic to be pope, that is he cannot be a heretic.

People often confuse these two points when considering the current situation as it relates to sedevacante. Many seem to believe that the only way to know if a pope has lost office is if he teaches a heresy from what would otherwise be his infallible capacity, that is if he tries to teach heresy ex cathedra. This is not at all the case. All that would be necessary for the pope to lose office is for him to publicly express a heretical opinion.

Here is where anti-sedvacantists are up in arms, however. They point to certain popes in the past who have either taught erroneously, or have not come down as hard as they should on heresy. But the fact is that an erroneous doctrine, if it is not contrary to a teaching that is to be believed by Divine and Catholic Faith (dogma) is not heresy, and one holding such an opinion, though they may be sinning by doing so depending on how certain the belief is regarded to be and how much support it has.  Even if his belief is condemned as heretical later on in history, he does not lose his membership in the Church for holding it prior to that time, nor does he lose any authority he holds within Her.  Heresy was always false, but not necessarily always heresy.

Now let's delve into the specific cases that are so often presented (or rather misrepresented):


Overcoming objections concerning Pope Liberius:

Pope Liberius is said by opponents to papal infallibility to have signed a semi-Arian creed, one that rejects the Arian term “homoiousios”, which means of like substance, while also rejecting the correct Catholic term “Homoousion”, which means of the same substance (that the Son of God is of the same substance as the Father), thereby falling into heresy.

It’s said that Athanasius confirms this in his writings, however, examining his writings shows this is actually not the case.

St. Athanasius, History of the Arians, Part V, #35: “The eunuch accordingly went to Rome, and first proposed to Liberius to subscribe against Athanasius…”

The Arians wanted Pope Liberius to condemn St. Athanasius, they did indeed also wanted the pope to condemn the "Homoousion".

St. Athanasius, History of the Arians, Part V, #41: “But Liberius after he had been in banishment two years gave way, and from fear of threatened death subscribed. Yet even this only shows their violent conduct, and the hatred of Liberius against the heresy, and his support of Athanasius, so long as he was suffered to exercise a free choice. For that which men are forced by torture to do contrary to their first judgment, ought not to be considered the willing deed of those who are in fear, but rather of their tormentors. They however attempted everything in support of their heresy, while the people in every Church, preserving the faith which they had learned, waited for the return of their teachers, and condemned the Antichristian heresy, and all avoid it, as they would a serpent.”

St. Athanasius relates not that Pope Liberius signed a heretical creed, but that he signed a condemnation against Athanasius, and that under extreme duress. While this is indeed bad, it is not a profession of heresy, and St. Athanasius would certainly not leave a detail such as the pope falling into Arian or semi-Arian heresy out of his "History of the Arians".


Overcoming objections concerning Pope Vigilius:

The objection is occasionally made that Pope Vigilius had erred regarding his condemnation of the 'Three Chapter' and his subsequent withdrawal and re-condemnation of the same.

According to A History of Christendom, vol.2 The Building of Christendom by Warren H. Carrol pages 173-178:

544 - Emperor Justinian issues a decree condemning the Three Chapters and the four Eastern patriarchs, lead by Mennas of Constantinople, give assent to the decree on the condition of the Pope's approval.

November 2, 545 - Pope Vigilius is arrested for not approving the decree

Fall of 546 - The Pope is brought to Greece when it becomes clear he will not approve the decree

January 547 - The Pope arrives in Constantinople. Lifts his earlier excommunication of Mennas for even conditionally assenting to Justinian's decree and gives private assurances to Justinian he will issue a document.

April 548 - Issues "Judicatum" condemning the person and writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, and the heresies in the writings of Theodoret of Cyrrhus and Ibas, without prejudice to Chalcedon. In reaction to this, he is excommunicated by a synod of African bishops (who in reality would have excommunicated themselves, since the pope cannot be excommunicated, save if he excommunicates himself through heresy).

August 550 - Vigilius convinces Justinian to allow him to withdraw Judicatum and have a council to decide the matter. In exchange, Justinian demands Vigilius' promise in writing that he will do what he can to convince the council to condemn the Three Chapters.

July 551 - Western bishops state they will not attend the proposed council or if they did attend they would not vote for condemnation. Justinian issues a second statement condemning the Three Chapters and insists the Eastern bishops sign it. Vigilius announces excommunication for any bishop that signs the statement. Many bishops sign and are excommunicated. This is done because it is the Pope and the council that decide issues of orthodoxy and not the Emperor. In reaction the Emperor places Vigilius under closer guard at the Placidia Palace.

December 23, 551 - Vigilius escapes and takes refuge in Chalcedon.

February 5, 552 - Vigilius issues an encyclical denouncing his treatment by Justinian and professing his faith

March 552 - Justinian sends Mennas and Theodore Askidas to Chalcedon to apologize for his mistreatment and pledging fidelity to the Council of Chalcedon and support for the Pope in suppressing the controversy until the council met. Vigilius returns immediately to Constantinople but is not allowed to return to Rome.

May 5, 553 - The Council of Constantinople convenes. Only 166 bishops attend. Because he was unable to hold a preliminary synod in Rome and the small representation of Western bishops, Vigilius refuses to attend but issues a "Constitutum" reaffirming Chalcedon, condemning the works but not the person of Theodore of Mopsuestia, upheld Theodoret of Cyrrhus and Ibas of Edessa, condemned five heretical Nestorian propositions, and directed further discussion of the matter to cease. In response, Justinian issues Vigilius' written promise to attempt to convince the council to condemn the Three Chapters'. The council takes up the matter.

June 2, 553 - The council anathematizes the Three Chapters but upholds Chalcedon. Theodore of Mopsuestia's works and person were condemned, only Theodoret of Cyrrhus' heretical writings are condemned as well as the letter of Ibas of Edessa. They did not decide the issue of whether Ibas of Edessa actually wrote the letter which he apparently denied. Vigilius' name was struck off the diptychs.

June to December, 553 - Vigilius along with his staff are put in close confinement on a diet of bread and water on the island of Proconnesos. During this Vigilius suffered from kidney stones from which he later died on the way back to Rome.

February 554 - Vigilius issues a final Judicatum ratifying the Council of Constantinople, because he said after study and reflection he had come to see how much heresy, whether or not intended, was indeed included in the writings.

None of the heresies were specifically approved by the Council of Chalcedon. The authority of the pope had been upheld because even the action of the Emperor and a council could not decide the issue without the ratification of the pope. No fundamental dogma of the Faith was involved in the Three Chapters controversy. Therefore, Vigilius ratified the council.

June 7, 555 - Pope Vigilius dies in agony from kidney stones in Syracuse, Sicily on his way back to Rome after being released from ten years of exile by Emperor Justinian.


Nowhere did the councils or the pope teach error or heresy. Therefore, there is no reason to call the dogma of papal infallibility into question. After all, the dogma of papal infallibility does not state the pope will never make mistakes, only that he will be prevented from teaching any error or heresy at all when speaking ex cathedra.

Overcoming objections concerning Pope Honorius:

Pope Honorius, always the last resort for those attempting to attack papal infallibility. Pope Honorius lived at the time the Monothelite heresy was gaining adherents. As Pope it was his duty to speak out forcefully against this false doctrine. He failed to do so. In addition, he wrote a poorly worded, rather ambiguous letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople, attempting to respond to an equally ambiguous letter received from the Patriarch concerning the heresy, which the Patriarch endorsed.

The ambiguity and lack of forcefulness of Honorius' letter was unfortunately used by the Monothelites to strengthen their movement by suggesting that the Pope was a supporter. Honorius was not very careful in accurately and fully expressing the position of the Church, and not very straightforward in his condemnation of the heresy.

However, none of the above could categorize him personally as a heretic - a categorical impossibility since he was the Vicar of Christ. Failure to speak out forcefully in condemnation of a heresy does not make one a heretic. Personally holding a view that is objectively heretical does not make a prelate a heretic until his view is externally and publicly expressed, and anyway there is no evidence that Pope Honorius held such a view.

And nothing expressed in a personal letter, whether misinterpreted by enemies of the Church or even accurately interpreted, could make one a heretic. Pope Honorius would have been a heretic if he had officially endorsed Monothelitism. He didn't even come close. It is true that after his death he was among those declared anathema by the Council of Constantinople the Third in its condemnation of Monothelitism; however, the decrees of that council, like any council, are not valid until confirmed by the Pope. Before Pope Leo II confirmed the findings of the Council, he modified the references to Pope Honorius, specifically to make it clear that Honorius had not supported the heresy of Monothelitism, but was only negligent in his duty to actively suppress it. Negligence, yes. Heresy? Not even close.


Overcoming objections concerning Pope John XXII:

In the last years of Pope John's pontificate there arose a dogmatic conflict about the Beatific Vision, which was brought on by himself, and which his enemies made use of to discredit him.

