Refutation of Appendix 2

by I. Shawn McElhinney

Papal Infallibility

By Father James F. Wathen, O.S.J.

Taken from his book "The Great Sacrilege"


The Roman Pontiff, the Successor of Blessed Peter in primacy, has not only the primacy of honor, but also supreme and plenary power of jurisdiction throughout the universal Church, both in matters which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which have to do with the disciple and order of the Church.

Correct (thus far).

This power is truly episcopal, ordinary and direct, both over all and each of the churches of Christendom, over all and each of the pastors and faithful, and independent of all human authority whatsoever. 4


This is to say that all Catholics, from cardinals to newly-baptized converts, are bound to obey the Holy Father in all religious matters, except a command to do something sinful. 5 There is no suggestion in the law quoted above that the Pope is infallible in the exercise of this plenipotentiary authority. Nor is there anything in Divine Revelation or ecclesiastical law which guarantees that the Pope will never make an unwise law, or repeal a wise one; appoint an inept bishop, or a bad one; impose an unjust interdiction, or refuse to impose a necessary one; teach erroneous notions (even rank heresy) and say and do things which lead to mistaken conclusions, or permit his subordinates to do so. Nothing--except Divine Providence, if He so chooses--prevents there being a totally incompetent, or imprudent, or immoral Pope.

This is true; however Fr. Wathen is being a bit ambiguous here. This does not apply to the Pope acting as Universal Teacher - a capacity with which he cannot err on matters of faith or morals. The promulgation of the Pauline Missal to the Universal Church is just such an example of  a universal action and thus is protected from error. But we will cover this as this rebuttal of Appendix 2 continues, fear not.

Indeed, forbidding as such a thought may be, it is not inconceivable (i.e., out of the realm of possibility, or, the same thing, contradictory to the doctrine her under discussion) that there ascend the Throne of St. Peter a malicious Pope, one bent on the total destruction of the Church, he being faithless enough to think such a thing possible! That even such a one, with such unrestricted and unrestrictable power, with all the help of his similarly-minded appointees, would be unable to succeed in such an effort is guaranteed by the doctrine of the Churches Indefectibility. And the reason even such a one would be unable to succeed is, in fact, Papal Infallibility itself, as we shall see a little later.

No one denies that there can be and have been some very evil popes. And yes Fr. Wathen is correct that God protects the Church from bad popes destroying her.

There is at the same time nothing in the definition of the Papacy which guarantees that the Supreme Pontiff could not give sinful commands and permit, or even encourage, the gravest abuses, or raise wicked and conspiratorial men to the episcopacy and the cardinalate, to give them free reign to teach every kind of error and command or permit every kind of misdeed. In a word, there is no divine promise that the Pope will not be permitted to use his great authority in the most wicked and destructive ways.

No disagreements thus far.

Such a Pope would not, despite any and all manner of unholy action, lose his own legitimacy, his all-comprehensive jurisdiction, nor the divine prerogative of Infallibility; so that, should an avowed conspirator become the Roman Pontiff, were he converted, he might immediately set about repairing the damage he himself had helped to inflict on the Church, without needing to be reelected and re-installed or re-confirmed in his Office; only his private confession and absolution from any censure he might have incurred would be required. 6

Pope Vigilius comes to mind as an amazing testimony of Divine Providence not allowing a pope to confirm heresy. He intended to do so before being elected (and was even bought off and placed on the papal throne) but once there he did not follow through. (Despite enduring many hardships as a result of his refusal to confirm Monophysitism as he promised he would upon obtaining the papacy.)

Obviously then, there is no imagining what a terrible source of scandal either a morally bad or a doctrinally careless Pope can be to how many millions of souls. Nor is there any way of describing the satanic glee in the camp of the Church’s inveterate enemies should they ever be able to infiltrate one of their own into his position, or subvert or subdue the Supreme Roman Pontiff to their service.

Where are we going with this line of inquiry???

The doctrine of Papal Infallibility, by stating in what respect the Pope cannot err, admits, in effect, that in all other areas of his vast prerogatives the Pope is completely fallible. And since this papal fallibility is as certain a fact as the holy doctrine which we are here discussing, Catholics must be convinced of the following most important principle, a principle which has a special relevance in the context of this present writing. It is this: No matter what may happen, since no one may justifiably command another to sin, and since no one is permitted to obey such a command, no one may ever blame another-- even an errant Pope --for his sins. Conversely, the failure of any person-- even the Pope --to keep God’s law or to preserve his own faith does not excuse any other person for his failures to do the same.

Of course. The pope is accountable before God as we all are and will be. No one denies this.

Ignorance of the law or ignorance of the Faith is never an excuse for sinning; one is bound to know when he is being commanded to sin. The notion is abroad that one may always simply follow the Pope and the bishops and thus be sure of salvation. Ordinarily this is a reliable norm. But it is so only because ordinarily the Pope and the bishops are more zealous for and more perfectly instructed in the Faith than their subjects.

Again, Fr. Wathen is correct here.

Neither can anyone get permission to sin through the erroneous teaching of the Pope or any of his other spiritual superiors, nor through their failure to teach what they ought. Everyone is bound to keep God’s law and the Faith. The obligation to do that which is good and avoid that which is evil and to believe the truths of Catholicism does not arise from the Hierarchy of the Church, nor from the Papacy, but from the intrinsic nature of things and the commands of Christ, Who is Lord of all. 7 When religious superiors officially and explicitly propound and explain our moral obligations and the truths of the Gospel, we are assisted thereby (both personally and collectively); and it is not only their right to do so, it is their grave duty (and to see that we fulfill them besides); that is what their jurisdiction is for. But whether they do so or not in no way alters our relationship to God, from whom ultimately our duty derives.

The author thinks he sees where Fr. Wathen is trying to go with this now. Thus far the writer would not say he has erred but he will eventually. He is a "trad" after all and "trads" are notorious for being theologically deficient. It is only a matter of time...

And, lest the point be missed, just as we must perform our duties, whether or not we are commanded and compelled to do so by those whom God has charged with the task, likewise, we must perform our duties should we be commanded not to do them, or to do something wrong instead. In the Church, no individual is the standard of perfect virtue or purity of doctrine--only Christ Our Lord.


And, lest anyone think these things are spoken lightly, let him reflect: it is a true saying that if anyone denies so much as one doctrine of the Faith, he is, morally speaking, denying it completely. And if he denies his Faith, he will lose his soul. Even if he denies his Faith implicitly, though knowingly, he is still denying it, none the less.

The key word is "knowingly." Only God can answer with certainty as to the state of a persons mind and will on these matters.

If we may not disavow the revealed teachings of Christ at the command of a pagan government, neither may we do so if our religious superiors command it. "But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven." (Mt. 10:33).

Hopefully the Hammer triplets are paying attention to the above passage.

