Friday, October 22, 2010

A Call To The Faithful

Thanks to Mr. Vacula (of all people!) for pointing this article out to me. A very fine article on a hit piece done on Archbishop Nienstedt for promoting Catholic teaching and for calling on Catholics to be 100% authentic Catholics, which is a constant theme of this blog. It also delves into the paganistic world in which we live today and how society is regressing not progressing as they claim.

Check it out

There is a concerted effort to paint those who adhere to faithful, classical, orthodox Christianity and, most particularly, faithful Catholic Christianity, as "backward." The Christian understanding of marriage and family is not some outdated notion of a past era but the framework for a future of true freedom. It is courageous Bishops like Archbishop John Nienstedt who are paving the path to authentic progress.

Monday, October 11, 2010

GLEEfully attacking Catholics

Aren't there any of my readers out there willing to threaten to behead a Fox VP for this blasphemy? Oh! Sorry. I forgot about the whole we're Catholics thing and that we don't go around threatening and rioting and looting and beheading and stuff.

Maybe that's why they didn't have a "grilled Mohammed" on Glee the other night? What do you think?

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on last night's episode of the Fox show, "Glee":

The producers of "Glee" decided to address religion. A gay atheist was treated with sympathy for his victim status, the victimizer being Christianity, especially Catholicism. Judaism was treated with kid gloves and Islam got a pass. In other words, it was the usual Hollywood stuff.

The show revolved around a football player who sees an image of Jesus in his grilled cheese sandwich, labeling it "Grilled Cheesus." Throughout the show the audience was treated to such lines as "I think God is kind of like Santa Claus for adults. Otherwise, God's kind of a jerk, isn't he?"; "Asking someone to believe in a fantasy [religion]…however comforting, isn't a moral thing to do. It's cruel." References to Catholicism included mocking quips about "Sweet Holy Mother of God Academy."

The pivotal remark, which set the tone, was made by the gay atheist: "The reason I don't go to church is because most churches don't think very much of gay people. Or women. Or science."

The lines mouthed by the characters are a reflection of what Hollywood script writers and producers believe. Back in 1986, S. Robert Lichter, Stanley Rothman and Linda Lichter wrote a landmark book, The Media Elite. The three social scientists, not affiliated with conservative causes, found that the media elite had nothing in common with most Americans on the subject of religion: while 94 percent of Americans identified themselves as religious, only 50 percent of the media elite did. Even more striking, while 86 percent of the public said religion was important to them, 86 percent of the media elite said they seldom or never attend church. Studies since have shown that nothing much has changed.

Homosexuality and atheism are all the rage these days with the cultural elite. As "Glee" showed last night, so is ripping on Christians.

Contact Fox's VP for Communications:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Confession by Appointment

I have written here before of my thoughts on the availabilty of confession in this Scranton Diocese. I have also written here on the attitude of some of the local clergy on the Sacrament. Here is a nice article to ruminate over by Bishop Kevin Manning.

Confession by Appointment
Bishop Kevin Manning

Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne, stated recently that 'one of the most tragic failings that the Church suffered in the second half of the 20th century was to have neglected the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Penance … amongst priests this has caused tremendous loss of spiritual profile'. He goes on to say that when the priest is no longer a confessor he becomes a social worker of a religious kind. From this remark, I was left wondering about parish noticeboards and Parish Bulletin which advertise: 'Confessions – by appointment'. It is becoming rare to see the traditional notice: 'Confessions 4.00pm – 6.00pm Saturday afternoon before the Vigil Mass.' Fifteen and twenty minute slots appear to suffice.

The parable of the Prodigal Son is a wonderful reflection on the Sacrament of Penance when the young prodigal wakes up to himself, leaves his sins behind, and goes to his father confessing: 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.' The father welcomed him with open arms and a great celebration followed. This scene reflects beautifully the return of the sinner to God and the welcoming forgiveness which awaits him.

The Sacrament of Penance is a natural outcome of the overwhelming mercy of God, for it enables us to encounter the mercy of God dispensed through the ministry of a priest as communicated by Jesus Himself: 'Receive the Holy Spirit. For whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain they are retained.' (Jn. 20:22-23) But one needs to be aware of the need for conversion, to awaken one's consciousness of sin, to develop an understanding which includes the social dimensions of sin, together with the realization, given by St Paul, that 'however great the number of sins committed, grace is even greater' (Rom. 5:21).