Before his elevation to the Holy See, he had written a work on this question, in which he stated that the souls of the blessed departed do not see God until after the Last Judgment. After becoming pope, he advanced the same teaching in his sermons. In this he met with strong opposition, many theologians, who adhered to the usual opinion that the blessed departed did see God before the Resurrection of the Body and the Last Judgment, even calling his view heretical.

A great commotion was aroused in the University of Paris when the General of the Minorites and a Dominican tried to disseminate there the pope's view. Pope John wrote to King Philip IV on the matter (November, 1333), and emphasized the fact that, as long as the Holy See had not given a decision, the theologians enjoyed perfect freedom in this matter.

In December, 1333, the theologians at Paris, after a consultation on the question, decided in favour of the doctrine that the souls of the blessed departed saw God immediately after death or after their complete purification; at the same time they pointed out that the pope had given no decision on this question but only advanced his personal opinion, and now petitioned the pope to confirm their decision. John appointed a commission at Avignon to study the writings of the Fathers, and to discuss further the disputed question.

In a consistory held on 3 January, 1334, the pope explicitly declared that he had never meant to teach aught contrary to Holy Scripture or the rule of faith and in fact had not intended to give any decision whatever. Before his death he withdrew his former opinion, and declared his belief that souls separated from their bodies enjoyed in heaven the Beatific Vision.

In his papal bull Benedictus Deus, Pope John’s successor, Benedict XII defined the dogma that the souls of the faithful departed go to their eternal reward immediately after death or Purgatory.

If Pope John had publicly taught his erroneous opinion after the contrary had been defined by the Holy See, then he would have been a heretic who lost office, but this, again, is a simple case of a pope teaching (without the intention of binding the faithful) an erroneous opinion that was not at that time opposed to a formal dogma.



What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Bible and Science

Too many people argue today that the Bible is not a book of scientific and historical truth, but only one of spiritual truth.

Says who? Which authoritative Catholic teacher? That sounds awfully MODERNIST to me. Some even go as far as to attack the very credibility of the Bible, which really is in no danger of being undermined, but this is a natural result of denying that the Bible is totally inerrant in all matters.

It is only false science that distorts the facts of reality, which can even appear to undermine the Bible.

Only in cases where taking the Bible literally is untenable are we allowed to depart from the literal and obvious sense.

And just because Judeo-Masonic pseudo-science and the Vatican II antichrists would have us believe that the Bible is riddled with anti-scientific nonsensical myths that impart some spiritual truth, doesn't mean that the Bible's depiction of real events and miracles is untenable, or that necessity requires that we depart from the literal and obvious sense.

There are all sorts of scientific concepts mentioned in the Bible, some of which no man could have known until the advent of modern technology.


The Bible is full of references to the physical sciences!!!

Take, for example, Job's knowledge of SCIENCE as well as the SCIENCE lesson he received of God:

Earth is suspended in space:

Job 26:7: "He stretched out the north over the empty space, and hangeth the earth upon nothing."



Light travels as a beam through a path in space.

Job 38:19 "Where is the way where light dwelleth, and where is the place of darkness:"


Light can be spread (as in a prism).

Job 38:24: "By what way is the light spread, and heat divided upon the earth?"


Air has mass and weight:

Job 28:25: "Who made a weight for the winds and weighed the waters by measure."



And of course, there is a lot more:


Astrophysical data show the universe is expanding:

Psalm 103:2: "And art clothed with light as with a garment. Who stretchest out the heaven like a pavilion"

Isaias 40:22: "It is he that sitteth upon the globe of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as locusts: he that stretcheth out the heavens as nothing, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in."

Jeremias 10:12: "He that maketh the earth by his power, that prepareth the world by his wisdom, and stretcheth out the heavens by his knowledge"


The Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy, the universe is winding down and energy will become disordered and dispersed):

Psalm 101:26-27: "In the beginning, O Lord, thou foundedst the earth: and the heavens are the works of thy hands. They shall perish but thou remainest: and all of them shall grow old like a garment: And as a vesture thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed."


Every star is different:

1 Corinthians 15:41: "One is the glory of the sun, another the glory of the moon, and another the glory of the stars. For star differeth from star in glory."


At any time, it is both day and night on different parts of the earth:

Luke 17:34-35: "I say to you: in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together: the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left: two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left."


The water cycle:

Ecclesiastes 1:7: "All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea doth not overflow: unto the place from whence the rivers come, they return, to flow again."

Isaias 55:10: "And as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return no more thither, but soak the earth, and water it, and make it to spring, and give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:"


The currents in the oceans:

Psalm 8:9: "The birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea, that pass through the paths of the sea."


The life of creatures is in the blood:

Leviticus 17:11: " Because the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you, that you may make atonement with it upon the altar for your souls, and the blood may be for an expiation of the soul."


Scientific research has proven that on the 8th day of a baby's life his or her blood clots at its fastest rate (due to optimal levels of Vitamin K).

Genesis 21:4: "And he circumcised him the eighth day, as God had commanded him,"


There is much more than this, but this should suffice to make the point.



What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Antipope Benedict XVI



Joseph Ratzinger, God and the World, 2000, p. 373: “There were in fact Christian hotheads and fanatics who destroyed temples, who were unable to see paganism as anything more than idolatry that had to be radically eliminated.”

That's what paganism is! Yeah it has to be eliminated, it send countless souls to hell every single day!!!

Joseph Ratzinger, The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, 2001: "As regards the first question, the situation is different, for Christians can and ought to admit that the Jewish reading of the Bible is a possible one"

http://www.heisnear.com/BenedictSEATEDjEWISHtEMPLE2006.jpg

Antipope Benedict XVI, Address to a Rabbi, Monday, 16 January 2006: "Distinguished Chief Rabbi, you were recently entrusted with the spiritual guidance of Rome's Jewish Community; you have taken on this responsibility enriched by your experience as a scholar and a doctor who has shared in the joys and sufferings of a great many people. I offer you my heartfelt good wishes for your mission, and I assure you of my own and my collaborators' cordial esteem and friendship."

Good wishes for HIS MISSION? What is the Jewish mission? Denial of Christ and preaching the coming of a false Messias!

Benedict XVI, speech apologizing for his comments on Islam, Sept. 2006: “In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation. I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Qur’an, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion"

http://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/religiousimages/M012_PrayingAtMosque.jpg

What!!!

"Oh oh oh wait he's not pertinacious, though - ahem- and if he is, I can never know it until his cohorts denounce him! He's just a weak pope! Yeah! He can't help it if he's undermining the true Catholic Faith, denying dogmas and worshiping false gods! After all, the pope's expected to be infallible, not impeccable, or CATHOLIC!"

The argument that he is really the pope is BLASPHEMOUS AND RIDICULOUS!


http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/Benedict_XVI_with_schismatics/B16_praying_with_schismatic.jpg

http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/Benedict_XVI_Pictures_Miscellany/ratzinger_devil_sign.jpg

http://z.about.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/7/P/bush_evil.jpg

http://www.helpfreetheearth.com/img/ObamaIranSatanSign.jpg

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Antipope Pius XII, the Judeo Freemason

Antipope Pius XII, in addition to never having publicly abjured from his schismatic communion with the heretical antipopes Benedict XV, Pius X and Leo XIII, also taught errors and heresies of his own in addition to 'teaching' which were also tinted with much Freemasonic colouring.

Antipope Pius XII using the infamous 'devil horns' Freemasonic hand signal


On heretics and schismatics being united to the Church

Antipope Pius XII, Summi Pontificatus, 1939, #16: “Nor can We pass over in silence the profound impression of heartfelt gratitude made on Us by the good wishes of those who, though not belonging to the visible body of the Catholic Church, have given noble and sincere expression to their appreciation of all that unites them to Us in love for the Person of Christ or in belief in God. We wish to express Our gratitude to them all. We entrust them one and all to the protection and to the guidance of the Lord and We assure them solemnly that one thought only fills Our mind: to imitate the example of the Good Shepherd in order to bring true happiness to all men: "that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly" (Saint John x. 10)…”

Rather than telling heretics and schismatics, who are outside the Church, that they need to convert and be saved, he describes them as outside of the VISIBLE body of the Church and even says they are united to the Church, no doubt because he wants Catholics to believe that these heretics and schismatics can be united to the soul of the Church. This is blatant disobedience to the following decrees of Holy Church:

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, ex cathedra: "It firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics..."

Pope Vigilius, Second Council of Constantinople, Canon 11, AD 553, ex cathedra: “If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinarius, Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, as well as their heretical books, and also all other heretics who have already been condemned and anathematized by the holy, catholic and apostolic church and by the four holy synods which have already been mentioned, and also all those who have thought or now think in the same way as the aforesaid heretics and who persist in their error even to death: let him be anathema.”

Antipope Pius XII, Summi Pontificatus, 1939, #42: “In the light of this unity of all mankind, which exists in law and in fact, individuals do not feel themselves isolated units, like grains of sand, but united by the very force of their nature and by their internal destiny, into an organic, harmonious mutual relationship which varies with the changing of times.”