No more does the great holiness and shining orthodoxy or the faultless rule of one Pontiff assure any Catholic of his salvation than does the wickedness of another Pope cause anyone’s perdition. The Papacy is not a Sacrament! Nor is the personal faith of any one Pope the touchstone of Orthodoxy; rather, it is the solemnly defined doctrines of the Church and all those teachings and norms which flow logically from them. It is the traditional Faith of Catholicism we must adhere to--the Faith of the Saints?no matter what happens during any given period of the Church’s history.

Okay, here is one small error by Fr. Wathen. The touchstone of the faith is indeed the defined doctrines of the Church but they do not have to be defined solemnly to belong to the Deposit of Faith. This will covered later on but the rest of his statement as far as this writer can see is correct.



The Infallibility of the Sovereign Pontiff is one of the major doctrinal developments of Catholic Theology over the course of the centuries. This development is understood to have reached its highest formal expression at the First Vatican Council with the promulgation of the Dogmatic Constitution, Pastor Aeternus, by Pope Pius IX on July 18, 1870.

Catholics should exult in the holiness and greatness of this doctrine. It was made during an age when their forefathers were not ashamed of the Church, and with that boldness with which Divine Truth should always be proclaimed.

This is a particularly noxious statement since Fr. Wathen is accusing (it seems) the Magisterium of being ashamed of the Church today. Other than perhaps the Magisterium not handling things pastorally in a way that Fr. Wathen might personally prefer - which is itself subjective criteria - what justification can he possibly bring forward for this accusation???

It is now one of the glories of the Faith, and should be the source of great consolation and encouragement both in view of the history of the Church and of the present trouble-ridden era. For truly, those will be saved who strictly adhere to the definite and certain teachings of the Popes, without letting themselves be diverted by the assorted days, even from their pulpits, and that, not infrequently, from some of the prelates of the Church. Let these Catholics be reminded that, no matter from what source it comes, every idea must be perfectly and clearly reconcilable with the Faith of their forefathers, or their assent to it should be withheld, if not forthrightly refused.

So the Bible which is Divine Scripture is often unclear (2 Pet. 3:14-17) but the Magisterium is ‘crystal’??? This appears to be Fr. Wathen’s attempt to justify a foundation for his utilization of private judgment later on. To believe what Fr. Wathen claims means that virtually every dogma of the faith from the Trinity to the Hypostatic Union to the Sacrifice of the Mass to Papal Infallibility to the Immaculate Conception/Assumption must have assent withheld from it. (Because none of these dogmas can be shown to be "clearly reconcilable" with the early Church anymore then the doctrines developed from Vatican II can be thus shown.) There is always a bit of ambiguity in the earliest testimonies on a doctrine before it is defined because no doctrine is generally defined until it is either denied, challenged, or there is a need to set forth the correct understanding as opposed to a faulty one (this happened with papal infallibility for example). Fr. Wathen might disagree but this writer showed in his treatise, many of these supposed "contradictions" do not exist at all. Instead they are derived from "trads" reading past Popes and Councils in a manner different from how they intended to convey their views. It is the job of the Magisterium guided by the Holy Spirit to make eternal truths comprehendable to people of different time periods in words that they can understand. Pope Pius XII noted this in Humani Generis section 16 (covered earlier in Appendix 1) that "Everyone is aware that the terminology employed in the schools and even that used by the Teaching Authority of the Church itself is capable of being perfected and polished; AND WE KNOW ALSO THAT THE CHURCH ITSELF HAS NOT ALWAYS USED THE SAME TERMS IN THE SAME WAY" (Humani Generis section 16).This in fact is the cardinal error of the "traditionalists" when they claim that terms like "ecumenism" and "ut unim sint" are heterodox: they are ignoring the fact that the terms are used in a different way then they were previously. The author refers to this as the "homoousian" principle because it is precisely what the Fathers of Nicaea did with a term that was at one time the hallmark of the Sabellian heresy (homoousian) that after Nicaea is eternally a term with orthodox meaning. Failure to make these subtle distinctions is the foundational error of the mixed schism of the so-called 'traditionalist'.

Catholics can be at peace in the certainty that nothing has happened or will ever happen which will render anachronistic, or out-dated, the sacred truths of their childhood catechism, since, as they know very well, it is the antiquity of Catholicism which is a sign of its veracity ad one of its proudest boasts. Another name for this is "Apostolicity."

Certainly. However Fr. Wathen would presumably ignore or demeans Vatican II’s authority much as the Brindle Boys and the notorious Charles "Machabeus" Goldstein do. (Much as he demeans the Pauline liturgy of Mass.)

An ex cathedra definition is always the canonization of an Apostolic tradition. When the Pope defines a doctrine, thus exercising his Infallibility, he is doing nothing more than making explicit, definite, and clear, a divine truth, holy in its essence, a truth which has been held--you might say, "taken for granted"--by the faithful from the beginning. He is only making explicit for the future what was implicit in the past, implicit in the teaching of the Apostles themselves.

This is true. However, generally ex cathedra is a term used for solemn definitions. The Pope can settle an issue or declare a doctrine as definitive (infallible) without using solemn form.

Above all, no Catholics need fear the Pope will ever violate his Infallibility; it is de fide ("of the Faith") that God will never permit it. God may permit any other kind of abuse of papal authority except this. The Church itself will sooner cease to be: "... and behold I am with you all days even unto the consummation of the world." (Mt. 28:20). The very existence of the Church depends on this never happening.

This is not true. Infallibility is much more organic then Fr. Wathen is claiming it is. But we will address this later on in this section.

That the Pope be infallible is absolutely necessary for the survival of the Church, since it is from the Papacy itself that the Church’s own Infallibility flows. This is the true meaning of Our Divine Savior’s words to St. Peter, "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." (Lk. 22:31-32).

This is correct.

The Church, as the source and cause of salvation, stands on the Papacy as a building stands on its foundation: its Imperishability derives from the Papacy, from the Infallibility of the Papacy. This can be easily seen: the Church must never err in those very matters which men are commanded by Christ to believe and do if they are to possess life everlasting. I know, a common notion has it that God in His mercy will save every man who has "good will." But that is not Catholic theology.

Good will by implication means that a person is willing to follow God to the extent that he knows Him and as he learns more about Him he adjusts his positions in accordance with what he knows of God’s will to be. However, merely being a good person will of course not cut the mustard and if that is what Fr. Wathen is saying then this writer can concur with him. However, God judges no one who is not guilty of willful sin and there are varying degrees of mitigating circumstances for culpability. We do not know what they are, only God does. All we do know is that no one will be judged unfairly by the Lord who proclaimed to Moses "I will have mercy on whom I will and I will be merciful to whom it shall please me" (Ex. 33:19). God is infinite both in his Justice as well as His Mercy; however, the latter takes precedence over the former or as the Apostle noted "for judgment is without mercy to him who has no mercy but mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:13).