The Holy Spirit who brings sin to light is also the Consoler disposing the human heart to be open to the grace of repentance and conversion. We cannot turn our world around on our own strength, we need Christian hope to help us desire the Kingdom of God and eternal life. This by placing our trust in Christ's promises, not in our own strength but in the help and the grace of the Holy Spirit.' (CCC 18:17)

An incisive way to prepare for a good Confession is to remember that the Holy Spirit came to convict the world of sin, to convict, not condemn. When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, we still cannot but feel ashamed of what we have done, but, at the same time, we feel so loved by God that we desire God's mercy immediately.

So, my purpose in writing is to encourage you to call sin what it really is, take ownership for your actions as they really are. No matter if it has been ten, twenty or even forty years don't be afraid to go to Confession for you are going to meet One who has waited lovingly for you to come to experience his mercy.

My final words are an expression of gratitude to brother priests who zealously and lovingly dispense the mercy of God by making available frequent opportunities for the faithful to access the sacrament of penance in the spirit of St John Vianney, a true model of a confessor.

Kevin Manning is Bishop Emeritus of Parramatta

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Supplied Jurisdiction Part II

Yesterday we started to look at an article by SSPX Bishop Tissier de Mallerais about one of the imagined problems with attending Mass at SSPX chapels, that of "supplied jurisdiction" and how it applies.

With the sad state of affairs in the Catholic Church in the United States and abroad today, it is only natural that there will be those well-formed Catholics who instantly recognize the immediate danger to their souls while attending Mass in certain parishes and they will begin to look for alternatives outside of the Diocesan system.

The Society of Saint Pius X is one such group outside of the Diocesan structure who just happen to have a presence here in the Diocese of Scranton.

So today we continue the good Bishop's article on supplied jurisdiction.


A problem is immediately apparent to you, as I am sure you are aware. What authority do these priests, these bishops, these district superiors, this Superior General and these traditional communities have in the Church? You ask this not only because they are, so we are told, excommunicated, but also because they do not receive their authority from the hierarchy of the official Church. Our priests do not receive the power to hear confessions from the diocesan bishops. The Priestly Society of St. Pius X has no longer any "official existence." The bishops of the Society, they say, did not receive their authority from the Holy Father. What right therefore does this traditional clergy have to require of you, the laity, to depend on it in your Catholic action?

It is this objection to which I am going to reply. What is the authority of the traditional Catholic clergy in this crisis situation, and, in particular, what is its authority with respect to traditional Catholic study groups? The thesis is the following (I can review it briefly before explaining it):

Your traditional priests —for they are your priests —your traditional bishops and your traditional parishes, have no ordinary authority, but an extraordinary authority which is a supplied authority.

Then, I will strive to examine the concrete aspects of this supplied authority of the traditional clergy so as to apply them to the case of your "Catholic action."

Supplied Jurisdiction

To explain this, let me use the example of confession in normal times. The traditional clergy has no ordinary authority over the faithful, for it has not received this authority which we call jurisdiction. It has not received it by delegation or by mandate of the Sovereign Pontiff or the diocesan bishops or of regularly appointed parish priests. This is the concrete case, especially for the priests of the Society; for example, for confessions.

You know that for the validity of a confession, the priest must have the power of hearing confessions. He normally receives this power from the bishop, but it is quite obvious that in the present situation this is impossible. Does this mean that our confessions are invalid? No.

We already resolved this question a long time ago, explaining it to the faithful as a case of necessity. Here we fall back on principles which are very elevated in the hierarchy of principles of the Church. This is the case where the Church directly confers jurisdiction on a priest without going through the different degrees of the hierarchy. It is the Mystical Body of Our Lord, Our Lord Himself as Head of His Church, which gives jurisdiction to priests in some particular cases.

Do you know, for example, the case of what is called "common error"? When a priest is in a church and has no jurisdiction, but is in stole and surplice, and one of the faithful asks him to hear his confession, this priest can indeed hear his confession, although he has as such no faculties. The reason is that the person is in error in believing he does and that is what we call "common error." In such a situation the Church makes up for the lack of jurisdiction for the good of the faithful.