All mankind is not united, but only those who have been brought into the Catholic Church by baptism.

Antipope Pius XII, Summi Pontificatus, 1939, #45: “The Church hails with joy and follows with her maternal blessing every method of guidance and care which aims at a wise and orderly evolution of particular forces and tendencies having their origin in the individual character of each race, provided that they are not opposed to the duties incumbent on men from their unity of origin and common destiny.”

Not only is this quote vague, but particularly disturbing, since it seems to be a shout out to the Modernists who were pushing for 'church' reform, and retrospectively seems to have foretold of the current amalgamation we are seeing take place between the Vatican II religion and others.


On moral relativism

Antipope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi, 1943, #87: “The social Body of Jesus Christ in which each individual member retains his own personal freedom, responsibility, and principles of conduct.”

One is not free to retain their own personal principles of conduct. The only principles of conduct a person may retain are those of the Holy Catholic Faith, as revealed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The above statement is heresy in direct opposition to the following dogmatic decrees:

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 7, Canon 7 on baptism, ex cathedra: "If any one saith, that the baptized are, by baptism itself, made debtors but to faith alone, and not to the observance of the whole law of Christ; let him be anathema."

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 7, Canon 8 on baptism, ex cathedra: "If anyone says that those baptized are free from all the precepts of holy Church, whether written or unwritten, so that they are not bound to observe them unless they should wish to submit to them of their own accord, let him be anathema.


On the deliberate avoidance of conception

Antipope Pius XII, Address to Italian Midwives, Oct. 29, 1951: “Today, besides, another grave problem has arisen, namely, if and how far the obligation of being ready for the service of maternity is reconcilable with the ever more general recourse to the periods of natural sterility the so-called "agenesic" periods in woman, which seems a clear expression of a will contrary to that precept. You are expected to be well informed, from the medical point of view, in regard to this new theory and the progress which may still be made on this subject ... It is your function, not the priest's, to instruct the married couple through private consultation or serious publications on the biological and technical aspect of the theory, without however allowing yourselves to be drawn into an unjust and unbecoming propaganda. But in this field also your apostolate demands of you, as women and as Christians, that you know and defend the moral law, to which the application of the theory is subordinated. ... If the application of that theory implies that husband and wife may use their matrimonial right even during the days of natural sterility no objection can be made. ... If, instead, husband and wife go further, that is, limiting the conjugal act exclusively to those periods, then their conduct must be examined more closely. ... the moral lawfulness of such conduct of husband and wife should be affirmed or denied according as their intention to observe constantly those periods is or is not based on sufficiently morally sure motives. ... Therefore, to embrace the matrimonial state, to use continually the faculty proper to such a state and lawful only therein, and, at the same time, to avoid its primary duty [procreation] without a grave reason, would be a sin against the very nature of married life. Serious motives, such as those which not rarely arise from medical, eugenic, economic and social so-called 'indications,' may exempt husband and wife from the obligatory, positive debt for a long period or even for the entire period of matrimonial life. From this it follows that the observance of the natural sterile periods may be lawful, from the moral viewpoint and it is lawful in the conditions mentioned.

Pius XII just taught that couples may deliberately avoid conception by engaging in intercourse during only the infertile periods, and he stated that they may even do so for the whole period of their matrimonial life, even leaving it in the couples' hands to determine what may or may not be "serious reasons". Among these reasons are included social and eugenic 'indications'. This was long ago rejected as sin by St. Augustine:

St. Augustine writing against the Manichees: "Is it not you who used to counsel us to observe as much as possible the time when a woman, after her purification, is most likely to conceive, and to abstain from cohabitation at that time, lest the soul should be entangled in flesh? This proves that you approve of having a wife, not for the procreation of children, but for the gratification of passion. In marriage, as the marriage law declares, the man and woman come together for the procreation of children. Therefore whoever makes the procreation of children a greater sin than copulation, forbids marriage, and makes the woman not a wife, but a mistress, who for some gifts presented to her is joined to the man to gratify his passion. Where there is a wife there must be marriage. But there is no marriage where motherhood is not in view; therefore neither is there a wife. In this way you forbid marriage. Nor can you defend yourselves successfully from this charge, long ago brought against you prophetically by the Holy Spirit (source; the Blessed Augustine is referring to 1 Timothy 4:1-3).

And look at the last sentence one more time:

"From this it follows that the observance of the natural sterile periods may be lawful, from the moral viewpoint"

So it is only maybe lawful?

"and it is lawful in the conditions mentioned."

What!? Is it lawful or only maybe lawful antipope Pius XII? As for the "conditions metioned":

"Serious motives, such as those which not rarely arise from medical, eugenic, economic and social so-called 'indications,' "

Not rarely arise? These vague and undefined conditions are so broad and open ended that he is basically saying that as long as you can think of a reason that fits into these, you can call it "serious" and copulate to your hearts content with the sinful intention to avoid procreation!

Birth control is sin, and to counsel sin and say it is lawful is to counsel a heresy against a matter of morals. The Church has ever been unanimous in her teaching that birth control is sin.





What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Antipope Pius XI

It has been made exceptionally clear by now that Giacomo della Chiesa, Benedict XV, was a heretical antipope, who had worked assiduously for the destruction of dogma, and who was also schismatic for subjecting himself to Antipope Leo XIII, who was never pope. Now it is false to recognize an adherent to a manifestly false religious leader as Catholic; such a person would in fact be objectively schismatic and outside of the Catholic Church. For this reason alone, Ambrogio Ratti was not a Catholic, and his so-called 'elevation' to the pontificate was nothing more than another antipapacy, since he never withdrew, nor publicly abjured, from his communion with antipopes Leo XIII, Pius X and Benedict XV.

But did he follow along with Benedict XV by accident, and simply get pulled along for an unfortunate and schismatic ride? Or is there evidence of foul play from this HIGHLY educated and erudite master of theology and language?

Ratti, Antipope Pius XI (11) denied the dogma that non-Catholics do not have God as their Father, which was defined at the Vatican Council by Pope Pius IX (9).

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council, Session 3, Chapter 3, #8-9, ex cathedra: "Wherefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium.  Since, then, without faith it is impossible to please God and reach the fellowship of his sons and daughters, it follows that no one can ever achieve justification without it, neither can anyone attain eternal life unless he or she perseveres in it to the end."

Antipope Pius XI, Caritate Christi Compulsi, #19, May 3, 1932: "[...] And it is prayer precisely, that, according to the Apostle, will bring the gift of peace; prayer that is addressed to the Heavenly Father who is the Father of all men; prayer that is the common expression of family feelings, of that great family which extends beyond the boundaries of any country and continent."

Antipope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, #34, Mar. 19, 1937: "[...] Thus authority is reconciled with liberty, the dignity of the individual with that of the State, the human personality of the subject with the divine delegation of the superior; and in this way a balance is struck between the due dependence and well-ordered love of a man for himself, his family and country, and his love of other families and other peoples, founded on the love of God, the Father of all, their first principle and last end."


Additionally to the above heresy, Antipope Pius XI had many other scandalous, subversive or erroneous teachings and public actions:

Antipope Pius XI, Studiorum Ducem (On St. Thomas Aquinas), 1923, #17: “There can be no doubt that Aquinas raised Theology to the highest eminence, for his knowledge of divine things was absolutely perfect…”

Antipope Pius XI taught that St. Thomas Aquinas was perfect in his theology (which can only mean without error, lest we redefine perfect to mean something less than perfect) and that he gave INFALLIBLE rules and precepts, despite that his doctrine contained clear errors against a subsequent definition of Extraordinary Magisterium, specifically the Immaculate Conception. The purpose of mentioning this is not to tear down St. Thomas. On the contrary, St. Thomas was a Catholic genius, but the point is that he was NOT perfect; he was NOT INFALLIBLE. It would seem to be a very careless statement on behalf of a man claiming to be pope to attribute a quality to St. Thomas that belongs only God and those with whom He is pleased to share it (i.e. St. Peter and his legitimate successors).


In 1929 Antipope Pius XI signed a Concordat and the Lateran Treaty with Mussolini and called him "the man sent by Providence," and there is subtle evidence of a Masonic agenda in his announcement of the event.

Antipope Pius XI, Quinquagesimo Ante, 1929, #10: "...And all Catholics, whether Italians or foreigners, realized that a new era and a new order were about to rise."

In 1930, Antipope Pius XI made a statement in favour of eugenics!

Antipope Pius XI, Casti Connubii, 1930, #66: “What is asserted in favor of the social and eugenic "indication" may and must be accepted, provided lawful and upright methods are employed within the proper limits; but to wish to put forward reasons based upon them for the killing of the innocent is unthinkable and contrary to the divine precept promulgated in the words of the Apostle: Evil is not to be done that good may come of it.”