The truth is, God will save those who acknowledge the sovereign authority of the Roman Pontiff’s, believe what the Pontiff’s say, and do as they command.

Just one small but important point needs to be made here and that is this: we are saved solely through God’s grace not by what we know or do of ourselves. However, there is of course an important corollary to this statement that must be understood. Obviously no one who knows that they must acknowledge the Popes authority who refuses to do so can be saved (provided there are no mitigating circumstances of course); but not all people who oppose the papacy are aware of this. It would be remarkably unjust for God to condemn people for their ignorance and indeed the Lord seems to indicate in the Gospels that ignorance can mitigate someone’s culpability (see John 9:41 for an example of this).

As He is the God of Truth, men must know that the Church (and therefore the Pope) speaks His truth, always, so that they may put their utter faith in it. It stands to reason that, should the Pope, as the chief spokesman of the Faith can clearly see is false, it would be "all over!" In such a case, by that very act, the Church would have been wounded fatally, for, ever after, the world would be without the only Magisterium of Revealed Truth there is. Even all its former true statements would at the same time come into question, and it could defend none of them. And there would follow that dissension and fragmentation which has been the history of Protestantism from its inception--only more so.

And with which 'traditionalism', the distant cousin of Protestantism has fragmented in the last 30 odd years…

Would the Builder of the Universe, the Carpenter of Nazareth, put His house on sand?

No He would not.

"And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof." (Mt. 7:27). He Who said these words knew something about building.

But so-called 'traditionalists' claim that He has both implicitly and explicitly.

At the First Vatican Council, the Fathers labored tediously to formulate exactly the statement of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. Their effort was so to circumscribe the idea that only such immunity from error would be claimed for the Papacy as men must believe in for salvation, and as their own faith would recognize as true. It is imperative for a Catholic that his knowledge of this doctrine be identical with the truth of it. Therefore, our notion of infallibility should include only what we are required to believe and nothing else.

Here is the problem, Fr. Wathen is far too clinical. The Fathers of Vatican I were not saying that only when defining dogmas is the Pope infallible. Or as Brother Alexis Bugnolo noted in his critique of the book "The Great Sacrilege":

The Doctor of the Church, St. Alphonsus dei Liguori, writing almost a century before the First Vatican Council, says of Papal Infallibility:
"Indeed the fourth common opinion, to which we subscribe, is, that though the Roman Pontiff, to the extent that he is an individual person or private teacher, can err (just as he is also fallible in questions of mere fact, which depend especially upon the testimonies of men); nevertheless when the Pope speaks as a universal teacher, defining ex cathedra, namely from the supreme power handed to Peter to teach the Church, then we says that he in discerning controversies of faith and morals is entirely infallible. This opinion is favored by the divine St. Thomas, Torquemada, Gotti, Cajetan, Alexander of Hales, St. Bonaventure, Bl. Augustino Triumpho, Nicholas of Lyra, St. Francis de Sales, Sondamnus, Thomassino, Ludwig Bail, Duvalius and other innumerable authors, cited by Milante, the Bishop of Stabiae, Alexander VIII, and [which] all the remaining theologians commonly [teach]; as is testified by Cardinals Gotti, Milante, and Troila."
Regarding the Definition of Papal Infallibility it should noted that often it is misunderstood as requiring the Pope to be either seated on the Papal Throne when teaching or that the Pope explicitly cite the fact that he is invoking infallibility or further that the Pope has to be issuing a dogmatic or doctrinal definition. Those who hold this view of Papal Infallibility go on to say that in no other circumstance is the Pope Infallible. But a closer look at the definition taught by Vatican I, shows that these are misunderstandings. All that is required is that the Pope be teaching in matters of faith or morals in such a manner that he intended to teach a dogma or doctrine which is to be believed by the faithful as pertaining to Catholic Teaching, in that he do this in his capacity as Roman Pontiff, Shepherd of the entire Church. Thus even the homilies of the Pope, if they meet this criterion, are infallible teachings; and not just solemn dogmatic definitions such as those regarding the Immaculate Conception or the Bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. [1]
This view, which will be pointed out in a little bit, is the correct view and Fr. Wathen’s clinical view is false.

Let us then carefully attend to the wording of the definition of the term, Papal Infallibility:

The Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra--that is, when in the exercise of his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians he defines, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the whole Church--is, by reason of the Divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished His Church to be endowed in defining the doctrines of faith and morals; and consequently that such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of their own nature and not by reason of the Church’s consent. 8

In explaining this definition, The Catholic Encyclopedia says:

... the conditions required for ex cathedra teaching are mentioned in the Vatican decree:

(a) The pontiff must teach in his public and official capacity as pastor and doctor of all Christians, not merely in his private capacity as a theologian, preacher or allocutionist, nor in his capacity as a temporal prince or as a mere ordinary of the Diocese of Rome. It must be clear that he speaks as spiritual head of the Universal Church.

The Pope can do this at a private meeting though if what he is teaching is intended by him to be definitive in settling an issue be it a dogma, doctrine, theological speculation, etc. Yes the Pope must be speaking as Pope of course but he need only manifest the will and intention of making a definitive judgment which of course makes the decision universal.

(b) Then it is only when, in this capacity, he teaches some doctrine of faith or morals that he is infallible.

This is false. The Catholic Encyclopedia in its article on Infallibility noted the following:

As regards matter, only doctrines of faith and morals, As regards matter, only doctrines of faith and morals, and facts so intimately connected with these as to require infallible determination, fall under the scope of infallible ecclesiastical teaching. These doctrines or facts need not necessarily be revealed; it is enough if the revealed deposit cannot be adequately and effectively guarded and explained, unless they are infallibly determined. [2]
Brother Bugnolo pointed this out in his response to Fr. Wathen’s response to Bro Bugnolo’s critique:
It is true that infalliblity inheres only in the teaching office, not in the governing office. But this theological distinction exists only on the theoretical level; for in practice the exercise of the teaching office and the governing office normally unite in every document in some manner. ESPECIALLY this is true in the promulgation of liturgical directives AND PARTICULARLY IN THE PUBLICATION OF A MISSAL. It is false that the promulgation of a form of worship does not involving the teaching office of the Church, inasmuch as the lex orandi statuit legem credendi, according to the ancient addage of the Roman Church. Fr. Wathen may want it otherwise, but in this he introduces a distinction non-existent in Catholic Theology. Indeed, the only way it could exist would be if there were no unity of truth and authority in the Church, which could only be if the Church was Herself defectible or vincible. [3]
(c) all the fullness and finality of his supreme Apostolic authority, in other words that he wishes to determine some point of doctrine in an absolutely final and irrevocable way, or to define it in the technical sense...