Another situation is when a priest is no longer sure whether or not he has jurisdiction. There is a doubt. The Church resolves the doubt in favor of jurisdiction. Likewise in the case of danger of death. If a Catholic overturns his vehicle, and is in an emergency situation any priest has the power of hearing his confession even if he does not necessarily have jurisdiction. In such a case the Church opens wide the doors of her mercy and gives jurisdiction to any priest. It is the Church herself which gives jurisdiction, without involving the hierarchy.

"Ecclesia Supplet" —"The Church Supplies" (For the Spiritual Good of the Faithful)

These three cases are foreseen by Canon Law, and the same principle applies in each of these three cases; namely that for the good of the faithful, that is their spiritual good, the Church assures, as much as possible, that they have the means available necessary for salvation. That includes the Sacrament of Confession. We therefore say "Ecclesia supplet" —"the Church supplies," —when the priest lacks jurisdiction. Another rule of Canon Law applies: "Salus animarum suprema lex" —"The supreme law is the salvation of souls." Consequently the Church supplies for an absence of jurisdiction. It is therefore not the good of the priest which is in question. It is not to reassure the priest that he has jurisdiction to hear confessions. it is the good of the faithful which matters. It is very important to understand this. It is for your own good that your priests receive a supplied jurisdiction, that is to say for the common good of the Church and not for the personal good of the priest.

For the good of the faithful in these three cases, "Ecclesia supplet" —"the Church supplies."

I have spoken to you of the jurisdictional power of the priest, which is the power of governing. Let us say a few more words about it.

Jurisdiction: The Power to Feed a Flock

Does a priest lack something when he is ordained a priest? Would there be something missing from his priestly character which the diocesan bishop has to add by word, "Here, I give you jurisdiction," as by waving a magic wand? Would a word from the bishop give something extra to the priest? No, it is not quite this.

Jurisdiction is the fact that the bishop gives a flock to his priests, or that the Pope designates a flock for a bishop by giving him a diocese. Jurisdiction is the power which a superior has over his flock and which a pastor has over his sheep.

This is what the power of jurisdiction is: the power to feed the sheep.

You certainly know that in the Church we distinguish between the power of Holy Orders and the power of jurisdiction. When Our Lord said, "Go into the whole world and preach the gospel," "docete omnes gentes" — "and teach all nations," —it was the power of jurisdiction which he gave. "Teach," or, "Teach them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19), that is to teach the —commandments of God. Thus to direct the flock is the power of jurisdiction.

Just beforehand Our Lord had spoken to His apostles of the power of Holy Orders: "Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. 28:19). This is the power of Holy Orders, which is the power of sanctifying, which depends directly upon the priestly character. It is the power to celebrate Holy Mass and to sanctify the faithful by the Sacraments. There must therefore be something besides the priestly character, by which the priest or the bishop receives from his hierarchical superior a part of the flock. It is that which is called the power of jurisdiction.

The Supplying of Jurisdiction in Times of Crisis

In the present situation of crisis, it is obvious that your priests cannot receive from their superiors in the church, that is to say from the diocesan bishops and from the Pope, a flock, because that flock is refused to them. This authority over a flock must, therefore, be given to them in another manner: that is, by substitute or supplied jurisdiction.

In this case it is the Church herself which gives to priests a power as the power of the pastor over his flock. Normally the power of Holy Orders, brings with it the foundation or basis of a power to organize the Church in a hierarchy. Thus the priest’s or the bishop’s power of Holy Orders normally brings with it the power of jurisdiction. It is normal for a bishop or a priest to have a particular flock over which he exercises his power of Holy Orders. But in the present situation we have to deal with the abnormal situation where the power of Holy Orders is unjustly deprived of the power of jurisdiction. It is in this case that the Church mercifully supplies jurisdiction in favor of you, the faithful, giving the jurisdiction your priests would otherwise not have.

This is therefore an extraordinary power, which is an exceptional case. In exceptional situations there are exceptional powers.

The General Extent of Supplied Jurisdiction

It is not only present for confessions, but also for the entire priestly ministry. There is no reason to limit it to confessions alone.