In this frightening and subtle paragraph of Casti Connubii, Pius XI tells us, in rather vague terms, that we must accept eugenics, but does not extend his assertion to define exactly what he considers to be lawful in this regard. This is a dangerous teaching that throws confusion, rather than edification onto an already tenuous issue, one which would be later perverted even further by Antipope Pius XII.

Let us also use St. Thomas, who Pius XI believes was perfect in regard to theology, to present a teaching where he does indeed speak the mind of the Church in opposing any notion of eugenics:

St. Thomas Aquinas, Supplement, Q. 64, Art.1, Reply to Objection 4. "Leprosy voids a betrothal but not a marriage. Wherefore a wife is bound to pay the debt even to a leprous husband. But she is not bound to cohabit with him, because she is not so liable to infection from marital intercourse as from continual cohabitation. And though the child begotten of them be diseased, it is better to be thus than not at all."

In the "encyclical" Ecclesiam Dei, Pius XI tried to sneak into men's minds the notion that a person can be a saint and at the same time worship with schismatics.

Finally, the political maneuvering effected by Pius XI during the Cristero War was probably the most abominable decision ever made by a person claiming to be pope, hardly seems excusable even if it were an accident. The people in Mexico were fighting for the what they held to be the Catholic Church (most likely unaware of the Modernist heretical takeover) against the persecuting Freemasonic communist government, which was pillaging churches and destroying everything that was called Catholic.

The formal rebellion began on January 1, 1927 with a manifesto sent by Garza on New Year's Day, titled A la Nación (To the Nation). This declared that "the hour of battle has sounded" and "the hour of victory belongs to God". With the declaration, the state of Jalisco, which had seemed to be quiet since the Guadalajara church uprising, exploded. Bands of rebels moving in the "Los Altos" region northeast of Guadalajara began seizing villages, often armed with only ancient muskets and clubs. The Cristeros' battle cry was ¡Viva Cristo Rey! ¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe! ("Long live Christ the King! Long live the Virgin of Guadalupe!").

The rebels were an unusual army in that they had no logistical supplies, and relied heavily on raids to towns, trains and ranches in order to supply themselves with money, horses, ammunition and food. The Calles government did not take the threat very seriously at first. The rebels did well against the agraristas (a rural militia recruited throughout Mexico) and the Social Defense forces (local militia), but were always defeated by the federal troops who guarded the important cities. At this time, the federal army numbered 79,759 men. When Jalisco federal commander General Jesús Ferreira moved on the rebels, he calmly stated that "it will be less a campaign than a hunt."

However, these rebels, who had had no previous military experience for the most part, planned their battles well. The most successful rebel leaders were Jesús Degollado (a pharmacist), Victoriano Ramírez (a ranch hand), and two priests, Aristeo Pedroza and José Reyes Vega. At least five priests took up arms, while many more supported them in various ways. Recent scholarship suggests that for many Cristeros, religious motivations for rebellion were reinforced by other political and material concerns. Participants in the uprising often came from rural communities that had suffered from the government's land reform policies since 1920, or otherwise felt threatened by recent political and economic changes.

To make a long story short, the Cristeros were nearly defeated, but surged back to life and practically toppled the Freemasonic government that controlled Mexico. Finally, the Cristeros had them on the ropes, they had won the war, and they thought they were about to restore Mexico to Christ... And what did Pius XI do? He told them to drop their weapons and they ended up getting slaughtered.  Clearly this man was working for Satan.



What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

St. Thomas Aquinas' errors

Before reading this article, it is very important to understand that heresy was always false, but not necessarily always heresy.

St. Thomas Aquinas, although recognized as one of the greatest theologians of all time, did manage, however, to fall into error. Please understand that the purpose of showing this is not to demonize St. Thomas, nor is it to suggest he was a heretic, but simply to point out the importance, as Catholics, to measure all things against the infallible judgment of the Church, even though they may come from holy Doctors such as St. Thomas, who although a Catholic genius, was not infallible.

Here are a few errors contained in his Summa Theologica:

Summa, Tertia Pars, Q. 27, Art. 2, Reply to Obj. 2:
“For Christ did not contract original sin in any way whatever, but was holy in His very Conception, according to Luke 1:35: "The Holy which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God." But the Blessed Virgin did indeed contract original sin, but was cleansed therefrom before her birth from the womb.”

This is in direct opposition (and is therefore overruled by) to the later definition of the Immaculate Conception, by Pope Pius IX.

Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus (The Immaculate Conception), 1854 , ex cathedra: “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”

Summa, Supplement (Appendix 1), Q. 1, Art. 2, Reply to Obj 5: "Although unbaptized children are separated from God as regards the union of glory, they are not utterly separated from Him: in fact they are united to Him by their share of natural goods, and so will also be able to rejoice in Him by their natural knowledge and love."

St. Thomas teaches above that infants who have died without baptism will be united to God and be able to rejoice in Him, despite the dogmatic truth that such children (being in original sin alone) are in fact condemned to the hell of the damned, which means they are separated from God.

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, 1439, ex cathedra: "But the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains."

The Summa Theologica, though mostly reliable, is an excellent example of why correct theology regards the solemn definitions of the Extraordinary Magisterium as the standard against which all doctrine is to be measured, which is also attested to by Pope Benedict XIV:

Pope Benedict XIV, Apostolica Constitutio, #6, June 26, 1749: "The Church’s judgment is preferable to that of a Doctor renowned for his holiness and teaching."

Thankfully, St. Thomas himself also recognized this important truth, and would therefore have humbly submitted to the definitions of Pius IX and Eugene IV:

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Secunda Secundae Partis, Q. 10, A. 12: “The custom of the Church has very great authority and ought to be jealously observed in all things, since the very doctrine of Catholic doctors derives its authority from the Church. Hence we ought to abide by the authority of the Church rather than by that of an Augustine or a Jerome or of any doctor whatever.”


What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What’s happened to the Church?

The following document was publicized by what is recognized as an offshoot of the Italian Freemasons, the Carbonari. Unfortunately for the souls of most of the inhabitants in the world, it is all too clear that they succeeded in achieving what they stated their goal to be in this document.

The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita
(A Masonic blueprint for the subversion of the Catholic Church)

Our ultimate end is that of Voltaire and of the French Revolution—the final destruction of Catholicism, and even of the Christian idea. The Pope, whoever he is, will never come to the secret societies; it is up to the secret societies to take the first step toward the Church, with the aim of conquering both of them.

The task that we are going to undertake is not the work of a day, or of a month, or of a year; it may last several year, perhaps a century; but in our ranks the soldier dies and the struggle goes on.

We do not intend to win the Popes to our cause, to make them neophytes of our principles, propagators of our ideas. That would be a ridiculous dream; and if events turn out in some way, if Cardinals or prelates, for example, of their own free will or by surprise, should enter into a part of our secrets, this is not at all an incentive for desiring their elevation to the See of Peter. That elevation would ruin us. Ambition alone would have led them to apostasy, the requirements of power would force them to sacrifice us. What we must ask for, what we should look for and wait for, as the Jews wait for the Messiah, is a Pope according to our needs.

With that we shall march more securely towards the assault on the Church than with the pamphlets of our brethren in France and even the gold of England. Do you want to know the reason for this? It is that with this, in order to shatter the high rock on which God has built His Church, we no longer need Hannibalian vinegar, or need gunpowder, or even need our arms. We have the little finger of the successor of Peter engaged in the ploy, and this little finger is as good, for this crusade, as all the Urban IIs and all the Saint Bernards in Christendom.

We have no doubt that we will arrive at this supreme end of our efforts. But when? But how? The unknown is not yet revealed. Nevertheless, as nothing should turn us aside from the plan drawn up, and on the contrary everything should tend to this, as if as early as tomorrow success were going to crown the work that is barely sketched, we wish, in this instruction, which will remain secret for the mere initiates, to give the officials in the charge of the supreme Vente [Lodge] some advice that they should instill in all the brethren, in the form of instruction or of a memorandum.

Now then, to assure ourselves a Pope of the required dimensions, it is a question first of shaping for this Pope a generation worthy of the reign we are dreaming of. Leave old people and those of a mature age aside; go to the youth, and if it is possible, even to the children. You will contrive for yourselves, at little cost, a reputation as good Catholics and pure patriots.

This reputation will put access to our doctrines into the midst of the young clergy, as well as deeply into the monasteries. In a few years, by the force of things, this young clergy will have overrun all the functions; they will form the sovereign’s council, they will be called to choose a Pontiff who should reign. And this Pontiff, like most of his contemporaries, will be necessarily more or less imbued with the [revolution] Italian and humanitarian principles that we are going to begin to put into circulation. It is a small grain of black mustard that we are entrusting to the ground; but the sunshine of justice will develop it up to the highest power, and you will see one day what a rich harvest this small seed will produce.