Okay, this point is correct. However, we have already spotted the flaw in the slaw in Fr. Wathen’s analysis which will be corrected shortly.

(d) Finally for an ex cathedra decision it must be clear that the Pope intends to bind the whole Church, to demand internal assent from all the faithful to his teaching under pain of incurring spiritual shipwreck (naufragium fidei), according to the expression used by Pius IX in defining the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. 9

For ex cathedra yes but infallibility is not dependant on solemnity of form. All the Pope needs to do is simply state that he is settling an issue and indicate that he is speaking as Head of the Church (he need not say it explicitly) and that his judgment is to be definitively held. However, that is but one way the Pope exercises infallibility. We will cover the others shortly.

Let us expand upon the meaning of this quotation.

Papal Infallibility can be said to be exercised only when the Pope teaches the Universal Church a truth of the Faith.

Correct. However (to paraphrase Dr. Sippo) "he does not have to do it with incense and solemn pronouncements."

By his pronouncement, he necessarily silences, concludes, and bans any further contrary argument on the particular subject, which, until then, had been a debatable question, theologically speaking. It amounts to his saying: Of all the things we do not know, this we do; and you can base further speculations on this without fear of error. Any effort you make to disprove this teaching will provide futile and a waste of your time. It will be sinful besides, for it will be challenging Divine Truth. Only as much has been defined as is certainly known; theologians and mystics may go on from here.

Yes, this is correct.

Further, not only are you not allowed to argue the point, but you are bound to believe it. God commands you to do so. And to refuse is to assail His veracity. You are not free to remain indifferent or agnostic about the matter, or to refrain from giving your assent to it. Not to believe and profess it is to deny it. By this ex cathedra definition the traditional belief has been confirmed as a dogma of faith, as certainly and unalterably true as all other dogmas of the True Religion.

The determining factor is culpability of one who refuses to assent though. It would seem correct to note that normatively Fr. Wathen’s statement applies. However, someone has to believe that the Pope is head of the Church and possessor of this authority before they can assent to it. There are many ways one could POSSIBLY be excused from culpability of course but ultimately only God knows whom and to what degree (if any) that someone is accountable.

No matter how verbose or scientific its phrasing, once all the terms are defined, a papal decision can always be expressed in a simple declarative sentence. It can be one of two kinds of statements: a dogmatic truth--Mary was conceived Immaculate; The Blessed Eucharist is the Body of Christ; The Pope is infallible--or a moral prohibition--abortion is a mortal sin; contraception is a mortal sin; betrayal of one’s country is a mortal sin.

Wrong again!!! Most declarations are doctrinal in some form or another but very few of them historically have been dogmatic. We need to provide a little history lesson here to explain the sense of which the decree on infallibility is to be understood. As Msr. Hughes noted in his History of the General Councils when discussing Vatican I and the decree on papal infallibility itself:

Before the deputation De Fide, however, there still remained many laborious hours, studying the ninety-six amendments proposed by the speakers, and another forty-eight sent in in writing. With the aid of their theologians they had sorted it out, and were ready with their recommendations to the council, by July 11. They then proposed, following Guidi, to change the title and, following Martin, to put in the historical section. They accepted the new--Cullen--wording of the definition, and so were able to refuse the hundred proposed amendments of the old formula. The explanation and justification of all this was left to the bishop of Brixen, Vincent Gasser, "the most prominent theologian in the council," to whose great speech Butler gives a whole chapter of his book. The council, without more ado, voted as the deputation proposed. [4]
Okay, now we see that the Council voted according to the deputation De Fide as delivered by Bishop Vincent Gasser of Brixen (who was the architect of the decree). So if we are going to understand the SENSE of the deputation de fide as it pertains to the definition of papal infallibility, then we need to know what Bishop Gasser said right??? Well, what Bishop Gasser said pertaining to the key word "defines" is the linchpin of the entire decree - since no one disagrees that definitive pronouncements on doctrine must be universal in scope for the charism of infallibility to be exercised. What is the sense that the word "defines" was to specify (and in what sense did the Council Fathers vote on the decree)??? Here are the words of Bishop Gasser on the matter:
"Now I shall explain in a very few words HOW THIS WORD "DEFINES" IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD according to the Deputation de fide. Indeed, the Deputation de fide IS NOT OF THE MIND that this word should be understood in a juridical sense (Lat. in sensu forensi) SO THAT IT ONLY SIGNIFIES PUTTING AN END TO CONTROVERSY THAT HAS ARISEN IN RESPECT TO HERESY OR DOCTRINE WHICH IS PROPERLY SPEAKING DE FIDE. Rather,the word "defines" signifies that the Pope DIRECTLY AND CONCLUSIVELY pronounces his sentence about a doctrine which concerns matters of faith or morals and does so in such a way that each one of the faithful can be certain of the mind of the Apostolic See, of the mind of the Roman Pontiff; in such a way, indeed, that he or she knows for certain that such and such a doctrine is held to be HERETICAL, PROXIMATE TO HERESY, CERTAIN OR ERRONEOUS, etc., by the Roman Pontiff." [5]
You see, solemnity of form is not necessary for a definitive judgment. That was not how the Council voted and later on when Modernists tried to dismiss the ordinary magisterium’s infallibility when teaching Universally (and even demean the assent owed to the simple ordinary magisterium when it was not definitive in its teachings), Pope Pius XII responded in no uncertain terms exactly in the sense that Bishop Gasser elucidated to the Council Fathers at Vatican I. (See Humani Generis parag. 20 as referenced in the previous section where the errors of Atila Sinke Guimaraes were addressed.) The Second Vatican Council, in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium paragraph 25 expanded upon that theme to a degree:
Bishops who teach in communion with the Roman Pontiff are to be revered by all as witnesses of divine and Catholic truth; the faithful, for their part, are obliged to submit to their bishops' decision, made in the name of Christ, in matters of faith and morals, and to adhere to it with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind. This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, EVEN WHEN HE DOES NOT SPEAK EX CATHEDRA in such wise, indeed, that his supreme teaching authority be acknowledged with respect, AND SINCERE ASSENT BE GIVEN TO DECISIONS MADE BY HIM, CONFORMABLY WITH HIS MANIFEST MIND AND INTENTION, which is made known principally either by the character of the documents in question, or by the frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, or by the manner in which the doctrine is formulated.
Although the bishops, taken individually, do not enjoy the privilege of infallibility, they do, however, proclaim infallibly the doctrine of Christ on the following conditions: namely, when, even though dispersed throughout the world but preserving for all that amongst themselves and with Peter's successor the bond of communion, in their authoritative teaching concerning matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement that a particular teaching is to be held definitively and absolutely. This is still more clearly the case when, assembled in an ecumenical council, they are, for the universal Church, teachers of and judges in matters of faith and morals, whose decisions must be adhered to with the loyal and obedient assent of faith.
This infallibility, however, with which the divine redeemer wished to endow his Church in defining doctrine pertaining to faith and morals, is co-extensive with the deposit of revelation, which must be religiously guarded and loyally and courageously expounded. The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful--who confirms his brethren in the faith (cf. Lk. 22:32)--he proclaims in an absolute decision a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. For that reason his definitions are rightly said to be irreformable by their very nature and not by reason of the assent of the Church, is as much as they were made with the assistance of the Holy Spirit promised to him in the person of blessed Peter himself; and as a consequence they are in no way in need of the approval of others, and do not admit of appeal to any other tribunal. For in such a case the Roman Pontiff does not utter a pronouncement as a private person, but rather does he expound and defend the teaching of the Catholic faith as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the Church's charism of infallibility is present in a singular way. [43] The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme teaching office. Now, the assent of the Church can never be lacking to such definitions on account of the same Holy Spirit's influence, through which Christ's whole flock is maintained in the unity of the faith and makes progress in it. [44]
Furthermore, when the Roman Pontiff, or the body of bishops together with him, define a doctrine, they make the definition in conformity with revelation itself, to which all are bound to adhere and to which they are obliged to submit; and this revelation is transmitted integrally either in written form or in oral tradition through the legitimate succession of bishops and above all through the watchful concern of the Roman Pontiff himself- and through the light of the Spirit of truth it is scrupulously preserved in the Church and unerringly explained.[45] The Roman Pontiff and the bishops, by reason of their office and the seriousness of the matter, apply themselves with zeal to the work of inquiring by every suitable means into this revelation and of giving apt expression to its contents;[46] they do not, however, admit any new public revelation as pertaining to the divine deposit of faith. [47] [6]
Interestingly enough, if we look at the footnotes in LG 25, they are #’s 39-47. Here is how they read:
39. Cfr. Conc. Trid., Decr. de reform., Sess. V, c. 2, n. 9; et Sess. XXlV, can. 4; Conc. Oec. Decr. pp. 645 et 739.
40. Cfr. Conc. Vat. I, Const. dogm. Dei Filius, 3: Denz. 1712 (3011). Cfr. nota adiecta ad Schema I de Eccl. (desumpta ex. S. Rob. Bellarmino) : Mansi 5 1, 579 C; necnon Schema reformatum Const. lI de Ecclesia Christi, cum commentario Kleutgen: Mansi 53, 313 AB. Pius IX, Epist. Tuas libenter: Denz. 1683 (2879).
41. Cfr. Cod. Iur. Can., c. 1322-1323.
42. Cfr. Conc. Vat. I, Const. dogm. Pastor Aeternus: Denz. 1839 (3074).
43. Cfr. explicatio GASSER in Conc. Vat. I: Mansi 52, 1213 AC.
44. GASSER, ib.: Mansi 1214 A.
45. GASSER, ib.: Mansi 1215 CD, 1216-1217 A.
46. GASSER, ib.: Mansi 1213.
47. Conc. Vat. I, Const. dogrn. Pastor Aeternus, 4: Denz. 1836 (3070). [7]
Bishop Gasser’s position on papal infallibility was also expounded not only by Pope Pius XII (as noted earlier in addressing Guimaraes' errors) but also by Vatican II as well. Thus the viewpoint that only ex cathedra solemn pronouncements are infallible is proven false. The Pope can make a very simple statement such as condemning a doctrinal or moral error and the statement is definitive (since condemnation of a doctrinal or moral error is always universal in scope: something that is wrong is wrong period).