And, you are indeed aware that jurisdiction is sometimes necessary for a priest to validly administer the Sacraments. This is the case, first of all, for Confession. It is equally the case for a priest assisting at Marriage. If he does not have jurisdiction the marriage is null and void. Although the two spouses are the ministers of the Sacrament, the Church has added a supplementary condition for validity, that is to say that the matrimonial consent be exchanged before the official witness of the Church, which is normally the parish priest. It is quite obvious that our priests do not have this power in an ordinary way. They can only receive it in an extraordinary way by the Church’s supplying of jurisdiction. In fact we here depend on OC Canon 1098 § 1, which dispenses from the necessity of the presence of a priest having jurisdiction for the marriage to be valid when it is foreseen that such a priest cannot be found.

Normally jurisdiction is necessary for licitness, that is to say, in order that the act of the priest be licit, or, permissible. For example, to preach a priest must have a mandate, or, for a bishop to confirm in another diocese than his own, he must have a mandate from the diocesan bishop. In order to ordain priests a bishop must normally have jurisdiction and this is, of course, all the more so for the consecration of other bishops. For an episcopal consecration he must have a Pontifical mandate.

This same principle is supplied throughout. In an exceptional situation the Church supplies for this absence of jurisdiction on the part of the priest or even the bishop.

And the more serious the crisis is, the more necessary it will be to fall back on this supplying of the Church on a higher level. This is what happened on June 30, 1988, when Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops with Bishop de Castro Mayer as co-consecrator.

The Case of Necessity for the Traditional Faithful

The fact that heresy, and even apostasy, is widely spread amongst the clergy, leaves the faithful, and especially those who want to keep the faith and the true religion, as sheep scattered and without a pastor.

You can easily see, my dear friends, that it is the case of necessity amongst the faithful which is responsible for the fact that traditional priests and bishops have a supplied jurisdiction with respect to your needs. This is not only so that they may validly hear confessions and validly assist at marriages, but also for all of the acts of their priestly or episcopal ministry.

For confessions, you certainly remember that Archbishop Lefebvre invoked the principle of the "danger of spiritual death" of the faithful. Just see the unhappy faithful who have no priests of certain doctrine, and who sometimes even doubt the validity of their confessions: "Does this priest really have the necessary intention so as to validly absolve?" They can readily doubt this. "If I can no longer go to confession then I am exposed to fall and perhaps to fall into grave sins. Who knows? My eternal salvation is at risk, I am in danger of spiritual death." The Church supplies, for the Church places ipso facto (by the fact itself) this Catholic under the jurisdiction of a priest. The Church places this Catholic as a sheep of a priest who will be his pastor for a determined case. Thus is established between the faithful Catholic and his priest a relationship as the sheep or the lamb with respect to the shepherd. The only thing is that this relationship of authority does not come from a delegation from the hierarchy of the Church, but by the Church, the Mystical Body of Our Lord, herself supplying.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

72 Virgins

There's not much funny about Islam, but this made Traddy crack a smile...

Supplied Jurisdiction

I received an email from a member of the faithful and was asked about the Society of Saint Pius X, and whether it is illicit to attend their chapels for Holy Mass.

I responded that the Vatican itself has said that one may satisfy their Sunday obligation by attending Mass with the Society but I also mentioned that their Confessions and Marriages may be invalid due to the local ordinary denying jurisdiction.

Then I got into what is known as "supplied jurisdiction". Since the Society operates due to a state of necessity in the Church, jurisdiction is supplied by the Church. "Ecclesia supplet", or "the Church supplies" (for the spiritual good of the faithful).
I supplied this article by Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais on the subject, and for the education of Catholics who may have the questions, I present the article here.

If anyone attends the local SSPX chapel in Pittston, please email me at

by Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais

by Father Peter Scott

State of the question.

Many have asked how traditional priests can continue to administer the Sacraments, and especially hear confessions, when they have had their Sacramental faculties removed by the local ordinary.

The following considerations will help you to understand not only the injustice of this, but also how these priests are clearly entitled to use supplied jurisdiction. It is obvious that the present crisis in the Church is not foreseen in Canon Law.

Consequently we must base our activity on the juridical analogy taken from the general norms of the Codes (Canon 20 in the Old Code and Canon 19 in the New Code), which state that if there is no express law concerning a special situation, the rule must be taken from:

1) laws promulgated for similar circumstances. The similar circumstances are those in which the Church supplies jurisdiction on account of the grave danger to souls. They are the cases of:

  • common error concerning a priest’s jurisdiction: Old Code [i.e., the 1917 Code of Canon Law, forthwith "OC"] Canon 209 (New Code [i.e., the 1983 Code of Canon Law, forthwith "NC"] 144).
  • positive and probable doubt: OC 209 (NC 144). This can be concerning jurisdiction or common error or danger of death.
  • non-cognizance to the fact that jurisdiction has expired: OC 207.
  • danger of death: OC 882 and 2252 (NC 976 and 1357). Those who cannot find a suitable confessor for a long period of time and who are consequently in danger of spiritual death must be assimilated to those in danger of death, according to the principle of Canonical Equity (see below).