In the path that we are laying out for our brethren there are found great obstacles to conquer, difficulties of more than one kind to master. They will triumph over them by experience and by clearsightedness; but the goal is so splendid that it is important to put all the sails to the wind in order to reach it. You want to revolutionize Italy; look for the Pope whose portrait we have just drawn. You wish to establish the reign of the chosen ones on the throne of the prostitute of Babylon; let the clergy march under your standard always believing that they are marching under the banner of the Apostolic keys.

You intend to make the last vestige of tyrants and the oppressors disappear; lay your snares [nets] like Simon Bar-Jona; lay them in the sacristies, the seminaries and the monasteries rather than at the bottom of the sea: and if you do not hurry, we promise you a catch more miraculous than his. The fisher of fish became the fisher of men; you will bring friends around the Apostolic Chair. You will have preached a revolution in tiara and in cope, marching with the cross and the banner, a revolution that will need to be only a little bit urged on to set fire to the four corners of the world.



What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Little Number of Those Who are Saved

by St. Leonard of Port Maurice

Saint Leonard of Port Maurice was a most holy Franciscan friar who lived at the monastery of Saint Bonaventure in Rome. He was one of the greatest missioners in the history of the Church. He used to preach to thousands in the open square of every city and town where the churches could not hold his listeners. So brilliant and holy was his eloquence that once when he gave a two weeks' mission in Rome, the Pope and College of Cardinals came to hear him. The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were his crusades. He was in no small way influential for the definition of the Immaculate Conception made a little more than a hundred years after his death. He also gave us the Divine Praises, which are said at the end of Benediction. But Saint Leonard's most famous work was his devotion to the Stations of the Cross. He died a most holy death in his seventy-fifth year, after twenty-four years of uninterrupted preaching.

One of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice's most famous sermons was "The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved." It was the one he relied on for the conversion of great sinners. This sermon, like his other writings, was submitted to canonical examination during the process of canonization. In it he reviews the various states of life of Christians and concludes with the little number of those who are saved, in relation to the totality of men.

The reader who meditates on this remarkable text will grasp the soundness of its argumentation, which has earned it the formal approval of the Church.

Caution: When you see the word Christian in this sermon, St. Leonard is speaking of Roman Catholics ... only Catholics are Christians. The heretics hi-jacked the word Christian from the Roman Catholic Church. Heretics can call themselves "Christians" until they take their last breath, but they're still damned forever.

Introduction

Thanks be to God, the number of the Redeemer's disciples is not so small that the wickedness of the Scribes and Pharisees is able to triumph over them. Although they strove to calumniate innocence and to deceive the crowd with their treacherous sophistries by discrediting the doctrine and character of Our Lord, finding spots even in the sun, many still recognized Him as the true Messiah, and, unafraid of either chastisements or threats, openly joined His cause. Did all those who followed Christ follow Him even unto glory? Oh, this is where I revere the profound mystery and silently adore the abysses of the divine decrees, rather than rashly deciding on such a great point! The subject I will be treating today is a very grave one; it has caused even the pillars of the Church to tremble, filled the greatest Saints with terror and populated the deserts with anchorites. The point of this instruction is to decide whether the number of Christians who are saved is greater or less than the number of Christians who are damned; it will, I hope, produce in you a salutary fear of the judgments of God.

Brothers, because of the love I have for you, I wish I were able to reassure you with the prospect of eternal happiness by saying to each of you: You are certain to go to paradise; the greater number of Christians is saved, so you also will be saved. But how can I give you this sweet assurance if you revolt against God's decrees as though you were your own worst enemies? I observe in God a sincere desire to save you, but I find in you a decided inclination to be damned. So what will I be doing today if I speak clearly? I will be displeasing to you. But if I do not speak, I will be displeasing to God.

Therefore, I will divide this subject into two points. In the first one, to fill you with dread, I will let the theologians and Fathers of the Church decide on the matter and declare that the greater number of Christian adults are damned; and, in silent adoration of that terrible mystery, I will keep my own sentiments to myself. In the second point I will attempt to defend the goodness of God versus the godless, by proving to you that those who are damned are damned by their own malice, because they wanted to be damned. So then, here are two very important truths. If the first truth frightens you, do not hold it against me, as though I wanted to make the road of heaven narrower for you, for I want to be neutral in this matter; rather, hold it against the theologians and Fathers of the Church who will engrave this truth in your heart by the force of reason. If you are disillusioned by the second truth, give thanks to God over it, for He wants only one thing: that you give your hearts totally to Him. Finally, if you oblige me to tell you clearly what I think, I will do so for your consolation.



The Teaching of the Fathers of the Church

It is not vain curiosity but salutary precaution to proclaim from the height of the pulpit certain truths which serve wonderfully to contain the indolence of libertines, who are always talking about the mercy of God and about how easy it is to convert, who live plunged in all sorts of sins and are soundly sleeping on the road to hell. To disillusion them and waken them from their torpor, today let us examine this great question: Is the number of Christians who are saved greater than the number of Christians who are damned?

Pious souls, you may leave; this sermon is not for you. Its sole purpose is to contain the pride of libertines who cast the holy fear of God out of their heart and join forces with the devil who, according to the sentiment of Eusebius, damns souls by reassuring them. To resolve this doubt, let us put the Fathers of the Church, both Greek and Latin, on one side; on the other, the most learned theologians and erudite historians; and let us put the Bible in the middle for all to see. Now listen not to what I will say to you – for I have already told you that I do not want to speak for myself or decide on the matter – but listen to what these great minds have to tell you, they who are beacons in the Church of God to give light to others so that they will not miss the road to heaven. In this manner, guided by the triple light of faith, authority and reason, we will be able to resolve this grave matter with certainty.

Note well that there is no question here of the human race taken as a whole, nor of all Catholics taken without distinction, but only of Catholic adults, who have free choice and are thus capable of cooperating in the great matter of their salvation. First let us consult the theologians recognized as examining things most carefully and as not exaggerating in their teaching: let us listen to two learned cardinals, Cajetan and Bellarmine. They teach that the greater number of Christian adults are damned, and if I had the time to point out the reasons upon which they base themselves, you would be convinced of it yourselves. But I will limit myself here to quoting Suarez. After consulting all the theologians and making a diligent study of the matter, he wrote, "The most common sentiment which is held is that, among Christians, there are more damned souls than predestined souls."

Add the authority of the Greek and Latin Fathers to that of the theologians, and you will find that almost all of them say the same thing. This is the sentiment of Saint Theodore, Saint Basil, Saint Ephrem, Saint John Chrysostom. What is more, according to Baronius it was a common opinion among the Greek Fathers that this truth was expressly revealed to Saint Simeon Stylites and that after this revelation, it was to secure his salvation that he decided to live standing on top of a pillar for forty years, exposed to the weather, a model of penance and holiness for everyone. Now let us consult the Latin Fathers. You will hear Saint Gregory saying clearly, "Many attain to faith, but few to the heavenly kingdom." Saint Anselm declares, "There are few who are saved." Saint Augustine states even more clearly, "Therefore, few are saved in comparison to those who are damned." The most terrifying, however, is Saint Jerome. At the end of his life, in the presence of his disciples, he spoke these dreadful words: "Out of one hundred thousand people whose lives have always been bad, you will find barely one who is worthy of indulgence."

The Words of Holy Scripture

But why seek out the opinions of the Fathers and theologians, when Holy Scripture settles the question so clearly? Look in to the Old and New Testaments, and you will find a multitude of figures, symbols and words that clearly point out this truth: very few are saved. In the time of Noah, the entire human race was submerged by the Deluge, and only eight people were saved in the Ark. Saint Peter says, "This ark was the figure of the Church," while Saint Augustine adds, "And these eight people who were saved signify that very few Christians are saved, because there are very few who sincerely renounce the world, and those who renounce it only in words do not belong to the mystery represented by that ark." The Bible also tells us that only two Hebrews out of two million entered the Promised Land after going out of Egypt, and that only four escaped the fire of Sodom and the other burning cities that perished with it. All of this means that the number of the damned who will be cast into fire like straw is far greater than that of the saved, whom the heavenly Father will one day gather into His barns like precious wheat.

I would not finish if I had to point out all the figures by which Holy Scripture confirms this truth; let us content ourselves with listening to the living oracle of Incarnate Wisdom. What did Our Lord answer the curious man in the Gospel who asked Him, "Lord, is it only a few to be saved?" Did He keep silence? Did He answer haltingly? Did He conceal His thought for fear of frightening the crowd? No. Questioned by only one, He addresses all of those present. He says to them: "You ask Me if there are only few who are saved?" Here is My answer: "Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." Who is speaking here? It is the Son of God, Eternal Truth, who on another occasion says even more clearly, "Many are called, but few are chosen." He does not say that all are called and that out of all men, few are chosen, but that many are called; which means, as Saint Gregory explains, that out of all men, many are called to the True Faith, but out of them few are saved. Brothers, these are the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Are they clear? They are true. Tell me now if it is possible for you to have faith in your heart and not tremble.