An infallible definition is made when the teaching Church arrives at the conclusion that God requires all men to believe the particular truth defined. He has revealed this truth because men need to know it. If it is a doctrine, they should believe it primarily because it is a manifestation of His glory, power and love, a disclosure of Himself and His ways. If the revelation is a moral prohibition, it is a warning that the act is wicked in itself and to commit it is to attack directly the goodness and sovereignty of the Revealer and to bring death to one’s soul.

Yes indeed. The Hammer triplets need to obey the doctrine of VC II’s conformity with Tradition and the moral prohibition of presuming that the Council breaks with the past. It does not.

An ex cathedra definition is addressed to all the members of the Universal Church, regardless of which of the several Rites (into which it is divided canonically and liturgically) they belong to. Ex cathedra definitions are a matter of spiritual life and death, of salvation or perdition. They are more important than temporal affairs, social problems, earthly love. They involve every man with God. Man’s disinterest in them is the vice of sloth. They are eternal and holy, regardless of who is Pope or who is king. Every man must himself discover why they are important to him; they are what his mind is for--truths to be discerned by his intellect for the salvation of his soul.

The salvation of the souls of the "trad 3" is in grave jeopardy unless they eschew their error and embrace the Council as an authentic alignment with the everlasting faith.

This is not to say that dogmatic and moral truths are irrelevant to the world and the problems of human life. The world needs nothing more direly than infallible, supernatural truth.


The Pope could not do the world more good than by letting it hear his voice, authoritative, certain, commanding, teaching. The world needs no alternatives or palliatives to Catholicism in all its fullness.

This is Vatican II teaching here actually. This is what Pope John Paul II has been doing for 25 years: preaching Catholicism in its fullness and writing wonderfully detailed expositions on the eternal faith and its applicability to the world of today.

Because men have dared to discard divinely revealed truth, they have gotten themselves into their present woeful predicament.

Indeed the 'traditionalists' have (along with the Modernists, liberals, and countless others who have erred in the past and err in the present) discarded divinely revealed truth.

Now they are at the mercy of the "agitation-propaganda" (or, we shall see later, the so-called "New Mass" is a product and a tool, and, to my knowledge, one of its greatest triumphs.

Okay, here is where Fr. Wathen’s wheels really fall off of his cart (they were wobbly previously but it breaks down right here). Pay attention especially from here on out please.

The question may be asked: But suppose a certain Pope did make a clearly false ex cathedra definition? The idea of Papal Infallibility makes such a hypothesis a contradiction in terms. The doctrine means that God Himself, Who knows the most secret thoughts of men, would prevent such a thing from happening, either directly or through His ordinary overmastery of all creatural actions. As a matter of fact, who can say that God has not thus intervened in the past? So susceptible are all human beings to error, sin, and temptation, that we may easily imagine that He has found it necessary to do so, unbeknown though it may have been.

These considerations should help the reader see the distinction between a papal ex cathedra definition and an act by which the Pope may legislate concerning the Holy Mass. The former is a statement by which the Pope teaches a truth which is a part of the "deposit of faith." The latter is an act by which the Pope employs his jurisdiction for pastoral discipline. In the former case, he is protected from error by the Holy Ghost himself; in the latter he is completely capable of making poor or imprudent decisions. And, if he be malicious, if he would dare so tempt God, and if he think he can get away with it, he may even, conceivably, attempt some deliberate perversion.