2) the general principles of canon law, which inspire the particular laws. The two principal ones are:

  • the salvation of souls is the highest law (NC 1752).
  • the Sacraments are on account of men.

3) recourse equity. This is recourse to the mind of the legislator (when there is nothing explicit in writing), who never wants his legislation to be too onerous (burdensome), but always wants it to be interpreted in a just and favorable manner. That it is indeed the mind of the Church to be generous in the granting of jurisdiction and not overstrict or onerous is also apparent from the following two canons:

  • OC 2261 §2 (NC 1335). The Church suspends its prohibition for an excommunicated or suspended priest celebrating the Sacraments or posing acts requiring jurisdiction, provided it be in favor of the faithful who request it for any reasonable cause at all, and especially if there is no other minister.
  • OC 878 §2 (NC 970). Ordinaries and superiors are not to restrict jurisdiction. If the priest is suitable and the good of the faithful requires his services this jurisdiction cannot be refused to him. Clearly traditional priests should in justice receive personal jurisdiction and that everywhere (NC 967).

It is clear that, given the present circumstances of crisis in the Church and the principles of Canonical Equity, given the general principles of the law, and the Church’s continuous practice of supplying jurisdiction for the good of the faithful whenever it foresees that this lack of jurisdiction would be to their detriment, traditional priests receive supplied jurisdiction from the law. This is with the understanding that personal jurisdiction is unjustly refused to them simply because of their attachment to the Faith and its traditional expression (inseparable from the Faith), and that the faithful cannot be expected to continually search out and judge for themselves which confessors in the Conciliar Church might be acceptable and might give them the spiritual advice they need (given that the vast majority do not).

In conclusion, therefore, it is obvious that, besides the case of common error, besides the case of probable and positive danger of death as interpreted in the broad sense of spiritual death, traditional priests receive a iure (from the law itself) a supplied jurisdiction for all cases in which this jurisdiction is required. This is simply the application of Canon 20, notably of Canonical Equity. There are no solid arguments against this and since there is at least a positive and probable doubt in favor of this argument, and we know that in such a case the Church certainly supplies jurisdiction, then traditional priests can and must act accordingly and the faithful can and should approach them for Confession.

In the case of marriage this conclusion need not be applied. For OC 1098 (NC 1116) describes situations when even a priest without jurisdiction can validly assist at a Catholic marriage, namely when there is a major "inconvenience" for more than one month (as, for example, the New Mass or the liberal pre-Cana classes).

All depends on whether the crisis in the Church is recognized or not. Those who refuse to see it will refuse the recourse to OC Canon 20 (NC 19). Those who understand its gravity will all agree on the force of these canonical arguments for supplied jurisdiction presented by Bishop Tissier de Mallerais in the following pages.

More to come...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Do You Believe?

Do you?

Do you actually believe everything that Holy Mother Church teaches?

Do you believe that women should be priests?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1577 states that

Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination."66 The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.67 The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ's return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.

Now that you've read it yourself, do you still believe that women should be priests?

What do you do?

Do you accept the Church's teaching, or do you decide to ignore it and continue pretending to be Catholic?

Because, if you do not believe the Church's teaching, why be a part of her? I have always found it puzzling, how people can support abortion, how they can use birth control, or how they can denounce some teaching of the Church and still consider themselves Catholic. Why be a part of any organization with which you do not agree?

You wouldn't be a democrat of you believed in limited government and lower taxes, would you?

So why go to a church you do not agree with? What's the point? What are you trying to prove?

What if everyone went around espousing their own beliefs about what the Church should teach? Well, then you have Bob's Catholic Church. And Jane's Catholic Church. It is no longer the Catholic Church instituted by Jesus Christ. The Holy Catholic Church and the teaching she imparts are divinely inspired by the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

You think you know better than Him?

Good luck explaining that at your judgement!