Salvation in the Various States of Life

But oh, I see that by speaking in this manner of all in general, I am missing my point. So let us apply this truth to various states, and you will understand that you must either throw away reason, experience and the common sense of the faithful, or confess that the greater number of Catholics is damned. Is there any state in the world more favorable to innocence in which salvation seems easier and of which people have a higher idea than that of priests, the lieutenants of God? At first glance, who would not think that most of them are not only good but even perfect; yet I am horror-struck when I hear Saint Jerome declaring that although the world is full of priests, barely one in a hundred is living in a manner in conformity with state; when I hear a servant of God attesting that he has learned by revelation that the number of priests who fall into hell each day is so great that it seemed impossible to him that there be any left on earth; when I hear Saint Chrysostom exclaiming with tears in his eyes, "I do not believe that many priests are saved; I believe the contrary, that the number of those who are damned is greater."

Look higher still, and see the prelates of the Holy Church, pastors who have the charge of souls. Is the number of those who are saved among them greater than the number of those who are damned? Listen to Cantimpre; he will relate an event to you, and you may draw the conclusions. There was a synod being held in Paris, and a great number of prelates and pastors who had the charge of souls were in attendance; the king and princes also came to add luster to that assembly by their presence. A famous preacher was invited to preach. While he was preparing his sermon, a horrible demon appeared to him and said, "Lay your books aside. If you want to give a sermon that will be useful to these princes and prelates, content yourself with telling them on our part, "We the princes of darkness thank you, princes, prelates, and pastors of souls, that due to your negligence, the greater number of the faithful are damned; also, we are saving a reward for you for this favor, when you shall be with us in Hell."

Woe to you who command others! If so many are damned by your fault, what will happen to you? If few out of those who are first in the Church of God are saved, what will happen to you? Take all states, both sexes, every condition: husbands, wives, widows, young women, young men, soldiers, merchants, craftsmen, rich and poor, noble and plebian. What are we to say about all these people who are living so badly? The following narrative from Saint Vincent Ferrer will show you what you may think about it. He relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert place to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, "Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell."

Our chronicles relate an even more dreadful happening. One of our brothers, well-known for his doctrine and holiness, was preaching in Germany. He represented the ugliness of the sin of impurity so forceful that a woman fell dead of sorrow in front of everyone. Then, coming back to life, she said, "When I was presented before the Tribunal of God, sixty thousand people arrived at the same time from all parts of the world; out of that number, three were saved by going to Purgatory, and all the rest were damned."

O abyss of the judgments of God! Out of thirty thousand, only five were saved! And out of sixty thousand, only three went to heaven! You sinners who are listening to me, in what category will you be numbered?... What do you say?... What do you think?...

I see almost all of you lowering your heads, filled with astonishment and horror. But let us lay our stupor aside, and instead of flattering ourselves, let us try to draw some profit from our fear. Is it not true that there are two roads which lead to heaven: innocence and repentance? Now, if I show you that very few take either one of these two roads, as rational people you will conclude that very few are saved. And to mention proofs: in what age, employment or condition will you find that the number of the wicked is not a hundred times greater than that of the good, and about which one might say, "The good are so rare and the wicked are so great in number"? We could say of our times what Salvianus said of his: it is easier to find a countless multitude of sinners immersed in all sorts of iniquities than a few innocent men. How many servants are totally honest and faithful in their duties? How many merchants are fair and equitable in their commerce; how many craftsmen exact and truthful; how many salesmen disinterested and sincere? How many men of law do not forsake equity? How many soldiers do not tread upon innocence; how many masters do not unjustly withhold the salary of those who serve them, or do not seek to dominate their inferiors? Everywhere, the good are rare and the wicked great in number. Who does not know that today there is so much libertinage among mature men, liberty among young girls, vanity among women, licentiousness in the nobility, corruption in the middle class, dissolution in the people, impudence among the poor, that one could say what David said of his times: "All alike have gone astray... there is not even one who does good, not even one."

Go into street and square, into palace and house, into city and countryside, into tribunal and court of law, and even into the temple of God. Where will you find virtue? "Alas!" cries Salvianus, "except for a very little number who flee evil, what is the assembly of Christians if not a sink of vice?" All that we can find everywhere is selfishness, ambition, gluttony, and luxury. Is not the greater portion of men defiled by the vice of impurity, and is not Saint John right in saying, "The whole world – if something so foul may be called – "is seated in wickedness?" I am not the one who is telling you; reason obliges you to believe that out of those who are living so badly, very few are saved.

But you will say: Can penance not profitably repair the loss of innocence? That is true, I admit. But I also know that penance is so difficult in practice, we have lost the habit so completely, and it is so badly abused by sinners, that this alone should suffice to convince you that very few are saved by that path. Oh, how steep, narrow, thorny, horrible to behold and hard to climb it is! Everywhere we look, we see traces of blood and things that recall sad memories. Many weaken at the very sight of it. Many retreat at the very start. Many fall from weariness in the middle, and many give up wretchedly at the end. And how few are they who persevere in it till death! Saint Ambrose says it is easier to find men who have kept their innocence than to find any who have done fitting penance.

If you consider the sacrament of penance, there are so many distorted confessions, so many studied excuses, so many deceitful repentances, so many false promises, so many ineffective resolutions, so many invalid absolutions! Would you regard as valid the confession of someone who accuses himself of sins of impurity and still holds to the occasion of them? Or someone who accuses himself of obvious injustices with no intention of making any reparation whatsoever for them? Or someone who falls again into the same iniquities right after going to confession? Oh, horrible abuses of such a great sacrament! One confesses to avoid excommunication, another to make a reputation as a penitent. One rids himself of his sins to calm his remorse, another conceals them out of shame. One accuses them imperfectly out of malice, another discloses them out of habit. One does not have the true end of the sacrament in mind, another is lacking the necessary sorrow, and still another firm purpose. Poor confessors, what efforts you make to bring the greater number of penitents to these resolutions and acts, without which confession is a sacrilege, absolution a condemnation and penance an illusion?

Where are they now, those who believe that the number of the saved among Christians is greater than that of the damned and who, to authorize their opinion, reason thus: the greater portion of Catholic adults die in their beds armed with the sacraments of the Church, therefore most adult Catholics are saved? Oh, what fine reasoning! You must say exactly the opposite. Most Catholic adults confess badly at death, therefore most of them are damned. I say "all the more certain," because a dying person who has not confessed well when he was in good health will have an even harder time doing so when he is in bed with a heavy heart, an unsteady head, a muddled mind; when he is opposed in many ways by still-living objects, by still-fresh occasions, by adopted habits, and above all by devils who are seeking every means to cast him into hell. Now, if you add to all these false penitents all the other sinners who die unexpectedly in sin, due to the doctors' ignorance or by their relatives' fault, who die from poisoning or from being buried in earthquakes, or from a stroke, or from a fall, or on the battlefield, in a fight, caught in a trap, struck by lightning, burned or drowned, are you not obliged to conclude that most Christian adults are damned? That is the reasoning of Saint Chrysostom. This Saint says that most Christians are walking on the road to hell throughout their life. Why, then, are you so surprised that the greater number goes to hell? To come to a door, you must take the road that leads there. What have you to answer such a powerful reason?

The answer, you will tell me, is that the mercy of God is great. Yes, for those who fear Him, says the Prophet; but great is His justice for the one who does not fear Him, and it condemns all obstinate sinners.

So you will say to me: Well then, who is Paradise for, if not for Christians? It is for Christians, of course, but for those who do not dishonor their character and who live as Christians. Moreover, if to the number of Christian adults who die in the grace of God, you add the countless host of children who die after baptism and before reaching the age of reason, you will not be surprised that Saint John the Apostle, speaking of those who are saved, says, "I saw a great multitude which no man could number."

And this is what deceives those who pretend that the number of the saved among Catholics is greater than that of the damned... If to that number, you add the adults who have kept the robe of innocence, or who after having defiled it, have washed it in the tears of penance, it is certain that the greater number is saved; and that explains the words of Saint John, "I saw a great multitude," and these other words of Our Lord, "Many will come from the east and from the west, and will feast with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven," and the other figures usually cited in favor of that opinion. But if you are talking about Christian adults, experience, reason, authority, propriety and Scripture all agree in proving that the greater number is damned. Do not believe that because of this, paradise is empty; on the contrary, it is a very populous kingdom. And if the damned are "as numerous as the sand in the sea," the saved are "as numerous at the stars of heaven," that is, both the one and the other are countless, although in very different proportions.

One day Saint John Chrysostom, preaching in the cathedral in Constantinople and considering these proportions, could not help but shudder in horror and ask, "Out of this great number of people, how many do you think will be saved?" And, not waiting for an answer, he added, "Among so many thousands of people, we would not find a hundred who are saved, and I even doubt for the one hundred." What a dreadful thing! The great Saint believed that out of so many people, barely one hundred would be saved; and even then, he was not sure of that number. What will happen to you who are listening to me? Great God, I cannot think of it without shuddering! Brothers, the problem of salvation is a very difficult thing; for according to the maxims of the theologians, when an end demands great efforts, few only attain it.