Actually, there are a number of considerations that must be taken into account with this assertion. First of all, there can be no argument that Pope Paul VI in promulgating the Pauline Rite with the Apostolic Constitution Missae Romanum manifested the intention to promulgate the liturgy to the Universal Church correct. Now if the promulgation was for a certain portion of the Church and not the Universal Church then Fr. Wathen’s argument might have merit. As the promulgation was specified to be universal, Fr. Wathen's Janesenistic denial of the secondary and indirect element of Church infallibility stands refuted.

Considering the long established rule of lex orandi lex credendi, it only makes logical sense to see the rule of prayer being intimately connected to the rule of faith. The universal promulgation of a liturgy on the Church would be establishing a rule of prayer to the whole Church which directly influences the Church’s rule of faith. Therefore, a heretical liturgy would indeed corrupt the faith of the people and since the Pope acting as Chief Shepherd promulgated the liturgy with the clear intent of binding the faithful to his decree, the faithful are bound by the power of the keys (Matt. 16:19) to a heretical Mass if what our opponents and Fr. Wathen assert is true. This means that the Pope in legislating on a matter directly tied to matters of faith (the liturgy where lex orandi lex credendi applies in a direct manner) bound heresy on the Universal Church. Since Vatican I claims that the Pope cannot err when teaching the Universal Church on matters of faith and morals, according to the rule lex orandi lex credendi the Pauline Mass cannot contain any errors or the Pope has taught error through binding a heretical liturgy that directly affects the universal rule of prayer and thus the universal Faith. In other words, Vatican I’s decree would logically be false if we follow the arguments of our opponents and Fr. Wathen out to their logical conclusions.

Knowing that General Councils are instruments of infallible teaching on matters of faith and morals and that Vatican I intended to define the dogma of papal infallibility, it cannot be erroneous and thus our opponents are the ones in error. They have to be because their attempts to separate the juridicial office from the governing office are a false dichotomy which ultimately does nothing to safeguard the faith since the rule of faith can be corrupted through a heretical liturgy and heresy in the liturgy (or error) would affect the Church Universal. Our opponents theological views show up nowhere in the history of the Church (except perhaps with the Jansenists) and not one orthodox Father, Doctor, Scholastic, or Theologian can be shown to ever have taught such a concept even implicitly.

Even though the prayers of the Mass contain affirmations of faith, these prayers themselves are not ex cathedra proclamations.


The Church does teach her children the doctrines of the Faith by embodying these doctrines in her liturgical prayers--a better word would be familiarize. However, the main purpose of the prayers is not to teach, but to worship and communicate with God.

This view flies right in the face of lex orandi lex credendi which is the Church’s ancient tradition of the rule of prayer testifying to the rule of faith. If the rule of prayer is corrupted with error or heresy then logically so will the rule of faith. This assertion is blasphemous because it makes a liar of Our Lord who promised protection from the gates of sheol. If the devil can pollute the rule of faith through the rule of prayer then he has indeed triumphed. That is the bottom line really.

The Liturgy does not define the truths of the Faith, it assents to them, meditates on them, glories in them, and thanks God for revealing them. How utterly disorderly and intolerable, therefore, would it be if the communal prayer of the people contained the least ambiguity, inaccuracy, or unfamiliar teaching, or lacked perfect clarity, doctrinal precision, or beauty of expression!

Then Our Lord’s instructions were "utterly disorderly and intolerable’ according to Fr. Wathen because it is quite clear, based on the practice of the early Church, that the worship was rather fluid and variable with the prayers being selected oftentimes by the officiating bishop. Where was the "doctrinal precision" of the Trinity in liturgies before Nicaea??? How about the "doctrinal precision" of transubstantiation before 1215??? If the communal prayer of the people is "intolerable" for containing ambiguity in spots then Our Lord had to have erred because he did not clearly set forth all doctrinal points with precision when He was on earth. Since such an assertion is blasphemy, Fr. Wathen had better get on his knees and apologize to the Lord for accusing Him of acting "inappropriately" , "disorderly", and "intolerably" through implication.

For it to contain anything that savored of positive error or falsity or propaganda or mistranslation would be something too horrendous to imagine or describe!

Well if the Bible can have errors in its translations and the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, why should anyone presume that the ancient liturgies when being translated might not have mistakes in their wording in spots??? These comments are amazingly naïve and show a profound ignorance of Church history. God preserves the Church DESPITE the errors of men and that includes translation errors be they of Bibles or liturgies. It is the sense of the Church that protects the doctrines of the Faith not perfectly translated Bibles or liturgies which can read perfectly but still be woefully misunderstood. As long as fallible men are involved in the equation, there will be problems at times. Since the sense of the Church does not change on matters of doctrine, a mistranslated liturgy cannot contain doctrinal error.

The legislation of the Church on liturgical matters, and particularly the Holy Mass, falls under the heading of discipline or legislation rather than under teaching or doctrine.

So the rule of faith is NOT determined by the rule of prayer then??? So much for the ancient Tradition of lex orandi lex credenti but then "trads" only preserve the traditions that please THEM anyway. So why should we be surprised that they are as arbitrary in accepting the Traditions of the Church as they are with accepting only the parts of General Councils or papal documents that please them and nothing more??? After all, such inconsistency is not exactly alien to the "trad" paradigm as this writer demonstrates throughout his treatise in over 300 pages of material.

When Pope St. Pius V finalized the ritual of the Mass of the Latin Rite, he was not defining the truths expressed in the prayers. He was passing a law forbidding anyone to alter these prayers because these prayers suitably expressed the major doctrines which had been defined by the Council of Trent.

No one but the Pope. No pope can bind another pope indefinitely in matters not related to the defining of doctrines and as Fr. Wathen noted, Pope St. Pius V was not defining the truths expressed in the prayers, indeed Pope Pius V was defining NOTHING. He was making a prudential judgment in legislating to the Universal Church in 1570 to impose a uniform liturgy on the West with very few exceptions to aid the Church in implementing the many reforms of Trent. As Matt pointed out earlier, it is not as if there was not talk about revising the Tridentine Missal by popes before Pope Paul VI. In fact, Pope St. Pius X was considering this undertaking and Pope Pius XII (as Pope Paul VI noted) begin the process by restoring the Holy Week Liturgies. The Holy Week Liturgies were restored to the way they had been 1,000 years previously and Pius XII expressed this interest in the mid 1950’s about "the upcoming council" handling a "reform of the liturgy". Vatican II took it the next step and restored the liturgy to the predominant form it had in the first millennium.