That is why Saint Thomas, the Angelic Doctor, after weighing all the reasons pro and con in his immense erudition, finally concludes that the greater number of Catholic adults are damned. He says, "Because eternal beatitude surpasses the natural state, especially since it has been deprived of original grace, it is the little number that are saved."

So then, remove the blindfold from your eyes that is blinding you with self-love, that is keeping you from believing such an obvious truth by giving you very false ideas concerning the justice of God, "Just Father, the world has not known Thee," said Our Lord Jesus Christ. He does not say "Almighty Father, most good and merciful Father." He says "just Father," so we may understand that out of all the attributes of God, none is less known than His justice, because men refuse to believe what they are afraid to undergo. Therefore, remove the blindfold that is covering your eyes and say tearfully: Alas! the greater number of Catholics, the greater number of those who live here, perhaps even those who are in this assembly, will be damned! What subject could be more deserving of your tears?

King Xerxes, standing on a hill looking at his army of one hundred thousand soldiers in battle array, and considering that out of all of them there would be not one man alive in a hundred years, was unable to hold back his tears. Have we not more reason to weep upon thinking that out of so many Catholics, the greater number will be damned? Should this thought not make our eyes pour forth rivers of tears, or at least produce in our heart the sentiment of compassion felt by an Augustinian Brother, Ven. Marcellus of St. Dominic? One day as he was meditating on the eternal pains, the Lord showed him how many souls were going to hell at that moment and had him see a very broad road on which twenty-two thousand reprobates were running toward the abyss, colliding into one another. The servant of God was stupefied at the sight and exclaimed, "Oh, what a number! What a number! And still more are coming. O Jesus! O Jesus! What madness!" Let me repeat with Jeremiah, "Who will give water to my head, and a fountain of tears to my eyes? And I will weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people."

Poor souls! How can you run so hastily toward hell? For mercy's sake, stop and listen to me for a moment! Either you understand what it means to be saved and to be damned for all eternity, or you do not. If you understand and in spite of that, you do not decide to change your life today, make a good confession and trample upon the world, in a word, make your every effort to be counted among the littler number of those who are saved, I say that you do not have the faith. You are more excusable if you do not understand it, for then one must say that you are out of your mind. To be saved for all eternity, to be damned for all eternity, and to not make your every effort to avoid the one and make sure of the other, is something inconceivable.

The Goodness of God

Perhaps you do not yet believe the terrible truths I have just taught you. But it is the most highly-considered theologians, the most illustrious Fathers who have spoken to you through me. So then, how can you resist reasons supported by so many examples and words of Scripture? If you still hesitate in spite of that, and if your mind is inclined to the opposite opinion, does that very consideration not suffice to make you tremble? Oh, it shows that you do not care very much for your salvation! In this important matter, a sensible man is struck more strongly by the slightest doubt of the risk he runs than by the evidence of total ruin in other affairs in which the soul is not involved. One of our brothers, Blessed Giles, was in the habit of saying that if only one man were going to be damned, he would do all he could to make sure he was not that man.

So what must we do, we who know that the greater number is going to be damned, and not only out of all Catholics? What must we do? Take the resolution to belong to the little number of those who are saved. You say: If Christ wanted to damn me, then why did He create me? Silence, rash tongue! God did not create anyone to damn him; but whoever is damned, is damned because he wants to be. Therefore, I will now strive to defend the goodness of my God and acquit it of all blame: that will be the subject of the second point.

Before going on, let us gather on one side all the books and all the heresies of Luther and Calvin, and on the other side the books and heresies of the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians, and let us burn them. Some destroy grace, others freedom, and all are filled with errors; so let us cast them into the fire. All the damned bear upon their brow the oracle of the Prophet Osee, "Thy damnation comes from thee," so that they may understand that whoever is damned, is damned by his own malice and because he wants to be damned.

First let us take these two undeniable truths as a basis: "God wants all men to be saved," "All are in need of the grace of God." Now, if I show you that God wants to save all men, and that for this purpose He gives all of them His grace and all the other necessary means of obtaining that sublime end, you will be obliged to agree that whoever is damned must impute it to his own malice, and that if the greater number of Christians are damned, it is because they want to be. "Thy damnation comes from thee; thy help is only in Me."

God Desires All Men to be Saved

In a hundred places in Holy Scripture, God tells us that it is truly His desire to save all men. "Is it My will that a sinner should die, and not that he should be converted from his ways and live?... I live, saith the Lord God. I desire not the death of the sinner. Be converted and live." When someone wants something very much, it is said that he is dying with desire; it is a hyperbole. But God has wanted and still wants our salvation so much that He died of desire, and He suffered death to give us life. This will to save all men is therefore not an affected, superficial and apparent will in God; it is a real, effective, and beneficial will; for He provides us with all the means most proper for us to be saved. He does not give them to us so they will not obtain it; He gives them to us with a sincere will, with the intention that they may obtain their effect. And if they do not obtain it, He shows Himself afflicted and offended over it. He commands even the damned to use them in order to be saved; He exhorts them to it; He obliges them to it; and if they do not do it, they sin. Therefore, they may do it and thus be saved.

Far more, because God sees that we could not even make use of His grace without His help, He gives us other aids; and if they sometimes remain ineffective, it is our fault; for with these same aids, one may abuse them and be damned with them, and another may do right and be saved; he might even be saved with less powerful aids. Yes, it can happen that we abuse a greater grace and are damned, whereas another cooperates with a lesser grace and is saved.

Saint Augustine exclaims, "If, therefore, someone turns aside from justice, he is carried by his free will, led by his concupiscence, deceived by his own persuasion." But for those who do not understand theology, here is what I have to say to them: God is so good that when He sees a sinner running to his ruin, He runs after him, calls him, entreats and accompanies him even to the gates of hell; what will He not do to convert him? He sends him good inspirations and holy thoughts, and if he does not profit from them, He becomes angry and indignant, He pursues him. Will He strike him? No. He beats at the air and forgives him. But the sinner is not converted yet. God sends him a mortal illness. It is certainly all over for him. No, brothers, God heals him; the sinner becomes obstinate in evil, and God in His mercy looks for another way; He gives him another year, and when that year is over, He grants him yet another.

But if the sinner still wants to cast himself into hell in spite of all that, what does God do? Does He abandon him? No. He takes him by the hand; and while he has one foot in hell and the other outside, He still preaches to him, He implored him not to abuse His graces. Now I ask you, if that man is damned, is it not true that he is damned against the Will of God and because he wants to be damned? Come and ask me now: If God wanted to damn me, then why did He create me?

Ungrateful sinner, learn today that if you are damned, it is not God who is to blame, but you and your self-will. To persuade yourself of this, go down even to the depths of the abyss, and there I will bring you one of those wretched damned souls burning in hell, so that he may explain this truth to you. Here is one now: "Tell me, who are you?" "I am a poor idolater, born in an unknown land; I never heard of heaven or hell, nor of what I am suffering now." "Poor wretch! Go away, you are not the one I am looking for." Another one is coming; there he is. "Who are you?" "I am a schismatic from the ends of Tartary; I always lived in an uncivilized state, barely knowing that there is a God." "You are not the one I want; return to hell." Here is another. "And who are you?" "I am a poor heretic from the North. I was born under the Pole and never saw either the light of the sun or the light of faith." "It is not you that I am looking for either, return to Hell." Brothers, my heart is broken upon seeing these wretches who never even knew the True Faith among the damned. Even so, know that the sentence of condemnation was pronounced against them and they were told, "Thy damnation comes from thee." They were damned because they wanted to be. They received so many aids from God to be saved! We do not know what they were, but they know them well, and now they cry out, "O Lord, Thou art just... and Thy judgments are equitable."

Brothers, you must know that the most ancient belief is the Law of God, and that we all bear it written in our hearts; that it can be learned without any teacher, and that it suffices to have the light of reason in order to know all the precepts of that Law. That is why even the barbarians hid when they committed sin, because they knew they were doing wrong; and they are damned for not having observed the natural law written in their heart: for had they observed it, God would have made a miracle rather than let them be damned; He would have sent them someone to teach them and would have given them other aids, of which they made themselves unworthy by not living in conformity with the inspirations of their own conscience, which never failed to warn them of the good they should do and the evil they should avoid. So it is their conscience that accused them at the Tribunal of God, and it tells them constantly in hell, "Thy damnation comes from thee." They do not know what to answer and are obliged to confess that they are deserving of their fate. Now if these infidels have no excuse, will there be any for a Catholic who had so many sacraments, so many sermons, so many aids at his disposal? How will he dare to say, "If God was going to damn me, then why did He create me?" How will he dare to speak in this manner, when God gives him so many aids to be saved? So let us finish confounding him.

You who are suffering in the abyss, answer me! Are there any Catholics among you? "There certainly are!" How many? Let one of them come here! "That is impossible, they are too far down, and to have them come up would turn all of hell upside down; it would be easier to stop one of them as he is falling in." So then, I am speaking to you who live in the habit of mortal sin, in hatred, in the mire of the vice of impurity, and who are getting closer to hell each day. Stop, and turn around; it is Jesus who calls you and who, with His wounds, as with so many eloquent voices, cries to you, "My son, if you are damned, you have only yourself to blame: 'Thy damnation comes from thee.' Lift up your eyes and see all the graces with which I have enriched you to insure your eternal salvation. I could have had you born in a forest in Barbary; that is what I did to many others, but I had you born in the Catholic Faith; I had you raised by such a good father, such an excellent mother, with the purest instructions and teachings. If you are damned in spite of that, whose fault will it be? Your own, My son, your own: "Thy damnation comes from thee."

"I could have cast you into hell after the first mortal sin you committed, without waiting for the second: I did it to so many others, but I was patient with you, I waited for you for many long years. I am still waiting for you today in penance. If you are damned in spite of all that, whose fault is it? Your own, My son, your own: "Thy damnation comes from thee." You know how many have died before your very eyes and were damned: that was a warning for you. You know how many others I set back on the right path to give you the good example. Do you remember what that excellent confessor told you? I am the one who had him say it. Did he not enjoin you to change your life, to make a good confession? I am the One who inspired him. Remember that sermon that touched your heart? I am the One who led you there. And what has happened between you and Me in the secret of your heart, ...that you can never forget.

"Those interior inspirations, that clear knowledge, that constant remorse of conscience, would you dare to deny them? All of these were so many aids of My grace, because I wanted to save you. I refused to give them to many others, and I gave them to you because I loved you tenderly. My son, My son, if I spoke to them as tenderly as I am speaking to you today, how many others souls return to the right path! And you... you turn your back on Me. Listen to what I am going to tell you, for these are My last words: You have cost Me My blood; if you want to be damned in spite of the blood I shed for you, do not blame Me, you have only yourself to accuse; and throughout all eternity, do not forget that if you are damned in spite of Me, you are damned because you want to be damned: "Thy damnation comes from thee."

O my good Jesus, the very stones would split on hearing such sweet words, such tender expressions. Is there anyone here who wants to be damned, with so many graces and aids? If there is one, let him listen to me, and then let him resist if he can.

Baronius relates that after Julian the Apostate's infamous apostasy, he conceived such great hatred against Holy Baptism that day and night, he sought a way in which he might erase his own. To that purpose he had a bath of goat's blood prepared and placed himself in it, wanting this impure blood of a victim consecrated to Venus to erase the sacred character of Baptism from his soul. Such behavior seems abominable to you, but if Julian's plan had been able to succeed, it is certain that he would be suffering much less in hell.

Sinners, the advice I want to give you will no doubt seem strange to you; but if you understand it well, it is, on the contrary, inspired by tender compassion toward you. I implore you on my knees, by the blood of Christ and by the Heart of Mary, change your life, come back to the road that leads to heaven, and do all you can to belong to the little number of those who are saved. If, instead of this, you want to continue walking on the road that leads to hell, at least find a way to erase your baptism. Woe to you if you take the Holy Name of Jesus Christ and the sacred character of the Christian engraved upon your soul into hell! Your chastisement will be all the greater. So do what I advise you to do: if you do not want to convert, go this very day and ask your pastor to erase your name from the baptismal register, so that there may not remain any remembrance of your ever having been a Christian; implore your Guardian Angel to erase from his book of graces the inspirations and aids he has given you on orders from God, for woe to you if he recalls them! Tell Our Lord to take back His faith, His baptism, His sacraments.

You are horror-struck at such a thought? Well then, cast yourself at the feet of Jesus Christ and say to Him, with tearful eyes and contrite heart: "Lord, I confess that up till now I have not lived as a Christian. I am not worthy to be numbered among Your elect. I recognize that I deserve to be damned; but Your mercy is great and, full of confidence in Your grace, I say to You that I want to save my soul, even if I have to sacrifice my fortune, my honor, my very life, as long as I am saved. If I have been unfaithful up to now, I repent, I deplore, I detest my infidelity, I ask You humbly to forgive me for it. Forgive me, good Jesus, and strengthen me also, that I may be saved. I ask You not for wealth, honor or prosperity; I ask you for one thing only, to save my soul."

And You, O Jesus! What do You say? O Good Shepherd, see the stray sheep who returns to You; embrace this repentant sinner, bless his sighs and tears, or rather bless these people who are so well disposed and who want nothing but their salvation. Brothers, at the feet of Our Lord, let us protest that we want to save our soul, cost what it may. Let us all say to Him with tearful eyes, "Good Jesus, I want to save my soul," O blessed tears, O blessed sighs!




Conclusion

Brothers, I want to send all of you away comforted today. So if you ask me my sentiment on the number of those who are saved, here it is: Whether there are many or few that are saved, I say that whoever wants to be saved, will be saved; and that no one can be damned if he does not want to be. And if it is true that few are saved, it is because there are few who live well. As for the rest, compare these two opinions: the first one states that the greater number of Catholics are condemned; the second one, on the contrary, pretends that the greater number of Catholics are saved. Imagine an Angel sent by God to confirm the first opinion, coming to tell you that not only are most Catholics damned, but that of all this assembly present here, one alone will be saved. If you obey the Commandments of God, if you detest the corruption of this world, if you embrace the Cross of Jesus Christ in a spirit of penance, you will be that one alone who is saved.

Now imagine the same Angel returning to you and confirming the second opinion. He tells you that not only are the greater portion of Catholics saved, but that out of all this gathering, one alone will be damned and all the others saved. If after that, you continue your usuries, your vengeances, your criminal deeds, your impurities, then you will be that one alone who is damned.

What is the use of knowing whether few or many are saved? Saint Peter says to us, "Strive by good works to make your election sure." When Saint Thomas Aquinas's sister asked him what she must do to go to heaven, he said, "You will be saved if you want to be." I say the same thing to you, and here is proof of my declaration. No one is damned unless he commits mortal sin: that is of faith. And no one commits mortal sin unless he wants to: that is an undeniable theological proposition. Therefore, no one goes to hell unless he wants to; the consequence is obvious. Does that not suffice to comfort you? Weep over past sins, make a good confession, sin no more in the future, and you will all be saved. Why torment yourself so? For it is certain that you have to commit mortal sin to go to hell, and that to commit mortal sin you must want to, and that consequently no one goes to hell unless he wants to. That is not just an opinion, it is an undeniable and very comforting truth; may God give you to understand it, and may He bless you. Amen.

In the first Rules on the discernment of spirits, Saint Ignatius shows that it is typical of the evil spirit to tranquilize sinners. Therefore, we must constantly preach and give rise to confidence and the duty of hope in the Lord's infinite pardon and mercy, for conversion is easy and His grace is all-powerful. But we must also recall that "God is not mocked," and that someone who is living habitually in the state of mortal sin is on the road to eternal damnation.

There are last-minute miracles, but unless we contend that miracles are the general run of things, we are obliged to agree that for the majority of people living in the state of mortal sin, final impenitence is the most probable eventuality.

Saint Leonard of Port Maurice's reasons have persuaded us. They are worth listening to. With eloquence and clarity, they develop a consideration of Father Lombardi in his public debate with Italian Communist leader Velio Spano in Cagliara on December 4, 1948. "I am horror-struck at the thought that if you continue in this manner, you will be condemned to hell," said Father Lombardi to the Marxist Spano. Spano replied, "I do not believe in hell." And Father Lombardi retorted, "Precisely, and if you continue, you will be condemned; for to avoid being condemned, one must believe in hell."

We could generalize Father Lombardi's answer. Perhaps it is precisely such a lack of supernatural faith that is preventing people from arriving at a deep appreciation of the pastoral transcendence of preaching in the manner of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice in its application to our contemporary life. At any rate, it is not because morals are any better now than in the famous missionary's day. No occasion could be finer for us to apply this reproach of Cardinal Pie: "I see prudence everywhere; soon we will not see courage anywhere; rest assured, if we continue in this manner, we will die from an attack of wisdom." Not divine wisdom, surely; for only carnal and worldly prudence give rise to vain knowledge, which mocks at the sermon of Saint Leonard.

The doctrine of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice has saved and will save countless souls till the end of time. Here is what the Church says in the prayer of the Divine Office, Sixth Lesson, speaking of Saint Leonard's heavenly eloquence: Upon hearing him, even hearts of iron and brass were powerfully inclined to penance, by reason of the astonishing effectiveness of the sermon and the preacher's burning zeal. And in the liturgical prayer we ask of the Lord, Give the power to bend the hearts of hardened sinners by the works of preaching.

This sermon by Saint Leonard of Port Maurice was preached during the reign of Pope Benedict XIV, who so loved the great missionary.



What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?