This is why the Mass of the Roman Rite was bound to be referred to as the "Tridentine Mass," even though all the prayers predate that Council by centuries. Indeed it was from these prayers that the Council Fathers had learned the teaching which they defined. The Mass as it is found in the other Rites of the Church could never be called "Tridentine." The reason is, though the prayers of these liturgies are doctrinally pure and unquestionably Catholic, their emphasis and mentality and mode of expression are not so intimately related to, or so interdependent with, the decrees of the Council of Trent as are the prayers of the Mass of the Latin Rite.

Yes the rite is called the Tridentine Rite because the restoration took place in the period after Trent and was promulgated by Pope St. Pius V based on the decree from the Council of Trent.

From all above, it is quite clear that Pope Paul VI’s imposition of the "New Mass" is in no sense of the word an act of his infallible teaching authority.

This position is profoundly erroneous because of the intimate nature that liturgy corresponds to nourishing the rule of faith through the rule of prayer. As the Catholic Encyclopedia noted on the dogmatic relation to liturgy:

As the Biblical sciences necessarily suppose the dogma of the inspiration of the Bible and the Divine institution of the Church, which alone, through the assistance of the Holy Ghost, is the rightful owner and authoritative interpreter of the Bible, it is manifest that exegesis, though enjoying full liberty in all other respects, must never lose its connection with dogmatic theology. Not even church history, though using the same critical methods as profane history, is altogether independent of dogmatic theology. As its object is to set forth the history of God's kingdom upon earth, it cannot repudiate or slight either the Divinity of Christ or the Divine foundation of the Church without forfeiting its claim to be regarded as a theological science. The same applies to other historic sciences, as the history of dogma, of councils, of heresies, patrology, symbolics, and Christian archæology. PASTORAL THEOLOGY, which embraces LITURGY, homiletics, and catechetics, proceeded from, and bears close relationship to, moral theology; ITS DEPENDENCE ON DOGMATIC THEOLOGY NEEDS, THEREFORE, NO FURTHER PROOF. [8]
This is the critical error of self-styled 'traditionalist' theology: the arbitrary separation of God’s guidance from the governing and sanctifying offices of the Church.

It must be assessed as a pastoral act, one which pertains to the discipline and practice of the Roman Rite. Once this point is clearly understood, we are free to draw the following conclusions:

In issuing the "Novus Ordo," Pope Paul was using his legitimate authority.

Yes he was.

But, we are permitted to discuss whether he was abusing his authority in doing so. Moreover, we are compelled to do so in view of what the "New Mass" is!

This is exercising Protestant private judgment again.

Since there is no question of Papal Infallibility involved, it is not at all out of order to question either the morality, the liceity, the validity, the orthodoxy, the nature, the purposes (given or real), the wisdom, or any other aspect of the "New Mass."

Again, infallibility is NOT confined to only solemn pronouncements, it is NOT solely confined to doctrines of the Faith but also applies to anything intimately connected to the two. As Bro. Bugnolo pointed out to Fr. Wathen in his response:

This is not a contradiction, because it is one thing to be "free from heresy or error" and quite another to be "a dogmatic definition." The sentence: all egg yokes are yellow is free from error but it is not a dogmatic definition. Likewise the words of Christ in the Gospel are free from error but not dogmatic definitions in the canonical sense. [They are however in a higher sense]. Fr. Wathen is implicity denying the infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium here, inasmuch as he seeks to admit the possibility of formal error or heresy in the non-solemnly defined teachings of the Roman Pontiff. [cf. Pope Pius XII's Encyclical Humani Generis, on the infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium]. [9]
We already covered Humani Generis 20 earlier and Pope Pius XII’s affirmation that the ordinary magistrium is to be heeded because the Popes even when not exercising their Supreme teaching authority are still to be heeded.

All the foregoing has been thought necessary because of the aura of untouchability which surrounds the subject of the "New Mass." Not a little of this mentality was deliberately created, as I will have occasion to point out again further on. For the present, if we are agreed that the subject is permissible and open to discussion, we shall begin.

Of course this writer does not agree with Fr. Wathen at all nor does any respectable scholar or theologian that he is aware of. No one outside of the "trad" camp holds to this divisive position even those who erroneously ascribe infallibility only to solemn definitions. The infallibility of the Church cannot be sustained in such a clinical environment which eliminates the rule of faith being established and developed through prayer if the rule of prayer (liturgy) is corrupted. As Fr. Brian Harrison pointed out about Vatican I:

The Vatican I definition has to do only with "doctrine concerning faith and morals," whether this doctrine be promulgated by the Pope alone or by the Church as a whole. IN OTHER WORDS, THE TRADITIONAL TEACHING THAT THE POPE ALSO SPEAKS INFALLIBLY IN CANONIZING SAINTS, APPROVING RELIGIOUS ORDERS, AND IN DEFINING DOGMATIC FACTS, IS SIMPLY LEFT UNTOUCHED BY THE 1870 DECREE. ("Dogmatic facts" are contingent, historical facts which it is necessary to insist on in order to guard revealed truth--for instance, the fact that such-and-such a Council which proclaimed certain revealed truths was in fact a lawful and valid "Ecumenical" Council, or that such-and-such a condemned book or document does "in fact teach" a certain false doctrine.) Before Vatican I the great majority of Catholic bishops and theologians who already believed that the Pope is infallible in defining "doctrine" seem to have believed that he is infallible in these other areas as well. However, those few who did not believe he is infallible in those other areas were not obliged to start believing that he is by the 1870 dogma. All Catholics, however, "were" obliged by it to believe that the Pope is infallible in defining not only dogmas of faith, but also the secondary truths, denial of which would be "proximate to heresy" or "erroneous, etc.," as Bishop Gasser explained. [10]
Of course the traditional teaching that the Pope speaks infallibly when canonizing saints (again the intimate connection between lex orandi and lex credendi), how much of a stretch can it be to proclaim that a Universal promulgation of a liturgy would be less preserved from error then approval of general veneration or of a religious order??? Or as Dr. Ludwig Ott pointed out in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (after noting that Our Lord had made Peter the foundation of the Church to provide stability in perpetuity:
"However, the unity and the solidarity is not possible without the right Faith. Peter is therefore also the supreme teacher of the Faith. As such he must be infallible in the official promulgation of Faith, in his own person and in his successors since by Christ’s decree the Church is to continue for all time. AGAIN CHRIST BESTOWED UPON PETER (AND ON HIS SUCCESSORS) A COMPREHENSIVE POWER OF BINDING AND LOOSING. AS IN RABINNICAL SPEECH ONE UNDERSTOOD BY BINDING AND LOOSING ALSO THE AUTHENTIC DECLARATION OF THE LAW OF THE NEW COVENANT, THE GOSPEL. God in Heaven will confirm the Pope’s judgment. This supposes that, in his official capacity as Doctor of the Faith, he is preserved from error." [11]
The very capacity that he is in when legislating as Universal Shepherd as he is when promulgating a liturgy to the Universal Church: he cannot err in this capacity. Dr. Ott also noted the following about the secondary object of infallibility:
"The secondary object of infallibility is truths of the Christian teaching on faith and morals, which are not formally revealed, but which are closely connected with Revelation (sent. certa.)…[12]
Sententia certa is a theological degree that denotes that the teaching is infallibly rendered but not solemnly defined. Tanquerey witnessed to this viz the liturgy earlier also. Ultimately we must ask ourselves who makes the determination of what is and is not heresy or unbelief. To answer that question, let us turn to the Angelic Doctor himself St. Thomas:
"Neither living nor lifeless faith remains in a heretic who disbelieves one article of faith. The reason of this is that the species of every habit depends on the formal aspect of the object, without which the species of the habit cannot remain. Now the formal object of faith is the First Truth, as manifested in Holy Writ and the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth. Consequently whoever does not adhere, as to an infallible and Divine rule, to the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth manifested in Holy Writ, has not the habit of faith, but holds that which is of faith otherwise than by faith...Therefore it is clear that such a heretic with regard to one article has no faith in the other articles, but only a kind of opinion in accordance with his own will." [13]
Who among you will DARE claim that a bunch of insolent "trads" who refuse to submit to the Sovereign Pontiff on HIS terms, refuse to recognize his authority as Chief Shepherd legislating Universally in promulgating a restored liturgy, and further who among us is choosing what we will and will not believe of the teachings set forth by the Church??? This writer accepts the judgment of the Church and recognizes that she is protected when legislating Universally because (as St. Thomas noted): "The universal Church cannot err, since she is governed by the Holy Ghost, Who is the Spirit of truth: for such was Our Lord's promise to His disciples (Jn. 16:13): ‘When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth’". The Angelic Doctor spoke of a symbol of faith being "published by the authority of the universal Church" and that "therefore it contains nothing defective." What is the liturgy but a symbol of our faith in accordance with lex orandi lex credendi??? What is the Pauline Mass but a liturgy "published by the authority of the Universal Church" in the person of Blessed Peter whom Bishop Gasser noted in his Deputation "cannot be separated from the consent of the Church because this consent cannot be lacking to him".

Here is a final list of questions that this writer has drawn up for the readers to ponder. Which three among the six of us (Matt1618, Dr. Art Sippo, this writer, Charles "Machabeus" “Hammer”, and his two friends) are the ones that comply with the following points:

If you answer that the loyal Catholics are I. Shawn McElhinney, "Matt1618", and Dr. Art Sippo then you have done well because only someone in need of a frontal lobotomy would dare call "Machabeus and his two friends loyal Catholics. The Angelic Doctor would have called them at a minimum schismatics. (And possibly heretics.) The Church has condemned them as for following the erroneous theologies of Fr. Leonard Feeney on EENS and Baptism of Desire. That really is the bottom line here.

In summary, Fr. Wathen’s book section on papal infallibility fails and fails badly to establish any credible grounds for the proposed errors of the Pauline Liturgy and shows that he has an acute misunderststanding of papal infallibility, Church infallibility, and the sense in which the Church has always recognized the Hebraic sense of the charism of infallibility. The only way Fr. Wathen could succeed is to seek to refute the ancient truth of lex orandi lex credendi as it pertains to the liturgy. Then he must refute the consent of the Church Fathers, the Council of Trent, Vatican I, Bishop Gasser, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, Ven. Cardinal John Henry Newman, Bl. Pope Pius IX, Bl. Pope John XXIII, Pope Pius XII, Vatican II, L. Ott, A. Tanquerey, Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and a whole ocean of Church theologians throughout the centuries. Of course in doing that this writer would then ask you who is introducing a theological novum into the mix and who is not. And by hitching their wagons to Fr. James Wathen, what does that say about the orthodoxy of Charles "the Hammer" Goldstein and the Brindle Brothers???


[1] Bro. Alexis Bugnolo: From his work "A Theological Critique of Rev. James F. Wathen, O.S.J's THE GREAT SACRILEGE (Based on the Teachings of the Sacred Magisterium, the Doctors of the Church, the Canonized Saints, and Other Approved Pre-Vatican II Theologians.)"

Note of Clarification:Linking to this essay by Bro. Bugnolo is not to be understood as an endorsement of the other apologetical material at the Franciscan Archive by this author or other contributors to this project.

[2] Catholic Encyclopedia: Excerpt from the article "Infallibility" (c. 1913)

[3] Br. Alexis Bugnolo: Response to Fr. James Wathen
[The paper this was taken from is no longer available on the Internet - ISM 1/25/03]

[4] Monsignor Phillip Hughes: "A History of the General Councils" Chapter 20 (c. 1960)

[5] Bishop Vincent Gasser: Speech to the Council Fathers of Vatican I
[The source this was taken from was the essay linked to footnote 10 below - ISM 1/25/03]

[6] Vatican II: Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen Gentium" paragraph 25 (November 21, 1964)

[7] Vatican II: Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen Gentium": footnotes 39-47 (November 21, 1964)

[8] Catholic Encyclopedia: From the article "Dogmatic Theology" (c. 1913)

[9] Br. Alexis Bugnolo: Response to Fr. James Wathen
[The paper this was taken from is no longer available on the Internet - ISM 1/25/03]

[10] Fr. Brian Harrison: "The Ex Cathedra Status of the Encyclical 'Humanae Vitae'", from Faith and Reason Magazine, (c. 1993)

[11] Dr. Ludwig Ott: "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma", pg. 287 (c. 1960)
[12] Dr. Ludwig Ott: "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma", pg. 299 (c. 1960)
[13] St. Thomas Aquinas: "Summa Theologiae", IIa, IIae Q5, A3 (circa 1270-73)


"It should be known that Fr. Wathen, though once a Roman Catholic priest, is no longer. The Order he claims to belong to was suppressed nearly 200 years ago, and the branch to which Fr. Wathen belongs was sustained by laymen belonging to Protestant organizations and Russian Orthodox laymen. It is entirely bogus and fraudulent. Fr. Wathen therefore has no faculties to hear confession or confect any sacrament. Any confession he hears is therefore invalid, as are his marriages. All the masses he says are sacrileges, offered as they are without episcopal mandate. Likewise are all the sacraments he confesses. "The Great Sacrilege" is therefore not the Novus Ordo Mass--though it does have its problems--but rather the author of the book by that title. [Br. Alexis Bugnolo: Response to Fr. James Wathen]

©2003, 2000, "Detection and Overthrow of the 'Traditionalist Catholics' Falsely So-Called" (Refutation of Appendix 2), written by I.Shawn McElhinney. This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.

Page created by: Matt1618. Send email with questions on this Treatise to I. Shawn McElhinney



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